Tuesday, September 28, 2010

a bag of sand?

My kid woke up at six fifteen this morning. He’d pissed himself, as toddlers are wont to do in the course of a night, and when I walked into his room to free him (he sleeps in a tent) he said “daddy! I’m wet!” and shit, boy. He wasn’t fucking around. He was so drenched in piss that his socks were soaked. Quite a way to start off your Tuesday, right?

Anyway, I got a letter asking for a little advice a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I’d take a stab at it today.

I come to you in need of some advice, although I fear that this is a bit out of your normal realm of expertise. I still value you opinion on this matter.

Here's my predicament - I am a 26 year old female; I am not only a virgin, but I have actually never dated. ever. I'm average looking... but a little overweight. I'm mostly just a slightly anti-social, awkward and maybe a bit insecure girl who doesn't know how the hell this got so far. I'm becoming more confident with myself and blah blah blah, I'm now determined not to become some old spinster or crazy cat lady.
I want to start dating, but now I feel completely lost. I have no idea what to do. I'm at the level of a 15-year old with this shit. Actually, plenty of 15-year-olds are more advanced than me. I don't understand how dating works outside of what I've seen in movies, which I'm pretty sure I should just erase all knowledge gained there from my brain.
When asked about my previous dating experience, (which only seems to happen with nosy co-workers), I always say that I had a boyfriend X months ago and just try to keep it vague. I feel that if anyone were to find out about my... situation, that they would not understand how it's even possible and it all just becomes very embarrassing for me. I'm ok with (only because I can't really lie about it) telling a guy I'm a virgin, but does he really need to know about my complete lack of experience? I've never even kissed a guy before. And how and when does this kind of stuff come up?
I should also add that it's quite possible that the first guy I date will be a co-worker, which brings my anxiety level up 100% about all of this. I really don't want all my co-workers knowing about my business. I guess just want to know how normal people in their mid-20's date. Not your usual "how do I get laid?" type advice.

Okay, where to begin here? How bout this: first things first, you gotta relax. Look, I was just talking to someone about this yesterday: getting into a situation you don’t really know anything about is never comfortable. That’s why your first few days at a new job always suck. You’ve got no idea what you’re doing, everyone around you presumably does and even if you DO have what it takes to be good at whatever the hell it is you’re doing (better than them even) your complete ignorance of what’s going on (uh, where do we keep the paper in this place?) is only gonna make you feel inferior.

BUT, what eventually happens? You get the hang of it, and fortunately for you, you’re talking about making out and going to movies and drinking beer on the back porch with someone you like, not starting up as a new accounts person at ProFlex Pharmaceuticals, which is vastly less fun, vastly harder and less forgiving in terms of inexperience…but you seem to be very concerned with your inexperience, so lets address that first, shall we?

“I am a 26 year old female; I am not only a virgin, but I have actually never dated. ever. I'm average looking... but a little overweight. I'm mostly just a slightly anti-social, awkward and maybe a bit insecure girl who doesn't know how the hell this got so far.” Yeah, you and everyone. Listen, here’s the thing: I know you’ve seen your friends/acquaintances dating and boning for years and you watch the MTV and whatever channels broadcast young people frantically getting drunk and pumping each other, but you’re really not in that strange of a situation. In fact, by my math you’re one month of bad decisions in college behind probably 90% of the less promiscuous of us out there, and probably in the exact same boat with more people than you realize. You said it yourself, you’re not grotesque or impossible to be around and you have enough self awareness to be writing to me, so what do you think? Somehow you’re the only person who’s slipped through some kind of crack? Nah. You’re fine.
I know, I know, easy to say, hard to believe, but seriously. You’re not forty, youre 26. That’s still YOUNG. AND you’re a girl. Think about this: how many dudes, average looking, slightly overweight and anti-social and awkward do you think are never-been-kissed virgins? I’d wager that the percentage hovers in the mid 90’s.

My point is, there are TONS of people out there in the exact situation that you’re in, so while you may feel alone, you may feel like you’re the only one of anyone you know who’s so inexperienced, look at yourself as an example. You’ve constructed a little series of white lies to keep what’s nobodies business from coming out, other folk are probably doing the same thing. Again, you’re not a freak, and your situation is vastly less weird than you’ve led yourself to believe.

That being said, you don’t know what to do. You don’t know how to answer questions when and if you find yourself in a potentially romantic situation. You don’t even know how to recognize that a situation may be potentially romantic.

Look, here’s the deal, and I know I said this before and I know it’s easier said than done, but man, you gotta relax. Dating someone in highschool is full of bullshit, for sure. You’re calling them, going to the movies, fingerbanging out in the field behind the middleschool, doing a lot of talking about “us” or whatever, but you’re thankfully a grown up now, and dating is a way different thing. It’s easy. Any time you’re spending with someone you like is kind of dating. It’s like being friends. There’s no point when you’re necessarily gonna be faced with having to answer questions like “so, how many guys have you kissed” unless you’re dating someone who’s super weird and awkward and at that point I’d advise you to tell the truth, because only someone who has similar romantic experience to you would ask something like that. And you know what? This brings me to my bigger point:

There’s nothing weird or wrong with not having kissed or dated anyone. Yes, it seems embarrassing. Yes, you feel like a pariah, and you don’t know what the fuck is going on and what do you even do once you’re holding a dick and wocka wocka wocka but heres the deal: this shit is fun and when you’re kissing someone you’ve never kissed before, chances are it’ll be a little weird, whether they’re the first or the one thousandth person you kiss. And that shit (again) is FUN, so it’s not like someone’s gonna get mad at you for fumbling though it. It’s like ice skating or smoking weed for the first time. Just trying it with someone is the big part, who cares if you’re wobbly or you cough up blood?

If you’re kissing someone, they like you at least a little, and they’re gonna be forgiving and cool, but you need to be confident and own your own situation. I know, easier said than done, but what’s the alternative? Pretend you’re some ex-escort or something and then wind up not knowing what’s going on in the moment? That’s gonna lead to serious stress on your part (not that I really think your partner would probably even really notice) and a potential weird breakdown where you have to admit you were lying and you don’t know what’s going on and THAT is something that’ll be maybe too much to bear. No one minds kissing someone for the first time, but people, as a rule, aren’t big on being lied to. So keep that in mind.

Oh, and I know this is trite advice coming from me, and I know it’s potentially bad advice, but a little booze goes a long way in terms of building confidence and allowing you to be honest with yourself and with others (in the short term). I’m not suggesting you go out and get shithoused and bang a soccer team or anything, but pretty much every single person on this earth is the product of a couple of beers, and if you’re feeling nervous, anti social and shy, a cosmo may just reset you for the evening.

I dunno. Is this advice bad? Socks? Dogs of War? What say you? Let’s help this girl out, eh?

Monday, September 27, 2010

swinging from the gallows

Man, so this weekend was my friend Toby’s bachelor party. Now, Toby hails from the far northwestern corner of the United States; from Enumclaw, Washington in fact, which, if you don’t know, is the place where the guy filmed himself getting pumped to death by a horse. Toby lived not half a mile from that barn of ill repute. He hastens to point out that fucking horses is considered just as fucked up in Enumclaw as it is everywhere else, but I’m not ENTIRELY sure I believe him. Here’s the deal:

Apparently, when this guy got impaled, there were no laws in Washington dealing with uh…zoophilia or animal husbandry or whatever you want to call it. After this video (again, of a man being fucked to death by a horse) somehow became a viral internet phenomenon (which, I gotta tell you, I don’t understand. Who wants to see that? I consider myself to be fairly crass and lowbrow and there’s no WAY I would ever watch something that included A) a dude fucking a horse or vice versa or B) someone dying. It’s the same thing with the two chicks shitting into the cup or whatever…How is that popular? I’d barf if I was forced to watch that. I guess this universe is pretty twisted…I weep for the future. Anyway) they put all sorts of anti-animal fucking laws into place, but then just recently the cruel beastiality hating powers that be busted some ‘farm’ in Washington somewhere that was actually operating as some kind of perverse inter-species brothel. Apparently one of the best (?) things they found was an Englishman engaging in some kind of orgy with a bunch of different dogs. Imagine that.

