Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Not Talking To ANYONE

So there's this guy who works in my office. He's a sweet-tempered guy, seems pretty harmless, but he's got this habit.

I'm not even sure it's a habit. It could be a disease for all I know. It could be something like a variant of Tourette's Syndrome! Anyway, he'll be working at his desk - I can't see him because his computer's in the way of his head - but I can hear him. On the phone, or typing something, or shuffling papers. Just minding his business, doing his job.

And then, periodically throughout the day, he will be busy with something non-verbal and I will hear him - not talking to ANYONE. Saying these really random things. To nobody. He will be speaking in a fairly quiet tone, but still - a normal speaking voice. Easily audible. Not even under his breath, really!

At some point I decided to start jotting these little pronouncements down, keeping a list of them. Just for educational purposes. Here, I present that list to you. See what you think.

NOTE: He sometimes includes his own name in these utterances, so in the interest of protecting the potentially mentally ill I will substitute the fictitious name "Keith Gupper" for his actual name:

"I'm Keith Gupper."

"L.A.P.D. I love it out here!"

"I hate scientists."

"Hi, Keith, how's it going."

"10-4 I'm gone!"

"Kill womennnnn...."

"I'm who I wanna be!"

"What's up there, coach?"

"I hate my job at this place!"

"welll-l-l-l...whaddya gonna do. I don't want to get married!"

"I hate school!"

"I love my dad."

"Time to kick my ass, hm?"

"Well hi, hello there! Quarterback of the Miami Dolphins, ladies and gentlemen. Isn't he something!"

"Rock n' roll's coming back."

"one two three four...one two three four...one two three...[long pause]...four."

"My mom's assistant."

"I hate giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrllls!"

"Kill yer mommmmmmmmmm-uh!" (this was very drawn out and emphatic)

"I have a daughter, I have two daughters right now. I have two daughters." [long pause] "I meant QUARTERS"

There were also a few times he'd mumble a bit, garble his remarks. And so I couldn't really be sure of these...but it sounded like:

"I'm a SCIENTIST of high ideals!!"

"Susan likes to use her psychology..."

"I got married...to a real bitch."

"I love working here...I miss girls though!"

Hey, I don't really know the guy. He keeps pretty much to himself. He seems to read a lot of paperbacks. He seems like a decent, hard-working individual. I don't think he's ever even been late for work!

Is any of this a bad sign, do you think?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Screw You, Popup Poll!

OK. So I'm on-line on my lunch break, and this popup poll comes up - I forget what site I was on. But I felt kindly disposed to help them out on their little poll, so I clicked "Yes" and the questions started coming:

1. Are you the decision maker/influencer for media buying?
Yes
No

Well, I had to think about that for a minute. I do do a certain amount of buying of media. You know. Around the house. Magazines. The free entertainment weekly - I bring that in. I like to think of myself as a decision maker, with a certain amount of influence. But when you put it all together, "decision maker/influencer for media buying" sounds a little grandiose. It sounds like I think I'm the behind-the-scenes power on a level with multinational conglomerates. I didn't think that the description really fit me, or how I feel about myself. So I clicked "No," and up popped:

Thank you so much for your time

- and the poll window disappeared! HEY! What are the other questions?! What would I have gotten to see if I had been the decision maker/influencer for media buying? Can't I change my mind? I'm influential! I make decisions! My job title is "Senior Buyer"!!

I thought there'd be more questions! I bet the rest of the questions are of a highly exclusive and privileged nature, and now I've forever missed my chance to participate.

2. Do you control the world's supply of oil?
Yes
No

3. Are you cornering the market on fissionable materials?
Yes
No

4. Does a significant portion of the global intelligence community report to you?
Yes
No

Sunday, March 25, 2007

There Can Only Be One True Truth That Matters

I'm helpless, in a lot of ways. I'm not proud of that fact, but at the same time, I think it's kind of endearing? I think that what I really need, is the kind of woman who can take me in hand, and shape me into the kind of man capable of realizing that he needs a woman who can take him in hand and shape him into the kind of man who can realize that. If I had that, then I think that both of us would be completely and totally happy. We would have to be happy. Just by definition. That would already be what we both want.

