Tuesday, February 21, 2012



Because, again... depressing times calls for depressing music. Although the image is for an album that this song doesn't appear on. Not that you'd notice. But it bothers me.

...

Today has been rough.

I feel as if I f***ed up good. And I keep trying hard to not f*** up, but I end up doing so anyway.

I'm going to go lay down and pretend I'm a tree.

Monday, February 20, 2012



I heard this on the radio today. It also appeared in the movie The Life Aquatic. I don't really have anything to say about it, other than to give it my approval. And that it could be twice as long.

I'm working overnights at a couple group homes for the developmentally disabled right now, and it's been pretty decent so far. A little easy, as I really just have to make sure that they take their medications and that they don't get into any trouble. There are slight deviations from that on every shift, but for the most part that's what I do.

This Saturday I took the group out to play bingo with other group homes, which is the first time I've ever taken the entire home somewhere. So it was a little weird. Plus, I wasn't feeling great... and one of the guys I work for was moody about some money issues that were out of my control.

But the reason why I'm bringing this up is because I met another guy from a group home, and... well... this is how the conversation went:

"Hi, my name is (C___... can't remember what exactly it is). What's your name?"
"Nice to meet you. Name's Alex."
"Nice to meet you, Alex. Are you happy all the time?"

... how the hell am I supposed to answer that?

I mean, I did... I lied and said yes, because I heard another person talking about how happy he was with this guy, and so I figured that saying "yes" would be the only appropriate response. But still. How am I supposed to answer that?

Today, I made a stop in at a gas station, and because the whole retail experience assumes an air of cordiality, the cashier asked how I was doing. I lied and said I was doing fine.

I've learned the hard way that people don't actually want to always hear about the troubles you're going through at the moment. But still, it drives me a little crazy that whenever someone asks me how I'm doing, I have to pretend to be OK when I'm not. I feel like I'm complicit in something...

It's not that I'm wanting to open up to this cashier or this guy I met at a bingo party so they empathize or whatever. I just don't want to lie while also not making things uncomfortable.

I'm assuming there has to be a trick to it. Something that expresses general displeasure at life in a way that also seems cordial, instead of it coming off as sullen or angry, which is how I would assume I would come off as if I answered the question truthfully every time. You know, in a way that theoretically establishes a bond between the two of us in the way that relating over human misery sometimes does. And not just complaining and making the other person assume that you might be mad at them. And not just lying and going along with the routine of answering "how I am doing."

Unfortunately, in my quest to discover this trick, I have found myself mostly just answering with half-truths whenever I encounter someone who asks this question. Sometimes I say that I "OK"... which means ostensibly neither good nor bad... but really, it leans towards the "good" side. Sometimes I state that I am "hanging in there," which is another statement that's a little vague about its intentions--it implies a certain sense of unease, but also implies optimism. I am unsatisfied with both of those responses, but they're what I answer with mostly.

Or maybe I'm just looking at this the wrong way. Maybe it's not a question that is being asked of me, but more of a script between two unfamiliar people. And my line is supposed to be "I'm doing well, how are you doing?" And any deviation from that immediately ruins the scene. I don't know.

Anyway. You might be wondering how I'm doing after plowing through all this.

Well, I'm doing OK.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I think I'm wired differently...

Look at the below post I did. You might even press play on one or two of the songs in case you hadn't done already. If you don't listen to any of the songs (which is what's most likely to happen), that's OK, because I can probably safely say that your reaction to said songs would be something like "wow, that's depressing."

Which in theory I would agree with in that it *sounds* depressing, but generally music that most would describe as "depressing" I'd consider to be calming to me. I don't know if that's the case with others. But it works for me. I'm listening to a couple of the selections below, and I feel better already.

On the flipside...

These songs left me close to shattered today.





In case you don't want to listen to them, the above selections are pleasant, relatively upbeat pop songs. I have no idea how they would incite such a reaction.

Nothing really to add to this. Just... this is how my day's going.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oops

I haven't done anything in a week.

I don't have anything important to say.

...

