Sunday, January 31, 2010

Douchebag in the Headlights

How many of us have ever thrown rocks at a car? Be honest here. I know I have. Multiple times. I even got caught doing it once. I lived on Golf Club Road when it happened and I had to be all of 10 years old or so. The gentleman whose car I hit, slammed on his breaks, threw it in reverse and backed the 50 or so feet up to me and my accomplices and started yelling. He then demanded to know where we lived - Being a pretty smart kid, I didn't tell him because that's just not the information that you give out to strangers. He figured it out of course when I ran away and straight through my front yard and into my house.

I think I used the "I didn't hit his car, Dad!" defense. If I recall correctly, I didn't get in trouble for that one. you know, in all semi-honesty, I'm not even sure that I hit this dude's car with my rocks.

As most of you know, Nashville got "dumped on" with all of 4 inches of snow this weekend. For my Michiganders, don't laugh. 4 inches of snow in the south is like getting 18 in the MItten. Roads become largely impassable and the idiots folks that are out driving are moving at one-third the posted speed limit. If I didn't drive a gigantic Ford E-350 van on Saturdays for work, this by and large would not affect me. But I do so it does. And it seems to me that the the more snow that falls, the dumber people tend to get. This is a universal truth.

Late last night, I cleaned up a wedding at The Hermitage Hotel downtown. Yes, I used the shop van to do it. No, it's not as unwieldy as one might imagine but it's a bit tricky. I managed to make it there and back again [just like Bilbo!] only because I am an excellent employee and every wedding cleanup that I do gets me that much closer to visiting the Shire [this is where I would put a picture of Hobbitton in Matamata, New Zealand, but I am living on borrowed internet and don't want to wait for it to load... You've got access to Google. You can find it.].

I dropped off the van, got back into The Family Truckster and headed home. I turned right out the parking lot behind the shop and drove down Wedgewood only to encounter a gaggle of drunk people trying to cross the street from Cabana. I don't know if "gaggle" is the correct word to use for a collection of drunk people but I'm running with it. There were about ten of them or so and all but one decided that they would dart out in front of my car before I got there. They must have known that I am a semi-professional driver and have had the intuition that I would be able to avoid them. Yup... All but one of them ran across the street before I got there.

But there was the one that didn't decide to run. In every group that goes 'out' in Nashville, there's always one dude that wears a long-sleeved plaid shirt tucked into his blue jeans and a camouflage hat. I've professed my disdain for this outfit before and in the past it had been solely based on the shouts of "Hey, babe! Bring me another Miller Lite and a shot a' Yegger!" [I know... It's not spelled that way but we live in a world where phonics and networking trump intelligence and I don't want to insult the dumb redneck demographic that reads this blog.]

I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I eased my way down Wedgewood and thoughts of being ten years old and throwing rocks at cars flashed through my head. A mighty CRASH of ice and snow met my windshield. Douchebag McMismatchedOutfit had heaved a mighty iceball that landed smack dab on my car. If ever there were a time to display my incomparable winter driving skills and simultaneously scare the living shit out of a southerner, this was it. I slammed on brakes, pulled up the E-brake, and cut the wheel to the left as hard as I could, sending me spinning into a perfect 180 and facing Douchebag McMismatchedOutfit who had decided to cross the street at this time.

If ever I saw a 'deer in the headlights' look, this was it. The irony that he was wearing a camouflage baseball cap was not lost on me. I felt like a total bad ass and knew that I wasn't really going to do anything to this guy because his nine friends were already standing in their parents' yard the bank parking lot across the street but would have rushed their way back over to intervene. And I'll be damned if I'm gonna get the piss taken out of me by ten dudes; some of whom I'm betting were carrying a gun because packin' a piece in a bar in Nashville is legal.

I sat there for a few seconds and just revved my 2.3 litre engine. And then I felt it against my right elbow: the cold piece of hickory nestled firmly between my center console and passenger seat. My Louisville Slugger. A completely sardonic thought ran through my head and before I knew it, I had opened my door and pointed my bat in his direction.

I have never felt more like a jackass and a bad ass at the same time in my life... While trying not to smile.

