Sunday, March 9, 2014

shows.


This post is about musical concerts.

Me and a buddy got to chatting tonight about the best concerts we've ever seen.  Some of the acts that were mentioned were extremely obscure, but with bits of special randomness that made them uniquely special to each of us.

I contemplated listing mine in a top 5 order, similar to John Cusack's style, but they're just all just too different to rank.  And there are a lot more than five.  But here are a few, along with some poetic commentary to accompany it.  Prepare for bullet points.

  • Ramones--Mississippi Nights, St. Louis, MO.  I've been lucky enough to see the Ramones several times in my life before they all died.  I'm not bitching, but most of the shows were of the outdoor alternative festival-type.  Not really the way God intended to show off the world's greatest puck rock band.  But I'm grateful, nonetheless.  The one time I did see the Ramones in their natural habitat, was at the smokey, sticky, skanky, rundown club on St. Louis' landing, Mississippi Nights (RIP).  Johnny Ramone spit on me during "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker".  Beat that, everyone.
  • Hayes Carll--Mishawaka Ampitheater, Bellvue, CO.  Typically, the Mish is a fair-weather venue where jam bands and hippies gather to celebrate 27 minute-long songs and hallucinogens in the great outdoors.  As great as this might sound to 78% of the readers right now, this show was the opposite.  We gathered indoors, in a very intimate setting in the middle of December.  Plastic patio chairs accompanied by a gigantic fireplace and a rickety, homemade stage was the perfect setting for Hayes and his guitar player.  April and I drank bottles of O'Dells with our feet propped against the stage.
  • Mighty, Mighty Bosstones--Regency Showcase, Springfield, MO.  Although I had listened to their tunes for a while, this was the first time I'd ever been to a Bosstones show.  Their opening band was called Black Train Jack.  While we're grabbing beers at the bar (I believe with my underage sister), the lights go down and BTJ starts playing some swell rock and roll type music.  From backstage, an overweight lead singer runs out and starts wailing.  The entire crowd--whom I'm guessing 90% of had never heard of this band--rush the stage.  Large lead-singer, who is still wailing, jumps into the crowd and body surfs--all 350lbs of him.  This was the tip of the iceberg, as the Bosstones blew the roof off the place in divine fashion.
  • Willie Nelson--Red Rocks, Morrison, CO.  I've seen Willie a handful of times, and all of his shows are very similar.  Not a bad thing, just how it is.  So seeing him in this incredible venue, on a bluebird day-turned starry night, with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop was special.  It was one of those moments that gave you goosebumps for three hours.  Especially during "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain".  It didn't hurt that Ryan Bingham opened the show.
  • AC/DC--The Arena, St. Louis, MO.  This was my first time seeing AC/DC, and it was right at the beginning of me and my team delving into pure debauchery. 1990, I believe, was not quite at the height of me getting into trouble, but this road trip to see AC/DC was certainly one the triggers.  Blissfully ignorant is the only way to describe this trek by four 16 year olds to downtown StL.  We weren't of age to purchase $9 beers at the show yet, but we definitely made up for it before, during, and after the concert.  A giant, faux-rock wall came tumbling down at the beginning of the show during the intro to  "Thunderstruck", as Angus powered through it with his Gibson SG.  The rest is...hazy.
  • Van Halen--Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO.  I was 100% against seeing this "reunion" of washed up dorks trying to make a dollar off me by acting like they like each other for three hours.  Understand please, Van Halen is overall my favorite band in life, circa 1978 to 1984, for the most part.  The combination of a good friend going to the show, and free box seats from my wife's employer helped talk me into going.  I entered the private room, like a fucking VIP, and started eating the mediocre free food and drinking all the booze, like I'm supposed to.  After some unentertaining crap, like an opening band and some miniature blimps putting around and dropping gift certificates into people's laps, the lights finally turn off.  Then...all of my favorite songs came to life with precision craftsmanship and daft showmanship.  Yes, old as shit, and certainly with the lead singer on a leash, they rekindled my love affair with the original set.  Even if it was with a fat kid named Wolfie.
Notable Favorites:

  • After a dismal showing in Springfield, MO, Marky Ramone and The Intruders finished their show and walked off stage to a smattering applause of six.  I was able to meet Marky before he made it backstage (to slit his wrists), apologized for our sad music scene, and bought him a drink.  He likes gin and tonics.
  • Although at an outside show at a minor league baseball field, and not a small, enclosed club, Motorhead was by far and away the loudest band I've ever heard live.  Louder than the Ramones...louder than AC/DC...louder than KISS...louder than Social Distortion...louder than NOFX...all put together.  It was outside, and anyone trying to enjoy a rock 'n roll-free evening within an 8-mile radius of that ball field was out of luck that night.  Side note: Buckcherry opened the show that night by saying, "Drink beer, fuck bitches!".  Oh, Buckcherry, you're words are so though-provoking.  
  • At the Warped Tour, circa 20somethingorother, I met Rancid.  I've seen them a few times, and they're swell.  But meeting them was swell-er, because they're extremely down to earth cats.  That makes seeing them live that much cooler.  The band that stole the show that day was Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, though.  Leading up to the show, they set up a tiki bar on stage, had Heather, the hot bassist from Teen Idols tending bar, and all wore Hawaiian party garb.  They invited people from the audience up on stage, but before we realized this and worked up the nerve, the show was starting.  A huge regret.
  • BR549 is an incredible country and western band.  I saw them in Springfield with a large group of friends whom had never heard of them.  I talked them into going, along with my folks. We commenced to dancing all fucking night and having one of the best times ever.  Ever.  Similar happenings have occurred during Southern Culture On the Skids, Ray Condo and His Ricochets, Brian Parton and His Nashville Rebels, Mojo Nixon, Those Legendary Shack Shakers, and Twistin' Tarantulas shows.
  • I'm going to group you all together, 80s metal bands.  Not because I'm discounting you...God no.  80s metal concerts is what I was raised on.  It introduced me to chicks with big hair, an overabundance of second-hand smoke, and meaningful phrases like, "Satisfaction Guaranteed", "Fuckin' A", "Fuck yeah, man", and "Are you ready to rock?".  Let's start with the first one, in 1988: Night Ranger with Great White.  And it only got better from there.  Stryper, Winger, Vixen, KISS (without makeup!), Whitesnake, White Lion, Dokken, Quiet Riot, Poison, Slaughter, Warrant, LA Guns, and about 100 others I can't think of right now.  Goofy, but incredibly awesome at the time.  
  • Ready for this??  I went to the CMT Awards.  Yep.  But hey, listen.  Tickets were free, along with all access VIP pre and after party.  I was surrounded by famous people I could give a shit about.  But it was still cool.  I'd never, ever pay for it, but it was still cool.  I couldn't tell you the pop country stars that were there.  I'm too cool to know who they are or care about their existence.  
  • Oh, Swiss Villa.  This was the large ampitheater in the middle-of-nowhere Ozark Mountains Missouri where we used to see large musical acts.  My first show ever...ever, was Kenny Loggins, at Swiss Villa in 1985, circa Top Gun Danger Zone shit.  As we became older and more careless, we would see shows such as Ozzy Osbourne, David Lee Roth, Alice In Chains, and Lynard Skynard while drunk as shit and young.  I remember at the Ozzy show I got hungry.  So I bought some nachos.  As soon as I was handed the nachos, some drunk chick knocked them out of my hand and onto the dirt.  Shortly after, the show was cut short due to on-stage rioting.  No shit.  Was it due to my nacho disaster?  Probably.
  • One of my first jobs, if not my absolute first job, was cleaning up puke at the Shrine Mosque.  This was the venue in town where several larger acts would come to perform from time to time.  Even though my primary job was cleaning up vomit for free beer, I still got to wear a "Staff" lanyard.  Chicks kind of dug that lanyard, even though I was toting around a mop.  I got to clean up excrement from such shows as Bad Company, Ted Nugent, Soundgarden, Skid Row, PIL, and Live.  Woohoo.

Will I Ever?

  • Since I do not have $300 for a standing room only ticket, I apparently will not be able to see Merle Haggard anytime soon.  He's been through Denver twice now, with ticket prices laughable.  Maybe I can catch him at a rodeo, bar,  or casino...where he should be.
  • An obscure act I never got to see was the Donnas.  Love their music and their style.  Noticed they were playing with the Hives....about five years ago.  I'd like to see them both, if they're still alive.
  • Iggy, you might be too old for me to enjoy seeing you in concert anymore, but I'd still like to give it a try.
  • In my opinion, the best punk rock band there is... the New Bomb Turks.  They still play a bar mitzvah a time or two a year, so maybe I'll still get to see them.
  • Johnny Cash is dead.  Waylon Jennings is dead.  George Jones is dead.  Hank Williams is dead.  What a jip.
I'm 100% certain that I'm missing a very important concert or two, or three.  I'm also certain that I was more than likely fairly inebriated during these possible forgotten shows.  That means it was a good show though, right?

