Opinions and Facts

Can someone help me understand myself?

I have always been anti-smoking. My mom has smoked for pretty much my entire life and I always hated it. Hated the smell. Hated that I seem to be extra sensitive to smoke. The slightest whiff, even from quite some distance can choke me up. For example, tonight, several people were smoking on the balcony with the door open and I had to close my bedroom door because I could smell it. Of course there’s also the extreme amount of money smokers spend and the whole issue of supporting the evil tobacco companies and plenty of other rational arguments that could be made even if you’re one of the people who believes that there is no scientific evidence that smoking is linked to health problems, but that’s a whole other subject and I don’t want to start that debate here. My issue is more personal.
The part I don’t understand is my own vehement reaction to it. With everything going on with Jess, I think one of things that hurts the most is that she has started smoking again. She smoked before I knew her but had quit before we met. The fact that it even registers on my radar sounds ridiculous even to me. Why do I care so much? Why is it such a big deal? Why is it so important to me that my loved ones not smoke? I feel the same sense of hurt and distance when Larry occasionally smokes too. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that no one is doing it to be hurtful or anything. I just don’t understand why it means so much to me. The first time I saw jess light up on our balcony, let’s just say my reaction was completely and irrationally emotional. Maybe because of our separation my subconscious read more into it like because she knows how much it means to me maybe I stupidly saw it as a big final “fuck you” which, of course, I know it isn’t. I’m sure we all know the stupid things we can think when we’re emotional.
But the fact is is that is a big deal to me and I don’t know why. I don’t think it’s a judgmental thing, but admittedly I could be wrong. I don’t think any less of her for it and I don’t think I’m better than people who smoke. I really do think it’s more of a connection thing. It makes me feel distant and disconnected and I do legitimately worry about the health of the people I love and supporting the evil empires of tobacco (which ironically is a trait directly instilled in me by Jess). To me it feels like it comes from a place of caring and concern and not a confrontational or judgmental place. I value my connections with people and anything that interfers with those connections bothers me.
I just don’t understand why I feel the way I do. I don’t want it to interfere with my connection. Why can’t I just not care about it? When Larry smokes, I feel down. When Jess smokes it’s of a whole other order of magnitude. It feels like it almost hurts as much as our separation which should be ludicrous! I’m sure there must be some deep subconscious motivation at work here. I just can’t figure out what it is. I’m really trying to be better about this and at least not be judgmental or sanctimonious about my feelings. I’d love to find the root of this and find a way to overcome it.

The Beatles: “Love”

For Christmas I received not one, but two copies of the new Beatles album, “Love” which I had desperately been wanting ever since learning of it. For anyone who doesn’t know, Cirque Du Soleil wanted to do a Beatles themed show so George Martin and his son Giles took the original Beatles master tapes, put them in a metaphorical blender and came up with some amazing musical casseroles, some pieced together like Frankenstein’s monster, with amazing results. Some songs have the vocals from one song set to the music from a completely different song with various textures from even more songs thrown in, while some other songs are changed very little from the originals but almost everything has at least some small subtle bits from other songs creeping in.
I definitely think the die hard Beatles fans (like myself) will reap the deepest rewards from this collection but even more casual Beatles fans can’t miss the more extreme remixes and sound collages which, in my opinion, are by far the best and most amazing. This album continues to elicit goose bumps from me even several after listenings. I’m just about as big a Beatles fan as there is but I have yet to be able to trace each bit of each song back to its origin. The end of “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite” mixed with “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” sounds to me like a pristine aural representation of Hell, and I mean that in a wonderful, pure genius way. Listening to this album is like being caught in some strange wormhole where the entire Beatles catalog exists as one living, breathing entity; time and space ripple and fold back on themselves as sounds and images fade and meld into each other and through you.
I’ve evangelized for years about the genius of George Martin and how I think his role as producer had as much effect on the end result of Beatles records as the 4 Beatles themselves had in writing and playing them and I think this album puts his talents on display more than ever. Just listen to “Anthology” and you can hear a demo of a good song end up as a true masterpiece due in no small part to Martin’s input.
The album is also available in two formats, standard CD, and a double CD+DVD version which includes the whole album (with some slightly longer versions of some songs) in 5.1 surround sound. This is an absolute must hear. Absolutely one of the most creative and amazing things I’ve heard in a long time.

