#1027: I Feel Alright

RECORD STORE TALES #1027: I Feel Alright

We all have ups and downs.  If you say you don’t then I don’t believe you.  I’ve never been diagnosed bipolar but I’ve always wondered, the way my spirits can sway to and fro.  I can’t remember how long it has been this way for me, but I think since University – around age 19.  That’s when I really started to feel lonely.  Up until then my best friend Bob and I had been tighter than tight, but now we were at different schools and in different circles of friends.  It felt weird but I knew it was a natural thing that happens.  I certainly had read enough teen fiction on the concept of friends drifting apart.  Alice Cooper even had a song about it called “Alma Mater” on the School’s Out album.  Up until that point my life was fairly uncomplicated by things like girls.

I’ve worked hard to get where I am today, the point at which I can self-reflect with a little more knowledge and wisdom.  In some ways, I’ve pulled it together better than ever in 2022 with a solid support group and strategies.  On the other hand, there have been unforeseen difficulties in 2022.  I used to be driven by the idea of writing every day.  This year writing really became stale for me so I have had to look to other creative avenues instead.  Even though this feeling had been building a long time, it is still a difficult adjustment to my routine.  But I’m adjusting.  I still listen to music every day at work, in the car and at home.  I just don’t want to force myself to write about it anymore.  Maybe I just want to chill on the couch watching YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube, one of the surprises this fall is that live streaming just happened to feel right for me again.  Keeping things loose, simple and unprepared is way more fun than spending hours and hours on taking notes every week.  And I need to thank Harrison, the Mad Metal Man, my trusty co-host.  I prefer having a co-host to being a solo artist and Harrison has been with me every single week so far.  He’s helped me put the social fun back into my Friday nights.  Harrison the Mad Metal Man deserves a hell of a lot of praise, even if you’re not watching our show (Grab a Stack of Rock with Mike and the Mad Metal Man).  Pat him on the back just for being a part of a thing that’s helping me get through this cold, dark winter.

Dark indeed!  I leave for work before the sun is up.  The sun is setting, and just laying on the horizon during my drive home.  I get no daylight at all; I’m stuck in my office.  But hope is not lost.  The solstice is only 17 days away.  That means soon the days will be getting longer again.  In one month, the sun will still set at approximately the same time as tonight, but each night thereafter it will be setting later and later.  That is a warming thought.

I also need to thank my new friend from California who’s chosen the name California Girl (and occasionally “Lady Vader”) for our little show.  A few people have wondered who she is and how we met, and it’s the most unusual story but also inspiring.  I’m happy to say I have a few friends that I consider to be very close to me, that I have never met in my life.  Tee Bone, Deke, Harrison, Snowman, these are people with whom I’ve shared a lot of joys and pain.  They have likewise shared in return and become mutual support.  I’ve never met any of them.  We need to redefine what friendship means in 2022.  You don’t need to be physically close to someone, to be close!  No, you can be separated by 12 time zones.  In the case of California Girl, I think sometimes music fans just find each other.  One day earlier this year, she was searching online for Led Zeppelin lists and stumbled upon our little show, the Zep deep cuts episode with Geoff, Mars and Sarah.  For whatever reason, she claims she thought we were cool, which I have strenuously denied!  She messaged me out of the blue and we started chatting.  We became friends and mutual fans of each other.  She digs my writing, cottage videos, and live shows, and I dig her modelling on Instagram.  And that’s OK!  We all have our creative outlets so don’t judge.  Jen and I are both fans, but it goes far beyond the surface.  I’m grateful that I have added another person to my long distance support network.  She was there for me through my difficult dental surgery and she’s made winter fun for me, by allowing me to share it with her via videos and pictures.  She wants to dip her toes into collaborating with me and so she’s already appeared on the live show once via an “Ask Harrison” question, and a fictional story we came up with.  Yeah, I’m definitely her friend and her fan.  Her positivity and encouragement have had a tangible impact on the things you have seen and read on this very website in the last four months.

You’ll notice the thread running through these paragraphs is, as always, music.  The one constant in my life.  The one thing that never ghosted me, stabbed me in the back or left me out to dry.  Music, possibly the most powerful form of communication on earth.  It combines words with feelings, in a way that naturally resonates with the human soul.

Have you ever seen American Dad?  The episode where Roger is on a blind date with a girl:

Girl:  “So…do you like music?”

Roger:  “Do I like music?  No, no I’m the one person on Earth who doesn’t like music.”


