Posts Tagged ‘music’

Four Fails and a Win

Posted: May 29, 2013 in Self-Deprecation
Tags: , , ,

No, this isn’t the tale of the wedding between Cortana and myself–  that’s the last entry on the backlog.  Fret not, it’ll be coming soon.  No, this is one of those entries that could only happen to yours truly, and the amalgamated fuckpile of ridiculousness that seems to pervade my existence.  What’s that you say?  Make like Monty Python and “Get on with it!”?  Yeah, I guess I can do that– because I love you all in an entirely inappropriate no-means-no-don’t-stop kind of way.

It all started at the laundromat.  Seriously, that’s where I discovered that The Fabulous Miss Wendy (more appropriately the Femme Fest 2013 tour) was going to be this far east again.  Sparing the extensive explication and back-story, I fanboy-ed out so hard when I made this discovery– I was jumping up and down like a tween with Bieber tickets in front of the commercial-sized washers.  I can only imagine what the people across the street at the Chinese joint were saying when they saw how well I can fold while hopping and dancing.  Wait, there’s more– that disturbingly age-inappropriate fanboy reaction was then accompanied by a giggle and a squee when my boss gave me Friday night off to take the wife to the show.

Yes, bastards and bitches, I squee-ed.  Wendy’s worth it.  Deal with it.

Therefore, Judd Nelson.

You can try to judge me, but you cannot fathom the sheer quantity of fuck that I cannot be bothered to give right now.

So, fanboy wood aside, this brings me to Fail #1:  The venue was in Kane, PA.  I could avoid saying anything further, as I should have known better than do anything besides take a desperation shit in this town, but…  my fanboy goggles were cramping my style.  In line with the classic “but wait– there’s more” theme, if the town wasn’t indication enough that someone’s promoter got a toothless blowjob in some back alley to book this stop… the venue said it all:  Corban’s Temple Skating Rink.  For those of you not paying attention, yes, that is a Freewebs domain address.

Feel free to judge all you want.  Fun fact– any judgements you could have made from the website are going to be grossly inadequate to describe how much of a run-down pit this place was.  In other words, it has the same grievous-health-code-violating charm as a dive bar (I love dive bars) minus the alcohol.  In other words, it reeked of feet and fail.

Speaking of fails– this brings us to Fail #2:  Cortana and I were running on our usual relativistic timeframe which made us 2 hours late for “doors open.”  In Kane, PA, apparently “doors open” is also synonymous with “we’re kicking this shit off.”

Right about now, putting the clues of fails #1 & 2 together would lead you to #3.  I also know that my readers are into that whole instant gratification bit so…  just look below.

This wasn't any less awkward after drinking.

Anyone else getting that 10th-birthday-party vibe? Yeahhhhhh….

Behold Fail #3—  the predominant age at this “concert” was well under 18.  Those that were over appeared to have IQ’s of… well under 18.  Speaking of the Judd Nelson reference above, there was even a kid there who was clearly the coolest little bastard in the rink (also taller than me on skates) that could have been some kind of stray sperm from Herr Nelson that found a way to grow into a bigger disappointment.  Yes, he was even wearing the finger gloves–  I can’t make this shit up.

Needless to say, Cortana and I exchanged awk-warrrrddd glances after realizing that the bands were between sets.  (Refer back to Fail #2.)

This leads us to Fail Numero Quattro–  Cortana and I went across the street to the only open bar in the area.  Mind you, the window said closed (at fucking 9pm on a Friday fucking night, further testament to how hard Kane fails at everything), but the bartender was all too unenthusiastic to stay open.  Here, the predominant age was over 65, and strangely less awkward than the roller-tween “concert.”  We were so comfortable– we apparently missed the memo that the headliner (you know, the Fabulous One) was swapping up with one of the other acts due to “difficulties.”  Let me put this into perspective, we almost missed the entire goddamn reason we were in that desolate shithole town– because hanging out with a bunch of senior citizens was more palatable to us because there was available booze.

Not to mention, Szymanskis (at least that’s where I think we were) didn’t seem like the building itself was going to fall upon us– nor did we have the sneaking suspicion that there might be a syphilitic rapist lurking in a secret passageway somewhere (all jocularity aside, the skate rink should be condemned.)  If I hadn’t flogged this dead horse to the point where it might pass as British hamburger, let me say it again: I hope that whomever was in charge of booking this tour didn’t fail this hard for the every venue.

Is it time for the win?  Oh yeah, it sure is, and it’s not limited to this:

Matched pair!!

This is not the only win that came of this trip. Read on.