Now, let me unequivocally state for the record that I’m in no way pro-dog fucking. Beyond any moral or ethical issue, I just find it to be gross. Dog wieners are all red and slimy and dog butts are, uh, dog butts. No explanation needed. And don’t even get me started on dog pussy. For whatever reason, the notion of having proper wiener-vagina sex with a dog is even more disgusting than just buttfucking it. I don’t know why that is and frankly it’s not an avenue of thought I’m too interested in ever exploring. Now, that being said, you kind of have to admire the dog fucking enthusiast who traverses an ocean just to indulge in the sensual garden of delights that is the Washington dog farm multi breed orgy. I mean, yeah, it’s revolting and twisted, but he really went for it. No half stepping. I wonder if, in animal pumping circles, this was a legendary bust, where people were saying things like “the honeysuckle ranch got shut down and there was a brit in the Mayflower room!” because presumably, that’s like going to graceland and sitting in the recliner or something. Weird.

But you know what? That’s all neither here nor there as this entry isn’t supposed to be about zoophilia anyway. Okay, where was I?

Ah, yes. The bachelor party for Toby. Now, toby is a lot of things and one or two of the things that he is is a massive fan of soccer and the American club team the Seattle Sounders, who just happened to be playing the Chicago Fire the night of said bachelor party. We went down there and hung out in the stands among the Sounders fans, and it was a great time. One particularly hilarious thing struck me though, and I’d like to share it with you:
Namely, people from Seattle are either completely clueless about how the world really is or just kind of embarrassed of Seattle in a really bizarre way. This is a notion I’ve been keenly aware of for some time, but it was really driven home the other night out there among the green shirted sports fans. Their chants were all these Viking-like odes to drinking and destruction and the back alley lifestyle of the Seattle Sounders hooligans, which is all well and good, but uh…have you ever been to Seattle?

Seattle is perched in the hills, it’s kind of rainy and it’s stuffed with erudite little coffee shops, smug little boutiques and guys with shaved heads and northface jackets. Seattle is clean, beautiful and just funky enough that it can be cool and kind of laid back but not funky enough that people will just shit in your vestibule every morning or anything. There’s a semi-famous punk band from Seattle called the Murder City Devils. That is absolutely insane.

Seattle is the murder city in the same way that I’m the hottest twelve year old girl in all of Peru. It’s not a town full of murderous Vikings and drunken hordes. I mean, I’m sure that people get mighty shitfaced out in Seattle and I’m sure there’s crime and I bet there’s even a shitty neighborhood or two, but come on folks! You’re not East St. Louis, you’re not Detroit or Cincinnati or Newark or the south side of Chicago. You’re not Nogales or Juarez or Miami or the Bronx. Fuck, man. You aren’t even PORTLAND! And that’s fine. Fuck. That’s great! I’d rather live in Seattle than any of these places, (well, except Portland which is one of the hands down best places out there) but man…Seattle is the home of Frasier Crane and all his various witticisms. Seattle is the home of the space needle and vegan breakfast and fast computers and city wide wifi. And sure, that shit probably sounds lame in a chant, or as the name of a band, but uh…do you have to undercompensate so much? I think there should be a movement out there to re-define Seattle as the pretty fucking nice, very clean honky town that it is. I’m throwing it out there, Seattleans (or whatever you’re called). Do your town proud, and let’s get rid of that ugly reputation as being the murder city, eh? How about the ‘city of nice parks’ or ‘city of friendly waitstaff’ (which I’ve always found to be true every time I’ve been in Seattle), or even Seattle: Home of Dicks!’ That sounds good. Dicks is the best weird cheeseburger stand in the northwest and it still sounds a little shady, so you don’t have to go all the way to “Seattle: sophisticated scrabble players and their brethren” or anything like that.
I dunno…it’s Monday. Just throwing it out there.
Or is it all an elaborate tongue in cheek thing where everyone kind of grins and winks at the notion of Seattle: city of evil? Because that would make a lot of sense, actually. Leave it to them to have a gigantic city wide in joke. Smug dicks.
Okay, I'm out.
Keep fucking those dogs, everyone!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

They're probly drinking coffee and smoking big cigars (heyooo!)

Yesterday I asked my buddy Sean Nader if he would rather be in general population in a maximum security prison for five years (at this point he stopped me and said something to the effect of “I really doubt that whatever the other choice is could be worse than that”) or, would you rather have both the intellect and the maladies of Stephen Hawking?
After about a minute of silence, Sean came back with “I’d rather be in the prison” and I gotta say, I agree with him entirely. Yes, prison would be terrible. There’s all sorts of crazy shit that sounds like it goes on in there. Motherfuckers are getting stabbed and beat up and tattooing each other’s faces and making people suck their dicks and all sorts of crazy shit. I bet the food’s no good and I furthermore bet that the part that’s worse than any of that is that there’s no one there that gives a shit about you and when you have a bad day (uh…someone puts your face into a shit filled toilet and fucks you up the ass, for example) there’s no one you can call and talk to, or slide into bed next to (well, I guess you might have someone to slide into bed next to, but that’s gotta be a major part of the bad day in most cases, right?) that will help you sort of recover and just be sympathetic and nice to you. It’s gotta be cold. And I sincerely bet that’s the worst part. The lack of compassion and sympathy and general humanity.

I mean, I’ve never been to prison and it’s one of those places I hope I never go. I imagine that the cinderblock walls and the general ugly-on-purpose aesthetic is even more soul crushing than the lack of women and the fact that you’ve gotta wipe your ass right there in front of someone, but who knows? I could be wrong. I’ve known people who have ended up in prison and come out and been okay. There are lots of people who have gotten out of prison and come out and been hugely successful, like Dog the Bounty Hunter for example. I mean, I don’t know much about the ass kicking or prison raping pecking order in jail, but I’ve gotta imagine the leathery football with the bouffant and feather earrings is up there on the list of ‘people to stab when they walk into the blindspot over behind the pillar on the way to the soda machine,’ don’tcha think? One would think. Shit sounds like kind of a bummer, but the Dog? He turned out just fine (extreme racism notwithstanding). I guess that’s kind of the exception to the rule though. Usually you probably get out with a new questionable tattoo, a nice new stab wound or two and a general hatred for a world you’re no longer allowed to be a real part of. Sheeesh.

And to top it off, I just read a disturbing report that says that the vast majority of the sexual abuse that happens in jails is perpetrated by the guards. That’s genuinely terrifying. Everyone I’ve ever met who’s ever been in jail or prison says the same thing, namely: that the guards are worse than even the shittiest prisoners, and hey, if they’re doing most of the raping, it doesn’t take me too much of a leap of imagination to see why they say that. I can’t even imagine the kind of psychological torture that you’ve gotta endure on a day in, day out basis in order to wind up the kind of person that wants to work as a correctional officer. I mean, I can fathom what leads someone to kill an enemy or steal some shit. I can understand the motivation behind misguided notions of using violence to spread ideology and I even kind of understand (brace yourselves) why someone would take or sell drugs, but man…no way can I wrap my head around the idea of being a free person and deciding that I was gonna go work in a prison and spend my days dehumanizing people for a living before I came home to my regular life every evening. I mean, what the fuck do you have to be about for that to seem like something you’d be interested in doing? I know people who go into volunteer programs where they do literacy workshops at jails, and even under the umbrella of being a goodwill ambassador, none of them have ever mentioned LIKING being in there. To go in there as the enemy and wage war on prisoners every day seems like something that only the most very deranged folks on the planet would ever do. People who were beaten by their parents, bad at everything they ever tried, made fun of for virtually every aspect of their personality and cowardly to boot seem to be the only people who’d fit the unique profile it would take to be a prison officer.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong, right? I hope so, because the whole thing is such an enormous mass of sadness that it’s threatening to derail what seems like a pretty nice day. I, a person who’s not in prison, will take my kids to the park, walk my dogs, pick out a nice place to eat lunch, perhaps with friends, and probably take a nap at some point after we eat. I’ll also go to the gym and get in a fight in the shower, but that part sounds like prison, so forget that.

Nope. Being in prison sounds like a bad time.

