Being a curmudgeon isn't always easy. As of late I've found myself smiling and laughing. It could be due to the absence of my dipshit neighbor. It could be the lack of travel. It could be the fact that my wife is pretty awesome. I doubt it's that I'm becoming a happier person.
1. Citi I just closed our Citi account and will be running the cards through the shredder the moment I get our cancellation letter in the mail. When I ran into trouble with AT&T they did a considerable amount of butt kissing to keep my business. Citi offered me six months with a lower interest rate and a few extra reward points that I can't redeem until I buy $3000 worth of stuff. Thanks but no thanks.
2. Dog buyers I've complained about these types before. They know who they are. They buy a dog to have around because well... they've always had a dog. In essence, it's like a lamp that they feed. It really burns my ass when somebody I know brags about buying a dog from God knows where especially when I know, for a fact, that the very same type of dog is sitting in a shelter near them waiting to be adopted. Instead they spend their top dollar for an inbred caricature of the shelter dog. It's a dog, not an iPhone. Nobody cares what you spent on it. Then again, nobody cares what they spent for their iPhone either.
3. Android phones I don't get them. Gigantic phones that do whatever they do. I'm not a phone elitist even though I own what is perceived as the elitists phone. I got it because it was powerful enough for my needs and it fits completely in my pocket. I'd also mention that the lack of apps (due to restrictions by Apple) ensures that my phone is less likely to be filled up with crapware. I drank the Kool-Aid but so did they. The only difference is that mine wasn't poisoned.
4. Glee Fuck this show. Fuck the cast. Fuck the music. Fuck Lea Michele.
5. Winter Where the fuck is my winter? It's snowed twice and one of those was more of a dusting. I'd be willing to forgive the lack of precipitation if it wasn't so damned warm.
6. Ron Paul and his pothead followers What a gigantic group of losers. They read the blogs, petition their friends, and preach the ideas. Why? Because they want to be able to smoke weed wherever and whenever they want. I don't care that you want to smoke weed all the time. I just don't want to hear about how you want to smoke weed all the time. Pick up a book or something. Reddit doesn't count as literature.
7. Google+ Wow, what an pile of shit. I don't know what's more depressing. The lack of activity or those that still post there. The only thing currently missing is a row of crack houses.
8. Graham I didn't make any music this year. It figures. Now that I have the means to produce my own music I can't come up with anything. Every time I venture out I realize that I simply need/want more stuff to do it with. If I were to obtain those items I don't think it would make a difference.
I'm a vocal opponent to illegal drug use be it the hard stuff or the weed. I do believe that pot should be legalized, rendered easy to obtain, impose legal limits, then taxed like tobacco products. That will kill the illegal market, bring the price down, and make it easier for losers to obtain their weed. Put it in the same boat as alcohol. You can't drive, work, or operate heavy machinery while under the influence.
This doesn't mean that I want to smoke it myself. I think it's adolescent and serves no purpose when used for recreation.
Regular drugs are okay too. I take over the counter stuff for acid reflux as well as ibuprofen, Tylenol, and allergy medicine.
As for the hooch, I enjoy wine, beer, and liquor but I've moved beyond the "Look at me! I'm old enough to drink!" phase. I also don't understand the point of being drunk.
I'm a man which pretty much means I don't have a makeup bag. I'd rather not make a scrotum/balls joke but I don't really have a better facsimile. I have a case for toiletries that I use when I travel. It has deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, razor, and some gunk for my hair. Exciting stuff.
I think it's incredibly important for everybody. I'm not a huge supporter of large tuition colleges because it takes advantage of people new to the world. I constantly read stories about people with $100k plus in college loans and all they have to show for it are what I call "boutique" degrees like religion, women's studies, and philosophy. Contrary to popular belief, there are not a lot of people out there looking for a 22 year old philosopher to throw money at. If you're going to spend that kind of money, become an engineer or a doctor.
I stand behind trade school though admittedly I'll push my children towards college. Not everybody is capable of working a skilled trade since there is a lot of self starting required. I went to trade school and I had to hustle my way into corporate America. The world will always need electricians and plumbers. If you don't mind the smell of poop or being electrocuted every now and then you can work as a journeyman for around $65-$85. The only real requirements are to pay your dues. If you're willing to work harder you can become a master and make even more.
Some people choose to make their GED the peak of their education and that's fine. Somebody has to deliver my pizza.
I have way too many favorite songs so like everybody else here is a very eclectic list. It's a funny thing about favorite songs. I can tell everybody and their brothers about the stuff I can like and nobody seems to care. Crappy songs on the other hand...
I'm a sucker for anything with piano and few do it as well as Ben.
I like Aimee Mann. She was great with Til Tuesday but she's even better by herself.
I know it's not a typical Graham song but this song is what I listen to with my windows up.
This is more typical of the stuff I listen to. It's so full of hooks I want to take it fishing.
I always hope that the songs I share will turn somebody onto an artist or group that I like but it never does.
My wife got me into Silverchair. I can listen to this song over and over and I do.
What do you do when you've been to the various Disney parks so many times there's no exploring left to do. You explore!
Jill and I are prepping for another Disney World trip in a couple of months and while Jill does her usual prep work I find myself wanting to get as much out of this trip as possible too.
I'm a Disneyland veteran with over one thousand visits notched on many belts. I've gained a considerable amount of weight since my first trip. Some would say that I'm Disney'ed out but I don't think that's possible. Yeah, I could probably do Disneyland blindfolded but that park is more than just a place to go. I spent almost 30 years living within earshot of those fireworks. I held an annual pass for years and went as often as I could. I've probably spent as much time there alone as I have with my wife, family or friends. It was just a comfortable place to be. It was always easy to get to so I'd grab a book, buy a coffee, and plant myself near wherever live music was being played. I may have gone on Space Mountain a few times as well just to make sure it didn't miss me.
Yes, Disneyland did become a casual hangout. I had seen every inch of the park save for the ladies rooms and a few "cast members only" areas I have yet to infiltrate so the need for adventure was replaced with the need for experience. I got to know cast members and many park regulars whose attendance dwarfed my own. Some had gone almost every day for decades! How does that famed "Disney Magic" keep firing for folks like us? It just does otherwise it wouldn't be magic.
Walking where Walt Disney walked and seeing what he built is part of the charm. I love looking at old photos of him walking down main street and pointing out the numerous things I've pointed out. I could never really comprehend what it all meant to him but I knew what it meant to me. Through the years it's matured from "You old, rich bastard. I love this place." to "Thanks for building this for us."
I'll always consider it "my park" even though I divide my time at Disneyland and Disney World now. It's not because I know it better than Disney World but more that it knows me better. The attention to detail and intimacy one experiences there will never be matched by Florida.
So why do I go to Disney World?
I think it's the experience. Some inexperienced travelers say it's the immersion of Disney World which I don't find any more encompassing than how Disneyland isolates itself (which it does better) from the outside world. Really, it's just seeing different things in a familiar setting.