This is how to define winning.  Wendy, Fabulous as she is, was not nearly as phased by the less-than-ideal abortion of a booking that she and her fellow musicians were given.  In fact, she reacted as a real performer does– she had a fucking blast.  Seriously, she rocked out for the collected grab bags of genetic party favors just as hard as she did the first two times I saw her– utterly unphased by her surroundings.  In fact, after her set was over, she was taking pictures, signing autographs, and generally being awesome to everyone there– well into the next set.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what a performer does.  This is what a musician does.  In the face of perhaps the worst booking I’ve ever had the privilege to see (and I once went to an indy/punk show based out of a guy’s mom’s garage), Wendy did what she does best– be fabulous.  She clearly didn’t give nearly a quarter of a rat’s ass about her surroundings and generally rocked it like she didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.

… is it bad that I kinda wanted the whole scenario to have been an ill-advertised benefit because one of the kids was dying?  You know, not for the po-dunk kid dying part, but it’d just make the whole situation that much more justifiable.

Moral of the story:  don’t stop in Kane, PA unless you need to take an emergency lava shit…  or you happen to have tickets to see The Fabulous Miss Wendy.

Unplug.

Nobody has ever accused me of being mundane, Orthodox, or conventional.  Let’s get that out of the way before I commence the crazy.  Things that get the hoi polloi all sorts of fired up tend to make me yawn with disinterest.  That could be due to my history as a wry cynic, or that I have a severe allergy to propaganda– and most motivational techniques come across as just that.  Cheers and chants (with a handful of noteworthy exceptions) tend to annoy me.  Mission statements and similar concepts of that ilk are met with the same disdain as political campaign ads.  In my less than humble opinion, and you can feel free to quote me on this–  “Motivational speech without mechanics or substance to back it is just propaganda in pretty clothing.”

Of course, there are also the personal sources of motivation– money, success, progress.  These dangled carrots, to me, feel like intangibles– especially if they are coupled with repeated indoctrination with circuitous motivational speech.  Now, some of you may be slapping your foreheads and saying, “What did you expect?  Have you not worked in sales before?”  (The answer is:  not like this, nope.)

Luckily, my company is legit-- and not unscrupulous.

Go on YouTube and look up Alec Baldwin’s “motivational” speech from this movie. Welcome to my life. The major noteworthy difference is: my company doesn’t tolerate dishonesty (unlike the one in the movie).

Some people are motivated by having a figurative (or literal) gun to their head.  Yeah, I’m motivated by the need for a paycheck– and certainly motivated by the concept of being fired.  However, that said, I’m more motivated by the promises I made to several friends– that I would personally handle their affairs and needs when it came to life insurance.   That promise upgraded the proverbial gun (usually a pistol) to full-sized naval artillery.  Forget spattering my think jelly on the nearest wall for an art student to critique, I’d end up a smoking crater.  This kind of motivation is less of the high-energy type, and more of the grim determination variety.  I cannot fail them, end of story.  Luckily, it’s in my 100% Italian/Sicilian genes to be stubborn enough to beat a cat in a staring contest.

Right about now, there are readers attempting to do this.

I swear, this will not become a habit.

No, I will not degrade to utilizing only Cheezburger memes– but the point had to be illustrated… right? Stare at the cat and quit judging me.

How’s a jaded, easily-frustrated, misanthropic, cynic like me supposed to get actually fired up?  I mean if the allure of the almighty dollar sign isn’t enough of a carrot, and I’ve got my promise standing in for the main guns of the USS Missouri (pointed at my head), what’s a guy like me do?  Sex is a fantastic motivator, but I’m going to marry Cortana– so I’m not worried about attracting tail (although trying to ensure that she never needs to work is another excellent reason to keep my nose to the grindstone).  Is it through study, inspirational reading, meditation, praise, or reprimand?  Bitch please.  It’s all in the music.

85% of my colleagues are younger than I am, and this includes both of the guys higher than I am on the food chain.  I’m only 32, which makes this even more wryly entertaining.  They can preach all they want, but it’s hilarious when someone 4 years my junior tries to browbeat me like I’m 23.  Sorry, kiddo, you can either address me like a man– or you can be ignored like a child (albeit with a humongous allowance).  I don’t get motivated by rhetoric, and their choices in music are about as demotivating.  I’m a dyed-in-the-wool metalhead, and they’re listening to a ton of club music, hip hop, and rap.  My love of the Kool Ade has allowed these blasphemies to my musical cannon bleed into my psyche, and I’ve found myself listening to Skrillex.  That’s another sidebar entirely, in fact, it’d probably have been better placed as a side-effect like in the last edition.