But you know what would be worse? Being in a prison in your own body. Sitting there, unable to move or do anything, but being perfectly alert and a brilliant mind to boot. You are smart enough that you’re a step away from mathematically disproving the existence of god (I am aware that you cannot prove that something doesn’t exist, so back off) and thereby the afterlife but you can’t do a goddamn thing while you’re here. You can’t chew. You can’t whack off. You can’t hug anyone. You can just exclusively sit there and piss your pants and atrophy while life goes on around you and you can bear witness to beauty, freedom, a naked chick here and there, a party full of people but you can NEVER participate. You’re in a prison that you’ll never get out of. That would be worse. Endlessly worse.

I wonder, if you asked Hawking if he would take the opportunity to get the full function of his body back if the stipulation was that he must exist in the general population of say, Leavenworth penitentiary for the first five years of his newfound mobility, what do you think he’d say? Well, probably not ‘say’ but what do you think his series of breaths into that tube would end up signifying? I mean, that kind of answers it, eh? He’d pick the prison. We all would. But he’s never gonna get to make that choice, and that’s a pretty rough reality to deal with. No escape but death. And to top it off, cursed with a mind that can probably imagine death and run wild with all the horrifying unknowns that are part and parcel with contemplating mortality. Fuuuuuuuuck that. I’m going to move my arms and shit for a while, then I’m going to walk outside in a mixed gender environment. I recommend you all do the same.

Um, any readers out there former or current inmates (or correctional officers for that matter)? I’d be real curious to hear about your experiences. Just throwing that out there. Kay. Later y’all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

let it rattle

Duuuudes! I just had a lot of crazy days and the results were that I was unable to get to this shit for a minute. Sorry. I’m planning my buddy Toby’s bachelor party and frankly, it’s gonna be awesome. We’re getting one of those strippers that shoots pool balls out of her asshole and into various cakes and we’re gonna get a rickshaw (drawn by a real live running chinaman, no less!) to cruise us around Chicago so we can snort coke and drink Courvosier with impunity. It’s gonna be spectacular, to put it mildly.

I remember my bachelor party pretty fondly. Well, that’s not really true. I don’t really remember much of my bachelor party except for this one pretty rad moment where I was hanging out with my friend Todd and I went to lean against the photo booth and fell into the probably 5” gap between the booth and the wall. I became pretty insanely stuck and to hear Todd tell the story, he was just tipsy enough (read: shithammered) that he thought I had vanished into thin air. No one had any idea where I’d poofed off to, until my screams were finally able to be heard over the Smart Bar’s blasting techno music. It was a really nice time, gotta say.

My bachelor party was a sophisticated and gentlemanly affair, but that’s because I didn’t plan it. Since I’m in charge of Toby’s we’re getting tranny hookers, plates of blood pressure medication and a few fighting cocks and we’re gonna fully go to Jacuzzi on that ass, if you dig.

Now, what else is happening in the world? I just got the first cut of a new demo that I did and I think it’s pretty righteous. I did it with this dude named Sean Astrom and this other dude named Eric Halborg. If you’re not gay porn enthusiasts, you probably don’t recognize either of their names, but they’re some good dudes from Denver. It’s definitely a pretty weird song. It’s called “a man with the passion of Tennessee Williams” which I think is a pretty radical title. I think it’s about hipsters and my own uneasy proximity to them as an old guy who pretends to eschew the notion of hipsterdom, but who still ends up drinking highlife and listening to POS on my iphone in my western shirt and fedora (thank you very much Francis!) (and of course, no offense to the mighty POS).

It’s a kick in the balls, eh? The things that are the closest to you but just slightly different are the things you despise most, right? That’s why skateboarders hate rollerbladers, even though they’re both smashing their nuts on the same railings. That’s why the nazi skins hate the anti racist skins more than anyone else even though they both decided to pervert the idea of punk rock into some situation where you wear a uniform and follow a code, that’s why you think that Good Charlotte sucks so much ass. It’s not because they’re actually a bad band (which they are) but it’s because 90% of the way that they look and act is the way punk rock kids identify themselves, but that last ten percent is just goofy and wrong and the results are that you’re kind of stuck looking into this mirror where you see not only all the dumb choices you could have made, but you’re sort of forced to see all the dumb choices you DID make. And man, Mark Twain once said (and I’m paraphrasing at a dangerous level of vacillation right now) that familiarity breeds contempt.

This is true. There is no one so sick of your shit as those people forced to deal with you all the time. No matter how awesome you are, the way you slurp your coffee (something my wife absolutely hates about me) or the way you phrase certain things or the way you lie out loud to yourself or the way you act like a total dipshit around this one dude but you’re pretty cool the rest of the time or even small things like your walk or your pronunciation will eventually drive people around you nuts.

Remember the phrase “no matter how hot she is there’s a dude out there who’s sick of fucking her (alternate ending: sick of her shit)? That’s true for everyone and not just when it comes to fucking. Familiarity breeds contempt. Even if a friendship or relationship is never corrupted, that contempt is in there. That’s why your grandparents love the shit out of each other and get along famously and couldn’t even survive without the other one, but they start yelling and cursing about what seems like nothing all the time. They’ve been building little nuggets of contempt for each other over the course of fifty or so years. Give em a fucking break. Your grandma HATES the way your grandpa clicks his serrated grapefruit spoon against his teeth and all it takes is him saying ‘breakfast’ and she’s on edge.

And there’s no one you’re more familiar with than yourself. And the result of that is that you desperately avoid thinking about yourself in any sort of context like that, because your weaknesses are your weaknesses and you probably are doing the best you can to be the person you want to be, and you have to have sympathy for the fact that you’re doing your best. There’s no reason to beat yourself up over small shit like the way you hate that you don’t really do something very well, or you’re kind of a phony or whatever it is that you secretly know about yourself. You often don’t even admit that shit to yourself except when you’re on mushrooms or terribly hung over or having panic attacks in the middle of the night or sweating why your boyfriend is gonna leave you or something. Then all that contempt pours out and it’s a shitty, terrible feeling that can only be suppressed by completely changing the subject and finding something else to think about. That’s why a lot of people who tend to fancy this type of introspection end up addicted to drugs and alcohol and shit, because frankly, nothing changes the subject faster than something that switches up your brain chemistry. Suddenly, everything’s okay and you don’t have to pay the piper just yet, so to speak.

But yeah. That’s why the metalheads hate the punks and you can’t stand to see your dad with food on his chin. It’s all too close for comfort. What were we talking about again? Oh, how I’m essentially a hipster douche. Right. Sweet.
Okay, I gotta feed my kid breakfast and hit up my accountant’s office. Wait. I’m a thirtysomething turd with a stroller too? Aye carumba.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Okay, wow. I got no time today, but I want to get a few things out there real quick. Firstly, this is incredible. Very happy with all that. Secondly, it’s my wedding anniversary, and thirdly, I’m gonna be down at the Gingerman tonight slingin suds and pumpin studs so come down and let’s hang out, eh? I bet your friends from the Menzingers and Gaslight Anthem could potentially show up there. Eh? Eh?
Fuck, I dunno. I gotta run.

Friday, September 17, 2010

we were born this way!!!

What’s the worst look? Like, what’s the absolute worst way you can make yourself look? Being hopelessly unaware plays a huge role in looking truly bad, doesn’t it? Like, when you’re bald but you’ve got the long flowing locks or when you’re super sloppy and you’re wearing a miniskirt and metal bra, that looks terrible. But what else? There’s a guy in my neighborhood who’s always walking around. He’s real fat and has big swinging, pendulous breasts and he’s also got long hair and a humongous frizzy beard and he kind of dresses like uh…one of the people that potentially hangs out with Robin Hood or something. It’s not quite drag, and it’s not quite ‘back in time’ style, but it’s fucked up and every time I see him, I point him out to my wife and say, “hey, your ex boyfriend is in our neighborhood again” and she says something like “that guy is always around” and I kind of shudder because she’s right. He’s so interesting looking that it’s creepy. Kind of in a weird way he’s doing all the gender and expectation subverting that Lady Gaga has been going for, using nothing but Hostess pudding pies and his love of Renaissance fairs. That’s pretty tight, isn’t it?