I don't really get into the resorts so it's more about what's in the parks. Jill and I love closing a park almost as much as we love going on all of our favorite rides again and again. We go in with a loose plan of attack that always has room for an extra spin on whatever is nearby if we find ourselves with extra time. We don't get tied down with dining reservations because Jill's not much of a foodie and I am. It's not that I don't like the food there but it's just that I've had better food elsewhere. We selectively dine at more quick service restaurants than table service. I'd rather suck down a burger and hit up Maelstrom a third time than spend a couple hours packed in a restaurant paying too much for glorified Applebee's.
Yeah, we're ride dorks. We've mastered ride hopping at both parks. We don't have to sprint around either. By going with the flow we always find ourselves near an attraction with a short(ish) line. Going during the slow season doesn't hurt either. A successful day for us would be two or three spins on every ride we like with at least one spin on the ones we don't.
So what's the plan for February? Believe it or not there are still a few things we haven't seen at the parks. We're going to make sure our "Family Circle" style footstep path covers almost everything. If that means watching a show here and there so be it. I don't think I could ever become a Disney World expert because there's too many things I don't care to do. That doesn't mean I won't get excited when we arrive. Jill and I get better every time we go. Hopefully the folks at Disney can keep up with us.
I haven't blogged in awhile which is usually the case for this time of year. I always post a lot at the beginning of the year because of resolutions and stuff but I always get bored after a certain amount of time. It's not because I'm lazy. I am but it's not the reason.
I'm a fairly introverted person meaning I don't typically share personal stuff and really only like talking about things that interest me which rarely if every interest anybody else. Perhaps I'm worried that if I did talk about myself I'd notice how little I have going on. I don't talk about work because it's never a good idea to discuss your job especially if you work for a prominent company.
I've been told that I'm more entertaining when I'm unhappy about something. My complaints garner more attention than the things I enjoy. Let's do a little comparing and contrasting.
Things are looking up or at least looking both ways before crossing the street. I expect to be starting a new position within my company. I've been floating around for the past few years as they didn't really have anything that fit my skill set. That's not the greatest feeling when the job market is in such turmoil. Thankfully I work for and with a great group of people.
I had some moles removed last week. They were quite obnoxious and fairly uncomfortable. They came off fairly easy but the recover has been a pain in the back, literally. I've been going without bandages for the past few days since I discovered that the bandages were causing most of the problems. Why is it that adhesive bandages either stick to your skin like they're super glued in place or fall off like a post it? I've got twice the wounds now because of those stupid things tearing away perfectly healthy skin. Thanks science.
I've only got a few days of vacation left not counting holidays. This is the first year in awhile that I haven't taken time off around Christmas. I never used to take that time off because I liked being off during the months where I can actually do stuff and also because NOTHING happened at work during the holidays. I could pretty much just run my reports, archive files, and get everything in order for the new year. It's easy to do when nobody is around. The only downside is that eight hours of that is a lot slower than eight hours of constant calls. This year will probably be filled with calls. I welcome that.
I found some shoes. This is a big deal because I've been looking for a particular pair of shoes for some time. You wouldn't think it but comfortable, black, slip on dress shoes are hard to come by or at least they are at a certain price point. I tried on pretty much every pair I could find at the various places I shop and wasn't able to find any. I have black, dress shoes. Two pairs in fact but they weren't ideal. One pair is a tad too dressy. They work with a suit but not in the business casual department. My other pair are a little less flashy but they weigh a lot and are on the wide side. They're not the best shoes for travel. I wanted a narrower pair of slip ons that would get me through screening faster and would fit under an airplane seat with a carry on. Jill convinced me to look in a higher price bracket and I found a rather pricey, but well built shoe. They're very comfortable and should give me many years of service. The dent in the wallet was tough to swallow but they're great shoes.
I got an iPhone recently. I was a little leery about being an iPhone person but I've since been convinced it's the perfect phone for me. My old phone was okay as a phone but it didn't do much else very well except take pictures strangely enough. It got me online somewhat so I could check Twitter and Facebook but it was extremely slow. Jill got a similar phone but her desire to have a keyboard put her in the slightly older phone which had an older OS on it. Mine came with the new version of the OS but the same power. What Jill's did quickly mine did slowly. So slow in fact that it was discontinued seven months later. I don't do a lot in the App department so really I just wanted internet, a camera, Facebook, and Twitter which my iPhone does extremely fast. I've even picked up a few other Apps that allow me to program my DVR remotely. Cool stuff. Jill isn't quite ready to go smart phone but her phone still works perfectly so she's happy. She makes fun of me and my iPhone.
I had a beard for a little while. I got tired of it so I shaved it off. I like not having a beard but Jill prefers me bearded. My stubble is fairly obnoxious and she doesn't like kissing sandpaper.
In an effort to categorize everybody in the world we've grouped people together. I call it "Social Profiling." It's like racial profiling but considering that people are more prone to intermingle racially it's hard to group people by race. Social profiling is a bit kinder depending on where you end up on the social matrix.
Let's talk about the larger folks. I'm going to go with the generalized idea of what constitutes "chubby" by using super models as my measuring stick. See what I did there?
Basically everybody without exposed ribs is fat or at least that's what we're being led to believe by the fashion industry and everybody else. The former is obvious but why did I include the latter? It's because the majority of people support that notion and give it the fuel it needs to burn as brightly as it does.
Are curves beautiful? Are small clothes more beautiful? The easiest response is, "No." Your ribs aren't beautiful. Not so fast there, saddlebags. Your rolls aren't beautiful either. Hear me out here. Enlightened as we like to think we are we're still focusing on appearances regardless of which end of the spectrum we sit which is why so much weight (pardon the expression) is placed on our outward appearance.
As long as we continue to reinforce these stereotypes they'll continue to exist. People generally believe that it's not us, it's them. In reality it's absolutely us. We're the ones that get all bent out of our awkward shapes when we direct our attention (and occasionally our money) at them. Rather than stirring the melting pot, we differentiate individuals to reinforce our own self image. "Plus sized" is a very positive title until you consider that there isn't a "Minus sized" to counter it. It's not enough to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from those they'd rather not be associated with. They feel the need to be different while trying to be the same. The best way to be the same is to be the same.
There was once a time where a little weight meant you were prosperous and comfortable while being very thin meant you spent most of your time doing without and working. The former has lost some of it's meaning but the latter is still true. Many of the very skinny go without food and perform hours of manual labor. The only difference is that they now do it by choice. At some point prosperous and comfortable became poor and lazy which contradicts the lifestyles of our social elite. The social elite are so elite that people love them so much that they want to be just like them or hate them so much that they don't want to be anything like them save for numerous shared tastes they're unwilling to part with.
Everybody wants to be unique and special but at the same time they want to belong to a group of people that is unique and special. The best thing about being unique and special is that you don't need anybody to validate you. Your curves don't make you beautiful. Your very existence is what's truly beautiful and until you realize that you'll have a projection of ugliness that the world will share with you.
