30 June 2007

Myspace and bass

I got myself a stage name. My real name doesn't really work if I'm going to perform as a musician anywhere other than in Finland, since people can't pronounce my name. So after several pages of trial and error, I finally decided that I shall henceforth be known as Sam Rayne on stage. So, it's not the coolest name on the planet but hey, it's better than "Richard Blood-Eagle." And, it's also a name that is way harder to fuck up the pronunciation with than my real name.

I got myself a myspace page too at www.myspace.com/sammrayne. So far I only have one song on there, but as soon as I get my bass and get some serious recording done, I'll put up a few more songs.

The bass. Yeah. I ordered the stuff from Axe music, and let me tell you: Fast they ain't.
I ordered the stuff on May 26th and paid with my Visa card. Then on May 30th I got an email saying that it didn't work, because my Visa card isn't Canadian. So I went to the bank and paid with a direct transfer instead two days later, and called them the next day to let them know I had paid. Then I didn't hear anything from them until June 12th, when I got an email saying that one of the items I ordered was out of stock, but that because of a malfunction in their inventory system, it showed up as in stock when I ordered it. They offered to ship the other stuff ASAP and ship the out of stock item later for no extra charge. I took them up on that and wrote back the same day to let them know. They wrote me back right away and told me that the stuff would be shipped tomorrow. Some time went by, and I found it strange that I hadn't heard anything more, because according to their website, I was supposed to get a Purolator shipment tracking number when the shipment left the store. I finally got an email with the tracking number on June 27th. Tomorrow my ass... So now I'm just waiting for the shipment to get here. Hopefully it will arrive next week.

26 June 2007

Life and death

It has been said that to a suffering person, the thought of committing suicide is the greatest comfort.

It makes a lot of sense. Now, I wouldn't personally recommend suicide to anyone, it is far too often a very permanent solution to a temporary problem. But psychologically, there is still a lot of logic to that statement. The thought of suicide crosses the mind of most people at some point or another. I'm sure most of you have thought about jumping off while walking over a high bridge, or steering into the headlights of oncoming traffic. It is not necessarily any kind of conscious effort or rational thought, it's more of a "what if...", and most people never have any intention whatsoever to actually act on the impulse. A lot of people would never admit to having thoughts like this. In their minds suicidal equals nuts, only crazy people think about suicide, and they don't want to seem crazy. That is of course complete bullshit. Thinking about suicide and being suicidal are far from the same thing, and you don't have to have any kind of mental problems to think about suicide. Everyone thinks about life and death and one's own mortality at some point in life. Nobody lives forever.

So why is suicide comforting to a suffering person?

The most obvious comment to this is that by committing suicide, the suffering ends. You're free of it, and can go to heaven, or straight to hell if you're catholic, or wherever it is you believe you will end up when you die.

The second and not quite as obvious comment is that it is the option of suicide that is comforting, not the actual act of killing yourself. From a certain point of view, the greatest level of suffering comes not from suffering itself, but from the fact that you have no choice but to suffer. People like being in control of things, especially themselves. A person who has lost everything, his home, relatives, dignity, self esteem, etc. can still hold on to the fact that it is up to him what happens next. His life is his own, he still has free will and the choice to either lie down and give up or to keep going and rebuild his life. He is the master of his destiny. Now imagine this choice being taken from his as well. Reduced to nothing but a puppet at the hands of an external force, this alone is a pretty gruesome form of torture to many people. Of course, there are many people who might argue that one is never really in control of one's own life, and that free will is only an illusion, but that is a different discussion.
The idea of suicide can be comforting, not only as a means to stop the suffering, but as proof to yourself that you are still in control of your life. It is up to me how my life ends and when. And in the extension: If I am suffering, it is because I choose to suffer instead of killing myself, not because I have no choice. I might not commit suicide, but I have the option. The choice is mine, I am in control.

That said, don't go committing suicide. There are so many better things to do to yourself. Go to a spa, or read a good book over a tasty cup of coffee instead.

Hot summer...

The summer has been pretty warm here lately, and today was another warm and humid day. It can get pretty warm back home too in the summer, though maybe not quite this warm, but it's the humidity that is killing me. I feel like someone poured a gallon of syrup over my head, I'm all warm and sticky. We bought an air conditioner for the bedroom at Walmart. They had this 5000 btu machine on sale for 99 dollars. It's a pretty small one, big enough to cool down a room of about 14,5 square meters, which is about perfect for the bedroom. Now, maybe a dehumidifier wouldn't be such a bad idea either...

I ordered an electric bass a few weeks ago, I'm still waiting for it to arrive. Who would have thought that it takes over two weeks for something to get from Edmonton to here? Anyway, it's a titanium white ESP B-50, and I'm looking forward to getting started with it. I have a bunch of songs I'm itching to record. I have a pretty clear idea what I want to do with them, I just need the bass to be able to record all tracks and get a full band sound. Up until now, I've recorded a few songs that are for voice and guitar only, I'll put them up online once I get a few more songs done.

In other news, I might have a couple of upcoming shows in the Montreal area, starting in September. Nothing is booked for sure yet, but we're working on making a few shows happen with myself playing some of my material, Nikki Brown doing spoken word, and Cozmos Quazar playing some of his stuff.