Saturday, April 30, 2011

And then there was the Trekkie with a starfleet insignia on his chest...

Does anyone understand the appeal of tattoos, or why people get them? I don't have one, and I feel no compulsion to get one. But I'm so curious about why. I ask this with no judgment.

I hit the free weights at the gym, and many of the badass guys working out with me have tattoos all up and down their arms and legs (and I'd imagine, were they to remover their shirts, we'd see lots of 'em on their back and maybe their chest). And I just wonder. Again, I can't judge, really...if I don't understand why they do it, I can't say anything.

Even one of my clinicians back in chiropractic school had an insanely ornate and large tattoo that stretched across her lower back. It took multiple sessions to complete. Really, it was beautiful - far and away the most beautiful tattoo I've ever seen. I think it was a tattoo of a Hindu deity, and was not just designed with the typical black ink, but bright reds, yellows, and greens permeated it. But again, I don't understand why. And more to the point, why would one get a tattoo on a part of the body you wouldn't even be able to see or admire easily?

The most audacious tattoo I've ever seen was also one of the simplest ever: a single plus sign on the left deltoid region. This forever branded the guy as being HIV-positive (yes, he was gay, and displayed it on a profile on a social/sexual networking site). No comment, other than that I would never. For more reasons than one.

So there you have it. Fellow bloggers of the world wide webiverse, and random stumblers upon this screed, I ask you...whither tattoos?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Adventures in Puddletown, part 3

Ugh. Clusterfuck of a day today. Spent the first part of the day working with my blessed bookkeeper (which reminds me: send her flowers) who helped me deal with an absurd tax situation. Long story short, the state thinks I owe them a craptacular amount of sales tax. This might be true if the tax rate were about 50%. Ain’t no WAY.

Had a second issue about work. Won’t bore you about it, but it made me bust my ass home and pack in record time for my trip out to Puddletown. Got to the airport, and I was nearly pathologically harried. Like to the point where if I had really stopped to think about it, I would have thought the universe was sending me a sign.

As it turns out, it might have been. You see, this trip was for a business seminar. I signed up for it a few months ago. I thought it kind of weird that I had yet to receive materials for it. So once at the gate, I called the organizer up. She kinda hesitated, then said, “Um, we rescheduled the seminar, because we didn’t want to interfere with Easter.” Cue righteous rage on my part. Scandinavian rage, so you know it was subdued. Still, HOLY HELL. No one had told me about it. And some research on the part of the organizer revealed that she had indeed sent out an e-mail to that effect, but had neglected to put my e-mail address on it. FUUUCK.

So here I am in Portland, for no real reason anymore. Man, I feel like the proverbial fish out of water. I’ma try to make the best of it, though. And there are some things so far. Like the fact that when I landed, it was SUNNY. And once I got my car and drove around, I saw that there wasn’t a muthafuckin’ cloud in the sky. Nowhere. People have been saying today has been the nicest day all YEAR. And tomorrow’s gonna be even nicer, warmer.

Also, I got to indulge in the joy that is La Buca. This tiny trattoria was the site of my first meal the day I moved to Portland. I got the “abituale”: penne with vodka cream sauce and spicy Italian sausage. So damned simple, but so damned good. Actually, the first bite was kinda ennh, but the more I ate, the more I remembered just how heavenly it was. Food like that really could become habitual.

There was also Ben & Jerry’s. The ice cream shop. ‘Nuff said.

Back to the clusterfuck. Simply navigating Portland can be infuriating. Got lost on the way to DJ Jazzy D’s place, then finally found it 15 minutes after I shoulda been there. Then I began unpacking, and realized that with a phone with maybe 2% power remaining, I had forgotten to pack a phone charger. It was off to the local one-stop-shopping bazaar, and thank GOD they were open late. So now my phone is happily charging away.

