December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne.

I came across a moderately entertaining article about the song “Auld Lang Syne”, which, when translated, means “long, long ago” or “old times past”.  I’ve never known most of the lyrics to that song, but the few lines I did know never made sense to me.  Especially without the full context of the song, which I never bothered to look into because I’m lazy like that when it’s something I ponder only one day a year.  Well, now I know.  And you’re about to know if you don’t already.

The song’s origin goes back to 1788.  Some Scottish lyric poet basically stole the phrase “auld lang syne” from some unknown, old man and used it as the centerpiece of a song/poem he wrote and later sent to a musical museum.  It spread throughout Scotland, sung to mark the end of the year, and the rest is history.

Based on the few lyrics I knew, it always seemed like the song was saying we should forget and let go of the past.  Specifically, people of the past.  That always felt weird to me and I didn’t agree with it, but I went with it because it’s NYE and that’s what social conditioning taught me.  Actually, my pals and I don’t typically have a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne on NYE, but it has happened.  Anyhoo, the article clarifies that the song actually poses the question of whether old times past should be forgotten.  Then, later, it answers that question for us with a boisterous NO.  There were slightly varied interpretations of the lyrics in the article, but all agreed the song’s answer to the question is that the past has something important to offer us and should never be forgotten.  That goes for all people too, including friends, family, heroes, mere acquaintances, one night stands, whomever.  Everyone who comes into our lives affects us somehow, to some extent.  Also agreed upon is that the song emphasizes the importance of the present as well.  Bottom line:  We can take something from every experience, every person, in our past, and in real-time we should slow down, absorb, enjoy, and revel in what/who we have in our lives.  As one of the contributors said, "I think it's a description of the things we lose in our hurry to do things. We forget to be a friend. We have to take the time to make friends and be friends, to sit and tell stories and listen to those of others." As the last line says, “And there’s a hand, my trusty friend, and give a hand of thine.  We’ll take a right good-will draught for auld lang syne”. 

This NYE, take a hand, extend a hand, have cocktails with your peeps, be fully present (as much as you can half-crocked) and appreciate what they bring to your life and what you might bring to theirs.  That is the lesson for today.

So, there you have it folks.  Now tonight, when you sorta-halfway-mumble-sing this song at midnight through your whiskey breath, you will do so with relief and comfort because you’ll know what it all really means.  I don’t know about you, but I already feel good about 2011 just by starting it on that note.  One less stressor in my life. 

Happy celebrating to all of you.  Be careful out there (*said in Hill Street Blues voice*).  And may you not have a New Year’s Evil.

December 24, 2010

Random Xmas Shit.

·        According to this article from Pharmaceutical Journal, researchers studying mind-altering drugs found that reindeer purposefully seek out and consume hallucinogenic plants to amuse themselves during the long winters.  "They have a desire to experience altered states of consciousness”, says the article’s author.  In particular, reindeer seem to be fond of the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom.  “Eating the toadstool makes reindeer behave in a drunken fashion, running about aimlessly and making strange noises. Head-twitching is also common”.  So, now we know how reindeer are able to fly.  Don’t we all prefer an altered state of consciousness on major holidays?  I wanna party with you, Rudolph.
·        As a kid I was raised Catholic (thanks for your sympathy) and was forced to go to weekly religion class for years (thanks again).  It sucked royal ass.  But hey, it gave me the foundation I needed in order to eventually shun it in favor of being a non-believer. Anyway, I remember one year around Christmas the whole class revolved around the use of the abbreviation “Xmas”, and how using an “X” is disrespectful to Christ.  They literally tried to start a movement to get people to use a cross in place of the “X” and say  tmas” instead, deeming it “more appropriate”.  I was just a kid, but I recall saying out loud to my pals, who also hated religion class and are also now non-believers, “This is stupid”.  I can recall thinking, Why are they offended, it’s just a shorter way to write/say it? and, Do they really think they can get the entire world to quit using“Xmas"?  It just seemed like a ridiculous waste of time and effort to me for something that was and is completely insignificant and harmless.  Not to mention that using “tmas” actually would be offensive and excluding to some, where as the generic “Xmas” can be shared by all.  Bottom line:  my cohorts and I laughed and ridiculed the idea, noting that if they changed it we’d have to stop pronouncing it out as “ex-mas” and start saying “plus-mas” (obviously we were already rejecting Catholicism at that point.  Not a one of us thought to says “cross-mas”).  To this day, every year when this time rolls around, at least a handful of times the words “Merry PlusMas” will come out of my mouth.  The end.
·        I shall leave you with tidings of joy, in the form of my all-time favorite PlusMas song.  When’s the last time you saw this video?  A total classic.  May all of you find the altered state of consciousness you desire this holiday season.

December 18, 2010

No Surprise Here.

study conducted by the University of Maryland judged how likely consumers of various news outlets and publications were to believe misinformation about a wide range of political issues.  Overall, consumers of nearly every news outlet believed they had received some false information, and 90% of participants felt they were given false information specifically during the 2010 election campaign.  The latter is a very sad fact, albeit no shocker.  The best part is that the study found viewers of Fox News in particular to be "significantly more likely" than those who never watched it to believe the following:

  • that the economy is getting worse (26 points more likely)
  • that most economists believe the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)
  • that most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points)
  • that most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)
  • that the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)
  • that their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)
  • that the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points)
  • that when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)
  • that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points) 
That last one is the kicker.  Notice it is tied for the highest number of points.  WTF, people?  The study also showed a correlation between increased Fox viewership and increased belief in this false information.  So, basically they are saying that Fox is brainwashing people with their spewed lies.

Since this study was released, Fox news has responded to this claim.  Michael Clemente, Fox News senior vice president for news, maturely countered the study's findings by stomping his feet and yelling "U of M sucks!".  More specifically, he said, "The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having ‘Students Who Study The Least’ and being the ‘Best Party School’ – given these fine academic distinctions, we’ll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was ‘researched’ with."   Not only was that the best argument this guy could come up with, but the reporter who took the quote responded with, "For the record, the Princeton Review says the University of Maryland ranks among the 'Best Northeastern Colleges'. It was No. 19 on the Review’s list of 'Best Party Schools.'" Try again, Clemente.

