Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Woah...

My car is dead and I don’t feel too far behind it. There’s something deeply cruel about small children waking up at six thirty. Don’t they realize that I need sleep? Sheesh.

Anyhoo, I had a great time this weekend and I want to tell y’all all about it, especially the parts that involve armor and giant Osama Bin Laden murals and a guy with a spray painted dick passed out in nothing but a helmet, but I’m gonna have to do it another time. I’m feeling pretty kicked in the balls this morning. You kids understand, right? Good.
xoxoxo

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks!

Dogs of war! In my times of need, I’ve asked of you and you’ve provided for me and I’ve always been very thankful for your responses, whether it’s been a high ranking official at BOA getting me my bank records or a lowly street urchin bringing or mailing me a hat while I’m on the east coast or all of you that have sent me clam shots over the past two years. You guys have always been good to me and in honor of thanksgiving, I’d like to take this time to posit that I’m more thankful for you, my faithful pack, than almost anything else in my life. True. Group hug.

Well, I’m desperately in need of your help once again. As some of you know, I’ve been in the process of making a movie for the past year and a half. It’s almost done but one thing that’s really missing is a shot that I need to get that features a woman’s naked cans. It’s really crucial and I don’t know what to do. My wife won’t do it, and her friends all feel like their tits are too old for the job (and apparently, no amount of convincing from me will sway them) so I’m turning to you. Are you a woman with tits? Are you in Chicago? Would you be willing to show said tits in a movie that I wrote and directed? Your face will not be in the film, just your cans…and you can be credited however you like. It’ll take about an hour of your time tops and I promise no one will try to fuck you or be creepy at all…It’s just imperative that we get some canisters in for this last shot and as of now, I don’t have anyone who’s into it.

SO if you’re someone who fits the bill (female, with tits, down to show em and in the Chicago area) please, PLEASE hit me up at the email addy that’s linked form this page and we’ll be in business. Thank you so much.

I’m thankful for all of you, but especially those of you with viewable jugs.

Oh, and uh, of course you've got to be at least 18. No creepy stuff, folks. Like I said.

xoxooo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm a ninja!

Okay, what’s the deal? Is Yolandi even naked on the internet? Because I can’t find any pics anywhere. What’s up with those pictures of Ninja when he’s got no teeth on their website? Are those tattoos even real? I heard that they used to be sophisticated! How dare they uh…what exactly are they doing again? Um, oh, right. You guys may not all be familiar with Die Antwoord. I’m gonna give you the real quick version.

This is absolutely the last week that you will be able to live on earth and not hear about Die Antwoord. For the next couple of months, they’re gonna be a gigantic sensation from the clubs where the Situation hangs out all the way to clubs where Vincent Gallo hangs out and everywhere in between. They’re a South African rap group composed of a dude who calls himself Ninja, a hot (but totally fucked up looking) chick named Yolandi and a big fat guy DJ named Hi-Tek. Their music is bizarre and their appearance is even weirder. Ninja is, no two ways about it, a very charismatic and highly talented MC. That’s not really up for debate. Almost everything else surrounding this group, however, is.

Firstly, these guys are, in appearance and dress and attitude and everything are espousing a lifestyle and general image that they call “Zef” which according to my research is a combination of new and outmoded styles that combines to reflect the current street style/sensibility of the poor South African white youth. In that way, it’s not very different than being a hipster. It’s a little bit of Pink Floyd, some Biz Markie, cutting edge, purposefully ugly haircuts mixed with ironic yin-yang shirts, some winkingly bad tattoos, the worship of really cheap ways of getting fucked up (bad weed, malt liquor, etc) and a hardcore insistence that it’s all really legit. Oh, and it’s also notable that about a zillion other people who are doing the exact same thing all point at each other and decry each other for being posers. That’s a huge part of it, as far as I can tell. The difference is that with hipsters, American Hipsters (capital H) there’s been almost nothing interesting being produced by them (vice do’s and don’ts [in the Mcinnes days] being a notable exception), and with Zef, the only people I know of who identify with Zef are in this highly entertaining and polarizing rap group, so well…Zef is cooler. For now.

The BIG thing about Die Antwoord that’s interesting to talk about is that they weren’t always these sort of ghettoized quasi-juggalos with prison tattoos that they are today. In fact, in the last band that Ninja was in, he wore expensive suits and was (in stark contrast to how he looks now) extremely handsome and well put together. He’s clearly into high concept shit, and Die Antwoord is no exception, but there’s this backlash that’s occurring (simultaneously with their meteoric rise, which is exactly the kind of cultural synergy you need to truly get huge) where people are accusing them of being fake, of co-opting a culture that they weren’t born into and so on. “Die Antwoord is just pretending to be gross street rat scrubs that think Yin Yang tattoos are cool. Really, they’re sophisticated marketers and this is just the latest ploy to peddle their music” is something along the lines of how the criticism goes.

But I think that’s not only entirely retarded, it’s also missing the point so completely that it’s not just missing the point about Ninja, Yolandi and Hi-Tek, not just about Die Antwoord, or rap, or music, but art in its entirety.

Okay, so art has been completely commodified to the point where it’s essentially like dogfood or pizza these days, right? As soon as something is interesting, the next point is giving it a name and making money off of it, whether it’s painting, poems, books, videos, music, whatever. This strikes people as gauche, especially young people, which is highly unusual, because despite what they’ll have you believe, they’ve (we’ve) never lived in a world where art wasn’t a commodity. Now, of course there’s the internet which is a great Robin Hood that steals from whoever and provides free art to whomever else, be it books or music or movies or video games (which are DEFINITELY art, by the way), but that’s still not addressing the issue (or fallacy) of art as a commodity, that’s merely a way to get around it. If you’ve got a tunnel that goes from your prison cel underground and comes out in the woods half a mile away it doesn’t mean that the building your cel is in is no longer a prison. It just means you’ve found a sneaky way to get what you want in the face of competing interests. Get it? No? Whatever. Trust me. Art is commerce and anyone who tells you otherwise is A) a self righteous and highly delusional dipshit B) a smug asshole that thinks they’re better than you or C) an idealistic teen that’s probably no small parts A) and B). Oh, and there’s hippies too, but fuck them entirely.

Now, if we can accept that all of us have grown up in a world where art is a commodity and always has been, isn’t it just na├»ve to pretend it isn’t? That doesn’t mean it can no longer inspire, that doesn’t mean it can’t be heartfelt and come from a pure place that’s not influenced by a dollar sign, but to pretend that art is some kind of magical thing that doesn’t rightly exist in the commercial sphere is sort of akin to pretending that horses and steam engines are still the best way to travel or that leeches are the number one remedy for headaches. It’s just no longer true, no matter what you pretend, and more to the point, it’s NEVER BEEN TRUE AS LONG AS YOU’VE BEEN ALIVE, SO WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU EVEN GETTING THIS FROM? (rock and roll, it bears mentioning, has ALWAYS been a commodity, same with rap. There literally wasn’t a time when these art forms existed that they weren’t being actively peddled. NEVER. Just sayin.)

And so there’s a marketability factor that CAN play into something, especially something as transparently commercial as rap music: the most popular music with young people worldwide. Now, I’m not suggesting that you must mold and shape your marketability and persona (I mean, lord knows I never have…I’m really me, y’all) but lots of artists like to control every aspect of how a project comes together, from inception to construction to follow through, and there’s nothing wrong with molding and shaping an aspect of your art that’s gonna be there whether you like it or not. It’s like not wiping your ass because you’d rather pretend you don’t shit. You can do that, and maybe things will go just how you want them to, but you can also take control of that situation and make sure that you do your best to get things to go your way.

Which brings me back to Die Antwoord and the notion that maybe they’re pretenders. Who cares? Did Melville have to live on a whaler to write Moby Dick? Did Freddy Mercury REALLY have to love fat bottom girls (because, uh…), did Dostoyevsky have to kill someone and live with the guilt? Fuck no. It’s art. These people are artists and can create whatever they want to. “Legitimate art” is a completely subjective and stupid notion. No, actually. It’s not subjective. It’s just stupid.

