A Séance for Carolla

November 19, 2009

I had a running gag on my old blog that I stole from Adam Carolla’s radio show, called This Week in RAGE! Carolla would get on air, his radio lackeys would throw whatever topics they wanted at him, and Carolla, the rage-master that he is, would just rant and rave for the better part of an hour. It was hilarious, but more importantly, he was usually right. I’m not much of a rage-aholic, but today, today is a special exemption from that. So here it goes: This Week in RAGE!

As you can imagine, Portland is a pretty damned liberal place. Back home in Indiana, I thought myself to be rather left-leaning. When I moved to the west coast, I found out what real left-leaners look like. I might as well be Glenn Beck to a lot of these people out here—and at my most-right, I’m a centrist.

Now, as I’ve said before, far be it from me to criticize someone’s personal choices or beliefs. I really couldn’t give two shits less as long as you’re happy with yourself and stay out of my face, because goddamnit I’m going to believe what I want and am far too stubborn and opinionated to give two shits what a random stranger believes (This, for the record, is why I hate bumper-stickers. Really? I should stop eating animals, be either for or against abortion, and save the endangered Whatthefucks of Wherethefuck? Shit, thanks for educating me! I would have carried on in wallowing ignorance if it weren’t for your $3 pieces of tape on the back of your car that is now driving TOO GODDAMN SLOW IN THE FAST LANE!).

Anyway, I’ve been thinking some about these revolutionary ideas recently, mainly because I rediscovered my favorite album of my youth, Rage Against the Machine’s The Battle of Los Angeles. Now that I have some years on me, I can appreciate how bat-shit insane some of their lyrics were. I mean, it’s still awesome music, but dear lord kiddies, ix-nay on the evolution-ray, K? Well, while these thoughts of revolution and gunpowder, treason and plot danced around in my head yesterday as I drove home, I saw someone wearing a Che Guevara shirt. I almost vomited. You know why?

I wish I could have a conversation with the douche wearing that shirt.

Me: Hey, where’d you get that shirt?

Douche: Oh, at the store.

Me: How’d you get it?

Douche: I bought it.

Me: With what?

Douche: Uh…my prepaid Visa debit card that my parents give me?

Me: So, with money, then?

Douche: …yeah….?

Me: That’s called capitalism, you stupid fuck! You are wearing what’s quite possibly the most counter-intuitive, oxymoronic shirt in existence. You draw his silhouette on a $1 bargin-bin t-shirt from Goodwill, and then, then you can wear that fucking thing. But you don’t get to ideologically support a system of government and economy you believe in by financially supporting its opposition!

Anyway, after all this uncharacteristically-Jeff political fury I’ve had in the last day, I feel comfortable in saying that I’m going to pirate all of Rage’s shit just to say I did, and they’d better fuckin’ like it.

Okay, whew. Glad I got that off my chest. And with that mind-dump out of the way, I don’t really have much else to say. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try to write entirely in Iambic Tetrameter. Check out the ‘stache and sweet neon-yellow hoodie.

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Strangers with This Kind of Honesty Make Me Go a Big Rubbery One…

November 18, 2009

Editor’s Note: In honor of the tenth anniversary of Fight Club being released, Jeff will be quoting wisdom in Durdenese for the duration of this episode of “As the Sober Movember Turns.”

“I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more.” I woke up really late for work yesterday. I mean I woke up at 7:10 and have a meeting every day at 7:15 late. Eight minutes later I was out the door after having put on pants and the bare-essentials of desmellification. And then I ran. I ran up the huge hill by my apartment, stopped for a second, pondered the idea of vomiting, and then ran up another hill. As it turns out, when you’re out of shape with a respiratory infection, your body doesn’t particularly seem to like the idea of running up steep inclines right away to start the day. Or ever. Let’s go with ever. Suffice it to say, I was still absurdly late to work. This is why I don’t work out—it obviously does nothing for me when I really need it. You know, the important stuff that I really need…like time-travel.