I mean, what can you do these days? It’s clear to me that all the good styles have been tried. Therefore the only way to really get ‘out there’ is to do something completely retarded, like wear food or a tent on your face or something. Short of that, you’re not freaking anyone out unless you’re just born grotesque, in which case I hope you’re already totally into freaking people out, because frankly, you’re gonna be doing a lot of it either way, so may as well suit up in rubber tubing and smear yourself with chocolate and just fully go for it, because honestly, limping dude with testicle sacks hanging from your face and neck, you’re not gonna be diffusing any stares with any snappy outfit and erudite conversations about current affairs. Not in the cards, unforch.

I’m personally over the notion of ‘freaking out the squares’. It’s so trite and such a personality trait in and of itself at this point that it’s just as boring as the very uh…’societal norms’ that the whole ‘movement’ is supposedly opposed to. I’m bored of meat bikinis and gender bending and all that. Who cares? Guess who’s been doing shit like that for years? Everyone. Fuck. There’s guys out there (David Bowie comes to mind instantly) who are the same age as MY parents who have been doing that shit since before we were even born. Who cares? Everyone thinks they’re new and dynamic but everyone gets old and hangs up the meat bikini some day and realizes that they’re just like all the other great subversives that came before them: petulant children who didn’t want to hang with the dorks. And fuck…who can blame you/me/them/us? Who wants to hang with the dorks?

Well, the truth is, eventually we all become dorks (or we become mean and isolated, which is worse) and it’s nice to have other dorks around to show you the ropes. It’s not something you can help. You just become a dork no matter what. Yeah, you’re good looking and you like to party and you get all your shit done and it doesn’t matter if you’re still blowing lines at 630 am, by 9 you’re at your computer cranking out bold new ideas and images and pushing the edge of things and making money and DOING it. But guess what? You’re gonna get old. You’re gonna get fat/bald/saggy/scared of kids/too old looking to continue to wear the clothes you like because you’ll end up looking like a clueless Tommy Lee/Pam Anderson Peter Pan typ, so you’ll have to adapt into a more mature style that you don’t really care for or understand and next thing you know you look just like your mom and you’ve got some kids and you can’t even deal with hangovers so it’s easier just to go to bed at 9, because you’re DEFINITELY not getting dynamic shit done after even eating a fucking pizza too close to bedtime, much less snorting a bunch of ketamine and uh oh, the kids are doing shit that seems stupid to you and you don’t want to adapt because you’ve ‘got it figured out’ and the reason you think that is because at some brief fleeting point in your youth, you had it figured out for the second, before the world turned and everything changed and you foolishly think that you’re still some sort of authority about what’s cool, but ooooooooops! You’re just like everyone else. Clueless. And now PRESTO! You’re a dork and you too are bored of these loser kids coming around in their vampire costumes and meat bikinis and punk rock hairdos and trying to freak you out. “oooooooh. Terrifying.” You may be heard to utter from behind your glass of lemonade.

The thing is, you want to freak people out? For real? Wanna be subversive? Be black. Or be from Iran. Then marry someone’s daughter. There you go. You’ve successfully wigged out the squares for real. It’s funny, all the meat bikinis and upside down crosses and pentagrams and gay sex in the world can’t compare to a black MFA student out to dinner with a white girl or a dude in a turban boarding a plane. That’s what Lady Gaga should do next, for sure: become a black dude and start dating Taylor Swift. THAT would be worth digging, folks.

Listen, I’ve gotta go. I don’t have the time to do this stuff today. I hope you guys have a nice weekend. I’m tired and it’s ten thirty and I’m still in my underwear and I’ve gotta get my kid outside and expend some energy. Also I’ve gotta go get my dogs trimmed up and get their asses drained (it’s an extremely glamorous and appetizing process that all small dogs have to go through.
Then it’s off to have lunch. Anyway, be good to each other.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

may I ask who's calling?

I’ve got this amazing habit of losing or destroying iPhones. I’ve left two of them in taxis. I got one stolen from me while I was doing open mic hiphop and finally, and most recently, I dropped one into the hot, full and very soapy sink at the Risque Café while I was attempting to simultaneously clean glasses and check my facebook status on my last night of work for some dumb reason (thanks to all of y’all who came out by the way. Shit was fun as hell. In fact, if I didn’t know myself better, I’d say I was hung over yesterday as a result. Fortunately I know myself pretty well and I’ve determined that I’m just dying of some as of yet undiagnosed terminal illness). What’s the end result? I have no phone. My wife is pissed, and with good reason. I mean, I’ve lost or destroyed something in the neighborhood of thousands of dollars worth of iphones in the last two years. She says (and I’m quoting) ‘you’re not allowed to have any more iphones for a while’ and what am I gonna do? Argue? No way. She’s right. I can’t have nice things. I mean, fuck. I’ve broken or lost almost everything I’ve ever owned. That’s why, as a rule I don’t own nice things. I’m not equipped to handle the pressure that not ruining something applies to a situation. That’s why I’m slightly troubled to have these kids…but that’s a whole other story/series of neuroses. Okay, I’m rambling a little. Let’s focus, shall we? How about an anecdote that sums up what I’m attempting to convey, eh?
Here goes:

My friend Eric has a pretty sweet life that involves sitting around and getting high and playing with his super cute kid. He plays the guitar and the bass for this kid and takes him down to Freaky’s to get replacement parts for his weed vaporizer and every once in a while he does a little bit of graphic design work. He talks up his design business like it’s a sufficient income and all that, but those of us who are in the know (fellow deadbeats) smell the truth. It’s a house of cards. His wife is a lawyer and he’s essentially a nanny who occasionally bones the boss (not to say that I’m not acutely aware of my own uh…position, just by the way).

ANYHOO, They’ve got all sorts of crazy renovations going on with their house and at one point I asked him something along the lines of “uh, dude…with all this shit going on with your house and everything do you ever get bummed, or does your old lady get bummed that you aren’t really uh…you know, pulling your weight financially?”
And his response, essentially was “uh, dude, I could live in my fucking pickup truck if it wasn’t for my wife. I don’t need anything. It’s her that wants an addition on our house. I could go back to living in absolute squalor right now and not miss a beat. Any time she complains at me, I tell her, “hey, let’s just do what I can afford then. I’m fine with it.” And that pretty much shuts her up, because she knows that I can get by happily on nothing.”

I know this feeling to an extent. I’ve lived in a teeny tiny box with up to six other grown men for my entire adult life. I’ve slept on floors, shit into bags, eaten cheetos for dinner on Thanksgiving, slept in abandoned lots, broken into places, rescued roadies from situations where they’d had the cops called on them after they had just boned a chick that looked like a Mexican Corky from Life Goes On with two bloody arms after two unsuccessful home break in attempts (in the cab of a pickup truck in a semi-random driveway) and navigated a literal field of poo logs and hypodermic syringes in order to find a place to lay down.
I’ve stood in freezing mud up to my waist while I watched tripping, coked up Frenchmen drive their trucks into muddy ravines. I’ve spent three days in a parking lot in Kittaning PA for fucks sake. I’ve bought a pack of 20 bean burritos for three bucks from the aldi and split the bounty with three other dudes and that’s all we ate for a week. I’ve suffered. Not ‘buttfucked in jail’ suffered, or ‘I live in a house made of milk cartons right by a polluted river’ suffered, but I’ve got a pretty decent handle on the lower rungs of human existence.

But man….I can’t imagine a life where I can’t look up what Heidi and Spencer are doing on my phone. It’s kind of fucked (and I’m hyper aware that this very line of conversation is going on right now in literally one zillion spots on earth [including some places where mentally retarded people are the people doing the decision making re: what everyone’s talking about right now]) that so recently the idea of having a mobile phone was a Sultan of Brunei type luxury and now the notion of having a phone that doesn’t have an ipod built into it is tantamount to having a car you start with a crank or a camera obscura.

