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Life with an Apostrophe
Do You Guys Care?
04/30/08 at 11:47 AM by G apostrophe Ra
On "I'll Catch You", the last song of the seminal Get Up Kids record "Something To Write Home About", frontman Matt Pryor sings "I can see everything/remembering 'jinx removing'". Knowing that they are a band likely to have been influenced by the amazing Jawbreaker, I've always wondered if Pryor is referencing the second to last song on Jawbreaker's "24 Hour Revenge Therapy" called "Jinx Removing". It seems likely because the phrase is in quotes on the lyric sheet, and also because Jinx Removing is just a totally kickass song that I feel like someone as cool as Matt Pryor would like. Then again, it doesn't entirely make any sort of apparent sense in the context of what I understand Pryor's song to be saying. But I don't know for sure, and none of my friends care.

Isn't there like an Omnipotent Wizard of Lame Rock Trivia I could I ask about this?
These things bother me.

Also, someone should name their band Jinx Removing. It references two awesome bands in one and, on top of that, sounds kind of like it has to do with Harry Potter, which is always a bonus.
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Jokes You Make About the Black Guy with the Blonde Dye Job
04/30/08 at 11:42 AM by G apostrophe Ra
1. Dennis Rodman
This has got to be the most common one. "Whoa! Dude! You look like Rodman!" Endless guffaws, yadda yadda yadda. He is not a handsome guy, and I am not a world-class rebounder. I was Dennis Rodman for Halloween when I was nine years old and it was the talk of my elementary school, so I sort of feel a special kinship with the guy, and that provides some kind of a buffer against hearing this joke over and over again. My stint as Rodman as a fourth-grader- complete with feather boa- was kind of an important step in the development of my boldness and nonconformism, or maybe more basically, ability to tune out narrow-minded assholes and be comfortable with people staring at me all the time, so I guess there is something of a sentimental attachment. Androgyny builds character!

2. Sisquo
At work, there is a guy who insists on trying to start up a chorus of "The Thong Song" every time I walk by, and the chortles that ensue would make you think that this is actually a clever and inventive quip. I was never a huge Dru Hill fan to begin with, but now that their frontman is washed-up and known primarily for a campy, annoying and overplayed ode to women's underwear, the comparison is even less flattering. This guy, too, was notoriously androgynous. I think I'm seeing a pattern here...

3. Wesley Snipes in "Demolition Man"
I've never even watched this movie, but I think I've heard enough to surmise that it was not a highlight of Snipes' career. I have an oversized and salient hoop earring in my left ear, too, so outside of going blonde, I've had comparisons to Snipes in "Major League" as well.

4. Chris Tucker in "The Fifth Element"
I haven't seen this one either, but I think I heard he plays a gay clairvoyant or something. Haven't any straight black guys dyed their hair blond, or am I an unwitting pioneer?

5. Carlton Banks ( from "The Fresh Prince") Dressing Up As Macaulay Caulkin for Halloween
Ok, so I've only gotten this one once. I thought it was pretty clever and original, to be honest, and on top of that indicates a depth of knowledge about Will Smith's videography, and so a credit goes to my main man Jay Russel for dreaming up this one. This episode actually happened, and was actually pretty funny.

Seriously, if you want to make fun of my hair, so be it, but unless you have a cultural reference point that is not on this list, you're derivative and lame and I don't want to hear it.

Otherwise, feel free to add if you like, ya haters.
Tags: lists
Tags: lists
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Order In, Chow Down, Connect with your Brethren
04/30/08 at 11:40 AM by G apostrophe Ra
There's a scene in High Fidelity (watch it- we'll have something to talk about) where Rob (John Cusack's character) is revisiting the girls who belong on his list of top 5 most devastating break ups and he gets to one played by a less than breath-taking actress who's name escapes me (look, I know there's IMDB but get off me) and he points out that if he slept with her, he couldn't just sleep with her; he'd have to sleep with an entire culture of lonely, desperate, single people.

This makes alot of sense to me, because at this moment I am eating reheated Domino's pizza, and while I'm technically eating alone, I sort of feel as if I'm eating it with an entire culture of poor and lazy college-age post-adolescents who repeatedly consume the convience food for it's cheapness and the ease with which one can buy it in bulk. This suspicion is corroborated by the fact that thus far in my post-adolescence, nearly every pizza ordering experience I can recall has involved the emergence of some neighbor, quasi-acquaintance or passer by overhearing discussion of prospective pizza consumption and hastily interrupting with something like "dude, can I throw in a couple bucks for a slice or two?" But unlike the Cusack conundrum, my cognizance of this culture and the solidarity I engage in by participating in it are not aversive to me; I find it comforting and even reassuring that I can connect with my nuked pizza- eating and Pavement listening forefathers and peers through each bite of hastily prepared, cheese-slathered foodstuffs. Perhaps it is a function of this that I have eaten pizza at least four times in the last ten days and will more than likely eat it again later tonight.

