Monthly Archives: October 2006

Make Money, Not Art

Steve, here, Ian’s younger older brother, with nothing so meaningful to talk about as creating art, appreciating art, enabling artists, or reminding us to seek out live artists.

Well, OK, I did bicycle from work in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill up to the Mission District last week to find my friend Marta at the preview of her show at San Francisco Open Studios at Art Explosion (organized by ArtSpan). I know nothing about painting, but I enjoy Marta’s work, and I especially enjoy her relaxed but committed attitude to her work.

But other than that, I haven’t taken much time lately for art. I admit it, I’ve been distracted by a far more crass phenomenon: Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been living 24/7 in the surreal echo chamber that we in the Bay Area call “Web 2.0,” or “web twenny,” when we’re trying to be cute.

Only six years ago, the dot-bomb deflated the first internet bubble, with its pet-food sock puppets and $100K-a-day gains and losses (yes, even my IRA had a few of those days). We all swore we’d learned a lesson, but now it seems we’re back at it, more self-aware, to be sure, but still getting caught up in the hype. We claim to be “enabling the masses” to “create a participatory culture,” but when your peers are getting bought for 1.65 billion dollars (it’s fun to say it like Dr. Evil!), it’s hard to remember how shiny and pure Blogger seemed back in ’99. We all work 80-100 hours a week building stuff that has, yes, some slim chance of actually being disruptive and revolutionary, but it’s as much the roller-coaster-whupsie kind of excitement as real commitment to social change.

Despite my unease at the meta-ness of it all, I must say that since January I’ve worked at my dream job. I’ve been a working programmer for 30 years, never having wanted any more than to build an elegant boolean clockwork, wind it up, and watch it tick away at some interesting or useful task. Now I get to work on a little machine that must respond instantly and personally to a million people without breaking down. That’s fun for someone like me.

So I’ve been coding (and, yes, doing some fun volunteer stuff) every waking minute, and enjoying it. For months, I was commuting by car up the peninsula every day, and finally couldn’t stand those 90 minutes away from the computer, so I switched to the train. Now I can put the laptop to sleep, jump on the bike, and be back to work in ten minutes with the bike racked right next to my seat on the train. I’ve even got high-speed wireless internet access. Sweet.

Commuting by train only adds to the perception that life in the Bay Area web biz is a blur of young geeks furiously writing code, stealing ideas, mashing up each other’s web sites through APIs and RSS feeds, and self-organizing into flash mobs of indecipherable purpose. The express train whizzes by start-ups and venture capitalists in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Mateo, Redwood City. The train stops, a bunch of geeks (and a few young marketing and finance sharks) get off, and others get on, and we blast off for “the city.” Sometimes I ride BART over to Berkeley, where they have more whole-grain geeks, but still working on stuff that’s meaningless to anyone outside of the Bay Area who isn’t in college. Last week, when Caltrain shut down after an accident, I led a mob of geeks that descended on Samtrans, the only alternate available. The bus growled slowly down dark El Camino, festooned with bicycles, lit from within by the flourescent glow of a dozen laptops.

After only a few days on the train, the experience changed from surreal to alarming for me, as I somehow crashed my bike on the way from work to the 4th & King station. I have no memory of that day, except for flashes of the CT machine and my sister arriving at the hospital to drive me home. Over the next few days, I had to reverse-engineer the code I had no memory of writing that day. (At least I found and fixed a few bugs.) I feel a little bad that I can’t remember what I did to precipitate the accident. I feel a lot bad that my computer, strapped to my back when I fell, now has a crack in the corner of its titanium shell. I like to think I’m careful enough to commute on the bike. I’d hate to think that it’s not safe enough, because I don’t want to go back to the car and lose those 90 minutes of uninterrupted work each day.

I’m trying to let the Web 2.0 craziness flow past me, enjoying the most fun job I’ve ever had, and not count any chickens. But 1.65 billion dollars, wow.

That green bit next to the squiggly river.

This is Kent, aka Ian’s Eldest Sib, AKA Chaircrusher, AKA Le broyeur des chaises, aka Know-it-all Mannerism (an anagram for my full name). Unlike Ian, I didn’t ever leave Iowa. I am a proud resident of flyover country. I love New York, Paris, Utrecht, Chicago, Detroit, etc, but for a variety of reasons, I moved 30 miles away from Cedar Rapids, where the infamous Williams’ spent the most time, and stayed. The rest of the family is all over the damn place now.

