Renewing An Old Love

Is there anything like that warm feeling cascading across your body? I’d forgotten how much I loved you. I remember how much time we used to spend together and how I looked forward to your every caress. I’m so glad to have rekindled our love.

Yes, I have rediscovered my love. Of a nice hot shower. The water pressure has never been what I’d call “great” in this condo but in the beginning it was certainly adequate. We don’t have individual hot water heaters but instead, a central boiler system for the whole complex. I always liked this as I am a fan of long luxurious showers and I have never run out of hot water here. Then came the infamous “renovation” or “the beginning of the dark times” as the mystical sages call it. And by mystical sages, I mean me. They replaced the old boiler and all the plumbing to every building and suddenly the hot water pressure ranged from a pathetic stream that, if you were lucky, you could kind of use your hands to sadly splash over yourself until you were something that desert nomads might call “wet”, to something I imagine to be “old man with enlarged prostate trying to urinate on you”, or almost non-existent. Like Al Swearengen from “Deadwood” when he has those kidney stones.

Luckily I try to go to yoga 5 times a week and shower there. However there would always, of course, be those occasions where I HAD to shower at home. Maybe I was all sweaty from a gig or or had to shower and shave before a film project or had been making sweet, sweet love down by the fire (O.K., only two of these apply…I’ll let you decide which two). I seriously dreaded any time I had to try and shower at home. The condo management kept suggesting things to check internally but I knew it wasn’t internal. Firstly, everyone was apparently having these problems. Secondly, it was every water source in the condo. Showers, faucets, washing machine intake, etc. Thirdly, it only began after they replaced the boiler and this tells my keen problem solving mind that those these two things are most likely related. (SCIENCE!)

So fast forward a long time. I have no idea how long. Maybe a year. We’ll call it the “Hydropathetic Era”. They bring in a company and pay them lots of money to “descale” the old pipes here which apparently have lots of mineral buildup. The first company sucks and doesn’t have strong enough chemicals to deal with the super minerals here, apparently. Several tenants end up with flooded units. The management fires this company and brings in another highly recommended company who apparently can handle our super tough minerals. The kind of minerals that bully other minerals, take their lunch money and make them pay “protection” fees to Johnny “The Rock” Diamante.(SCIENCE!)

They descale one section. It helps a little but they discover that when the boiler was replaced, management was told by the city they had to have some “backflow valve” on the boiler. Now I know that sounds like some vaguely dirty euphemism, but trust me, it’s not. Well maybe it is now, but it wasn’t in this context. The new descaling company checks into this and finds that was not true. Turns out we didn’t need these valves. Oh and it just so happens that these valves SUCK YOUR WATER PRESSURE LIKE A SUCCUBUS SITTING ON YOUR CHEST FEEDING ON YOUR LIFE FORCE!

Valves are removed and, BAM! WATER PRESSURE IS BACK! So as I’ve been saying since the beginning, it was a problem directly related to replacing the boiler. Ah, but our mystery isn’t over yet. Now I notice a nice increase in water pressure but my shower and the washing machine still seem kind of sucktastic. I decide to remove my shower head and investigate. I find that it’s almost totally clogged with buildup. I had bought a new shower head made for low water pressure so I put that on and find that I have AMAZING PRESSURE! IT’S A REAL SHOWER! It’s like, spraying! With a measurable amount of force! A good amount, in fact! I jumped around my room like Doctor Who after solving a universe saving conundrum. I then pulled my washer out and disconnected the hot water hose to find the same thing. I cleaned the little filter screen of all the buildup and restored full flow to my washer!

