Monday, December 27, 2010
2010 wasn't the most enjoyable year for the bearded one. But it wasn't all bad, there were highlights to accompany the low lights. I experienced all of the following in various portion sizes. And since I love you, and feel that since you keep coming back for more you're either glutton for punishment or love me back, I've assembled a list of what made this year a hybrid of bullshit and beauty. Raunchy and redeeming. But also, lets not forget that this is our first year together, that is, you and I, us dear reader, and if things keep going right, we might be headed for a Vegas wedding with an annulment included in the price. All right readers, let's roll.
1. Traffic citations
The fuzz got me for $300 after I made the mistake of pulling out in front of a bike cop while making a mad dash to Trader Joe's to get some bananas. Had I had noteworthy cleavage, I might have walked away from the incident 300 bucks richer. I'd have pulled my pants down to show some testicles, but I'm guessing cops respond differently to things like that.
2. Scholastic failure as an innate reaction to the prospect of having to address a lady and her face that was peeled off by a stop sign (true story).
That pretty much sums it up. That, and the fact that I'm afraid of needles and turn into a 3rd grader when I see them during routine doctor visits. So I'll never get to live my dream of wearing a white hospital coat while saying "Don't you dare die on me" or saying I need this or that STAT. So now I just demand things from people STAT. It doesn't work. They just think you're an impatient jerk. And I'll just buy my own lab coat, with those pens that look like a syringe.
3. What The Hell Happened To Your Eye?
I spent my 31st birthday fielding questions in regards to what bug, alien or overwhelming unimpressive siamese twin had decided to begin squatting underneath my right eyelid. There's nothing quite like having a nasty bulbous item grow to a tangerine-like proportion thus wrecking my session I had scheduled at Glamour Shots. I learned a few things from the 3 weeks of dealing with my bulbous facial friend: Nevada's healthcare system sucks, doctors don't like playing "cowboy", and even if you ask very nicely you won't get a ride on a helicopter unless you're in dire straits. I'm not talking about the guys that wrote Money for Nothing. I mean, you're losing lots of blood, a person is getting ready to emerge from your holy hole, or you need to be attended to by guys in lab coats yelling STAT alot.
4. I saw Devo.
The men from Akron, Ohio rocked my ear hymen and reconfirmed that they are the progenitors of nerd rock. Let the whipping continue.
5. I got back the Tom Waits bootleg the (expletive expletive expletive) from the Killers stole from me.
Yes, he fucking stole it from me. He's a rat bastard for that. And I hope he crashes his Lamborghini for doing it. Well, not really. But i hope he gets herpes. But who wins? I do. Cause I got back a recording of Mr. Waits' finest 2 hours in the mid nineties. And you know something? That guy was a creep, not Tom, the guy from the Killers. He liked to watch porn while other people were in the room. Porn viewing should be a solo act, out of general courtesy of others. But El Creepo liked to watch it while other people were in the room and referred to a woman's nether regions by the single worst slang term for said nether regions, that being "the gash". Holy beejesus that's nasty.
6. I found (insert your religious figure of choice you're supposed to find that leads to enlightenment, kind of like Waldo, but responsible for a lot more wars. )
I didn't "find" anyone in particular. Not Jesus, not the elephant with numerous arms,not Buddha. Not even the flying spaghetti monster. I guess i just found balance, enlightenment and a bread crumb trail of happiness I hope will lead to prolonged contentment and goodwill. Let's assume I found Waldo. Waldo illustrated to me that my purpose is being a good Samaritan. But also, I started reconsidering materialism and the concept of keeping up with the Joneses. And I realize that giving far exceeds gaining, projecting love exceeds the harboring of hate. So I do what I can, when I can. And it feels good. I think if i keep it up, that an eternal life of not wearing pants or having to shower because "the man" tells me I have to awaits me. And in my eternal life, the Afghan Whigs playing Gentlemen from start to finish. How often? All the god damn time. Why Gentlemen? Because it might be the best record of the nineties. That's why.
