Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meaningless Blog Endorses Obama!

To infinity and beyond!

I support and will be voting for Barack Obama.

There I said it. I will admit that I have been sitting in front of my monitor for no less than five minutes gathering the nerve to type those words and begin this post. The reason for that is that I have not always been comfortable discussing politics. To me, it's a very complicated, confusing, challenging thing and it's difficult to ever feel like you are standing on solid ground. Just when you feel like you know who you are and what you believe, you're presented with a different perspective and your equilibrium begins to sway as if you were drunk and the room started spinning. It doesn't make it any easier to brave a political discussion when you know there is a good chance you will be belittled by someone with an opposing view. Just today, one of my oldest and best friends asked me if I was ready to "grow up" and support Romney and the Republicans. I'm very immature, ya see. I have no doubt that he's been anxiously awaiting this post so that he can attack any point I make with his signature brand of superiority and smugness.

It's the age we're living in. Of course, throughout history there has always been great passion in both political parties and fierce, vehement disagreements, but the difference these days, I feel, is that there is a fundamental lack of respect between people on a level much bigger than politics. We live in the age of sarcasm and spite. It's a media-saturated world with countless talk shows irresponsibly sensationalizing and slanting everything in the name of ratings until there's not much left but a cesspool of misinformation and propaganda. Couple this environment with the speed of information and communication and, I believe, people often rush to judgment. They form rigid opinions about things they actually know nothing about and don't take the time to seek more information or, God forbid, wait for it. What's worse is that they come to a place where anyone who doesn't agree with them must be an idiot and most certainly an enemy. We live in a time when people kill each other over disagreements on sports. The climate for political discussion isn't quite that dangerous, but it's every bit as volatile with a scathing hiss taking the place of a gun or a fist.

Then I realized something while playing softball. I'm not a great player, I have less experience than most of my friends, but I love and am fascinated by the game as much as any of them. Sometimes I play okay, sometimes I play like shit. Sometimes I play scared. I noticed that there are games where my demeanor is held captive by a fear that I am not good enough to be playing with the other guys on my team. I get nervous and I miss the whole point of the game. God, I am really dragging this out. All I'm trying to say is that I realized that even the best player on our team pops out, makes errors, and has a bad game. No matter what cleats their wearing or how confident they portray themselves, nobody out there is infallible. Not even close. Why not just be loose, do my best, and take the good with the bad? I feel the same way about politics.

As long as I try to be informed about what I am saying, stay reasonable and humble, and always show respect for contrasting views, the cynics can pretty much go fuck themselves because if our discussion disintegrates into a personal level or one devoid of any value, it will be a problem of them being an asshole more than me being an idiot. When the climate is respectful and open, politics is a fascinating animal to discuss.

So here's how I feel and what I believe (as of now), folks. Take it or leave it, but just don't be hatin'...

I believe that the bitter partisan divide of recent times is destructive to American politics and to the country as a whole. It's beyond the point of differences in philosophy; it's a personal battle that only delays any real progress for our country and, due to the circumstances I described above, bitterly divides us as Americans. I believe that Barack Obama is the candidate most likely to begin to bring the country together again. This is a pillar of his campaign and his image as a politician. I know I sound like I am reciting from his campaign literature and might start to sound like Tom Cruise at a Scientology dinner. What can I tell you? I'm drinking the Obama Unity Kool-Aid and I think it's a crucial flavor.

This is where Adam says, "Yeah, right. Who better to bridge the partisan divide than the National Journal's Most Liberal Senator of 2007?" This is where I answer, simply, Yes. Who better?

I believe that it's time for universal health care and I like Obama's plan better than Hillary's. I disagree with her idea of mandating it for every single citizen. That's going too far in my opinion. Making a national plan available to all citizens is a better option. No, Adam, I am not a Socialist. I understand the Republican/Conservative opposition to universal healthcare and I respectfully disagree.

