So it's nearly 60 degrees in Chicago. It's leap day.
I walked across the Randolph Street Bridge and into the Loop this morning listening to Mike Doughty's "Day By Day By."
Some days everything seems like it's just gonna work out.
So it's nearly 60 degrees in Chicago. It's leap day.
I walked across the Randolph Street Bridge and into the Loop this morning listening to Mike Doughty's "Day By Day By."
Some days everything seems like it's just gonna work out.
Yeah...so, the writing thing? I'm currently lacking time for it. Shit happens.
Also, writer's block seems to be a thing. Or, really, it's not writer's block so much as writer's lethargy. Again, shit happens.
So, here, have some goddamn blues:
Buddy Guy, man. I still can't believe it took me 30 years to figure that one out.
Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, doin' their thang.
Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn? Yeah, that works.
Also, the influence of the old bluesmen on rock gets more and more obvious the more attention you pay. Consider that Hendrix called Buddy Guy the greatest guitar player ever and was more than willing to acknowledge Albert King's mastery. Then there's Cream and the whole thing where Clapton made blues standards into mainstream rock, including "Crossroads" and, well, "Born Under a Bad Sign."
Although, really, I prefer King's version. Cream slows the song way down.
It really shouldn't be that slow. But, y'know, that's just me.
Either way, needs moar Buddy Guy.
Germans, man. Germans. Ain't got no soul.
But, y'know, what? I think that's all we really need here.
I now believe it's absolutely necessary to make a retroactive addition to my best music of 2011 list. If you didn't see this coming, well, then you probably didn't read either of my last two posts.
As it turns out, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears released an album in 2011 called She's So Scandalous. It's kinda awesome.
I embedded the video for "Mustang Ranch" in my Monday post. Again, might be a bit NSFW, depending on how your work feels about songs accompanied by cartoons about going to a brothel. Y'know...
And then there's the title track, which is just freaking amazeballs.
Meanwhile, on the "white people covering blues musicians" subject from yesterday, there's this Creedence ditty:
That, of course, is a cover of a Screamin' Jay Hawkins song. Let's embed some Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
Yeah. So that was a thing. The '50s were weird, man. Don't let anybody tell you they didn't invent drugs until the '60s.
So is it weird that I watch that video and can't help but think of the Chicago Imagists school of art while watching the animation?
Yesterday I linked to a pair of videos by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears. Why did I do this? Because they’re fucking awesome and, really, do I need any better reason for that?
Well, yes, actually. The last opening act I ended up being so enthralled by was Sons of Bill. They took a couple weeks to really grow on me, though, and it was only a few songs at first. I’m completely sold on Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears right now. The last time this really happened was with the Alternate Routes, who opened for the Peacemakers way back in the day.
The thing about Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, though, is that I’ve never quite heard a band that is so historically fascinating. What I mean by that is if I had to describe them I’d say they’re what would happen if James Brown and Howlin’ Wolf had a bouncing baby band and raised that beautiful child on Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy, and Elvis, with a little Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and Parliament Funkadelic thrown in for good measure. They are the rare band that makes their influences bleedingly obvious to anyone who knows much of anything about music, but who also manage to sound fresh.
Thanks to them, meanwhile, I’ve been spending the day on a magical fucking journey through musical history. I can do that with basically zero effort these days, what with the internet and all. More than that, I can invite you to come along.
Let’s start where I started with this journey. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, “Sugarfoot:”
It’s almost impossible not to hear the James Brown in “Sugarfoot.”
There’s more than a hint of Parliament Funkadelic in there, too.
It also sounds a great deal like the vehicle through which the blues were introduced to my generation.
I’m not necessarily claiming the Blues Brothers as an influence, though, I’m mostly using them as a jumping-off point. “Sweet Home Chicago” threads through the last century of music. It might be one of the most important blues tunes of all.
That’s Buddy Guy, synonymous with the Chicago blues sound (also, too, the Blues Brothers' guitar player in the above clip, if I'm not mistaken). He didn’t exactly write “Sweet Home Chicago,” though. That honor (probably) goes to Robert Johnson.
Everyone knows the legendary story of Robert Johnson, I hope. The story goes that he sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for mastery of the blues form. The supposed song about this moment is “Cross Road Blues.”
