Friday, August 29, 2014

Feel Good Friday

"People livin' in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One of the big stories in country music this summer was the unprecedented amount of violence, drunkenness, and general stupidity taking place at country shows. Most all of these incidents took place in the northern US. Having lived in both the north and south for many years, I can say location was probably a factor. When I lived in New England, country music was like non-existent. It was all rock. But since then, rock/pop/bro/crap country has brought in a new crowd of fans, many of them the sort who go to shows just to party and get wasted.

Another factor given, which I also think is valid, is the drop of quality in the music and the encouragement in its lyrics to drink and party and act like dumbasses.

But the question was still there: what really is so different today from even, 10 years ago? What is making so many people act like slobbering dumbasses on a regular basis and on such a grand scale?



Now I'm not anti social media at all, that would be pretty authentically ironic coming from someone tapping away on a blog. BUT, for better or worse, it has completely molded the minds of the people who've grown up with it. And that, I think, is the major difference now. Young people frame their lives in terms of social media. Never before has there been this massive lair, this hive where countless people can congregate and live together. This can be a good thing, but unfortunately it can also spread stupid like the plague. Now for every stupid idea you have, every shitty song you share, every "woooooo!" drunk photo you post, there are at least 10 "friends" enabling you with a like or "lol" or "awesome." I think having this lair out there encourages and rewards stupidity with "coolness" and faux "popularity," resulting in more stupid than ever before. If this was USA Today there'd be a handy chart illustrating my point, but I think you get what I'm saying.

Now I've posted photos of me at beer fests before, so I'm not saying you should only post photos of you on your way to church or something. But I wasn't drunk, or making stupid faces, or begging for validation of my coolness. I was just enjoying an oatmeal stout.

I don't have a solution for this, other than, you know, go outside sometimes. WITHOUT YOUR PHONE. I'm just putting it out there.
Okay, two songs I wanna touch on today. First Debbie Gibson, I mean Taylor Swift's, new song "Shake it Off."

She's "officially" a pop singer now, as opposed to being one unofficially before, I guess. Which is fine. But the young woman once known for her thoughtful songwriting like "Teardrops on My Guitar" has given us a song that can best be summed up by an internet cat meme.

This sounds more like something a 15 year old would write than the stuff she wrote when she was 15. I get it. POP MUSIC = DUMB. :/ I guess the future was, in fact, electric youth. Who knew? And oh yeah, this is still pretty much the best pop song I've heard all year. Let's ponder that for a moment. Done? Okay.

Second, this damn guy. Goddammit, Blake Shelton, you piss me off like no one else. Taylor Swift's next song could be called "I Can Haz Cheeseburger" and it still wouldn't be as infuriating as you, Blake Shelton. I used to be a fan. Then Boys Round Here happened, and I cried a little and moved on. That's right, I shook it off.

This song bothers me in a special, special way. It's an "almost." I almost like it. It's almost country. But it misses the mark in such a huge way, and Blake himself seems so oblivious to it, it actually kinda scares me. So let's start with the maddeningly positive things, before we get into the maddeningly negative things.

Blake has a very good country voice, and it's strong on this song. That alone should be enough for me to like it, right? Since his voice has been so wasted on garbage like Boys Round Here? If only. *sigh* Also, the song has pretty decent lyrics, especially the chorus. It's a very country theme, somewhat in keeping with the last song I wrote about, "Jukebox with a Country Song." "There's a neon light, at the end of the tunnel..." yeah, sounds like it could have been a 90s hit. Not bad at all. I like the melody of the chorus too, and the way he sings it.

There's a banjo on here, which sounds good to my ears... sort of. We'll get back to that. Okay, I really do like the chorus of this one. But the verses, UGH. What's with that dumb, poppy repetition of words? You're trying to get back to more traditional country - I think? It's hard to tell really - yet you give us a lyrical style that reminds me of nothing more than this:

The Grand Ole Opry presents, Taio Cruz! "We gon' rock this club, that's how we do do do do, put your hands up in the air air air ..." The future, ladies and gentleman. Now more than ever.

