Monday, August 30, 2010

Green but not really

In this ever changing climate (double meaning) there appears to be an even divide between those who wish to help the environment and those that don't. The media exacerbates this further by presenting the two most radical sides. You're either hugging trees or chopping them down to build dolphin killing factories.

Why don't we ever hear about the middle of the road people? Are we that boring? Are we contradicting ourselves by remaining neutral? I believe it's possible to do your part and taking a seat is sometimes better than standing up for what you believe. Allow me to explain.

Meet Appleseed (real name: Mike Johnson)
Appleseed is a well meaning hippie who loves dividing his time between flipping off people in suits while protesting and looking through the garbage for "mostly good" fruits and vegetables. After two decades of family trips to Disney World and 5 years at UCLA he decided to sell the Toyota Camry his parents bought him so he could buy a bicycle, a Mac, and an iPhone. He spent the leftover cash on a plane ticket to Washington DC to see Obama sworn in as President. A transcript of his daily conversations reveals words and phrases like "mother Earth," "climate data," and "can you spare a few bucks?" He's viewed by his polar opposites as a freeloader that would rather complain about people not caring about the world instead of getting a job and making a real difference. They're mostly right. He's a douche bag.

Meet Alan Parsons (real name: Freedom)
Alan is a successful Republican who divides his time between working playing golf. After two decades of communal living with hippies Alan escaped and went to business school. After a few years of paying his dues he's finally making a hefty salary and is able to trade up from his pickup truck to BMW. His job provided him with a nice HP laptop. He voted for McCain but has pretty much forgotten about it since all he can think about is how much he hates Obama. A transcript of his daily conversations reveals words and phrases like "tee time," "Vegas baby," and "Vegas baby." He's viewed by his polar opposites as a stuck up consumer that would rather golf and smoke cigars instead of helping his fellow man and protecting nature. They're mostly right. He's also a douche bag.

Then there's me. Where do I fit in? Would I rather help the planet or destroy it? To be perfectly honest I really don't care. I'm certain that to a point it would appear that I'm buddies with Alan. I live in a 3300 sq ft house, drive a 4500lb "SUV," use a PC, and typically vacation at Disneyland and Disney World which are two beacons for consumers. I believe global warming is naturally occurring and I support any war that keeps our oil interests secure. I typically vote Republican and I water my lawn religiously. I eat meat and give the finger to protestors. I would never consider composting. It seems pretty cut and dry to most people.

Upon closer inspection you may notice a few tidbits that even things out. That gigantic "SUV" is really a large station wagon that gets almost 30mpg. I telecommute which not only saves me money but also reduces the amount of C02 I put into the air. I keep my desk near a window so I can work using daylight rather than consume more electricity. When budget allows I'll be switching from a desktop to a laptop for all of my work. Our large home is energy star certified. Every light bulb used in our house is an energy saver as is our appliances. I'll admit I use a lot of water to keep my yard looking nice but I don't water any more than I need to. I run my hoses on timers and waste as little water as possible. I'll be adding some rain barrels to store water that can be used to irrigate my plants. My wife and I plan our shopping so it can all be done at the same time which reduces the need to make extra trips. We cook most of our meals using natural gas or propane.

When it's all laid out like that it's clear I have green tendencies but really I'm all about saving a buck. It's a little selfish but it's also good for the environment. The only difference between truly "Green" people and myself is that I don't set out to help the environment. It's merely a byproduct of my desire to pocket as much of what I make as possible. Maybe that makes me a douche bag. This is about as far as I'll go towards making a stand for what I believe in.

I think if more people would straddle the fence we'd all get along better.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The terrible two

It's Friday and I'm not inspired in the least. Here's a short list.

1. Stubbornness crusades
We all have things we believe in. There's nothing wrong in having beliefs be it following a deity or avoiding animal based products. I'll still like you because you're unique. The buck stops there though.

The rest of you that take symbolic stands for the sake of laziness, cheapness, or ignorance need to knock it off. If the city erected a "No Parking Anytime" sign next to your favorite parking spot that doesn't mean there is a grace period and "fighting the system" by parking there anyway only makes you look like an illiterate ass. If your cars gas cap says "Premium Fuel" only, suck it up and spend the extra $3 per tank. If you don't like it buy something designed to run on the cheap stuff. Don't try to tell me that it doesn't make a difference and your car is fine without it. Just admit that you're cheap.

I understand that it's the American way to disregard those around you and do as you wish but when you park illegally, neglect your yard, dump your used oil into the storm drains you're passiveness attitude towards your civil obligations actively annoy and sometimes endanger those around you. Take a moment and think about somebody else every now and then. You may be unhappy for awhile after realizing that you're an asshole but you'll get over it.

2. Coming up with stuff to complain about
Occasionally I such a mundane week that I can't think of things that annoy me. This is a challenge because everything annoys me. Perhaps it's because it's my birthday week and everybody was super nice to me. Hopefully next week things will be back to normal.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm a blogging fool

I think I blog more when I'm in a good mood which is a little strange because I tend to blog about things that bother me.

1. People who don't get/like sarcasm
I get that people don't like being made fun of but this rampant disdain for sarcastic people needs to stop. Perhaps I never noticed how many people who just don't understand sarcasm because I haven't done as much internetting as I've been doing lately. Not a day goes by where I read a negative message board post in reply to absolutely nothing. The internet has always been a group of people enjoying lighthearted socializing but now that everybody and their brother has it there is this subculture of people looking to be offended. Here is a completely serious response for them. Nobody is out to get you. You're not special. Get over yourself and try to have a good time.

2. Disney
I'll do my best not to step on toes here but I've got big feet. What is the deal with Disney fanaticism? I love theme parks as much as the next person but my life doesn't revolve around the Disney parks like it does for other people. I'm not really well traveled but I don't hold Disney World or Disneyland as the pinnacle of travel. I'll still happy make a yearly pilgrimage to one of the parks but I don't live for it. Perhaps if I lived in Kentucky.

