Browsed by
Month: February 2006

busy bee

busy bee

Last week I came down with something. While it appears to be slowly leaving now, and never got as bad as the horror I had to deal with around Christmas, it has made me think. Why am I getting sick once every two months now? What am I doing wrong? Is it the regular exercise? Is it the (almost) healthy regular diet? Is it the daily vitamins? Is it washing my hands all the time? Is it the three or four grapefruits and nine bananas I eat every week? Is it the whole head of broccoli I eat every week? Is it drinking at least 3 pints of bottled water a day? Is it having my own bathroom which I don’t have to share with anyone at home? Is it using all antibacterial soap every time I wash my hands? Is it the cleaning of work surfaces at home and at work almost weekly? Is it the weekly vacuuming? The weekly clothes washing? Maybe it is because I wash my face with soap at least three times a day and many more without soap. Maybe it is because I switched from pasta to rice as my carb at dinner. Maybe it is because I eat bananas and a fruit cup at lunch instead of string cheese. Maybe it is because I started eating healthy cereal for breakfast instead of pop tarts. Maybe it is because I almost never have sodapop. Which one of these things is it that is causing me to get sick all the time?

Probably none. Each time I’ve fallen ill I’ve had a particularly hellish week beforehand at work. And last week was no exception with a project that had to get out the door right away and required final approval (and lots of changes) from no more than six company executives. I suppose the frustration (take that word any way you want) with what I mention in the second to last paragraph of this post couldn’t have helped either.

On the 20th I finally ordered a new pair of shoes and a new watch after debating about it for a long long time. My old blue Vans finally gave out and ground a hole all the way through the sole to the pavement below after about ten years of solid use. I’ll miss you old friends… My two-year-old watch, the one that I liked because it was a digital AND analog, has ceased to carry out it’s analog function. The soles of my racquetball Adidas shoes have detached themselves and had to be ripped out too so I suppose a new pair of shoes for racquetball have to be purchased soon as well.

Oh, and the strings on my racquetball racquet that mom and dad bought me way back in 1999 finally snapped last week as well after probably over a thousand hours of playing time. I get my money’s worth out of things… could you tell?

I’m wearing the shoes now… However, the watch order has turned into an “exception” on the UPS tracking site and nobody seems to know what happened to it after it was scanned into the downtown Los Angeles processing center last Thursday morning. I called UPS and they refused to deal with it- telling me I had to have the company I ordered it from do a “trace.” I called the company and their customer service guy told me this happens all the time and the UPS driver probably stole it. Since the company insures their packages they’ll just take out an insurance claim and send me a new watch. So their company gets paid for two watches from one order, a UPS guy gets a new $350 (that’s the price at the mall – NOT what I paid) watch, and I.…have to wait a month to get something I already paid for IF the driver doesn’t just steal it again…

As most of you (who care about it) may know, Amy started working at the Anaheim Marriot last December. As time has dragged on they’ve increased her hours and made her work an increasingly harder schedule (Saturday 4pm –2am, Sunday 8am-4:30pm). All this results in us never seeing each other any more, or more precisely – short lunch and dinner dates in West Covina. Very frustrating. I feel like I got to see more of her when I lived in Ohio… Supposedly after her probationary period is over things will improve and she might transfer to another department anyway, but I’m not holding my breath.

Speaking of Amy and holding my breath- I think I’ve turned Amy into a college football fan. She asked me last night when the season starts again, and I heard a groan when I said it would be another six months. I guess winning $50 off your boyfriend’s championship game picks and being forced to watch 70% of the OSU games has an effect on people; that and screaming “touchdown!” at the top of your lungs. Well, she doesn’t have to worry – I think we’ll hear an awful lot of “touchdown” screams this coming season.

Matisyahu and the Look at Me pandemic

Matisyahu and the Look at Me pandemic

For a few months I’ve been hearing this song King Without a Crown on the radio. I listened to it all the way through the first time I came across it. KROQ doesn’t play much music that sounds like that so I was surprised and curious. After listening to it though I decided it was a very trite interpretation of old-style reggae music. I also thought that the actual production values of the recording were a little low and raw. To make matters worse when I heard the name of the artist I thought they were copying off of another artist. After all, as a long-time modest mouse fan (yes BEFORE they were on The goddamn OC) I thought it was weird that another band would put the word Modest in their name. And to pair it with the word Yahoo (a very popular web-portal and email host) was even weirder. Eventually whenever the song by “Modest Yahoo” came on the radio I would switch the station immediately.