So dear readers, members of Homeland Security and those thinking that my "beard" is slang for a woman that a gay man dates to create a facade of heterosexuality (honey, please, yes I like the Weather Girls, but the Bearded one currently only bats for one team) as we march, sashay or bum rush our way into 2011, know that I love you more than you know and my heart radiates pure blinding love. Like a disco ball spinning to Staying Alive, my love shimmers and pulsates in pastel colored pants.
Goodbye 2010, you succubus of a year. Papa's got a new bag, and it's name is 2011. Cue the Neil Diamond, it's time to get shitty.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
You know, I thought I had you sussed out Vegas. And for the most part I did. You thrive on income mistakenly designated as disposable and the willingness of tourists who are obliged to sit and watch Wayne Newton gurgle Danke Schoen long after he has surrendered his ability to change facial expressions as a result of one too many trips under the knife. Yours is a haven of Ed Hardy movers and tiny dog in purse shakers. My love for you reminds me of those Don Henley songs I liked when I was 12 and didn't realize that Mr.Henley was just a yuppie who drummed for a band largely responsible for the proliferation of country rock. Yes he wrote songs about hotels in California. But he also wrote songs about the demise of relationships, the losing of oneself and I think he wrote a song about Tequila Sunrises too.
So I got to thinking about you when I found myself in one of your more unsavory locales performing community service to obtain some much needed extra credit as a result of my predilection for not reading any chapters assigned to me by an instructor teaching a course that encourages people to run into buildings on fire. I tried to explain to the instructor that I did in fact perform charitable deeds throughout the year by way of dressing up as a storm trooper, while raising funds for a local women's shelter. I do this while wincing underneath the helmet from verbal shrapnel sounding something like "Holy crap, that's a lot of nerds." Then there was the time someone sucker punched Vader, which isn't nice despite how you might feel about his actions in the Star Wars franchise (remember though, he did save Luke so he too deserves a break) but to compound the galactic bitch slapping, the attacker brought along an accomplice to help jump Vader. Vader clotheslined one, and punched the other guy in the face. True story.
When the teacher explained to me he couldn't award me any extra points for dressing up like a Star Wars character in my free time, I was forced to seek out alter options for charitable deeds. I stumbled across a program where volunteers fed the homeless at 8 a.m., every Saturday. I must admit, I was purely in it for the extra credit as I'm a chronic slacker who wants only a C but somehow manages a constant B or A. But I needed those 15 points, so Main Street and Bonanza on an early Saturday morning it was for me. The program is a relatively bare bones one, consisting of sandwiches and coffee in addition to donated odds and ends. All of the donated items are sorted through and organized over a series of tables. And I just stood there and watched as the people shuffled by, picking out various items of varying degrees of necessity. A jacket for the man riding a serious wave of crystal meth addiction, or shoes for a man that goes by the alias Mr. Miyagi. Even still, I wasn't affected till the women and children started filing in.
And that's when you surprised me Vegas. Like any other person you have or will, or need to break up with in your life, its the undeniably awesome, cute, sexy, hip streak or attribute that complicates the complications. Maybe she liked Sonic Youth, or maybe he had a great laugh that contained no snorts. Or maybe she was there for a death, or he was there for a birth. And you Vegas? I thought I had you pegged in all your superficial velvet rope glory or your ability to import the magic of other cities only to dilute it in a dizzying display of a neon lit skid row. And you know Vegas, I was right to an extent. But I was wrong in another sense.
For all that you exude on the surface, you harbor the antithesis underneath. For all that I knew that was rotten about you, somewhere in you someone is countering that odiousness. Yes, you are a transient town where everybody comes from somewhere, just not from you. But I realize now that you have heart, and soul and are not merely what you are illustrated as in ad campaigns and movies with dead hookers in the plot line. i realize you have people who care about and act to counter the despondency of others and that alone convinces me that you have potential Vegas.