If you think something sucks, that’s fine. But to deny the merits of something based on your own armchair quarterback notions of if the person who created it has a right to have created it….uh, fuck you. THEY created it. That makes it totally theirs. Sorry, critic. Sorry, bitter shithead who didn’t think of doing it first. No one gets pissed because Tom Cruise isn’t really a secret agent or that Eminem isn’t really raping his mother or that ICP isn’t really white and black, but god forbid you pretend to be poor or marginalized, or weird. Then you’re “Co-opting a unique culture” or “exploiting those who don’t have a voice” or some such other white guilt bullshit. It’s ridiculous.

If Zef style is what Ninja likes, then he’s allowed to be Zef. Period. Oh, he’s not allowed? Why? Because he has too much money? He brags about having too much money, so what’s your point? He can afford nicer clothes/tattoos/haircuts? Well, I’m wearing jeans that cost me 2 bucks because I like them. I can afford nicer jeans. I cut my hair myself, but I could potentially go to a barber. I’ve got tattoos that my friends have given me for free that look totally crappy. Does any of that make me phony? Of course not. Living within your means and enjoying things that you can afford or that are a bargain don’t make you an asshole. Sorry.

Hey, how about this! I listen to and make punk rock music even though I didn’t grow up in the suburbs and was never really disenfranchised and bored by design. I was no more disenfranchised and bored than any of my friends who wound up being lawyers (actually, I talk to my brother and he’s vastly more disenfranchised and bored than I’ve ever been, and he’s a lawyer AND his favorite artist is Mystikal or some such nonsense. Is that disingenuous? Should he be a punk just because he grew up in a suburbian dystopia and is smart enough to be frustrated with the way the world works even if he doesn’t like punk music? Does Ninja need to always wear a suit because he wore one once? Is an artist allowed to change and reinvent themselves? Can a person play a character that’s got less advantages than the person they were born as? Is Sasha Baron Cohen an asshole or a genius? OR both? Is he even allowed to do Ali G? Is there a difference between Rush singing about space and Ninja rapping about being a psycho? No. It’s all creative process/output and to put anymore importance on it than that is just to be a total asshole.)

It’s not your place, or my place to decide if someone is allowed to do their art. It’s our place to decide if it sucks or not. Period. And I like Die Antwoord. So there.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I hate starting things passively, but I’m going to in this case. There’s this guy that I’ve known since I was pretty young, about ten. We haven’t been friends that whole time. In fact, I haven’t seen or spoken to him in fifteen years, and that’s not because we had a big falling out or anything, it’s mostly because we weren’t really that close and it would have been awkward at best and most likely just painful if we had actually happened to run into each other.

You know the drill: lots of shared experiences in the past but no REAL connection creates a deep seated compulsion to carry on a conversation and an equally deep seated compulsion to end said conversation as quickly, yet politely as possible. In short, there’s nothing worse than running into someone from highschool that you weren’t really friends with, because you’re gonna sit there and exchange dumb pleasantries that take up about ten minutes but reveal exactly nothing and it’s all for the benefit of both of you not feeling like total shitheads, even though neither of you want to be stuck in said conversation. You’re all, undoubtedly familiar with this phenomenon.

Sure you are. Anyway…

This guy and I, however were, at one time long ago, in the same boat. Both nerds, we were the two guys in gradeschool who read other books on top of our schoolwork, and big, thick books, at that. Piers Anthony books, and Stephen King books and shit like that. We’d read them during recess and on the bus and walking down the halls and we’d trade books and every once in a while we’d have sleep overs and shit and dork out about nerdy stuff, but we were never tight. We were more just kind of drawn to each other because we were the only two people in the fourth and fifth grade that were into the dorky shit we were into.

This foundation led to us always being friendly even as we grew older, which was helpful since, as nerdy bookworm types, we were invariably around each other a lot. With the exception of my freshman and sophomore year, when I was living in the suburbs, this guy and I had almost every class together in grade school, middle school and high school. We were in all the advanced maths and Latin 5, and the fast track courses and special groups and all that type of shit. By junior year, we’d all taken standardized tests and when the results came back, he and I were (I believe) the only two National Merit Scholars in our class.

Now, by this time, we’d developed into very different people. He was active in student government and I took great pains to ditch school and leave the campus to go smoke cigarettes and drink coffee during student government. He was holding meetings with teachers and mentoring young students and I was dying my hair blue and blowing off my homework until the very last minute and playing in a rock band (he was in a band too, but it was a completely different kind of thing). In short, we’d become opposites, still friendly, but opposites. His dedication to scholarship was in stark contrast to my notion that school was kind of a waste of time and a prison for idiots, and a “slave farm” or some other such sloganeering idiot notion (a sentiment that I no longer truly believe, by the way…but I was a punk rock teenager and as such I had everything completely figured out).

Okay, so here’s the other thing about this guy. His drive was augmented with a highly competitive streak. This was something I was always kind of aware of, but after the whole merit scholar thing, it became kind of a thing between us. Every test, every essay, every report card that was handed out would be followed immediately by this guy asking me my grade and then showing me his (in retrospect I wouldn’t be surprised if he did this with everybody). Now, this was not something I wanted to take part in. I didn’t give a shit about grades, I didn’t feel like I was competing with him and since I felt like I was being forced into some head-to-head that I wanted no part of, the whole thing kind of bugged me, honestly.

There was, in my mind at the time a real conscious message in this constant comparison, that was, “Hey, BK, I’m gonna leave you in the dust” and I started to resent it, and by extension, him.

We applied to colleges. He of course asked me where I was applying. I had no interest in going to college and my only criteria for a school was that it be in Chicago so I could keep touring with my band. He had applied to all the ivy leagues, with Northwestern, the only school I’d applied to at all, as his safety. Whatever, right? I couldn’t have given two fucks about college and when he got into Harvard, I thought, “hey, good for him. That seems like a perfect fit: Two things that put unnecessary emphasis on grades and pedigree going hand in hand. Wonderful.”

Senior year, he became the student body president and after an incident where a young teacher showed up to a party and smoked weed with the ‘bad kids’ (me and my friends [and yeah, what the fuck was he thinking, eh?]) someone told the faculty and that teacher was fired. Rumors swirled that it was our beloved student body president, my competitor, who had narced, and though he took me aside and assured me that it wasn’t him, I had my lingering doubts and if I’m being honest, that was kind of the end of our friendship.

I started to see him as someone who was living for the exact opposite kind of world that I was into- a goody-two shoes-yes-man-square, as opposed to my…uh, I dunno…reckless awesomeness or something? This was, of course an extremely narrow view based in no small part on just the way we’d grown up and apart, and my desire to be selfish and lazy, but it persisted.

After college, I toured and toured. You guys know that story. This guy became a heart surgeon. Now, it’s hard to find something bad to say about a heart surgeon, especially one who dedicates himself to working in third world countries and with the destitute and with children, but the competition he’d started was, at this point alive in me, even though I hadn’t seen him in years (and for him had likely ended on graduation day). “Oh, good for him” I’d say, kind of shittily, when I heard about his great accomplishments (things that all parents from our highschool class were rightly very impressed with). I had my own gig, man, and I too was doing bold and exciting things.

But of course, that was just the surface. The truth is, I’d started playing in bands with all my friends and their bands, the Rise Againsts and Alkaline Trios and so on were blowing up, becoming careers and of course, my band was on a different track. I couldn’t help but feel that if I ever saw this guy again, that the scene in highschool with the report cards would repeat. “Hey brendan, what are your grades this semester” would be replaced with “so how’s your life path treating you?” and faced with a surgeon who’s wealthy, successful and travelled to more interesting places than I have, well, I’ve got nothing. In my deepest heart I feared seeing him because he’d won and I’d lost. He’d been right all along and I’d been wrong and I KNEW it now. And he’d know I knew, because he’s a smart guy, too smart to fall for any sort of “well, you know, livin’ the dream” kind of bullshit.