News Flash from the Republican party

BS Newswire:
In their continuing efforts to counter the buzz surrounding presidential hopeful Barack Obama, the republican party released this statement:

We’ve already touched on how “Obama” sounds frighteningly close to “Osama” and how his middle name is “Hussein”, but we think this latest link can not be ignored. How could any patriotic American not be concerned about the similarity of the names “Barack” and “Baraka”. For those who do not know, “Baraka” was a monstrous enemy in the popular and exceedingly violent video game, “Mortal Kombat”. As you can see in this photo, he had a demonic, clearly anti-Christian visage and two deadly metal swords in his forearms. The only logical conclusion to the parallels between these two entities is that if we let Barack Obama into the Oval Office, he will most likely perform a “fatality” on this country. If you support Obama, then you are obviously a freedom-hating demon lover who wants to see America have its skull and spine ripped out in one fluid motion and then mockingly shown to its own momentarily standing body.


“The Prestige”

Everyone needs to go see this movie, NOW. The very next showing. Best film I have seen in ages. Jess, Larry and I were all completely blown away. Brilliant. Flawless. Words can not express. Go see it.

Save the internet!

Everyone who likes to use the internet and access all websites equally should at least give a glance to www.savetheinternet.com. There is a lot of information and some handy links and such to allow you to easily send your representatives a message stating that the Internet should star neutral, free and unmanipulated by corporations who would love to have control over what websites get precedence.

Purchase my soul for $37.94!

If you want to truly know who I am as a person, check out these albums:

“Hey Album!” and “Ready, Sex, Go” by The Marvelous 3

“Left of Self Centered” and “Letters” by Butch Walker
I’ve decided that Butch Walker’s catalog (including his work with Marvelous 3) is a pretty damn good representation of my soul if it were converted to music and packaged on CD. There is such a great range from rocking, funny, witty songs to intensely passionate and emotional songs which you feel as much as you listen to.

Don’t be a sexist, broads hate that.

So apparently I missed “Blog Against Sexism” day. I don’t really have anything in particular to say, but wanted to say something. We live in a time when sexism, racism, and all kinds of other isms have insidiously weaved themselves into the very fabric of our culture. So much so that many are completely blind to them.
As a species, we are very arrogant and think that we are the end all be all to life in the universe, when the truth is that we are not nearly as evolved as we would like to think. There is still far too much ignorance and intolerance in the world for us to be so high and mighty. I pretty much leave the crusading to my wife, but I guess I’ll just boil it down to my simplest though here: there may be differences between men and women (not just physical but real differences in our makeup, the way we think, the way our brains are wired, who knows), but that is meaningless. That is true on an individual basis, not just a sex/race/whatever basis. Next time you find yourself about to apply a stereotype to someone, take a moment and think about it. Try to catch yourself forming preconceptions of people. We all do it. If we can catch even just one, and instead get to know someone for who they are and not who we think they are, then I think that’s something good.
I think the irony is that anyone who finds themselves thinking that someone else is inferior because of their sex/race/etc is guaranteed to be the inferior one.

“The Beatles” by Bob Spitz

I read a quote somewhere that the latest Beatles biography, “The Beatles: The Biography” by Bob Spitz should now be considered the definitive Beatles Biography. I could not agree more. This book is an absolute must for any Beatles fan.
Much of what is presented in this book has been presented many times before, and in fact the “notes” section, in addition to crediting every source of every quote, does a great job at summarizing how determining the accuracy of much of the Beatles canon is next to impossible. However the presentation is exactly what makes this book so great. It is not presented as an encyclopedia of facts. Information is conveyed in such a way that by the time you are done reading you will feel like you actually lived through it; as if you just took an actual journey through time from before any of the Beatles were born through the heights of their historic unmatched fame, to their sad deterioration and slow crumbling demise. It’s all told in a very narrative and engaging fashion.
It’s an absolutely amazing journey with an emotional resonance that can’t be described. This is one of those few books that is not simply just a good read, it is an experience. There are many people who are referred to as “The Fifth Beatle”, but by the end of this book, you’ll feel as if The Fifth Beatle was you.

Arr! Pirate Booty!

Many of you have probably heard of “collectible card games”, the most popular one being “Magic: The Gathering.” After Magic became such a huge hit, everyone on the face of the planet was mandated to put out their own CCG, 99% of which quickly faded into obscurity. Well I’ve just stumbled upon something even cooler. A “Constructible Strategy Game” and even better yet, it’s all about pirates! I present to you “Pirates”. Each pack contains everything you need to play: cards that you punch pieces out of to construct your 3-D pirate ships, a punch out island, treasure tokens, crew member tokens, and instructions. It’s a simple little game that looks like it could be a lot of fun. It’s similar to the “CCG’s in that there’s a whole list of ships and crew members which you try and “collect” ranging in rarity. Their website has a lot of great information including a flash animated set of instructions and game examples. We just bought a couple of packs and will probably end up with one or two packs from each expansion. Check it out!

“You’re Really Growing On Me”

I figured that using a song title from their first album was apropos as it represents my relaitonship with the second album. It is indeed growing on me the more I listen to it. Jess just pointed out a lyric that I had to share:
“I had never seen a set of eyes more hazelerer”