That song got a new lease on life in the ‘60s with Cream.
We’re following a sort of parabola here. Robert Johnson was supposedly the greatest blues guitarist of all time. It’s hard to square that with Buddy Guy’s version of “Sweet Home Chicago” and Clapton’s blazing version of “Crossroad.” Without Robert Johnson, however, there would be no Buddy Guy. Without Robert Johnson there would be no Slowhand.
This is the nature of history. We look back and can’t fathom why anyone would do things the way they did back then. But they did things the way they did back then because they were inventing the future.
Let’s try a different one.
Robert Johnson to Elmore James playing the same song.
Now we move to a non-cover, but listen to the first thirty seconds.
You hear that? The opening is louder and there’s more stuff going on, but the Robert Johnson in Roger Clyne’s intro is unmistakable. Let’s try another.
Those are my Irish buddies Senekah. The instrumentation is Robert Johnson by way of Cream. This isn’t to say that Senekah is on the level of Cream, but that bands right now, today, are still fundamentally doing what Robert Johnson did nearly a century ago. We knew that already, of course, since that’s what I’ve been talking about in this post. It’s just fascinating to listen to music in the context of that which went before.
The early blues greats hit upon something amazing. Those who followed have modified and, in many cases, improved upon what the greats did. That might make that older generation appear diminished, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. You need to find a giant in order to stand on shoulders, after all.
Oh. Howlin’ Wolf. I mentioned him but didn’t, y’know, play any of his stuff. Here’s his greatest hit:
My introduction to Howlin’ Wolf actually came through an extremely unlikely channel.
Yeah. Soundgarden covered Howlin’ Wolf on Utramega OK, their first full-length album. It’s completely bugnuts that there is actual live concert footage of that, too. YouTube, man. YouTube.
And, for the record, I’d much rather hear Soundgarden introduce Howlin’ Wolf to a new generation than this load of horseshit.
Yup. That’s “Smokestack Lightning” in a Viagra commercial. It’s both kind of offensive and kinda funny. As such, I call it “offunsive.” Also, I have no goddamn clue why I need to wait until I hit middle age to figure out that pouring water in to an overheating car's radiator might be a good idea. Although since I'm not middle-aged, I also know that pulling in to a gas station, hopping out of the car, and casually popping the radiator cap off is just about the worst thing you can do in that situation, since the radiator in a running car is kind of a pressure vessel, so you run the risk of burning your face off.
Also, too, I can get an erection without any chemical assistance. So take that, you smug, Viagra-taking bastard.
And that, kids, is the end of this installment of “Geds writes a post about something he knows fuck-all about.” I hope you enjoyed it.
For the record, that leaves RCPM’s legacy of opening acts I ended up becoming a fan of at three: the Alternate Routes, Sons of Bill, and American Aquarium. Flogging Molly is in second, then, with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears. Local H and Mike Doughty, meanwhile, seem to have made it their goal in life to find opening acts that are terrible. While Local H did bring me the ever-amusing Francois Dillinger, though, Mike Doughty’s last tour involved him pulling a couple of buskers off the goddamn subway in New York and saying, “Hey, you wanna open for me on tour?” I’d like to offer a piece of advice to anyone who’s planning a national tour: If you’re thinking of getting two guys who only play saxophone and don’t, like, sing or anything, you’ve already failed. If they’re going to dress like Don Johnson on Miami Vice, you’ve failed harder. If one looks like Ricky Schroeder and the other has a haircut like he’s trying out for Flock of Seagulls…well, fuck, I guess if you’re going to bite it, bite it so goddamn hard your gums bleed.
Also, too, Soundgarden had the fucking Mars Volta open for them in Chicago. I specifically timed my arrival to coincide with the end of that awful set.
And so but anyway, I just looked up their Wikipedia page, y’know, because. This is the very first sentence: “Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears is a blues band influenced by Howlin' Wolf and James Brown.” Ha!
Also, they’re an Austin band that broke out at SXSW in 2009. I’m quite angry that I didn’t learn about them until this past weekend since they’re, y’know, awesome.
Things I do not understand: the ‘70s. Specifically the fashion.
EDIT: Oops, there was another "Sugarfoot" embed in the post, rather than some Parliament Funkadelic. Apparently the YouTube video I wanted to use had embedding disabled and I didn't notice. This was my original offering. That is some crazy-ass shit right there.
