Wasting your time with stupid posts

Well I’m glad that’s over!

No I’m not.  The end of the holidays is always sad.  Once the eggnogg and the tree get put away it’s nothing but cold, boring winter.  I know, I shouldn’t complain, I live in San Diego and we don’t have a real winter, but still, the sun sets at like 4 o’clock and that’s reason enough to feel a little bummed.

Resolutions:

Some people don’t do resolutions because they know they’ll abandon them.  I know the feeling.  This is why I never promise to stop drinking when I have one of those “please God, let me live” moments.

But sometimes I actually do manage to keep my resolutions.  A couple years I managed to lose weight. That was probably because losing weight is a normal thing after eating like crazy during the holidays. Other years I actually did get in shape to do hikes I planned.

This year I have a couple. One is a holdover from last year, I’ll leave it to your imagination which one it is.

1.  Visit a dentist

2. Learn to surf

3.  Get in shape to do a hike

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Random Thoughts

I’ve been doing a lot of writing at work, so lately it’s hard to get excited to write stuff.

..

I know lots of people hate Creed, and I’m not going to try to convince anyone not to, because I only heard them a few times and thought they were bad enough that my mind blocked their music forever, and I couldn’t even tell you what their songs are.  You could play Nickelback and I’d be like “oh, OK.”  I actually don’t know Nickelback’s songs either.  I do recognize the Foo Fighters.

At any rate, singer Scott Stapp seems to be on a very bad path either on account of addiction or mental illness and that’s not funny.  I hope he gets better.  In general, it’s fucked up to laugh at the misery of people who make music you don’t like.  Seriously, it’s just music.  The only artists that deserve condemnation for their art are propagandists.  Leni Riefenstahl, for instance.  Or really racist ones.  But there’s no reason to hate someone for putting out cheesy music.  I would say that even if I weren’t someone who makes cheesy music.

I haven’t heard anything from Kesha lately and since she’s fighting with Dr Luke, a guy who is behind a ridiculous number of pop hits, maybe we won’t again.  This makes me very sad, because Kesha is my favorite pop singer.  And there’s no one to replace her yet.  I am bummed about this.

This song is so good and the video is great.  Super lo-fi.

I love how Kendrick just wanders into the shot like a lurker and starts rapping- you wanna see a dead body?  Where does that voice come from?  He’s amazing

Some thoughts on rioting, police brutality, other stuff

White Riot I Wanna Riot White Riot Riot of My Own

The Clash are one of the best bands ever, but let’s be honest, this line shows a lack of imagination:

Nobody wants to go to jail

There’s a lot worse things that can happen to people to riot.

Every time minorities get out of hand in this country there is a group of people tut-tutting about them rioting.  I… am going to be one of those people.  Because I don’t want to go to jail either for rioting or for urging people to do something I am not willing to do myself.  That being said, some of the criticism is rich, especially coming from white people.  Let’s be real, white people have rioted a lot, and a lot of the time, it worked.

Quick quiz:

What kept the Chicago Housing Authority from trying to integrate Chicago Housing Projects:

Hint: the Airport Homes Race ______s.

I’m just throwing that out there.

What about “black-on-black” crime?

What about you shutting your face?

No really, this is just something people say to distract.  But since I have the day off while I’m waiting for my car to be repaired, let’s answer this stupid question.

I grew up in a small town.  It was surrounded by lots of fields, miles and miles of them.  People sometimes lived “out in the country” i.e. between the fields, but for the most part people lived in town, because it’s convenient and because to build next to a field you usually have to own that field.  So there were all kinds of people living together, not really by choice, but because if you wanted to live in the area, you pretty much had to.  In a town of 5,000 or so there were some nice neighborhoods, some very nice blocks where upper middle-class people lived.  There were some not as nice blocks where lower middle class people lived.  There was a trailer park where poor people lived.  There was a housing project where other poor people lived.

