Days like this

Sometimes I just feel like crying. Why? You ask. I have no idea, I just do. I could say that I think it is because I have been suffering from a lack of sleep thanks to the San Jose Sharks and the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Or, I could say it is because I probably have been imbibing a little too much of that feel good juice called boozahol. But I honestly do not think that either of these things are the real reason why I feel like crying. I could blame it on the weather, but that would be pointless since the sun is shining and the temperature is warm, around 10 degrees celsius  , or 62 farenheit, and it feels much warmer than that.

So it isn’t tiredness (though I am tired–happily so because that means the Sharks are winning so I hope that I will continue to be tired because they will continue to win). It isn’t above average alcohol consumption, and it isn’t the weather. So what is it?

Again, I don’t know. I just hope that the feeling passes soon and that I don’t end up actually crying. Not that I am ashamed to cry, I just hate it. It gives me a headache and makes my eyes all red and puffy and irritated. And who needs that on a day like today?

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“I just want you to be happy. That’s my only little wish.”

Is a line from the song “Just the right bullets” by Tom Waits. There are many reasons why I dig this song.

1. The opening. It starts off with a slow yet sinister slant on traditional carnival music (that is kind of an oxymoron; my only hope is that no one notices).

2. Waits’ gravelly voice. This man sounds like he gargles broken glass and washes it out with sand, and then smokes a pack of cigarettes in an hour. His voice is rough and harsh and grating, but it somehow overcomes these (what some would call) detrimental qualities and manages to express the interconnectedness between the ideas of heartache, hope and resignation. All three of these thematic elements can be found in most, if not all, of Waits’ music, and while they may be tragic and heavy on the heartache and resignation, like “Georgia Lee.” But even Georgia Lee (click here for lyrics) as absolutely soul crushing as it is still presents an idea of hope, a small glimmer of hope, to be sure, but a glimmer nonetheless, a glimmer which is sustained by the harrowing sound of Wait’s sandpaper vocal cords and carries the listener through the song. Without the sorrow filled hopefulness of his vocal delivery, the song would run the risk of simply being depressing or sappy, but his voice and his delivery allow him to overcome these pratfalls.

Back to “Just the Right Bullets (lyrics).” This song is light on the heartache and resignation, and heavy on the hope and giddiness. Here Waits is having fun. He toys with a traditional carnivalesque melody and then when the “chorus” comes around he changes it. Which brings me to reason number three why I dig this song.

3. The folk/gypsy instrumental chorus. Here it goes from stationary carnies and their bearded ladies to energetic and animated folk storming the carnival. It fits the song perfectly, adding a but of frenetic energy to the piece and giving us a break from Waits the carnival barker.

4. The ambiguity of the narrator/voice. On one hand it appears that the character singing (henceforth known as the singer) is genuine and really wants to be of help. He has blessed the bullets (60 of them, I suppose since that is how many wishes he grants) in a show of camaraderie and good will, but there is something sinister and wrong about him. We know this not only because of the sound of his voice and his choice of words, but also through the fluctuation of good old carny music and crazy ass gypsy music. These elements combine to create one great song.

And that’s all I am trying to say.

So without further ado, here it is.

Enjoy.

What 80’s movies taught me.

The geek sometimes gets a girl (maybe not THE GIRL but a girl nonetheelss–Sixteen Candles reference insert, specifically Farmer Ted who gets the hot and drunk and kinda slutty gal pal of Jake Ryan) and sometimes gets THE GIRL (Revenge of the Nerds)–and of course “No one’s really going to be free until Nerd persecution ends.”

I couldn’t find a good clip to demonstrate the lesson (though it does show Farmer Ted in the car with Caroline), so I guess you will just have to watch the movie, if you haven’t seen it.

A dude can be a total jerk and still get the girl with the stipulation he has to demonstrate that he really does care about her. This clip also includes another great lesson from 80’s movies–hot food smashed into your face will not burn, but will elicit nothing but laughter and mockery from onlookers. He doesn’t prove his love for her in this scene, that comes later, when he takes on a nasty vampire in order to save her from the eternity of a day-less existence.

Here is where he proves his true and noble love for the neophyte bloodsucker.

Pay your paperboy.

Seriously, pay the paper boy unless you want him to go out and rally his delivery boy corps come harass your ass!

He really wants his two dollars, can’t swim, and is a tab bit unstable. Save yourself the trouble and pay him already!

If you are such a cheapskate that you didn’t give the paperboy his two dollars and refuse to ever do so then let it be known that there is only one way to rid yourself of him forever is to ski down the K-12 on one ski in a misguided attempt to win your ex-girlfriend back because you don’t realize that she sucks and you have already found someone better–watch the movie if you don’t know what I am talking about.

Never accept a gift from the owner, or anyone associated with, really, of a new attraction in town, it can only end badly.

Two Examples:

There are many more lessons that 80’s movies can teach us, I am sure, but I am too tired to think of them right now.

So I leave you with this, which is quite possibly the most important movie lesson in existence:

George Washington: President Bad-Ass

Man, George Washington is a total bad-ass.

First of all there is this:

In 1755, British General Edward Braddock headed a major effort to retake the Ohio Country. Washington eagerly volunteered to serve as one of Braddock’s aides, although the British officers held the colonials in contempt. The expedition ended in disaster at the Battle of the Monongahela. Washington distinguished himself in the debacle – he had two horses shot out from under him, and four bullets pierced his coat – yet, he sustained no injuries and showed coolness under fire. While Washington’s exact leadership role during the battle has been debated, biographer Joseph Ellis asserts that Washington rode back and forth across the battlefield, rallying the remnant of the British and Virginian forces to a retreat. In Virginia, Washington was acclaimed as a hero.