Good things.

,,


       







Saturday, March 1, 2014

kiddo.

I'm wound up.

Got me a gin and tonic, a Burt Reynolds movie rolling, and an ornery retriever dog laying at my feet.  My wife is upstairs, in bed.  She's pregnant.  And you know what?  That's about the coolest thing there is.

We're going on year number four of trying to have kids.  It isn't easy for some people, present company included.  And it isn't cheap.  This kid has already cost us as much as a luxury automobile, and she's still got four months left to hatch.  But I wouldn't trade it for a million dollars.  And yeah, you heard me...she.

I'm having a little girl.  Just typing those words makes me grin real big.

I'm not in the mood to sit here and have a discussion on if I'm going to be a good parent or a bad parent.  I don't really feel like fantasizing about my daughter being a brain surgeon, or an astrophysicist, or the president.  I'm not there yet.  I'm just happy she has a healthy brain, a healthy heart, all her appendages and phalanges, and is kicking my wife from the inside.  That's what's important right now.

"Oh my God, I'm not sure if I'll be a good parent or not?"...is something I haven't said since 1997.  And rightfully so...no child would ever want 23yr old Matt raising them.

I'm fucking 40 now.  I'm ready.  I'm so ready I could puke.  And speaking of...I'm ready to clean up puke, poop, and whatever other disgusting messes babies make.  Bring it on, baby--I'm not afraid of you.  I'm gonna parent the crap out of you.  You're going to be raised well.  Other babies will be jealous of how phenomenally you are being brought up.  You will be exposed to such wonderments in life as a loving family, dear friends, great food, Burt Reynolds movies, the outdoors, not being an entitled asshole, manners, how to pour a good drink at a young age, and not making fun of your dad for being old.

All I can think of right now is pigtails.  That's honestly about as far as I can get without kicking myself in the ass and being reminded to take it a day at a time.  I'm enjoying the kicks from inside April's belly, the fruit and vegetable size comparisons, the occasional name that we throw around, and the designated driver.  Everything after that is...well, after that.

I can't wait to meet you, whatever your name is.  You're going to be a kick-ass daughter, with parents who already love you dearly.  Please take care of yourself, and I'll see you in July, kid.

..


Sunday, January 26, 2014

James.

It's not a good thing when the only time I write is when someone passes away.  Lost two friends this year already, and we're not even out of January.

James Bonner.  I don't recall anyone ever calling him James.  His name was Boner.  I think even the teachers called him Boner.  I hadn't talked to Boner in years.  It was one of those classic vanishing acts after high school.  I've known Boner since grade school, but I spent every other day with this kid, from 1989 to 1992.  Then the day after graduation, we went our separate ways, and didn't keep in touch.  But during those four years, we never really talked about our feelings, or called each other just to say "hi".  Mine and Boner's relationship was about living.  Hell, he was with me most every time I got arrested.

Everyone knew this guy.  All the older kids knew him…the "Wooderson" types who had already graduated (or didn't) knew him…the popular bunch in school knew him, and everyone else in between.  Everyone knew Boner.  He was kind of an anomaly, whereas he didn't really fit into any category or group.  He was universally accepted by everyone.  He was Boner, and he was a fun kid.

From what I hear, my high school class was one of the last of a dying breed.  I don't use this term lightly--but our class "partied".  Yes, partied.  We were like something straight out of "Dazed and Confused".  We drove our shitty cars everywhere, looking for a dirt road to share a box of shittier beer (that we worked very hard at acquiring) and talk about what we thought that all the chicks were doing that night.  Then we would go try and find those chicks.  We would cruise Kearney Street.  Sometimes we would race, sometimes we would jump in the bed of someone's truck, hunker down and split a bottle of Yukon Jack.  And of course, we would throw that empty bottle at something we probably shouldn't.

Carefree.  Amazingly carefree.

