Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Final Word

Howdy Friends. It's been a wild ride over that last 4 years of writing this blog. I had the opportunity to rant and rave, made some new friends along the way and hopefully made some people laugh. I've pretty much said everything that I needed to say about rockabilly, hipsters, hippies and everything else that I felt needed saying.

I guess you might call it writer's block, or maybe I've just exhausted the range of topics relevant to this blog. I won't be posting here anymore, but instead will devote my energy into writing another blog.

I will be writing something fairly different, but it's been something that's been on my mind for while. After many disappointing encounters with stuff that was made in China, I wanted to address this issue, namely that great products are still being manufactured right here in North America. Each post will shed light on one particular item and will include a little bit of history and, hopefully, humor.

My views haven't changed and I'll be a greasy bastard until the day they put me six feet under. It was just time to write about something else.

Please feel free to check my new blog out. thelongestborder.blogspot.com

Thanks for taking the time for reading greasy rockabilly views and keep rockin'.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Very Greasy Xmas

There seems to be two separate camps when it comes to the subject of christmas: those who love it and those who hate it with a passion. I don't want to get embroiled in any debates on the matter with either side, so I will forgo an in-depth tirade about christmas. One has to admit however, that there are a few strange things about this time of year. The strangest is the myth of Santa Claus.

It's a fairly shitty thing to do to little kids and it's a miracle that most of use haven't remained severely traumatized or turned into to serial killers. As soon as you old enough to stand up on your own ( although you might still be crapping yourself at this stage) all the grown ups around you regale you with fantastic tales of a fat dude in a red suit. This guy has a house on the ice pack in the Arctic ocean. It is populated by little guys who make all the iPads by hand. He owns a bunch of flying cows...moose...reindeer... whatever. Then on December 24th he circumnavigates the entire planet and dumps 8 billion iPads down chimneys.

As a little kid you struggle with all the intricacies of this story, but you are gullible as shit, so you take it for face value. Red suit: check. Elves: check. Reindeer: got it. Is Frosty the Snowman up there too? ..Uh no.. that's another story. Man, that's a lot of work for a still evolving juvenile brain.

As you get a little older some discrepancies in this vast conspiracy begin to emerge and your parents continue to propagate the lie. You repeatedly ask why there are so many Santa Clauses, one in every mall in fact. Your parents give you various bullshit explanations ( I still don't get it). Then you look around your house and realize that you don't have a chimney. You live in an apartment with baseboard heaters.

This goes on for many years until you start hearing rumors from older kids. You refuse to believe anything as preposterous as Santa Claus not being real. You live in denial and one day the bombshell is dropped: There ain't no Santa Claus. Your whole world is in turmoil and your reaction is roughly the same as when some older kid tells you how sex works, " Whaaa-aat!?"

Then it starts to slowly make sense and you realize that Santa Claus wasn't pissed at you when you got socks and underwear for Christmas and that he didn't stop making Hot Wheels that one year.

Now well into adulthood this is all behind us, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish that there actually was a Santa Claus. Once you get past the obvious requests like nice cars, a couple of hot rods maybe a Gretsch guitar, I figure with those kinds of powers ol' St. Nick would be able to take care of a few other things for me.

1. Electronic Xmas music de-frammer with rigor mortis oscillator.

I hate to start a paragraph with a curse word but...Fuck! Literally the day after Halloween ( another odd, inexplicable ritual) The christmas trees come out at Home Depot and everybody starts blaring christmas "music". Every coffee shop, store, mall, funeral parlor and even those stores that sell huge boots to Goths have syrupy songs emanating from their sound systems.

It's the sheer repetitiveness that makes it all the more insidious. The same tired old songs over and over. If they wanted to punish a patient down at the nervous hospital for having jabbed his fork into another patient's eye, this is what he would be subjected to.

Would anyone listen to music this crappy during the rest of the year ? Didn't think so. Sure Brian Setzer Orchestra does a wild christmas blowout every year, but it sure is difficult to polish a turd. These were shmaltzy pop songs at best when they were written all those decades ago. Some date back to the freakin' 19 th century ( some of them might have been raunchy drinking songs for sailors, but someone changed the lyrics). If I hear that Brenda Lee song one more time, I may just plotz myself.

It would be nice to have a hand held device that would zap these abominations. You walk into a store, aim the gizmo at the speakers and no more tunes ( you could probably achieve the same results with a BB gun, but that will guarantee that you spend xmas in jail). As an added bonus they would melt the speakers as well, which I would have no moral dilemmas in doing so, because malls play shitty music all year round anyway ( as an interesting side note, I recently took an elevator that actually had elevator music playing. I didn't know that that Muzak stuff still existed. A special place in hell for the inventor of Muzak,  don't you think?) So come on Santa, get on it, build me one of the devices for christmas.

2. My Own Grease Factory.

Canada is pretty similar to the USA except that is very difficult to find cool shit up here. If you want big-ass tires for a pick up truck they are easy to find, but let's say you need parts for the hydros on your low rider, no dice and it's a 30 hour drive to L.A.

Let's say you have a mullet and 200 bucks burning a hole in your pocket. You develop a sudden urge to buy a Canuck's Jersey. Very easy to find. Let's say you have a hankering for some nice wool pants from the 50's or some smokin' vintage shirts, better gas up the car and stock up on Doritos; it's a long drive to California.

Like my greasy brethren, I go through lots of hair grease and like all of us, like to experiment with different types of product and see what the end results are. The drugstore chains and big box stores only stock Murray's and that slimy green shit made by Dax. I have to order various stuff from a place in New Jersey. I have to wait for Paypal to clear, wait for shipping and pick it up at the post office when the mailman leaves that little sticker on my door. By this time I'm down to Olive oil and used pizza grease.

Santa, build me a grease factory. You can put it right there in the back yard because we have the space.
The factory should have every pomade, grease and slimy shit ever made. Don't bother bringing any combs because the factory should be equipped with an automatic pomp-isizer. Don't forget a fully stocked beer fridge, fucker !

3. A Full Spectrum De-hippie-izer with Quantum Logic Circuitry ( with Smell-o-Vision)

I guess the elves in the electronics division will be busy this weekend because I've wanted one of these for years. It would kind of look like a radar gun and work in a similar fashion. When some hippies come within range, you point the device at them and activate it. The high energy gamma rays would straighten out dreadlocks, clean the dirt and patchouli from their clothing and also clean their filthy dogs. The Quantum logic circuitry would instil some common sense in their pot-addled brains and the Smell-o-Vision would make them smell like Mennen skin bracer and whisky ( this attachment works on other people as well who have bad breath, stinky body odor or excessive flatulence).

There are optional attachments that I would like as well. I want the Hipster Pants Expander, The Douchebag Proximity Alarm, The Bike Thief Instant Vaporizer and Cheap Made in China Crap Repair Kit. Get on it Santa, and this sucker better not say Made in China on the bottom.

That's about it for the big items . Santa could feel free to throw in a couple of Cadillacs if he has some lying around and maybe he can re-route a couple of Jack Daniels trucks for me. I will also send him a list of people that I would like his reindeer to poop on as they do a fly-over. In the meantime, I gotta go, I think I just saw the easter bunny in my backyard.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Essence of Rebellion

Howdy folks, sorry I haven't written in a while. I have been experiencing a writer's block of sorts. Recent events have also resulted in much introspection on my part and by introspection, I mean drinking beers.  A recent position which came to an end recently had completely drained my creativity and parts of my soul. It was the type of work where I had so little to do that I was relegated to watching car crashes on Youtube ( and left wondering why Russians love dash-cams so much).

I won't elaborate much more on this because they have a shitload of lawyers on retainer, but I came to the conclusion that large companies are deeply rooted in bureaucratic structure and ideals. Particularly companies that package and market rebelliousness to people eager to instantly acquire that image. The big boss man always seems so surprised when confronted with a rebellious attitude.

Don't misconstrue what I am trying to say. On one of my posts a few years ago an anonymous comment was posted stating that I was a whiny bitch etc. Everyone is entitled to their opinion I suppose, especially people that don't understand that I was attempting to explain a bigger picture and the futility of certain hierarchal systems. For better of for worse, the majority of us are in that system and your paycheque comes every two weeks.

As a society. we all need certain rules. We don't randomly switch from driving from one side of the road to the other, we don't pee in the display toilets at Home Depot and we don't sit on the porch with a loaded shotgun ( not in these parts, anyway). Similarly all workplaces have rules in place ( don't punch customers in the face and things of that nature) I'm OK with that and I'm pretty good at learning these rules. I don't smart mouth the powers that be and I'll do some overtime as long as there is lots of coffee available.

I realized that other factors are way more subtle. Let's face it ( think about your own workplace for a minute) a lot of these rules are arbitrary, contradictory and just plain inane in some cases. Then the rules change from day to day.

When I'm confronted with this, I guess there must be some subtle body language at play that people pick up on. Maybe a little tiny bit too much swagger, maybe some sub-concious chest puffing or maybe a Mr. Spock eyebrow thing ( or maybe hair is just a tad too greasy). That's when you are branded a rebel.

