Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sick Day

Daddy is sick, so the boy spent most of the day amusing himself on the computer.

Later, it was time for a Teletubby party.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kings And The Trade Deadline

The NHL’s trade deadline is Wednesday and the Los Angeles Kings find themselves four points out of a playoff spot. Before the deadline, the team play three games against Detroit, Chicago, and Columbus. Those three games will go a long way towards deciding whether the Kings are buyers or sellers at the deadline.

A good trio of games with, say, four to six points earned over that span will likely result in the Kings either staying pat Wednesday or making a few minor moves to improve the team. Rich Hammond over at Inside The Kings has referenced the team’s great chemistry more than a few times this season, so it’s unlikely that GM Dean Lombardi would want to upset that chemistry much.

If things don’t go so well over the next three games and the Kings find themselves falling out of the playoff picture, I wouldn’t expect any major moves either. If anything, the Kings will attempt divest themselves of pending UFA’s:

* Erik Ersberg-Ersberg’s season has been marred by a few injuries and a lack of playing time with the rise of goalie Jonathan Quick. Regardless, he’d be the biggest target for prospective teams. If the Kings trade Ersberg, expect Quick to get the lion’s share of the work the rest of the season with Daniel Taylor or Jonathan Bernier backing him up.

* Denis Gauthier-Gauthier is definitely not in the Kings’ long-term plans, so it would be wise to get something for him while they still can. What that something will be is up to debate. In all likelihood, it’ll be a very low draft pick. Gauthier is a sparkplug on defense and a big hitter, but his tendencies towards head hits make him a referee’s target and a frequently suspended villain of the league.

* Derek Armstrong-Armstrong is probably less-likely to be traded than Ersberg or Gauthier, simply for chemistry’s sake. Armstrong is a popular locker room guy and, regardless, wouldn’t attract much interest on the trade market.

Kyle Calder and Sean O’Donnell are also UFA’s, but I’d be genuinely surprised to see the Kings get rid of them. Calder, despite his lack of offensive skills, has proven to be a steady, gritty winger capable of being the hardest working guy on the ice on a nightly basis. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him get a new contract, albeit for a lot less than his current 2.7 mil cap hit.

O’Donnell’s acquisition earlier this season from the Ducks, as you might recall, came with a provision: If the Kings trade him, they owe the Ducks a 3rd round pick. So, the only way I see O’Donnell being traded is if another team offers a 1st or high 2nd round pick as compensation. And that just seems an unlikely scenario in the twilight of O’Donnell’s career.

There’s also the Tom Preissing problem that needs to be addressed. He has two years remaining on his contract, at a cap hit of 2.75 mil each. He’s been in two consecutive head coaches’ doghouses and it’s long overdue to send him packing. The guy deserves a shot to play somewhere and it really seems like LA is not that place. He needs to play somewhere with a more wide-open offensive game.

Thus, this weekend is of vast importance to the Kings. Is it playoff time or yet another year of placing a call to Manchester and letting the kids play with the big boys for the rest of the year? Either way, Wednesday’s trade deadline will be an interesting one.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I like chicken. No, really, I find chicken to be a particularly tasty treat, especially when cooked with delicious spices by someone who actually gives a crap. So, maybe I should be more excited about a Chick-fil-A opening next week in southwest Bakersfield. I mean, I do have fond memories of the Chick-fil-A that used to be in the Valley Plaza mall ages ago…

My mother used to take me there a few times a week to do some light shopping back in the 80’s when the Valley Plaza had actual stores to shop at. You know, book stores and music stores and toy stores? Essentially, the stuff that isn’t at the mall now. It was a quick and easy place to pick up some cool stuff.

I’d come home with a He-Man toy, or a Choose Your Own Adventure book. And, typically, I’d be stuffed with Chick-fil-A or Piccadilly or Orange Julius. Those were good times.

Being a kid, I loved looking at all the cool things I couldn’t have, like the fancy video games in the toy store windows, or the puppies at the pet store (Yes, I do realize now as an adult that those mall pet stores were an atrocity. But I was a kid then, so yay!). The mall even had a fountain inside!

The Chick-fil-A was one of the first stores to go when the mall economy went from “Hot Bestselling Books” to “Hot Topic.” They took out the pet store. The fountain was ripped down. Kiosks took up the middle of the walkways. Orange Julius was forced into food court purgatory. I don’t go to the mall so much anymore.

Bakersfield has gone without Chick-fil-A ever since the last one closed. So, I really feel like I should be more excited about the idea of a new store opening in the area after nearly two decades without. Heck, they’re even giving out a whole year of free food to the first 100 adults in line.

Yet for some reason, I just don’t care. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll stop there at some point in the next few months. The fondness of childhood memories demands it. But I won’t be camping out for free food. I won’t be flipping out like the rest of Bakersfield.

Mainly because those memories need to stay where they are, locked in childhood. The enjoyment I had from going to Chick-fil-A has nothing to do with the food itself. It’s just a good memory of good times that’ll never be replicated in exactly the same way.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Depeche Mode

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
San Francisco, CA
Shoreline Amphitheater ...
on sale:March 15th, 2009

Friday, August 14th, 2009
San Diego, CA
Cricket Wireless Amphit...
on sale:March 13th, 2009

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood Bowl
on sale:March 15th, 2009

Monday, August 17th, 2009
Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood Bowl
on sale:March 15th, 2009

Thursday, August 20th, 2009
Santa Barbara, CA
County Bowl
on sale:March 14th, 2009

So... Who do I have to blow for tickets?