I don't remember what classes I took in high school.  I don't remember many of my teachers.  I think I got okay grades, but who cares.  What I remember is the most carefree time of my life--and from 40 years of talking to thousands of other various people in my life--a much more carefree time than most anyone else I've ever encountered.  It was glorious.  We had no idea at the time, but it was glorious.

There were some real characters from those days.  Some, I still call dear friends.  But at the center of every single incredible, memorable, amazing time I had within those four years, was Boner.

He lived further in the sticks than I did, so he would come pick me up shortly after we got home from school on Friday evening.  I could hear him coming down the street about a mile away, blasting Dio from his giant speaker box sitting in the back seat of his baby blue Mustang, right next to the Igloo full of iced beer.  Rust eating away at the floorboards, a horrid, unsafe fume blowing from the vents.  He would always honk when he pulled into the driveway.  He didn't need to.  On a night with no plans, we took it upon ourselves to make them.  We would round up the usual suspects: Middleton, Vinnie, the Lambeths, Eagleburger, Kev, and we would first and foremost map out a booze plan.  "How many cases of beer?  Busch, right?  We need any whiskey?"

"Nathan's coming, he'll have whiskey.  Boner, how we getting booze?  Oh, cool, Lenny will buy it for us.  You know Lenny good enough?  Cool."

Next up, a place to drink the booze.  "Not Lenny's house again--place weirds me out.  Staley and Shannon are out, can't go there...  We could always go to The Road?"

The Road was a place…er, a road, where we would park our cars and drink beer and whiskey while we thought of something cooler to do.  It really wasn't hidden--it was kind of a frontage road right next to the highway.  Cops would usually chase us away--not sure why we chose that road…  On some occasions, if my hazy memory serves, while we would be drinking at The Road, other carloads of likeminded high school booze-hounds would show up to do the exact thing we were doing.  Of course Boner knew them, so we then had an instant party.

On a great night, we would already have plans in place.  Typically it was a house party at Vinnie's or Kent's.  We would get there early to prime.  Usually someone would have puked from tequila shots before the party even started.

Foster would sneak out of his bedroom window after his parents went to sleep, with the focus and stealth of a ninja.  The plan was for Boner to pick him up and take him to the party.  Foster carefully lifts his window--no creaks, no pops.  He slowly pushes the tabs in on his screen. It comes out perfectly, without a sound.  With the grace of a ballerina, he slips out of his window and slides the glass back down.  He tip-toes through the shadows and quickly sprints down two driveways, a safe enough distance from his parents.  He looks down the street and sees nothing but darkness.  He suddenly hears what he thinks is "Holy Diver", by the impeccable Ronnie James Dio.  Then, a baby blue, murdered out Mustang comes barreling around the corner…the door flings open.

"You ready to drink some beer?"

"Yes.  Yes I am, Boner."

Simultaneously, Boner floors the gas and flips the volume on the in-dash.  A blue torch of booze-fueled awesomeness scorches past Foster's house, surely waking his parents from their slumber.  But who cares, in six minutes they'll be pulling up to Kent's.  Someone will throw them a beer the second they walk in the door.  People by the hoards will gradually start lining the curb with their cars, and parking in the grass.  Some, we celebrate their arrival.  Others, we will probably fight later.

"We need more chicks."  There are twenty, 17 year old guys drinking heavily for several hours, waiting for girls… waiting…. drinking…hoping she shows up…or hoping she shows up.  Every time the door opens, we are hoping it's her.  But she doesn't show.  So what?  She's looking pretty good…and she's looking real good.

"Holy shit, did you just see who walked in?  This night just got a lot better!"

Boner was a Czar.  He was Mafia.  He was The Arranger.  He brought worlds together.  He bridged gaps.  If there were a movie to be made about those four years of my life, the leading man of the movie would play James Bonner.  He was such an important character in my life--some of the most memorable, carefree years of my life.

"Thanks for driving tonight, man."

.


Monday, January 6, 2014

life.

It's too bad that it takes a monumental event in our lives to realize the importance of life.  I'm speaking for myself, of course, but assuming that others tend to take life for granted too, to a point.

By monumental, I mean the birth of a child, or the death of someone close.  These are the things that make me take a step back and appreciate life.  Not my life necessarily, but life in general.  Life is a miracle.  Whether you are a religious sort, spiritual, or other, you have to acknowledge that life is damn amazing.