Many people fancy themselves rebels. Many of these people are in fact, mistaken. Some of these dudes who wear shiny Tap-Out shirts and sport gold chains seem to me to lean more towards sociopathic behavior rather than rebellion. The hippies, that I am so fond of ragging on, think of themselves as the ultimate rebels. They are readily identifiable, as they all dress in a similar fashion. They all share the same old, tired dogma. Some think that smoking copious quantities of pot is a true act of rebellion. If you want to get fucked up, just admit it. Beer drinkers do, and we're not rebelling against anything except maybe archaic liquor laws.

Don't even get me started on hipsters. Why they are still around is a mystery to me. They, of all sub-cultures, are the most conformist by far. Growing an ironic moustache, listening to talentless obscure bands and riding some shitty Honda CB that was hacked into a cafe racer doesn't make one a rebel.

Hollywood has been getting that one wrong for decades. It all started with the Wild One starring Marlon Brando in 1953. Even though it pretty much set the tone for that decade, let's face it, the main character, Johnny, was just an asshole who stole some guy's trophy, liked to intimidate old ladies and scare dogs and most definitely didn't have a job. He rode his motorcycle while drunk and didn't even have the decency to ride an American bike.

Which brings up the topic of Rockabillies.  Every last one of us fondly see ourselves as rebels. I must admit that there is a certain validity to that claim. One has to be a little crazy to walk around with a greasy pomp and cuffed jeans every single day of the year. We listen to music that was popular when stereos still had tubes inside, computers were as big as two houses and Elvis was still thin.

I guess there is a certain satisfaction that comes with non-conformity. One only has to take a look at mainstream music and society to understand why non-conformists exist in the first place. Still, some greasers completely miss the point. At a recent get-together, I was getting irritated at some cat dropping names of bands that he had met. The fact that he wouldn't let his socks touch the floor because they were "vintage" and sat with his feet on the couch the whole time ( like a girl, there I said it) was irritating me even more.

Are Rockabillies the true rebels ? Probably not. There are many occasions where we have to sometimes turn it down a few notches. You probably wouldn't wear a leather motorcycle jacket in court while fighting a traffic ticket. If you have a job interview, chances are you will wear long sleeves to cover up the tattoo that says " Fuck You, Daddy-o! " Let's face it, a lot of us had to sort of "de-pomp" a little for those same job interviews. Maybe you switched to gel when attending your cousin's wedding so that all the old aunties will quit asking " when are you gonna get a real haircut?" Sometimes it's too much hassle being a rebel.

True rebellion comes from within. It is not  a set of anti-social values, but rather a critical way of observing the world . There will be lots of instances where where one doesn't agree or finds something just plain ridiculous. Unfortunately there aren't always opportunities to change these things and on some occasions one will find one's self doing shit you don't wanna do.

So who are the true rebels you might ask? Dogs. Dogs are the true rebels of our society. Just think about it for a second. Dogs lick their own ass in public with impunity. They poop at will and there is always someone on hand to pick it up for them. If somebody annoys them they will bite that person good and hard. They can bark for hours on end, for no particular reason. If their ass is itchy they can drag it on the carpet ( your carpet).  If people fart and proceed to blame it on the dog, the dog is so alpha he doesn't even care, and, if one day, the dogs decides to fuck off, there is nothing you can do about it.

Life is a little more complicated for humans, most of the above would probably get the average person arrested. As for myself, I will just have come to terms with the fact that, until my dying days, there will be a little tiny greaser on my shoulder constantly saying " That's fucking ridiculous!"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Skills For Drinking Outdoors

Every beer drinker loves cracking a cold one outdoors once in a while. If a seasoned drinker is creative enough, beer can be imbibed outdoors even in sub-arctic-like conditions. This not the ideal situation because it can be unpleasant and lead to premature death resulting from being sliced and diced by massive snow blowers.

For my friends who live in balmy climates like California or Brazil, this is what is used to clean up cities after it snows.

At least once every winter in some northern city, some bum will pass out in a snow bank. One of these monstrous machines will come by and  a little spurt of red snow will come out of the spout. If you feel the need to drink outdoors in winter you should take up ice fishing. Those little wooden shacks are nice and cozy and they have little stoves inside them. There is very little fishing going on in these cabins and the hole in the ice is not for the actual catching of fish, but rather a very convenient place to take a pee.

Another option is to make friends with the guy at the local Chevron and see if he'll let you hang around. It will be nice and warm and nobody would be the wiser if you drank your beer out of a paper coffee cup. There is also a bathroom and an endless supply of porno mags. Or you could just go to the corner bar.

Dealing with the elements in winter is challenging to say the least. There are people of questionable sanity who camp in winter on purpose. There are others who want to go to the North Pole. I'll save you the trip; there is more snow, lower temperatures, no light and when you get there you will find a monumental pile of fuck all. Even polar bears have enough sense to not venture that far north.

That said, let us concentrate of those beautiful balmy days of summer when all the lush foliage and clear blue skies almost literally say " Get beers!"

This is a slightly romanticized view, because the cold hard reality of stupid by-laws will soon put a serious fun-damper on your well laid-out plans. Laws vary from state to state, province or country. I was told that in France, it is perfectly legal to have a bottle of wine in the park. The Gens D'armes won't even hassle you if you light up a Gauloise. Those French, so civilized (just never mind about their cars).

In my neck of the woods, however, it's a completely different story. A quiet day in the park or on the beach could go south real quick. Cops like nothing better than to look for scofflaws such as myself who are committing the heinous crime of chilling with a beer. A beer, a smoke and a quick pee in the bush could quickly result in a fine that would amount to the price of a pretty nice used Chevy. After tourism, the second biggest industry up here is growing pot. This results in an inordinate amount of pot-smokers.   They walk the streets with impunity, brazenly smoking their hippie-crack wherever they please and no one blinks a fucking eye, including the cops ( still highly illegal last time I checked).

These general attitudes of the public and the police are not about to change, and pot smokers are ignored ( and sometimes even admired, albeit  probably by people who ate freaky mushrooms) and outdoor beer drinkers are relegated to the ranks of hobos, people with mental illnesses, crack-whores and people who wear white robes and hoods.

Those who are seriously committed to enjoying a beer outdoors while flagrantly disregarding laws in the process need to be stealthy and cunning. One has to always stay one step ahead of the Federales. Catching hardened criminals is difficult work, catching a couple of dudes on the beach on their tenth beer is like shooting fish in a barrel. Here's a few tips.

1. A few basic skills:

Some people prefer beer in bottles, and some brands still don't have twist-off caps. You must master the skill of opening a beer with anything that you might have on hand. A Bic lighter works well, as do pliers, any chunk of metal or a belt buckle. Might wanna pass on that belt buckle, because a passer by might think that you are taking your pants off. This bottle opening skill will take a while to master but you will have a lot of fun during the endless practice sessions.

You might have seen videos of rednecks trying to open beer bottles with their teeth. This is the main reason a lot of rednecks are missing many teeth. Do not open a beer with your teeth. Other rednecks will attempt to slam the bottle on the edge of a table or a rock. Unless you enjoy shards of broken glass with your beer and perforated bowels, you should probably avoid this technique as well.

Cans are less problematic and easier to transport. You must remember to get rid of the empties as you go along. If a cop shows up, it is hard enough to try and not slur, but it is impossible to deny that you have been drinking when there is a pile of empties the size of a large Rottweiler at your feet.

Some people cleverly disguise their beers with a home-made cover made out of a sliced Pepsi can that they wrap around a beer can. Cops are fully aware that nobody can drink twelve cans of Pepsi in a row. There would be sugar convulsions, instant diabetes liquefying of bowels.

2. Power Boozer or Lightweight Loser.

Choose your drinking companions well should you decide to drink outdoors with other people. Some people can handle their booze and others can't. Allegedly, there are signs inside the clubhouses of certain...uh... fraternal organizations that say " Don't let this be the place where you can't handle your liquor". If someone were to be foolish enough to heed their advice they will soon end up in an alley with many teeth missing and non-functioning limbs. The reasoning is simple, bad drinkers are a heat score for cops.

Most aficionados of outdoor beer consumption are seasoned drinkers and are able to have reasonably sane conversations. They can often be overheard discussing the merits of various beer brands, talking about whether Ford or Chevy is better, some bands that they saw or who's turn it is to make another beer run, all the while keeping an eye out for cops.

Others just can't be cool when they are drinking and their behavior can be the equivalent of calling the police precinct to give them your GPS coordinates. There are a few tell tale signs that someone can't handle their booze and it's time for you to high-tail it out of there:

A) Anyone who drops their pants for no apparent reason.
B) Anyone that says "Woo-Hoo" even once.
C) Anyone that says : "Whut are yew lookin' at?"
D) Anyone who yells " Skynyrd" ( you should leave immediately).
E) Someone starts to puke.
F) Someone starts fighting a tree
G) Anyone who happens to have bongos with them and suddenly feels the urge to "play" them. (Note: smash bongos before leaving).

3. Be Cool.

As previously stated, the key to enjoying a few drinks in the park on the beach is to not bring attention upon yourself. In order to do so there are other skills that you will need to master. With a little practice and self-determination you should be fine.

Chances are that you have reached a point in your life when you no longer fall down when you are drinking. There are still chances you might hit some wet leaves, an errant banana peel (this actually happened to me, so the cartoons of my childhood were accurate) or a passed out hippie. If you do happen to fall you must spring up as quickly as possible as if it never happened. This requires practice but it can easily be mastered. Remember, it's not that falling down hurts, it's the fact that a bunch of strangers saw you. The quicker you get up, the fewer people will see you.

