January 31, 2008

How I Love The Angry

I'm not the kind of guy who makes friends easy. And that doesn't mean I hate people simply because we're all on the same city block, nor does it mean I will curse your good name from here to my grave just because I don't like the look of you. It just means, that I keep my guard up....and often. I stay defensive until I get a good feel for how a person is and interact with them accordingly.

Being the gruff, mangy sort, it takes people some time before they even decide to approach me. And I give great kudos to anyone who does. You gotta be a pretty open person to look at me and say, "Despite the pissed-off look, the constantly balled-up fists, and that big vein sticking out of your forehead, I'm still gonna hear you out." It takes guts, and I always respect guts. Still, even chumming up to me will only get you so far. At best, it'll get you to a place where I won't ignore you when you talk. If your end goal is the walls broken down and full on, open conversation, be prepared to put in work. If the interests match up, and the attitude clicks, then maybe someday in the future we'll be pretty tight. If that sounds a bit too tedious, that's cool too. I'll just keep the ol' guard up and we can do the acquaintance thing until we're sick of each other. I can save all my endearments for other people.

And boy, let me tell you people something; nothing endears me more to a person than to watch them get pissed. Not frustrated, not cranky, not stressed out or grouchy, but full on "I will strangle your fucking cat" pissed. If you are so angry that you could inflict bodily harm on whatever derisive son of a bitch put you in that mood, and I happen to see it, we'll be buddies from then on out.

And it concerns me that I get so excited to see people so mad, because I'm not sure it's normal. I'm pretty sure I'm not a sadist or anything. I get bummed when good people get hurt, and hate to see dogs and cats get turned into roadkill. But, I have no problems seeing good people blow their tops. Weird.

I think it's because seeing someone pissed kind of sets the bar. You have an idea of what kind of tolerances this person has. I mean, if someone loses their mind at a fast food attendant because there was an onion ring in his bag of fries, you're probably not going to give them too much shit about the tie they're wearing.

Also, if those tolerances happen to match yours, then it's kind of subconscious bonding. Part of you says "Oh good, I hate that shit too!" and you feel a bit more comfortable complaining about it. Think about it this way, if you went to work and said to someone, "I hate this place," and they looked at you confused and replied with "Really? I love it here. I can't wait to come to work every day," wouldn't it make you just a little suspicious? I know I would. Hell, I'd probably spend my time wondering if they were a kiss-ass, one of the Happies, or an alien. Either way, I couldn't deal with them (except maybe the alien......as long as he left his probing gear at home.) I t would just be too hard to relax around someone who doesn't complain. So, I guess I align myself with those that do.

The reason I bring this up is because at my place of employment, I got to make a friend.

This person I had kind of known since I started at this place. She's one of those people who's just ultra easy-going. Assertive when she needs to be, but usually just quiet and trying to to make the best with what she's got. Naturally, I give her a ton of crap. She's a good sport about it though, shakes her head and smiles like it's no big thing. Very mellow and very cool.

Then today, she got pissed. Some changes were made at the ol' day job, changes that affected her and she didn't know about, and she commented on it. Not the kind of commenting I would've done, mind you. She didn't threaten to combine broomsticks and rectums or anything like that. She simply made statements along the lines of "Well as long as I've worked here," and "When did we change...?" Very reasonable combinations of words and phrases.

But it was her tone! A deep dark edge in her voice that dropped her voice down three octaves and made it snarl. For about ten seconds, she sounded like Michael Clarke Duncan, it was damn near terrifying. And she doesn't go into shy and humble when she's pissed, oh no, she'll eyeball your ass. Fan-friggin-tastic.

And as I listened to her speak those reasonable combinations of words and phrases, in the spaces between the words, I swear I could hear the following:

"Why are you jacking with me like this? I do good things for this shithole. I come to work everyday and put up with you infantile pricks. I smile in the face of kids and their dipshit parents. And now you want to make my life harder? You know what? Fuck you!"

I'm sure my ad-libbing is a little more vicious than hers, but the substance had to have been the same. She had pain inscribed into her voice, and she used her words with the hope that when they soared through the air and approached the other person's eardrums, it would climax in a bitch slap.

So, I have a new chum. And I'm stoked. The chance to complain about stupid people and their stupid guidelines is one that I will never miss. Misery may love company, but fury craves an audience.

January 29, 2008

Gordon B. Hinckley R.I.P

On Sunday, January 26th, 2008, Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the LDS church passed away. He was 97 years old

And honestly, I'm a bit bummed out by this.

While there is no love lost between me and the Mormon religion, I still tip my hat to Mr. Hinckley. I found him to be decent, and a complete gentleman. I'm going to miss the guy.

A lot of you may be asking why an angry nihilist like myself would even be slightly regretful over the loss of a religious leader? Particularly a leader who heads the one religion in Utah that overshadows everything. Anyone who lives in this state knows that you can't scratch your nose without the church eventually finding out about it. And that if you choose to believe in anything other than Mormonism, more pressure is put on your life because of it. The Mormons can be a very forceful, albeit polite, entity when it comes to spreading the religiosity to us hell-bound nonconformists. As such, there's been a kind of uneasy truce between myself and the church. So, what in hell drives me to memorialize Hinckley?