Why am I telling you this? Because while it can be exciting to live at the center of things — say, NYC, Berlin, London, etc — it isn’t how most people live in the United States. From my perspective, big cities are great to visit, but they’re expensive, noisy and a hassle to get around. I can live here on a third of what it would cost to live in NYC. It’s a good thing, too because salaries are much lower here.

We’re no more rubes than people on the coast. We get CNN and HBO & whatnot. Where I live, Iowa City, is actually pretty happening, even for a University town. Allen Ginsberg said Iowa City was the only town between the coasts he liked. We’re the gay capital of Iowa. At the same time, I can drive for a half hour, skirt a cornfield and go wading in the Iowa River someplace where no human mark is visible on the land around me. Most of Iowa is empty of people. It’s corn fields and hardwood forests, criss crossed with dirt roads. The longer I live here, and really look at what is around me the more exotic it seems. There’s pavement and video stores and streetlights and people all over the world. Only in the midwest can you drive around getting lost and end up at an abandoned farm house, surrounded by twelve foot high wild hemp plants. When you want to go home, you do it by dead reckoning — drive kinda the right direction until you hit a main road.

People make their own fun here, especially music. Every town of more than a couple thousand people in these parts has serious musicians doing their own thing, in a variety of styles. There’s a crew of hip hop MCs and DJs in Marshalltown, Iowa that can hold their own on any stage in the world.

Since I’ve got the microphone tonight, I’m going to tell you about the musicians I’m digging these days who you probably haven’t heard of out there on the coasts.

1. Witch’s Hat. These boys are from Columbia, Missouri, and they are on some other shit. Think Queen, Medievalist 70’s Heavy Metal, Vampires, etc. Witch’s Hat manages to make fun of that stuff, and at the same time, imbue their songs with all the ways that stuff ruled. If you listen to Witch’s Hat, you’re 14 again, complete with a wardrobe of black concert T shirts.

Huzzah. The best song ever about dragon-slaying and maiden-rescuing.

Supply And Demand. A great, driving pop song. I liked it so much I did a mashup of it with New Order’s “Blue Monday”.

2. Miracles of God. These guys are Iowa City’s most dangerous band. Sloppy, drunken, goofy, stupid, brilliant punk rock. Imagine, say, the Pixies but with a sense of humor.

And because they really don’t give a fuck Their entire back catalog is on their website. It’s all good, but I recommend

Harm, which is about becoming a zombie.

You’re Evil, a song about how you’re evil.

Handimart, which is a lovely ballad about being at the convenience store at 2 AM.

3. The guys from Wax Cannon has been around Iowa City for years, playing in tons of different bands going back to the late 80s. Their new album “Someone in Madison Is Praying For You (and it isn’t me” is 2 CDs chock full of minimalist midwestern guitar pop.

I believe frustration lenny is a ballad of sorts.

Twelve Spaceships On The River is a quiet songs about UFOs and being a kid.

All this music is much more alive to me than what’s on major labels because it happens where I live. I understand the milieu in which it was born. I listen to music from all over — from Bobbi Cespedes to Yasushi Miura. But music is like beer, is always fresher when you get it locally.

I’d also like to give a shout out to to my boys Shaffer The Dark Lord who used to live in Iowa City, but lately in good old Astoria Queens, and Coolzey who is living between tours here in Iowa City, and in Fairfield, IA, Trancendental Meditation world headquarters, and Will Whitmore who tours internationally but lives in a farmhouse overlooking the Mississippi in Lee County Iowa, who makes roots music like to freeze you to the bone, and Ed Gray, the best singer/songwriter in Iowa City — a mad neglected genius.

I could go on and on… the thing about being in flyover country is that what you’re told by the media is important all happens somewhere else. That shit is important, but things go on here too that are every bit as relevant and worthy of attention.

Truth Be Told

Ian’s little sister Michelle here. I could certainly continue the rant begun by my brother Sean & continued by my mom, particularly since my current life’s work is making the arts- the LIVE arts- more accessible to my community. But there is something else weighing on my brain this cloudy, grey Sunday afternoon here in northern California and I’m gonna write about it instead.

