Earplugs Are For Pussies
I went to my token quarterly punk show last night. Had I known I was going to a punk show, I would have abstained from wearing color. As it was, I was in a bright yellow tank top and a kelly green cardigan - I looked something like a canary in a sea of black leather and spikes. While people watching between sets, I noticed a most perplexing phenomenon; I was startled and amazed at the sheer variety of things people had stuck in their ears. Earplugs obviously topped the list, the Troubadour sells them for a buck fifty. However I also spotted cotton, napkins and a substance suspiciously looking like cheese. You're punks, people! You're meant to be hardcore! What are you doing with earplugs? You people have studs in your faces and yet you're concerned about hearing damage? It just reeks of establishment. What's happening to the world if we can't rely on people with spiky hair to throw caution to the wind!
Patience Is A Virtue
Venues Behaving Badly
Let me set up a little scene for you: There's this venue in LA, Largo, that tends to have a lot of really cool singer/songwriter and comedy type acts. A few years ago, Rhett Miller started doing a solo show there about once a month. I went to every show dear reader, despite these alarming things that suck about Largo:
1) Its the worlds smallest venue, in order to assure yourself a place in the club you have to make a reservation, basically, the day the show is announced - which brings me to point number
2) Reservations at Largo are for tables at which you have to order their horrible food. Seriously, its jr. high school cafeteria caliber. Something stupid like $15 worth per person and this is after
3) You've already paid $10 to $15 just for the privilege of occupying space within the club.
4) And don't think you'll be able to leave said club at your discretion. No, dear reader, the servers at Largo hold your check hostage until the last 5 minutes of the show and then take about 3 hours closing it out, so you're basically stuck there until next Tuesday.
All of this I was willing to endure for the sake of seeing Rhett Miller once a month, but the unbearable rudeness of the servers and the owner eventually caused me to stop going to the dive at all. Just to draw a parallel, denying myself Rhett Miller was like denying myself chocolate because I couldn’t stand the people who provided it. I just couldn't feel good about having a $60 night at a place where the food blows and everyone’s a bitch, never mind who's performing.
So on Saturday night when I was informed that a group of friends had made a reservation to see a show at Largo I wanted to refuse to go. I didn't of course, who am I to fuck up everyone else's plans. So I went, and discovered that in my one year hiatus the staff at Largo had gone from simply rude to an almost inhuman level of disregard for the customers who keep them in business.
Short version, what happened is this: they gave my "meal" to the wrong person and offered me pasta with meat sauce instead, which clearly, I wasn't going to eat. I gave back the Bolognese and they "found" my real dinner, which was at that point half eaten by somebody else. Here's what I meant when I said "inhuman level of disregard" - they presented the half eaten meal to me and expected me to finish it. When I, quite reasonably, refused the server claimed the kitchen was closed but she would go back there and "see what she could do for me". 20 minutes later, as my companions were finishing up their meals, she presented me with some god-awful salad that I didn't want and didn't ask for. I politely declined.
One of my friends at the table decided to speak to the owner / manager on my behalf. Big mistake, not only would this asshole refuse to hear her out, he refused to take my meal off the bill. She came back fuming, everyone at the table was upset, we were still being held hostage and because of the blatant disregard for our comfort exhibited by the staff and owner, none of us were having fun anymore. Which is sad, because the performers (called “The Naked Trucker Show”, featuring, you guessed it!) were truly funny. I couldn’t help thinking that they deserve better than Largo. Tell ‘yer friends.
NOT a Rant . . . A List!
Dear reader, your patience with my griping has been the stuff of legends. Today, I will reward you with a gripe and bitch free posting. Having just finished an excellent book, "The Crimson Petal And The White", I thought it might be nice to put together a little list of some of my favorite reads. Here I go, in no particular order and by no means a complete catalog:
- "Sarum" / Edward Rutherfurd
All absorbing. This one had me riveted for all two weeks it took me to finish it (yes, two weeks - this is one giant hunk of a book at over 1,000 pages). But actually, to be truthful, I didn't finish it. I didn't want it to end so I didn't read the last two pages. He has others which I'm saving for a rainy day, like: "The Forest" and "London"
- "Middlesex" / Jeffrey Eugenides
This will be in the cannon someday. I've never said that about anything I didn't read in school, but this one, I promise. Kids will be reading it in school in 30 years.
- "Rachel's Holiday" / Marian Keyes
Anything by Marian Keyes is bound to be a fun read, but not all fluffy either - she has a way of incorporating real life issues without preaching. Her other books include "Watermelon", "Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married", "Angels", "Sushi For Beginers", "Last Chance Saloon" & the semi-autobiographical short-story collection "Under The Duvet"
- "Bridget Jones's Diary" / Helen Fielding
No, really, its fantastic. Her others, however, are not so good.
- "Lady Chatterly's Lover" / D. H. Lawrence
Quite possibly the best book I've ever read, and I've made a career out of reading. Lush and poetic. Just beautiful.
