Inaction

There’s very little action in life. Sure, we’re in constant motion–physically and mentally–but there’s very little action that actually takes place. However, I had a little bit over the last few days. In this case, “action” is a very literal term. Working for and alongside my favorite non-profit organization, I participated in an event protesting the continually unacceptable business practices of a major American company. Pretty vague, huh? They don’t even train me in this shit. I just point the camera. And that’s exactly what I did.

While three brave activists chained themselves to the main gates of one of the company’s manufacturing facilities, I wielded two cameras, live and still, to immortalize and publicize the event. All said and done, it was a tremendous, exhausting, sweaty, and incarcerating experience. (The latter doesn’t directly relate to me, but yes, people ended up in the pokey.) Aside from that, though, I’d like to return to my original thesis. Involving myself in such a proactive environment really made me take a hard look at the rest of my life. For the most part, I don’t accomplish much. I work a little, I write, I spend time with my girlfriend (which is pretty active, if you know what I mean! High five, anyone. . . anyone?) The point being, I wish my everyday life were more action-centered. If I could maintain a perpetual state of motivated engagements, I think I’d sleep more soundly.

I’ve been thinking about the last lines of David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees. Essentially, it goes something like this: Jason Schwartzman and Mark Walberg sit on a lone rock, having just established their existential path (something else I’m working on). Schwartzman, an environmental activist in the film, is asked by Walberg, a part-time fireman, “What are you doing tomorrow?”, to which he replies, “I was thinking about chaining myself to a bulldozer. Wanna come?”

“What time?”

“About four o’clock.”

“Sure.”

Then Walberg hits Schwartzman in the face with a large, rubber exercise ball.

That moment, that conversation, is one that I’d love to have on a regular basis. When asked what I’m doing tomorrow, my answer is generally somewhere between the fabulously interesting ends of I don’t know and Not much. I don’t mean to say I think it’s entirely necessary to steer my life towards hardcore activism, but still, it would be incredibly fulfilling to have something that reflects that quality. Be it community outreach, social activism, or masked crime-fighting, it’s becoming increasingly important to me to find that motivator, whatever it may be. Fortunately, I should have plenty of time to think about it tomorrow. What am I doing? Not much.

Sluttish

She was really quite sluttish, in her way.

We all knew her when we were in high school—the popular girl, captain of the tennis team, president of the drama club, prom queen senior year, a million friends and a million enemies, and they were the same group of people.

She dressed conservatively, but not to a fault. She was much sought-after, but never led the boys on. She went to church most Sundays and always capitalized her God. She got straight A’s herself and was always happy to help out the kids who weren’t doing as well, which the teachers loved. She ate healthy most of the time, but wasn’t afraid of pizza. She didn’t really drink much, but wasn’t condescending towards those who did so more frequently. She was funny, and had a contagious laugh which she loved to use. All in all, she was a great person.

She made her way to the top in the usual manner—subconsciously stepping on everybody in her way—but even though we might have been hurt at the time, her face radiated such goodwill that, had she been a Roman two millennia ago, even the condemned innocent wouldn’t have begrudged her the first stone cast in the tirade of death. And, once she’d achieved her lofty social status, she was always the first to give a helping hand to any other ladder-climbers, her charity being so great that even those who swore to be her lifelong enemy would eventually be willing to eat cartons of ice cream and watch Matthew McConaughey take his shirt off on TV late at night on her couch. Her parents were strict but reasonable, some of the most popular on her block. Time spent at her house was always wholesome, never wasted.

Then, on a dare, she drank eight shots of vodka and had sex with the entire JV football defensive line under the stage after graduation while everybody else stood around watching.

She was really quite sluttish, in her way.

A Weezer fan’s lament…

weezerred2.jpgEight of the ten tracks leaked off of Weezer’s self titled “Red Album” today.

This isn’t gonna be a review of that album. I don’t think I could do that.

It’s a lament. The band I once loved uncondtionally has broken my heart way too many times.

This album is complete dogshit.

The band’s last three albums were certainly no Blue or Pinkerton, but they certainly had their fair share of passable to good – and okay, sometimes great tracks.

This one is just full of awkward, quarter-baked experiments. Seriously. Cheap crowd, siren and bird sound effects? Gangsta rapping? A six minute song where Rivers tries to recreate Green Day’s “Jesus of Suburbia” using the style of every top ten single he’s downloaded off iTunes in the past three years? Please. The guitar tones are straight out of 1999!

It’s all too hokey… I can’t even think straight. This has made my brain melt. Like, I want to describe the songs, or the lyrics on this aberration – but the words just aren’t coming.

You’ve lost me, guys. I’ve defended you for years and years – especially when your albums have not been up to snuff. It’s all too much now.

I just can’t imagine that Geffen would actually release an album that’s this offensive to such a loyal fanbase.

No MP3 this time. You can go search it out for yourself. If you dug 2 Girls, 1 Cup, then this one is for you.

I’m gonna go take a shower or something.

What good is a sentimental heart?

You talk about math.

He kisses you, tells you he’s leaving, and you end up sleeping next to a pile of dirty laundry, and you wake up wondering if anything will ever be substantial. Even the cereal you eat each morning burns off in no time.
I am a person so willing to create a meaningful connection. I’m ready, willing, and waiting if you are too.
The fact that my single head will lay alone in my double bed forever is completely, nearly deathly flummoxing and painful.