Living Up To The Disappointment

Some days, I just feel like life would be so much easier if I bought a bunch of billowy dress shirts and wore makeup all the time…

Okay, let’s back up a twinge. There seems to be a great deal of confusion about who I am in real life. Frankly, it surprises me the things some people get in their heads when they read my writings. I’ve run into people who thought I’d be more goth, or more indie, or more punk, or more emo, or more geek, or more whatever in real life.

The truth is that the truth isn’t very interesting. Maybe if I were skinnier. Maybe if I were cuter. Maybe if I wore makeup. Maybe if I just weren’t who I am. I’m never going to be a cookie-cutter image from the “alt kid” issue of Vogue. And I don’t say that as some sort of badge stating how cool I am. I’m not cool. At all.

My passions personify who I am. But most people misinterpret that in a stereotypical way and get it so very wrong. I am passionate about music, hockey, and love. Maybe that doesn’t make any sense. But that is who I am.

And that causes a lot of great disappointments to a lot of folks. Bet you weren’t expecting to meet a relatively quiet guy who drinks a lot and talks about things you don’t understand and isn’t especially attractive.

I love gothic rock. I don’t own any makeup or wear tons of black. I love indie and punk and Britpop. I don’t dress like one of those “scene” kids. I could never pull it off. It’d be inauthentic coming from me. Again, that’s not some sort of declaration that I’m cooler than those kids. If anything, it makes me more disappointing.

I barely play any videogames. I’m as befuddled as you about your computer problems. I’m really not a geek. I like comic books. I don’t suck at the teat of Warren Ellis (although I did quite enjoy Nextwave). All in all, I’m just not that interesting.

So, to those who wind up meeting me in real life, I do quite apologize for not living up to whatever expectations you may or may not have. I don’t live in a box, because I was never made for the box. I just exist.

Maybe someday I’ll suffer a brain injury and wake up a far more interesting, attractive, cookie-cutter person. Until then, I’ll be a fucked up weirdo flitting about on the outskirts of society. Uncool. Unloved. Untamed. If you’re up for it, I know a lovely little dive bar downtown we can have a few drinks at…

Monday, February 23, 2009

5 Monday Music Thoughts

* The new U2 album, No Line On The Horizon, leaked last week, so just about everybody and their Mom has heard the thing at this point. I’m quite convinced at this point that it’s going to be a grower. I like it so far but I don’t love it yet. It’s like How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb filtered through Achtung Baby. The textures and structures are quite interesting, but it’s still a rather placid affair. As Jennifer pointed out to me, this seems to suit Bono’s voice in his twilight years. I guess we don’t get anymore Zooropas. I like to compare it a bit to the last few David Bowie records. They’re adult records. Mature, right? You’re certainly not going to get your pants rocked off.

Get On Your Boots - U2

* The new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, It’s Blitz, has also leaked. It’s quite lovely, actually. There’s a huge new wave influence running through the record that’s a bit unexpected, but rather welcome. It’s a logical progression, I suppose. They couldn’t stay in “garage rock” territory forever. They were never going to be as good at it as Jay Reatard or The Black Keys, so why not move towards a sonic style better suited for Karen O’s voice? The last few records were fun, but it’s going to be the next few that tell whether or not Yeah Yeah Yeahs are legendary or not.

Zero - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

* Oh, my! What is it with the last week? New Depeche Mode single? Um, yes? Thank you very much! “Wrong” is an odd choice for a lead-off single, but it’s still a fantastic song. I really don’t care what any critic thinks of them. I adore Depeche Mode and they can do no “Wrong” in my book. Yuk. Yuk. Yuk. The new album, Sounds Of The Universe, releases in April. I’m very much looking forward to it.

Wrong - Depeche Mode

* The Oscars were bizarre last night, but for me they were made even more bizarre by the fact that Peter Gabriel was nominated for a Best Original Song award and didn’t actually perform the song in question on the telecast. John Legend did it instead. Like, a minute of it. But Gabriel was in the audience. The camera flashed by him a few times. WTF? I get artistic integrity and all of that jazz, but that was just weird.

* I need this Cure covers album. Eddie Argos recommends it heartily.

I Can Has Job? No? Oh.

It’s already past noon and my phone hasn’t rang today. Normally, that’s not too unusual. My phone doesn’t ring much because few people call me and I tend to not answer my phone anyway. No offense, world, I’m just not much of a telephone person.

But today is sort of the cutoff for the job I mentioned a while back, mostly because training is supposed to start tomorrow morning. The interview went swimmingly. I got drug checked. My references were called. And then nothing. My friend, Amberlee, works there and has been trying to check in for an exact reason as to why I’m not being considered.

To this point, nothing. I was never unrealistic when it came to the job. I know the economy is terrible and hundreds of people apply for just about every job that comes along these days. I knew that the situation would have be just about perfect in order for me to get the job. What surprises me is that it really looked like the stars were aligning on this one.

Firstly, I’d be great at this job. I’m patient, calm, and friendly, for the most part. I have a background in interpersonal communications. I’m smarter than the average bear, too. And, as I said, the interview was a home run. So, I was really thinking this one was a good match. I never got to the rest of the process, though. They never vetted me with the FBI. I never took my physical.

I’m sure there’s a reason for it. I’m sure it probably has something to do with the fact that everybody needs a job right now and I was probably lapped by PhD’s and saintly church goers with dispositions like melted butter. It’s just that it all seems a little frustrating to me. I’m not quite sure how exactly I’m supposed to impress anyone these days. I’m not sure what I have to do to stick out.