Walking back from yoga class this morning, I was thinking about a conversation that Sean, a mutual friend & I had about four years ago in a bar in Soho after a recording session. This mutual friend was a former lover of mine and the three of us were talking about the current pickle I’d gotten myself into. I was nuts about a man who was not available, and feeling guilty about my feelings. We were debating the whole thing: is it ever right, or at least, not wrong, to encourage someone who is in the wrong relationship to get out, by any means necessary? How bad does a situation need to be to merit half-truths? I can tell you that Sean and I were of the same opinion, on one side of the argument (regardless if it meant my own heartbreak), but our friend said, without a moment’s hesitation, “Well, it’s amazing how happiness can assuage any guilt.” This friend was just this short of proud that he’d been untrue to his first fiancée, and that his infidelity led to his now extremely happy marriage.

I don’t know that I can ever think like that. I also learned, early on, the powerful damage that a good solid lie will cause. I lied about something when I was fourteen years old and the ripple effect of that lie lasted for years. Never again did I lie- not in that particular realm, anyway- and my honesty when it comes to relationships, to lovers, to my intentions with any given man may be almost too brutal. But it’s the path I choose, and it lets me sleep at night. Or, rather, it’s not what keeps me up.

But here is what does keep me up: what is my capacity for change? What is other peoples’ capacity for change? I find myself thinking that maybe I don’t have to beat myself up for the transgressions in my reasonably distant past, but sometimes I have a hard time giving that same leniency to others. And that’s not very fair, is it? I did so many stupid things in my twenties- largely harmful only to myself, but still- and, well, goodness knows that I’ve also done stupid things in my thirties, and in between forgiving myself and then beating myself up, I get lost. And I have to remind myself that if I can change, if I can do better, so can others.

Here’s the rub: the comment our friend made at dinner that night was the exact same sort of comment that would have come out of his mouth ten years earlier. Unapologetic, simple, with a complete disregard of any pain or suffering that might have come out of his actions. Which leads me to wonder: are most people like that? Are most people uninterested in questioning their own behavior, in exploring their darker selves, in becoming, if not “better” people, people with a deeper self-awareness? Do most people really just come home from work, pet the dog, kiss the kids, or turn on the computer, and not give the last decade or so of their lives any thought? Or do most people cringe when they are randomly reminded of something stupid they did twelve years ago?

I suppose it’s somewhere in between. I don’t think we should walk around punishing ourselves for bad things we did, or for that matter, constantly congratulating ourselves for the good things we did. I do think we should always be striving to learn more, to do more, and to be more self-aware. But if we don’t take responsibility and at least attempt to do better “next time”, then what’s the point?

I’m thinking about all of this because I’m going through a re-negotiation with myself, trying to figure out what it might look like for me to actually let a life partner into my world someday. I’ve grown tired of distractions and placeholders and I’m taking a hard look as to why it is so difficult for me to give a man- any man- a real chance. I know it is a combination of things, but part of it is learning that I am trustworthy, and so must some others be as well.

But it frightens me not a little that there are many, many people in this world ready to justify any action- anything from punching their girlfriend to going to war- without caring about the outcome or the repercussions. And once you have suffered betrayal of any scope, it is extremely difficult to learn to trust again. Maybe it’s liberating to say what my friend said- maybe it’s so much nicer to stick one’s head in the sand and say, “It doesn’t matter what it took to get here, now that I’m here.” But I think that is dangerous, and it’s not the world I want to live in.

So I’m searching for that balance: taking responsibility for what I’ve done, good and bad, and trying to re-learn some lessons where I got the short stick the first time around. I know there’s not much I can do about folks who aren’t interested in self-awareness, but there’s got to be some point in all of our lives when it creeps in. I’m a lot less angry at myself than I used to be. And that sort of relief feels a lot better than desperately struggling to keep the skeletons in the closet.

no flood can drown nor fire blacken purest longing

10/12/06

TessaLondonRoofs1(bl).jpg

I’ll wrangle my other family members to do more blogs while I’m gone, but I just got the internet working here in London and wanted to send out a quick missive from your friends over here in Merrie Olde Englande! None of us slept more than 45 minutes on the red-eye over, including Lucy, which has been a serious drag, but it’s so wonderful to be here that none of us care. Except Lucy, I guess, who keeps waking up every hour wanting to know where the hell she is.

