Dec 28, 2007

Oh hello!

Forgive the blog silence here lately.
I seem to have become a father in the past week. Wha??

At the risk of over-saturation, I will direct you here for all baby-related goodness.

And now, I must stare into the face of this new person and forget about everything else.
It's fun! Here, try it:

The new kid

Dec 12, 2007

It's not me, it's you

I call it the Flight Attendant Effect.
Ida thinks I'm just paranoid, but I swear it keeps happening to me. 

Here's how it generally goes:
I'm on a plane watching the flight attendant come down the aisle taking drink orders and handing out snacks. She's got the pleasant flight attendant smile, she's chatting up the other passengers, things are chirping along nicely. When she gets to my row, I, being a pleasant, often chirpy, mostly harmless fellow, ask for a ginger ale, posing the question as a full sentence with a friendly smile and punctuated with a non-haughty "please". At this point, almost imperceptibly, her eyes narrow and her lips draw taught. She manages to squeeze out some kind of acknowledgment as she goes for my ginger ale. 
She does not say "you're welcome" when I thank her. I'm pretty sure she's crushed all the pretzels in the bag before handing it to me.

She resumes her pat, effortless charm-dance at the very next row behind me.

Paranoia? Is there something hanging out of my nose? I'm hideous, aren't I?
Before you answer, consider scenario #2. It's a variation on the FAE I call the Checkout Line Effect and it goes like this:

I'm in the checkout line at a grocery store, though it can be any store, really.  The checker is engaged in friendly, if somewhat tired banter with the older woman in front of me. The woman is not very talkative and appears to have no desire to be engaged in this or any other kind of chit-chat, judging from her body language.
Regardless, the checker happily and confidently assists the HELL out of her, right up to, "do you need a hand out?" She doesn't and curtly shuffles away with her provisions.
Then, in the moment from turning his attention away from departing customer and towards current customer, the checker changes gears. At first, I'm not so sure it's me since he's looked at or near me exactly zero times so far. How can he hate me already? He hasn't even seen what I look like!
And yet, no "hi there" or "how's it going today?", sincere or otherwise. No banter. No feigned interest in my purchases. No "paper or plastic?" (In a supposedly green city like Seattle, I don't know why plastic is even still an option.)
He chooses plastic for me. 
I'm pretty adept with the debit card/keypad apparatus, I don't need to be told to press 'Enter', so the first thing said to me is also the last thing said to me:
"Here you go", mumbles the checker, handing me my receipt. Again, my thanks are gone unheeded. Again, he's back to smiles and chatter with the next person in line.

This phenomena has happened to me enough times that I've started experimenting with the variables: I say nothing until spoken to, I say hello, I smile, I don't smile, I make a joke, I make a stupid joke.
I suppose a lot depends on the employee and their disposition, but what I still can't figure out is the interruptive effect I seem to have on their otherwise jovial routines. I don't actually care if I'm treated with violent indifference by these people. I did grow up on the east coast, after all - truly the place where customer service goes to die - but if everyone around me gets treated like guests at a cocktail party, why not throw me some vacant small talk?  Or at least wait til I leave to break out the bubbly.

My only theory, which really only works in the case of flight attendants, is that friendliness is THEIR territory.  That's what THEY get paid to do. My function as the consumer is to behave righteously indignant at worst and asleep at best. Perhaps, much like showing fear to a grizzly is asking for an armload of your own entrails, showing friendliness to a flight attendant is considered a challenge to their livelihood, a type of professional insult. 
Or perhaps I do have something hanging out of my nose.

Dec 5, 2007

Conversations with my wife

[Watching TV:]
TV: "...the right hand isn't talking to the left hand..."
Ida: That's because hands can't talk or listen! 
[Considers this statement. Then, a la The Who's "Baba O'Riley",] 
They're all WASTED!
[Unpacking a box of books:]
Ida: Do you want to keep this "Why Big Fierce Animals are Rare" book?
Me: What's it about?
Ida: Why big fierce animals are rare.
Me: Oh, it's not like a Dave Eggers book or something?
Ida: No.
[Unpacking more books:]
Ida: This one I saved from my house that burned down. It's a little brown but books don't burn very well so it's still-
Me: Did you just say 'books don't burn very well'?
Ida: Yeah, they're too dense.
Me: What about all those book-burnings?
Ida: Well, if you're just burning books, they go up pretty well. They don't burn well if you're not throwing them on a big pile of other burning books.
Me: Then they burn pretty well, I guess.
Ida: I guess.

Nov 27, 2007

That's not blog-stick on my collar, honest!

