Archive for June, 2010

Year Seven: Weightless

Posted by on Wednesday, 30 June, 2010

My Year Six post was an explanation of why men go to church. (Hint: it is for the same reason that they do anything else.) I intended to follow up it with thoughts on why women are attracted to the church. It is shame that I never got around to it, because I can not remember now what I was going to say.

Anyway, I was trying to find a scientific term for failing to achieve escape velocity to use as a title. “Weightless” was the best I could come up with; the moment when you have stopped going up, but have not yet started going back down.

The number of church/mission related functions I have attended in the past few months is truly unsettling. I spent a lot of years in the church, so maybe it is not a surprise if I still go to an occasional event or two… but nine? (One of which was a six week class, so technically: fourteen.) That seems like quite a lot for someone who is supposedly over this whole church thing. Some will say that that is proof of God trying to get my attention. I do not think so. I went to church for such a long time that now, basically all of my friends that see on a regular basis these days are Christians. Obviously Christians are going to want to do Christian-y things. I see it merely as proof that I have nothing better to do.

The thought of fully returning to the Church lifestyle is actually sickening to me. The frustration, the intellectual dishonesty, the pretending to be something that I am not… I did that for six years. Six. Years. I do not want to do that dance again.

In Which the Author Searches for New Music That Does Not Suck Balls

Posted by on Thursday, 24 June, 2010

Day 1:
Sick of the bland, overproduced drivel that I hear everywhere. Does not anyone know how to rock anymore? Listen up kids, I am going to teach you how to rock:

Step 1:
Turn up the drive on your amp. It might also be labeled “Gain”. What, I lost you already? For the love of… Alright, let me back up.

Step 0:
You will need an electric guitar for this. Look, they have been around since before your parents were born; they are really not that hard to come by. I know they are not as portable as acoustic guitars but… what’s that? Will they still help you get laid? Of course. Probably. Maybe. You know what, I am not sure actually. Interesting point. You probably do attract a much higher caliber of groupie with your acoustic ballads as a matter of fact, but you did not become a musician just for the ladies, right? I mean there is also the… uh… you know the… look, just humor me for a minute here, will you?

Step 2:
Play faster. Or harder. Or both. You know what, forget it. I already lost this fight, I can tell.

Day 2:
Looking for a website that will introduce me to the latest and greatest upcoming artists. Lots of websites and blogs that seem to have this goal in mind, but the results are bland, unoriginal, uninspiring.

The website showed some promise, but after listening to a number of the bands in the “rock” category, I gradually came to the unsettling realization that they all sounded rather the same. Not just stylistically, I mean that it almost seemed as if all the bands actually had the same lead singer. Weird. Upon further reflection, I finally realized… they all sound like the guy from Relient K. Have none of these kids hit puberty yet? Where are the MEN?

I speculated, judging purely based on their man-boyish vocal quality, that all of these guys are white, middle class, college boys. Listen up kids, a college education is NOT going to help your music career. You need to drop out of school, live in a van on a steady diet of booze and cigarettes, and then see my guide on how to rock.

Day 3:
Disappointment at the waste of potential.

I never saw the movie Avatar, because, well, I just did not care. Anyway, when the music video came out for Stylo by Gorillaz, I concluded that Avatar could not possibly be any more visually stimulating than this. (Also it was shorter, and free to watch.) The song, unfortunately, was rather forgettable. As it happens, Gorillaz released another video just this week. All I can say is that I wish that Gorillaz would only make some decent music to go with these mind-blowing videos. Do not get me wrong, it is not like Black Eyed Peas bad or anything, it just is not very interesting. And they have had a few good tunes in the past, so I know on some level that they are capable of it. I understand that Gorillaz is the brainchild of two guys, one a musician, the other a graphic artist, and it seems to me that one of these guys is not pulling his weight.

I also came across a guitar player named Orianthi. She was to be the lead guitarist for Michael Jackson’s This Is It shows. I watched a few clips of her on youtube. I must say, I am not normally a fan of the “shredding” style of guitar playing, but I will still tip my hat to an attractive young woman who could absolutely smoke you, me, and any guitar player that either of us could name in a single sitting. She also has a solo album out now, yet for some reason, her hit single According to You sounds just like every other overproduced American Idol alumnus or Disney lab creation style pop song out there today.