“He was full of pep. Must’ve had his grande-latte enema.” Despite the epically bad news I got at work yesterday, I’m in an absurdly chipper mood today. Cracking jokes, telling funny stories—you know, usual Jeff. Just the calm before the storm, I suppose. We’ve been informed that we have to start wearing absurdly neon-yellow high-viz vests in areas of high traffic at work. On the bright side (Get it? Get it?), they had hoodies of the same safety-classification at the Carhartt store, so at least I’m really fuckin’ cool while looking like a dweeb. Maybe this will be the next trend onto which the goddamn hipsters in this town will latch.

“A house full of condiments and no food… how embarrassing.” In a time not-so-far from now, I’m going to be cooking one of my standard “trying to impress a girl” meals. Let’s see what food I have in my fridge right now: turkey, mustard, horseradish, and individually-wrapped slices of cheese. A romantic dinner, this does not make. At least when the first gets here, I’ll have beer in there to help fill the void. Oh well, I still got six weeks.

“Hey, even the Mona Lisa’s falling apart.” Apparently this mustache stands out more now that I’ve started to regrow ye olde bearde. (After typing that sentence, I’m wondering why we don’t end nouns and adjectives with extraneous e’s more often—we’re gonna test it out for the rest of this paragraphe.) Anyway, I suppose that means that by “stands out more” they mean that it’s visible at all. Howarde told me that I should dye my mustache and sideburnes jet-blacke. That sounds like a fucking brilliante idea. Let’s me make me look even more awkwarde than I already do. Great. Thanks, asshole. (The grammarian’s ruling on the field stands as called. There shall me no superfluous e’s on the ends of words. They’re bothersome.)

“When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep, and you’re never really awake. Everything’s just a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy…” I haven’t slept worth a damn in the better part of two weeks. When I have slept, and I hate my subconscious for this, I’ve had dreams about work. Last night, por ejemplo, I dreamt that my soon-to-be new second-level supervisor was here, but had a mangled, badly burned hand that he touched you with when you fucked up and it either turned you to stone or killed you (I don’t remember). I’m blaming this on being sick, but part of me wonders if my liver is just packed full of energy, having not had to act like a diesel-refinery in well over two weeks, that it’s keeping the rest of me from sleeping soundly. Fuck you, liver. Great vengeance shall be served for this injustice.

“All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.” I was asked recently what I thought my personal tragic-flaw was. Naturally, as the guy who posts a picture of himself on his blog every day, I had damn well better say narcissism. I mean, let’s be honest here: I love me. A lot. Seriously, I just wrote 765 words comprising: a) my out-of-shapeness; b) my new hoodie and mood; c) how good of a cook I am; d) mustache and e) sleeping ability. It’s all me, all the time. But do you know what the worst part is? You’re validating it by reading this. So look at my mustache in all its narcissistic, self-aggrandizing glory!

 

Also, check this out. Coolest shit I’ve seen all week, even if it is about the Yankees.


Add It to the List

November 17, 2009

A list thus far of reasons why I’m looking forward to being able to drink a beer again:

1) When we were at Howie’s on Saturday, it just felt natural for me to reach for the flask of whiskey that was getting passed around. Ergo, this month is unnatural and should be stopped.

2) My favourite TV show of all time, Scrubs, has new episodes on December 1st. This should be celebrated. I just hope it doesn’t suck.

3) The fact that I made it a month sober at all should be celebrated, as a matter of fact.

4) I feel bad leaving the roomie with a lot less fun things to do on the weekend without me being his intoxicated, incredibly charming wingman.

5) Work.

I haven’t been particularly thrilled with my job recently. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the people here. But it’s been rough for the last few months. Constant pressure, no room for error—the usual kind of bullshit that someone just out of college espouses when he’s having trouble at work. But at the end of the day, when people asked me how I felt about work, all I could say was that I love my job and my company.

My boss’s boss, Dean, is the kindest, most fair boss anyone could ask for. The man’s level-headed and makes rational, fair decisions, but will also put his foot in your ass if you need it. He’s made a big impact as to how I view working, and definitely helped me come to love the company I work for, even if I may not love every day working here.

And they’re transferring him.