And yet...could we be satisfied with that? I think it's the nature of being human, unfortunately, to be satisfied with less that what we might be able to reach if we tried just a little harder...either that, or to never be satisfied with whatever we get, to always be looking beyond, to the next empty accomplishment in a never-ending series. It can't be both! Those are two mutually-exclusive deals. Gotta be one or the other. Human nature.

Or neither, of course. Can't ignore the ol' null option!

Ultimately, when two people, separated by a great distance (but on the same side of the Earth, otherwise the point is void) look up at the full moon, haloed, gliding behind a milky screen of clouds...ultimately, they are both looking at the same moon. They are just looking at it through different clouds. And when they look up and say, "look at the moon, see how beautiful it is," - why is that? What makes it beautiful? Why does the human eye look at that, and see beauty? Is it because it's round? Is it because it's blotchy, the moon-blotches form some sort of subliminally-pleasing pattern? Is it because of the light?

I think it's because of the light. I think that we love light; I think we love it all the more when night has covered the Earth in darkness.

...

I just read all of that again, and I'm sorry, but what a lot of horse shit. I apologize deeply, on my own behalf and on yours as well. In fact, why did you even read this far?

Friday, March 23, 2007

This Guy at Work Keeps Talking about Obama!

Obama this, Obama that...what am I supposed to say to this guy? Oh sure, sure: "Obama!"

I have to admit...it is pretty fun to say!

Obama.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Coca-Cola Versus Pepsi: an Objective Assessment

One time I offered to buy somebody a Coke and she said - "no thanks - but I'll take a Pepsi!"

How's that for fucking cheek! I told her, "Sorry, I don't support that organization."

Screw Pepsi! I wouldn't buy an ice-cold Pepsi on the hottest day on record in HELL, not if I had two pockets stuffed jangling full of quarters! And I have no doubt that they do hold the concession for that territory.

I can't even get into all the reasons why I say, "screw them." Let's take the name for starters! What the fuck is a "Pepsi"? It sounds real dumb. And what about their logo? It repulses me!

That whole scam about the blind taste test - who do they think they can kid with that? Not me. Who are these morons they get, who supposedly can't tell which from which? The two taste nothing alike! The only idiot who would pick Pepsi over Coke in a test like that is somebody who either can't tell the difference, or who prefers Pepsi anyhow! And what kind of a skewed result does that give you? Are we supposed to care what somebody thinks about flavor, when they can't even tell which one is Coke?!

Shoot. The whole concept doesn't even make sense. It's just bad science.

I admit, I like a little RC Cola now and then when I can get it. Just as a change-up, when I see it on the menu that a restaurant happens to feature the ol' Royal Crown. That goofy taste knocks me out every time! Yet that's only because it is a change-up for me. I would never go with RC over Coke on a permanent basis. Coke is just too strong a product overall.

Coca-Cola is the finest sugary corporate beverage in the world. Everything from the red of the can, to the Dynamic Ribbon Device(tm), to the fact that they're headquartered in Atlanta - from top to bottom, it's like everything about Coke spells "class" in some mysterious way.

Although, Pepsi's logo isn't so bad I guess. It only repulses me because I know what it stands for.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

While I'm At It

I apologize for the next post as well. Might as well get it over with!

I Apologize For The Previous Post

Clearly I had come up with what I thought was an absolute crackerjack title for a blog post, and then when I went to write the thing I found I had nothing to back it up with. It is not our policy here at Consider Your Ass Kicked! to string together dadaist propaganda sound bites and call it a legitimate entry.

If in the fullness of future time, a good idea occurs to me for a post that would do justice to the post title "Earn Satan Dollars While You Pay At The Pump," I will not hesitate to rectify the situation. I will post the new post, re-using the title just as if this whole sordid episode never occurred.

On that, you have my word.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Earn Satan Dollars While You Pay At The Pump

We have to ask ourselves, as Americans: how far are we willing to sell our future generations short, just for the sake of a few extra minutes on our Mileage Plus card every month? We need to face hard facts. The truth of the matter is that these facts are not going to go away. The problem is not going away. Just because they've discovered that fossil fuels don't come from dinosaurs, doesn't mean they grow on trees either!

