HOORAY for socialism!

After 25 years of not going to the doctor, I have gotten myself on the state run MinnesotaCare health program
Having spent most of my adulthood as a broke ass musician in Texas, it has been very hard to get health insurance
You usually need a full time job and even then, the insurance was so expensive that it was intimidating
This pretty much put a fiscal barrier between me and healthcare that turned into an emotional one as well
I was so intimidated by the complexity of the system, the high cost each month and the huge deductables that I just convinced myself that I would have to live without insurance

After all, I was going to die young anyways right?

Credit Laura for building a fire under my ass
She sat on the phone with me while I filled out the applications and didn’t let me give up when it got complicated, making me want to quit
I got approved and couldn’t believe it was only $29 a month
Laura warned me that there might be some deductables but we later found that all basic care required was a $6 co-payment

I just got off the phone with the dentist
They seemed a bit taken aback when they asked me how long it has been since I saw a dentist
The lady sounded like she expected me to come in with a yuk mouth (which is to be expected from someone who hasn’t seen a dentist in 25 years)
I know that there is a ton of damage to my teeth but, at least I feel that I have done some pretty good maintinence by brushing thouroughly and flossing (although less frequent)
Still, my old tounge piercing did some damage and I can feel cavities in the top back teeth

This means that I can get regular checkups with the gen. practicioner and keep one step ahead whatever might kill me and catch it in time
Don’t wanna end up like Zappa and croaking because they didn’t catch the cancer in time
I’m not even scared of the prostate exam
Rather have that than cancer

Lastly, I am going to get to see some type of mental health professional
The last few years have forced some deep reflection into my behavior and what is causing me to sabatoge my own forward momentum
Keep in mind that I do not think I am crazy and need someone to fix me
I liken this situation more like the relationship I have with Roy, my mechanic
I tell him what is happening with my car, he tells me a list of what might be wrong and then we diagnose it
After he assesses the problem, he tells me what tools I will need, and how to fix it
I then proceed to do all the work myself and report back to him if I need help
He also assesses my final result and makes sure I did it right
This is what I need to do to all of the negative behavior patterns I display that keep me from succeeding in life

Of all the reasons for moving back to Minnesota, this one has to be the most valuable for me at this time
I got a little emotional when I got off the phone with the dentist office because that’s when it sank in that I actually have affordable health care
This is a major upward pointing arrow for me right now


The Travel Kit

One of my biggest  barriers has been the sheer amount of equipment that it takes to do what I do
Playing a show is literally a full days work
2 hours of breaking down and packing the performance setup into The Van
1 hour of waiting around the club for someone to let me in
2 hours of unloading into the club and setting up (usually not including a torturous sound check)
30/45 minutes  to perform (usually for 3 people and the sound guy)
2 more hours of breakdown and packing back into The Van 
45 Minutes of lading from The Van to the house
It’s been a while since I played a gig that made any of this worth it so I stopped for a while
The idea of touring by myself  isn’t very practical either

The idea of a mini-kit came from trying to figure out how to get to Japan
I needed a compact drumkit that I could carry on a train or bus
Any of you who know me well have heard me talk about “pulling a stick up my ass”
Well, one of my big ones was that I had to have “real drums”
So, I had  to decide if I wanted my musical integrity as a drummer or did I ant to get my ass out and tour

I decided on the touring option
Once I got the idea, it took only a couple of hours to make it a physical reality
Right about that time,  I was listening to my co-worker Kevin talk about busking for tips with his cello
That’s when the light went off and I started thinking that I could do it too
I went to Nicollet Mall and noticed that there was an electrical outlet every 20/30 feet
Must be for all of the events/holliday parades etc…. that they have there
They also have various people playing guitars, hand drums, violins etc…
I figured that I would stick out like a sore thumb (but in a good way)
My biggest anxiety was the possibility of getting a ticket
Dallas has a zero tolerance policy for such shenannegans (it cuts down on aggressive panhandling)
I talked to a cop and described my plans
He told me that I will be OK if I pay attention to a couple of things
1- keep the volume down (all eclectronic so no problem)
2- stay away from the entrances of stores (if someone complains, you gotta go)
3- no aggressive panhandling (you can’t pass around a hat but people can throw tips in your case)
He said that using the electricity was not big deal so I decided to go for it

I made a preliminary video of the concept and here it is
I will be filming my exploits and will post it
Next year, JAPAN!
I am having a hard time

Looks like nothing is going on tonight so I will spend it getting the new mini-travel drumkit ready for busking on Nicollet mall tomorrow

I have made a video tour of the kit and will post it very soon

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