The flat we Craigslisted came “with internet,” but it’s a curious sort of “British internet” that spouts via the end of a misshapen USB cord. USB is notoriously unstable, and besides, the Mac can’t support it anyway, which meant a jaunt over to the Apple Store in Oxford Circus for a new modem. Hours (and hundreds of BT.com tech details you don’t want to know) later, we are finally beaming wifi to the ancient Carmelite church next door.

We’re staying just off High Street Kensington, in a neighborhood that corresponds roughly to Prince Street in New York, the Marais in Paris, and, I guess, the Ped Mall in Iowa City. If my childhood memory is correct, we lucked out on the weather: it’s been low 70s and sunny. When I was a kid, there were so few sunny days in London that we treated them like manna from the Gods of Fun.

Tomorrow is the wedding at the Houses of Parliament and then we’re on a train to the border of Scotland for the reception (all paid for by the lovely bride and groom!) And for those who were wondering, we’ve offset the entire trip via CarbonFund.org, because I know some of you take special interest in my carbon consumption.

Back next week with more pictures. Have a great weekend and be sure to comment on all the American gossip I’m missing.

The Real Mousse

It’s the Mom here, guest blogging whilst Ian and his ladies take a journey down memory lane in England. And I’d like to follow up on one aspect of Sean’s nifty rant of yesterday.

Not the fascination with vapid celebrities, or even the mediocrity of much of our culture, though those are worthy discussions. My rant concerns the phenomenon of live performance, and why it will, or should, never go away.

A few days ago I took a drive around the Sundance “loop” in Utah. The road winds from Provo to American Fork, a fairly slow, 2-lane route that hugs one mountain as it frames the changing view of peaks and valleys, glaciers and waterfalls, one breathtaking Kodak moment after another. Except that Kodak can never duplicate the actual experience. It’s a “ya hadda be there” thing. The photos may be great, but it’s an inadequate representation of the real thing.

So it is with live performance—theater, dance, music, whatever. When you hear music live, see theater live, walk in front of the actual painting, there is a physical response that doesn’t happen when it is experienced in its packaged, processed form. I once wrote that compared to a live concert, listening to recorded music is like making love in a wet suit. Or eating chocolate mousse over the telephone.

Live music just sounds, feels different. My whole body reacts with the kind of connection that I can’t get with the earbuds or a great set of speakers. It’s the same with theater. Breathing the same air as the actors, singers, or dancers, and hearing the speeches, the tunes, the taps of feet and rustles of costumes gives me something I can’t duplicate in reproduction mode, no matter how technically perfect. And the best reproduction in the world can’t compare with actually standing in front of that huge Pollock spatter painting upstairs at the Met.

Now, I adore film, and I relish all sorts of entertaining and artistic electronica. I make part of my living creating and manipulating sound in the recording studio. That’s another whole subject. The thing is, if you always get your art and entertainment canned, you forget how it tastes when it’s fresh.

Yesterday, Sean urged everyone to go see some live theater. I second that and urge you to add music, art, and, yes, even live basketball to your calendar. And not just to support artists, not just to keep the theater companies and music groups alive. Not as a public service. Do it for yourself.

Guest Blogger Crabbie

Ian’s Brother Sean Here.

There are two factions in this business we call show, and those are “business” and “show”. Or, more specifically, “art” and “commerce”. Or, as we used to say after every show of “Hunchback Of Notre Dame” when we were congratulating each other, “way to move some units, baby!”

Now, there is a mythology about show business, that there is some guy sitting at a typewriter trying to come up with that Barton Fink feeling, while in the background there is some wealthy number cruncher sniping at him to write faster, funnier and better. There is an artist, his integrity tucked neatly into his pocket next to his empty wallet, his few remaining pills and a flask with a thimble’s worth of pain-number, crouched over, one hand in his hair, the other scratching out brilliant ideas that only he understands, while some guy in a sharp expensive suit stands in the doorway chomping on a cigar with a blonde on his fat arm waiting for the pages that he can sell.

Obviously, this isn’t true. Wanna know why? Because that guy standing in the doorway figured out forty years ago that he doesn’t need that jerk at the typewriter. He can write the damn thing himself and then kibosh anything else in the market and we will eat what we’re fed.

Oh, and also, that guy? He figured out that the cigar chomping fat guy is a dead give away, so he doesn’t let himself become that anymore. He stays athletic, he gets surgery, he pops pills, he does all those things that keep him youthful and hip. And he makes fun of himself in public, joking about his lack of talent, laughing at his own stranglehold on American culture, goofing on his persona. Self-aggrandizement has been replaced by self-deprecation.