Other countries have dealt with different issues in exemplary fashion. We need to bow our proud necks, and follow that sensible lead - for once. Because it is too late for the U.S. to truly take the initiative on this one. Yet if we act forcefully, we may be able to take their initiative from them. We've done it before, many times.

Once again: we need to face it: the facts will simply not shut up. Approximately 65% of adult U.S. citizens now living will be afflicted with some sort of fatal disease within their lifetime. 85% of the rest will perish in accidents. The remainder will be murdered. Is there no other way to prevent this? Have we all done all we could, to make things otherwise? After all of the so-called "scientific progress" we've thrown in the face of God and society - is this an acceptable state of affairs?

That abject fatalism is what we need to reduce! The stakes are too high to be coy about the truth of it. The facts are what they are, and the sooner we see that for what it is, the less we will have to regret about it later on. Which, need I say it again: these facts will not be going anywhere fast. The future isn't going anywhere. It will still be there when we reach it. But what state will it be in when we get there? That's the question. That's what you and I need to discover for ourselves - at the risk of finding out some pretty unpleasant things, might I point out.

Bottom line: we need to can the fantasy scenarios and get real on what it is that ails us. Because, let me tell you, folks: ultimately, if Social Security fails...blaming Satan for it isn't going to solve the problem.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Silversun Pickups, OKGO, Snow Patrol

March 1st at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

First of all, I'm not too impressed with these band names. OKGO is okay. Kind of snappy, fits the band well. But the other two leave me cold. Band-name wise. I don't mean a pun on snow = cold. I'm just trying to be nice by saying, they "leave me cold," like it's a personal preference. As opposed to just coming right out and saying "these band names suck."

Silversun Pickups came out with a vengeance. I don't know what we ever did to them to deserve it! But right from the start, they were gunning for the jugular with both barrels*.

During the first song, I said "this guy's voice is like a cross between Bjork and Gollum. Let's hope he doesn't sing any songs including the phrase 'my precious.'" Mercifully, he did not. And not only did his voice have a couple more tricks up its sleeve than just that whining shriek, the whine itself really grew on me fast! I have to admit, he impressed me. His gently deranged stage manner was a perfect fit for the band's sound, and his charming yet creepy banter was never overdone. I was also impressed by the way he kept his monstrous ego in check throughout the performance. Don't tell me he doesn't have a monstrous ego. I can tell. But he didn't let it get in the way! This is key. If he gets famous, he has the potential to be as bad as or worse than Billy Corrigan. I don't need to go into all the reasons why we simply must not let that happen.

In fact, the band's sound was kind of like all the things that I don't like about Smashing Pumpkins (officially a great band, by the way - I don't dispute it) except for some reason, I loved it coming from these guys. Maybe the other guys had an off life, or something, because in retrospect all the ingredients were there.

The band's lineup was a wrinkle on the classic alterna power trio - dude in the back whaling on the drum kit, singer with a guitar front and center, chick bassist to the right - but added to that basic template, they had another guy sitting up front stage left, manning a sparse bank of keyboards and control panels. I guess he was just there to punch things up, fatten the sound, massage the reverb and add in occasional effects. Because...I really didn't hear a lot in the way of "keyboards." They were on full guitar assault mode, and rightly so. Not all of it slashy and dinnidinniDAH either. One of their songs sported a guitar hook that hit you like Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" crossed with the TV theme to "Batman"! Really neat.

Up Next: Pt.2: OKGO

Pt.2 OKGO

Next band up: OKGO. Also known as OKgo, or OKGo. Or OkGo, for all I know. I prefer "OKGO" since I'd like to think of these guys as the INXS of the current decade. Obviously, to make that comparison work you need to ratchet down the mystique and ratchet up the smartass. But you have the same basic virtues on display: unpretentious rock that never loses sight of the bottom end - a prominent bass and a snap-to beat you could dance to if you wanted - overlain by catchy-enough hooks and the occasional interesting chord change to fake out your ears. They rocked - with a cocked grin to be sure, but none the less emphatically for it. At one point during the set, I swore that one of their riffs smacked me right in the forehead! I guess it could have been somebody in the crowd. But if so, it was perfectly in synch with the music.