So where does that leave us, Vegas? Well, I still think we should see other people. I still think I'd be happier with someone who likes public transportation. Someone that doesn't get as hot as you in the summer. Someone who enjoys a little bit of rustic character in their buildings. But I love you Vegas, I really do. And one day, you'll rise above the din of nay saying and prove them wrong. And by then, I'll be elsewhere but I'll know i can come back and what I'll do will stay with you.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I used to be a raging alcoholic. I'm not advocating it, glorifying it, or otherwise. But i'm not denying. You know that terrible song about how "everybody's working for the weekend"? Well, I guess I was just waiting out the week to end it with an asinine display of equal parts inability to hold ones liquor and an inability to consume that much liquor. And you know, I just didn't make the greatest decisions when I was drunk. And for the most part, I did what anyone put me up to when I was intoxicated. Which is how i ended up nursing a broken nose during the holiday season of 1995.
I was invited to my friend Phil's girlfriends house to drink and watch some movies. I forget the girlfriends name, but I know she was significantly older than Phil, or Chris. Or any of the teenagers she had milling around her apartment. She was 16 years Phil's senior, which in high school seems like the thing you'd want to have happen to you. When you're younger you think older people read the Kama Sutra and have "skills" and nothing seems more edgy than hooking up with your own Mrs. Robinson. Which as you get older, just seems like a feminized version of the guy that hangs out with teens just to mentally block the aging process. I knew a guy like that by the way. His name was Ed. He had the biggest set of breasts I'd ever seen on a man, and he went on to take too much LSD, then proceed to drop trou and run down Stewart Avenue naked till he was eventually put in a mental ward that looked like something Chuck Norris would have, no COULD have, broken out of.
Anyways, we're at the cradle robbing girlfriends house drinking when one of my friends, leans over and whispers into my ear that I should pour salad dressing over my best friend Chris' head. Chris used to be an gold medal winning alcoholic himself, long after I had quit, he continued the good fight. But Chris, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, wasn't nothing to fuck with. I never fucked with the Wu-Tang, but I failed to see a reason why my best friend status wouldn't ensure that I'd walk away from antagonizing Chris with little more than punch in the arm, or something similar. And never wanting to deprive my friends of a laugh, I walked over to the cradle robbers fridge and withdrew a bottle of salad dressing that could only be purchased at Costco, economy sized it was.
I walk behind Chris, lift the bottle over his head and squeeze as hard as I can, but only after I had removed the lid to ensure that the dressing poured all over his head. Chris was one of those guys that wore tennis visors tilted sideways, got tribal tattoos, liked 311. Chinese arithmetic and NASA combined could not formulate how Chris and I became, or remained friends, even to this day. And I guess I counted on that friendship to rear its head and save me from a respectable uppercut. Chris was wearing "fresh new gear" and the salad dressing "ruined his chances with the honnies" that night, so he said. They say that as the salad dressing made its way down his face, the dressing began to fill in the creases in his forehead, indicating he was leaving civil on a shuttle bus to incensed. Chris, now unrecognizable under a mask of Thousand Island dressing, gets up and turns to look at me.
I can't say a good portion of life's firsts are pleasurable. Drivers test, dentists office visit, open wound that needed to be sewn shut, sex. I can't say I enjoyed any of them the first time around. And getting my first uppercut for Christmas was certainly no different. Chris stood looking at me, shrinking in size as his muscles tightened, he stooped over and he slowly released his inner Hulk. I tried to offer him an apology but before I could get it out I was sent stumbling into the Cradle Robber's Christmas tree, breaking a host of gifts and ornaments underneath my weight. You know how in the old country and western movies when a guy punches another guy in the face, the guy getting punched flies back. Well, I didn't fly, but it lifted me off my feet.
He broke my nose. He sure did. The next day my eyes were blackened and the nose was swollen. My girlfriend, a part Creole transplant from Lafayette, LA who loved Sonic Youth, offered only "Who fucked you up" by way of consolation. I didn't appreciate that. And I swore I'd never talk to Chris again. It was 2 weeks after I had been punched when Chris called me to first apologize, which I thought was nice, only then to ask me how hard the punch was, rated on a scale between 1 and 10. I'm not even lying.
So my nose was broken, by my best friend no less. But i'm ok with that. Some people think broken noses are rugged looking and manly. I can assure you, it just makes me look like I had my nose broken. And did the wrong thing to a guy with an impressive uppercut. The moral? I guess it would be not to put anything past your best friend, do your best to not enrage an alcoholic and if you can't avoid taking an upper cut dont let your newly unconscious body land in a statutory rapists Christmas tree.