So my listening habits usually center around one or two bands/artists for a period that lasts between a week and a month, until I move on to something else. Right now that slot has been filled up by Leonard Cohen. (Coincidentally, he put out a record sometime in the past few weeks. I can't remember if this period started before or in response to that.)

For a while all I had listened to was Songs Of Leonard Cohen, which I've had for years but honestly felt it was pretty boring. I found that a lot of the songs seemed to lack decent melodies, or if it did possess one, it'd repeat it enough that the melody's simplicity would start to wear. I liked "Master Song" because the arrangement was moody and threatening enough to hook me, but the arrangements on the rest of the songs left me wanting more. So in essence, a lot of boredom, and I assumed that Cohen was just not going to be my thing (despite that some of my favorite bands derived a lot of inspiration from these albums).



But then at some point I listened Songs Of Love And Hate, and instantly changed my tune. (Which is kind of funny, because the arrangements are MUCH more sparse here than the ones on Songs Of Leonard Cohen that I found a bit lacking.) But this one was much darker and pessimistic and sometimes spiteful--which fits right into my wheelhouse.

"Avalanche" gets the album off to the perfect start. I think I've posted about this song before, and it might be my favorite song the guy has done... so of course, it hasn't been included on any greatest hits compilation I've seen of his. So I guess that means your mileage may vary... or that the song is just too dark and menacing. But this song has this unstoppable momentum to it (most likely due to the fast, rhythmic guitar strumming), as if sooner or later the song will catch up to you and envelop you in grief and misery. (Which, for me, is whenever the strings really kick in.) It's invigorating for me, in a really weird way.



"Famous Blue Raincoat" is much more lethargic and sparse than "Avalanche", but makes up for it with its overwhelmingly haunting atmosphere. I don't know what the lyrics are about, but it sounds as if it is sung by a recently deceased man bitterly/reflectively addressing a former companion. And the backing vocal seems like the sort that'll get stuck in your memory as a soundtrack to your every gloomy moment.



So eventually I went back to Songs Of Leonard Cohen... and of course, it now sounds much better to my ears. It made me begin to question whether or not I ever listened to the album past the first 3 songs, because later on the album opens up to be much more varied than my impression that all the songs just featured simple acoustic strumming and not much else. I mean, it's not like he's trying out 20 different genres of music on one album a la The Beatles or something. But still. The following is one of my favorites, although I would be remiss if I didn't point out that "Suzanne" and "So Long, Marianne" are his most celebrated tracks from this album. They have their moments.



In between these two albums, he released one called Songs From A Room, which I haven't really gotten my teeth into like the other two, except for the excellent "The Partisan," which is apparently a cover but one that fits perfectly in Cohen's oeuvre. He has other albums, too, but I've heard that he sort of re-invented his sound after his first three, so I figure I would save them once I've exhausted his original trilogy.



So right now I'm almost thinking that I can be brought around on anything. Led Zeppelin, Velvet Underground, Bruce Springsteen, I could love them ALL. The only thing needed is the right point of entry.

These past few months have been a good point of entry for desolate and gloomy music to enter into my world.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

SUPER BOWL

The Patriots are playing the Giants. Right now. Patriots just sacked Manning.

I'm going to blog while this is going on, because I have nothing better to do.

...and the Patriots just gave up a safety. Well, they're not winning this game.

...and Elton John pissed any good will I had for him down the drain with that stupid Pepsi commercial.

Note: in general, I am going to hate all the commercials airing tonight. Or at least most of them. Typically most of them just try way too hard because they want to justify wasting millions for a 30-second spot.

5:48: Tackling is usually a good idea if you happen to play on defense. Also, not having 12 guys on the field when otherwise you would have gotten a key turnover.

I'm starting to think that this is going to be a Giants blowout. Which is disappointing to me, because I'm cheering for the Patriots.... touchdown Giants.... and also since they're the villains in this case, it makes a better story for the bad guys to post the huge initial lead, only for the humble country boy to lead them back to win the game. I mean, that's what happens in movies, at least.

Celebrity Apprentice commercial quote: "If you attack me, I'll attack you right back. For charity."

