Sunday, September 28, 2008

My morning paper has the scores, the human interest stories, and the obituaries, oh yeah

Bad Religion's 'Stranger Than Fiction' is the most important album in my life.

6 May 1995.

When we got too old to have birthday parties, my folks would take us to dinner and whatever we wanted (always a movie). I can't remember where we ate, but I am betting it was Ruby River. I didn't want to see any movies, so we somehow ended up at Media Play. I went of searching while my parents were looking for whatever.

My friend Wes had lent me Stranger Than Fiction a few weeks earlier (somebody put it on a blank tape for him) and I listened to it all weekend while I was finishing a school report (that took all weekend, except the two Jazz-Rockets playoff games that I went to) while my sisters watched and re-watched a what seemed to be a real dumb movie with Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta ('Corina Corina' or something) in the same room.

I thought it was a real cool album, and when I saw it at Media Play, I asked my parents if I could get it. Now, this was risky. First, they used to never just get something for no reason. When I was a few years younger, I convinced my mom to get my the new U2 album for no reason. The old man found out, and hid it away until Christmas (I got it in July) because he couldn't think of a reason for me to earn it. Second, once my pop and I went and bought me an album with money I saved. I bought Primus' Pork Soda, because I thought 'My Name is Mud' was the coolest song around. On the way home from getting Pork Soda, my dad made me stick the tape in the player and he disected every work of the song.
"Kiss him upside the cranium with an aluminum baseball bat?"
"Put him in the ground before he starts to smell?"
It ruined Pork Soda for me. I couldn't listen to it hardly at all and was so mad at myself for not getting Violent Femmes like I was considering ('Blister in the Sun' was as cool as 'My Name Is Mud').

My dad took a look at Stranger Than Fiction and saw the song titles. "Infected? What's that about?" "Nothing bad," I truthfully said. Maybe it was because of my impending birthday, but they let me get it. Thankfully, we didn't get a car with a CD player for three more years, so this album couldn't be ruined.

When we got back home that night, my sister came out and told us that my grandpa had called and said that my great grandpa had died. It was actually kind of good news. The funeral was on my birthday and it was a great birthday because I missed school and it was a cool funeral.

Two weeks later, we went to California, and that it is when I really figured out how great Stranger Than Fiction was. I had been listening to the second Stone Temple Pilots album a lot before that trip, but after the trip, I no longer had use for it.

On that trip, while up late one night, I also saw this:

(gratitudes to Bryton for the video)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City

'I honestly believe Cinderella was one of the bands who were underrated by almost everyone, except possibly fourteen-year-old girls. Maybe I don't give mall chicks enough credit; maybe it's time to admit that fourteen-year-old girls are the only people in America who truly understand what coolness is supposed to look like.'

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Me vs. the Internet

A few months ago, Bryton from Microsuede quipped, 'I'm always amazed by how swell life is when I shut down and put away my computer.' Reading that likely made most of you whimsically think, 'Ah, without the Internet,' then you moved on to another site and then another and another until it is time for you to go to bed.

Right now, I have two Internet windows open and am listening to iTunes. All day at work (did I mention that I have a new job? well I do), I sit in front of a computer using a program that is Internet-based and tens of times each day, I open up other windows and check my emails and blogs and boards. On the Gentle Tyrants podcast this week, Rob talked about hating his job and using his impending honeymoon as the reward-slash-break in the action to motivate him. I don't hate my job, but I use the Dubdubdub as my between work motive: complete this much and I can get back to the Web. Good for me for being a goal setter.

But what the heck? Over the last seven years, I think the Internet could be classified as an addiction of mine. I can't get enough. Free time becomes Internet time and Internet time spills into sleep time. When I use the computers up at school, study time became Internet time. Et cetera.

My first taste of this Web was back in the early 90s. My cousin had this thing called Prodigy (I think). Right now, I am resisting eliminating the preceding two lines and replacing them with, 'A thing called Prodigy was the fire starter'. To this day, all that I know about Prodigy was that it gave sports scores that I usually had to wait until the next evening for. Which, right there is a mind melter. Waiting until the evening for news? I know it happened, but I have a hard time believing it. Can you fathom living and not knowing exactly what is happening in the world until the evening after it happened (or the morning if your family subscribed to The Salt Lake Tribune)?

Hold up. This is supposed to be an anti-Internet piece....
I'll get back to it.

