Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh What Can It Mean To A Daydream Believer.

Today, we celebrate a wonderful holiday, Leap Day. A day meant to remind us that we all suck at math and don't trulyy understand how the earth actually rotates around the sun. It reminds us that we make up obligatory cycles of time to fit the needs that sound the best for us. We could use other methods that are more accurate, but why should we. What we have is good and who needs change? As you think about what to do on your extra day, I think about a childhood memory that is now gone.

Davy Jones died of a heart attach this morning. If you don't know who he is, your parents sucked or you are really, really young. If you know who he is, well then, you're old. Or you had kick ass parents and siblings, like I did. This man made my childhood memorable when it came to hanging with my brother.

You see, my brother, David, was the coolest person I knew growing up.  As I got older, I took over that moniker of the cool one (or at least I think so).  What I remember as part of my childhood was watching the old "The Monkees" reruns on TV with David.  I can't tell you so many awesome details, but I remember being told they didn't play the instruments.  I remember my mom telling me about how her and her friends that they were "so cute, blah, blah, blah."  I remember that the TV show they had was campy and fun and that I enjoyed those peaceful moments of being able to watch the shows on Nickelodeon.

As I've gotten older I forgot about The Monkees, but now in retrospection I realize something totally new about the music industry.  Yes, they were created as a marketing ploy for a TV show.  Yes, they couldn't play their instruments.  Yes, they were "adorable, British boys." (makes me want to throw-up).  Yes, they would be a laughing stock now a days in an industry where marketability is second to talent.  Where lyrics and thought are more important than sales and profit.  (I love sarcasm).

This man and his friends would put to shame the industry today not for their lack of talent, but for their actually talent.  They made music fun.  They made fun of themselves and didn't take it so seriously.  They were enjoying music because music is fun.  Its emotional, heart wrenching, gut checking, intellectual fun.  When I hear a song by The Monkees, it makes me happy because they were having fun and enjoying life and that in turns makes me want to have fun and enjoy life.  Music these days (major media/radio music) sucks.  There is no more fun and life in it.  There is plenty out there that over time I will share with you that is fun and life enjoying, but today I'm sad.  Real love of music and real love of life died today and with it, a little bit of me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Living without it makes me naked.

Warm in the Winter by GrimeyD

Today I read my cousin Amy's excellently written blog.  In it, she post a quote from a movie that made me think about the one thing I can't be without.  While I realize that we all have something that we can't be without, there is always something that when you don't have it, you feel naked.  The one thing that you can't find me without actually was a gift from my grandmother when I was about 10ish: a walkman with headphones.

Yes, I said a walkman.  That year at Christmas, we were gathered at my Dad's house.  I have what I call "all three" siblings.  I have a full blood brother, David; a half-sister, Sarah; and a step-sister, Regina.  I grew up almost my whole life with my brother and then my high school years with Sarah, but I digress.  At Christmas, my grandmother had gotten us all a gift.  Gina, the oldest, and David both got large radios.  Not stereo or boom box big, but large radios.  Sarah got a small but effective radio as well.  Me, I was given a walkman.  To be honest, I was mad.  I couldn't understand why they all got the radios and I got a walkman.  Man, did my view change over time.  Ended up being the most unbelievable thing I got (until I was 25).

That walkman became my personal escape.  It made me listen to music more and more.  From radio stations to stealing my brothers music to learning about and loving hip hop to walkmans and cds to ipods and mp3s, I've never been without it.  If you've ever seen me, I have it on me.  I am that person who has music playing non-stop and at a loud volume.  I should be deaf right now, but god blessed me with two unbelievable organs, my liver and my ears.  For all the shit they go through, they should have quit a long time ago.

I can't be without it.  When I drive somewhere and get out of the car, I put my ipod on and then go.  Walking to work, it's on.  In the mall, it's on.  At the movies before it starts, it's on.  Gym, bookstore, grocery store.  It's on.  When the zombie apocalypse happens, I'm gonna be pissed.  I'll have to learn how to make electricity just so I can charge my ipod.  That's how much it means to me.  It also means something totally different as well.

