Friday, December 5, 2008

Self Proclaimed Troubadors

The guitar is a powerful instrument. From the depths of its six-string soul came power unlike anything the musical world had ever seen. Rock gods and blues legends were born, forever changing generations of music the world over. But alongside these gods and legends, another breed of guitar player was born. A different kind of guitar player. A guitar player who's skills would scrape the lower reaches of sub-par playing and who's "abilities" would be used to promote self-absorption and deception. An "artist" who's repertoire would include the not-so-complicated songs on a Dave Matthews Band set list or the emotional melodies spilling out of "Your Body is a Wonderland." Whatever the case, this player abuses the power of the guitar and, in turn, engages in unethical pick-up tactics.

The guitar has powerful effects on women. Seriously. It's a scientific fact/I read it on Wikipedia. The sounds coming from a guitar are a natural aphrodisiac and as long as you make borderline "I'm stalking you" eye contact and lick your lips every once in a while whilst playing, the hottest girl in the room will sleep with you. I don't make the rules. The problem is, more and more guys are finding out about this age old secret and are taking advantage of it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is as wrong as an albino at a Snoop Dogg concert. Now before I start dogging on the Benedict Arnolds of guitar playing, how about some background on me?

I've been playing the guitar for going on eight years now, and boy are my arms tired! But seriously, they are. I started playing the guitar in high school when high-pitched, awkward me had nothing else to do since making the personal choice to abstain from having pre-collegiate alcohol. I just didn't want to fall in love too soon and get my heart broken again. It hurts too bad.

I was such a fool.

So I started learning the songs that most touched my heart/the songs that didn't hurt to play, and actually became a self-proclaimed ok at it. Most of these tracks were centered around the 90's because, after all, it was the greatest decade of this or any generation. One can only imagine the emotional tears of joy I brought to my audiences. Like witnessing the miracle of birth or two rainbows at once, there is nothing like hearing the graceful melody of "Semi-Charmed Kinda Life" on acoustic guitar around a campfire. One word: breathtaking.

So there I am, shredding in stadiums (my parents' garage) and living like a rock star (putting extra sugar on my cereal) when not-so-all-of-a-sudden I realized the powerful magnetic attraction between my guitar and girls. Now I don't want to mislead you into thinking that girls were throwing their bras at me, but they were. Literally, everywhere I went there were bras. And right when I thought I got rid of one, it seemed like two more would replace it. Now I know what you're thinking, "That's awesome! You must have been ridiculously charismatic and good-looking!" Well, I was.

Not pictured: Me.

But in all honesty, I learned the guitar for ME. I learned it because I wanted to and because I wanted to be in Simon and Garfunkel (who rejected me after only one audition!? I guess they weren't big fans of the whole "trio" thing. Close-minded if you ask me...) But then I went to college. Now, most of us have run into the guy that always has his guitar out and plays songs just to be noticed. That's really nothing new and to be honest, I'm not even really upset about it. If you're good at guitar, in my opinion, you should share it with the moderation of course. I mean, Wendy's is awesome, but to eat it everyday would literally kill someone via tasty values. My annoyance begins where it's taken a step further by putting on a button up and enough cologne to successfully tranquilize a moose before each rousing set of "Wonderwall" followed by a borderline offensive interpretation of "Freebird."

I actually had someone ask me in college to teach him guitar so he could get women. He came in my dorm room and said "Can you teach me to play guitar so I can get women?" Isn't that like asking "Can you teach me to break dance so I can stop the war in Iraq?" It's not really an instantaneous thing and really doesn't get any better when mixed with hazardous levels of Axe and collars popped higher than Jay and Silent Bob at a Cheech and Chong convention.

The point I'm trying to make is, as mentioned, the majority of all women are attracted to the guitar. But don't learn the guitar to get women. Frankly, it's flat-out overrated and considered "selling out" in most Midwestern cultures. And if you're going to play "You're Body is a Wonderland", at least play it when either A) alone or B) directly staring into the eyes of a single girl in your bedroom. Don't play it on a secondhand, multi-stained couch in the middle of a sausage fest where one or two girls were tricked into showing up with the more-than-delivered upon promise of free alcohol. They are only interested in you because your partial delivery of the man-God's love anthem reminded them of something they desperately want (but can't realistically have). So in a drunken stuper they close their eyes and imagine Mayer in some inappropriate manner when, in reality, they will open their eyes to find that they are holding on to a dream but are left with the essence of John Mayer's table Oh, and all of the other guys think you're a douche bag.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New poster!