You're probably not going to want to drive your car if you are planning to spend some time in a park with a bunch of beers. One alternative is to take a bicycle. Even if you are weaving and wobbling on your way home, the cops will simply think that you are a spaz who is incapable of mastering a task as simple as riding a bike and will leave you alone. This is more complicated than it seems and you will require quite a bit of practice to get it it right. If you are a novice beer-rider bring along a drunk helmet on your first few forays.

You should probably choose a cruiser bike as your means of hammered transportation. The upright position has far fewer negative gravity interactions. On a mountain bike, your weight is directly over the front axle. this guarantees that, even after only one beer, you will look like a chimpanzee riding a tiny clown bike at the circus.

Last but not least, the needs of your bladder will have to be addressed . It's one of the basic laws physics; 3 beers = 1 pee. As I once found out in New York, public toilets can be rare and even non-existant. Hell, even a McDonald's in the East Village didn't have a bathroom ( thank you, crackheads). One thing that most parks have in common, however, is plenty of bushes. Peeing and bushes seems like a natural combination that probably dates back to pre-historic times. Caveman see bush, caveman pee on it. See, pure genetic evolution. Cavemen did not have cops keeping an eye on them, so they could pee on bushes with reckless abandon. You're gonna have to learn to stealth-pee.

Once a suitable bush has been located one must still be vigilant in case someone should sneak up on you. One must appear as nonchalant as possible. ( This for dudes only; sorry ladies, I have no idea, you're on your own). Try to look like one of those louts that just came from a hockey game after drinking twenty of those nine dollar beers in a plastic cup. I think we've all seen these dudes at one time or another. One nanosecond after leaving the arena, they need to pee. The can hardly stand and can barely concentrate on the task at hand. Once done, they stagger as they struggle to zip up, too hammered to realize  that they have pissed on their shoes, on a cop car or on the white line in the middle of a highway.

As you approach said bush, stand up straight. Very discreetly whip it out and pretend that you are very interested in what variety this bush is. Or you can pretend to be looking for somebody. A cel phone works great for this purpose. Put your cel phone up to your ear and have a fake conversation ( this also works well for getting rid of hobos trying to have some random conversation with you). No cop could ever imagine someone peeing and talking on a cel phone simultaneously. This is why you should avoid  button-fly jeans. Dogs can often be found in and around bushes. Do not be alarmed if a dog happens upon you: just pee on the dog. Dogs smell pee all the time, and this will send a signal to the dog that you are the alpha male dog and he will leave you alone. If the owner of the dog confronts you, just tell him that you saw his dog pee on himself. It's a freakin' dog, it's plausible.

These were just a few survival tips for me and my fellow outdoor drinkers. Keep these in mind on your next outing and I hope it makes your boozy park adventure a little more enjoyable. Always be vigilant and on the lookout for cops. If a security guard starts harassing you, just tell that rent-a-cop to piss off, as it were. I feel a little bike ride coming on, so I will hit the beer store and in no time at all , I will be breaking three laws simultaneously.

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's Alive ! What if Your Computer Was Human.

We all love our computers for the convenience that they offer, but not a single one of us is exempt from the infuriating malfunctions that occur on a regular basis. Many people I know are technically proficient with computers, but the average Joe is left dealing with inexplicable and very complex challenges when the computer decides that day to give you the digital equivalent of flipping the bird.

We have to come to terms with the fact that this technology, still in its infancy compared to many other things, is still flawed. Case in point; I haven't been able to access this blog for over a month. I tried it on some other computers. Nada. I am writing now, but this may disappear quicker than you can say what the fu..... ( which is exactly what happened recently.)  What's the problem you might ask? I don't have a fucking clue. I  just somehow managed to get it to work.

Think about your daily interactions with a computer, whether at home or at work, for couple of minutes. Then ask yourself if you would put up with this kind of horseshit from any other appliance in your home. You probably wouldn't keep a refrigerator that kept gobbling up your steaks and your beer while several technicians shake their heads and tell you they have no idea what's wrong. No. You would haul it off into the alley until a scrap picker in a beat up pick up truck grabs it, or wait for the the fridge to make some of the more annoying neighborhood kids mysteriously disappear.

It would be unthinkable to be philosophical and convince yourself that is is normal to have a stereo that would spontaneously set all your CD's or records on fire. It would just sit there with lights stupidly blinking like a retarded dog waiting for you to go out and buy more CD's. It would then proceed to immediately set them on fire again.

Human interaction in general can have strange moments. There is no shortage of annoying or weird people out there. There are many ways to deal with various people that may cross our paths. Some can be dealt with by simply out-smarting them, others you can simply walk away from and others may require a nice stiff punch in the face. What if a brilliant, but crazed, Frankenstein-like scientist were able to give life to a computer? A walking, talking, breathing human computer. I don't think anyone could hang around with that type of person for too long, chances are that it would render you irrevocably clinically insane. You would spend the rest of your life babbling to yourself in a rubber room. The human computer, on the other hand, would act like it had spent its entire life in a rubber room just like yours, except with more straightjackets.

If the human computer was a Mac, he would be like a deranged hipster with moments of clarity. If the human computer was a PC, he would be like a bi-polar government bureaucrat able to quote 16,000 pages of rules and regulations verbatim, but unable to give you a straight answer when you ask where that bathroom is.

It would be difficult to even start a conversation with this man-machine, because every time you would start a sentence, he would flash a little card in front of his face and attempt to sell you all kinds of shit that you don't need. You would have to swat about 20 of those little cards away before you could even get a hello.

He wouldn't answer any questions before asking you " Are you sure that you want to...." or " Did you mean...." After you tersely said no he may or may not answer your question. He might quote some stupid internet forum where everyone is wrong, give you a questionable source from Wikipedia or just whip out a porno magazine and stick it in your face. Or tell you " fuck it, just Google it."

Alright, so this guy is a little strange but he has decent sense of humor. He also seems to know a lot of hot chicks, but they are all in Russia for some strange reason. He may hook you up one day, but in the meantime he knows a lot good restaurants and bars with good bands and cheap booze. Some days he'll burn you some really good CD's for free but other days he wants to borrow your credit card.

So you decide to go see a band with, let's call him Mack, with Mack and grab a couple of beers. Everything is cool, but after a few drinks in he will just stop moving and talking mid-conversation. You give a few good backhanders, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When his turn comes to buy the next round he can often be heard  saying " Error 404" over and over again and promptly pass out. When he comes to, it's like nothing ever happened and he has absolutely no idea what the fuck Error 404 means. Maybe he does, he just flat-out doesn't want to tell you.

After a few more beers Mack may suddenly start speaking another language. He doesn't suddenly switch to Spanish and start calling everyone " Eh, maricon!" No, it's a language that doesn't seem to have any vowels and sounds something like this. " @##< fmrn> ##" . The more you tell him to shut up, the more gibberish spews from his mouth. Often all you have to do is pound really hard on the table and he'll switch back to English.

Mack has a good buddy called Bing who claims to be able to translate many languages, but he is almost as deranged as Mack and completely full of shit. I met Bing one night and decided to call him on it. I asked him to translate "? donde esta mi cerveza"  and he answered Don flashback United States cigarettes. Thanks Bing, now I can go to Tijuana and get my face punched.

Mack also has a buddy called Frankie B. Now Frankie B knows a shitload of people, but he's a trouble maker. He likes to start vicious rumors and air people's dirty laundry in public. He loves to whine a lot in public and when he's not whining, he's always showing people pictures of food that he ate or dumb looking cats. He loves to waste people's time with all kinds of techno-babble but he keeps changing his phone number so nobody can get a hold of him. Mack and Frankie B used to hang around a skid bar called Mel's Place. It was run down but it always had cool bands. It somehow went out of business and Frankie B. ended up taking it over. Instead of hiring bands, Frankie B. likes to quote obscure song lyrics.

Mack also has a geeky looking friend called Craig L. Craig L. has a million tricks up his sleeve. He sometimes has leads for all kinds of cool stuff, but he's usually too busy trying to sell shitty bicycles for way too much money, trying to get you to haul away big piles of dirt for free or telling a bunch of weirdos where you live. I suspect that Craig L. also deals drugs and is also a pimp on the side. I think he may be wanted for tax-evasion as well. Don't let that unassuming skinny blue suit fool you, that Craig L. is one sleazy sumbitch.

Mack is also a filthy liar. He knows a lot of locksmiths and he somehow got into my house. He "borrowed" my entire CD collection so he could burn copies for himself. He didn't feel like hauling all the CD's back to my place, so he ditched them in the river. The copies he burned don't work on my stereo he keeps promising to replace my CD's. He knows a free CD store called isohunt, but they don't have anything I want and the cops are always casing that joint.

Mack also got a hold of my credit card number and keeps sending strangers on free trips to Puerto Vallarta. There is also some dude in Nigeria that he's been in touch with and and apparently that will pay off big. I got my card back from Mack and cancelled it. Mack seems to be unfamiliar with the concept of cash, so he's been harassing a pal of mine called Pay. Lot of people don't want to do business with my pal Pay, so my money should be safe.

Even though Mack is temperamental, uncooperative and unpredictable, he has many skills that were in great demand at many big companies, so he always had good jobs. Seeing as Mack is mentally unstable however, he kept getting fired and being replaced by younger guys who were able to talk really fast. He kept getting crappier and crappier jobs and was eventually unable to sustain the workload. Last I heard, he was teaching basic math to school kids in Bangladesh.

