Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Scam Artist in the Wal-Mart Parking Lot

Today, Tiffany and I encountered a scam artist (I prefer calling them "scam pornographers" but that does not yet have the same communal acceptance).

He was a friendly, energetic, talkative, and manipulative bastard. It was a sight to behold, the way he drove the conversation from his assignment to talk to random people for "points," to using those points to win his mother a trip to a foreign country, to helping sick children in hospitals, and ultimately buying a magazine "subscription" for said children.

Before he began asking us basic questions about our personal lives (the more diverse answers we gave, the more points he'd acquire, which ought to have been red flag number two...the first being his approaching us in a parking lot), he gave us a spiel about how we were going to have to rate his speaking ability. It was important we give him a good rating, because this garnered him more points, or whatever.

This was a great tactic for disarming our suspicions regarding his slick-talking. It also, in the heat of the moment, kind of made sense. Of course, this company that is giving him this opportunity doesn't want him to be an awkward, creepy, stuttering mess. You'd think his eventual bounty would speak for itself, but that's only if you already knew he was going to try to pry $65 out of you. His spiel also dissuades you from immediately assuming he's trying to sell you something, which he is, and that something happens to exploitative bullshit.

He made mention of using these mythical points towards filling his mother's pool with jell-o whilst on her vacation, a prank which would somehow land him in the Guinness Book of World Records and would be filmed for youtube. Oh how hip and now. At this point, I was beginning to get a little confused as to how this was all functioning.

The questions he finally asked us pertained to our jobs and general life goals. It wasn't anything too personal. The dude made sure to mention (several times) that he made money playing video games. He was a beta tester for Sony. Again, how hip. How now. (Brown cow).

Eventually, he somehow got to the topic of sponsoring a magazine subscription for kids in a children's hospital. He had us pick the hospital from one list, and pick the subscription series from a tattered, but also legitimate looking printed list. We told him which hospital, and he began writing the receipt while doing more talking. He then stopped, and told us he accidentally wrote the wrong hospital down (you know, brain fart). "Is that still okay?" he asked. "Because I only have one receipt left, and then I'm done." "Sure," we said.

This had to have been planned for the sake of emphasizing to us that he really did only have one receipt left. If we said no, he'd surely be screwed.

Long story short, we did say no. When we were told we'd have to pay $65, and when we informed him we did not have that money. He looked at us, sadly, and said he'd have to pay it himself. I told him I thought he was selling a "subscription," not a one-time payment. I'm sure, at some point, he used the words "one-time payment," but he used a lot of words, so even if this weren't an ancient scam (thank you, google), fuck him, it's his fault anyway.

But I don't feel bad at all. I feel a little embarrassed that I went along for the ride as long as I did, but he works for a company that is exploiting sick children for profit. I feel kinda bad for the scammer. He could be using his deceptive skills to sell people dangerous or superfluous goods that will only minutely and very temporarily improve their lives. Morally, it's not much different, but I'm sure it is safer and pays better.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

When the Levee Breaks

When I first saw the news for yesterday's shooting in Connecticut, I assumed I was seeing something from a few days prior. It arrived on my iPhone, via a New York Times ping alert. Oh, right, that shooting that happened, yeah, okay, I'm going back to bed...

But then Tiffany sent me a text message about the incident right around the same time my New York Times ping alerts started going bonkers. So much for my nap, and so much for avoiding the media onslaught of another horrific tragedy.

So I woke up, and in the span of the few minutes it took to read the latest NYT article, learned everything there was to know about the shooting. That is to say, in under five minutes, I acquired just as much information from over an hour's worth of television news coverage.

You know I was moved, because I even bothered to watch a Jacksonville evening news broadcast at all. Seriously, these affiliate stations make WFMZ - Channel 69 (Berks/Lehigh Counties) look nationally competent. Not only did I watch a Jacksonville news broadcast, but I watched three different broadcasts (simultaneously! - kinda).

I felt pretty bad for the woman in the story about the young man who died in a car accident. Her message was very simple: be an organ donor. Not only did she lose her son, but she also lost a bit of the spotlight and the attention that she (I certainly think) deserved for managing to stay as strong and coherent as she did on camera. Regardless, her son's organs are keeping others alive, and that is what matters most.