The process continues, I suppose. I’ve applied elsewhere, of course. Maybe someone else will like my resume. One never knows. I would just love to get moving again. It’s been a long time without employment for me and time seems to be running out in my current situation.

So, um, onward and upward?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hockey Day In Canada

Yes, it’s Hockey Day In Canada today.

Yes, I’m watching hockey all day.

Yes, I do love Canada.

No, I’m not Canadian.

Yes, you can watch Hockey Day In Canada in the US, too, if you have the NHL Network.

Yes, the Kings play today, too.

Go Kings Go!

Excerpt 10

I couldn’t sleep last night. I just laid there on the bed, restless, listening to Television. The band, not actual television. Then Sigur Rós. Then the Fiery Furnaces. All because I couldn’t get you out of my head.

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m riddled with self-doubt. Thus, it should come as no surprise that last night was full of the usual self-doubting thoughts…

I bet she doesn’t even notice me…

And even if she did, she could never like someone like me. I’m just not her type…

Maybe if I weren’t such a bastard, maybe then she’d notice me…

All of the reasons why I like you were flowing through my head, swiftly followed by all the reasons I’m just not worth it. It’s like I’m deliberately keeping myself away from you. But I’m not, really. The truth is that I’m really not your type. The truth is that I am a bastard. The truth is that you really don’t notice me.

And that’s okay. That’s why I keep these ridiculous thoughts to myself most nights. You don’t need to know that I’m thinking about you. You don’t need to know that I like you. It’s better for our relationship that you never know. I don’t want you to feel awkward towards me. I just want to be there, from time to time, hiding in the corners of your mind. And I don’t want that to be weird for you.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Does this look good to you? This tube with the mysterious name “Braunschweiger” emblazoned across the front?


Perhaps it would look better in sandwich form?


Perhaps it would look more appetizing if you knew that braunschweiger is a smoked liver pâté?

Okay, I fully realize that I’ve revolted 99% of you, but I have a confession to make. I’m completely addicted to the stuff. Have been since childhood. It’s just the sort of product that most sane people turn their noses up at. It’s liverwurst, but even worse. It’s smoked and mushy and all sorts of wrong.

To make braunschweiger, pig livers get mashed up with other unmentionable pig parts and spices and probably some things I don’t really want to know about. It’s very German. And I’m okay with that. Anthony Bourdain would totally approve.

I’m a German American. Like Kurt Vonnegut. Or Herbert Hoover. My mother was born in Germany and my father has close familial ties with Das Mutterland. So, I grew up with all sorts of oddball German/Eastern European foods. Knödel... Black Forest anything... Rouladen...

But I fully realize that braunschweiger sounds utterly revolting. I’d probably be revolted too if I hadn’t grown up eating it. It’s wrong and delicious and awful and awesome. And if you’re ever hanging out with me, just ask for some braunschweiger between two slices of Bavarian rye. You might become addicted, too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Same As It Ever Was

I so desperately want to write these days, but I’m having a lot of trouble coming up with things to write about for a number of reasons. The first, and biggest, reason is that there is literally nothing going on in my life right now. I’m in this waiting pattern where I’m looking for work, but nothing’s really happening. I’ve had some interviews, but nothing’s come out of them yet. So, I just wait. And wait. And wait some more. Every golden avenue seems to end after a few short steps, which is rather frustrating.

In my personal life, even less is happening. I was sort of killing a lot of time going out and doing things by myself, but I’ve gotten bored with the whole process. And going out with people isn’t cutting because I don’t have a lot of friends left locally who’ll give me the time of day and the few times I have been out with friends this month have been a little weird. And not weird because of them. I’ve just sort of lost the ability to socialize properly. I just clam up and keep whatever secrets I have to myself. Trust is funny that way. Not to point any fingers, but…

I’m not really depressed or anything. That’s the funny thing. It’s worse than that. Or better, depending on how you look at it. In all honesty, I’m finding myself feeling more and more blank these days. I just don’t care. Life sucks, whoop-dee-do. I’m not sure if feeling so blank is some sort of institutionalized laziness, but it’s seeming to have that effect. I haven’t shaved all week. I need a haircut, but don’t really care about getting one. I just exist.

Hence, my lack of tangible entries here and thereabouts recently. If there were some sort of button I could push every day to update my social networking pages with “same as it ever was,” I’d be pushing that button and going back to sleep. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.

Mardi Gras?

...And this is what happens when I take my son to my sister's house. Hilarity ensues.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Linky Day

* Who knew that disliking the Anaheim Ducks so much could get me webcrawled?

* I have a top 50 blog about cats? Well, at least a #50 blog. That's funny, akshually.

* Touch & Go Records is shutting down. I'm sad.

* Moar cats join the cause.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Want To Punch This Guy

Seriously. Right. In. The. Face.

Credit for the heads up to Daisy J Dog.

BTW, Niro & Simon have a message for Mr. Glenn:

Monday, February 16, 2009

5 Monday Music Thoughts

* Does anyone else creep themselves out at night by turning out all the lights, getting drunk, and putting on The Knife’s Silent Shout?

* The new …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead album, The Century Of Self, is absolutely blowing my mind. I’m tempted to declare it their best album ever. “Isis Unveiled,” in particular, won’t leave my brain at the moment.

* Is anyone else disappointed that this week’s Flight Of The Conchords iTunes single is “Carol Brown,” instead of “Too Many Dicks On The Dancefloor?”

