All posts by madgemidgely

Mandie Shattuck is a modern day Renaissance woman. She is self taught painter, writer and performer currently living in Cheyenne, Wy. Her art is a response to our shifting consciousness in our ever evolving world. Her topics revolve around self awareness and empowerment.

Perfections

My wonderful collaborator, Alessandro, has veered off into some Indian Raga path- and the smooth transition he takes into that expanded soundscape is gently adding new dimensions to the overall tonal frequency that has been our adaptations.

I am still sloppily grasping at chords and hitting wrong notes with confidence.

And by accident- we create perfection.

This new piece Most Angry Bungalow is my new favorite anthem.

To me, it speaks to memories brought up in a current moment.   The echo of the past interwoven with the present.  Like two long lost lovers, who fell out of fortune- finding themselves together again in the four walls they use to call home.   Talking in new tones as they recall a leftover yesterday that still chimes heartstrings.

This beautiful accident was simply two artists in two places who speak the same language and read the same music- but it is completely etheric- there is no proof, no conversation claiming any specific musical direction- our individual hands led by some unseen force that felt the need for this song to be reborn.  Because it is and it isn’t ours alone- Ale and me- acting simply as conduits of this reminder.

Enjoy-

If Your Local Government Wants To Thrive On Tourism, They Are Mismanaging Your Town

Name me places that thrive on tourism…

Resorts; ski, sea, tropical, Disney.

Cruises?

Destinations?  State parks, hot springs, trailheads?

Road Side Attractions… Wall Drug; Chugwater, Wamsutter, Buford population of 1.

Let’s face it- tourism as infrastructure isn’t a sustainable solution in our changing society… people save money to escape their real-life for a short-lived fantasy of something else, and there are plenty of communities that cater to that idea; locals saving their own money for a potential week of escape from a place people flock to for another place that people flock to.

Meanwhile, the hard-working locals are ignoring their own back yard because everyone enjoys a change of pace and scenery and there is no adventure left when you realize your own home town is concerned with the acquisition of money from temporary visitors.  You begin to notice businesses and services are focused on catering to seasonal visitors, which portrays an attitude that commerce and governmental spending is not concerned about local needs or desires.

It seems as though these days, every little town with no vision would like to live off of tourism- and it’s gross in a multitude of ways.

  1. It doesn’t honor its residence- it makes them buy into unsustainable ideas based on a “legend” or “myth”- it supports a fable that is long due for transparency.
  2. It capitalizes off its own citizens on a multitude of energetic levels- a buy-in of sorts- via commerce.
  3. Citizens rarely see viable returns in the long term benefit.  Revenue isn’t allocated the way citizens would agree to en mass.  Options are limited to the public.  Money speaks and we have a city that knows a cash cow when they see it and have historically used the funds from it with no regard to the everyday man that volunteers to make this kind trap possible.

 

 

When I was in my early twenties, I moved to Keystone Colorado with about five hundred dollars to my name.  It was the summer season and there weren’t many people around.  I got a job and a room in employee housing.  I would be working at the Sport Shack and renting out bikes and paddle boats and alpaca tours in the summer.  The pay was about $8.00 an hour.  It wasn’t much- but it was enough, and I would have a free ski pass come winter- that was the benefit and reason I moved to the mountain resort town.

Here are some things you may not know about living at a ski resort- everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING is inflated when it comes to cost.  Keystone Resort is in the same big company as Vail and Breckenridge and other well known high-end ski destinations.  However, Keystone was considered “the family resort”- as it wasn’t “as high end” as a place like Vail. That didn’t matter, everything was inflated.

All of these resort “towns” are filled with overpriced condos, restaurants and bougie boutique type stores.   Nothing a normal everyday person who works for the resort can afford or even wants.  There are maybe two reasonably priced eateries that are not fast food, and a couple of gritty pubs where the locals hang out and spend what they make.

For a young person, a resort town is just code word for “Work hard, play harder.”  But is it sustainable?

In my opinion- no.  I knew people well into their 50’s and 60’s who couldn’t hold a relationship and were forced to have roommates half their age in order to pay rent for houses they could never afford to buy on the wages they made.  If you weren’t in a management position with the potential of raises and moving up the corporate ladder, you couldn’t expect to see much inflation in your paycheck.  Most people worked more than one job, working at the mountain even part-time at least got you a ski pass which was at least a five-hundred-dollar value.