I was hoping to head out on the town tonight, badly. But it’s been such a blast to my sanity today, I think it’s for the best I stay back and just sleep it off. Seriously…the concept of a totally free weekend that suddenly fell from the sky weirds me out. Maybe I’ll head to the coast or do some hiking, get back to nature. Karaoke is most assuredly in my future, too. I’d take a free weekend in Puerto Vallarta or Maui any day, but Portland is not on the short list. Well, I’ll just make do. A good big breakfast will do me well for starters, then I’ll go from there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Play With Me - Thompson Twins

The Cool World soundtrack is one of the better-kept secrets of the 1990s. The movie kinda sucked (badly enough that I didn't even see it; I'm just going by what most people/critics tell me). But the soundtrack is something else. It's what Hard Harry would have played had he gotten out of jail early and become a club DJ. Dark, seductive,'s tough to resist.

The best song on here is actually from the Thompson Twins. They trump everyone else here, including the likes of David Bowie, Ministry, Moby, Brian Eno, and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. That's pretty heady company just to be in.

When a song begins with a siren and a woman moaning seductively in the background, you know you're in for something pretty hot. And rarely has sex and violence sounded so enticing. Aside from this vixen repeatedly cooing "play with me," it's all instrumental, slightly industrial. You also hear occasional menacing laughter and a thug's brutal howling, all above a pounding dance beat that is eons removed from the G-rated pop most people associate with the Thompson Twins' earnest '80s ditties.

Listen to this one at full blast, preferably at night. Dance your ass off to it. Shadowbox those demons away. And afterward, you'll feel about as spent and released as the song's closing post-orgasmic sigh. (For some reason, the video won't load well, so here's the link.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Le roi est mort, vive le plutocratie."

Oog. Being sick sucks. I saw two patients this morning, both pretty involved and really cool cases. But toward the end of the second one, it quickly became apparent that I was running on fumes. I had to head home, and man, when you're sick, it really sucks to have a 45-minute commute. *ducks to avoid heavy metal objects thrown at head* I know lots of you out there have longer commutes, but for Denver, this is quite the big deal.

And now, the news...

Those of you in FB Land who have friends who tend to lean to the left and post their predilections for all to see have undoubtedly received this beauty over the past day or so:
Remember when teachers, public employees, libraries, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither. Pass it on!
Pretty stinging indictment, this. Well, at least on paper or on your screen. Pithy, accurate, brilliant. Sure, it'll make people think. But in the long run, will it make much difference?

I don't think many people would argue that our country is in awful shape. Bloggers EVERYWHERE are commenting about it. Hell, Roger Ebert recently penned a brilliant, if devastating, look at the inequality of wealth distribution in our plutocracy. And you thought (well, actually, I did think) that he mainly reviewed movies and such. (Oh, you hadn't heard? Democracy in America is dead, folks.) The thing that really makes this awful is the fact that it doesn't matter where you land on the political spectrum...most likely you think our country is going down the wrong path. I myself tend to lean left, and as such, get the humor when, say, The Onion marks the occasion of the death of the American Dream, or when Steven Colbert blasts Jon Kyl for saying that Planned Parenthood devotes 90% of its resources to abortions (margin of error: 87%.) But it's devastating to know the truth or the sentiment behind these stories. Also, folks on the right are just as pissed...witness the rise of the phenomenon that rhymes with "Me Farting." And I feel about like I did when I was reading the writings of Soviet era dissidents in college...just an inescapable sense of hopelessness, that nothing can change for the better.

In my mind, the last time we had such a volatile political landscape was in the 1960s. Speaking from the POV of someone who was never there, I still get the feeling that there was some really strong idealism there that tempered it somewhat. I may be wrong. But I sure don't see any evidence of idealism or hope from either side, aside from Obama's slogan. The Tea Party is primarily reactionary; I don't think they have thought through what they stand for as much as what they stand against. But they do seem to be accomplishing some things. As for the political left, all I seem to read about is how disorganized and weak the Democrats are, kowtowing to the Republicans and Teabaggers.

