Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

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Your Parents Don’t Know Everything

11.17.09

I get frustrated when people, clearly distressed, defend their decisions and actions based on the old adage, “It’s how I was raised!”

To which I like to respond with: “So what!?”

I’m far less interested in how someone was raised because all that tells me is what someone’s parents believe; I’m interested in what the person himself believes.  (I’m basing this on the notion that most people are raised by their parent(s), but I am using this term loosely to include grandparents, guardians, etc. who happen to raise children, as well.)

Our parents are our very first teachers, so their lessons tend to take hold rather well and stick with us throughout our lives more than many others.  But, like any other lesson, its worth is yours for the interpretation, to digest through the prism of your own personality and intellect.  And, most likely, you won’t come to the exact conclusions about life as your parents.  Perhaps very similar, perhaps very different.  Regardless, it’s okay.

Because you aren’t your parents.

Sure, you’re made up of their DNA, but you are now an adult (I’m not speaking about kids or teenagers here) and therefore free to your own ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints.  Actually, you’ve always been free to have those but now you really can realize them since you are your own, independent person.  So, go with your gut and follow your own ideas and viewpoints.  If not now, when?

The biggest problem with putting those lessons from your childhood on a pedestal is that you’re automatically assuming that they are superior than your own notions about life.  I’m not talking about lessons like “eat your vegetables” either, rather thoughts on politics, religion, and life in general.  Sometimes, probably more than we care to admit, our parents got it wrong.  They were bound to; they’re human.  And it’s not even a matter of right or wrong on some cosmic level, but merely that what’s right for them might not be right for you.  And when it comes down to it, that’s all that really matters at this point in our lives.  If you’re having trouble reconciling your life and your feelings with what you were taught as a kid, chances are there’s not much to really wrestle.  Go with your own feelings.  There’s just nothing to gain from doing things their way other than pleasing them.  And since they aren’t the ones living your life, that will only appease your unhappiness for so long.

I know it’s not all as cut and dried as I make it out to be.  Going against the grain of what your parents have taught you – or, worse yet, what they are still driving into your head to this very day – is no simple task.  It’s not something that you just change overnight.  It’s not something that you can do without struggle, pain, and difficulty.  But, at the end of it all, you’ll be living the life the way that YOU want to.  It’s okay to not agree with how your parents think you should live because their time of parenting is over.  They don’t have to agree with all of your decisions.  And you don’t need their approval for everything that you do.  I highly doubt they listen to their parents anymore, and haven’t for quite some time.

I respect parents for the jobs they do.  I mean no disrespect for their viewpoints on life or the lessons they teach their kids.  Many do the best they can and only mean well for their children, even when they’re being tough on them.  But, these children grow up to be free-thinking adults, like it or not, and they might not go about their business the way you did or the way you would.  It doesn’t make them wrong.  It just means they’re different.  And different isn’t always bad.

“It’s how I was raised!”

“So what!? You’re grown now. What is it that YOU believe?”

Maybe that’s why it’s in our nature to just fall back on what our parents told us.  Sometimes we don’t have the answers to our own questions.  The reality is, neither do our parents.  Or anyone else for that matter.  And you won’t know unless you just find out for yourself.

That’s life.

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To The Guy Smoking In Front Of Me Outside Coffee Bean

11.01.09

Fuck you.

Seriously, man, fuck you.

I realize that you’re a smoker.  Fine.  I don’t get why asbestos has been outlawed yet people can still smoke inside restaurants in most of the country.  And, yes, I’m very glad that I live in a city that has outlawed smoking indoors so you’re not breaking the law by sitting outside right now smoking your cigarettes.

But why do you need to sit outside this coffee shop – where NO ONE ELSE IS SMOKING – and light up to ruin it for everyone else?  This isn’t a bar.  This isn’t your apartment.  This is a fucking coffee shop.  You’re not even drinking anything!

Outdoor public areas should all be non-smoking because this is bullshit.  I live in Southern California so that I can sit outside on the first day of November and enjoy the weather.  If I wanted to breathe in poisonous air, I could’ve stayed in Michigan and gone to the local Texan.  It’s not like I can’t smell your second-hand smoke simply because we’re outside; that scent doesn’t magically disappear or anything.  When a car passes by that clearly hasn’t passed emissions testing, you can smell that, can’t you?  And what does it smell like?  Right, it smells fucking terrible.  That’s what your cigarette smells like to me and everyone else who isn’t smoking that is sitting around you trying to enjoy the occasional wafts of ocean air that pass by.

But, no.  You sit there and you laugh that guttural, malignant laugh and you suck on that cigarette and blow the smoke high up into the air so that the breeze can really take it and send it to as many victims as possible and then hold the cigarette off to the side so that the burning end can ruin everyone else’s lungs while you give your own a rest.