Easy, the man had the right attitude.

Gordon was willing to acknowledge that there are people who don't buy into the LDS way of doing things, and had no problems with it. If someone wanted to reinterpret existence and morality in a different way, it was all cool. As long as you didn't go around killing folks, stealing things, or dumping your ego around on others, chances are good he would've even been your buddy.

And, he was willing to pass that message on to his flock. In many of his speeches (which I won't quote, simply because I don't know them verbatim,) he would tell the members of the church that it was cool if people didn't buy into the church, it didn't make them any less of a person. He said something along the lines of, "If you know someone who isn't Mormon, be their friend. And don't do it because you want to preach to them, just do it because everyone needs a chum. And maybe they know something that we don't, that could make us stronger Mormons."

And I can sit well with that ideology. There's nothing about the LDS church in it's legacy, or it's practice that will ever compel me sign up. However, I've met and known tons of the church's faithful who have been nothing but cool. Decent, well-meaning people who's only disagreement point with me is what they do with their Sundays. They've never challenged me on where I stand, and I've never torn their belief system apart. And it's worked out just fine.

I'm scared now that the person who replaces Mr. Hinckley won't have that sensibility. I'm worried he'll take the pro-active approach on the church. I worry that this attitude of integration and brotherhood will take a back-seat to the big push of recruiting new followers. It means that the dark side of Mormonism, that elitist notion of "we're right, you're not," may rear it's ugly head again. And that right there is what has constantly bothered me about the LDS, or any other aggressive religious idealism for that matter. If I am not one of your converts, I am an enemy to you. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. And I just don't have the time for more enemies, especially those who judge me merely on where I'm sitting in the afterlife.

So, Mormons and apostates alike, let us celebrate Mr. Hinckley, and his willingness to say that one religion may not be for everyone. In tribute to the man, I welcome all of you to be my friend.

Just leave all the church stuff at home.

January 25, 2008


Ghostface Killa, legendary MC of the Wu-Tang Clan, has recently commented on the disappointing sales of his latest album; The Big Doe Rehab. He feels that this slump was the result of illegal downloading, and was commented as saying;

"I got 115,000 friends on MySpace and I get 30,000 (copies sold) in the first week -- that's not good. I know a lot of y'all got (the album) but you downloaded it."

Now, I'm sure you all know how I feel about piracy, so I'm not gonna retread old ground. Nor will I start ripping on Ghostface for his opinion, since I dig me some Wu. No, what interested me was the subtext behind his thinking.

You see, his type of music is designed to appeal to a certain demographic, the lower-income urbanites. His lyrics often refer to difficult times and hardships with living in a huge city and having limited finances. People getting shot, growing up poor, this is all common lyrical fodder for GFK. And while I'm sure that there are tons of people in various economic and social demographics who dig on the man's work (myself included,) the primary fan base for his type of work lies mainly with the inner-city African American. I think we can all agree on that right?
So, if an album designed to target this demographic slumped, and if the result was indeed high traffic illegal downloading, that can mean only one thing....

The inner city denizens have computers.

It means that even in a lower economic environment like the ghetto, people possess a computer of some sort, and have a basic understanding of how to use the thing. At the very least, it means they can install and operate software, manage folders, and transfer files without too many problems. Even if they're using a device as user-friendly as an iPod, there's still a bit of technical know-how to get the songs onto the thing. The ghetto is computer literate.

And personally, I think that's fabulous. It says to me that the bar has truly been leveled and that access to information and technology is finally within everyone's grasp. And many might jump on stereotypes and say that all these people do is steal music, check Myspace, and watch porn. Whilst I doubt that, even if it was true it doesn't mater because the resources are still within arms reach. It means that the days of learning to do word-processing on outdated Apple II's because the school couldn't afford anything better are disappearing behind us. And damnit that's a good thing. I first popped my cherry on one of those things, and didn't develop a single idea of what a computer was capable of. Now, it's like the lights have been turned on, and I can actually use one of these things to accomplish goals instead of just browsing smut. And yes, I consider making half-assed music and pissy blogs a goal, thank you very much.

So Ghostface. Mr. Killa, I know that you must be a little discouraged by making only 30,000 sales in the first week of the album's debut (damn, what I could do if I got 30,000 sales period!) And I know it worries you that your popularity might be waining. But consider the good that is occurring for your listeners. Today they might be downloading music. Tomorrow, they might pursue graphic arts, they might become web developers, or computer admins. Hell, they might just make a Wu-influenced album on a freeware music recording app, and it could all be because of you.

January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Revisted

Friends, another Martin Luther King day is now upon us. A good tribute to a very cool guy. I think regardless of what bolt of cloth people come from, everyone can kind of respect what the guy was trying to do. Looking past the protests and keen speeches, all the guy wanted to do was level the playing field. Just trying to keep things square amongst folk. If you get on the boat, so do I, and if the boat sinks, we sink together.

My original intention was to pull something from the old "House Of Hell," that I wrote a few years back on Martin Luther King day. Because I wanted to pay homage to the guy, but I didn't want to actually think of anything new. Suffice to say the original text, which I'm pretty sure involved beating Tom Cruise with a baseball bat, is no longer on that website. And that's probably for the best. Sometimes, old ideas just don't cut the mustard anymore.

