Monday, August 27, 2018

Home Schooling, a personal decision or a court decision?

Is it best to allow homeschooling? Or is it a dangerous thing to allow at least, unrestrained?

A mother is told she's too religious to home-school her daughter. The child has been ordered to attend public school. Watch the video, read the article here:

From that article:

"Voydatch had home-schooled Amanda between 1st and 4th grades. Then came the judge’s order in 2009 which sent the then-9 year-old to public school. Voydatch has been fighting the ruling and Simmons argued the case in front of the New Hampshire Supreme court in early January.
But not everyone sees it as a Constitutional case, including the attorney for Brenda’s ex-husband.
“It’s not really about religion,” says Joshua Gordon. It’s simply about two parents who differ about child-rearing philosophy. He says the two parents disagree about what’s best for Amanda:
“One wants the child very isolated and cloistered and the other wants the child to be worldly and be exposed to all the experiences one ought to have as an adolescent.” "

This is a tough one.

If there wasn't one of the parents who disagreed with the other (the mother), it would be far more insidious. I've always had trouble with the concept of homeschooling. It's good for when the only alternative is really poor educational institutions, I would agree. But that is a quagmire on many levels.

The good thing about public education is that we end up with a commonality among the citizenry, a community. We've seen where too much religion can lead; it can be a good thing, it can also and more typically be a bad thing and at times, a very bad thing.

The argument about charter schools is another misguided mostly right wing concept. Ludicrous at times when we really need to pour money into making public schools work. Rather than give a special group of Americans a charter school system to use to escape. To siphon off even more money to give those special people the option of protecting their children while aiding the abandonment of the children of those who cannot help themselves or their own children out of a bad situation.

It was an idea that originally started as a seemingly intriguing and potentially good idea. But it has devolved into an elitist program leaving too many others in the trenches who do not have the freedom or choice for their own children.

We have abandoned our children, their teachers and education system far too much and for far too long in a one sided effort to dumb down America to support one continually defective conservative Republican party.

If the parent is teaching the child poor religious views, let's face it, that is bad. Though admittedly that may even be a moot point.

The parents can and are still welcome to teach and raise their kids involved with public education, their views on their religion. Is getting a balanced view bad for a kid? Is getting an intensely one sided view bad?

We homeschooled our daughter in first grade. Then we put her into public school for second grade. They tested her and said she could skip two grades. We (mostly myself, as I have a university degree in psychology) were worried about her emotional maturity and ability to merge with older kids. I couldn't have been more correct.

I didn't really notice the issues until she was of driving age and all the other kids were getting their licenses an entire year before she did. It caused her a great deal of difficulty and I would have felt the same had I been her. A car isn't just a car. It's freedom, from parents, from home.. It's experiencing. It's community with friends.

Still, we homeschooled her, raised her and our son in an open minded way. He was not homeschooled, his ADD made it difficult either way. In our case without religious training, which they absorbed before graduating K-12 on their own, and with our (mostly my) guidance. Neither of us were religions. My wife would say she was Christian oriented but not religious. I was raised very Catholic, but after a several decades long search and survey of religions and mental disciplines, I ended mostly on Buddhism, but my own hopefully more enlightened sense of it.

I had noticed my grade school foundation in Okinawan Martial Arts brought with it an Asian orientation on philosophy which gave me a more grounded view of my religion (I had even been head altar boy in our small Slovak church as my mother was Czech and dad was Irish). When I discovered Buddhism it felt familiar (obviously) until I realized that the basis of Catholicism, in it's rejection of Judaism was based in Buddhism.

When I studied psychology and philosophy in college and at university, I then discovered how familiar still various schools of psychology were to Buddhism, which is not a religion at all. Though many who were born into it in their Buddhist country, might think it is. Humans are somewhat OCD by nature, it's a protection, built in, and functional...until it's not. Therefore, humans tend to want to turn anything they get deeply involved in, into a dogma or a religion.

There are uses for homeschooling, many reasons for it to be used, to be sure, But it needs to be used, not abused. We need our public schools for community, for Americans all being Americans and to retain that among us. And our children are only as good as their parents homeschooling them. Not every parent should be homeschooling for some have no ability to take on the task and it can harm the child. It can also harm our society, our country. Even our ideals. There are some pretty weird parents out there, some pretty destructive subcultures. Antithetical to American ideals and society.