* Smashing Pumpkins announced that their second album, Swoon, comes out April 14. And by Smashing Pumpkins, I mean Silversun Pickups. Bwa ha ha! “Well Thought Out Twinkles” was a good single, though…

* I completely missed out on the fact that Dirty Pretty Things released their second album last summer. I also missed out on the fact that they broke up shortly thereafter. Ex-Libertines members sure have a short shelf-life when it comes to their musical endeavors. Regardless, I will remember the show at the Fonda in August of ‘06 forever. Thank you, guys...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Obsessing Over My Account

Every so often, I like to take a look at my account. By “every so often,” I mean every three or four hours. And by “take a look at my account,” I mean that I scour my account for every minute detail, as if doing so will result in a bacon-wrapped filet popping out of my monitor.

In particular, the “charts” section really gets my goat. It’s almost unfair. tabulated the spins in my iTunes for the past few years and came up with this nonsense. By their logic, I must really, really love Koji Kondo.

Do you know who Koji Kondo is? He’s a video game music composer. Yeah, I’ve apparently listened to him 432 times. Can I get an asterisk for his entry? It’s not that I have a problem with Koji Kondo. I mean, his work on the Legend Of Zelda series is, um, legendary. But I really don’t listen to him that much. My son does.

Yep, my son has his own iTunes mixes. I pay attention to the music he likes and I put those songs into mixes for him to listen to while he’s with me. He’s got mixes for day and night, which is why I’ve spun Koji Kondo some ridiculous amount.

Bowie? Pulp? Blur? Tom Waits? Yeah, that’s all me. In fact, a lot of it is me. But Koji Kondo? The Smashing Pumpkins? The Beatles? That’s mostly my son. I don’t dislike any of those artists, but I certainly don’t listen to them that much.

Ultimately, I feel like my account is sort of a cheat. I really don’t listen to he Aquabats that much, but it sure looks like I do. What if, some day, someone looks at my account as decides to judge me based on what they see inside?

“This guy likes Animal Collective, but he also listens to Michael Jackson. I don’t know if I can get on board with this one. He’s probably a pedo. Not dating him ever.” This is my fear. This is how things could go for me.

Or what if somebody ever asks why I listen to so much sad bastard music? "Wow, this guy listens to a lot of Fiona Apple. Ooooh, 'Re-Offender' by Travis? Time for this guy to get some therapy. Oh, wait, he likes Therapy? too."

In the end, I sort of deserve it. I mean, I do believe that we are what we listen to. By that logic, I'm a genre-bending, sexually-frustrated, expatriate transsexual goth with a penchant for whiskey. And I used to front The Birthday Party. Hey, wait a minute...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Confusion Is Sex

I was in high school when DGC Records started re-issuing old Sonic Youth records. By that point, I was already a fan. My sister had made me a tape of Goo in late 1990 and I was pretty much hooked from that point forward. But it wasn’t until those reissues hit the streets that I began to get an honest feel for what Sonic Youth was all about.

The Sonic Youth I fell in love with while spooling cassette tapes in Jr. High was a cleaned-up, almost listener-friendly form of a band that used to peel paint from the walls with shimmery waves of feedback in the ‘80s.

When those reissues came out, it felt like DGC was working backwards, starting with less-scary stuff like Daydream Nation. It wasn’t until 1995 that their full-length debut, 1983’s Confusion Is Sex, came out. I was in summer school, being a bad kid.

No, I wasn’t in summer school because I was a bad kid. I was just being a bad kid. I was in a program that promoted extra classes throughout the high school years so that I’d be more likely to take AP classes for college credit as a senior. What it really led to was lots of time off my senior year and as much theatre as I could legally take.

But the summer of 1995 was still “A-Game Time” to everyone around me, so I played along. I wore winter clothes all summer long. I was frustrated. I was 16. I punched a guy. I did inappropriate things I can’t really talk about. Ever. And Confusion Is Sex was my soundtrack. I listened to it, to and from school, all summer long. I went out of my way to walk both ways, just so I could listen all the way through.

Confusion Is Sex is just about unlistenable. It’s so lo-fi and tuneless that it’s borderline atonal, and that’s a large part of its charm. It’s like someone took a handheld mic and placed it just outside the window of a room a very young Sonic Youth was rehearsing in, and then tried to mix it using a broken compass and a 4-track recorder.

It’s just the sort of album a teenager shouldn’t listen to. If anything, it fed my adolescent psychoses. Every so often, on nights like tonight, I pull it back out of the collection and give it a spin. And I try to remember just what it was that I felt in those days. Just what it was that made Confusion Is Sex so monumental to my upbringing.

Dear Reggie

Dear Reggie,

Thanks for the autographed, um, photograph! You’re my favorite video game company president and it was a thrill to receive your letter in the mail yesterday. A thrill, I tell you!

Over the years, Nintendo has provided me with ceaseless excitement. In just 2008 alone, I was lucky enough to play one whole Wii game, the classic Super Smash Bros. Brawl. As much as I wanted copies of Wiggle Your Wiimote Randomly At Some Plants On The Screen 4 and Play This Fake Guitar In Some Sort Of Vague Attempt At Rhythm 6, current economic situations prevent me from being the Nintendo fan I truly want to be.

I hope you’ll accept my sincerest apologies for this discretion. I hope to return to being the blind Nintendo apologist I’ve always been in 2009. I’m really looking forward to the new slate of Wii games for this calendar year. In particular, Bow & Arrow Attack 12 and Bowling 2009 look awesome!