It's happened to most of us. You're out near the side of your house cleaning up and get to a piece of plywood that's been sitting there for awhile. You know it's not going to be pretty when you look on the other side of it. Chances are it's covered in slugs and crickets with a spider or two for good measure. They scatter right up your arm prompting feminine screams.
It's not just stuff in the yard though. The warning signs are on everything we encounter. I see a misappropriated piece of hardware at work and decide to see why nobody has noticed it for the past week. It always turns out to be a gigantic mess and while I may not scream like a girl I'm certainly unhappy that I chose to look.
In the end it gets cleaned up and you don't have to worry about it anymore. The moral of the story is to get to stuff before the slugs, crickets, and spiders have a chance to set up shop. The sooner you deal with the apparent mess the less messy it will be.
I'm sure I'll ruffle a few feathers here but things need to be said.
I understand that we live in a diverse society full of individuals that are unique. Does this mean we need to acknowledge everybody individually? I don't think so. Perhaps it's because I'm part of the white, male between the ages of 30 and 50 demographic that I don't feel the need for my own social identity. It's established and nobody questions it. Come to think of it, nobody even notices it. If I were in a minority group I might feel differently but I can only speculate.
Discrimination sucks. I like to think I'm a pretty accepting person but I don't understand why we need to put everybody on a pedestal to celebrate what makes them unique. Part of the reason we strive for uniqueness is so we can be individuals. The moment we jump on a bandwagon or join a group we abandon that individuality in favor of being recognized as a group.
The whole Bert and Ernie thing is stupid. Yeah, they're both clearly gay but I think we enforce stereotypes by demanding that they get married. Why can't two gay men share an apartment? Is it impossible for two gay men to be friends without being in love? That's almost as bad as saying "All black people know each other."
It seems like everybody is trying to get into a group so they not only have a stronger voice but so they have like minded people to validate their perceived individuality which then nullifies said individuality.
Don't get me wrong. There are people who need a strong voice because of discrimination. They achieve it by unifying with people in the same social situation. It's the other end of the spectrum that really burns my ass. They know who they are. They know they're not special so they fabricate a "social condition" to get that little bit of recognition they feel they deserve.
There used to be many folks out there with peanut and other food allergies. They requires special meals and consideration because of their condition. At some point, EVERYBODY started developing food allergies. I guess being a vegetarian/vegan wasn't enough for them so they found other ways to create a "what about me?" situation. One can only wonder what will happen when these needs are met. I'm sure they'll find another way to tell the world that they're special and need to be accommodated.
We need to spend less time looking for similarities and get back to focusing on our own individuality. Like what you like and do as you please. If other people aren't on board that's okay. You've found what makes you, you. Aligning yourself with other people that are just like you dilutes your identity.
You can be a vegan, Democrat, environmentalist, hybrid driving, Apple customer if you're really into those things. Becoming those things to distance yourself from omnivorous, Republican, industrialist, SUV driving, WalMart customers doesn't do anything except make you prejudiced against those people. Do you want to be a social bigot?
It's time to coexist without being codependent. You have a voice but you also have ears. Share what makes you an individual and accept how other people are.
I'm well aware that there is quite a bit of hypocrisy going on here. I'm criticizing those who criticize. Is it possible to spark change without pointing fingers? Not really. What a wonderful world we live in.
Just to get it out in the open, I used to get high. I smoked a lot of weed when I was younger. I did it for the reasons that most people do. It makes everything feel good. I don't do it anymore because I came to realize (while high, ironically) that I was diluting my life experience.
Yes, weed makes things easier to deal with. It creates a nice mellow that's hard to get otherwise. Essentially you're shutting down a lot of what makes you an individual. You become a simple creature enjoying the basic function of stimulus and response with little regard for anything else. You don't worry about your obligations and simply live in the moment.
My moment of clarity came after getting stoned and having one of my favorite meals to eat while being high. While enjoying my chicken fried steak I began to comprehend the thick layer of gravy. I noticed how it dominated the various flavors in the breading the cube steak was fried in. The lightly seasoned potatoes and green beans were also masked by the succulent, sausage gravy. Don't get me wrong, the gravy was delicious but it was hard to comprehend the meal without the gravy. There was a corner of chicken fried steak that hadn't been sullied by the gravy yet. I sampled it and was pleasantly surprised by how substantial the morsel was. It was probably enhanced a little by the weed but I still had enough sense to realize just how much I was missing because of that gravy. I finished my meal and gradually came down. I never smoked pot again.
I've learned to experience life on a grander scale. I use all of my senses consciously and without a filter. I smell just as many stinky things as I do pleasant things. In fact, those pungent aromas make me appreciate the nice smells even more. I've since discovered how great perspective is. It never existed when I was high. Everything was good. My desires were stifled because I had no reason to reach higher than I was. Sitting on a shitty couch amidst a cloud of smoke while watching "Smokey and the Bandit" seemed like the perfect way to go through life. I never realized just how pathetic my existence was until I started to actually live.
You need that little bit of discomfort to remind you why you strive for better things. It's not about possessions either. If we were all complacent at the onset of our lives we wouldn't learn how to communicate with each other. As we grew there would be no desire to learn about the world around us. We'd simple enjoy what was right in front of us. We'd be cattle.
People will still get high and that's fine. It's not my place to tell them how they should spend their money or time. All I can do is set an example and show that there is life after weed. Imagine watching a crappy movie and realizing why it sucks. Imagine watching a good movie and realizing why it's good. Imagine your life without the gravy.
1. Label Makers I have a fancy Brother label maker that is pretty sweet aside from the fact that I need a second mortgage to replace the label ribbon. It's a fine piece of machinery. Awesome as it is it's incapable of erasing the memory of this little honey.
I'm sure it did the job for the old ladies of the 70's with their incredibly strong hands. Seven year old Graham wanted to make labels for Lego organizer. I had a multiple drawer system to store the many unique Lego pieces I owned. Once in said drawers you couldn't see them so my mom suggested I make labels for the drawers and handed me the "Label Pistol." My hands were substantially weaker back then and it took all my might to press each letter into the hard plastic ribbon. There was a cutter on it as well but by the time I spelled out "Flat 1X2" I just couldn't cut unless I used scissors which wasted a great deal of that ribbon. Did I mention that the edges of the label did an incredible job of going under your finger nail when you tried to peel off the backing to reveal the adhesive. What a stupid product.
2. Blondes I've probably ranted about blondes before but I'm going to do it again. There aren't a lot of blondes I find attractive. I can probably count them all using one hand. Many of them are regarded as attractive for simply being blonde and not fat. For the most part it's because they're a caricature of what young boys found attractive back when they were discovering ladies via Poison music videos. Bret Micheals and whatever slut was grabbing at his gonads looked eerily alike so a great many guys had to keep their focus on the tits to ensure they were wanking to the correct individual. I think this is the reason most shallow men select women based upon hair color and rack size. It's a little known fact that blondes age three times as fast as other women. This phenomena occurs because at a certain point you have to start looking at their face. We never really noticed that they've aged horribly because they've got a distraction on their chest. Generally if you see a young looking blonde it's actually brunette. I like redheads.
