Saturday, December 14, 2013

"And we liked it! We LOVED IT!"

A FB friend I met in Provincetown this summer just griped about how, for the millionth time, he and his husband were accused of being twins, let alone brothers. And it was all I could do to bite my tongue and not say something snarky in reply.

Gay men are narcissists. And I mean that in more than the obvious way. For many guys, it comes through in who they are attracted to. These guys both have a heavyset, almost fireplug build, with narrow eyes and dark, short hair. They both wear the same type of eyeglasses - narrow and rectangular. They both are slightly above average height. Other facial characteristics are similar, including a slightly forced smile. IMO, both are quite handsome. It's not a leap to suggest they are both attracted to themselves. (From what I know of them, they are not emotionally narcissistic.) But it is a potentially friendship-killing leap. So I keep my mouth shut. Oh well.

I'm seriously considering starting a FB profile so I can masquerade as a grumpy old man who just can't keep his mouth shut about stupid shit he sees on the world wide webiverse and the world around him. Just to have an outlet for my opinion...until FB shuts it down for some reason or other. I'm not quite ready to be such an asshat from my own profile. Give me a few years and a few more gray hairs.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Music of 1989

A glimpse into the music-obsessed world of mine. I, riddled with ADHD (not diagnosed, not really ADHD...just sayin') read music reviews obsessively. Like tiny packets of dopamine to my system, these wastes of time and energy are. But I just can't stay away.

Since 1989 was far and away the most pivotal year of my young life (best and nearly worst, for a variety of reasons), I decided to look at the top 100 pop songs of that year. Yeesh...what a wasteland. Put thusly: if Milli Vanilli 1) has a firm hold on this list, and 2) I actually find MV's contributions among the better songs in this list, you know something is wrong. No wonder I soon found my way out of the mainstream.

So here's a fun little exercise: commentary on various of the top 100 alternative albums (back when the term actually meant something, you spoiled little upstarts!) in 1989, as proposed by the biased-but-still-awesome blog Slicing Up Eyeballs.

The Cure - Disintegration: Meh...didn't grab me so much, but you can't deny it's an awesome album. Maybe I'm not as goth as I'd like to pretend. I did get it years later, figuring it'd be a great breakup album to have as my relationship with Mr. Man was seriously on the skids. Fortunately, we stayed together, and I got to keep Disintegration. Huzzah all around.

Pixies - Doolittle: Discovered this a few years after the fact. And again, for some reason, the album as a whole didn't grab me, but individual songs stuck in my cerebral sulci, and to this day, they're on reliable rotation. Nirvana, and by extension virtually all of 1990s rock would've been DOA without this one. "La La Love You" has to be one of the coolest surf-punk songs ever committed to tape. (Bonus: "Debaser" inspired the referenced blog's title.)

Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine: Good GOD, but this informed my high school experience. M. Reznor fuckin' FELT my pain, man! And the music felt so edgy and skittish. It was my entry point into industrial, for which I am forever grateful.

The Stone Roses: How the fuck did I miss this one? Only got it last year, and my conclusion: damn, I missed out on a whole lot of something back in the day. I'd have worn this one the fuck OUT. As it is, it's consigned to an occasional song on my "top rated" list. It deserves better. Mea culpa. (When I got a drum set around 15, a friend offered to teach me some tricks. Quote: "I'll have you playing the Stone Roses in no time." Would've been nice. Instead, I was stuck playing R.E.M., which wasn't exactly drummer heaven.)

Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique: I'm seeing a miserable trend here. I'm consistently decades late to the party. But hella fun, right? "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" is pretty frightening, though...belongs in some warped Tarantino vehicle.

B-52's - Cosmic Thing: Phoenician rebirth, y'all. Fun, for the most part, aside from a few throwaways. I blast "Dry County" during the first real scorcher of the summer, and it feels like home. I've also sung "Love Shack" at the weddings for my brother and my sister. *hangs head in embarrassment*

The Replacements - Don't Tell a Soul: Uh, no. I meant to order "Pleased to Meet Me," but I got this drearfest instead. (This was back in the day of music clubs, kids, where you could actually buy EIGHT CDs for the price of one!) Professional, so it sounds good, but the Replacements should be anything but professional. Keepers: "I'll Be You," "Achin' to Be."

Bob Mould - Workbook: Yet another "just got this last year." I suck. Anyhow...the production here is clean and bright as a sanitized chrome kitchen. Some awfully beautiful songs here, too. And a bit of noodling that sounds...well, cool mountain stream comes to mind ("Sunspots"). Wait...all this from one of the big names in corrosive and angst-ridden punk? Yes. A major left turn from the noise that was Hüsker Dü, but a really awesome left turn.

10,000 Maniacs - Blind Man's Zoo: My entry point into this band. (Bragging rights: met them backstage at the Tonight Show during my 15 minutes of fame in 1989.) Loved 'em at the time, but this one is now about my least favorite of their albums; I can't remember when I last gave this one a spin. Someone once said that it's easy to listen to 10,000 Maniacs while you're doing household chores. I'd concur. Not exactly the most ringing endorsement.

Indigo Girls: This one hit me but HARD. While enjoying a beautiful mountain summer, I stumbled upon this album, courtesy of my sister, and "Closer to Fine" became one of my anthems that summer (I think it must have been 1990). Clean, green, sweet harmonies and simple guitar melodies throughout ensured this would be one of my favorite albums throughout high school. Heck, I even performed "Closer to Fine" with a friend during our spring concert my senior year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits

Some albums you just don't need to own, because...well, everyone out there seems to own it, and you can just listen to their copy. At least, that was how the logic went circa 1990, when CDs and tapes were all the rage. In this case, my sister, who left a fair bit of her music collection behind when she went to college, was my unknowing benefactor whenever I snuck to her room and borrowed her copy of Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits.

My music collection back in 1990 left a fair bit of testosterone to be desired, and this album certainly didn't contribute to the cause. What it did do, though, was to allow me to work on my voice on some of the most poignant and beautiful songs from the 1960s. Anoretic ol' me couldn't rumble down low quite yet, and for some reason, I idealized a high tenor, so I did what I could to nurture said tenor. (It certainly came in handy a year later when I began my choral career.) And I tried to ape Simon and Garfunkel's straight, unobtrusive, simply declarative singing. Any high notes sounded effortless, and that was my goal...regardless of how much my neck muscles and jugular veins would pop out, I would make those high Fs perfect, and not in falsetto, either!

I still point to Art Garfunkel's "For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her" as a crystalline example of how tender and touching singing can be. (I don't care that Paul Simon wrote the song...Art owns that damned thing.) The imagery is beautiful, and virtually every phrase is an impressionistic reverie ("I heard cathedral bells/Tripping down the alleyways"; "What a dream I had, dressed in organdy, clothed in crinoline of smoky burgundy"; "We walked on frosted fields of juniper and lamplight"). Say what you will about Simon's precious poesy, he gets it perfect. The delicate and pointillistic accompaniment is gorgeous and perfectly suits the mood.

I also jibed with "I Am A Rock," Simon's declaration of emotional independence from all around him. Friends and lovers be damned, he was going it alone...and as an alienated teenager who found little of emotional sustenance to be had around me, so would I. Again, his fascination with poetry came to the forefront, where he intentionally contradicted John Donne's famous poem "No Man Is An Island."

Such was my resonance with this album and its melancholy that by mid-high school, I could sing anything on it, with memorized lyrics and the correct key, at a moment's notice. But as I grew older, so did this album, and we began to part ways during the latter years of high school. By mid-college, I had little use of it. The only reason I returned to it now was based on the 50th anniversary of JFK's death. I had mistakenly thought that "Mrs. Robinson" was the #1 song at the time of his death (actually, it was some song about a flying nun or something), when actually it was around RFK's death. Either way, I had remembered reading about how the lyrics seemed to echo America's sentiment at the time. ("Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.") So I decided to revisit the album...and on the recommendation of many others, ended up getting its more expansive and sonically-updated relative, The Best of Simon and Garfunkel. It's nice to have more songs here, particularly from Bookends, an album I never had. But much like people sometimes complained about the sterility of CD sound vs. the warmth of vinyl, I feel like something has been lost in the upgrade somehow, and I miss the familiarity of the original audio. Oh well. It still is good to have these guys back again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"What's that I smell?" "Burning nun, darling. Cheers."

Random comments about last night:

  • When a new gayby (young, either newly-out or new to the scene gay man) says he has not seen The Sound of Music after 21 years on this plane, what do you do? Of course. You devirginize him. With said movie. And lots of friends. And lots of drinks and nibbly things.
  • Don't be too bummed if he decides he really won't go out of his way to see the movie again, despite allowing as how he liked it.
  • The St. Germain gin and tonic is utterly delightful. I wish I had begun drinking it about six months ago. It makes the perfect summer drink. (Don't belabor it. One gin and tonic, a half shot of St. Germain.)
  • Forgive me, for I have sinned. Of all the gawdawful, socially, politically, environmentally, and hygienically repugnant things I could have done last night, this takes the cake: ordering Papa John's.
  • Superman: Man of Steel - (Spoilers, natch.) Not a bad movie. I appreciated the story behind why General Zod was so hell-bent on taking over Earth. Not that it particularly made me like him, but it certainly made me understand his impulses better; I could almost sympathize with him. (Compare it with Superman II, where Zod just plain wanted to rule the planet and subject its peons to cruel dictatorship because...well, you know...just because.) But many buildings did those two lovers need to throw each other into? And in the end, all it took was a good old-fashioned neck-wrench to send Zod hurtling into the void? What a disappointment.
  • Combine the gin and tonics, the pizza, and the hyperkinesis of MOS, and you have yourself one soon-to-be-sick puppy on your hands. Cold sweat, that sudden sense of impending doom if you don't do something know the feeling. And so:
  • Enter my favorite herb of all time: gentian. Insanely bitter - and insanely awesome. I keep a tincture of it on hand at all times. It has often made the difference between puking my guts out and feeling miserable for hours afterward and feeling clean, cool, and calm. Three squirts of this in a cup of water, sipped over a few minutes, and here was the progression. Five minutes after starting: something is happening. Ten minutes after that: I'm definitely on the mend. Not sweating, stomach is moving, and this noxious brick in my stomach feels like it's dissolving. Within a half hour: completely out of the woods. Not just that, but I feel like I could SOAR, I'm feeling so great. I normally don't have quite that dramatic a response to gentian, but I was in a world of hurt last night.
  • Want an aural approximation of this progression? Listen. Start at about 7:30 (just before feeling sick), and go until the vocals kick in at about 13:40. Thank God for prime Floyd.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Alice Hanson

I went to a Lutheran college in small town Minnesota renowned, quite honestly, the world over for its music department. The choirs, orchestra, and band all were miles beyond the typical college ensembles, and were compared favorably with the likes of other world-famous ensembles. But behind the groups was the faculty. While being peerless in excellence, the demeanor of the instructors ranged from friendly to aloof, modest to egotistical. But the most notorious instructor was the one whose name was spoken with not a little fear: Dr. Alice Hanson.