In college, I had my tarot read three different times, three different ways, by three different people.  I'm not totally horoscope, tarot, wicken crazy, but I do understand what it is professing to you.  You read into it and get out of it what you want and believe.  I get it, it's cool.  So anyway.  I had my cards read and each time the person said to pick one card and set it aside  Then they explained that is card was going to symbolize my personality.  Who I truly was and am.  So I did.  This is what I picked EACH AND EVERY time:

I couldn't believe it.  I thought it was weird.  First off, how the hell did I pick the same card three different times in different settings.  I thought it was a prank, then I thought about what the card meant.  I looked it up and it is not the symbolism of a man alone.  The hermit card is the story of a Greek man who walked around with a lantern lit during the daytime.  Many people thought he was stupid and eccentric and weird.  When asked about it, his answer was that he was shining a light during a time of darkness.  Many laughed, but when I think about it I get it.  What the card meant to me was how much of a hermit I am.

I always have my headphones on.  It shuts out the outside world so that I can live and enjoy myself without interference from others.  It allows me to enjoy the things I love without explaining why.  (I also am very smart and quick to correct people who are wrong.  You see, I am the lantern in the world of darkness).  No matter how crowded or how isolated, when I have my headphones on I am no longer alone.  I am in a world that brings me peace and joy.  Yes, it annoys me when you can tell that I'm listening to music and then you want to talk to me.  If I wanted to talk, they would be off to begin with.  But its okay.

In a world with no power, no tv/radio, no internet, I don't know what I would do.  Most likely I would live in the mountains, grow a beard, and carry a lantern.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Press play before reading..... Acid Raindrops - Instrumentals by GrimeyD

Not to long ago, I started posted music on my cousin Amy's facebook page. I know that she has gone through a lot and I am happy to have a strong cousin to look up to. One day, I posted something random and my other cousin Anne wasn't really upset, just wanted to let me know that I could post music to her as well. I said I would, but then she also commented on the fact that "no rap please." I get that we all have different tastes, and that's cool, but this is a post about two guys from LA that are more than rap, they are just pure good music. This is the story of how I got introduced to "People Under The Stairs."

Many years ago, I turned 25. It was the best birthday party I've ever had. It was a Tuesday night in Springfield, MO and that meant Old School Night at the HighLife. I was excited. I frequented that place every tuesday with my friends James, Devin, and Rick. The dj was a guy who went by DJ Platinum. I became friends with him and many others over the year and was excited to have my birthday on that night. I had talked to Platinum about the upcoming tuesday and my birthday and asked if I made a playlist for my birthday would he play it. He said yes. That night was unbeleivable. Not only did he play the MASSIVE playlist I made, everyone showed up. James, Larry, Devin, Garrick, Rick, Bob, and more whose names escape me but memories never leave me, plus guys I barely knew but couldn't beleive were there: DJ Imperial and DJ Vinyl Richie. These two cancelled a gig each to come out for this party and that meant a lot to me. What was most unexpected was that Imperial and Vee Ree brought me a gift, it was three People Under The Stairs cds. I had never heard of that group and was excited to listen. When I did.....I was forever changed.

Press play again, when the first one is done

. The Breakdown - Instrumental by GrimeyD

You see, to me, hip hop is not just about rhymes and beats and getting people dancing. It's bigger than that. It has to fit a mood and have a purpose that only the listener understands. Not all hiphop is made equal and this could be the world's longest arguement about what is hiphop vs rap and rap vs music. This is about how the People Under The Stairs are the ultimate in pure hip-hop to me.  When I listen to it, I am transported to a different place. Someplace that is relaxed and chilled. A smoke filled,dive lounge bar in the 1970s. Yes, while what I am playing is the instrumental, this is to give you an idea that hip-hop is not entirely about the lyrics. This is what hip-hop is to me: true ideal beat production. Taking a beat idea that has not been explored before. Making something out of the most random samples and talking about life in a way that everyone can relate to. Plus, their lyrical ability and approach is not about bragging about bitches and hoes and guns and drugs, its about life (which might include those things, but not in that loud manner). Listening to P.U.T.S. changed my perspective on what makes music.