Also of interest was their visual presentation. There was a large screen hung above and beyond the band, on which was projected a cunning array of skits to complement, counterpoint, and/or underscore the song being played. It worked pretty well. Although the visuals occasionally distracted, I would not say that they detracted. The band itself was nothing if not muscular, and quite capable of holding its own.

"Muscular" musically speaking, I mean. From a physical standpoint, they all looked a little on the "weedy academic" side. But just a little!

Did I just say INXS was unpretentious? Well, let's let that pass as well.

Up Next: Pt.3: Snow Patrol

Pt.3 Snow Patrol

Before I say anything else, there is one arena in which these people excel all other bands: they know when to end a song. I don't know with what preternatural sense the chief songwriters are endowed, but it was like every! single! time! they hit the mark DEAD ON. The song would end - and you would be like, "wow! That's perfect. Not a moment too short, not a moment too long." As their set went on, it became uncanny. I started to really marvel at it. Song after song: the absolute perfect length. It got to the point where I was saying, "holy shit! How do they even do it?" I mean, I'd never considered this as a possible criteria by which to rate a band. Finally, to save my mind, right close to the end they played a song that I wished would keep going on and on - but they ended it after two verses and refrains.

That one misstep, to keep their gift within mortal bounds.

Enough on that.

So these guys are Irish. You can tell by the charmingly roguish brogue sported by banter-boy up front during the between-song intervals. Must we all fall in love with you, dude? Is that the idea?

Ah, it worked on me. He pulled it off, I have to give him props. That charming rogue!

Anyway, I have to say: going into the show, I knew next to nothing about Silversun Pickups. I was psyched to see OKGO, had high expectations for them. These blokes, on the other hand...I was pretty sure they weren't my cup of tea. Just based on what I'd heard from them. But I came in with an open mind, wiped away my preconceptions, and said: "I will give them every chance to come in here and kick my ass."

And did they? Damn. I won't say they're a great band. We'll see about that. But they are a great live band.

If I had to disparage them with comparisons (and why not?) I'd say that they were in the same vague league as Coldplay, but with less relentless midtempo all the time, fewer overt U2 moves, simpler melodies, and perhaps a less expressive vocalist. Which sounds like they suck. Not so - they pull it all off suave! They aim for the epic, and they make it comfortable (to say nothing of comfortably).

It's hard to explain how they do what they do and make it work well enough to make you wonder how they do what they do and make it work that well. The songs they have, the singer's gift for melody may come across as a bit on the simple side. But heck, whose doesn't? I'm sure mine does. Most of their melodies are basic, but it doesn't matter when the songs meld so well with the rock-solid underneath. Here are lush harmonies, guitars by turns driving and shimmering, and a powerful if unadventurous rhythm section. Perfect - who needs more? Prog rock this really ain't - though they do add a couple nice outré flourishes. What it is, is song-based straightforward rock and roll. Snow Patrol are an efficient and sincere song delivery system: everything you need to put a song into an audience with passion, wit, soul, and concision.

And then: as the show went on, each melody just seemed to cut deeper. And the singer's voice seemed to grow in richness and beauty and emotion, song after song, until by the end of the concert his voice was like your own brother pleading for you to spare his life. Who could say no to that? You got swept in. When towards the end of the show, he stood at the mic stand, singing "Light up, light up / as if you had a choice / even if you cannot hear my voice / I'll be right beside you, dear"...it was a done deal. He had us in the palm of his hand, and it was clammy.

That was the song that I wished would go on. I may be a sap, but it got me. Right here.

Their band name still sucks.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

No Good.

Woke up at ungodly hour. Drove to work in rage. Punched in at 6:45AM. Bastards at McDonald gave me a damn McMuffin instead of the McBiscuit I ordered! Sons of McBitches!!!