Merry Christmas, your buddy Luke
Sunday, December 5, 2010
It's poetry time!
When you feel alone
I know the way home
If you want to go
Lets leave right now
This love is an earthquake
One you will not shake
Yours is a steam train
That's soon leaving town....again
I'm running in circles
You're running on empty
Still surely regretting
That you ever met me
But love casts a shadow
That don't always follow
A sweetheart to the chain gang
And on to death row
... and then
you scratch the thought clean
maybe...till it bleeds
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I fully realize you hate, OK maybe not hate, but strongly dislike holiday music like I dislike Garth Brooks and Journey. Sometimes you think stores are under the assumption that piping "Jingle Bell Rock" through the p.a. pumps shoppers up to spend money they don't have like Creed propels a douche bag and Motley Crue propels a stripper. You may have grown tired of listening to the holiday staples long ago cemented into four weeks of December like Phil Collins' star on the Hollywood walk of fame in front of Mann's Chinese theater that is routinely peed on by both vagrants and those who feel that Genesis took a hit when he started singing.
I can't offer you a whole lot of advice on how to persevere through the holidays other than to rethink ill-thought gifts like sweaters bearing Garfield's likeliness (I got one of those), a shaving kit for preteens (I also got one of those), and those chocolates filled with trace amounts of alcohol which I actually tried to buy as a gift one year before I turned 21. Much to my surprise, the teen manning the register was quite the dedicated employee, loyal to his position and requested to see my ID proving I was old enough to purchase the chocolates. I pointed out to him that long before you caught a buzz off these chocolates you'd get a dual treat of raging acne and a diabetic coma. He then refused to sell me the chocolates. Anyways, its a rough world out there in holiday land and you need good music to aide in safely traversing from store to store to bar to bar to massage parlor. Now fill up your flasks and start your engines. Love your ghost of Christmas present, Luke
1. The Pogues-Fairytale of New York
This song is essentially two wretched individuals professing their love for one another whilst lobbing a vast array of insults at one another. Its set in New York around or on Christmas day and begins with the drunk, not the "slut on junk", finding himself in a drunk tank. Jingle Bells it is not, but it somehow manages to convey that sense of unconditional, unabated the holidays seem to bolster.
2. The Ramones-Merry Christmas (I don't wanna fight tonight)
This is the mighty Ramones' attempt at a holiday staple. The protagonist is telling their loved one that maybe we can hold off on throwing household items at one another and simply enjoy Christmas. This is arguably the fastest Christmas song you'll discover as the Ramones not only sang about sniffing glue, they did sniff glue and the notion that a Christmas song shouldn't be played at breakneck speed was lost on them. I rightfully so.
3. Tom Waits- Silent Night
Mr. Waits takes a stab at a the quintessential holiday tune of a dead horse that has been sung or whipped to death and somehow manages to dirge it up. I love this song as it sounds like Tom earnestly belts out the song yet most listeners recoil in horror wondering how the singer tricked his way into a recording contract.
4. U2- It's Christmas (Baby please come home)
Blame it on the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" production, but the cover of the classic penned by Phil Spector in 1963 by a Joshua Tree era U2 is a holiday regular anyone, even convicts, can fully endorse. It speaks of Bono's longing for his girl to come home and help him comb that awesome mullet he wore for a good portion of the 80's. But it also reminds you that the holidays aren't nearly as enjoyable or complete without that special someone in your arms, mulleted or not.
5. Vince Guaraldi-Linus and Lucy (Charlie Brown theme song)
The dark horse of holiday tunes, "Linus and Lucy" has the unenviable position of being the theme song to a cartoon about a manic depressive boy who balded prematurely, yet somehow emerges jubilant, swinging and undeniably identifiable. The song conjures up token memories of the Charlie Brown specials of yesteryear. Long before you had the sense to know that "Chuck" should be on Prozac and just assume that Peppermint Patty (future Indigo Girls fan? Discuss.) would yank the ball back before he ever had a crack at it.