I don’t really care about the Notre Dame spire, and I hate news stories that repeat ad nauseum

The big news yesterday, and today, and probably for the foreseeable future, is how the Notre Dame spire burned yesterday. It was a culturally significant building so a lot of people are quite upset about it. I’d be upset too if something comparable in my life went up in flames. I’m fine with that part.

What I’m not fine with is a few absurdly rich people donating hundreds of millions of dollars to help cover the cost of the reconstruction of the building. Hundreds of millions of dollars — let that sink in. That’s the annual budget of a lot of countries, and a few obscenely rich people who have that money sitting around want to rebuild an old building with it. Never mind that the human race is totally fucked on countless fronts and that money could do immeasurable good, fighting pollution, inequality, corruption — things that actually affect 99% of the population.

Nope, that stuff is not as important as a building.

I think that is a profoundly sad statement on what some very wealthy people, and probably a lot of people in general, value.

Additionally, a big reason why the building was so significant was that its age: it was hundreds of years old. But it’s gone now, and you can’t just resurrect it and its history with a new one that looks the same. It’s gone and can never return so live and let die, I say.

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C’est la vie

But this is going to be all we hear about for the next several days on the news. I hate when big events like this occur and the news just loops the same bullshit 24 hrs a day about it. Yeah yeah, Notre Dame burned, got it. You don’t need to tell me twice. Same with all the other big news stories — plane crashes, earthquakes, gunman attacks church, etc. I don’t read rehashed versions of all the small news stories so why would I do so with big ones? I don’t even care much about these things in the first place. I think there are much bigger stories that the news barely covers, if at all. But I guess that’s because I’m a minority who cares deeply about boring, unsexy news items that don’t sell well.

 

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dog diet

Jenn thought our dog was too skinny last year so we increased its food from one cup twice a day to almost two cups twice a day. Unsurprisingly, it got fat. So we cut its food back to one cup twice daily and the extra pounds melted off in short order.

When I think about how easy it is to manage a dog’s weight, I can’t understand why humans have so much difficulty managing our own weight. We talk about cleanses and calories and good fat vs bad fats and paleo diets and keto diets but I’ve always felt that stuff was pretty much all a bunch of hooey, and now my dog’s experience has confirmed it for me. If people want to lose weight, they just need to eat less and move more. The rest is needless complication and excuse.

I wonder if I can market this as a lifestyle.

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I’m just full of hot tips.

R.I.P., identity of the last 27 years

Yesterday I played guitar for quite a while. It was the first time in many moons that I’ve done so by myself, writing some material and practicing some technical shit. I really enjoyed it for, I don’t know, maybe an hour?

Then, all of a sudden, a switch was flicked, and I felt the way I usually have about guitar for the last 10 years: bored and annoyed. But it’s deeper than those words convey. I felt so bored and annoyed that it put me in a foul mood. I couldn’t just put the guitar down and go do something else and be happy again. I ended up feeling like doing anything at all was pointless. It was miserable.

I don’t know why I was having so much fun and then suddenly hated it, but it got me thinking about it this morning. I love…well, I was going to say metal but that’s not really true. I grew up listening to metal and still do so a lot of the time but I’m just as picky about it as I am any other genre. I love lots of other styles of music too, like pop and electronic and disco and funk, but I feel like saying “I like a genre” is a silly statement because I don’t like every song or artist in that style. In fact, I’m so picky that I hate the vast majority of all genres. The few songs or artists I like are exceptions, regardless of genre.

So anyway, to be precise, I love a lot of metal but this morning I realized that almost all the metal I listen to is stuff I’ve loved for many years. And just the other day I was wondering why I still bother to read the metal news every day when I rarely like or care about any of the bands being covered. And it made me think, maybe I don’t really love metal anymore. I mean, I used to love some bands that I eventually came to loathe, like Anthrax and Testament. I’ve really thinned the herd when it comes to my metal tastes, and it’s not really any different than my approach to any other style of music.

So I don’t think I really consider myself a metalhead anymore. I think I only like metal as much as anything else. I’m just more familiar with it than other styles. No, I think I’m now better described as a general music enthusiast — golly, that sounds dry. What have I become?

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A: Dry as fuck.

To finally bring this back to where I started, I think my great familiarity with metal is why I suddenly hated playing guitar yesterday. I’ve been playing metal on guitar for so long that unless I’m doing something fresh with it, it doesn’t take long before I get bored by it. So maybe it was fun while I was writing something new, but as soon as I started practicing some old shit, it just felt tired. Sure, I could try to take up jazz or classical or whatever but I’m not interested in those. I’m just fucking tired of guitar, and I’m tired of playing metal. Generally speaking.