December 14, 2010

Stuff Potpourri

·        I don't know if this is new news or if I somehow got behind on the times, but apparently there is a major medical breakthrough going on, folks.  In 2007 an HIV-positive Berlin man underwent a stem cell transplant as part of his treatment for leukemia, and it seems he has been cured of his HIV as a result.  His doctors say that extensive testing "strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved".  This is incredible!  Why the hell isn't this front page news?  Instead, we get Miley Cyrus' bong-gate.  Anyway, in my opinion this is more proof of the importance of stem cell research!  Suck it, Catholic Church!

·        My new job is going great, thanks for asking!  I'm a few weeks into it and I feel very "at home".  My coworkers are great, and I am enjoying what I'm doing.  It's all good.  So far. 

·        I'm still dating the metalhead biker guy.  I'm still interested after a month, so that's already somewhat of a milestone.  He's been really sick as of late though, and you'd think the goddamn world was coming to an end by his tone. I'm not talking about the actual sickness voice.  I'm talking about the tone/voice/demeanor nearly all guys I know seem to get when they get sick and act like GIGANTIC BABIES.  Like Santa just left them a lump of coal.  Like there's no more tomorrow.  Like life isn't worth living.  I get it.  It rather sucks being sick and I, too, like receiving sympathy from people when I feel like crap.  But it's a whole other ball of wax with guys.  Not all guys, of course, but a lot of guys.  It's a phenomenon us women just don't fully understand, despite the countless conversations we have about it over the course of our lives trying to.  The good thing is that we understand just enough to have some empathy and suck it up and humor you, but the entire time we are wondering who this strange, helpless, negative being is that we are coddling.  Anyway, if any of you men out there would like to share some insight, it would be much appreciated.

·        I will wrap up by sharing some music with you.  It probably won't surprise you that I'm a big fan of glam rock, hair metal, etc.  There's a band called The Last Vegas who I happened to see live at a tiny venue when they were opening for the Supersuckers about 1 ½-2 years ago.  It was one of those times when a lot of people were left wowed by the unknown opener, which is always a nice surprise.  These guys ROCKED my face off.  They put on a great show, sounded great, and were glamorous to boot.  Big hair, sparkles, tight clothes, the works.  In the moment, I told my friend they reminded me of old, original Mötley Crüe (I'm talking first album, when they still had a punkish edge to their sound).  In talking to a band member after the show I mentioned this, and he told me they were discovered and had their new album produced by Nikki Sixx (be still my heart).  So, there you have it. 

December 11, 2010

Santa in Space.

I just recently became privy to this Christmas delicacy.  I have not seen it in its entirety yet, but it looks so deliciously bad I can barely stand it.  If you are a fan of the original Star Trek, then this is for you.  About as low-tech and low-quality as you can go.  Bad props.  Bad acting.  Awesomely bad plot.  Badass standard early 60's narration voice.  This movie appears to have it all, including Santa and martians.  There's no way it could be wrong. 

December 7, 2010

A Fire in My Belly.

No, this post does not involve Fat Bastard.

One week ago House GOP Leader John Boehner forced the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to remove a piece of video art called "A Fire in My Belly" from late artist David Wojnarowicz's exhibit.  Boehner along with Representative Eric Cantor, who will be the second-ranking member of House GOP leadership, are now taking it one step further by encouraging the museum to remove the entire exhibit altogether.  Why, you ask?  Because they claim it's offensive to Christians.  According to the museum's website, "The film, A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress (1986-87) is a poetic meditation on man, life, death, faith, and suffering made in part as a response to the AIDS-related death of his close friend, artist Peter Hujar."

Knowing the Religion Card probably wouldn't stand a chance by itself, they are trying to back their argument by reminding everyone that the Smithsonian receives some federal funding.  This really isn't an argument at all, considering there is freedom of speech, freedom of religion and all that good stuff going on in this country.  Last time I checked, artists don't have to clear their ideas with anyone, nor do museums have to run potential exhibits by the White House for approval.  Basically what they meant to say is that the exhibit was offensive to THEM, and perhaps also other religious persons and groups as they claim, and they are grasping for straws trying to find a reason to outrage the rest of the world along with them by suggesting that government money funded this objectionable art.  In direct response to this, a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian noted that federal funding is not used to pay for exhibits, only infrastructure, curating, and staff.  So, there goes that argument.

I'm really, really tired of the Religion Card.  Message to you Christian conservatives:  You are not the center of the universe.  Everything does not revolve around you, nor do they revolve around trying to persecute you for your chosen beliefs.  Quit assuming that everything is about you, and you will stop taking every fucking little thing personally as some sort of slam against your religion and your character.  Quit worrying that things such as artistic expression might cause us to question religion, because that's already been going on for a long time by a shit ton of people anyway.  You are threatened by and afraid of beliefs different from your own, therefore, you try to eliminate that which you assume is slanderous and might cause people to think outside of your box.  Stop it.  Now.  I thank you.

Anyway, below is the piece of video art that was removed from the exhibit.  The piece has since been picked up by several other museums who are now showing it in its entirety.  I don't know if words can describe this thing.  It's weird, freaky, awesome, intriguing, brilliant, disturbing, and FUCKING SCARY all at once.  Watch it.

December 3, 2010


A documentary about Lemmy has been in the works forever, and it finally premiered this past spring at the SXSW music festival.  Since then I've been waiting and waiting, wondering when the hell the rest of us are going to have a chance to see it.  The movie has continued to make the rounds at various film and music festivals since then, but still no national release.  Until now.  The word on the street is that the film will hit theaters in select major U.S. markets in mid-January, to be followed up by the DVD release on February 15th.  The DVD will include 2 discs and 4 hours of bonus coverage.  That sounds superb. 