I think I'll hug my delivery guy next time I see him.
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Too Late For Saving Face(book)
04/30/08 at 11:38 AM by G apostrophe Ra
I've had limited experience with the rumor mill. I'm pretty sure this is because in most gossip-hungry social circles, I'm far from significant enough for anyone to have made things up about me. This is the beauty of non-entity-hood.

Recently, I accidentally made myself the talk of my town in the basest way possible. That's right- I'm talking Facebook. It started when a friend of mine whom I became acquainted with through the high school party scene and later was reunited with at good ol' PF Chang's asked me an innocent question via my "wall" about how work was going. Now, said friend is a ton o' fun and I don't mean to suggest otherwise when I say this, but this is the kind of mundane question that drives me to be so creative in my attempt to counteract it that I start stirring up trouble. See, I've never been the "oh it's going great, how're the kids?" type of guy. The button-down lifestyle is not for me. In response to her harmless query, I told her that I actually couldn't tell her how the job was going because I'd recently been fired- a needless and utter lie.

Don't get me wrong; I expected this would provoke mild outrage on her part, and it did, but the response I got in addition was overwhelming. My wall was soon after littered by my other Facebook-ing co-workers with appalled expressions of surprise and dismay. When I went in to work a few days later, I was immediately met with an assortment of variations of "Dude, what are you doing here? I thought you got fired!" by at least four of my fellow Chang-ers. It was mayhem. I couldn't even fathom how my seemingly innocuous, temporary, antidote to boredom could blow out of proportion right before my eyes that way.

In my admittedly limited calculation of the consequences of lying about being fired, I failed to account for the fact that Facebook, as a "social utility", pretty much notifies everyone who is listed as your friend if you even so much as fart. For those of you not in the know (and jesus, there can't be many of you left at this point), the log-in screen features up-to-the-minute updates on all of your friends' activities (eg: "Connor Jenkins has just jerked off in the shower")- including what they've written on your mutual friends' "walls". Facebook turned to telephone turned to word of mouth turned to me looking like a complete jackass when I had to explain that I hadn't actually been fired, but merely made an idiotic joke out of boredom...

The suspicion of my termination from Chang's lasted weeks, and it became more clear to me just how widespread it was as time went on as I found myself clearing my name- online and in person at work- several times a day. I found this especially ironic because, as a part-time server who has recently downsized his schedule to three shifts a week, and who frequently must request off even those few shifts to accomodate the demands of being in an active rock band, I feel my actual termination from this job is imminent. Due to my being an idiot and Facebook, a classic Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf situation is all but sure to ensue.

So of course, if there's a moral to this story, one would hope I had picked up on it throughout all the confusion. A moral about truth and honesty, trust among friends, and approaching things as significant as one's employment with a certain level of sobriety and integrity.

In a manner of speaking, I very much did learn a lesson.
A former co-worker, unaware of the debacle I caused two weeks ago, has already unwittingly presented me with an opportunity to redeem myself by asking the same innocent question about work once more.
This time, my response on his wall reflects what I've learned.

"Work is going great, dude. Thanks for asking. But more importantly, I've got an 11- inch penis."
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Sgt. G'Ra's Lonely Hearts Club
04/30/08 at 11:37 AM by G apostrophe Ra
At a restaurant, everyone hates a one top.
But not even just in restaurants. In general, life scorns one tops- assuming one tops are representative of lonely people, and it seems safe to assume that. In high school, when I sat alone in the cafeteria at lunch time, kids laughed at me. This is how it works.

Servers hate one tops because a party of one person is usually going to have a pathetically low bill, and a low bill means a lower tipping percentage, which is not good. On top of this, a one person party will take up space in your section that could be otherwise occupied by a larger group of people with a higher bill and thusly a higher tipping percentage. In short, next time you go into a restaurant and request a table alone and the hostess and server offer you those polite smiles, know that behind this veneer they are cursing you for all that they're worth.

Another thing about one tops is that because they have no one to talk to while either waiting for their food or consuming their food, they tend to pay alot more attention to the service. Not just things like whether there is a fly in their water glass or if the food comes out at a reasonable speed. I think those types of complaints are legitimate concerns, whether your party is made up of one person or six. But one tops tend to dwell on things like the exact amount of time between visits from the server, or if the server tends to spend more time in contact with his other, better populated tables. I had a one top who was so dismayed by my service that she actually wrote a letter of complaint on a napkin she left on top of the check, complete with timed intervals of when I dropped the check, when I returned her credit card, and when I asked her whether she enjoyed her entree.