Okay, I admit it: I've been two-timing on Beets.

See, I have this band and we have a website and this website is kind of a blog and we all agreed that we'd take turns blogging so the site doesn't become, you know, lame. And one thing led to another and everything went all sideways and now my wife is pregnant and the Patriots are undefeated this season and I just needed my SPACE, you know??

Not MySpace, mind you. I'm totally over that effing site. If I get one more spam about a free $500 Macy's gift card, I might just... um, quit MySpace. That'll show Tom.
But now Facebook is invading my privacy...
What's a guy to do??

So I just figured, you know, the Europeans are cool with having more than one blog, so what's the big deal? Heck, I bet the King of France has tons of blogs and look at him! He's the King of France!
America needs to loosen up.

I'll always love Beets, though, I swear. They're my first love.

Except on Tuesdays.
And except when Wired Science is on. This show will save the world.

Nov 2, 2007


I hate to say I told you so, especially because I never did, but I feel that THIS might just be the beginning of the end:

"Like cows, once robots taste blood, their hunger for human flesh can never be satiated."

Is anyone else COMPLETELY FREAKING OUT right now?!
We've played God and now it's ALL OVER.
Did you even know cows ate human flesh?!

Danger! Danger Will Robinson! I'm gonna tear you up like a pork roast and slow cook you in robot mole sauce! CTRL+ALT+DELICIOUS!

Confidential to &rea: thanks for the heads up. I hope we get assigned to the same robot work camp.

Oct 18, 2007

Thanks for clearing that up

Because where would we be, as a society, without some sense of moral boundaries?
In Mexico, apparently.


Sep 15, 2007

Home is where all your stuff is

So we've moved.
That is to say, we've almost completely moved.
Which is then to say, we have done the actual moving of stuff. The unpacking, arranging, rearranging, positioning, repositioning and finally, the repositioning/rearranging (temporary) is yet to come.

But we have a new apartment in a new 'hood and it's more lovely than we could have hoped for. A park across the street, a rooftop deck, friends in the building and blessed, merciful quiet at night. Not to say that we didn't love our old neighborhood, but the 2am drag racing, the drunken frat-pods stumbling back to their cars (drive safe, kids!) and the increase in vandalism and car thefts had been starting to put a strain on the whole bohemian lifestyle Ida and I were playing at. (Seattleites - I'm talking about Ballard, if you can believe it.)
It's finally time to embrace our inner Old Fogie, we thought, and go for peace and quiet over, well, noisy drunks and petty theft. I know, whatever!

In a delightful turn of fortune, our new place is in a fairly central and desirable neighborhood, with access to everything we do - theater, work, social, food, drink - it's safe, hip (but not too hip), walkable/bikeable and a great place to raise Futurebaby.
There's something about a neighborhood that truly embraces urban culture. The urban-ness as well as the culture-ness. People living in close proximity but not on top of each other, a good spectrum of economic and social diversity, access to transit and a sense of embedded community. Of course there are dirty, rough spots, but that's the joy of true urban culture. It's freaking urban! You're not supposed to be able eat your organic pita sandwich off the sidewalk, but it's nice to know the little place that makes really good organic pita sandwiches.

Now I'm hungry, maybe I'll grab some lunch.
If I can just remember which of these boxes has my pants.

Aug 8, 2007

I can barely see the road from the heat comin' off of it

All I have to say is, I'm clearing my entire fall calendar for this.

Hold all my calls. Feed my plants. I've been 'loured' to this even though they have a new 'base' player.

(AHN News - How's that search for a proofreader coming along?)

Jul 25, 2007

Masters of the single entendre

This poem appears on the sidewalk near the building where I work. It's very simple, some might say too simple and safe even for public art in Seatte, but I've always liked it. The idea is that art can be changed, even slowly destroyed, by its own audience. It can be as simple as a lame punchline etched in cement, subject to the ignorance and abuse of all who pass by it. Art doesn't always have to be precious or even profound, and that often makes it more beautiful.

So I'm walking to the bus stop after work, a few feet behind three amicable-looking dudes (yeah, pretty much dudes), and they notice the poem on the sidewalk:

Dude #1: "A Poem To Be Worn". How do you wear a poem?
Dude #2: I don't know. Is it supposed to be like fashion or something, maybe?
Dude #3: You just lie down on it! That's how you wear it!
Dude #2: No, 'cause then it would be wearing you!
(more laughter)
Dude #1: Seriously, what the hell does that even mean...?

I had to stop listening at that point, otherwise I would have torn off my own arm and clubed them to death with it.