Tragedies such as the Sandy Hook shooting make me feel sad, but not just for the obvious reasons.

Yes, I said obvious. Innocent children were violently murdered. So why did every news broadcast that I watched feel it necessary to air a photo/video montage set to sad/somber music before each commercial break? I'm sure someone somewhere called it "gripping," and I'm actually amused at the thought of someone else sitting in front of a computer, trying to find the perfect dreary violin and piano combo for the image of crying children.

Oh, and yes, I can be amused at a time like this, because being a self-righteous, pout-faced drama-junkie does absolutely nothing to make anything better for anyone. I made many observations/quips in the form of facebook and twitter updates that I quickly recanted. I saw many facebook and twitter updates that I'm sure others wish they would have recanted.

What I also saw was very stern insistence from a great deal of people that they were, in fact, very sad and very angry. Again, I think this reaction is pretty obvious, so the amount of people who went well out of their way to let you know, damn it, that they felt pain and grief, bordered on worrying. Do these people think I'll assume they have no emotions whatsoever if they do not, rank and file, espouse their dismay?

I can forgive people for being sad, and for being shocked. After all, as I said, it's the obvious reaction. However, as I also said, I'm sad for more reasons than just those obvious ones. I'm sad because, whenever we go through one of these tragedies, I am reminded of how much I disagree with most other people on a very basic level about a great deal of important things. I am sad because we never seem to learn anything, ever.

I'm not referring to the gun control debate, though certain arguments within that realm did contribute to my sadness. I am talking about the shallowness of co-opting the tragedy and grief of others as your own. Now, the gun control debate is certainly influenced by this attitude. The aforementioned drama-junkies, at least the ones from the Fox News camp, very adamantly reminded us that we (the pro gun-control crowd) are scum for using a tragedy as a platform for the gun control debate. Yes, how dare we use a tragedy as a platform for further prevention of tragedy? I guess we're just letting our emotions get the better of us. It's a good thing we don't own guns, lest our passions cloud our reason. But I digress...



One of my facebook friends posted the link to Ryan Lanza's profile page (while he was still being incorrectly identified as the perpetrator) with "THE SHOOTER" as her comment. Out of my typically morbid curiosity, I clicked the link. It was not long until I found myself asking "who the fuck cares?"

I get it, we're angry, or whatever. But as the day wore on, I saw many a post wishing Adam Lanza, the real shooter, an eternity in hell. Again, I get it, vengeance, or whatever.

Okay, you get it, that I don't get it. You're so clever. What satisfaction does your hatred and lust for vengeance truly bring you? How, in any constructive way, is the world bettered by your bitching and moaning? I hear the shooter's name for every one of these mass-murders, I see his (it's always a twenty-something guy) face, and I feel absolutely nothing. I can see that the murderer is almost always a troubled individual who had access to too much power in a moment of an emotional nadir. I don't care what happens to him, so long as he is prevented from ever committing such an action again. I don't care what he feels, because no pain or anguish on his part could ever undo the consequences of his actions.

I am appalled by the brutality, but I'm not going to lie to you and say that I'm grieving. I don't care if you think you have the emotional/sentimental high ground/perspective on this issue. If it were one of your kids who were murdered, you wouldn't take to facebook or twitter to tell us about it.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is This Thing On?

Dear Diary,

Just kidding. I am at a loss (for excuses) as to why I have not posted in such a long while. Yeah, I'm lazy, and yeah, I'm busy (a lethal combination).

I'll shimmy on past the preamble bullshit and get to the heart of the matter (and what I surely would have written about, regardless). On Saturday night, the group that I took out for the Comedy Walk, treated me like shit. They were not unresponsive, inattentive, or boring. No, all seven of them (they all knew each other) went well out of their way to make me miserable.

"We're not that kind of audience," said one of the women, after my Spanish obelisk (phallic shaped monument - google it) seamen/semen pun (an otherwise solid, if sticky, pun) fell...flat.

"We don't appreciate that kind of humor." They were all in their late twenties, so you can imagine my befuddlement. Additionally, they found my self-deprecating help-me-I'm-a-self-loathing-drug-addict act to be amusing enough.

My response (paraphrased, due to lack of proper context), "So you've had bad experiences in the past...with semen?" was met with ire and disdain.