I believe it is time to end the war in Iraq and realign our efforts in the fight against Islamic terrorism. Barack and Hillary have virtually the same plan for this, but I give the nod to the guy who spoke out against it before it ever began. I think sound judgment, while a vague idea, is the single most important quality a President must have. What I perceive to be his wisdom on this vital issue of the Iraq War convinces me that he is the better choice to lead us in terms of these situations. More than any other issue at stake in this election, I respect the Republicans' view on the issue of the Iraq War. There was an episode of "Meet the Press" a few months back where John Kerry and John McCain debated the issue and it was an intriguing, arresting debate. I've watched it three times and I'm still not convinced that my opinion is the right one. It will definitely give me pause when the general election rolls around, but when it comes down to it, I will have to make a choice and as of now, I side with the Democrats.

That being said, I believe that Barack Obama is not only the best candidate to engage John McCain in this crucial aspect of the debate, but is the only Democratic candidate with a chance to win against McCain overall. I've heard it at least a dozen times from a wide array of political experts and pundits, there is one candidate who would unite the currently fractious Republican Party, it's Hillary Clinton. I don't mean to contribute to the Us vs. Them mentality that I hate so much, but I think it is fair to say that if you want a Democrat in the Oval Office, to end the war let's say, Barack Obama is the better choice to oppose McCain or Romney. Hillary touts her experience, and rightfully so, but it's that same experience that would have the Republican party licking its collective chops at the chance to oppose her in an election for the presidency. Fair or not, I believe it's the reality of the situation.

Even if I am wrong, even if Hillary were to win the Presidency, what state would the political landscape be in? I don't think it would be much different than it is now, with both parties entrenched in their own bunkers, lobbing grenades of petty bickering at each other while the grass of American prosperity browns and dies in the middle. I believe we need a leader who does not relish in the political warfare the way, I feel, Hill and Bill do.

If my first few paragraphs were not evidence enough, let me say that I have had a cynical attitude about politics in general for years. Part of my reluctance to talk about it was for the reasons I already described, but another aspect of it was my lack of belief in it in general. I felt like it really didn't mean anything. No one was trustworthy. They spoke in soundbytes and told you exactly what they're many comprehensive polls told them you wanted to hear. I felt like they ran for all the wrong reasons and often got elected for all the wrong reasons. Barack Obama is a candidate who cracks that veneer of distrust in politics and government and allows a little bit of hope (yeah, I said it) to shine through. I don't know if he'll be able to change anything about the lobbyists and the swiftboating and, frankly, all the bullshit. I don't know, maybe it's a job too big for one man, even if that man is the President. I don't know that Obama's message about change, unity, and hope isn't a tweaked version of the same politics that made me so sick. It could very well be the political equivalent of the the guy who picks up girls by saying "I don't know any good pickup lines so I just decided to come over, say hi, and be myself." Obama's not having a line could very well be his line. I'm in no way naive to that possibility. My feeling is that I'm ultimately taking the same risk with any candidate so why not go with the guy who at least appears to have the vision and the integrity I am looking for?

I was going to dig into my negative perception of Hillary/Billary, but I've rambled so long already and really, there's not much value in it.

I realize that my reasons for supporting Obama have been what Aaron Sorkin might refer to as "smoke-filled, coffehouse crap" which is to say it has not been a detailed account of why I support Obama on the economy, immigration, the environment, etc. Which is not to say I am not familiar with his stances or in agreement with them for the most part. I certainly vote issues first. I just feel like that's not what I wanted to say tonight. There are issues at stake in this election that just don't fit in charts and blurbs and are not easily supported by links and quoted statistics or studies. Really, I just wanted to say what I feel about politics and why I am supporting Barack Obama. I'm not trying to sway anybody, I am just compelled, for the first time, to share. And now I have. Thanks for listening.


Sheesh, did I ramble on or what? In the interest of lightening things up a bit, allow me to share what else will be happening on Super Tuesday besides the whole primary/caucus thing.

My friends, on Super Tuesday, I go under the knife. I have a ganglion cyst on my left wrist and they are going to cut the sucker out. For the record, I am a righty so we can skip the masturbation jokes, folks. I think "ganglion cyst" has to be the nastiest-sounding name for something so innocuous.

