Completely Unrelated Random Ramblings

Hello faithful blog brothers and sisters! Haven’t had many thoughts worth sharing lately, so I’ve been quiet. Luckily, today there’s actually a few things brewing so, pull up a chair, and let your cup runeth over. Allow the following thoughts, quips and anecdotes to enter your cerebrum or cerebellum or whichever part of the brain filters confused ramblings into epic manifestos. Ready to awed? No? Good, I thrive on lesser expectations. Let the rambling commence:

  • The confederate flag. Starting off heavy I know, but according to Facebook it’s required that we all choose sides and then fight to the death. So, here’s my high horsed opinion. The confederate flag shouldn’t be a part of any government building or entity, but private citizens or businesses (this includes TV stations) should absolutely be able to make their own decisions about it. However, the states using it as their state flag are endorsing old values that have demeaned, oppressed, and currently insult a good portion of their own population. A government “by the people” is inconsistent with this oppressive symbol. Now, as far as private citizens go, it’s your right to wave the stars and bars, but it’s also my right to call you an asshole for doing so. That’s the first amendment in action m’fer!
  • Onto the lighter side of flag waving. How bout dem soccer gals! That was fun. I always like watching the women’s U.S. team. As an American I will now go back to not caring about soccer (except for the occasional Alex Morgan image searches). I’m only human. 
  • Saw my favorite comedian/podcaster, Marc Maron, last week at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ. Great show. The guy is so raw and personal, and  creates such a great connection with the audience. It also helps that the self doubting rage monster living in my head might be his twin separated at birth. 
  • Also incorporated some afternoon bar time before the show with The Lady. Maybe we’re aging quick in our mid thirties, but I’ll take a quiet chill bar on a Sunday afternoon over a crowded noisy douchefest on a Saturday night. 
  • Today I found myself giving relationship advice to a female co-worker. That was unexpected. Hope I didn’t say anything too stupid. Tried to keep it light and jokey so she wouldn’t be embarrassed. Probably shouldn’t have said anything. Now she’s gonna be mentally scarred after taking my half assed advice. Need to bring in one of those flashy thingies from M.I.B. and erase her memory tomorrow.
  • I don’t get millenials. They seem so self involved and emotional, but over the stupidest things. They all have this look in their eye that seems to say “I feel so bad for myself because of that completely meaningless inconsequential thing that means nothing. Don’t you feel bad for me?!” But I have a theory about this. Millenials are being raised by the gen xers who were raised by baby boomers. The baby boomers in large were pretty laxed in the emotional support department with their gen x kids. A lot of gen x kids grew up disconnected from their parents, and now they’re over compensating by endulging every emotional whim of their annoying millenial kids. So, as it goes with many of the world’s ills (war, pollution, income inequality, etc.) millenials are just another big F up by the baby boomers.

Any other sociological quandarys I can tackle for you? Shit, I got unqualified opinions on countless topics. What would you like to know? The one true religion? Meaning of life? Nothing’s off limits here (except for maybe relationship advice to female co-workers). Then I flashy thing you.

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Marc Maron and The Ziplock Purse

I really like the Marc Maron WTF podcast, and last Christmas The Lady gave me Maron’s book, Attempting Normal. Per usual I read the first chapter as soon as I got it, liked it, then for no reason I let it sit there collecting dust for the next few months. 

Last week though I needed a distraction while having to wait in a sterile, official and intimidating setting, so I blew the dust off the paperback cover, tucked it under my arm, and proceeded to my place of obligation. When I arrived I followed the official “GO HERE FOR SUCH AND SUCH” signs, and found a seat. Feeling anxious about the ensuing proceedings, I opened my book, and tried to figure out where I left off since I never use a bookmark for some reason. 

I skimmed past the chapter entitled Two Prostitutes while being interrupted by a pleasant, but obviously crazy young lady who was confused about the start time. How did I know she was crazy? Well, she definitely had the prerequisite wide eyed hyper focused stare, and although she was dressed relatively clean and appropriately, her purse was a ziplock freezer bag through which I could see all of its contents (makeup, bills and Marlboro Menthols). For some reason the translucent purse equaled insanity to me. This probably says more about me than her. Anyway, ziplock girl went away, and I went back to my book. 