Dr. Hanson taught what was universally known - not just in the music department, but schoolwide - as the toughest two courses at college: the two classes in music history required for music majors. Organic chemistry? Pshaw! Advanced statistics? A cake walk. Her classes all started at 8:00 am. Her door shut at 8:01. And students who showed up late were locked out and received an absence. Her lectures were legendary. She would be discussing Schubert lieder, then in a split second, point at you or one of your unwitting classmates and ask you a question about them. Woe unto you if you didn't know the answer or weren't paying attention, since participation every class by every student was mandatory and a significant part of the grade. She'd go down the line, knocking down student by student until someone gave her an acceptable answer. If corporal punishment were legal in college, I'm sure there would have been more than a few knuckle-rappings for not knowing the answer. I never heard about the rigors of writing papers for Dr. Hanson, but I think this post by a respectful former student rings true. No one who crossed her forgot her, and everyone who took her classes emerged a better person for it.

As you've guessed, I wasn't a music major, although I took as many classes as I could without declaring an official major, so I never met Dr. Hanson. I'm certain that I walked by her more than once in the halls of the music department, small as it was, but I never really recognized her, which added to her mystique. And once I left college, any mention of her disappeared...until this past week. She left behind the kind of legacy that I aspire to: that of a hard-ass who was frequently harsh and unyielding but always in the service of improving those around her. People may not have liked her, but they unanimously held the highest of respect for her. To be blunt, perhaps as she would have liked it, bitch got shit done. And she taught others how to get shit done in her own way, too.

I'm imagining one of two scenarios right now. Either St. Peter is wondering if Dr. Hanson really belongs up there, or Satan is afraid of being upstaged. I'm thinking more the former, but wherever she ends up, there's gonna be a lot of chain-rattling going on.

And again...damn. I never met the woman. I never took a class of hers. But I heard stories upon stories about her the entire time I was in college. And years later, upon hearing about her death, I'm spending part of my afternoon writing a whole post about her. That, my friends, is one awesome legacy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Get shit done.

I woke up this morning to a FB post wherein someone referred to an article and erroneously concluded that because he didn't contribute to society, that was the reason he was single. (By the by, he's a government employee, providing an extremely valuable service.) The article's title piqued my interest (Six Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person), but I was ready to discount it as just another random, unnecessary posting by Cracked, and a waste of my time. Still, I read on.

And damn...for a website that puts out some occasionally snarky and annoying and sometimes funny shit, this was one whopper of an article. I mean, wasn't this once a magazine that sold itself as a second-rate Mad Magazine? From such lowly dregs apparently come gems like this years later.

Here's the gist of this article: You know who gets shit done? People who get shit done. It's all nice and good if you're nice, or if you're talented, or if you're one of the beautiful people, or if you're charismatic, or if you have money, but at the end of the day, that's not what people are interested in. They want to know if you can get shit done. And if you can, awesome.

This was pretty much written from a business perspective, as far as I can tell. You could extrapolate it to many other areas in life, too. But I've learned this a number of times, the hard way, and it has stuck with me ever since.

Years ago, while working as a server at Good Earth in upper-crust Edina, MN, I occasionally interacted with another, more experienced server, who was basically a bitch. Could not stand her. Condescending, mean, brusque, and just not someone I cared to associate with. Also: a stickler for rules. She came in one morning for her shift, and she was scheduled to take over part of my section for lunch. A couple sat down in said part of my section not 45 seconds before her shift started, and despite my being slammed, she refused to help me out and take this couple. So I gritted my teeth and proceeded to do the best I could, all while beginning to nurse one poisonous grudge.
But I soon realized that despite her attitude, she always worked the busiest sections toward the front of the restaurant, never broke a sweat, and regularly pulled in two to three times the tips I did. My take-home: Diners didn't care that she was snippy. They cared that she was efficient and got shit done...and tipped her accordingly. I was much nicer, but somewhat bumbling - and never left the back of the restaurant. Nice is nice, but it won't pay the rent.

Fast forward to chiropractic school. In the mock patient visits, I was always told I had great patient rapport. But I sometimes forgot things here and there: not completing a full neurological exam, forgetting key or confirmatory orthopedic tests, not ordering the correct lab tests...the things that students often miss as they're learning and drinking out of a fire hydrant. But while I was working on those things, it was the students who had lesser bedside manner and didn't care much for niceties who did the right things and got the higher scores.

Years later, I'm still learning this lesson. People always compliment me on how nice I am, or how modest or unassuming I am, whether I'm in a professional setting or simply among friends. But again, that doesn't pay the rent. Being efficient and effective at your job does. And sometimes I fantasize about how great it would be to be an utter bitch who could really give a shit about anything other than getting shit done...and damn people's feelings in the process.

So I responded to this guy. Told him how much I thought the article was dead on. And he countered with a "woe is according to this article, I should kill myself?" I slammed my head against the wall so hard I about gave the wall an aneurysm. And perhaps this isn't a perspective that will work for him. (Apparently, self-destructive hyperbole does work for him, though.) Nor did it for a friend of his, who maintained that love and caring and friendship was enough to make this world go round. Oh well. You can't reach everyone.

I guess I've become immune to the idea that love and flowers and rainbows and glitter is all you need. I mean, I've promised Mr. Man a very belated birthday cake. It was two days ago, and he began last night to gripe about how it hadn't materialized. The fact that I love him doesn't change anything for his expectations. I gotta get this damned cake made. And I'm not gonna enjoy making it...and I may even bitch about it. But he'll have his cake, as promised, and that will mean more to him than a platitude of "I love yous." At the very least, it'll be physical evidence to support my sentiments.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley

Leonard Cohen penned this old chestnut back in the '80s, and indulged his nascent love for synthesizers while recording it. The results were moving but still jarring, particularly for people who had always known Cohen as a folkie, and this rendition sounds hopelessly dated now. But, y'know...if Dylan can go electric successfully, why can't Cohen? (Listen to I'm Your Man for what can happen when he gets synthesizers fully right.)

Since that time, gobs of singers have recognized what a stunning piece of work "Hallelujah" is, and have tried their hand at it. Rufus Wainwright and k.d. lang are among the fellow Canadians who have successfully turned it out. I actually heard a country singer attempt it yesterday on our office Muzak, with abysmal results. But honestly, no one - NO ONE - has even come close to Jeff Buckley's crystalline, heartbreaking rendition.

Buckley's voice is a nearly otherworldly instrument...some have even said that his voice sometimes does what no human voice should be able to do. He can sound angelic, soaring above the world like the most pristine of boy's choir voices, then scream like a banshee hellbent on destruction for what feels like minutes on end. Buckley is also not afraid to sound like an possessed fool in the service of a wild old blues song.

But he understands the quiet, serious reverence "Hallelujah" can take, and with spare spidery guitar behind him, he begins nearly in a whisper, commanding attention and wringing out every last bit of emotion from the song as beautifully as possible. The way he adds the slightest of melismas to the chorus is chill-inducing, and damns the likes of Christina Aguilera to musical hell. On the entrance to the bridge, he sings the last "hallelujah" as if he's pushing a paper boat with the slightest of nudges out onto a vast lake, with nothing but that solitary guitar and its sad but sure direction between vast spaces of silence.

And then that ending...oh, my God, that ending. Buckley intones the chorus over and over again, growing ever quieter all the time, drawing you in once again. Then suddenly HALLELUJAH...his voice unexpectedly pierces the cathedralesque quietude like a jagged dagger, and hearts are shattered, tears erupt by the riverful, and worlds fall into despair. But as if to heal the pain, he gently sings hallelujah two last times...once that seems to flow for eternity, offering ethereal balm for all the world's suffering, then again to affirm that perfect healing. And although tears may not dry up, and sadness may continue, the last hallelujah closes the song as completely and gracefully as a pastor closing a Bible.

As far as moving, heartwrenching music goes, Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" is right up there with Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings and Henryk Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It's a perfect confluence of one of the century's most brilliant lyricists and songwriters, and a young man with a staggeringly talented voice. Take ten uninterrupted minutes out of your life and listen to it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with other people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."

The newest religion has nothing to do with some supernatural, omnipotent and omniscient being. No God, no Tao, no Jesus, no Buddha, no Allah, no Mohammed, no Krishna, nothing. The newest religion is based on the worship of technology. To be more specific, it's the worship of computers and cell phones. And I find it utterly repugnant.

