July 6

Escaping Where I Came From, Embracing Today, and Enjoying the Journey of Tomorrow

For my own personal growth I had to set out on my own.
-Frank Press

People change, situations change, and times change.  Some people fight this, resist it, and even pretend it doesn’t occur.  They lament about the good ol’ days, usually viewing those memories while wearing rose colored glasses.  These are the people I meet that I find myself bored with.  I see them as very one dimensional, and feel they are exactly the same person today that they may have been 15 years ago.  The resist growing as a human being, and continue on with the same routines and habits that were taught them by their parents or guardians.
I grew up in small towns that desperately tried to isolate themselves from the outside world and hold onto this mindset that the citizens were superior to others.  Today, they are filled usually with abandoned mom and pop businesses that shut down decades ago, decaying houses, a drug problem that locals pretend doesn’t exist, and a collective of people who cannot fathom living in another zipcode.  They fear the idea of leaving those borders and residing outside of their comfort zone.  Almost everyone goes to the same church, listening to the same sermons, discussing how they believe in loving one another, while in actuality, they reject, harass, and cause harm to those who are of a different belief, sexual orientation, race, etc.
 I grew up in these towns.  Filled with the holier than thou who, despite the love of throwing bible passages in peoples faces, have never actually read the damn book.  I’ve met more athiests than christians who have read the bible.  It never stops them from using it to justify bigotry and hate, and tends to show how most cherry pick what they want to follow.
Just imagine living in these places and being born a homosexual.  The local culture says it is perfectly ok to scream faggot.  Decide one day to become a vegan, you should prepare to be told constantly that god put animals on this earth for you to eat, and you need to quit with the hippie bullshit.  Or seperate yourself from the religious beliefs that were taught to you from birth because you feel that Buddism makes more sense to you, those same people will have no issue telling you that you will burn in hell.  Such love, right?
It’s only fair to say that not everyone in these places act in such a way, but sadly, their voices are overwhelmed by the loud and obnoxious drawls of those that fear anything different from what they were fed in life.  And, when those they harass are allowed their opportunity at equality, they immediately play the victim.  Whoa is them for now they are no longer allowed to discriminate.   They now cry that they are repressed, the irony being they are still the majority, and were those who committed to repressing others for as long as history can remember.
I escaped these places, and have never regretted it, despite so many telling me I would.  Over the years, I have met people of multiple religious backgrounds, some raised on it, and others who abandoned the faith of their parents to find their own path.  I’ve met vegans and vegetarians, some of whom made the choice for personal morals, some for health.  I’ve met hipsters, country folk, metal heads and punks.  Some were really cool, others not so much.  I’ve made friends with Athiests, and despite everything I’ve ever been told, have viewed them as some of the kindest individuals I’ve ever met.  Artists, wherether it be painting, photography, even creating comic books, I’ve encountered, and enjoyed being in the presence.  I’ve had conversations with men and women who were born gay, and heard of the pain they endured due to the ignorance of others.
The last five years have been a facinating journey, and I’ve encountered so many great individuals who I’m glad to call friends.  The type of people who I would have never encountered had I stayed in the small towns I consider dull and stale.  I had to escape the small mindedness of those who surrounded me so that I would have an opportunity to grow myself, and for once, have the time to figure out who I am, and who I want to be.

June 12

But I have this friend, Tyler Durden, who….

jacks2

“I am Jack’s sense of neglect”

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It has been about two months since I have written anything on this page.  I suppose I’m due.  May and early June was an eventful month.  Friends had kids, fixed existing issues, and prevented a massive house flood.  You know, typical shit.

Most of the month of May was spent in kind of a funk.  The only good thing about going through that is rediscovering things that you enjoy doing.  Between getting back into a gym routine (finally), I also have been focusing on reading again.  And, I am working on digging into a lot more thoughtful literature.  I had difficulties reading fiction recently, and kind of fell into this confort zone of technical and biographical writing.