A combination of several recent events has me in awe.  Today alone, I'm feeling very deep, humbling feelings.  They stem from a sudden death of a loved one.  It was a tragic day for my wife's side of the family, losing someone that went entirely too soon.

Paige was someone that I connected with.  You could talk to her about anything, and she always knew what to say and how to say it--in her own, frank way.  Obviously, I didn't know her near as well as I would have liked, or as others knew her.  Nor am I positioning myself for unnecessary condolences--save those for her mom and siblings.  The fact is, I knew Paige, I liked her, and right now I'm sad that she's gone.  Her death is one that seems unrealistic.  It hasn't sunk in yet.  But I know that once it does, I'll dearly miss our late night chats about saving the world.  She was extremely personable, and knew how to get you to open your mind and express all of your feelings at once.  This normally took place while sharing a bottle of wine.  My wife and/or brother-in-law typically would end up crying at some point during this.

Paige's sister is very pregnant.  It's a girl.  I can't imagine the flood of emotions these good people are feeling and will be feeling.

Life.

As usual, whenever something like this happens, I start strongly contemplating life.  The miracle of birth, and the sorrow of death.  Everything in between we take for granted.  Until someone is gone, or at least sick, we tend to be complacent with our relationships.  And with having children, "It's just something that happens" is the impression I get from a lot of folks.  To some, it is.  To others, it doesn't just fall in their laps.  We get so caught up in the day-to-day things that are right in front of us, that we lose track of the bigger picture and the truly important things.

I don't do New Year's resolutions, I just make adjustments.  My new adjustment is to be thankful for everyone good in my life.  It is to never take my children or family or life for granted.  It is to not look at these things as "just something that happens", but to be thankful in a religious, spiritual, or other way that I am a living, breathing dude, and I have amazing living, breathing people surrounding me.  Fact is, any of these people could be gone at any time.  Not fun to think about, but it certainly keeps you grounded, and thankful.

Life can be fragile.  We need to be appreciative.

.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thoughts on Stuff

Man, people sure do like stuff.

It becomes more apparent to me around the holidays, with my retail vantage point, watching people lose sight of being kind and rational, and instead becoming ravenous and rude.  They want their stuff, they want the right stuff, and they want it now.  If not, prepare for a tantrum.

Even before the holiday shit-show, though, I started thinking about how much crap I've accumulated over the years, and the fact that it is too much.  I start weighing "want" versus "need".  Sure, there's some gray area there, but for the most part I'm as spoiled as most every other American that I know.

Clothes.
This is probably the item that I think about most, mainly because it's the industry I'm in and I tend to accumulate vast quantities of clothes from whatever company I'm working for at the time.  Do I need any more clothes?  Can I justify buying a t-shirt?  A jacket?  God no.  I get clothes for free anyway, so why the hell should I buy any more?

Done.  Except for necessities that I don't get comped for like socks and underpants, no more clothes.  In fact, it's time to purge what I do have again.

Food.
This is a tough one.  Yes, I need food.  But do I need to spend as much money on food that I do?  Probably not.  I could get by with bologna sammiches everyday, but I like good food.  It's a passion.  It's an event.

This is where balance comes in to play.  Eating out, budget cooking, fancy meals, bologna sammiches.  Balance.

Automobile.
I like cars.  If I had the money, I'd buy a Bandit Trans Am, a Magnum P.I. Ferrari, a Fall Guy pickup, and an A-Team van.

But I don't, so I have to "settle" for a nice, reliable truck that's suits my needs perfectly.  And I have to fight the urge daily to go onto cars.com and look for new trucks.  It's a disease.

Household Items.
My house isn't for show.  It's a house that's lived in.  I don't own fancy furniture or designer anything.  But it looks nice.  It's not a shithole.  So furniture is purchased when the old ones wear out.  I have a lot of kitchen items, but they all get used…a lot.  If we decide that a piece of furniture needs to be purchased, we gravitate towards flea markets.

I could still probably get rid of plenty of shit I don't need.  The wife may have something to say about that, though.

Toys.
I have quite a bit of fishing shit.  But once again, the majority was either given to me or discounted drastically from me being in the business.  I'm not purging any of this, as it gets used and will continue to get used until I die.

Comic books make me happy.  It's really the only thing that I collect.  But still, to collector's standards, I don't own that many.  It hasn't taken over my house or my life completely, yet.  I have three small boxes of books, albeit good books.