Sometime in the 90s, the Internet happened. It was so subtle that I can't pinpoint it. I remember sitting in my friend Doug's basement late one night and hopping on to a chat board and telling strangers that George Brett was a better third baseman than Wade Boggs or somebody. It was incredible. I had found people to discuss sports with whenever I wanted to. The next night, I told my dad about how great it was while he was barbequeing hamburgers. I told him about talking sports and his interest was lukewarm. I wanted it bad, though, so I said something that I should have known better than to say because asking was the kiss of death for me when it came to my pop during those years: 'So, I think we need Internet.' He shot it down and backed up his shots with possibly good points (bias makes the validity of his points questionable, but I will bury the hatchet and give him the benefit of the doubt). I'm not sure, but I bet that that was when I knew I was never going to makeout with a pretty girl because I never got what I needed in a reallyreally want sort of way (then again). It hurt to know that there were sports conversations happening while I was still playing regular Nintendo and watching network television.

Though my family still hasn't put cable in their television set, once I took matters into my own hands and bought a Playstation and my own TV to play it on, they upgraded their video game system, attaining the level of the original XBOX. And we got Internet. While I thought it would never happen that one night my dad told me why we didn't need it, it happened within a year or so. Unfortunately, it turned out that good sports discussions were hard to find, but there were more sites devoted to ska bands than my appetite even called for. I could hear a band on a comp(ilation), then read about them on the Web. Most times, they had already broken up because band on compilations usually don't last long. But still, I had the 411.

My Internet use didn't really go beyond ska bands, except on the rare occasion that I researched 80s TV shows or movies, until my friend James went on his mission. I obtained his email address and set one of my own up. I wish I knew what my original email address was, but I don't. In fact, I can't even tell you who my email service was through. But email was great, even if James was the only person that I emailed and most of our conversation were about the Spice Girls.

I don't know where I am going with this. Is it a boring history of the Internet or a discussion of the downfall of humanity? I think I already proved my point of the Internet quickly changing everyone's life in a span of about five years. Maybe it is time to make another point.

Okay, so anyway, I went on my mission. My old man said that somebody had set up a website for our mission, so on one of my first few days back home, I set up an email account and joined the Canada Edmonton webpage. The Internet had changed over the course of two years. The only thing the same was Yahoo!.

My post-mission boredom inspired me to find message boards devoted to college football. Finally, I found the sports discussions that I wanted. This was a horrible move, though. Message boards became a bigger part of my existence that I really want to admit. First, there were sports message boards. Then more general message boards. If not for message boards, I bet I would be done with school by now and I bet I would have done pretty well. Something about message boards grabbed me, though. I always liked discussing stuff with people, and they let me.

Message boards begat social networking sites which begat Youtubes and so on until I am sitting here with two windows open and listening to iTunes, a cluttered situation that is hard to clean up.

About a year ago, I started to realize what a slave I had become and decided to get all Harriet Tubman and free myself. For some reason, it has been extremely hard to not sit in front of a screen clicking links and hitting refresh, waiting for something to happen (and usually doesn't happen).

Here's the thing: I bet I am in the 50th-percentile of Internet addiction, and I don't think I am in denial when declare that. Really, you're probably worse.

Here's the other thing: the Internet can be pretty great. One can keep up with the news in an up-to-the-minute fashion, stay abreast of music, and learn weird stuff about famous murderers of the last century (as Lisa and I did last fall -- thank you wikipedia). One can also come into contact with good people like the aforementioned Bryton.

It's just that it all gets to be so much and too much. The Internet and cellular phones are everywhere all the time. In fact, I think the Internet has bred a new category of intelligence. You know, those kids who are always up to date on the latest youtube, the latest way to get free music and movies or the latest hilarious link. He is also probably the first person to Rick Roll you (and bless him for it). Such a kid is Internet Intelligent.

I digress. The Internet has become something that life revolves around and maybe we shouldn't let it so much. I mean, I still want you all there on gchat on the rare occasion that I am on and I will me ticked if you stop writing your blogs, but come on people, be people.

I guess what I am saying is remember sometimes what it was all like before the Internet.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

She's the cheese and I'm the macaroni

This evening after work ended, I headed home, stopped to pick something up, finished the drive to my home, put on some nice clothes, got back into the car, picked something else up, drove some more until I reached my destination where I knocked on Lisa's door. She was asleep. Awkward.

I was nervous.

All I wanted to do was give her these:

and one of these:

I woke her up and presented my offerings and asked her a question. At first she was all:

But then she was like:

and we were totally:

And here is what we look when we are dressed up all nice (read: photo taken last weekend near Mt. Hood in Oregon):

(You know how I do)