Nothing wrong with it, but now is the time to step outside of that zone.  It is easy to stay within a comfort zone and feel safe and warm, but in doing so, you deny yourself the opportunity to discover something new, to feel something other than just what you want to feel.  It is important to challenge yourself, step into the unknown, and embrace it.  Break out of your bubble.

“I am Jack’s sense of change”

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If you are wondering why I am peppering this post with Fight Club references, it is because I just got in the first issue of Fight Club 2, and a friend has shown that he has way more love for the book and film than I did.  I’m considering re-reading the book (it has been five years), just to re-immerse myself back into that story.  I fell in love with that twisted story upon first discoverying it when I was 19 years old.  I picked up the book a couple years later and gained a whole new appreciation for the work that the writers, actors, and directors put into trying to stay as close to the source material as possible.

Today also marks day 1000 of documenting what I eat.  I think today is a good starting point to push my own Tyler Durden away and being focusing on positive things that improve body, mind, and spirit.  That’s where breaking out of my comfort zone comes in.   As you improve one, it becomes easier to improve the others.  Change is not always awful, and sometimes, it can be for the best.

“I am Jack’s determination”

Fight Club-Odd Jobs

April 17

Miseducated by FM, Enlightened By Bootleg

I was born after the FM’s era as the home of alternatives to traditional radio.  By the time I was old enough to have some sort of concept of music, FM was pretty much the standard used for mainstream broadcasting, and as I moved from adolescence into adulthood, all of those local radio stations were gobbled up by media corporations who began to implement cookie cutter formats and syndicated content.  Traveling from city to city once meant you were presented with an audio experience with a little regional flavor infused, like finding that eatery that offers up local cuisine.  Today, corporate media owned radio is more like McDonalds in that no matter where you go, you are going to get the exact same Big Mac and Fries.  It’s familiar, well known, but just kind of bland.

I missed out on the era where DJ’s and Program Directors had some actual say in what they played on the air, coming of age well into the idea that you have to play only what’s popular, and not bother with the rest.  I’ve long accepted that just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s good.  But, growing up in a rural area, miles away from friends left a lot of available time, and my options were radio or my parents music collection.  Looking back, outside of a few worthwhile options in my mom and dad’s collections, it was pretty grim.

Then in junior high, I had a friend who was more than willing to provide those of us who had limited access to funds and access to music stores with cassette copies of some of his favorite albums and occasionally compile a mix of his favorite songs using the so badly overused “First name-Last name Experience” written in ink on the paper insert that came with blank cassettes  (Or in the case of one friend, whom had to keep secret what he was listening to due to his extremely over-religious parents, store purchased cassettes recorded over with an assist from scotch tape).  While some of the music provided was known standards, a lot of it was simply not being played on radio or being discussed by friends.  Mine felt like a generation that had no appreciation for what was created by the previous ones.

Two tapes given to me really stood out.  One was a dub of Ramones Mania (one of many greatest hits compilations of The Ramones) and Green Day’s Kerplunk.  The first track of Ramones Mania was I Wanna Be Sedated and is a song that always managed to end up on a random mixtape, homemade compilation cd, and later playlists on portable audio devices.  It also was something of a joke right before I had my wisdom teeth pulled.   Kerplunk was Green Day’s last album on Lookout Records before they hit mainstream success.  At the time, this was a radically different sounding type of music for someone who grew up in a region dominated by honkey tonk and pop radio.  It grabbed me with that weird excitement and curiosity that you tend to lose the older you get.

From there, my musical tastes became more erratic and unusual, and I pretty much would sit and listen to almost anything.  I gained so much joy from going to any store with music and digging through the racks, though none so much as the bliss that came from walking into All American Music and Video and searching the selection of used cd’s.   I owe a special thanks to those kids who found religion and decided they needed to get closer to the lord by selling off their evil satan influenced devil music.  The excitement of basically buying a shoebox of music for a fraction of the price is something that I’ll never forget, and would give anything to experience again.