Man, I gotta get me some new friends. Or maybe I'll see if my old buddies Bob Tube and G.Tar wanna go for a beer.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Time Warp Part II

Blame it on computers or blame it on entropy, either way modern society keeps rapidly evolving. Sometimes for the best and sometimes for the worst. Some things just stay the same, like for instance shitty music.Vapid pop music has been around since time immemorial. Probably as far back as pre-history I'll wager. While serious cavemen were beating on logs trying to figure out rhythms, there was most likely some young caveman who had perfected stupid un-caveman-like moves and had not been able to master the fine art of log beating. He might have worn garish, brightly colored sabre-tooth tiger furs and sported a ridiculous hair style that angered the serious cavemen. The teen cave girls, however, inexplicably loved his caterwauling and would howl at him. This would attract very large cave wolves. They would proceed to eat the cave pop star and that would be the end of his short career.

Cave wolves are now extinct and we have very specific laws about mercy killings and/or cannibalism, thereby causing Youtube to be filled with really bad boy-bands, teen idols, amateurs who can't sing worth a shit and rock-star wannabes who wouldn't know what a guitar is even if you smashed them in the face with one.

That fucked up decade known as the Sixties, or Whaaa? to old stoners, spawned hippie culture which is still prevalent today. This is why I am forced to endure self righteous stinktards who mindlessly protest anything and are offended by everything. I don't need to see some unwashed dude ambling down the sidewalk sporting a saree and toting an African drum over his shoulder, but yet, there they are.

There are milder versions of hippies, such as the ones that think it's OK , no, their natural born right, to heckle comedians at a comedy club. Their sense of self-entitlement precludes them from any empathy to the hundred other people there who have paid good money to be there and enjoy themselves. They are offended by everything and must be vocal about it. It is very amusing when they are cut down by a comedian who's profession includes making minced meat out of retards like that. They also gave him (or her) a microphone on purpose.

Another permanent fixture of our society is wannabe square materialists. Yes , it is absolutely true that someone walking around with a Louis Vuitton bag is better than you. The accompanying scowl should be all the proof you need ( I find it highly amusing and ironic that the bag has a 50/50 chance of being a fake). I hear that they make special coffins that have compartments for Louis Vuitton bags. That will make it very convenient when that dead person is fitted for a suit of flames and prodded with a pitchfork up the ass for all eternity.

These are only but a few of the minor annoyances that are present in everyday life, and like a crackhead muttering to himself while picking the shorts out of his butt crack, it's best to simply ignore them and go on with your life. There are a few things that are no longer prevalent these days, and I can only express relief at this situation.

1. Long, Bad Jokes.

That funny smell you may experience on a hot day is the rotting carcass of the long joke. Very few people indulge in this decidedly unfunny activity anymore and we can all be thankful for that. Even mildly amusing light bulb jokes don't make the rounds anymore. I think that we have all been victims, at one time or another, to the long joke that requires some convoluted, usually badly told, dumb story about non-existent people in hypothetical situations to arrive at some inane and quite un-funny punchline. This verbal assault is the equivalent of someone holding you down while a dog poops on your head.

These jokes were mostly told by individuals who were not funny and their mindlessness often exacerbated by alcohol. It was difficult to extract one's self from these situations and most of us would just politely nod and go "uh-huh" and try to force a laugh when the end of the joke  eventually came. " Oh, I see the priest and the rabbi owned drunken chickens.. ha ha ha.. I get it " While inside your head an enormous " Faaaa-ckkk! was bouncing around your skull.

And RIP to the juvenile and often uncomfortable sex jokes. The explicit description of body parts and their often misused functions was never funny and often brought into question as to how many years it had been since the dirty joke teller has actually gotten laid.

 Unless you were a permanent resident of the Nervous Hospital or are two years old, there was never, fucking ever, any need for fart jokes. Farts are never funny, they just stink and can be a source of embarrassment in social situations.

At least we can get back to having drunken, meandering conversations at parties like normal people.

2. Drunken Meandering Arguments.

Other than cold beer, Google has got to be the greatest invention ever. While it is true that there are many ignorant people who know fuck-all among us, even the smartest folks can turn into morons after a few drinks. This often led to the ubiquitous drunken bar-argument ( which often devolved into fisticuffs or full out donnybrooks in some cases). Both parties were always convinced that they unequivocally right no matter how inane the statement.

Some arguments were as mundane as arguing whether a street is North/South or East/West and some convoluted drunken map-drawing which would probably result in dumping your car right in the middle of a river.

 I just gave up trying to refute gems like " Jimi Hendrix was in the Rolling Stones" or " Yeah man, I can see 60 hertz electricity in a light bulb" or " Yeah man, it's real, I saw it on Star Trek" or better yet " the Capital of Canada is Illinois".

Now stupidity can be stopped dead in its tracks with one quick Google search. Unless someone refuses to believe it and thinks Wikipedia is some vast conspiracy or claims that the laws of physics " is bullshit man!" This is one unfortunate consequence of the internet. Other than nearly infinite amounts of porn, it has facilitated the dissemination of all manners of idiotic conspiracy theories. Fortunately these disbelievers and conspiracy douche-jobs don't argue in bars, they do it in the safety of their basement on the internet.

Now the rest of us can enjoy an evening in bars discussing such profound topics such as why certain cars suck, why this drink tastes funny, questionable fashion sense of certain people and tales of past drunken exploits.

3. Long-winded Phone Conversations.

Some the older among us might remember that quaint device called a land line. Some even older readers might remember when the land line was attached to wall in the kitchen. One would often get embroiled in conversations lasting well over three hours ( and promptly forget what is was about after hanging up). Your ear would hurt for days, your shoulder would be stiff and you probably got a kidney infection from holding in that pee for 3 hours.

Cordless phones came along which allowed people to pace back and forth while talking on the phone. One could probably sneak in a pee while using one of these devices, but the caller at the other end would often say " hey, what's that sound?"

Eventually we all benefited from the easy access to inexpensive cel phones which created the single greatest annoyance of the last century: the cel yell. I don't know what caused people to scream into their cel phones at ear-splitting levels for an hour while in public, but I do know that it cause a collective rise in blood pressure in the entire human race. I did not relish the prospect of hearing about a complete stranger's life when riding a bus. It also was concrete proof as to exactly how vapid and devoid of content some people's lives were, because even though the words were English, I had no idea what they were talking about.

Thankfully those days are behind us. Now all people do with their phones is text when someone is talking to them, zombie-text while walking down the sidewalk, text while they fucking drive a car and video every single life event with their i-phones without actually looking at the event in progress right in from of them.

Nowadays I get all my information from Facebook and if my phone actually rings, somebody died or somebody wants money.

4. What Freakin' Time Is It ?

Another thing I don't miss is wearing watches. I never liked watches because they bothered me. It just felt weird having a piece of hardware attached to my wrist. I eschewed the wearing of watches, so I never knew what time it was. It was a pain in the ass trying to locate clocks or ask complete strangers for the time. Strangely enough, many people still point to their wrist if they they ask for the time.

If you did own a watch, the damn things would eventually slow down or stop working altogether.This would make you late and sometimes leave you confused. Hell, there were some hangover days when I didn't even know what day it was much less what time it was.

Lack of accurate time could wreak havoc on your personal life. You could be late for a job interview and suffer the scorn of a complete stranger. No amount of "Im a people person" bullshit could save that interview.

Before ATM's were invented by Galileo in the 16th century, you had to physically go to a bank and stand in line while waiting for an actual person to hand you some cash. If your watch decided to die on Friday afternoon when you needed to get to a bank, you were pretty much screwed until Monday. Your weekend would consist of drinking water, eating ketchup sandwiches and watching basic cable.

You could easily miss a flight if your watch was off. You might end up camping out at the airport for three days surviving on 6 dollar donuts and washing your socks in the bathroom sink. If you had to  travel to different time zones you would require a Texas Instruments scientific calculator to figure out what time it was. You would end up in Calcutta two weeks later  ( your bags would be in Melbourne).

Modern smart phones have eliminated all those inconveniences. Now I always know what time it is. If I am hammered to the point of not even knowing what city I'm in, the phone will know. If I get chased up a tree by a moose ( this happens a lot in Canada) rescuers will be able to find me with the built-in GPS and we can all enjoy moose burgers later.

If a crackhead asks me what time it is, I can tell him I don't know because I don't feel like reaching into pocket to tell some damn crackhead what time it is. I also enjoy messin' with their heads (why are crackheads always in such a hurry and in need of knowing what time it is?)

I can find a beer store and their operating hours anywhere on the planet on my phone. Now that's the ultimate function. In the meantime, if your phone rings, you owe me money.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Time Warp

I have touched upon this subject several times. Greasers are indeed enamored with a period of the 20th century that slipped through the sands of time long ago. We love cars that are hopelessly outdated, but the timeless beauty of old cars will never be dated and their ease of repair hearkens back to a simpler time. We love an obscure sub-genre of music that defined an era, yet only lasted two years. We appreciate the fact that even inexpensive clothing was of high quality in the fifties, yet have come to terms that it is difficult to find a 60 year old pair of pants that isn't completely tattered  (not to mention bombarded by decades of farts).

