Thursday, September 8

Checks Will Not Be Honored.

First off, here’s what happened during my weekend. I think it’s condensed; I’ll let you decide. If you don't care what happened, scroll down to "Now, the important stuff" for just the important stuff. Thanks.

Saturday.

Some acquaintances and I saw the Architects on Saturday. They played at a Christian coffeehouse in Madison, although the only Christians on the bill were the headliners (Number One Fan). You can tell if a concert venue is Christian by the floor. If they have carpeting, it’s Christian. There's no alcohol, no cigarettes, and sometimes no shoes. I like those shows, although I went to a Stavesacre show at a church when I was 16, and got my ass beat. I seriously have never been roughed up more at a show in my entire life.

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The opening act was Awesome Car Funmaker, Madison Area Music Award 2005 winner for best rock band. They were a blast to watch, combining catchy guitar-and-keyboards rock with amazing stage presence and overall silliness. I picked up their CD and waited for the Architects to take the stage.

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Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for these guys. They almost got their van towed, a circuit blew out all the power for a bit, and Awesome Car Funmaker had to play in the dark for at least ten minutes. Once the Architects started playing, though, they blew the place apart. Their new material is straight-ahead, brick to the nose rock and roll, and Brandon has never sounded more energized. His microphone kept getting rocked right off the stand, so me and Ben had to stay close to jump up and fix it when needed.

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When the show was over, we met up with the band outside, and started chatting. We’ve known these guys for years now, and we actually played a couple of shows with them (when they were previously known as the Gadjits). They shared some stories from the road, and discussed married life and creeping maturity. I asked Brandon when the new album was coming out, and he said “Do you want to hear it?” I said “absolutely”, and before you knew it, me and the kids were all cramming into the Architects van with them to check out their latest demos from the studio.

The tracks sounded really fantastic, and before you knew it, we had to file out, say our goodbyes and hit the road. This was due mainly to my parking meter being up. With three minutes left to spare, we left downtown Madison and headed home. Me and the Missus were done for the night, but we dropped off the kids for an extended evening of finding new and creative ways to abuse their livers. Good for them.

Monday.

Me and the Missus met up with Lindsay and Anthony at the UW-Madison Union to see Of Montreal. We had been waiting a long time for this show, and it certainly did not disappoint. The crowd was large, but respectful and civilized, something you normally don’t see on campus. The first act was the Management, who was described by Kevin as “A modern-day version of Wham!” They lived up to it, mixing 80’s pop with electronic beats and sickly sweet harmonies. It was funny, but too good not to be taken a bit seriously.

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(I can't get the photos off my phone, so this is the best picture I can get of these guys.)

Kevin Barnes was in full rock star mode, as Of Montreal rocketed through most of the Sunlandic Twins and Satanic Panic in the Attic, leaving no time to stop the white-boy dancing and hand-clapping. They were amazing, the new tracks sounded great and they closed with “Jennifer Louise”, quite possibly the greatest pop song ever written. All my thoughts about work the next day, about money and responsibility disintegrated as I watched Kevin dance around like a damn shirtless fool. They made my night.

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(Not my photo. You get the point.)

Afterwards, I (very) briefly talked to Kevin, reminding him that I was the one who had done the interview and write-up for the show. We grabbed a new t-shirt, and were in bed by 11pm. Perfect.

Tuesday.

I don’t think I sat down for more than 30 seconds at a time on Tuesday. I had a lot of work to do, and no time to do it. This was my first “official” day with my new jorb, and I was tired and bleary-eyed to boot. After a full day of non-stop running and catching up, I was out of the hole and satisfied. I went immediately to Best Buy and picked up the Lost Season One DVD. The retail price was $60, but it was $40 at Best Buy, and $35(!) with my Rewards card. Not only that, but there was an exclusive eighth DVD sold only through Best Buy, loaded with more features and whatnot. It was a steal, and not the bad kind, either.

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So I took it home, and we watched the final six episodes, thus completing our duties to ABC Television and Bad Robot Productions. We watched 90% of the extras last night (interviews, bloopers, audition tapes, tons of deleted scenes and flashbacks, on-location stuff and a horde of Easter eggs), and plan on watching the entire series over again in preparation for the September 21 premiere. I will devote an entire post to Lost: Season 2 very soon, so look for that.