Of course, these experiences faded in the 2000’s as digital distribution took over, and suddenly buying albums became more of a hassle.   BMG and Columbia house shut down, and with it was my last option for discounted physical media, around the same time that carrying a device with thousands of tracks make it extremely easy to have variety and ease of use without having to travel around with binders filled with discs.   Subscription services took it even further, as it made listening to anything extremely easy and possible at a moments notice.

As usual, I feel behind on the times, and have witnessed the rebirth of vinyl records, while radio still continues to become more generic and boring.  While it’s far too easy to walk into McDonalds, with it’s safe, familiar settings, faux artsy decor, and easily recognizable menu, it’s a lot more fun to walk into that gritty looking dive and take a chance on something you have never tasted before.

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February 15

Live Life and Fuck Worrying About What Others Have

I’ve never really been envious about what others have, as far as physical goods, but I do admit to being a little jealous of people who have had a person in their life that heavily influenced who they became.  And by that, I mean someone they actually knew, spoke to, was taught by.  Not a celebrity that you find interesting and cool.  I think hearing an artist, musician, writer, or performer tell about how this person mentored them and helped them grow into whatever they became, how they helped focus their skills and talent makes for the most facinating stories.

Sadly, most people just pine for what others have, but, they mask it by way of some type of social standing.  Spend a day on facebook, and you will see people pissing and moaning over who gets government money, who in your mind doesn’t work as hard as you (though most of the ones I see bitch don’t actually work, their spouse does), but they still get an iPhone.  Or bitching that they get a bigger tax refund than you do.  It’s sad, petty, jealousy.

Oh sure, you blanket it by saying that they are taking handouts or living beyond their means, but really, you just envy that someone may be getting something that you are not.  The world is filled with people with real problems, and your biggest concern is what others might have that you don’t.  Ever stop to think that people even use that same mindset to look down and say the exact same thing about you.  Trust me, they do it, and they sound exactly like you do.

If you are pissed off about what you don’t have, don’t bitch about it, get off your ass and figure out just how to get it.  Go out and work harder, or educate yourself and grow the fuck up.  You will get way more out of life with a positive mental attitude and a willingness to get your hands dirty and do some work.  You won’t get that by whining like a bitch on facebook.

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February 5

The Opportunities That You Didn’t Miss

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

-Ferris Bueller

 

I’ve been in a weird state of mind as of late.  Thinking about people that I met in the past that were not in my life for long but made an impact.  Thinking back to the year 2002, I had one of those events.  It was magical, and when it ended, it really seemed like a downer, but also I did not go completely back to the mindset that I had before.  For better or worse, I had a new outlook on how I wanted to live. Slowly, I was able to move from the wait for things to happen and try harder to make things happen.

No details will be mentioned because while it is no longer a painful memory, it’s still mine and the people that I share it with is very limited.

The moral is, pay attention to the people that appear and disappear in your life.  Some may be casual aquaintenses, some become lovers, some significant others.  Some will mean nothing in the long run and others will turn you around completely.

So pay attention.

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January 31

The Subtle Art of Grade School Anarchy As Performed by The Outcast Collective

No matter what I do with my life, or how successful I am, I will always be a socially awkward penguin inside.

–WIL WHEATON

 

When I was in elementary school (or grade school for others), a teacher asked the class us something about ourselves we were proud of.  Plenty of kids provided answers about athletics and hobbies.  For me, the simple answer, easy answer would have been something about art, as I spent way too much time sketching in a notebook sitting on the floor of my grandparents livingroom too close to the console television.  But, because I’m a bit fucking dense and think I need to not pick the obvious answers, responded with “I guess that I’m smart”.  Naturally, this particularly bratty girl a couple seats over felt the need to inform me that I was conceited.

Thanks a lot, you obnoxious bitch.