From that first moment when Styx made me feel cool, to this very moment rocking out to hard rock as I hammer out words, music has been there my whole life.  My parents nurtured this from a young age by buying me John Williams records.  Then came Styx, and Quiet Riot really sold me on the kind of music that I craved.  Maiden changed my life, and Kiss wormed their way into my heart.  The tunes are part of me.  Playing them is like drawing strength from an infinite well.  When I’m miserable, music is there to take the edge off just a little bit.

Even at the Catholic school retreat where music was forbidden, they could not take “Love Gun” out of my head.  I hummed it to myself as a shield.

Even as the bullies made my days hell, Kiss made my nights happy.

Even as I sat alone in my room in my 20s, I was comforted by Van Halen, Motley Crue, Extreme, Guns N’ Roses, Tesla, Skid Row, Rush, Steve Vai, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Deep Purple.

I feel alright.  I’m making it.  Seasonal affective disorder is a bitch, and every year is unique in small ways.  This year was no exception.  It actually feels like a monumental shift in my life, losing the passion for writing while making a new friend.  But there’s the balance.  Lose one thing, gain another.  It’s mostly a matter of navigating the bumps.

I feel alright!  We’re almost through this year.  New adventures lay ahead.  Let’s look forward to them, whatever they may be.




  1. You don’t have to tell me to praise Harrison twice. Praise Harrison! He’s the best.

    I’m glad to hear you feel like you’re doing better. These last few months I’ve been kind of worried. The tone of your posts and comments have been disconcerting. I wish I could give you a LeHug.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I need to keep track of what days of the week I wrote this stuff. I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to learn the last two or three were written on Mondays and Tuesdays, and this one was written on a Saturday. I think explains a lot in terms of the direction and tone.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Too overcast here for sunglasses my friend. How are you feeling after round 2 of Covid? Mitch Lafon is currently on Week 12 of Covid and it sounds to me like he is in really bad shape.


        2. The weirdest symptom I had was it made me pee a little green. Just a little. I figured you would appreciate that one though.

          I’m basically back to normal now. My throat has some residual phlegm, but that’s it.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I appreciate any time we get to discuss pee, pissing, open door piss, and occasionally even poo.

          That’s good, you are definitely on the right path again! Now don’t get sick again, got it??


        4. I didn’t think I would with all the Vitamin D I was taking. Turns out that was a gyp. Or maybe I would’ve died if I hadn’t taken it. Who knows?

          Liked by 1 person

        5. D is the one you get from the sun. Most people are deficient. The NIH did a study that said if you had enough vitamin D in your blood you had a theoretical zero percent chance of dying from covid. It takes a month to build up in your blood though if you start taking supplements.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve drifted away from pretty much all my school friends, but it’s not something I lament too much, save for one or two people. I have such great friends in this community that it doesn’t bother me.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. You are not to be forgotten — I think the big difference in my mind is that you and I tend to share the big issues publicly whereas the guys above are guys I have not met but have shared with a lot privately. Both are equally valid though! And valued!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Something pretty awful happened to me last summer that I’ve only ever told one person in real life. Worldview warping awful. Luckily for me it didn’t stick.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Long story short some psycho bitch I met hanging out with some old friends tried to say I did something to her I didn’t do so her boyfriend who was breaking up with her would get all protective and stay with her. Lucky for me, we were only alone for like ten seconds, and everyone else was only like one room away. Even her roommate who I had never met didn’t believe her.


        4. She started apologizing once she realized no one believed her. “I’m just going through a really hard time with him now…”

          Come on! She came into the living room crying, I asked if she was okay, then she threw herself into my lap for a few seconds, then got up and started saying I did increasingly outlandish things. See if I try to be nice again!


        5. Anyway, there’s a small taste of the weird shit that happens in Holen’s life. Most isn’t as Hitchcockian wrongly accused as that.


  3. The Community is always here, dude. We know the struggle is real this time of year, and shite just happens. But we all face it and together we crush it! Let’s go! Community! Woohoo!!

    P.S. I’ve kept in touch with a handful of old school friends, even going back to kindergarten. I even married one of ’em. The rest I have no idea. It’s been 30 years since I left high school, and I don’t have social media clogging my brain, so all of those people are well and truly in the wind and you know what, with most of them, that’s OK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob was different. He was my first true soul mate. He was my defender. He was my hero. He was not like anyone else. But life goes on, he has four kids and I have my Jen and that’s just how life took us. I can’t be upset at that, but I can still mourn the friendship that was.

      Ready to face whatever is ahead.


  4. It’s the same here. When I worked in a factory in London, I remember driving to and from work in the pitch black this time of year. It is very depressing. Remember you have a lot of support from good friends here.


Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s