Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Nobody Calls Me a Space Cowboy, a Gangster of Love, or Maurice

I’ve been kind of busy over the last couple of weeks, what with school, extracurricular crap and an absurd amount of time spent playing videogames. Rather than explain any of this –because it’s cold outside and I don’t want to get what I wrote out of my car- I’m just going to jump right into the old routine.

Channel-surfing the other night, I happened upon MTV, which is a rare occasion, given that the vast majority of what they run on that channel is representative of the “vast wasteland” Newton Minnow foresaw. However, while I was watching, I happened to see hot chicks, which are nothing new to MTV, and then I saw the Neptunes, and so I stopped surfing for a moment, thinking to myself, “This must be that side-project I was reading about.” And I watched the video, and it’s got an enormous turntable, dancing women, the band and no visible plot whatsoever (which shouldn’t even be pointed out, because ‘plot in music video’ is explicitly a David Fincher motif, and should not be attempted by amateurs).

But I digress. It seems to me that the music video has rarely been an art-form unto itself. After all, the 80’s brought out some absolutely fantastic videos, such as A-Ha’s “Take On Me” or Warrant’s “Cherry Pie.” Okay, that second one’s a joke, but it’s an indisputable fact that “Take On Me” is one of those videos that –to this day- shows what music videos are capable of, and yet all but maybe a half-dozen videos a year (that actually get aired, mind you) ever bother to attempt to appeal to the more lucid members of the audience. Of course, this is because MTV knows their audience better than anyone, and they’d probably be the first ones to tell you that no member of their audience is lucid at any time, least of all while watching MTV; that they are exactly what Timothy Leary was talking about with that “Turn on, tune in, drop out” thing.

Not long after, I saw the Jet video for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” and I just watched it going, “This isn’t much of a video, and it’s not even fucked-up,” which was the redeeming quality of Beck’s “Loser” video. After contemplating this for a while, I realized that I wasn’t really watching the video anymore, and that I was lost in some kind of introspection regarding why it was that the channel was still on, and yet I was still tuned in, and it wasn’t because I kept thinking, “It’s the iPod song!” The answer’s quite simple:

I was there for the groove. Both of these songs have fairly standard videos (although Jet’s video isn’t as polished, nor do I remember any dancing women), which is something that generally just makes me tune out. But both songs are built on grooves that border on addictive, which probably explains why Apple picked “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” for its iPod commercials. And then I started thinking, what is it about this groove, this riff, that makes the song as catchy as it is?

*The bass and drum combo at the beginning of the song is reminiscent of the opening to Golden Earring’s “Radar Love.”
* As though that basis in the 70’s wasn’t enough, the subsequent riff that basically drives the song is like an adaptation of Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life.”
* And if you listen really hard, you can hear just a touch of The Knack’s “My Sharona.”
* The line "c'mon and get your kicks, now you don't need that money when you look like that, do ya honey" sounds like something you'd expect from pretty much any AC/DC song.

You can’t deny the fact that these guys don’t sound anything like that horrific “Nu-Metal” crap -which is even worse than the “Old-Metal” crap- that the recording industry is trying to pass off as rock and roll these days. And, going back to cite the video for just a moment, I saw two things: One, I saw a Flying V guitar, which could have been either a Gibson or a Dean. Two, the guys aren’t very good-looking, which flies in the face of everything that MTV stands for; because the only way you can get on MTV and be ugly is if you’re very, very angry (read: Papa Roach).

All in all, I’m still trying to decide whether Jet (and this song in particular) is more reminiscent of the punk movement (which I’m inclined to deny, given that they play way more than three chords per song, and the structure of the song is more complex), the British Invasion of the Sixties, the Eighties’ return of rock (Van Halen, AC/DC), and we know that we can just toss out the Alternative Rock movement of the early-to-mid Nineties

My conclusion let me to listen to their song “Cold Hard Bitch,” and that one answered all of my musical questions: It starts out sounding just like virtually any AC/DC song, then kicks over to The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and then plays somewhere between the two for the remainder of the song, although the chorus almost begs the ghost of Bon Scott to show up and sing backup.

I don’t know. Thinking about and then writing this just seemed like a nice way to spend an hour, since it raises the possibility that rock and roll –performed by people under the age of forty, at least- isn’t dead after all. I mean, sure, I’m totally ignoring the White Stripes. the Strokes, the Darkness. the Vines, the Hives, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or any of the other bands I could think of here, but that would've made for an even longer post that I don't particularly feel like writing, and I'm quite sure you don't feel like reading.

In the meatime, until I post again, go read Jim Derogatis, the best rock critic on earth.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Does This Phobia Have A Title?

So, I was downstairs switching my laundry from the washer into the dryer, and I thought, "Wow, tonight's asinine topic could be: Dryer Lint; Why Is It Always That Pale-Blue Color?" but then I came up with a much better one:

I'm afraid of panties. Deathly afraid of women's undergarments. I had to pull my mother's laundry out of the dryer, and interspersed among about three-dozen socks and a few nightgowns were her ... well, you get the point. Now, I have no problem with folding her socks or her nightgowns, but the underwear just gets dropped on the pile. I'm not folding her underwear; there's not enough whiskey in Ireland to make me do it.