Instead, I decided to celebrate the day by reading the transcription of the "I Have A Dream Speech." You know, the famous one he delivered on the Lincoln Memorial? The one that every single news channel and PBS special has to show clips from? Yeah, that one.

Funny thing is, I only knew about that speech from television specials. Which means, I only knew what had been condensed into a quick and easy package for my consumption. I had never actually read the thing. And now, that I have actually combed through every single word, I have newfound respect for the man.

You see I, probably much like you, treated that speech as MLK's Utopian vision of the future. Lots of peace with no violence or hatred or discrimination, you know, very Star Trek. Everyone loves everyone and works together to build a new world.

And I don't really buy into Utopia. I've got nothing against the idea, and if it shows up one day I'll definitely hop in for the ride. But to me, the notion is flawed. It doesn't work with egotistical animalistic types like us. So, I had always tipped my hat to MDK for trying to reach Utopia, but always figured the guy was a trifle too optimistic for the real world.

But, now that I've read the speech, I know the truth. Martin Luther King wasn't preaching Utopia, Martin Luther King was pissed.

Allow me to quote one of my favorite passages:

"In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

Comparing the plight of the black man to a defaulted check? Fucking awesome! Martin Luther Kind wasn't talking unity, he was feeling screwed over. Him and his kin had gotten a raw deal, and he was out to vent his frustration. And what's better is he did it with some of the most blunt and brutal words imaginable. That, right there, is skill. To drop some wisdom that is both intelligent and vicious. It's like getting the most polite bitch slap across your face.

So, in the true spirit of Martin Luther King, I shan't preach to you about harmony nor peace. I won't suggest you stop being driven crazy by the world, or by the people in it. I don't ask that you love your fellow man.

I just ask that you give your fellow man the benefit of the doubt.

Go out there and try to assume the best about the people around you. If you see someone who is ethnic, gothic, potentially homosexual, or whatever makes you nervous, try to avoid the stereotypes. Try and treat people like people, and avoid the temptation to associate them with terrorists, rapists, criminals, perverts, blah blah blah.

If a person is a sucky human being, chances are good that they'll let you know in some way or another very rapidly, so presume the best. You ain't gotta love them, but do give them a chance.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

-Martin Luther King Jr.-

January 19, 2008

I'm A Weak Revolutionary

A couple things about me: I hate Wal-Mart and I love French bread. I find Wal-Mart to be an industry designed to destroy smaller, independently operated businesses and treats it's internal infrastructure like slave labor. And on the flip side of things, I find French bread to be absolutely delicious, with the perfect balance of crunchy crust and warm, tender innards. And usually, both just existed as two random facts involving myself.

But, like things tend to do, my worlds collided.

Me and Mrs. Boogie made a stop by Wal-Mart last night. Not with any kind of love or loyalty, mind you, in fact we were both pretty disgusted with ourselves. But, when two people are tired and would otherwise have to take twice as long in order to go to two different stores for a handful of items, standards tend to get lowered in the name of convenience.

So, I'm wandering through Wal-Mart, feeling a little guilty, when I stumble across the French Bread rack. As is my habit, I give it a thorough molesting. And wouldn't you know it, the bread was warm! It had that soft quality to it, with just the right amount of crunch to the crust, it was outstanding. I'm sure you people know how hard it is to get a decent loaf of the French goodness, but this was at nine o'clock at night! It's impossible to even get an edible slab of bread at that time of night, much less one that's all warm and toasty. So, I grabbed a loaf and went about my business.

Whilst driving home, me and the missus started ripping of slabs of our newly acquired baked booty. And, while it hurts me to say it, I must confess, it was the best damn loaf of French bread I've ever had in my life.

The crust had just enough thickness to make it pliable, but it was smooth enough not to flake all over the place. And the center, oh the center was fantastic! You could actually taste the grains in the crumb. I've never been able to do that before, and it was marvelous.

What happened here? I usually hit the local places for my bakery needs, because local business always put in the necessary time and effort for good breads, and usually have some traditional recipe that has stood the test of time. Yet, here I am, fawning over bread from a big box chain and singing it's praises. Did they lace the bread with crack? Am I eating equal parts yeast, flour, and ecstasy?

Probably not. What has most likely happened is that I stumbled on some decent baked goods, and sold my soul to the man. I caved people. Traded in my ideals for cooked yeast. I went in fighting against the corporate beast, and ended up becoming Ephialtes.

I'm so ashamed.

January 17, 2008

Understanding Adam Savage

A few months ago I was reading an interview with Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. It was a pretty insightful and cool read, but there was one thing I just couldn't wrap my head around. He said something along the lines of "seeing old-school carpenters sitting with their morning coffee and thinking about how that would just be the life."

And I could never figure that out.

I've got nothing against carpenters, hell I think most carpenters do some fantastic work. But, the job has zero personal appeal to me. It's not a job I don't think I could do comfortably, or do well. So, I just couldn't figure out what Adam Savage was so entranced by.

At least until today. For you see, today, I found my carpenters.

Whilst chilling at my local Borders, I got to listen to some live tunes. It was this group of old folks with some acoustic instruments were just grooving along to some old-school standards. A little jazz, some bluegrass, a bit of celtic, and tons of folk. And it wasn't anything original or revolutionary, just a bunch of old friends making noise in a public space.