The Bad News:

--No softball or weightlifting for four weeks. I suppose it's good to go back to square one sometimes.

--The potential for pain and discomfort during recovery.

The Good News:

--I have a prescription for Vicodin.

--I will also have a tape of the whole procedure. It's orthroscopic surgery so we will all get to see the inside of my hand and wrist joint! Woo hoo!

--I'll get to watch the results of Super Tuesday come in from the comfort of my own couch. Assuming I am able to stay conscious.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rock N Roll Friday Night!

No overall point to this post other than, man, I just had a great Friday night.

We were supposed to go to this show with some friends of Nicole's (mine too now, but through her). After being out late at karaoke the night before, not really being all that familiar with the band we were seeing, and it being way over in Silverlake, I wasn't excited about going.

So we're going out to dinner prior to the show with some friends of theirs. Just my luck, they're Vegan (ever notice how Vegans are eerily similar to Vulcans?). I toiled between the faux-cheese quasedilla and the organic pancakes (would you be considered Vegan-by-association if you just liked to eat pancakes for every meal?) and ended up with the Rock N Roll Noodles which were at least fun to order. Let's go with the Rock N Roll!

After dinner, we're in the car on the way to the show at Spaceland when the phone rings like a hippy Paul Revere announcing The Vegans are bailing, The Vegans are bailing! And sure enough...So our sacrifice to not eat meat, milk, or anything normal was, as it turned out, quite in vain. It was, however, cheap which is nice.

Now all night up until this point, Nicole's friend Jason, the big fan of the guy we were going to see play, had been saying how there was the headliner Jason Isbell, some other guy named Will Hoge none of us had heard of, and an opening act that was probably some local kid that we would not be at a loss to miss. Seemed about how these things usually go. So we walk in and the first guy is up there setting up. I say to Jason, "It's not him, but that guy looks a lot like this guy I have been listening to non-stop lately, Jeremy Fisher." I then went on to describe his music a little bit when the singer on stage opened by saying, "Hi, I'm Jeremy Fisher." It was a cool kind of weird. He played. He was great. I was immediately glad I had come along to the show and would only become more glad as the night went on.

Sidebar on Jeremy Fisher: If you like catchy, mostly upbeat, infectious acoustic rock, you have to listen to this guy. His album is one of those you won't be taking out of your CD player for a couple weeks after you get it (it's sad how that experience has no translation to ipod technology). Kind of a Ben Kweller meets Paul Simon if you will. My favorites include "Sula," "Cigarette," and "Left Behind."

Next up was this Will Hoge guy who looked like a bearded Ryan Gosling with a cool hat on. Important to note that he was the only singer I have ever witnessed who chewed gum whilst singing. Normally, I would have been put off by this to the extent that I would not have been able to get into the music, but his music and his performance was so unstoppably fucking incredible that I quickly wrote it off. This son of a bitch had soul, my friends. Southern-fried, classic rock/country-influenced blues-rock that makes you want to dance, drink whiskey, and sing/scream along. It was one of those rare times when you hear something for the first time where you know you have to have it and you feel like a fool for not finding it sooner. I got two of his several CDs the following day and will be getting the others soon enough. Kind of a mix of Counting Crows, Wilco, The Black Crowes, Ottis Redding, and Hank Williams.

I won't go on to gush about the headliner, Jason Isbell, because I need to go to bed, but he and his band also kicked my ass.

By the time we walked out of there at 2 a.m., I was dead tired, more than 60% deaf, and walking like Phil Jackson after a road trip in a Mini Cooper. I wouldn't have had it any other way. It was a great night.

P.S. Is everybody loving this rain as much as I am? Keep it comin!!! (Sorry, Joe)

Tune in tomorrow for my impassioned endorsement of a Presidential candidate because I'm sure you've been waiting.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Seth and The Assface Predator

Remember our good buddy Seth (scroll down to 7/6)? You know, the guy from karaoke that sings the same song every week and is very, very impressed with himself. Him.

