Everyone’s a music critic

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You can sell millions of records. You can even win a Grammy. But if the avian world doesn’t like you, the best thing to do is just keep your mouth shut.

The Kings of Leon now know this after a non-too-impressed pigeon reportedly defecated into the mouth of bassist Jarred Followill during a Friday performance in St. Louis.

The Kings cancelled their show after the incident, which has me mixed. I would definitely consider it a showstopper if it happened to me, but then I’m not a bigtime rocker. If a pigeon had pooped in Ozzy Osbourne’s mouth, he would’ve snatched the offending fowl from the air, ripped its head off with his teeth, crapped down its neck and swallowed it whole.

I apologize to anyone who is feeling sickened by this topic, but sometimes even the most modest of us writers must, now and then, talk about The Kings of Leon.

Honestly, though, I can’t say this was handled poorly. Fans have been offered a refund and band members have apologized on Twitter. If anyone, the pigeon is the one who’s going to lose the most face on this. Every bird groupie knows pooping in the mouth of the bassist is only, like, half a notch above nailing a roadie. Also, any bird can claim to be a music critic, really. It’s the ones who show their displeasure to male models and airplanes that are truly dedicated.


Simple Saturday: Entitlement


I am aware there has not been much funny here recently; nor much of anything else, for the matter. I have been keeping up with my writing at LeftStickRight, but my motivation to write other pieces has waned lately with time and inner turmoil.

My trip to Wichita went rather well. I even landed an interview at a prominent ad agency. It looked like a beautiful and friendly place to work and I wanted it badly, but I didn’t perform as well on a proofreading test as a few others — one of them took the job over me. I took it pretty roughly, but this event and its aftermath have finally shown me what my real attitude and motivations have become and the need to look in and set things straight.

My childhood was somewhat isolated, but still quite good. I have loving parents who supported me in everything for which I have striven. The reason, I had come to believe, was that I was a “good and talented kid,” and as long as I stayed so, I could achieve my goals in life and make proud my parents and others who believed in me.

It was rather smooth sailing through my schooling in this regard: I graduated high school as salutatorian and made it out of college with a 3.96 GPA. I felt it would only be a matter of time before I found those things in life that are supposed to make others see you as successful: a wife; children; a satisfying job and a real, set purpose in life.

But I hit a wall under this philosophy. I found a job I thought would be a good stepping stone but has resulted in the industry slowly sinking around me. My luck in searching both for better work and a life partner has hit opportunities very few and far between, none of which have worked out. And all this time, those around me — regardless of their path and talents — seemed to move forward, achieving those goals I had set on a pedestal as “progress.”

My sense of entitlement went to war with a long-developing sense of inadequacy. How could it look so easy for everyone else? I had followed the rules all this time, hadn’t I? Why weren’t people noticing that when it really counted? What’s wrong with me? There has to be something wrong with me.  Look how I always fail. No, I haven’t failed; my circumstances have failed me. All I need to do is move somewhere else and everything will snap back into place. But now I’m failing to find a good way to move out. Everyone else has already left. I really am a failure…

And on and on it has gone; a never-ending cycle of feeling deserving for the wrong reasons and smashing myself against the results as though I was trying to prove myself wrong. All this time, the friends and family who looked on did something ridiculous: they continued believing in me. They kept telling me the fact things had not happened didn’t mean I was a failure, and that they didn’t determine my self worth. But I couldn’t believe them. So many of them, after all, had already moved on. They had found their spouses; moved out and on to work on other goals. I was inferior. They didn’t understand that I was broken, even if I couldn’t identify why I was, myself.

After the Wichita job, however, and the same round of support as always, something finally clicked:

The only person who has ever thought of me as a failure has been myself.

I had become so caught up in needing to obtain my goals to “catch up” with the people I was “under” that I couldn’t see they never looked down on me in the first place. If anything, they were sorry for me for the way I always tore into myself. I made them watch every time, demanding they agree with me, but they couldn’t. They endured every ugly scene and came out unwavering that I still possessed the qualities to find contentment.

This is the point I am at now. Armed with a revelation, looking back in my life to study where things went wrong and replace my views with those that more accurately frame myself and the way the people who know me see me. Stepping back from the “entitled” dreams I have hung so much of my definition of success upon and searching for other ways that I can find purpose and fulfillment. To give my loved ones not what I’ve always thought they’ve wanted from me, but become the person they deserve I become.

Simple Saturday: Scantily blogged


I know I’ve been rather lax on the updates recently. The usual upspike in work and commitments is upon me. Case in point, I’m working 6 days per week the next two weeks. It’s nothing too bad, since I’m banking days for upcoming excursions into the world, which I’m much looking forward to.

