Monday, May 31, 2010

The Karate Kid

So the remake for The Karate Kid comes out in a few weeks. I will not be seeing this film. The original version of The Karate Kid is one of my favorite films ever. Everything after that in the series kinda sucked.

Now, aside from normal ranting and raving about things I don't like, I might have let this one slide... Until big brother facebook decided to link my like of The Karate Kid to a damned Justin Beiber song. Let me tell you something, facebook: Johnny, Dutch, Tommy, Kreese, and the rest of the Cobra Kai would knocked the shit out of Justin Beiber and Jaden Smith.

That's it. I'm not even posting a link to the video.



Strike first, strike hard, no mercy.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paul McCartney and The Quest for Nashville's Money

The title of this blog sounds quite a bit like an adventure film. I wish it were. I'd be interested in seeing it.

So it appears that the Nashville social media universe is all abuzz [which I am shocked to find is actually a word] with the news that Sir Paul McCartney is playing at the Bridgestone Arena this summer. Why Nashville seems to care is beyond me.

That's right.

When I was 15 years old, right about the time I got the nickname with which I have been saddled for these past, well, 15 years, I discovered Rubber Soul. It all... you know... just made so much sense. Especially the track "Drive My Car"... because it was a euphemism for one thing but I thought it was actually about something else. Ah, to be young again. Which, if I had my druthers, is what Paul is probably thinking, too.

Just like every other high schooler in the past 50 years, I adored The Fab Four. Followed by stints of loving The Doors and then trying really hard to get into The Grateful Dead but then realizing that just because you have long hair and 9 1/2 fingers doesn't necessarily make you a good musician. Maybe I'm just latently jealous that I have all ten fingers, short hair, and the closest I ever got to music immortality is my entry in the allmusic guide. At least three people know that I'm on there now. Don't get me wrong, I understand why I liked The Beatles and why I still do. What I don't understand about The Beatles is why people liked anything that they did or have done since 1970.

There. I just said what you were all thinking.

My insanely talented friend Rachel Briggs has already started the Ram argument. It's pretty good but am I going to lose my mind about it? Definitely not. Besides... Dude went on to form Wings and be a vegetarian, so that's pretty much an automatic disqualification. Listen, Paul, if you're going to form a band called Wings, which I can only assume was inspired by the culinary delight and then become a vegetarian... that's automatic grounds for me taking all of your records and smashing them in the name of Jesus just like I was encouraged to do with all of my secular albums by my youth group leader when I was in high school. Oh, and he wrote "Love Take Me Down" which is an abomination in and of itself.

It's interesting to me that an artist that hasn't released something worthwhile since the Nixon administration and who has released such turds as such as "No More Lonely Nights" and "Jet" is getting to play an arena. Notice how I didn't say that I was surprised that he does, though. Why? Because those Jonas Brothers are getting to. Because Miley Cyrus gets nominated for Golden Globes. Because that "According to You" song is huge. Because maybe, just maybe, Paul was on to something naming his post-Beatles band after a food item 'cause he knew Americans would eat it up. See what I did there? Pretty good, huh?

So, for both of you wondering, I will not be attending Sir Paul's concert in July here in Nashville. It's not because the tickets are likely to be $75. It's not because I don't care about his music much anymore. It's not because all the auto-tune in the world ain't gonna help him out these days. It's because he hasn't been relevant since my parents were teenagers... Name me one other thing from the 1960's that you still get excited about.

I'm gonna go get a drink. I'll give you a minute to think about that.

Okay. Back.

Yeah, I didn't think so.

So, Sir Paul, that's cool that you're playing Nashville for the first time ever. I just don't think I care, though. As a matter of fact, I know I don't.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost -- The End

LOST

That's right. In bold. Where do I begin? I guess I should start at the start.

In fall of 2004, I wasn't doing much with my life. I recently graduated college, I was working for Atlas Home Improvements and The Window Doctor, I ate way too many burritos and drank far too many cans of Pepsi. And I watched TV all the time. I mean, all the time. I.refuse.to.do.that.thing.with.the.period.after.every.word. That makes you look like an idiot. Ah, crap.