Let me be distinctly clear by saying that "New poster!" does not mean I am handing out a literal poster with some not so clever and overly used drinking joke such as "One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!!" That would not be fair to you and, in all honesty, is a blatant lie. I know from personal experience that the only person who would hit the floor after three shots of tequila is an 8 year old girl (in the United States anyways.) No, I am indeed speaking of the new blog poster, Nowasteland, who many of you may or may not be familiar with. He is a good friend of mine and also, coincidentally, has things that really grind his gears. Check out his first post below and keep your eyes open for updates because even though I've never been very good at math, I do know that two blog posters means more udpates, and more updates means more awesome.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Assault on Taste: Commerce and Christmas Music

Pondering the intricacies of cheese and sausage gift basket marketing during the holiday season, it's not uncommon for me to daydream songs playing on a turntable in my head. Jimmy Page guitar solos, Wilco lyrics, hell even a Rachmaninov concerto have snuck into my consciousness at which point I typically stop myself, a second or two away from humming.

Usually I hear things I've recently listened to (hence the arguably good list above). Which is why, when "Good King Wenceslas" started playing in my head this morning, I was confused. That song sucks and there's no damn way my producer (me) would have let it on the air. No way. I, nevertheless, shrugged it off and went back to analyzing pictures of smoked gouda and summer sausage.

Then I got Cheneyed by another round of birdshot in the form of notes clumped together; this time I noticed it in my ear and not emanating from my brain. "Bah rum-bum-bum bummmmmmmm." I've had homicidal thoughts about the little drummer boy since I was, well, a little boy (sans drum). No way he gets on the playlist.

Cheney + Gun

Well, it turns out that the guy who shows up to my office one day like every other week (still can't figure that one out) has his radio on one nudge above zero volume and tuned to the only radio station that can ever descend even further below Kenny G on the List of Good Taste: Christmas Carols on Repeat. No DJs. Just Terry Bradshaw and Rosie O'Donnell double teaming Silent Night, break for commercials, repeat.

I'm not going to get into a diatribe on how the ubiquity of Christmas music, sales, and presents bastardizes the true meaning of Christmas, whatever that may be. It probably does, but that's not the point. This is an assault on taste.

Do you really think God---and if you don't believe in God, imagine there's a God of Taste---is up there thinking "I'm glad humans made Little Drummer Boy. It's the pinnacle of audio-art. Put that on repeat."? Not a chance. While I'm damn tired of people speaking on behalf of God (e.g. "God doesn't like gay people", "God wants me to kill people different from me", etc.) may I put forth that God doesn't want to hear crappy music, especially on or about his birthday? He (or she) wants to read between the lines on When the Levees Break or sync Dark Side and Wizard of Oz. Maybe some Chopin when feeling down. Not The Brady Bunch sings "O Holy Night."

So turn it off and pop in some Dylan. Listen to it, because life is too short to ignore great art and even acknowledge bad art.

Oh, on the same "We Suck at Christmas" note: a bunch of greedy, materialistic wretches in Valley Stream, NY (on Long Island) trampled a Walmart employee on Black Friday stampeding for marginally discounted TVs, blenders, and furbies or whatever the hell children like these days. Cool, guys.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Letter to a troll

Recently, I've had a few run-ins with the locals that have brought unnecessary amounts of stress on my already stressful life. I've taken it upon myself to start writing letters to these people in the hopes that they will accidentally stumble upon it while Googling "douche bags." Expect more of these in the future and feel free to send your own my way.

To Shrek/the man that forcefully stole our table at the bar,

Thank you for "blessing" us with your ogre-like charisma and lack of anger management the other night. No, really. I wanted my beer spilled on the table and my sleeve because it was so tasty I didn't think I could handle it all and was going to do that anyways. But you beat me to it, so thank you for that. Additionally, thank you for bringing us the stench of your 4 day marathon party shirt and your hat drenched with the ocean of sweat that naturally produces when someone is sitting doing nothing active whatsoever. That's a common problem, so I understand. And let me be the first to apologize. You and the other trolls were probably out for a night of drinking after terrorizing the villagers, and I almost ruined it for you. Tell them I'm sorry too. The next time I see you I'll bring you a baby to eat or a bag full of Big Macs or something (although you're probably sick of eating them EVERY day...) And I'm sorry we didn't fight. I know you were threatening it and everything, but I just wasn't in the mood and you are a lot bigger than me (actually you are a lot bigger than 95% of everyone.) But if it makes you feel any better, you probably would have got a few good shots in and impressed the 2% of girls that think cavemen are sexy. You really scared me slugger. Anyways, I hope we didn't get in your way too much, and I hope you enjoyed sitting at our table. Tell donkey I say hello.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cheating: The fastest route to hell

So I'm in my car this morning driving to work (actually more crawling to work; see the blog on me hating traffic below) and the morning show I was listening to was on the subject of cheating. Now I'm no expert in the matter, as I have absolutely no experience with cheating (unless you count Game Genie), but if I had to pick one thing I hate most in the world it would probably be cheating...and also spiders.