The reality for black people is that, for a variety of reasons both historical and current, they live in neighborhoods with people with wider range of incomes.

“Blacks are segregated and even affluent blacks are pretty segregated,” says Logan, who analyzed 2005-09 data for the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas. “African Americans who really succeeded live in neighborhoods where people around them have not succeeded to the same extent.”

What’s my point here?  Like my town, black people are stuck living in places with a lot of poor people.  But I suspect that like in my town, they learned to manage that, to some extent.  If you lived in a nice block on my town, sure your house could get robbed.  And sure, your uncle could drink too much and decide to murder everyone.  That could happen anywhere.  But if you didn’t want to get in a random fight, you’d probably stay out of the trailer park, the honky tonk and would probably not park your car on certain blocks.  And if you didn’t want to get shot, you probably do that by not joining a gang or dealing drugs.

None of these are fool-proof, but they’re at least things you can control.  You can minimize your risks.  You know what you couldn’t control through your own personal behavior?  Police.  Because they patrol everywhere in town.  That’s their job.  So if there were a corrupt cop, he was everybody’s problem.

And the only way for a town to deal with a corrupt cop is for people to get together and petition town government to do something.  That’s what black people are trying to do in America- deal with corrupt police.

Random Thoughts

So, uh, on Ferguson, did anyone think things would go any different?  The grand jury seemed like nothing more than an ass-covering exercise than anything else.  Or worse.  Who knows.  I just know I didn’t really think it would end any differently than it did.

I don’t have any particular thoughts on police.  I don’t know how they should do their job and I don’t know how the police system should be organized, or how it could be reformed.  I don’t have strong thoughts on the security state, whether or not drones flying over are a bad thing, or cameras.  If things were presented as- you can have 98% less crime and police brutality but no privacy ever, would I make that choice?  Who knows.  It’s never really presented that way.

At any rate what I saw happen in Ferguson wasn’t right, and I don’t know how that can be swept under the rug, though maybe it will be.

This new Ty Segall album is amazing.  I’ve been listening to it for weeks

It’s got pretty much everything I like- 70’s glam, dual guitar leads, falsetto singers.  So awesome.

One thing I wonder about sometimes is how people think the people running a business will always make a choice based on money, no matter what.  I don’t buy this, because it seems like business people would make the occasional choice based on weird personal reasons.  Because people are weird.

Taking children to a fun center is, to borrow from Tolkien, a quest (that) stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail.  It never makes sense to me how a child can go to this place that’s supposed to be a ton of fun, but lose their mind when some little thing goes wrong.  Like a machine eats one coin out of like the 50 in their pocket and they FREAK OUT.  Or they didn’t get to exchange their tickets for the exact toy they wanted so their day is ruined.  Some things about kids I will never understand.

Why do I have bad taste? II

So there’s another reason why I have bad taste.  It’s that I don’t think the ability to do creative things should be limited to the technically talented.  And if I’m being consistent, that means I have to find imperfect things and enjoy them.  And I pride myself on being consistent sometimes.

Partly too I grew up somewhere that forced me and my friends to make a lot of my own fun.  Basically, I am part hick and so I don’t have the refined taste that others do.

Also, things that are done by people with limited skills and limited means often can push the limit in ways that talented people who are being paid lots of money really can’t make Pink Flamingos- someone will talk them out of it well before any checks are signed.

Although those Jackass! dudes tried.  I take it back, someone might be able to make Pink Flamingos, but it would be hard to find any talented person to want to act in it.

Basically, I don’t take things too seriously, even my own taste.

Random Thoughts

I just got back from Washington DC.  I had never been there before.  In fact, as far as America goes, I had never been more than about two day’s  drive east of California.  So previously some part of Wyoming or Colorado was the farthest east I had ever been.

I went there for work so I didn’t really have much time for sight-seeing.  I did take a walk down to the National Mall after work with a friend of mine.  I didn’t include pictures in this post because the ones I take weren’t very good and anyway you know what the monuments look like.