I could sell a few, I guess.  If anything, to pay for new ones.  The way I look at it though, is that my comics serve a couple purposes.  One: They make me grin.  I stare at them several times a week…connecting with characters, writers, and artists that I've known my whole life.  Two: The price of old comic books is only going up.  With the emergence of all the Marvel and DC movies, comics from the 60s, 70s, and even the 80s are skyrocketing.  And with these characters and stories becoming mainstream, the value will only increase with time.  Not to mention, if I can get my hands on some books from the 40s and 50s, that would make for a nice little investment.  And that's the key word, investment.  I'd like for my kid(s) to inherit my collection one day.  Might be able to buy them a house or something.

I will buy a boat.  But I will save money on groceries by eating more fish.

I consider booze a toy.  I drink because it's fun, therefore it's on the toy list.  I have a system.  Two bottles of Scotch--one is a 1.75 of Johnny Walker Red Label, my go-to.  The other is something for special occasions, usually a little pricier and sits for a while.  Right now it's Laphroaig.  One bottle of gin, cheap.  This is my liquor cabinet.  When I "need" vodka, beer, wine, or whatever else, I pick it up on a need-to basis, which isn't all that often.

I rarely go to bars, so that's money saved there.

Well, my assessment of myself and all my stuff wasn't as bad as thought.  Not compared to the cretins who inhabit the malls and department stores, buying and returning and exchanging habitually.  I could get deep and start discussing the mass production of nearly everything (overseas, unfortunately), and the mass consumption by spoiled Americans.

But I won't.  Because I'm as guilty as you are.













Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thoughts and Such.

Several things have been on my mind lately.  In no particular order, they are:

Campfires
Being a dad
Work
40
Comic books
Being homesick
Boats
Shape

There you have it.  A deep look inside my mysterious brain.  Let's address these topics, shall we?

Campfires
Campfires make everything in this world right.  They lead up to what is undoubtedly going to be a triumphant evening, and they put the stamp of approval on the end of a successful day.  They welcome deep, mind-cleansing conversation that is honest and true.  The yellow and blue tips of the flames mesmerize and relax, and when looking at them dance through the bottom of a whiskey glass, it erases all worries.  Campfires are perfect with only two lawn chairs filled, both parties staring deeply at the burning timber while offering every thought that is on one another's minds.  They are equally perfect with a half dozen tailgates dropped towards it, coolers of icy beer and good, loud music.  They help celebrate a great day on the water, or make up for a bad day on the water.  Campfires are best surrounded by stars, trees, and friends.  But in a pinch, they will suffice burning in a store-bought firepit, on the patio of your subdivision home, with your dog at your side.

Being a dad
Not there quite yet.  It's been a long time in the making, but one day I will be a dad, a pop, a father.  I think I'll be decent at it.  At the very least, they'll have a great mother.

Work
I like my job.

That was not a typo.  When you like your job, you tend to think about quite a bit.  In a good way.  As in, "how can I be better at my job?".  This is a first for me, and it is taking some getting used to.  I am apparently doing an adequate job, as I just got promoted.  This again is a first for me.  I am really out of my comfort zone here.

40
I will be in my 30s for another few weeks.  Then I get old.  But what better way to celebrate becoming old than acting as immaturely as possible?  I'm sure these boundaries will be tested when I raise a toast to all my friends and family back in Missouri in a few weeks.

Comic books
It is no joke that I have a newfound love (addiction?) for collecting old comic books.  The art in these books has inspired my creativity up through my only successful college courses, and the stories and characters in these books keep me young.

I went to the comic shop today, actually.  I didn't buy anything, but I discovered some books that I must have.  They showcase the sketchbooks of some of my biggest heroes growing up.  John Byrne, John Buscema, Todd McFarlane, and John Romita.  Basically, if you're named 'John', you have a good chance of being a talented illustrator.

It's one thing to have these amazing, creative minds write the stories and draw the heroes for you to dream about when you're a kid...but to sit down a create something yourself is satisfaction tenfold.  I have spent literally hours on end, uninterrupted, sketching and creating.  I've sorely gotten away from my art.  But my rekindling with comic books has me at least thinking about cleaning off my desk, sharpening my pencils, and seeing if still have anything left in me.

Some people get joy from staring deeply at a Van Gough or a Monet.  I get the same feeling proudly displaying a Neal Adams or Jack Kirby.

