Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Best Albums of the Decade - an 'off the top of my head list'

This is nowhere near complete, but since it's late in the night and I have insomnia, I might as well start throwing these out for my pick for 'albums of the decade' - I'm giving myself ten minutes to come up with as many entries as I can think of that will land in the Top 100 in no particular order. The other rule - don't think, just keep writing. Here goes...

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Radiohead - Kid A
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Neko Case - Blacklisted
Beck - Sea Change
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
YeahYeahYeahs - Fever to Tell
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
Jay-Z - The Blueprint
Sleater-Kinney-The Woods
Kanye West - The College Dropout
Arcade Fire - Funeral
LCD Soundsystem-Sound of Silver
The Strokes-Is This It?
Tool - Lateralus
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Yo La Tengo-And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
A.C. Newman-Get Guilty
Pulp - We Love Life
The New Pornographers-Twin Cinema
Drive-By-Truckers - The Dirty South
The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday
Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow
Lucinda Williams - World Without Tears
PJ Harvey - Stories From The City Stories From The Sea
Gorillaz-Demon Days
Eagle*Seagull - s/t
Bob Dylan - Love and Theft

Editor's note - 1:39 a.m. - wow...this is harder than I thought...

Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
TV On the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Spoon - Kill the Moonlight
Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk
Spoon - Gimmie Fiction
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Sigur Ros - ( )
The Shins - Oh Inverted World

Okay...that's all I could think of - I know there are tons more out there, but that's what I could think of at the top of my head on an early Thursday morning


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Unemployment - 2 weeks in

I'm listening to Titus Andronicus' The Airing of Grievances and nursing a coffee while searching for any company that will have me. I took a bit of time to work out yesterday and realized the wreckage a job can have on you. I'm not blaming the company, but it certainly fe...

Just got a call from a company - awesome! They're sending my information to the hiring manager. One step, but at least it's momentum.

Anyway -
I'm not blaming the company for my softness, but it certainly didn't help. Long hours at a desk with chairs not designed for sitting in for long hours does a major number on your back. Long hours also makes you more likely to want to sprawl in front of a couch and veg instead of doing some laps in the pool. The stress of wondering if you have a job or not does wonders on your diet as well - as I went from a 'cauliflower and broccoli-eating' unit to a 'organic sea salt and vinegar chips with a vodka tonic before bed' unit.

It didn't take me overnight to go from 225 to 165. Now I know it's going to take me awhile to go from 200 to about 175. A lot has happened though since that 225 weight. I was just out of college, filled with energy, vigor and even desperation. Now, settled into early middle-age, it takes a lot more to energize - and when you're energized, such as when I saw Neko Case in concert a few weeks ago, that euphoric momentum you left the concert with has a much shorter shelf life. And that euphoric momentum is so critical to drive you to blog, to write a cover letter that doesn't sound like the other 70 cover letters you've written and to track down any freelance writing chances you can get.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Can you be a catch and still be unemployed?

I'm listening to Mos Def's The Ecstatic right now on my first day of unemployment. I know an earlier blog post said 'whack' - but I was actually moved to corporate and I did some administrative work for about two months. But yeah, it's official - this is my first day of unemployment.

The day so far: Got up about a half-hour later than my typical workday. Scheduled a dentist appointment before insurance goes. Curse at Nebraska Workforce's Web Site - an hour of registration only to be met with an 'Error' message after you click 'Submit' - apparently the site has been up since last Friday and is still going through some glitches.

Plans of the day - I have a few freelance projects to work on that I didn't get a chance to work on when I was working 60-hour weeks at the old job. Clean up my place and clean out my box of stuff from my desk. Take my dog on a few more walks than usual. Update my Netflix queue and go to Nebraska Workforce and register in person.

Two years ago, I read a gay-themed comic where one of the characters just wanted a "nice guy with a steady job and who isn't a psychotic." Unemployment is a definite turn-off. The only exception (for guys and girls) are those hot musicians who are great in the sack and are great philosophizers like Ethan Hawke's character in Reality Bites. Otherwise, it's a definite strike against you. But in this economy, are people cutting people a bit more slack?