There was one woman, we'll call her "the bitch," who delighted in making dry but obvious remarks in response to a lot of my jokes. The bitch attempted to maintain her too-cool-for-school demeanor even while her friends actually laughed.

For example, I have a gag where I pretend to take a phone call. After I "hung up," the bitch felt it necessary to point out the fact that I did not, in reality, speak to anyone on the phone. I made it known that I was impressed by her keen cognitive abilities and powers of observation, and I was about as serious in my praise as you could imagine. There were many other moments very similar to this one, and it took roughly 45 minutes for this woman to realize that she was being kind of a cunt muffin.

Perhaps the bitch felt cheated, because she paid money, and there wasn't someone waiting somewhere to call me, just for her. In fact, I was reminded several times by this group (usually in the high-pitched whine of a spoiled rotten brat), that they "paid money." I was not hearing this as a reminder to do my best, but as more of an excuse for me to expect their worst.

I could continue on about what all went wrong, but it all boils down to the fact that they went on the wrong tour for them. They expected history lessons. God knows why. They were not the first customers to have made this mistake. Unfortunately, once they realized their mistake, I was stuck with them for an hour, and they were determined to make the most of that hour, even if it meant tormenting me. Because, you know, they paid money, so they have the right to treat people like shit. Thank you, corporate America.

People who don't perform think that performing is so easy. It's not, and it's sad that so few people have ever actually put themselves in a position of vulnurable expression.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Abortion

I'm pretty sure anti-abortion advocates have misplaced all of their empathy and passion for humankind.

They want you to know how loving they are, but they're afraid to show it to anyone who might not be perfect. A fetus is, in their eyes, pure and perfect. I think these people, the anti-abortion activists, are cowards.

Rather than grapple with the complexity offered by existence, they've got everything boiled down to a simple (minded) formula: life = absolutely good, death = absolutely bad (unless it's an accident, in which case, God must have a better plan for you...because he keeps changing his fucking mind like that.).

And why do they want you to know how loving they are? Because they're not. In all likelihood, they're pretty hateful. It's a generalization, I know. But that's all they seem to understand.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Downward Glances

I got a great deal of compliments on a new pair of shoes I rocked today. I wear new shoes fairly often. It helps that I sell them. But this particular pair has garnered more positive attention than anything else I've ever tied to my feet (including those frogs - sorry, Ms. Morgan, 9th grade biology teacher, I didn't know you meant for me to tie them to the top of my feet. I know you have pictures of this occurring somewhere. I remember this vividly because you were naked while you took the photos. I always remember when people are naked and screaming simultaneously. I'm making all of this up.)

For someone who sells shoes, I realize I rarely ever look at anyone's feet. Even for a foot appreciator (foot fetishist - see how I softened that revelation with the pedophile frog picture massacre?), I don't often look down enough. What's the point? The feet are usually inside of something. And yeah, said feet are rarely inside of frog guts, but that's not going to stop me from bringing that up from time to time, like I'm beating a dead frog or something.

I suppose my penchant for particularly bright footwear attracts the eye. Or maybe I'm far less observant than I should be if I'd like to tell jokes and stuff. Regardless, I'm going to go back to enjoying behind-the-scenes footage of Sesame Street. I particularly enjoy the Kermit segments. If I had this on VHS, the tape would be worn at these particular frames.

I'm not saying I masturbate to frog disembowelment. But I do really like feet, I swear.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New Story! "Menthol"

Here's a taste of a new fiction piece I've been working on. It's probably about the least straightforward thing I've ever written, so please don't say I didn't warn you...

 "Menthol" - Benjamin Tier


If I told you about the demons, you'd laugh like the rest of them.

