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On Bear vs. Shark

I first heard of Bear vs. Shark from a girlfriend I had years ago. She played them for me as we drove around Barstow Community College. I was instantly hooked. They had the blend of rhythm and screams that I love so much. They’re in the same vein as At the Drive-in and Hot Water Music: super noisy but with a keen ear for solid jams and a songwriter who still crafts his lyrics in spite of the fact that they’re unintelligible most of the time.

The big fat rain cloud over all of this, though, is that they only ever released two albums. It leaves you wanting, dying, for something new while simultaneously finding newness in the work they did release.

My Pleasure, It’s Guilty: “Thumbs” by Sabrina Carpenter

[Sometimes, there are songs that are so deeply infectious and fun that you just can’t say no to them despite what your judgment screaming out “This is Christawful! What are you thinking!” This is one of them]

If you’ve ever listened to a Dodgers game on the radio, you’ll know they play some weird-ass shit sometimes coming back from commercial breaks. It’s fun getting to hear Charley Steiner transition back into the game over some heavy-thumping rap, really, but sometimes they like to tie the theme of the song into the goings-on of the game.

In this case, the Dodgers were playing pretty bad baseball on the offensive side, having left what felt like 30 men on base through the first few innings. And so when they came back from break, with the Dodgers coming up, I got my first taste of Selena Carpenter’s ridiculous-ass “Thumbs.” Because, obviously, leaving scoring opportunities all over the field like dog shit in the backyard is very much a form of twiddlin’ them thumbs (skiddly dee dum dum).

And the song straight-up stuck with me. Its ridiculous hook and bouncy beat had worked their way through my porous membrane of musical cynicism and proceeded to sit on my face and wriggle for the next few days–through which I resisted the urge to further discover just what the hell this “Thumbs” song was all about until I finally threw up my hands and said, “Okay, let’s get down with this.”

From reading the lyrics, which usually isn’t a good idea when it comes to guilty pleasure songs, it’s apparently, ostensibly, about complacency and the onset of ennui that comes thereof and fighting back against it. Or something. It’s kinda also muddled nonsense.

My favorite part of the song is the 6/8 breakdown toward the middle where she really drives home the whole “Don’t believe everything you hear, you do you boo boo” theme of the song. It’s a nice few seconds before she gets back into repeating the chorus.

It’s a fun-as-fuck song but it definitely has a short half-life for me as with most guilty pleasures (except for HOFers like Cherub’s “Doses and Mimosas” that just went ahead and became a part of my playlist). I’m sure I’ll be sick of it shortly but, for now, it’s a fun song to dance around in my panties to screamin’, “I’m a liberated motherfucker!!”

Welcome to the Beginning of the End of a Turbulent Decade

(I found this in my drafts section and felt like it was worth posting. I dunno why I didn’t do it in the first place but… I was right about Trump winning and, thankfully, wrong about a violent transition of power. Weird but alright. –Evan, 5/26/2017)

 

The best thing about Batman and Robin was its Smashing Pumpkins theme song. This video stands as evidence that no one was into that band’s goth phase except Billy Corgan–and the guiltier & nostalgic parts of myself. 

I registered to vote so now I can say something. I basically registered because I’m sick of not saying something. I’m goddamn terrified of November.

I have a side:

I’m voting for Bernie in the primary. If he’s not in the general election, I may defer my vote.

I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About this:

This’ll probably be our first violent transition of power. Or will a police state once rioting occurs no matter who’s elected, declared and Obama remains in power under that?

I’ll riot if Trump winsA lot of People Will. 

I’m gonna wanna at least throw a trash can through a giant pane of glass if that shit happens. Especially since I figure everyone else will be doing it too in my neighborhood. It’ll cancel football games!

Trump Himself: 

No Idea whose interests he has in mind: Who’s the man behind the man behind the man that’s running this? “Who’s that voice on the side of the phone that shakes and rattles his bones? / Could it be the man behind the man behind the man behind the throne?”Run The Jewels, “Lie Cheat Steal”

Hillary is the Machine. 

The Democrats’ version of Romney 2008, who I was pretty convinced was a lizard alien.

Who’s the Man who Feels Behind the Bern? 

Stupid Fucking Predictions: 

No Republican Candidate. Trump Goes Rogue Party. Bernie is Green/Independent. Hillary is Democrat. Or 4 altogether. It’ll probably be true democracy at it’s best.

Bernie will split the vote and Trump will win a la Nader splitting the vote and G.W. winning in 2004. It’s that fucker’s fault the Bush era continued… Which, retroactively, is probably better than any form of a Kerry presidency. Had I been old enough, I woulda voted for Nader truly. Yea, somehow Dubya became the retroactive lesser of two evils.

Fuck Delegates. Just Make a New Party without Their Money.

That’s what I keep figuring someone’s gonna do.