Unfortunately I'm not quite sure if my town will be included in the "major U.S. market" category, but I waited this long so an extra month won't kill me at this point.  Lemmy is most definitely a legend, but he's quite an interesting character to boot, and I'm assuming this documentary will not disappoint in the slightest.  I once had a brush with Lemmy's rock 'n' roll greatness when I was at the Best Bar in the Entire World- the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood.  I have long been well aware that Lemmy frequents the Rainbow and lives right down the street.  When I visit L.A., which I do 1-2 times a year, I ALWAYS go to the Rainbow at least once.  I love this place for a multitude of reasons, but amongst other things, it is the best people watching you will ever find.  Anyway, a few years ago I paid my annual visit to the bar and while having a smoke out on the patio I see that dork from Sum 41 that was married to Avril Lavigne.  I said to my friends, "There's Deryck Whibley!", and in unison they all replied, "Who?".  Which was totally classic.  After that non-excitement died down and he walked into the bar, I turned my head back towards the entrance and see LEMMY pull up in a very shiny big-ass truck.  He got out with his cowboy hat, handed the keys to a valet and strutted into the bar, walking so close to me I could've touched his mole (except it was on the other side of his face, which would've made it more difficult).  Long story short, I was star-struck.  I don't get star struck to the point of fear and anxiety except for a rare few people, none of which I've ever actually seen in person besides Lemmy, but I can only assume how idiotic I'd act.  So, in one of my biggest regrets ever, I  freaked out because Lemmy was in my presence, clammed up, got all nervous, scared, and didn't even come close to approaching him, much less ask to get a picture.  I still kick myself for that one.  Why be nervous?  But I was.  I couldn't help it.  Every trip to L.A. is now a mission to recreate that scenario with an outcome that includes sitting at the bar and having a whiskey with Lemmy along with photo proof, as opposed to me cursing myself for the next 3 years. 

Here's the trailer for the movie.

November 27, 2010

News of the World.

This situation in Korea has me very concerned.  The whole thing is a ridiculous he said-she said type situation that seems to be nothing more than North Korea’s attempt to bully and start shit.  North Korea is unreasonable, unstable, and has wanted to kick some South Korean ass for a long time.  China is the best hope for peaceful intervention, seeing as they are North Korea’s biggest trade partner, plus the fact that they don’t want any more North Koreans migrating to their country as a result of war.  Come on China, work your magic.  Another war is the last thing this world needs right now.  Especially considering the amount of nuclear and chemical weapons North Korea’s got going on.  Fingers crossed.

My beloved Spain is in shambles.  I last communicated with my friends there during the summer, at which time their unemployment rate was 22%.  That is bad, very bad.  Spain’s economy continues to erode, and they very likely might have to join Greece, Ireland and Portugal in soliciting an international bailout (to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars).  Spain is in such bad shape that their faltering economy is more than twice the size of the Greek, Irish, and Portuguese economies combined.  Holy shit, that is almost hard to fathom.  This is going to cause all sorts of trickle-down problems, not the least of which is dragging out the global economic recovery.  Swell.

Beginning January 1st, the Dutch are imposing a tax increase on live music tickets from 6% to 19%.  Although this shocked me at first, I then remembered that we basically have the same ticket raping system here in the U.S.  It’s called Ticketmaster.  At least the Dutch have great pot to ease their disgust and anger.  I highly recommend the White Widow if you ever make it over there.

Prince Wills and Kate Middleton are getting married and I couldn’t be more excited.  I admit I’m a sucker for the pomp and circumstance of royalty, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this engagement for a year.  A couple friends and I are already planning on watching in real-time while sipping tea, ale, and eating scones, crumpets and lemon curd while attempting British accents throughout.  My biggest fear is that the stylish Kate will have a slinky, simple, elegant, fashionable gown.  This is unacceptable and cannot happen.  An event of this nature demands loads of fluff, extreme poof, and lots of beads and sparkles.  Diana would want nothing less and whatever Diana would want should rule, because she was the People’s Princess, after all.  Please don’t disappoint, Miss Kate.  Oh, and another thing.  The wedding might be telecast in 3-D.  Really?  Is that necessary?  I am already sick and tired of this 3-D phenomenon.  It ruins shit.  It doesn’t make things more life-like, it makes them blurry and weird and it gives me a headache.  I don’t want a 3-D royal wedding, and I would like to think that Diana would not either.  I hope the Queen Mum puts an immediate stop to this ridiculous idea.

November 24, 2010

Let the Feast Begin.

Geez.  The holiday season is about to kick into full swing already.  Hard to believe.  Why does time fly so quickly as you get older?  I wish to understand this phenomenon.

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was never a huge ordeal in my house.  It was often just immediate family, although my sister usually stayed in her college town and celebrated with our extended family there.  My siblings always lived far away once out of college, and my dad had passed away in my teens.  For several years my mom went to visit my sister on the holiday, which was fine with me because again, Thanksgiving was never a huge deal in our family like Christmas was, so I didn’t really care who was around or what I did, as long as it involved turkey and stuffing.  Throughout my 20’s I often went to my elderly great aunt’s house for the holiday, which was also low key.  After she passed away, the only family left in town was my mom.  Once she became sick, the last few years we did our own Thanksgiving here just the two of us, as she was fearful of being far from home in case she had a reaction to her chemo.  Those were probably my favorite Thanksgivings spent with family.