Your faithful servant,


PS. If you happen to run into Robert Bach or Jack Tretton, or whomever is captaining those sinking ships these days, tell them to suck it for me. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How Amanda Palmer Got Me Drug Tested

Things that ruled about today’s job interview:

* The guy interviewing me was actually interested in talking to me.

* Talking about the new Amanda Palmer record with the guy interviewing me.

* Having such a great rapport with the interviewer that I was moved ahead in the process and sent out for a drug test.

* Taking a drug test, for the first time in my life. I feel all modern and stuff.

* Finding out that not just the friend who referred me works there, but an old co-worker does, as well. Oh, and a friend-of-a-friend is an art therapist there. In other words, I’d be working with some pretty cool people.

* The realization that this job has the possibility of being very stimulating and psychologically rewarding.

I’m trying not to get too excited, but it’s hard not to. I have to pass a bunch of other stuff to actually get the job (Department Of Justice clearance, a physical, a training course, etc.), but I’m being positive about all of that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mi Familia

I went to my sister’s house last night for drinks, conversation, and the new episode of No Reservations. For whatever reason, we started talking about our family history. About how my mom’s mom was abused as a child and passed on a lot of familial German weirdness. About how my father’s brother’s kids all seemed to suffer some degree of illness, from mental to physical, for varying reasons. About how my father’s mom was bipolar. Or maybe just really, really depressed after the death of one of her sons.

We talked about how I was basically raised by my sister until the age of 11, at which point I was let free to roam about the world. About the problems in our family tree with alcoholism and how the two of us are essentially the only non-violent drunks in the bunch. About family members who were physically abused. About family members who were sexually abused. About family members who suffered worse fates.

And yet we were able to laugh about it. Because we’re us. The funny thing about my family is that, at a certain point, everyone just stopped talking about “it.” Even within my family, my family is the black sheep in the room. And this “claming up” happened when I was really, really young. This is why the information I’ve learned over the years about my family history is so patchwork. I usually have to get people drunk before I can drag any good information out of them. And, usually, I regret having bothered later.

But my sister surprised me with something before I left. She had a picture she wanted me to see. It was a picture of her, my mom, and myself in Morro Bay in 1985. I was six at the time; my sister 15. All I remember of the trip is having to wear a horrid little poncho and not wanting to be there at all. In fact, the experience colored my opinion of the central coast of California for years and years. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I came to appreciate it.

My sister remembers thinking I was being a little asshole the whole time. She told me that she didn’t really like me much until I was older. When I started being the kind of asshole she could get on-board with. My sister and I don’t really have a brother/sister relationship. That just never developed due to distance and circumstance. But we do sort of treat each other like survivors of the same war. We just get it, that’s all.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I am in love with nhLOL. It combines my love for hockey with my love for LOLing. If you also love these two things, I recommend a visit or 50.

Racist Asshole

It’s a day like any other. I drop off my son with his mother and decide to go out for lunch since I‘m already in the car. I head towards my favorite bar for no particular reason. I’m not especially intending on drinking this day; I’m just drawn to this general area of town. You can pretty much eat every genre of food on this particular intersection, save for basque, and there’s about 800 basque restaurants in town, so I’m not especially worried.

I get there and immediately run into my best friend’s stepmom and her good friend. Both bartend at this particular establishment. They ask what I’m up to and I answer. I decide to grab a sandwich at the place next to the bar (Tuna, wonderfully done, in case you were wondering) and head in to say “hello” and toss back a few.

In short order, we are joined by several regulars and another bartender. To keep count, including the actual bartender, there are four bartenders in the bar. I’m drinking vodka tonics with them. I’m quite happy, actually. The day is turning out to be rather lovely. I listen to their stories. I try to forget that I’m starting to hit that age where everything seems over, but there might be better things around the corner.

There’s another guy in the place, who saunters over to our end of the bar. We’re singing along to a Madonna song. “Holiday,” I believe. I’m not quite picking up on what he’s doing. He tries to get some attention. I assume the bartenders remember him. They don’t quite remember him, but they’re friendly people. I think he’s making a bad pass at them, starting at the end and heading his way towards me. He tries another tact. He starts to tell a joke:

“It’s a regular school day and the teacher wants to play a video for the class. The teacher says, ‘I’m going to go get the video. Everyone stay seated while I’m gone.’ When the teacher leaves, three kids run up to the chalkboard and scrawl on it. The teacher walks into the classroom and notices something on the chalkboard: T. T. T. 1A. She looks at the children and asks, ‘Who wrote this?’ Keith raises his hand. ‘Well, what does it mean, Keith?’ asks the teacher. ‘It means, 'To The Teacher 1 Apple,'’ he replies. She sees the second note on the chalkboard: T. T. T. 2A . She asks the children, ‘Who wrote this?’ Little Bobby answers, ‘I did, teacher.’ ‘Well, Bobby, what does it mean?’ Bobby says, ‘It means, 'To The Teacher 2 Apples.’’ Finally, she notices the third message on the chalkboard: F. U. C. K. 3A. The teacher is, unsurprisingly, quite shocked. She asks, ‘Who wrote this?!?’ Little Michelle Obama raises her hand. ‘Michelle, what does it mean?’ Michelle replies, ‘From Us Colored Kids, 3 Apples!’”

My best friend’s stepmom and I immediately jump up from the bar and head away from the man. She runs to the jukebox to put another song on. I head outside to smoke a cigarette. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to translate what the two of us were thinking:

“Racist asshole.”

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I always wondered what my blog would look like with bacon. Now I know. can make any website 100% more bacon-y. Yes, I am bored.