Well, that’s where it kind of was. I can honestly say that not going to any reunions at my highschool were fueled directly by this fear of seeing this guy and handing him the victory that (honestly) he’d earned. Until this week.

Apparently, this guy suddenly died early on Monday. Now, like I said, I don’t know him anymore, so I don’t have any details, but the rumors I’ve heard indicate that it was self inflicted. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that he was my age and there’s no cause of death in his obituary.

(I also realize that it’s kind of bad form to publicize a death, especially one so tragic, when you don’t really know the person or family, and that’s hardly my intent, so in the unlikely event anyone close to this individual reads this and finds it gauche, I’m so terribly sorry.)

All this time I was so afraid of this guy, and he was (if the rumors are to be believed) hurting so badly inside. I refused to let him ‘win’ a stupid intellectual competition that I’m sure he didn’t even remember existed when he was obviously grappling with darkness. I avoided this guy when I should and could have been encouraging and supportive, but I was selfish and I didn’t know and we weren’t really friends anyway and it wasn’t my place or anything but right now I would walk to the ends of the earth to show him this note and show him that he’d handily won if I thought that would make even a tiny bit of difference (which it wouldn’t. Again, he was a surgeon. I’m sure the trajectory of a third tier punk rocker from his highschool wasn’t exactly on his mind.)

But, I’d say “man, we’ve all got demons. We’ve all got darkness and shortcomings and we all feel inferior and small at times. Hell, you made me feel that way without even being anything but a stand up and decent guy. That's what life is. It's confusing and hard but it's also beautiful and surprising and confounding and spectacular” But man, ugh. It’s a punch in the gut. I’ll never see him now. I’ll never get over myself and be able to congratulate him for having a great career and talk about the fantasy novels we used to read as kids. Huh. Talk about a hollow and shallow ‘victory’. God.

Rest In Peace, dude. Sorry I couldn’t have seen you once more before you rambled on.

If any of you are hurting out there check out 1800SUICIDE or youspoke.org. Please, please please.
Thanks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

man! Man for sale!

Dudes, I gotta head to the free clinic to get my baby her latest round of vaccines. It’s gonna be something else, I tell you what. My wife’s out of town (in Mexico for fucks sake…probably not banging sexy, swarthy latin dudes with great mustaches and abs, but you never know) and I’m here taking babies to the free clinic like the madam in a child prostitution ring. It’s cool, but it’s leading me to the inevitable conclusion that I need to kind of sack up and get a job of some kind. This Mr. Mom shit isn’t all grocery store coupon poker and horny housewives. In fact, there’s been exactly zero of either of those things in the last two years. It’s a lot of Dora the Explorer, a lot of little tiny chunks of free time that are too short to do anything worthwhile in (so I just mindlessly surf the internet) and a lot of poo under the fingernails. Also, there’s some lunch dates with my more “jobless” friends, and the occasional beer, but for the most part it’s pretty standard issue “boring/rewarding” depending on who I’m talking to.

So, that presents the question, what could I do for a living? Hmmmm…..I’ve asked this before, to you, my dogs of war, and to myself. It’s not an easy one. I’ve got a degree, but it’s in filmmaking and due to my extended period of being on the road with my band, it’s no longer technologically up to date (and it’s in filmmaking, so uh…that’s like having a degree in “Burger King”). I can write some, and I’ve got writing samples right here on this very blog, but I think, if I’m not mistaken, that there are a few too many mentions of felching and dongs to really show my professional potential. I’ve also got a great looking dick, but I’m married, so porn’s pretty much out too. If I’m not missing anything, and I don’t think I am, that’s all of my positive attributes. All that remains is the same dull, unacceptable bullshit personality that every human being on earth possesses beneath their ‘winning smile’ ‘desire to succeed’ and ‘huge tits’.


What’s left? Service industry? That sucks. I’m tired of that. Retail? Don’t make me barf. I’m 34. Am I gonna be one of those old ass pizza men someday? That’s such a fucking bummer. Nah. I gotta get it together. Maybe I could be a heart surgeon or an English barrister or the queen or something? Well, no. Not the queen. I guess I could be king, but I guess there’s already someone getting that job. Sigh.

I could be in a rock band. That’s possible, right? Well, kind of, I guess. I mean, technically I could be, but it’s hard, and the music industry is kind of out of business and the amount of time it takes to get well known enough to potentially make a living being in a band is staggering and I’m a little too old for that now. I know that I’m already in a band, and that’s cool, but that band ain’t payin the bills. We ran that up the flagpole and aside from a few of you people with impeccable taste, the results were a little flaccid. I mean, after ten years of making records, you’re pretty much as big as you’re gonna get. That’s just the way it is, folks. So that’s not really an option either.

What’s left? I could do stand up comedy. That seems like a good idea. I’ll just get a wacky new persona and smash melons with a mallet and tell jokes about how my wife won’t fuck me and the black guy down the street gets his mail with so much more swagger than I do. How bout that? No? fuck. Okay, next on the list…um, um…how about food critic? Music critic? Literary critic? Oh, those things are no longer viable jobs because people get all their criticism from the internet now? Fuck. Hmmmm….How about famous Hollywood actor? Those people seem to have no discernable talent and make a lot of money. Yeah. Actually, yeah. I could do that. Watch this:

“I never loved you, angela!”

Did you believe that? I sold it, right? Totally. Also, I’ve got a great looking dick. Did I mention that? That should get me some roles, right? Yeah. Fer sure.

Okay, look. I’ve gotta go get dressed and head to the clinic. Hollywood, here’s your big chance. I’m available! I’m 34 but I could play a Mexican or a white guy or even a middle eastern guy in a pinch. Um, what else? My teeth are good and my diction is sometimes okay. Also, I’ve got a dead eyed stare that seems to be exactly what you’re looking for. Oh, and I’m at least as funny as that fat guy with the beard who seems to be everyone’s boyfriend right now.
Okay, that’s all. I’m out of here. Keep me in mind. I do nudity! Bye.

Send tit/beaver shots please! It’s all I have left keeping me strong, people!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

in light of recent events

Okay, here’s the question for the day: What is uh…’winning’ when it comes to life? I mean, if you have this life fraught with turmoil and strife; maybe you get touched by the guy at the comic book store as a kid and you grow up totally fucked up and you even end up sucking dicks for nickels or crack or bags of gold huffin’ paint; you do some time, you get out and you’re old and spent up and used and you’re bitter but maybe you get a job at the grocery store and you’ve got some kids and your kids don’t hate you and you’re a good parent and you eventually end up the manager at the grocery store, and you live to be 80 and you don’t die of some horrible disease…do you win? Is that enough of a consistently upward trajectory that you’ve had a ‘good’ life, or is the pain that came before the ‘redemption’ (which frankly, is kind of a half assed redemption, innit?) so crushing and total that it’s the bad bits that ultimately define your life?

Conversely, what if you grow up with a great childhood? Hell, maybe you’re the kids of the grocery store manager from the previous paragraph. Your parents kind and sweet and instill the value of hard work and you’ve got a good outlook on everything and people like you and you work hard and it pays off, but then BOOM! Lymphoma hits you in your 30’s and you crinkle and die and everyone around you is devastated (financially and emotionally) and though nobody would ever say anything bad about you, you kind of left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth on the way out. Where does that end you up?

How bout Joe Francis? That guy has made a lot of girls make pretty bad decisions, he’s also made a lot of teenaged boys really happy. He’s also made millions and owns an island and bangs beautiful girls on bags of money and he’s spent a pretty decent amount of time in jail. He’s a scumbag, but he’s also doing the lords work (I know, come on…relax) and he’s honest about his intentions. He’s probably unable to have a meaningful relationship with someone who can trust him who he can trust, but he probably doesn’t care. Does he win even though people with wildly differing opinions of the place of sex in popular culture all think he’s a total shitstain? Does that matter at all? Is there anything that makes your life a win?