I had forgotten how much I used to love showers. They weren’t just for hygiene. I loved to just take my time enjoying the hot water. I took hellaciously long showers. I didn’t realize how Pavlovianly conditioned I’d become to dread showers until now. Now each time I turn on the shower and witness that glorious, forceful spray of hydrogen twins having a three way with that oxygen, I smile and laugh giddily. Today, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I showered just because I could. Because I wanted to. Because I was bored. You’d think someone had installed some wonderful futuristic device in my house with how happy my shower makes me. I have to recondition and re-acclimate myself to life with a working shower at home. Never take your shower for granted, people. Hell, I may have a second shower before this day is done. Maybe I’ll do my best Charlton Heston getting sprayed with that fire hose in “Planet of the Apes” and scream “IT’S A MADHOUSE! A MAAAAAAAAADHOUSE!” That ought to confuse the downstairs neighbor.

Insomnia (The Birth of a New Song)

The other day I walked to Torchy’s Tacos for some lunch. On the way home, a song just suddenly came to me out of nowhere. I just started singing the first line and almost immediately had a pretty full idea of where the song was going. It’s like it was just suddenly channeling through me, pouring out of me. I knew that it had at least a dash of inspiration from a Sheryl Crow song, and Elvis Costello song, Muse’s version of “Feelin’ Good” and a Butch Walker song that had come on my iPhone “shuffle” 2 or 3 times in the last week called “Pretty Melody”. While it was nothing like the song rapidly birthing itself from my mind, I remember noting the quality of the vocals and that I really liked how they sounded raspy and kind of “tired” like he’d just woken up. I think another ingredient was that I’d been playing “L.A. Noire” on the Xbox 360, an atmospheric detective story set in the 1940’s. A few scenes took place in a jazzy club complete with a sultry German songstress.

Whatever the ingredients, I was being blessed with an aggressive muse that would not be ignored. About 2 hours later I had completed writing the music and lyrics. I immediately started recording. Keyboards first, then drums, then bass, and lastly guitar. Roughly 10 hours after the first notes and words had come to me from beyond, I had finished recording all the music. The next day, I took care of the vocals. A day or two of intense listening and fine tuning and it was complete. And I loved it. It was absolutely everything I wanted it to be. It said everything I needed it to say. Had exactly the atmosphere, feeling, passion and emotions that I wanted infused into it.

So throw on your best gown or suit, pull the brim of your hat down low, come on into the club and picture a sweaty little trio, traditional in some ways, ahead of their time in others, performing a song called Insomnia.

Waiting For Ms. Elusive (An Old New Song)

Just realized that in this age of Twitter and Facebook, I’ve been neglecting my own site and never even wrote about releasing “Waiting For Ms. Elusive”.

This song began at a gig with The Rock-A-Fellas at the Lakeside Icehouse. We were all ready to play “Hotel California” by The Eagles, but Donnie Wilson was having technical issues. So I just started improvising. Singing things like “Waiting for Mr. Wilson, to figure out what’s going wrong, waiting for Mr. Wilson, so we can all play our next song”, etc. Afterward, several people commented that they really liked it and I myself had thought it was a great basis for a real song.

On the 2 hour drive home that night I wrote the first verse in the car. I knew that I didn’t want to keep it about “Mr. Wilson” for several reasons, one being King’s X already has a song called “Mr. Wilson”. So I toyed with a few different variations, “Lucy Lusive”, “Lucy Elusive” but in the end decided “Ms. Elusive” fit the best. It wasn’t until some months later when inspiration found me again and I finished writing and recording it. I kept faithful to its origin by using my 12-string acoustic sound in my Variax, capoed on the 7th fret, just like Hotel California.

And so here is Waiting For Ms. Elusive

An Epic Masterpiece Starring Me, Heather Del Rio and Robert Plant

Heather Del Rio
Had a dream Robert plant was my best friend. It was magical and amazing.

Heath Allyn
Did he give you a Whole Lotta Love during your Dancing Days until you had a Communication Breakdown leading him to believe you were a Heartbreaker who was Going To California and so as he reminisced about Good Times/Bad Times he jumped off The Bridge and took the Stairway To Heaven?

Heather Del Rio
Heath, That is amazing. But you left out the fact that before he jumped off the bridge, he said “Kashmir, (because that was his nickname for me), Ramble on, baby! Next time we meet I will be over the hills and far away!”

