Saturday, December 15, 2012

Another One Rides the Bus



I don’t like touching stuff in public.  Rails, handles, walls, basically anything that is open for anybody else to touch.  I always leave a piece of crumbled paper towel behind the door in public restrooms after I use it to grab the handle.  People are gross and I’m not shy about the fact that I think so.  I see too many people walk out of bathroom stalls and head straight for the exit without so much as wetting their hands.  It is because of the general disgusting nature of society that I vowed to myself to never ride a public bus in Los Angeles after seeing many accordion-style buses packed with people to the point of bursting from the windows.  But the cards of my life have been reshuffled and I was forced to quit my job because my boss was (and continues to be) an amazing asshole.  So now I find myself commuting to a job that doesn’t offer parking.  How can this work?  Public transportation.  And since there isn’t a train that goes into Westwood (for some reason), I am forced to take the goddamn bus.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I’m not voting today and here’s why:



1.  Everyone says I have to. 

Log into facebook at all today and it’s going to be filled with pictures smug people (taken by themselves) proudly displaying their “I voted!” sticker.  This is the part that has always confused me.  Why do you feel the need to brag that you voted?  So everyone knows that you “did your civic duty” and are a productive member of society?  Because you like the design and think it’s aesthetically pleasing?  Or so you can hold it over people that didn’t vote?  I think that’s probably a main factor here.

Everyone that doesn’t vote is shunned and viewed as a lazy, incompetent, apathetic asshole that probably gets food stamps, doesn’t know where Alaska is, and hates the troops.  This is retarded bullshit.  I’ve often heard people say, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just vote!”  Why?  Because I can?  “Yes!  People died for your right to vote!  It’s a privilege and a duty!”  That’s right.  And people also died for my right to choose not to vote.  Voting is not the ultimate freedom that’s it’s made out to be.  The ability to vote is a pretty important freedom, but it’s not as important as, say, freedom of speech. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Constructive De-Construction



People are inherently selfish.  It’s probably just an evolutionary trait that was picked up when one group of monkeys refused to steal food from another group of monkeys during the dry season.  Of course, those good-natured monkeys died out and the assholes continued to mate and prosper until we finally put on some pants and figured out how to speak to each other.  This is just a reality of life and it’s the reason living in a big city sucks:  The more people you have, the more assholes you deal with.  That’s just how it goes.  Fine.  Okay.  The part that really gets me, though, is when this self-serving mindset gets institutionalized and becomes generally accepted.  There are many examples of this and they all piss me off.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I (finally) got a story published

Before finishing off my undergraduate degree, I sent off my first short story for publication.  The rejection letter came not too long afterwards and I was excited.  Rejection is a major part of fiction writing, which my teachers made no secret of, and even though the story didn’t get published, I still felt like I had entered the fiction writing arena. 

Three years later, rejection letters have lost their velour and have instead been greeted with a feeling of inevitability.  I’ll open my mailbox and see an envelope addressed to myself with my own handwriting and think, “Oh hey, another rejection letter,” with the nonchalance of finding an advertisement for a car wash addressed to a former tenant.  I’m pretty good with criticism and my generally cynical outlook gives me the ability to continually get kicked in the face and told that I suck and simply shrug it off with an, “eh.”  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I like the replacement referees



I’ve always said that the Pro Bowl should be played like a video game.  It’s not like it’s ever a good game anyways, why not make it fun?  They should have a giant Madden tournament or something and have the two finalists play the Pro Bowl.  And by “play,” I mean they should get to call every play for the game.  You’d be getting onside kicks, teams going for it on fourth and twenty, fake field goals, hail mary passes on second down, and ten-man blitzes throughout the whole game.  Wouldn’t that be a lot of fun to watch?

But this will never happen.  The NFL would never turn their sport into a real-life version of a video game.  And it is for this reason that I am enjoying the referee strike and the resulting atrocious calls made by the replacement referees.  It’s almost like each team has a certain amount of cheats they can use throughout the game and, frankly, it adds a new level of tension and excitement to the game.  We’ve been watching football forever, and it’s getting a little redundant.  But have you ever seen a player getting called for pass interference without even touching their opponent?  Well, now you have.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Standing In the Crowd


There are a few things I’ve never understood about people’s behavior at concerts, such as how do you expect to carry three cups of beer through a tight crowd and still expect them to be full when you finally find your friends?  But aside from the casual stupidity of our species, there seems to be a larger set of problems that basically boils down to one thing:  People at concerts are selfish.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Earthquake!