I'm SO lucky that I get to witness, firsthand, the evangelical furor with which guys* support their favorite company/platform/what-have-you. With equal passion, they decry the other side. We can bring it down to the polarity of Apple vs. Windows/Android. This largely occurs because I get to live with a guy who is a self-avowed tech geek, and who is firmly on the Windows/Android side of the divide. He says he can understand (begrudgingly) the appeal of Apple, but let's not fool anyone...he looks at those who love Apple products with utter disdain. And he has ample opportunity to express said disdain and get into conversations and arguments with believers on the other (read: evil) side of the schism.

When talking to people about this schism, I hear things like "Oh, he's drunk the Kool-Aid," "iPhone = Apple = the devil," "People who follow's like they're in a cult," and the like. And I'm seriouslythisclose to expunge these people from my FB feed. True believers of all stripes, get thee behind me and begone!

*For whatever reason, I have yet to hear a single woman engage in this annoying conversation. Very wise.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I would cuddle you so hard.

So says a shirt frequenting the local gay watering holes nowadays. So much for the hankies in the back pocket advertising what wild (or not-so-wild but still sexual) things you were into. Of course, those largely died out as guys became more open and willing to say what they wanted. Props to the interwebs and such for that.

But really? CUDDLE? That's all you would do? I'd hope for something more. Something more animal, something more feral, something more bestial than just a warm fuzzy cuddle.

Unfortunately, it seems like that's what guys are resorting to more and more. Or at least advertising. Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe guys are using that as a ruse to actually bed other guys. I hope I'm wrong. But it's almost like we men are becoming emasculated. (BTW...there is a significant and really depressing amount of scientific evidence to support this hypothesis, too...just search around.)

One of my good friends wrote last night about this very topic. He started out as a kid much like me (and much like millions of other gay men out there), having that dream, then waking in fright and dread about what it meant, and how it went against everything that he heard and was taught. For him, it was even worse, growing up a devout member of the Catholic church, right alongside the rest of his Italian family.

So he learned to hide it, to be one of the guys, to be a hard-partying womanizing frat boy by college. Only in his last year of college (again, much like me), did he finally come out, much to his family's consternation and his friends' confusion. Stereotypes die hard, and a brutally masculine, non-swishy man just cannot be gay, right?

As the years passed and he became more comfortable with himself, he realized at some point that he was not just this butch gay guy, but a full-out leatherman, with all the serious role-playing and heavy sex that culture entails. And it hit him hard, in the best way possible. So not only was there a place for the non-swishy gay men, but the hypermasculine ones who were as far from that stereotype as possible.

Now, years later, he's seeing evidence of...well, at least for himself, some dying down of the testosterone-laden past he's had. It happens as you grow older. But he's beginning to rage against that dying of the light. Getting a full-sleeve tattoo, hitting the gym again in earnest, and doing what he can to ensure that he remains as queer and true to himself as possible. He exults in living the life that few dare to, in being that wild man. He laughs a bit too loud. He rides his motorcycle a bit too fast. He wears his pants a size too small to show off his impressive package (accentuated with a PA). He occasionally wears his full Tom of Finland leather gear to choir rehearsals, and even to church, where he works as the music director and organist. And he loves every last bit of it.

And I love him for it. Guys like him, with so much passion, pushing at the bounds of propriety and acceptability, are too few and far between in this world of beige and cubicles and suburbs and long commutes.

My life has taken me in a decidedly less wild trajectory than his. No leather in my past, I was nowhere near as butch as this guy was. My personal revolution was largely internal; aside from temporarily dyeing part of my hair green, you wouldn't have guessed I was subversive in any way. I wasn't swishy, but you could have justifiably called me effete back in the day. You could have blown me over with a breeze. And I was terribly shy.

Some things don't change. I'm still pretty shy when it comes to meeting guys I'm attracted to. Not the butchest guy to come down the pike, either (though I'm also not FAAAAbulous). But at least I look and feel more substantial. Every day, I live a bit closer into what is truly who I feel I was meant to be.

And I think this may be why I have such admiration for my queer brothers and sisters. We were dealt a hand that forced us to suppress ourselves for a long time - especially during the time that would ordinarily be the most transformative. The act of being true to ourselves in the face of a society that disapproves of such a thing becomes exponentially more meaningful and urgent than it otherwise would.

In particular, I have tremendous admiration for those whose need to be completely true to themselves takes them on the most extreme journeys. Drag queens are among them. It takes some real courage to engage in the transformation into some of the most fabulously dressed and made-up creatures on the planet. This is not in small part because we live in a society in which women are, unfortunately, construed in many ways as inferior to men. But among me and my friends, drag queens are deserving of the highest adulation possible. In fact, for many of us, RuPaul's Drag Race is a ritual during the first third of each year. Many straight guys have their football or basketball or baseball. We have our Drag Race.

Recently, I've also begun to admire - much more than in the past - the trans folk of our culture. One of my best friends from college came out to me in a very low-key manner at a bar in Minneapolis, simply saying that she really was jealous of Chaz Bono. (I assume it was because Chaz was able to afford and undergo breast removal surgery.) The bit of exposure I had for the trans community suddenly was directly in front of me and a significant part of my life. Although she - to my knowledge - hasn't acted on anything since that time, she was the only trans man I'd known -- until about a month ago.

Just a few weeks ago, another college friend posted on FB that she was trans, and that from here on forward, she requested that we call him by his new chosen man's name, that he was taking testosterone, and that he was about to get his breasts removed. Wow. What balls. (Check out his blog "So that others may follow", which I have a link to on the right.) His partner, who is a lesbian, is staying with him and supporting him throughout his journey, too. (Update: Just found out right now that they just got engaged! Cue the tears of joy to my eyes.)

Then another college friend said that she was about ready to come out to her new workplace, and asked us all for support and prayers. This confused me, since she was a lesbian, and well, if you can't come out in Minneapolis, where can you come out? Then it hit me...this was why she had turned her FB name into two men's names. So he was trans, too! Pretty wild, this: three trans FTM guys within the span of two years of college. Whoda thunk? (Update: He was fully accepted, no issues whatsoever. What a huge blessing.)

These are the people who are true to themselves, who lend vivid, unignorable color to an increasingly beige world of people who would cuddle you so hard, who may seem weird and off-putting. But they're inevitably the most interesting, wild, and passionate people I know. They will be among the ones who help transform this world into a better, more tolerant, loving, and celebratory place. I'm glad to call them my sisters and brothers, and to count myself among them.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Notes from light rail, pt. 1

Damn, wish I had headphones.

Stranger making funny faces on the bus at a baby while the mom looks on, amused, contented and happy. Takes a village?

Shit-ass luck. Takes just one errant bus to thrown my whole schedule off and make a 90-minute commute twice as long. RRRGH...

Burgeoning business... Will it take the place of my other one?

NDs are not my people. Don't feel part of the tribe. I'm bad. How bad? Not GMO-free, not gluten free, eat like crap (including fast food more often than I'm willing to admit), sleep with electric appliances near my head and with a bedroom so light you can see across the room easily, read a backlit tablet before bed ensuring my sleep will be awful...Just happens.

Having said that, I looked at the mirror this morning, and possibly for the first time ever, was fully content with what I saw. Finally saw myself as a grown man, full, filled out and...well, not muscle-bound. Not yet, at least. About damn time, though. You'd think this would happen before the age of 38. And this, after a night of packing for Bear Week, and yes, being vain and trying on all manner of shirts (still fit) and shorts (just barely). Liked the way I looked then, too.

FB messages bad when you're trying to eke out your identity in a positive manner. Many messages bring you down or distract you from carving out your identity.

Why am I carsick while reading on the light rail, but not while typing?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Like A Prayer - Madonna

No, really. This happens to be one insanely awesome album, the best she's ever done. It doesn't contain what I consider her undisputable highs ("Holiday" and "Vogue"), but it's her most consistent. It lands right at the end of her coy boy toy phase, just before she began to indulge in hardcore Erotica and Sex. That confluence alone would make Like A Prayer an especially fascinating chapter in Madonna's chameleonic career. But she went another step and practically made a concept album out of it, with at least half of the songs dealing with Family, whether literal or figurative. To belabor the point: mother ("Promise to Try"), father ("Oh Father"), sisters and brothers ("Keep It Together"), children ("Dear Jessie"), lovers ("Love Song", "Cherish"), spouses ("Till Death Do Us Part") get it.

What Madonna does here, also more than with any other album, is bare her soul. Much has been made of her intense love and longing for her mother, who died when Madonna was five, and whom Madonna has emulated and idolized. You hear her feelings spilled out on the gorgeous and deathly serious "Promise to Try," full of swelling strings and deep piano. Her pain also bleeds through on "Oh Father," during which she invokes not just the pain her father inflicted on her, but the symbolic Father of her church as well. But arguably, her deepest pain comes during the frenetic "Till Death Do Us Part." Remove the lyrics, and you have what could almost pass for a happy pop song. But at the time, Madonna was going through tremendous relationship anguish with her then-husband Sean Penn, and the couple divorced shortly before Like A Prayer was released. If the rumors on the tabloids didn't spell out her troubles clearly enough, her lyrics sure did: After listening to "The bruises, they will fade away/You hit so hard with the words you say," it was hard not to feel guilty over reducing Sean and Madonna to a celebrity couple for our consumption and amusement.

On the lighter side, "Dear Jessie" is a sweet and whimsical pop confection sung to a little girl, all "pink elephants and lemonade...candy kisses and a sunny day." Who knew Madonna could be so endearing, guileless, and motherlike? There's no other song in Madonna's canon like it, and it's utterly delightful. And in the midst of so many relationships on the album gone wrong, "Cherish" celebrates a deep and fulfilling relationship gone right...beyond infatuation and even beyond romance into joyous hopes for a lifetime of solid love with her perfect man. (I must pause here: that video. WHEW...that video. Those perfectly muscled and gorgeous mermen. *sigh*) And if there is any song that still keeps one foot firmly planted in the '80s, it's "Keep It Together." With a funky bassline and awesome syncopation, the song could fit seamlessly in True Blue from three years before. But instead of yelling "where's the party?" or naively gushing that "love makes the world go round," she profoundly asserts: "Brothers and sisters...they hold the key to your heart and your soul...don't forget that your family is gold." So much for the lighthearted hedonism of her youth...she's beginning to grow up.