I guess that’s why we have jesus and stuff, eh? Because it’s hard to understand the true perspective that life is kind of more Tralfamadorian than we can comprehend. Events in time very rarely effect other time, soul wise. The moment you’re dying of cancer, that night spent banging the seven Hawaiian tropic models is a distant and unimportant memory that may have just as well been a movie you saw somewhere and the moment you’re up there watching your son getting sworn in as the president, that night a few years back where you sat there and contemplated chugging the bottle of drano because you were so broken up about your job seems likewise a dream.

The only things that really tie it all together are unproductive and shitty emotions like regret and anger. Happiness is like being hot. If you’re hot as balls and you’re sweating and about to just pass out and you can’t even see straight, you can jump into a pool or walk into an air conditioned room and BOOM! You’re no longer hot. You’re readjusted. Happiness is that fleeting.

Sadness, anger, regret, despair, and depression (which of course is a chronic and highly resistant cousin of these other negative emotions) are like being cold. You can get indoors, crawl under the blankets, or scoot into the hot bath, but you’re still cold. The residual shivers still get you. Your fingertips burn and you’re left with the unshakable physical reminder that you were very, very cold recently. Happiness rarely can trump something shitty happening right on its heels. SO, you get a promotion but your brother gets thrown in jail on the same day, you’re gonna be sad. If you find an out of print record you love in the bargain bin but some douchebag spits on you from the moving bus window, day’s ruined. That’s why sorrow is so enduring in this world. People remember it, and they want to because for whatever reason, the bad stuff seems like the stuff that defines us, not the good stuff.

But that’s fucked. The good stuff is usually what defines us to others, at least as much as the bad stuff. You first and foremost remember that Mozart was a reckless genius, not that he was a scumbag who died of syphilis and was buried in a paupers mass grave. You remember that Freddie Mercury was AMAZING, not that he was sick.

I mean (and this is an extreme example, folks) , look at Roman Polanski. He suffered an incredibly devastating loss (the senseless murder of his unborn child and wife) and then he drugged and raped a thirteen year old girl. Those are hugely negative things, one that he’s a victim of and one where he’s the monster. He’s also a highly accomplished filmmaker, and that’s a huge part of who he is too. Now, I’m not suggesting that people should look past a rapist’s uh…alleyway pastimes and focus on the fact that they’re great cooks, but what I AM suggesting is that life is rarely THAT dire. We all get caught up in the tiniest things that no one gives a fuck about and we blow it up to be something that at times seems so insurmountable that the notion of going to live alone in Alaska or even harming yourself seems like the only option, but that’s fucking crazy.

It’s not a big deal to get fired, or be gay or have been a hooker for a couple of years or to have been a gangbanger or to be actively opposed to war when you grow up in a military family or whatever. It seems big because it’s you and you are personally invested in you more than you could even comprehend. You are a myopic dumbass that doesn’t realize that the world is so big and so vast and so full of beautiful things and people that understand and places that accept you and want to help you and generally don’t give two fucks about your dumb regrets or fears (not because they don’t care about you, but because in the big picture they’re not worth caring about) and so you tag yourself as a loser, a failure, a freak, doomed, damaged, fucked up, beyond help, too old, too stupid, too riddled with STDs, whatever. We all do this. It’s not fun, but here’s the thing:

No one wins life. Everyone dies and everyone has a great and fascinating list of successes and failures, joys and pains and unbearable ways that they’ve been fucked over or fucked someone else over and it’s all really nothing but the rich pageant of what being alive is (to paraphrase M. Stipe). There’s no reason to think that you’re fucked or there’s no way out because of some pressing immediate issue that you have. There’s one way out of this life, and you can’t get back in afterwards. And everyone goes there and everyone leaves dissatisfied if they don’t work actively on focusing as much on the good as they’re naturally inclined to do with the bad.

And there’s SO much good stuff here- You wouldn’t even have the ability to think about how bad you think you have it if it weren’t for all the wonderful things you love that seem to be endangered by whatever your issues are (and we all have these issues)- that the notion that you need to sequester yourself from joy to deal with the fact that you need to sit there and focus on your sadness is inhumane. It’s monk style shit. And here’s the part that everyone forgets, or chooses for some crazy reason to ignore: it’s COMPLETELY SELF IMPOSED! No thanks.

People think that the secret to winning in life is skating through without anything bad happening to them, but that’s bullshit. That’s impossible. Life shits on everyone. It’s not how little happens to you. It’s how you deal with what happens to you. That’s the measure of a person. That’s winning. Just saying. No one is alone. Kay? Good.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

home!

Maaaaan, it’s good to be home. That was a kind of a whirlwind tour, to put it mildly, but it was super fun. Thanks to everyone who came out and sung along. It was literally probably my favorite time I’ve ever had on the east coast. Boston in particular was amazing and it was amazing both nights. Who knew that you beantowners were really as wikkid pissah awesome as you always say you are? Pretty great.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that I got a lot of great hats, some books and some Natty Boh while I was out there. To those of you who went above and beyond and brought us gifts or bought us drinks a special thanks is in order, so uh…special thanks. Yup. It was a good time.

Man, as one gets a little older some of the more exciting things about touring change pretty significantly, and more to the point, some of the pretty standard, day to day things, things that used to be kind of just part of the general program that you didn’t even hardly pay attention to, become things that either A) suck or B) just brutally ravage your spirit/body. What do I mean? How about this:

When I’m home I eat pretty specific foods and avoid things that are bad for me or generally gross (or delicious) except for in rare instances. I don’t usually eat red meat, cheese, fried shit, white flour, candy, or anything that’s just generally too questionable, and I don’t really drink a ton of beer or sugary cocktails. I also go to the gym every day. This is partly done so I don’t turn into a lard ass, but the big part is the way it all comes together to make me feel.

I’m generally exhausted all the time anyway, but a fairly healthy lifestyle tends to lessen the blow of just getting old quite a bit and it also helps you feel at least kind of good about yourself and like you’re not just shoveling cheetos into your disgusting, deteriorating body and pushing towards an early grave (which is a nice feeling to avoid, especially as a man in your thirties who’s suddenly faced with the fact that he’s no longer young, spry, hip, dynamic, free, or on any sort of fast track [or track of any kind] to success).

Well, on the road that all goes out the window quicker than you can say “I’ll take a beer and a philly cheese steak please!” The first four days of this tour (8 meals!) I ate nothing but cheeseburgers, with the only exception being the aforementioned philly cheese steak, which is beef, cheese and bread, so it’s really pretty much the same thing. I drank a bunch of beer, some soda, I ate ice cream (made out of whiskey! So incredibly excellent) and most devastatingly, I stayed up past midnight every night.

At the hotel in Boston, I got bedbugs from my bed. Toby, who passed out in all his clothes, still doesn’t know if he got them too, but since he and I shared a room, it’s a safe bet that he’s gonna have to burn his couch and shave his dogs now. I woke up e every day sore and discombobulated. I felt tired. I couldn’t sleep in because my kids have trained my body to get up with the sun. My stomach was constantly bitching at me and I smelled like total shit even if I showered (which I didn’t, so whatever).

I can understand being old and touring on a big bus like NOFX or touring in limos, planes and W hotels like Bon Jovi, and I can understand why young bands tour in vans for months at a time, crash on floors and drink beer for breakfast and love every second of it, but man, there’s a weird place in between, a place where you’re not quite making enough to go out to nice restaurants or get nice hotels that don’t have bedbugs (rodeway in by logan airport, by the way has them, just a word to the wise), where you’re too old to feel good after staying up really late and getting shitty sleep and eating shitty food, and where you’re no longer motivated by trying to convert a room full of people into fans, where you’re out there to play for the people who already dig the songs and fuck the rest of em, where it’s really, truly about just playing some notes and singing with your friends, and man…shit hurts. Ugh. I need a colonic or something.