As a kid, I was obviously a geek and a nerd.  This was something that people never hesitated to point out, and as I got older, it became easier to appreciate the benefit of being an outsider, geek, and an outcast.  Once you accept that, it becomes so much easier to just embrace the things you love and not worry about the need to forcefeed what others think is cool.  Being the cool kid in school seems like a big deal when you are living in that moment, but when you get older, and see that most of the people who made an effort to be seen as cool are pretty miserable and pathetic.  Plus, most of what people do to be cool is usually the stuff that the next generation mocks as dorky and lame.  Meanwhile, us geeky kids who wore jeans and tshirts displaying our favorite bands, movies, or whatever are in fucking style, and have been for a while.  Fuck yeah!

So, naturally, the outcast kids tend to find each other and end up bonding, partially out of necessity, but mostly out of the fact that you discover that you all have the same common interests.  And those bonds tend to be way stronger than so many others that I have observed.  This spring will make 22 years that I have known my best friend.  We have been the best man in each others weddings (the irony that we both are married, one of us, I won’t say who, said the concept of getting married is fucking dumb), we’ve shared a lot of the same joy, the same heartaches, and will have a lot of stories to tell grandkids about dumb shit we did as kids.

So naturally, we all did dumb stuff together, especially pulling what now are just really lame pranks that we thought were genius and clever at the time.  Trust me, we still laugh at the idea of hot glueing chairs to the floor of the art room, or sketching penises into the background of a landscape sketch that nobody but us caught.  It was so juvenile and silly and immature, but it was pretty damn fun.  It also proves something I was told a few years ago over the idea of quantity over quality.  I’ve learned that it is better to have a few really close friends that you can confide in, bond with, and just share experiences with rather than a shit ton of people who may occassionally say hi while going down the isles of a grocery store (unless you are fortunate like me and got to move away from his home town and do not have to run into people when trying to find a jar of fucking pickles).

It is also really weird that it has become fashionable to be “viewed” as a nerd or geek.  I’d like to believe that it would make life for kids who wear the shoes I wore in the 90’s would have it easier, but I kind of think that when a culture becomes acceptable and even popular, it creates a mindset of overprotectiveness which becomes elitism.  Elitism fucking sucks, and elitist can go eat a dick, because it’s fucking pathetic.  Because then you are no longer the outsider or the outcast, but you are moving into the role of that kid who called me conceited for answering that I was smart.

Of course, I’m rambling about people younger than me like I have a fucking clue as to anything people consider cool.  Shit, I didn’t have a clue when I was that age, and I don’t really even care, because I was able to discover things that I love and enjoy to this day, and a lot of those others are looking at photos asking themselves what the hell were they thinking, or have vague memories of why the hell was my purse glued to the empty chair I sat it in.

 

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January 30

My Hatred Of Political Fanboys, Media Left Behind, and People Bitching about Female Movie Casting

I hate politics.  I find the two major parties to be detestable.  I’d register as a First World Anarchist if that party actually existed, so I settle for Liberterian.  And I know both of the two bigs love to attack anyone who aligns with an alternative party, but fuck them.  And for the record, I don’t agree 100% with anything the Liberterian party pushes, only the most basic concept of an individuals right to liberty.  So, before anyone on the left or the right start their usual, cliche filled attacks, just fuck off.  At the end of the day, nobody should ever agree 100% with any other person, unless they are a perfect example of a sheep needing a sheppard.  So shut up, hang out, have a beer, soda, or glass of milk, and chill.

So, I felt the need to rant because gawd forbid anyone have something to say positive or negative about a political figure without either side feeling the need to attack with lamebrain propaganda.  If the current president does something I even remotely agree with, it does not mean I hate ‘Murica and freedom, and if I disagree, it doesn’t mean I was a Bush supporter and feel that it’s ok to restrict the freedoms of others due to some outdated form of thinking that should have died generations ago.  Believe me when I say that you can formulate your own thoughts and opinions, and believe that both the current president and the guy before him suck ass.