When you live in a resort town, you realize you must be reliant on your pass/id card.  If you don’t have it, you don’t receive the employee discount.  If you were like me and had to ride two gondolas to get to work, and you forgot to bring lunch and your passcard, you would pay $10.25 for a hamburger that cost $1.25 to make.  Employee discount brought the burger down to about $8.00, one hour of work on the low end.  I know this because I was dating a person who was a food purchaser for the resort.

When he told me this, I got very angry- not just for the employees, but for hard-working families that save all year for one weekend, or week away to do something fun.

Resorts have their own taxes.  I think at the time I was working it was around 9% on all purchases within the resort.  To add insult to injury, the place didn’t even have two-ply toilet tissue in the restrooms.  So, you could eat an overpriced burger that wasn’t that good and would probably give you the runs, only to have to wipe with weak tissue paper.   This was even the case at Beaver Creek, one of the more posh resorts in the Vail Kingdom.

I give this anecdote because it exemplifies the unsustainable nature these locations set as “normal” for the individuals who do not make top dollar for what they do, but they still pay top dollar while they drain their life energy into making more money for people with empires and networks.

Every year the resort appeared to make more, but as they restructured corporate, benefits for the little guy continued to shrink.  “Sure we offer insurance but we are dropping visual benefits next quarter, and you will be paying more for the standard health stuff because we are switching service providers, no out of network plans.”   It looks like corporate criminal money laundering in collusion with the local government within these obviously controlled environments where large sums of money are changing hands.

There aren’t a lot of positions to grow into when you live in a place like that unless you can make something for yourself- maybe start a tree cutting business, or become a builder, be prepared to pay for a license and liability insurance that won’t be cheap.

On the flip side, the corporation in cooperation with local government has the benefit that every year there are hundreds of new, young, liberated people who want a good time in nature- the types who aren’t really keen on planning for the future.   The type to move on to some other adventure and never even THINK about local politics and the amounts of currency being passed around them. They are the perfect little worker drones.  They will be worked until they come to their senses and move away or keep at it until they die.  You would be surprised how many young people die in these places.  Drugs and alcohol are always easy to find, and you can tell that there is a deep depression being covered by an illusion of “fun.”

Honestly, I did have a great time when I was there but I just love being in the mountains and this was an easy way to make it happen, however, the people that I knew during that time in my life were trainwrecks waiting to happen and I wasn’t totally shocked about the deaths that occurred after I left.

I don’t miss paying rent in an overpriced run-down condo,  whose owner was probably making bank off of a property they would never live in, nor appeared to have pride in due to only being interested in owning investment properties while living in some other state.

I realized I didn’t want to live in a tourist trap.

I want to live in a place that genuinely cares for its citizens. A town that realizes that it wouldn’t even exist without all those individuals who may not make much money that are the gears and wheels of industry and commerce.  A real place, with real people that eschews big chain retailers in trade for small locally owned business’ with a vision of spreading wealth and opportunity.

It seems like a big dream because the government and large corporations make small business ownership difficult and expensive.  The system really has its bias on bigger is better, but is it?

My hometown spends all year petitioning small business’ for handouts for one very large weeklong event that happens in July.  An event DRIVEN by volunteers that bring in MILLIONS of dollars in revenue.  Only a few hands ever touch that revenue.

To the average person, who doesn’t volunteer or participate in some way, the whole thing is a headache.  Our population doubles in size, and you know there are areas to avoid because of congestion and bad/drunk drivers.  Forget about going to your favorite eatery, you will be driving around looking for parking for an hour only to end up on a waitlist for what seems like forever.  If you are lucky, maybe you can go on your own vacation for a week just to avoid the mess of it.

Passing through town on your way to somewhere else and need a place to sleep?  Good luck finding a hotel room.  And if you do find one expect to pay triple what the pricing will be a week later.

It’s virtual insanity and our local government is one of the biggest supporters.

What about the everyday people who petition the local government with good ideas focused on the local year-round population that is not about making the city money? Forget it.  They don’t want to hear your ideas, they just want to push paper and encourage you to sign up to volunteer your time in one of the various ways the town attempts to appear to be something that it isn’t.