And it was perfect.

There was no concerns over image or musical skill and complexity. There was no pressure to achieve any kind of fame and glory. They wore comfortable clothes and played whatever they felt like playing. If nobody knew the song, they figured it out on the way. If someone, wanted to play another instrument, they'd swap with someone else, and figure out how to play the thing during the song. Whenever someone screwed up a line, or botched a solo, everyone chuckled, shrugged, and rolled with it. There was no "getting the parts right," or making sure everyone was in time or tune or whatever. If you're having a musical problem, you get through the tune and deal with it later.

Even the audience didn't matter to these guys. They'd sit and talk with each other between songs until everyone was ready to play something else. It didn't matter if an audience was watching them or not. They were going to talk guitars and give each other shit until they were good and ready to play another tune. It was fantastic!

You see, I'm someone who runs over every note and beat with a fine tooth comb. Constantly, I worry about how a song is flowing, whether or not things are in tune, if I have enough measures to cover an intro and a set of verses.....blah blah blah. At this point in the game, I couldn't imagine taking my sweet time between performing songs, for fear the audience might get bored.

So to watch a bunch of old-school guys play like that, well it was just too cool. I kept thinking to myself, "How cool would that be? To just play whatever with a bunch of chums, and not care about the end result?" To be past that point where you're so comfortable with your place in life, that you can jam without thinking about how well your doing. To just play music because it's fun.

I know, a lot of you probably figured this out a long time ago. What can I say? I'm a little slow. But, I'm catching up. I can finally understand what Mr. Savage meant, and I can definitely see the appeal. Hell, maybe someday, I'll be able to make a little good-time tuneage like my new buddies at Borders.

Chances are good, I'll still be an obsessive perfectionist, but at least I have something to shoot for.

January 14, 2008

Dear Chrysler Automotive Group: WTF?

Look guys, I know times are kind of hard right now. People just aren't digging on your designs anymore, and it's causing all kinds of problems. The cash flow isn't coming in anymore, poor people are getting laid-off left and right , Daimler dumped you in that oh, so painful break-up. It's a rough time for you, and I can sympathize, for we've all been there.

And hey, to see you rebound and get back on your feet would be....well that would just be keen. The world loves to see a good comeback story, and I think you've got the ability to do it. I mean heck, you managed to survive the 70's right? Remember the Imperial LeBaron and what a silly idea that was? Oh, I'm sure you laughed yourself to sleep for many a night after that silliness had passed. Ahh...good times. So yeah, I sure wouldn't mind seeing you lift yourself up by your bootstraps and get everything all peachy again.

But I don't think the way to pull that off is by doing this.

Seriously, what the hell were you guys thinking? What dumb-fuck meeting gave you the idea that if you forced a bunch of cattle to walk down a street with brand new Dodge Rams and lots of nosy people, we'd fall madly in love with you again? What, were you guys all patting each other on the back after this little brainstorm? "Hey, lots of live beef on a street with our loud trucks and lots of cameras. We're geniuses!" It's just dumb man! Fucking dumb!

Haven't figured out why yet? Well, I'll break it down for you. First, and foremost, forcing a bunch of bovine critters to walk across hard asphalt with all the chaos of a city going on around them is downright cruel. It's a mean thing to do to an animal. And I don't even fucking like cows! But I still manage to maintain enough common sense to say, "Hey, maybe this is taking shit a little too far!" And you didn't just get any livestock, no you had to go for Longhorns didn't you? Wow, so you just drove down to a local farm and picked up 120 head right? No you say? How surprising since, THAT BREED OF COW IS NOT NATIVE TO MICHIGAN! You had to import them from Oklahoma you damned idiots! Either by forcing them to sit in the back of a trailer for several hours, or on the off-chance you splurged, sticking the whole herd in a plane. Didn't that seem a trifle fucked up to you? Didn't any alarms start going off in your head when the words "Transporting cattle" popped in your noodle?

What is with the cattle anyways? Maybe it's my years of forensic and zoological studies, but when I look at the logo that is on every single fucking Dodge vehicle you make, there are no cows on it. No, what i see is a horned ram. Granted, there's a distinct possibility it's an antelope, or maybe a bighorn sheep, but it is most certainly not, a cow.

Of course, people who don't have my knowledge and training, do have the ability to spell. And they might notice that the words RAM and COW are substantially different from each other. So it kind of looks like you failed elementary-school level biology, which is pretty damn sad.

But the cattle were a metaphor you say? That the cows weren't the focus but an element in a message you were trying to give the world? Interesting, and what would that message be? "We're separating from the herd," how cute. Too bad it doesn't make any damn sense.

Tell me what's so revolutionary about your new Ram, hmmm? C'mon, tell me, I'm really curious, since everything I've read says you haven't changed shit. It's still a big fucking vehicle with big fucking engines draining a lot of fucking gas. And claiming that it burns 4% less gas than before still doesn't change the fact that it's a guzzler. So, from what I gather, you've only refined it's big, loud, unpleasant nature. You're haven't separated from the herd, you're smack dab in the middle of thing.