Remember when we had to know where we were gonna meet people? Like, “Hey, I’ll meet you on the northeast corner of clark and Belmont and then we’ll go do shit”? Remember that? Actually, remember when you even needed to make plans? Now it’s ridiculous. There’s no need to plan anything ahead because you can just call at the last possible minute and say things like “where are you? I’m walking down Clarendon right now…I’m on the east side of the street right by Glen’s dildo emporium…Are you almost here? Let’s call Paulie and go to that one Laundromat where the crosseyed Vietnamese chick works and see if we can get any more of that good blow from that old bald guy with the mop. Oh, I see you! Okay, you’re pulling over? Cool. Bye.”

My wife is one of those people who needs to guide every single encounter in with a series of short phonecalls to insure flawless meeting up and it drives me nuts. If I’m meeting her somewhere, there are a bare minimum of four phone exchanges that have to go down, regardless of how simple the pickup/meetup could potentially be. It begs the question “what on earth would we do if we didn’t have these celphones to safely shepherd us into each other’s company?” It would have been just nightmarish to have had to look for you on ALL FOUR CORNERS of this intersection! Jesus. It would be like reliving Katrina and 9-11 all over again, but this time it would be worse and I’d be even more confused, because WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITHOUT MY PHONE? How will I grieve? How will I know where people are and when they're getting there?
Remember answering machines? or not knowing who was calling? Remember having to ask for specific people on the phone rather than just calling the exact person you wanted to talk to? Remember going home to get messages or not being able to get your messages?
You get the idea.
My phone is dead and I don’t know what to do.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I just wanna Liiiive

Hello there everyone! Tonight will mark my last night of host and impresario at the Risque Café’s punk rock Tuesdays. Come down and bid me farewell. I got a job picking through pigshit to find bottlecaps and frankly, it’s just a better opportunity, so I’ve gotta move on, but don’t miss out on the four buck malort, the cheap as shit cans, the power hour and the big four buck cheeseburger. Last time to party folks! Make it worthwhile.

I recently read an article by Chuck Klosterman about guilty pleasures. The term, he argues is pretty shitty and cowardly given the context in which it’s used and I’ve gotta say I agree with him. He begins by pointing out that there are things that do in fact make you feel simultaneous pleasure and guilt: snorting cocaine in a bathroom stall and fucking your best friend’s sister were, I believe, his examples, but listening to a song that you enjoy by a band you consider to be beneath your erudition is not a ‘guilty pleasure’- it’s shitty posturing for one thing, and for another thing it’s completely eschewing the meritocracy that so many of us find ourselves espousing when we talk about music. Namely, that if something’s good, it’s just good. Period. It’s not about image, it’s not about marketing - it just has to be good. HOWEVER, when something is good but we feel like the guy or gal that sings it is a dipshit, we have to relegate it to something we wish we didn’t like, a ‘guilty pleasure.’ That sucks. Here’s why:

You know how you’re always disappointing your dad with your lilting fruitiness and your crappy job and the way you can’t throw or fix a car (oh…that’s me. But you have your own series of shitty qualities that bum out your dad, don’t you? Sure you do.)? Well, okay. Imagine if you finally did something he approved of and he was like “god, I’m so embarrassed to be pleased with my son’s output. You know, he’s a total dingus and this is nothing but fluke pleasure and frankly, I wish I wasn’t experiencing it.” That’s how Nickelback feels when you shit talk “This Afternoon” even though deep down, it totally speaks to you. For shame, man.

Now, I know that there’s nothing more embarrassing than cruising around blasting “Hey Soul Sister” and then seeing a bunch of your friends while you’re stopped at a traffic light right when dude’s singing that part about his ‘untrimmed chest’. That’s the kind of thing that instantly makes your friends picture you with dicks (multiple) laying all over your smiling, sweaty face for sure. And the notion that they (your buddies) perhaps aren’t infected with the rapture you hear every time that opening ukulele line hits your ears may seem unfair, hell, it may BE unfair, but that doesn’t mean that somehow you’re better than Pat Monahan and his boys because he created something you like and you feel all weird that you like it.

In fact, to touch a little bit on my last entry (entitled “I call this piece ‘understanding the human creative impulse from the top down, you fucking turds.’ Do you like it?”) “Guilty Pleasure Syndrome” is probably as close to awesome as any sort of artist can actually hope to be. By being kind of a dildo and then putting something out there that touches people, you maybe are even creating a whole new kind of art and forcing a very strange new feeling onto people. This, I would argue isn’t actually being achieved through ‘art’ but rather through your clothes, dumb hair and wacky ideas about rings and vests being acceptable accessories. Now, you’re pitting individuals in a civil war between their dignity and the music they love. That’s pretty exciting, and (if I’m not mistaken) totally unplannable, so that’s kind of like striking a very weird kind of gold that leaves people embarrassed and you (the guy from Candlebox) feeling like you’re not any good and not being able to synthesize the notions of having tons of fans but feeling like you suck terribly, unless they’re all idiots or you’re a truly misunderstood genius (which you aren’t, hence tons of fans). This is the kind of art that’s bigger than songs and people, folks. It’s a mind fuck on an epic scale.

Now, full disclosure: I’ve talked to some people (they’re mostly people who work at bookstores or people I run into very randomly at bars and things) who say stuff like “oh, aren’t you that guy from Lawrence Arms? Oh, I used to listen to you guys” or something kind of along those lines. These people are always nu-bohemian types that have transcended beards, PBR and sweatiness for beards, PBR and girls dressed like Richard Simmons and bikes with no brakes. They always get a little embarrassed and I realize that I’m standing here with someone for whom I’m the living embodiment of ‘a phase’ of their life that’s now over. To them, I’m a guilty past pleasure, which seems…I don’t know. Am I more embarrassed that I currently love Party in the USA (not at all embarrassing) and Good Girls Go Bad (slightly more embarrassing) or that I used to totally jam out to Mother Love Bone and Red Hot Chili Peppers? It’s a hard call. One’s visceral and current and the other one is something you’ve consciously distanced yourself from and either way, it’s tempting to write it off as something that’s not part of you, but it is. It IS, bro. Yes it is.

SO get out there, put on that Taylor Swift record and just fucking sing it like you want to. Then you can jam out to Bruno Mars and the new Plain White T’s song and just kind of uh, what? Sway to the rhythm of love? Yeah. That’ll do.

See you tonight. Don’t let me down, folks!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I call this piece "understanding the human creative impulse from the top down, you fucking turds." Do you like it?

And just like that, it was over! This Tuesday is the LAST EVER punk rock Tuesday at the Risque Café, as I’m moving on to greater things. Come out and feast on the four buck burger, gorge on the cheap tallboys of PBR and Old Style and suffer through shot after shot of four dollar Malort! It’s a bon voyage for the ages folks. I’m gonna miss my peeps up in the Risque Café and all the blurry times there, but we’ve got one last chance to do it up. Are you man enough? Or do you have tits? Either way, come on down. Shit starts at 9 and ends at the end of all things, bro. Ya heard?

Anyway, as promised here’s what I hate: art. Art is so fucking stupid and pretentious and irritating and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of artists and their dumb notions about the importance of whatever they’re shitting out of their minds and onto a page, canvas, stage, piece of tape or sculpture pedestal. It’s indulgent and dumb and there’s nothing inherently worthwhile about art.

Oh, hey now! Wait a minute! Don’t misunderstand me. Art can provide people with very specific and important feelings and notions about the world and themselves, but that’s the product of the people doing the feeling, not the art and DEFINITELY not the artist. Here’s what I mean: I’m a painter. I see an ugly incident in the subway and I go home and I paint this picture of a solid gold bird shitting onto an earth made out of candycanes floating in what looks like a toilet bowl, but upon further examination actually ends up being the top of former UK prime Minister Tony Blair’s head. He’s having tea at Wimbledon with a walrus who’s wearing panties. It’s inspired by the ugly incident I saw on the subway and it’s heralded as a success and it’s shown at in-the-know parties all around the world. People think I’m brilliant. Why?

Okay, let’s assume that people REALLY do think I’m brilliant and it’s not one of those the-emperor-wears-no-clothes scenarios where everyone just thinks something’s SUPPOSED to be brilliant so they fawn over it when really it’s not doing anything viscerally to them at all. Why do they think I’m brilliant? Because when they look at my painting (entitled Galactic Nebluoid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you) it stirs something inside them which comes from that primary emotional palette that makes you kind of have a soul orgasm and really FEEL ALIVE for a second. You look at it and your gut just says “that’s awesome” and beyond that, there’s something more, right? You feel connected to it, like you understand it and it understands you and you don’t feel so alone in the shitty world and even if the sentiment is ugly there’s strength in mutual understanding and peace in not being completely marginalized, even in the margins…Something like that, right?