Heath Allyn
That Black Dog just wanted a piece of your Custard Pie Down By The Seaside. “I Can’t Quit You Baby because You Shook Me” he said In His Time of Dying, In The Evening. Now he does the Misty Mountain Hop by The Ocean knowing that You’re Time Is Gonna Come when you will see him again.

Heather Del Rio
Hey, Hey, what can I do? He left me dazed and confused, like a fool in the rain, making me wonder “how many more times, will I put up with this”. My momma said when the levee breaks it won’t be nobody’s fault but mine. So I was trampled under foot, but his time is gonna come.

Heath Allyn
Rock and Roll.

Heather Del Rio
Thank you.

Under Construction

I always like to give anyone interested a glimpse behind the scenes into the whole process of creating a song. Like looking at something under construction and wondering what it will be like when it’s completed. So here’s the lyrics and the acoustic guitars and bass tracks that I’ve recorded so far for “Waiting For Ms. Elusive”.

http://www.heathallyn.com/audio/Elusive.mp3

Waiting for Ms. Elusive on the corner of past and time
Waiting for Ms. Elusive to bring me back into my prime
Waiting for Ms. Elusive, I know she comes here for the view
Waiting for Ms. Elusive so I can be elusive too

Rapt within her conversation, overflowing with elation
Then she’s gone, you’re on your own
How you miss the effervescence that you feel when in her presence
Now you know the meaning of alone

Waiting for Ms. Elusive, her voice is music to my ears
Waiting for Ms. Elusive to take me far away from here
Waiting for Ms. Elusive to say the words she can not say
Waiting for Ms. Elusive to be effusive any way

In her eyes you can see another world
But you know there’s no way to travel there
Once you’ve seen it you’ll never be the same
The one you live in just can’t compare

Waiting for Ms. Elusive, though I know that she can’t come
Waiting for Ms. Elusive, to warm my heart, so cold and numb
Waiting for Ms. Elusive, she has to leave you far behind
Waiting for Ms. Elusive, forever living in your mind

Bending laws of time and space, the world stops when I see her face
Her name sits precariously on your lips
How you wish that you could sleep, to dream the secrets that you keep
She’s with you on every imaginary trip

“Work”

Acting. Music. It’s what quenches the fire within me and yet stokes it at the same time. It’s what fills me up, fulfills me, makes me happy. It’s when I feel the most alive and the most “in my element.” It is why I am here. It’s what satiates the hunger. It’s when I shine most brightly as my true self (which is kind of ironic to say about acting). I guess I shouldn’t really call it “work”. It’s my passion. I guess “work” would be anything else I do for money.

Special Valentine’s Day Greetings

I know. The last “Live Imperfect Raw Acoustic” (LIAR? RAIL?LAIR?) video I posted was, like, in the paleolithic era but here’s a new one for Valentine’s day.

And this one has a generic intro so that you can tell your partner (or just someone you like) that I recorded it special just for them.

*I do not guarantee the success of this ruse nor am I responsible for any ramifications

And as a bonus, this unearthed Valentine’s video from Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (beware: profanity and sexual themes).

Epiphanies in Acting

I tweeted earlier “the secret to acting (and one of the hardest things) is to BE interesting and not to TRY to be interesting”. This was as I was sitting on set preparing to shoot a small role as a bartender and trying to find a way to make this small part “interesting” to watch. I needed to quit trying to be interesting.

This brought to mind another example from my own life when I was auditioning for a 3 line role as an FBI agent. I went in and just read my 3 lines as naturally as I could, in character. I didn’t really think I had done anything all that original or spectacular but when I finished my 3 lines, the room erupted in laughter and praise about how great I was. I smiled and thanked them and left, a bit baffled. To me, I just delivered my lines as real and naturally as I could, as the character I had created in my head. I wasn’t trying to be funny or interesting but apparently I just was.