Lady, if you're reading this somehow: If you have enough time to sit there and meticulously record and present the minutes of your visit like a scribe at a criminal hearing, you have no business complaining about waiting 15 minutes to get a to-go box and your check. Go to McDonald's if you're in that big a lonely rush!

Her letter is now on my bedroom wall, right next to pictures of Fall Out Boy, MxPx, Hendrix and Ryan Adams. Yes, this lady is, in a way, my hero as well. Every day I read her letter and it inspires me to be a better person. One who doesn't write obnoxious letters on restaurant napkins, for starters. But I digress. More than anything, this poor lady has inspired me to devise a solution to this deleterious dilemma.

From now on, I think PF Chang's should seat all one-tops in a designated area that we can call "The Lonely Hearts Club". Instead of traditional Chang's seating arrangements, we'll only offer comfy bean bag chairs to would-be one tops. Here, these lonely hearts can associate with other people with presumably repugnant personalities who couldn't convince anyone to come to lunch with them. We could even have theme afternoons with fun "get-to-know-each-other" activities, arts and crafts, Twister tournaments and the like. Full service would, of course, still be available to The Lonely Hearts Club section so it would remain profitable for the restaurant. It would be a happy time for all, and after a few consistent visits, some of our lonely hearts would inevitably begin pairing off and returning to Chang's as *two tops*.

If the Lonely Hearts Club didn't help these cranky, old, solitaire fanatics find love, or at the very least company, there's a solid chance that the restaurant's treatment of those eating solo would humiliate them enough that they dare not return alone. Talk about a win-win situation!

I mean, I'm just saying...
Tags: just saying
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Radioactive Man Should Be Ashamed of His Protege
04/30/08 at 11:36 AM by G apostrophe Ra
I like Fall Out Boy as much as the next man, but some of Mr. Wentz's lyrics strike me as a little too derivative of other bands at times.

Consider the similarity between

"We're the kids who feel like dead ends
And I want to be known for my hits, not just my misses"

from Fall Out Boy's "I've Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea..." (which appeared on the album "From Under the Cork Tree" and was released in 2005)

"I hate being famous for my hits and never for my misses...
So, pass another round around for the kids who have nothing left to lose"

from Boys Night Out's "I Got Punched in the Nose..." which appeared on the album "Make Yourself Sick" and was released in 2003.

Or, take
"She took me down and said:
'boys like you are overrated. So save your breath'" from Fall Out Boy's "Chicago is so Two Years" (which appeared on the album "Take This To Your Grave" and was released in 2003)

and compare it to

"She said...boys like you are a dime a dozen
... you're a touch overrated" from Taking Back Sunday's "You're So Last Summer" which appeared on the album "Tell All Your Friends" and was released in 2002.

I mean hell, even the titles are sorta similar.

Or how about
"Yeah, put these words down
Into your notebook (spit lines like these)
We're friends when you're on your knees" from Fall Out Boy's "Our Lawyer Made us Change..." (another cork tree jam, circa 2005)

as compared to
"I want to hear you scream you like me better on my knees" from Taking Back Sunday's " Slowdance on the Inside" which appeared on "Where You Want To Be" in 2004.

"You always fold just before you're found out" from Fall Out Boy's "Dance, Dance" (yep, cork tree again, 2005)

is pretty similar to

"Sometimes you've got to fold before you're found out." from Dashboard Confessional's "Rapid Hope Loss" which appeared on "A Mark A Mission A Brand A Scar" in 2003.

Even on their most recent album, Wentz has some questionably derivative lines:

"And this crystal ball It's always cloudy except for
When you look into the past" from "Thanks for the Memories" sounds like it could have been influenced by

"We must stare into a crystal ball and only see the past" from Bright Eyes' "At the Bottom of Everything" which was released on the album "I'm Wide, It's Morning" in 2005- two years, one might note, before Fall Out Boy's latest was released.

So let's put the pieces together: All of these bizarrely similar lyrics appeared on records that were released before their concievably plagiaristic counterpart songs on Fall Out Boy records came out, and all of them were composed by bands that we can safely assume Mr. Wentz has given at least a cursory listen. It's quite a bit suspicious, when you look at the pattern.

Seems to me, Pete, that "your secret's out. And the best part is, it isn't even a good one."
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And the journal begins with a blog of explanation
04/30/08 at 11:30 AM by G apostrophe Ra
Hey all.

I have opted to start blogging here and on my current blog simultaneously. To sort of begin bridging the gap, I'll be posting some of my older blogs here to give context to the blogs I post from here on out. If you want to get the whole prior shebang, peep http://gapostrophera.livejournal.com. Cheers!

death to van gogh's ear,
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