Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Musical Intermission

While I continue to resist the hive-mind Borg that is my Corporate slave master, and attempt to regain some semblance of my fun life back, here's a great tune that I love from Ray Lamontagne.

Many thanks to my buddy Kelly from Chicago for introducing me to his music a few months ago.

Enjoy.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

I Got Somethin' for You to Ban...Right Here, Pal

A couple of very irrelevantly random, unrelated things are on my mind at the moment.

The first being that I’ve somehow come to really enjoy Twitter.com. I was highly skeptical at first, but now I’m finding it to be a nice forum for those fleeting streams of consciousness that live and die in the mind within a few moments, then are forgotten soon after.

I’m ‘following’ quite a few celebrities/public personalities just to see what they have to say. Although some of them rarely contribute, others contribute consistently. Some of them are very amusing, others are thought provoking or even sweet – but the one thing they have in common is that they’re interesting. At least the ones I’m still following.

Some of them even post pictures while they’re traveling, which is a great way for famous actors and musicians to share all the great places and things they see with their fans. In a way, it let’s you into their life a bit. It sort of lets you live vicariously through them, if only for a moment.

Just today Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows has basically been posting pictures all day of his experiences while performing for an episode of "Live from Abbey Road" or something like that. Abbey Road being a famous recording studio where many famous artists have recorded, including the Beatles, of course.

That’s a place I would probably never see in my lifetime, but thanks to him, I got a glimpse of what it’s like inside – including a picture of the men’s urinal there, which has some graffiti from Paul McCartney etched on it. Nice…

Anyway, if you’d like to follow my ‘Tweets,’ feel free to do so. My Twitter handle is s4shangrila. At the moment, I’m reading more than I’m updating.

Here’s the other thing I was just thinking about. It’s amazing that at one point certain books were banned for one ridiculous reason or another. Exercising good judgment when it comes to your kids is one thing. Banning a book from the general public, is an entirely different, and ignorant thing to do!

Check out this list, which has many of them (and read ‘em!):

http://onlinecollegedegree.org/2009/05/20/50-banned-books-that-everyone-should-read/
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

'Lost Generation' Authors

This whole working 40 hours a week thing is really cramping my style.

I mean it's really inconvenient.

In fact, it's simply unacceptable, I say. This of course, will not make any difference to anyone but me, so I'm basically belly-aching for the sake of it.

But I have to tell ya, reality continues to ruin my life.

Especially in terms of finding time to write, and being in the moment enough to have something to write about.

All this time spent on work turns my brain into what I can only describe as a bland mound of wet white bread, squeezed and molded into a big mushy wad of derivative crap.

Working in a corporate environment can seriously suck the creative life-force out of you. It does that to me, anyway.

This is the current bane of my existence.

Maybe I just need to drink more triple espressos.

All I know is that the fortune I spent on books the other day is not an investment that’s seeing returns just yet. I haven’t even cracked any of them open and it’s been what, like four weeks?

I can’t think of them all off the top of my head, but I remember getting The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., which was subsequently revised a few times by E.B. White. I figured I’d splurge and get it since I 'lost' my copy years ago. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was stolen, but then I think to myself, "Who steals a book like that?"

In any case, I truly think everyone who writes should own a copy of this book.

I also bought The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, and The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald.

As popular as it is, or has been, I’ve actually never read The Great Gatsby. I was a rebellious lad in high school, and typically refused to read any book that was considered ‘required reading,’ so I figure that must have been why.

I was a conventional-wisdom-be-damned kind of guy back then. I still am, for the most part, but now I'll at least give it a chance before writing it off.

But that’s just fine with me, because now I can experience what’s considered by many to be a real gem of a novel and can probably appreciate it more now with a relatively mature, late-thirty-something mind (Ok, so the ‘mature’ part is debatable, depending on who you ask, but whatever).

So, what’s old is new to me in this case.

I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it as much as I think I will. If anything, maybe it will help me shake off these doldrums that are keeping me at bay.

Here’s to giving it a shot and hoping it helps to flip the 'on' switch in my brain (fingers crossed)!
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Morons in Manhattan II



With the consequence of our 6 hour romp at Playwright’s manifesting itself in the form of a piercing headache the next morning, I placed the palms of my hands on my temples and squeezed my head, in hopes that it would alleviate my agonizing pain.

Despite only getting a fleeting moment of relief, it’s still the most blissful split-second ever.

I sit at the foot of my bed for a few moments, rubbing my eyes as I try to gain my equilibrium. My eyes are overly sensitive to the light and I can barely open them as a result.

"This is what it must be like to be a vampire in the daylight" I thought.

The sight of Miss Wonderful prompts a disapproving sneer on my face as I place a towel over my head to block the sunlight.

As I sit there trying to compose myself, I notice that my head feels like it weighs a thousand pounds, and wonder how it is that my neck is able to keep my gargantuan noggin upright.

My mouth is dry and pasty, and I’m as dehydrated and cranky as Wallace Stevens after a drunken night of boozing and getting his ass kicked by Hemmingway the night before.

Except it wasn’t Hemmingway that kicked my derri√®re last night; this can of whoopass was courtesy of Captain Morgan, a few Red Bulls on the loose, and this German guy who goes by the name J√§germeister.

Ugh...I shudder at the memory.

I finally gather enough strength to get off the bed, dragging my feet as I walk to the bathroom door. To my delight, there was no one occupying it, unlike the night before.

Finally, my luck was turning for the better.

Despite all of the hotel patrons in the three other rooms who shared the bathroom with us, it was The Diva who spent more time in it than all of us put together, which is quite a feat if you think about it.