Is this what art critics feel like all the time?

Jul 10, 2007

I'm not lovin' it

McDonald's, your advertising confounds me lately. And before anyone asks:
Yes, I pay attention to commercials. I find them interesting barometers of what people who want to sell me stuff think of me. I am very sensitive to what people think of me.
And yes, most commercials are shallow, pandering and infantile, but at least I can understand what they're trying to say without having to use my brain at all.

So I must ask, what is happening over in the McDonald's ad department?

Example #1: The Cold Guy and His, um... Lady-friend
Setup: Man & woman sit on couch. Their relationship is unclear. Husband/wife? BF/GF? Roommates? First date?
Woman is dressed in tank-top and shorts, drinking cold McBeverage. Man in tight shirt (relationship to her still unclear) is obviosly freezing.
He gets up to turn up the thermostat. Relationship still and again unclear.
She comes over and turns it back down, saying "I like it cold" while sipping coyly on her straw.
Man is visibly "smuggling raisins" (see also, tight shirt + cold) and miserable but reacts by sheepishly turning the thermostat ALL the way down, apparently in deference to his...
What, dominatrix? Sister? Student? Pastor? Cleaning lady?

Who are these people and why don't they talk to each other like normal human beings?

"Are you cold?"
"Well, I'm freezing"
"Put on a sweater, then"


Moreover, is his - uh - physical reaction to the cold supposed to lead us to believe - "Dude! If HE'S nippin' out that much, SHE must be popping out of her shirt!! Think about it! Right ON!"?
Is that it?
Because 1) That's a big leap for me to make in order to have even slightly dirty thoughts about the woman. I need to, you know, think about stupid stuff like relationships and physics and biology first, not cold drinks and hot chicks, and B) Since when was McDonald's ever sexy?
And why DOESN'T he just put on a damn sweater? Stupid American.

Example #2: The Breakfast Buddies
Setup: Two guys eagerly eating McDonald's breakfast sandwiches. They talk about how great they are. They get really into how great these sandwiches are. Really REALLY into how great they are. Okay, got it. And then for no reason, the camera cuts to a wide shot and we see a third person at the table: A young guy, ostensibly their chum, in a full neck-brace-type getup. He is miserable. He eats no such breakfast sandwich and mutters, "I hate you guys."

This, people, is not only inaccurate (um, his hands can still reach his mouth right? Or is his jaw wired shut too, and HOW WOULD WE KNOW THAT?!), it's offensive (to, you know, people with real disabilities who can't actually feed themselves) and just plain mean. Who makes fun of their friend for breaking his neck? And why would they bring him along just to sit there and not eat? I NEED MORE INFORMATION!!

Does McDonald's not know this is happening?
My guess is they just don't care: They're McDonald's. People would still eat there if their ads were 30 seconds of footage from the Chicago race riots or a mall security camera or a rerun of "So You Think You Can Dance".
Who cares? Just slap on the golden arches and that insipid jingle at the end and watch America get fatter.

The least they could do is keep their advertising predictable, forgettable and marginally tempting. It seems to work for everyone else.
I just hope they don't go with the whole giant cartoon head thing like Burger King. That stuff creeps me the heck out.

Jun 20, 2007

Get right

Now, back to this trip I mentioned.

One of my favorite southern expressions is "Getting right with God."
It generally means getting your ducks in a row, getting your act together in a very profound and overarching kind of lifestyle way. See also, "Come to Jesus". We're not talking "Hey, that shirt doesn't go with those pants." It's more like, "Quit dicking around because you'll probably die from this."

I like this saying because, like many southern expressions that sound overtly religious, "Getting right with God" really isn't about God. Or depending on the breadth of scope with which you view religion as a concept, it really, really is. But it's from the south, which makes it more exotic. In the end, it has everything to do with dropping the narcissism and kicking yourself in the ass.
After spending some quality time on one of the most amazing patches of real estate this country has to offer, I submit that more of us need to Get Right with The Land. It's not about Al Gore or global warming or Green Party politics. Or, depending on the breadth of scope with which you view your environment as a concept, it really, really is. In the end, it has everything to do with kicking yourself in the ass. The Land is the great unknowable, it is the ultimate justice, the one place to be unique and anonymous, huge and insignifigant at the same time. It's beautiful and hostile and it would just as soon pose for a picture as crush the last breath out of you. The Land shelters lizards and kills baby deer. You don't have to hold a degree in theology to get where I'm going with this.