We love it, but let's face it, all of us have embraced modern technology. Flights to Vegas are booked online and 10,000 songs are listened to from a device half the size of a pop tart and we use phones that have 100 times more memory than the computers used to launch the first Moon missions.

Which brings me to the subject of old farts ( a whole category for a rant). I run into these guys once in a while. They take pride in being a Luddite, as if separating themselves from modern society somehow makes them morally superior. I recently met one ancient dude who proclaimed in no uncertain terms that he refused to buy anything from "the orient". It wasn't out of frustration about all the cheap crap from China that breaks immediately after purchase. This old fart proceeded to launch into some rambling tirade about world war II. I had no desire to hear this convoluted tale launched at me like one hundred pooping birds. I always promised myself that I would never be like that when I get to that age. If any of my friends have pistols, you certainly have my  permission to shoot me should I ever devolve into this state of semi-lunacy or suddenly develop the urge to grow a goatee and wear a Panama hat.

Time does indeed move on and we are living in a brave new world. We are living in an era that has seen more technological advances in 25 years than a few centuries combined that proceeded it. When I look around me however, I am struck by the fact that we are still surrounded by and using some forms of archaic technology.

1. The Phone Booth.

I wanted to include this one not so much because we are still using it, but because of the fact that they still actually exist. I saw a phone booth recently and kind of shocked me. It was like seeing a moose walking around downtown or showing up to work in a clown suit. It took a few minutes for it to make sense to me as I pondered its existence.

Surely only drug dealers and severely deranged crack heads use pay phones. Even little kids have cel phones these days (and I wanna smack the little fuckers as they text and walk...oops, old fart talk). It seems strange to stand in one spot with a phone attached to a cable and make an actual phone call. Even more disturbing is the fact that thousands of crack heads, bums, diseased retards and various unsavory characters have drooled on the mouthpiece that you are about to come in contact with. That's an outbreak of Ebola virus waiting to happen right there.

Speaking of phones, I am always perplexed when I see big piles of yellow pages stacked outside of office buildings. Like rotary phones, anyone one under ten years old has no idea how to use them or what they are even for. Used to make a handy substitute for toilet paper the day before payday.

Strangely enough 411 still exists. How do I know this you might ask?  I'm too cheap to buy a smart phone and pay for a data package so I got the crappiest cel phone that I could find. I was out and about (yes its true we do say oot and aboot here in Canada, also my igloo melted yesterday) and I needed to call someone immediately and was nowhere near a computer. I had a flashback to my childhood and remembered 411. I dialed it and a after a few stupid questions from a computer that could not even master the rudiments of voice recognition ( did you mean Tons of Carnage? NO stoopid fucking computer....Joe's Garage!!@#&) I was finally connected to an actual human being. It felt weird but at the same time I knew that I was being judged by the operator. He was probably thinking that I was some kind of stupid hillbilly too illiterate to look it up and so backwater that electricity reached my shack barely six months ago. An uncomfortable moment.

2. The Internal Combustion Engine.

For thousands of years humans got around by riding on top of some poor hapless critter. It could be oxes or zebras but humans eventually settled on horses. Maybe the horses did't notice that there was someone on their backs or maybe they thought it was a large insect and just didn't care.

If you have ever been next to one of those horse carriages that haul tourists around on a hot summer day, you might understand what our cities smelled like back in the day. Also cars don't stop in the middle of a busy intersection to take a massive piss (if you did the same you would go to jail).

Then Karl Benz invented the car in 1885 ( some sources credit Gottlieb Daimler)and  that contraption is relatively unchanged in terms of basic operation. 128 years later we are still drilling big holes in the ground to extract juice made from decomposing plants and rotting dinosaurs. It is refined and made into gas which we burn in our our car engines that blow shit up thousands of times per second.

I figured that by the 21 st century we would all have cars powered by little tiny warp engines, magical squirrels on treadmills or pulled by 200 enslaved leprechauns. Sure there are electric cars but they are weird and unpredictable. If you run out of juice in the middle of the Mojave desert you better hope that you have a 300 mile long extension cord. I once saw a '49 Mercury with a huge electric motor that had been attached to the transmission. That was just wrong.

I'm not sure what the future holds for personal transportation, but for a drinking man a bicycle still remains a logical choice for hazy booze-fuelled outings.

3. CRT's

CRT's are those big old style televisions and computer screens. My aforementioned cheapness precludes me from buying a flat screen and my archaic CRT television suits me just fine. Most people just don't want them and you see them strewn in alleys abandoned, looking like dejected and forlorn one-eyed monsters.

My flat screen computer monitor died recently, so I hauled my ancient Mac CRT out of the shed. It felt strange having this bulbous blue and white monstrosity sitting on my desk. It seemed as big as a Smart car or one those pictures of a 250 pound dog awkwardly sitting on his owner's lap. I felt like a caveman staring at a big blue rock while randomly hitting it with a stick, but it still worked. Turns out rocks are compatible with Mac computers.

4. Acoustic Guitars.

Acoustic guitars have been a around for a long while and they are a wondrous invention.The digital interface is your fingers, the operating system is your brain and the hard drive is when you play hammered and strum a little too enthusiastically ( my guitar has a bunch of gouges that can attest to this fact). The only aberration is the fact that I use an on line tuner to tune the guitar and I use Google to find chords for songs.

Guitars were invented because many people were sick of fucking clowns in jester hats playing lutes. Also cowboys in the Old West would have probably been shot if they whipped out a lute around the campfire. Sadly, there are still certain groups of people out there that attend medieval festivals, dress up funny, speak Shakespearean English and listen to fucking clowns in jester hats playing lutes. Begone foul trickster !

5. Pants.

Pants are still around and, except for disturbed hippies trying to prove a point by wearing a skirt, that's what dudes wear (OK, kilts. Kilts are cool). Pants were probably invented around the same time as guitars because as well as being sick of lutes, people were sick of dudes in skirts or puffy pantaloons. They also had nowhere to put their dubloons so they needed pockets as well. Belts were invented soon after when all those heavy dubloons cause the pants to fall down. Jeans were invented for cowboys, because if some buckaroo played a lute and wore a skirt around the campfire he would be shot in the face as well as in the bag.

6. Toothbrush.

A great invention that is still around and often used to mask the smell of booze before going to work in the morning. Before that, cavemen used rocks to clean their teeth.

7. Combs.

Any Rockabilly who has ever felt that sense of panic upon realizing he has left home without a comb understands the importance of this simple device. Before combs caveman also used rocks.

8. Paper Money.

Currency in some form or another has existed for a long time. Even the Romans used coins, although they have used other things for currency such as the eyeballs of their enemies, live chickens, dead lizards.....oh wait that's what hippies in communes use for currency. Romans used coins.

I like cash, it has a certain authority to it and creates a palpable sense of satisfaction.  No credit card can do that ( credit cards are known to incite guilt however). The thrill of finding some random twenty on the sidewalk is enjoyable. It's not the amount, it's just free cash and the visions of free booze that accompany it.

I can't really envision a cashless society, everybody likes cash. It is satisfying to know that some old bike you sold on craigslist is pure cash and the government can't tax one dime of it. Some people haven't quite grasped the difference between cash and credit cards. In a cashless society all those people holding up the line at the coffee shop and then putting their 2 dollar coffee on their Visa would cause society to come to a virtual standstill. In ancient Rome, they would have been immediately put to death.

Technology is advancing at an exponential rate, but if you take a look around you it can be surprising at how many tried and true technologies are still with us. Now if they could only come up with a hard drive that won't inevitably fry and seriously mess up your life. Now what the hell are you supposed to do with a pen and a pad of paper?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Greasy Danger

Some people seem to enjoy indulging in purposely dangerous activities like jumping out of airplanes for no good reason. Some claim they like the adrenaline rush that it produces. Personally, I hate adrenaline. If you have too much of that shit pumping through your veins, there is something wrong. Either you're scared of something, say like a bear chasing you because he's convinced you taste like chicken. Maybe you are experiencing rage bordering on apoplexy, say in a bar with a couple of really big rednecks. Someone is gonna get hurt or maybe end up in jail, either way beer will be spilled and your Saturday night is just going to be downhill from that point on.

Some adrenaline is produced on purpose, for example, willing paying good money to get on a roller coaster. The prospect of simultaneously being terrified and wanting to puke does not appeal to me in the least, nor does the fact that every single bit of money that you have in your pockets will succumb to centrifugal force and be gone. To add insult to injury, the circus clowns will be hanging around at the base of the roller coaster and mock you as they scoop up the mounds of change that have accumulated there.

Day to day life and the unexpected curves it throws at you are dangerous enough without having to participate in activities like taunting sharks for fun, climbing a cliff without ropes, walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope or any other high-risk "sports" that candidates for the Darwin Awards have come up with.

And then there's the redneck type of danger which is in a class all its own. Rednecks seem to search for pointless and dangerous activities the same as the so-called adventurous types, except that their logic (or lack thereof) is completely different. It's a different means to an end, but results are roughly the same. Redneck adrenaline activities usually include some or all of the following elements: something with a motor in it, big tires, mud holes, shotguns, lots of booze, angry bulls, chainsaws and camouflage pants. These activities are always, without exception, preceded by the unknowingly prophetic "Hey! Watch this!!".

