nostalgia

i was just listening to neil diamond’s the jazz singer album, loving it and feeling nostalgic about when i was a little kid. my mom used to love that record and i remember her playing it on christmas morning.

then i started thinking about a bunch of the other stuff i feel the strongest nostalgia for — anything by the police (the band, obv), michael jackson’s thriller, fiddler on the roof, an 80s dolly parton and kenny rogers christmas special from tv — and i realized that my mom is the thread that connects all of these things. i wouldn’t say any of them remind me of her specifically, but she is present in each of the memories i associate with them.

i think the most likely explanation for this is a bland, boring one: that when i was young, i was more attached to my mother than my father. this is typical since mothers are the food source and spend more time with the children. fathers aren’t as important until later in the child’s life. also, my dad had a temper when i was a kid, and i didn’t like that very much. so i guess mom was my preferred parent then, and because of that, my memories involving her at that time have an intrinsic warmth to them.

jeez, that is boring. i was hoping for some profound revelation, like “maybe my mom and i are far closer than i imagined,” or maybe something mystical or spiritual. but nope. just plain old “mom was there and mom was nice so things associated with her also feel nice.” SNORE.

oh well. i guess not every post can be a nail biter.

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“david’s blog has really taken a shit lately.”

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people would rather be right than happy

when i was a teenager, my good buddy riley was arguing with his mom about something. she was 100% incorrect about whatever they were talking about but she absolutely refused to drop it or admit she was wrong. i thought it was embarrassing, and in reference to the argument later, riley said that people would rather be right than happy.

that line has always stuck with me. i think he was right. even though his mom would have felt better if she had simply admitted she was wrong — because it takes strength of mind to admit mistakes and that’s still something to be proud of, almost like a consolation prize — she preferred to dig her heels in even further at the cost of making herself look dumber and feel more upset.

fast forward to the last few days. i bought a bass on ebay recently and while i generally love the thing, there is some wear and damage that was not mentioned in the auction and needs to be taken care of. i will do the repairs myself but i thought the seller should be held responsible for not advertising the bass accurately so i lied and asked for a $75 refund to cover the cost of having it professionally repaired. he said no way, that’s way too much, do it yourself and i’ll refund you $20. we’ve gone back and forth several times now, each of us obviously getting more annoyed with the situation, until i reached a point where i could feel myself getting really pissed off about it.

then i thought about riley’s mom, and i asked myself, why am i getting so emotionally involved in this? do i really care this much about a few dollars difference in refund? i realized that i’m getting bent out of shape over peanuts, that he cares about this more than i do, and that he has more energy to devote to this than i do. even though this guy fucked up in the first place and has said some stupid bullshit to me in the followup conversations and i want to put my finger in his chest and tell him what’s what, i’ve made the decision to choose happiness (like i’ve talked about before here), let go of this, and say, “looks like you were right buddy, i’ll take the $20 refund and be on my merry way.”

i suppose you could look at it as admitting defeat but i think cutting losses and doing what makes you happier is usually the wiser choice.

god, i’m so fucking zen. now this prick just has to send me my god damn refund so i can put this headache behind me.

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self portrait. ommmmmm

the way hollywood portrays new york is annoying

jenn is watching a tv series right now that takes place in new york, and the characters on the show talk about NY in such a familiar everyone knows and loves NY-way that really annoys me. today, they were joking about how people who live in NY hate taking the train to philadelphia or “the suburbs” or whatever. i don’t know how close i am to having that right, and i don’t care. i don’t live in NY or anywhere close to it and i’ve never been, so why would i have any idea how manhattan, staten island, philadelphia, or any of the other neighbourhoods there compare with each other? if i had a tv show and made a joke about how shawnigan lake compares to mill bay, no one in NY would get it, so i wouldn’t make that joke. it would have a limited target audience. so why do hollywood writers act like the world revolves around NYC?

i bet it’s because a lot of them live there, and they want to impress their lame buddies with lame regional jokes. like, “you know how people are in manhattan, right?? am i right??” [cue uproarious laughter.] pathetic.

(note: i just learned that colloquial does not mean ‘particular to a certain area.’ i love/hate learning these things. i’m glad to be corrected, but i’m embarrassed to have used a word or phrase wrong for all these years.)

i also hate how so many movies and tv shows portray NYC as a wondrous place where dreams and romance and ANYTHING AT ALL is possible. how many shows i have seen where the star meets some fantastic, beautiful person on a dark NYC street and they hop in a cab together and venture off into the night to see what wondrous pearls their oyster of a city shall offer up to them on that dreamy evening? answer: too many. i also hate the overused images of snow in NY. and shopping in NY. and art shows in NY. and the park in NY. and coffee shops in NY. NY, NY, NY. hollywood would have you believe that everything is so much better there.

fuck that. i’m sure NY is just fine as far as cities go but i doubt very much that i would find it magical, or even very different from any other metropolitan city, and i bet most people who live there feel the same way. real life is not a fucking fairy tale.