I see them, the demons, just about everywhere I go. In fact, just yesterday, I saw one in the pharmacy section of the grocery store. He beckoned, as a shadow in a windowless van asks schoolchildren for help finding his puppy; and I, much like those tender, naïve objects, felt obliged to answer this character's call, so long as there were sweets in it for me.
The sweets were unsavory. It was only a matter of hours until the demon had shown to me his true form. I said to him, “If you'd come dressed in as many red flags as I can see now, I never would have gone with you.”
His nostrils flared. Cotton, pungent and putridly sterile, composed his face. His body was of industrial plastic. As I looked at him now, he stood at least a foot taller than myself, and yet I could not escape the sensation of looking down at him. Provided was the perfect vantage point from which to slay.
“I'm going to have to kill you now. I've no joy left.”
He growled and said nothing. Taunting me telepathically, he communicated, Killing me will bring you neither joy, nor satisfaction. Furthermore, I will haunt you until you die.
“But it is my duty.”
Harrumph.
I leapt.
From nowhere, I produced my blade. In some instances, it was a mere pocket knife. In others, it was the kind of sword you'd expect a valiant knight to thrust into the evil twat about to bugger the princess.
The cotton did not slice so easily. Chemicals smeared the ceiling, sinews stuck stubbornly upon my sword. My enemy screamed, not out loud, but, you know, telepathically. In my head.

I did not sleep that night. My consciousness continually lapsed into nightmares. I buried the demon's corpse in the trash, but I could still smell it. They advertise the trash bags as being able to seal-in the foul odors. Bollocks. I'm two rooms away.

I'm happy to say I made a full recovery the next day. I'm unhappy to say I stumbled upon another demon. I was outside for some fresh air, and I saw him on my street. Much like the last demon, he beckoned like the predator in the van after the children. But he really was in the form of a shadow in a van, asking the kids down the street for help finding his puppy. Fuck, I thought.
From nowhere, I produced my blade.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Woah, Doc. This is heavy...

As much as it generally pains me that society at-large seems to have very little appreciation for art, I find it more specifically frustrating that people do not typically appreciate heavy metal.

It is simply considered uncouth to perform, or even merely listen to heavy music whilst amidst the public masses. There are a myriad of reasons why the lowest common denominator will protest against being briefly forced to step outside of its comfortable, quiet, and padded box...

...but they all boil down to one simple, easy complaint: it's too darn loud.

But it's not even the decibel level of the music that is being scapegoated. Rather, it is the cavalcade of distortion, screaming, angst, and complex rhythms that drive the soccer moms out of their skulls. "God FORBID we be forced to encounter something COMPLEX in our daily lives! We worked hard to AVOID these kinds of pressures!"

No one seems to complain about the soul crushing boredom of the muzak encountered in elevators and shopping malls. Everyone just generally accepts that they're going to hear monotonous, mainstream, top 40 bullshit on their televisions, radios, and in all the advertisements that bombard them there and everywhere else.

But the second you drive by with the windows down, and the volume exceeding that of the vehicle's motor, you shouldn't be surprised by the amount of eye rolls and dirty looks that Lamb of God seems to garner from passersby. You must just be one of those weirdos. "You're nothing special. I bet you're just trying to tell me you're special by playing your music so loud. You can't possibly simply enjoy the nuances of this music. You must only be craving my attention. Me me me me me. It's all about me. Don't you GET that, you selfish punk?"

And of course these same people LOVE blood and guts in their dramatic television and their evening news. That $10 movie ticket better come accompanied by nothing less, because this is America. But, of course, God bless, and again, God forbid they be forced to contend with chugging guitar riffs, pulsating blast beats, and a man screaming at them with the sheer force of their hypocrisy.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CHEAP booze and food, any takers?

I'm thinking of starting a blog.

Oh wait, I already did that. Shit. Well, now what do I do?

I KNOW. I'll start another blog!

I'm considering taking on the endeavor of blogging about cheap booze and cheap food. Think "Guy Fieri," only, unlike Emiril Lagasse, I intend on kicking it down a notch.

I'm told the economy has been better, and so has food. People will always love booze, food, and feeling superior to others, so why not combine all of that into a weekly platter of smarm, suds, and gastronomical blogoliciousness? Whether it be macro, micro, mutton, or McDonald's, I hope to give you, the PEOPLE, a guide to getting drunk enough to enjoy your budget entree.

Which malt liquor pairs best with KFC? Do Taco Bell and Tecate taste as good together as they feel to say out loud? How many Foster's oil cans does it take to enjoy Outback's cheapest offerings? I'll be dishing the details for each question and more, with my signature sarcasm and wit included, free of charge!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kids: Stop Having Them

A few days ago, I witnessed something strange on an airplane. Yeah, I don't even have a career yet, and I'm making an airplane observation. (I suppose I'm crashing before even taking off...