Have you ever seen someone completely unfamiliar with ice try to run on it? More specifically, have you ever seen someone completely drunk and completely unfamiliar with ice try to run on it? 'Cause I have. And there Douchebag McMismatchedOutfit went... Face first onto the snow and ice. This was met with a chorus of laughter from his group of friends... and me as well. I thought that was punishment enough because it's going to be the kind of story the next time that guy goes to Cabana with any of his friends, someone in the group will tell the "Listen to what this dumbass did..." story.

To my poorly dressed friend: you deserved it.
To my poorly dressed friend's friends: tell this story at every opportunity you get.
To my dad: thanks for buying me that baseball bat when I was 8. It still serves a purpose.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Uhhh... Sure, Ian.

I was summoned into my boss' office at job #1 earlier this week. I was hoping she was going to give me an update on the 'promotion' that I had applied and interviewed for some 3 months ago. The subject of our conversation? This very blog.

I am not kidding.

She thought my blog was funny and humorous and even bordered on insightful. I could ask for worse. But unless you work at a certain email marketing company in town (I'd still love to come work for you, Emma) being invited into your boss' office to talk about your blog probably isn't the best of things. Especially when your boss' boss gets involved. All this because I have a blog. A blog. And we all know how serious having a blog can be. I'm really just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, writing about it and having Julia Child chide me for it. By the way, I perused that book once. I had no idea that the French knew more about cooking than just fries and toast. At least that makes for a good film... No one wants to read about nor pay me for my adventures in the corporate world. Leastaways, not yet. It's part of my world domination plan: one that I may be working on this evening if I can manage to get out of my pajama pants and quit watching Braveheart. Both of those things are proving difficult.

As a point of order: does anyone remember when people took things on livejournal so seriously? You know... 8 years ago? What is seemingly lost on me is how the entire generation of people in charge (and let's not kid ourselves, the over 40 crowd rules the world) doesn't understand internet subtlety or subtext. That writing about your job doesn't mean that you hate it. Hell, I write about things that spark my interest and piqué my curiosity - and because maybe, just maybe, someone will get a kick out of it.

Plus, I started to write to impress women. Now, what's not funny about that?

Blogging can be serious. If you're writing about how to improve your market or developing better practices for your business or how to drive readership by typing in keywords (American Idol, Miley Cyrus, Twitter, Facebook, Tiger Woods, Super Bowl - I wonder how many readers will be directed to this blog because of that right there?) then, sure, I suppose blogging matters. If it's a guy writing about his misadventures in life then what's the harm in that? I fail to see it.

Don't take this life too seriously, random person at job #1 who happened to stumble across my blog or spent far too much time on the internet stalking your company's name. It's not worth it. I should know... I write the damn thing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We Were Promised Jetpacks -- "These Four Walls"

I know I said that 2009 was a rather dismal year for music, making it the first and only time that decade that I did not do an end of the year "best" of music list. I said that Thrice's Beggars record was really the only record worth having to have. I was wrong.

There. I said it. I was wrong.

I was hanging out with RCC 3 last night and he played me a song off of last year's release from We Were Promised Jetpacks. I agree, it's a horrible name for a band but so are most band names. They released a record called These Four Walls mid-year of 2009 and I just got around to hearing it.

Wow. Just wow. It is fantastic. You can download it here for $7.99 (which is less than you'd pay for it over at iTunes who has it classified as "adult alternative" hence my lack of a link to their site). Do yourself a favor and pick it up. The best way to describe them? Hot Water Music meets Bloc Party... Kinda... But in Scotland. Check out their song "It's Thunder and It's Lightning":

I don't gush about many new records these days anymore. Most of them are being released by dudes that listened to Taking Back Sunday growing up and thought of that band as the crest of the 4th wave of emo. 'Tis a shame, really. It's nice to hear a refreshing band these days.

Get in on the ground floor now so you can tell people "I told you so".

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Funny Writer with the Beard.

My last stop of the evening of hanging out with Cori tonight was The Basement. My best good friend Karen was working the door (as she usually does) and said to Cori: "Oh, so-and-so's inside... The one that Dean and I want you to meet!"