When my mom passed away 5 years ago and I was left an orphan, one of my best friends, also an orphan at that point, suggested we do Thanksgiving together.  And thus, a tradition was born.  Probably the most stable Thanksgiving tradition I’ve ever had.  Sometimes it’s just the two of us for dinner, sometimes a few other strays may join us.  We split up the food responsibilities and get together mid afternoon.  Wine is opened very shortly thereafter, and we drink, cook, gossip, ponder the meaning of life, and watch football.  Later on, when other friends are fed up with their families, they join us and the debauchery ensues.  We team up and play various games, usually trivia, where we all start out confident and act like we're smart, but eventually realize we don’t know as much as we thought and we are left feeling extremely average.  We’ve had years when 4+ bottles of wine were gone even before food was ready.  My friend was so drunk one year, that upon fixing my plate and walking into the dining room, I found her hovered over her plate, which was already halfway gone, stating in a slur, “I couldn’t wait or I thought I might pass out”.  Ah, good times.  Later in the evening during game time when everyone’s stomach has contracted a bit, it’s time for my famous pumpkin flan.  Although I’m not a huge pie fan, I do like pumpkin pie, but when this all first started I suggested I make a pumpkin flan for something different, and the rest is history.  People have come to expect and anticipate my flan, which is quite delicious if I do say so myself.  One thing you don’t know about me is that I love all things Hispanic.  ALL, I say.  I’m not Hispanic, but I have been obsessed with the Hispanic cultures since I was a mere child.  I majored in Spanish/Latin American studies in college.  I lived in Spain for a bit.  I consider Hispanics to be my people, quite frankly.  This is why I make flan.  Here’s a photo of last year’s flan.  I might add that it has a buttery gingerbread crust on the bottom.

I don’t know if it’s my positive psyche or what, but this year I feel I have a lot to be thankful for.  My new job, for one.  My family.  My friends, who I love dearly and consider my extended family.  I’m thankful for trees, peppermint ice cream, music, mountains, being able to survive this economy, good health, vodka cocktails, laughing so hard it’s silent, the smell of the kosher dog stand at the ballpark, photographs, and coffee.  There are other things, but those are what popped into my head right now.  Go ahead, think about all the things, big or small, that you are thankful for.  It’ll make you feel good. 

Now that the sappy part is out of the way, I bid all of you a most awesome Thanksgiving. Celebrate hard, and tell people you love them, because you never know what tomorrow will bring (my negativity has to seep out somewhere). 

One last thing.  Did you read the headlines today?  Regarding the mass awareness of a certain avian variety?  Oh, have you not heard?  It is my understanding that everyone had heard. 

This goes out to all the turkeys who sacrifice for our gluttony. 

November 20, 2010

Stuff Follow-up.

  • I got the job!!  WOOT. 

  • Things continue to go unusually well with Guy #1.  Here’s a weird story for you.  When we met, we both said each other looked familiar, but after talking we couldn’t figure out a common denominator and blew it off as a fluke.  However, on our date this week I was looking at some music and I mentioned a particular band and asked if he had ever seen them live.  He paused and then said, “That’s it”!  It ends up we met once before, about a year and ½ ago, at a live show of this band.  He remembered exactly where we were standing and described several of the friends I was with.  All of the sudden I had a visual and it all came flooding back.  I had noticed him, and at one point before the show he was standing right next to me.  Seeing as he was cute and by himself (or at least not with a gal), I struck up a conversation with him.  Neither of us could remember all of the conversation details (beers had been consumed), but it revolved around the band and lasted maybe 5-10 minutes, until the band came on stage.  I recall him being responsive, very nice, and obviously introverted based on his shy demeanor.  I always seem to go for the introverts.  Once the music started, I remember walking back closer to my friends thinking I frightened him with my assertive extroversion.  It wouldn’t have been the first time such a thing happened.  He found this funny and said that he thought I was cute, nice, and looked good in the hat I was wearing, but I guess his introversion was hard for me to read and led me to misinterpret as disinterest.  It would not be the first time for this either.  Thinking back to that time, it’s probably a good thing nothing came of that meeting, because I was in absolutely no place, shape or form to be dating anyone, so even if there would’ve been a connection that night I’m convinced it would’ve ultimately gone nowhere.  I am a firm believer that timing is everything, as they say.  Anyway, I don’t know whether to chalk this up to fate or the fact that we live in a small world, but I prefer the former.  Even if there ends up being no romantic future in the long run, I look at this as sign that we were meant to be in each other’s lives to some degree, for some reason.  I tend to think that most, if not all people come into our lives because we have something to learn from that person, just as they also have something to learn from us.  That’s how I think people, just accept it.

  • On to Guy #2.  First off, I appreciate all the feedback from my dear, loyal readers.  There may only be 3 of you, but you are all smart, interesting, awesome people and I am grateful for your honest opinions.  What you saw in the comments from my last post is what I got from my friends as well – very opposite viewpoints.  After processing it with my best friend I realized what I needed to do, which was to call Guy #2 back and be upfront that I recently began seeing someone and, although early, am interested enough to see where it goes.  I understand the idea of keeping my options open, but at the same time I also realized that going on a date w/this other guy would most likely only complicate things and make me feel uncomfortable.  And guilty (hey, I was raised Catholic.  It still stings).  If I know I really dig Guy #1 and have a good vibe about him, why explore Guy #2 right now when he likely wouldn’t stand a chance under the circumstances?  It didn’t seem fair.  I don’t want to lead Guy #2 on, and I felt by not saying anything and going on a date when my mind is elsewhere would be doing so and isn’t fair to anyone.  I also decided that, in the long run, it would reflect better on me to be honest from the start, as opposed to going out w/him and then later potentially revealing that I’m interested in someone else.  A few of my friends told me they were on the receiving end of such a situation, and they felt like crap as a result.  Seeing as this guy is a friend of a friend, former acquaintance, and I am assured to see him again, I’d rather he maintain a positive opinion of me, instead of thinking I am some sort of player who dates multiple people at once, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  I think there are good arguments for both sides of the equation, but the bottom line is that I had to do what I felt comfortable with.  Honesty is the best policy here at KATN.  So, after days of phone tag we finally spoke yesterday.  We mostly talked about high school, mutual friends, etc.  When he mentioned getting together, I revealed my situation, and he was extremely cool about it and thanked me for being upfront about it, saying he’d much rather know now than find out later.  With all of that aside and out in the open, we agreed that it would still be fun to get together in the near future, if for no other reason to rehash high school shit and develop a new friendship.  It only confirmed that I made the right decision.  I feel good about it

That is all for now.  I hope everyone has a most excellent weekend.  I promise the next post will not be about my dating life.  In the meantime, here is a rather funny skit about honesty and dating.