The best and most convincing message on Like a Prayer comes in the form of self-affirmation and women's empowerment with "Express Yourself." The version here is pretty lighthearted and celebratory, full of synthesized brass and hoots. You know Madonna has some hard-won wisdom when she sings "You deserve the best in life, so if the time isn't right, then move on! Second-best is never'll do much better, baby, on your own!" Pop seldom has such profound lyrics, so hearing this song on FM radio was a revelation. (The version on The Immaculate Collection is a good deal rawer and funkier, but both versions are equally effective and enjoyable.)

The two songs that bookend the album are also nearly mirror images of each other. I'd argue that the title song is actually one of the weaker songs here. Bouncing between hushed gospel choruses and the bold sounds Madonna is known for does not make for a convincing song. Having said that, check out that edgy video. And duh...we all know what she meant when she sang "I'm down on my knees/I wanna take you there." (Again, I have to point out the version on The Immaculate Collection, which is a vast improvement on the original; its insistent crescendo suits the mood perfectly.) But then you play the song backward, add in some wild guitar strangling and botched tongue-in-cheek Catholic prayers ("Who art all good/Like I knew you would/And deserving of all my love"), and you have the hilarious "Act of Contrition." It would be unfair to disclose how the song ends. Just listen to it.

Hell, just listen to the whole album. And buy it. Yes, it's kind of a relic from the '80s, but it's also damn near impeccable. I'm not the biggest Madonna fan - in fact, I find it hard to muster up much enthusiasm for the majority of her music - but this album really has to be heard.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Seizures SUCK.

Two days ago, I woke up, tired, after only six hours of sleep. Not awful, but I had been abnormally tired over the past week. The previous afternoon, I had a 3 hour long nap, and felt I could have slept another three hours.

I also had a muffin for breakfast, a few slices of pizza for lunch, plus a bit of water, then some gelato afterward. Probably what some people would consider not bad for meals, but it wasn't enough for me.

Finally, I went to a choral concert, invited by a friend of mine. It was fine, but I was just exhausted throughout the entire thing. I was invited for canapés and drinks with said friend's family, but politely demurred, partially because of my fatigue.

I came home, saw Mr. Man in the bedroom watching Mad Men, and joined him, just laying down on the bed.


Next I knew, I found myself in a wheelchair at the nearest hospital, utterly exhausted and unable to comprehend much of what was going on around me. Mr. Man finally told me (as he probably had numerous times over the previous half hour) that I had had a grand mal seizure. First one in eight years, almost to the day. I'd like to say that the news frustrated me at the time, but I was so wiped out, I could barely feel anything, and was only just capable of performing simple tasks like going to the bathroom. Mr. Man took excellent care of me, getting me situated, and making sure I was okay until the nurse or PA or whomever took me back to rest about 10 minutes later. I got an IV in the back of my hand and a bit of Ativan (my least favorite drug EVER), just to take the edge off, and tried my best to answer basic questions given to me by the nurse, missing only one ("What month is it? What's your name? Do you know what happened?"). My parents showed up a bit later, certainly concerned, but in my stupor, I couldn't really read their expressions. Still, at least I was secure and being watched over. And atypically, I didn't have a pounding headache, nor was I really all that tired after a bit. But my tongue was chewed up pretty badly (still is, in fact), and I was more or less a lump of clay, just sitting there, trying to engage everyone in conversation, and (I'm sure) failing badly. Finally, after a few hours, when it was evident that I had stabilized, I was released, and Mr. Man took me home for some dinner and some rest.

Only the next day did I realize how much I had scared him. He had asked me a question in the bedroom, and noticed that I wasn't answering him. Then he looked over and saw a weird grimace on my face and my arms starting to spasm, and he freaked out. I'll spare you the details, but he thought I looked possessed. I can't imagine what it must feel like to see someone you love suddenly going through something so frightening, suddenly unconscious, yet jerking uncontrollably for minutes on end, then seeing them collapse and not breathe for up to a minute, sometimes more...then seeing them gasping for breath while barely coming to. You can't do anything to help them in the meantime, other than just keeping them safe from themselves and anything around them that might harm them. And you never, NEVER put anything in a seizing person's mouth! Want said thing to break off and puncture their palate? Want to lose a finger? Didn't think so. Tongues and sides of the mouth heal. Scary at the time, but really, they heal uneventfully.

Also on the next day, I felt fine. Perhaps a bit tired, and I had a hard time talking because my ragged tongue was swollen, but otherwise, no issues...almost as if nothing had happened the day before. Mr. Man and I went shopping around town, but nothing too taxing. And I slept well and ate well.


Two days ago marked the eighth seizure I've had in my lifetime. And let me tell you...they SUCK. So miserable. Only six of them have been actually witnessed and diagnosed; the first two were never discovered. Only years later, after putting symptoms together, did I realize that some unexplained symptoms I'd had (pounding headache, confusion, extreme exhaustion) made sense. I've been on medication for much of my life...coming on fully half, actually, to be accurate. The times I've had seizures since, I believe, could be chalked up to suboptimal levels of meds in my blood for one reason or another (not taking meds, taking supplements that speed up the metabolism of meds, being overweight), and it's frustrating and frightening.

For me, perhaps the worst part of having a seizure is the legal inability to drive for six months afterward. I love to drive. I love my car. And I will miss it sorely until December 24th. But also, poor Mr. Man is justifiably concerned also because the last time I had a seizure, I began to feel trapped and purely under his control. And it wasn't long after I got my freedom/car back, that I began to exult in my freedom and...uh...look around. I found myself in what then seemed an innocent affair, but it honestly came thisclose to breaking us apart over the next year and a half. I'm ashamed of it, and really, really don't want to open myself up to that again. I know what a great thing I have in Mr. Man, and I'm not willing to shatter it.

So there's what will probably amount to the excitement of 2013. I will do what I can to get by, but it's going to be tough for the next six months. Wish us luck. (I say us, because it will inevitably be a team effort.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'd like to be positive...I just don't have the energy.

Things that really don't affect me, (despite everyone around me insisting that they do, or else they wouldn't be posting them on Facebook with such gravitas and insistence), and my admittedly asshole-ish responses.
  • James Gandolfini - Really could care less. I never watched The Sopranos. Never had any desire to. My interest, passing as it was, with the Mafia began and ended with watching Goodfellas. Joe Pesci's "You think I'm funny?" scene was beyond chilling, but holy paregoric, Batman, I am forevermore turned off of "Layla" because of that neverending...uh...ending. And the movie was just fuckin' deathless. Anyhoo, the guy never did a thing for me. As my oh-so-compassionate dad would say, "We all die. It just happens. Move on." (Said most recently about my sister-in-law's mom dying suddenly of cancer, while said sister-in-law was still, understandably, grieving a few months later.)
  • Paula Deen - A Southern woman being racist. Is this where I'm supposed to act shocked? Pass the butter, please.
  • Another of my colleagues - First off, let me say that I'm a traitor to the cause, and my colleagues are becoming less and less my people every day. I've mentioned my annoyance with astrology and a certain doc's reliance on it for her life's direction (despite the fact that, yes indeed, I do fit the picture of a Pisces perfectly), but this post, with no context whatsoever, implying its universal application, just...I just can't. "Hang on to your haciendas. There is a huge energetic clearing afoot. Trade 'pushing through it' to surrendering to the moment today..."
  • Still, anything bear-related - For me, this is the equivalent of girls/women looking at fashion magazines and the perfect models therein, and alternately desiring those bodies for themselves, and seething with jealousy, frustration, and self-loathing that no matter how they try, they will never be able to measure up. And yes, I am going to one of the biggest bear-related events of the year (a good friend is on this page, bottom center.) I have such mixed emotions about it. Anyhow, I see endless posts about this bear event, that woofy guy (worst term ever, by the way), this bear group, and I die a bit inside. How ironic that the bear community sprang from annoyance about big hairy guys not fitting into the clone/twink culture of the '70s and '80s. I'm closer to being a bear than a twink or a clone, but nope, it ain't me. I know, I know...breathe, breathe, you're perfect as you are, don't compare yourself to others, just be yourself...sometimes it ain't easy.
Maybe this means that I should spend less time on Faceplace, or just cull my friends more judiciously. Of course, the whole Gandolfini worship and anguish seems pretty endemic, so I'll just have to ride this one out.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Um...I invented Post-Its.

Nope...looking at pictures, of my 20th high school reunion, I still do not regret not going. Actually feel a bit of relief and vindication about the whole thing, to be honest. A varied assortment of folks I did not get along with then, and around whom I would still have been uncomfortable now. There were, to be sure, a few friends scattered here and there, but they reside here in town, and it'd be easy enough to catch up with 'em. But otherwise...I kinda like Don Draper's assessment of his life: "My life goes in one direction. Forward." Doesn't mean I always adhere to it (witness my high school avuncularisms...and college may be burbling beneath the surface here, too), but it can come in handy. Particularly when justifying not going to high school reunions.

And thus ends a quick one. Off to begin the work week.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The grumpy old contrarian strikes!