I mean that’s why we all listen to music, innit? Same thing. The best songs SOUND great, but there’s more to it than just that. It’s the empathy and the connection that’s un-articulatable that makes someone think it IS great. Even in the case of instrumental music this is true. There’s a profound understanding of what we, the listener (consumer) would like to hear (and often more to the point, what we didn’t even know we wanted to hear) and that fosters a deep bond that flows from us to the piece and by extension the artist.

But that’s all complete bullshit. Let’s go back to Galactic Nebuloid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you for a moment, shall we? Sure. I saw an ugly incident in the subway and painted a picture that touched hundreds of thousands of people’s souls, but not for the reasons that I was attempting to articulate. The ugly incident was MY inspiration, whie the painting is THEIR inspiration and the only real currency here in any sort of meaningful sense is that feeling engendered inside individuals when they’re inspired and feel that sense of loving something. The artist is no more a genius than the board that Galactic Nebuloid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you is painted on, or the guy that pushed his grandma onto the train tracks that inspired the whole thing. That shit is just the inspiration for where the real work takes place, which is inside the people viewing it who can somehow, against all odds and evidence to the contrary, make themselves truly believe if just for a moment that they’re not alone, or that shit will be fine or that there’s a universal understanding at work. So what does this mean? That we’ve got it backwards. The artist isn’t the one creating miracles, the consumer is. THAT’S the fucking truth. Don’t believe me?

Go to a rock show and look around. Who’s having the best time? The artist? No. It’s the crowd. Why? Because they’re the ones making something great happen there, not the other way around. That’s the great fallacy of art. People in the crowd say they admire and respect the artist, when really it’s the songs and really, truly, it’s not even the songs. It’s the feeling inside each person that the songs nurture and stoke up. That’s why there’s no universal truth with art. It’s all what we as consumers carry with us that make something good or bad. That’s why your mom thinks “Gimme Shelter” is the sexiest song of all time and you prefer “Nibble on my Dick (Like A Rat Does Cheese).” Is one of you wrong ? No. YOU’RE the ones infusing those worthless pieces of music with the cultural cache that they require in order for you to love them. Not the artist. And the fact that the artist takes credit for that is kind of absurd.

Art is boring. It all sucks. And there’s no more clear example of this than at an art college. Look around. Everyone’s the same unique individual, taking pictures of the homeless guy’s grizzled wrinkles or the migrant worker’s sad eyes and calloused hands. Here’s someone boldly juxtaposing nature and urban landscapes! Oh look! Someone’s using fecal matter to portray something sacred again right over there next to where the egomaniac is highlighting all her own body flaws through photographic essays and paintings and poetry about her beefy labia and sagging gut and hairy belly button. Wow.

Guess what, assholes? They’ve been doing this shit for thousands of years. There’s nothing new. Here’s a rule of thumb: Do you think you’re doing something new, or even remotely interesting? Then you’ve just not looked around long enough. Things have been so fucking done to death that we’ve even killed the ironic doing-things-to-death-on-purpose movement. I’m not interesting and neither is my art. Say it with me folks, because it’s as true for you as it is for me.

Now, that’s not to say that shit’s not enjoyable. I love tons of songs and paintings and books and I even love a lot of work that’s done by pretentious dicks who think they’re doing god’s work, BUT it seems to me that the best stuff is kind of forged in madness. The best stuff is made by people who say things like “I dunno…I just sort of thought it looked cool/sounded good/felt neat etc.” when asked about their motivations. That is, the people who realize that making art isn’t at all about them and their intention, but rather the work that the consumer does in order to appreciate it. Those folks who seem to be the BEST at art seem to create out of compulsion and simple pragmatic necessity and a need for visceral gratification, rather than those who want to wig out the squares or take things to a bold new place. Coincidentally, those people don’t tend to think of themselves as artists. They’re just guys and gals who do stuff because they want to and they like it (or hate it). And that’s why all artists suck and all art is dumb.
Because the best art isn’t called art and it’s not made by artists. It’s just cool shit that that weird fat chick made in her garage.
And with that, I’m off to paint all the parking meters in my neighborhood like various three stooges characters.
See you fucks later.

Friday, September 10, 2010

yet another triumphant return!!!!

Hey all! It’s been a while since I’ve doled out any advice here, but it used to be my bread and butter, right up there with talking shit about Diddy and creating bold new euphemisms for vaginas (cookie monster’s toothless gums). It’s been said in erudite cocktail party circles that my advice is the absolute top-notch-best in the world, and while I truly, truly believe that to be the case, lots of it has to do with the fact that my little Dogs of War that need advice all need pretty much the same advice: How do I get laid/how do I get this girl or guy to like me (again)? HOWEVER, Every once in a while someone writes in with a question that’s truly tough. Today, friends, is one of those days.

Capt Murdock writes:

I’ve been working in a pretty boring and sterile cubicle job for 8 years now. I’ve been promoted enough that I can pay my mortgage, have two kids under the age of two and have a wife who only needs to work a few nights here and there to make ends meet. It is pretty soul crushing but it is a necessity based on the life decisions I’ve made up to this point. 

I am also an avid homebrewer (Hey this tastes just like blueberry pie!) and go to nerdy homebrew meetings. Well at the last meeting a rep from a semi-local brewery stopped by and said they were hiring for a QA position that would allow me to make a career out of my hobby. I went to two interviews and basically have the job if I want it. There are only three issues. I would have to work 9pm – 6 am, I would have to move my family two hours away and I would be making about 40% less than I do now.

My wife has offered to go back to work on a regular basis to make up for the lost income and the kids are young enough that it really isn’t a big deal to relocate but I’m not sure if I want to pull the trigger. It just seems really selfish to do something like this and put the financial future of my family at risk.

Heyo! Firstly, thanks for writing in. Okay, now that the pleasantries are out of the way, wowzers…this is serious stuff. Frankly, I’m surprised that your perceived selfishness is your first concern. If I were you, my first concern would be the hours, which are gruelingly shitty. However, that says quite a bit about how much the prospect of being able to do this job excites you. I know that if I could do my dream job (judging blowjob contests) I wouldn’t really care about the hours either. That’s important, because lots of people think they know what they want and then find out too late that they actually hate being a tv sports guy(for example) and there they are, out one dream and stuck in a job they despise. That’s soul crushing on a whole new level, Capt. And that’s why I’d say if you weren’t ABSOLUTELY sure that you loved this as much as you think you do, you may want to think twice about moving, reversing your waking hours, sacrificing time with your family and money and having your wife get a job in order to do something that you only think you may love doing but ends up being totally soul sucking. I mean, people kill themselves for less, ya know?

BUUUUUUT I don’t think that’s you. You do this already, right? Sure you do. You go to the meetings, you’ve met with the guys. Presumably you’ve got the job offer because you share a passion and vision for whatever dumb raspberry torte stout that this brewery makes and you know the deal. You already brew and you know you like it. SO the hours aren’t an issue to you. You’d PAY to do this job, but the financial strain and the general bullshit that goes along with taking this job (your old lady getting a job, moving) seem like a lot to ask of people just so you can go live out your hobby as a job, right?

Here’s what I say: You have to do it. You know how many people out there, if asked wouldn’t even have an answer for “what’s your dream job?” Know how many people have dream jobs that they’d NEVER be qualified to do (like your fat stoner friend who wants to be an astronaut or your Korean pal with the limp that wants to be in the NBA)? You’re actually very, very lucky in that you have a passion that can be translated into making money AND (and this is the real point here) you’re lucky enough to have a partner that loves and cares about you enough to VOLUNTEER to make sacrifices so that you can fulfill your dreams.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, most people are married to horrible shitheads who operate selfishly and maliciously given the opportunity, OR spineless dipshits that roll over and do whatever the other person says or implies. A good relationship is hard to come by, and it sounds like you’ve got one. That’s good because you’re gonna be working from 9pm to 6am and you’re gonna need all the understanding you can get for a while.
ALSO, you don’t like your current job and that’s understandable. Most people hate their jobs. As a result, lots of people better their lives by switching careers. Sure, you’ll be making less money at first, but you’re getting into a new field with opportunities for advancement that you can hopefully capitalize on, right? Of course. So, let’s look over the docket, shall we?