Here is Your New Blog Post

I never write
enough
So I’m trying something new or different or whatever.
Don’t call it a poem–
I tell you I’m open wide and dangling,
feeling as if poems on blogs are a metonym for pompous cocksuckery.

But who knows.
I do this all the time but never really say nothin’
because I fear embarrassment more than judgment.

So there.

Magic Mountain June 5th

I went to Six Flags and had a pretty killer day. It seems like the park is really on the up and up in terms of cleanliness and quality of food (which is weird, since their practically giving it away at this point and you’d expect it almost to get worse as a result).

I was able to ride most everything a few times and get my $8 worth of locker money paid back in terms of both laps of rides and amount of lockers rented. I’m the type of dude who brings a bag and stores it instead of keeping anything in my pockets. I’ve lost or almost lost too much stuff on rides that I’ve just gotta play it safe anymore. Plus, it’s keeps my glasses safe.

Anyway, here’s some pictures and commentary. We’ll start with the construction then get the general day stuff. There’s a giant hole in the fence near the Riddler’s queue for anyone curious to take a peek themselves next time they’re there. (more…)

Observe and Report: Anosognosia in Macro

Anosognosia: “lack of insight” or “lack of awareness” – is believed to be the single largest reason why individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not take their medications.

Treatment Advocacy Center


It’s this really unfortunate thing, right? That Paul Blart came out in January of 2009 and six days shy of four months later Observe and Report came out.

Every time I mention Observe and Report, people take a second to rattle their memories and typically come up with “That other mall cop movie? The one with… Seth Rogen?” Exactly. I guess if there were ever a time when a movie should be shelved, it was then. Because had Observe and Report come out a year later, it perhaps would have garnered a broader audience. They could’ve sold it as a parody of some kind.

But even those outside the film industry know that you can’t produce, edit, and distribute a motion picture in the span of four months. Had they perhaps waited, like, eight months maybe then the public would be willing to accept Ronnie Barnhardt as some sort of filmic response to how squeaky clean Paul Blart is.

Or maybe the next to non-existence of redband trailers in 2009 totally stalled any chance this film had of marketing itself as a graphic antithesis to Mall Cop. The trailer for the film does nothing to prepare you for how quickly the movie goes dark.

But, shit dude, the movie itself is brilliant. I have yet to truly grasp the humor of the Foot Fist Way, and could only ever make it through the first season entirely of Eastbound and Down, which leads me to think that this is probably Jody Hill’s most accessible work.

His style of humor is a tough pill to swallow and he doesn’t give you a glass of water. It’s an absolutely unrelenting experience that truly makes the viewer begin to ask, “Wait, when am I supposed to laugh?”

 

When Observe and Report first came out in 2009, the film blew me away with it’s deep-black sense of humor that absolutely tests your ability to finish its scant 82-minute run time. It takes you into the depths of purely being frustrated with Ronnie and his deluded, alternate, sense of reality that it gets to the point that you just feel bad for the guy.

That’s when his date with Brandi happens. He gives her all his medication figuring that because she said yes sober but went out with him drunk it clearly means that they’re now in love and boyfriend & girlfriend. Obviously. Given Ronnie’s great fortune at finally nabbing the One, the medication is now unnecessary so he gives it her and she says, “I was like ‘Okay, weird guy at the mall asking me out.’ Oh my God… But now I got a whole new script! Thank you!”

That whole section of the movie–and especially Ronnie’s actions–raise huge questions about the idea of consent and whether or not either of the two parties involved were in the proper state of mind– whether it be due to an external or internal struggle–to say no. Especially since Klonopin basically erases your memory if you take too much. That whole sequence is fascinating and the way it ties together at the end is even better.

That’s what it is: at about the hour mark the film externalizes his emotions when, after a fight with police, he is seen in montage healing from those physical wounds. At the same time, he starts taking his medication. And! His alcoholic mom has a change of heart and decides to switch to beer because, as she says, “I can drink that stuff all day and still keep my shit together.” It’s a moment in the film that, because of its structural placement, still connotes growth in her character.

This all leads to, when the final act of the film occurs, you’re rooting for Ronnie to accomplish his act of redemption–to see him restore faith in himself.

The entire film is based around Ronnie’s bi-polar disorder too. Coming from someone who’s dealt with it all his life and done his goddamndest to find the right medicinal balance, it’s interesting to see it from the pills perspective. See because, at the beginning of the film, when Ronnie’s doing well (but still fucking crazy in a moderately subdued way), he’s only on Klonozapam. Which, as you know, is what Stevie Nicks was addicted to. Except back then some drug company still had the patent and they called it Klonopin.

“When you’re on tranquilizers [ie, Klonopin] you really can’t be depended on.” -Stevie Nicks (around 1:15 in the video)

I’ve had a prescription for it before and it’s one of those drugs that makes you mild to moderately numb to the world more than actually help resolve any of the actual issues at hand. It’s kind of like a Band-Aid whereas something like an SSRI or MAOI is more akin to a brace. It’s something that inhibits your movements in a way that encourages proper development.

