Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm changing my priorities...

I'm giving up on women. FOR NOW.

Even since I was a teenager, and maybe even a couple years before that, my number one concern in life was finding a girl. I'd think about how I'd try to become financially secure (and then some), or what I'd do for a living, or how to spend my free time, but eventually it'd all come back to same thing. Finding someone to love, someone to love ME. If I did that, it wouldn't matter how everything else would turn out. I'd be happy, I'd have accomplished everything I wanted to do with my life. As long as we got each other, we got the world spinnin' right in our hands.

As you may know, that hasn't worked out too well. It's been 15+ years and I'm still alone. It sucks. Trust me, you don't know how good you've got it. Even if you think you do, you don't. I'd give anything to just have a few moments like that.

Now, a large part of this is probably my fault (Who am I kidding? It is ALL my fault.). I've fallen for girls that didn't like me that way. For girls who didn't like me, period. Girls who are way too out of reach. Celebrities. And when I do find one and things start going well, like maybe "this is the one", I kill it before it even has a chance. You know that analogy of holding a dove too tight and it dies? Yeah...

Making things worse (at least, in my own mind), all my friends from college have gotten married. Some to people they knew since elementary school. Some to their high school sweethearts. Some to people they met in college. And they all got married pretty young. In most cases, at or before 25. They keep telling me that those situations are the exceptions to the rule, and if I'm patient, I'll find my one. But when you look around and see exceptions everywhere, it's hard to understand what the rules truly are.

No one's pushing me to settle down and find someone, but I still feel this incredible amount of pressure to do so. Maybe I just watch too much TV and expect my life to be scripted in a similar manner. Maybe I just spend too much time inside my own head. Maybe I'm not meant to be with anyone.

Well, for 2010, I'm not gonna let this bother me. Because I'm not even gonna try. I practically couldn't care less about it. I could, but I highly doubt it.

I have something more important to worry about this year: leaving Fargo and moving to the Twin Cities. Sure that doesn't sound like much, but everything I'm focusing on will help me achieve that goal before the end of the year. Trying to endure one more year at my current place of employment. Taking a .NET course online. Searching for a job. I don't know if I'll find what I'm looking for down there, but I know my chances of finding it here are effectively zero.

Sure, accomplishing all this will help me find someone eventually. But I'm not doing this for them, I'm doing it for me. I need to take care of myself, doing the things that make me happy (or maybe just less miserable). Who wants to be around a pissed-off, angry white male all the time? Besides, even if I found someone tomorrow, no matter how well it'd go over the next 12 months, it's not gonna change my plans. I'm moving to the Cities. And if you don't want to, it's over. It wouldn't be fair to that other person to present them with that kind of ultimatum, so why bother?

I don't know if things will actually change once I get down there. I'd like to think so. Many, many more fish out in that sea. I'm sure I can find one that shares many of my interests (Twins, Gophers, video games, golf, modern rock music, etc.) that I do. I can't imagine being in any major metropolitan area and still not being able to find someone. That's just wrong.

Ladies, if you're out there, sorry. I'm off the market. Come back in a year, then we'll talk. Until then, do what I'm doing. Take care of yourself, so you can be in a better position to find your someone.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My new career path

I just had a thought...

I should submit a resume to MTV to become the president of the network. Or maybe the director of programming. Or whatever position would give me the power to decide what goes on the air and what doesn't.

I don't see how I'm any less qualified than the bozo monkeys that are currently running the show...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

That's only half the answer...

I figured out why people in Fargo drive with their heads up their asses in the winter. It's for the warmth. But what do they do the other seven and a half months? Why do they drive like that from April 1st to November 15th?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Step 2: ???

I love The Donnas. Probably in an incredibly unhealthy way. All because I became obsessed with them after going nuts that I couldn't do anything satisfy my hunger for playing Rock Band.

I love The Donnas, but this is only a recent revelation. Even as recently as mid-September, I only owned one Donnas album, their major-label debut "Spend the Night". I'm sure I only bought that album for the two biggest hits, "Take It Off" and "Who Invited You". I also purchased "The Cream of Clapton", Tom Petty's "Wildflower", The Killers' "Hot Fuss", and greatest hit collections from The Who and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in that same order from This was a seven-album, eight-disc boost to my music collection. I'm getting off-topic...