We have to see the local government for what they are actually about- money and control of resources.  It’s only about the citizens insofar that the citizens help them get the money and control of the resources.  But the money rarely recirculates down to the little guy, and we don’t see much happening that is beneficial for the citizenry that are the moving pieces of progress.  This needs to change with speed and force.  As citizens, we need to re-evaluate those who hold power on a local level and examine their connections and agenda.

We need representation by people who are for the people, not the representation of money grabbers who back door deal within their shady networks that leverage the citizens in their desire to monopolize a location.

It’s time for those types to go!

Let’s make towns worth living in, and if we get some visitors, “Cool, I hope you had an enjoyable experience.  Oh, you want to move here? Lovely, it’s a really pleasant place to live.  Yeah, what you see is what you get.  Not some myth, legend or tourist trap.”

 

 

 

Here Are My Albums

Ale and I have been continuing to pass each other soundbites through the ether in hopes of finally healing some dark human wound that we all possess and would like to ascend from, so you can imagine that sometimes things get weird.

These albums are no exception.  They are audio journies in long-form. They have the power to take you where you need to go- if you have the patience to listen and relax into it.

These compositions have been a pleasure to make and they really force me to be present with all synapses firing.  I am not in a preconceived attempt- I simply do what I feel like doing in a moment; that may be a vocal reading, collecting sounds or beating the shit out of an instrument in a way it was not designed to be used.

This process has developed into quite a conduit of expression and creativity that keeps me on my toes when it comes to imagination.  This is what I want to share with you.

I want you to take the grit with the beauty and awkward and the graceful interlude.   To feel all of it for yourself with no preconceived notion of where it will lead you.  All I ask is that you invite your imagination for the journey.  And thank Alessandro Muresu for any grace that comes from these compositions- he has the gentle touch that balances everything you hear within these gifts.

All of his contact info is in the video description. Subscribe to his channel, he makes new music EVERY DAY!

Let me know how it plays out for you in the end!

 

What is going on?

Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill
Of hope for a destination
I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood
Of man for whatever that means

And so I cry sometimes
When I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs,
“What’s going on?!”

Lyrics “What’s Up” 4 Non Blondes

 

I’ve been off of Facebook now, for some months.

It was my source of local relation and information about the microcosm I live within.

It was my way to know about social happenings and city evolutions.

It was the place of the updates about my up and coming 20th high school reunion.

I wonder if I threw away a useful network.

Now it’s just me and the people who are in direct contact with my daily life with no pretense.

Now it is me and animals and vegetation and Gma.

These recent days have been full of insight that comes in sparingly in regard to outside parties, however, it hasn’t stopped the insights I have been pulling in and building since before the FB exodus.

What the hell is happening in my town?

Oh, just The Story of Old in a  New Digital Era.

I am on twitter @MadgeMidgely– my local newspaper The Wyoming Tribue Eagle posts on twitter.  Almost every published article is behind a paywall.  Why then use Twitter?  I don’t think more than a handful of people follow them.    Many of these published pieces are basic AP Wire reporting from other places across the map- yet, still behind a paywall.

The most worthwhile reporting in the aforementioned periodical are obits and police blotters.  It is generic and lacks substance when it comes to the content of local reporting.

A few of the things I want to know, as of recently-is in regard to the magnanimous money drops made in our downtown area.  I want to know what the hell is happening under our noses through developing backdoor deals.   I want to know how the “Good Ole Boys” club is adapting to the digital age by funding the progeny lines of wealth, and what it means to the regular Cheyenne resident in the long run.

I don’t want to pay $14.00 for a cocktail downtown to impress anyone.  Look into the scam of alcohol pricing.

I like to go to my favorite hole in the wall pub when I get the chance and have a reasonably priced adult beverage while having a conversation with old-timer locals who work hard for people who have the money and tend to abuse their help.   Sounds like a good time, right?

My attention toward them is like a rainbow during a storm,  and each time I see these people, these residents of the city I live in, I see how time and lack of appreciation are taking its toll.   If anyone shows up to a memorial for them, it will be because of the potential for free drinks, or to brag about what a good job they did for business… That will be the end of it, until some night down the line, a patron gets drunk and sentimental, and maybe says something out of line or provocative.