So why does this song, a song that's actually closer to being what I call "country," bother me even more than say, Sam Hunt's song, which is straight up pop, or even most of FGL's stuff? Well I'll tell you. Those things never tried to be actual country, and failed. They didn't even put on the fake nose and glasses. "Neon Light," however, almost succeeds, and that's what's so scary about it. Because it sounds like someone took a good ol' hit from 1992 and put in a drum machine and dumb repeated lyrics and produced it out the ass and THAT, folks, is the new country normal. And I'm scared because I feel like people can't tell the difference anymore. That goddamn processed drum beat is so intrinsic it's starting to sound organic, when it's the farthest-ass thing from it! Even the banjo gets the spam treatment. Spamjo? Yes, I'm going with spamjo.

This is Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs trying to disguise itself as this:

"Here's some fine country music! With truffles! No it didn't come out of a can, what are you talking about? See it has banjos! And TRUFFLES!"

Blake Shelton compared this song to something George Jones or George Strait would have done. To be fair, take out the dumb repeated lyrics and the awful overproduction and I could totally hear George Strait singing, "there's a neon light at the end of the tunnel." But a little bit of country wrapped up in a whole lot of crap isn't gonna cut it for me; in fact it's gonna really piss me off. Because if this is what passes as "real" mainstream country now, something that says all the right things but has the same slick produced sound as all the other crap, then we're really in trouble.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This is very relevant to my interests.

I don't have kids, so I don't know about today, but I've seen some evidence that it's not too far off from what they describe here. Which is really, really scary. I can vouch for the 70s stuff being 100% fact, because it was the same in the early/mid 80s when I was in grade school.

So I wonder, if you do have kids today, can you still choose to keep raising them simple, like it was back then? Or do the societal expectations make it impossible, unless you homeschool? Cause bloody hell, I had a Pigs in Space lunchbox and a bologna sandwich and a number two pencil and life was FINE. Oh, and a Lisa Frank trapper keeper with unicorns and rainbows on it, duh. It was the 80s. But that was all I needed!

Monday, August 25, 2014

AWESOME Yahoo Headline of the Day:

Maine lobsterman catches rare blue lobster

HOLY CRAP THAT'S A PRETTY LOBSTER! I'm glad it's not being turned into bisque.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Feel Good Friday

This song is the soundtrack to my happiness. This is me flying down a country road in a yellow convertible on a crisp late summer day, leaving sunshine and butterflies and unicorns in my wake. This is everything music should be, and that I even heard this song on the radio in the Age of Bro is pretty amazing and testament to Zac Brown's awesomeness.

Worthless Yahoo Headline of the Day:

"Kim Kardashian Is 'Waist Training' With A Super-Tight Corset"

Boldly leading women back to the 1890s! Yeehaw!

Also, is it wrong that my only real response to this article was, "Starbucks makes a $2 coffee?!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Worthless Yahoo Headline of the Day:

"Casper Smart -- I Won't Be Banging JLo in My New House"

This is on the front page of Yahoo "news." I wonder how many kids will read that today. Why don't they just put straight-up porn on there? Obviously this is not "news" outside of some tabloid gossip column, and it's also reeeeeeally inappropriate for such a mainstream page.

Translation of headline: "Someone I've never heard of cause he's only 'famous' for dating someone who's actually famous buys house; does not have sex in it." There you go, your "news" for the day. Well I guess when the other news is some of the most depressing-ass crap I've ever seen I understand the need for something lighter, but AGAIN: "banging" is not appropriate terminology unless it's a story about carpentry.

I'm just waiting for comment from said house. My guess is it'll be, "Whew."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I've missed Feel Good Friday twice in a row, eek! Well, yesterday was my 2 year wedding anniversary and the week before that we were on vacation, so I have a good excuse. :D Next week we'll return to our regularly scheduled feel-goodness.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Neon, the light they always leave on

Remember when country music was like this?

Yeah yeah, another dreamy nostalgia post. But this song is such a perfect illustration of why MUSIC REALLY WAS BETTER THEN.

I really like a song that tells a story instead of just shouting random imagery at you. "There's a BEER on a TAILGATE on a TRUCK by a LAKE and here's some CATFISH..." Not every story has to be long and carefully crafted like say, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, though I love the hell out of that too. No, in country music you can take a simple premise like the ownership of a bar changing hands and make it seem totally relatable and somehow about the human condition at large.

Doug Stone, who had a fair number of hits in the 90s and is woefully underrated, narrates this song with such perfect humor and everyman likeability you almost forget it's a song at all, it's like something that's actually happening. There's another thing I miss in country music - and country stars - a sense of humor. Not today's bro-ey humor, but that grin and shrug, ain't the world crazy but hey I'm just gonna keep doin' my thing kind of humor.