Oh wait, my bad. It appears you installed a 30 GB hard drive in the dash and a soda cooler in the bed. Wow, that's stunning. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

Look Chrysler, I've never been a big fan of what you make, but I'm certainly not against you. I wouldn't mind it at all if you made some cool, happening rides. Hell, if it's sharp enough, I might even buy one. But this isn't innovation, it's doing the same shit you've always done. And making a huge scene like this doesn't make your vehicles better. In fact, it just makes you look even more stupid. So dump the theatrics, lock yourselves into a room, and try to invent something impressive. Hell, considering a bunch of your rides ended up on the Worst Cars Of 2007 List, just start with inventing something decent.

In the meantime, I'll be patiently waiting..............for another company's car.

January 13, 2008

Why I Work With Kids

Since the BGO has yet to pay for anything yet, ol' Boogie is still very much reliant on the day job. What seems to trip out most folks, is that when it comes to selecting a 9 to 5er, I usually opt for something that forces me to interact with kids. Those who've known me for a while know that I've put in years in the educational realm. I've dabbled in teaching, content creation, presentation, counseling, tutoring.....I've pretty much done it all baby.

And that fact really messes with people's minds. "Boogie," they will often say, "why would an angry, mentally-unstable, jazz musician like yourself work with kids? Do you have mommy issues or something?"

Nope. I'm not compensating for a lost childhood or any kind of shit like that. And I don't come home at night singing "The Greatest Love Of All" either. I'm not about preaching life lessons, nor do I use the word, "m'kay." I'm a perfectly normal, dark and cynical SOB who just happens to deal with the young folk. And my reasoning for that is simple:

Kids don't pull any punches.

If there is something about your person that is strange, funny, or annoying, a kid will make damn sure you know about it. If you are bothering them, they will not hesitate to tell you, and if your jokes aren't funny, you will be informed as brutally as possible. Kids do the straight truth, and do it well.

And I for one, appreciate that kind of honesty. Considering how often manners and polite ignorance seem to dominate the grown-up world, it's nice to have someone flat out tell you when you're being a douche.

Take for example, a conversation I had with a kid the other day. My current place of employment (which, for the sake of courtesy, shall remain nameless) requires me to wear an apron whilst interacting with the kiddies. A young girl approached me and said,

"You're dumb to wear an apron."

Ooh! Intriguing! But since I'm on the job, I have to forgo asking all the questions I'd like to ask, and instead respond with a P.C. friendly:

"Now, be nice. Lots of men and women wear aprons as part of their jobs, and that doesn't make them dumb."

Her reply? "Yeah, I know. But the apron you're wearing is dumb. Why are you wearing such a dumb apron?"

"Because they make me."

"Well then they're dumb for doing that!" And with that, she skipped away to new adventures.

It was a beautifully honest exchange that I could never have had with an adult. The grown-ups all looked at me in my apron and simply accepted it. No no, not the kids, they called me on that shit.

And god damnit if she wasn't right. It is a dumb fucking apron! And the people who enforce the requirement that I most don this apparel as a condition of my employment are equally dumb.

So, the next time you see me talking with a kid, know that I am getting the real scoop on things. That child is making sure I got full perspective on this plane of existence, and all the faults and fuck-ups I run around with. Those youngsters are keeping me sharp, and god bless them for it.

January 10, 2008

The BGO Doesn't Rock

I'm sure we all know that the genre we know today as rock was spawned by blues and jazz. Back in the early 50's when Elvis hit the scene, rock & roll was pretty darn incestuous with blues. Oh the times how they have a'changed. You put anything off of rock radio next to our musical antiquity, and you can't even find a family resemblance. Yep, we've come a long ways baby.

Funny thing is, even rock isn't rock anymore. Things are split into so many sub-genres and varying degrees of influence, it's hard to tell what is what anymore. Nu-age contemporary fusion jazz anyone? How about some indie alterna-groove country? It's times like these you're almost grateful for the big box stores. They only make special sections for hip-hop, country, and jazz/blues. Everything else gets thrown into rock/pop, which makes shit a lot easier to find.

I'm not a big fan of labels for the most part. I can deal with the basics, like keeping a heavy metal artist separated from the hip hop guys, but I'm not going to play with anything complex. If you try and tell me your musical genre is something more than two words long, I'm going to have to laugh at you. You wanna be called retro sub-pop emo or some bullshit like that? Sorry buddy, you're just rock to me.

And what's wrong with rock anyways? I think rock is a damn fine label to hang your hat on. It's a good, strong word, with powerful implications. You walk up to any artist, doing any style of music, and tell them they rock, and they will always take it as a compliment.

Yesiree, it's a great thing to be rock. So it has been with some degree of sadness that I have to admit, the Bastard Groove Orchestra does not rock.

Nope. Not even a little bit. The BGO is rock-less. It is lacking in rock.

Putting on the scientific eye, there is one thing rock music has maintained over its maturity. A certain rhythm pattern that is common in all unique variants. Us musical types typically refer to it as a "driving beat." That hypnotic kind of "train engine" beat that keeps the rhythm section moving in a constant and steady pattern. It's very characteristic of the genre. All the emo-guys do it. AC/DC does it to death. Hell, Melissa Etheridge does it, and does it very well I might add. All these guys are rock, because they can drive the beat.