HonestyWatch it now!
Ugly AmericansNick Swardson's Pretend TimeThe Benson Interruption

November 17, 2010

Stuff 'n' Stuff.

Things have been unusually busy here at KATN so I will be brief and let all of my 3 readers know what’s going on and simultaneously reassure you that I’m not dead.

  • Had a superb first date with the guy I met at the metal show recently.  He’s very cute, sweet, respectful, likes to talk, is very open and lays his cards on the table.  He’s quite a simple man, which I always have said is what I’m looking for (cue Lynyrd Skynyrd music).  We have spent countless hours talking on the phone and on our date, and thus far, zero red flags.  We absolutely do not lack in things to talk about.  We are getting together again later today/tonight.  It’s a nice day here and I as a result we are most likely taking one of his multiple motorcycles out for a ride.  WOOT. 

  • Saturday night was indeed like a high school reunion, except better because it was all people I really like and wanted to see.  A few people shit their pants upon seeing me there, and it took one guy about 45 minutes to remember me, until something clicked and he got an unfortunate visual of me in high school.  At least I’ve improved with age.  The band freaking ROCKED MY FACE OFF, and although I use that phrase a lot, this is no exaggeration.  It was the most rockin’ show I’ve seen in ages, and that is saying something as I frequent a lot of rockin’ shows.  They are unbelievable musicians and someone finally picked my jaw up off the floor about an hour into the show.  Interestingly, they are completely instrumental, which is unusual, especially for a metal band.  Lyrics were not missed, however, and would’ve taken away from their spectacular musicianship. 

  • Saturday night an acquaintance from high school asked for my number.  I never knew him at all, but did recognize him and knew who he was via our mutual good friend back in the day who was with us that night.  Long story short, in all the chaos of old, good friends reuniting, he and I didn’t talk at all except for a few minutes as he was getting ready to leave.  When he asked for my number, I was naïve in that I had no idea he was interested in me, despite the fact that he did make a point to say, twice, that he was single.  I mean, we hadn’t gotten to know each other at all so why would I think he was interested?  I assumed it was because we don’t live far from each other (the rest of the crew is about 15-20 miles away), his neighborhood is my regular stomping grounds, plus the fact that at the time he approached me, we were all talking about getting together again around Xmas.  Well, after he left our mutual friend said he was asking who I was all night, if I was single, etc.  For whatever reason I didn’t think he’d follow up, but left there feeling pretty damn good about myself that 2 cute, seemingly nice fellows asked for my number within the same week.  Even in my dating heyday, I don’t recall that ever happening.  Well, guess who called last night?  Seeing as I’m very interested in Guy #1, I panicked and didn’t answer.  I’m not one to date more than one person at a time.  Yet, the whole thing with Guy #1 is still very new, so then again, perhaps it would behoove me to at least go out with Guy #2 once and at least get to know him a bit.  One reason being that we do have mutual friends in common and will see each other again, so I certainly don’t feel that blowing him off is an option.  The second reason being that perhaps he will be an incredibly awesome dude, although all I can think of is Guy #1.  I texted a few friends to ask their opinion, all of whom ignored me.  Thanks, pals.  Knowing I had plans tonight and wouldn’t have a chance to call back, I felt I should at least acknowledge his message, yet I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do about it yet.  So, I ended up texting him, lying that I was at a friend’s house for dinner (send me to hell, I’m already planning on it anyway) and had plans again tonight, but would catch up with him in a few days.  Cowardly, I know.  What to do?  I need help here, dear readers.  Especially since all of my readers seem to be male.  This is very awkward and unfamiliar territory, having multiple guys pining for my attention at the same time.  Hells bells, when it rains it pours.  Here is what I’m thinking:  That I will return his call tomorrow night.  If he asks me out, I will go out of courtesy and to get to know him a bit.  In the meantime, I might have a better idea of how I feel about Guy #1 and how that is going.  My thinking is that if, by the time a date happens, I determine I am carrying a torch for Guy #1 and/or decide Guy #2 is not for me, I will just tell him that I recently started dating someone just before we ran into each other Saturday, and would like to see where it leads.  Comments?  Suggestions?  Please, I need help.  I don’t know how to handle all this male attention.
I apologize that this ended up not being brief at all.  I have a problem with brevity, it seems.

November 13, 2010

Metal Here, Metal There, Metal, Metal, Everywhere.

For some reason it’s all about metal lately here at KATN.  Heavy metal, that is.  I enjoy a lot of musical genres, but throughout my life I’ve had this pattern of going through phases where I tend to listen to a certain type of music most of the time.  It could be sparked by a song I hear on the radio, a live show I attended, or sometimes it’s based on my mood.  Sometimes I have no explanation.  These phases could last a week, a month, an entire season, or longer.  I have my ska phases, reggae phases, new wave phases, hip hop phases, funk phases, Beastie Boy phases (they get their own), etc.  You get my drift.  It’s some sort of weird cycle.  I’ve been in a metal phase for a long, extended period of time now.  I believe this particular metal phase started several months ago, during a time when I was very angry and bitter about various things that I won’t bore you with right now.  But I’m happy to report that I’m in a damn good place nowadays.  It’s taken a lot of work and a lot of processing, but despite the fact that I’m still faced with some fairly major stressors right now I’ve managed to change my thinking, attitude, and overall outlook.  Don’t get me wrong though, that pessimist in me is still alive, well, and kicking.  It’s just that somehow I’ve reached a state where I’m able to keep it at bay and not let it consume me.  We’ll see how long this one lasts.

See, I told you the negativity is still there.

When I’m dealing with a lot of anger and resentment, I typically go into Metal Phase immediately.  To me, there is no better way to let out my angst than to listen to some heavy-as-shit riffs coupled with dark lyrics.  Trust me, next time you are mad as hell, take a listen to Overkill’s Supersonic Hate and tell me you don’t feel better when it’s over.