So here's our simple story that works so well, and is so undeniably country. Doug has been in a relationship for 3 years now, a good one, but they have a bad fight. Doug yearns for the comfort of his favorite old bar, which he hasn't been to since he met his gf/wife/whatever. So he drives down the familiar dirt road to drown his sorrows and find camaraderie with his old drinkin' buddies, at least for the evening.

I'm not a man, and I can already put myself in his place. That's good storytelling.

But when he gets there - there are no more swingin' doors! No sawdust on the floor, no burns on the bar, presumably no antlered things on the walls or mason jars on the tables or other comfortably rustic delights. Nope, there's ferns and snooty waiters and guys in suits probably talking loudly on those giant early cell phones and some dj blaring corporate rock in place of his beloved jukebox. His stomping grounds have turned into the dreaded Yuppie Bar.

Hi, I'm Bob Yuppie.

I'm imagining this as the bad rock song spinning, when all this poor guy wants to do is drop a quarter and hear a commiserating country song. Like Hank Williams, or George Strait, cause yeah man, those guys know what it's all about. They understand. Maybe it'll all be okay. But for now, I just wanna sit here and drink.

But nope, Michael Damian!

I love how "Jukebox with a Country Song" sets the scene and puts you in the narrator's place, and never takes itself too seriously. It's a perfect country song. Country music needs Doug Stones. It needs the Everyman, and woman. That's the heart and soul of country, and always will be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

And back to country music. I have yet to buy Sunny Sweeney's new album, Provoked (other than the single Bad Girl Phase months ago), because we are literally broke ass po' after our vacation. And we have cats to feed. But anyway, I will buy it as soon as I have money and I pretty much can't wait, cause from what I heard it's an explosion of country awesome in your ears.

I suppose I could listen to song clips or even full songs on youtube, but Sunny is special to me and I want the old school, buy the full album and listen to it experience. I miss that, and this is one album I think will warrant it.
Okay! Since I made the mistake of reading Actual Fucking News this morning (facebook snuck it in while I was looking at cats, grrr), today's post will not be silly or fun. But it will be something that's important to me.

Earlier this year, I made a post entitled "Deep thoughts (soaked in delicious, delicious meat grease)." Here 'tis:

My premise was this: "...we've become overly sensitized and totally desensitized at the same time, and in all the wrong ways." This is like, a theme in my life. The search for the sweet sweet valley of sanity.

I started by talking about how reality show "celebrity" culture has desensitized us to the actual purpose of celebrites, i.e., watching someone who has talent and actually does something... do that thing. Dumber celebs = dumber us.

I then went into the number one culprit of this dichotomy, childhood and parenting today. Now I am not a parent, so I'm not gonna bust out the right/wrong way to raise kids crap. BUT. I can draw on my own childhood experiences, and the way I was raised, to make a point. I'll set the stage by saying my parents had the traditional parenting roles. My dad went to work, and my mom stayed home. Having a parent at home is nice in like, all these little abstract ways you don't even think about until you don't have that anymore. Cause here's the thing. Was I hover parented, back in the 80s? Hell no! I was independent at age 6! I walked to school, and the library, and the rec center, either by myself or with friends. I went to the park and the pool. I walked all over town. We played outside for hours, sometimes all day.

Bringing up these things has become pretty cliché but lemme tell you, sometimes things are cliché for a reason. This was A GOOD WAY TO GROW UP. And I feel like having a parent at home actually made me more independent and adventurous as a child than I would have been had I felt on my own. Cause pretty much any time of day I walked home, mom was there. It was truly "coming home." Which is not to say my mom just sat at home all day. We also did a ton of stuff together, both in town and out in the wild world. I grew up in a stereotypical small town, El Segundo, CA, a little haven that's in close proximity to many more adventurous LA locales. And my mom took me everywhere. I got an education before I even entered school.

In short, I fucking loved my childhood. I loved the freedom, and I loved having a parent there for me when I was done with freedom for a while. I love my small town and I love the crazy world of LA and the beaches I got to see when we ventured out. I grew up in a great time and place, and I count myself blessed.

Until my parents got divorced and it was all over. BUT ANYWAY. Here's something I wrote in my original post, on the subject of kids no longer being allowed to use their legs except in pre-designated leg-using areas:

"...Because while being wrapped in these billions of protective layers, kids are becoming more and more desensitized to things like feelings, and compassion. And these kids are becoming adults. As in, the future of ALL HUMANITY. Maybe letting them walk on their own for a couple blocks would help them experience and feel connected to the actual world. And take the goddamn... texter out of their hands so they can look at some damn trees while they're doing it."