To be honest, I've never really understood the concept of cheating. I've definitely been caught up in my share of totally doable cheating opportunities (no pun intended), so if you're a cheater you can take your "you wouldn't know what it's like" argument and throw it in the garbage along with the rest of your ethically immoral excuses and probably dead puppies....murderer. I cherish my relationships as much as I cherish the first season of Full House (which surprisingly is saying a lot) and I don't need one moment of seized opportunity to screw it all up.

The one thing I will never understand is taking someone back after they cheat. If a person cheats on you it means they are capable of it. Even if they say they will never do it again, they are capable of it. And if they're capable of cheating, they're capable of other rape and terrorism. That person deliberately and with conscious intent thought about your relationship and decided that a random physical act was worth more than your trust. They literally (figuratively) took a dump on your trust, then went ahead and did an entire river dance chorus on it when you took them back. And don't give me the other excuse of "everyone makes mistakes." A mistake is when you accidentally DVR Gilmore Girls or forget to carry the one in long division. Cheating on your partner is not a mistake.

A hypothetical friend for this story just said to me the other day "Aren't you being a little harsh? I mean you don't know every situation. Things change and sometimes shit happens." First of all, "shit happens" is a bumper sticker most commonly found on a pickup truck from the early nineties being driven by a guy wearing a confederate flag t-shirt and listening to "This is Our Country". Anything that can be found on a novelty t-shirt alongside the popular "Waaazup?!" probably shouldn't be passed off as a viable excuse. Second of all, it's true I don't know every situation that could ever happen in a world. But I for the life of me can not come up with a situation where the end results in a life-threatening struggle between cheating or death. Oh wait, that's because it doesn't exist. Although it would make for an interesting plot line for a straight-to-DVD movie starring Steven Seagal.

Cheat or Die: Fists of Justice

Kung fu aside, lets look at the facts. If someone were willing to cheat on their partner, they're not fully satisfied with the relationship. Like chicken nuggets with no sauce. The relationship isn't there. So why risk showing up on the (probably) award-winning show "Cheaters" looking like an idiot literally caught with his pants down, when you could just be single and make babies with everyone? I think I've made my point.

Moral of the story: Don't cheat or do drugs. Also, if you believe in yourself anything can happen...even magic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hip-pop: The Death of Music

Everyone has different opinions of good music. You might cherish Shaq's Greatest Hits (which unbelievably exists) whereas your neighbor, God forbid, might enjoy the musical styling of an inspirational Yanni album to compliment a self-choreographed interpretive dance sequence with all 15 of their cats (or whatever the hell else fans of Yanni do.) And while he may be, in your opinion, the best songwriter of this or any generation, being the founder and sole member of his Facebook group does not make it true.

The music industry has been on a downward spiral ever since the release of such gems as "Walk It Out" and "Party Like a Rockstar", which both make about as much sense as crowd surfing at an Air Supply concert. Don't get me wrong, I realize and appreciate the dance functionality of both songs/being able to safely dry hump a stranger's leg in a dark club, but both contain the equivalent musical charisma of an old drunk person shouting at passing cars. With this new trend in music (mixing a 3rd grade vocabulary with obscenities and going all night with sexual references) I'm afraid we're flirting with the Armageddon of music. And not the reassuring, "Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis hold hands and save us before the credits roll" Armageddon. I'm talking about the real thing.

Screenshot from Armageddon.

Don't you ever wonder why we've never really had another Led Zeppelin or Pink Flloyd in this generation? Or why James Taylor and Peter Frampton end up on cell phone and Geico commercials? It's not because people have stopped making good music. It's because good music is now defined by a society that favors mindless, emotion-free, mainstream pop over soulful, revolutionary, musical poetry. I personally don't want to grow up in a world where music classes teach "How to Properly Superman that Ho" and "Bitches and Hos: A History of Pimpin' That Ain't Easy".