The BGO doesn't drive, it bounces.

My stupid beats bounce all over the place. Every time a melody gets settled, it changes. If rock music was the equivalent of walking down the street, then the BGO would be sex in the alley. So, I must conclude that the BGO, does not rock. It might fit in with the swinging sounds of jazz and blues, but there is to be none of that rock shit.

Which should be great right? Horray, I'm doing something different right? Well it becomes a problem when you're trying to pitch an album and all the websites force you to "pick a genre."
You need to be categorized right? Have your music put into a place where folks who dig stuff similar to yours can find you right? Makes sense I guess. I'll just pick the styles where I kind of fit in, and go from there.

Problem is, nobody really checks out the jazz sections of social networks, or music stores. The folks that do, prefer the softer, smoother sounds of the standards, not the sick sounds shooting out of my crazy ass .

The blues category is even worse. I'm not sure anyone goes to that section at all. Most of the guys who do are kind of elitists, searching for the great guitar players playing ridiculously long solos over standard blues grooves. No way in hell I'd ever catch their ears.

So what's a fella to do? I could change the genre to rock, but that would be a big fat lie since I clearly do not rock. But I can't just wallow in the shadows just so I can stick to my principles. So, I've been at a bit of a loss.

Lately, I've been relying on "Other." I think it kind of fits. I've heard people, upon hearing the BGO for the first time, make the remark, "Whoa. What the fuck was that?"

Why, it's "Other," of course.

Then they say, "Ooooh" and nod like it makes sense. So it works out alright. However, there are tons of places that don't have the option for "Other," which makes things kind of problematic again.

Mrs. Boogie suggested using "Alternative." Whilst the definition of the word would fit what the BGO does, I just can't get past my personal history of associating the "Alternative" genre with the early 90's grunge dudes. I worry that I'd be renting a room next to Nirvana, which would be cool for me, but probably would offend the hell out of them. I think if bands like Soundgarden and Alice and Chains found out I was in their genre, they would kick my ass.

So, I don't know. Obviously, the BGO needs something, I'm just not sure what yet. Any thoughts?

January 8, 2008

The Happies

I think we can all agree that people who are constantly filled with happy sunshine pleasantries can just go die.

Now, It's entirely possible that I'm a little more irate about this simply because I live in Utah, which is ground zero for these overly ecstatic freaks of nature, whom I have dubbed the "Happies." Still, I'm fairly confident that you have someone that occupies your space with the bubblegum thoughts of joy. You know the sort, every day is an occassion to be lived for, nothing but positive energy in the air they breathe, every word is something reassuring and innocent. These poor beasts are completely devoid of frustration, wickedness, and cynicism.

And frankly, there's just no place on this earth for that kind of behavior.

The scariest damn thing is they seem to outnumber the rest of us. For as much as we've all tipped the phrase "Misery loves company," the truth remains that these happy joy joy freaks are the ones congregating. Congregating isn't even the right word for it. They're forming gangs, that's what they're doing. Nonprofit agencies, coffee shops, or anything that involves kids but not the word "school." You will find them there, being happy.

And people being happy isn't really a problem. But when they impose that happiness on us miserable sacks of shit, then things go awry. That's right, if you occupy any space within a 50 meter radius around these people, they will make you be happy too. Fail to comply, and they will do horrible things to you.

They won't shun you, or speak badly about you behind your back or anything like that. Those are the tactics of the realists, i.e. us normal folks. The tactics of the Happies are far more cruel.

They will integrate you.

They will beat you down with mundane small talk and random comments about people you don't know, then they'll sugarcoat it all by making small meaningless jokes about themselves in a sugary voice that could give you gingivitis. And they will mercilessly do this until you run screaming for your lives or until you play along.

Most of us play along without us realizing it. It starts with us being polite. They start dropping sunshine on us, and we smile and take it. Hell, we don't know these people, and they seem to be sitting pretty good with things, so why screw that up for them right? So we smile, hold back all the shrill comments the rest of the world gets, and wait for it to be over. Before you know it, they're asking you questions, that you must now answer in an aesthetically pleasing tone. You have to right? I mean, you've been polite and well-mannered up to this point. Can't change gears on them now. 20 minutes later when they've pulled out their wallets and are showing you pictures of a cousin who works at some lumber factory, you realize they've got you. You've been hooked by the lip and are now being dragged along. Your only hope is that they'll tire of your weakness and seek prey elsewhere.

If you want to be happy, then damnit go form a club and do it somewhere else. But don't lay it on me like I'm supposed to be buying into it. This is my air you're fucking with, and I get a mite onery when you drag your parade into my rain.
If you're concerned you may be one of these Happies, then I got a quick test for you. For you see, when one goes to sleep at night, there are really only three types of mental train you can book. The train you choose most often defines your personalty.

The categories are:

1. You go to bed knowing that the world is a wonderful place, and it'll be wonderful tomorrow because things are always wonderful and packed with cream-filled goodness. You sleep in the warm embrace of gumdrops and sugarplums.

2. You go to bed knowing that the world isn't perfect and can oftentimes be downright depressing. People can be cruel and ignorant, starvation and homelessness are very much in fashion, and some days you just don't know what you're even supposed to be doing with your life. You fall asleep hoping things will be better tomorrow, but not terribly surprised if it's not.