Now, if you know me or if you've been following/stalking my blog for a while, you know that I am obsessed with a few things: my forthcoming New Zealand adventure and The Lord of the Rings. I can see you all rolling your eyes now and thinking, "Here he goes with that shit again." Too bad. But because, I was/am obsessed with the world of Tolkien and anything that had anything to do with it, I followed the rabbit trail into the world of LOST because of Dominic Monaghan. He was a hobbit. Shut up.

Ladies, you still interested? Good. I thought so.

In the past day (and few hours) the LOST series has ended and has ended with a *poof*. People were expecting a *BANG* but when was the last time a TV series ended with one of those? Remember how pissed off everyone was when Seinfeld ended with a lousy clip show and they all went to prison or something? That was 200 episodes of nothing. A show that didn't make you think and didn't make you pay attention except for the The Betrayal episode that was essentially run backward. It was like Memento but funnier... and Jewish. If that offended anyone, I apologize. I have no idea if Leonard Shelby celebrates Hanukkah, but I'm going with my gut and saying that he doesn't.

I'm glad that LOST ended the exact way it began: literally and figuratively: with Jack in the bamboo forest by himself. It's your own fault if you haven't seen the finale yet.

Now my good friend Nick has got a blog up about how much he disliked "The End" of LOST. We have watched the finale together twice since it has aired and neither of our opinions have changed. He wanted answers. I wanted resolution.

In these past six years, I've come to sympathize with almost all of the characters on one level or another at some point in time or another. Some of the characters I thought were just annoying, like Ana Lucia portrayed by the drunk driving Michelle Rodriguez. Yes, some of the characters just annoyed the shit out of me. Some of them I felt instant sympathy for/with. But, I think that the biggest reason that I liked it is that, as Nick so pointed out, the details didn't matter.

Funny how that works out, in'it?

In the past few years, I have been on more job interviews than I can shake a stick at. One of the questions that I seemingly always get asked (and one that really has no bearing on my ability to do a job and is really just flat out annoying -- take note fellow HR and Talent Acquisition gurus) is "How did you end up here?" The answer that I want to say is, "It couldn't matter less." What someone seems to want is a 20 second answer to an answer that would take years to answer: from the adventures that I had in Michigan, to the end of those adventures, to the first real heartbreak that I had in Nashville, to the first girl that I dated in Nashville which lead to the first real heartbreak I had in Nashville, to the trip across the Atlantic, to my job being eliminated, to the trip across the country, to being financially at rock bottom when the job with the new position you've accepted tells you that they don't have the money to pay you, to how you ended up delivering flowers, to everything in between. Really, does that sound like a clear and concise answer that can be summed up in two or three sentences? No. And I think that's why I liked it so much. It's that the details that got you to wherever you are in life don't matter as much as where you ended up. Sometimes, things don't make sense, even after you've after you've analyzed them to death. Like why you got your heart broken or why you really got your heart broken. Or why your job was eliminated "in order to create efficiencies". Or why the girl who works at the shop next door keeps calling you "one of her best guy friends". Or... You know... All the other minutia of life.

So really, it (life, LOST, whatever) comes down to one thing: what did you do with the time you were given? Did you make your world, your reality a bit of a better place? Did you run over everyone? Did you even know what was going on? Did you live the life you imagined? And that, my dear readers, is what matters. Are you living the live you've imagined? I don't mean doing what you want professionally. That doesn't mean a drop in the bucket compared to making sure your friends have beer during a flood; that doesn't matter compared a really good book you read; that doesn't matter compared to the road trip to the beach you took your sophomore year of college. It's the adventures that you have and the characters on your journey that you encounter that shape who you are and the story you are on.

And so, LOST, I want to thank you for being a small part of the past 6 years of my life. I think it's fair to say that quite a bit has changed in my life in that time. Yes, the girls. Yes, the trips. Yes, the jobs. Yes, the everything. Yes, the complete and total monopoly you've had on my one weeknight each Tuesday or Wednesday or whatever night you aired. But you were worth it.

LOST, In six years, you've lasted longer than any relationship I've had by 5 years and 5 months... I'm just glad I don't have to give you half my stuff. 'Cause really all that would be would be my collection of LOST and Futurama DVDs. And my Lord of the Rings things.