These are the type of people who live downtown, but will never be able to enjoy what it has to offer as the money dumps and changes proceed without consideration to the local community.

It kind of sounds like gentrification.

Those with money are not asking what Cheyenne NEEDS as a city with a variable in demographics, however, they are putting their money where their desires are, and these aren’t “passion projects”- these are investments.

Of course, a person can invest in their own passion project, but this usually comes later once an entrepreneur type is more established.

Investments require only a passion to make large amounts of residual income.  Something that pays for itself over and over again- something the investor finds useful to their own vision and benefit.

Why does it feel like my city has no planning?

Because it doesn’t it seem to with any legitimacy.  This is a town that once was segregated by the direction of the roads- where “colored people” couldn’t purchase property in the Avenues.

It mostly appears to be a hustle and shuffle behind closed doors between people with money and vision over drinks outside of government regulation.  The government is complacent in just trying to find streams of income without actually planning the city based on its needs and developing a unique personality. Oh and some of these money streams hold government positions.

I live in a town of nepotism.

We are like the old western town fronts that were just pieces of boards propped up and painted in some sort of nostalgia that wants to shift on a dime and become “hip”- but it has no foundation for such a broad jump.   Just because it “wants to be” something, doesn’t mean that it is, or is ready for what it means for a dramatic personality shift in a drastic and different direction.

I want to think that the younger entrepreneurs in my city mean the best, and are using their wealth in that direction- but I sense they are connected to the streams of wealth that are unrealizable for the average joe, and that connection alone is going put them in places of authority that they may or may not actually deserve.

Politics is interesting as it is one of the few ways a supported individual can make insane strides by blowing hot air up innocent asses just by spouting a vision that most likely will never come to fruition in the way the average person expects-  it sets people up to become accustomed to that kind of  lose delegation through promises with little argument.

It’s time we look beyond the excitement that appears with the hope of the “next new exciting thing” and to start building something that has longevity and value to the people who call this place “home.”

We need to ask ourselves as a community, “what do we actually need, and what do we actually want?”   And that is what we need to petition for and realize- even if it means finding ways around the common construct that we take for granted to provide us infrastructure.

If those who are in tight with the acquisition of property and moving large dollar sums really want to “help” their community, they will ask those questions and listen very carefully to answers of the people.

It is fine if Cheyenne decides to be a modest but interesting destination.

We don’t need to compete if we find our own voice and integrity.  Sadly it is becoming evident that we will not be able to rely on our governing parties and their networks to ring lead that kind of mission when they have the best and easiest connections to resources.

It is going to have to be a community of people who demand transparency and who are willing to call out corruption and malfeasance, then disseminate that information to the residence to decide for themselves about.   That in and of itself is a battle of interest vs. disinterest.

Life can be hard enough without investing in politics.  Most people want to live and let live and hope they have enough to fund their life with a little leftover, or for that unexpected expense.  These won’t be the people in the $425,000 condo’s that are the gateway to the “up and coming” art district for interest.

No, the people who would actually do best in an art district, are not the seeds the city wants to be planted in that area, and they couldn’t afford it anyway.   Those people would flip the investment on its head with new ideas that don’t necessarily pop dollar signs in the eyes of investors- those ideas could be the rejuvenation this small city needs.

Now is the time to make it known that we want certain things to happen unless we settle and let go of the reigns, just to see how it unfolds as we continue to complain about the outcomes.

Your move citizens of Cheyenne, your move.

 

Follow The Money

Do you ever look at a building with crazy architecture and wonder,

“Who the hell had the money and idea to build that, and where did THEY get the money to do it?”

Buildings certainly are not getting cheaper, and restorations can easily go into the millions.  Who is paying for all of it and why is it looking more generic all the time?

We need to refamiliarize ourselves with the creation of the Federal Reserve, which is neither Federal- nor technically any sort of reserve.

It is simply our central banking system that makes printed money paper out of thin air, backed by nothing but the hard day’s work of the normal people who keep the system rolling and the drops in a bucket that the money launderers pay when they are forced.

I don’t want socialism, but what we have isn’t much better.