1) You’ve got a passion in life (exceedingly rare)
2) You’ve got the opportunity to get paid for it (more rare than 1)
3) You’ve got a supportive wife that wants to see you realize your dream (even rarer than 2)
4) You hate your current job
5) You and your wife and kids are still young enough that you can all do this without it being monstrously hard on all of you.
6) There is no six.

I know this all sounds a little cavalier and simplistic, and as is the nature of advice columns, it is. BUT consider regret and how much you will hate yourself in another 8 or 28 years if you’re still in your cube thinking about the time you had an honest-to-god chance to get out and do what you love but you passed it by because of addressable (and what will seem, from the future, like minor) problems. You will be miserable. In the words of the Butthole Surfers: “It’s better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done” and in the words of Marshall Mathers “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance.”
This shit’s true, kids.
I know this is a tough one. Good luck.
Oh, and bonus points for referencing a classic BSC. Good on ya, Capt!
Okay, tune in Monday when I’ll spend my time here telling y’all why I hate art students.
Have a good weekend and Happy 9-11 everyone!
I’m off to my local terror mosque!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

When did so much become so little?

Fuck, man. The one kid is sleeping. The other one is rotting his brain watching Yo Gabba Gabba and I’m here, blasting down the galactic nerdobahn with these few precious moments that I have. My birthday was a great time. Thanks to everyone who came out to Risque the other night for the celebration. I think it was pretty fun…and you? Did you have fun? Enjoy the cupcakes? The Malort? Good deal. Don’t say I never did anything for you ungrateful turds. Anyway…

I woke up yesterday with a bleary head and decided to get a cheeseburger. I’ve been eating ‘healthy’ for a while now, but on my birthday I decided to go for it. The girls at the cheeseburger place were super young and good looking and I felt OLD as shit sitting there bullshitting with them. I mean, I AM old. I’m probably a good twelve years older than these girls and (I was noticing) I’ve pretty much got the exact same job as them: working in a bar serving beer and burgers to assholes like me. There’s nothing like a little stocktaking with your morning birthday cheeseburger to make you feel like a real sack of crap, ya know? SO I fucked a couple of the girls in the walk-in cooler and went about my day, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being a bit of a loser for the life of me.

See, when I was in highschool I was already making money playing music. Through college my band went on little weekend jaunts every possible moment that I wasn’t in school and by the time I graduated it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Chris and Neil and I would just go on tour and not get ‘jobs’ because, uh…wouldn’t you? I mean, faced with the notion of pounding the pavement for some shitty internship or getting paid to see the world and drink beer, which would you pick?
Yeah, so would I.

SO, there we were, on the road a good ten to thirteen months a year, getting to know the world in the way that you do when you spend one day in any given spot and move on. It was fairly easy for us to keep in touch with all our various friends who had moved away and were doing what at the time seemed like the most boring shit imaginable. We’d swoop into town, play a show, give our buddies free beer and talk about the tour and stagger out in the morning while they went to work and do it all again the next night in another town…Obviously I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but the point is, I’d see my working buddies and there was no doubt that I was having more fun, getting more out of livin’ and yadda yadda wocka wocka wocka than they were. I knew it, they knew it, and I felt so incredibly confident in the choices that had gotten us to that point that I didn’t really ever stop to think about what would happen when that shit slowed down for whatever reason.

Welllllllll, here we are. Shit has slowed down, and it’s weird because from what I can tell, our band is more popular than ever, but we’re old and that shit is a young man’s game and now, to borrow the parlance of our times “I ain’t got no job, and I ain’t got shit to do.” Nowadays I’m hustling like all my friends did twelve or thirteen years ago and they’re all embedded in careers and (presumably) pretty successful and happy and I’m behind a bar…I write a blog and host a tv show (those things don’t make me any money, btw) and I carry a two year old and a 3.5 month old around with me everywhere I go (those actually cost me money). It’s cool. I love the family part. I dig the blog part and the tv show part is insanely fun and challenging but I don’t really like the fact that I kind of fucked up in the ‘career’ section of things and now I’m old and weird and the only industry that I really have good connections in and that I’m versed in the ins and outs of seems to be going out of business. That part stinks.

Now, I’m not really trying to complain here. I would rather see the world in my 20’s than in my 60’s and I feel great about the legacy that I have so far as a musician (and the shit to come is gonna blow your dicks/vulvas back out through your assholes) but as I get a year older, there’s no two ways about it: I think about the ways I’ve fucked up and the time I wasted that I’ll never get back and it’s kind of a bummer.
Thank god I’m so fuckng good looking, right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Goooooood morning deesh! My heart is all aflutter today and it’s not just because Keenan Cahill’s chillingly beautiful rendition of Teenage Dream has in no small way touched and caressed my soul, but also because tonight at midnight it’s my fucking birthday! I’m having a party at the Risque Café and you’re all invited! I’ve got some tickets to see the Gaslight Anthem and Hot Hot Heat that I’m gonna raffle off as part of the festivities courtesy of my good buds over at JBTV and I’m gonna be whipping out 3 buck tallboys, 4 buck Malort shots (that’s right assholes!), 4 buck cheeseburgers and a power hour that’ll make your hair curl, bros. PLUS Toby Jeg’s gonna be there and he’s talking about doing some DJing, but of course the big, big deal is that it’s my birthday, so get over to your Nana’s house, steal some of her pain medication and bring it to me tonight at Risque Café over at Clark and Sheffield and stay for the party. It’s gonna be a real hoot!

So, yeah…birthdays. They’re a real time of stocktaking, aren’t they? I mean, that’s what they become starting around 30, I guess. I remember turning 25 and thinking that the dream was over, and it kind of was in a way. 25 is when you start looking like a man and creepy old dudes don’t just send drinks your way anymore, but the upside is that you’re finally kind of cool and worth being around (this last bit is especially true if you’re of the female persuasion) and generally, you’re kind of finally getting taken seriously, and that’s a nice change of pace.

Lots of people hate turning thirty, but I loved it. In fact, I thought it was terrific. Here’s why: I was still kind of Peter Panning around the world, making money just playing music in cool places like Perth and Japan and I felt like I was kind of immune to the doom that accompanies turning 30, so I felt a little bit invincible and also, suddenly I looked great for my age. When I turned 30, suddenly people started being surprised that I was that old, whereas at 29 I was impressing absolutely no one. This led me to a great unspoken realization that I’m gonna share with all of you right now, but first a small anecdote to set the scene:

I know a guy who’s pretty pathetic (actually, I know a lot of guys who are pretty pathetic, and even a lot of guys who fall into this specific category of patheticness, but bear with me here). He’s my age, but he looks much older. He’s kind of tubby and bald and has fucked up teeth and he’s done a few goofy things to himself (tattoos and lobe stretching and shit) that have not aged well on him and the results are uh…not that good. Now, again, he’s my age BUT when he meets chicks he tells them he’s 27. I guess his thinking is that if he’s closer to their age, they’ll feel less skeeved out about putting his wiener in their mouths, but this logic is completely misguided for a few reasons:
1) If he’s saying he’s 27 to a 21 year old, that’s still gonna seem pretty old to her (especially since he looks like he’s older) and it’s really not gonna get him anywhere. If he’s talking to a girl over 25 (remember, finally cool) then she’s probably not gonna make a decision about blowing him based on his age anyway. It’s gonna be up to his good looks (heh) and charm (again, heh) unless he’s talking to the right kind of girl and he’s got an 8 ball on him.
2) If he’s 27, he looks TERRIBLE! Hell, he looks terrible for being 33. If he’s 27, he’s swimming in the most polluted and undesirable gene pool of all time. Which leads me to my realization:

If you’re a man and you feel like you should lie about your age, you should ALWAYS lie and say you’re older than you are. It will only make you look more handsome and well preserved. Think about it. I’m no prize if I’m 27, but if I’m 40? I look absolutely spectacular. You should probably leave shit like lying about your age to old women and teenage boys looking to buy cigarettes, but if you MUST do it, don’t make the great mistake of saying you’re younger. That only makes you look dumber and uglier than you already are.
Just sayin.