OK, let me catch my breath and get to the point.  I actually applauded the President’s zinger about no longer needing to campaign.  Just like I was ok with that small group of GOPer’s applauding when he said the first half, I thought his was the perfect response.  Now, I know some people have attacked it as being spiteful and he needs to learn to be a classier individual, but please feel free to point out any politician with an ounce of class.  They are all lobbiest purchased, overpaid and underworked dipshits who are clueless as to the real problems of the population that elects them and are more concerned with offering favors for their buddies…..

Dammit, I started ranting again.

The President did another thing that caused an “uproar”.  He allowed himself to be interviewed on a Youtube show.  So naturally, the cable news networks and other members of the collective genre that now refers to themselves as “Legacy Media” felt the need to insult, attack, and riddicule this webshow.  Of course, it’s never unusual for the establishment to react this way when they suddenly feel threatened.  Afterall, their business model is in jeopardy due to the fact that younger generations are not dishing out hard earned cash for Cable TV subscriptions, and use the internet to consume their news.  They are scared by the fact that a generation of content creators have figured out that you don’t need a huge budget, fancy graphics, or even a traditional look to gain viewers.  Internet distributed shows have skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, enough so that they either are able to attract legit advertising or build a fanbase that is willing to make monthly donations.

The internet is slowly taking the spot that traditional media once dominated, and it scares the hell out of them.  And who out there still refuses to take it seriously?  Cable news networks and their viewers.  These viewers, by the way, average in age at around 68 for Fox News, and around 62 for MSNBC and CNN.  These were not people who came of age as the internet took off, or were born into a world that always had it, so of course, most are clueless as to how this type of change can come about.

Also, if you don’t think TV is scared of the internet, then why are the big cable companies working so hard and spending so much money to fuck it up.  Support Net Neutrality (and don’t go to cable news to get info on what that is).

And because I’m feeling extra obnoxious and ranty today, who else is bitching at the idea of an all female ghostbusters?  Pissing and moaning and being butthurt over the fact that they are rebooting the movie and casting women and trying to turn it into some type of feminist propaganda designed to ruin your childhood is the dumbest fucking reaction I’ve read.  It’s unwarranty and ignorant, and I can think of a few good reasons why this movie will suck, and it has nothing to do with the casting of women.

I think this movie will suck because they will take a movie that was very specific in style and era, and modernize it.  The modern style of humor and the style of 1984 are vastly different.  The writers crafted that movie in a way that just isn’t done today, where they were able to blend humor into what was made to be serious events (well, as serious as you can be while getting a supernatural blowjob or battling a 100 foot marshmellow man).  Today’s style is presented with sight gags that are somewhat obvious and in your face.  And just like in the 80’s, 90’s, and whenever, that style works when paired with the right plot, and other times it falls flat.

The biggest issue is taking a film that is beloved by so many, and not only modernizing it, but replacing actors that are so deeply associated with it that it will have an automatic backlash.  Remakes by there very nature suck ass.  Just look at the reboot of Nightmare on Elm St.  You simply cannot replace Robert England.  He is Freddy.  So, feel free to be of the mindset that this movie will suck because it’s trying to capture a type of magic that just will not occur again, but don’t transform into a misogynistic asshole because they are letting girls play the roles that men used to.  You are just being a petty, whiny dick.  So grow up, assholes!

Besides, it could be worse, at least Ghostbusters is not being remade by Michael Fucking Bay!

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January 28

The Punk Rock Response To The Lame Ass NFL Starring Marshawn Lynch

I’m Just Here So I won’t Get Fined.

-Marshawn Lynch

The National Football League is a fucking joke.  Between that and the lame ass bandwagon fans that jump on and off depending on a teams win/lost record have really soured me on watching football.  Well, that and the shitty commentary teams that viewers get subjected to.  So, this decade, the sports league that gets to be the joke is the NFL, the other organizations thank you.

The root of this is probably due to the braindead politician in charge of the league, Roger Goodell.  I bet the makeup artists work extremely hard to cover the brown streak on his nose.  I mean, I’d assume it would be stained considering where he keeps it.  He is more concerned with the leagues public image than acting as an unbiased leader, with very little regard for fairness when it comes to punishments for rule breaking.