To my knowledge no one has ever said that I am someone that someone else should meet. If I am doing something wrong, I don't know what it is. Is it because I don't know how to wear a blazer and blue jeans at the same time? Is it because I don't have one of those flavor saver goatees? Is it because I think that wearing a scarf when it's fifty degrees outside makes you look like a dick biter? It is because I use phrases like "dick biter"? Is it because I unabashedly and admittedly like "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus? It's probably a combination of those things. I swear I'm a bit more complex than all that, though.

I'm not looking for love. That sounds ridiculous: looking for love. Looking for like? Sure, I like that... But even that gets to be a stretch these days. I don't really like meeting most people or at least going out of my way to do so. I was at 3Crow last night for all of 45 minutes and realized that I didn't want to talk to some of the people that were sitting at my table. I didn't really know two of them; one of them I had never even met but the first thing that I said about him was "He looks like an asshole." Turns out, he is, so I'm not completely off the mark. This came after recounting my story from last weekend where I was too goodly to crawl into a drunk woman's bed and slept on her couch stone cold sober.

See? I'm not a complete jackass.

And, perhaps, that's why it's just past one in the morning on what is now Sunday and I'm writing fodder that people will read sometime in the next few days and say "Gosh, he really is a good guy... I wonder if there's anyone I could set hi -- Oh, the game's back on." 'Cause that's how the world spins. If I were complaining, I'd complain about it. But I don't have time for that. I've got to wake up in the morning and do the HumanKind books. I've got to go see Avatar tomorrow afternoon. I've got to not dream about Robert DeNiro biting off the side of my face because I fell asleep earlier this evening watching Cape Fear. And I'm sure that at some point in time tomorrow, I'll have the privilege of holding the door open for a beautiful woman who'll look me in the eye and say, "Thank you" and mean it... And I'm sure that for a split second, I'll fall in love with her and wonder what it'll be like when we go out on our first date... Until she tells me about her boyfriend which will invariably lead me to another blog post.

Because no one wants to meet the funny writer with the beard, that's why. Maybe if I shaved it into a goatee? That seems to work.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Zealand (round 2)

I have found an amazing deal on a roundtrip flight to New Zealand. Yes. New Zealand. Land of kiwis, hobbits, and 90 Mile Beach. I know I have no real connection to the place (like I do with Ireland) but just look at it. Damn! The price of a round trip ticket from Nashville to Auckland in late September? $1278. Talk about exciting! I've been looking at tickets for a while now, hoping that they'd drop in price. They're down some $600 from their original price when I started looking.

I was talking with my Aunt Claudia when I was up in Michigan for Christmas. I told her that I planned on taking an adventure sometime in mid- to late-2010... Europe? New Zealand? Anywhere in the world, really. She, rather emphatically, informed me that I should go to New Zealand. "How many times are you going to get the chance to New Zealand?! People go to Europe all the time and it's a much easier trip to get there." Well, she said something like that.

I continued with the savings. And then yesterday.. *BAM*... Amazing price.

I sat down with my boss at job number one today for our weekly one-on-one meeting. Our conversations run the gamut from professional to shootin' the shit. Now, as you may or may not know, I have been gunning for a promotion here at work over the past few months (which I was originally supposed to hear about on December 11th and then January 11th and now the deadline has been pushed back to February 1st). So how do you bring up a subject like asking for two and a half weeks off of work to go 8100 miles to the other side of the world all while trying to show how dedicated you are to your job to get that promotion?

Simple. You ask.
My boss simply said: "Absolutely!"
I almost couldn't believe it.