Now, the important stuff.

Last night, before I went to sleep, I was kicking around ideas in my head concerning writing. I thought about how I wanted to write, how I’ve been writing, and how I used to write. Frankly, I was getting quite bored and disgusted with myself. I thought about what I had in mind when I started doing this, and took a peek at where it had gone wrong.

The simple fact of the matter is this. My life isn’t incredibly exciting or worth documenting. This is through my own choice, mind you. I was never skilled (or adequately enthused) when it came to writing about the things that I’ve done shortly after I’ve done them (see above). I never kept a diary when I was younger, because I never thought I had anything worth saying or keeping. It was at that younger age when I realized my talent was in the concept of creativity.

So why am I not doing it now?

I can understand (and support) the idea of talking about interesting things that one comes across in the course of a day or weekend. In recent weeks, however, I’ve been talking specifically about nothing in general, and I feel as if I’m becoming creatively stunted; stuck in a sea of self-absorbed laziness. When life doesn’t throw you a story arc, you can either autobiographically shoe gaze, or you can actually do something about it.

I’m so sick of talking about myself, I could spit. In fact, I just did. I get nothing out of it; it’s a chore to rehash memories from two or three days ago, and NOBODY CARES, including myself. It’s a waste of time and effort, and everyone (including myself) deserves better.

Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes used to write fictional songs, with fictional places and characters, because he was worried about putting himself on the line. He thought that if he stayed in a fantasy world, the criticism wouldn’t hurt him as much. Eventually, he learned to be true to himself and write as he pleased, allowing himself to get more personal and in touch with his feelings.

I’m going in the opposite direction.

When I think about the best stuff I’ve ever written, it never has anything to do with my own personal reality. My earlier posts reflected this, but somewhere along the line I got a bit self-absorbed, thinking that what I currently had to say was actually important. It’s not, it really isn’t. I want to do more things that not necessarily challenge me writing-wise, but just do something that I can enjoy, something funnier and more non-sequitur. I’m not writing fantasy or anything (I can’t stand the genre); I just want to take a huge step away from the diary business. That way, when I actually DO have an interesting piece of autobiographical drivel to share with you (and I will, trust me), it will be…well, better.

Look, I’m still me. I’m still an egotistical nightmare, I’m still an anxious basket case, and I’ll never stop injecting everything I write with my personality and (limited) life experience. I just find myself completely separating myself from what makes me happy when I write. When you touch a hot stove, you learn a valuable lesson, and when something isn’t fun anymore, you tend to stop doing it. I’m not there yet, and hopefully I’ll never be.

You’ll like what I plan on doing, I promise. So, from here on out, the CDP will be offering you 75% less me in almost every post!

If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is. Later.

Comments:
Hey kids, how was the show last night? I found out from the Missus this morning that she DOES have Lindsay's cell number in her phone. It was just that her address book was set up differently from mine, and I overlooked it. I'm really sorry aboot that; here's hoping that you got in touch with her anyways.
 
The show was awesome, despite an approximately ten person turn out. Unfortunately for me, I did NOT get to hang out in their van OR listen to their demo CD, even though Brandon said at the last show that I could. But oh well (sigh), I'm going to pout a little bit more about it now.
The reason you kids all got to listen to their demo CD is this: Ben and I went to the Rick Springfield concert just to see the Architects as one of the opening bands. After the show we were talking about how Ben and I had to listen to elevator music before the Architects arrived. Then Brandon said that their new CD would not be coming out until mid to late February, and Ben and I said that we couldn't wait that long. Then Brandon said that if we came early to the Madison show that we could listen to their demo CD. I then said that I couldn't make it to the Madison show because of stupid work obligations; Brandon said that we could listen to it at the Milwaukee show. And that ladies and gentlemen, is why my good karma has run out and why I was totally screwed out of spending good quality time with my good friends in the Architects.
On a side note, Ben didn't tell me about the gigantic speeding ticket he got on the way home from Madison. I learned of his getting pulled over from Aaron, when Aaron made a joke about my speeding and potentially getting pulled over and ticketed with a $265 fine. Needless to day, I am a little upset with Ben right now.
So that's my story, I'm going to get a fat refund check from the government now for going to school.
 
Ben didn't tell you about the speeding ticket? Did he think you'd never find out or something?