- I do not like David Sedaris.
- I do not like least, in huge amounts.
- I am a natural doctor who has little interest in nutrition.
- In particular, I hate pushing nutritional supplements.
- It is "brrr" when describing how cold you feel. Not "burrr." That's a misspelling of a thorn. So there.
- I hate Michelangelo Signorile. Simply because he has such an infuriatingly long, pretentious name that's hard to pronounce. And he insists on the full version, too. I don't care that he's a gay activist/writer. Of course he's gay. No one who's straight would go by "Michelangelo" nowadays, unless they're Italian.
- David Beckham can suck my left nut.
- And Victoria Beckham can rot for all I care. She's not worthy to suck either of my nuts.
- Not going to my 20 year high school reunion. The people all in charge of it were the people I abhorred back in the day. The pictures they're posting (particularly of 20 years ago) nauseate me. And if people really want to see how I'm doing, it's not like I'm hard to find online. (Only thing that may change my mind: if the Silver Skating Dame herself actually ends up showing up, but that's kinda doubtful. She keeps a pretty low profile online as well.)
- I'm not gluten free. And I won't go gluten free until I personally decide it's worth it, despite what the vast majority of my colleagues say.

Speaking of where my colleagues and I are concerned:
- I am NOT a fan of Breitenbush Hot Springs.
- I am not a fan of much that is new-agey.
- I HAAATE, with a withering hatred, The Four Agreements.
- I likewise hate the egomaniac Wayne Dyer. (Publishing an audiobook where you recite the Tao te Ching, then give your personal interpretation of it immediately pushes you into the realm of douchebaggery.)
- Many of my colleagues with whom I shared Portland for four years, believe that the sterile, often warehouse-like Powell's Books is the best bookstore in the universe. These ignorant, misguided dolts have never been to Tattered Cover here in Denver.

Obviously, you'll see more. Go ahead and judge me as bitter. So are you, deep inside. Give in to it. Cold pricklies are your friends.

Friday, May 31, 2013

You can steal?

So, a few things. Won't go into too many revealing details (I hope), but I've tipped my hand too far before, and in vino veritas, so why not?

Arvind Mahankali: Very, very deserving winner this year...none more so. Major kudos and respect to him.

Last few words: As per usual, slightly arbitrary. First "cyanophycean" (as a noun, no less), then two words later, "knaidel" to wrap it up? (Not quite on the level of "luge," but we've been blessed with tougher winning words over the years. Obvs, not Arvind's fault.)

German: Finally pwned. "Jugendstil" and "schwannoma" - and for that matter, the whole German language - can eat it. I only wish Arvind had said so before he launched into "knaidel." It would have been poetic justice. But there's ice in that man's iron veins. (And yes, I said man. His voice dropped like an octave over the past year.)

Pranav Sivakimar: Very deserving runner-up. Confidence in spades...and the goods to back it up, too.

Sriram Hathwar: Very glad to see him back in the finals where he belongs. Great showing. Watch out for him next year.

Vismaya Kharkar: Holy root knowledge, Batman! She was AWESOME. Even (or maybe especially) on her last word, she showed nonpareil navigation skills...and was still ruthlessly felled by the almighty schwa. Major respect to her.

Vanya Shivashankar: Charming, adorable, and totally in her element. Or as she puts it, simpatico. Arguably the crowd favorite. A future title is inevitable. (I mean, c'mon...her older sister, a former champion, is her coach! Yowza.)

Amber Born: LOVE LOVE LOVE. The other crowd favorite. She wants to be a comedian or a comic writer? Consider her career begun. I can already see agents offering her contracts...and she hasn't hit high school yet. Oh, and yeah, awesome speller, if that wasn't obvious.

Grace Remmer: Awesome, awesome showing, felled by a tough one. Props to Arvind for having the class to say on ESPN he would not have known her word, either.

And now, for the un-PC, potentially offensive portion of tonight's broadcast...(read it while you can, may be taken down at some point)

I'm thrilled that the bee this year recognized awesome talent, as it always does. And I have no question that, as I stated above, the winner and runner-up - and all other high placers, for that matter - were very deserving. Obviously, there's a lot of talent from Indian-Americans. (And I feel comfortable saying that these are mostly, if not all, first-generation Indian-Americans, too...all of their parents have moved from India or points close by, and speak with a pronounced accent.) At least as far as spelling goes, a major line has been drawn. Both last year and this year, the top three were Indian-American; this year, only 2 out of the top 9 were not Indian-American. Folks, these are observations, nothing more.

And now for the judgments. I think that the Indian Americans I've seen in action and have worked with are doing something really right here. They have their heads screwed on right. (Maybe a bit too right in some cases, but their ambition is admirable, and their hearts are in the right place.) In contrast, a few months ago, my mother said that a family friend's daughter had made it to the oral rounds in the state bee. I offered up my services...well, via proxy, at least...but my mother shot my offer down, saying, "Oh, you're probably out of their price range." Really? I know these people...if they're family friends, they're not hurting for money. (This is the rarefied air my parents and their friends inhabit.) Besides, I've been working with kids whose parents are actually hurting for money, yet they still somehow find it worth their while to scrounge up the money to pay me to further their kids' education. And I very worthwhile, tangible ways that will pay off tremendously for years to come.

The potentially racist part? I'd like to see a bee that doesn't act as a kind of surrogate North-South Foundation bee. (This is the bee series that is only open to those of Indian-American descent and similar. Think Sri Lankan or perhaps Bangladeshi.) At some point, I'm certain the kids up there are thinking, "Hey...this is just like the bee that will take place a few months down the road!" The non Indian-Americans need to step it up somehow. And I don't mean this in a "beat the Indians" kind of way. But Indian-Americans, as I said up above, are doing great and in many ways, setting the standard nowadays for academic excellence. And this bleeds into excellence in many other areas of life. Why can't the rest of the populace do the same?

Count 'em: Four (nah, five) kids are waiting to work with me for 2014. Two Three Indian-Americans (including a brother-sister combo), one Asian-American, and one...damn, can I actually say two? Caucasians are wanting to work with me to prepare for next year's bee. So maybe that's six. Maybe I'm a, I'll own it. I'm quite biased, but seriously? This competition teaches a hell of a lot more than just memorizing words. Want to learn how to conduct yourself gracefully under pressure? How to think on your feet? How to behave appropriately when you have microphones shoved at you by reporters wanting that perfect 5-second sound bite? These are all extremely applicable skills in life. Sitting in class won't teach you these things. Speech will. Debate will. Drama will. Performing arts will. Journalism will. Many sports will. But many (not all) of those experiences take place in high school, after the realm of the spelling bee. Want a really, really awesome head start? That's where rare folks like me come into play.

I have more to say (vocabulary, anyone?), but this will suffice for tonight. Bed, bed, perchance to sleep...


( we can add another motivated brother/sister combo to the list, as of a few hours ago. Make that a full EIGHT kids. I've worked with them before and adore them, and no, their parents are not swimming in money, but boy, do they have their hearts in the right place. Maybe I should contemplate quitting my day job and just become a full-time coach or something.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Shit just got real.

(To be submitted for consideration for the most groan-worthy blog title of 2013.)

(Also: NOT for the faint of heart or queasy of stomach, this one.)

I have a relative who has been dealing with an on-again, off-again case of C. diff., a form of chronic diarrhea, the likes of which (when you get past the ickiness of that concept) is truly a public health issue, and a scourge for many people, particularly the elderly and immunocompromised. (C. diff. is an abbreviation for Clostridium difficile...a bacteria that is so-named partially because it is so difficult to eradicate.) Dehydration, inability to be more than a few steps away from a bathroom because you have to go NOW goddammit, low energy, imbalanced electrolytes -- the likes of which cause you to fall and smack your head on the ground, then send you to the hospital to get checked out by a cardiac team and placed under quarantine -- these are just a few of the annoyances that C. diff can cause. And -- knock wood -- these will remain the only annoyances said relative must deal with. But I'm dubious.

A year or two ago, I read about an experimental therapy that on paper, sounded so disgusting, so repulsive, that I had a hard time wondering how anyone in their right mind would even consider it. (And believe me, I immerse myself in the realm of the strange and unusual medical practices. The validity of things like maggots for safe wound debridement and topical honey for diabetic ulcers fascinated me, and -- beyond that -- has been proven in repeated studies.) But then I stepped back, put on my I'm-in-anatomy-lab face -- the one that you have to put on when faced with the reality of being a medical student and being freaked out by a preserved specimen of the human body is simply not an option anymore -- and considered the therapy. Hmm...maybe it could work. Theoretically, it might make sense.

Then I read the studies done with said therapy. And all I can say is that if any drug company could promise a 90%+ success rate with eradicating a disease that is a public health scourge with a single treatment, without any side effects whatsoever, that company could sell off all its other piddly little drug offerings, mark up that one treatment, and exist comfortably till kingdom come. Because people? There is no such thing in the drug world.

But apparently there is such a thing that...ahem...exists within us all.

One study done with this therapy was discontinued prematurely because the study designers deemed it unethical to deny any of the study subjects this therapy, when it had proven so effective so quickly and uneventfully. Everyone got the therapy, everyone went home happy.

So at the hospital today, while I was visiting said relative (who, it must be said, looked exhausted and in rather bad shape), the supervising gastroenterologist walked in. So I got to ask him about the possibility of...yep...all together now...fecal transplantation.

He had to tell me that if I had asked him 2 weeks ago, he would have heartily agreed. As it is now, the FDA has put a stop on all fecal transplants unless a doctor really wants to go through a mind-numbing set of bureaucratic hoops, tons of paperwork, and waiting a minimum of 30 days to be approved. In which time a patient for whom antibiotics aren't working, could possibly suffer an infection to the colon and instead need to get a colectomy. (Sorry...told ya this could get tough in here.)

I'm still not sure why the FDA is preventing this sort of treatment right now. Legal stuff? Trying to establish a standardized protocol? I understand the need for that. But in a case like this, you don't stand on the cliff and wait to get your wings right before you fly. You jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down. Because in the latter case, you're saving lives and helping others to become dramatically better with a single treatment. And in the former, you're basically being unethical, to put it rather euphemistically.

So now we sit and wait and hope and pray that yet another round of antibiotics -- probably months' worth -- could somehow get this flare-up under control. (Me myself, I doubt it. If a month-plus of vancomycin and Flagyl didn't eradicate it entirely last time, when this poor woman was a bit younger and a bit healthier, why would it work this time?)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meow! Meow!