New Year’s in July

Posted by on Friday, 18 June, 2010

I was in the back room of a house of a famous person. “What’s in there?” I asked, pointing to a door that had caught my eye.
“Nothing,” the man grunted. “Telephone directory.”
“I would think that even a telephone directory owned by Hitchcock would be valuable?” I questioned. The wife forced a smile. The man left the room. I knew that they were hiding something.

I went home. J~ was throwing a party in my house and had invited a bunch of her friends whom I did not know. I was annoyed, but tried to remain calm. I tried to explain to a group of people some concept that I had discovered, by making an analogy to ants. “You know how on an ant trail, the ants walking in opposite directions will always touch heads before they pass each other?” I demonstrated with my hands. Touch, pass. People did not know that; they don’t spend much time looking at ant trails. Someone moved a piece of furniture to reveal the floor behind it was teaming with ants. Unfortunately, my pleasure at having this visual aid was greatly overshadowed by, well, the fact that the floor was teaming with ants. The people lost interest and moved to a different room, and I had not even made my point yet about whatever it was that I had been trying to explain.

I had had enough of the party and decided to leave. I went outside and opened the garage door and was surprised to see three strange vehicles besides my truck. The drivers were already in them, and they began to pull out one by one even though I was still standing in the drive way. As each one passed I punched the bumper or fender leaving a sizable dent, all the while shouting about how you can not just show up at a man’s house to a party he did not know about AND park in his garage without even asking. They did not see why it was a problem for me, since there was obviously plenty of room in the garage. I finally got into my own truck, but as I was leaving, a woman jumped out and punched a dent into my bumper. “How do YOU like it?” she screamed, but I did not care anymore, I just wanted to get out of there.

However, I could not go far. The city was in chaos. It was midnight now, and everywhere I looked, people were shooting fireworks, and children were running and playing among piles of debris in the middle of the streets. I tried to drive slowly at first, but quickly decided simply to return home for fear of running over a child. “This isn’t even a real holiday,” I frustratedly exclaimed. “It’s New Year’s in July!” someone answered jubilantly. “That doesn’t make sense… and besides, it’s still JUNE,” I responded, mostly to myself.

I went home and went to bed. I do not know how long I was asleep, if at all. When I got up again, G~ was standing in my room playing a keyboard, and he had dropped an unlit cigarette on the floor. I picked it up and handed it to him, and it was then that I realized that he was not really there. There was a rift in space, and when I turned I could see the crowd for whom he was performing. “Where are you?” I asked. He told me which bar downtown.

Then I was downtown, and it was wall to wall people. While making my way through, I came face to face with a familiar-looking girl and her friend. She knew my name, but could not remember where we had met before. I was certain it was from 20Somethings a long time ago, but did not want to admit it. “Is your name Courtney?” I asked. She told me that it was not, but did not disclose her actually name. I noticed that she had “Carol” tattooed on the side of her neck, but people do not get tattoos of their own name, do they? They usually do that in honor of someone who died, or perhaps a lover, right?

I made my way to a less trafficked area. An audience of Storm Troopers and Darth Vaders with assorted other other cos-players had gathered in an amphitheater in the graveyard to watch the midnight show. “But there will no be midnight show,” I thought, “The hour has already past.” But just as I was climbing into a tree to see what would happen next, the leprechauns arrived dressed as characters from the works of Dr. Seuss and the play began.

I moved to the back of the audience to take a seat with my mother, who was not my mother at all, because they all thought I was someone else; someone they had nicknamed “Mr. Dweebey”, because when he was small his mother would put him in the case where they kept the pipe organ keys, and he would crawl along and hit them with his knees.

And I raced home to write this dream down before I forgot it all. I brought my convertible skidding to a halt sideways in my driveway. And I noticed that the red light was lit on the dashboard, indicating that the LoJack had been activated, and the police would be arriving soon. Only they probably wouldn’t, because I had stopped paying the bill. But just in case, I decided that I had better take anything important out of the car before the police arrived. I had already started making notes as the dream was rapidly fading. How do you spell “Dewebey” [sic]? I thought there were more ‘e’s? Then the phone was ringing, and at this hour, it could only be the police, but it was actually a recorded telemarketer, with an interesting tale to tell. I had to reconnect my answering machine so I could listen to it later. I went back out to the car and noticed that my iBook was still on the seat. That would have been a great loss indeed had the police impounded the car.