3. English Rioters Knock it off, douche bags.
4. Summertime Why does it have to be so stinking hot? How can anybody stand being all sweaty? If I could skip July and August I'd be happy.
5. Super Parents First and foremost there is no such thing. There are good parents and there are bad parents. Where parents fall is subjective. If you regard yourself as a super parent you're probably not. I find that the parents that pat themselves on the back usually have a pretty obnoxious brood. The parents that don't flaunt their wares about are usually the ones that fall into the super category. Their kids usually end up being doctors, scientists, and other occupations that further humanity. There are exceptions to every rule of course but there's a reason that most kids who work at their parent's business are assholes. It's because their parents allowed them to be for fear of stifling their creativity. All that those "Super Parents" did was produce an entitled shit head. When I make statements like this I usually hear crap like "When you have kids..." or "You don't understand because..." That's a crock of bull. I know crotch fruit when I see it. Did you have them for their sake or for yours? That's what I thought. You're no super parent. You're a person with kids.
Perspective is a funny thing. My highs and lows are marked by where I perceive myself to be.
Sometimes I get a little down because of the people living near me. Other times I'm really happy because of the person that lives even closer to me. My wife rocks. Since I spend a great deal of my time at work my mind is on my job and why I do it.
The monetary compensation is obvious but it goes a lot deeper than that. Do I need the money? Of course. It's how I pay for my stuff. The quality of said stuff is on the better end but I can live without a great deal of it. All I really need is food, transportation, and shelter. I'm not sure if I could settle for less now that I've gotten a taste for the good stuff. If I absolutely lost anything I guess I could live in a crappy apartment, drive a shit box, and eat Ramen for every meal. Thankfully I don't.
Those essential items along with my luxury items have a very specific purpose. They make waiting for death tolerable. The money I make has a long term purpose. I'm essentially saving up for my cremation which will be THE last time my money will be spent on me unless my children decide to dedicate a library or plant a tree (though I'd prefer grass) in my name using whatever cash I leave them but really that's more for them so my cremation is it for me.
Thank God I'm done with work for today. I'm off to mow my lawn.
An adult was recently asked to rate a computer tech's performance on a scale of 1 to 10. Here's said adult's response.
"I don't have time to give you a rating on the tech. My restaurant is opening in ten minutes and I have to get it ready. There is already a line forming outside and two of my servers called in sick. I'm just too busy."
In response the dispatcher asked if he could just say a number.
Things always take time to soak in. When something is spilled it immediately gets our attention and it's negative. We're either mad that we spilled it or we're mad that somebody else spilled it. Ultimately the moment passes and you can start cleaning it up. Occasionally it's a nasty product and you're left with a lingering stain. The more you look at it the more you understand it.
I hate that I'm still pondering the life and death of Amy Winehouse because all I really knew about her was gleaned from her music and public conduct. That doesn't mean I don't know about addiction. Everybody knows somebody that deals with addiction be it they themselves or an acquaintance. The side you see is only part of the picture but the addiction is overwhelming so it's a big part. The individual is medicating via whatever their particular vice is.
Winehouse was a public addict which I think made it easy for her to be an addict. Her celebrity provided the emotional and financial shelter that ultimately prevented her from hitting rock bottom. There were enough people around her to reinforce her destructive behavior. She flaunted her excess in her music and in the tabloids. This is probably what offended most people. "Normal" folk are certainly offended when the addicts in their lives refuse help. It's a slap in the face.
In retrospect, I'm more disappointed in how her story ended up than I am with her because she didn't do anything with me. While I'm sure she had her demons she also had the world at her fingertips. For every person that wants help there's somebody that doesn't and I can't feel sorry for such a person. There is a silver lining here and that's the message she sends to the young people out there. Not everybody wins.
Here's Neil. He's right about a lot of great art going down the drain.
I've always wondered about native Americans with cool sounding names. Do you think they were really given the name at birth or did they come up with it later on like Sean Combs does every couple of months?
A (very) little bit of research determined that they don't just stick their head out the door (or flap depending on the tribe) and whatever they saw would stick. If that were the case there would be a lot of people named, "Lawn with Weeds" or "Licking Dog." They let an elder choose based upon a dream or vision. Most likely they just pick something creative while daydreaming. I'd hate to name a kid after the stuff I dream about. My poor child would end up being called, "Running Monster With Knife Hands" or "Charlize Theron's Tits."
Generally it's a simple name like "Sweet Corn" or "Running Bunny" but those won't serve you well in life especially if you want to be chief or the accountant for the local tribe casino. This is where the nickname comes in.
The beauty of a nickname is that it can be self applied. If you establish a cool one before your friends can come up with a BS name like "Chubby Wolf" you'll be able to strut around, calling yourself "Horse With Giant Penis." Nobody is going to respect, "Cries Like A Girl" so if you have a propensity to cry at the drop of a hat you better take to calling yourself, "Macho Bear" as early as possible. The nickname kind of takes the mystique out of it all but I can understand why they do it. Nobody wants to go through life with a dull nickname.
Native American or plain old schmo, you can do a lot with a good nickname. I've been saddled with "Cracker" because I lacked the ingredients required to get you a cool nickname. If you find yourself without a moniker that suits you or somebody way cooler than you, I strongly suggest self applying one before the tribe has spoken.
Jill and I purchase the very reasonable, refillable mugs when we visit Disney World. They're a very reasonable $14 and can be used your entire trip. Some people think the price is outrageous and offset the dent in their wallet by keeping the mug and using it for years shamelessly. Some don't even bother purchasing a Disney mugs and bring their Sbarro mugs for a free drink.
Now that Disney has figured out a way to combat the sneaky individuals. They'll be putting RFID tags on the cups so after your trip is over you can't bring them back. There will also be a time limit between refills. Needless to say this upsets the cheapskates.
Disney pays absolutely nothing for the beverages (they make their profit on the mugs) thanks to an advertising agreement with the Coca Cola Company. That detail would probably make them even more irate. There are costs associated with the distribution of the beverages though. The machines have to be maintained so again they need a source of revenue to pay for that maintenance.
Let's examine the pros and cons.
Pros: This will keep the price of the mugs affordable as the abuse has resulted in higher mug prices.
Cons. Fatty will have to pay for a mug every trip.
Let's leave the parks for a bit and look at the rest of the world. As long as mankind has been exchanging currency for goods there have been individuals looking for ways to get said goods without paying for them. Theft has always been the most popular method.
The price of items was once based upon what the product was worth along with the cost to get it to market. Those costs have been increased by theft.
I think people tend to get most angry when they suddenly have to pay for something that used to be free. People like me get angry when prices increase due to people circumventing the system. It's like hobos and other disgusting people destroying public bathrooms. Thanks to them this basic luxury now costs $.25 to offset what it costs to clean up after those scurvy people that absolutely must poop in the sink. There's always been an honor system in place for things like that. You treat it with respect and obey simple rules.
I'm happy about the new mugs and I hope the pilot program takes off. It will be stressful for the staff until people learn to read signs but the long term effects will hopefully be less expensive beverages.