I love The Donnas. And not just because I'm attracted to them. That may have started this thing, but it didn't end there. I love their music. I started working my way forward through their catalog, not particularly caring for some of the older stuff (initially, I didn't like younger Brett's higher-pitched voiced and the faster pace at which they played, but I've come to embrace it as much as their current musical style), but as I filled out the front end, I had to start going through the back end to alleviate my need for a fix (and I fell in love with those albums too). Ask me my favorite Donnas album, and you won't get an answer. It'd be like picking a favorite child. I love each of their six albums in my possession (Get Skintight, Turn 21, Spend the Night, Gold Medal, Bitchin', and Greatest Hits Vol. 16) in their own special ways. They each bring something different to the table. The Donnas have evolved musically in their nearly seventeen years together. Each album is a stop along that road, and they're all great. Getting off-topic again...

I love The Donnas. Along with the music, they're very enjoyable people. I've ended up favoriting just as many interview/backstage videos on YouTube as I have performances/music videos. Allison Robertson (guitar) just talks with so much passion for their jobs. Brett Anderson (lead singer) and Maya Ford (bass) are dynamic as well. And Torry Castellano (drums)... Well, she's just a little pixie. Gun to my head, forcing me to choose one of them to be with? It's Donna C.

After being on this road for the past 4+ months, there is only one way this can end. Once, just ONCE, I want to meet them. It's probably one of the biggest deciding factors in me wanting to move to the Twin Cities. Pre-Donnas, I just needed to get out of Fargo; they gave me a concrete goal to work towards. Eight shows in Minneapolis since '98 (just as many as Vegas, Salt Lake, or London), the most recent of which was Feb. 28, 2008. They'll be back, I know it.

The Donnas have opened my world. Kinda. For example, guitarist Allison Robertson appeared in some print ads for the Zoom Q3 device. On YouTube, there is this video of the photo shoot she did with Anthrax's Scott Ian. The song in the background sounded awesome, so I had to find out what it was and download it (via legal methods). It was Feel Good Drag by Anberlin. It rocks! I like it so much it's made the list of the 1% of my music collection on my PDA smartphone. Brett did an interview with Suicide Girls Radio. She mentions root beer floats with Jack Daniels in it (which I tried but didn't particularly care for, but I think that's because I can't drink any type of soda other than cola-flavored anymore) and Ikea Heights, a web-based soap opera shot entirely in an Ikea store (which I found to be pretty clever). I want to get Drive Me Crazy (where they appear as the Electrocutes, they band they formed before they became The Donnas), Detroit Rock City and Grind on DVD (both of which include a music video that I could rip onto my PC). I could go on, and I know these are pretty stupid examples, but I feel they're great for trying to explain how these girls have touched me since I became a fan of their band.

So, the question that then presented itself was "How could I meet them?". And not the obvious stuff, of course. I get to the Cities by moving down there. They come to town for a show. I get a ticket and go. Then I try to get backstage or wait outside afterwards (this is Step 1: Meet The Donnas). This is where the "How?" comes into play. I needed to come up with an idea that'd get me through whatever barriers I may run into. Not so much physically (bouncers, locks, etc.). I mean, once I do get face-to-face with them, what do I say? What do I do? How can I make a good impression on them? (the as-of-yet undefined Step 2) I want to leave that venue at the end of the night not just with a couple of autographs and a few pictures. I want to be able to call Brett, Maya, Allison, and Torry friends. More importantly, I want them to call ME a friend. Where I could call them to say "Hey" or they call me when they come to town: "Hey Paul, wanna go grab something to eat?" (Step 3: Profit!).

Yes, I totally admit this is dangerously obsessive. And because I'm thinking like this, I should be kept hundreds of miles away from them at all times. But I can't shake this feeling like this is fate. Like maybe I'm supposed to be with Torry (or maybe one of the others, but again, gun to my head...). A part of me says, "There's nothing wrong with that. You're 29, they're 30/31. It's natural to be attracted to someone your own age." And if I get to them, make my play, and get shot down, I'd be totally OK with that. I could move on, because I had to find out and did. I won't have to live with that regret for the rest of my life. I'd still be a fan of their music and them as the people they are.

After weeks of contemplation, I came up with an answer. Twizzlers. They went nuts for them when Charmaine Brooks brought some backstage (for the purposes of this post, it doesn't really matter who Charmaine Brooks is, other than a person who has backstage access to The Donnas; now YOU'RE getting off-topic). Just fast-forward to the 4:10 mark of this video, as Allison is pulling things out of a bag of gifts Charmaine brought the girls. After about 30-40seconds, Torry just starts chanting, in fact, BEGGING for some Twizzlers. They just love them (or at least I perceive they do). If I show up backstage with a bag (or two) of Twizzlers, I'm in. That's how I see it.

But I keep thinking that I need something more. A conversation piece. Something to talk about and try to form a bond over.

As a sports fan, I visit on a daily basis (with multiple visits per day). The best part is when Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy, posts a new article. Even if it's about the NBA, which I don't care for, or even something not related to sports at all (movies and other pop culture-related things). Bill is awesome. I just love his work. I've gotten countless hours of enjoyment out of it.