- "The Autobiography of Henry VIII : With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers" / Margaret George
I started reading this in 5th grade but I lost it before I finished. I remember crying to my mom, not because I was going to have to come up with some way to get $15 to replace the book, but because I wanted to finish it NOW. Margaret George specializes in epic fictional historical "autobiographies", all of which are completely engrossing.
- "Green Darkness" and "Kathrine" / Anya Seton
The gold standard for Historical romances.
- "The Other Boleyn Girl" / Philippa Gregory
A totally new take on a story I'm obsessed with.
- "Lady of Hay" / Barbara Erskine
Historical thriller with a different angle, told through episodes of past life regression hypnotherapy.
- "Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn" / Nell Gavin
Caveat: I'm not sure I liked this book. But I definitely found it interesting, so here it is, on my list.
- "Sloppy Firsts : A Novel" / Megan McCafferty
An enlightening read for anyone who's ever been a teenager and had parents at the same time.
- Not one but a GENRE: the "buildings roman in diary form" novel. Try:
"Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson" / Louise Rennison
Anything Adrian Mole / Sue Townsend (also try her spoofy royalty novel, "The Queen and I"
"Youth in Revolt" / C.D. Payne
This is getting long and I have to go back to work now . . .
I have a problem with radio, being such: most stations play the same 50 songs repeatedly until they've managed to turn their listeners into putty brained zombies who will march army-like to their local record stores to purchase the 50 albums said 50 songs were extracted from. This is a great thing for the likes of Linkin Park and Evanessence, who only manage to sell records due only to the fact that their insipid singles have been bashed into the brains of
When in High School, I took great delight in telling my friends that "the radio will steal your soul." I still believe it, to a degree. Why would anyone without a serious passion and a lot of time on their hands bother to seek out new music? Its easy to get pulled into the collective superiority complex of the "indie" and "cool" when others around you are lapping up Limp Bizkit like it's Cristal. I mean, come on.
There's bound to be a little fallout when something one perceived as being anti-establishment goes KROQ. People will talk about things like "selling out" and reminisce over the days when "that band used to be cool". The fact is though, that the song on the radio is the same one I loved in some dingy, three-quarters empty club a year ago and there's nothing wrong with the band in question enjoying a little mainstream success. Mainstream success = more money = more music. It's a business. It's a machine. Please don't call me "the man", I'm not claiming to be, but after 4+ years working in music, I do have his email address.
More vegetarian ideas:
4) Atkins: I read an article in New York magazine the other day that made me want to scream things. A few quotes: "I eat more vegetables than most vegetarians", Dr. Atkins himself - this is insane. Especially considering that many vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, corn and even the humble tomato (actually a fruit, I guess, but whatever), are prohibited on the Atkins plan. "Atkins posed for portraits with tables laid out with every kind of meat imaginable, goading vegetarians" - frankly, upon seeing the picture in question I felt not goaded but nauseated. Also rather amusing that the word goad as a noun actually means a long stick with a pointed end used for prodding animals. A few facts: At the time of his death, Dr. Atkins weighed around 200 lbs and after his demise, his widow decided against an autopsy. Hmm . . . telling. There are bona fide health benefits and drawbacks to any diet, but by pitting vegetarians against Atkins' followers the entire point of vegetarianism is completely missed. Perhaps I won't loose any weight on a vegetarian diet, but nothing ever had to die so I could have lunch.
5) Animal Testing: so wait, let me get this straight, it's cruel to test eyeshaddow on bunnies, but not cruel to roast them. Is that right? Have I got it?
6) Twinkies: Next time you indulge in this spongy, creamy American favorite, take a look at the list of ingredients: you'll find beef fat. Is this really necessary? In fact, meat by-products are lurking in some of the darndest places. Ever notice that some yogurt is labeled kosher while some isn't? Since yogurt contains no meat, what could make it non-kosher? Gelatin, a substance derived from the intestines of cows. Yummy, that goes nice with my strawberry fruit-on-the-bottom. And Jello? You guessed it.
OK, I'm gonna leave the vegetarian thing alone for a while, and I promise my next post will be a little less graphic.
Vegetarianism. Diet or social disease?
It's a fine line, isn't it? In a few months I'll hit the 7 year mark in my Vegetarian escapade. Things I've found since going veg are as follows:
1) Dining out: When out at restaurants, everyone, regardless of their association with me, will invariably scan the menu looking for something for me to eat instead of choosing their own meal. It never ceases to amaze me that this point holds true even when out with business associates or people I'm meeting for the first time. Why do others do this? Not to be cynical, but I know in my heart it isn't for my benefit. Often these people I'm dining with use my presence as a way to kind of try on the idea of going veg. As in, "I'll peruse this menu for non-meat-containing options and decide if any of them appeal to me and if they could conceivably appeal to me on a daily basis." But even more often than that, the issue is that my vegetarianism makes others uncomfortable. Most people that like me enough to have dinner with me actually care about whether I'll have something substantial to eat or not, which is a nice thing. However, in instances where a restaurant doesn't really offer any decent vegetarian dishes, that concern tends to turn into resentment. Its as if others can't enjoy their meal knowing that I'm sitting across the table stuck with a bowl of white rice and an iced tea. I understand the motive behind these feelings, but I ask you, dear reader, would you expect me to dig into a steak just to please my dining companions? No, not any more than I'd expect others to gleefully follow me to an organic, vegetarain restaurant where their appetizing options would be as varied and numbered as mine are in a steak house. Bottom line: people need to get over it. I can always microwave some veggies when I get home.