I got the part and the director actually expanded my role and wrote me into several more scenes and into the sequel.

Another story I’ve heard was something about Marlon Brando in a stage production where he was not the focus of the scene. He was just supposed to walk across the stage eating an apple while some other characters were having a conversation. However, there was so much going on inside his head, behind his eyes, that he was utterly captivating and stole everyone’s attention, and the scene, from the main characters.

This is obviously a tough balance to strike (in fact, much of acting is a balancing act…to be prepared, but not too prepared, rehearsed but not too rehearsed). As actors, we all have our own methods and tools and in the end we are acting, pretending but sometimes if you can just inhabit that character as a real person, you will be far more interesting than trying to find some artificial way to make that character interesting.

In the immortal words of a master (Jedi master, that is), “Do or do not, there is no try.”

It’s a Shame That We’re the Weird Ones

As most of you know, my ex-wife (Jess) and I are still really good friends. In fact I’m also friends with her boyfriend John who is pure awesome and absolutely perfect for Jess. I am, in fact, friends or at least friendly acquaintances with a large portion of my exes. The few that I’m not aren’t because of any bad blood, I just don’t know where they are or they lead insanely busy lives and even their families don’t hear from them much, or other such circumstances.

I find it sad that so many people seem taken aback that I such good friends with my ex(es). I can understand why in a way but that’s a whole other subject. Most relationships end up being somewhat dysfunctional, end badly, or at least end unevenly with one person hurt by the other. Last October when I would tell people “I’m going to visit my ex and her boyfriend” many times I’d get that look, that kind of polite vacant smile that says “Oh, okay…interesting…whatever works for you”.

At least the three people involved (Me, Jess and John) are all cool with it. I not only feel lucky to have such a great friendship with someone who obviously meant (and means) a lot to me, but feel very lucky that she’s with someone who I love and who has no discomfort (at least as far as I know) with me or my friendship with Jess.

One of the things that has been hardest about my divorce is when I realize things like the fact that I’ll probably never see many of Jess’s family members ever again (her family is all in England). Or many of the mutual friends in England that I met through her. It’s not that couldn’t if I wanted to, it’s just that it probably won’t ever happen. I love all those people. It’s sad. The mummos and daddos, the grandmas and grandpas, the Flons and Helens, the mUrts and Delles, the Scotts and Caths, the fun friends and co-workers of these people who we met, cavorted around Liverpool with, went to bachelor/bachlorette parties with, the Clares, Richards, Maxs, Nells, of the world and so many more.

I was talking to my friend Staci about this last night. About how, sure I could and hopefully will go back to England someday but even then, I just don’t think I could go back to Leek by myself just for a visit. London is one thing. I mean it’s London and there’s so much more there to be had than just my old memories. But Leek or Stoke are so small that it would just be weird to be there on my own, visiting Jess’s family without Jess and John there.

This led me to a simultaneously awesome and kind of sad thought. I thought “Oh my god! Visiting England with Jess and John would be AWESOME!” It reminded me of when my cousin Casey came to England with me and Jess. Only this time, it would be me visiting with Jess and John. It would be more cool people and fun than the universe could probably tolerate and very well might cause some kind of tear in the space/time continuum. For me, it would be just like going on a cool trip with Casey, or Greg or any of my amazing friends. However then reality hit me that this would far too weird for the rest of the world. Not that I really care about what the rest of the world thinks but I would be really self-conscious about being a “third wheel” or some lingering ghost from the past that won’t go away. I’m sure John would like his own future with Jess and vice versa. And again, it came back around to the same initial point. It’s sad to me that there’s these extenuating circumstances all because of a shared history. Circumstances that would not apply to any other friend. They didn’t apply to Casey when he came with us. They wouldn’t apply to any other friends but in our world, there has to be some “weirdness” about it because I’m an ex. It’s a shame that Jess and I are the “weird” ones because we remain close. Because people find it too hard to believe that’s possible without some hidden drama or something not being at face value.