Oh, my legions of followers, I had to jump on the bandwagon. For the two of you with internet access who have yet to see this, set aside a leisurely 20 minutes to watch it. Then like a good thriller you can't put down, you'll be compelled to watch the second 20 minutes.

Folks, there's some major pathology there. Yes, obvious. Unrepentant delusion, solid and impermeable to reason as a concrete wall, is hard to come by even in this age of rampant mental illness. But these two nutjobs take the...uh...cake. (I did not mean to go there, I swear.) Halfway through the show, I was muttering to myself, "God, these people are a homeopathic case just waiting to be taken." And ten minutes later, I was all, "Oh HELL no." Who'd want to deal with these fucked up fantods?

Incidentally, I've known about the link between cats and mental disease in humans; it was, I believe, brought up in med school lo these many years ago. Or perhaps sometime later. (It's not that farfetched, really. Eccentric cat ladies, anyone? Anyone ever seen Grey Gardens?) And lots of research actually substantiates this now. It did not pass my observation that these wackadoos own three cats...and referred to them as their kids in cat costumes. And how the wife actually began meowing during the show? A big hint that she's not all there - if the unjustified aggressive attacking of their diners didn't tip you off to that before. I wonder how long the two of them have been this way, and wonder if there's a correlation between when they got their cats and when things started spiraling downhill. I mean, at one point, they did garner some rave reviews for their restaurant, but that was five years ago.

I'd be so curious to see if, indeed, these folks are infected with Toxoplasma, and if so, how an antiparasitic protocol would work for them. But don't expect me to be the one to either suggest the link or to recommend therapy. If it were to result in a restaurant turning around and succeeding, it might be worth a try. And if this is a confirmable case, I suddenly have much more pity in my heart for these two (I really hesitate to say "compassion" after seeing how they treat everyone around them) and much less incredulity.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The best years of your life (or something...) (part 4)

What I'd tell myself back in 12th grade - the last of the series. (Part 1, part 2, and part 3 all here.)

-- College applications! Fun! But please, please, make sure to protect that application from Brown with your life. And if it gets kinda shredded in your backpack (and yes, it will), don't hesitate to call and ask for a second application. I doubt they'll hold it against you. It'd be a great school to go to, right? Your (up to now) first choice? Yeah. Go after it.

-- (added months later) Will you please promise me that you'll apply to at least one more college in the Northeast? Middlebury is pretty awesome. Bowdoin, Colby, and Amherst are, too. Besides, it's fucking gorgeous up there. You'll quite possibly love it more than...oh...oops. Better not say. Let's just say that you have a chance to alter your future right now...and quite possibly for the better.

-- Oh, God. I'm sorry about the Silver Skating Dame. She still is every bit as awesome as you know she is. But yeah, as great as she was, there's just that one little aspect of your life that got in the way. I will say it looked like (just between you and me), you were looking for an excuse to call the relationship off. Call it inspiration from James Dean and Route 66. Whatever. I know you can't be there for her the way she would really like.

-- FINALLY you're not doing speech. Good for you. It's not like you had enough on your plate before. Enjoy sleeping in on Saturdays, finally. (Oh, and same goes for not doing swim team.)

-- So Deep Springs called your bluff. Really, though, you did come across that well on paper. That essay on Woody Guthrie? Brilliant. Whoda thunk? Anyhow, get ready for one of the best...uh...four-day periods of your life. Seriously. I'd love to relive that trip over and over again.

-- Prednisone is EVIL. Don't do it like you did last year. Really. It will have some effects this time that will render All State Choir no fun at all. Cutting your vocal range in half is the least of it.

-- I know this will fall on deaf ears. But really, you shouldn't call your neighbors to see if you got the letter from Deep Springs. Trust me on this. Sit on it over the weekend. (and then...)

-- Man, I'm sorry about Deep Springs. I know how much you had your heart set on it. And yes, falling from that place to the land of Malt-O-Meal is quite a drop. Take it easy on yourself.

-- I know you're extremely anti-censorship. Me too. And I know you need to yell out the frustration you feel. But keep in mind that there's a fine line between expressing yourself and adding gasoline to the fire. You don't want to get so hung up on being so angry and all that it consumes you. In a nutshell: don't let your struggle become your identity. Then again...

-- Your anger. There's a great way to channel it. Hit the goddamned gym. Hit the free weights. None of this circuit crap. Chow down on some ginger while you're at it to boost your appetite. And don't worry about the big football jocks there who may be mocking you. You know where they started? Where you are right now. The good guys will respect you for working out. The assholes (and there are many fewer of them than the good guys) can just fuck off. So start off easy, and build up from there. And by "start off easy," I mean start off absurdly, insanely easy. But be consistent, and you'll see some awesome results.

-- The Metallica album? Get it. Just do. Good shit to listen to while you're lifting weights.

-- I just want to plant a seed here, amidst all the - honestly - misinformation and prejudice you're telling yourself, and absorbing from your dad. What I'm saying is coming from a struggling self-employed businessman, keep that in mind. "Business" really, truly, honestly is not a four-letter word. Neither are "responsibility" or "professionalism." And here's why. The majority of businesses out there started as dreams and ambitions and hopes. Lofty and worthy ones, often. And ideally, they remain so. Business is the nuts-and-bolts work of making that dream a reality. Responsibility is a commitment to making that dream a reality. And professionalism is the outward manifestation of making that dream a reality. If people call you professional, they're acknowledging your commitment. It's honestly a compliment. Those words do not comprise a straitjacket. And conversely, you do not need to wear a suit and tie, or even business casual to be professional.

-- So now that you're back on good terms with the Silver Skating Dame, be cool to her. You know how awesome she is. You do know why she's following you to college, right? It's not because she thought that the Lutheran land of cows, colleges and contentment was her ideal place. (You KNOW that she couldn't have picked a worse fit if she'd tried.) So hang out with her every once in a while, let her know you still care. She'll appreciate it more than you know.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pushing maximum density...

And the award for the bitchiest off-the-cuff remark of the day goes to...yours truly. Why?

Picture it. Sicily. 1917. (Okay, not really.) A suburban brunch spot in suburban Denver specializing in bacon and all its appurtenances. (Seriously...these guys have a bacon flight.) After food and many mimosas and bloody marys and plenty of laughs and sassy comments, someone points out to me that a mutual friend, who was also a closeted gay boy back in the day in high school, thought that I was quite a looker at the time. (No word on what he thinks now, but that's beside the point; he's partnered and quite happy where that's concerned.)

My immediate response? A mean side-eye and a caustic "Well, shows how much he knows."

Silence. Then plenty of "ooh! that's harsh!"-like comments.

So let's back up, shall we? Did I mean to slam him? No. Definitely not. But this comes from recognition that very few people in high school are good looking - or at least, as good looking as they would like. We're all adjusting to bodies that are suddenly shooting skyward and out...and often in pretty embarrassing ways, sometimes beyond our control. Or they aren't growing quite the way we were hoping they would. For my part, I was a pencil-necked stick figure, cursing my physique - or lack thereof. I had a hard time thinking that anyone would find me attractive. Particularly - years later - said guy, whom I found also kinda cute, in a beefy/nerdy kind of way.

It's an interesting conundrum. One of my best friends in college was a self-professed chubby girl who was also insanely brilliant, tremendously sensitive, and utterly punk-rock. I could always rely on her for some great ultra-leftie polemic or an update on her latest self-published fanzine called Anarchy Penguin. And she always called me her little pumpkin blossom or some other sweet nothing. But combine all of the above qualities, and man, you have one painfully self-conscious girl on your hands. She did not fare well in the dating scene. Such was her shame, she told me that even if the girl of her dreams showed up and found her equally as appealing, she would run away, because who in their right mind would even give her a second look? And my heart ached for her. But I got where she was coming from, so I couldn't stand on a pedestal and say "Why can't you just accept that others will love you for who you are...and if they're physically attractive to you, so much the better?" I could feel it, but it would be really disingenuous and hypocritical to say it.

(Years ago, the story seemed to have a happy ending. She began growing out of her "chubby" phase, mainly due to a job that was accessible by bike, so she rode all the time. She also found a guy who loved her for who she was. And I breathed a joyous sigh of relief. Haven't seen her since, though, which is a shame.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blog Posts I Have (Almost) Known

I have grand ambitions to make blog posts as fulfilling as I can, both for myself and for the reader. Sometimes they just don't reach muster, but at the same time, they also don't reach the waste bin. So they sit in purgatory, waiting for...I dunno...I guess a blog post like this. So, a small compendium of what you could have been reading instead of this, and why it never came to fruition. So damned meta it hurts.

1. A reflection on Copper Mountain, one of my favorite ski areas of all time.
Why not? Seemed too facile at the time, no real point to it. Yet for some reason, this post seemed much more important to me. Now I feel like I really should post it. Oh, and it included a mildly time-sensitive component to it. Probably innocuous now.

2. Why music from the '90s sucked.
Why not? I really couldn't get inspired. Basic point: Nirvana was awesome, but laid the groundwork for some truly hoarktastic music. Also, do we really need to reconfirm how awful Hootie & the Blowfish or the Dave Matthews Band were back in the day?

3. An album review of Rufus Wainwright's Release the Stars.
Why not? Because it sucked. The album, I mean. Key passage: "At his worst (especially on his first album), he's incredibly nasal and effete. (Of course, that last is unavoidable if you're singing songs about matinee idols, operatic tragediennes and snobbish boarding schools.)"

4. Cool-ass men.
Why not? Maybe a work in progress more than anything. Maybe I just don't think there are that many out there. Either way, I'll keep ya updated.