George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Ashton Kutcher, Mel Gibson, Brad Pitt etc., these assholes have taken over America. Even worse, Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson, Paris and Nicole, on and on. The obsession with modern celebrity is disgusting, of course, we all laugh at the guilty pleasure of reading those shit-rags about people with more money, more beauty and more fame than they have talent or intelligence, but what is shocking is the disregard for the fact that it’s actually *destructive*. It’s no wonder the South Park guys hate everyone in Hollywood, the debate has shifted to the most ridiculously simple ideas.

So, yeah, I jump on Ian when he mentions whatever famous person he’s seen recently. In an age when fewer movies are being made every year, when fewer new ideas are even being attempted in Broadway houses, these people are making sure that they own as much of the world as they can. Every play and movie and TV show that doesn’t have famous people in it is disregarded, and every celebrity demands a fiscal investment that makes it impossible to take artistic chances.

The people I work with, our artistic world will always remain outside the realm of success, because most of us are the guy sitting at the keyboard hunting and pecking for a new way to tell an old story. Nobody is even looking for us anymore, we don’t have an audience. Now, a person’s life outside the art he or she creates is the real story, and our lives aren’t interesting.

But, if ever there is a tiny crack, one of us will slip through. At this point, the level of irrelevance of theater in modern culture is shocking, and that is, in a way, liberating. We can just do our thing without any worry about whether anyone gets it or likes it, at most only 5 or 6 hundred people will ever know the difference. We can just do our thing, telling our tiny hopeless stories and giving our $15 back and forth to one another as the years creep by.

We do it because we know, one day, someone is gonna stand up in the middle of the movie and say, “Wait a minute. Wait just a minute. Why am I here? This is the same thing they’ve been giving me for years, I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now. My life is spinning past me, and I’ve spent time *WORRYING ABOUT NICOLE RICHIE’S WEIGHT!!!* I have to get out of here! Even if I just sat at home and listen to myself breath through my mouth that would be better than shelling out shitloads of money for the same old crap!”

And, when that happens, if you feel like coming out and seeing what the actual people in your actual town are doing, we’ll be there waiting for you. Even if you just go see Fiddler at your local community theater, at least you’ll be taking part in something that matters to the people you share a grocery store with. Kate Hudson doesn’t care if you live or die, and her movies are crap, so do yourself a favor and throw her out of your life.

orville and wilbur

10/9/06

Someone has to figure out a new paradigm for air travel and make it better. The current system is not functionally different from the very first passenger flights in the 1920s, and like dentistry, it has got to start behaving like it belongs in the 21st century.

First off, Americans are too fat to sit in coach. These planes were designed for a nation of people 5’8″ and 175 lbs tops, and the reality is much more grim. The airline placed Lucy, Tessa and me in separate rows each in the middle seat, and we were surrounded on all sides by love handles, thighs, hips, and fatty upper arms spilling into our personal spheres. The dude next to me slept with my leg supporting him from California to New Mexico, and the guy on the other side had serious Parkinson’s Disease. I felt really, really sorry for him, but the experience was not unlike being inside the paint shaker at Home Depot.

Thank god one of them took pity on us and let Tessa sit next to her 17-month-old daughter. Even so, we were so cramped we couldn’t look at each other. My butt fell asleep, and not – as Ice Cube said – because anyone’s jimmy was so deep. It was because I had about seventeen inches to call home.

Please, can someone think about the interior of planes a different way? Put the same number of humans on board so you can make your fucking money, but can you put us in a circle, or a rhombus or something? Can you do two-layer pods, like the sleeping trains of Japan? Serve drinks through pneumatic tunnels, allow us to rise to the ceiling when we want to recline 180 degrees, and allow passengers to use Wifi and their cell phones, for chrissake?

I’m over turbulence, which was once my bête noire; today’s flight was about as bumpy as they come, and I didn’t care. I just want my 4-11 hours in the air to feel less like a yoga move I cannot possibly hold.

moved a million hearts in mono

10/5/06

Adventures on Speed, Day One

First off, thank you for all the emails I got from concerned parties, and yes, my dosage of Dexy’s Midnight Runners is so low that there is little chance of me hotwiring the neighbor’s Mazda, driving to Carson City and killing a hooker. I was a bit concerned about Neva’s comment that Dexy is a bit harsh for a first-timer, but hey, it is a classic.