I started my weekend by swapping out my iPhone 3GS for a Motorola Atrix 2. Two things about the Motorola Atrix 2:
1. It's friggin' awesome.
2. That is all.
But, no, seriously. I never wanted an iPhone. The reason I got the 3GS is because my old HTC Tilt was literally discharging its battery before my very eyes. The only AT&T Android phone available at the time was the original Droid, which did not impress me. The iPhone 4 hadn't been officially announced yet. We were still about six months from the first Windows Phone. The 3GS, in short, was the only game in town.
I found the iOS and its attendant stuff both good and bad. I loved it at first, but slowly got more and more frustrated with its limitations. So once I learned I was in the renewal period and the Atrix 2 was available for a hundo, I jumped all over that shit.
My iPhone 3GS is now getting a second life as an iPod Touch. My iPod Classic tends to crash when I plug it into my computer, forcing me to restore and reload the damn thing from nothing. It's deeply annoying. But the iPhone is way smaller in terms of storage than the iPod, so I'll probably use both, depending on the situation.
Also, for anyone who actually uses an iPhone or, I'm assuming, iPod Touch as an mp3 player, I've noticed that if I have a single album with multiple artists it splits the album up by artist. The iPod Classic does not do this. If I have an album with different artists I WANT TO HAVE THEM ALL ON THE SAME FRIGGIN ALBUM. Anyone know how to fix this?
I went to see Flogging Molly on Saturday. It was a hell of a show, easily one of the five best main sets I've seen. In no particular order, these are the best shows I've seen:
Flogging Molly, 2012 Green 17 tour at the Aragon
Green Day, Superpages.com Center, Fair Park, Dallas in 2010
Soundgarden reunion tour, UIC Pavilion, Chicago, July 2011
Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, either the Gruene Hall show in 2010 or my first Joe's on Weed Street show, back in 2006-ish
Local H in West Dundee, IL back in, like, 2004. Assuming the show was as awesome as I remember.
Also, this year the Flog is closing out the Green 17 Tour in Tempe, Arizona. You know who else will be playing at that show? A little Arizona band known as Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. Awesome.
Meanwhile, you need to become acquainted with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears.
This one might be a bit NSFW:
They bring da funk in the best possible sense of that word.
Oh, and if you've been managing to read this blog without learning about the Lost Immigrants, you no longer have an excuse. For the record, the Live & War in Texas selection? I was at that show.
I bought the 32GB iPhone 3GS, which totally seemed like overkill at the time. Now it turns out it's almost justified.
Crap. It's Valentine's Day. That means I need to link to some goddamn romantic shit. Here's some of my favorite stuff:
A rare Scott Lucas solo acoustic version of "Lovey Dovey."
Sadly, I can't find a complete version of it, but here's a bit of Sons of Bill's "So Much for the Blues." I was actually at that show.
I actually once went home from a date with that song in my head. I knew right then and there that it wasn't going to work out. In lieu of that, here's a good version of "Broken Bottles." Which might actually be a better song for this.
Have I mentioned lately that I'm becoming an increasingly big fan of Sons of Bill? If Sirens sucks, I'ma be disappointed. Fortunately "Santa Ana Winds" is epic. Matt Nathanson, "Modern Love"
The Saw Doctors, "I'll Be On My Way"
Also, here's some more Scott Lucas solo acoustic:
For the record, that would have been a hell of a show to see. Go watch the other videos. They seem to all link up on the right-hand menu.
I have a reflexive tendency to defend the institution of higher learning located smack-dab in the middle of my hometown. It makes sense, I suppose, as the school has had a great deal of influence on my life. That’s what schools do, even if you don’t actually attend them.
This reflexive defense might be surprising to anyone who knows the name of my hometown. I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, in the shadow of Wheaton College. Yes, that Wheaton College, the school synonymous with Billy Graham, the Harvard of Christian colleges.
My relationship, such as it is, with Wheaton College is complicated. There was actually a time I thought I would attend the school. While that never actually happened there was also a long stretch where most of my friends were Wheaton College students. When I was in junior high and high school most of the adult leaders of my youth group were Wheaton College kids, as my church was just a couple blocks from the school. As such, Wheaton College runs deep in my personal history.