This year, I’m getting old and I kind of feel like a dipshit. I mean, I’m working at a dumb bar and just kind of space coasting towards inevitable doom. But that’s not for thinking about right now, folks. Right now is my last day as a youth and tonight at 9 the party begins (and then kicks up a notch at midnight), so suck it, Doom! I’ll deal with you later.

Okay, you want Gaslight tickets? How bout Hot Hot Heat? How bout just to take some Malort shots and help me get older? Then I’ll see you tonight.
Later puds, I’m off to the farmer’s market.

Oh, and go watch Teenage Dream (with me) if you’re one of the few who hasn’t already seen it. It’s truly heartwarming.

Friday, September 3, 2010

just a quick note!

Hey turds! I hope you all enjoyed the 9-02-10 date that signified a global appreciation for Dylan, Kelly, Brandon and of course Tiffany Amber Thiesen and Joe E tata. I'm just here to let you know that I'm gonna be at Risque Cafe tonight for Burlesque night and in what's probably more exciting news, I'm gonna be at the L and L tomorrow night to help ring in my wife's birthday (she's turning sixteen!) and generally get you all drunk, so come down and let's party!

Love you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the puppy situation

You know what? I wrote a whole entry just now about that girl that threw the puppies into the river in Germany and the subsequent publishing of all her personal information on the internet and the crazy global lynch mob that’s going after her for doing something really, really terrible, but then I erased it all. The whole entire situation stinks so bad. I mean, I’m no huge fan of puppy drowning, nor do I like how much power the nerds wield in today’s technocratic dystopian crapscape. I don’t like a whole world of people ganging up on a teenaged girl who’s obviously both quite disturbed and massively stupid. I don’t like the way any of this shit went down, and I really don’t like that kids now are so cavalier about putting shit on the internet. What’s gonna be going on when my kids are old enough to post shit on the internet? I mean, there’s already suicides, dog killing, people fucking pigs and goats and shit…There’s literally nothing left, right?
I mean, I know that when they started showing Elvis’s hips on television our grandparents said the same thing. “Well, that’s as far as humanity can take things, obviously” but they were wrong. I mean, all that’s left is like honest-to-god death squad footage of people incinerating families and gangraping people and stuff, which, let’s be honest is way worse than drowning a couple of puppies, innit?

Yeah, it’s a bad situation…If you guys don’t know what I’m talking about just google ‘girl in red sweater tossing puppies into river’ and check out the whole disturbing thing. Meanwhile, I’m gonna cheer myself up by talking about a good situation, in fact the best situation. Of course, I’m talking about the Situation.

The Situation is a totally great dude and there’s no way to deny it. I just read that he’s buying a Bentley. Good work, Situation! He’s now on Dancing with the Stars (which I’m actually gonna start watching now because of him) and he’s got action figures, a workout tape and all sorts of clothes and bullshit like that. The dude’s taken an outrageous nickname (remember when you first heard that he was called The Situation? If your reaction was anything like mine it was something along the lines of “um…that’s not a name. Who the fuck is gonna call someone ‘the situation’?) and turned it into an empire, and before you get all snotty and pooh pooh my boy, allow me to point out the following: No reality star (save one, who kind of did the same thing, who we’ll get to soon enough) has EVER done anything like this before. That shit’s impressive, folks.

The Real World season one arguably invented the reality tv genre in 1992. Some of you weren’t even born. I was in highschool struggling with constant boners and the occasional bra clasp and I watched the shit out of that show. That first season spawned some great archetypes that we still see today: the angry black guy, ancillary less angry but still very understanding-of-black-guy’s-outrage black chick, hillbilly chick that “don’t really know no real black folk, yall,” dumb himbo who thinks this show’s his rocket to the moon, and of course the slut. It also taught the genre what seemed like a very important lesson: if someone is genuinely personable and kind of easy going, they’re gonna be dull as shit on TV.
Andre was this guy on the first season of Real World. He was a post grunge Shannon Hoon wannabe who was in a terrible band called (ready for this?) Reigndance.
Um, nice band name.
Anyhoo, Andre was kind of mellow and he was dull as shit as a result, and so from then on they decided that they needed the following people almost exclusively: persecuted minorities (as in, people that feel that because they’re black, gay, Chinese, a redneck etc. that the world is out to get them), desperate sluts, dumb xenophobes, a drunk and a few people who have questions about their sexuality just to spice shit up. This remained the model for reality tv until kind of recently, when the whole ‘family style’ reality show and the ‘I’m already a celebrity but I’m doing reality’ style show started becoming the main thing. BUT: importantly in ALL these shows either drunk sluts or completely shitty human beings who are abrasive to be around 100% of the time are the bread and butter. This is true for Rock of Love and it’s true for Jon and Kate plus 8 and it’s true for Hogan knows best. The shows that fuck with that notion are either about food (ace of cakes) or they’re dumb and cancelled before you even see their little chocolatey faces peeking up from behind their candy counter (Midget Chocolate People or whatever it’s called [I know what it’s called]).

Yes, since 92 there have been THOUSANDS of reality stars, and they’ve all been huge for a moment and then gone away or at least gone back to obscurity (I realize that in the UK this is a little different, but for my purposes here I’m sticking strictly American reality) with the exception of 2 people: Kate Goesslin and then my boy the Sitch.
Kate is an anomaly for a lot of reasons. 1) she’s a mom and we tend to shy away from cultural obsessions with moms that look like moms (though we’re endlessly thrilled with mom’s hot new bikini bodies for whatever reason) 2) (and this is a little like 1)) She’s hideously deformed looking and 3) She’s a total cunt, but people don’t seem to love to hate her, they just love her, which says a lot about the cunt quotient in this country, I suppose.
Anyway, Kate was the first non famous reality star to break out and become a real honest to god celebrity, based in no small part on a completely dildofied ex husband and a messy divorce and the worst hair I’ve ever seen. She surpassed the Ryans and Tristas of the world of reality, people who were famous, but only in the cultural context of their reality show. Kate transcended Jon and Kate and therefore became a real live celebrity. Sure, she’s one of the shittiest excuses for a celerity that we’ve ever seen, but she’s a celebrity.
And time raced on…

(At this point I want to address the elephant in the room that is Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie and Kim Kardashian. Yes, technically they got big doing reality TV, BUT they were all already groomed for fame. Tabloids were looking at them and publishing photos before they had a show or a sex tape or anything. They’ve got famous parents and they live in Hollywood and they’re rich. If they hadn’t had reality shows they’d still be famous. Look at Suri Cruise if you don’t believe me)

But then…MTV broke their cardinal rule and cast a homogenous house full of people. There was no persecuted black guy, no gay guy, no hillbilly who’d never seen someone with an afro. Nope. It was all just beefy, oiled up Italian kids who get drunk and fuck each other (except Ronnie, who gets drunk, does cocaine and fucks someone). They had break out stars in the Situation and Snookie, something that’s never really happened before, and while snookie used her opportunity to paint herself orange and leave her panties at home, thereby falling into the reality abyss with Puck, Jack Osbourne, and the entire cast of Robot Wars, The Situation cleverly marketed himself through athletics, booze and uh…probably some other shit, right? He’s made a brand out of being a dude that always pulls up his shirt and talks about how awesome he is and you know what? He IS awesome! I’d LOVE to hang out with the Sitch, bros. I’d love it. And not in an ironic “lookit me! I’m hanging with the situation (snicker)” kind of way (though that’s definitely part of it). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he seems like a nice dude who’s pretty funny and likes to have a good time. I’m in.
I’ve even got my own nickname: “A couple of dioramas.” What do you think? It’s weird, right?
Hey, worked for my boy, maybe it’ll work for me.
Ah, I forgot about Elizabeth Hasslebeck. But she’s kind of a harpy, so fuck her.
I gotta go to the gym, get a quick tan and then do some laundry so I’m gonna go.
Peace, grenades!