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swarms of people, traffic congestion, endless concrete…sounds like paradise.

further railing against organized religion

a co-worker was just telling me about pastafarianism.

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i love it. it speaks to me about exactly what has been gnawing at me lately: all religions are utterly absurd, and if we didn’t grow up being inundated by them — if we only learned about any given religion after we had grown into sensible, reasonable adults — we wouldn’t entertain them for a second. we’d say, “that’s fucking stupid. what makes you think there’s a man in the clouds/divine cow/you have to wear that thing on your head?”

the way this came up was that my co-worker told me he knew a guy who wore a colander on his head when he went to have his picture taken for his license. he was told he had to take it off for the picture. he said he had to wear it, that it was part of his pastafarian religion. he was told no way.

now, if a sikh is allowed to wear their turban while having their license photo taken, why can’t this guy wear a colander on his head if he believes in the almighty pasta monster?

there’s no good reason for such a double standard. no one should be treated any differently from anyone else, ESPECIALLY because of ‘religious beliefs.’ i don’t care what anyone chooses to believe because that’s none of my business, but i think it’s an unacceptable excuse when asking for special treatment. just because someone buys into a fantasy that has absolutely zero basis in reality is no reason to treat them any differently from anyone else.

if it was a good reason, then the guy with the colander should have been allowed to wear it for his license photo — but we can all agree that’s stupid and absurd. so why can’t we agree that every other religious belief is just as stupid and absurd?

organized religion sucks.

ode to a cheap bass guitar

i’ve been on a crazy bass guitar mission lately. it is as follows.

years ago, i had a piece of shit peavey axcelerator 5-string bass. it sounded like shit but i was younger and inexperienced, and i didn’t realize a bass could actually sound any better without investing thousands of dollars into it. then one day i was jamming with a few pals, and one them had brought a hideous, almost baby blue 4-string. here it is.

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barf

i wondered who in their right mind would buy such an ugly thing. then for some reason, one of the guys suggested i try it instead of my peavey. i was annoyed and skeptical but acquiesced, and the second i started playing it, i was dumbfounded. for the first time in my life, what i was playing on bass sounded good. after years of playing shitty basses that sounded like shit but feeling helpless to do anything about, i suddenly felt like i was wielding excalibur.

i was so impressed that within a week or so, i went to the music store and bought the same bass. it’s a yamaha, affectionately dubbed the BBG4SII. i thought the gold hardware looked a little less offensive with the white body so i went for that colour. it was only about $350 — peanuts, as far as new instruments go. that was about 15 years ago, and i still own and love that bass.

but in the last year, i’ve started getting serious about playing bass in the traditional finger and slap styles, and my excitement from these new musical adventures got me wanting a 5-string again. my first thought was to find the 5-string version of the BBG4SII — the BBG5S — but after many months, i had zero luck finding one. they were cheap, entry level instruments, most likely bought by kids joining punk bands, so i doubt many of them survived.

in light of this, i opened my search up to a few more recent models that seemed decent. i tried a few LTD and higher end ibanez 5-strings and thought they were good. i particularly fell in love with the look of the LTD D5, and found one on ebay for a good price, so i bought it.

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i like it. i think it has a versatile look: traditional yet modern, elegant yet powerful.

i got it home aaaaand…it’s not great. it feels really nice to play but i’m not happy with the tone at all. playing with fingers lacks definition, and slapping makes a grating ‘crack’ sound every time i use my thumb. plus the controls are too extreme, so if you turn up the treble, it’s ear-piercing. turn it down, it’s mud. same with the bass tone knob.

then i found a black 5-string squire jazz bass for sale locally. i was excited about this because eerie von played a black fender jazz with a red pickguard in the danzig video for how the gods kill, and i always thought that bass had a classy, satanic look.

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this pic doesn’t do the bass justice but that’s the best image i can find of it. ha, look at danzig. what a guy.

so i bought the squire. i like the tone when playing mellow jazzy shit with fingers, and i like the slap tone, but playing aggressively with fingers gets both muddy AND clicky. plus the neck is way too wide, and way too heavy. i don’t know how anyone can design a guitar that is weighted so poorly that the neck falls down every time you let go of it. that’s an automatic fail for any guitar. it’s such a basic, fundamental detail that ruins the instrument even if everything else is great. squire, you fucked up here, big time.

so i now have these three basses and recently spent an entire evening playing and comparing the hell out of them. as you might guess from what you’ve read so far, the lowly, cheap old yamaha is far superior in every way possible. it’s a fucking amazing bass. it feels great to play, it sounds great for whatever style i’m doing, and it’s weighted perfectly.

so after all my testing, disappointment, and rediscovery of the powers of the BBG4SII, my desire to find a BBG5S was renewed. i looked on ebay this week, and guess what i finally found.