While I am a fan of rap, techno, house, rock and roll, alternative, hipster rock, etc, PUTS made me understand what good MUSIC is. PUTS makes me feel like everyday is sunny, no clouds, ready for a bbq, take some time at the pool/beach, cruise across the bay when the sun is setting, drive for 30 minutes with no where to go, get ready for the club, live life with no pretensions, and go to sleep satisfied that the day was great and knowing that tomorrow is going to be the same.

In all my travels from Missouri to Florida to Vegas to Florida to North Carolina to Florida to North Carolina and all the family traveling in between, the one constant has been I own every PUTS CD. When I am in the right mood (a mood that can't be described but you know it when you are there), I listen to PUTS. It reminds me of my friends that are elsewhere and the times I've had with them and how much I love and miss them. It reminds me of my family and how much I love them and miss them, too. It makes me happy for music in general that there are people out there trying and succeeding at making music that is so great and beautiful. Most people don't get that music is the soundtrack to our lives. This group is my favorite soundtrack for my favorite movie:  The Life of Me.

For the last 9 years, the greatest gift I got was not just a People Under the Stairs ablum, it was friends that love music as much as I do.  It was the gift of being able to meet people like me who felt what I felt and loved music so much.  It was learning that there is sooooo much more out there. Turn off the radio, press play one more time and walk away. Do some chores. Press your laundry. Read a book. Write a book. Make a cocktail and sit on your porch and let the music play and enjoy your day.  Just make sure you turn it up.

  The Wiz - Instrumental by GrimeyD

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Speak Assholese.

As I recover from my slightly cloudy stoli stupor of last night, I'm reminded of an event yesterday that made me laugh.

One of my co-workers used my catchphrase with another employee in front of me.  It made me feel honored.  How many times a day do you say something that is yours?  If someone else were to use it, you might feel the notion of mockery, but there are those random moments when you know they are saying it out of respect and love.  That happened to me at work yesterday.  It was awesome.

Saturday, the weather was kinda shitty here.  It had started to rain.  It was cold outside and many people were contemplating the idea of snow.  One of the servers, lets call him Shawn Martin, and I were standing outside under the overhang at the front door when the following conversation occurred.   Shawn said, "I can't believe the weather.  I mean its so cold that the rain is gonna become snow."  I said, "Its not cold enough, but might happen."  His response was that "the rain was even turning into a ice-rain rain."  My replay was "Oh, you mean sleet."  He then looked at me with that eye that I've received from just about everybody all the time whenever I talk to them.

(You see, Assholese can not be written.  It is a language that can only be spoken.  Mostly because context and tone are removed in the written form, but very much at play in the verbal arena.  It is mostly a response language.  You can't really start out a conversation with assholese, but you sure as hell can end on with it.  I speak assholese very well.  I mean, very well.)

What I said to Shawn next was very funny.  We both laughed at it and then moved on.  He knew I wasn't meaning to be an asshole.  Fast forward to yesterday and Shawn was having a quick conversation with a co-worker and when it ended, Shawn said something in assholese.  Our co-worker looked at him with that crooked eye and then Shawn said my new catchphrase:

"It's not that I'm an asshole.  It's just that I can't tone down being an asshole."

I paused, turned and looked at him, and then chuckled.  He laughed again. Gave me a fist-bump and then walked away.

I realized that I had made it.  Now I just need to trademark it.  Feel free to use it when you want, but remember to say it with that straight-faced, no smile, slightly unapologetic tone.  That way people get even more thrown off by your justification of using Assholese.

Happy Friday!  Enjoy your weekend!  and Happy Assholing! (wait, that just doesn't sound completely right.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent, Lent, Lent...

As today is Ash Wednesday, I guess it should be right of me to decide to give something up for Lent.  I'm about as Catholic as the Pope is Episcopalian.  I go to church on Sunday's just as many times as any good Jew goes to Sunday service.  Yeah, I'm that dedicated.  Religion is personal and when I go, I go for me.  That's all there is to it.