By now Sloan's most recent album "The Double Cross" is out so I figured I'd talk about it because it's really good and there's an off chance that one of the three people that read my blog will give it a whirl. Jill's already heard it though so I guess it will go unnoticed for the most part. Anyhoo here's my review.
Sloan has been on the scene for two decades now which is no small feat considering what happens to most groups after twenty years. They either get a little better or a lot worse. The latter is usually the case. Sloan is fortunate to be comprised of four exceptional songwriters that each bring their unique vision to their albums resulting in an even mix of tunes. Always regarded as one of those "Why aren't they bigger?" bands they're reasonably popular in their native Canada and enjoy a cult following in the U.S. Calling "The Double Cross" more of the same would be a compliment. They've had their near misses but even those have come to be highly regarded in my library. That's not the case here. It's near perfection. Here's why.
1. Follow The Leader I heard this song early and was immediately smitten with it. It actually filled me with dread for the rest of the album since something so good is usually accompanied by crap. Not so. It's actually the perfect lead track in that it sets the tone.
2. The Answer Was You I go nuts for Jay Ferguson and he's on top of his game with every track on this album. "Answer" is so sugary that many might dismiss it after the first listen which is unfortunate because the song is a master's course in how to wright a pop song.
3. Unkind I give Patrick a hard time for writing habitually writing my least favorite Sloan songs. He's like their Paul McCartney in that he's penned some of their very best songs as well as some of my least favorite. This track fits in perfectly following up "Answer." Every time I listen to this song I find another little thing that I like.
4. Shadow Of Love This is another song I wanted to hate but thanks to Beverly Terrace it takes on a whole new life. It's frantic riffs and bass runs are perfect. Easily the best use of a clap track I've heard in a long time. I think a bridge or heavy guitar solo would have ruined this song. I'm glad they showed some restraint.
5. She's Slowin' Down Again Andrew is the whiskey of the group. Easily an acquired taste his songs ask a lot of the listener. There's an air of maturity that can be alienating but once you learn to appreciate what went into a song like this you gain a whole new appreciation for it. I hate to call this a musician's song because that's a little pompous but I think he likes to season his tracks with just enough subtle bits that those who catch them can really appreciate them more.
6. Green Gardens, Cold Montreal I get stupid for songs like this. You can tell it started as an instrument heavy song that was gradually trimmed down until only the most essential pieces were left. It could have easily been A Capella and still had the same depth.
7. It's Plain To See After "Green Gardens" grounds us we're abruptly pulled out of our seats for the first Sloan song you can actually dance to. I'm talking Kevin Bacon in "Footloose" dancing. It's less than two minutes so if you don't pay attention you're going to miss it.
8. Your Daddy Will Do This is one of those "carrot on a stick" songs. It's very similar one of Jay's songs from "Between The Bridges" but as soon as you think you're hearing a reprise to "Don't You Believe A Word" it goes in the other direction. When the flutes give way to an ethereal organ track you realize that there's way more happening.
9 I've Gotta Know. Originally, I wasn't sure what this song is doing on this album. It's very similar to "Shadow" which is the 4th track. Having this one 4th from the end does create a bit of a book end which almost cleanses the palate for the next track.
10. Beverly Terrace This is easily the best song on the album. It's got sentimental value to me since I've seen almost every live, Sloan show at The Troubadour in West Hollywood which is almost adjacent to the Hotel Beverly Terrace. It's very attached to the album without getting lost in the mix. The reprise to "Shadow Of Love" is incredibly well placed making you wonder which was written first. I can't say enough good things about this song.
11. Traces You'd miss Andrew's songs if they weren't there. Definitely not part of a group effort I'm brought back to my whiskey metaphor. The song is crafted with an emphasis on lyrics placed over an easily forgettable backing track that moves between the verses and chorus so effortlessly you'd miss it if you weren't looking for it.
12. Laying So Low I can't think of a better way to end an album. If they were to play this live from start to finish there would be no need for an encore since this song wraps things up so well you don't want a PS on the end of it for fear of tainting what you've just listened to.
I'm not just going nuts for this because I love Sloan. It's just such a solid album that I can't help but go on and on about all the little bits I appreciate. There are caveats to it. You have to listen to it from start to finish. No skipping and no shuffling. There's never a bad time to discover Sloan. The only reason people haven't is because they've quietly done their work and succeeded without sex tapes, run-ins with the law, or the general douche-baggery that sells millions of records for other pop stars. They're like a great restaurant that not everybody knows about but those that do love and protect it.
There have been talks for a Doctor Who feature film recently but nothing has happened yet. Speculation about the next season puts the future of the franchise in doubt. Not that we won't get new episodes but more that we'll get less episodes. Some are predicting we get a short season consisting of a few long specials like what was done during David Tennant's last season. 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who which means we could have an awesome season. I don't think that will happen.
I think we'll get a full season next year which will lead into a 50th extravaganza in the form of several long specials or a feature film. You can't have an extravaganza without including all 11 doctors. The only problem there is you have either dead or very old and fat actors that are no longer up to the task appearance wise. The real trick is finding suitable actors to fill the roles that can't be filled by the original actors which is a shame but also an opportunity to do something incredible.
This is my fantasy cast.
1st Doctor William Hartnell died in 1975. He was the oldest looking Doctor and I think Patrick Stewart would lend the gravitas needed to play numero uno.
2nd Doctor This one was a tad tougher. Patrick Troughton is also dead having left this world in 1987. I had a tough time with the "intergalactic hobo" until I spotted Gary Oldman. He's a great villain but he's also shown to work well at the other end of the spectrum.
3rd Doctor Jon Pertwee is the last of the dead doctors. He passed in 1996. The "Dandy Doctor" wasn't one of my favorites but you can't have an 11 Doctor reunion without all of them. After a lot of deliberating I came to the conclusion that Bill Nighy would knock it out of the park.
4th Doctor Tom Baker is still alive but there's a lot more of him and it's all really old. He still has his stellar voice but having him at the other end of a phone call would be dumb. Alan Rickman would own this part. He's got the voice and could pull off the look as well.
5th Doctor This is where it starts to get tricky Peter Davison is very much alive and recently showed the world he can still play the Doctor. I'm a little hesitant to recast him. If I had to I'd go with Cary Elwes for no reason other than looks and accent.
6th Doctor Colin Baker has also swelled up considerably. Unless we are to believe his Doctor hit the Jelly Babies a little too hard he'd have to be recast. Being that he's regarded as one of the worst Doctors I think it would a good place to give number 6 another shot at being awesome. Colin Firth has the chops to keep it serious and I think he could pull off the look. I'm not sure if the technicolor dream coat is a keeper.
7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy puts me in a tight spot. After some careful thought I came to the conclusion a little hair dye should do the trick. He's the perfect actor to play himself. He's old but I think it fits with his Doctor.
8th Doctor From here on out it's easy. Paul McGann has been playing the Doctor since his TV movie in 1996 via audio plays. They recently spent some money on a makeover for him which could signal a potential return.
