Monthly Archives: September 2009

Rush Never Sleeps

Rush Never Sleeps—Rolling Stone cuts Rush some slack

Rush Never Sleeps—Rolling Stone cuts Rush some slack

I just broke out Moving Pictures and, for the first time in ~fifteen years, listened to it all the way through. Pardon the pun, but what a rush “The Camera Eye” is, and what a shame Rush doesn’t perform it live anymore. Guitar riffs like that are what got me through the early-to-mid 1990s.

I got into Rush when I was thirteen and badly in need of an anthem, something through which to channel my various burning teenage frustrations. Roll the Bones was my first Rush album, certainly not one of the band’s harder albums (and certainly not very “hard” when compared to the typical garage band fare that was emerging at the time), but hard enough. Keep in mind that until that point, I’d spent half a lifetime listening exclusively to Phil Collins and Neil Diamond. So, yeah, Rush was hard. And it only got better when Counterparts came out. The guitars were louder, the themes darker—there was angst all over the album. I needed that. Whenever I got pissed at my school teachers, my family or friends, or the world in general, I’d lock my bedroom door, cue up “Stick It Out,” and air-guitar myself into a more amiable state. See, I was going through that phase most teenage boys do, that adolescent maelstrom during which I needed to kill something, or fuck someone, or set fire to something valuable. I suppose I could’ve used my weight set more often, or gone jogging around the neighborhood whenever the juices got backed up…nah, fuck that. My family lived between the ghetto and a cemetery at the time. Both were scary. I stayed indoors after school and listened to Rush, watched Star Trek, struggled with my math homework.

In 1995 I moved (back) to Texas, leaving the ghetto and the cemetery behind and re-meeting a childhood friend, who literally had that all-Rush case from Hutch’s van in Fanboys (though my friend had CDs instead of cassettes). I discovered Presto (my third and, to this day, favorite Rush album), 2112, Fly by Night, and all the other classic staples. I stayed in Texas for a year, and Rush continued to score my life, albeit now under more positive circumstances (did I mention I no longer lived next to a cemetery?). I got a girlfriend, made some amazing friends at school, and discovered my passion for writing.

The following year, my family decided to move back to California. By then, Test for Echo was out, and I needed it, as I was once again pissed at life. I bought the album at this really cool little music shop in North Star Mall. I listened to it at least a dozen times during the drive, spending the entire trip with my head stuck between a pair of earphones as I sketched out the beginnings of what would later become The Knack. Frustration is inspiration.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s I shifted from hard rock and heavy metal to New Age, electronica, and ambient. I was writing seriously by then, and needed good mood music. My Tangerine Dream phase lasted a good five years…I still can’t shake my David Arkenstone habit. However, in the last two or three years I’ve rediscovered my love for the hard stuff. Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, and, funnily enough, Dethklok have tickled my fancy—but I’ll always have that soft spot for Rush. In the old days I would’ve reserved a section of my CD rack for their albums; nowadays I always make sure I have enough hard drive space set aside for their MP3s. In the future I’ll make sure I keep enough space on my back free so that I’ll be ready when musical grafts become commonplace.

Oates Kill Fan Video #2

Abbey sent me this fan video by Salvador Solis:

It really is a love-hate thing with oatmeal, isn’t it? It either gets your day off to a healthy start—or it stalks you in an abandoned warehouse at the edge of town. Maybe that’s what turns on Wilford Brimley so much when he does those Quaker Oats commercials: taking a breakfast food that has polarized our society and bringing it a warm, slightly creepy grandfatherly image.

Nine, Ten, Nine

Hmf. I missed the whole “the world will end on a trio of nines!” thing until just now, when I spotted this article in my inbox:

Today’s date has the sort of symmetry which some people think will bring them good luck, while others claim it can only mean the end of life as we know it.

Since it’s now The Day After, and since I’m still here, I can only assume triple nines isn’t all that bad…unless they’re hanging upside down from a tree branch. Life seems fairly humdrum here at the beach. I did have an FML moment at the library yesterday. Does that count? This young / attractive / fit woman was studying at the next table over; as I considered striking up a whispered conversion (as one does in any library environment), she suddenly stood upright, started gathering her things—and farted something wicked. And you know how it is at the library: every rustle, every scratch, every keystroke echoes. Needless to say, the poor gal was down the stairs and out the door within seconds.