I’ve been listening to two albums almost completely on repeat since I got them. One is She & Him, which could possibly illustrate my life. This completely adorable girl sings about her willingness to love and be loved, and her sentimental heart. She says EVERYTHING I want to say, and there’s even slide guitars. I just want to play this for everyone. I truly love people more than most will ever understand

On the other side of the coin, the new Death Cab for Cutie album sort of the reality. I can’t cease from listening to “Your New Twin Sized Bed,” mostly because the song simply illustrates how miserable I think I’m probably going to be for the rest of my life. I keep trying to figure out why I am so undesirable, because I want something to last, and I can’t figure out why it doesn’t. Narrow Stairs is so horribly depressing. I get pretty comfortable in being a sad sack, like an old pair of pants that know ones body so well, hugging every slope and valley as if I was born in them.
Here’s a sample of the lyrics that lacerated my thoughts the moment I heard them:

“You used to think that someone would come along
And lay beside you in a space that they belong
But the other side of the mattress and box springs stayed like new
What’s the point of holding on to what never gets used?”

I tried to change. I might even be fighting genetics, and I can’t comprehend why so many seemingly horrible people deserve to be happy and listen to Big Star together while the only thing I’m snuggling up to is loneliness. This is really the pits, people.

This is everything you’ve ever heard before from a sad single woman, and it’s not that I want to get married and create ten thousand children (far from it…), but I just want to go for a walk with him and I don’t think he cares. Perhaps the entire population can just do better than me, or perhaps I just have expectations that need to be lowered. Or maybe I’m just a fool.

Either way, for a sweetly depressing look at my (and possibly every single Chicago woman) desolate romantic life, check out Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie, and Volume One by She & Him.

Don’t call it that

I hate “The O.C.” I make no attempt to claim otherwise, and at the urgings of several friends of mine have repeatedly tried to give the show second chances. I just absolutely detest every aspect of that program, and would quite frankly rather watch “Days Of Our Lives,” because at least that show makes no effort to hide that it’s a soap opera.

But what I hate most about “The O.C.” is the effect it has on music. I love that it provided an outlet for good bands to gain some exposure, pick up some popularity, finally make some real money. But I hate that as soon as a band appeared on “The O.C.,” everyone loved them, even if they didn’t know anything about them. I went to go see Death Cab For Cutie open for the Psychedelic Furs. The place was packed for Death Cab, but because all the little O.C. kids didn’t know a damn thing about the band they were there to see, it was an utterly unpleasant experience. In fact, several people assumed that Death Cab would be headlining the show, and when they went on before the actual headliner (the Furs), I heard people asking why the band was opening with a Death Cab cover. I heard other people asking when Death Cab was going to go on, because that band sucks.

“That band” was Death Cab, and they were opening the show with “The New Year,” the first song from their “Transatlanticism” album, which was the album featured on “The O.C.”

I’m not saying people should memorize all the details of a band’s repertoire before seeing that band live. But if all you’re going on is the music that was featured on a TV show, at least buy the album and have a vague idea of what (if no one else) the singer looks like before you go to the show.

The other thing I hate, beyond tons of bands being endowed with ignorant, obnoxious fans, is the conception by people like me–who hate “The O.C.”–is that a band, once featured on the program, is somehow ruined. The Shins, Rooney, Ben Gibbard projects, Frou Frou/Imogen Heap, I still listen to them. Even Phantom Planet, who had the fucking theme song, find themselves in frequent rotation on my iTunes. The music they make was made before they were on the show, and you’re allowed to like bands who have been on a TV show you hate, and you’re allowed to hate bands who have been on a TV show you like.

This is more or less an incoherent rant written on a 7:1 waking to sleeping ratio, and I suppose the bottom line is, I’m really glad “The O.C.” is no more, and I’m really, phenomenally impressed with the new Phantom Planet record. I know I took my sweet time getting here. But that’s really all I wanted to say.

$3.43

Think back to a time when you were riding around in the backseat of your parents vehicle. Imagine looking randomly out the window, you come across a nice colorful gas station sign where it would read something similar to this.

|Prem $1.03/g|
|Plus $.93/g|
|Unl $.83/g|

It really didn’t seem like much at the time, just a sign with numbers.

This morning I went to fill up my gas tank. I took a look at the very similar sign I would see riding in my parents vehicle.

However this time looking at it I realized how bad things have really gotten. I had pay over $3.40 a gallon this morning. I have a friend in California who just payed $4.05. How out of control are things going to get before they get better?

Here is a link to a gentleman who for the past 30 years has been recording and plotting the prices of his gas. Every fill up, every station, every price. The results are pretty staggering.

My dad asks me fairly regularly,

“Hey, how’s the savings account going?”

I reply with a very simple, “it’s not.”

My parents expect me to save money for my future. Obviously, this is in my best interest, and I would love to be able to do that. But what my parents, and a majority of the older generations, do not understand is that it is not POSSIBLE to save money going to school, working, etc when you are our age in the current year we are living.

When our parents were our age they were paying what, like 45 cents a gallon? Even if you adjust that for the ridiculous inflation, it’s still half of what we are paying now. The sad thing is its only going to get worse before it gets better.

What can we do?