On a more personal level, over the past four years, I have borne close witness to five bills in our state legislature, all for great causes, being struck down by...well, by the Teabaggers (and their libertarian forebears). I've seen how a bill becomes a law (or doesn't), and it ain't NOTHING as appealing or fun as Schoolhouse Rock would have us believe. I really would rather watch sausage being made. And this is incredibly dispiriting. The days of Jimmy Stewart, ever the cockeyed optimist, going to Washington to stand up for the common man, are so far away they might as well be gone. If I'm thinking like this now, you KNOW I don't ever want to be involved in politics ever again.

Let me continue my descent into the void. We're in the land of bread and circuses, and have been for decades now; I defy anyone to prove otherwise. But it's particularly tough when the circuses take the form of some hilarious but stinging satire, broadcast to millions, with at least part of the goal being to rile up the masses...and nothing least to my eye.

One last thing: Teabaggers are all up in arms about how Obama is trying to turn our country socialist. It hasn't happened, folks, and it probably won't. But I'll repeat what I said up above: while our economy is still functioning, we have lost all semblance of democracy. THAT is what I think is the true tragedy. If we did have a democracy, the asshole bankers of Wall Street (to point a finger at a salient target) would be brought to justice and punished severely for their actions. Nope. They're protected by their millions and millions. I would SO love to run across one of 'em by happenstance at some point and go all Steven Slater on their sorry ass.

And in the meantime, Thomas Jefferson is turning in his grave something awful.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Oh, and thank you very much for introducing us to the Gayken.

I swear on a stack of reel-to-reels, I have never, ever, seen a whole episode of American Idol. Many of my fellow chorines in our local gay men's chorus (some of whom have, yes, tried out for AI) would gasp and clutch their pearls at the mere thought. Why?

Simon bores me, for one, even more than he grates on my nerves. And if he bores me, you know the other judges don't have a chance. (Don't even talk to me about the hostess, Ryan Seacrest.) Second, I'm not a fan of most pop music nowadays. Glee has had to somehow introduce me to the 21st century version of (teen) pop, and even then, meh. Third, the whole show reeks of product. It doesn't exist to make a young singer's dream come true. It exists to throw an unassuming winner (or 2nd or 3rd or 4th place winner) into the music machine and produce sound units, the likes of which will (assumedly) sell well and ensure profits to the recording company. Cynical? Yeah...but the stuff AI turns out doesn't sound one iota different from the rest of the blather you hear on the radio nowadays. Which is why I don't listen. Hell, aside from one fun song, I don't even care for Kelly Clarkson. (And no, it isn't "Since U Been Gone.")

The most annoying bit is the invention-slash-popularization of the melisma. A fatwa on the heads of Mariah Carey and especially Christina Aguilera for that. Yes, they have great voices with impressive ranges. Which means they don't need to rely on all those swoops up and down and everywhere. You at point A, gurl? You need to get to point B? Fuckin' get there. Don't go through points Q, L, 13, turd, ζ, Þ, Ж, פ, and syzygy to get there. You'll get lost and sound like a noob along the way. But because these two are apparently among the most admired singers of...uh...the generation beneath me, the AIers think that the more melismas, the better.

Now, having bitched, I'll say that I was present and accounted for, sir, for the crowning of Miss Clarkson as the first AI winner. How evil was it, then, that she, immediately upon winning, had to try and sing "A Moment Like This"? She's trying to, uh, enjoy and live in this moment, accept congratulations from her fans and hold back tears, not sing about it, fucktards! GAWD.

The one...I hate to say redeeming quality, but the one thing that I can thank AI for is for Jennifer Hudson. Seen her in Showgirls? Damn, she deserved that Oscar. Outsang and outperformed everyone, including Beyonce and Eddie Murphy. Although I suspect you could just see her singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and be done with the rest of the movie. And it shows you how stupid America is that they voted her off so early.