Interestingly, despite my happy-go-lucky mood, I’m still in full-on Metal Phase.  This has worked out well, as there have been all sorts of opportunities lately to immerse myself in it.  In recent months I’ve had the chance to see the following bands live:  Gwar (always an awesome spectacle), Cannibal Corpse (good, not great), Dying Fetus (surprisingly good), and Suicidal Tendencies (who still sound great but in my opinion are more punk with a metal edge).  Thank god for my Motörhead t-shirt, which ensures I will fit in with the crowd and gain the immediate respect of my fellow metalheads.  In addition, tonight I will be reconnecting with some guys I went to grade school through high school with who are in a local metal band and are having a big CD-release gig.  These are guys I knew very well back in the day and spent countless hours with smoking pot and listening to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ronnie James Dio, etc.  It will be an interesting reunion of sorts tonight, seeing as we are all fairly responsible adults now, some with kids, some married, some with straight-laced 9-5 professions.  Apparently we are all still metalheads though, which will likely lend a flashback-feeling to the evening, as if our lives haven’t changed at all.  In addition, they have no idea I am coming and, except for one guy, I haven’t seen any of them since the day we graduated.  I love surprises.  My camera will be out in full-force, as will be my Motörhead t-shirt.  Oh, and at the show I went to this week, I met a seemingly nice metalhead of the male persuasion who was cute, funny, respectful, plays drums (my favorite instrument), loves photography (a passion of mine), and owns and rides motorcycles.  Be still my heart.  He’s the type of metalhead that has an edge but is not evil looking and I could actually bring home to mother without any snide remarks.  He actually called me the next day, as he said he would, for which he has already scored a point for good follow through.  We’re looking at going out on an actual date sometime early next week.  I have no major expectations, as is always the case when I date anyone, but if nothing else I may have a new friend that I can count on to go to metal shows with, which as I’ve discussed on this here blog has been a problem of mine in the past.  He is 5 ½ years younger than me, which may or may not be an issue.  It's strange how as kids we always added the "½ " when stating our age to make ourselves seem older, then we abandon it only to pick it back up after age 40 when we happen to date someone younger and want to minimize the age discrepancy.  Somehow my brain says sounds better than 6, so just roll with it people.  Age shouldn't matter once you reach a certain point anyway, although let's face it, unfortunately sometimes it does matter when it comes to maturity level and personal goals.  Anyhow, if we do hit it off and it turns into something, this Metal Phase might stick around a bit longer.  If not, at least I might get a motorcycle ride out of the deal.

Now, please rock your face off to Supersonic Hate by Overkill, and then go have a weekend of love, peace, and happiness.

November 10, 2010

Watch out. I'm pissed again.

I read a tragic story today out of Detroit that really has me enraged.  An 18 year old high school senior had been accused of raping a 14 year old freshman at the same school.  Supposedly the two had been in a relationship of sorts, although that isn’t confirmed.  It’s also not clear if the sex was consensual or if her mother was just pissed when she found out and reported it, but it is irrelevant in my eyes seeing as the girl was 14 and the boy 18.  That is illegal folks, no matter how you slice it.

Word apparently got around about the incident and the accusation after a Detroit news channel identified the girl’s mother by name.  What followed was not empathy from her peers, but instead merciless taunting.  A schoolmate of the girl was quoted as saying, “People took sides.  Most of them lined up with him because it looked like he was going to go to jail for a relationship."  On Monday the harassment apparently became too much for the young girl to bear, and upon arriving home from school she committed suicide by hanging herself.  Now the charge of third degree sexual misconduct is being dismissed because without the testimony of the victim, they do not have enough evidence to prove the young man's guilt.  I take that to mean that there was no physical evidence collected after the incident, which is a shame because her mother found out about it within 24 hours, which leads me to believe the girl must've told her.  The girl’s family doesn’t have enough money for funeral expenses and live in a trailer park.  Based on this info, I’m going to surmise that they didn’t follow up at a hospital possibly because of lack of insurance and/or inability to pay.  This is not meant to pass judgment by any means.  I’m just coming up with a theory based on the facts.  It’s a shame, because physical evidence could’ve proven his guilt, but instead he will be free from consequence, possibly to commit the same crime again, and a young girl is dead.

I’m pissed about this on so many levels.  First off, the fact that the media so irresponsibly named the girl’s mother, which essentially identified the minor victim.  That is pure stupidity and I hope someone gets fired because of it.  Second, I understand that an 18 year old guy (or really, any guy) has raging hormones and wants nothing more than to get laid, but it doesn’t take a legal genius to know that 18 is an adult and 14 is a child and, consensual or not, sex under those circumstances can put you in jail.  Third, I’m sick and tired of victims of sexual crimes often being victimized again when they are blamed for the assault.  Whether they were dressed provocatively, were in a bad neighborhood alone, were drugged out, or were possibly in a relationship with the person is irrelevant.  No means no, and it is wrong to blame the victim no matter what the circumstances.  Lastly, the rejection, taunting, and bullying that ensued from her school peers has me completely disgusted and furious.  In our society it seems people have lost all respect for their fellow human beings.  There is a severe lack of empathy, and a lot of blaming.  There is little regard for others feelings or circumstances, and a lot of quick judgment.  Simple common courtesies seem to have gone by the wayside.  My new blog pal Alex wrote a great post this weekend that ultimately revolved around this same subject of how fucked up humanity is, and I couldn’t agree more.

Stories like this about bullying have become more and more commonplace.  There is the tragedy of Megan Meier, whose then-unique story of internet bullying reached the world.  There was the recent story of the Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate videotaped him during a gay sexual encounter and broadcast it online.  In my hometown a teen was recently hospitalized with severe injuries after having the shit beat out of her by school bullies who picked on her because of her looks and weight.  But it is not just our youth who partake in such behavior.  

I have had tears brought to my eyes after seeing adults taunting and laughing in the face of homeless people.  I have heard grown adults verbally humiliate their children (and sometimes partners) in public.  People make generalizations about races different from their own and refer to them in derogatory terms.  I once had a white cop talk about the mostly black residents in the district he serves, stating that all of them are “animals, not people”.  In case you are wondering, I called his ass out and reminded him that his job is to protect and serve the public, and if he can only make negative generalizations about the public and see colors as opposed to individuals, then perhaps it’s time to find another job.  Fucking asshole.