In 2005, Bill introduced a new type of article to his repertoire, The Curious Guy, where he sends e-mails back and forth with someone. Yeah, that's it, that's the whole article. One of the first ones that Bill did was with "the best-selling author and pop culture guru" Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman, like myself, is a native of North Dakota. And after reading this Curious Guy article, I was impressed with Chuck. His primary realm of expertise was music and its affects on pop culture, but he also knows quite a bit about sports too. After this article, Chuck started writing things for ESPN's Page 2 as well.

One of the best of these articles was "All Too Perfect", written before Super Bowl XLII (for those of you not keeping score at home, that's the one where the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots to end their bid to go a perfect 19-0). The article "explains why losing the Super Bowl would make the Patriots immortal". Funny how things work out; he may have jinxed them with that piece. But as I was reading it in the days leading up to that big game, I found myself agreeing more and more with the point Chuck was trying to make. It was fuckin' brilliant. That's when I became a Chuck Klosterman fan.

A few days after that game, I was reading the Fargo Forum at lunch at a fast food restaurant (I'm pretty sure it was the McDonald's on 19th Avenue N. in Fargo), and saw that Chuck was coming to the F-M area to do a talk at MSU-Moorhead. I had to go and meet this geek-chic pop culture guru. Listen to him talk. Maybe get an autograph. So that evening, before the show, I ran to Barnes and Noble and picked up a couple of his books, "Fargo Rock City" and "Killing Yourself to Live". Yeah, maybe it's a little hypocritical, I didn't (and still don't) care. Went to the talk. He sounded a little more geeky than I was expecting, but I had a good time (particularly when he proceeded to tear apart a girl and her logic when she stated that she's anti-pop culture, but he argued that she's still using pop culture as a defining point to describe what she does or doesn't like). Afterwards, everyone lined up to get his John Hancock, as did I. When my turn came to talk to him, I told him how great that article about the Patriots losing the Super Bowl was. He signed my copy of "Fargo Rock City" and I left. I ended up reading the first couple chapters before I lost interest with it (the last book I read was the final Harry Potter book in July '07; it felt like such a chore, but I had to do it since I read the previous 6).

Fast-forward back to the present. I use Twitter, but I'm only following about 20 people. A few friends, my Gophers and Jayhawks, a few random people who started following me, and my favorite columnist, Bill Simmons. Bill recently mentioned in one of his Twitter posts (I refuse to use the term "tweet") that Chuck has started using Twitter. I start following Chuck, then it comes to me after following him for a couple days...

This is how I can get a conversation started with Torry, I can just give her a copy of "Fargo Rock City"! It's about the same kind of music that The Donnas grew up on. Kiss, AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe. It'll be perfect! I'm set!

I'm basing this hypothesis on two things. One, a blog post from a round of "Ask The Donnas" (concept explained my blog post here), where Torry talks about re-reading Crime and Punishment (and implying that she's read it at least once before). Two, this appearance on mun2 where she mentions that she's reading Slash's autobiography (fast-forward to the 8:00 mark). Based on these two examples of books she's read, she is an avid reader, and she'll likely read "Fargo Rock City" if I give her a copy. This may be some of the most fucked up logic that you've even seen, but it makes sense to ME.

Of course, how I can a recommend any book to any person if I haven't already read it myself? I grabbed my copy of "Fargo Rock City" off my bookshelf and started reading it. I took it to work so I could read it on my breaks and during my lunch hour. I also read it at home a bit, at night, if nothing good was on TV. It was good. Although Chuck and I have little in common; he's eight years older than me. Musically, he's a product of the late '70s and the '80s, and I'm a product of the '90s. But I get it. Or at least I think I do. He breaks down metal in so many ways, how it affected and influenced him and the rest of America. I loved it. I think I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed a book this much in my life. I was laughing out loud. I was nodding my head in agreement. I was making that noise my buddy Travis makes when he comes across an amusing revelation (that I can only best describe as a high-pitched "Hunh!"). It's great, I'm glad I finally took the time to read Chuck's book (and I will proceed to purchase and read his remaining five books).

It's 8:30 last night. There's nothing good on TV, except the Gophers hockey game, but I've never been one who could sit still enough to watch sports on TV (blame it on my ADHD). I turn the volume down, start playing music on my laptop, pick up "Fargo Rock City", and start reading. I had about 70 pages left (roughly the last quarter of the book), and I was planning to read until 10, when South Park would come on.