People want transparency- and the lack of it in our system will be the biggest downfall.  The corrupt dealings behind the scenes are coming to light on the mainstage and if you find that shocking, wait until the local expose’ relevant your area comes to your eyes.

Every city was built up the same way to a certain degree, starting on the supposed level playing field of Right vs. Left.

A battle back and forth played with money and acquisition along with the influence of religion, which the government covertly hid behind “separation of Church and State.”

The same people giving big to the churches were the same people holding up righteous illusion in public forum while playing dirty deeds in the back chambers.  Every single city was built on some sort of corruption and program facilitated by religion and the govern tied to wealthy individuals with secret purpose in collusion.

One cannot be a “normal person” and think about this for too long because it seems unbelievable, and shit, there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, and there is no extra time for an existential breakdown due to too much truth.

I don’t care where you live- what are the common last names?  What do they do and what do they own? What church is their family known to attend?  How many of them have held public office or have networks with people of a similar ilk?

If your family has been in the same place for a long time- have you worked for these people?  Went to school with the children and grandchildren- did you see evidence of entitlement from them when you were growing up?  Did they seem emotionally disturbed under a false illusion of superiority?  Did you find out later that their families were just a show on the outside- and they had back door dealings of their own?

Yeah- these are the families that sustain our city infrastructure, politics, religious and educational institutions that employ everyday people working hard to make a living.  These are the families that make and break/brake legislation in our government for reasons we have yet to realize.

It’s sad but true that these innocuous everyday places have been a breeding ground for people who really don’t always have the communities best interest at heart, despite having elected civilians in public offices who supposedly speak for the people at large.

Most of those civilian elected positions are filled by people in alignment with other agendas and serve as a buffer zone between the community at large and the actual governing bodies that delegate the consumption of funds from whatever coffer they hold trust in.  They are the “pillars of the community”. They serve to hold the roof over the foundation- whatever that may mean.

So what kind of place would you actually like to live in- if you had authority and infinite resources? 

Would you want a cluster of people and a large booming place, or say a nice quiet country town. maybe something in the middle?

It’s easier to live in a bustling city to some degree than it is to move unknowingly to a small place.  In the small place, the politics are more blatant and they recognize a newcomer right away- in a city, you can blend in or stick out- it’s up to you and the political agenda of things may be more hidden as there are other things that one can find interesting or entertaining.

In both situations, if one neglects to build a rapport with the location and the people, one will find oneself somewhere else once effort and frustration set in. Eventually, it seems reasonable that it would just be better to start over somewhere else.  That is the thing about people- nothing ever seems good enough- the grass is always greener somewhere else. No one wants to tend their own garden without payout in some regard, whether the payout is sustenance, beauty or comfort in the activity.

A person can build their own little heaven anywhere- but it isn’t easy, and one can’t define their personal heaven by any other blueprint or prefabricated overlay.  The tenacity it takes to energetically build a space for oneself can be daunting.

We want to find ourselves in places that we truly love on many levels; the people, the location, the scenery and the ability to actively engage or not. 

Much of this draw on a large scale is dictated by politics, religion and the purposeful circulation of large amounts of money.

However, individuals tend to stay in a location when they build a community or get absorbed into one adding a sense of security and support.  Community makes life worth living.

A lack of participation in politics is a byproduct of the fact it takes time and money to be involved- and when you don’t have either of those things, basic priorities come first, almost to the point that one is basically forced to step out of paying attention to it altogether.  It’s a stress that can be managed by ignoring and silently rolling with the punches.

Those are the same people who need a voice in representation- they can tell you how hard it can be, they might even have some really innovative solutions- but they can’t find a baby sitter for three hours in the evening after having the babysitter there all day, in order to attend a city council meeting where they may or may not have the opportunity to speak.

Money Speaks.

I grew up in a town that didn’t seem to have much to offer when I was growing up in the ways of city type entertainment- I also didn’t have a strong personal community of friends who planned on staying in town after graduation. We had dreams of leaving this podunk town and finding a home as far away as we could find comfort with.  There was no reason for me to stay when I finished school- and like many creative kids, I had my eyes set on NYC and school for performing arts.

My “dreams” didn’t happen for lack of pursuit or ability-  my “dreams” didn’t happen because I was able to see snippets of a dark underbelly and I made a conscious choice to change my own mind about following a popular pursuit filled with popular but sick people.  I left a popular program. 