...yeah, fuck you too.)

Any who, the mother in front of me could not figure out how to buckle her seatbelt.

You might be wondering how I could possibly know this, or maybe you're one of those compassionate, if impatient souls who are willing to give me the benefit of the doubt in an effort to allow me to get to the god damn point. Either way, she was flanked by two children, and she asked out loud, "how do I get the seatbelt to work?"

The woman, nay, the mother, could not figure out how to put a thing inside of another thing that it was supposed to go inside of.

More frightening than the fact that someone so helpless is responsible for the lives of children is the fact that this very same person somehow figured out how to create children.

Is it not essentially the same process? Put the thing inside the thing?

I suppose making babies is, in practice, only slightly more complicated than buckling a seatbelt, but we're only naturally predisposed to the former process. Having kids is really easy, raising them is not.

If you're the type of parent who **regularly** complains about how hard it is to raise kids, your kids are an accident. Even if you fully intended on having them, they're a mistake. It is in the best interests of planet earth that you let your kids know this, lest they one day make the same mistake. Maybe instead of hitting them when they get on your nerves, try explaining to them what an awful idea they were. Don't make excuses. Spell it out, in no uncertain terms, that you ruined everything by spawning them.

I'm only being partially facetious, but even if you did pick up on that, you are now probably wondering why I'm even dragging the kids into it at all.

Well, someone had to buckle the kids' belts, and it sure as shit was not the kids themselves. Can I blame them if they grow up to be idiots like their mother? Can I blame the mother? I think I can, but I can also advocate for comprehensive sex education, contraception, and, if all else fails, abortion.

An unborn life is not precious. Life is not precious. Life is fragile. Stop conflating those two words. Life could be precious, but you definitively undermine the preciousness of life by allowing as much of it to exist as physically possible.

If you really want to fill a kid's head with good ideas, if you really want a little version of you, adopt a kid. If adopting a kid is too much work, then you're not fit to raise your own kid anyway. If an adopted child is not good enough, because it's not genetically yours, then I will take this moment to let you in on a secret that your parents were keen on keeping from you:

You're not special. You were an accident.

But more importantly...SO much more importantly, you have more in common with everyone else on earth than you do not have in common with them. Stop sweating the small stuff. There, do you feel proud and mighty again?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dreamcast

Every now and again I like to indulge in a mini-nostalgia trip. My current "retro" fascination is with my Sega Dreamcast console.


Much to my dismay, I cannot seem to find the damn thing. When I returned to my Pennsylvania residence for turkey and family, I hoped to see everyone's-favorite-underrated-gem sitting somewhere in my room (a museum, of sorts, of my childhood). What I found was every Dreamcast game I own, and a lonely controller. I have a sneaking suspicion the console is hiding in a box somewhere in the basement, but now that I've returned to the state of sunshine, I have a few boxes here I'd like to search as well. I'm being told that sounds a lot like a sophomoric euphemism. I'm also being told that emulating Jon Stewart's gags does not translate well when done in the blog format. Oh, hey, speaking of emulation...

I have attempted to run a Dreamcast emulator, compatible with my Mac, but to no avail. If anyone has any clue how to properly boot BIOS files in lxdream, do drop me a line. I suppose I'm just a fucking n00b. It took me long enough to understand what BIOS files are, and it's taking even longer for me to properly set my emulator's pathways and blah blah *yawn**stomach grumble**yawn** blah.

Blah.

Once upon a time, I managed to successfully operate an N64 emulator on my previous Mac, but the Dreamcast seems to be an entirely different animal. 

A few of the games I'd like to play are available on Xbox Live Arcade for $10 with updated visuals and extra features, but of course I'm being A.) cheap and B.) difficult and would really like to play the games I never owned/only ever rented and loved (Armada, you old chestnut, come here and let's have it out like old times). I'm being told that, just because it is in parentheses, does not make it not sound like a bad euphemism.

Dreamcast, I miss you, but not enough to have to rifle through that much more of my shit. Hell, I'm willing to do something of questionable legality to get you back.