And then to top it all off, you toss your still-smoldering cigarette butt onto the parking lot asphalt, so that shit can get kicked, pushed, and washed into the gutters and eventually the ocean so that it finally gets absorbed into the ground and nourishes the earth with its bounty of tar, carbon monoxide, rat poison, formaldehyde, ammonia, arsenic, and nicotine.

Fuck you, man.  Seriously, fuck you.

Go inhale your carcinogens somewhere else you gravelly-voiced, yellow-toothed, inconsiderate fuck.

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Three Months of Agreeing to Disagree

04.30.09

MulletMan

Hard to believe, but I’ve been ranting and raving on this blog for over three months now.  My first official post was on January 23rd, 2009.  Lo and behold, here we are marking the end of April 2009 and the third full month of blogging.

For my three monthiversary, I’d like to say thanks to everyone for reading.  And special thanks to those who contribute to the discussion.  As much as this ends up being a one-sided verbal assault, I truly enjoy the comments and some honest dialogue.  Feel free to contribute at any time.

Here’s hoping the second quarter of ought-nine continues to be as rant-filled and exciting as the first.  Thanks for the support.

And thanks to Mullet Man.  He’s super stoked.  Just like me.

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Older and Wiser

04.07.09

old-man-portrait(Photo by Brooks Fritz)

We ate at Perkin’s Restaurant for breakfast today and we were by far the youngest group in there.  Being in charge of the band’s tour money, I went up to the counter to pay for our meal.  I waited in line behind two geriatric patrons, one of whom was paying for his meal with loose change while the other arched his neck as much as possible, scanning the restaurant for his wife who came shuffling up to the counter slowly and deliberately.  Perhaps it was just the fact that I’m on the eve of my birthday and now entering what one may call the “late 20s,” but I had an instant image of things I don’t want to lose as I grow old:

I don’t want to lose my tolerance and open mindedness.

I don’t want to be negative or adverse to new ideas.

I don’t want to reject changes, cultural and physical, while being bitter and angrily nostalgic.

The GOP is completely out of touch with the youth (and by youth, I mean the 30s and under – a definition that evolves as I get older) as shown by voting records, and the gap is getting greater and greater.  While that makes me happy for the future, it also makes me wonder if these conservative old men and women – who vote against gay marriage, support the prohibition of marijuana, and only want abstinence-only sex education taught in the schools (if at all) – were once the rebellious kids who lied to their parents and snuck out of the house to meet up with a lover, or stole a swig off a bottle of their dad’s whiskey bottle, or skipped class to go smoke cigarettes on a warm, spring afternoon.  I can’t imagine that they were all straight-edged and scared of change and the new like they are now.

What happened to them?

Did becoming parents change them?  Or maybe their own personal demons caused them to alter their point of view on life?  I’m sure it’s a different story for everyone but with the same similar components.  I couldn’t tell you what it would take for me to drastically shift my opinions to the other side and that scares me.  It means I don’t know what I need to avoid in order to keep my current outlook.

I am aware of it, though, and I think that will help me maintain an honest approach to the ever-changing and evolving world in front of me.  I know that I’m different now than I was five years ago and I’m fine with that.  I’m learning.  I’m growing.  I’m getting stronger.  I’m getting better.  While I know that I can’t avoid aging, I can avoid losing my humanity.

In a matter of hours, I will be another year older.  I still feel like I’m ascending the mountain of life, not yet even near the summit, and excited about the rest of the climb.  And there’s still a chance that maybe I’ve got it all wrong.  Maybe it’s not a mountain at all.  Perhaps it just keeps going up and up and up and up…

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I’m Offending You? That’s Okay. You Offend Me, Too.

03.16.09

I have a friend who is a Mormon.  He doesn’t drink alcohol or coffee.  He doesn’t swear.  He goes to church on Sundays.  In those terms, we are complete opposites.

He and I are in an interesting position at the moment.  We’re currently forced to be around each other nearly 24/7, with other guys who are very similar to me in those aforementioned terms.  We swear.  We drink.  Usually a lot of the former when we have a lot of the latter.

Recently we were all in a particularly vulgar mood and, while we found it hysterical, our Mormon friend did not.  Finally, after hours of us reliving the same crass inside joke he asked us to please not swear so much around him anymore.  It was wearing on him.  He really found it very offensive.

To be honest, the joke is offensive.  But it’s not the first time that something hilarious has bothered people.  Nor will it be the last.  And it truly was tear-inducingly funny.  To us at least.

Now, this same guy who finds us offensive and has asked us to not replay that specific joke in front of him is also, unsurprisingly, a staunch supporter of Prop 8.  He believes that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.  A sinful and wrong lifestyle choice, at that.  He truly thinks that gay marriage, if legalized, would infringe upon his religious beliefs.