I simply can’t comprehend this lack of regard for others.  It is sickening and it makes me weep and fear for our society as a whole.  Things are going downhill in this world very quickly, and in my rather short lifetime I feel I have been an eyewitness to significant decline.  I have different theories as to what led us to this point, but they don’t matter.  What matters is that each of us, individually, does what he or she can to change it.  If you have children, teach them about tolerance, restraint and empathy, and model it for them.  Force kids to think about how certain words or actions might make them feel and I guarantee you will see a difference.  Demonstrate acceptance of differences in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion.  Go back to the basic values of respect, manners and selflessness.  Call people out on their bullshit when it is safe to do so, for at least the shame might cause them to think twice (in the case of the cop, it did, and you better believe he tried to backtrack). 

Whatever happened to treating others as you yourself would like to be treated?  If the world followed this, it would be a much more pleasant, peaceful place.  I realize it’s not that easy of a fix, but if we all did our small part to help the cause, it certainly can only help.

That is all for my soapbox this evening.  Thanks for letting me vent, and let’s hope that our society learns something from yet another life taken because so many others had no regard for it.

November 8, 2010

Art and Ammo.

Friday night I had some friends over and we got into a conversation about guns, which evolved because of some gun-themed artwork I own that was created by and recently purchased from an artist friend of mine who did a mixed-media series on the subject.  No, my friend is not Andy Warhol but he's dead so you probably figured that out on your own.  I don’t like guns one bit and am a big fan of strict gun control.  I do understand people who feel they have the right to bear arms to protect themselves.  The main problem I have is that gun owners can be sloppy about their storage of said guns, allowing for easier stealing.  This, in turn, makes the thugs more powerful and our streets more dangerous.  And frankly, I don’t want anyone to bust a cap in my ass.  That’s the simplified, condensed version of my argument.

Anyway, my friends commented they found it odd that a gun-hater like me would be drawn to art that incorporates revolvers, pistols and shooting targets.  I acknowledged their very valid point, while also realizing that I had no explanation for it.  *Pause*… *Ponder*...  I recalled being at the gallery showing of this particular series and thinking, “These are fucking kick ass!” with zero hesitation.  Hmm.  My pals did pose a good argument.  Why was I so immediately attracted to this artwork that showcased something I loathe so much?  Without much thought my lame response was, “I suppose because I tend to be drawn to things that represent doom and gloom and danger”.  Although I immediately felt my own explanation was sub par, it is true.  Some might say I’m a bit dark.  I am rather enthralled with evil, death and destruction.  When tragic events occur, I can’t tear myself away from media coverage for hours.  I have always obsessed about death and dying due to the abnormal amount of people I’ve lost starting from a very early age.  I will always rubberneck at an accident scene.  I can watch true crime stories all day long and I’m fascinated by the minds of serial killers.  My poor parents probably feared for my future when, as a teenager, I read numerous books on Charles Manson, satanic cults, and the like.  But after my friends left Friday night, their legitimate observation ate at me and I was determined to come to a more thorough rationalization before those cocktails took effect and led me to slumber.  After entirely too much thought, I ultimately concluded that it was my own fear and hate of the subject matter that drew me to that artwork.  I am intrigued, yet simultaneously repulsed by what I feel guns most often represent:  dangerous power and senseless killing (whether of people or animals).  To me, such a contradiction of feelings is oddly appealing in and of itself, as is the creative beautification of something I consider to be ugly, threatening, and dangerous.  The dichotomy of it all sucks me in.  It makes sense to me that we are often drawn to that which we abhor and fear in order to better understand it, and therefore decrease its power and the negative feelings it creates.  

Although I found all of this interesting to think about, it’s irrelevant in the long run.  I feel the same way about art as I do about music.  It’s not always about the level of talent, difficulty, what it cost or who created it.  Sometimes the story and personal meaning behind the work is the attraction.  Sometimes it is the detail or lack thereof.  Maybe it’s the feelings a piece evokes.  What a creation represents or why someone likes it is unimportant.  If the owner appreciates and enjoys it, then mission accomplished.

All I know is that I still hate and fear guns, but those pieces look cool as shit hanging on my wall, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

November 4, 2010

I See Red People.

Well, to say I’m disappointed in the election results would be an understatement.  I don’t typically like to talk about politics too much, because we all have our opinions on such matters and most likely no one is going to change them.  What I mainly want to say is that I’m thoroughly disgusted by those who so quickly changed their stance and have lost all hope in Obama, when he’s been given very little time to make an impact on a multitude of very complicated problems.  Because of this, we are now in a situation where significant change is even less likely.  It’s been two years, people.  TWO.  FUCKING.  YEARS.  To blame him for the majority of the problems in this country leads me to believe that people have selective memory as to what brought us to this point.  It infuriates me that we have become a society of impatience that expects and demands immediate gratification all of the time.  To think that Obama, or anyone else, could come into office and turn things around lickety split is ludicrous and naive.  I don’t like the state of this nation any more than anyone else, but I also recognize that things aren’t going to change overnight and I’m willing to allow sufficient time for results before declaring hopelessness and making a scapegoat out of someone who is not deserving.  This rant is not meant to be pro-Obama, pro-democrat, or anything of that nature.  This is about acceptance of what is a temporary (albeit shitty) situation, demonstrating patience, and being realistic about our expectations for change.  

That is all.  Carry on.

November 2, 2010

Sad Cab.