The Jemez indians of Northern New Mexico got it:
"In our culture, there is no word for 'religion', it is simply the way you live with the land"
(paraphrased from the interpretive center)
We don't quite get it yet, but sometimes we come close. We have to Get Right with The Land, we have to quit dicking around and recognize, get real, come to Jesus, make it count, win one for the Gipper because, well, this sh*t is serious.

To illustrate my point, I invite you to get right with this (from Flickr):

Now call your mother, stop antagonizing your co-worker and quit feeling guilty about things that have nothing to do with you. You're going to die soon.

Overheard conversation #46

In the Denver airport, waiting to fly back to Seattle:

Dude: You live in Seattle?
Guy: Yep.
Dude: I couldn't live there. I mean it's nice, but...
Guy: You don't like the rain?
Dude: It rains all the time there!
Guy: The summer's really nice, though.
Dude: It's raining there right now.
Guy: Is it?
Dude: I don't know. Probably.
Guy: I don't think it is, actually.


Guy: It's nice, too, because you take out your cell phone or PDA and you can read what's on the screen.
Dude: You mean 'cause...?
Guy: Yeah, 'cause there's less glare. You don't have to, you know, worry about covering the screen with your hand or whatever.
Dude: Yeah, that's pretty good, I guess.

Seattle, Washington: Less glare!

And if you're wondering why we were in the Denver airport, it's because Ida and I took a trip here for our anniversary. Hot rocks!

Jun 10, 2007

Get your mind out of the space gutter!

I don't blog on a daily basis, so I don't usually blog about daily news items, but this article was just too good to pass up.

Alternate headline: "Shuttle, space station dock successfully dispite thermal blanket tear. Station to undergo routine pregnancy test"

Come on! Am I right? NASA is getting DIRTY!

Jun 7, 2007

Truth Hits Everybody (Live)

I've seen a lot of reunion tours, it's true. I also own a lot of Greatest Hits compilations, which, according to my band mate E., are for "old women and high-school girls". This may also be true, but let's be honest, classic rock owes its continued appeal to these compilations. Anyone want to delve into Foghat's second album? How about some live Eddie Money?
Er... no, thanks. Hits only, please. And maybe some long-time faves of the band. Or maybe just one.

Last night I saw The Police play their first show on an American stage in over 20 years. [I just like the way that sounds.] And in the end, it was the best thing about the show. Which is not to say that boys disappointed, but The Police have never been anything other than pretty much mainstream pop-punk-ska-reggae-Sting, and they've never apologized for it. They missed the punk movement altogether, largely because they were too good, too handsome and too well heeled. Last night's show proved that (at least in the case of the first two) they still have nothing to apologize for.

I went with my pal K., a longtime arena-show companion from way back - Boston, REM, Yes, CrosbyStillsNashandsometimesYoung - we've seen a lot together. Though I hadn't been to an arena show since I last went to the dentist. And I reeeeeeally need to see the dentist.
The Police, as K. said, are one of The Three Bands. The ones that you pay $xxx/ticket and climb over your own grandmother to see, if only on the principle that it is your rock and roll duty to see them live.
I think my Three and K.'s Three are different (besides The Police, his includes Talking Heads and mine includes DLR Van Halen), but the idea's the same. Confidential to K.: I swear to G-O-doublehockeysticks I will pay you back for the ticket.

The Show:

Concert-going wardrobe rules (as remembered from high school):
No jacket, dress in layers.
No collared shirts. You're not at work, you're here to rock.
No t-shirts from other bands/tours. No one cares who else you've seen.
Shoes you can stand in for a long time
Use your pockets for essentials (drugs and booze included) but keep it simple. Bulging pockets are SO uncool.
You don't really need to buy the t-shirt.

Number of times I made this joke: "I can't believe The Cops are playing Key Arena!" - 1.
No one there was young enough to get it anyway, and K. didn't think it was that funny.

Sting and I had the same haircut: Advantage, Sting.
I have more hair: Advantage, me.

Stewart and Sting never came to blows onstage, which was a drag but probably good for Stewart, who looked like a winded skeleton throughout the entire show. With all the Tantric crap Sting does, he could most likely snap Stewart in half. With his mind.

Songs not played (of course) we wish were:
"Be My Girl (Sally)"
"On Any Other Day
"Does Everyone Stare"
"Miss Gredenko"

Song we wish they hadn't played: "Don't Stand So Close to Me". Trying to split the difference (almost exactly) between the original and crappy '86 versions, they failed failed failed. Yuck.

Unexpected highlight: "Invisible Sun", complete with video images of war, starvation and poverty. Subtle. Simple. Impactful. Best Buy.