No, my motivation comes from a much more powerful place– the heartiest bowels of all that is Metal.  Yes, that capitalization is intentional.  When I was plodding forward a month and a half ago, four weeks into a no-business/no-paycheck binge, I found the elusive gasoline to dump on the embers of my confidence.  That jug of gasoline came from the lyrics– and the infernally majestic orchestration– of a song entitled Gateways.  Although Dimmu Borgir‘s diabolical masterpiece, as a whole, spoke to me– it’s this specific passage that woke up the indignant narcissist inside:

“The rebirth is nearing completion
As we slowly awaken from slumber
To receive the light that shines in darkness
The light that shines forevermore (forevermore)…

Be the broken or the breaker!
(Be the Giver or the Undertaker–)
Unlock and open the doors!
(Be the Healer or the Faker–)
The keys are in your hands:
Realize you are your own sole creator
Of your own master plan”

For those of you without the benefit of an English background, or a background in poetry, we’ll take pause and let you really appreciate what I took from this.

This guy gets it.

You see a mosh pit. Like the dude on the surfboard, I see opportunity, energy, creativity, motivation, and innovation.

So I came up with my own master plan, and started working on it.  I got mad, because I realized that although I’d been pitched with smoke and mirrors– it’s all on me, and I’m not gonna fail because I didn’t take the opportunity and run with it.  So, needless to say, when I’m on the road– stuck in my box at the office– or trying to push my pace into overdrive…  cue up the metal.  Gimme that sexy Viking Metal– because (as Amon Amarth would tell me) “Valhall Awaits Me.”  Throw on that PM5K, because you know “It’s Riot Time.”  Cue up some FFDP and feel completely “Bulletproof.”  Just as DragonForce says, “Through the fire and the flames, we carry on.”  The message is pretty universal– in front of unstoppable odds…  clench your fists and let your soul loose a war cry.  Die if you have to, but never go down without putting up a fight befitting a fallen god.

Interestingly, it’s the same stuff I listened to while training for the Tough Mudder.  No matter what’s on the stereo when I pull up to an appointment, I’ve always got a smile on my face– and a healthy attitude backing it up.  The punchline:  this life insurance agent derives his immediately positive energy from death metal.

Unplug.

Call me old-fashioned, but I want absolutely jack dick to do with Christmas until after the ol’ Thanksgiving Turkey has been offered up to the porcelain goddess.  I don’t want to see ornaments, wreathes, or that fat Arctic bastard until after I don’t want to even think about pumpkin pie.   After all, I am a big proponent of #OccupyThanksgiving, just for the tongue-in-cheek point of it all.  My point?  Quit giving in to retailers like a bunch of lemmings.

Yes, I realize that my hijacking of the term has nothing to do with the protest… or does it?  My dogged refusal to get into the retail spirit (note: not Christmas Spirit) until the time was nigh was about as stalwart as the campers of OWS.

Let me enjoy my goddamn holidays, you bastards!

Damn skippy. Sometimes you gotta take time to eat a traditional holiday freaking dinner.

However now?  Now Rosie can put down the middle finger every time I see Christmas lights, or a Menorah, or a Kwanzaa…  whatever it is that Kwanzaa has that is indicative of the holiday.  Not that it’s any less viable, I just know exactly jack dick about it.  Anyway, such tomfoolery and assjackery aside, I can feel free to enjoy the impending holiday in a timely fashion.

Oh yes, it’s time to enjoy the classic tunes– as well as the Bob & Tom specials.  Now I can joyously giggle at a carrot dick on a snowman, the redneck days of Christmas, Sandler’s Chanukah Song (all 3 versions), and the South Park kids…  This also means I can pop open my 11-month-sealed folder and break out the Bing Crosby.  It doesn’t matter to me, I’ll blare the classic tunes that I grew up on– and my neighbors damn well better be thankful that I don’t rush my holidays like the rest of the nation.

Nothing says love like beating your kid with a sack of Valencia oranges!

That's right, real music, none of these mass-produced, auto-tuned piles of steaming crapola. Complete with classy drinks.

It’s that time to break out the holiday tunes.  Now, since it’s time to hit the highway— and haul nuggets.  No time to proofread, it’s time to set some land speed records with the Star Destroyer (aka my car).

Oh, by the way— this entry #50, as if any of you care.

Unplug.

 

An open letter…

Posted: September 10, 2011 in Rant
Tags:

I realize this is a digression from my usual self-deprecation, and self-inflicted gimp humor, however there’s something that needs to be said– in my devastatingly honest idiom.  I have at least a dozen friends in the US Armed Services, and I feel they’ve been done a grievous disservice at the hands of an affluent brat– one comically named “Soulja Boy.”