9th Doctor Christopher Eccleston didn't leave happy but I think he'd be willing to give us an encore. I know most people wanted to see more of his Doctor. He'd have to do it without Rose though.
10th Doctor David Tennant would do it in a heartbeat I'm sure. The ladies would appreciate this one.
11th Doctor Matt Smith's Doctor would of course be at the center of it all since he's the current Doctor. He could very well use a project like this to make his departure.
12th Doctor? The problem with giving it everything you've got is that you're not left with anything for the ride back. Doctor Who isn't too big to fail as we've seen in the past. Is it better to burn out or fade away? Try this on for size. (You purists are going to hate this one.)
Smith's Doctor is mortally wounded as most Doctors are prior to regeneration. There is a tearful goodbye from Rory and Amy then we get the flash of light followed by another TARDIS fire. Amy and Rory flee looking back just in time to see the TARDIS vanish. Smith finishes his transformation into Hugh Laurie who has just enough of his marbles to hit the brakes and land the burning TARDIS. "3900 YEARS LATER" flashes on the screen with an exterior shot of a large building. A soda machine materializes in front of River Song's prison cell. River rises to see door open. Doctor 12 steps out, says a confident, "Hello sweetie." He then points his new sonic screwdriver at the prison lock, immediately opening it. The Doctor dips River Song for a passionate kiss then they run back into the TARDIS. Her guards arrive at her cell just in time to see the soda machine change into a blue, police box before it disappears. Roll credits.
I had a typical discussion with my mother recently and it ended about as abruptly as it usually does. She fancies herself as a religious person and there's no faulting her for that. She has a good heart and means well but generally she does what so many Christians do with regards to selective beliefs. Most things are okay since humanity has an inclination towards sin but apparentlty homosexuality isn't among those things.
Putting aside well explained sciences like genetics, DNA, and all that "rubbish" mankind has created to rationalize why we are the way we are, my mother has chosen to adhere to the bible for her information and warns against trusting the science of man.
She's had trouble with this in the past since she's not sure how to interpret things that aren't there. I've said before that the bible isn't a book about dinosaurs but they should still be regarded as beasts which we know (per the bible) were on this planet first. She once regarded them as "freaks of nature" and questioned why there aren't fossils popping up all over the place to which a young Graham suggested that not every dead creature has the good fortune of being preserved. I was advised to pray.
It's not that my mom is a hateful person since she doesn't subscribe to the biblical notion that men who lie in the beds of women should be put to death but honestly I don't think she read past the part about it being an abomination. She also doesn't understand what abomination means. She thinks abomination is defined as "unnatural" but it really just means disliked. To her the bible is really just a platform for her self esteem since it makes her feel good to be able to judge people that are not as righteous as she is.
In case you were wondering, she's "quoting" Leviticus which says quite a few things about how "one" should live their life. Those ones in particular are the "Children of Israel" or the Jewish as we've come to know them. There are two parts to Leviticus. The first portion is for the priests. It describes how to conduct rituals properly and all that kosher stuff. The second half is for the people and centers around cleanliness of body, mind, and soul. "Abomination" is used frequently throughout but it doesn't really translate back to Hebrew. It just happened to be the closest English word they could find when putting together the King James translation. The only problem with using that word is that it's not what was said in the Torah. They could have translated it to, "Men shouldn't use women's beds because it's not what we do in Isreal." but that isn't very eloquent now is it?
But Graham, you keep referring to the "filthy act of homosexuality" as laying in a woman's bed. That's what it says. It's all about context. Think of it as a recipe. You have to mix ALL the ingredients for it to taste right. If you just dump baking powder in a bowl it's not going to magically become chocolate chip cookies. The same goes with the bible.
In the days of old women didn't have the same rights they have today. They fit into the social hierarchy somewhere between paterfamilias and the family cow. The latter of which also had a bed that was not to be used by men. A woman's bed was a sacred place that men could only use for making babies with said woman as long as they were married.
In summary Leviticus is really about properly observing all of the Jewish rituals to remain clean in the good lord's eyes.
I know you're thinking of the Sodomites so let's take a look at those pervs for a moment. There we have a bunch of people that liked having a good time. They had a good time all over the place with each other. It was a lot like spring break. I'm sure there were a lot of body shots and plenty of oral sex. Things weren't very well lit back then so when you get a pile of people fornicating I'm sure a couple of dudes hooked up as well. Again it's a lot like spring break. It's not that men were getting together but rather the manner in which they were getting together. I don't think God is a proponent of anal sex regardless of who's on top and who's on bottom. It's unclean and I can dig that. He's probably not too fond of oral sex either. I'm married now so that's okay too.
From there the whole biblical anti-gay argument falls apart. The remaining argument in the militant Christian's arsenal is that homosexuality is a choice. They argue that we don't choose to be heterosexual since man requires a woman to properly mate instinctively which ironically brings us back to science. Go figure. That same science has proven that homosexuals have a propensity towards the same sex. Some regard it as a crossed wire but at the heart of it all we begin our lives as female but at some point in our development we end up at one side or the other. Or do we? Sometimes we end up in the middle. What is a hermaphrodite? Which way should they go. Does the wrong choice doom them to eternal hellfire? It's been discovered that homosexual males process many thoughts as women do. Does that make them women? Not really. All it really shows is that there are a lot of variables that determine the sexual orientation of human beings so who's to say what is natural and what isn't? It's kind of like saying Bud Light is the only true beer because it tastes like ass which is how beer is supposed to taste. Guinness is an abomination and loving it makes God angry.
Personally, I believe we're born the way we're born and whatever that may be is natural. God knows our hearts and his love for us is unconditional. There is no way for a being capable of such affection to abhor the outcome of beings built in their own image. I'd say the biggest part of our humanity comes from that capability to love and we compromise that humanity by denying another human being the happiness we enjoy be it with a man or a woman. Even though people like my mom don't understand they don't need to because it's not their place to judge. They are our neighbors and we should love them regardless. I wish I could remember where I read about that whole "love your neighbor" thing.
When I'm working it's nice to have a soundtrack to accompany my work. It's fitting that I occasionally use an actual soundtrack. This week I've been listening to Murray Gold's compositions for season five of Doctor Who which is pretty much my favorite show.
I started watching it some time ago when they showed Tom Baker episodes on PBS. I continued watching through Peter Davison. It scared the bajeesus out of me when I was young because the monsters and such were quite scary. It was still a good program for a young mind. The show took a break after two more actors played the Doctor then we got a decent made for TV movie followed by another break for almost a decade. When the program returned in 2005 I almost missed it because I wasn't much of a TV watcher at the time. Jill was also in my life at this time and didn't know that she liked science fiction so I kept it to myself and watched every now and then until it was available on Netflix streaming which I watched on my laptop. Jill eventually took notice and started watching with me. She's now hooked and we celebrate almost every episode.
Let me steer back towards where I started going with this blog. One of the things that has made Doctor Who so appealing is the exceptional soundtrack that accompanies every episode. Murray Gold (and the BBC Orchestra) lends a score worthy of a feature film every week.