I am deeply offended by his stance on this.

Now, for me, I tend to avoid talking to him about these issues because we both know that we stand on polar opposite sides of the debate.  But it’s still there.  And while I am not always a vulgar, crass jokester – and neither are the rest of us in the group – I also don’t want to feel like I’m being judged for my humor when it does come out.  I feel like because he believes things that I find offensive, and I say things that he finds offensive, those two should offset.  We should accept each other as being who we are and not try to impede upon their beliefs.

He voted Yes on Prop 8.  I say the word “fuck” a lot.

Granted, I would like to change his mind on his belief that homosexuals are sub-standard American citizens much like he probably would like to change my mindset that swearing is funny not evil.  But if we have to agree to disagree, like my blog states, then so be it.  And if that’s the case, I think that, in this situation, I shouldn’t have to censor myself.

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Global Warming!? No way! It’s FREEZING!

03.11.09

La Crosse, WI 3-10-09

Living in Los Angeles for the past four (!?) years has changed me.  I can no longer handle the cold weather anymore.  And it’s not like I haven’t been back to visit.  Despite exceedingly high prices for flights, I’ve managed to make it back every winter around the holidays and even a couple times during the summer.

Still, it couldn’t prepare me for the frigid blast that is Old Man Winter, even in the seemingly springtime month of March.

It was a brisk 11 degrees in La Crosse, WI last night and there was I wearing a hoodie.  No hat.  No gloves.  No long underwear.  No wonder I have a stuffy nose today.  I guess I really lived up to my LA stereotype of not having any concept of just how cold it gets in certain parts of the country.  I just feel embarrassed that it happened to me since I spent way more of my life in the cold than not.  I should have known better.

I suppose it’s a case of the brain forgetting unpleasant memories.  We unconciously tend to remember the good rather than the bad.  Either that or I’m just repressing the horrific trauma of spending most of my pre-20s life consistently chilled to the bone.  I wonder what Freud would say about that.

Actually, no, I don’t.

I will say one thing for certain: I do NOT miss real winter.  Not even a little.  There’s some nostalgic factor to seeing snow in March and not feeling the tips of my toes or fingers.  But you get over it very quickly.

Sub-tropical weather for life!

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Insomnia and Insomnia

01.26.09

What a forgettable movie.

I remember the hype for this movie: Robin Williams at the pinnacle of his “dark” phase, paying back his actorly debt for starring in such awful tripe like “Patch Adams” and “Bicentennial Man.”  Al Pacino hoo-ahhing his way through the 2000s, riding a wave of goodwill from the 70s/80s.  Hilary Swank going mainstream.  Director Christopher Nolan cashing in a big check after the “Memento” acclaim.  Based on a hit Norweigan film back when remaking every foreign movie hadn’t yet become all the rage.

Naturally it was a snoozefest.  I saw it in theaters and honestly couldn’t tell you a single thing about it other than it takes place in Alaska, Al Pacino can’t sleep because it’s bright all day and night, and he’s obsessed with catching Robin Williams because he killed somebody.  (Swank was Pacino’s partner? Maybe?  Who cares.) It was two hours of my life that I barely remember having taken place.  Kind of a waste now that I think about it.  But the whole reason that I’m thinking about it at all at 2:07am on an early Monday morning is the actual eponymous affliction: insomnia.

I’m now finding that sitting through the film “Insomnia” isn’t much different than having bouts of insomnia.  Before I know it, it will most likely be around four in the morning and I’ll have trouble remembering just what I did to occupy the past two hours of my life.  There will be fleeting images of trolling ESPN news articles, maybe an online game of backgammon, writing a blog perhaps.  Oh, look, “Dazed and Confused” just came on.  That’ll kill another couple hours.

It’s not really insomnia.  I do sleep.  It’s just not at all on a remotely healthy schedule.  If I try to go to bed before 4am, I’ll toss and turn, usually have nightmares, and wake up in a cold sweat.  That’s if I fall asleep.  I don’t take naps.  I drink caffeine but no more than I ever have and I’ve never had this trouble before.

Perhaps this is just my natural rhythm and my faux-insomnia really is just me fighting my own innate, biological clock.  Some people need eight hours of sleep to function.  Others get sleepy before Letterman and some don’t even need sleep at all.

Me?  Well, I can’t fall asleep before 4am.  And that’s okay.  That’s just how I am.

Maybe now that I’ve established this about myself,  I can shake society’s disapproving looks and just roll with it.  Maybe this is like finally catching Robin Williams.  I just hope I don’t look as tired as Pacino does.

See you around noon.