For further amusement, you can click this: Cornify. Click often.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I haven’t done much this week while interviewing to really “upgrade” (or “downgrade,“ really) my personal style. I’ve been applying the same technique to these interviews that I’ve been applying in everyday life. I’m not faking a thing. If you don’t like me, you don’t like me. On top of that, I don’t give a fuck if you don‘t like me. I spent far too many years of my life punishing myself for what other people think of me to care anymore.

But one of the jobs I interviewed for needed a slight personal change to interview for. The job is one of those “manly men” kind of positions, so I did the unthinkable: I took off my bracelets. Yep, those ever-present bracelets that cause so many straight guys to question my sexuality. Those bracelets that so many girls laugh at when they meet me. Yep, those things.

After the interview, I kept them off for the rest of the day. Mainly, because I’m utterly fascinated by my wrists. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them. Obviously, they’re the blinding white spots at the base of my arms from the ages spent being shielded from the sun. But beyond that, I don’t remember my wrists being so wrinkly. When did that happen? Did the wrist gnomes sneak in under my bracelets when I was asleep?

(Edit. 2-8-09. 6:15pm. A photo, from October 18th, 2008, for those who haven't had the opportunity to bear witness to my usual display of plumage. L-O-L-Z.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Liebel/Bored Guy

Who likes job interviews? No one, I’m sure. We all have our own little ways of dealing with the pressure to perform. Some imagine the interviewer naked. Others pretend that they already have a job and don’t give a shit if they get this one or not. I, however, am trained in the journalistic arts. I like to pretend that I’m interviewing the interviewer about their job. Try it some time, it’s fun!

One of the interviews I had this week was truly awful. Well, a few of them were awful, but this one was especially wretched. He was employing the “make the job sound as gruesome as possible to see if they’re still interested” technique.

Only, he couldn’t go all the way with it. He’d talk about the excessive hours or the measly pay, but none of it was really coming through. You see, it’s hard to believe a guy’s spiel when he keeps rolling his eyes at you.

The interview took up an entire hour and the guy looked exhausted ten minutes in. But not like he’d just run a marathon or participated in, ahem, “adult” activities in the storeroom before meeting me. No, it was the exhaustion that comes with dealing with people in a cordial manner when you’d rather just punch them in the face and be done with it.

So, I entered “shock journalism” mode. We had our own little Frost/Nixon moment. I asked him why people fail at this particular job. He rolled his eyes, sighed, and answered the question devoid of any soul. I asked him about any peculiar road stories he might have in his years in the business. He rolled his eyes, sighed, and answered the question whilst daydreaming about David Soul.

It’s important to keep in mind when going on a job interview that as much as you hate doing interviews, the person on the other end of the table probably hates giving them just as much, if not more.

I can say this from personal experience. I’ve had to interview prospective employees in the past. And every single time, I felt like rolling my eyes and sighing. Just once, I would have liked to have said, “Hey man, just uh, say something for awhile, okay? I’m gonna keep my brain occupied while you do that by daydreaming about Starsky & Hutch.”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Things About Me… Ugh

If you have an account on Facebook, the chances are good that you’ve been tagged on this “25 Things About Me” meme thingamabob. I know I’ve been tagged a good half-million times already. I was fully hell-bent on ignoring the thing until it went away. But then it got to the point where it was ridiculous. Everyone tagged me. The Slackmistress tagged me. Your Mom tagged me. So did Discotrash. I’m even eyeballing Lizet on this one.

So, it is with some mild annoyance that I trudge up 25 things about me that you didn’t know and probably didn’t care to know. I’ll receive the proper credit for it because my blog feeds to Facebook. A special hello to you if you’re reading my blog from Facebook. Come look at my blog for realsies. It’s much more colorful than looking at it on Facebook.

Also, I’m ignoring the rules by not tagging anyone. I simply refuse to let this vile plague get past my doorstep. Lord Bob probably wouldn’t let me past my doorstep without paying a toll anyway.

So, without any further ado:

1. One of my cats loves you and the other one hates you. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which.

2. I’ve never eaten at Red Lobster in my life. I have no desire to wear a bib again until I’m 85 years-old. Plus, I’d rather eat fish and fish products at place slightly less vapid-looking.

3. I have a tendency to entirely miss out on certain pop stars. I turn off my brain and walk away when such “artists” are present. In fact, looking at the Billboard Hot 100 right now, I can confirm for you that I’ve never in my life heard a song by a band called “The All-American Rejects.” I don’t know who Taylor Swift is. The Fray? T.I.? Saving Abel? No fucking clue. I can hear the sound of soulless mainstream “product” (and I do mean “product,” not music) from a mile away and I just have to run in the opposite direction when it‘s present. Sorry. If that makes me a “music snob,” too fucking bad. My taste in music is better than yours anyway.

4. On the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum, I’m one of those freaks who says he likes Can and actually means it. I’m not just a Radiohead fan trying to make himself look smart.

5. I was in Little League as a kid. I was a pitcher. I was a terrible pitcher. I quit playing because I was bored and I wanted to spend more time being bad.

6. I was a DM. I won’t translate that for those in the audience who don’t what that means. If it makes you feel any better, I wasn’t a DM in high school. I was just very, very bored in college. The upside is that I made some really great friends during that time.

7. For those of you who have never met me in real life, I don’t talk much. Bet you wouldn’t have ever guessed that!

8. I did a summer journalism internship thingie at a local community college back in high school. That summer, rumors of Lollapalooza coming to Kern County were rampant. I was sent to cover the story in Buttonwillow, where the event organizers were scouting a speed track as a location. Instead of writing a proper story about the festival, I chose to write a humorous piece about how Buttonwillow is a town of one “historic” tree and three houses. No one complained.