We, I myself, have always been into our freedoms. Into our individuality of thought and action. But as we've found recently, there is a downside. This was originally a reaction against a 1950s and before mentality of group cohesion. Through the Beat generation and on, once we began to really think about it, we could wear what we want, have our hair whatever length we wanted. To have alternative views to living. But that was a strong reaction to break out from an anachronistic mindset.

Once that was broken in the 60s and 70s and beyond as we continue to evolve and mature as a nation, we have to slow down, lighten up and realize we have made strides. We no longer need to be so adamant about our uniqueness. Some tried and true methods of living have been there, because they work.

We have to realize if we each and all diverge too much from one another we begin to lose our cohesive threads of commonality. In our over striving for our uniqueness, our individuality at some point we all lose what it is to be an American. Individuals of a like mind, able to live our uniqueness ... separately together. As we're seeing today in this polarized America, it can work against our own best interests.

What this comes down to, and it depends on the parenting plan if both parents have equal decision on the child's education, is what the parents work out on subjects. So the mother really shouldn't have the final say. If the mother is primary parent,and has the majority decisions granted for educational and religious issues, then Dad needs to shut up and it becomes a moot point.

Then again, I'm biased as I've seen my share of unbalanced mothers raising kids in a much less than reasonable way. That being said, the education the child gets in homeschooling depends entirely upon the parents doing the teaching. Children need socializing outside the home. With other children, with other adults, with other ways of thinking, and how to deal with foreign forms of thought. Not in a narrow minded way, but in an open minded and critical thinking way.

My primary concern is in those who are ignorant, teaching their young and propagating and increasing their ignorance. I never considered that before recent times when I've seen those who obviously espouse ignorance and foolishness with pride. Who have organized and become a voice evoking changes in far too many of the wrong directions. While all the time thinking they were doing what is right and good. Perhaps doing "God's job."

What is "right and good" is an argument for another time, but the primary concern remains, a concern.

In the end continuing on with our original direction (and I am for the most part a believer in freedom of thought myself) may be the only thing to do. But it leaves me greatly concerned for our future. It then becomes a numbers game. Will we have more ignorant, or more educated in future American voting pools?

Consider as I understand it, that the uneducated tend to be the ones who have more kids, which the more educated have less. Same traditionally for the religious, to overwhelm by numbers if not reason. We see this too in the Republican party in pushing to eliminate birth control, abortions, to increase their numbers if by nothing else, by overwhelming their ranks through birthrates.

I had always thought that Truth in the end would win out, just because it is more, and most functional.

But perhaps I should have considered that Truth, like Good, may not win out in the end as I had originally been raised to believe, because the other side breaks rules, in order to win at any and all costs. Because they believe themselves divinely inspired and even protected.

I was raised by parents who believed mostly only what their parents had taught them. Which in many cases was simply wrong. In my mother's case, this was at times judged even by her own Parish Priest. I do try to judge by people's own logic or paradigms whenever possible and reasonable. And so frequently I find even that enlightened view failing them. For the break with knowledge and logic not infrequently from without but as well from within their understanding of the world,.

What direction will this take us?

I guess that begs the question. Do we try to direct our path or, do we simply throw caution to the wind? For it seems we do need to allow people to do what they want, for the most part and when reasonable and possible. This still IS America.

 I just have to acknowledge that this is not at times unlike closing your eyes while driving. Or perhaps more so like closing your eyes while riding a horse. Which would be better I think as at least the horse doesn't want to ride into something dangerous.

But either way, driving or riding with one's eyes open is always the far better plan.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Have We Lost Sight of the Spirit Of Law and Therefore, Ourselves?

Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election by convincing people he and HE alone could "Make America Great Again". Ridiculous. We haven't heard such a patently ludicrous thing since Pres. George W. Bush said we needed to invade Iraq and why, and not as such a narcissistic thing has  been said by an American president, perhaps ever.