People lie to you, things sometimes end up not being what they seem, weather forecasts can be the complete opposite of what actually happens, but there are some things that are constant throughout your life.  The sun will burn you, Doritos are delicious, and the Earth will always be solid beneath your feet.  Last night, however, one of these universal, irrevocable truths fell prey to the plasticity of the universe:  I felt my first earthquake.

I grew up in Wisconsin where earthquakes were as threatening as volcanoes and dinosaurs.  I took a geology class in college where I learned about earthquakes and my teacher told us that “the big one” is, in fact, real and that it will, in fact, happen at some point.  She said something along the lines of, “People that live near the fault line are foolish, because the earthquake will hit and it will be very big.”

So here I am, nestled comfortably between the San AndreasFault and the ocean, basically asking to be severed from the continental United States and float into the Pacific Ocean towards the trash islands and sea monsters.  Every time I ride the subway or drive on an overpass, images of the 1994 earthquake flash through my head.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Old People Driving


Picture this:  You drive up to a red light and patiently wait for it to turn green.  A minute later, the light changes and you continue to sit.  Half of the light goes by before the car in front of you begins to slowly roll into the intersection.  You swear to yourself and drive around the person, making sure to look into their window as you pass.

I’m sure this has happened to you a million times, and about 80% of those instances you saw some old fuck that doesn’t look like she knows what planet she’s on clutching the steering wheel for dear life.


I’m also sure that you’ve seen a story on the news, like this one or this one or this one or this one, where some old fuck just drives into a building, taking out a wall and sometimes running somebody over because their old bodies and brains just went, “Whoops!” and they forgot how their car worked. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

FYF Fest 2012 Review

I went to FYF Fest this weekend and wrote a review of it for Zalmak.com  It was supposed to be split into two parts, one for each day, but they put it all on one giant post.  Got some time to kill?  Here ya go.  Don't worry, nobody proofread it.



Picking off Politics


Election years are awful.  Statistically, these are the years we are lied to on the most consistent basis (it’s true, look it up on…the internet).  Everywhere you look, someone is yelling about something that they believe to be the 100% only way to do something at someone who believes the exact opposite.  Commercials are calling people assholes, billboards have dead fetuses condemning policies, and everything kind of seems like when Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on the sunglasses in They Live Every four years.  And it’s not like it lasts for a month.  This shit goes on for a year. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pedophiles have it rough


We can’t help what we like.  Personally, I enjoy running my thumbnail underneath my toenails.  Can’t get enough.  Gross, right?  It gets to the point where I become fixated on it every time I am sitting around without socks on until I finally walk into the bathroom and clip them.  It’s the same idea as a junkie flushing the last of his stash down the toilet and declaring proudly, “Never again.”  And when I do clip the nails, I basically try to erase them.  I’ll clip my pinkie toenail down to a stub that looks like it could either be the remnants of a nail or possibly a shiny wart.  Nothing more than a nub on the end of the seemingly useless, but actually essential, toe at the short end of the line.

Everyone has little quirks and proclivities which are innate and inerasable that we aren’t particularly proud of.  We can’t help what we like.  I like booze, even though it’s bad for me.  Some people like huffing.  Some people pay street-walkers for handjobs underneath an overpass.  We don’t do these things because we think other people will think us “cool,” quite the opposite in some cases, but we can’t help it.  That’s the way we’re built.  It’s with this in mind that I have grown a pity for a section of society that continually gets shit on unanimously in civilized societies:  Pedophiles.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Fix is In - Social media as a lifestyle


A few years ago, I was speaking with a friend of mine about the new guy she was seeing.

“It’s going really well.  He’s awesome.  It’s not quite facebook-official yet, but it’s good.”

“Oh, is that how we know it’s legit?”

“Yeah, basically.”