So at the start of the film, Ronnie’s already only operating with a Band-Aid to keep his gaping mental gash from splitting open. It explains his already deluded state.

That whole layer of the film, though, and the fact that he stays on the same medication and doesn’t get further psychiatric treatment, speaks to that inner ability to heal oneself to the point that the medication becomes mere augmentation to the solution itself, which is mindfulness. I guess that’s really what it’s all about.Observe-and-Report-Movie-Poster-observe-and-report-5364882-518-755

I need a Thesaurus, or: How I wound up at the Grove on Dec. 26th.

This morning, I decided I needed a thesaurus.

Thesaurus.com had failed me again, showing me synonym after synonym for only two definitions of the word flop: “Miserable Failure” and “Fail Miserably.” I understand there are subtleties within the redundancy but it completely fails me. I need a synonym for fall, as in, “They fall to the floor.”

And, plus, I tend to act like an old-ass man in the sense that I hate reading anything on a screen.  So I just plain wanted one in print.

It’s also nice to depend less on a computer to keep my writing/life afloat.

At this point, I had to make a choice: since I’m new to to the city, do I want to venture out and try a new place or do I want to simply go somewhere familiar and easy?

I chose the former–I was going to get my thesaurus at the Last Bookstore, which is downtown. I had even scrounged up enough ones to park in a five dollar lot.

I drove down James M. Wood, which turns into 9th street and, when I saw the time, I realized that I was going to be stuck in hellacious traffic trying to get out of there in a couple hours at 430.

So I called an audible and went with the latter: the Barnes and Nobles at the Grove.

Whoops. I set out to avoid the whole struggling to find parking and paying to find parking situation, and I accomplished precisely what I had set out to avoid.

See, because it’s December 26th. The Day after Christmas, when everyone else is out, too, doing God knows what at the mall.

When I got there, the fancy LED board that shows space availability per floor simply read “FULL” eight times vertically. It almost seemed like a challenge as I passed by.

The bright side, though–the one glimmering spot of my 20 minute odyssey toward two white lines–is that the Grove’s parking structure has the greatest system for going up or down between levels.

Their entire inter-level system is centralized as a two-laned helix going either upward or downward, with the inside lane for those who want to simply keep going up and outer for going between levels. It’s like a small road.

On the inside lane, you keep climbing up and up and up until…

The eighth level, the very top; where the employees park if that sign atop the gate didn’t say “No Onsite Employee Parking 12/1-1/6;” where you’ve taken girls because the view is incredible.

Every single spot was full from top to bottom in that parking structure, and I wound up having to squeeze into about 3/4ths of one next to a Honda Civic.

I’ve made a mistake, haven’t I.

I headed toward the stairwell to finish my cigarette, and I caught my first glimpse of the mall.

I just had to come here, didn’t I–and I wasn’t even dressed right to be mingling with the upper-middle class and above crowd. Or even the tourists who come in search of them.

From the eighth floor, I took the stairs down because I didn’t want to be cramped into an elevator with 20 other people wishing I hadn’t just smoked before I got in. It’s a courtesy thing and it’s cheap exercise.

“Had enough of you assholes for one year. Gone Ice Fishin’.”

The day after Christmas is kind of a weird time because the reason for the season has already past, and yet all the decorations remain, attenuating our holiday cheer to its New Year’s Eve brink. Though I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the holidays, I enjoyed seeing everything in the new light of being 364 days early and incredibly anxious for next year instead of worrying about buying anybody anything–except a thesaurus, for myself. We must remember our purpose.

Santa has become unstuck in time.

As I was walking toward the Farmer’s Market, as people mulled past me carrying their coffee cups and their phones and their bags and their jackets I couldn’t help but wonder: “When did we become a culture that carried so much stuff everywhere?” I can’t think of any other time in history in which everyone brought so much crap with them everywhere they went. It’s like we live on this portable mountain of material goods.

Buy your groceries here, then try not to look crazy carrying bananas and peaches around Crate and Barrell.

The Farmer’s Market, today, is like the greatest mall foodcourt ever: tons and tons of options from local vendors and good beer everywhere you look. And then there’s also souvenir shops.

The pizza was pretty good, and the beer (Lagunitas IPA) was great as usual.

I wish all malls had something like this, instead of endless franchises of Panda Express and Sbarro’s and McDonald’s…

I never understood why a mall would want their patrons to feel like shit midway through their shopping day.

After that, things got pretty

 

boring. I walked back to the Barnes and Noble, got my thesaurus, and left to get groceries.

I wound up getting the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus. I was hoping they’d have the one published by American Heritage (there is a difference, and I have a preference), but I’m satisfied because now, for flop, I’ve also got synonyms for the definition, “to throw or set down clumsily or casually.”

Here are some more pictures.

The Immature Part of me has captioned this picture, “Stairwell Upskirt.” You’re welcome.

 

Ride the short bus with me.


It was a good day.