My main goal was to visit the Lincoln Memorial, since I wanted to pay my respects to one of our greatest presidents.  People told me it was better at night.  I’m not sure if that’s true since that’s the only way I’ve seen it, but it was impressive.  A nice tribute to the man who saved our nation.

I also walked through the WWII Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and the Korean War Memorial as well.  The WWII Memorial I wasn’t so big on.  It’s nice that there is one, but visually, I don’t know what it’s supposed to convey.  Maybe that’s how it should be.  I personally only know (knew) two men who were a part of WWII.

My grandfather experienced it as mostly a fun vacation in the South Pacific- he was a 17 year old airplane mechanic and never saw any fighting.  And at the time it was probably better than hanging around Los Angeles.  He’s still alive today and loves to talk about it.

My wife’s grandfather, on the other hand, was a medic in the Japanese Army that invaded China.  He spent his whole life in a small Japanese village in a house built by his father that until recently didn’t even have flush toilets.  He liked to talk about how he saw a river there that was so big that he couldn’t see the other side.  He didn’t talk to me much about all the suffering and death he saw as a medic, but before he died my wife recorded him talking about his various experiences there.  It was terrifying and sad.

My other grandfather also fought it in the war (in Europe), but died before I was born.  My wife’s other grandfather just barely missed becoming a kamkaze pilot- at that point in the war they were just throwing young men into planes and pointing them towards certain death.

But on the other hand- we beat the Nazis.  So that kind of makes it worth it.

The Vietnam Memorial was really heartbreaking.  Descending into the memorial, with the wall getting taller and the names piling up it was overwhelming.  What a waste of life.

Same with the Korean War.  We hardly even talk about it or learn about it in school, but America lost over 36,000 soldiers.  The total cost in lives was well over a million.  For what?  A proxy war between the US and China, with Mao flooding the Korean peninsula with troops, in part to shore up his position as ruler of China.  What a horrible thought to be so unconcerned about human life.

What was it all worth?  What was the point?

UPDATE- also, the Washington Monument is cool, but I don’t get how it represents the actual man.  I don’t know much about him, I’m just saying.

Random Thoughts

I was listening to some old recordings today and there was a song on there that I hadn’t thought about in years.  Literally five or six years.  I think we had worked on it for a bit, made a recording of it at practice and never played it live.  It was a good song, I may use it again.  But I can’t remember how to play it and the recording is really rough and I can only make out some of the words.  I think the lyrics are written down somewhere, and maybe the chords are.  If not I wonder if I can figure it out.

It’s kind of funny to think that I could totally forget a song like that, but it does happen.  I was jamming with a former bandmate a while back and he started playing a song I wrote.  He said “you remember this one?”  I didn’t.  I’ll have to look that one up too.

I took my son to see Book of Life yesterday.

It was a cute movie but one thing I particularly liked about it was how little suspense there is in the resolution of the love triangle between the main characters, Maria, Jaoquin and Manolo.  It’s obvious from the start that Maria favors Manolo, because she likes his music and he very obviously agrees with her on killing animals, going so far as to refuse to kill the bull at the end of a bullfight.  (Manolo comes from a family of bullfighters).

Jaoquin, on the other hand, tries for the big romantic gesture, which is usually what gets the girl.  In this case it doesn’t work.  Kids’ movies are full of stale cliches, but I thought it was nice that for once a movie portrayed something close to real life.

While we’re on the subject, the movie makes mention of Cinco de Mayo but never mentions the occasion that Mexicans more often celebrate- Dies y Seis de Septiembre.  Mexico has two independence days, but most consider independence from Spain a bigger deal than independence from France.  I’ve long suspected that the reason Americans latched onto the former is that it’s easier to pronounce.  It may also be easier to make puns on, though some enterprising business surely could have Dies y Sales de Septiembre.