I'm making my way through the final chapters, when Chuck starts to discuss the current bands (current as of 1998, when the book was written and published) that best carry the torch of those 80's hair metal bands. He first talks about groups like Korn and Rage Against the Machine, but they don't quite fit the bill to his satisfaction. Chuck starts to dig further into it. And who does he mention at the bottom on page 246?

You're damn right. The Donnas. An entire paragraph to devoted all aspects of their music. Comparisons to the same bands that Chuck himself (and The Donnas) grew up on. Kiss, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe. He calls their second album, American Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Machine, "the only legitimately great record released in 1998".

"Holy Fuck!" That was my initial reaction, then I was literally speechless after I read that paragraph. For two or three minutes, I wasn't sure how to react. I stopped reading immediately to try to process this. The same book that I was going to recommend to a member of a band actually MENTIONED that band. Needless to say, this was totally unexpected. I tried to post something profound about this revelation on Twitter, but due to my speechlessness and the 140 character limit, I could only get this out. Even weirder, I had decided only a day or two before this that I was going to purchase ATRM in the near future, partly because I want to complete my Donnas collection of albums (I had only obtained Get Skintight and Turn 21 a couple weeks ago), partly because The Donnas posted a new video on YouTube, the live performance of "Speed Demon" from their Desert Moon 2 concert in Sept. '08 (this song is on ATRM).

I only had 20-25 pages to go, so I decide to finish the rest of the book. I left my couch, where I had been sitting (the Gopher game was over and everything else on TV was just going to be a distraction I didn't need), go into my office, and finish "Fargo Rock City". Then I could, and would be ready to, start writing on my blog about my reaction to this.

Officially, if the topic comes up for discussion, I don't believe in signs or fate or destiny or any of that crap. Sure, there maybe some kind of supernatural force at play that I may never fully understand, but people are on the paths they travel because of the decisions they make. That's why I'm at where I am now. I control my own destiny. But I don't think I've ever actually said that to anyone...

But that one paragraph in Chuck's book... Maybe THIS is a sign... Even further enforcing that belief: yesterday (January 8th) was both Maya's and Torry's birthday.

I know what you're going to say. "Paul, you don't believe in signs!!" Well,... maybe this is a sign that I should believe in signs.

At work this week, most conversations I'd have with my co-workers would focus on "Are you going to the holiday party this weekend?" I don't really want to go. I hate that they moved it to after the holidays instead of before. That first week back from work each of the last four years has been so stressful from the "urgent" needs of people to address their computer issues, that I really want nothing to do with any of them. At all. So I'd answer "Yeah, probably, but I got this nagging feeling like there's something important I need to do this weekend..." It's mostly bullshit, but a very small part of me did feel that way. And I'd admit to that person that I need to laundry (which is true), but that wasn't it (especially since I've got all day Sunday to take care of it).

Looking back on this whole thing... Maybe this was that important thing I needed to do. Maybe it's yet another sign... Then again, maybe this is just me trying to find a pattern, a connection, something, to interrelate a number of highly coincidental events.

And this doesn't even begin to address a potential flaw in Step 2 to make a play for Torry. It's totally possible that she may have already read this book. It's more than ten years old at this point, it's about the same kind of music she grew up on, it mentions her band (though not her specifically, like it does Brett and Allison). I can't speak for her, but I'm such a narcissist that I would read every single book out there that mentioned me or my band. But doesn't this still give me a way in? I mean, if she's already read the book, then I don't have to wait for her to read it and call me to discuss it. I present her with the text, she recognizes it, and we start talking about it. Like Chuck states in the foreward to "Fargo Rock City", "You walk up to any desirable person..., and you say (with a certain sense of endearing bewilderment), 'Isn't it insane how many books there are about ___?' Fill in the blank with whatever subject..." (Yes, I took some liberties with the ellipses, but that doesn't totally invalidate the approach in this situation.)

Last week, The Donnas posted on their Facebook page, "BRAND NEW YEAR, BRAND NEW ALBUM! HELLO 2010!!!" (their caps, not mine). Torry has been sitting on the shelf since at least May '09, due to shoulder problems. I infer from this Twitter post that at some point this year, she'll be well enough to go back into the studio with the rest of The Donnas and record, then they'll go out on tour. They didn't visit the Twin Cities during their tour this past summer, so I'd say they're due.

When they do, I'll be there with Twizzlers and "Fargo Rock City". I'll find a way to get to them, and we'll play ball. Regardless of how it will end, I'll be happy. I just gotta get past Step 2 and find out, you know?...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cinematic Calamities

Dear Hollywood,

Please stop turning classic anthropomorphic cartoon figures into live-action/CGI travesties on the big-screen. Scooby Doo? Alvin and the Chipmunks? Really, do we have to? Who's next? Yogi Bear? Please don't. Just leave them alone. Please.

Thank you,
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