Aaron is the master of the foot-in-mouth. I bet Ben shot him a look like he was going to tear him in half. That's pretty funny, but he must have been going damn fast to get such a ticket.

You said "good" three times in one line. Wild.

Did you like their new stuff? I think that's just the style the world needs right now. It's raw, energized and old-school.
 
What's this business with the discount on the Lost DVD for Rewardzone members? Or did you just have a $5 reward coupon? I've got $15 in rewards literally burning a hole in my pocket. And the good thing is that it's truly a reward, for some good thing I did, which is good.
 
That was one of the funniest conversations ever. Not for Ben of course, but just the way it played out. It went something like this:

Me: "Sherry, don't go getting a $260 speeding ticket or anything."

Sherry: (No reaction)

Me: "Hmm...Sherry didn't seem to get the joke. Ben must not have told her."

Sherry: "WHAT?!"

Ben: "Um...I forgot."

Sherry: (Flipping out)

Me: "Oops."

I bet Ben didn't get a popsicle when he got home.
 
Paste, if you use your card, you get $5 off, no coupons necessary. It's just a discount for being a member. Perhaps this was only for the opening day of sale, but I don't know for sure. Either way, if you cash your $15 in as well, you can get it for $20! Oh, and don't forget the exclusive 8th DVD.

I don't think Ben got anything when he got home, if you know what I mean.
 
Ryan, I do like their new stuff. It's so intense, that I think that sometimes the whole band is just going to explode.

No popsicles were had when we got home. Mostly becuase we just totally forgot about them. I was building up my anger so much on the way home that when we got there, I didn't really say anything to him. Just that I was really disappointed with him. But what makes me really mad is that I always yell at him for how bad he sucks at driving (as most of you have witnessed). And sometimes he gets so mad at me for yelling at him that he pulls over and says, "Then you're driving!". Then we switch seats, etc. But, now he has no right to get mad at my yelling at his horrible driving skills because this just proves that if I don't remind him that he's driving like a fool, then he gets pulled over for doing 20 mph over the speed limit and gets a $260 fine and six points off of his license.
 
Estimated 6 points.
 
$260 and about 6 points...this is clearly not his first ticket. They don't do that to first timers.

Come to think of it, I can remember several car-related incidents that have involved Ben. You know what? He's really not that great of a driver!

There's no shame in being a bad driver. I got a ticket once, but it was Ben's fault.
 
Oh yeah, about the Architects. They almost did make my head explode. The energy is insane. I must have looked like a yokel, because I was slack-jawed for the whole set.
 
The cop was a total jerk about it too. Gave Ben two warnings on top of the ticket. One of his tail-lights was out and he didn't update the address on his driver's license.

Good thing they didn't ask for my license; I haven't updated my address for 9 months...oops. Eventually I'll get around to it.
 
Actually, we got to listen to the Architects new CD ahead of time because Ryan showed Brandon his boobs. Rock stars like that sort of thing, you know.
 
Broken tail light and an out of date license? I'd say the cop was more than cool giving him a couple warnings. Ben could have easily lost his license for all that stuff.

What does it mean when you get six points off your license? Is there any way you can get those back?

That does remind me, though. I've been using out of date checks for two years now. There's not one thing current on them.
 
Go to court and plea it down. At the minimum, it would get dropped down to a 4 point ticket and less money, unless the judge is a complete prick. Just make a call to the DA and they'll settle for less.
The points come back 12 months after the violation, not the court date, or you can take a safe driving course the first time and get a few points back.
As for the wrong address, I haven't changed mine since I moved back home from Oshkosh, over a year ago. Because of that, I have last year's stickers on my plates. Gotten warnings for both, but did nothing about it. If you get a ticket for it, just do it and go to court.. they'll probably drop it then.

We busted a 13 year old selling drugs at a football game last night. And broke up 4 fights. I love that job.
 
Love what you do, Chief. I'm glad that someone actually enjoys their line of work. Gives me hope. Thanks for the court info, too.

I remember Dale going to court to fight when he flipped his van over (with Ben in it, I may add), and that was sort of crazy. John was all cut up, and because the van was overturned, his blood was trickling onto the ceiling.
 
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a buy pc game site/blog. It pretty much covers buy pc game related stuff.
 

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