That said, I wouldn’t change a second of the last week. Love you guys! Thanks for coming out and we’ll see you soon.

xoxoxox

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And the Rocket's Red Glaaaaaaare!

I’m headed out in about thirty minutes. Tonight we play in Philly and it’s gonna be off the proverbial Heezy. Are you bringing me a cheesesteak? With Cheez Whiz? Thanks so much. Last time we were in philly, we forced our bus driver to drive down to Gino’s and Pats (the two famous places to get cheese steaks in Philly. Perhaps you’ve seen them on Food Wars or Pig Out Paradise or something [and yes, yes, these are touristy spots. I’m sure that they don’t have the finest cheese steaks in all of Philadelphia, but we’re tourists, and we don’t know where to go, nor do we REALLY care about that, so yeah. Just telling you what happened. No need to get all defensive]) for a late night snack.

Now, our driver was a big old hillbilly boy who truly didn’t know how to back up a bus and believed with all his heart that shopping at wal mart was good for America (just ask Rubber Maid). He was also highly passive aggressive and stupid in a way that can’t be overstated. He was stupid in an almost mythical way. He didn’t know how to do laundry. He didn’t know how to heat up canned soup. He was as equipped to exist as an adult human being as a hamster dressed in a brooks brothers suit is to diversify your stock portfolio.

I could write about this guy all day, actually. We fired him in San Diego for massive incompetence and constant insubordination (which sounds like we were being dicks, but when the standard, agreed upon program is that we wake up on the bus in front of the next club every day, but instead we’re waking up in truck stop parking lots with him asleep in the front lounge (leaving us with nowhere to go, because the front lounge is where the bathroom, tv, coffee, and couches are), still 4 hours from our destination and we’re consistently late for load in, well, you get the idea of how completely terrible this dude was at being a bus driver.

He also couldn’t drive. He also was a cocksucker. He was also dumber than a box of rubber gloves. And he wouldn’t back up the bus. He didn’t know how. This was at various times amusing and enraging, depending on the severity of the situation.

ANYWAY, someday I can probably fill up a whole weeks worth of this dumb blog talking about this driver and his various dumbassisms, but for now I’m getting back to Philly. We make him take us to get cheese steaks. This is highly unusual, as bus drivers understandably don’t tend to like to make little food runs in giant busses, (it’s not a taxi, after all) and this dude was no exception, but the show had been amazing and we were all loaded and we decided to berate the driver and force him to take us there, despite his hemmin’ and a’hawin.

So we get about half a block away, and the bus gets stuck. Philly has narrow streets and we can’t get any closer. We’re blocking traffic, it’s Friday night down town and our driver starts throwing up his hands and losing his mind. The cars behind him are honking and going nuts.

So we all kind of laughed, and got out of the bus right there and left him to suffer while we went and got cheese steaks. The whole time we waited in line we could hear the honking and see the growing line of dead stopped traffic. We took our time. Some of us even sat and ate there, in the restaurant’s outside patio.

Eventually, after twenty five grueling minutes of dealing with the ire of uppity northern city folk, our driver was finally able to close the door and let a bunch of drunk, cheesy turds back on his bus and head off to another truck stop parking lot.

That night, I woke up in my bunk completely dehydrated from eating such a salty, greasy treat so late at night. At first I thought there were fireworks going off, but then I realized, no. It was the tiny explosions and gas rockets of nocturnal farts that only a rolling sarcophagus full of drunk men stuffed with cheesesteaks can produce. It was like a tiny little fourth of july, but instead of red white and blue, it was just a few different shades of brown.

I’ll see you east coast kids soon. I gotta go pack.
Toodles!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We're headed to venus!

Well, this is the last morning I have at home before I leave on tour. I’ve got some outstanding bills to pay and I’ve gotta take my car in to get the ignition coils replaced (whatever the fuck that means) and it seems quite a bit like my wife is sick. I’ve got a few ways of deducing this. Firstly, she’s still in bed and it’s almost 830. That’s a big sign. Second, she was really tossing and turning last night and finally, this morning when I got up to get the baby, my wife turned to me and said, “holy crap, I feel like shit. I think I’ve got food poisoning or something” which, to the unknowing may not seem like much of a clue, but I know this girl pretty well, and trust me…that’s evidence that she’s not feeling too well. It’s a bummer because I had a totally depraved evening planned out. Oh well, next time, right?

I’ve got some things that need to get done before I leave on this tour. One of the things I needed to do was record versions of all the new arrangements of all my new songs so I don’t forget them while I’m away. Now, living in a small apartment with a baby, a toddler and (currently) a sick convalescent makes recording anything difficult. Add to this that the space in the house that used to be set aside for me to record has now been repurposed as a toy zone and that I can’t get my ancient recording device out without my kid yanking all the knobs off it and well, you see my problem. Anyway, long story short, I used the voice memo thingy on my iphone to record some real bare bones acoustic versions but unfortunately for me every single one of them features my kid in the background (actually, not in the background at all…in the foreground, much louder than everything else) screaming “dad! I want Dora! Dad! I need Diego!” over and over and over again. You’d think there would be enough time for me to slip off and record about what, twelve minutes of music, wouldn’t you? But no. You’d be totally wrong about that, folks. Honestly though, it’s not a big deal. These demos are just like maps our outlines for me anyway, they don’t need to sound good. I mean, after all, Mike Park is gonna put ‘em out and I’m gonna call em “demos”. Heh. See what I did there? Pretty good one! Zing, wealthy and talented friend! Zing!

Another issue I’m having is that I’ve lost yet another ski cap (or beanie, depending on your regional dialect). I’m about to embark on a tour without a winter hat, which is not only stupid, it’s also fashion backwards, and lord knows I don’t want to be caught dead slipping, fashion wise. I need to go get a new hat, but unfortunately for me, I don’t really know where to get a decent winter hat and between these errands I have this morning and my mother in law showing up this afternoon and all the general madness that accompanies being a father of 2, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to pull it off before I leave

SO, here’s what I you to do, dogs of war: Help a brother out. Go to a store and get me a hat. I like earthy colors (olive, brown) and dark colors (black or navy) but I’m much more partial to something that’s kind of cool and interesting (think stripes, not graphics). A few things to keep in mind: 1) I’ve got a gigantic head. It’s bigger than mike park’s head. This is true. 2) It needs to be the kind of winter hat that flips up. Does that make sense? When you pull it on, the bottom lip has to fold up to make a new kind of double layer over the ears. I’m not into those hats that just slip down like a golf club cover. That shit’s for snowboarders. I’m more of a vagrant. Okay. Oh, and if you make stuff yourself, that’s far and away the best of all. Just saying.

Now, I know, asking you for clothes is kind of weird, but I’m kind of in a bind here. I need a hat, right? I mean, birds gotta chirp, fish gotta swim, all that. SO, yeah. Am I taking advantage of my position as internet overlord to ask people I don’t know to shower me with gifts? Short answer, totally (long answer, not really, but who ever reads the long answer these days?). Also, I want a cheese steak with cheese whiz in philly, a couple of coked up models in Brooklyn some wicked pissa pahties in Boston and in NH,um…hmmmm. New Hampshire, eh? What are you guys known for? A quick google search reveals that you guys are known for NASCAR and maple syrup. Unexpected. Kay. Well, um…I don’t really need any of that, unfortunately, so how bout you guys just come out to the show, eh? All the other shows are selling out or sold out. You syrup loving nascar freaks are slipping, man!

Yeah, in fact, that’s exactly what I want from NH. New Hampshire, you guys need to step it up if you would. Bring some people to the show. There are gonna be people who can’t get into all the other shows, due to the sold out nature of them, so shepherd them to your beautiful and picturesque tiny little state, home of ski vacations and the first primary elections, and we’ll be good.