The old Doctor Who episodes featured electronic music compliments of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. It did a good job of covering up the sound ambient sounds you got running around a BBC sound stage in the 60's and 70's. It was otherworldly and rather pleasant so it got the job done.
During the 2005 "reboot" we got what was a modernization of the classic BBC Radiophonic Workshop music from the old series. Very techno and sounded good when the Doctor was running around with his companion as they tend to do.
Shortly thereafter somebody got the idea to let Murray Gold use the BBC orchestra to compose dedicated themes for the tenth doctor (David Tennant) to run around to as well as very specific themes for the regular characters and monsters. This changed the whole feel of the show.
Since the 2010 season they've gone for even more depth with a much heavier score featuring the same orchestral arrangements but adding in electric guitars and contemporary drums to accompany the younger Matt Smith (11th doctor) and his companion in a new decade.
All that being said, the iconic theme has managed to evolve and change just as the Doctor has.
I haven't done a blog in awhile. I've been busy with work and the yard drama so I have an excuse. If I wasn't busy there probably wouldn't be a bunch of posts because I usually need something to inspire me to write. I can't just ramble on about the stellar bowl of cereal I had for breakfast. That wouldn't be interesting.
Today's rambling begins with the homeless. Semantics are a funny thing. Homeless basically means without a home but don't they say that home is where the heart is or where you hang your jacket? Would that mean "Crazy" Chuck's shopping cart is his home? Yeah it's mobile so I guess it would be more of an RV or mobile home.
What if Chuck got his hands on a few really nice refrigerator boxes and some duct tape. Chuck now has a two bedroom bungalow. Not really homeless now is he? Should we call them houseless? Not really because a lot of people don't have houses. Apartment dwellers certainly aren't without residence.
No my friends. Chuck is not homeless. He's more of a hobo. Why don't we use this term anymore? It's because it's not friendly but then again neither are they. Transient? Not really. There is no transition and their residence seeking activities are anything but temporary. They're vagrants if we're being kind otherwise they're hobos. Most hobos are settled into their lifestyle so transient doesn't really describe them.
Now Jules is at a pivotal point in his life. He could be described as a transient but without a plan, residence and occupation he, is as Vincent says, a bum. He's actually a hobo. Bums are special and I'll tell you why shortly. Let's look at the criteria for a hobo.
No permanent residence? They have to sleep somewhere like under a bridge or wherever they stash their crap while they're panhandling. That's their residence. Let's remove residence from the equation. Occupation? Many panhandle but that's not really an occupation. It isn't income unless there's some regularity to it. Prospects are really the great equalizer. Everybody has potential but without prospects that potential stays in the bottle.
If you don't have any prospects you're a hobo. They have nothing to establish and maintain. When we were young we thought of them as "grouches" but now that we have a broader viewpoint we know that Oscar had a home. It was shitty but it was his. Oscar was a bum. Bums are settled in. They have a place of residence that they've staked a claim to. People look the other way because they're afraid of bums.
Yes, Oscar the grouch was established. If he lived in a pile of trash next to the road the garbage man would have picked it up at some point. The garbage man actually carried him around like a freaking chauffeur. Have you heard him mucking about in his can? Have you see the elephant trunk? He's probably loaded but a little too eccentric for it to show. Nobody fucks with him because he's cranky. If anything, he's the mayor of Sesame Street. That makes a lot of sense but it only tells half the story. The only reason Oscar is able to live the way he does is because he has an enforcer living in the nearby alley. That enforcer is an 8' yellow bird with the mind of a child and yes he's also a bum like Oscar. They get by on handouts and the kindness of others but truly survive by scaring the shit out of everybody. How long can somebody keep this up without law enforcement getting involved? A pretty long time. Big Bird is 41 years old so you do the math.
Stay the fuck out of Big Bird's alley.
Now we've reached the point where I've forgotten the point I was trying to make. Please spay or neuter your pets.
I never took the time to really learn to play the piano and most of my favorite songs prominently feature the piano. I can play quite a few songs on the piano convincingly (except to actual pianists) but numbers like this are way beyond what I'm capable of. I can play this one on the guitar but it sounds like ass. Great. Now I'm depressed.
How flexible can one person be? I'm a pretty easy going guy. It takes a lot to get me frazzled and I can make good of most situations. I absolutely hate it when an individual shits in my hand and calls it a brownie.
I'm a jack of all trades and an expert at none but I'm not dumb by any means. I know how things work and why they work. If you expect me to stand idly by while you do something other than what we agreed upon you're sadly mistaken. I'm going to stop you and question what you're doing. If something has to change I'm willing to compromise as long as you're willing to meet me halfway.
The most important thing is if you tell me how long something will take to get done it better be done within that time frame. If you tell me it's going to be five days when you expect to be done in three then get all huffy with me when it ends up taking five days I'm not going to listen to you play your violin.
What I'm trying to say is I'm flexible and I'm fair. I'm willing to work with you if you're reasonable. We both want the same thing in the end so why not do what it takes to make everybody happy?
I'm sorry but if your team can't follow instructions and the people paying you to do a job catch it you need to suck it up, fix your mistakes, and finish the job right. You DON'T need to reprimand my wife because your jobs are creeping together.
I want to like these guys and I know my constant questioning of their work is pissing them off but it's got to be right. I'm not going to let them do a wonky pattern then try to tell me it's how they do it.
Jill and I are vigilant when it comes to how we spend our money. We warned you that we were going to be here the entire time and that we would speak up if we didn't think it looks right.
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
I don't really get all that sad and if I do music is not a form of therapy. I listen to music when I'm happy. Here's a somewhat sad song I like. It's the first Elliott Smith song I listened to after he committed suicide.
I'm growing a little weary of this challenge but I started it so I have to finish it.
I love it when smart people make the same type of music that dumb people make. It comes out the same but not really. The real question is do the dumb people know that this is what their dumb songs are about?
I have numerous favorite albums but if I were to take the scientific approach to what makes an album good in my opinion I always end up at The Beatles and Revolver. This was the song Jill and I chose for our first dance at our wedding. I think it was a good choice.
I can't for the life of me get a song started. I've got my gear all ready to go but I just sit there wondering where to begin.
Here's about all my "studio" does. It's impressive for visitors but when they ask to hear something they'll only get to hear what I've done prior to owning this lonely gear.
I know how to use it all but I can't kick my brain into gear. The real humdinger is that I know how to write a song. It's not that hard really. You string a few chords together and find a hook or chorus that sounds decent. The rest of the song sort of fills itself in on its own. No, really. That's how easy it is to write a song. I've never been much of a lyricist and that's fine. I'm also good with puns. I seem to come up with decent ideas while I'm in the shower but there are two flights of stairs between my office and the shower so they're usually forgotten before I get there. I punch notes and things into my phone but I usually lose those as well.
Maybe I'm just too darned happy. I'll come up with something eventually. I think I need to just lock myself down here for several hours (not counting when I'm working) and just start writing until something good floats to the top.