6:00: Well, now the Patriots are putting up a nice drive, and they didn't immediately give up a safety. So maybe the idea of a Giants blowout was a tad premature...

I mean, a field goal is OK.

So far, no stupid beer commercials, so that's been the main highlight.

6:24: So... this game has been rather boring.

I made some delicious tacos with delicious guacamole for dinner tonight, which makes it... either the 2nd or 3rd year in a row for the Super Bowl. Which is exciting to me, because I like having traditions... and, you know... because I like eating great food.

Unfortunately, although I did all the work making the food, it looks like no one took it upon themselves to clean it all up. So... I guess I should do that right about now.

6:36: This game is going to be over by 8.

6:40: I'm kind of hoping at this point that Belichick punches one of his own players or something. Just to make it interesting...

6:43: Whenever I'm at home and watching football, I watch the games upstairs, and my brothers start the game watching it upstairs. Then inevitably, they wind up heading downstairs to watch the game. Not that there's any reason why watching games downstairs is more appealing... they just do.

I'm trying to figure out why they're still up here, since I would assume they'd be gone by now. It can't be that the game is riveting or anything--so maybe it's the opposite, where an exciting game compels them downstairs for whatever reason.

The Patriots are on the 3 yard line with about 20 seconds left, but they're gonna have to settle for a field goal. Just watch.

6:47: That last paragraph was a reverse jinx on my part. And now the Patriots go into halftime leading, which is quite the surprise given how subpar they've seemed.

6:52: I mean, there's still hope yet. Rams/Titans was a boring defensive struggle until 10 different players provided late game heroics. Patriots/Panthers was 0-0 for almost half the game before turning into a shootout. So... that's good, right?

Madonna's coming up.

...

7:02:

Why?

7:04: I mean, compared to last year's (which I watched on mute, and it still was not pleasant), this isn't bad, but... Madonna is one of those people where I am aware that they are considered an icon, but I can't understand why the hell anyone would consider her to be one.

7:13: I mean, it was more interesting than the first half, I'll give it that...

...wait, what the hell is wrong with me?

7:14: Also, I'm glad Madonna made it clear she is in favor of world peace. It's a pretty bold stance to take.

7:23: OCHOCINCO!!

7:28: Touchdown Pats. That was promising.

My brother is bouncing an exercise ball off my other brother's head.

7:45: I feel like if you include Jay Leno in your car commercial, you're trying to target people with no discernible judgment.

8:05: It's 17-15 Patriots in the 4th quarter. Giants have the ball after picking off Brady. So at least this has the potential to become interesting.

Also, why does this year's Super Bowl logo seem so boring?

8:19: So theoretically, I'm cheering for the Patriots... but they just got the ball back with 9 minutes at their own 7 yard line. And... I'm kind of hoping for another safety here.

Just for the hell of it.

8:25: Well, this is the first time I've thought about The Darkness in about 10 years.

8:31: That Welker drop is going to be the death of the Patriots.

8:33: Manningham pulls in a nice 30-yarder, and they have to challenge it to make the game just a *little* more boring.

You know how in professional wrestling, sometimes a good guy comes down to the ring seemingly to help out his good guy friend against a dastardly villain, only to shock the world and attack his good friend? And it makes no sense other than the guy suddenly wants to be evil?

Right now, I'm kind of hoping that Brandon Jacobs takes a hand off and just tosses it to a Patriots player, thus revealing he'd been in the pockets of the Patriots the whole time.

8:38: And... the Giants are within field goal position with 2 minutes left.

I'm hoping for an inexplicable fumble now. Something other than just three straight run plays/field goal...

8:41: *siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*

Giants are going to kick the field goal. Patriots get the ball with 20 seconds left... can't do anything, Giants win most boring one point Super Bowl ever. Good night.

8:43: HOLY CRAP! HE ACCIDENTALLY FELL INTO THE END ZONE!!!!

Please God, let the Patriots come back now. Just so this can go down as the worst touchdown ever.

8:53: Bleh.

8:55: So... that was a fairly boring game. A little intense down the stretch, but nothing extremely riveting. And the "let the other team score a TD" strategy ended up not working, much to my disappointment.