Gold Star for doing all his musical homework and nailing the extra credit bonus solos: Andy Summers

While most of the evening's numbers came from ZenyattaGhostSynchronicity timeframe, "Next to You", the first song from their first album, closed out the set. Get it? It's like a circle!

Number of beach balls in the crowd - 1
Number of camera and camera phone displays visible from our seats - 1,000,000
Number of terrible photos I took with my phone before putting it away and watching the damn concert - 4

Sting kept saying, "This is Seattle, right?" and we all kept saying yes, so I don't know why he kept asking.

Stewart Copeland seriously looked like Skeletor. With glasses. And a headband. And golfing gloves. Conclusion: Stewart Copeland is a TOTAL DORKWAD.

So they played The Rock Hits, we all had some fun and they made, and will continue to make, a veritable sh*t ton of money playing this tour. Strangely, I feel no ill will towards them for this. Not like I do towards, say, The Eagles. The Police never have to apologize for being old, well heeled and precocious hit-makers any more than I have to apologize for buying Message in a Box: The Complete Police Recordings. That's what people like about them and, I hope, about me.

May 29, 2007

Fact of the Day

Of the dozens of people who display the "Starfleet Academy" sticker on their cars, very few have actually attended Starfleet Academy.

May 24, 2007

We Got Beef

I'm fully aware that the following statements may inflame some and infuriate others as I am about to attack a well-known and beloved Seattle carnivore landmark. Nevertheless...

Dear Red Mill Burgers:
I know everyone thinks you're the local burger-patty heroes, a Mecca for all those avowed meat lovers who want to support the little guy. I know your name evokes involuntary and Homer Simpson-esque groans of pleasure amongst the aforementioned "in-the-know-ers". I'm not faulting your small-business pluck (which I appreciate in any burger joint that doesn't occur nationally), nor do I think your food is especially bad, but this leads to my first point:

1) Your burgers are good, but not that good. Let's be honest, the secret is in the sauce, and yours is a B+ on its best day. Fresh greens and veggies, sure. Great. But really, I could make better burgers on my grill. If I had a grill, I mean. I know, I know, the point of a restaurant is that you don't have to make the food YOURSELF. Still, don't let all those "Seattle's Best Burger" awards go to your head.

2) What is it about you and large to-go orders? Anything over 4 servings in one order and you fall apart. Missing fry orders, the wrong burger, drinks we didn't ask for - seriously, you suck at it. Which brings me to...

3) High-school counter help. Nothing against teenagers, but it might be a good idea to have your quality-control person actually be old enough to vote. While we're on the subject, is it a coincidence that 95% of your counter staff is made up of cute high-school girls?
Order up for Mr. Nabokov! Is there a Vladimir Nabokov here?
What is up with that?
Never mind, I'm sure I don't want to head down that rabbit-hole. Still, kinda creepy...

4) Okay, no one in the service industry likes to deal with a customer on a cell phone. Your No Cell Phones policy is fine and should stay, but you have to know that you are the exception in this respect. The days of mounting a grassroots rebellion against cell phone users in your place of business are over. I don't like it any more than you do, but we all use cell phones and we're not about to take scoldings about it from a burger joint. Stop threatening people like you have a self-righteous leg to stand on. In exchange, I'll make sure to leave my cell phone off when I'm in line at Red Mill. All you had to do was ask nicely.

5) Finally, start taking debit cards. It's quicker and more convenient for most everyone. "Cash or checks only" is no longer cute, nor is it "sticking it to the corporate world" (see also, #4 above). Does anyone born after 1970 even use checks anymore? I mean for purposes other than mailing your gas bill payments? You're popular and busy enough to afford the service fees. Get over yourselves and let your customers use plastic like the rest of the world does.

6) Finally, finally - The Rolling Stones stopped releasing good music on August 24, 1981*. Please please please stop forcing us to listen to "A Bigger Bang" every time we come in. I could make better music in my own studio. If I had a studio, I mean. At least play some of the deeper cuts off of "Let It Bleed" or "Exile on Main Street". But really - enough with the Grey Pony Tail-worship. No one cares.

In conclusion, Ida and I often bask in the guilty pleasure of your greasy goodness. You make great shakes, pretty good fries and onion rings worthy of an engagement proposal (Simpsons reference #2, for those of you playing at home). You could be so much better if you'd just get out of your own way in some respects. Otherwise, you might as well be a less-efficient version of TGI Friday's. Just sayin'.

Yours truly,
W.G. Beets

PS How about a Grilled Beet Burger? I just thought if it! Delicious!