More importantly, they’re transferring him and bringing in someone whose philosophy of management isn’t, well, isn’t exactly the same as Dean’s. I’ve had a few encounters with the man, and none of them have been pleasant. I’ll stop there before I put my foot in my mouth. As it turns out, his official start date is December 1st. You’d better damn well believe I’m gonna be drunk.

Now maybe I’m just being a pessimist and he’ll come in and work wonders in this plant. Our production will turn around and he’ll instil a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. But I’m not holding my breath, despite the photographic evidence to the contrary below.


A Gallon of Orange Juice a Day…

November 16, 2009

…will not cure what ails you, as it turns out. I haven’t written in a few days, mostly because I haven’t felt the urge to do anything but sit in my chair, be sick, and gripe about being sick. For the record, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. On the bright side, Ross and I downloaded Bubble Bobble onto my Xbox and beat it. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Let me be clear: we downloaded the actual game Bubble Bobble and beat it. Not the one I mentioned the other day. That would be what we call “awkward.”

There are a scant few things in life that make me happier than the Patriots losing. However, the Patriots losing to the Colts and the Celtics losing to the Pacers? Color me elated. The arrogance of New England fans is personified perfectly by Bill Belichick and his fourth-and-too-bad call last night. What a jackass. I know he was trying to win the game, and that first down would have all-but sealed the victory, but to have that little faith in your defense? Really?

Suffice it to say that despite my respiratory issues that I’m currently having, I was still yelling at the top of my lungs last night at the telly. The roommate, being the biggest all-things-Indiana hater on the face of the planet, was so damn smug for the first 55:52 of that game, which naturally culminated in the loudest “SUCK MY BALLS, ROSS!” heard in the Portland-metro area that night once the game finally ended.

But then again, no matter if it was 30 yards or 60 yards, Peyton would have driven right down the damn field either way. So it’s really a moot point. A 35-34 moot point.

I shaved yesterday, and started laying the foundation for my beard to come back. I cannot wait for December 1st so I can get rid of this damn thing. My mom called Saturday and asked me for someone to “take a nice picture of me this time.” Small problem: how, exactly, does one go about having a nice photo of them taken with the ugliest mustache on the planet? Small solution: you don’t. So here’s me in yet another ugly photograph. Enjoy.

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Also, it’s time for a Bon Jovi interlude: WHOOOOOOAAAAA-OH! We’re halfway there! OOOOHHHHH-OH! Livin’ on a prayyyyeerrrr. Get it? Because it’s the sixteenth, and I’m (over) halfway there?


Everybody’s a Critic

November 13, 2009

How many times in my life have I sprawled out across the floor of a barren room and passed out? Answer: too many to count. How many times have I done so while sober? Answer: Once.

Meaghan’s in town. She and I went down to Howie’s house last night to check out his new digs (it’s a pretty swanky house, by the by). After about four hours of just hanging out, watching TV and other general bullshittery, I decided it was time to go home. Small problem—I left my keys in the ignition, and not turned all the way off. Don’t ask me why, because I have no goddamned clue why I did it. So, turns out, when the battery in your car has been in there since it was new (6 years ago), that’ll drain it pretty quick. As a matter of fact, it’ll drain that battery so much that you can’t even jump the friggin’ thing. So, welcome back to Oregon, Meaghan. You get to sleep on the floor with me in some unfamiliar place, since Howie doesn’t have much furniture yet.

We got up at 4am today just so Howie and I could get to work on time. This is what we refer to as The Always-Exciting, Yet Exceedingly Mundane Adventures of Jeff Kennedy’s Life. I should write a book.

We’re throwing a shindig for the roomie’s birthday tonight. He was a little disappointed that he didn’t get “birthday drunk” on Tuesday, so we’re making up for it tonight. I’m the DD/W/C (designated driver/walker/carrier).

Something just hit me. I can’t remember for the life of me the last time I was a designated driver. Maybe this month is my karmic repayment for the numerous people I’ve called between the hours of 2-4am and said “Haehhhhh, I’m at de bar. Kin ewe come git me? I had a bit to drunk. Boooooooooooooooooooooobs.”