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the mythical beast

it will be here in a few weeks. i’m being cautiously optimistic — i hope it’s as good as the 4 string version, and if it’s not, i’m giving up on this quest for a 5-string. i’ve come to appreciate just how great my BBG4SII is so if that’s the only bass i can ever afford that i am happy with, so be it. nothing wrong with four strings when it excels in every other way.

god, i hate religion

when i was a teenager, i was your typical angsty, anti-establishment, greasy-faced dummy. i really just enjoyed shocking people so while i spouted lots of anti-christian rhetoric, i never really gave it much thought or actually cared about it. i mean, i stole my brother’s copies of the necronomicon and anton lavey’s satanic bible and felt pretty cool about it but i happily celebrated xmas too.

now i’m middle-aged and feel like i should be mellowing out but instead i find myself harbouring an ever deepening grudge towards christianity. it’s been getting pretty bad lately. i keep thinking about different aspects that really bug me — like how asinine it is to believe that your god is real while the gods of all the other religions in the world are not. that’s arrogant and hypocritical as all hell. it’s like claiming you have an invisible blue tiger for a pet and he’s REAL, but if anyone else says the same thing, you think they’re a fucking idiot. guess what, you would BOTH be idiots.

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i call him ‘jesus.’

something else i really hate is how christianity uses fear to indoctrinate people, especially when they’re young. i am a perfect example of this. when i was a kid, my parents took me to sunday school, and i went to a lot of christian summer camps too. every time they talked about the devil, about hell, about eternal suffering if i didn’t do what they said, i was absolutely terrified. i can still clearly remember some of the paintings and depictions they showed us of satan, that’s how much they impacted me. and now here i am, a full grown adult, and there is still nothing i find more frightening than the idea of satan. it’s pure luck that this phobia never manifested itself by molding me into an avid church goer.

why would anyone want to do that to a child, to scar them for life with fear? well, i think the adults who showed that scary stuff to me probably weren’t intentionally trying to scare me. they likely really believed that stuff and thought they were educating me, saving my immortal soul. they were probably indoctrinated by the generation before them with the same techniques. it’s just like any other abuse cycle, except this abuse is institutionalized.

i also hate how many denominations of christianity there are. catholic, protestant, orthodox — and within those, literally hundreds of sub-denominations. so which is the right one? each person will tell you their denomination is, of course! how lucky for them. horse shit.

i also hate how i never hear christians talk about the crusades and all the other horrible things that occurred because of their faith.

i hate how when a muslim attacks people here in north america, it’s called terrorism, but when a christian does the same thing, it’s called a ‘shooting.’

i hate that so many pedophiles are associated with the christian church.

i hate that christian churches and symbols are all over the place but if i tried to open a church of satan anywhere, i would face a mountain of backlash.

but it’s not just christianity that’s the problem — it’s all religions. any fairy tale that inspires so much hatred, fear, ignorance, war, terrorism, child abuse, and all other manners of psychopathic behaviour, should be tossed in the trash. it seems like that should be common sense yet inexplicably, humans are addicted to this harmful shit — the term ‘opiate of the masses’ really nails it.

i think all of my beefs are legitimate but i can’t help feeling like i’m being childish to be so anti-establishment at age 37. it seems like i should have gotten this out of my system over 20 years ago, but i guess i didn’t think about it enough to get appropriately outraged back then.

better late than never, i suppose. hail satan.

fuck corpses

i’ve read in the news a few times lately about people who have died while traveling abroad in other countries. the families usually want to arrange to have the body brought back home.

why?

our bodies are not who we are. our bodies are merely vessels that allow our brains, our personalities, to get around and do stuff. when we die, our bodies are like the molted skin of a reptile — it served its purpose and now it’s just an empty husk. your pet lizard isn’t in there anymore, just like your spirit, soul, essence, or whatever you want to call it isn’t in your body anymore after you die.

i don’t even know why we have stuff like open casket funerals with the bodies of the dead, or why people keep ashes of dead loved ones. i think it makes about as much sense as hold a big ceremony for your pet lizard’s molted skin, or burning it and keeping the ashes in a jar. it’s absurd. if you want to honour or remember a dead person, you sure as hell don’t need their body their to do it.

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IT’S SPECIAL, KEEP IT!!

people are generally weird about death though, i think.