That being said, I do every year try to honor Lent with some sort of sacrifice.  So this is "Lent 2012: The Pinnacle of Penance."

1.  I'm giving up my ATM card.  Not that my finances are bad and I do a good job of not using my card, but I need to tighten up.  So, no card in the wallet.  While that is hard to do because of driving, it's easy because I can't really drive anywhere. (check the first blog for explanation)  Plus, it will make me focus on what the hell I'm buying and not buying.

2.  I'm setting my alarm everyday for 8am and being in the gym at 9 am.  Lent is like a short term New Year's resolution that you get to try out for 40 days and then stop if you want to.  I already go to the gym, but I need to go earlier.  This would give me more time to clean the house, read my books, "borrow" more music, and such.

3. I'm giving up reading "The Beautiful and The Damned" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Okay, after I finish the last 240 pages left.  This is all part of my cousin Amy's book challenge 12 for 2012 - Classics and Cocktails.  Amy brings the titles, you bring the books, and I bring the drinks.

My Mom always said that Lent doesn't have to always be about giving something up as sacrifice, but you can always take on something challenging to help others or yourself be better as well.

Good Lenting Everyone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Have Bum Standards....

After having been harassed the last couple of times out, I have decided to discuss a problem that many aren't aware about....the lack of standards in dealing with bums.  If all bums could be informed of said standards then this problem will be resolved.

It's really simple.  After having lived in Tampa, FL for a while, I had to come up with standards as to who and when bums got money.  See first off, in Tampa, the bums don't walk the streets, they like to hang out on the medians of busy intersections and ask for money with their signs and buckets and such.  You see, not every bum in created equal and not every bum is deserving of my hard earned .15 cents.  The following are the simple rules for "Median Bums"

1.  You better have a tan/sunburn (if you are in Florida).  It's hot as hell out there.  You don't have sunscreen on because that shit ain't cheap when you're in need of water, food, etc.  Plus, if you don't have a sunburn, where the hell are you going to "get away from it all?" Your house?  Next....

2.  You better have a beard.  I'm not sure if you know this, but razor blades ain't cheap.  A pack of 5 is like $20.  Plus, throw in the shaving cream.  Please.  If you have money for razor blades and such, then you don't need my .45 cents to help you get something to eat.  Should have used the money on food and grown out an Amish beard.  Next...

3.  Why the fuck aren't you out here at night?  You're willing to hang out on the block when the sun is out and hot as shit, but where do you go when the sun goes down?  Your house?  You're homeless.  You have no where to go, so you best be out here at night when I'm leaving work.

That's it.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  If you are outside during bad weather.  I'll give you money straight up.  You might get my umbrella instead of some change.  You won't like it, but at least you'll be dry.

This was brought on by a bum here in Charlotte that completely turned my world upside down.  The following is a true conversation.

scene: outside "patio" area of a bar.  I'm drinking a nice cold stoli and club soda.  A bum approaches me.

Bum: "Hey man, what's up?  Look, I was wondering if you happened to have any change or a couple of bucks.  I'm just trying to get something to eat."

Me:  "Sorry bro, I don't carry cash on me.  Sorry."

Bum:  "That's cool."  long pause.  "Hey look.  If I give you a couple of bucks, would you go inside and get me a drink and sneak it out here for me?"

Me: seriously confused "Um, excuse me? Wait, what?"

Yeah, true story.  Gotta have bum standards.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rule number one in the land of the Walking Dead...

So tonight is all about my favorite show.  The Walking Dead.  Nothing beats this show.  I never got into Lost, but I would assume that this is my Lost.  Even though Sundays are all about The Simpsons (episode 500 tonight!!! and the Best. Show. Ever.) and Family Guy (when it's Brian and Stewie, it's so great), The Walking Dead has now put itself in rarified air.

I never read the books, but I know that certain things are different.  I'm not going to go into some diatribe about the differences.  I love the show as it is and that is that.

I do have one simple rule for all of you out there....