I also remember driving through the edges of the Wheaton College campus in the summer months in my old 1979 Cadillac blasting Soundgarden’s “Ty Cobb” out of the car’s crappy speakers. In my not-at-all-rebellious (or particularly creative, I suppose) high school mind I imagined the repetition of, “Hard headed fuck you all,” in front of the school’s renowned conservatory a scandalous act. I don’t know if that says more about my opinion of scandal or my opinion of Wheaton College’s general tendency towards stuffiness and control, however. Maybe it’s a little of both.
Right after I moved back from Texas the city of Wheaton held its first annual Alefest, an actual, honest-to-god celebration of liquid heaven right on Front Street downtown. I walked through the Wheaton College campus to get to Alefest. I walked back past the front of the Billy Graham center a few hours later, still buzzed. I ran in to some friends I used to go to church with and we discussed our surprise at the lack of visible protest from the stuffed-shirt establishment types. They might not have been scandalized by Chris Cornell’s barely-discernible repetition of the f-word, but they most certainly were scandalized by the city’s decision to host a debauched celebration of alcohol. But no one stopped me, coming or going. No one told me I was hellbound for drinking the Devil’s drink, even on the Wheaton College campus itself.
I was amused enough at the juxtaposition to mention it on Facebook, but it didn’t seem an act of rebellion so much as a step of inevitability.
A decade ago – back in that twilight period after I graduated from high school but before I went off to Western Illinois – Wheaton College lifted its ban on dancing. A few weeks before the official news broke a few of my friends had snuck off and gone dancing in a small act of rebellion. It was serious rebellion, however, since they could have been kicked out of school for breaking faith with the Statement of Responsibilities if they’d been caught. Under the new Community Covenant, however, they could have held a dance in the college President’s living room and slapped video up on YouTube without getting in trouble. Y’know, if YouTube existed at the time. And if they didn’t get slapped with trespassing charges.
At the same time the school lifted its ban on the use of alcohol and tobacco by the faculty and grad students. That move was mostly because the state of Illinois had laws against pulling that sort of shit. But while the latter changes were mandated by the state, the bit about dancing was a gratuitous addition to the freedom of the entire student body.
One day a risk, the next day a right.
I used the word “gratuitous” up there for a reason. I come from Wheaton, Illinois. That means I come from a place that speaks the language of grace and acceptance. Love and forgiveness are spoken of in the churches and the halls of the school of my hometown. The words roll off tongues and pass through ears with an effortlessness that belies the fact that that discussion of love and grace and acceptance and forgiveness is, all too often, a lie.
My friends who went dancing risked getting caught for their transgressions and kicked out of school. The risk, I suppose, was low, but it was a risk nonetheless. For a school that supposedly follows the teaching of a man who preached forgiveness and grace, Wheaton College can be remarkably unforgiving and graceless. I’ve always known that, though. I’ve also always known that there were good people at Wheaton College who would buck the trends.
Of course, some things are bigger than dancing. Some trends are harder to fight against and come with a much greater cost.
I kind of paid attention back in 2006 when a group called Soulforce went to Wheaton to try to force the school to talk about homosexuality. At the time I was out at Western Illinois undergoing my own crisis of faith. Basically, though, a collection of LGBTQ Christians and their allies showed up on campus and said, “Hey, what’s up?” Wheaton College used the opportunity to set up a dialogue and then kind of let the whole thing pass, at least as far as I was aware. Again, I was kinda busy with my own thing at the time.
Still, it was impressive that they were willing to talk. But the thing about Soulforce is that it was an outside group. Outside groups can be ignored. Outside groups can be turned in to the Other if need be. Outside groups can be accused of not being “the right kind of Christian.” They can, in short, be dismissed by those on the inside.
There was a new development almost exactly five years after Soulforce showed up on campus. I totally missed it, since I was in Texas at the time. I kind of wish I’d been paying attention at the time, though.
In April of last year a collection of former Wheaton College students circulated a letter in response to the college’s teaching on homosexuality. They stood outside of chapel and handed the letter to the Wheaton College students as they were leaving. In order to do so they had to out themselves, either as gay or an ally of gay people.
The group is called OneWheaton. They have a website. The people who have signed on have put their names and their graduating classes out on the internet for all to see.