2) PETA: Why do people always want to talk to me about this? PETA is an organization fundamentally based in ideas I agree with, however I recognize that they often cross the line of good taste and just plain common sense in their pursuit of a vegetarian world. PETA is for militants, which I am not. Personally, I could give a rat's ass whether people eat burgers or not. I do, however, think that many people tend to delude themselves over the actual realities of what that burger contains and where it's been. For instance, in a recent article about a PETA campaign against KFC, a KFC representative claimed that they committed no injustices against chickens or some other such bull shit. Bottom line: killing and cooking a living thing is an injustice, regardless of how well you treat that living thing while you're fattening it up for slaughter. Does that mean I agree with PETA's plan to pass out KFC buckets containing mock bloody chicken parts outside of KFC's restaurants? Well, yeah, kind of. I couldn't care less if patrons of KFC continued to eat their finger lickin' good fried chicken after receiving such a bucket, but I see no problem with PETA kindly pointing out that those patron's dinners do contain actual flesh and blood. I just think people tend to be so used to the idea of eating meat that they forget to associate steak with cow and chop with lamb. Baaah. Mooo. Don't delude yourself, my child . . . and don't go hopping to me about the craziness of PETA. I might not rage at you for eating a chicken sandwich, but I just might agree with fragments of what they're doing.
3) Fish: NOT A VEGETABLE. Period. Here's what Webster has to say on the subject: ANIMAL = A multicellular organism of the kingdom Animalia, differing from plants in certain typical characteristics such as capacity for locomotion, nonphotosynthetic metabolism, pronounced response to stimuli, restricted growth, and fixed bodily structure. PLANT = Any of various photosynthetic, eukaryotic, multicellular organisms of the kingdom Plantae characteristically producing embryos, containing chloroplasts, having cellulose cell walls, and lacking the power of locomotion. Do fish photosynthesize? Do they lack the power of locomotion? I don't think so. If you eat fish you are not a vegetarian, please don't call yourself one.
This is hardly the end of my rant, but it'll have to be a stopping point for now . . . To be continued . . .
Ass Crack Fever
I'm very concerned about my ass. No, really - in case anyone hasn't noticed, waist lines on jeans are dropping at a drastic pace (see: Britney Spears, Paris Hilton). It's nearly impossible to get a pair within 3 inces of one's belly button. Not that I'd rather have my pants riding up around my ribs, but come on - this is getting ridiculous. I'm wearing a pair of conservatively cut pinstripes right now and I've been pressing my back up against my desk chair all day hoping against hope that I'm not flashing the entire office. Disconcertingly, I've just noticed that in addition to the communal fax machine being conveniently located right behind my chair, the back of said chair is covered in a sheer fabric. Sheer fabric! Clearly a male invention . . .
Todays pants, however, don't even come close to the monstrosity of yesterday's pants. At a clear 4 1/2 inches below the waistline, they prohibited me from the following: tying my shoes, leaning over co-workers desks to peruse files (provided anyone happened to be standing behind me), walking downstairs without holding the back beltloop aloft and sitting on barstools.
Why then, do I subject myself to possible indecent exposure? Am I a slave to fashion? Anyone who has seen my vintage Cleopatra themed dress purchased for everyday wear will assure you I am not. Am I especially proud of my midriff? Phu-leeezzze! No, dear reader (sorry, last time - I promise), I put myself in peril of advertising my rear simply because there are no decently bottom-covering pants to be had. None. Nowhere. Alas . . .
Gosh, I'm so excited I could just poop! In her supreme awesome-ness, my friend Dana has turned me on to the wonderful world of blog. Not that I've never seen blog before. No, dear reader, I'm a great connoisseur of other people's blogging. Its just that I've never had one of my very own! In honor of this, my first posting, I'm going to set myself a few ground rules in order to better keep my blogging adhered to the path of righteousness:
1) There shall be no talking of shit in my blog. Ha ha. Got you. Scratch that: there shall be talking of shit and naming of names at the same time.
2) At every available opportunity I will swear like a trucker and make up words, both of which I adore doing (see above, ie: shit and awesome-ness). I hope this amuses you, dear reader, as much as it amuses me.
3) I will try to break this habbit of using the phrase "dear reader". I'm reading "The Crimson Petal And The White" right now and the author says it all the time as kind of a joke-type play on gothic novels. I think its funny now, but I'll grow out of it.
Now, dear reader, I really must go get some work done . . .