I’m also investing some more time into my health and losing weight, having recently joined SparkPeople and taking advantage of their fitness and nutrition trackers. You totally don’t realize how much damage those five innocent packages of Ding Dongs between meals can wreak until you see the numbers on the screen.

I do have ideas, but I just need to scrounge up the time and will to get them down. I’m still hoping for at least one post per week, though–Simple Saturdays excluded. That’s for my health, too!

Blurting News 3

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1:42 PM 4/8/2010 AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods has teed off at the Masters.

1:45 PM 4/8/2010 VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope is doing Catholic stuff.

1:49 PM 4/8/2010 APPALACHIA, Pa. (AP) — Bear defecating in woods.

Simple Saturday: iPadding


Did you know the iPad went on sale today? If you’re able to read this, there’s no way you could’ve slipped by some outlet telling you it has.

For some reason, the media has a love affair with Apple products more than any other. You’ll see small bits on the news about people waiting in line for a new game console, but they have full features on anything that has a lower-case i in front of it. Logging into the Associate Press wire for some financial stories, I counted no less than 10 updates to a story on the iPad release, each with several revisions. That’s more than 30 installments of a story on a product release.

Apple has done very well over the years branding itself as the quality-centered underdog. Yet as it’s grown, it has relied more and more upon “Big Corporate” tactics to get what it wants and make sure as much money as possible is milked from its user base. I’m not saying they don’t make good products, or that people shouldn’t buy what they’re happy with, but don’t tell me Apple plays so much more nicely than Microsoft these days. Less than a year from now an updated iPad will be out with features that should’ve been in what’s available now, and people will buy the retread. Other companies do this, too (I’m looking at you, Nintendo) but Apple does it while still clinging to its “innovative small guy” appeal.

Ultimately, just take a step back and figure out why you go for a certain brand over others. If the reasons are legitimate for your needs, then more power to you. But if it’s some form of consumer Stockholm syndrome, take a good long look at what else is out there next time you want to make a purchase.

Simple Saturday: Standin’


One of the official places I want to visit before I die is Winslow, Arizona.

Apart from being one of the places in Arizona that you can be at and not die in a desert, I’m fascinated by its inclusion in the Eagles song “Take It Easy”:

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
And such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my lord,
In a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me

Now, when you’re a small town and a popular group includes you in a song, you jump on it and milk that sucker for all it’s worth. I’m glad to know Winslow did, creating Standin’ on the Corner Park. The park–which really is just a corner–has a statue of a man… standing on a corner in front of a mural of a building front that has the reflection of a girl in, presumably, a Ford, looking at him.

I have also read that women do, in fact, travel about Winslow in pickup trucks and will stop to talk with people standing on corners. Whether this has always been a foundation of Winslow or the Chamber of Commerce pays them to do such is unknown.

Simple Saturday: The pods, they are a’castin

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Spring: Where a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love–and pulls a sharp u-ie once it realizes he maintains a snowball’s chance in Fallujah of actually obtaining it.

Birds & Bees: 1, Young Man’s Fancy: 0

So as the temperatures rise and the snow makes a hopefully long-lasting disappearance, my fancy has turned toward some spring cleaning in my Zune and mp3 collection. Podcasts have become my love on car rides to and from work and they sometimes tend to build up.

What podcasts do I listen to? Glad I made you ask!

Decoder Ring Theatre is a Toronto-based audio drama troop whose series hearken back to the radio adventures of yesteryear. I originally showed up for the masked-hero escapades of “The Red Panda Adventures” but have stayed for the hard-boiled “Black Jack Justice” as well. Stories run a mixture of silly and serious with some excellent dialog.

NPR’s “Car Talk” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…” are my two favorite shows from that source, and since I don’t get a station that comes through very clearly here, I download each show in podcast form. Both produced by Doug Berman, they turn what could be very boring topics into friendly and hilarious banter.

Podcacher is my weekly update on the world of geocaching, the perfect hobby for getting out of one’s home and exploring the world. Hosted by “Sonny and Sandy in sunny San Diego” (seriously).

PodQuiz is a weekly 20-question quiz with four rounds in a variety of topics. The first-round music questions are often a hoot, asking you to identify horrifying MIDI versions of songs or to figure out the underlying connection between four pieces of music. Quick and fun, not to mention it helps me win free wings on local trivia nights.

The Useless Information Podcast does not update often, but provide some fresh and fascinating material every time it does. Hosted by Steve Silverman, each episode focuses on an oft-untold story he has dug up from the annals of history. Superb stuff that is told well, and also includes old radio ads and “news from the weird past.”

I also listen to several video game podcasts, but that can wait for another time. You should end your cabin fever and get outside if you can!

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