This isn’t an insignificant move. Doing that sort of thing as a Wheaton College alum carries a risk of future stigma. Doing that sort of thing as a Wheaton College alum carries the risk of immediate stigma.
I found the list on Monday morning and skimmed it, hoping to see the names of people I knew. My disappointment slowly grew as I scrolled farther down the list and didn’t find any names I recognized. Then I realized something else and my disappointment eased.
Take a look at the list. Start at the top and scroll down. See if you notice the same thing I noticed.
It happens around 1995 on the list. That’s “Wheaton College graduating class of 1995,” for the record. Notice how around the mid-‘90s the frequency of names appearing in successive years picks up, then really takes off some time in the middle of the 2000s?
Those Wheaton College alums from the mid-‘90s were the age of the adult leaders that worked with me when I was a junior higher and high schooler. Those Wheaton college alums from the early- to mid-2000s were the age of my friends, including my friends who snuck out to go dancing. They are, in short, my colleagues, my cohort. And there are a lot of them on that OneWheaton list.
They also list their major. A lot of those majors are theological in nature. Some of the signatories are pastors. That means there are Christians out there who are saying, “I studied theology at Wheaton College. I am a pastor. I am gay/I support gay people.”
Meanwhile, the last half-dozen people on that list are from the classes of 2012 and 2013. That means they haven’t graduated yet. That means they’re putting themselves in a position to be seen as violating this part of the Community Covenant:
By contrast, Scripture condemns the following:
[...]sexual immorality, such as the use of pornography (Matt. 5:27-28), pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior and all other sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage between a man and woman (Rom. 1:21-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31).
That might be a bit braver than going somewhere off campus and dancing.
Meanwhile, I looked up some reactions to, y’know, stuff...
Here’s an account of the OneWheaton Homecoming from the Wheaton Patch, Wheaton’s local newspaper. It’s remarkably humanizing.
Blog post from a Wheaton student. This is what happens when humanity gets in front of dogma.
There’s this pre-OneWheaton, post-Soulforce post by an actual gay guy who actually attended Wheaton College.
These accounts matter, especially in the Evangelical tradition from which I have extricated myself. As Fred pointed out last week, the personal testimony matters, so sometimes the best way to create change is to put stories outside of the standard Evangelical narrative in front of Evangelicals. I have a bit of experience with that myself, and I can tell you that it won’t change things overnight. There are some things it might not change at all.
Sometimes, however, the seed does not fall on the road or by the wayside, but instead lands on the fertile soil and delivers a bountiful harvest. The brave folks who signed their names to the OneWheaton letter are preparing that soil.
Yes, I know this is something of a redundant statement, given Harvard’s history. But Wheaton College is the Ivy League of specifically parochial institutions of higher learning in America. That’s just how it works.
Maybe. It got good reviews, so, hey…
There’s a major issue of community mores here, too. My parents were (really super low level) competitive ice dancers in the years before I was born. They’ve been ballroom dancing since forever. My sister and I were not allowed to tell anyone at church that my parents danced. My parents, who were married to each other. They didn’t even fucking go to Wheaton College, just the church right down the street in the middle of Wheaton, Illinois and all of its crazy Evangelical-ness.
This is also a thing that matters. The anonymously circulated letter is a big deal in certain Wheaton circles. It’s a cowardly action taken by people who are too weak to say what they mean and want, but still want to stir up trouble. One such letter got the pastor at my church canned. I was in junior high at the time and my mother told me about it. She also told me that she’d refused to be involved, since if you’re going to say something you’d damn well better put your name to it.
I’ve always remembered that and followed that piece of advice…said the guy who writes an anonymous blog in the internet. Um…erm…yeah. Actually, I’m not particularly anonymous, since pretty much anyone who knows me knows how to find my blog and there are several people who originally knew me through my blog who know who I am. I just maintain the Geds thing because I’d rather not make it easy for a quick Google search of my name to hit my blog. It’s more of a “keeping my nose clean in case I need to do a job search”-type thing.
But, seriously, “Geds?” Yeah, that’s a nickname I’ve had since junior high, when a couple friends gave it to me on a church missions trip…
Relatively speaking. The entire list is still significantly smaller than the upcoming graduating class. But it’s growing and it’s out there in the open. It’s not just one voice, but a chorus. That’s significant.