I haven't been unemployed in 19 years. I'm 35 now. But still, the fact I'm 35 in the gay community is probably far more of a strike against me than the loss of a job. I'm not saying that's a sign to give up on the dating community, but it's definitely the norm.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Well - at least I have something to write about.

I'm at the Blue Line Coffee House, drinking an espresso and eating a baguette with butter and jam, listening to Animal Collective Feels. Yesterday, I would have been at work, but I was let go. I now share the same pain as millions of Americans and tens of millions throughout the world. I've never been laid off before.

The speech I was given and the manner I was disposed of was sharp and quick. I was given less than four minutes to clean out my cube and I was told not to make a scene. There were signs. By chance, the last book I read was And Then We Came to the End. I was too stunned to make a scene. It was like the feeling you experience when you wake up after minor surgery.

Now comes this great, vast unknown. I have a condo that I can't sell in this market. I could rent it and move to an area in the country that's more accommodating, but if it doesn't get rented, I'm sunk. I'm envisioning myself in my PJs, searching out job tip sites and forming a greater appreciation of Matlock.

The biggest obstacle is 'the fear.' I see homeless people in my neighborhood and I keep thinking how close many are to that level of despair. I think 'a few months of missed condo payments and that could be you...' I think this is a great time to really focus on freelancing, but then I hear that the average professional freelancer makes $6,000 a year. That's awesome if I lived in Egypt. I think of the areas I would like to move to - this is the perfect excuse to get out of Omaha. Then I think of the money it's going to cost for just such an act. And not having a job in a strange area is never a good thing.

But all I can think about right now is how routines change when you don't have a job. I'm at the coffee house right now and I see students enjoying their summer off. I see people who drop in for a quick pick me up before their work shift begins. And on a few discussion boards, I never thought the phrase "anyway - gotta get back to work" would elicit such a response of longing and even jealousy from me.

I have some savings. I have plenty of CDs and food in the fridge to last a while. Here begins a new chapter in my life. There are things that every adult usually goes through...their first car crash, their first divorce and, of course, their first layoff. I'm hoping this is a brief journey of discovery.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out

First off, happy MLK day all. It's fitting that on the same day we honor our greatest civil rights leader, the worst president in US history has his last day in office. I'm headed to Brothers to have a scotch for this occasion. I'm a tad disappointed I haven't seen too many (actually, none) 'Bush's last day' parties in Omaha.

I woke up to KFacistAB last week and I heard Jim "brown nose" Rose boasted that no one watches MSNBC and it sickened him how the media treated Bush as the spawn of Satan. What the hell did these people do with Clinton during his eight years in office? The hosts tried to say that Iraq was his only mistake and it may not be a mistake a few years down the road. So, in essence, we may see a bit of Truman with Rush...err - Bush.

The only thing is those 'other' mistakes:
The economy (no, the President didn't cause the recession, but much of the regulation he was against could have prevented some of this disaster)
The desecration of our stance in the world
The pissing on the Constitution
The hiring of two major ideologues on the Supreme Court that favors big business over individual rights

Yet, like a drunk, loser brother or uncle, you want to cut the guy some slack. Maybe he'll come around... but then he turns around and gives another dickish reason why this guy's absense from the world state can't be soon enough.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Is Children of Men better than Blade Runner?

First off - a special thanks to the Dundee theater for putting Children of Men on its midnight movie screening. I caught it Saturday/early Sunday with about 20 other patrons. I definitely put this movie in a different perspective than I did a few years ago - given the administration change. Still, virtually all of this movie takes place in the UK, not the U.S.

A few months ago, I caught the re-remastered Blade Runner at the Film Streams. I fell in love with the film in 1992 when I saw the director's cut at a discount theater in Lincoln, NE. But more than 15 years later, I saw a film that was basically a film noir mystery in the backdrop of a sci-fi world. But what a world it was.

Still, even with a greater sense of hope for our world, Children of Men still packs an emotional whallop on the big screen that still shakes me to my core.