More than anything, it’s a shame that I at least in part, put these shackles on myself. Not just with Jess and John. Several times, my friend Greg has invited me along on trips with him and Becky and I think “I can’t go on a trip with you and your girlfriend!” Total third wheel syndrome! Huh. It also only just occurred to me that none of this would be an issue if it was me and a girlfriend in the equation instead of just me. Interesting.

2010 State of the Eaf Address

I figure my birthday was a good day for a general update and some random odds and ends. I have bullet pointed the subjects so you can skip whatever you’re not interested in.

  • 2010 passed amazingly fast to me. Overall it was a year covered in kind of a grey haze of funk. There was some good and not really anything too terrible but for some reason I just spent the year in a kind of perpetual state of “meh.” A lot of emotional stuff really weighing on me and just trying to figure my life and myself out. Many times of numbness or a kind of general down feeling. I find that as I get older and accrue more experiences, more memories and just more life in general, that I feel the weight of it all. Memories and experiences have weight. And the more you accrue the heavier it gets. Generally I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky optimist so this was strange year.
    *combs my hair over my eyes and looks all emo*
    I don’t feel like really did much this year. I sort of feel like I just coasted through it. I can’t believe it’s over but I’m glad to see it go! Onward!
  • I seem to have completely lost my yoga mojo. I started yoga a little over a year ago and loved it. I felt a steady improvement although not as much improvement as I thought I would achieve. That’s alright, every body is an individual. Then a few months ago I felt like my practice went backward. Suddenly I couldn’t seem to do things I used to be able to do. One theory I have is that I started pushing myself too hard, thinking “I should be further along than this at this point,” so maybe it just seemed more difficult because I was making it too difficult for my level of ability. I was still going 5 times a week though.Then I went to Florida for 9 days. I came back, went to 1 or 2 classes then got sick and busy with theatre shows, band gigs, holidays, etc. and basically only went 4-5 times over 3-4 weeks. My last class yesterday was my worst ever. Even worse than my very first yoga class. I really felt my heart pounding and I felt faint several times and had to just lay down and rest. This didn’t even happen on my very first time in the room (I do hot yoga so it’s 98 degrees at 60% humidity). I attribute it to a combination of several factors: though I don’t think I’m sick any more, maybe I’m still recovering (I have been sleeping insane amounts), I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, I’ve been eating like crap, and I haven’t been to class much in the last several weeks. All I know is I really want to find my yoga mojo again.
  • I had a wonderful birthday, however. Woke up to a veritable plethora of messages bursting from the internet. Had a great party with wonderful friends, food and fun. Many friends from out of town and in, super supreme Rock Band setup, Leslie’s cake balls, and so much more. I never even got to all the cake ball varieties or the actual cake Greg and Becky got! To all of you who made it, I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend more time with each of you but please know that your presence meant a lot to me!
  • I love my new sheets so much, I never want to get out of bed. Perhaps this is part of my sleeping insane amounts lately.
  • I have very *suspicious* looking scratches on my back and shoulders. Sadly, they are only from me scratching myself silly after having a weird itchy attack at the end of the night tonight. This has happened to me a few times randomly. Usually after I have been at least a little sweaty. I’ve wondered if I’m allergic to my detergent or something but I would think it would happen a lot more if I was. One reason I link it to detergent is that I think it only itches where clothes touch. Like my bare arms were fine. It also seems worse in places like my waist where pants/underwear have the most contact. Bizarre. Of course if anyone were to somehow see these scratches and pointedly ask “Sooo, where’d you get those?” I could just smile coyly. But I won’t. I can never keep up a front. For better or worse, I’m mister honest, open-book, gotta-lay-it-all-on-the-table-guy.

Well I think that’s about it for this middle of the night brain dump. I’m sure as soon as I publish this, I’ll think of tons more. That’s the way it always works. Thank you all for being a part of my life.

hits you with a loaf of bread
Love you! Byeeeeeeeeeeeee!