So here's the plan: September 16th to October 3rd. New Zealand. As soon as I hear back from my partner-in-crime, Matt Melanson, that those dates are good to go I'm buying my ticket. Only 245 more days to go...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

If it isn't making dollars then it isn't making sense

I was at a friend's birthday party on Friday night. My friend happens to be a fairly well-known musician in the Christian industry (and I use the word industry with confidence and aplomb). In the industry, there is much to be made of appearances -- drinking and smoking are frowned upon from the outside but are as common as they are anywhere else in the world, the sanctity of marriage and the tragedy of divorce are used as marketing ploys, virginity is one of the greatest selling points that record labels and publishing companies have given to kids that shop at the local Bible book store over the past 20 years so much so that those very kids are scared to death to hold hands at a party and then end up fucking some dude or chick their freshman year of undergraduate school (hell, they're alone for the first time and they've got 18 years of backup) and getting pregnant. You think that doesn't happen? If you don't you're as naive as the kids shopping at the Christian bookstore.

My problem here is not Christianity. It never has been. I consider myself a Christian. I'm not judging anyone for their beliefs or lack thereof. My problem here is the marketing of Christianity. Yes, the marketing of Christianity.

Living in Nashville has never made me realize more know that which I have felt for a while: that Christianity is bought and sold like gold. That for all the good that Christianity has done in the world, there's just as much wrong that it's done. Take a look at the LifeWay Christian building in Nashville: 212 feet straight to heaven of glass and steel all to support the livelihood of thousands of people who buy and sell books and music about what is (from what I've gathered) supposed to be a relationship between somebody and God. If I were to get married one day, do I think my wife would like it if I figured out how to write and market our relationship to everyone that would listen? Probably not. Also, the LifeWay Christian company doesn't allow it's employees to drink or swear off the clock and has (I shit you not) fired people for doing so. The guy that sits next to me at work really wants to work there. He doesn't drink, he doesn't swear, he doesn't smoke. He's a perfectly nice dude but I don't think he's got much experience outside. In the world.

You know... The whole big world. Where we all live. Where we all hang out and interact. I'm not suggesting he goes on a drinking, smoking, whoring spree but I am suggesting that he goes out and makes a bad decision or two. You know, just to see what it's like. God knows I've made my share.

Anyway, back to the party... A representative from my friend's record label showed up and she immediately hid her beer. This is a woman who turned 35 29 last week and still felt the need to hide her drink for fear of getting in trouble with her record label. She's a sweet, wonderful woman but when it comes to work she, like so many of us, is a cog in the wheel. The difference is, the machine she works for markets and sells salvation. That's a little bit stronger influence in one's life than cell phone insurance. I should know.

My friend handed her beer to another friend of ours to whom I happened to be talking at the time. Friend number two (let's call her Sally) let out an audible sigh and we had the following conversation:
Sally: "I hate that shit."
Me: "What?"
Sally: "That she has to hide her drink. It's that whole 'Christianity' thing."
Me: "Well, Sally... I'm a Christian."
Sally: "I know but you're one of the few Christians that I like. You don't bug me about it."

I'm either doing something very right or something very wrong with my faith... but the truth is I don't care what someone thinks about my faith and I certainly don't care whether someone "buys it" from me.

I'm not very good at this Christianity thing. I'm not. I never really have been. I'm selfish and I'm kind of a prick and I know that. But I'm also the same guy that sleeps on a woman's couch completely sober while she's drunk and ready to pass out in her bed because I'm pretty sure that even if she wanted to sleep with me or even next to me that night she'd regret it the following morning.

You know what my reward for this is? A year's worth of "you're so sweet"s and "man, I wish I had some single friends for you"s and "oh, man, if I wasn't dating so-and-so"s. That's one hell of a consolation prize, I know.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Owl Shitty (the reprise)

So after spending my entire day yesterday sick, sleeping not being able to figure out why I couldn't get warm [writer's note: it turns out that the heat in our house is out... again], I did my damndest to recover. I'm think that there may be some food or spice or additive that my body is rejecting because I get sick for no reason from time to time. At least I know it's not cheeseburgers. The number of tears I would cry if that were the case would rival the flood unleashed at Isengard by the ents.

What? Like I'm the only person that really likes The Lord of the Rings.
Shut up.