Yesterday was “Ugly Pants and Uglier Mustache Day” at work. Howie and I both wore our loudmouth pants to work, and he shaved off the bottom of his goatee to show solidarity with his moustachioed brother. And by “show solidarity,” I mean “show how much better he is at growing a mustache than I am.” Dick. Sadly, we didn’t get a photo of our horrendously awesome mustaches and pants before we had to change and do that work thing. They’re $90 pairs of pants! We couldn’t get them all greasy/dusty.

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I’m down a notch on my belt since I started this bet, which is a good thing as I was thinking about having to buy a new belt. I’m not weighing myself, because then I’ll start charting things. I’m an engineer—charting things is what we do. Go ahead and judge, I’m not ashamed of it.


I’m a Poor Man, But I’m a Good Man, Understand?

November 11, 2009

I’ve seen Dropkick Murphy’s, Bayside, Tokyo Rose and dozens of other supposedly hard-rocking bands live, but let me tell you something: none of them—NONE—rocked as hard as an 84 year-old man, too fat and old to get out of his chair, and his 8-piece band of men in their early to mid-sixties.

Let’s back up a little:

Blues musicians have class. Most of the shows I’ve ever been to, when they say the show starts at 8, they mean 8:30. Not these guys. Both the opening act and B.B.’s crew were down to the minute on what times they said they’d be on stage. Maybe that’s because B.B. is old and has the die-uh-bee-tuz, so he needs to get to bed early, but either way I was quite pleased.

The opening act was Lukas Nelson and the Promise of The Real. The frontman is Willie Nelson’s boy, and lemme tell ya something: that kid can shred. He was doing the whole Pete Townshend play-the-guitar-with-my-teeth-and-look-like-a-badass-in-the-middle-of-a-solo thing. Astonishing. I didn’t really like his voice—he looks and sounds just like his dad—but the guitar was outstanding. I’m still trying to figure out how the hell he sings out the side of his mouth, though. Oh, and I thought their drummer looked like this, both in physical appearance and gestures (No, I don’t mean Buddy Rich, and yes, I realize this is my second reference to the Muppets in under a week).

Lukas Nelson

After Lukas and crew were done, the years and years of watching my favorite movie of all time, The Blues Brothers, came to fruition. It seems like I watched that movie at least every weekend when I was kid, and probably still watch it bi-monthly. And it was just like that scene in the big concert hall where they start singing with Cab Calloway and are suddenly wearing tuxes. B.B.’s 8-piece band walks out (a tenor and baritone sax, two trumpets, a bassist, back-up guitar, keyboard and drums), all in their own style of tuxedo, and they just start rocking: horns blaring, bass-line thumping, keyboard twinkling, and a guitar not named Lucille strumming away. Each member of the group took their turn to come to center-stage to play a solo, and as to be expected, blew everyone’s socks off.

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And then the baritone saxophonist came up to the mic, with a voice so tiny for such a big instrument, and said “Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the King of the Blues to the stage, Mr. B.B. King!” Everyone lost it.

Let me tell you something about B.B. King. He is not an impressive-looking man. Granted, at 84 years old, he can look however the hell he wants, and everyone else can just get over it—and that was exactly the attitude he took. He walked (well, shuffled) on stage wearing the most gaudy tuxedo jacket I’ve ever seen—white jacket, black lapels, embroidered with green vines and purple orchids all across it. He plopped his big ass down in his chair, set in center-stage, picked up Lucille, and made her sing. Sort of.

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For the first 45 minutes of the show, B.B. just sat there, throwing in the occasional twang off of his guitar while the rest of his band played, and took 5-10 minute interludes between songs to just talk to the audience. At one point he took his glass of pineapple juice and passed it around to the people standing directly in front of him. “Just take a sip! I need to keep my blood sugar up, so don’t hog it all, alright?” he said. Later on, he wove a little yarn for the crowd:

“Well, about three weeks ago, after we got back from Europe, my doctor called me up. Says he’s got a case of the blues, doesn’t know what to do, so he figures he should call his favorite blues musician and see what he should do. Says it hurts so bad that he can’t sit down. I tell him to fax whatever it is that’s bothering him over to me so I can have a look. Says he can’t fax it, but’ll send it my way and I’ll have it in a few days. Well, come a few days later, I get a box in the mail and open it up. It’s filled with blue pills! I take a good look at ‘em pills, look at my dog, King, and say ‘Aww, hell, I can eat five o’ six of these,’ and King gives me one of those looks where you know he don’t speak English but you know he thinks you’re stupid. So turns out, now it hurts so bad that I can’t sit down. That damn ol’ Dr Viagra done it to me again. Problem is, I gotta go to the studio and record, and I can’t very well go lookin’ like I do. So I go to the Walmart and I buy myself a pair of big baggy overalls, and as I’m checkin’ out the gal says to me ‘Hey, ain’t you B.B. King?’ and I say ‘Why yes ma’am, I am.’ She asks me about how good my medical care is at my age, because I’m obviously being taken care of. Says her friend wants to know about that same care that I’m gettin’, yunno, for her husband an’ all. I meet her friend, and ask her how old her old man is. Thirty-five, she says. ‘Aww, honey, just leave him be and come with me. I’ll introduce you to my medical staff myself: Doctors Viagra, Cialis and Lavitra. Heh heh…yeah…”

Mind you, I’m paraphrasing, but this went on for ten minutes. Normally this would be filed under “Rambles of an Incoherent Old Man,” but no. Everyone was entranced, which is why I feel comfortable paraphrasing. We hung on his every word. The man’s the definition of a raconteur.

At this point, he threw the horn-section off the stage, and had his back-up guitarist and bassist sit down next to him, and they just played. Dear lord, did they play. He made that guitar sing like in ways which I had never heard. It was astonishing. Do yourself a favor and make a concerted effort to see the man before he dies. It’ll be worth every cent.

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There was something else which occurred to me about B.B.: the man has a hideous mustache. It must be genetic, because his nephew, the tenor saxophonist, had just an ugly of a mustache (though his was compensated for with some classic Ray-Ban sunglasses). But it didn’t matter. The man, for being so… so… old—old enough that his band-members looked young in comparison—put off the vibe of the coolest mother-effer you ever met in your life. I mean, the man’s probably gotten more tail than, well, something nonsexual that gets a lot of tail (work with me here, folks). Sure, I’m not the most famous blues-musician in history, nor do I have a rumbling bass-note for a voice, but daggonit, if B.B. King can do it, so can I. This mustache shall not ruin me.

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Sweet shirt, huh?


The Reverse-Samson

November 10, 2009

I’ve decided that this mustache has the opposite effect of Samson and his hair. Samson was a complete and total badass, killing one thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. Dude was a chick magnet, too. And then he cut all his hair off, and was a total wiener, got his eyes gouged out, put into slavery, and eventually, after his hair grew out, killed an assload more of the Philistines (and who says I never paid attention in school?). It seems, however, that adding hair to my head—in this case, my upper lip—has had the total opposite effect. Let me set the scene:

In an effort to get some bastardized piece of equipment at work running yesterday, I twice went to Best Buy to get some missing electronic components. Both times, I had the same cute cashier—Bethany was her name. I flirted, and flirted, and then I flirted some more. I know I’m not the most Dapper Dan on the planet, but usually I can get some kind of reaction out of the fair damsels working the check-out line. For some reason beyond my understanding, I couldn’t get even the slightest interested reaction out of this one. As a matter of fact, she seemed almost…disgusted. And then it hit me: the mustache is the ultimate chick-repellent, especially this one.

This is my brain, this is my brain on sobriety: so, if Batman fought the Flash, wouldn’t that just be a grittier version of Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner? I mean, sure, Batman would have better luck, and I doubt they’d be fighting in the Grand Canyon or whatever, but c’mon. Batman:Coyote::Flash:Roadrunner. Acme = Wayne Enterprises. It makes sense, people!

In other news, that may be the dorkiest thing I’ve ever written. Moving on…

I’m going to see B.B. King tonight, and could not be more excited. Problem: I feel like I should be drinking a fifth of Makers Mark—straight up—when I’m listening to the blues.

In an effort to look like as much of a paedophile as possible, here’s today’s photo. Enjoy.

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Happy birthday, mom.

 

P.S. Sorry for not being very funny today.