Of course, in order to get from the bit about Scripture condemning things to the paragraph that includes homosexuality, you have to get past this paragraph:
hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and legalism, understood as the imposition of extra-biblical standards of godliness by one person or group upon another (Acts 15:5-11; Matt. 16:6; 23:13-36);
I’d argue that by these standards the folks who wrote the Community Covenant and/or the people who enforce the document ought to be thrown off campus on their asses. It’s basically impossible to write a document such as the Community Covenant without using it to impose extra-biblical standards of godliness on someone else, especially since Wheaton College undergrads are still banned from smoking or drinking, regardless of whether they’re of age. Last I checked, that Jesus fellow drank a bit of wine. Ergo, legalism and extra-biblical standards. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that Jesus was also not big on treating people like subhuman pieces of shit...
There are various parts of the Chicagoland area that I refer to as “black holes.” They’re places I know of and could probably place adjacent to other parts of Chicagoland if forced, but they’re also places I know fuck-all about.
I decided I was going to attempt the whole speed dating thing in one of those black holes. Basically, I heard that it was happening and I realized, “Hey, this is gonna be happening two days before Valentine’s Day. That’s a Dancing Monkey Project post waiting to happen!” So I signed up. I didn’t actually really want to do it, but that’s kind of the point of the Dancing Monkey Project, right? I’m supposed to “get out of my comfort zone” and all that bullshit. Also, it was apparently a thing for charity, so I could do the Dancing Monkey thing and help children or homeless people or something. I wasn’t entirely clear on the end goal of that one.
So, yes. Speed dating. Dancing Monkey Project. Black hole. This is not a good combination of things.
This particular black hole was a big north of the area I jokingly refer to as “my old stomping grounds,” which is the Brookfield/La Grange area, where I lived before I moved to Dallas. I’d driven up in to the area, but from there and not the west. Still, I thought I knew where I was going, so I was all, “Who needs a GPS or Google Maps, really?”
This was my second mistake, my first being, y’know, signing up in the first place.
Fun fact: there’s a town called Northlake right around where North Avenue and Lake Street intersect. I’d always thought Northlake was, like, up north somewhere, probably around Northbrook or North Haverbrook. I did not know it was where North and Lake met, but that totally made sense. Also, there’s a town called Stone Park just east of Northlake. I’d never heard of Stone Park before. This whole bit about discovering the existence of heretofore unknown (to me) towns whilst not using any navigational aids, by the way, might be at clue as to what’s going to happen.
I got lost. There was a traffic accident-aided traffic detour involved that really didn’t help. Because I did totally know the route I was supposed to take. I got a little thrown when I couldn’t take said route.
This lovely combination of events gave me plenty of time to think, however. If you want the short version now, I’m calling off the Dancing Monkey Project. If you want the long version, well, it’ll be in the next paragraph. So you might as well stick around.
The Dancing Monkey Project is a hilarious idea for someone who isn’t me to do. It’s really that simple. Alternately, it would be a hilarious idea for me to turn in to a book of some sort at some point in the future. It’s not a good idea for me to be, like, doing as a thing.
Basically, if the goal of going out and meeting people is to, y’know, meet people, then I need to be going out and meeting people without, “Hey, I’m going to blog about this shit as soon as I’m done.” That changes my behaviors and my end goals. And, really, at this point my goal shouldn’t be to have a bunch of stupid experiences, as that’s a giant waste of time for me. And since the Dancing Monkey Project was supposed to get me out and away from the stupid experiences and meeting people…
Um, this is getting really confusing. Perhaps I need a bulleted list. Or, at least, I should start from another direction.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The goal of the Dancing Monkey Project was to get me out doing different things and, therefore, getting different results. But intentionally picking dumb things for the purposes about going out and doing dumb things and then writing funny shit about them actually means that I’m looking to do different things that create the same results as before, which means that eventually the Dancing Monkey Project will just be doing the same things over and over again and getting the same results over and over again.
So I’m not doing it any more.
And I don't feel like I've cheated anyone out of anything, either, since nobody's bothered to drop anything in the tip jar, anyway. And, y'know, my goddamn blog, my goddamn rules.
I'm going to leave it up, though. The picture amuses me to no end and it's not like anyone's using it.