After sleeping and then sleeping and then sleeping some more (with occassional three minute spans to get up and go vomit in the bathroom), I felt pretty good at the end of the afternoon. "How good?" you ask. Well, good enough to go over to my old roommate Russ' new place and watch Alabama womp all over Texas. I'm not an Alabama fan but I do like watching Mark Ingram. It's a Flint thing. Now, being as that Russ used to tour manage Underoath, he happens to know some people who one might consider at least kinda famous... At least in the music scene. So Russ decided to have a gathering of dudes... all there to watch football. Among the dudes that were there were my friend Stephen Arnold who I worked with up at Spring Hill years ago and this dude named Matt Thiessen.

Ouch! My foot!
[name dropping]
I swear there's a point to this all.

Anyway, the whole lot of us were sitting on the couch watching the game and being generally uncouth when someone mentioned Owl City. Yes, the guy that sings that damned "Fireflies" song. If you haven't heard it or read my previous post about this dude, I don't want to entirely torture you with his musical nonsense... Only partially. An example of his lyrics:
'Cause I get a thousand hugs /
From ten thousand lightning bugs /
As they tried to teach me how to dance.
And then somebody mentioned that Matt worked on that song... Helped produce that song... and sang on that song.

I 'bout lost it.
I started out relatively civil... "I like the music. It's catchy. But the lyrics sound like they were written by a 12 year old." If you live in Nashville, this is not what you say to someone who is and has made their career out of being far more successful than you in the music world. Then again, I'm not trying to make it in Nashville. I'm trying to help make Nashville realize that some of the music that gets released (and hits) in the world is ridiculous. Again... It's a Flint thing.
Much like The Lord of the Rings great things do come in threes. I've had two posts about this Owl City dude now and I am one degree of separation away from getting to tell him what I think about his music in real life. And if there's anybody who knows things about degrees of separation, it's Mr. Kevin Bacon.
But, hey... If I get to meet this Owl City dude, I'm gonna tell him what's what. You know you'd all want to do it to. It'd be like getting to meet Christina Aguillera and telling her to stop doing that annoying thing hand raising thing. Or telling Beyonce that she's, you know, just okay.
Like that. But different.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nashville to Michigan

I made a video of my Christmas vacation to Michigan. Yes, it was cold. Yes, I'm borrowing my neighbor's internet signal to upload it.

The song is "This Good Night is Still Everywhere" by Dustin Kensrue.

Monday, January 4, 2010

To hell with Diablo

You guys all remember that movie Juno, right? About that one teenage girl that gets pregnant and then Michael Cera acts all cute, befuddled, and confused for 90 minutes? It won at least one Oscar®. Chicks loved it. Dudes loved it. I never saw it although I'm told that it's written with the kind of wit, quirk and verve that resonates with today's hip generation. And I should know about what's hip. I drive a Ford Escape, damnit. You should see the (potential) amount of groceries that thing can haul!

A few months ago in a fit of sleeplessness, I decided to write a note in/on my facebook about some goals I'd like to accompish within one year of the date that I wrote said note. Of those nine goals that I've listed, I've accomplished exactly 0 of them so far. I'm pacing myself. Don't judge me. But of those nine goals that I've set for myself, my most daunting one seems to me to be the "write a book" goal. Why? Well, for a few reasons. The first one is that I have no idea how to write a book. Blogs, short stories, these things I understand. Secondly, I write very well autobiographically but not fictionally. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I don't want to end up on a game show hosted by Wayne Brady and telling him that I'm working on my novel. How embarrassing would that be? I'd get all nervous and end up forgetting the lyrics and making an ass out of myself in front of the dozens (literally, DOZENS) of people watching at home. How I'd cope with my failure, I would never know. The silver lining to all this is, of course, at the end of the day at least I'm not Wayne Brady.
This 'writing a book' thing as you can imagine has gnawed at me for a little while now. I still think that I'm going to do it... I just think that I'm going to do it in a different way. "What way?" you ask. Well, by writing a movie instead.

If you've ever been to my house, you've seen the massive DVD collection that I have. I don't have cable and had it not been for the generosity of Dean Shortland last night, I wouldn't even have rabbit ears for my tv [which reminds me: I have to go buy a digital coverter box]. With what little time I spend at home, I tend to park my ass directly on my bed and watch movies. I'm also of the "If the world were like a movie, life would be infinitely better" camp. Except for Suburban Commando. That movie sucks. And also, I wouldn't want to hang out with Hulk Hogan because he dates young women that look like his daughter who looks an awful lot like a slightly more feminine version of himself. And he'd be an alien so there's no telling what kind of tricks he's really got up his sleeve.