I took one 5mg tablet in the morning, and another in the afternoon, which puts me at about one-third the regular dose. Still, the feeling of gettin’-it-done euphoria is hard to miss, especially when that inkling only used to visit every three months or so. Obviously, I draw no conclusions on one day of taking the drug, but it is like the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had, without that horrible crash 90 minutes later. Those of you at day jobs will know what 10:50am looks like during the denouement of a breakfast latté; it may be the worst feeling in modern business. I’m beginning to wish I had Dexy during my dot-com fin de siècle.

Even if this thing only works for a few days, a few weeks, a year, a decade, I’m taking advantage of it and scooping my life into some sort of manageable cone. We leave for Houston and then London on Monday, and the only way Tessa and I are going to get the Lucyboots to England and back is to be at the top of our game. Our flight home is ten hours from the UK to Los Angeles, and unless my wife and I come up with a new comedy routine with spot-on impersonations of your favorite stars, Lucy is going to be mashing Play-Doh into my duty-free Scotch and shouting in Spanish.

This trip comes at the end of an intriguing summer in Los Angeles, and promises to be quite a spectacle. Tessa’s Aunt Loraine is getting married to a Lord in the House of Lords, so we have to trade our LA SchlubWear™ for quite possibly the most formal duds we’ve ever worn. For those of you who have seen “Five Wives,” Loraine is the gorgeous silver-haired woman holding a goblet of wine, quipping forth while her son Louie sits to one side. Just from those snippets alone, you might be able to gauge the crazy wonderfulness of this event.

Since the drama development season is basically over, we’re extending our trip for a couple of weeks, so Tessa and I can see where the other grew up whilst in the United Kingdom. I was in Northern London while she was in Northern Scotland, so we’re showing Lucy both. Not that she’ll remember, but she’ll look cute in her wellies.

I’ll try to keep posting from abroad, but you know how those wily Brits can be. You may get nothing but pictures for a while. Speaking of which, I got my hair lengthened. Whaddya think?

IanBeforeAfterHair(bl).jpg

before and after!

sanguine phlegm, choleric bile

10/4/06

There’s a line in the “Pink House” script that was meant to describe Chapel Hill post-grads, but was actually about me: “suffering from A.D.D., but ironically, too distracted to go the doctor for a prescription.” I wrote that in 1999, and finally got to the attention-deficit psychiatrist yesterday. Seven years… hey, that’s no so bad!

Psychopharmacologists are weird lot; they have the black socks and demeanor of therapists, thus tempting you to talk about your problems, but they really just want the facts. I tried to tell my guy about Sept. 11 and being traumatized as a kid, but he was only really interested in how I felt now and take it from there. I was more than happy to oblige. I told him that I’ve always had incredible swings in concentration and that I haven’t had any energy since I was about thirteen. He promptly put me on Speed.

Actually, he gave me several options – I could gradually switch from Celexa to Effexor (which is better for concentration issues) but there was no guarantee it would work, and to be honest, Celexa is truly doing its job in the anxiety and depression department.

He also mentioned Cymbalta and/or Strattera, but I could tell he meant those drugs as Plan B. The solution that appealed to me most was the direct targeting of energy and attention, which happens to be Dexedrine. When I got home and told Tessa, she was like, “oh, you mean Mother’s Little Helper.” When I told Sean, he said, “oh, like a housewife from 1959.” To which I say “fuck yes!”

I don’t know if any of you have tried Dexedrine, which is basically an early form of Ritalin and Adderall, but I’ll be starting a small dose tomorrow to see if I can start having wide-awake days and less fitful sleep. I’m not a big fan of taking any more drugs, but I’m already taking an anti-depressant, so drawing an arbitrary line in the sand seems pretty stupid at this point. I could easily smash the two drugs together with a spoon and call it Celexadrine if I wanted to fool myself into thinking I was anywhere close to low-maintenance.

You just have to look at this stuff like dentistry. When your teeth get rotten, you have them filled or pulled. If you don’t, your mouth hurts for fifty years. I once read that one of the leading causes of suicide in the 18th century was tooth pain. I look upon my psychopharmacology with the same phlegmatic acquiescence: there has always been a terrible cavity in my mood, and I’m going to use modern tools to fix it.