By the way, remind me of when exactly we were so great, as great as some curious conservatives wish to believe we have been? To be sure, to outsiders wanting in, to those going up against America, we do seem great and we are the world's biggest economy and only and remaining superpower.

However, from within it all seems quite different.

Different again depending on if you are that 1% elite, wealthy, powerful, or if you are of the 99% trying to live beneath the weight of them above, those many below, suffering. All while the rich get more tax breaks for apparently magical reasons, again and again. Why, many ask? Why not, ask the many fewer, the even more powerful?

What is the fundamental difference between those two groups and why some ask, can't they just get along? In a country where there is so very much, why can't there be enough for everyone? How can there be when one group of a few wants so much leaving so little for the many?

After all, when one has more money then they could ever need to spend in a lifetime to live comfortably, Not to mention at all. Why then do they continue always too want, to need, ever more?  Especially when so many can barely make it through the day, or year. And while so very many do not, and have not.

I was at the grocery store recently and saw something I think is endemic and part of the problem today in American politics, and even culture. A problem with for the most part the right wing, conservatives and the Republican party overall.

A couple in the story were in the check out line with a full grocery cart. The store was quite busy. at the time They, he really, was in one line with his wife in the line right next to him for another checker. The counters were such that the running track holding groceries moving toward the cashier checker were opposed to one another with no barrier between the check out stands.

It was obvious what the couple were doing. Gaming the system. They were playing one line against the other and whichever of them in line got to the sliding belt first, was where the guy with the cart would hasten to go.

I was tempted myself in another line next to (both of) theirs. But I was curious how this would play out. Another guy then came up behind the wife and it was was obvious he was confused as she had no groceries.

I wanted to walk over and ask if they realized what a kind of unfair, it not a rather slimy thing it was that they were doing. Now you may have done this kind of thing too and as they probably felt, it was being very clever in saving (what turned out in the end to be maybe a whole entire minute, sixty seconds in all) in waiting time.

This is not unlike that driver on the freeway, jumping from lane back to lane then back again over and over and in the end you frequently find you have passed them by staying in your own lane. Of course as in gambling theory, that works out for them just enough that they remain addicted to the behavior. And yet research proves out, it's typically best to pick a lane in stay with it.

At one point the new shopper in line started to move forward, thinking he was next up as the woman in front of him after all, had no groceries. Perhaps, she just had a question? She was now at the end of the grocery track. With, of course, nothing to put on it.

It was about right then that the guy with the cart pushed pushed it over in front of the other new guy to join his wife. That was not obvious however until he cut off the guy who thought he was the next one with groceries. And that they were also gaming not on the system but the guy who was in line thinking he was next up. He said nothing, but glared at them with a reasonable amount of disdain. .

It's a thing in Seattle with our large ferry system that this kind of behavior has been made illegal. From past and unhappy experiences. If you were driving a car waiting in life at the ferry and pulled this kind of cutting over, it could not only get you ticketed, but possibly killed by another and irate driver. It is after all, rather unfair. Which is why the state has made it a ticketing offense. Cutting line, CAN get you killed.

From a 2010 article in the Kitsap Sun newspaper:
Ferry line-cutters will join high-occupancy vehicle lane cheaters in the state Department of Transportation’s HERO program. It encourages people to report violators’ license plate numbers by calling (877) 764-HERO.
After the first call, the cutter (or at least the registered owner of the car doing the cutting) will be mailed an educational brochure from Washington State Ferries. The second call brings a warning letter from the Washington State Patrol. The third elicits a $124 ticket.

My point of course in bringing this up is this. I wanted badly to walk over and ask the couple at the grocery store if they were politically conservative and mostly likely, Republican.

Because this is what I see with that party so very much. That mentality in their realm of if not cutting in on influence, at times even of offense. That belief that they are so much cleverer than others. Of making progress even at the expense of others.

This, is a smart person, as they see it. While others just see them as assholes.

Which are they? It really depends upon your orientation. And level lf laziness, greed and lack of compassion for others.

But, there is much more to this. To all of this, really.