Thank you for the epic journey. It was worth it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Conan's Final Words

"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen."

Conan O'Brien

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trevor and Hilary's Wedding Weekend

Here's a video of Trevor and Hilary Delling's wedding weekend. Youtube made me murder my director's cut but all in all, it's not too shabby.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ASURION

ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION ASURION.

There. I can type it as much as I want and no one can do a thing about it.

If you paid attention to the previous blog, and judging by the lack of comments you haven't, you'll have noticed what a terrific week and a half I've been having. This culminated in the coup de grace (apologies for not putting an accent mark) of receiving a phone call at 5:45 this afternoon from my contracting agency with the following message:

"Stephen, this is Julie from Insight Global. I need you to call me back tonight on my cell phone tonight at XXX-XXX-XXXX regarding your contract."
And I knew that it was over.

You see, the position that I have held there since late July has been open since I started. I have been on NINE interviews for my position only to find out that an external candidate had earned the position. I'm sure that she is very qualified and was a better culture fit which is why she got the job.

To say that I'm not a culture fit at Asurion is no stretch of the imagination. I'm a bit of a free spirit (as if the cheeseburger tattoo didn't give that away) and a world of "yessir"s and "no ma'am"s when they're said to keep employment as opposed to when employees say it as a sign of respect is not the kind of environment I want to be involved with.

Who does?

I'm not going to write any negative remarks about my time at Asurion. It was good while it lasted. It was educational and I learned alot. And I don't care if that's not a word. And I don't care if I started that sentence with the word "and". Or if I did it twice in a row.

In terms of management style, I didn't fit in. But, hell, I did pretty good while I was there based on a 12 minute phone interview that I did while sitting in my underpants in my bedroom and was hired essentially sight unseen. In terms of culture, I certainly didn't fit in based on the fact that I sang "Jesus Take the Wheel" and "We Built this City on Rock and Roll" and various other ditties on a regular basis. I didn't fit in based on the fact that I worked at a flower shop on the weekends. I didn't fit in based on the fact that I really want to be an extra in The Hobbit when I go to New Zealand later this year. I didn't fit in because I worked as much as I did so that I can go on a trip to New Zealand so I could go be an extra in The Hobbit. Sure, a whole heap of what I did didn't amek sense to the Asurion team... But then again, not much of what I did did. I'm okay with that.

So, potential employers, I'm a well-educated guy. I'm funny. I like beer. I kick ass at taking initiative. I probably am not going to call you "sir" or "ma'am" unless you deserve it. And I won't work in a fear-based culture. I know that people look on the internet at potential employees. I understand how the game is played because I'm pretty good at recruiting (another bonus for you, dear potential employers).

So, Asurion employees, if you happen to be reading this (and I know you IT nerds probably are), take this all with a grain of salt. And maybe go get a beer afterward. I know I am.

Costanza

The past week and a half have not been kind to me:

-- Nashville flooded it's little heart out. 14 inches of rain in two days has lead to almost $2 billion worth of damage and 30 people dead. Those figures are expected to climb. The only things I lost were a desk (meh?), a pair of antique speakers (big bummer) and, as of last night, an SWR bass amp which I thought I could salvage but as it turns out, water and electronics don't mix as well as I thought that they would.

-- Since the great deluge of last weekend, I have had one day off. That was Sunday, May 2. For those of you keeping score at home, I worked 71 hours last week.

-- Speaking of work and the flood together, one of the pubs that I wrote trivia questions for is closed until further notice. Not that I depend on writing trivia questions for my wild and extravagant lifestyle but every little bit helps. Especially considering...

-- I found out by running one of my nightly reports here at job #1 that I did not receive one of the two open positions for which I have applied. I have tried to talk to my boss on Friday, Monday, and now today about the situation and he is "really focused on some things right now" when I've asked for 5 minutes of his time. Folks, this is not how you manage people. In what may be effective as soon as Friday, I will be without job #1. This means, however, that I can write the name of the company in my blog as many times as I want. 'Cause this is America. This also means that I may be able to work at A Village of Flowers a whole lot more. So it's not the worst thing in the world. I had an interview a week and a half ago with a company and I have an interview with another company a little later this afternoon. Things could be worse on that front, I suppose, but I have no concrete job offers as of yet.