And cut to an article I read today, with an actual freaking DOCTOR saying the exact same stuff little ol' me said months ago.

"The contrast between Edward and George's childhoods is highlighted in a report which warns that the mental health of 21st-century children is at risk because they are missing out on the exposure to the natural world enjoyed by past generations."

Oh ho! Really! You don't say! I'm not a doctor, yo. I'm not even a high school graduate. My education is life, books, and television (especially MST3K :)). But freaking DUH!! How can this not be obvious to like, everyone?

""If children haven't had contact with nature, they never develop a relationship with natural environment and they are unable to use it to cope with stress," he said.
"Studies have shown that people deprived of contact with nature were at greater risk of depression and anxiety. Children are getting less and less unsupervised time in the natural environment.
"They need time playing in the countryside, in parks and in gardens where they can explore, dig up the ground and build dens.""

Yes! Preach on, brother!

So there is the overly-sensitized peak of insanity. Children live in safe bubbles, yet they are at risk for going nutso cause they LIVE IN FREAKING BUBBLES.

Aaaaaand now we scale the other peak, on the opposite side of the valley, the peak of stupidity and desensitization. The kind of thing that makes you wonder, hmm, maybe we do need to be supervised after all. I hope you're wearing the appropriate footwear. Let's go!

"The "fire challenge" has been spreading on social media with people pouring flammable liquid on themselves, lighting it, trying to quickly extinguish the fire and then posting a video online."

Yeah people are fucking stupid. THE END! *Looney Tunes music*

No wait, wait. Surely I can offer more social commentary than "people are fucking stupid." I must have a better response to the ills of our wayward society than a Troy Dyer-esque superior smirk. But maybe he was right. No... NOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Okay, so not only did someone come up with a "set yourself on fire" challenge for facebook (I'm waiting for the "sprinkle ebola on your cereal" challenge now) but someone went, "Yes! That sounds perfectly reasonable, challenge accepted good sir!" and picked up the damn gauntlet. WITH THE HELP OF HIS MOTHER. Okay, maybe sometimes having your parents at home isn't such a great thing. I can't possibly get into the minds of people like this, but I do think it illustrates the other side of the valley pretty well. I mean, this is an isolated incident, but I'm guessin' these are the same kind of people who are doing all that dumb shit at country shows suddenly, these sad, desensitized idiots. I can't blame dumb things in society for this completely; in the end the responsibility comes down to you. BUT. When you have a whole generation raised on stupid, fake music and stupid, fake celebrities and everything just congregates in this social media hive, maybe that is the only choice they have. Cause they don't know anything else. And that's where it is ALL of our responsibility to ensure our children's society isn't any lesser than the one we knew. And hopefully greater.

Unless your mother is batshit crazy and helps you set yourself on fire. I really have no advice for that one. I'd delete your facebook account, for starters. I think you're a little too... shall we say, involved. And while most young people have the sense to not set themselves on fire, they are tangled in the whole social media web to an extent I think will have long term damage. There's just so much more to the world and without that, without trees and grass and adventures, there's no telling what kind of crazy will ferment. Because the imagination that was once channelled through building forts and running through the woods is now being channelled through... the internet, and all the fucking idiots that live on the internet.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

OMG I think I just solved an existential crisis. That's like 2 in 3 days people!! Woohoo!

I don't think I ever wrote about Catcher in the Rye and Holden Caulfield here, but I always wanted to. I just wasn't sure how to say what I wanted to. Basically, it's a book and character that you either love or you hate, and I'm on the love side. I don't love the character because he's lovable. He isn't. I love this book because while Holden is messed up, he also makes some really damn good points about the world we live in - which are still relevant today, like a million years after the book was written - THAT'S some good writing! And you can see your own questions and random thoughts and insecurities reflected in Holden's, and not in a way that makes you hate yourself. It's more like, "Oh. It's not just me, then." That is, if the book speaks to you. A lot of people find it insufferable and horrible. Cue the answer to my long-suffering question, "Why do some people hate Catcher in the Rye?"

They react to Holden like I do Troy Dyer. There! I get it!!

