My First Music Placement and Homelessness

Mike Vitale.jpg

Hopefully, this is something that I won’t forget. It took me 39 years, but I finally had a piece of music picked for use in either a tv show, or a movie (forgive me for not knowing which it is). It’s an independent production called “House Broken.”

From what I am told, they are in the post production side of things, but I have been paid a synchronization fee for the song, so, it’s a done deal in terms of their interest in using the song. They are pitching it to festivals and networks as soon as they complete the project.

Naturally, my hope is that anyone who works hard on their creative project, finds success with it.

It’s a project that deals with the subject of homelessness. The main character is based off of a real life person by the name of Fred Smoot. Fred was a stand up comedian in the 70’s who found success in his career and made several appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. This was a big deal for standup comedians in the 70’s.

Later in life, Fred developed dementia and eventually became homeless, living out of his car with his dog. He became a man of few possessions. Literally, he had a trophy, his car, and his puppy.

Fred’s circumstances are far from unusual. A friend of mine and I were watching a documentary called “Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home” that came out in 2010, regarding Skid Row and it’s homeless population. Many of the people that call downtown LA their home, have preexisting mental conditions—Manic Depression, Schizophrenia, and dementia being several of many.

“House Broken” will be a project that addresses the homeless crisis we see here in Southern California. I see it in my own neighborhood of Eagle Rock. If you are a Los Angeles or Orange County resident, I am sure you do as well.

The song that is being used is my most recent. It’s called “The Incredible Shrinking Brain.”

Here is a private link to check it out if you feel so inclined:

The Incredible Shrinking Brain

words and music by Mike Vitale

I feel like a mime with a painted on sad face touching an invisible wall

And it’s a crime I can’t see this behind my shit talk fueled by jealousy and alcohol

Sure, I’m overly critical, but by now I should know better

Maybe I’m just too hard on myself and it doesn’t really matter

The longer I live the less I know for sure

When I was a younger man my certainty was premature

There’s all these abstract explanations I could conjure up in vain

But I’m the man with the incredible shrinking brain

Do you feel like an actor dressed up in black face

We’re really just canaries in a coal mine

Carried out the shaft like a suitcase, soot trace, smeared across our face and brow

The war on race, preference, sex, and creed are indelible

and noxious as the fumes

And right before we lose our consciousness collective conscience looms

The longer we live the less we know for sure

When we were a younger brood our certainty was premature

There’s all these explanations we could conjure up in vain

But we’re people with incredible shrinking brains

Our incredible shrinking brains

Create the fertile furrows from a farmer’s plough

“Two fathoms deep” shouted across the bow

“Anger and hatred are caustic to the vessel in which it’s stored

Far more than to anything on which its poured”

The longer we live the less we know for sure

When we were a younger brood our certainty was premature

There’s all these abstract explanations we could conjure up in vain

But we’re people with incredible shrinking brain

We’re people with incredible shrinking brains

Side-Tracked

I am the master of getting side-tracked.

I was doing something else (learning a song)—and now I’m doing this. I accidentally slipped and fell into my blog.

You may be thinking: “this dude has a short attention span.” But, then again, I just wrote that in quotations, so you must have said it out loud. I’d fix it—but I’m not the boss of you. None of this is really the case, anyway.

I blame my smart phone, and in that sense, I take full responsibility for the rest of this.

I’m a cyborg in 2018 with an augmented intelligence, collectively referencing the world wide web on a whim, or more to the point, interrupted by reminders set on my calendar, because at some point, I thought it was important to be reminded. That’s how I ended up here.

I was working on “Come Pick Me Up” by Ryan Adams, and then my phone got all nosey about what I should be doing (paying bills) versus what I am/was doing (fun stuff). The fear associated with late fees took me by the hand and walked me over to my computer, and the rest, is written

(Xzibit A):

Unknown.jpeg

Not as much as you think Xzibit. I drive a Honda Civic—but I like the way you think, moreover, I like how you overthink thoughts. We’re like ships passing in the night… with cars on it.

My bills are paid on time. And I got a blog out of it. I also found some pictures of Xzibit. If you would have asked me yesterday, what I was doing right now, I never would have guessed it. I wonder what Xzibit is doing right now. I hope he is putting cars inside of cars, if it makes him happy. Sure, it’s a meme, but why not just take it at face value?

Good morning! (I made it just in time for noon).

- Mike

Dune, Absurd Dating Advice, and Paypal

IMG_7461.jpg

How to get all the ladies:

Step 1:  Strike up conversation about the book Dune.  

How to not get frustrated being on hold with Paypal due to fraudulent account activity:

Step 1: Write non-detailed blogs regarding absurd dating advice while being on hold for two hours in order to redirect your attention to something other than your frustration with someone hacking into your Paypal account and reeking havoc on other people's lives (namely mine)—not to mention being on hold for an absurd amount of time with Paypal.

On-Hold Music:

"With Paypal you can send money from your checking, savings, and..."

"Did you know you can get 2% cash back..."

"Did you know you can now complete your purchases with one click..."

I hope that your morning is far more exciting than mine.

Context

IMG_7446.jpeg

Believe it or not, this picture has plenty of context.  

I'd go so far as to say that the contents of its context either completely disinterest you or you would be off-base in your assumptions, so I'll save you the mental abstraction exercise.

I did it for the beard.

That's right. 

But not in the way you think.