5. Notes from a gay bar, 4/14/12.
Why not? Must have just fallen by the wayside.  It's short enough that...well, here ya go.
(Evidently meant to inspire some blog post, but now they're here in skeletal form, and there they'll stay.)
- Duck you I'm awesome.
- $5 tip to hot stripper
- Gladiator costumes
- I'm texting Pandora Boxx?
- Getting too old for this kind of shit.
- Sauna + 70 degree pool = HEAVEN.

6. A huge rant about how a friend of mine was unfairly shut out of the process of interviewing to become director of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus.
Why not? Because it warn't purty. Oh, and looking over it, because I never even got to that point. Shot my wad while bitching about how much I already hated the organization, and couldn't stay hard to continue. Key passage: "Much grumbling and annoyance ensued, and the rehearsals were really uninspiring. I was so disgusted, I ended up leaving a month before the concert. (A song about a kid who saved Christmas in a snow-bound town by urinating all over it so Santa would see it was the proverbial cherry. No, I'm not kidding.)"

7. A post in defense of Lance Armstrong.
Why not? Began to ramble too much. Also seemed to pass its expiration date. Lance is already so last year. But so many people jumped on the bandwagon to vilify him. Maybe it was my contrarian coming out, but I did not see all that much that justified everyone thinking he had such a huge fall from grace. Also - and this may really be where I got into trouble - I started looking at the definition of a sociopath, and tried to show that sociopathy really isn't all that awful. I got bogged down in the detritus.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Springtime in the Rockies! Ain't nobody got time for that.

Oh boy. The posts across the country from my friends about spring are just givin' me a case of the facepalms. Yes, it is spring. Has been now, too, for about...oh...less than a week now. At least from a calendar standpoint. And because it is now the season of bunnies and daffodils and crocuses and robins and finches and new beginnings, said friends are assuming that spring also means, with little variation, warmer weather. And less/no snow. These are friends that, I must hasten to add, live in such temperate locales as New Hampshire and Wisconsin and Colorado. And when we get snow...OMG what's happening it can't be happening here it's SPRING not winter that dadgum groundhog lied to us all!!!

Please. Snow in spring - even large storms - are as common as Easter. Every year we get 'em. March is the snowiest month on average in Denver...and this year has proven this statistic right - the storm from two days ago gave us 10 inches of glop, a week or two after another 8" storm. I've seen big snowstorms hit Denver as late as late April. Snow can hit us in May. There's even been a trace of snow measured in June here before. And I'm certain that the aforementioned locales have similar weather patterns. So hesh, you. Bitching about snow after March 20th makes as much sense as bitching about summerlike weather after September 20th.

Besides, I'm no fan of shoveling snow (did I REALLY have to forget taking down the snowblower AGAIN this winter?), but at least at this time of year, it's nice to have light at 7:00 while you're shoveling.

And apropos of nothing, here's your dose of late '70s yacht rock. Some songs you forget about for years. Then you hear 'em, and either they promote involuntary reverse peristalsis, or they just hit you all kinds of right. This one's the latter for me. (With apologies for that damned ad before it.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013


There. I said it. And I fully believe it, too.

I haven't been camping out at the Steubenville courthouse, so anything I hear has been second-hand, but the media aren't looking too good for making the boys out to appear victims. As well they shouldn't. As far as rape goes, that looked awfully premeditated and...well, isn't that the definition of "first-degree"? And yet again, the young woman was blamed for being...what? Overly seductive? Too much of a tease? REALLY? Have some respect - for yourself and DEFINTELY for her. Think about her family. Her friends. Her future. Think beyond your crotch and the next 15 minutes.

So. How not to annihilate rape culture: Exhibit A.

A good friend posted this tonight, and again, I agree with the sentiment. But GOD. As a man (and yes, I place myself in the company of all my brothers, straight and otherwise), this reeeeeallly rubs me the wrong way. Allow me to retort to certain of these 10 tips to end rape.

1. Don't put drugs in women's drinks? Fine. (Already biting my tongue to hold back the snark here.)
2. Got it. The next time I see a woman walking alone, I will leave her the HELL alone.
3. I will do my damndest to hold back my animal urges when I pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down. Actually, tellya what. I won't even bother pulling over. My animal urges might get the best of me.
4. I will make sure not to rape a woman if I happen to get in a lift/elevator and she's the only one there. In fact, I will just stay the hell away from her. Won't even get in the goddamned elevator. Who knows what awful impulse could come over me?
5. I will stay the HELL away from the window of a woman's house. I will stay the HELL away from a woman if she is anywhere near two parked cars. And I SURE AS HELL will not rape her.
6. I am so fucking stupid and violent that I can't keep from assaulting myself, let alone assaulting other people. I am the very embodiment of why the buddy system is so badly needed to protect the citizenry of our good society. Ya know, why don't you just arrest me on account of I may do something rash anyway. Probably better for all involved. Consider it a preemptive strike in the war against rape.

Okay. I can't go on. You see how twisted and perverse I get? This graphic is so incredibly demeaning and condescending and disrespectful and sexist that it just makes my skin curdle. Makes me want to have absolutely NOTHING to do with women. And it definitely makes me want to have absolutely NOTHING to do with anything rape-related. Including helping those who have been raped.

I know that my sentiments come across as infantile when compared to the very legitimate anguish that a rape survivor has to deal with for the rest of his (yes, I said "his"'s not a crime exclusive to women) or her life. And I admit that I have my emotional funny bones - hit me in just the right spot, and you'll cause a deep, irrational, lingering response. This graphic does exactly that. This is NOT the way to address the issue of rape. It may be a way for women to get their anger and frustration out, but it's perilously close to counterproductive.

Reminds me once of seeing a woman on the college lecture circuit. She was incredibly brave to come forward and talk about her experience of being raped repeatedly one night in college. It was brutal to hear. It was also tremendously unnerving to hear how she had to muster up the courage to report to her RA about it. His response? Silence, at first. Then getting up from the chair, and punching a hole in the wall. Because that's what she really needed to experience after such a violent attack: another indirect form of violence.

Annihilating rape culture. As if that's something that could just be permanently and quickly erased. But here's a start. Once again, our man Hank here to save the day. Key quote: "To me, the problem that needs to be addressed is where in the information chain were the two offenders made to understand that what they did was not wrong on every possible level?" Another key, kickass quote: "...let young people understand that women have been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages and they are worthy of respect." THAT'S what I'm talking about.

(No. Seriously. If you didn't click on Hank's link above, fucking click on it and read it in its entirety.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"...and morally...uh...straight?"

Let it never be said, much to my chagrin, that I was ever a consistent blogger. I feel like perhaps I should do the hackneyed "answer one question every day for a month" routine, just to keep my quill semi-sharpened...and you, my adoring few fans, on the edge of your seats. On to the pithy stuff, shall we?

The new pope: Meh. I'm not Catholic, and only by the most tangential of tangents Christian. I should care exactly why? The whole thing reeks of an insanely ornate drag pageant, anyhow, with no links to the real world. The pope is the closest person to God? Please. I'm sure Jorge is a perfectly fine fact, on the surface, he looks infinitely better than Ratzinger ever did (not that that's a high bar to clear), but I just...Look. Much ado about nothing, in my book.

Retrograde Mercury: c'mon, people. Get realistic. It's a planet. Because a planet looks like it's reversed its course in the sky for a bit does not mean it's the cause of all manner of communication and/or transportation snafus that may occur at that time.

Boy Scouts of America has sent out a survey to pretty much everyone associated with them in re: how to wring their hands about the whole gay thing. Yours truly got the survey as well (I was an Eagle Scout), and you best believe I filled it out and sent it back. I had to laugh about the whole "is it okay for a homosexual to share a tent with a heterosexual" questioning. Well, it hasn't seemed to be an issue up to this point, and this sort of thing has been going on since...oh, since the beginning. We're just now out about it. Honestly, I'm glad the dialogue is taking place. I reiterate what I originally said about the potential ramifications of undoing DADT: if a gay boy/young man is coming on too much and disrupting the morale of others in their patrol/troop, then that's an issue that should be addressed by confronting said guy. If others are just really freaked out about OMG ONE OF TEH GAYZE IZ AMONGST US! AAAIIEEE!, then that's a whole other issue, and those guys need to sit down and ask themselves exactly why they are so freaked out. I expect that as time goes on, this will approach the level of non-issue. At least amongst the more rational of those associated with BSA.

Today's Grumpy Cat post brought to you by a mom who once thought - and bragged to her friends - that I read through the Bible three times. (Nope...not even once. Really not sure where she got that.) Also brought to you by the friends of mine who, despite their wits about them, still lean on astrology as a crutch (and believe that retrograde Mercury is the source of all their woes a few times a year). Finally brought to you by a fellow summer camp counselor back in the mid '90s who fantasized with me about just fleeing to Mexico together and shirking our duties as aquatics director and wilderness survival counselor...and who let on that to him, homosexuality was not an issue. (Still smacking my head over totally missing exactly what he was saying to me.)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Love devastation!

Suicide Blonde - INXS: I never really had a huge, huge draw when this song came out originally. It is definitely one of INXS's best and most visceral songs, and the video is appropriately sexy. But when you're just 20, turn onto the main drag just after sunset in Satellite Beach, Florida during your spring break, driving a fabulous white convertible BMW, this song comes on the radio, and every light in sight suddenly turns green in front of you, it just hits you in the gut: you are SO in the right place at the right time, and you own the goddamned world. Flooring it never felt so liberating.