Oh, and anyone coming up from Maryland should bring me a case of Natty Boh and I’ll put you on the list to all of the shows, sold out or not. That’s all.


Xoxoxoxo

Monday, November 8, 2010

ah, the old days...

Hey! It’s Monday. This week I’m headed out east to see the world, one pimply teenager at a time, accompanied by some of my best pals and a bunch of dudes I’ve never met before. It’s gonna be fun, right? Sure it is. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m in a band, and this week said band will be playing some shows out on the east coast. The shows are gonna be great, that’s for sure. What ever else is gonna happen, well, that’s kind of up in the air, eh? It’s a crazy world, folks.

When I first started touring, the entire experience was vastly different than it is now. The technological advances of the last ten years have made the process kind of idiot proof. Now any dildo can get a demo together on garage band, go on myspace, find out where clubs are, send emails to promoters and use a cel phone and GPS and show up at all the shows. When I first started touring however, it was way more chaotic. It sucked, frankly. It was more exciting, but less fun. Shall we examine? Okay, let’s begin:

Firstly, for all intents and purposes, there were no cel phones and there was no email. Both things technically existed, but using both of them only connected you to status hungry maniacs and epic nerds. SO, in trying to book a tour, you’d have a phone number. Usually, you’d start any tour booking process with ONE SINGLE phone number. It would be for, let’s say a guy named Will who books shows in Phoenix. You got Will’s phone number from a buddy who promises that Will’s a nice guy and does cool shows. So, you call Will and you say “hey dude, I play in a punk band and I want to go on tour. I got your number from big gay Chet. Any chance you’d be into doing a show for us?”

You bullshit for a long time. He finally relents and gives you a date. At that point you ask him if he knows anyone in any nearby towns that do shows and if you can get their numbers. Then you repeat this process with those numbers, but it’s harder, because now the person vouching for you isn’t your friend Big Gay Chet; it’s Will, who you actually don’t know beyond the one phone call, and now, because of your show in Phoenix, you’re looking for increasingly specific dates in increasingly specific towns.

But who cares, right? You’re off to a good start. Call those motherfuckers! The thing is, though, lots of times no one is home. Lots of times you can’t get any shows in the town you need because the club is booked or shut down or whatever. Lots of times you end up leaving six thousand messages on the answering machine of some guy in Bismarck because that’s simply the ONLY place that you can play between Minneapolis (where you’re playing in a living room) and Montana (where you’re playing in a shed six days later), even though it’s at a death metal club.

You wind up calling people who are nice (dumb) enough to put their numbers in the back of Maximum Rock N Roll or in Book Your Own Life as punk rock contacts (show bookers, places to stay, cool record stores) and then finally, once you’ve managed to cobble this insanely sketchy tour out of spit and paperclips, you pile into your massively shitty vehicle (that really shouldn’t be on the highway at all) and you set off.

So you arrive in your first town. Where do you go? There’s absolutely no way to know. There’s no internet, remember? You can’t just look up where some club or house or abandoned gas station that they’ve forgotten to turn the power off in is. There’s literally NO PLACE TO LOOK THAT KIND OF THING UP. The information doesn’t exist in any sort of organized form. SO, you pull off the highway about thirty minutes outside of town and you hunt down a payphone. Then you call the number you have and pray that there’s someone there to answer it (because remember, this is a land line you’re calling. Good chance no one’s there). Best case scenario, your contact picks up and you write down simple directions and get there. Next best case, some other weirdo picks up and gives you vague directions or an address, which someone in a gas station should probably be able to help you locate. But most often, no one is there, so you sit by the payphone and try back every half hour until you’re out of quarters or the show is about to start.

It was extremely common in these times to completely miss shows for reasons like this. Also, drives could be insanely miscalculated, so you could set out on what you think is a three hour drive only to find out once you’ve been going for a while that it’s actually a nine hour drive. The amount of completely unquantifiable variables made every minute very exciting, but, again, not very much fun.

Lots of shows were missed, and lots of times the shows you actually showed up to were kind of weird. Maybe the promoter had a really different idea about what “Punk” means than you did, and you’re playing with a bunch of metal bands or ska bands or a marching band (Petaluma, Ca 1996). Maybe there’s no PA system. Maybe the place is shut down, or burnt down. Maybe there’s no stage. Maybe you show up and the guy decides that he’s gonna make you PAY to play. Most likely you don’t get paid. Most likely you don’t get food, or beer or any place to stay. Most likely someone there is really creepy and won’t stop talking to you. Well, that still happens.

I dunno. It was real different then. Not better….in fact, really, I’d have to say it was worse, but it was so fucking DIFFERENT. I mean, I lived that shit and I can’t even imagine touring without cel phones or google maps. Fuck. I can’t even barely take a dump without surfing the internet now. It’s a crazy world, folks.

End transmission.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend pep talk

Sometimes things are kind of shitty all of a sudden, you know? Like, remember that episode of the real world that was set in Chicago when the girl that fucked Big Head Todd (the rocker, not just a guy named todd with a big head) was just sitting there and the gay dude came by and pinched her hip and suddenly she went into this shame spiral because she thought that implied that she was fat and she threw a vase and locked herself in a room? Remember that?

No? Really? It was in 2001. Well, it aired in 02, I guess, so you must have been like, what, 9? You have to remember that. It ruined her whole day, and then she had to deal with her fucked up body image and her subsequent casting down into the “fucked up roommate with an eating disorder” stigma right there on television. It was a bummer. For her. For the producers of the show, well, they were high fiving the shit out of each other. Nothing so wonderful as another person’s misery, right? Of course not. Here’s why:

We’ve all got it all figured out. We all know how to diet and raise kids and live life to the fullest and be careful and take chances and all that shit. When someone goes crazy or freaks out or fails it’s just a little bit of reassurance that we’re doing the right thing by not doing whatever that person did that fucked up.

This is true in music, for sure. Watch motherfuckers shit talk fall out boy or the alkaline trio or gaslight anthem and say it’s all bullshit and it’s lame. Then when their album underperforms, these critics say things like “see, knew that shit was no good,” which completely ignores that those bands are still more successful than your dumb dildo friend who washes cars and only listens to Tragedy (nothing against them) and still knew what was good to a greater degree than he knew what was bad. You follow? Good.

When your friends date people and break up, that’s always secretly great. When an aquaintence’s business fails, yay. When the gay guy pinches the chick with the big nose and the cock addiction, uh…wait. No, those people that were high fiving that move were just soulless human traffickers profiting off of insecure teenagers. That’s not the same thing at all. Let’s slow down, eh?

The point is, at some point in your life everything is gonna go to shit, and it may be because some dudes crash some planes into some buildings and your wife dies or it may be because someone touches your hair. And it’s all devastating. Life can really suck the dick off a dog, but there’s always something out there that’ll be coming along that will make up for it, right? Your kid’s gonna grow up, your best buddy is gonna come over with a beer. That one guard that’s been raping you is gonna get cancer. You’re gonna stop having those phantom limb pains after the surgery. You can always duck into the bathroom and fix your hairdo.

Just sayin. Sometimes things all go to shit for seemingly minute reasons. And the world isn’t always cool and sympathetic. Usually, in fact, they’re quite the opposite. But as a great man once said, everybody gets shit on in life. Everyone. The measure of greatness is not what someone can avoid, but how someone deals with what gets heaped on em.
Okay, it was me. I said it. BUT, I’m paraphrasing Daryl Jennifer. So yeah. Credit to him and almighty Jah. I and I survive, y’all.

Big party this weekend and then next week it’s off to the east coast! Get stoked turds.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to get famous!

Not too long ago I heard a famous model/musician/actress type talking about when they first came to New York to make it in the world of whatever it is that they do (this story is kind of light on details as I’ve since forgotten who the person was) and she said that one of the big things that she and her roommate would do was buy a couple of ham sandwiches and put them on the window sill. They would leave them there for weeks until they were literally crawling with maggots and then they’d eat them.