And now we get to hear about how Eli Manning is a Hall of Fame QB, which seemed inexplicable 5 months ago. And Tom Brady has two Super Bowl losses to his resume, which will be pivotal in those important "who is the best QB of all time" conversations.

I just heard Manningham's catch being compared to David Tyree's. That is wrong.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Facebook

I've been editing my new Facebook timeline a lot recently, and I'm not really sure why. I doubt that anyone is really going to go through the trouble of looking through all the years I've been doing stupid stuff on Facebook, because who the hell cares about me enough to want to do that?

But the fact that the site is now making it SUPER EASY to access all the stupid things I've done and said all those years ago? Oh God. Oh... oh God. It could very well be the death of me.

I've been mostly focusing my attentions on the year 2007 (because I hate that year), and in that process I have learned quite a bit about the proper way to influence your timeline. For one, you cannot simply just hide everything, because there will always be something else that'll pop up in its place that is equally undesirable. You have to be aggressive (I think... I don't know if there are a finite amount of spots along your timeline... if there isn't, then I'm just doing a lot more work than needed.)

One thing I can do is create status updates at this very moment and place them along my timeline with whatever date you want it to represent. So that means a little bit of control, as I can add pretty much complete nonsense and it would waste space and hopefully distract from other items along the timeline. Another thing is that there are dots along the middle, supposed to represent the items that appear on your timeline in a chronological order or something. But there are some dots that are not represented by anything on your current timeline... and when you hover over said dots, there will appear a potential item that *could* appear on your timeline with just one little click. A lot of these dots are wall posts by friends that mean nothing devoid of any context. And in this case actually... "friends" means really one friend that keeps popping up. Just about all of them have been added to the timeline.

Again, though... I don't know if this matters, because I could just be adding these items without it subtracting anything else like I would like it to. Maybe I should try counting items on my 2007 portion of the page and compare them to another year...

2007: 32 items...
2008: about 20...

... well crap.

----

Another Facebook thing. I've written about it before, but around the time that groups were a popular thing on the site, I went sort of crazy and made a bunch of them. Most of them were pointless and made no sense. One of them was a group for a band that I liked, because there were no groups for that band and I had to be in a group for every band that I loved at the time. Because... you know, whatever. This was 5 years ago. I would have never thought about it again.

Except that somehow the page got a little bit popular. And every so often I would receive messages from a group member asking me to change something about the group. And I would still receive these messages, despite the fact that the band most likely had an actual fan page on Facebook by now. Somehow it still existed with a bit of minor activity. But all the old groups were scheduled to be archived, so... it was not long for this world.

Then recently, I received a notification from someone I didn't know. It was someone requesting that this group be updated, and save it from the archives for all eternity. I didn't think about it all that much. And I'm eager to please, so I updated it. BIG MISTAKE.

1) I'm in another group, so I knew that whenever someone posted in said group, you'd receive an annoying notification about it... but there is a way to turn the notifications off, so you'll never have to click on your notifications expecting someone to have finally replied to the hilarious status you posted, only to find out that it was just a post in the group you were in. So automatically I turned notifications off for my group, knowing that it was pretty active for some reason and that it would annoy the crap out of me receiving 5 notifications a day all pertaining to the group. This works about 50% of the time. The other 50%, it just notifies me anyway. Just because.
2) You cannot simply just "join" a group, like any rational person might expect. Nope, you have to be approved by an administrator of the group. Which is me. And somehow, despite the presence of the actual band Facebook page, people have sought this out and decided that they've wanted to join, with AT LEAST one person requesting to join since I've updated the group. And of course, with every request... I receive a notification about it.

Again, I created this in 2006. Back when I thought the site would become passe in a few years' time. And now it is work... albeit work that takes about 5 seconds a day.

The only real solution to this is to leave the group, which wouldn't necessarily kill it but instead leave it admin-less until someone else decides to take the task of running it. Which would be OK with me, except...

The group has over 4,500 members. It is by far the most popular thing I've ever created.

So I can't just leave it...