 Greasy Every Day

To the average greaser there is nothing to think about when dealing with greasy hair and cuffed jeans. It's just what happens in the morning when you get ready for your day. Some cats are in a band, and it doesn't strike them as strange at all to be covering really obscure rockabilly songs. The rockabilly gals enjoy dressing in vintage threads and sporting vintage hairstyles. Its what we do. To the rest of the world the outward image is very distorted and this be dangerous. Some people just don't our devotion to a certain decade. They don't get the music and they don't get the cars. To them rockabilly sounds too twangy and rat rods are too rusty.

So yes, we will be ridiculed or at the very least, misunderstood. Some people might point out that your pants are too long because you have a 4 inch cuff on your jeans. Some people might think that you are insane because they think every day is Halloween for you. Some people often erroneously assume that we are endowed with low IQ. " I'm so dumb, that I play really big fiddle".

Being greasy is so dangerous in some cases, that we have to reluctantly de-grease sometimes. I think that many of my greasy brethren can attest to this fact whenever a job interview at a conservative company comes up. Even something as innocuous as disputing a traffic ticket in court can be logistically challenging. Even traffic judges don't seem to take too kindly to greasy pomps, wallet chains and leather jackets. The judge will take one look at you and no matter how articulate your defense may be, this is what the judge will hear ," But yer honner, I tells ya I didn't park my pick up truck on top o' that ole possum, Ga-hilk!" This is why all of us have some kind of ratty old suit and a pre-knotted neck tie kicking away somewhere in the back of our closet.

 The Perils of Facebook.

We've all done it at least once. Posted something on line, specifically Facebook, that we ended up regretting. In this brave new world every single ridiculous thing that you posted on line is out there in cyberspace. Forever. For the most part Facebook tends to be self-regulating and people are usually on their best behavior. Even with this extremely powerful communication tool, many posts are pictures of stupid cats, pictures of meals that are about to be consumed, random pictures of a gal and her friends' feet or youtube links to some sucky seventies band that allows that person to vicariously re-live their youth via Facebook, all from someone you've never met in real life. All pretty harmless stuff.

You rarely, if ever, see status updates that proclaim things like "Thinking if robbing that bank on the corner" or " I just stole 800 lbs of office supplies and they're in my garage" or " I am so fucking drunk that I kicked my neighbor's dog, partially shit my pants, stole a car, drove it through the window at the 7-11 to get some mustard, and now I'm drinking more whiskey and eating a mustard sandwich."

The biggest danger is mixing booze with Facebook. This is akin to calling your ex at 3 am after you've been drinking all night. It's going to be either inarticulate, maudlin, incoherent, fueled by anger or all of the above. It will confuse and annoy the other people on Facebook and they might think that you are slowly but surely becoming unhinged.

The biggest danger on Facebook are your privacy settings. If you leave the settings to public, strange things will happen to you. Anyone from cops, prospective employers and bank managers will google your name and check out your Facebook page. So either put your settings to friends only or refrain from posting things like " I like to keep a spare bottle of whisky in my desk" or " enjoying a cup of stolen office coffee" or " I enjoy credit card fraud and I got the Cadillac to prove it" or " My gun went off when I was cleaning it and I am now missing three toes" or better yet " My therapist says my delusions are getting better and I haven't tortured any cats this week".

It's probably a good idea to edit all those pictures that your friends tagged you in as well. People checking up on you will think that you are a fine upstanding citizen if they see pictures of you riding a bicycle, rescuing baby seals or wearing a really ugly sweater at christmas. They might not be so impressed with the pictures of you falling into a campfire but you saved your beer, any photos involving puke, any photos of you passed out and your friends scribbled on your face with sharpies, photos of your butt, photos of other peoples' butts, photo of your dog's butt, photos with you flipping the bird ( which is very common for some reason), photos of you committing a felony or photos of you scratching your private parts.

Life was indeed simpler before the internet and Facebook came along. You could be a complete drunken retard and very few people would ever hear about it, but then again without FB you would miss a lot of good parties.

Some Random Daily Dangers.

Those cheap reading glasses that you can buy at dollar stores, you'll go cross-eyed.

Dollar stores in general. Cookies two years past their expiry date, cheap shit with lead paint, dishes made from industrial waste, tools that instantly lodge metal splinters in your eye and soda pop from third world countries that have a tendency to explode.

The effects of drum circles cause hearing loss and may induce hallucinations.

Buying black market cigarettes on the street. Guaranteed to not contain more than 10% rabbit shit.

Using any Microsoft product. Side effects include fits of rage, depression, radiation burns, anal leakage, soft-tissue injuries from smashing computer with hands and permanent brain damage.

One dollar a slice pizza joints. May or may not cause kidney damage. Guaranteed to not contain more than 10% rat feces and cockroach legs.

Looking directly at hippies. This has been proven to cause cataracts in laboratory mice. Also some mice spontaneously developed dreadlocks.

Smelling hippies' patchouli emanations. A known carcinogen.

Talking to hippies. Side effects include nausea, mild psychosis and possibly Tourette's Syndrome.

Taking public transportation. Dangers include being exposed to the entire population of a mental hospital, sitting in urine, having hot coffee spilled on your privates, discovering entirely new odors and looking at inordinate amounts of ugly people. Coming into contact with handrails has caused some people to contract the Ebola virus.

Looking at Ed Hardy shirts. Known to trigger seizures.

Hanging around Starbucks. Known to trigger certain OCD behaviors including urge to wear funny looking shoes, obsession with Macbooks, listening to cheesy Jazz, chew Cilantro, use strange expressions such as "paradigm shift" and eat 14 dollar sandwiches. In some laboratory tests a certain percentage of lab rats smelled burned toast after ingesting Starbucks coffee.

And the greatest danger of them all, my friends: running out of beer.

Head down to the beer store right now and stay safe.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Bad Canadian: Part 3

As my Canadian readers know, today is Canada Day. Anyone else who is reading might be going "Huh?" In typically low-key Canadian fashion we don't tell the rest of the world about it. We celebrate Canada Day, but nobody gets too crazy. Every city has a parade which, by law, must include at least one bagpipe band and cannot go on for more than three city blocks. Sure, it might be a great excuse for some people to get drunk, I mean shithouse plastered get temporarily blind drunk, but that's just an average weekend in Canada. Canada day is a stat holiday, so it's just an extra day of drinking.

Personally, I don't give a shit about parades and the last place on earth that I want to be is downtown with a quarter million squares from the suburbs craning their necks to look at fireworks that suspiciously look the exact same as last year's fireworks ( although I must admit, I inexplicably like bagpipes). So I'm not exactly a patriot, but nobody in Canada will ever call me on it or accuse me of being  Un-Canadian. In the US, them's fightin' words, to be called Un-American is an insult akin to being accused of dismembering small mammals, they take that shit seriously. It's not that I don't appreciate living here, I am more concerned about running out of beer.... which probably makes me a good Canadian.

I prefer American beer. There. I said it. Most Canadians look down their noses at American beer as if our mass produced swill is better than anyone else's mass produced swill. American beer is 3% alcohol versus Canadian which is 5% alcohol. The result? You just end up getting hammered quicker. Whenever I go to Seattle I can drink about 27 of them suckers and I'm fine, the party just lasts longer. as a Canadian, I feel that I am not taxed nearly enough, that's why it feels like I won the lotto when I pay $10.99 for 24 PBR in Bellingham. At the local Chevron no less. Any Canadian who likes standing in long lines at a government store to have the privilege of purchasing very warm beer probably also likes rectal exams: the end results are surprisingly similar.

Too Big:
Canada is just too damn big. Whaddya need all that space for? Sure the United States is almost as big, but it actually has cities in it. We got cities, four I think. There is this one place that thinks it's a city and it's called Toronto. Picture New York run by the Swiss. Other cities have some big buildings, but everyone seems to know everyone else. You tell someone to fuck off in New York, you'll never see that person ever again. In Vancouver you might see him the next day on a bus or may be he's the guy giving you a job interview.

Some really hardy Rockabilly bands have the testicular fortitude to actually tour Canada. Bands like Cousin Harley, The Brains and The Hellbound Hepcats come to mind. They tour Canada to entertain all of the 296 Rockabillies that live in all of Canada. Sometimes the drive between gigs is fifteen or more hours and sometimes they do it in the dead of winter. They don't even do that shit in Russia ( OK maybe Sweden). I guess Canadian bands are a pretty tough bunch.

I have driven across Canada, so I know. There is a thing called The Trans-Canada highway. What it is is a bunch of roads that run into one another in a loosely associated string of highways patched together and given the moniker Trans-Canada. It crosses Canada alright, but the vast majority of it is a bumpy, desolate two-lane stretch of road. Crossing the province of  Ontario is about the same as driving from New York State to Minnesota, and man it takes a while. You can go for hours without seeing another car and you will sometimes see someone walking out of the forest with a suitcase and flagging down a Greyhound bus ( who actually stops to pick him up). Eventually the Trans Canada runs out of towns and all roads lead to Wawa, Ontario (look it up). This when you realize that you're only about one third of the way to West Coast. This when you need a Canadian beer.

Camping, Moose and Beavers.