They did this with the intention of getting food poisoning so that they could quickly shed multiple pounds. Apparently they always had a ham sandwich or two going, and this was a regular thing. Pretty radical, eh?

Now, it’s been said over and over again that Hollywood promotes a body image that’s just unattainable and blah blah blah, but obviously it’s not. I mean, look at the evidence here, folks. You don’t have to starve yourself. You just need to eat food that almost kills you on a regular basis and you’re there. Take that, hippy dipshits and your fat, tubby ungroomed vulvae!

I thought about this ham sandwich diet several times in the night two nights ago as I was barfing and shitting simultaneously and it kind of blew my mind. I mean, food poisoning, the real kind that has you shitting and barfing and with the sweats and shit, is no joke. It’s one of the absolute worst feelings that you can ever have. Every description I’ve read of heroin junkies going through withdrawals indicates that the symptoms are identical to those that I was experiencing due to the results of my little brief love affair with grocery store sushi. Violent and unexpected shitting and barfing? check. Shooting pains into the nuts? Check. Neck and back pain? Check. Sweats? Cold and hot flashes? Dizziness? Complete disorientation? Oh yeah. Check on all of those.

That whole deal was a bad time. And there’s no doubt about it. I can SEE the difference that night made on my body. I’ve visibly lost weight. And I guess if I did it again tomorrow, I’d really be in fighting shape (although, last night I was so weak that I couldn’t even hold my kid with both arms. He’s only about thirty five pounds, folks), and I gotta say good for this girl and her roommate for going through all that to get skinny. It’s more drive than I have. Maybe that’s why my “fame” will peter out on the internet in the form of a highly engaging blog for people with nothing to do and firewalls up that prevent them from looking at porn, and her fame will (presumably…I can’t remember who she was) you know, continue to thrive, like maggots on a ham sandwich in the sun.

If you think about it, the Ham Sandwich Diet is pretty great. It’s quicker than starving, it’s more of a ‘go get em’ move than bulimia and it’s less life damaging than heroin. After all, it’s not illegal and it’s not gonna make you suddenly like Lou Reed or just sit there with drool hanging off your face (there’s no way you could be hydrated enough to drool while grappling with food poisoning). It probably doesn’t give you all the bad skin that meth does. No…whoever this vapid idiot was had it exactly right…Eating rotten food is the absolute BEST way to get famous. You heard it here first folks.

Ah, but the thing is, if we’re really being honest, with heroin, you at least get to get high. You presumably can enjoy a few parts of your life, like that moment after you get high, for example. With this food poisoning, you’re miserable 100% of the time. You could, at any moment, shit your pants. That’s gonna kill a modeling gig quicker than you can say Howard K Stern, Attorney at Law (not to be confused with the king of all media). And with heroin, at least you can sleep and you can zone out and you can probably get laid a little bit when all the other disgusting dregs of society that want a little of your heroin come by to say hi.
With food poisoning, there’s no getting laid. There’s no getting off the shitter, honestly. Well, I guess in that recovery day you could get laid and zone out and even get high if you wanted to.

Huh…this is a hard call folks. What’s the best way into showbiz? Heroin or food poisoning? Both seem like good choices. What say you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The beast with two founts

Holy shit folks, and I mean that literally. Yesterday evening I had a late meeting so I grabbed some sushi from the grocery store and ate it in my car. During my meeting, I had a stout or two and by the time I got home I wasn't feeling so well. By the time my babysitting parents left, I was queasy. By the time I lay down in bed, I had already put a garbage can in the bathroom because I knew the ride that was ahead.
My wife was out of town. My kids were asleep, and I was about to embark on the grossest roller coaster ride that you can take right there in your body: the double headed food poisoning all night battle.

Firstly, you're cold. You're so cold and you can't get warm, but you also can't move because that makes your nausea flare up. You're clenching your butthole like it had the world's last copy of the plans to dismantle the nuclear device inside and you're generally in bed for about fifteen minutes before it's back to the crapper and the garbage can. Awesome night, especially when you have to get up at 6 with a toddler and an infant all day.

Now, I didn't barf up the sushi (thank god, because I don't know that I could have handled seeing/tasting it again, as it was kind of weird looking/tasting to begin with) but I did barf up the two stouts and some pretzels and absolutely every single mouthful of water that I tried to swallow during the night. This last bit was almost instantaneous. Drink, fifteen seconds, barf. that was great too. The end results were that my barf never stopped being black even for a moment. That's a nice little touch in the great "so you feel like you're dying" paradigm. It was uh...thorough in it's cohesiveness if nothing else.

I'd sent my wife a text that said something like "Uh oh! Food poisoning over here" and she called me after a glamorous night of rubbing elbows with industry mavens in manhattan only to find out about my own glamorous little evening back here in the midwest. that was about 2 am.

She said (and I'm paraphrasing) "Oh, sweetie! I wish I was there" to which I replied "oh my god. No. How gross. No way. I'm SO glad you're not here right now." I mean, I understand the desire to take care of someone you care about that's not feeling well, but short of putting me in some kind of warm tub full of magical liquid that just made my various violent expulsions evaporate instantly, there was nothing to be done.

Anyway, long story short: I feel sick, so no blog today.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let me tell you the FUNNIEST THING!!!! HA heh, heh, ha...um...oh.

Tonight there’s a good band playing at Reggies Rock Club in the bar at 630. They’re kind of unannounced and they’re opening a hippy show, but you should go check em out. I’m going to check em out. Red Scare honcho Tobias Jeg will be there. It’s kind of a big awesome deal, but I can’t really offer any details here. Let’s just say that if you like bearded rabble playing good songs, this isn’t to be missed. Plus, it’s early. You can still get to your various dinner plans and shit, or you can stay and laugh at hippies. It’s really up to you. Don’t say I never let you in on anything awesome, kay?
Kay.
On to business. You know what’s one of the worst types of people in this world? Those who confuse being ‘talkative’ with being ‘interesting.’ There are lots of different ways an individual can do this and it’s also a nebulous thing; as in: someone can be very interesting in one situation and a total loudmouth dipshit in another. It’s an epidemic, really. Hell, I’m doing it now! Don’t believe me? Read on.

Probably the most common version of this horrendous trope is the boorish woman who’s out at the bar and not as interesting or good looking (which basically means interesting, doesn’t it?) as her friend and just won’t shut the fuck up about whatever the fuck she’s babbling on about incessantly. She’s more than just a cockblocker. She’s a conversation hijacker and she’s always talking about her dumb “awesome” job or her cool friends who (spoiler alert) can’t possibly be cool if they’re her friends and can’t possibly actually be her friends if they’re really as cool as she says.

Close on her heels in terms of being ‘the worst’ are the loud guy who was maybe the wackiest, most off the wall guy in his tiny rural town but who has yet to be introduced to people who don’t remember (or otherwise give a fuck about) the totally subversive way he repainted that billboard to be about giraffes, or made the high school production of “Our Town” into a scathing indictment of the school board (especially that tyrant Mr. Greenwood!) by using rogue audiovisual material or whatever. These two deesh top my list, as far as high levels of social irritation go, but there are more. Oh, there are plenty more.

But today, our focus will be the desperate-to-add-something guy or girl who should probably just shut up and listen to the things going on around them, but who instead hijacks the whole conversation, making it uninteresting and kind of torturous and generally forces everyone else to abandon said conversation and disband early.