So why do I hate Troy, and relate to privileged, neurotic Holden? Well... Holden is vulnerable. He speaks to you, he wants you to see what he sees, and doesn't insult your intelligence. He has the sensitivity to care if someone writes "fuck you" in a museum. He's genuinely struggling trying to make sense of the world and his place in it. Troy just wants to smirk at you if your IQ is one point lower than his.

I always thought Catcher in the Rye love/hate was kind of an introvert/extrovert thing, and that might still apply. Introverts would tend to relate, while extroverts would see Holden's worldview as whiny and even threatening to the status quo. But mostly yeah, they probably think he's an awful little pissant like Troy. And while I don't agree, I think there's a lot more depth to Holden, I do get it. Finally.

Okay, now for the post I'd been planning to write, brought to you by the weird, wonderful year of 1994.

First, 1994 was 20 years ago. TWENTY DAMN YEARS AGO. Ima let that sink in for a moment. Okay. So a movie called Reality Bites came out in 1994 that, for better or worse, kind of exemplified the times. I hadn't thought much of this movie in the ensuing 20 years, but watching a review of it yesterday brought back something that I realized had been lurking in my craw all this time. So today, I will finally get closure on the most simultaneously hatable and enjoyable movie I've probably ever seen.

When Reality Bites came out, I was younger than the characters, but I was a "young adult" and therefore in the target demographic. Which probably explains why I like some parts of the movie.

WHAT I LIKE: The outfits. From Winona's doily dress to Janeane's 70s vintage* to yes, even Ethan Hawke's hipster collared shirts. Because really, they were only annoying by virtue of being worn by Ethan Hawke's awful, horrible character. But we'll get to him later. I'm totally standing by the shirts being cool.

*In the 90s, we got like, really obsessed with the 70s. The Brady Bunch and 70s cartoons and retro fashions. I guess that means we're meant to be obsessed with the 90s now, so this review is actually topical - 20 years later. I did see an awful lot of those 90s flowered-print dresses and skirts when I last went to the mall, and I totally had a Brenda and Kelly moment.

The dialogue. Some of it, anyway. This movie had some pretty great one liners. "Welcome to the maxi pad." I still say "I'm bursting with fruit flavor" to this day. And the Good Times game. There was some actual funny stuff in there. And... a LOT of 70s references. Which I get. They grew up in the 70s, and were struggling with becoming adults, so they turned back to the comforts of their childhood. (Hence, my 80s obsession.) That might not come through watching the movie today, unless you were around back then. You'd just be like, why are they obsessed with some random old tv show? But it fit the time perfectly.

Steve Zahn's character. A real character who happens to be gay. Nothing token or stereotypical at all. A shy, funny, quirky guy who has to tell his Texas parents he's gay. Why didn't he get more story instead of Ethan Hawke's douchebag Troy??? BUT WE'RE GETTING TO HIM.

Ben Stiller's character. Just the character, itself. The treatment of this character by this movie, which was DIRECTED by Ben Stiller, by the way, is the most puzzling part of this movie and why it doesn't work for me in the end. Does Ben Stiller like, hate himself or something? Cause the consensus seems to be his character was pretty cool and likable, yet he's HATED in the movie. Only in the post-80s, slacker/grunge/hipster whatever 90s, would a character be reviled simply because HE'S A YUPPIE. HE HAS A JOB AND MAKES MONEY OMG. Remember when that was like, your dream man? Well, I think we've moved past that particular 90s excess. But God was it awful. If they'd made the character a greedy, slimy, hatable yuppie, it would work. But he was CHARMING and FUNNY and a GENTLEMAN. That didn't fly in 1994, folks. Put on your slacker shirt and ride your... bike, or whatever.

Yep, it's time to get to Troy. *deep breath*

WHAT I HATE: Troy. Lelaina and Troy. Lelaina for learning ABSOLUTELY BUTT-NOTHING from Molly Ringwald and picking the wrong guy at the end of the movie. Did we learn nothing from Pretty in Pink, people? It's like Andy and Blaine all over again, except it's the 90s instead of the 80s, so she chooses the POOR asshole instead of the RICH asshole. There's your difference in decades, folks. In the 80s, the guy who didn't get picked was nerdy and poor and OMG SO FUNNY AND NICE TO HER. In the 90s, the guy who didn't get picked had money and was OMG SO FUNNY AND NICE TO HER.