This Used To Be My Playground - Madonna: You know what's really sad? Knowing just how gracelessly Madonner is aging nowadays, pandering to the kids and forcing them to worship her in the least attractive way possible. (Seriously: I think M.I.A.'s flipping off the cameras during the Super Bowl concert was meant in every way toward Madonna...and to steal her thunder, too.) But doubly sad is listening to this lush and poignant bit of adult contemporary, and hearing what she could have been capable of, had she just accepted that people get older, and life moves on. And considering what a soulless wasteland adult contemporary music can be, that's high praise. (More high praise: this is the best of her late '80s-early '90s ballads, including the stunning "Spanish Eyes" and "Take a Bow.") Then again, maybe she took the lyrics too much to heart: "Say goodbye to yesterday/Those are words I'll never say." Compare this to the shite she's putting out there now. It's embarrassing. Still partying like she's 29, I guess. Sigh.

iTunes v. 11: MUST DIE. Dramatically simplified player, my ass. I know the desire to stuff every last medium into what was once a strict music player, to make a product all things to all people. I'm over it. This is enough, seriously, to make me seriously consider giving up my iPods (yes, plural) and just stick to my Android goods. Steve Jobs, we hardly knew ye.

El Alem Allah - Amr Diab: If this guy - pretty easy on the eyes, BTW - had any stateside exposure back in 2000, he would have seriously ruled the pop charts for a bit. As it is, Egypt got the spoils. And traditionalists in defense of Islamic culture screamed bloody murder because ZOMG WESTERN INFLUENCE MUST DIE!!! But's a breezy, bouncy, and insanely catchy pop tune in the vein of Ricky Martin. Besides, melding Arabic and Western music seems to be working for this guy - he's been the top Egyptian pop star for nearly 30 years. I found this one about three years ago, and it's been in heavy rotation in the car ever since.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.

Whenever you talk about something that transcends the limits of our five most well-known senses, people tend to get creeped out unless you are given the proper context or enough advance warning. Or, if you're lucky, they are already on board, and willing to hear you out. Which, my legions of followers, you may consider my "enough advance warning."

In high school, during my speech and debate years, I would dread meets. Waking up at gawdawful hours on Saturday mornings to take a bus ride sometimes a town or two down the road, sometimes nearly two hours away. I'd then either give three speeches or debate three times (topic: Established: that the United States should significantly expand space exploration beyond the earth's mesosphere) over the course of the next eight hours, then take said bus back. And in the process, stress would be running high, and health would be running down.

So on Friday nights, while tucked into bed with the lights turned out, I began kind of "reaching out" to the next day, to see how it would go. And almost always, I would get a really good idea of how the next day would go. If I felt smoothness, like a canoe gliding over a glass-calm lake, then I knew the next day would be a success, in whatever way. It always meant I'd do well in my meet, but would usually mean I was in good spirits during the day, too. If it felt turbulent, then things would not go well.

For some reason, I tried it a few nights ago, and it was pretty dead-on. The next day felt somewhat turbulent, and true to form, yesterday was a fairly jagged day. The afternoon got better, but the morning was definitely not fun at all. Inspired by this, I decided to do the same last night. What I felt was utter chaos and madness, the likes of which I've never felt before, and I almost doubted myself. Felt again a few minutes later, and it was still the same. And...yup. Unfortunately, today has been AWFUL. Type of day that gives you Facebook remorse. You know how you just want to yell your troubles out to the world, and FB seems like such a perfect place to do it? Yeah, I've made that mistake before a few times, and made an utter fool out of myself. But where do you yell it out? On a semi-public blog, where people could find out who you are if they really tried? That skirts the line, too. Let's just say that a fight is a really crappy way to start a day, particularly if the one you're yelling at really didn't deserve it, but you needed to get out some massive frustration somehow. Add on a frightening phone call from work and a broken commitment from a friend (trivial though it was), and I've been playing "How to Disappear Completely" over and over in my head today.

So yeah, this quasi-ESP thing, sensing the near-future in the vaguest of ways is a bit creepy but pretty cool. But it does beg the question: if I can sense it, can I change it somehow if a bad day is coming on?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

And banana pudding...mmm...

It is an injustice universally acknowledged that when invited to a birthday party at which über-creamy mac and cheese mixed with andouille sausage is served, one should ideally be able to snarf down at least a whole plateful, yet the richness thereof coupled with the limits of the human stomach make such a delicious and heavenly endeavor fruitless.


Friday, January 25, 2013

What is this that stands before me?

My God...have you heard what the kids are listening to these days?

Along with my fancy new wheels (which totally rock despite the MAIN HOLY COMPUTER DYING ON ME only one week in), I got the requisite free trial to Sirius. They really have everything on there, don't they? I've been bopping along to the '80s, enjoying the new wave station, occasionally indulging my classical jones, and very occasionally dipping into the Studio 54 station (which...the more I listen to it, the gladder I am I decided not to pursue being a Studio 54-ish DJ a few years ago). But I also discovered Ozzy's Boneyard, and fell in love. Mr. Man doesn't understand the appeal, but when I need to get my anger on, that station is golden. Besides, who ever heard of a touchy-feely natural doctor yelling along to Black Sabbath on the way to work? (One of many stereotypes I tend to smash.)

But WOW. I turned on Liquid Metal recently, conveniently skipping over the hair metal station, and my mind was blown. That shit is HEAVY - a tidal wave of mud, with distorted low rumblings and howlings that pass for vocals, lightning-fast drumming, and guitars that will pummel you into submission - if they don't pulverize your eardrums first. Makes Ozzy's Boneyard sound quaint in comparison. In particular, I heard a band called Suicide Silence. Yeah. That band'll scare off all but the most diehard aggro adrenaline junkies. But they weren't the first I'd heard to indulge in pure noise. That honor goes to a band with a name so crude and obscene, I'll just abbreviate it - as most people do - as A.C. Some of my favorite, uh..."songs" from them: "Flower Shop Guy," "Stayin' Alive (Oi! Version)," and "I'm Still Standing." (They do their fair share of covers, but compress them into blocks of sludge, usually with a healthy slab of humor to leaven the proceedings.) Thanks go to my college roommate for introducing me to them back in the land of pastor's kids and good Lu-the-ran folk.

Back to my "they really have everything on there" statement: on second thought, maybe not. I'd LOVE to see an industrial station on there. Some of the bands I'd entertain:
  • Skinny Puppy
  • NIN
  • Einsturzende Neubauten
  • Cabaret Voltaire
  • Pailhead
  • Ministry (Twitch through Psalm 69)
  • Throbbing Gristle
  • Front 242
  • Combichrist
  • Rammstein
  • VNV Nation
Come back if you want, kids...I may have added others since I first wrote these down. And yeah, the genre may be a bit too narrow to merit a station all its own, but it would be fun to try it.

In not-so-related news, doing shrugs with 185 lbs hanging off your shoulders is tough. Holy crap, but my traps are killing me today. Or they would be if I didn't indulge in ginger and turmeric in my morning smoothies. I'm convinced of it. As it is, it's just a dull ache.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


And Mariah and Christina must suffer accordingly, too.

That is all.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The best years of your life (or something...) (part 3)

And to continue the series (here are parts 1 and 2)'s what I'd tell myself back in 11th grade.

-- High school years are the best years of your life? Hmm...okay. Well, if you believe that, then this here's the best of the best. Enjoy it while you've got it.

-- Speaking of the best of the best: welcome to choir! And welcome to the top choir in school. And welcome to being one of the top tenors in school. And hey...let's go all the way. Welcome to being one of the top tenors in the whole goddamned state. Now go and rock All State. Enjoy rooming with S.W. (and you know exactly what I mean. Mm-hmm...) Oh, and I can't wait to see you go berserk at the dance to "Rock Lobster." One of your best moments EVER.

-- Have fun at Lollapalooza. Especially that makeshift drum thang made out of garbage. Another one of your best moments ever. You shoulda gone to the one the year before, but better late than never.

-- Two words: Henry Rollins. Get that man's poetry ASAFP. Head down to Wax Trax and get some of his spoken word shit. It will blow your mind.

-- Finally, enjoy that Skinny Puppy show. No joke: it'll be one of the best shows you'll ever, ever see...filmed handgun suicides, fake baby entrails thrown at the audience, and the most fun, wildest mosh pit you'll ever be in. No, it's not what most people would consider good entertainment, but if it works for you, awesome.

-- Here I go again, sounding like that damned broken record: SPEECH? AGAIN!? You really hate yourself, don't you? Um...wait. Don't answer that one. Quit. NOW. Or...y'know...don't. And don't come bitching to me about how tough life is. You don't have to make it that way.

-- Did you hear me on that last one? You don't have to go out of your way to make life hard. Life has a funny way of doing that pretty well by itself. For example...

-- *CRASH* Jesus. Congratulations on backing into that guy's car...while it was parked. Yeah, the one he has for sale. Wouldn't have happened if you were...oh, God, I give up. Have fun at that damned speech tournament today. And no, leaving the scene of a crime is not the smartest thing to do, regardless of what your well-meaning companion says to do. People are watching, even if you can't see them.

-- Okay, enough with the snark. You're frightened enough as it is. Let's hit Perkins again. I'll buy.

-- Your acne. No, it's not an issue. It's the way you're going about treating it. Snow cones of acetone to the face are...uh...kinda weird. Sulfur ointments stink, right? Those antibiotics you're taking for months on end are going to fuck you up for much longer and in worse ways than you'd imagine. I know you hate being a pencil-necked stick figure. So don't take that damned antibiotic that cuts your appetite in half! (If you want, I have some ideas...)

-- Oh, and that weight gain you're getting off of prednisone (for your bronchitis...AGAIN) may seem cool, but swim team will obliterate it in a heartbeat. Enjoy it while it lasts.

-- I hope you enjoy dating the Silver Skating Dame. You both are adorable. Seriously. And you really are gonna have some great times. Enjoy your time together.

-- RE: your dad. Yes, he's being an ass. But at the same time, he is trying to reach you. And that's not his forte. I'm not saying you need to fully embrace him. Just recognize that he's putting forth an effort.

-- Okay, now that you are REALLY pissed at me, take some time off, then let's hit Paris on the Platte. Get whatever you want. And let's stay up as late as you want. Delve into your inner Jack Kerouac.