*Estimated date, album quality debatable. Though "Waiting on a Friend" is the real gem.

May 9, 2007

Le Retour d'Ida

She's been in France for the past two-and-a-half weeks and flies back this evening. I wish I could say the time has flown by and I barely noticed she was gone, but such is the point and the responsibility of being hitched: you miss 'em when they're not around. A bit like crazy.
I also wish I could squeeze out a few tears in fond remembrance of my bachelor days, but really... they weren't that great.
Not a hater, but never a Player. At least not the kind with a capital "P" that rhymes with "C" which stands for "commitment-phobic".

In other news, Bandor smash!

Diversions are helpers.

Apr 24, 2007

Tunnel fever

Seems like burrowing wanderlust is catching. Especially the completely ridiculous kind.
A London to Moscow to Washington express, eh? Hmmm.
68 miles of tunnel under 250 feet of Arctic Ocean? Sure, why not!
It's not tempting fate, it's courting destiny. What could possibly go wrong??

Seattle and Boston, are you getting all this? Maybe someone should propose a Bering Straight Viaduct!


Ah, me.

Apr 6, 2007

Live Free or Die

I tend to have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to seeing items from my home state all the way out here in the northwest. I always strain to see if that window decal says "University of New Hampshire" (it doesn't), I shamelessly accost folks who can't disguise their "ah"s (as in, "Uh, sure I'm a Seattle native, I was born in Madison Paahk". Aha! Wicked busted!)
I make sure to gleefully point out New Hampshire license plates to Ida or whomever I'm driving with - a habit I tend to forget about when I'm actually driving IN New England. Hilarity then, of course, ensues.

So it is with no small amount of local and cultural pride that I direct your attention to this story.
While I'll always toss my cap in the air for the progress of civil equality, it's especially gratifying seeing the nor'easter of change blow through a place I was sure would be forever stuck in the dahk ages with regahd to the queeahs. I'm proud of you NH. Way to show those Vermont hippies and freakin' Massholes.

In other news, I'm obliged to post this:
Join's Virtual Town Hall: Iraq

And, accordingly, this:

(image lifted from the blog of my good friend md)

Apr 2, 2007

The Low End Theory

Yes, I bought this bass amp yesterday.

No, I really didn't have the money to pay for it up front - and here's where I have to give props to Mega Super Guitar Mart's painfully tempting sale offers. No money down, no-interest payments for a year, a really helpful and enthusiastic sales associate named Matt (but, Matt, please pick a name for me besides "bro" or "dude", won't you?). Plus they're lit'rally the only chain in the country that sells these particular goodies.
(So unofficially, hooray for Guitar Mammoth Music Centers Inc. this time. I'll still go on record saying that place gives me a headache, though.)

Yes, I really needed it.

Yes, it's as small as it looks AND it's way lighter and more powerful than my old one.

No, I don't know how they do it. Neither did Matt. Maybe Marco can explain it to you. Or maybe you just shouldn't question the rock.

Yes, I used it at a show last night. Mon Dieu! Si, si bon!!

So the rebuild from last year's grand theft auto is finally complete (with no help from USAA Insurance, you dirty cheap bastards).

Did I mention I'm kind of a dork?

Mar 21, 2007

Profiles in Public Service: The Federal Trade Commission

You know what I say to all those hippies out there who trash their own government?
Check out the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, you stinking' hippies! Go back to aviation repair college and quit begging for me to put my size ten-and-a-halfs up your Jefferson's Airplane.
Now listen, this under-appreciated government agency just wants to help you. They're not trying to "drag you down", they don't want to "harsh your vibe" or make you "part of the machine". The good men and women at the Federal Trade Commission have dutifully put together this unbelievably helpful and comprehensive website to help you keep on the sunny side and flying through clear skies.
Why would they do something like this for a stupid, ungrateful hippie like me, you ask? Check it out: It's their JOB. Speaking of which, try getting one, long-hair. You'll earn money to buy reefer or drive to Burning Man or whatever the hell else you blow your trust fund on.

Okay back to the FTC.
Did I mention that they're just trying to make your miserable lives a little more manageable! Why can't you simply see that?!

Tired of paying for your credit reports?

An easy way onto the glorious National Do-Not-Call List?

Can't stand spam?

Losing sleep over identity theft? Don't worry, because

Tune in to this, degenerates: I know there's a lot of crap going on with our country these days. The Man is still trying to keep the leaf off the streets and our young folks on the front lines. In the words of The Godfather of Soul, we're all just trying to get over before we go under. I can dig it.
All the same, sometimes it helps to know that there are still people out there who care about the little guy. And those people work at the UNITED STATES FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.