3. Abusive patrons
My encounters with the people that comprise the first two topics have further exposed me to the growing number of Earthlings looking for somebody to complain to. They somehow think that they're entitled to more than everybody else. Being an elitist I can understand an inflated sense of self worth but I don't go around looking for things that disappoint me in an effort to get treat somebody like shit. The Disney types are disappointed when Disney doesn't kiss their ass and provide for their hatred of whatever is pissing them off at any given moment. Some don't even discriminate when selecting annoyances. They just want to abuse the various employees they encounter from day to day. Next time you want to berate some poor barrista for putting whipped cream on your Double Carmel Macchiato Soy Frappuccino take a moment to consider this.

Think of the most recent incident at your job that ruined your day. It can be anything from a mean boss to an angry client or somebody drinking the Shasta you brought from home. Think about how your pleasant day had been compromised. Think about it long and hard. You've ruined somebody's day. They may very well have been incredibly happy and you shit all over them. Now they get to spend the rest of the day thinking about your lack of compassion. You took happiness from them just so you could feel better about yourself. Enjoy your beverage asshole.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm a gonna do it...

...some day.

My diminished social circle knows that I've been known to do a song every now and then. I typically compete with my brother to see who can do it better. I won the last round by the way. I'd probably do it for fun if I had the facilities.

For those that heard my rendition of "One" I'll tell you how I did it. Where some people have a studio full of mics, mixing boards and instruments I have a computer, bargain software, and a USB Mic/Headset that I think was built for gaming.

My fancy software gives me access to a plethora of instruments.

Those instruments blow but the effects are pretty good and make everything sound decent after a little tweaking.

That's really all that keeps me from working on stuff. If I'm in the groove I can ignore my own voice and enjoy programming instruments though I've been told I need to learn how to mix. I'm not asking for a mega studio with sound booths and Jon Brion making me sound good. I wouldn't even know what to do with all that stuff.

A couple of mics, some good headphones, a keyboard, and a decent audio interface for my computer would do the trick. I might even pay for the software I've been cracking every month. Drums, a bass and amp would be nice as well but I can manage without them. We actually have a piano that just needs to be moved. I'd have a much easier time with my compositions if I could just play the chords on a piano rather than doing them in my head.

If anybody wants to give me $500 to build my mini-studio I'll write several songs for/about them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another foray into music

My brother and I occasionally challenge each other to cover the same song by ourselves then after a month of procrastination we play them for each other and laugh hysterically. I usually overdo it and either give up or turn in my overcooked song. I promised myself I would do neither this time.

It was a long battle between my horrendously underpowered computer and myself to compose and record a cover of Henry Nilsson's "One." I think I did a decent job considering my lack of recording ability and instruments not to mention a shoddy singing voice and a key that was way too high for me. Here's what I ended up with.

Rather than try to come up with something original I just did a hodgepodge of the Henry Nilsson and Aimee Man version. Sadly, it's one of my better tunes.

I did a slightly better mix and did what I could to cover up the nastiness at the end.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Yup... It's friday again.

It seems like less and less time is passing between each Friday. This is good I guess because I'm still finishing all my work. The only bummer is that my 32nd birthday is getting here fast.

1. Holy fuck it's hot!!!
It's no secret that I loathe summer. It's the primary reason I left California. I don't understand how anybody can like sweating profusely unless they're taking part in the physical act of love making. It baffles me whenever I hear people talking about how they can't wait for it to warm up. Maybe it's because I don't like tanning or wearing bikini's. Either way this summer thing has got to go.

2. Making peace with the neighbors
I've been a home owner for a short time but I think I'm getting better with the whole neighbor thing. While I wish we lived in a neighborhood that had strict rules with regards to what people can do I generally don't mind what the riffraff are doing these days. Generally everybody takes care of their yards to some extent.

Whenever I start to get annoyed I simply think about truly crappy neighbors and consider myself lucky. Growing up I lived near people who had notoriously bad yards. I'm sure you've seen them. Mower sitting in the middle of the yard completely engulfed in overgrown tall grass and weeds. I've always wondered how it got to be that way.
Obviously that's not the preferred storage place for a mower so the owner of it had to have reached that point while mowing. Did they run out of gas? Did they decide that the first strip they mowed was enough for them so they vowed never to mow again? Maybe the homeowner had a heart attack and nobody bothered to put his mower away. These are the things that keep me up at night.

3. Am I the only person that notices these things?
My lovely wife recently brought it to my attention that I notice the strangest things. Things a normal person wouldn't notice or question. Perhaps it's because I'm hypervigilant and everything annoys me. Anyhoo here are some of the strange things I've noticed.
In a "Revenge of the Nerds" movie there was a robot at their frat house bringing somebody a sandwich. My first thought was, "Are we to believe that the robot made that sandwich?" Clearly the robot was capable of little more than carrying things and rolling on wheels so somebody would have had to have made the sandwich then put it on the tray. Why couldn't they just walk it out there? It would have been a whole hell of a lot quicker. If I was that robot I would have attacked them.
We were watching "Taken" the other night and there was a scene where Liam Neeson was using a bag of groceries to sneak into an apartment building. I assume it was to appear like he was coming home and waiting for somebody to open the door. The bag was full of baguettes and had fresh produce sticking out the top. It was a huge bag. The logical side of me said he needed the large bag of groceries to keep his hands full. The analytical side of me pondered him at the grocery store buying a lot of obviously expensive shit that he had no intention of eating. Why not just buy a crap load of rice or something. It would still be heavy enough to maintain the desired illusion and you wouldn't be out $40 for all those gourmet items.