While this might seem slightly absurd, it makes sense.  You see, you have to run away from zombies, right?  If you have fat friends, well, they'll get caught by the zombies first.  I'm not talking about fast-running, rage-virus beings from 28 Days Later.  I'm talking slow walking, muscle atrophy beings that "want to eat your brains. Hahaha." (Sorry, if I could get Vincent Price to talk here, he would.)  If you are running from zombies, your fat friends don't have the endurance to keep up.  Next, they will get caught and become zombies.  Next thing you know, bam, nothing but fat zombies.  If you can't outrun a fat zombie, you deserve to become one.  This is natural selection at its finest.  The only people who become zombies who aren't fat are idiots.  Zombies can help deplete the world of obesity and moronicy in one act.

This is the only thing you need to remember.  Nothing else matters.  Get a big truck.  Get tons and tons of bottled water.  Pee where you want.  And remember, if you don't have fat friends...You are the fat friend.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Start Of A New Time....

All of this is new to me. 

I'm starting a new chapter in my life and this is the first line of the new chapter.  Kind of a weak way to start, but all of our first steps were a stumble and then we learned balance.  That is what is about to happen to me.  For me, this new start is not this blog.  This is just an excuse for me to put the insane ideas and thoughts that frequent the asylum out into the open.  While in the future you might enjoy them, or hate them, this is the start of something different.  Finally admitting that it is time for a change.

You see, a long time ago I got in trouble.  The trouble I got in was real.  Though no one got hurt, the reality is that one person got hurt, me.  I got my second, yes second, DUI about 9 years ago. I got my first about 2 months after I graduated from college.  I got my second just over a year after that.  I never got into an accident.  Never hit anything.  Never was obscenely drunk.  I was probably the soberest I had ever been behind the wheel after drinks, both times.  I made a huge mistake because I graduated with a degree to teach High School History.  I was great with the kids and I loved being both in their lives but also teaching about something that most people find boring.  The reason that this is a huge deal is that when I got my second "star," I pretty much denied my chances of ever teaching again.  No school will take a person with a DUI on their record.  They would rather hire someone who will have sex with their students over someone with a DUI from 10 years ago.  I used to be very resentful about it, but I've finally learned to move on.  While many schools say "We need teachers badly. People who want to teach," they are really lying because there are people like me that they won't look at.  It's fine.  You don't want someone who cares and knows about the world, it's cool.  Your loss. (Okay so I still tend to be a little bitter).

While this is the life I have gotten into, I will say I never learned.  I continued to drive home when I shouldn't have.  I've woken up in the morning and seen my truck and wondered, "How the fuck did I get home.  I don't remember shit."  This is not a rare comment in my life.  The two soberest times in my life are the two times I've been pulled over.  I should be dead right now, but there is a greater purpose for me.

The greater purpose starts tomorrow.  You see, I'm having a breath-a-lizer put into my truck for some insane, asinine reason that the state of Missouri made up.  I paid my dues and fines and time, and now they want to drop something that didn't exist on me brand new.  Fine.  I get it.  Fuck you.  I have to do this and I'm accepting of it.  It might just well be the thing that saves my life. 

You see, I don't drink at home.  EVER!  Never have. Don't plan on starting now.  I'm not the product of alcoholic parents, just parents that had a couple glasses of wine with dinner.  I drink because I'm socially shy.  It loosens me up and then, well after too much we all now the result.  I drink because I work in the hospitality industry and you ass-holes have no idea of how rude you are.  I drink because I get out of work at 10pm and there is nothing else to do.  I drink because I'm friends with bartenders and I don't pay a lot for drinks.  What you spend in one weekend is about what I spend in a month.  I know, unfair right?

Well, this all changes tomorrow.  With this in my car, my life will change.  The things I'm most passionate about will emerge from the gin, vodka, rum, sambuca enhanced cloud that surrounds me like a cloud of dust around PigPen.  While my friends will say that I'm not bad at the club, I see the truth in myself.  Yes some of the future will still include that lovely friend alcohol, but I'm ready.  Maybe.  Right after last call.