Good night and good luck.

Mar 12, 2007

Brad Delp 1951-2007

Everyone knows that I'm a shameless classic rock devotee. I love it for its actual irony (the literary, clever, lyrical kind, not the kind that fuels an apathetic and artless lifestyle), its take on Lemons, American Bands and Highway Stars and of course, its killer riffs. I've gotten used to that look when people discover this about me: the look that waits for the punchline or some ironic jab at hippies then slowly fades into something resembling a mix of confusion and pity.

But here's the truth:
My first album was Van Halen II - thanks mom & dad!
I was introduced to the finer points of notebook art copying the logos of Rush, Def Leppard and The Grateful Dead
The first song I learned on bass guitar was Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimmie Three Steps"

And my first concert was Boston.
It was the 6th or 7th of their nine sold-out dates at the Worcester ("Woostah") Centrum supporting their much-anticipated "Third Stage" album. I remember not much caring for the hit ballad "Amanda", but the rest of the record pretty much blew my mind. The show was no less amazing. Hometown boys back in the game after 10 years, crazed and sweaty fans screaming along gleefully, my young ears getting their first dose of concert deafness. I literally bought the t-shirt.

Brad Delp seemed like a nice guy, in the general scope of Nice Guys of Rock, no doubt a club with few members. He was born in Massachusetts and died in New Hampshire, a 40 minute drive, round trip. Everyone seemed to like him, he had one of the most improbably high and clear voices in music (Geddy Lee who?) and he had a pretty killer 'stache. In the end, can a man ask for anything better?
You could say he just closed his eyes and slipped away, but I like to think that he finally hitched a ride on that huge rocket-guitar spaceship and didn't look back.

Mar 9, 2007

There is NOTHING funny about chauvanism

I forgot to blog against sexism yesterday. Thanks to ECB for the reminder. She's a kicky little dish, that one.

Mar 7, 2007

Al Gore Angry! Al Gore Smash!

I can come back if this isn't a good time, Mr. Vice President...

(photo shamelessly ripped off The Slog)

Feb 19, 2007

87% Cocoa

Oh right, offices and sugar. I'd almost forgotten.

Subj: Homemade cookies in the break room!
Subj: Leftover Halloween candy - UP FOR GRABS!
Subj: Girl Scout cookies
Subj: Extra doughnuts on the conference room.

And now you're 20 pounds heavier. Thank goodness you've been sitting on your ass all day, too. That helps.

I'm now begging (almost literally) my female co-workers to eat the weapons-grade dark chocolate I bought last week. Aren't women supposed to loooove chocolate? Did I waste that much money on Valentine's Day gifts in college?
Please don't make me have to eat another piece. It's sitting right there! Crap.

Now I'm so amped up on the stuff that I think I might be able to bend light rays with my mind.
Working on it... working on it... Damn! Distracted by imaginary itch. No wait, real itch. Better take care of that... oops, just scratched through to bone. That'll probably need a looking at. Oh wellhahahahahahahahahaha. Why won't my legs stop bouncing?!?

Feb 11, 2007

Sometimes you need to make hard choices

In case you were hoping to see me playing with my band opening at this sold out show:

I regret to inform you that I will not be there that night.
I've made a prior commitment to appear in this world-premiere theatre play instead.

If you could split yourself in twain, I'd recommend that you suppport both causes simultaneously. Since you likely cannot perform such amoebic imitation, perhaps you should attend the former on the 17th (if you already have tickets, I guess) and the latter on another night?
I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but in an almost impossible convergence of fortune, I can safely and honestly recommend both and defer neither to one nor t'other.

You have my personal ass-urance that my re-bass-ment at the Presidents' show will be as good if not better than me. Though perhaps not as good-looking.
Let's be honest.

Oh, hello!

We must be pretty close friends, which must be why I'm on the gigantic cc: list of the e-mail you just sent me regarding... let's see, what is it today?

Bill Gates is giving away $1000? To me? Why, this is the first I've heard of THAT!
Is my cell phone number about to be deleted from the Do-Not-Call list in 11 days without my permission? Holy Crap! Can they DO that?!
I need to be kept aware of someone planting an AIDS-infected needle in the back seat of the next taxi I take.
Thank you so much for thinking of me! We can't let the terrorists win!

Moreover I thank you, dear net buddy, for making sure that my name and e-mail appear alongside all those of all the other people on the list I don't know. Let's all be friends! That's what the internet is about, right? I hope each of them will "Reply All" when they congratulate you on your heads-up attitude!