That’s why I want to find a god damn funk/disco band I can play bass in. That is exciting and fresh to me. I can write the most basic, simple, obvious slap bass riff, yet it is infinitely more exciting to me than an intricate, complex death metal guitar part. The change of scenery is that welcomed at this point.

It’s a good thing I already transitioned away from wearing camouflage and metal shirts, otherwise this would be a much more jarring realization.

People will always do what’s easiest for them, even if the costs for it are exorbitantly high

A friend just sent me a news article about how reusable cloth shopping bags are actually worse for the environment than plastic bags. I think the article was misleading and essentially clickbait because it only spoke specifically about cotton and organic cotton reusable shopping bags, and almost all of my reusable ones are not made from cotton at all. What about all those other non-cotton reusable bags? That’s the first “hmmm” moment I had about the article.

The second moment came when the article said reusable bags cause far more damage because of the footprint that goes into making them…but then it acknowledged that the study being quoted here didn’t take ocean waste into consideration, which is where the majority of single use plastic bags end up. That’s like saying “the sun does not cause skin damage,” then acknowledging you didn’t actually look at skin damage caused by the sun. If you’re talking about what happens to a thing but disregarding what happens to the majority of that thing, you don’t have a fucking clue what you’re talking about. It’s absurd.

So I thought the article was largely junk. But there was one part that I agreed with, which was that the best thing to do was reuse all bags as much as possible and then recycle them when they’re no good anymore…

…Unfortunately, that’s useless advice because no one in North America cares enough to follow it. And I think that is our fatal flaw in all things: we know what we should do to improve things, but virtually none of us do it if it takes any effort whatsoever.

For example, there is a stretch of highway around here that is notorious for fatal accidents. What is the simplest, cheapest, most effective solution? Well, people could just drive slower on that highway.

But that doesn’t happen. Instead, the highway has been rebuilt countless times, widened, and barriers added throughout almost its entire stretch — all to the tune of millions of dollars spent over decades, and years of gridlocked traffic during construction. And guess what. Accidents still occur, because people are still driving too fast.

The moral of the story here is we are too impatient and self-centered to do the right thing. So yeah, people should just reuse their plastic bags and then recycle them when they’re done, but it will never, ever happen because we’re all too lazy and thoughtless to do it. We will always do the easier thing, even if it costs us mountains in money, life, freedom, etc.

In other words, humans are shit.

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As long as plastic bags are around, they will always end up in the ocean. So what’s my solution? Simple: exterminate the human race.

It doesn’t matter to Golda how I know Marty

Yesterday I was hanging out with Golda, catching up and shooting the shit, when I started spinning an absurdly large yarn. What I wanted to tell her was that my pal Marty is going to stay at my half-finished cabin and I think that’s cool, but my starting point for this info was how I met Marty 20 years ago — “do you know Riley? No? Do you know his sister? Ok, well, her older brother went to Malaspina with Marty and that’s how I was introduced to him…”

How I knew Marty had absolutely zero bearing on the story I wanted to tell. It was totally pointless to start there. I caught myself, was deeply embarrassed, and got to the point. But in my mind, it was too late — the damage was done. Once again, it was confirmed that I am a long talker.

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Just call me Wooden Nickles.

If long talking is hereditary, I definitely got it from my dad. He’s the worst of the worst, a living legend of long talking. He’s so bad that when you try to leave him and he won’t stop, you stand by your car for 20 minutes. Then you get in it and leave the door open for another 10. Then you close the door and roll the window down. He never takes the hint, just keeps talking, one thread leading to the next. Eventually you start the car and say, “sorry dad, I’ve got to get going,” and begin slowly backing up. He follows you and continues to talk at you. Eventually he can’t keep up with the car and he pounds the hood in a show of mock annoyance that is actually serious, just before you finally escape the pseudo-black hole that is his mouth.

I grew up with dad doing that, and it started bugging me at a very young age so you can imagine how I feel about it now, so many years later: I have very little tolerance for it.

And yet, I am guilty of doing the same fucking thing, and I hate myself for it. I have even less tolerance for it when I do it.

I admire people who are succinct, and really do try to be moderately succinct myself. I also try to be a good audience, to ask people questions, to listen. But I often still fail at these things, and when I do I see it as not just failing at conversation but failing at being self-aware, and that’s why it really bothers me. When you’re a dyed-in-the-wool long talker, you must be ever vigilant and on guard against the darkness that will always live deep inside your heart, because if you fail to keep it in check, how else will you fail to be a decent human being? The horrible possibilities are endless.

