Tuesday, September 26, 2006

[Insert Rage Against the Machine Lyric Here]

Just wanted to share this.

I got a lovely letter in the mail yesterday. According to the New York Department of Taxation, I owe them over $850! And here I thought I was getting a refund.

The best part is, the letter said if I want to dispute their assertion (you think?), the best approach is to pay the amount first and then dispute it. If proven correct, I will be issued a refund. Is this country run by Scientologists or something??? Is this a pyramid scam???

People, I work my ass off. I take all kinds of grief in the process. I rarely have the energy to do anything when I get home from work. Often, I don't have the time either. Weekends, I don't snap out of my funk until sometime around Sunday afternoon. I give up about 40 percent of my check to taxes, all year long. I don't expense my late night cabs, dinners or anything really. I play by the book. I submit my taxes on time. I expected a refund from both federal and state.

Instead, I get a red letter from Uncle Scam.

You know, this is probably how they're paying for Iraq!

Good grief, America. I'm gonna start brushing up on my Canadian - I'm a little rusty, but I can speak enough to get by, to work an honest job, for a decent wage.

Friday, September 22, 2006

If It's Here When We Get Back, It's Ours


Once upon a time, I was in high school. I know, I know, it seems hard to believe.

Well, at that time, there was a band. A very special band. Special to me anyway. They were called Texas is the Reason. For some reason (Get it? "Reason"? Oh nevermind.), the second I first heard them, I was instantly hooked. Did that ever happen to you? You hear a band or a songwriter and it just cuts right to you, you really have no choice in the matter. You're owned. For some people it was the Smiths, REM, Nirvana, the Clash or any number of great acts. Later in life, Elliott Smith's music would come to mean that much to me. But when I was seventeen, eighteen years old, for me, that band was Texas is the Reason.

I liked them so much, my friends couldn't even make sense of it. At a time when most of the music I listened to was a bunch of screaming dudes that needed to give their dad a hug, this band made me think altogether different thoughts and opened me up to a new kind of sound.

Since that time, they've long been broken up, my musical tastes have changed and countless bands have ripped them off to greater success than they ever enjoyed in their time together. But they still mean a lot to me. To this day, if I hear one of their songs, I'm 18 years old again, driving in my shitty car to go see the girl I have a crush on, thinking about what college is going to be like and wondering if something will ever mean more to me than the song I'm listening to right at that second. It's been ten years since they've been around, and I've done my fair share of living in that time, but there's something about this band that still feels like home, still makes so much sense. They're easy to go back to.

Anyway, I hope you'll check them out if you've never heard them before. They're really something special. Check out some of their songs here: Their MySpace Page. Recordings are available here: InSound.com.

As luck would have it, they are playing a reunion show soon. I can't tell you what that means to me, it just conjures up a range of emotions - and for a change, most of them are nice emotions. They're doing a one-off gig at Irving Plaza on Saturday, November 25, but you can by pre-sale tickets on their web sites tomorrow (Friday) at noon HERE and HERE.

I hope to see you there. It's going to be amazing.

Somewhere at my parent's house, I have this shirt in mustard yellow. As far as I know, it's the first shirt they ever made. It's nice to know it's still around.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I See a Darkness... On Latenight with Conan O'Brien

Anybody catch Bonnie Billy on Conan last night? Lot of receding hairlines, leg kicks and funny faces. I love it. His new album "The Letting Go" is pretty effing amazing. You better scoop that.

You can check the video of his performance here: IDOLATOR

Fun fact: Andrew WK is his piano player! What happened to that guy?

I was inspired to draw the first picture I've attempted in probably more than two years. It's no Rembrandt (and I ain't no Picasso), and it kind of resembles a relative of Gimlee the dwarve from Lord of the Rings, but I'm more pleased with it than I thought I'd be. Meh. I'll keep sketching and hopefuly the work will improve. It's a goal of mine now.

I'm also working on a story that's been kicking around in my head for about 4 years now. But I'm finally feeling free enough to give it a whirl. Fingers crossed. It's loosely based on real life, but not entirely. (Kind of like me, huh kids?) I'm just putting that out there before muthfuckas get all Million Little Pieces on my ass. But I think I was waiting for a few "chapters" to close in my own life before really committing to this thing.

Which isn't to say I'm fully committing to this now, but I'm sure thinking about it.

Like how I squeaked out of any possible responsibility at the end there? Yeah, this book should be done by the time your kids put you in a nursing home. But it'll make taking your meds and getting smacked around by the nursing staff a little easier to stomach. I hope. I mean, I don't want to aim too high.®

Monday, September 18, 2006

Good Advice on How To Take a Bike Ride

Hi Campers,

If you're going to take a bike ride, that's good. It's a zesty enterprise; it helps build leg muscles, work off that gut and it gets you from point A to point B.

If you do take a bike ride, and I highly recommend you do, I learned something today that will help you on your ride.

1. Go somewhere sunny, like a park. Maybe it's in Brooklyn?
2. Find a nice area to ride around in for a minimum of 7 minutes.
3. Using your portable audio device, listen to the Comets on Fire song "Lucifer's Memory."
4. Repeat as many times as necessary. For me, it was 3 times.