Lastly, I'm sorry for replying to you suggesting that maybe you should check your facts before you send stuff out to a million of your close buddies. I understand that these kinds of messages are meant to be FRIENDLY WARNINGS that have REALLY WORKED for A LOT of your other friends. I shouldn't be so ungrateful to you and I should certainly understand that while you SHOULD be able to send me spam hoax messages I didn't ask for, I have NO RIGHT to reply with anything less friendly than this:

"THX! I totally DID NOT know this! I'm DEFIN8LY gonna pass this along to EVERY1 I know!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxotla cul8r!!!"

After all, you can't be expected to worry about contributing to the useless and impersonal drivel that clogs up the internet - you hardly ever even use the internet! Why would you?! It's such a scary place, with all those online predators and viruses and fonts and identity thefts and iPod offers. You really should send another letter to your AOL tech support and let them know about all these terrible things going on in the world of the wide web.

Better yet, just keep sending me all of those warnings with your plea to "pass it along".
I don't mind. I don't use the internet for work or anything. In fact, I hear most people don't.

Jan 25, 2007

Looking Minnesota, Feeling Rochester

In a bizarre test of The Universe's of Unknowable Humours*, I got hit with a stupid headcold on the same day that we finally got the internet back in our house**.

PRO - I can check NewJob email from home. Can end subject lines with "wfh".
CON - Phlegm. Everywhere.

PRO - Daytime internet is way better than daytime TV.
CON - Daytime internet is pretty boring if you're not wasting company time.

PRO - More time to write in my blog.
CON - More time to write in my blog.

So you see how it is. I don't know which end is up anymore. I've missed 2 days of work now, which should make my Friday seem like a Monday and next Monday seem like the Friday I had this week after missing two days of work. Know what I mean?

I have to get out of the house.

* Note the Old Fashioned use of the word, meaning not "haha", but rather "health". And sometimes "women problems".

** The same day we started paying for it was also the same day a local pasword-protected network in our 'hood randomly turned un-password-protected, and thus, free. Insert 3 Stooges gesture here.

Jan 19, 2007

No, I am not half-stoned

In case you were wondering, the reason my right eye is still bloodshot is....


I have no idea. I thought you would.
It doesn't hurt and I can still see out of it. Still, it's a little disconcerting.
And scary to look at in the mirror.
Come oooooon Newjobhealthbenefits.....

Next week: My Searing Foot Pain and Why You Should Care

Jan 10, 2007

Back on the Bus

I've lasted 256 days without a job.

Food and supplies are getting low, the raft has taken on some bilge water
(are you calling me fat?), however I've sighted
I must confess, there's a part of me that really loved being unemployed.
I got to hang out with my wife a lot, I did a bunch of cool things with
the band and with my acting "career" (some of which actually generated
some money and restored some of my faith in the artistic process... and
some didn't).
Sleeping in is always a plus, pretending I'm a retired-at-26 software
magnate spending the day on my computer in a coffee shop - you know, the
Seattle Thing.
I got to drink on Sunday nights, which I may or may not miss. I'm a big
fan of booze, but there's only so much sympathy your friends can spare
when they announce they have to get up early next day while you casually
order another round. To quote the band Primus (speaking of college and
other days of carefree drinking):
"Funny thing about weekends when you're unemployed/They don't mean quite
so much/'cept that you get to hang out with your working friends."

Mostly though, I'm pretty relieved. It's a good job that I held out for,
perhaps even loaded all my eggs into one basket for. I'll be working for
good instead of evil, alongside other creative-minded types in a field
that will afford me training, resume fodder and (eventually) some good
money. And there's really only so much sleeping-in I can do.

So I bid unemployment a bittersweet farewell again, possibly for the last
time in a long time. Time to re-set the snooze alarm.

Jan 8, 2007

Pardon me, but would you mind jump-starting my heart?

Is there any way to un-read a book?
I can't stop thinking about this one. Also, I'm constantly shouting at the Devil. He won't keep his yard clean and steals my newspaper every day. What an a-hole!

Jan 7, 2007

Petty Victories!

Unbeknownst to many, I launched a secret campaign to acquire 200 MySpace friends before 2007.

Mission Accomplished.

I'd like to thank each and every one of the MySpace 200, as I have since dubbed them. They are all (obviously), the ones who care for me the most. I know I could count on any of them to jump under a New York City subway train for me. As I very well may possibly do for them. Someday. Maybe.

Anyway, to all those "friends" #201 and up: Nice try, Idiots! See if I ever blog about you.