Archive for February, 2019

Sure enough, as the years passed the allergies and reactions changed. Some triggers no longer caused days of panicked suffocation brought on by these asthma attacks. A number of the allergens would start to cause breathing problems but I learned if I could remove myself from the environment or place myself in a calming mental state and focus on breathing properly I could stop the attacks from getting worse.

Eventually I reached a point where the severe attacks were rare. I could manage to do most of the things I needed to do and new friends had no idea that I suffered from bronchial asthma. As these things shifted I started to have sneezing fits in the place of attacks. I would walk into a room or go outside and breathe in the cold/hot air and start sneezing out of control. It was not unusual to sneeze 30 – 40 times in a row. Sneezing five times in rapid succession is exhausting. By the time I hit 30 I was helpless. My body temperature would raise dramatically and I would break out in a heavy sweat. Now, even those symptoms are gone.

Nowadays there is politics in everything. There was back when I was born, too. Politicians decided to make possession and use of marijuana a crime similar to use of narcotics and psychotropic based drugs. This allowed US law enforcement agencies to arrest and imprison ‘specific groups of radicals and dissidents’ who were known to use marijuana. In my pursuit of life, liberty and health, I was made a criminal by my own government for using something in my own home that I could grow in my back yard! Marijuana has been used throughout human history and there is no evidence based reason for a Schedule 1 classified drug. This year the WHO (World Health Organization) suggested rescheduling use of marijuana to delete its schedule 1 classification. https://www.icci.science/data/files/ECDDcannabisoutcome.pdf

My state of Ohio passed a medical marijuana law a couple years ago. You are required to be approved for a number of medical conditions by select certified doctors in the state. Once approved you will be issued a medical marijuana card that can be used in Ohio. I applied for the card and easily qualified for intractable pain. Late last year the first dispensary opened in Ohio. There are no dispensaries anywhere near me and the program is way behind schedule.

As a young adult I thought marijuana would be legalized very soon. I kept thinking this as I saw friends, family, classmates, teachers and every class of people destroyed by alcohol, sleeping pills, tobacco, sugar, salt and a million other things that seemed far more dangerous and showed little or no benefits. Years went on and no change in political attitudes, though there was a clear change in social views. I would just like to be able to use marijuana as a medication and no longer be a criminal by the time I die.

Then I would like to see the thousands of people with criminal records for non-violent use be freed and their records expunged. If it is not asking too much, I would like my country’s politicians to be governed by facts, science and compromise for the common good. I may not live to see that one.

The End of the Road

This is a continued story and will make more sense if you start with the first post: https://midimike.com/2019/01/25/a-long-road-with-an-end-in-sight/.

The next post can be found here: https://midimike.com/2019/02/01/the-long-road-behind-continued/

I would never see these new friends again. I was a kid to them and although I had smoked marijuana for a long time, I had never gotten stoned. (I recall hearing a debate people were having years ago and someone mentioned that doctors should not prescribe pain killers for chronic pain because people would become addicted. The counter was that people did not feel the euphoric effects; it barely countered the constant state of pain. That is probably a crude analogy, but I knew others would laugh or be silly or energetic after smoking. I just felt ‘normal’ or calm).

Where young boys I knew wanted to get crazy drunk or party in other ways, I had the carry-over from my experience with medications and did not want to feel jelloed out, drunk or not in control.

For the first time I actually got ‘hi’. From that moment on I would feel the effects of smoking pot. I now understood why some of my good friends would smoke. There seemed to be additional benefits for me. Win – Win.

Symptoms slowly change as we get older. Early on I had forced myself into paying attention to my allergies. I watched what I ate and drank… What materials I was near… Where there any pets around?… Avoid dramatic changes in temperature, dust, exertion, perfumes, hairspray………………… carpet or drapes in my bedroom. Clean. Dust-free. That alone made me an unusual kid LOL. Eventually I could control the most basic triggers. I reduced the number of attacks and hospital visits. It also reduced the number of places I could go and feel comfortable. I could rarely visit with friends or relatives at their place and tried to avoid events or invitations if one of the many sources of my allergies could be present. Thinking just now, this might be an early influence that pushes me toward being introverted and wanting the life of a hermit. I thought it was 40 years of dealing with the general public in a sales/customer service role. Who knew?

The road has changed and the path is clearer. Now, where do we go next?

To be continued once more.

I would like to share another half-baked instrumental piece with you. When you have written over 175 songs you have to try very hard to discover new things. Sometimes we audio engineers can get stuck in a rut too. We use dependable tools and procedures until we slowly lock ourselves into a production-line-song making-engine.

If you are a label, publisher etc., you will appreciate the cookie-cutter assembly line model. You would benefit from the homogeneous funnel that affects all the broadcast music we listen to today. As you can tell from my previous posts, I choose not to be main stream and often try the unusual or untested. But this is where I will stop whining about a music industry that only wants to back the mega mega stars of today. Our favorite musicians from the past would never get a break in today’s world. Long live rock and roll.