3. You go to bed and lull yourself to sleep with images of you fighting hordes of zombies, piloting interstellar starships, or fighting a rebellion against a government out to destroy you.

If you belong to category 2, chances are good we will eventually have a drink together and inevitably bitch about how bad thngs are. To everyone in category 3.....hell, you're all my friends too. We'll get together and have a few laughs. But it's you bastiches in category 1, whom I will eventually have to crush. Your spirits are just too chipper for your own good, and it's ruining our buzz.

Do you realize that even the hippies can't stand you? It's true, the hippes hate your guts. And when one of the most despised subcultures of our time has issues with you, something is definitely wrong. Granted, even though the hippies tend to wander through optimistic land, they're still well aware of the fact that the world isn't doing so well. They're even making a conscientious effort to change it with unwashed hair and knapsacks, which is more than we can say for you freakishly happy people.

You Happies really need to consider the feelings of other people. We're miserable dark souls, and we like it that way. Having something to bitch about is really all we've got. It's our endorphins. The equivalent to your mocha latte. They get us through things and insure we wake up in the morning. Still, you keep trying to mess with it, and it's making me testy. If this keeps up, bad things will occur.

So, I'm warning you hear and now, throw some sun on my gloom, and I will pop that euphoric balloon of yours. If you smile and wish me well, I will have to scar you.

Don't believe me? Try it. The next time you wish me a good day, I'll whip out something along the lines of "Is it? Maybe for you, but probably not for people in Sumatra who find themselves even more impoverished because a tsunami decided to give them a hug. So, if you want to ride a happy wave while riding on the backs of thousands of homeless Indonesians, do it without me you morbid freak!" Your hearts will be forever crippled, and you'll have no one to blame but yourselves.

Change Happies, or I will change you.

January 6, 2008

The Art Of The Heavy Metal Music Video

Videos by metal bands make no sense.

I know that last sentence just got a lot of you readers foaming at the gums, but I don't care. it's the truth and you know it. No matter how furious and intense these purveyors of modern rock may me, when you stick them in front of a camera and attempt to make a visually creative product to describe their musical vision, the end result is almost always a bewildering bag of smoldering crap.

For those who don't take in a lot of metal here's how your typical music video goes down:

.Innocent people do innocent things.
.For no explicable reason, bad people come and do bad things to innocent people
.Innocent people are forced to wallow in creepy crawly things like spiders, snakes, dirty toilets, etc...
.Innocent people are no longer happy.
.Little bug-eyed, morose-looking girl stares into the camera looking tweaked.

Punch in a few shots of hairy men with instruments making bathroom faces and you've got yourself a metal video.

Being well aware of the formula, I rarely tune in to this kind of stuff anymore. But on a night like last night, when there's absolutely nothing on, throwing on a little Headbanger's Ball can make for some good background noise.

So, it was with some degree of surprise, that I actually saw a metal band deviate from the formula. It was incredible! For four minutes, I had a plot, character conflict, and even a moral. Hell, it was even kind of cute! It had furry puppets with little props, almost cuddly. Not that I'd recommend it for PBS or anything, but in the metal world, this may very well pass for Sesame Street.

So, give it a view or two. Take in the use of texture, consider the filming techniques, and give great thought about the message. But I'd still recommend watching it with the volume off since, despite it being more accessible, it's still not great.



January 2, 2008

People I Hate: Shia LaBeouf

Shia Saide LaBeouf

June 11, 1986
Los Angeles, California

Actor, celebrity

Reason I Hate Him:
Because he's a glorified sideman who keeps finding work.

Shia LeBeouf is a pimple.

Despite how charming and charismatic he may or may not be, and how that full head of curly hair just makes him look so darn cuddly, and the end of the day the man is a pimple. And he knows it.

The guy has made his career by gluing himself onto otherwise good movies, and then hanging on for the ride. And then when the movie does alright, somehow, he gets considered a good actor by proxy.

Need a list? Well, we've got "Constantine." Which wasn't a bad flick. It actually kind of worked as a Keanu Reeves vehicle. Then there's "I Robot" Which wasn't a horrible way to spend a couple hours. Heck, in some ways, it was kind of smart. "Charlie's Angel's: Full Throttle?" Definitely entertaining. A lot of retreaded ground, but certainly entertaining. All these movies had Shia Lebeouf in them.... and wouldn't have been remotely different if he decided to just stay home.

Don't believe me? Fair enough, name one compelling thing he's done in any of those movies. You can't can you? That's because the most compelling thing he's ever done was in Constantine..........when he died! And I'm pretty sure a slice of white bread could've bettered the job if it had gotten the role.

The dude is bland people. He's got no substance or character whatsoever. Usually, they put people in movies to contribute something to the overall feel. protagonists, antagonists, all important parts of the narrative thread. What does Shia do? He's not plucky comic relief, doesn't provide the main character with any kind of conflict of principles, hell he doesn't even support the background. He's just there!

Let's take a glance at any Shia movie and see how his character contributions play out...

.First, he introduces himself as someone who's known the main character for his whole life.