So we're there last night and Todd is talking to these two young women down in front, as Todd often does. They offered him one of their chicken wings to which he gladly accepted as any moral person would. They also asked Seth if he would care for a wing. Ya know what Seth said?

"No thanks, it'll screw up my vocals."

And he was serious. I shit you not. I guess I should really be thanking Seth for his sacrifice. I mean, people didn't come out to the show--er, bar--to hear Seth turn in a less-than-stellar performance now did they? Wait, that's right, they didn't come to hear Seth, period. I think it had something to do with the beverages they serve and the prospect of a good sing-a-long, but, hey, I've been wrong before. I'll bet the guy pre-partys the karaoke by sipping hot tea with honey. I can just see him schmoozing anyone of female or even questionable gender that they should really come out to one of his "gigs." Oh and did I mention that Seth is now sporting frosted tips that would make Ryan Seacrest envious? It's true. It was truly a sight to behold.

And then there was The Assface Predator. He's Seth's loyal, even more hateable sidekick. He suffers from the same dementia as Seth in that he has a repertoire of two songs that he feels are his own personal slice of fame if not true greatness. He likes people to call him Blue Jeans, probably because he is proud to wear those hideous uber-trendy jeans that have the gay little triangle flaps on the back pockets and fit as well as if they came from GapKids. I call him The Assface Predator. Why you ask? Because his face looks like an ass and everything that comes out of it sounds and smells like shit. On top of that, he's one of these guys that is very self-conscious when he speaks, like an actor overdoing it in front of a mirror. By that I mean he is ridiculously expressive and animated in even the most casual of conversation. This dry heave of expression only makes his assfacedness even more unsightly, much like the creature from the movie "Predator" when it takes screams with it's crab-leg mouth fully opened. Thus the name, Assface Predator.

So The Assface Predator swooped in and c-blocked Todd in a fashion unseen since teenage summer camp. Todd did not back down, of course, but when Seth floated over to talk more about the degenerative fowl effects felt by his vocal cords, poor Todd was simply outnumbered and out-douched. He returned to our table and I told him he should respect himself too much to try again with the broads. He agreed and that was that.

Zach made an interesting observation...We've been going to this place for well over a year. We're definitely considered regulars. Yet among the other regulars, we are outcasts. The rest of them all intermingle, chatting and hugging and what not. They don't even acknowledge us as having been there before much less be friendly to us. What did we ever to do them? All we do is cheer for their songs (even when it's the 1,500th time we've heard it) and write scathing blog entries about them later. I mean, where's the love?


Do you have any idea how difficult it is to eat soup with a plastic spoon? They're just impossibly small. It could be used as a field sobriety test.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Actual Conversation With Doctor's Office

Her: I have an 8 a.m. appointment available and an 8:50, which would work better for you?

Me: Let's go with the 8:50.

Her: Okay. Now they do want me to inform you that there might as much as a two hour wait.

Me: I don't understand.

Her: They've asked me to inform patients that there might be as much as a two hour wait to see the doctor.

Me: Um, okay...I think I'd better take the 8 a.m. appointment then.

Her: Okay, no problem. We do ask that you arrive fifteen minutes early to fill out your paperwork.

Me: (totally speechless)


And now I quick thought on this year's Oscar nominations:


Michael Clayton?????! Seriously? That movie was a ridiculously over-wordy, drama-less, agonizingly over-stylized waste of time. Best Director? Best Actor and Supporting Actor nominations? Give me a break.

Atonement? Ug. Boring. Pointless. Uninteresting.

Juno? I mean, it was good, but not that good. Feels like hype is at work here.

I didn't see Enchanted, but the fact that it got 3 Best Song nominations to Eddie Vedder's zero discredits the entire category.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


"A Sunday" By Jimmy Eat World

On a Sunday I'll think it through.
On the drive back I'll think it through.
What you wish for won't come true.
Live with that.
On a Sunday she thought it through.
Now as I drive back, there's thirty-six less hours I have to change
the course I send myself.
Live with that.
On a Sunday go once around.
Because when the rides done, the hopes that you have carried,
they fall out from your hands back to the ground.
Live with that.
Learn as the drugs leave.
Learn as you lose it.
You will.
The haze clears from your eyes on a Sunday.