We have long heard the lament of the conservative about the young, about the "Me" generation, about the selfish desires of the irresponsible young. It began actually at the dawn of time (see ancient graffiti even from Rome 2000 years ago, or even thousands of years before that). More recently the most rampant and newsworthy example may have begun with the Hippies of the 1960s. But the beatniks in the Beat Generation before them really started it for them. Something that seemed to evolve out of the duration but mostly the end of the Second World War.

It was the realization by an entire generation that we can live in America as we like. It was a natural outgrowth of the American ideal of individuality. Autonomy. Even, superiority. Of every man (or woman, a more recent concept it would seem) being king (or Queen?) of one's own castle. Of one's owned property, a somewhat new invention in the history of humanity, being of one's domain and not that of the ruling family. It it noticeable as an orientation many share on the Gadsden Flag wherein a coiled rattlesnake is situated above the words "Don't Tread On Me".

An orientation first put into worlds and came onto the scene at the dawn of this country:

The first Marines enlisted in the city of Philadelphia, and they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto "Don't Tread on Me." This is the first recorded mention of the future Gadsden flag's symbolism. The flag is named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden (1724–1805), who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution. It was used by the Continental Marines as an early motto flag, along with the Moultrie flag.- Wikipedia

See, it is in our nature as Americans.

Please excuse this brief aside:

George Mason has said:
"All men are born equally free and possess certain inherent natural rights.", And that "governments ought to produce the greatest degree of happiness and safety for the people."

He also said in a newspaper just about the time Jefferson was about to write something similar and foundational to this country, perhaps using Mason as a template, these words: "Life, Liberty and property."

While Thomas Jefferson instead used the far superior phrasing: "...Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

It's interesting to note that with the advent of republicanism (small "r" wherein the people are represented by the government and not a king, queen or other such entity), which Paine had also helped bring to France as well as later in America, that this is NOT the Republican party of today. NOT by a long shot.

It is also interesting that today's #GOP has gone with Mason over Jefferson. On as it is now, a rather unAmerican path. Which as we're seeing is siding many of them with Russian Oligarchs in the pursuit of individual wealth over that of the People.

They have taken the path where the almighty pursuit of property, and for those few who can deal at that level to acquire vast properties pursuing the almighty dollar perhaps at any or all costs, as we're now seeing from the criminals in the Trump crowd (or swamp) and perhaps Trump himself (which to most intelligent people seems a real no brainer), are ideals far more important to Republicans today than the pursuit of happiness for all of the American people... as originally intended, fought for, and died to bring to fruition.

It is odd therefore to hear Republicans today who claim to be constitutional originalists.

When the are so very much not.

The problem?

The problem comes up when the ignorant try to take an idea and run with it. It has lead to some bad things. Like the election of one Donald Trump as president. America's most likely top candidate for our biggest electoral mistake and worst president in US history.

We have bastardized that well defined sense of freedom and independence and brought forward some of the worst of those sensibilities. Like the sense of entitlement that comes with the "Me" orientation, the "me first" orientation, the "America First" orientation.

Why is it bad? Because as we've seen it leads to abusing others out of un unwieldy desire for oneself. From that comes wanting more until you have rationalized yourself into outright abuse of others standing in your way to wealth and success. All in the name of what?

"Me!" Freedom! Even, Patriotism!

Combine that with American capitalism and politics, and the post industrial age and what have we come up with? Profit engines, Profit margins. Quantifications of product and profit over the concerns of others.

Stockholders. Corporations. Business first. America first. The two together, globe trotted where business went hand in hand with government, in one of those thinking the other to be the reason for successes until finally one day each thought they were the reasons for the other's successes.

A polarizing consideration to say the least. Yet they continue to this day to work hand in hand. And so we have the warnings of the those famous and powerful ones who do have a sense of history and compassion for the American people. Some of them are even of the rich. They warn us to, "Beware the military / industrial complex". And, "Beware the corporate / industrial complex."

What they were saying is we need as citizens to protect ourselves against these vast fundamental interests so that they do not overtake the reason for America existing.

The Citizens. The possibilities of better lives. But not just for the few.

And yet, that is where we are at today. The GOP has lost control of all this in treading a dangerous path for decades now. The Democrats never really had control of it but they guided it much better. They try repeatedly and fail with some successes and wonder why.