This song is in the chopping block stage. For fun, I noodle with varied instruments all the time. Most of it is nonsensical and I archive or delete it. Often there are really good gems in a sea of debris. On occasion, most of what I created sounds good and for some reason I like it. There are parts that work well and others that need to be enhanced or deleted. The software is capable but fairly easy to edit and “copy – Paste”. If you like or dislike a section, please let me know the min/sec in your comments.

This recording was a little unusual in the process side of things. I started with a metronome click track in my computer. I picked up my guitar (always in tune) and set up the computer (always ready to record) and – I am being literal here – found a chord on the guitar. Without regard for key or scale or root, I just kept trying different positions until I liked the sound and voicing of the chord. I started recording just that chord in various styles for a few minutes. Each chord clean and distinct. Then I would play a pattern or arpeggio with the same voicing. Then a few hard hits. Next I stopped recording, found another chord and repeated that process.

Once I had a number of guitar parts that I liked, I arranged them along a measured grid to create a single guitar track. I used chords for different segments of the song to create the chorus and bridges. Once the guitar was assembled I listened to the guitar and recorded MIDI bass guitar, piano and drums using the plug-ins in my software (Cakewalk/Sonar/Bandlab). The drums have a jazzy dynamic feel and I like the way some of this song fits together. I imagine watching for the sunset or sunrise over the hill on a chilly but beautiful day. That’s just me.

I have to fix a lot of things and it is not complete as I cautioned, but I hope you like it. BTW, I call it “134” because that is the tempo! I really have to work on my naming skills.

 I just realized what a dipshit I am. Don’t know exactly when it began But it certainly wasn’t part of my plan.

I understand how condescending I’ve become. Thinking I’m the only one that gets things done. You can’t be productive if you are having fun.

Step Outside yourself for just five minutes. That’s all it takes to know who you are. Step Outside yourself: I can show you how. You really don’t have to go very far.

I know, ’cause I can hear what you’re thinking. Everyone loves me so why all the cursing? I hate the thought of endless reversing.

Step Outside yourself for just five minutes That’s all it takes to know who you are. Step Outside yourself: I can show you how, You really don’t have to go very far.

Step Outside and pay attention. It’s not like the rest of the world needs your attention. It takes a little effort and not much time. Come on out, the answer is in the rhyme.

Give me a minute And if you                 look at you The way I                  look at me We can Step Outside together.

Step Outside yourself for just five minutes. That’s all it takes to know who you are. Step Outside yourself: I can show you how. You really don’t have to go very far.

 I just realized what a dipshit I am. Don’t know exactly when it began But it certainly wasn’t part of my plan.

(C) MSK 2-5-2019

One night I was struggling with the towel over my head breathing in the incense-like vapors. My older brother David walked by and mentioned that it smelled a lot like marijuana. I was not familiar with his reference at the time. So when I was feeling better he filled me in on what pot was and that it was illegal but lots of people thought it was fun to do.

A few years later I was walking around in the city parks on a hot summer day (as I have a tendency to do). I met friends hanging out on the hill side and stopped to talk. One pulled out a joint and asked me if I wanted some. No personal experience here, but I knew more than years ago so I said sure. Almost immediately I felt comfortable and not scared or worried. After smoking I did not feel ‘buzzed’ or ‘stoned’ or ‘hi’. In fact, I felt almost nothing. Almost.

For almost a year I smoked marijuana and never did get the affects people talked about. At this point you are probably asking, ‘well, then why did you continue to smoke the stuff?’. I am not a doctor and even if I was US laws prevent doctors from testing pot. But when I smoked I felt relaxed. It reduced the panic I felt not only during an asthma attack but also doing things that were known to trigger them. During an attack I quickly calmed down after smoking it and I could lose my concentration on trying to breathe and focus on other things that did not make me panic. I stopped taking the other medications and tests.

After about a year I walked around a small pond at another local park and like a number of other people and animals….. I started walking in the shallow pool to cool down and enjoy the day. As I mentioned, there were a number of people and animals in the water at the time the police drove by, but only four people were pulled out and threatened with being “taken in”. Looking back I should not have been surprised that each of us ‘criminals’ were young and had long hair.

After the police men finally let us go (while others were still walking in the waters) I naturally started chatting with the others. They asked me if I wanted to hang out with them. I did not drive yet so I joined them on a beautiful day. They drove around and one of them mentioned wanting to get stoned. They were older than I was (college kids, I think) and they took really good care of me and checked to make sure I was OK. We stopped by one of their friends houses and bought some hash. I was not familiar with this but basically the same stuff only concentrated. We drove to their house, put on some music and then they got out the pipe.

That was when things really changed. The road got a little bit shorter that day, but the story continues.