-- I had someone ask me out on Facebook. This was confusing and while I am flattered, I don't really think I can handle that right now.



On the plus side of things, I did win free Qdoba today.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

And that's what that looks like.

There is a right way to do things and wrong way to do things. The right way to tell someone that they are no longer being considered for a position is to tell them that they are no longer being considered for a position. The wrong way to tell that same person that they are no longer being considered for a position is to let them find out via a report and then lock yourself away from the staff for the rest of the day and not give an interested party 5 minutes of your time after work when he specifically stays around to speak with you about it.

But maybe it's because I write run-on sentences from time to time.

Common courtesy in the world of business, it seems, has gone the way of the buffalo. In a bit of Seth Godin inspired altruism, I'm beginning to understand that hyper expansion and world domination of business isn't all it's cracked up to be. Innovation is important. Growth is important. People are tantamount.

For those of you just entering the business world, just remember this: money doesn't equal happiness. I'm broke as shit. I probably won't be owning a home anytime soon. I'm certainly not living the American Dream. I work all the time. Find out what you love to do and do it.

And that's what that looks like.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rebuild This City on Rock and Roll


I've posted some more pictures of Nashville on my facebook for you all to see. Folks, the flooding is receding but the damage is only going to get worse. So far, TEN people in Nashville alone have been found dead from the flood with many more feared lost. The front page of USA TODAY is calling this "a catastrophe" and, friends, they are not kidding.

I know Nashville isn't as hip as New York or as sexy as Los Angeles and or as fascinating as Chicago... And I'm sure that's the reason why so much of the national media has been focused on what may or may not have been a bomb that didn't explode in Times Square. And I'm sure that's the reason why reading about Tiger Woods sticking his putter into someone's golf bag is more important than Music City, USA. And I'm sure that's the reason that Vinny Del Negro (the Chicago Bulls basketball coach) is trending on google. Yes, Nashville is the fourth coast. We're a city of artists who can't tell time. We're a city of photographers who understand light meters and shutter exposure speeds but not a Phillips Curve. We're a city of writers who can dole out pith by the bushel but can't compose anything much longer than a blog... Hmmmm... We're a city of flakes who don't keep our appointments. We're a city without much backbone. We're a city of transients, imports, and refugees from Bumfuck, Iowa. We're a city of people who, by and large, are unemployable if they were to move anywhere else in the world. How the hell "songwriter" is a job is beyond me.

That's been the boone of Nashville for the past several years. We've grown complacent with our twangy guitars and three and a half minute pop-country ditties. We've become so concerned with a $125 haircut [Writer's note: go to Cognito to get the best haircut in town and at a perfectly legit price.] and a black button up shirt with that sweet fuckin' eagle on the back of it so we can go talk to that long-legged blond over at the end of the bar that we don't give a shit about our falling down drunk friend who needs a ride home. We've been looking for the next best (no)thing when we've got something great sitting in our laps. We've become the mecca for the divine discontent seeking only the latest and greatest chart-topping, 10-years-in-the-making overnight success. To borrow from a much better writer than I am, we've had a wishbone where our backbone oughtta be.

Nashville is a much different environment than the one I grew up in. Being from southeast Michigan, I'm from an area where I got up at 6 a.m., worked my ass off until the sun went down, or until my fingertips froze, and then came home and watched the Tigers or the Red Wings or, God bless 'em, even the Lions because they were (and still are) my team. There's not much of that here in Nashville; it's not a whole lot of heads-down, all-hands-on-deck, swinging-hammers hard work. I've never seen it.

These past few days have changed my perception on this city.

I love living here. I love the pace (for the most part). I love my friends. I love that at any given time on any given night of any given week you can walk into any given venue and see and hear an amazing band made up of the woman who makes your coffee at Starbucks, a guy who works at Autozone, and two dudes who are "amateur chemists". And I love the outpouring of support that I've seen -- random strangers bailing out basements; urban boating so that Johnny Shotgun can save his mom's wedding dress; avoiding drinking water and consuming beer and calling it "water conservation" (which is actually okay with me). All this and so much more.