All while Republicans have pushed and pushed some of the most ridiculous agendas, stunning even themselves of what they have worked toward, until now they too have lost control of their own pursuits.

Some say Donald Trump is merely a symptom. But he is an arm of that paradigm, set up by those forces, put in power by confusion, ignorance, greed and foreign powers. He saw his opportunity, and took it. A way to increase his wealth and power, and to protect himself. In a way not that different from what Vladimir Putin is doing in Russia.

This is not complex, until you delve into it. It is so obvious from the outside no one believes it. And yet, it is here.

It goes also back to the concept of the legal contract.

What was once a replacement of the handshake to seal a deal, especially with those you have and will never meet, the items of protection naturally included in a contract was originally there to protect both parties involved. But as the contract has been around nearly since the written word began its own purchase on humanity, time has served it up an immense learning ground until today it has become, weaponized.

Just as saggy drooping pants back in the 90s came from prison culture as it seeped out onto the city streets and then into fashion, so too the contract's format and nuances has found its way into our every day culture. We have found illiberal use in those protections so that once we have been protected by the contract, we have gone all the way further to reap whatever benefit we could. Even to leaving the spirit of the contract, to rape the economic interests of another for that of one's own benefit.

From that it was only a small leap, a shuffle sideways really, to where we are today. It has infected our culture, our work place, our entertainment, our interpersonal lives. Like a disease no one has ever noticed, it has infected an entire culture and has worked its way worldwide.

What have we lost?

Decency. Manners. Pleasantries without a forked tongue hiding behind them.

We no longer look at the whole situation when a contract is in place. We follow it to the letter of the law and the contract. Even when we know it is wrong, IF we can reap a benefit, a reward, a profit. And unforeseen, all the better. Even if it destroys the other person. Because why? Because THEY should have known better, we rationalize to ourselves. Because after all, IT'S IN THE CONTRACT.

This has disaffected us even in our police work, and of course our legal and judicial system, also our politicians so very badly, as well as many of our social structures. It has made us into not human beings, but machines of profit. And not always of monetary profit. We don't get interest on a loan if we can avoid it, we get a "vig", or "vigorish". The payment for the loan of the money.

When a better calls a bookie and places a bet, until that bet pays off or fails to and the money is paid, it is a loan between the time the bet is made to the time the payoff is made, or the vig becomes due. Historically a vig is much more than a traditional loan payback percentage, because when you cannot get a loan from a reputable lender, you go to someone not so reputable.

Since they aren't reputable they are most likely illegal and so the reassurance on the loan can go to illegal extremes. A "beat down", breaking legs, or even murder if the loan is big enough and payback is obvious not to happen. After all, one has to make an example so others won't try the same thing.

The point in all this is we have gotten way off track from being decent human beings to one another. Of course we need protection. But we have let that shade our minds merely because of greed. To get, or take, all we can.

Why? Because it has been so hard to get anywhere?

Why? Because the powers that be, those with wealth and/or power at the top have made it so. Eventually that gives us a mindset where it is okay to harm others, in order to get ahead. We don't seem to look at why things are that way, or who did it. To us. In fact we see many supporting through elections, voting again and again for those very same people who are the most abusive in a modern form of societal self flagellation. "It is OUR fault you did this to us, so beat us and please do it to us again!" Really?

"Please sir, may I have another?"

It makes no sense. But it comes out of ignorance. Out of struggling to make ends meet. And all the distractions thrown at us by those in power. Their tools? Wage control. Consumerism. Planned obsolescence. Marketing. Political spin and lies. Governmental or political tools to abuse us such as Gerrymandering, voter suppression.

Other legal abuses like keeping cannabis illegal. Refusing to have "free" healthcare. The vast sums made off of cannabis remaining illegal alone are astounding and go into so very many different businesses and government departments. A huge waste of money that could be doing real good elsewhere.

To end, we have been put into a mindset by others and ourselves, to diminish ourselves as people and as a nation. We can be, America a Great Nation. But we have to start at home. We have to start with ourselves, our family, our children. Our future. We have to start with our orientation, our mindset. hurting.

We have been wondering why Pres. Trump, why Congressional Republicans keep doing such stupid things. Passing bad laws. Removing good laws now on the books.