I mentioned "90s excess" above, and here's what I mean by it and why I hate it. When thinking of "excess," you'd probably go straight to the 80s cause yeah, it was totally the decade of excess. And not all of it was bad. Some of it made for a pretty interesting culture. But in the 90s, that kind of excess and anything even perceived to be "yuppie" or "shallow" was suddenly THE DEVIL. Because here come the slackers. *sigh* 80s material excess turned into 90s philosophical excess. And it could not possibly be exemplified in all its douchey glory better than the character of Troy Dyer. So in that sense, the character works. But you know how the character doesn't work? BY MAKING HIM THE GODDAMN HERO OF YOUR MOVIE.

There is no way I can convey the sheer smug, self-congratulatory, condescending, superior, I'M SMARTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE NYAH NYAH prick-level orange nature of this character by typing mere words. He must be seen to be believed. He bothered me smack in the middle of the 90s so, I can't even imagine how he'd come off now. He would have been a great character, IF HE HAD LOST IN THE END. If the nice guy had won, and ol' Troy was left to ponder his inadequacies. Cause seriously, you have never seen someone so full of themselves for doing absolutely nothing. And that was the point, of course. That's why only then, in slacker-muddled 1994, could this guy have won the movie and the girl. It was enough to just be smart and spout off smarty things while smoking cigarettes and drinking cheap beer. That was "cool." The guy with the job and the tie, NOT COOL, even though he was actually much cooler - wait for it - ON THE INSIDE. Gee, shallow much, 1994?

There's one scene in the movie that's the absolute pinnacle for me, because it's a great, well-written scene that had a chance to turn this bus around in the right direction. Basically, Ben Stiller's character TOTALLY calls out ol' Troy on all his bullshit, and he NAILS it.

Michael: Oh, I forgot, I'm not qualified to talk to you. I'm sorry I can't be Mr. look a me I'm Buddha on the mountaintop. Know what you are man, you know what you remind me of? You're like that guy, you know, with the hat and the bells you know...
Troy: Court Jester.
Michael: Yeah, where everything is so easy to laugh at from a safe distance back in clever-cleverland. You know what happens to him? They find his skull in the grave and they go- Oh, I knew him... and he was funny. And the guy, the Court Jester, dies all by himself.
Troy: Where'd you hear that, a Renaissance festival? Besides, everyone dies all by himself.

Okay, Troy, so Mr. "Cheeseball Yuppie" completely eviscerates your facade, and that's all you have to say? A joke that totally proves his point, and some philosophical crap? Instead of learning anything or growing as a person, all you do is show you're exactly who he's saying you are. Because he wears a tie, he's automatically wrong and you're right. Seriously, that's the big message of this movie, or at least what I get out of it. Because Troy ISN'T RIGHT. He's WRONG, and immature, and completely undeserving of everything he gets. But he gets it anyway. Not by any kind of change or self-redemption, nope, because in this movie he's perceived to be right all along. The world "owes" him a Snickers, indeed.

Because after the awesome clever-cleverland scene - THAT'S IT! They don't run with that football at all, nope, Ben Stiller is never even SEEN again, Troy learns absolutely nothing and goes on being his guitar-strumming hipster douche self, only now he gets to do it with Winona Ryder. And, despite being a smart and witty woman, she falls for it. She's all over him. COMPLETELY INVALIDATING ANY CHARACTER GROWTH OR INTEREST SHE COULD HAVE HAD. God, this whole movie is like reverting back to the womb.

Lelaina turned herself off to me way before that anyway, when she, a recent college grad struggling to find employment, has dinner with her family and the following happens: Her dad offers her a car. But not a "regular" car that "real" people drive, oh no, a BMfuckingW driven straight out of 80s hell and right into the hipster nightmares of poor little Lelaina. "I'm not driving a BMW!" she says, aghast, in an effort to... NOT sound entitled and rich. Honey... let's think about this for a moment. Choosing NOT to drive a BMW is pretty much a million times douchier than choosing to drive a BMW. I guarantee you there is some guy in Kentucky driving to his job at the coal mine in a pickup truck from 1967 going PUTT PUTT black smoke the whole way and he's just praying it runs one more day. I'm sure there's a woman with three kids somewhere who can't take her sick 2-year old to the doctor cause she has NO CAR. I bet she'd be pretty goddamn thrilled to have that BMW, don't you think, you entitled little shit? But no, not you! Your unemployed ass is too good for a BMW. You have standards. God, how did I ever like this movie?