And of course this:

The Continental Congress appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces in 1775. The following year, he forced the British out of Boston, lost New York City, and crossed the Delaware River in New Jersey, defeating the surprised enemy units later that year. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured the two main British combat armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. Negotiating with Congress, the colonial states, and French allies, he held together a tenuous army and a fragile nation amid the threats of disintegration and failure. Following the end of the war in 1783, King George III asked what Washington would do next and was told of rumors that he’d return to his farm; this prompted the king to state, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” Washington did return to private life and retired to his plantation at Mount Vernon.[9]

I mean seriously, how bad-ass is that? He gets shot four times, “bullets piercing his coat” but sustains no injuries, remains cool under fire (which begs the question: shouldn’t Americans change the idiom from “Grace under fire” to “George under fire?”) and still manages (allegedly) to rally the remains of the forces which he is with to a successful retreat. Oh, and who can forget the man crossing the Delaware with his army for a surprise attack on Christmas morning. Genius and totally bad-ass.

And then he proved that he was the greatest man in the world (at least according to King George III) by returning to a farmer’s life when the American Revolutionary War was finished.

Washington was no partisan political hack. He was more interested in achieving victory in the war and establishing the idea of the United States of America, than holding power and governing. Not to say that he wasn’t up for those challenges. After all, he was the First President of the United States, so he must have had some interest in politics, or at least in  leading the U.S. during its small and tumultuous beginnings.

And now one more thing to add to the legend of this almost already mythical man: he was so totally bad-ass that it appears he did not feel the need to return his library books.

That’s right, this great man and leader, and possibly the greatest American President ever (with Lincoln being right there with him, after all, Honest Abe–but didn’t Washington say that he couldn’t tell a lie? Then why is it Honest Abe? I’m confused–did abolish slavery and he fought a war to keep the Union together. But he was assassinated, so he loses points there. However, if this is to be believed, he did hunt vampires:

So he gets a few extra points for that to make up for wussing out and allowing some numbnuts like John Wilkes Booth to end his life.) was such a bad-ass that he did not feel the need to return his library books before he died. If that doesn’t say bad-ass, then I really don’t know what does.

Oh, and he fucked the shit out of bears too.

George Washington: Bad-ass.

Guess

the quote.

Conditions:

Three quote challenge.

No google allowed.

Catagories range from movies to the Pope’s mom.

These are not my original ideas. They belong to someone else, but that does not mean I cannot use them for educational purposes.

Let the knowledge enhancement and (non)educated guesses commence!

“Jay and Silent Bob are fucking clown shoes.”

“Rape is no laughing matter, unless you are raping a clown.”

“And you can take that to the bank!”

Care Package ideas

I usually don’t do things like this, but I have been missing home a bit lately and would like some reminders.

Ideas for anyone who wants to send me a care package. Email me and I will send you my address so that you can send the package and give me a little bit of America.

Reese’s peanut butter cups, bite size or regular it doesn’t matter. Reese’s Pieces are also acceptable.

Tootsie Rolls pops. Any flavor, but lots of them.

World’s Finest Teas: Blueberry flavored black tea.

Macaroni and cheese in a box (again any brand–even generic store brand–will do). I know it is gross, but there is something oddly comforting about it, and it is not something I can easily get here.

Cliff Bars–any kind except for apple or banana flavored.

That is all I can think of right now. I understand it is expensive to ship things overseas and I am not expecting anyone to actually send me anything, but a  guy can dream, right?

UPDATE: There is a magazine called The Believer that I enjoy. Also, The New Yorker, or the latest edition of the Best non essential American writing (or something like that–you will find it in a bookstore next to all the other BEST OF books).

Complaint

I complain a lot, but one thing that I don’t complain about a whole lot is the cold. Given the choice between a hot day and a cold day I usually choose the cold. I guess it’s because I have a ton of body fat so it is easier for me to keep warm. I’m like a bear that way.

But I do hate it when I do complain about the weather, or how cold it is, and I get this (or a similar) response: “You’re not in California anymore.” Often times this is said as a joke, and I take it the way it was intended and try to laugh at it, but it still bothers me. What people who haven’t been there don’t seem to understand is that California is a huge place, and it is not all sun and beaches. We have mountains, and they get snow. I am from one of those mountain towns that freezes in winter and gets lots of snow.

Here are a couple of pictures of my hometown, Groveland, California.

I remember many a winter morning in which I got up, went to take my morning bath (yeah, we had a bath not a shower) and the pipes would be frozen. I also remember running up my father’s electric bill because I had to use the space heater in my room all night because it was always freezing. The point is I know what the cold is like, I grew up in it after all. Plus, for like five or six years straight I only wore shorts. I had a very strict anti-pants policy that I kept throughout high school and most of my college career.

I don’t know why this “you’re not in California” statement bothers me so much, but it does. Maybe it is because I hear it quite a bit, and it just gets old. Or maybe it is because I assume that they are trying to comment on my ability to handle the cold, or that they are trying to imply that I am just a weak Californian who thinks 70 degrees Fahrenheit is bundle up weather. But, whatever the reason for its bothering me is the point remains that it does bother me.

Hell, I might even go so far as to say it angers me, makes my blood boil, sets the heart to constricting and pumping faster so that it feels like I am trying to push a baseball bat through the eye of a needle.

Sigh