This was the first time I heard the term facebook-official, and was a few years before I went ahead and joined the website myself.  Since then I have become a connoisseur of commenting, uploading, posting, and basically exploiting any private thought I have.  And I’m not the only one.  Everybody’s newsfeed within facebook is inevitably filled with people updating the entire internet about what they are about to have for dinner, how work was that day, or any other inane qualifier about their life.  That is, unless you don’t know how to hide posts from people that suck and are afraid of hurting their feelings by de-friending them.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

High Speed Chases


High speed chases have always been something I heard about second-hand.  I would only see them in movies or replayed from a different city on the news.  Now that I live in Los Angeles, they have become somewhat of a frequent occurrence.  The first time we came across a live high-speed pursuit, the news feed preempting whatever was supposed to be showing on the channel, we got excited and watched it like a sporting event.  After watching the “suspect” (it really pisses me off how the news will refer to a person as a suspect even though they are watching them commit the crime they are “suspected” of committing) wind their way through residential streets with a parade of police behind them, we headed up to the roof to see the crowded sky full of police and news helicopters.  We watched the group of choppers follow the chase like a group of first graders playing soccer; everyone gathered around the ball.

Since that first chase, we’ve watched live on TV as “suspects” have been PIT maneuvered, shot with bean bag guns, and even on one occasion, killed at a gas station by a barrage of police-sponsored gunfire (but that was after the guy waved a gun at pedestrians, so he deserved it).  And up until today, these chases have remained a television program, a sporting event, a dissociated happening that doesn’t touch me or affect me more than the Brewers losing another game on the other side of the country. 

Until this happened…

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Distended Discontent in Anaheim


People often hear about police officers acting in a questionable manner and immediately assume the cops to be wrong and justified in being chastised, punished, stoned and thrown off of a cliff.  I’m going to blame NWA, Boyz in the Hood, and Rodney King for this mindset.  What is often forgotten, however, is that police are the only reason you aren’t carjacked, raped, and beaten on a daily basis.  We obviously can’t rely on human decency to keep us safe.  We only need to look as far as the Aurora, CO shootings to be reminded how shitty people can be.  “But that’s an isolated incident!”  Okay.  Fair.  The next time you drive down the road, pay attention to how people drive; people cut each other off, people pull out in front of others, people get pissed off because of the Me vs You mentality that is prevalent throughout every commute.  This is all evidence of a lack of human decency and a self-absorption that is widespread throughout our society.  This is the legal evidence of our shittiness.  If we had zero laws and regulations, you can bet this shittiness would extend to much more than running a red light.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dog fights

Here's a video I made last year of my dog fighting my roommate's dog.  One of them is dead now.  I'm not saying which one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stolen Shit


While in Milwaukee, I had two bikes stolen, was mugged twice, had my car broken into two times, and had a car stolen.  None of them were fun.  Walking to where you left something important and seeing an empty space takes the air out of you lungs before they are filled with ten gallons of hot, profanity-laced venom.  Immediate thoughts run to “Okay, maybe I just put it somewhere else,” before you reach the inevitable murderous rampage of anger and hatred.

After I left Milwaukee, I had a nice 2.5 year stretch of not being robbed in any way (besides the Post Renaissance debacle).  Crime had gone back to the periphery of my thoughts, only hearing about it on the news.  It’s similar to volcanic eruptions in the way that you know it happens, but since it will never directly affect you, you might as well be talking about aliens carjacking asteroids.  It doesn’t seem real.  Just an abstract idea that you know sucks but doesn’t really move you in either direction.  Fiction.

This is the dreamland I have been living in until today.  I walked to where I stored my bike in the parking garage of my apartment complex to ride to the library, get a haircut, and then go to the grocery store.  Standard off-day activities.  As I turned the corner to the spot my bike had been sitting in for the last three months, the pit of anger was ripped open as I noticed my bike was gone.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More new music - Available for free!


I know Boundary Waters was released a mere month ago, but I’m excited to announce yet another release.  Steady State is quite a bit different from Boundary Waters, as it leans more towards electronic drums/guitars than towards the folksyness of the previous release.  It is now available here and, just like the last release, it is available for free download.  So go get it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tech-NO-logy


I created an e-mail account probably around 1998 or so with the then heralded Yahoo! service.  The internet was a fairly new thing to me and I didn’t have much of an idea what I was doing outside of my comfortable AOL bubble that I had created for myself with the help of the many “free” CDs they sent in the mail promising “Fifty free hours of AOL use!” or whatever the hell it was.  I have been riding with this e-mail account since its creation and have been deflecting the attempts of other people to convince me to jump on the Gmail bandwagon.

“Yahoo sucks,” is a frequent argument.

