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.