But I'm not willing to lock someone in a windowless room for three weeks, while having my way with them, and afterwards setting the corpse on fire. No, that is unquestionably illegal. So I won't do that. And I've never done that. You know what? I have had it with your judgment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Friendly and Intelligent Teens

Lately, I've been impressed.

The majority of the teenagers I've been meeting (all of which I've met through both of my jobs) have come across as wise beyond their years. Additionally, they've proven themselves (so far) to be friendly and intelligent.

This bodes well for the future.

Or maybe these kids will merely be the victims of the future. I can only hope their wisdom and intellectual prowess provide them with the strength to overcome the stupid and hostile world that awaits.

I hope they don't become assholes like me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I can understand casually forgetting to use your turn signal (I can't, but I won't lay on my horn for it).

But if you're going to bring a 55 mph road to a halt so that you can spend half a minute contemplating whether or not that creepy little backwoodsy side street is the turn you want...

...and you still don't bother to put on your turn signal...

I believe I speak for everyone when I say (and with all due sincerity)...

Go fuck yourself.

You hasty, inconsiderate, dangerous, pathetically incompetent, and grossly overvalued waste of human potential.

Fuck.

-Benjamin

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Canadians Offended by Colbert

Context: http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2012/11/13/wdr-stephen-colbert-windsor-rectum.html

The fact that politicians would seriously find Stephen Colbert's innocent jab at Windsor, Ontario something worth responding to is ironic. Two members of parliament, quoted in the article above, paint Colbert as a mere comedian trying to get cheap laughs and book sales. These politicians, of course, are using a lighthearted joke as a cheap means of getting public attention and selling themselves. They seem to be dismissive of comedy in general. The characterization of someone as hugely popular as Colbert as "cheap" only serves to reveal their ignorance of their own continental culture. It is not merely because Colbert is popular that these politicians look so stupid in their feigned dismay, but why he is so popular. He is no hack.

But perhaps Colbert fans, their numbers strong and their online presence vocal, are still a minority. Perhaps people with a genuine appreciation of properly executed absurdist humor are vastly outnumbered. As one commentator to the article above put it, "If you can't laugh at a random absurdist and light hearted jab like this, you really have no sense of humour." 

If you are only capable of viewing it as an insult or a cheap ploy, you're simply revealing your own overly-simplistic machinations.

I Swear...

...you know, the hit song from the 90's by California r&b act, All-4-One, was originally a country hit? While it's not surprising that All-4-One-pain-in-the-ass-name-to-type did not write "I Swear" themselves, I did not remember that it was originally written for a country singer (yes, for a country singer, he didn't write it either).

Here it is: http://youtu.be/Z1VRIS-kZPI

Why is this important? Come December 13th, the country single will celebrate it's 19th birthday.

No, but seriously, why is this important?

Well, I suppose it's not. I had the song stuck in my head this morning upon waking up.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

McDonald's losses + Hostess Shutting Down

Aren't we always told that fast food and packaged death are a hot commodity in a low economy?

What's that drivel they keep telling us about consumer confidence, again?

But what will the fat fucks do now?

How can you simultaneously trumpet the beauty and glory of the "free market" while lamenting the loss of a company WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY telling us consumer confidence is important while telling us that the current president is an economic pariah?

If you think that last sentence was a grammatical tragedy, you should see the comment section for *any* Fox News article.

But back to that last point...every time Fox News tells us that consumer confidence is low (and that this is bad), and then proceeds to blame the reelection of Obama for a drooping stock market, God rips an angel's testicles off and stashes the unholy mess in the sacred confines of Jesus' rectum.

And by "Fox News" I mean the network, Fox News, as well as every dimwitted dweeb that parrots such an exhausted talking point.

Seriously, fuck you intellectually stunted, vacuous, indignant wastes of existence.

Jobs are important. Lives are important. If jobs and lives are the SAME thing, our economy is a failure no matter how well it's currently performing.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Koi No Yokan

Koi No Yokan is the new Deftones album.

I love Deftones, and this album is no exception. It reminds me a lot of their 2006 release, Saturday Night Wrist, and it is the follow-up to 2010's Diamond Eyes. It is so emphatically THEM.

Unfortunately, as some reviewers have pointed out, they seem a little too comfortable.