Also, it occurred to me that if, by some random miracle of life, the Dancing Monkey Project resulted in me meeting someone, I’d then feel compelled to write about that. I’m not sure that’s the key to a good, stable, long-term relationship.
So, basically, the Dancing Monkey Project was a form of self-sabotage.
This realization does not surprise me, actually.
Meanwhile, it's not like I have a shortage of social opportunities in my life. By my count, I have crap scheduled at least 17 of the 40-odd days between now and April 1st. And I'm still trying to hold down time on the ever reducing chance I'll be buying a house by the end of February.
Oh, so, on the subject of self-sabotage:
A couple posts ago I told the story of my grandmother’s attempt to get me to hook up with some random Norwegian chick. That part of the story ended with my grandmother convincing (by which I mean browbeating ) me to at least talk on the phone with the girl. So that happened.
The conversation started out in a predictably awkward fashion. To wit, the girl had no fucking clue who I was. My grandmother has been trying to sell me on her for, like, five years. Apparently her parents mentioned me to her, like, once in passing relatively recently.
This was actually a good thing, since I knew she had absolutely zero investment in this cockamamie scheme from the get-go. As such, I explained to her that my grandmother had been trying to get me to hook up with her for five years and wasn’t taking no for an answer and, yeah, the whole situation was super awkward for me.
I did not tell her that my grandmother had described her as “kinda homely looking” and “not the skinniest girl in the world” or whatever. I did mention that her main selling points were “nice to old people” and “Norwegian.” Because that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.
We actually did end up having a very pleasant conversation. She spoke in a regionally-Evangelical dialect of Christianese and told me about her overseas missions trips. I dropped the occasional casual curse word. It wasn’t going to go anywhere.
But at least it’s over now. So now you know the rest of the story.
Well, until my grandmother tries to browbeat me into round 2. Or disowns me. Whichever.
Also, apropos of absolutely nothing, one big thing on the list of things that annoy the fuck out of me about the iPhone is the lack of truly useful repeating calendar events. I have a lot of stuff I do that happens on, say, the fourth Tuesday of every month. My old HTC Tilt did that just fine. The iPhone? Not so much.
Does anyone have any idea why the hell Apple doesn't have that functionality?
$5,200 raised for Planned Parenthood in a week. Not bad, considering it was the proceeds from a couple eBooks and a few short stories that only amounted to a total of $18. So, basically, that means that if every single person had bought everything available and every penny went to PP that would have meant there were 288 people participating. Since a lot of people probably bought only one or two things and the proceeds probably amount to something significantly less than 100% of the sticker price...well, that means a lot of people participated.
Also, too, if you haven't yet, go read "The God Engines." It's pretty damn cool.
Over at the Washington Monthly's "Political Animal," Ed Kilgore -- who earlier today gave me my band name of the day: "Declining Honkitude" -- put this little gem at the end of his report on the CPAC agenda:
Even at a deadly serious conference aimed at taking back America from secular-socialists, there has to be some socializing. Fortunately, for the single set, TheTeaParty.net is hosting a presentation on “Conservative Dating.” Check out this description:
Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod, that would be amazing. Especially in light of the actual description.
Learn everything from how to avoid scaring away your own personal Dagny Taggart in the first five minutes of the conversation, to whether Tea Partiers and Occupiers can share something more than a dislike for bailouts.
For those who are wondering, Dagny Taggart is the protagonist (in the strictest sense of the world) and author insert of Atlas Shrugged.
Note, too, the implication that it will be a workshop for men, since the goal is to "avoid scaring away" and the object in question is a female. I so wish I was in Washington, DC RIGHT NOW.
Actually, when I think about it, the implications of that little description are utterly terrifying.
I have never actually read Atlas Shrugged. I have, however, been involved in discussion of the book and read snippets of a couple of the sex scenes. They are not so much "sex scenes" as "rape scenes." And they're a special variety of rape wherein getting completely sexually dominated in a not-particularly-consensual sort of way by a great captain of industry causes Dagny Taggart to respect and/or fall in love with said man.
So, yeah, I'm kind of hoping that the first tip to "avoid scaring away your own personal Dagny Taggart" is, "Don't be the sort of guy who says he's looking for a Dagny Taggart."