“Gmail actually works,” is another one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New free music


Well, after two years of fumbling around, I managed to finish a full album which can be downloaded (for free) right here.  It’s called Boundary Waters for the simple fact that I like how that phrase sounds.  I heard it used a few times last year when the forest in northern Minnesota caught fire and the smoke could be smelled as far away as Milwaukee.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crosses 3/28/12 at The Satellite - Los Angeles, CA


Going to concerts has been one of my favorite things to do since I started going to local shows around 1999 or so.  However, I haven’t been making good on this for the last few years due to either lack of funds, lack of interesting active bands (to be read as:  The Paper Chase disbanding), or just blatant laziness.  So when I finally convince myself to buy a concert ticket, I’m pretty excited.

Tonight I had the pleasure of watching a band called Crosses.  I consider myself lucky and can thank the fact that I now live in Los Angeles for this opportunity.  Crosses is the side project for Chino Moreno (Deftones) and Shaun Lopez (Far) so they were able to garner immediate interest without playing a single show.  About a half year after their first release (which can be legally downloaded for free right here) they finally put together a live band and started playing shows.  However, they aren’t really “on tour” since they aren’t packing into a van/bus and carting themselves from city to city on a string of shows.  Besides a week-long run at the start of February, they just kind of pop up here and there.  Currently, their only advertised shows are in Argentina and Chile.  So you can imagine my excitement when I received an e-mail last week informing me that they would be playing tonight at a place that is 3.5 miles from my house.  It came out of nowhere and I purchased my ticket immediately.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

8-Track Memories


Does anybody remember cassette tapes?  They were these little things that people used to use to listen to music.  You couldn’t skip from song to song and you had to flip it over halfway through.  They were kind of a pain in the ass.  BUT, if you had a 4 or 8-track recorder (not the 8-track cassette tapes, those were a different headache from the 80’s) you could insert your normal, everyday cassette tape and chop it up into tiny pieces, recording track upon track until you had a complete song.  Then you’d have to dub the song from that tape onto another tape in order to listen to it in your walkman.  I know this may sound like a hassle to kids these days with their auto-tune and their digital recording programs, but this is how it was done in my time.  Before that they had to use reel-to-reel machines and before that they scratched notes into stone tablets with rocks and played them manually.  Things tend to get easier as time goes on.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CalFresh Prince of Los Angeles


I took a year off from school late 2005/early 2006 and worked full-time in a deli.  The pay wasn’t great, but I was usually able to eat something for free as soon as I got there and again before I left.  Although this accounted for a good amount of meals, there was still the mandatory grocery store trip every once in a while.  And since a fairly large portion of my income went towards booze, I decided to seek help to make up the extra money.  How did I do this?  Food stamps.

But as I came to learn, food stamps aren’t actually stamps anymore.  They’re not even called “food stamps.”  In Wisconsin, I received what looked to be a credit card with a shitty picturesque drawing of an eagle soaring over a lake with the sun shining in the background.  Written in bold, red letters across the top was “Quest Card.”  The new name for food stamps.  Gone are the simple days of referring to something as exactly what it is.  Now you’re on a quest.  For what?  Probably some spaghetti noodles and a bag of chips.  Not the most noble cause, but still necessary.

Six years later, I am a college graduate and am living on the other side of the country.  How far have I come since the sabbatical from college?  Turns out, not too far at all.  I spent a portion of my afternoon at the Los Angeles Country Public Social Services office.  Applying for food stamps.  Or as they’re called here, CalFresh Benefits.

Monday, February 13, 2012

We Love Dead People


Whitney Houston died and that’s a bummer.  But not anymore of a bummer than the fact that other people I don’t know have died this week.  I don’t get jazzed when people die, but I also don’t get clinically depressed when a person that I have never talked to, been near, or physically affected anything that has ever affected anything that has affected her (and likewise) dies.  I don’t give a shit about Whitney Houston anymore that I give a shit about the person that lives three lots north of your mother’s childhood home.  Don’t know them (unless I do).  Don’t really care (then I do).

I understand that it sucks for everyone who knew the person that lived three lots north of your mother’s childhood home and I feel bad for that.  For the living people.  But the fact that the person I don’t know is dead fails to influence me emotionally in any major way.  This is one of the reasons I think everyone freaking out about Whitney Houston’s death is a little ridiculous.