Hands on Nashville is full to the brim with volunteers. Metrocenter had over 150 people sandbagging for hours last night... to the point where they had to turn away volunteers. I know. I tried. I've seen the absolute best of the human condition in the past few days... And yet I feel like I haven't seen or done enough. There are only so many hours in a day and I still have a need to give back to the city that really has given so much to me in ways that can't be measured in money or units sold. So I did what anyone would do: I got involved.

On Wednesday night at Mercy Lounge, The Dozen Dimes, Hillbilly Casino, How I Became the Bomb, and Paper Route are playing a FREE show and I've been lucky enough to be involved with helping put it on. I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this for my friends Matt and Maggie Kuyper whose home was completely flooded out. I'm doing this for Anne Marie Tucker whose backyard looks like a swimming pool. I'm doing this for Bethany Rabelhofer who had water literally flowing out her doors and whose house may have to be torn down. I'm doing this for Brent Okuley whose car has been submerged. I'm doing this for Ms. Rayher whose house in Newsom Station was completly washed away [I don't know who she is but I delivered flowers to her on Saturday]. And, yes, you can all blame me if the show is run for shit.

I'm not asking you to bring food or clothes or sticks of Old Spice (as delicious as it smells and as awesome as the commercials are) on Wednesday. What I am asking is that you bring CASH to be donated to either the aforementioned Hands on Nashville or The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The show is FREE, folks. The least you can do is donate some money.

And my offer still stands to anyone who needs a place to stay, food to eat, and beer to drink.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Great Nashville Weather Penis of 2010, part 2

I have seen some amazing things in my life. This weekend (and, yes, I am counting it as one 'thing') is another one. I was out and about yesterday because I had to see the rest of Nashville for myself. My house stayed mostly dry, 'cept for the basement which had a few inches of water in it. Some other friends and neighbors were not so lucky. I was able to make it out and about yesterday evening and take some pictures of the city although I, stupidly, only brought my iPhone with me. Some of the pictures are not very good quality but you get the idea. I've been reading reports that between Saturday and Sunday, Nashville got 13.5 inches of rain.

If you've got the time, help bail out (literally) this city. If you live in another state and want to help out, please go here to donate to the Salvation Army and please be sure to donate your funds to Nashville by typing it in the comments box.

I've posted my pictures to my facebook for your viewing pleasure.



And, yes, major media outlets... Something else in the world is happening other than a fucking bomb that did not go off in Times Square.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Great Nashville Weather Penis of 2010

I'm sure by now you all know what is happening in Nashville in terms of the weather. This is honestly the most insane weather I have ever experienced... And this is coming from someone who once endured 17 inches of snow in 4 hours. The official rainfall amount at Nashville's airport (BNA) yesterday was 6.32 inches. I've heard reports and read rumors that as much as 10 inches of rain had fallen in some parts of Tennessee. And, at 5:30 this morning, I was awoken by the storm siren a few miles from my house indicating that this shit ain't over yet: I've been reading on internet that Nashville can expect another 2 to 5 inches of rain today.

The worst part about it for me? Well, there are two things. Number one is that my knees and ankles feel like they're the size of volleyballs. All this moisture is making them very sore. Number two is that I almost killed some guy on I40 east late yesterday after making an (I kid you not) "emergency corsage" delivery out to Briley and Elm Hill Pike. Some dude in an SUV thought that doing 75 on the freeway in this torrential downpour was a good idea... Apparently no one ever told him that switching lanes rapidly and putting your car on its side and then slamming into a guardrail while just missing hitting the most talented weekend flower delivery of all time's van wasn't the smartest idea in the world. I know this picture doesn't show it too well, but that is the Broadway-West End split that was pretty well flooded. This was taken from the inside of the shop delivery van which is gigantically awesome!

You guys remember the end of O, Brother, Where Art Thou? Yeah... This is a bit like that. This is I24 at Bell Rd on the southeast side of town. Yes, that is a building. Yes, those are semi-trucks.

And, if for some reason you can't view the video (it's acting a bit wonky for me), click here and watch it directly on youtube.

Of course, there is some humor to be found in all of this. There usually is. "What could possibly be funny about this?" you ask. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Great Nashville Weather Penis of 2010:
New Zealand really better be worth this. I mean... REALLY.



Friends, stay safe out there...