9. I’m listening to Dan Auerbach’s solo album as I write this.

10. Growing up, my bedroom walls were covered in posters of NHL goaltenders. I used to buy the pinup magazines full of posters (back when stores sold such things) and plaster my walls with Darren Eliot and Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr.

11. When I was a little kid, I used to have a recurring nightmare about the guy who turns to jelly in Airplane!. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure it was because I was too young to get the joke.

12. It drives me nuts when people who have a low tolerance for alcohol feel the need to match me drink for drink. Not only am I usually much larger than they are, but I’m also a more regular drinker than most. I’d much rather they pace themselves, instead of getting piss-drunk in 30 minutes.

13. I’ve read Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad three times and have been bored every single time…

14. …but I love Apocalypse Now. Go figure.

15. My sister is nine years older than me. As a result, we don’t really have a brother-sister relationship. It’s more like “good friends” who see each other occasionally.

16. When I wrote for The Bakersfield Californian back in the late 90s, I used to get weekly hate mail. It was rather funny, actually.

17. Speaking of The Bakersfield Californian, I once wrote something about using all the ink in a Bic ballpoint pen without losing the pen first. The Bic corporation got their hands on the story and sent me a manila envelope full of pens as a “thank you.”

18. The only things I miss about college are the children’s theatre classes I used to take. Those classes were both freeing and thrilling.

19. The last theatrical, non-children’s, production I appeared in was absolutely terrible. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a college production of a Shakespearean play. It was awful. Just brutally awful. And the experience of putting it on was even worse. It soured me on the theatre for a lot longer than I would have thought at the time.

20. I have a plan for the day David Bowie dies. First, I’m probably going to cry for two and a half hours while listening to The Berlin Trilogy. Then, I’ll need three other people to get in a car with me and drive all over town with the windows down, screaming the lyrics to the Scary Monsters album at anyone we pass. This really is important to me.

21. I honestly prefer the taste of diet colas to regular ones. High Fructose Corn Syrup leaves my mouth with an obnoxiously sticky feeling, so I avoid drinking regular sodas as much as possible. If I can find sodas made with cane sugar, I'll drink those. But generally, I drink diet colas because the chemical aftertaste doesn't offend me as much as having a mouth full of sticky.

22. I lost my virginity at the age of 14. It wasn’t that exciting, frankly.

23. My mother was not born in this country. She is, in fact, very German. But what makes it interesting is that, upon moving to this country, she stopped speaking German and worked to eliminate her accent because kids made fun of her. As a result, I learned next to nothing about my heritage as a kid.

24. I was in a band in high school and I actually thought we were good enough to make it. Regardless of whether we were good enough, I should have known better.

25. I’m constantly torn between agonizing over the life I no longer have and chomping at the bit to enjoy the new life I could be having right now. Neither feeling is especially winning at the moment.

Oh, Ceiling Cat, that was exhausting. I blame everyone who tagged me. You guys are cruel. Oh, so cruel.

"Life Is Short, Filled With Stuff"

Lux Interior, lead singer of the legendary psychobilly band The Cramps, has passed away. Words just can’t express just how sad I am right now. Thank you, Lux. Thank you so much for everything…

(5:10pm update: Pitchfork has published an article on Lux's passing. It does a nice job of getting to the heart of why he was so important.)

Lord Bob Leaves A Present

If a cat saunters up to your house with a feather in his mouth and attaches it to your front door, is that the kitteh equivalent of a mafioso leaving a decapitated horse head in your bed? If so, I think I might be in trouble.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I’m feeling very annoyed and snarky today, but I’m doing my best not to subject anyone to my vitriol. I am not, unfortunately, Anthony Bourdain. I don’t get paid to travel across the world and tease those who deserve to be chastised. Therefore, being snarky would likely be a detriment to my current situation. I can’t let myself forget just how easily some people fly of the handle and overreact to the simplest of observations.

I could say something colloquial like, “Don’t dish out what you can’t take,” but I’m guessing it’s more complicated than that. I can do both. And not everybody else can. So, annoyed and snarky Michael will be a little kinder today. He’ll keep his mouth shut around certain people. Because heaven forbid the rest of the world grows a set.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Excerpt 9

I don’t know you. There, I said it. I don’t know you. I have never stood before you and attempted to speak in your presence. I’m pretty sure this is a good thing. I could never speak to you. And I never should…

I’ve been hearing your name for years, always in context. As in, “Oh, I know this really cool girl named…“ I know your name and I know where you’re from. I know who your favorite comedian is. I know what kind of clothes you wear. I know that you’re kind. I know what you do for a living and I know how much it encapsulates every ounce of your soul.

But we’ve never met. There’s no specific reason for it. We’ve had chances to meet in the past. If I pursued, if I stepped out of my world, my fears, I would know you. But I’ve never pursued. I’ve never bothered. And it’s not because you aren’t worth the effort. You are definitely worth the effort. It’s just that I know something else about you. I know that I’m just not good enough for you.

I’m not talking about my physical appearance or my finances or anything superficial and dumb like that. You’ve never struck me as the sort of person who cares about how someone looks or how much money they make or what kind of car they have.

What I’m talking about is my soul. You are a shining light in this world, as cliched as it sounds. The reason why I’m not good enough for you is simply that you are so much better than me. I’d never deserve you, and I certainly wouldn’t subject you to me and my complicated bullshit.