As mentioned in my last post I bought tickets to Coachella. When looking at the extensive artist line-up I noticed an artist named “Matisyahu.” After pronouncing it in my head I realized that maybe I was mistaken and this was the true name of what I’d been calling “Modest Yahoo.” A short trip to their website later and I found this assumption to be correct. I listened to a few more of their songs and noticed that their singer is an Orthodox Hasidic Jew wearing the full beard and traditional clothing.

Unlike almost any other person in the whole world- I have a very solid reason for disliking this artist. Unlike anyone else- I heard the music before I saw the persona. I disliked the song and the sound long before I ever knew there was anything religious going on at all. In fact, because he “raps” so quickly many people assume he speaks Yiddish-however this is not true and almost all his lyrics are in English. Upon seeing this connection it has become all too obvious why this artist has become so immensely popular in such a short time. I’m going to name this syndrome the Look at Me syndrome. Here is my description of this unfortunate trend that seems to affect so much of America.

– If I like his music- I can’t possibly be a bigot since I’m supporting alternate lifestyles

– I can support alternate lifestyles and beliefs without openly admitting I’m still a homophobic while at the same time I identify with the artist who (according to his own beliefs) doesn’t like homosexuals either. However, unlike an artist like Eminem- the anti-defamation league won’t condemn Matisyahu because he is already a cultural minority figure (Eminem was just a racist homophobe from Detroit- an easy target). I can have my cake and eat it too.

– I can pretend I’m down with black culture by liking an artist that is not black but has appropriated a predominately black musical style. (The same reason every white boy in America under the age of 25 with an IQ below 90 owns an Eminem album but has no clue who NWA was)

– I can convince my parents I’m into religious music, which will let me attend events tied to this artist where I can do things wholly un-religious such as, do drugs, drink alcohol underage, and in some cases engage in sexual activity while my parents are for the large part unaware.

– There has never been a successful orthodox Jewish “rapper” before thus I’m supporting something new and different thus classifying me as someone with an ear for new music and “with it.” (yet I’d like to see one fan of Matisyahu sit through an entire Godspeed You! Black Emporer album)

– Being young and open to different viewpoints I can really relate to what he is saying. (Note: out of all Jews in America less than 10% actually follow the rigid rules that the Matisyahu appears to live by with the beard, clothing, etc.)

I could go on all day about this folks, but the main point is that we are taking the search for things that are “new and different” and reducing it to just “different.” There isn’t anything at all musically new about Matisyahu’s music, only his/their appearance. The assumption can be made that if this group had rejected their religion and pursued the same musical dreams they would still be playing in their parents’ basement in Pennsylvania. Yes, that’s right- the epicenter of the dub and reggae movements and corporate headquarters of QVCWest Chester Pennsylvania. Their popularity can only be attributed to the “hangers-on” described above. If you love reggae music and you already bought Damian Marley’s album BEFORE Matisyahu’s I can’t think wrong of you for liking Matisyahu. However, if you say “who is Damian Marley, they don’t play him on TRL?”…you’re out of luck (and brain cells).

Note: I don’t own any of the albums discussed above and I am NOT a Damian Marley fan at all. His dad maybe a little…

evil music

evil music

So I usually listen to mp3s all day at work with my little (actualy BIG) headphones on. Today I made a playlist consisting of Fly Pan Am, Radiohead, Of Montreal, Sigur Ros, My Morning Jacket, Godspeed You! Black Emporer, and so on. I put the shuffle on. I made sure the settings in preferences were for fast shuffling (a more random approach to picking the songs). I’m in the 8th hour of listening… and this is the sixth damn time it has played one particular song. The name of the song…..

HeySatan

by Sigur Ros. Should I be worried?

Speaking of Sigur Ros – guess who has tickets to see the first US performance by Tool in three (long) years? Me! I bought tickets to both days of the Coachella festival on Saturday. A whopping $200. However, I MAY be able to swing backstage passes to the whole show. So not only would I be able to meet Maynard and Danny…but Mogwai, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, Sigur Ros, and 100 other bands.

Then yesterday I realized the festival is the exact same dates as the California Dental Association meeting. The only meeting all year that all employees where I work are expected to attend.

D’oh!

The CDA is a 3 day event, so I’m going to try to see if I can just go Friday. This prospect looks good since (what a stroke of luck) the person I share my office with is the one who actually makes out the attendance schedule.