Let's call this picture "Mike Vitale Versus the Tuna Sandwich".

Does that help?  Probably not.

I was mid-bite... and it was a delicious tuna sandwich from Whole Foods on a cibatta—cohabit, chibatta... Seriously?—Ciabatta roll (fuck you auto correct—I win, this time—why is ciabatta such a weird word to spell—okay, fuck you Italians), but that's not the point.

Do you give up?

I was using my cell phone as a mirror to make sure I wasn't storing leftovers in my facial hair.

Win/Win for everyone but the Tuna Fish.  

Hi from Laguna Beach, CA.  We had a lot of fun playing at The Cliff last night.  

Lowering My Expectations

What is happiness?

It's a complicated question if you think about it.  We've all thought about it at one time or another.

Ironically, the times we think the least on it, are probably when we're the happiest?  But then again, I don't know—the older I get, the more I realize I don't know anything.  I'm just throwing spaghetti at the wall like everyone else around me.

However, I have caught myself expecting way too much, too often.

Simple things.  Like, if I buy expensive things such as Air Conditioners, Sub Woofers, Guitar Pedals—can they not break?  It ridiculous to think that they won't.  Of course they are going to break, and they are going to do it when I am hurting for money and can not afford to replace them.

It almost becomes a mental focus exercise regarding what to pay more attention to: the things that make one sad, or the things that make one happy.  The seemingly level-headed person will immediately say something full of wisdom like, "focus on the positives rather than focus on the negatives."  I say, most likely, that the person who says that cries alone in their bedroom, or in their car, from time to time too.

No.  Maybe I need to lower my expectations.

I released a new single called GONE on June 12th.  I have sold two copies of it digitally.  It's two more than I was expecting to sell.  The song has been streamed on Spotify 15 times.  That is 15 more times than what I was expecting.  

This is a start.  I'll keep you posted.  Or, then again, maybe I won't, so that it isn't on the forefront of my mind.  

Whatever the case may be, I am making and releasing more stuff.  I'm 39 years old and I have no plans to stop making music or to stop trying to find people that like what I make.  You can count on that.

I'm happiest when I'm working hard, regardless of my expectations—and I am so grateful and thankful for my good health and to have you.  Deeply and truly.  Now, off to promote for a show tonight.  Take care. 

A Quick Note Regarding School Shootings

img_499299.png

My heart and my thoughts go out to every family, friend, and acquaintance who have lost a loved one to violence.

I notice a lot of people react on social media to current events that play out on an all-too-often basis regarding gun violence as it pertains to the United States as a country, whether it be at a high school, a grocery store, a gas company, or a post office.  The setting is not of major importance beyond the humanistic view of the act and its consequences.

Here is where I stand: it has nothing to do with weapons.

It is a human issue.

We are a troubled species.  We are troubled because there is a fine balance between reason, and emotion.  

A songwriter whose work I admire, likens this chemical struggle inside our brains, to a seesaw.  On one end of this seesaw is our logic, and on the other is our emotion.  In order for sound judgment to be made by an individual, one must be able to keep this balance at an equilibrium.  

At vast majority, this very simple idea is another thing all together to place into practice as a human being.  We live our lives, and hopefully, we all arrive at this notion at as young an age as possible.  I will be 39 this year, and I still feel this struggle, often.  However, I know that I have grown well beyond my appreciation of this notion, compared to, let's say, the age of 20.  It has been hard work and rumination on my part.

Rather than continue to discuss this issue as it pertains to guns, I would like to instead, pose a thought experiment: what if the United States were to ban guns entirely?

Before continuing, I would like to state that I have never shot a gun in my life, however, I do see the need to have this right maintained within the United States Constitution.  There was sound judgement behind this decision in the 1700's.  It is a safeguard to maintain the republic in which we all live, by the average individual, outside of military; essentially it allows for people to stand up for themselves should our government fail in its duties to uphold and protect citizens in the fashion it was originally intended.  Please note that I use the word republic, as it is the most accurate term to use for this oligarchy we currently reside in if you are a United States citizen—I am afraid democracy is not quite what we have here in America.  I am eager for democracy, but we must work towards that, together.

Throwing this previous paragraph aside, guns are banned in the United States.  Perhaps, the American population rejoices at this notion.  We have years of peace from the dangers of firearms being brought into public spaces to reenact revenge, or to project fear and hate on innocent bystanders.  Yet, one day a begrudged student at a junior high packs a homemade pipe bomb into a backpack.  He leaves all of his books and folders at home.  He leaves his iPad on his desk.  He replaces his tools for logic with an explosive device, and leaves for school.

He places his backpack in a public location for maximum damage: the school office.

Does this sound far fetched?  It's not.

It happened at my junior high, and luckily, the backpack was found before it could be detonated.

We live in a world where passenger planes have been used as weapons.  

What we should be asking is what the motivation is behind harming another person—and that is a deep and dark question.  It has many facets and would take much study to arrive at a seemingly good answer as it pertains to each unique event.  But, perhaps that is of a far more sound judgement, if we truly want to advance as a species who loves each other.

Reach out for help when you need it.  Be there for a total stranger.  Try loving unconditionally.  Do things for others expecting nothing in return.  Communicate.  Just love and be as humanistic as possible.  Be the best damn version of yourself as you can be.  Be kind, always.

If you want to see change, start with yourself.  I am trying my best to, everyday.

- Mike