You’re the sort of person that others look up to, and you probably don’t even know it. You’d never notice it, because you’re not self-conscious like that. Maybe it sounds like I’m putting you on a pedestal. But, hell, I’m not the first or the last. And I’m not wrong.

I know what would happen if I finally met you. I simply wouldn’t be able to speak properly. I’d stammer and stutter and sputter my way through introductions, assuming you don’t know who I am. But of course you know who I am, in context. And, knowing you, you’d be kind about it.

And Then All Hell Broke Loose!

It’s so strange these days how life seems to simultaneously grind to a halt and speed forward with alarming alacrity. None of us appear to be really moving forward in our lives. People are losing their jobs or they’re getting their hours reduced, keeping just about everyone from really moving forward with their hopes/dreams/ambitions. Yet life just keeps speeding forward without regard to these new conditions.

We’re all getting older, in spite of the hiccups of the global economy. We’re still talking about the new season of Lost and watching the Super Bowl with impunity. And that’s probably a good thing. If we spent all our time worrying about what’s wrong with “The Royal We,” we’d probably be in even worse shape.

You still woke up this morning. Maybe your cat or dog said, “Hello.” You probably had breakfast or lunch or both. You did whatever it is that you have to do to make yourself feel better. To cope. And that’s totally okay. I’m not too terribly worried about it. You’re going to be okay. That’s not me being condescending. That’s just the truth.

(Post script: Today is my sister's birthday. Yes, it's the day after mine. Yes, it's also Groundhog's Day. Any Groundhog's Day cards will force my sister to cut you. Yes, it's been done before. Anyhoo, Happy Birthday, sis! I won't tell the world how old you are because I'm on my way there, too!)

I Have Offended Somebody

Wow. Really, just wow.

Okay, so I’ve had this sort of thing going on in the background of my life involving a girl who started following me on Twitter last fall. She found me through our mutual LA friends, since I occasionally get to have conversations with them through the Twitter. She wanted to meet me since we both live in Bakersfield and, apparently, thought I was cute (DON‘T LAUGH! Okay, you can laugh…).

We wound up not meeting for a couple of months. When we did finally meet in late November, things went really weird really fast. We went out three times the last week of the month. In those three times, she jumped down my throat (literally), got jealous of my friends, and was totally weird, rude, and awkward towards everyone we came across. She was nice, but I could immediately tell that getting into a relationship with her would not go very well.

Before I go any further, let me just state for the record that she REALLY IS a nice person in a lot of ways. But she’s also, well, kind of crazy. I made an oblique reference to her in a public blog and she posted a reply that was very, ahem, offensive in regards to my, ahem, person in said public blog. Before I woke up and even saw this response, she sent me a txt message essentially saying, “I see how it is, I hope you have a nice life.” *blink, blink*

I deleted the comment and everything and she proceeded to call me about 10 times over the span of an hour. Eventually, everything sort of figured itself out. I told her that I wasn’t interested in getting into a relationship with her because I didn’t think it would work. But I was more that willing to try just being friends with her.

But even that didn’t go so well. She’d get drunk and cry. She’d proposition me. She outright tried to, ahem, do stuff to me. And I kept trying to let her down the gentlest way I could. A few weeks ago, we were hanging out. She got drunk again. She propositioned me again. After we parted ways, she mentioned on Twitter that she was in trouble. I asked what was going on and she told me,

“My boyfriend doesn’t like you and he doesn’t like it when we go out.”

*blink, blink* Wait, what? She was doing all of this while she had a boyfriend? OMFG! I was sincerely freaked out. So, I did my best to back off of her and be as blank and noncommittal as possible in regards to our friendship. I wasn’t rude or anything, I just didn’t give her any hook to hang her hat on. I didn’t let her drink around me. I just tried to let things be as calm as possible.

A few days ago, she txts me freaking out about my birthday. She wanted to come but wanted me to EXPRESSLY invite her in a personal way. I told her that everyone was invited. But she wanted me to make things about her. Not surprisingly, with certain of my friends she was rude to confirmed to be in attendance, she didn’t show up.

So, last night, she sent me a bunch of messages over Twitter upset about what an “asshole” I’ve been to her. I basically replied that I hadn’t done anything to her and I was tired of her always assuming I was mad at her or saying things about her. Honestly, she interpreted nearly everything I said over the months I knew her, regardless of who they were about, as being about her.

I went to sleep and woke up to find that she had blocked me on Twitter and had left me a txt telling me off. I was like, wtf? What’s going on? And she proceeded to send me a series of txt messages telling me what a bastard I am. My responses were kept very impersonal, so as not to play into it. It just made her say nastier things. I’m an insane, alcoholic, bastard and she never wants to talk to me again.

And the whole thing is funny to me, because the number of people who ACTIVELY hate me in this world is small. Really small. And I really didn’t do anything to her, outside of not getting into a relationship with her.

That was my morning. How was yours?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Hardly Part

Vodka. VIP. Photographic evidence. “Aaaaaaaaaand you’re naked.” Vodka. Kiss on the lips. Chocolate. Singha. “That’s not my name! That’s not my name! That’s not my name!” Vodka. Mexicali. “C’mon, let’s get high.” La-a. Vodka. From passive to aggressive to just not being there at all. Lemon drop martinis. Trigun. Police checkpoint. “What did you do in there?” Tee hee hee! Vodka. “He’s right behind me, isn’t he?” Comparing tattoos. Frightening the norms. "They stole the sidewalk!" Breaking into the kitchen to borrow a knife. “I smoked out a Vietnam vet!” Vodka.