Good morning. Hello. How are you? #642
RIP Mike Gill. Birthday mistakes. Mothers day ambivalence.
Good morning! Hello, there. How are you? I am holding up okay. On Thursday evening, we think, our good friend Mike Gill passed away at home in Los Angeles, in, it appears, his sleep. It was not self-inflicted. So, for the second time in less than two years, a good friend who was in excellent health just died out of the blue. That is super weird and messed up. Mike was such a great guy, we’ve been friends for, god, I don’t know, twenty years I’m gonna say. Probably longer. Because with Mike you got to be friends at a bar, at a rock show, and then over time you realized how awesome he was, and you became better friends through the years, and you’re never quite sure how you met because you were always friends. Our bands existed at the same time in the Boston rock scene, I’d see him out like three nights a week for years. But really it was the last decade, ish, that we grew closer, as he started dating our good friend Jess, even as they moved to Los Angeles. As we talked extensively about Star Wars, and the very simple fixes they could have done to The Force Awakens to clean up the plot1. It is incredibly sad, I will miss him. I will even miss arguing about cancel culture with him, because he was a good man and a good friend and we could argue about these things without it getting personal, he was one of the only people with whom I argued politics.
I feel awfully for his partner Jess and for my lifelong friend, record label partner and best man Sean, who was so incredibly close to Mike, and has been through a shittier run during this pandemic of friends and family passing away than even I.
(All my photos of Mike are blurry why are all my photos of Mike blurry I need to buy a good camera again and take good photos of all of my friends).
I found this out about three minutes after writing my GMHHAY edition on Friday to you guys. Right after I had finished writing these words:
I’m not old, I have friends and family in their seventies who are probably reading this and they’re still living, doing exciting things. But at the same time, you can’t, like, assume that’ll be you. Yes I have my health, my wealth, my skin color, my gender, but I could — and I’m sorry to be morbid here for a moment — die tomorrow. Five friends have lost someone, friends, this week, and those five friends were all my age or younger. Just this week. The life-phase of going to tons of weddings is behind me, I’m slowly exiting the tons of friends having kids phase, and the next phase will be… well, hopefully there are one or two more good phases before the “everyone’s dying” phase but I can see it on the horizon.
Of course, this just means one needs to focus on living…
The trick, I think, is to somehow believe you’re going to live forever and remember that you could die at any moment.
You know how rare it is for me to quote past editions of GMHHAY, so, yeah. You know. On the nose timing, as it were.
Needless to say, this threw out-of-whack what few plans I had for my birthday, and that was just fine with me. After talking to Sean and Jess, we decided to go ahead and keep the Zoom we had planned for the evening, and it turned into an impromptu therapy session, laugh session, support session. That was much needed, and I’m glad especially we could be there for Jess and Sean.
It really is totally, completely insane.
I am sad about Mike. But I am not completely out of whack. As Jess said, “I’m not okay, but I’m okay, you know?” I know some of you think I’m morbid these days but really I think that I am very attached to life, very attached to living. I think about the miracle of life all the time and, while I don’t always succeed, especially in a pandemic, I think about my time, my friends, saying “I love you” to people whom you love. I don’t know. I’m not explaining myself well, but… all this helps in times like this. It doesn’t make it worse, it’s not “oh see I was right death doom” it’s “yes, we must live while we can, enjoy our friends while we can,” and Mike was living. He was with an amazing woman, he was doing things he loved, having success in filmmaking on multiple fronts, sneaking into Star Wars premieres and being with his friends. Mike was living.
Prior to this, there were three things I was looking forward to for my birthday. The problem is I did not really properly plan the interaction between these three things. I thought maybe they would balance each other out. Maybe I could soldier through. These three things were to have some nice adult beverages on the zoom with friends, get my booster shot, and eat a delicious meal from Wendy’s, where I’ve not eaten once since before the pandemic.
Unfortunately, these three things did not go together well at all, and getting a booster shot while profoundly hung over turns out to be a terrible idea. I just felt so, so awful all day Saturday. On the verge of puking, very sore arm, headaches, chills, nausea, the whole nine yards. I was hoping to power through and try and get some gardening done — I had put together a new garden shed on Friday after learning about Mike because I find doing physical labor can help make me feel better in grief. I was hoping to do the same Saturday but the overwhelming illness really put the kibosh on that. In any case, it rained heavily all day, so my conscience was clear.
Reader, I went back to sleep and slept all day on my birthday. It was phenomenal.
(I used to say “reader” all the time in my writing, but now a cadre of Youtubers use it in their non-written narration and it bugs me so much I have stopped using the word in my writing.)