I'll admit, the riffage on this album did not immediately reach for my throat the way previous releases have. I've been intrigued by several of the compositions thus far (most are straight ahead, some are a little spookier/more ethereal/shoegaze-ier/etc.), and after only a couple of listens, I know which tracks are my current favorites.

Nothing the band ever does will compare to White Pony, so I don't even bother trying to approach the album from that perspective. It seems to be a solid album. I like it a little better than Diamond Eyes, but not as much as Saturday Night Wrist (my personal favorite Deftones album).

But more importantly...

WHEN will Team Sleep release something new? I know this band seems to be mired in side-projects, but Team Sleep, and their lone, self-titled LP, may just eclipse anything Deftones have thus far released, at least for me. 





Comedy Observations (Not to be confused with any 'Comedic Observations')

Fact: Either something is funny, or it is not.

Fact: People have a right to their feelings and opinions.

Fact: People have a right to be wrong.

That last one felt weird to type. It also probably sounds awkward out loud, and in the reader's head.

In fact, anything that "sounds" in the reader's head is probably beyond awkward, and bordering on alarming.
You, dear reader, ought to get that checked out in due haste. I won't be offended if you stop reading this post to go look something up in the DSM-IV (as you surely have a copy sitting somewhere within reach, just beyond the mountain of Stephen King novels and the empty Doritos bag). However, if you do not have such a book handy, consider Google.

Anyway, what I was trying to get at before, is a growing frustration of mine that I've touched on in previous posts.

People seem to judge comedy more harshly than any other form of art or entertainment, and their underlying excuse probably has something to do with the simplicity of fact #1. However, fact #2 somehow gets conflated with the first, and its importance often heralded above ALL OTHER FACTS (including ones not mentioned in this entry).

Most people probably don't even view comedy as an art at all, because most people probably don't even view much of anything as art. Either something stimulates them or it does not. "How much does it cost? Are other people doing it? When does it go on sale? Are there coupons? You've got to be kidding me."

The biggest joke of all is that my sales pitch for me night job is that it is an evening of fun and laughter. I cannot sell them on this. Is this not the essence of entertainment and amusement? Could they actually be looking for something deeper?

Based off of my experiences, up until this very evening, I sincerely doubt it.

So, until I figure these tourists out, I am going to continue trying to hone my quickness, my timing, and my overall delivery. I'm going to continue to try to strike the elusive balance between baseness and wit.

Eventually, I hope to make more than just a handful of people, on any given Thursday thru Saturday, happy.





The Same Conversations

Here's an example of three conversations that, since about August, I have found myself having continuously.

1. School

Person: So what are you doing right now?
Me: I'm pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing through the University of Tampa.
Person: Oh! How nice. So why aren't you in Tampa?
Me: It's a low-residency program. I can live wherever I want.
Person: Oh! How nice. So what do you do?
Me: Well, there is a a ten day low-residency period where we attend workshops, seminars, readings, and other organized literary events. For the rest of the semester, we read and write and annotate, and correspond with a mentor.
Person: Oh, so it's only ten days a year?
Me: No, the remaining four months are part of the semester, and that's when I complete the bulk of my work.
Person: Oh, so why aren't you in Tampa?
Me: Because I don't have to be in Tampa.
Person: Oh, but why not?
Me: It's low-residency. I only spend ten days there.
Person: Oh, so how does that work?
Me: *patient repetition as necessary*
Person: So what are you gonna do with that, teach?

2. Work
Person: So what are you doing right now?
Me: I'm a comedy walking guide. I give people guided walks around the city and tell jokes.
Person: Oh...so what do you do?
Me: I take people around St. Augustine and I try to make them laugh. We see sites and monuments and I tell some made-up stories about where they are. It's all in good fun.
Person: That must be a nice gig.
Me: It's actually really difficult.
Person: Why is that?
Me: People don't really know what to expect. In fact, I don't know what people expect.
Person: Yeah, it sounds really strange and different. But really, what do you do?
Me: I sell shoes.