But are they really stupid? It depends on what your goal is.

In their case it is winning at all costs, where the ends justifies the means, and the victims don't matter, only the perpetrators do. The president. The #GOP. #Conservatives.

"Factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA or FDIoA), also known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP), is a condition where a caregiver develops a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and ..." so on and so forth.

We are victims of #realDonaldTrump and the #Republican party who are and have been creating these many problems, and then sometimes..."fixing" them. Of late, they have been getting caught at it and under popular outcry have fixed them or tried to look like they were and weren't.

Here's another angle, same story.

But what about the victims of MSbP? What about...US? Well? This, for one...

"Victims of MBP may suffer from fear, pain, and loss of normal attachment, and from delayed development, growth, social functioning, and/or academic progression. They may develop physical and psychiatric problems due to being persistently regarded as ill; from deprivation; from unneeded assessments, medications, procedures, or surgeries; and/or from iatrogenic complications."

America is crying. We are in pain. It is being done to us. On purpose. And not just by our own leaders.

We have to realize the answer to life is not constant excess and taking all you can get, but in solid work as well as expectations and moderation in all things. Feel free to be excessive once in a while. It's also healthy to do nothing at times as well as to go to great excess...sometimes. But as one should moderate one's life, one too should moderate those peaks and valleys.

Always remember, in what you take for yourself, someone else somewhere is losing for your benefit.

We have now a very petty man as US President in Donald Trump. Poor example of a father, husband and world leader. We can do better. So very easily.

That does indeed, matter. It also makes you who you are. And so you have to ask yourself, who do you want to be? More importantly, who do you want others to see you being? Who do you want your children seeing you be and who... do you want them to grow up to be?

Donald Trump? I seriously hope not. For your sake. For their sake.

For all our sake.

Now just for fun....a serious Tweet and a silly Tweet.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cameron Crowe's 2011 "Pearl Jam Twenty" Documentary Nearly Killed Me

Have you seen Cameron Crowe's documentary: "Pearl Jam Twenty."

I'm so pissed about that. No, not the documentary. Just about my past. No maybe it didn't nearly kill me, but it did remind me of some things that nearly had.

First let me say that Pearl Jam is playing their first Seattle show in nine years on August 8th, 2018 in two days. I've blogged before about working with their bassist Jeff Ament at Tower Video back in the 80s when he was playing with his band Green River and before Mother Lovebone. Jeff was a great guy to work with, always a smile, always positive. I was his supervisor and when he left he turned his position as media buyer over to me. A job I'd also had at the Tacoma Tower Video store just after graduating from university and one I took in Seattle to be the top Tower media buyer worldwide at one point.

I sat there watching the documentary with its footage of the Seattle, remembering how I lived near downtown during the 80s, just being frustrated. So I thought it might be interesting to blog about it and get it off my chest. Maybe something will be interesting to someone. Or maybe someone will appreciate the frustration of what I went through. Especially, in hindsight.

I was working at Tower Video Mercer store in Seattle. I've mentioned all this before, but this time it is in the context of what Crowe's doc was all about.

At some point in the documentary they talk about Eddie's first time with the band, how they came together. Eddie was talking about his dad, saying he hadn't known who his dad was until after he was dead. In a way, I could relate. I knew my dad, but hardly. His choice I'm made to believe.

With all the documentary had to show, with my past, our city we lived in, in knowing Jeff, Ament (Pearl Jam bassist), in working with him at Tower Video, in his having passed on his position as media buyer to me, in my having missed out on all that was going on in Seattle mostly because I had no money, and so little adventure left to me back at that time. Trapped by nearly everyone I knew living in Tacoma or Bellingham, where I so recently had received my university degree in Psychology, as well as a minor in creative writing in fiction and screen and script writing.

But at that time I was at the bottom. I even came close to killing myself during those drug fueled days, those wild 1980s. But that's another story.

I remember showing up one day at the Video store and one of our employees whom I was close to,  came in on her day off. She was hyper, there was blood all over her jeans, there was toilet paper taped to her wrists. It was obvious the kind of night she had. There were a lot of people in the store at that time. The girl she was living with was there.