Fire Sale

Posted by on Friday, 4 June, 2010

I am posting for the third time this week as a surprise for readers who only check back every few months.

I have been thinking a lot in recent times about how much I regret what was probably the most morally upstanding decision that I have made in the past several years.

That would be when you went to New Orleans to help with cleanup from Hurricane Katrina, right?

… I have been thinking about how I regret the SECOND most morally upstanding decision… But you know, since you bring that up, I think it is important to address that I did that for entirely selfish reasons. At the time, I was so utterly miserable in school and in the direction that my life was headed that when the opportunity presented itself to be “anywhere but here”, I jumped on it. I feel that the fact that shoveling a foot of mud, trash, and unidentifiable filth out of some strangers’ living rooms was a better use of my time speaks not so much as to the quality of my character as it does to the dismal state of Cal Poly Pomona.

Similarly, I would frequently fantasize about running away to join the Marines, who often had a booth set up on the quad. However, these were recruiters for officer training, and my thoughts were, “What the f#%! would I want to be an officer for? Just give me a gun and ship me somewhere interesting.” Because I would rather be shot at than go about learning Fourier analysis or whatever. I was sad when I finally got around to looking at their web page last year and discovered that I was too old to join the Marines. It was also somewhat ambiguous as to whether or not having a bachelor’s degree disqualified me from enlisting (as opposed to becoming an officer.) I do not see why it would, but even if not, then the website seems to be based on the assumption that no one with a college degree would WANT to be a simple enlisted man. Also, when I mentioned this topic to my family one time, my sister specifically forbade me from joining the Marines. Also, the fact that I am generally anti-war and unquestionably anti-gun might be an issue. As it turns out, I am not too old to join the army yet… but that probably just shows why they are not Few and Proud.

You Must Have Me Confused With Someone Else

Posted by on Wednesday, 2 June, 2010

In recent times, I have had several opportunities for insight into how other people see me. And they are all wrong.

The first was last year, when for a brief period, I was regularly interacting with an ex-girlfriend again. In conversation with a third party, she mentioned an opportunity years prior which, according to her, I had dismissed with a moping, “I dunno… I dun wanna.” Which even at the time, I had to admit, I could see that happening. Yet I was troubled. I can see now how my non-confrontational nature, coupled with my general tendency toward vagueness and privacy could easily result in poorly articulated reasons for declining something, but that does not mean that I do not have them. Realizing of course that one should always take criticism from an ex with a grain of salt, I was still saddened that she should think me so shallow all this time.

I have also become reacquainted with one of my junior high math teachers, in a different context, later in life. He was recently relating his impression of me as a student as, “I know I’m the smartest guy in the room, and I’ve got the system figured out so that I can get by with the least amount of work.” I admit that I am a path-of-least-resistance kind of guy, and his interpretation might have accurately described my behavior, but nothing like those thoughts ever crossed my mind. For one thing, a good friend of my who is way smarter than me was also in that class. More importantly, I did not then, nor have I since had any “system” specifically figured out; I am really just lazy.

Another friend has repeatedly suggested that I possess a photographic memory, and recently gone so far as to accuse me of “pretending NOT to have a photographic memory, when [I] really do.” I do not quite understand why. I occasionally remember details quite clearly. There are other details that I routinely can not remember at all: names, where I parked, the location of my cell phone or my glasses case, the current day of the week… Perhaps I am just not understanding what a “photographic memory” is, and those things that I can never remember are simply not “visual” enough for me. Yet, my understanding of a photographic memory is that you can recall details in your head as vividly as if you were actually seeing them at that moment. I definitely do not have that. Some things happen to stick in my mind more clearly than others. Is that not how everyone’s memory works? Or do we want to consider the connection between memory and autism? No, we do not.

Finally, last week a friend declared that my philosophy toward life had become “defeatist”, and how that was “not like [me].” Really? Because I feel that I know myself fairly well, and I think it sounds a whole lot like me.