I would rather piss turpentine on an open flame than go camping. The wilderness is full of critters like moose and beavers, and they all want to kill you. It was in the news recently: a man in Belarus was killed by a beaver. This murderous creature is our freakin' national symbol. Not only do they want to kill you, they want to drown you. They chew down trees, block waterways and generally fuck shit up in the woods all to achieve the ultimate goal of seeing you dead. Moose are much bigger and much stupider, but they also want to kill you. Just try it out yourself. If you see moose, give it the hairy eyeball. The moose will immediately charge at you in a blind rage. 1100 hundred pounds of angry meat rush you at 35 miles per hour, yep the great outdoors is fun.

Primitive societies learned how to make huts many millennium ago precisely so they wouldn't have to sleep outdoors. I have a job to prevent the very same thing. So why intentionally haul all your stuff up the side of a mountain to spend a weekend in a tiny tent surrounded by half the country's mosquitoes? After taking half a day to set up all your stuff, you then realize that you running dangerously low on beer and your gonna have to poop in the woods. This is usually when the killer beavers sneak up on you.

Seriously. Fuck winter. As I have stated in previous posts; yes it's cold up here. It snows a lot and you can't call in sick at work when it snows (the government will take away your citizenship for that). You dig and dig some more. This is usually when you get your first heart attack. Vancouver is the one exception and it has the same weather as Seattle, only with fewer hipsters.

If you own a car it will need to be equipped with a block heater, snow tires, tire chains and ice scrapers. All of that will prove useless when you hit that patch of black ice and do a bunch of 360's. And that's just in your driveway.

Some people like to ski or snowboard, but that ain't for me. There are a lot of dangers up on those slopes. Snot has a tendency to freeze immediately at those altitudes and that's not so much dangerous as embarrassing. A lot of snowboarders are known to indulge in the ole skunkweed. A 200 pound projectile in the form of a stoned dude on a piece of wood coming at you at 120 miles per hour can have some pretty devastating results, but the stoned boarder is to messed up to understand why the snow suddenly turned red. There are also killer trees up there who suddenly jump right into your path ( I suspect that they are in league with the killer beavers).

 I not sure exactly how much drinking was involved when they invented the "sport" of curling, but I suspect that it was a lot. I don't think anybody sober would come up with the idea of hurling big chunks of granite on the ice with the aim of hitting other chunks of granite. The two guys that got convinced to rapidly sweep little tiny brooms in the path of the sliding granite must have been even drunker to get roped into that. The strange part is people who enjoy curling seem to enjoy it while sober. That's scary and damned un-Canadian.

Time to sign off. I am out of maple syrup and I have to get some beer from the polite clerks at the beer store. Dang, the government store is closed today, so I will go the private beer store and pay through the nose as I hand over some plastic 20 dollar bills with a picture of the Queen of England on them....oh wait.. I think I hear bagpipes....have a good day, eh?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Motorcycle Butt Bustin' and Bad-Asses

The term bad-ass has become part of the common vernacular and can mean many things. It's difficult to pinpoint its origin with any certainty, but the etymology finds its roots in inner city slang. Bad meant just that, such as "he's a bad mofo" and ass used as a qualifier such as " Man, I am so broke-ass".

Bad-ass has come to encompass many different meanings and for the most part, has positive connotations. When a hot rod is bad-ass, one immediately knows it without having to describe it any further. Just by its stance or the sound of the exhaust, one instinctively knows it to be bad-ass.
Ass is indeed very bad.
Comes with a loaf of white bread.
You see the difference? I know you do, everyone does, bad-ass speaks for itself. Just like the bad-ass dude, he never, ever refers to himself as a bad-ass and therein lies the very nature of the expression. One has to note the difference between bad-ass and sociopath. A dude who likes to indulge in random acts of violence is not a bad-ass but mainly a dangerous retard. Guys who get all pumped up on steroids and Gatorade, avidly watch UFC  matches on a big screen in a bar and proceed to pick fights with little guys are not bad-ass, they just need to be locked up in the psyche ward. That is the blatant difference. Unfortunately, too many people think of themselves as bad-asses, kinda like everyone thinks that they are a great driver. In actuality the vast majority of people who own cars are shitty drivers and the vast majority of self-proclaimed bad-asses are louts who excel at beating people up.

A true bad-ass just stands for himself and his values and he would never think of kicking a chihuahua, as matter of fact, he probably owns a chihuahua ( and let's face it, chihuahuas are the bad-asses of the dog world, they think they weigh 400 lbs ). A true bad-ass will do cool shit anonymously, like helping random strangers or buying girl scout cookies, and be comfortable with that.

Bad-asses can be found in all walks of life and can be found anywhere from the upper echelons of society to the back alleys of the hood. President Obama is a prime example; he exudes self-confidence, doesn't take shit offa no one and the dude even smokes cigarettes.  Canada's Prime Minister Harper; not so much bad-ass as Howdy Doody.

Andy Green is a bad-ass; he set the land speed record in a car going seven freakin' hundred sixty miles an hour without even breaking into a sweat. Faster than sound. Beat that, Lemme!

Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a balloon from the edge of outer space, all of Captain Kirk's posturing and boning green chicks could never top that.

Speaking of Star Trek the biggest bad-ass of the whole series is Mr. Spock. He's twice as strong and smart and he can disable psychotic aliens bent on destruction with one single Vulcan Nerve Pinch. All without cracking so much as a smile. Oh yeah, chicks dig him.

Jack Daniel was a bad-ass; he invented Bourbon and did it in a dry county ( still dry to this day)

Alfred Nobel was a bad-ass; he invented Dynamite and even has a prize named after him. He gave the world a whole new (and cool) way to blow shit up and gave fisherman an entirely new technique to catch a shitload of fish.

Link Wray was so bad-ass that he poked holes in his guitar amp speakers with a pencil to make his guitar sound even more bad-ass.

Even though he was a bit of hippie, Steve Jobs was a bad-ass because he invented Mac computers. He saved people from a lot of anguish , excessive cursing and destroying shit with a hammer by making computers that actually work.

Wanda Jackson was a bad-ass because she broke every stereotype in the book and proceeded to make some of the most bad-ass Rockabilly music ever put on vinyl. ( She's still rockin').

Speaking of Rockabilly, the iconography and imagery are generally bad-ass. The movie "The Wild One" more or less set the tone and defined a genre for that decade. The attitude, leather jackets, cuffed jeans and motorcycles all defined an era. In an ironic twist, however, there is no Rock 'n' Roll in that movie's soundtrack; it's all Be-Bop Jazz (some of those Jazz cats were pretty bad-ass in their own right). The movie was released in 1953 and predated Rock 'n' Roll by a couple of years. With all that bad-assery, this movie can almost be considered a template for all bad-asses to come.

One can therefor conclude that the Rockabilly lifestyle is inherently bad-ass. It feels good to walk around with a slightly worn leather jacket without any ironic undertones. It takes a bit of bad-ass commitment to putting greasy petroleum-based products in your hair on a daily basis. I must admit that it feels pretty bad-ass being on a stage holding a guitar under glaring spotlights. It was all bad-ass and self confidence until last week. I was humbled in a way that I never expected: I bought a motorcycle.

It wasn't my first time riding a motorcycle, but admittedly, it had been a while. It all started when I was a kid. I used to do crazy shit with my little dirt bike. I would jump off ramps and ride in the mud. I would ride in traffic without even so much as a driver's license. I had absolutely no fear and I never dropped the bike. I ask myself if it is the exuberance of youth that results in lack of fear or if it simply lack of intelligence.

As I rode my newly acquired motorcycle home for the first time I was indeed questioning my intelligence. It got the old adrenalin glands pumping. Not the type of adrenaline that one gets from watching cars drag race real fast or the cheap thrills of winning a few bucks in the lotto. Not even the adrenaline produced by being chased by a couple of angry pit bulls ( those fuckers can run). This was an adrenaline all its own. The type of adrenaline that you would experience, say if you landed on Mars and realized that the space ship was outta gas, or maybe that strange sensation in your leg when you realize a shark just bit it off up to the knee cap.

To be honest, I didn't really feel the adrenaline, because I was so intent on riding the motorcycle in traffic. Hell, I did not feel bad-ass whatsoever. Who has time to stop for a sec and think " hell yeah, I'm a bad-ass" ? Not when there's a dump truck on either side of you.  There is a lot of shit to do on a motorcycle, a carefully choreographed set of movements with hands and feet, so precise in fact that should a bee hit your face or a huge booger was bothering you, you had to leave it.

The bike weighs about 450 lbs. and I experienced the laws of physics first-hand; it's that damned centrifugal force. I had to get re-acquainted with leaning in turns and that extremely counter-intuitive move of counter steering. It was like riding a very mean bull and kicking it in the nuts to get it to calm down.

The bike is fast, way faster than I expected. I cracked the throttle a few times and I could have sworn that I hit the speed of light ( I assume that's the kind of crazy colors that hippies see when they drop acid).

I finally got the bike home and to be honest, I wasn't sure what I felt. I let it sink in for a few minutes and I did feel a sense of accomplishment for having gotten this thing home safely. I felt happy that I had the balls to ride it when my riding skills were rusty. I was happy that I got a good deal. Did I feel bad-ass? Anything but. As a matter of fact, all I could think of is that my butt hurt.

This means that bike did not make me a bad-ass; it just made my ass bad.