I found the chapter entitled Guitar which I vaguely remembered, and decided that must have been where I left off. Feeling annoyed and anxious I tried to ignore the old couple arguing about where to sit, and tried to read. Maron talked about discovering music for the first time in his dad’s station wagon, and how Buddy Holly was a spooky hero that spoke from the grave. I immediately felt a little less anxious, and smiled thinking about a long ride with my dad when he played his Beatles tape the whole way, and music grabbed ahold of me for the first time. 

My happiness was fleeting as a big heavy wooden door opened, and we were ushered into a larger room where my obligation would ultimately be fulfilled. Unfortunately before that could happen there would more waiting. So, again I found a seat, and was careful to be inconspicuous with my coffee, hence the official “NO FOOD OR DRINK” sign. I was so annoyed. Just in a bad mood.  I had been there an hour, and proceedings did not seem to be moving along. Conversation around me of which I did not participate was too loud to resume reading, and centered around complaints and misery related to our shared occupied space. Eventually the noise tapered off and I resumed reading. 

Maron continued to wax poetic about his early experiences with music, and when I got to the part about Chuck Berry my stupid annoying day was completely changed, and a smile came across my face that would stay there the rest of the day. He was talking about how a guy at school had showed him how to play the opening riff to Roll Over Beethoven… 

“I went home and tried it, it worked, and the entire world changed. I had it, the key to music. I was ecstatic. I was probably the only fifteen year old kid in the world in 1977 who was beside himself because he could play a Chuck Berry lick.” 

And I smiled, and closed my book. I understood 100% what he was talking about. I didn’t need to read another word. I was completely at ease, and full of positivity. A fellow traveler had shared an experience that was so relatable and similar to mine, and it gave me a great sense of validation, and connectivity. I was entirely grateful, and my perspective was completely changed for the better. I was even inspired to start blogging again, and did so that very night. 

That’s something good writing, or really any other form of art can do, and I’ll take it as a lesson for this blog going forward. To be able to take people somewhere emotionally where they otherwise would not be is what it’s all about. Thanks to Marc Maron. Attempting Normal is a great read so far.

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Podcasts- They Don’t Suck!

I am very surprised to have become a fan of the relatively new art form known as Podcasting. As a long time listener of the legend, Howard Stern I was kind of a dick in my attitudes towards the pod people. Howard truly is my hero, and I thought there’s no way these “pretenders” could dare dabble in his trade. I actually plan to do a proper and lengthy post about Howard, and his affect on me , and how I see the world, but I need some time to wrap my head around that. Anyway, after a few years of dismissing the art form I’ve totally turned around on the subject of podcasters.

A few I regularly listen to include WTF with Marc Maron, The Diary of Jen Kirkman and The Nerdist with Chris Hardwick. All three are talented comedians with an appreciation for dark humor. Each has their own original take on life, and all are great at expressing themselves in an engaging way that keeps you listening.

WTF’s Maron is a 50 year old guy with the heart and spirit of a 20 year old. He regularly rants about the mundane, but never comes off as a curmudgeon like most people his age would. You empathize with him, and smile as he talks himself down acting as his own therapist. The show is interview based, and his guests run the gamut from mainstream Hollywood actors to obscure musicians to all sorts of comedians. No matter how big or small the guest, Marc gives each his undivided attention, interest and curiousity.

The Diary of Jen Kirkman has been a revelation for me. Kirkman literally sits alone in her bedroom talking into a microphone attached to an ipad. She’ll just take you through whatever events in her life that seem interesting to her, and have you hanging on every word. She doesn’t go for huge laughs. It’s not needed. The key to Jen Kirkman is her ability to be so honest and down to Earth at the same time. Jen truly doesn’t give a fuck, but is also a sweetheart. And, she’s so punk rock. If she saw this, she’d probably tell me to get a life, but with a smile.

The Nerdist is probably the most fun of the three. Chris Hardwick has the energy of Doctor Who #10 only with blond hair and much more Americaner. Yeah, I know I said Americaner. Let it go. Anyway, Hardwick will regularly riff with his partners, comedians Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, creating some real funny moments from real conversation. Laughs are usually centered around their nerdy obsessions that will include the day’s current superhero movie or some classic video game they played as kids. Their guests are always relaxed and fit in seamlessly.

So, for those of you who are sick of the boring shticky commercially over-loaded radio guys, or just want something different and with substance check out a podcast. There’s a zillion besides these, and they’re free! Don’t settle for the shit being shoveled at you. There’s still cool stuff out there in the world.

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