I called her over. She came up to me, at the bar there, the effective barrier between the customers and their needs all day every day, and ourselves. I asked if she was okay. She said she was. I said, what is that about? She said, it's just what happened, why should I hide it? I looked around, everyone was busy, I pulled back the sleeves on my black jacket so she could see the toilet paper taped to my left wrist. Her eyes opened big, she looked at her writs, then at mine. Her eyes beckoned a question.

"You too? YOU? Why?"  She was echoing my own questions. We both thought the other had the world by the tail. Funny how we misperceive reality in someone we know fairly well.

We both survived that experience. We talked about it, briefly. We both walked away and lived to this day.

Many filtered through Tower stores in Seattle back in those days. Bands did "in stories", signing things, selling albums.

Playboy playmates also did in stores. One I even got to go up to the Space Needle at midnight with for drinks. Teri Weigel was her name. She was like most playmates I met, smart, vivacious, personable and a surprise to some, very professional. It was drinks with her across the table from her and her playboy handler, as well as about six other Tower people, including the district manager, a rather slimy little man, no one much liked who worked with him.

I still have the photo Teri congoled me into taking with her around here somewhere but as I'm still moving into my new house at this time, my main hard drive is still in a box in the basement until I can open enough boxes to have room to set up our new sound studio that we will use to produce more new audiobooks of my stories and perhaps record some local musicians who have shown some interest.

Teri was engaged to a guy back home, a secret she only shared with my apartment mate's / store manager's soon to be fiancee, wife and then ex wife. I was to be his best man, as he was eventually mine with my own soon to be fiancee, then wife, my son's mother and eventually my own ex wife.

Those were wild times. Weed, alcohol and drug fueled times. One night stands, multiple night stands, but never quite enough. Adventure thankfully came to us at Tower.

One night I looked up as I was putting away video tape boxes on the "floor" of the store, the public area where people chose their films for the night and realized that at 6'2", I was being dwarfed, not by one, but by about six other guys. It was daunting. Stunned I wandered back to the counter where I asked an employee, "What the hell is going on?" One of them came to my aide saying, "Don't you recognize half of the Seattle Sonics Basketball team? They're hanging at one of their homes and just in for some tapes to watch."

But no. I hadn't recognized them. It was surreal. An odd feeling being the little guy in an entire room. But it was a relief nonetheless to find a reason I was feeling so very tiny all of a sudden.

There were times that rock bands were in the store also looking for videos to watch on their off times. Or sometimes they'd just stop by to hang out and chat. One time I caught the lead singer of one well known local band (Mud Honey? No, I don't think that was them... Soundgarden? Metal Church? Maybe?) on top of one of our store counters, acting the front man in an empty store, just feeling good and having a good day. There were some bizarre scenes at times in that store, now long gone.

It would seem just about everyone showed up at Tower Video for films to watch. Bruce Springsteen's manager showed up one night to get Bruce some films.

One night I was wandering around downtown by myself and almost ducked into a dance club I'd never been in that was down some stairs, but instead I moved on. I kept hesitating, something pulling me into that place, but I didn't go. Mostly for lack of money. I could have gotten in, but that would have defined my night. Instead I hit a few other places. When I got to work the next day, I discovered that had I gone in, Gwen Stefani and band No Doubt had been there dancing the night away.

So much was happening all around me during those years and somehow, I missed most of it. But then, had I been working at some retail outlet other than Tower, I probably would have missed all of it.

Getting back to Crowe's documentary...

I do have to say it was a pleasure and yet a rather painful thing to watch. So many memories of those years flooded back to me, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. All those things I missed that were all around me back in those days was devastating. I knew things were going on back in those days, but not to the extent to which I missed out of so very much. I was at one point at my lowest point in my life which in part explains why so much zipped by me. And so in that sense, it was great to see just what all was going on in Seattle at that time.

Crowe's produced a great little documentary and if you have any interest in the Seattle music scene or to be sure, Pearl Jam or the bands associated with their coming together originally, it's definitely something to check out.

But then, those are what memories indeed are, aren't they....

#concert #PearlJam #Seattle #Tower