.Next, he makes several one-liners in other scenes he's in to further cement that "We've known each other a long time, and that's why I can give you shit" backstory.

.Finally , when confrontation ensues, he puts on that open mouthed, fear and amazement look that is eerily reminiscent of Futurama's Dr. Zoidberg saying "I'm acting astonished!"

All this seems like the cinematographic equivalent of saying, "Look at me! Look at me! I'm standing with grown people!" Well, I don't need to be reminded that there are some humans who are here to merely exist. I can go out into the world and see wasted skin any time I feel like it. Making me pay eight bucks for a movie ticket, or occupying my relaxing TV time to point that out is very much unnecessary, thank you very much!

And there's no need to point out the fact that he had the lead role in Disturbia and Transformers, as I'm well aware. In fact, considering how much cable shoves that in my face, it's amazing I don't have dreams about it. Still, if you want to push those two films on me, I'll lay it down for ya. First off, Disturbia was a crap-fest, everybody knows it. I didn't even have to watch it to know it.

As for Transformers, despite his name being on the cover of the box, he was still a support character. "Support to who," you ask? Well, to the big fucking robots the movie was named after of course! You think anyone took their kids to that movie expecting a heart-wrenching performance from Labeouf? Fuck no! They were there to see big CGI robots beat the shit out of each other! Yet, he's getting all these pats on the back for all of this. It's like "Well done man. You stood in front of that green screen and stared disbelieving at nothing like a champ!"

And now, Shia has gone and fucked up something I was really looking forward to, the new Indiana Jones flick. And he'll ruin it, I already know it. He'll put this whole layer of wholesomeness over the movie, and mess up the party for everyone. Here's my prediction for this film; every few minutes, Harrison Ford will start to get that Indiana Jones vibe going on, and just before he's in the zone, Shia will pop in and say something like "Hey Indy, when can I get a whip and hat just like you?" Then the vibe will be gone, and we'll watch our eight dollars float mercilessly away on a sea of generic nothingness.

So, I reiterate, Mr. LaBeouf is a pimple. And further proof that people who made their names with Disney have no business being in big boy movies.

January 1, 2008


As we look at the start of the new year, it's hard to forget that there are still a variety of subjects that really segregate the hell out of people. Stem cells and abortion are two of the obvious ones. Then of course, there's the whole gay marriage thing, and the whole "Mexicans are bad" thing. It even gets violent with minor things like"Apple Vs. Microsoft. So, it's pretty obvious that even in this day and age, there are still people with polarized opinions. And these folks are willing to defend their beliefs like a wolverine in drag.

One that still seems to make a few headlines, much to my surprise, is the whole evolution thing. Despite the world at large feeling pretty confident about it, there are still a lot of conservative Christian types who want nothing to do with it. I guess the notion of succeeding lower life forms somehow offends god or something like that, I don't know. All I do know is that their voices are in the media a lot more than I expect.

Now, I'm an anthropologist, so I'm contractually required to believe in evolution so I can keep my diploma. But I roll with evolution because it makes sense. We were once a race of ape-like creatures who got smarter when there were less trees around? Yeah, I can kind of see that. It's certainly more reasonable to me than the idea that I'm the genetic offspring of a couple of naked people who ate some fruit and had some sex.

But the religious faithful have spoken, and they have louder microphones than me, so I'm not going to bother with the fisticuffs. Really I just want to ask these people, who loathe the theory that we descend from monkeys, one simple question...

What's wrong with monkeys?

Seriously, are monkeys that bad? Granted they don't have the slick grandeur of lions or eagles, but give them some credit, they are smart little shits. We got them playing with educational toys, taught them sign language, hell we can even hand them a kitten without worrying about bloodshed. Ever try that with a lion? It don't work out so well.

They even found some chimps who make tools. The clever bastards were creating spears to hunt wabbits with or something. Damned impressive. Then of course we've got complex social structures, high adaptability, the fact that they are agile motherfuckers. They may not be the most attractive, but if I had to choose an animal to be evolved from, I'd have to say those monkeys have a pretty good-lookin' resume.

You want to talk about the shitty end of the stick, then think about dinosaurs man. They're birds. Birds man! The biggest, baddest mo-fo's on the planet are now cockatoo's and sparrows and shit. Did you know some science types in Boston did some soft tissue analysis of a T. Rex leg and found several similarities to chickens? Fucking chickens man! What if you bumped into a T. Rex today? Could you really drop that kind of bomb on him?

"Umm..........sorry man, turns out your lineage isn't all that anymore. From what I hear, you're now a mindless, flightless fowl, and we eat your kin by the dozen."

You would have to tell a big, mean killing machine, that used to evoke fear across a barren land, that the most menacing his fore bearers get is when they crap on somebody's hood. Don't you think when confronted by this type of information, he'd be a little more than upset? Hell, I'd be in a rampage if I had to learn that, despite my great history, my descendants at best, are considered noble, and at worst, are just plain cute . And it wouldn't surprise me in the least if that T. Rex walked away thinking, "This natural selection thing is bullshit!"

So you anti-evolution types, let's be reasonable. Take a moment to get a good look at your everyday chimp and orangutan. You still may end up keeping your Jesus fish and not buying into it all, but at the very least you can say, "Well shit, I could've come from much worse stock."