3. Gluten
Person: Why can't your girlfriend eat anything?
Me: She's gluten-intolerant.
Person: Oh, so she's trying a new diet?
Me: No, it's like lactose-intolerance, but gluten is in just about everything. It's mostly found in wheat and soy products.
Person: So why doesn't she like those things?
Me: She loves them, but she can't have them. The gluten eats away at the lining of her small intestine.
Person: Well why does it do that?
Me: Fuck if I know. It's like an allergy.
Person: Oh, well does she want some bread?
Me: She can't have that.
Person: Oh, well does she want some cake?
Me: She can't have that.
Person: It must be frustrating, her being so picky.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fences

(from yesterday)

My mental projection of what my neighbor's fence must look like, after hearing its construction for months, is comparable to that of the Kaaba surrounding the Masjid al-Haram (the house being the mosque, the fence being the entire Kaaba).

Unfortunately, the fence is unfinished, and does not yet wrap around the yard.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm in the process of reading Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test. While I remain convinced that I am not a psychopath, it is certainly unnerving just how many genuine psychopathic traits I do possess (the test refers to a checklist by Dr. Robert Hare). One such trait, which has been causing me some degree of trouble as of late, is that of my need for constant stimulation.

I can think of an endless amount of activities that I could be throwing myself into, tasks that need completing, or goals that I could be fulfilling. Unfortunately, none of them seem worth the damn time or energy. Ultimately, it seems I'm more comfortable wasting time. I've completed my work for the semester (save for my End of Semester Report), so perhaps no longer having the familiar cloud of scholastic guilt hanging over me is making me restless.

Should I be concerned by this? I've not experienced an anxiety attack in several years, but I feel schoolwork, plus my day job, plus my night job, all have one due for me eventually. In the meantime, while I wait for the next semester, I fly through books and readings that would otherwise take me twice as long. I'm twice as productive, and yet half as satisfied.

Will anything ever balance out? Probably not. Is that kind of contentment even worth seeking? I can think of a few very friendly, sandy-haired, but delusional individuals who might say "yeah, dude, totally."

My sole objective at this point, aside from completing my End of Semester Report and showing up to work on time, is to take a Christmas picture. Every year, I don a Santa Claus hat and a homemade sign that reads "Merry Christmas" in the requisite colors. The picture is sent out to friends and family as an annual postcard of my mother and father's. I've been photographed in such locations as the Empire State Building, the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, Vero Beach, Wawa's corporate headquarters, a Philadelphia Union game, and so on. Under normal circumstances, the picture would have been taken well in advance of the holidays. It is now November 11, and we've yet to take a picture.

I voted for Palatka, but everyone else seems to think Orlando would be a more savory option.

Oh, I also need to work on my comedic timing, and just being funnier in general. People seem to judge humor and the business of it harsher than just about anything else. You know the people in control of society are psychopaths when the top-down priorities are arranged in such a way.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

No...

As a writer, you are told that you must write every day.

If you are a writer, and you do not write every day, you must expect to suck at it. And by 'it' I mean writing. See what I mean?

My first semester as a candidate for an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa has come to a close. So I figure this is the perfect time to actually begin taking my writing seriously.

I am only being facetious. If you did not already pick up on my facetiousness, you are probably not the type of person who will appreciate anything I do. Or you are my mother. I doubt there could possibly be any gray area.

All too often, I am asked by such types of people (those who do not appreciate flippancy - yes, those people) what, pray tell, do I plan on doing with an MFA in Creative Writing? After explaining to them my ambition to become a professional asshole, they laugh (presumably getting the joke, or perhaps they're merely being polite), and ask something along the lines of "No, seriously, what are you gonna do, teach?"

Do they think I'd make a good teacher? Do they not yet understand that I am an asshole? Do they think teachers are assholes? No...they're probably the assholes.

And, like it or not, they seem to be the ones making the world go 'round. The true assholes are intent on molding the world around them into a mere reflection of themselves: a giant, stinking, shit-caked pit.

But that sounds bitter. It sounds young, angsty, and naive. It does not sound befitting of an educator of any type or stripe. However, it certainly sounds like the whining...of a budding asshole.

I cannot allow myself to devolve into what the true assholes so desperately desire me to become. I must grow and evolve. I must, as they keep telling me, write every day. It is not for the sake of improving my writing, but for the benefit of my whole self (and Mr. Kite - that's a Beatles reference. I assume a better writer/person would not make such a senseless reference. He'd also use less parenthetical handicaps.).

So, I will, damn it. I will write every day.