In 15 years, who knows what people will say of Children of Men. Will it be regarded as well as Blade Runner? I can truly say it's better acted and written than Ridley Scott's film. But it will no doubt be less influential than Scott's film. Still, Alfonso Cuaron's film leaves me shaken like few other films this decade. The film wasn't nominated for best picture. That award went to The Departed. And though I celebrated that film's win, it goes without saying that in 15 years, that film's impact will not approach the impact of Children of Men. Kudos to the Dundee theater for bringing this moving back to the big screen for two nights.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 04, 2008

What the hell is my blog about anymore?

If I were a freelance blogger - I would be baffled about what exactly this blog has turned into. The original title was and still is 'Exiled in Guyville.' It still is about feeling like an exile in the gay AND straight community in the midwest. But like many reclusive, geeky bisexuals - I'm not a fan of talking about sex - even in the comfortable world of anonymity. It's not like it freaks me out. Hell, I just saw Choke last night and didn't flinch. It was worse than vulgar. It was boring.

But I got tired of writing about near dating experiences - about griping about the gay community in Omaha. I wanted to blog more about stuff I truly cared about - like music, books, politics - life in general. Which is I guess sort of the whole point of the bisexual thing - I really don't want that to be the focal thing that defines me to people.

Hence - the infrequency of the posts. I'm just trying to figure out where to go next. Us bisexuals are a restless bunch. Many of us (myself included) may be intensely monogamous - but restless in the sense of not being satisfied with their current position in life.

One thing I would like to write about is what happened during the debates. I was watching it at one of the bars in Omaha. I struck up a conversation with a guy. An immensely cute, 30-ish, intelligent, somewhat guarded transplant from Denver. It was one of those great conversations where after the debate, both of us instinctively opted to go to a quieter place and continue our conversation for another hour and a half.

There were lots of "can I ask you a question..." "I don't say this to everyone..." type of segways. And absolutely no scripting - e.g. ice breakers you use - you know they are lines - but you almost have to use them if absolutely no conversation is flowing but you want to get to know this person better - so you're forced to use them - just to keep the conversation flowing and keep him/her interested (see "so...what are you studying?" "where do you work?" "how long have you lived in Omaha?").

I couldn't stop looking into his eyes - it was then I knew I was in trouble. I've been single for about a year and have gone on about 3 dates in that year. Now I find someone I've clicked with - to me - almost on a magnetic level. We're having coffee tomorrow. I know he got to me when certain songs - both edgy and corny started to run through my head and take on another meaning entirely (such as Bonnie Raitt's "Feeling of Falling" and The Replacements' "Valentine" - from Rhino's reissue of Pleased to Meet Me). I praise this development in my life because it comes at a time where music - no matter how good - just wasn't having an impact for me. It was just background material to the soundtrack of a guy who was frustrated at gaining 30 pounds over the year partly due to a back injury, partly due to overwork. Then, suddenly - you have certain feelings reawakened - and music starts to actually have an impact again. You start to relate to the artist - what Jarvis Cocker was thinking when he wrote "Sylvia" or what Lucinda Williams was going through when she wrote "Essence."

But the guarded part of me is starting to appear - just in time. I keep reminding myself I haven't even gone out on a date with this guy. I still have to go through the coffee meeting - the preseason of dating. Having coffee is a cheap way of determining whether or not a person is worthy of an actual date - where dressing up and money is invested in a person. I keep thinking of PJ Harvey. Will the next week put me in the Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea mood, where a person known for singing about heartbreak finds love in a new setting, but doesn't sacrifice much of what made her PJ Harvey? Or will a series of "I don't want to tie myself down" and "Well, you have my email..." put me in a Rid of Me or To Bring You My Love mood?

Gay, straight, bisexual - every single folk out there will hopefully have that one initial spark with someone - who within 30 minutes of conversation - you could just see yourself with them - maybe not your entire life - but definitely for a long time. And at the same time, knowing the terrible fear of plunging off the deep end to someone who may not be recripocating those feelings. But you have to find out. So - here goes the biggest challenge - putting all of that shit aside and getting that exact person to have dinner with you.

Labels: , , ,