I don’t want to be entangled with people who live off of a corrupt illusion- I don’t want to be handled.  I’d prefer to think for myself.

I’ve seen how people in authority with money and power take advantage of ignorant dreamers working to make something true and genuine.  All the while the dreamer was merely an investment in some other agenda they never received a memo about.

The money is fake, the entertainment is fake, the politicians are fake, the religion keeps the division. Depriving the individual spirit; providing only backtalk that spouts lack worth in the unique spirit that is the unique you.  We have continued to feed the facade.  Running off to those supposed greener pastures when home and the ability to be good enough was inside of you the whole time, YOU just never thought a whole city could operate on that level and settled for the closest approximation.

How many people want to go home, but feel like they can’t because they have nothing to show after pursuing a hopeless dream?

They were profound in youth and everyone “knew they would be someone someday”.  They did anything they could while they were away chasing some big dream, probably even some things they would rather not admit which led to being smacked in the face with how  we are programmed to think we can do anything we set our mind to- only to find out the next gateway exists to those who are willing to sell themselves out to the people with the bankrolls that invest in individuals with dreams that will assist in selling a large and selfish agenda.

Enough is truly enough. We will no longer settle for being treated/ bought and sold like livestock to populate your weird human ranches.

 

 

Unconventional: Rise Above to Reform

Have you ever been at a point, where it all seems so obvious and you can’t believe people are still arguing over what is blatant?

That is me, here, now in this cybersphere.  I thought that by leaving FB I would find respite- but one doesn’t simply go cold turkey with social media- they migrate and adapt.

For me, this was moving over to Twitter, where the conversation completely changed and I felt like I jumped into the deep end of the lake.

On FB, I had over 500 friends and over a 100 followers… I know, I know; nothing to brag about, but it equaled engagement.

On Twitter, I have roughly 90-96 followers and I am pretty sure at least a dozen of them are surveillance.  When one of the surveillance accounts realizes I am useless- they move on.  That’s cool- what ev’s.

That doesn’t stop the weirdness on my end though- Nope.  I am still at the mercy of algorithms when I go check my feed.

My motto:  “I’ll follow back until your posts get whack.”

Why?   I am not your judge- I am not your jury.  If you start posting stuff that makes me want to act in a negative or violent way- I will simply remove you the way I would a thorn or a splinter.

I will pay attention to the wound, give it care with things that will remove the intrusion.

This doesn’t mean I am running away or avoiding things- it means I am doing what I can to control my internal environment which will ultimately impact my external environment.  I could let my wound fester, or I could care for it and bring it back to optimum function.

90% of what I see posted online, makes me want to kick someone in the shins- why?  Probably because when we hurt we try and hurt others and the things I see posted bring me more than a modicum of pain.

If leaving FB taught me anything, it’s that I am sick of making myself responsible for the pain of others, or assuming that I was the source of pain, to begin with, because that is how hard we can be on ourselves.  We will assume so hard that a post is about us, that it will tear us up inside and then overflow into the life we live that isn’t attached at all to a SIMPLE FUCKING POST!

It’s crazy- but it’s real and normal for day to day life.   How many people are lugging around their own unspoken guilt and ruining the lives of others because a post was worded in a way that makes an individual have to face their own conscience?

I had to leave because I was on the brink of kicking shins because of the fakeness of all of it.  I wanted to kick shins because it would really hurt, in real time- but it isn’t fatal, but it is brutal.

I sit here at times just hoping for a real and raw conversation about how fucked up we are individually and in groups- not because I want to further twist a wound but because I can’t wait to find people who are finally mature enough to address the issue while also avoiding kicking shins.

I’ve found people would rather kick shins until they are bruised or deal with broken toes that have to heal from all the kicking.

I want a conversation or ten to be good enough.  Most people would rather mince words, or not talk at all, because they know their words will hurt as bad as a bruised shin.

When I say “I can’t do this anymore.”  It is because I truly can not do it anymore. I am smart enough to know that there are others in the world who don’t want to operate on the program we have been fed- and those are my loves of forever.  They are the ones who keep coming back, again and again, so that none of us are left alone in the struggle.

Those of us aware of the struggle, say “NO MORE!”   We are done.