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
I'm not what you would call a hip hop fan but I celebrate Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" and this little ditty. I don't like too many songs featuring lines like "I find a good piece o' pussy, I go up in it" but for some reason I can't get enough of this song.
I know this song was written by a team of song writers for what is arguably the most obnoxious music franchises ever conceived. Still, it's got a great hook and is well produced like most of their rubbish.
I have numerous favorite bands that I hop back and forth between depending on my mood. Even though they're Canadian I give them a break for more somber tunes during the Winter months but by Spring I'm ready to enjoy a little rock.
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
My brother and I MC'd a benefit show at the Kitting Factory in Hollywood a bazillion years ago. Jude was gracious enough to headline our show. He played this song and cracked us all up. Really cool guy.
This was a tough one. I listen to music on my iPod Shuffle while I mow the lawn so I like to have upbeat music. It usually takes an hour to do the front and back yards so my chances of hearing this song are pretty good.
It may surprise you that I didn't pick a country song. I'm not a country fan but country music makes such a small blip on my radar I really don't take notice since it's all pretty bad.
This has thus far been declared my worst submission to my "Crappy Song Of The Day" Facebook updates. It's like the anthem for spring break drunks. Check out the unintelligible lyrics. Great. Now I'm all angry again.
I was lying on the grass on Sunday morning of last week Indulging in my self-defeat My mind was thugged all laced and bugged all twisted wrong and beat uncomfortable in three feet deep Now the fuzzy stare from not being there on a confusing morning week Impaired my tribal lunar-speak And of course you can't become if you only say what you would have done So I missed a million miles of fun
I know it's up for me IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE Making sure I'm not in too deep IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE Keeping versed and on my feet IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE
I was frying on the bench slide in the park across the street l-a-t-e-r that week My sticky paws were in to making straws out of big fat slurpy treats An incredible eight foot heap Now the funny glare to pay a gleaming tare in a staring under heat Involved an under usual feat And I'm not only among but I invite who I want to come So I missed a million miles of fun
I know it's up for me IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE Making sure I'm not in too deep IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE Keeping versed and on my feet IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE
I know its done for me IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE Not something hard to see IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE Keeping dumb and built to beat IF YOU STEAL MY SUNSHINE
Every year I hear overly cautious retailers and the news media mutter, "Happy Holidays" quickly so as not to offend those that don't celebrate holidays. "Merry Christmas" was perfectly acceptable for hundreds of years because it happened to be a particular day on the calendar. At some point during the later part of the 20th century some dickhead decided that he didn't like "Christ" and didn't want to speak the name of the aforementioned holiday instead opting for the more robotic "Xmas." Another dickhead took it one further and omitted "Merry" from the greeting since it had too much yuletide cheer associated with it. "Happy Xmas" had a nice ring to it but soon even that was too much and "Happy Holidays" was adopted as the suitable statement since it covered numerous holidays that fell around that time.
I get that religion irks people to no end. Does that mean we need to dilute the culture out of the world to achieve an Orwellian utopia?
A recent story was published about an individual filling eggs with candy for a certain upcoming holiday and dubbing them "Spring Spheres" so as not to upset anybody in the public school system. Now things are getting to be a little ridiculous. I can't understand how public schools would be willing to accept a name such as that since eggs aren't spherical. They're ovular. Oh right, we can't say "Spring Oval" because oval comes from the ovum which is Latin for egg and we're trying to maintain the alliteration in case there are any merchandising plans. I'm not sure why the Easter egg had to be removed at all when it's the Jesus aspects we're looking to bury. Maybe they're worried that he'll just rise again if they do so rather than take any chances they'll just whack the holiday and be done with it.
Perhaps parents were annoyed that the Jesus lovers and their Pagan counterparts were getting too much attention. If nobody cares about Earth Day then they don't care about the other Spring holiday.
How long until we've eradicated holidays? Is Thanksgiving next? We can call it "Poultry Centric Dinner" so as not to alienate people who have nothing to be thankful for.
Once we're done killing holidays to the point of where we just have days off of work for no apparent reason we can focus on celebrating things like little Brayden getting a B- in PE or when he lights the garbage on fire without burning the house down. Think of all the money retailers will save on changing out holiday specific items. That will free up space for "push presents" and other celebratory crap that people like to blow money on these days.
I was going to try to do an album review but while searching through my library for a great album I got side tracked and started listening to specific songs instead.
I've been a Sloan fan for quite some time but I've only recently discovered that of the four members (all of whom write and perform songs on each album) I find Jay Ferguson to be the most consistent. That's not to say I don't like the other members because they all have songs that make it on my playlists. Here are a few gems that he's contributed to the world of music.
The first selection is "Witch's Wand" from "Parallel Play" which I originally regarded to be a so so album but the more I've been listening the more I've discovered how good it is. This is the case for most Sloan albums.
It's got all the ingredients of a great rock song along with some soft harmonies and a smart bridge the latter of which seems beyond the reach of most groups making albums today. Thanks to à la carte digital music buying you're not forced to buy an entire album for one song though it would be okay in this instance because there are some great songs on there.
Number two is from "Never Hear The End Of It" which was an interesting Sloan album to say the least. What was a change of pace for the band still yielded the same strong tracks that make their older albums so easy to listen to over and over.
"Before The End Of The Race" is one of those songs that takes a few listens to really appreciate what is going on. The Beatles-esque beginning gives way to a song that is 100% Jay with lyrics that make me depressed that I can't come up with words that are even a fraction as good as these. Sloan occasionally likes to forgo a traditional chorus but they really don't need it as is evident here.
"Between The Bridges" is my favorite Sloan album. I like it so much I performed it in its entirety during one of my few solo shows back in California. "Take Good Care Of The Poor Boy" is a great studio track but is also great live as is evident below. This is from Troubadour in Hollywood where I've seen them numerous times. Sadly this show occurred after I moved to Nebraska.
I stand in awe of this song. It's so simple that it would seem anybody could do it just as well if not better but as somebody that's done an acoustic version I can attest that's not the case. This song goes to prove that a good bridge is more than enough to make you forget that there isn't a guitar solo. You may have noticed that I'm a sucker for a good bridge.
I'm going to slow it down a bit with "Junior Panthers" which was a bonus track from "One Chord To Another."
I love the restraint with this one. Everything is dialed back so far it keeps you on the edge of your seat or at least that's what it does for me. The harmonies are a particular treat here and do such a good job of transitioning with enough dissonance to make the every further note more meaningful.
While Ferguson's songs seem to legitimize every Sloan album I often forget that he uses Chris Murphy as one of his sharpest tools. "Who You Talkin' To?" was my gateway to the Jay Ferguson song. Here's a live version of it.
The only problem with live recordings is that dynamically you lose what the album has. Honestly, you should just buy the song and listen to it. I'll bet it sounds incredible on vinyl.
If you doubt what I have ascertained about Jay's songwriting ability here is he showing how and why you can't write a song as good as he does. I'll forgive the capo because "Cheap Champagne" is awesome.