I think all of this goes back to my parents' pressures on me to abstain from sex, pretty much forever. My mother always told me, "If you get a girl pregnant, her family had better like you, because you're out of this one." Strangely, I think that warning even extends after such a time as I get married; not that the whole marriage detail matters, seeing how I can't even get a girl to like me for more than a day or two, let alone getting her to stick around "for as long as we both shall live, or until one of us gets sick of the other."

So, I ended up taking each individual pair of underwear (you really can't call them "panties" when they belong to your mom) out of the dryer in such a way as one would pick up a piece of roadkill, using only the very ends of my thumb and forefinger to grasp them and quickly drop them when the forward-motion of the garments would be sufficient so as to propel them onto the mostly-folded laundry pile. And I realized after the second or third pair that I'm deathly afraid of women's undergarments, which explains why I've never been able to walk into a Victoria's Secret.

Well, that and because of the time I asked them if they had a thong in a child's size. ... just kidding.

I mean, it's not as though I'm afraid of women who are wearing only their undergarments. I just don't want to handle them any more than I want women seeing or handling my underwear, which is why I've always got my shirt tucked in. Of course, then again, that's like an extension of the neurosis that makes me so tremendously self-conscious that I'm uncomfortable being seen in anything less than a parka, explaining why I'm always wearing several layers of clothing. Yes, I have many, many more issues than your average heterosexual man.

Seriously, I don't think that most guys ever had these sort of mental problems, or -if they did- they somehow got over them. Maybe they had fathers who patted them on the back during a hunting trip and simply reminded them, "Son, I'm going to tell you about sex now. No glove, no love. Now let's field-strip this carcass and get out of here." At least those guys were afforded some sort of encouragement to have sex, provided it was protected sex. Me, I basically got the equivalent of, "If you're having sex, we will find out about it and then we'll kill you."

Maybe I'm reading a bit too much into that, but I think that I associate panties with sex, and I associate sex with death (or at the very least, being evicted from my rent-free existence), and so I'm absolutely terrified of panties. Especially any ones that are not white and cotton. Colors and non-cotton fabrics only serve to cause me more mental distress, because they're "fancy," and imply sex, thereby implying death, et cetera, et cetera.

So it's no wonder that I don't try harder to get myself a girlfriend. Because I'd eventually have to deal with panties. It's like going out on an adventure with Indiana Jones when you're afraid of snakes, because you just know there are going to be snakes. They just come with the territory. Women come equipped with panties. There's no way around it, short of a girl who just plain doesn't like them, and just goes commando all the time, and I'm pretty sure I'd have issues with a girl like that, too.

So, that's right. Why am I single? The answer is simple: Panties.

*author's note: I'm quite proud of how this little piece of writing held together and I think psychiatrists in the future will probably somehow get a hold of it and name a whole new series of mental disorders after me... "Doctor, look at this! He wrote over 750 words on being afraid of panties!" "My God, get the straitjacket!"*

AIM: therbmcc71

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I really don't have a lot of time for posting right now, let alone at all these days, given that I've gone and made the mistake of committing myself to several extracurricular groups and the fact that I've been playing entirely too much True Crime on my friend's Xbox... I'm a very bad cop... Anyway. All things considered, I'm just going to be brief, because I'm going to fall asleep in a couple of minutes:

While Lord of the Rings (I won't even bother with the title here, because it doesn't matter) was probably the most entertaining movie I saw last year, I still found even Seabiscuit to be better film, simply because it was at least emotionally compelling. I found Lord of the Rings to be a simple tale of warfare and hobbit man-love on the way to Mordor, and I cared about as much for the characters as I cared about the characters in Dreamcatcher; which is to say that I might as well have been shouting, "Kill them all, I don't give a shit."

True Crime is a terribly fun game, in that it's like Grand Theft Auto 3 with a story and an actual street-map of Los Angeles. Of course, True Crime places you in the role of police officer instead of Grand Theft Auto's criminal, but still leaves dealing with the criminal element to the player. For example, my friend Scott likes to do kung-fu on the bad guys to knock them unconscious and ultimately arrest them. Me, I don't even bother to get out of my car, preferring to shoot criminals as I drive past. While the game docks me karma points for every time I do this, I'd just like to argue that the criminals are not going to be out on bail anytime soon, nor are they going to be found innocent on any sort of technicality. And yet the game docks me points for doing this. After all, what good is a badge unless it's a license to kill?

Other than that, I've been watching quite a bit of my DVD's lately, particularly my Buffy and Angel box-sets. I have to try and watch Angel tomorrow night, because Fred (she's a chick, mind you) looks wicked-hot in her new blue and gold-looking pseudo-anime kind of look. I mean, she's no Eliza Dushku, but then who is?

Anyway. I'm tired, and I've got a trip to go on from Thursday through Sunday in which I'll be getting all of about three hours' worth of sleep, so I'm going to leave you with the following piece of graffiti, which I saw on a wall somewhere last year. The originator of this quote deserves medals and awards and honors of the highest caliber, and I think I'm going to start tacking it on my emails from now on:

'Fighting for freedom is like fucking for virginity.'

AIM: therbmcc71