I’m not sure how this happened, but somehow over the weekend I got into a conversation with a friend about the old TV show Taxi.  It may or may not have had something to do with alcohol being consumed at the time.  The initial discussion was about the theme song and intro footage.  If you aren’t familiar or would like to refresh your memory, here it is:

We were both kids at the time this show was on the air, both of us in grade school during its heyday. Strangely, we both agreed that the intro made us feel sad as kids and we couldn’t pinpoint why.  Although the theme song has a bit of a melancholy sound, we agreed that the visual played a key role in making us feel this way.  The problem, as you have seen, is that the footage is simply a camera shot of the front end of a NYC cab as it drives over the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny day.  What’s so sad about that?  Was it the subtle loneliness implied by the cab driving solo across that bridge (notice there are no other cars).  Did the format of the show cause me to assume all cab drivers were miserable?  I have no answers and neither did my friend, but it was oddly comforting to know that I wasn’t alone in this strange phenomenon.  I know not too many people read this riveting blog of mine, as confirmed by the crickets I hear when I log on, but I would be interested to know if anyone else out there experienced a momentary depression upon watching/hearing this show's intro/outro back in the day.

The conversation ensued and became more of an analysis about the characters.  First we wondered why, as young kids, we were even interested in this show.  Granted, Latka Gravas was a draw, as he was silly and odd and talked funny.  Louie De Palma's anger management issues were downright frightening as a child, and I recall feeling sorry for the cab drivers when he yelled at, insulted, and intimidated them.  I also wondered for years if he was a midget, although that was irrelevant.  His blatant lack of fairness and respect really bothered me, which is interesting because I have been very sensitive to both of those things throughout my life.  And why did he perform his job from a cage?  Also disturbing.  We discussed Elaine Nardo and her role as the fiery female who, essentially, was constantly sexually harassed by nearly all of her coworkers and very well could have filed a lawsuit and retired.  Tony Danza's role ended up being typical for his career- the dimwitted, soft-hearted, Eye-talian guy who relied on his muscles and charm.  Christopher Lloyd's character (Jim Ignatowski) was perhaps one of the best ever, although as a child I had no clue his odd persona was the result of too much acid in the 60's.  Then we had Alex Rieger - the supposed compassionate, sensitive, smart guy who had his crap together compared to the other folks.  Why, then, did my friend and I both find him to be an annoying, cocky, pompous jerk?  Because he was, that's why.  Alex had a lot of issues.  His wife left him and took their kid, he was estranged from his father, and he was a recovering gambling addict (who relapsed in one episode).  That is certainly enough to cause one to become angry, bitter, beaten-down and negative, so why the Alex Rieger-good-guy facade?  Those writers weren't fooling anyone.  Not even 10 year old kids who probably shouldn't have been watching that show to begin with.  Poor Alex.  He was in a state of existential crisis for the duration of that show.  I feel your pain, Alex.

I think what reeled me in was the fact that I was intrigued by the big city.  I grew up in a fairly large metropolitan area, but I was stuck in the burbs most of the time and NYC was so different from anything I knew and I found it fascinating.  I was surrounded by big yards, subdivisions and trees, not high rises, big ass bridges and yellow cabs. This would be the same reason I was intrigued by all the shows that took place in ghettos or bad neighborhoods, such as Good Times, What's Happening!, and Sanford and Son.  Oh boy did I love all the Black shows.  Every single one of them.  But that is another topic for another time.

I can't explain my brain and why I spend so much time examining and processing inconsequential things such as the TV show Taxi.  It's what I do.  I'm just glad there are people out there who can relate.

On another note, I hope everyone gets out and votes today.  Unless you're voting for the bad guys, in which case stay home and forget I mentioned it.

November 1, 2010

October 29, 2010

Insignificant Thoughts.

It's Friday, Folks, let's keep things light. 

Music snobs.  They really grind my gears.  There are various forms of music snobbery, but I’m focusing on those who turn their nose up or get a condescending tone when someone likes a certain artist or band that they deem crappy.  Hey, we all have our differences, and there is freedom of choice here in the U.S., no?  I will attest that there is music out there that I can’t and won’t listen to, whether it’s because I'm afraid my ears will bleed, or because I might hurt someone or myself if exposed.  But you know what?  I don’t give a rat’s ass if someone else likes it because it doesn’t impact me and because it’s absurd to judge or belittle someone because of it.  Proof:  I recently dated a guy who loves and plays the banjo, and I absolutely fucking hate any music with banjos.  Granted, we have since broken up, but it had nothing to do with the banjo exposure, which I survived and with a smile on my face (he was a big music snob, however, which should've been the first red flag).  But I digress.  The #1 response by music snobs that really makes my blood boil is when someone says "Holy fuck, how do you like that shit?  They have no talent".  Newsflash #1:  apparently the music business isn’t solely about formal training and talent, because there are plenty of artists out there who have very little of either.  Newsflash #2:  just because a band has significant musical talent does not mean I will enjoy listening to them (sorry, Rush).  Newsflash #3:  my self-esteem is in tact enough that such words are not going to damage me, and will only result in me surmising that you are a douchebag who must cut others down in order to feel better about yourself.  I know a decent amount about music and I know a talented musician or songwriter when I hear one.  Sometimes that is the draw, however, music doesn’t always have to be about that.  Sometimes it’s simply about a catchy beat, a strong baseline, meaningful lyrics, or perhaps good memories that a song brings forth.  So yeah, no need to inform me that the Bangles were bubblegum pop no-talent ass clowns, because it won't change the fact that I love their version of "Hazy Shade of Winter" when I hear it.  So fuck off.

Birds.  If there are gale-force winds, does it make it harder for a bird to fly?  Can a tiny bird fare as well as a big one, or would a larger wing span be a disadvantage in this situation because there's a greater area for the wind to catch?  Are some birds just bad at flying in general, just as some people suck at driving?  If so, do other birds flip them the bird when they are flying erratically and cutting them off?  Where does the phrase "flip the bird" come from, anyway?  Regardless, in case you haven't heard, the bird is the word.

Tila Tequila.  All I know about her antics is what I read on online gossip rags, but that is way more than enough to A) conclude she is not the sharpest tool in the shed, B) wish she would go far, far away, and C) state on the record that she has Borderline Personality Disorder.  Mark my words.  You heard it here first, people.

I won't bore you fine readers with my foolish musings any further today.  Now go have an excellent weekend.  That is an order.