Prayers for (continuing) rain

The weather has been pretty grey and drizzly lately, and that suits me just fine. With all the snow we got in February, I thought that would translate into a lot of both rainwater and snow pack but it turns out I was wrong. Then March was a dry, warm, sunny month so I started worrying that what has turned into an annual drought event in BC was going to have started even before spring this year. The local rivers are already at unheard of, unseasonably low levels, so it was certainly a little frightening.

Thankfully, the last few weeks have been a good mix of typical spring weather, and I can’t remember feeling this grateful for drizzly, grey days. My fave weather is an overcast day with a temperature in the high teens/low 20’s because then I can work outside lots without burning or generally wanting to die from the heat, but I’ll take working in the light rain over working in warm, sunny conditions any day. Add to that my anxieties about worsening droughts and forest fires and I’m practically French-kissing the puddles on my driveway. Each day that we get even just a misting of rain means one less day of white knuckles as I watch the news for word of how nearby forest fires are growing and spreading, and that’s a great thing.

Let it rain all fucking year, for all I care. I don’t care if I never see a sunny day again. Wait, haven’t I said this all before?

Oh yes, I did, right here. Haha, and that post is way better than this one! Jeez, I’m both thin on material and a broken record. Why does anyone even read this piece of shit anymore? Put a fork in me, for Pete’s sake.

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“God in heaven, why do I suck so bad?”

The best disco music ever

Yesterday I bought yet another disco compilation record at a vinyl record swap. It had a few good hits, the rest sounded respectable, and the artwork was good, but when I got home and put it on, it sucked shit. I was immensely disappointed, just like I have been by almost every disco compilation I’ve checked out.

I think part of the problem here is that, incredibly, my introduction to disco was the very best of the best: Don’t Walk, Boogie.

I was working at Salvation Army as a 20-yr old when I first encountered Don’t Walk, Boogie. I thought the cover looked cool so despite not having any experience with or love for disco, I brought it home, gave it a listen, and was shocked. It was awesome. Well, by the first side, anyway. The second side was hit and miss but the first side was 30 straight minutes of upbeat, energetic, cocaine-fueled grooves and good times.

I loved that record so much that on New Years Eve 2007, I brought it to a house party where a friend was DJ-ing and spinning records. I gave it to him and assured him everyone would lose their minds when he put it on. He was skeptical but eventually played it, and the dance floor completely cleared within a few seconds. Absolutely no one but me enjoyed it, and I was so shocked, brokenhearted, and embarrassed that when I left the party I didn’t even bother asking my pal for my record back. Only the party gods know what happened to that copy of Don’t Walk, Boogie but I imagine my buddy threw it in the trash in short order.

But my dismay over what transpired that night didn’t last long, and I was soon kicking myself for leaving it behind. I still loved it and wanted to listen to it even if all those goons at the party didn’t like it, and now I didn’t have it! I looked for it in various forms online over the years but could never find the same edited versions of the songs, so last year I finally bought another vinyl copy of it off of ebay for what I consider too much money.

When that record finally showed up and I put it on, I realized I had been right all along, and all those jackoffs at the News Years party didn’t know shit about good music — Don’t Walk, Boogie is as amazing as I remember, and I won’t accept any other opinion. The songs are all great hits, they’re all driving and full of energy, and they’re all edited down to 3 minutes and 30 seconds so that there is no time wasted with anything that is not a killer hook. And after revisiting side B and paying more attention to it, I see the value in it too. It’s not as immediate or rollicking as side A, but I don’t think it’s meant to be. It has more of a warm afterglow kind of vibe, like the winding down at the end of a wild party, which is of course very fitting. Despite probably being thrown together as just a dumb compilation, I think the record is actually a surprisingly valid piece of art.

So there ya go. In my opinion, Don’t Walk, Boogie is by far the best disco compilation every made. Second place goes to an unreal Christmas disco record, aptly titled Christmas Disco by The Mistletoe Disco Band. The arrangements and musicianship are insane. I like it so much that I even listen to it outside of the holidays. The musicians are not credited anywhere and it’s a fucking shame because these people nailed it.

There really isn’t enough love for genuine disco these days. I need to start a disco band and start promoting the genre again. Just picture all the empty clubs we would play to. It would be even sadder than New Years Eve 2007.