The bike is presently in the shop getting a bit of work done to it. I should have it back in a few days. I plan on doing a few practice runs. I will try to find a secluded place so that people won't make fun of some dude trying to be all bad-ass and riding a bike like a clown in the Shriner's parade.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just Hang Your Head

I think that everyone, at one time or another, has experienced embarrassment or have been in embarrassing situations. These situations are usually minor, and other than small percentage of truly psychopathic people, we usually feel remorse. According to Psychology Today, embarrassment is an evolutionary trait that developed to maintain social order. There is a difference between embarrassment and shame. Shame usually involves copious amounts of booze. Even dogs will give you a funny look when they get caught doing something they shouldn't have done, like for instance taking a crap on your sofa or eating that secret stash of money that you had hidden away.

Some dudes on the other hand have virtually no embarrassment threshold or no shame whatsoever. Some act like complete fucking morons as they interrupt, harass and annoy you and literally cruise for a bruisin'.  They are oblivious to the fact that they are making complete fools of themselves and are annoying many people in the process. And they really do need a punch in the face.

This would also explain the abundance of dudes with mullets and the thousands of camo pants sold each year. One only has to look at one of those people of walmart sites to have absolute confirmation of lack of shame and downright bad judgment. I guess that a lot of those people could be considered rednecks and they probably do experience embarrassment sometimes. They might be embarrassed when they accidentally shoot their buddy on a hunting trip because they thought he was deer, or maybe they forgot their case of beer at the gas station after they paid for it or maybe they put some other redneck's false teeth in their mouth by mistake, all embarrassing redneck situations.

Hippies have no shame whatsoever, but it's on purpose. They just want attention and want to annoy as many people as humanely possible. Their intentional shabby clothing and lack of personal hygiene is a source of pride. Those demented gyrations that they call dancing are meant to show the world that they are "free spirits man!" They simply won't admit that they have no rhythm, and just cannot dance. It's so bad that one can't help but be embarrassed for them. To be fair, it's not just hippies who are guilty of this transgression, one simply has to visit any Blues bar on a Saturday night to witness these abominations.

There are still many dudes however who actually do give a damn about their appearance and demeanor. Booze related mishaps notwithstanding, they take steps to avoid embarrassing situations. Greasers might even top the list with our obsession with hair and greasy hair products, the precise radius of cuffs on jeans and really nice jackets. Some might call it vanity, but as I have stated in one of my earlier posts, a little bit of vanity is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly as one gets older. To dudes and greasers it's the minor faux-pas that causes embarrassment, the little things in life that in the long run are probably don't matter, but hey, speaking for myself, I just want to avoid looking like a dang fool. Here's a few examples.

1. The Inertial Chain Snag.

This applies mainly to greasers and other dudes who are fond of sporting wallet chains. It's been said that some folks might perceive a dude with a wallet chain as making a statement akin to " I got 7 bucks and I'll be damned if anyone's gonna steal it". That may be partially true, but I once spoke to a man who had been pick-pocketed on a bus and wanted to know where I got mine ( it's made of stuff that you buy at a hardware store). It doesn't matter, because real dudes stick their money in the right pocket of their Levis in a big crumpled clump. The wallet chain comes in handy for beating attacking pit bulls, shredding bongo skins at a local drum circle or jamming in the spokes of some hipster's fixie bicycle.

 OK, so what the hell am I talking about some you may ask. It's the dreaded chain snag. This usually occurs on park benches and plastic patio chairs. Nothing will make you look more foolish than attempting to stand only to be yanked back on your butt because your chain is inextricably wedged in slots in the bench. You are stuck there and there is no way of disguising what you are doing as you frantically try to dislodge the chain. Worse still are those damned white plastic patio chairs. The slits are just the right size for the chain to go in but never come out. When you stand, the whole chair comes along with you. This being a patio chair, you are most likely at a barbecue and everyone's been drinking. Oh, the laughter that will ensue, as you search for a reciprocating saw.

2. The Invisible Screen Door.

Speaking of barbecues, they are usually held in back yards or large porches. The bathroom and the fridge, unfortunately, are not in the same place; they are indoors. This means several trips to the house and necessitates crossing the threshold that has a sliding screen door across it. I think you see where I'm going with this. People will inevitably smack right into this almost invisible barrier. The darker it gets and the drunker people get will cause the occurrence of this embarrassing mishap to increase exponentially. It doesn't hurt, it's just embarrassing and it makes me angry; especially after the fourth time in a row. ( greasy tip: ask the host for a roll of green masking tape and make a big X on the screen door, works great).

3. The Dreaded Stealth Booger.

This one is particularly insidious, because you are always unaware until someone points it out. This may not be a problem for dudes living in Arizona or Nevada, but in cold damp climates that sneaky booger is always lurking and waiting for a chance to completely embarrass you. It's very difficult to be taken seriously when you are speaking to someone while a fluorescent green booger suddenly makes a prominent appearance. Some people will discreetly point it out, which takes courage. That is fine, but once the existence of the offending booger is established, what the hell do you do with it? If you wipe it on your pants, that just makes the situation even more disgusting. I always manage to swipe a bunch of napkins from McDonald's and keep them in my pocket. I also got a little round mirror that came with a can of grease that I keep handy for a quick booger check. On those really cold or rainy days, if you have no napkins and absolutely feel the need to launch a snot-rocket, just make sure no one sees you: nothing says demented bum more than a random snot-rocket in public.

4. The Parasitic Toilet Paper Snake.

If you go to bars, this has probably happened at least once to everyone. That recalcitrant three foot long toilet paper snake stuck to your heel and following you around the bar. Go ahead; go talk to some women at the bar, that'll take you down a couple of notches as they collectively say ' Eee-eeew!". This makes the Stealth booger pale by comparison. There are many connotations associated with this highly visible ( except to you) protuberance. First , it's been on the bathroom floor, so there is most likely piss and/or shit on it, secondly, maybe it came directly out of your own ass so there is definitely shit on it and thirdly, you're tracking shit all over the bar. Always check your shoes before you leave a public bathroom. Nothing says " I'm a retard who can barely stay upright and walk" like a bright white toilet paper snake.

5. What's That Smell

Admit it, you once stank up an entire bar with a silent-but-deadly beer fart. It happens, and the best way to diffuse, as it were, the situation is own up to it immediately. Your friends will thank you and they will be relieved that they are not one of the suspected culprits. Loud farts on the other hand are a whole other domain. I once witnessed some poor bastard on the bus once trying to deal with a flatulence dilemma. Most of the buses here are electric, and therefor fairly quiet. I could see in the corner of my eye as this guy attempted to squeeze his butt cheeks to silence the offending emanation, but the venturi effect just amplified it and the vinyl seat made it omni-directional. That was really loud and I could almost hear the guys embarrassment along with it. Too bad farts don't sound like guitar riffs; now that would be cool.

6. The Mean Streets.

When one is walking around in public, one can sometimes come to the conclusion that space-time itself is out to get you. I get angry at no one and nothing in particular when I trip as I walk down the street. Then I'll just blame it on the trees for pushing up the sidewalk with their roots. Damned evil trees. Nothing will blow your cool and humble you like falling down in public. This usually happens when wearing Converse Chuck Taylor's. They are cool shoes, but let's face it, they are crappy. They wear out quickly and it eventually feels like you are walking on a sheet of WD-40. Throw in some wet leaves and the laws of gravity cease to exist. I once slipped and chipped a bone in my hand, but I didn't care. I did one of those rapid pogo stick moves to get me upright and got the fuck out of there fast. It makes it doubly embarrassing if you are a greaser and messed up your pomp. There you are; one the ground, the butt of your pants is wet and your hair is blocking your view like a sheep dog. It takes even more finely honed skills to simultaneous jump up, whip out your comb, fix your hair and disappear.

Falling off a bike is just as embarrassing, if not more so. There generally is no reason  (other than being really hammered to point of having zero balance) for falling off a bike; it just seems to happen. It tacitly implies to people that, not only are you a retard, you are a grown man who can't even ride a bike.

Parking meters seem to have the ability to mysteriously move around. I think many dudes have walked right into them, almost breaking a rib in the process (admit guys, you know the reason; you had your head craned 180 degrees as you were checking out some gal walking by in the opposite direction). Parking meters also dislike people who text and walk at the same time and will randomly attack them, so they do have a useful purpose after all. Oh yeah, and greedily gobbling up all your hard-earned cash.

Here's a few embarrassing situations that one might try to avoid.

1. Muttering to yourself in public.

2. Pocket dialing 911.

3. Scratching your bag in public.

4. Entering the women's bathroom by mistake.

5. Spilling a beer on yourself ( stop waving your arms around).

6. Drinking a bottle of beer filled with cigarette butts at a party( I swear this happened to me).

7. Dropping a guitar face down on stage.

8. Don't order spaghetti and meat balls on a first date.

9. No matter how drunk you are, refrain from playing air guitar.

10. Don't post crazy shit on facebook if you are shithouse plastered.

11. Gents, always check to make sure you are zipped up, nobody wants to see your under-britches.

12. If must go to a laundromat, bring beers. It will take the edge off of complete strangers looking at     your dirty laundry.

13. Don't be embarrassed at the fact that you don't know how to use chopsticks. Better to use a fork  
     than look like a spaz.

14. If you get a flat tire, don't roll around for three weeks on that tiny little donut spare.

15. Environment be damned; always double up on the plastic bags at the beer store. Nothing more   
      embarrassing than chasing beer cans on the sidewalk as they roll away in various directions.

Thanks for reading a may you have an embarrassment-free day.