Friday, February 10, 2012

7-8-9 Plan


A lot of people live their lives the wrong way.  I’ve been saying this for a while but I’ve never put it together in a perfectly succinct manner that renders all opposition to my viewpoint blatantly incorrect.  I just thought about it five minutes ago, so it’s definitely thought all the way through and completely irrefutable.  It’s called the 7-8-9 Plan, and it will show you how to live a happy life.  It goes like this:

7 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 9 hours of free time five days every week. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bill Clinton is Awesome


If you don’t think William Jefferson Clinton, our great nation’s 42nd president, is awesome than you’re an idiot, a loser, or a combination of the two.  It’s not just because he won two presidential elections in a row (the first Democratic President to be elected more than once since FDR), introduced clauses to help American workers before signing NAFTA, and helped the economy flourish, but because he did so with so much fucking style.

He played sax on Arsenio Hall, he admitted to smoking weed (no one bought the “I didn’t inhale” bullshit), and he campaigned on MTV.  After staring at George Bush (the first one) for four years and Ronald Reagan for eight years before that, the country needed something other than a mummified librarian that would break if pushed over running our country.  Actually, we all know that the president is little more than a figurehead that puts a smiling face on our inefficient government, so instead of running the country, I’ll say “simultaneously accepting the credit and blame for our country.”  Aside from all of that, check this guy out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Post Renaissance Sucks

A few days ago we hit a speed bump while searching for an apartment.  The speed bump was man-made (as most are) and I was a little pissed off.  I proceeded to compose an all-out internet assault on the perpetrator.  Except for posting the inflammatory blog, I put the assault into action.  Eventually, everything was straightened out and the guilty parties acted in a very nice way and actually asked for the denigrating content to be removed from the web.  After having enough time to take a few deep breaths and after everything worked out fine, I decided to back off of the assault.

But, the post had been written, and I still think it's a little funny so I might as well post it.  In a gesture of gratitude for the quick rectification of the situation, I will rescind the name of the guilty party.  Those who knew me in Atlanta, however, will be able to know who I'm talking about (my former residence).  The original post follows verbatim, except the name of the perpetrator has been removed and replaced with (NAME DELETED).  So every time you see that, imagine the asshole's name in its place.

UPDATE 1/31/12:   We got our security deposit back and, wait a minute let me rephrase that, we got our notice that we own them more money today.  They used all of the money from our security deposit and still say we owe them another $500 to repair the apartment.  Five-hundred dollars.  Keep in mind the apartment was fine.  We didn't put any holes in the walls.  We didn't have any broken windows.  There was nothing wrong with the apartment but they want FIVE-HUNDRED more dollars than we already gave them (which was a lot).  So in honor of this, I'm going to rescind my previous nice gesture by re-posting this entry unedited.  Fuck you Post Renaissance.

Here you go.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Traffic sucks


I thought living in Atlanta and working in my car during rush hour was bad enough, but then I moved to Los Angeles.  Well, not exactly Los Angeles quite yet.  I’m staying in Yorba Linda with my very generous aunt and uncle while trying to figure out my life in the city.  This means that I have made the forty-ish mile drive into the city every day this week.  At best, I make it there in just over and hour.  At worst, it takes close to two hours.  This isn’t due to bad luck with red lights, slow speed limits, or low tire pressure, it’s simply due to the fact that there are too many fucking cars on the road.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Drive


I used to enjoy driving.  When I was in high school, I would just jump into the 1987 Chevy Astro van, blast some music, and head to a stretch of road that ran along farm fields and held just as many kids smoking pot as it did people with legitimate business.  I would simply drive along the road, all by myself, enjoying the empty asphalt and singing along with whatever terrible band I was into when I was sixteen (probably of the nu-metal variety).

But now, driving sucks.  I worked as a delivery driver in downtown Atlanta for two years and my shifts started in the peak of afternoon rush hour.  My road rage had built to intimidating proportions and the former joy and sense of freedom I had gained from driving has been replaced by a deep-rooted hatred of my fellow drivers and perpetual annoyance with their habits.

That being said, I just drove across the fucking country.  Eastern Time Zone to Pacific Time Zone.  Altogether, it took forty hours in the car.  I packed my car full of all of my belongings and my dog, Ted packed his car with all of his belongings and his dog, and we drove until the end of time, trying to camp along the way when the weather wasn’t dangerous.  We stretched it out over five days because we wanted to try to enjoy the trip instead of wanting to explode because we felt trapped inside a tiny box flying down the highway.  That feeling of wanting to explode happened anyway, but at least there were a few things to break up the monotony.