I mean, this is the league that considered a two game suspension just for a professional athlete knocking his wife out cold.  They even had video, but tried to hide it, because it’s more important for the league to look good, than admit that one of their players could commit such a horrible act.  Of course, because of that fuck up, when they backpeddled and tried to cover their asses, Ray Rice challenged and had it overturned.  Good job Goodell.  You were made the bitch of the players union.

But, they will make sure to enforce fines for a player who skips a media appearance.  And I know, people will piss and moan that “oh, he’s a highly paid professional athlete, he should quit bitching and just go out and do his job”.  I somewhat agree with that, as he signed a contract, and agreed to it as part of that contract.  Of course, it does seem petty as fuck that the NFL will enforce this beause they believe they are some legit kind of authority, but will cover up for a piece of shit that beats women.  Fuck the NFL.

So, Lynch did what I think is the most punk rock thing anyone in the NFL could do, and that’s set a timer on his phone, and respond to everyone with the same answer.  Me, I applaud him for spitting in the face of those fuckers.  After all, he did what he agreed to do, he answered reporters questions, and he gave them the answer he wanted.

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January 26

A Quote by Patti Smith

Sometimes you’re doing really well, then, after three or four years, everything inexplicably crashes like a house of cards and you have to rebuild it. It’s not like you get to a point where you’re all right for the rest of your life.

-Patti Smith

 

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January 24

Social Misteps in the Attempt to Not Be A Damn Sexist

The misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it.

-Joss Whedon

Two articles were presented to me very recently.  One was written local university’s newspaper/website, and the other was a response after a social media discussion on taking kids to a comic book store.

@Ashley__Hinson  posted an interesting article called Sexism, The Cycle That Feeds Itself In Music that covers on how women tend to be viewed in the music industry.  She brings up the point how this particular gender of artists get labeled as “female singers and/or songwriters”, and stuck with the stereotype that women performers are pidgeon holed in pop music.  Granted, I dislike pop music in general, whether it be male or female, simply because it’s not so much about being about anything other than how much can we sell.  Music is a business, and not always about talent or even what is good, otherwise, bands like Nickelback would never curse our auditory senses.  Country music also falls under this, as it can be just as cookie cutter from one artist to the next.

I am, however, a huge fan of getting to hear a female performer who just comes off as a badass singers, musicians and artists.  Even though she is kind of pop, I appreciate a lot of what Pink has to say in her songs, plus she has a very fuck you attitude, which I love.  Kristian Rowles and Jen Blackwood of The Creepshow are just awesome vocalists that melds perfectly with the bands Psychobilly sound.  Aimee Allen’s gritty, dirty vocals on The Interrupters debut album are badass (check out the opening track “Take Back The Power”).  And of course, if you really want to go back and find something pissed off, just find a few Patty Smith albums and spend an afternoon listening (Dancing Barefoot is a personal favorite).

Go read Ashley’s article, trust me, it’ll be worth your time.

And, on a random Facebook post, a friend discussed difficulty in getting his kids to find something at a comic shop that is outside of their comfort zone.  I casually mentioned that my wife has enjoyed the Harley Quinn books, and maybe his daughter would when she got older.  He then presented me with an article called “What Taking My Daughter to a Comic Book Store Taught Me“.  Because I’m not a parent, and a bit shortsighted at times, I learned I just recommended books drawn by men who enjoy making characters dress in skimpy clothing and a near impossible amount of cleavage.  So, I felt a bit shitty over that, but his wife also pointed out her dislike of people recommending “girl stuff” and that her daughter could perfectly enjoy any number of comics.  Bam, I committed a double whammy”.

Granted, my intention was not suggest either of those things, it was just a casual comment, but…………………………

dammit

So, as I was saying, it was not my intent to suggest any of these things, and I chalk it up to a typical fuckup on my part, and yet another lesson to learn from.

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