Luckily, Little Miss Sunshine was still in our room, so my chances of the bathroom being available were pretty good.

I turned the nob to find it vacant. "Thank God" I mumbled incoherently, and walked in.

It was relatively clean, but there’s something about walking barefoot in public/shared bathrooms that gives me the Hebe-Jeebies, so I kept my flip-flops on after I took my clothes off to shower.

Wielding nothing but my birthday suit and a pair of beach sandals, I do my business in the shower, being overly careful not to touch anything that I don’t have to. Lord only knows who was here before me and/or what transpired prior to my visit.

Eventually, we all finished getting ready and finally left the Latham Hotel around 10ish in the morning, brandishing wide-eyed expectations of grandeur and adventure.

But we were running on empty stomachs, which was making us all a bit testy.

As for me, I was downright uppity, truth be told.

We’d been having breakfast at a little deli on the same block as the hotel called 80 Deli, which is close to the North-East corner of 28th, just east of the hotel as you walk toward Madison Ave.

On this day, however, we decided to change it up a bit and walk south toward Madison Square Park. We ended up going back over to Broadway, and found a decent place across from the park.

I can’t recall what the place was called, but it’s on the corner of the South-East side of 23rd and Broadway, across the street from the East side of the Flatiron Building, in front of the Subway entrance.

'Twas a nice enough little place. The food was pretty good.

Then again, it's kind of tough to screw up breakfast food. If you ask me, you might as well close down shop while you're still ahead if you can't make a decent breakfast.

This is not really a big problem in NYC though. There’s actually a lot of good food there, I think. Lots of variety and very diverse.

Anyway, we order our meals and start people watching. TD and I were commenting on the large amount of yuppies there are in The City, when Little Miss Sunshine chimes in:

"What’s a yuppie?"

"You’ve never heard of the term yuppie?"

"No, I’m from Puerto Rico, I have no idea what that is."

"Really? How long have you been in the States?"

"About thirty years," she said.

Thirty years.

T-H-I-R-T-Y YEARS!

Three decades, ladies and gents.

Call me crazy, but I’m thinking thirty years is enough time to have had some exposure to this oh-so-complicated thing called American pop-culture slang. I mean, seriously.

So, I respond, in full sarcasm mode, "Yea, you're right, how silly of me. I'm sure that being from Puerto Rico automatically excludes you from knowing what that means after living here for thirty years..."

At this point I can feel the heat of TD’s glare on the side of my face. In my peripheral vision, I see him close his eyes, drop his chin 45 degress, and place his thumb and index finger at the base of his nose.

He knew what would normally come next.

As he anticipates the next zinger and laments the proverbial beating he will receive from her later, I feel pity for the guy, so I pulled my verbal punch a continued with more of a tame finish than I normally would.

"...but, in any case, that's alright...I’m pretty sure it stands for Young Urban Professional."

Cue the uncomfortable silence.

You’d think I had just told an inappropriate racial joke and spit in her food by her facial expression. But of course, not everyone appreciates sarcasm, and she's no exception.

Apparently, they don't know about sacrcasm in Puerto Rico either.

Luckily for me, I tuned her out before she started cussing me out in Spanish, so all I heard was "blah, blah, blah...mwah, mwah, mwah" like Charlie Brown's teacher.

Now, I happen to be fluent in Spanish as well (I have some hispanic heritage), but it was too early for me to lay into her and retort with an H.L. Mencken inspired, verbal legerdemain smackdown; so instead I ignored her, looked at TD, and continued my with the last thought I had before she flipped her little two cents into the conversation.

"So yeah, I imagine places like this and Chicago are natural habitats for your average, garden variety Yuppie."

TD nods his head in agreement as the Rican Princess gets up and storms toward the bathroom for her usual 20 minute visit.

"Dude, why..." he asks, rhetorically.

"Why do you get her wound up like that? You know I'm the one who has to deal with the grief she's going to deal out later!"

"Sorry bro, she's such a bitch all the time that at this point, it's hard to get past the fact that I can't stand her."

"I know" says TD, "but could you try not to be so sarcastic, and can you just bite your tongue when she says stupid stuff."

I begin smirking at him before he continues, "and yes, she says a lot of stupid crap, but c'mon man...help me out. You're killing me here."

I exhale sharply, "Fine...whatever."

"But don't forget what I told you before," I said.

"You're just with her because you don't want to be lonely. I mean, you haven't been with her for that long and she's already driving you nuts."

"Listen, if you ask me, I think you don't really know someone until you've lived with them or traveled with them" I said.

I grin mischievously, as if I know the secrets of the universe, and in my best Yoda impersonation I tell him, "An interesting trip, this will be, my young Padawan."

I bask in my smug smugness and crouch in humpback position for better effect, then the air becomes light again, and we erupt in dickish laughter.

Ah, the secret world of men. It's a centuries old tradition this secret little world is. One in which we can all share such pathetic moments of rudimentary buffoonery and immature drivel behind the backs of the women we love.

Until they return that is...

(continued from Morons in Manhattan)
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Most Likely...Unauthorized


Is it me, or is this billboard graffiti really funny?
Originally uploaded by @ThetaState via flickr.com.
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Mat Kearney

I'm such a musical person by nature. Without a doubt it's one of my favorite forms of artistic expression.

I've come to enjoy so many different artists, but today I thought I'd mention a guy whose music I really love -- Mat Kearney. I don't know how he's not more of a household name, but I think his stuff is really great.

If you've never heard his music, check it out. You might like it...a lot.

Here are three of his songs that are up on YouTube:








Here's a link to his new stuff:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m1DV66MXJHRBGI
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jammin' In Central Park

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