Is there anything more lonely than a Sunday night? If you were set for execution and they brought you an array of the best food you'd ever had in your entire life, prepared exactly as you remembered it, could you really enjoy it knowing what was going to happen when you were finished eating? Same thing with Sunday nights. I try to pack in as much leisure and enjoyment as I possible can, yet the squawking Monday morning alarm clock looms inevitably like the executioner on his smoke break.

I just finished watching "Unbreakable." I still say that movie got a bad rap. It was the victim of a misleading marketing campaign. Much like "Dan in Real Life," another fantastic though misrepresented movie. The latter wasn't nearly as badly handled as "Unbreakable," but I did think they chose the least appealing clips of the movie to include in the trailer. They seemed to miss the whole heart of the movie.

Going back to Sunday night and "Unbreakable," there was a line in the movie that struck a chord with me. Samuel L. Jackson's Mr. Glass character says to the Bruce Willis's character...

"...That little bit of sadness in the mornings you spoke of, I think I know what that is. Perhaps you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing."

If you substitute morning for Sunday night, I can most definitely relate. Which is not to say I hate my job because I don't. This show seems like it will be much different than those I worked on before and the people around me seem genuinely nice, interesting, and of a refreshingly balanced perspective when it comes to the job we do, i.e. doing it without losing your mind and becoming a corporate drone. But it's still a job. Where is my work?

Another line from the movie:

"Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world."

Does anyone really know their place though? Okay, surely some do, but do most people really feel like they know? I'm guessing not at 29 anyway. And if they think they do, I would bet they're proven wrong a couple times. But there is definitely something scary about it, I think. Not scary in the sense of swimming in the ocean and looking down to see the open jaws of a 25-foot Great White looking up at you, but still pretty frightening. I'll go one further and say even scarier than not knowing your place in the world is glimpsing your place and being severely disappointed.

Also saw "Knocked Up." Wow. This was an exceptionally good movie. As a wannabe writer, this was one of the movies that makes me say "Well fuck me, because I could never write something like that." It's one of those that makes me want to pack it in and open a beef jerky stand. Not that I know the first thing about the dried meat business.

By the way, "Atonement" was decidedly NOT a jerky-stand movie. I think the book was entirely fiction (right?), but it felt like a movie handicapped by being based on a true story and having to stick close to that true story when it really could have done so much more. Same goes for "American Gangster." "Knocked Up," in my opinion, was more insightful, original, and endearing than either one of the other two movies which will probably rake in ten Oscars between them.

On that note, I think I will do a post giving out my own version of the Academy Awards. Yeah, that's the ticket.

By the way, do we finally have enough movies called "American (something)" or featuring the word "chronicles?" Seriously, off the top of my head:

American Pie
American Wedding
American Gangster
American Psycho
American Me
American Beauty
American History X
American Movie
American Graffiti
American Dreamz
American Gigolo


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ano Nuevo

Metaphor for my life as I see it on the first completely sober day of 2008:

My dining room table. Stacked with wonderful gifts but lacking any kind of organization or order at the moment. A wonderful mess as it were.

I guess it's not ideal to make a metaphor out of something not instantly accessible to anyone that doesn't spend a lot of time in my dining room, but, fuck it, the choice of metaphor is also part of the meaning of the metaphor.

Holy schnikes, it feels weird to be back at work today. I had only been at the new job for four days before having ten days off. Now I am back and it feels like deja vu; I feel like I have been here before but I'm not really sure. Luckily, my Windows was not password protected because if it were I would be patiently sitting on my hands right now. This is just too odd.

Coffee and blog, that's how I'll get through this.

I know it's not possible to gain thirty pounds in three weeks, but it sure feels like it to me. Blah. Or blob.