Sunday I got that gardening done — strung the trellis up for the tomatoes, mounded the potatoes, thinned the carrots and radishes, loaded up the new shed with supplies, watched Jane play “where did Jane go” in the shed all day that was super cute.
It was mother’s day and I am terrible about mother’s day because my mother hated mother’s day and conditioned me to be terrible about it. This is only half an excuse because my sister has gotten over that. I did talk to her, though. She complained about how all the restaurants are too crowded and overpriced on mother’s day and how the church has dumb hymns and weird messed up sexist sermons about the Virgin Mary on mother’s day. She was very clearly happy I called, though, and happy that my sister was taking her out. And of course, there’s another mother in my my life these days, two actually, and I am pretty useless about mother’s day to them, too. Emma is of two minds about mother’s day, I think. She thinks its pretty dumb, and we both think it’s weird how people write long tributes to their mothers on the internet on mother’s day, but also she pretty clearly wishes I was somewhat better about mother’s day with her. I really should have gotten Jane to make her a card, gotten her a few gifts, but of course I was going through my own self-absorbed turmoil about turning fifty the day before.
I’m better about mother’s day in years where it’s not right after my birthday. In years where it’s six days later. Especially when Emma outdoes me on birthday presents (like this year, she really nailed the birthday presents) then I have a week and mother’s day to get more gifts and balance things out. Anyway I am a pretty good husband and son and father these days but I’m fucking terrible about Mother’s day. I maybe out to get better about it but also it is a dumb holiday I don’t know what to tell you. It creeps me out. I blame my mom. Who would agree.
God. Death. Major birthdays. Mother’s day. Excausting weekend emotionally, let me tell you. Here’s a gardening video:
Another thing I did last week — I did it Thursday, but forgot to tell you — is change my party affiliation from “unaffiliated” to “Democrat” with the North Carolina Department of Elections because there’s really no such thing as unaffiliated anymore is there? I read somewhere, long ago, that party membership increases as people get older and they realize that “unaffiliated” is basically a lie in America. I think when I moved here, I was doing something strategic because North Carolina has open primaries if you’re unaffiliated and you can vote in either one and I thought that might be useful in the future but, nah, it hasn’t been useful and I doubt I’d even vote for a “good” Republican at this point. Of course my father was the opposite, he kept his Republican membership his whole life because he didn’t want “those bastards” to run him out of his own party. But it was never my party.
There’s this ten acre or so farm not far from us. It’s right on 15-501, so, you know, you wouldn’t actually want it (a paradox of country living and real-estate-coveting is that everything you can see is right on a main road, so you don’t actually want it, even if it looks amazing). They put it up for sale a few years ago, for like $5 million. Word on the street was the price was a joke and they were just looking for a sucker. Anyway, the night before Trump was elected, they put a giant Trump billboard up for 24 hours or so. Took it right back down after the election. The place is owned by cop, you would see cop cars parked there all the time.
The thing is that we have a sheriff everyone says is great, our police department is pretty great. His name is Mike Robeson, he’s a Democrat. That same farm puts up a billboard for Mike Robeson every time he’s up for re-election. But I am still so pissed about that house putting up that Trump billboard that even though it’s obviously a family compound sort of deal and there are probably lots of family members that could have done it, and even though Mike Robeson is a Democrat, it makes me not want to vote for him. That taint will be forever. And it wasn’t even his fault. Maybe. Probably. I don’t actually know, maybe it’s his son or something who knows.
But, I mean, if I’m even thinking about not voting for Dems, local Dems, who are by all accounts good, because of a very loose Trump association, I’m never going to take advantage of that unaffiliated party affiliation, who am I kidding. May as well just juice the numbers. Be counted on the right side.
Okay just a mix for you today. Lotta that mid 90’s weird LA pop thing on here. I almost even put the New Radicals on it. Lotta new stuff. More early Verve. This Texas track that I love so much even though I don’t like anything else by the band Texas and I have tried, oh I have tried. Arcade Fire were great on SNL this week and I am liking the new album. Feel like a lotta people have to over-complexify this. Arcade Fire made a good new album. Sounds lot like their old albums. It’s good. That’s the whole story.
Why does Han go to Maz Kanata’s place to lay low, if his ship is being tracked, and then just take a tracked ship straight into the heard of the Rebellion? Why do the shields on Starkiller Base pose no threat at all save for some manoevering that, presumably, if it were learnable, it would be being taught to all rebellion pilots? The answer to both, clearly, according to Mike, is that the Millennium Falcon is special. Han couldn’t ditch it with Maz because he needed it, it was only the Falcon that could perform the shield-penetrating manoever, which is why he was doing all these apparently dumb actions. One line of dialog, maybe two, would have fixed all of this. This is just one example!