Being homesick
I love Colorado.  So much so, that I have planted fairly deep roots during my six years here.  But I miss home...I miss my friends and family...I miss Missouri.  But I have to look at it like I'm repotting a plant.  You have to be very careful with a plant and its roots when transferring it to another home.  If you're not, the plant may not make it.

Man, that's pretty stupid.

Boats
There was a time when I would get off work at 4pm, clock out, walk to my truck with my boat already connected to the hitch, go pick up my dad, and head to the lake.  We would be on the water by 5pm, and usually had a keeper in the box by 5:15pm.

I am incredibly comfortable in and around boats.  It is a craft that I should always own and never be without.  It is the quintessential getaway.  It exudes freedom.

A boat is in my future.  It coincides with several things on my mind and listed here.  Campfires; Being a dad; Being homesick, etc.  It is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Shape
I am not in good shape.  Now, this thought is probably linked to "40" and "Being a dad" and other shit.  But the bottom line is, I feel better when I'm in shape.  Getting there is a different story.  Sustaining it is an even bigger story.  But if I am to be the 40something year old father of a child, and then a 50something year old father of a pre-teen, and a 60something year old father of a college-age kid, then fuck.  There you go.

I'll start tomorrow.

--m




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Angry Dietician.

I live in Colorado, surrounded by Hippies, Hipsters, Greenies, Trusties, and Yuppies.  As you can imagine, there is a lot of "organic" this and "sustainable" that.  It becomes nauseating when crammed down your throat, and for me, to the point of wanting to buy an F350 and eat McDonald's everyday just to supply these granola eaters with a solid "fuck you".  A free range, cage free F350...

But there are some practices that make sense to me.  I'm no hippie, but I have become somewhat interested in where my food comes from.  Now, I'm not rich enough to require any dietary restrictions, so I follow the Earl Law of "eating real food", at least when I can.  That damn convenience issue screws up the Law from time to time, but it's a good, solid guideline to follow.

"Eating real food" sounds ridiculous.  It's crazy that we even have talk about this.  But with the convenience issue I just mentioned, we are surrounded by processed foods and beverages chocked full of weird shit to cater to people who are either in a damn hurry, or that just don't know any better.  I try not to eat fast food or drink soda too much, but you also have to understand that it's part of who Americans are, and by this point we are probably pretty immune to the weird shit floating around in this convenient food.

Remember in grade school when you were taught the four food groups?  Meat, fruits & vegetables, grain, and dairy?  Well, anymore it seems you can't eat these.  Fruits & veggies have to be organic.  Meat has to be grass fed, free range, and hormone free.  Grain will kill you, and dairy makes you psychotic and gaseous.

Shit man, I think that's stupid.  Dieticians are as bad as chiropractors.  I'm no genius, obviously, but my grandparents ate fruit, veggies, meat, dairy, and bread, and they all lived to be old as fuck.  Hell, my granny had bacon at least once a week and she lived to be 95.

My advice to you?  Stop being so lazy and learn to cook food.  Buy actual food--not processed, not pre-cooked or prepared, not mass produced, not with ingredients you can't pronounce--and cook it and eat it.  Can't afford organic vegetables?  Me neither.  So plant a garden.  Or better yet, don't worry about pesticides.  It's not that big a deal.  How do I know?  Because said grandparents lived to be old as fuck, remember?  They bought veggies from Shop 'N Save, and I'm pretty sure they weren't Certified USDA Organic.  That shit didn't even exist until 1990.  I don't know, I may actually rather eat pesticides rather than bug shit.

Your meat have to be grass fed and free range?  Well, that's a nice sentiment.  But you're trusting whoever designed the label that's stickered to the cellophane.  My advice?  Find the farm.  Or better yet?  Shoot a deer and eat that instead.  Be careful though, that deer may have been eating non-organic crops.

Bread and dairy are the devil, right?  I get that it doesn't fall into a lot of people's diets.  I've even attempted to cut back on sugars, thus slowing down on my starch intake.  If you want to lose weight, that's not a bad route to take, I suppose.  But once again, the grandparents thing.  And no, they weren't morbidly obese or unhealthy.  Just regular, food-eating folks.  And if you really want to lose weight, you could try not eating so much and exercising.  Just a thought.

To conclude this ridiculous, random rant:  Eat whatever you want, I guess.  This is America.