I was contacted by friend, sometimes employer, and extraordinarilly talented photographer Josh Marx a few days ago about writing a movie script. I know he's done some work on some movies and CMT-type things so he knows his way around a camera and the only things I know about movie making is what I've watched from the behind the scenes featurettes on my Lord of the Rings extended edition movies. Anyway, he hit me up today and asked if I would help him with an idea he has for making a movie called... wait for it... "Looking for Like" based on a series of craigslist missed connections. Or something to that effect.

We're thinking low-budget here, folks.

There wasn't even a doubt in my mind that I want to do this. Not a shred. Not a hint. Why? Well, partially because of the success of the aforementioned Juno. True story: Diablo Cody, writer of said film, used to be a stripper and blogged her way into writing a movie kinda. Why the hell can't I take a job (or, rather, collection of jobs that are, you know, just as fulfilling) and parlay into some sort of story? "To hell with it!" I say. Sure, there probably won't be as much glitter, vanilla scented body spray and issues with sexually exploitative relationships as her background has forced her to deal with but we'll see how things pan out. I'm not the type of guy who likes to over-promise and under-deliver... Don't rush out and buy gallons of Stripper's Delight Glitter just yet. Also, I'll probably focus more on the flower delivery side of things than the HR here at my 8 to 5. Chicks dig flower delivery guys. Or they think that they're all gay (I'm not... Sorry, gay guys reading my blog). At any rate, I figure that this is as good a time as any.

Let the bidding war ensue. Kidding. Kinda.

So, my dear readers, if you know me in real life a caricature of you may very well end up in this movie. Don't say I didn't warn you. If you want to sue me in advance, that's cool. I don't have much money anyway.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"She said yes!"

Being the first blog of the new year, one might expect me to write about resolutions. I'm not going to do that. I don't have any. I'm certain, though, that if I had any I would probably keep them. I'm a determined sonovabitch, that's why.

I was sitting at my desk on New Year's Eve when I received not one but two of those "She said yes!" texts. From different people. I don't like text messages very much and anyone who knows me knows how little I like weddings. Put the two together and there's a Molotov cocktail of indifference. It's not the institution of marriage that I dislike, I just don't like weddings. The flowers. The preparation. The travel. The planning. The rehearsal dinner. The bridesmaids that always seem to think that my kilt is awesome, flirt with me for a bit, and then tell me about their "awesome boyfriend that played football at Georgia". Strangely enough, that's the feeling that I get most every time I go the bar. Minus the kilt, of course.

I wonder what the fascination with marriage is. I understand it as an institution. It's everything that leads up to it that I hate. The nights at the bar. The facebook stalking (shut up, you do it, too). The "did she ask about me?"s. [I'm not sure how to properly punctuate that.] The "is she single?"s [Again with the punctuation ambiguity.]

My friend and hetero-life-mate Matt Melanson are in the same boat. It's the same thing with us week in and week out. I'm constantly reminded of the world's shortest fairytale:
Once upon a time a man asked a woman to marry him and the woman said "No!" The man then began riding his motorcycle, going hunting and fishing, playing golf and baseball, drinking lots of beer and whiskey, hanging out with his friends, saving his money, leaving the toilet seat up, farting whenever he wanted and lived happily ever after.
And I feel better. I really got to thinking about it a year and a half ago when I got laid off from my job. I did the responsible thing, took my severance package and drove across the country. If I were married, do you think that my better half would have let me get in my car, drive to a different time zone and go play in the mountains for a week and a half? Probably not. Also, if I were married, do you think that I'd be able to wake up on a Sunday morning, blog, watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and then plan on playing Wii? Let's be serious.

I realize that all of this makes me sound like an asshole... but I'm not here to impress anybody.

My dear friends, I love you all. I just don't want to receive any more of those "She said yes!" texts... for multiple reasons.