So, triple nines. Good luck for some, bad luck for others, and flatulence for the rest.

The Couch Gymnast’s (Not So) Brief History of…

Aspiration means stepping on others to get to the top

There’s a reason I picked competitive gymnastics as Monica’s sport of choice in Heroes’ Day: the lies. I don’t necessarily mean that in a condemning way, nor is it just the gymnasts who are indoctrinated to smile over the pain more than athletes of other sports. All professional sportsmen / sportswomen are trained to make the strenuous, the tedious, the downright painful look easy. One of the exceptions of gymnastics is that, if you’re female, you have to look pretty while making it look easy—and you have to do it between school, family, friends, growing up, because female gymnasts are only interesting to the media when they’re in their early teens (male gymnasts get to come into their own in their early twenties). That’s just the petty stuff, dealing with wedgies, bra or underwear line deductions, weights and measurements. Just wait until you get into the arena of broken bones and hidden casts:

Melita Ruhn, Nadia Comaneci’s team mate on the Moscow 1980 team, tells the Gazeta Sporturilor of her experiences as a gymnast in Romania. One of her tales, she claims, includes the time when Bela Karolyi removed the cast from her broken leg, made her perform her vault (in which she scored a ten) and then replaced the cast.

We all saw Kerri Strug vault on a seriously injured ankle during the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Was it worth it for a gold medal? Prize money? An entry in the history books? Being a fan of exaggeration, I thought maybe sending Monica Sardinia to Olympus at the age of fourteen (in a hypothetical world where twelve is actually the average female gymnast’s age) was justifiable if she was competing for actual resources. Schoolbooks, hospital funds, paved streets, and the like. There’s some patriotism there, but what’s worth a twisted ankle, a stress fracture, a broken neck?

I digress. The Couch Gymnast’s recent blog post chronicles Romania’s soap opera tendencies, the hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades behind those tired smiles and haggard dreams.

Pretty Women Dumbify the Male Sex

What's my name?

What's my name?

This Telegraph article isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know. The basic finding is that men use up so much of their brain juice trying to impress attractive chicas that they have little left to perform other mental tasks simultaneously. I can vouch for this. Pretty women make me dumb(er). Plus, they smell nice. How do they do it? Peggy Bundy once explained it: “You see, nature played a very cruel joke on [men]. It gave them a source of pleasure, but in order for it to work, the blood has to leave the brain…it leaves them confused, disoriented and eager to enter into negotiations. Because the brain wants that blood back…it needs it to go to work to pay for all those things it agreed to only moments before.”

One line in the article I don’t agree with, though:

Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.

This is untrue. Women who talk to a handsome man are 50% more likely to tune me out mid-sentence, especially if the three of us are sitting together in a night club setting. Also, women dating / married to handsome men are more likely to suspect adultery than those involved with less handsome men (ie: computer geeks or basement trolls).

To simplify: Pretty women make men stupid, handsome men make women jealous.

Thanks, but No Thanks

I usually just delete spam whenever I spot it in my queue, but this offer, posted to the Time Chaser book page, warranted special attention. Read carefully:

Is not spam, it is only my commercial offer. Sorry if i mistake of topic!

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Best price for brand and generic medications.
From $0.60 per item. Free Airmail shipping for Chlamydia 100mg 90 tabs and save $135 on order!

Testimonials or not, I most certainly will not be taking advantage of this offer. One, I’m really not interested in 100mg tabs of Chlamydia at the moment; two, I just hate e-mails that begin with the line, “Is not spam, it is only my commercial offer.” That’s almost as bad as, “I don’t mean to offend you, but [insert offensive statement here].” If you’re going to sell me Chlamydia, just come out and say, “I’d like to extend a special Chlamydia offer to you!” Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t try sneaking into an X-rated movie if you’re twelve and wearing a really cheesy beard. Don’t forget to spell-check your spam before you expel it from your rectum.