So, despite some good one liners and characters, despite having an on point feel for the times, Reality Bites is a pretty bad movie in the end. And this brings me to my closure. When I first saw this movie, I liked it. I liked the people in it, I liked the script, I liked the Brady Bunch references. I liked that damn doily dress. I laughed quite a bit. But I was left feeling unsettled in a way I couldn't put my finger on then. And that was, of course, because of Troy. And Michael. And Lelaina. See, the ONLY way Michael "wronged" Lelaina was he messed with her "art." Her beloved documentary of her slacker friends. His company turned it into a cheesy Real World style reality show, and he was too goddamn "uncool" or whatever to recognize it. Despite being a gentleman to her in every other way, despite offering to help produce her documentary in the first place - she watches it and RUNS out the door like a spoiled child. Because, you see, she's an "artist," not some MTV whore!

Okay, I get it. I do. If someone messed with this blog, I would choke a bitch. I also admit, I didn't find the "Real World" style thing as bad back then, because it wasn't every single goddamn show. So that part was maybe kinda visionary, who knows. But anyway, that's not the point. The point is HER REACTION. She doesn't even try to rationally say to this guy, hey, that wasn't really what I was going for, could we make some changes, like nothing even close to professional. Nope, she turns into a Troy. She has a hissy fit and breaks up with the guy, all because he was "uncool." Seriously, that's what it boiled down to. So maybe she and Troy actually did deserve each other. But is that the kind of leading man and woman you want to see in a movie? "Well, those two assholes deserved each other. ...Hurray?"

So I've had this weird ambivalance about the movie all these years. It kinda spoke to me then, I mean, I had a sort of disdain for society like Troy did, just not in the same damn arrogant way. But I never liked how the movie ended, and I was never able to admit it to myself. I always thought I was the weirdo, I liked the gentlemanly guy with a job because I'm a traditional girl, which is not cool so I'll just keep my mouth shut. I was, in my own mind, a Troy apologist. "But... I'm supposed to like him, right? So I guess I do! Who needs a nice guy with a job, this guy gets free Snickers bars WITH HIS MIND."

But NO MORE. This ends today. Troy's ego takes this movie down, and he takes the rest of the cast down with him like Godzilla in downtown Tokyo. Except Steve Zahn. He was great. But I no longer have to pretend I like Troy, and I can let this movie time capsule stay buried. Hell I don't even dislike society anymore; now I just politely avoid eye contact with it like a stranger in the elevator.
I think the best way to survive/endure/enjoy life is to just be as ridiculous as possible. So in that spirit, I'll be trying to widen my snark and general silliness scope on this blog.

I've been talking mostly about country music lately because I got back into it in a big way. It's funny, how the BADNESS actually helped rekindle my interest. First by snarking on it, and then being inspired to hey, actually seek out some stuff that's GOOD (and afew guilty pleasures). Country music is at a weird kind of standoff right now I think, between the waning bro-crap and the brotests and the, you know, actual regular country music that's trying to make a comeback. I'm interested to see where it goes next, but right now it's kind of wait and see. I will say this - I disagree with people who say mainstream traditional country is dead, and here's why:

This is country music. Country music is this motherfucking tree. It's natural and strong, and it will break through your concrete by sheer FORCE OF WILL. I believe this strongly. It might take some time for those roots to spread, but they will spread. Because they're a part of us all.

This is actually a totally different post than the one I was going to make. Oh well. I'd like to add that yesterday, about an hour after I had my thought about surviving life by being ridiculous, I read that Robin Williams died. And my first thought was, Oh hell no, life got too ridiculous for Robin Williams. And then I just felt sad. It's been a shitty year for celebrity deaths. We've lost Robin Williams, Harold Ramis, Tony Gwynn, and my beloved Colonel Meow. It all makes me wonder when Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian will take an ill-fated skydiving trip together. <----------- OOH CHEAP SHOT. But seriously, go away useless pieces of crap. Don't die, just go away. And RIP to the good souls we've lost.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Feel Good Friday

A little extra feel good since I'm leaving on vacation this weekend!

Two songs that in the "computer music" age, bring back that feeling of love and passion for MUSIC. Not just music, but musicianship. Music as organic human expression. The feel of a guitar in your hands. Making music because it's what God (or the deity of your choice) put in your soul. The juke box hero and the neon rainbow. Enjoy, and I'm off to the Rockies. :)