Before I start in on this thoughtless public figure, let’s get the so-called facts straight.  In his song “Let’s Be Real,” he is unmistakably clear with his choice of words.   The focal point of this controversy is here:

“F**k the F.B.I. and f**k all the Army troops
Fighting for what, bitch? Be your own man”

Am I taking this out of context?  Nope.  My degree is in writing, and I’ve spent more than my fair share of time working with poetry.  Rap music, generally speaking, is an urban approach to poetry– and a successful one at that, regardless of your personal tastes and avocations.  Soulja Boy has clearly chosen his words carefully.  Of course, now that there has been public outrage over his gratuitous shot at the US Army, he has put up a public apology.  This apology is, in paraphrased words of a friend of mine, as sincere as the snake in the Garden of Eden saying to Eve, “Whoops!  My bad!” after God gave ’em the boot.

“As an artist, I let my words get the best of me.  Sometimes there are things that we feel, things that we want to express, and when we put them on paper and speak them out loud, they can come out wrong.”

You, sir (and I am using the term as loosely as I ever will again), are a liar.  Do you honestly think that we are going to believe that not once during production was your lyric called into question?  Do you seriously believe that we are going to consider this was a simple oversight?  Not only are you a liar, you lie with less credibility than Anthony Weiner saying that his Twitter got hacked.  Like with the congressman, anyone with a brain in their head knows that this “apology” is a load of bullshit on a cartoonish scale.

Let’s call a spade a spade here, if your problem was truly with the issues that your lip-service apology cite, you would have taken the path that artists have taken since Vietnam, and boiled it down to saying, “F**k the government,” “F**k your war,” et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.  If you truly are an “artist” as you claim, you know how to get your point across–  and now you deserve to reap the repercussions of your chosen words.

Fool.

Wearing Malcom X glasses is an insult to his intelligence. You aren't anywhere near his league, so take them off. Seriously, give it up.

Now to take the gloves off.  You chose your words carefully, now taste mine.  The First Amendment legally protects your hate speech.  You are legally able to speak these words of hate, due to the sacrifices made by the very servicemen and women that you insulted.  That’s all your lyric boils down to, hate speech, making you no better than The Westboro Baptist Church.  Actually, being a public figure— one that millions listen to– this act makes you worse than a bunch of classless fanatics.

If you have a problem with war, with the government, or the social issues that you claimed in your apology– you would have lyrically taken that path.  Instead, you turned around and opened fire on the very same people that protect the obscenely lavish lifestyle that you love.  I think you realized that your relevance as an “artist” was waning, and this was another poorly-plotted publicity stunt– just like lying about buying yourself a jet with a $55 million price tag.

Your lyric was not a simple case of your words running away with you, as you’ve claimed.  If this controversy stemmed from a live event, and you’d spouted your bullshit on the fly, we could have classified you as a thoughtless prick like Kanye West— and accepted your apology.  We all have said things in the moment that we later regretted.  That’s why Kanye’s faux pas is all but forgiven and forgotten, because it was a momentary attack of the dumbass.

Yours was premeditated.  Yours went through production.  Yours had hours of work put into it.  Others saw and heard your speech, and your abomination still made it to the public– because you allowed it, no matter what kind of face-saving bullshit you’re pulling.

No, Soulja Boy, I will not believe, nor accept, your hollow apology.  You are only sorry because people took notice of what you said, and called you on it.  If you believed the words went too far– you would have stopped it at some point before it hit the ‘net.  I’m throwing down a challenge to you right now, one that will probably never get beyond the readers of my blog— but I’m going there anyway.  I don’t have to apologize for words that I have chosen very carefully.

If you truly support the men and women who have fought to protect America, and you are willing to make amends– it’s time for you to give back.  Give the entire proceeds of your upcoming album to The Wounded Warrior Project— after all, you’re freaking rich.  You have plenty of money (something that you love to put in the spotlight), and you’re going to make more music, right?  If you truly want to make amends, it’s time for you to man up— and support men and women who know more about being “hard” than you ever will.  Veterans, especially these wounded– they’ve given up more than any should ask of them, in defense of the country that has legally protected your right to be a self-centered assjack.  Although they chose the military lifestyle– they have no choice about what fights they must undertake, a fact many people conveniently ignore.  Whether or not they chose the military out of patriotism, to support a family, or for personal ambition is immaterial– they deserve, at very least, silent respect regardless of your sociopolitical stance.

Put up or shut up, Soulja Boy.  I doubt a crass liar like you would properly try and atone for your douchebaggery, because you lack the maturity to set a proper example as a public figure.  Your lyric proves it.  Prove the rest of America wrong, and do the right thing–

Otherwise, I doubt anyone would protest if you beer-bong some Drano and fix what your mother’s coat hanger didn’t.

Unplug.