The times are definitely changing and younger generations are changing with it. They're being told what to like by mass media (otherwise known as "The Man") and as the appreciation for music slowly waters itself down like an Ice Cube album at WalMart, we're forced to rethink our own appreciation for music. Because even though we still have a handful of rock and roll powerhouses staggering onto stages across the world, they are going to die someday (see Keith Richards) and all that will be left are DJ Unk and Soulja Boy. Can you imagine your sweet little angel faced kids calling THAT classic rock? Well I sir, cannot.

So the next time you're at a bar and hear one of the aforementioned piles of crap on the dance floor, close your eyes and try to imagine the artist and record label execs realistically brainstorming the idea of a song centered around "licking it like a lollipop". It really makes you question whether or not the record label execs are actually immature 2nd graders that still laugh at the word "poop" and make hand turkeys out of construction paper and the glue they just tried to eat. There's not a whole lot of creative juices flowing around that studio. If you don't believe me, check out the sheer poetry of the lyrics on Google. I can't post them here because of the flat-out vulgarity, but it's very similar to what I imagine a script looks like for a poorly directed adult film.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to finish the song I've been working on for the past 15 minutes entitled "Who wants a footlong?"

Additionally, that's what she said.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Traffic makes angry an understatement

Since I've moved to Chicago, I've been presented with the unfortunate punch in the rectum we call commuting. Conversations recently for me have unraveled something like this:

Person: So you commute every morning? I'll bet that sucks. What's it like?
Me: It's like watching the movie Gigli in slow motion while the person you hate most in the world shreds all the money in your bank account and makes out with the girl you love, all the while sitting on a bonfire with gasoline pants on.
Person: I like Gigli.
Me: You're a dick.


No matter how many people pose the question "What causes traffic?" I have yet to hear an answer that doesn't piss me off even more. Really, if it were any logical answer, I would probably still be upset, but I would accept it. Even if someone were to say "Well, every weekday the magical asshole fairy frolics to each interstate, dropping an unnecessary amount of cars and terrible drivers across the land. And just to add sprinkles to the turd, he tops it all off with tolls, the occasional fender bender, and construction, racking on an additional fortnight's time to get home." Not cool magical asshole fairy. Not cool.

But alas, I am left to deal with this corporal punishment and watch my restraint for road rage fly out of the window (at a stop-and-go pace of less than 3 mph.) And with all of my experience in the field, I have come to the conclusion that there are basically three types of people that occupy the road today:

1. The "Lemming"- This type of driver will only switch lanes or move when the person in front of them switches lanes or moves. The driver develops an imaginary bond with the dominant car similar to that of Frodo and Samwise Gamgee. "I made a promise Mr. Frodo to never keep you out of my sight, and I don't intend to break that promise." Don't be Samwise...he's a passive sidekick that played Rudy. Never forget that.
2. The "Bluetooth Douche"- This type of driver loses all possibility of retaining rationality as soon as the engine starts. A rush hour commute for a person of this type is like playing a game of Frogger for the right to keep their first-born son. Although rare, a certain variation of this type does exist without the presence of a Bluetooth headset, but its almost as rare as a clown without the creepy.
3. The "What Would Jesus Do?"- This type of driver is the most scarce and is on the verge of extinction. Generally seen leaving occasional gaps for drivers to switch lanes and waving when someone lets them into the flow, this elusive driver has been sought out by protection agencies for years, but is slowly being killed off by the predatory Bluetooth Douches. The protection of this endangered group is eminent in keeping a small margin of quickly depleting sanity in the atmosphere.

So the next time you raise your middle finger in traffic or break your hands hitting the steering wheel, think about which category you fall under. Get yourself a WWJD bracelet if you need to. Because if you're on the fence about whether or not you're helping or hurting, than you're definitely hurting. Now stop reading this and go get yourself a Bluetooth headset.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm a pretty passive person by nature, but many of you that know me also know that I can get fired up when something really grinds my gears. I know what you're thinking...what could I possibly get upset about? Truthfully, a lot of things. Here is a small sampling: Hummers, drunk people that say "I'm not drunk", the villain from the movie "The Patriot" (if you don't agree with me than you're not American), and any song written by Dashboard Confessional (if you're thinking "Hey that's not fair, DC is a great band", than you're obviously a registered douche bag that should be stabbed with a spoon.) So I decided to start an uncensored blog that would allow me to vent on what really pisses me off and lately, the list has been growing.