This person is one of the worst because they often interrupt with irrelevant details or long winded, only tangentially related stories and completely make the natural flow of the once interesting conversation herk and jerk and they make people who probably don’t just usually sit there waiting for someone to finish talking (because this is the sign of a bad conversationalist. It’s the sign of a bad interviewer too…Conversation is built around give and take, and if some detail sets you off and you’re just waiting for this person to shut up so you can launch into the story about the time you purposely shit your pants out in Nantucket that one time, you’re a dildosaurus and chances are, the other people you’re talking to are noticing what a bad-at-conversation-person you are. This is ALWAYS true, with the only exception being if you’re talking to someone who’s absolutely hanging on your every word, which is rare unless you’re like, say, Dave Chappelle or Howard Stern or Glen Beck or something) to just sit there and wait for you to finish talking. That sucks, and here’s why it sucks the most:

This is a very, very negative character trait that is interesting because it’s A) usually brought about by enthusiasm, which should in most cases be nourished and rewarded, but in this case should be stifled and redirected as listening, but rarely is, and B) something that we’ve ALL done. I know that I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat there listening to people that I thought were fascinating/cool/smart/funny/whatever and just longed to be part of the conversation so badly that I desperately just launched myself in with all the grace of a freshly stabbed Mexican cowboy flying through a tavern’s front window. It’s a sucky feeling, and it’s just as sucky to watch someone else do it, and it’s REALLY sucky if it’s your buddy and you’re standing there and you want to say something like “Hey, dude…you gotta shut up.” But you can’t, because they’re so excited and they’re just trying their best.

But they’re also irritating the shit out of everyone. That’s what I hate. I hate it with empathy and rage in equal portions. That’s all.

I’m in a diner and it smells like dog shampoo in here. It’s gross. I gotta go.

See you tonight at Reggies.
xoxoxoxoxo

Monday, November 1, 2010

who's winning? The bears.

Sooooo, this weekend was Halloween, right? My one kid was a dinosaur and the other one was a chili pepper. They were both pretty cute and we did family oriented stuff like trick or treat and go to a Halloween party where there were a bunch of kids in costumes and kids movies and treats and shit like that. It was pretty sweet, overall. However, this weekend also marked my introduction to a new breed of person that I’ve heard whispers of, but never met before (at least not since I’ve been a grown up): The really, really creepy guy.

The really, really creepy guy was just kind of standing there having a cocktail when we arrived. He seemed normal enough at first. He and I and a friend of mine got some drinks while discussing the way that nowadays, with kids and everything, it’s really hard to know when to cut off your wife, booze wise if you still want to get laid. Here’s what I mean:

Every dude that’s been laid more than a few times has gone through the amazing experience of suddenly, after a long night of just casually boozing with your girlfriend or friend, found her at three in the morning with an insatiable craving for your wang. It’s surprising the first time you see this phenomenon unfold, mostly because it really comes out of nowhere, and just moments before seemed like you guys were both gonna just pass out or something.

But no, one brush of a hand on the thigh (or whatever) and you’re experiencing all sorts of unnatural, god-enraging pleasures of the flesh that you thought only happened to pizza guys and plumbers in Penthouse Forum. This awesomeness becomes the basis of a lot of behaviors, some acceptable, some terrible. I will enumerate a few of them here:
1) Offering to buy drinks for ladies that are attractive/in your league, even if you don’t really know them.
2) throwing caution to the wind and drinking to excess yourself when you find yourself in a sexually charged party atmosphere.
3) hitting on extremely drunk women
4) attempting to get women excessively drunk in hopes they’ll make bad decisions

and in some extreme cases
5) groping passed out chicks.

Now, obviously these go from 1) acceptable to 5) completely unacceptable, and my point is not that these are all natural behaviors or anything. They’re not. And 4) 5) and lots of times 3) are unequivocally shitty moves. My point is that the ideas for these “techniques” all spring forth from experiencing the garden of delights that a pretty drunk woman that already finds you attractive will provide for you if you happen to be in the right place at the right time. That’s all.

So, here you are, married and the law of averages will dictate that you’ve probably gotten pretty loaded with your wife and ended up having some pretty good times (that is, if you’re the kinds of people who drink, and/or if you’re the kinds of people that bang), and at first, it’s easy. You go out to the bar. You stay there a while. You come home wasted. You bang. You wake up the next day and the sheets are everywhere. BUT, then you have kids and the whole game changes a little.
Everyone’s tired. Especially her. She’s also gone through this nine month period where she didn’t drink at all (unless she’s totally awesome in her disregard for, uh…well, everything [please note that ‘awesome’ in this context means crazy]) and she’s (most likely) not currently sitting there drinking all night with the one specific goal of getting laid at the end of the night like you are.

I mean, fuck. You’ve already tortured her by pestering her to bang all day long AND she’s had to go through the horrors of childbirth as a result of your past pestering. No, to her, once you have kids, your dick will take on more of a ‘hot stove’ kind of position in her mind: something slightly fascinating every once in a while that will most certainly hurt and disfigure you if you touch it the wrong way.

Anyway, long story short: it used to be that you kept your old lady out as long as she wanted to stay out and that was it. Now, with kids, if you want to not have to carry her up the stairs and put her into bed, much less get laid, you know, while she’s awake, it’s your job to watch her and note the moment where she’s decided that she’s gonna speed up, because that’s the moment to get her out of there.

Once she says, “yeah, I’ll do a shot with you” to her one friend who’s never had kids and still does shots all night, it’s time to bolt. At that point, it’s not like she’s doing one big shot with a group and that’s all. She’s with her girls again, living like the days when 545 was a bedtime, not breakfast time, and mark my words, she’s gonna be passed out faster than you can say “hey sweetie, want to watch some nice, non threatening erotica geared towards women?” or even “uh, can you call me a taxi”. You get the idea: what was once an ‘end of the night’ thing, now has to be carefully monitored. And your wife ain’t monitoring it.

So that’s what we were talking about, me, my buddy and the Really, Really Creepy Guy. That’s when really really creepy guy started complimenting me on how cute my kids were. Now, my kids are actually super cute (some kids are not, some kids are. I’m not trying to be a braggy dad or suggesting that they’re gonna grow up to be gorgeous or anything, as cute kids often don’t grow up to be cute adults) so I didn’t really think much of it. People are often pretty taken with our kids, and when they’re dressed up as peppers and dinosaurs, well, shit, folks. It’s pretty outrageous. So, again: whatever. This dude is having what I perceive to be a normal reaction to cute kids.
Buuuuuut, then he takes out his camera and asks me if he can take a picture of my daughter. “Uh, sure.” Whatever. He’s got a kid there. My kid’s in a costume. He’s just documenting the cute little party that he brought his own daughter to, right? Uh, well…he took like five or six pictures of her. Just her. And the whole time he’s just saying things like “oh my god. She’s so incredibly beautiful” and shit like that. She’s five months old, mind you. She doesn’t really do much. I’m her DAD and I can hardly find a reason to snap five consecutive pictures of her while she’s sitting still.

Slightly odd, no?

Anyway, I bail to just kind of reset the evening a little bit and hang out with some friends and generally mingle and when I next see this guy, he’s still in the kitchen with my wife and my kids, still talking about how cute they are and asking them for kisses and shit. Now, I guess I can dig kissing a baby on the head if you’re already holding ‘em or whatever, but what the fuck is this dude doing asking my two and a half year old for a kiss? And on the lips? It was fucking. Weird.

Well, my kid sensed it was pretty weird too and he ran over to me and gave me a hug and a kiss and hid behind me at which point the guy says “oh, so it’s not that he doesn’t like kisses” all broken hearted like, which was pretty much the weirdest possible thing he could have said at that point short of uh…”Hey, I’m actually the living spirit of Chaing Hai Shek and I’d like to take you all to a new, clean planet on my mind-spaceship if you’d all just like to join me in the darkened basement for a meditation session. We’ll start a whole new civilization free from these filthy hordes. Take this pill and meet me downstairs.”

Nah, that’s still less weird. Anyway, we gathered our kids and left. Really creepy guy decided to stay when his wife and daughter went home. I have no idea what he got up to but uh…I dunno. This is grossing me out just typing about it. I think I should go take one of those fetal position showers now.
Kay. Bye.