That's all. Man, are you gonna have an awesome ride!


PS - Here is a picture of my bike, Optimus Prime. On account of his talents:

Friday, September 15, 2006

I Might Actually Have a Relatively Nice Weekend

It's days like this I love the internets.

Some kind soul went and did me a solid by posting four new, previously unreleased Elliott Smith songs:

From a Poisoned Well
Talking to Mary
Let's Turn the Record Over
True Love

More info HERE.

In my universe, this is like saying Santa Claus dropped off a big bag of honey-dipped gold bars wrapped in pornography along with a tall glass of beer and a big plate of mac n'cheese, served on a tray made of chocolate and unicorn wishes by Scarlett Johannsen with that "come-hither" look in her eyes. At the beach.

Suddenly, I don't mind as much that I have to work on Saturday.

No, nevermind, that still sucks.

But at least I'm temporarily distracted. And that's all I'm really asking for in life, people. Just let me forget for a few minutes once in a while.

Is that so much to ask?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It Was The WORST Of Times, It Was The Best Of Times?

You know, life is one crazy trip, daddy-o. The day after the five year anniversary of, by far, the worst news I've ever received, I heard a piece of news that would make all that shit evaporate. Timing is everything.

Two of my favorite people in the world are getting married! They know who they are, even if you don't.

I woke up on Monday and I wanted to puke.
I went to bed on Tuesday with a smile on my face.

The way I've been feeling lately, going to bed with a smile on my face is like finding a hundred dollar bill in the washing machine. It's that rare and valuable to me.

A lot of shit can happen in five years. And thanks for showing me that you can make something good come out of probably the worst thing that can happen to a person. We can all learn a lesson from that. Shit, we can learn five.

Anyway, I wanted to post that to "brighten the corners" a bit on this page. Best of luck to you kids. This is great news and I couldn't be happier for you both.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

She Was A Friend Of Mine

She was a friend of mine
Yeah, she was a friend of mine

She never done no wrong
A thousand miles from home,

She never harmed no one.

She was a friend of mine.

She was a friend of mine.

She was a friend of mine.

I... stole away and cried.

Because she was a friend of mine

Whose wind came rolling in

And whose heart was softly pounding.

And she was a friend of mine.

She was a friend of mine.

She never done no wrong.
A thousand miles from home,
She never harmed no one.

She was a friend of mine.


Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

This Week on NPR: How To Make Soup Out of Hugs

You know what's nice?

When your friends believe in you a hell of a lot more than you believe in yourself.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Intoxication Proclamation

Dear Internets,

I saw Comets on Fire tonight. They melted my face off and put a wax facade in its place. Like that weirdo with the mask in Vanilla Sky.

I just got home and I wanted to let you know: I'm drunk. Congratulations. I'm sorry.

Thanks. I hope you have a wonderful year. I'm really happy about the weather lately.


PS - I think this is funny:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

But Suri-ously, Folks...

Wow. How do you *not* crack the fuck up when you look at this photo???

I don't know if you heard about this in the news, but supposedly, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes gave birth to a little baby Bjork.

Further proof, if any was needed, that Scientology is real.

"And It's Not Okay, Because If They Take My Stapler Then I'll Set The Building On Fire..."

You know, I kid around a lot, but gosh darnit, my job can be pretty awesome sometimes.

Like yesterday for example: I arrived early, trying to get a leg up on my workload from missing a whole entire day from the Labor Day holiday (global business sleeps for no American). However, when I arrived, my office’s server had crashed, meaning no email, no internet and no access to any of our work files. So everyone sat around and tried to look busy until everything was back online at 1:00 PM that day.

Then I worked with the Senior Vice President on a document until 8:00 PM. Let me tell you a little bit about the word “fulfillment.” It falls short of describing how I felt at the end of the day.

But here’s a clue: I had such a wonderful day that I went home at 8:30 PM, had some dinner and then went directly to bed at 10:00 PM, which I haven’t done since probably 7th grade.

Here’s hoping today is a little better.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I Call Bullshit

I would like to file a complaint.

I recently (less than 3 weeks ago) bought a new pair of jeans. I needed a new pair, the last ones were shot. So I decided to spend a few bucks and buy a really nice pair. I was very happy with them. The color, the cut, the fit. Everything was just fine.

EXCEPT, I just realized that they ALREADY have a hole in them.

Oh, and where is that hole located, you might ask? Maybe somewhere innocuous, but easy to spot, like the knee or along the leg somewhere?

No, no, no. It's in the crotch. Yeah. That's right.

And here's the kicker - know how I found this out? Did I spot them when I took them off for the day and folded them up? No. Did someone see it and politely point out this egregious tear? No. No. I found out - this is so great - when I looked at a picture of myself that someone just took of me today. I noticed something off in the aforementioned crotch, some slight discoloration, suggesting some early wear and tear. When I investigated further, I saw there was no wear, just tear.

I'm pissed. These fucking things are 3 weeks old! I won't even divulge what I paid for them, it disgusted me even at the time of purchase, but I rationalized it somehow. But now I'm ready to crack skulls about it.

I'm going to return them this week. Because, as a man once said while sitting in a movie theater in back of me while we watched a terrible movie: This shit is bullshit.