Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ascending "Stars"

While I know the disc has been out for a little while now, I've decided, at long last, to write the full-length review of Rufus Wainwright's latest and, in many ways, possibly his greatest. I have to admit that this is the first CD review I've written in three years or so, so cut me a little slack if it's kind of all over the map...


At once, lushly beautiful, self-indulgent and messy, Release the Stars is Rufus Wainwright the way Rufus Wainwright would want to be heard. And that's A-Ok, because this may be his finest album yet.

While his last CD, 2004's Want Two--the second, lesser half of his two-part Want project--sounded pretty enough and was emotionally stirring (it's hard to deny the elegant, smoky power of the Copa Cabana-esqe "Peach Trees" and the crushing sadness of "The Art Teacher"), it lacked depth.

Save "Old Whore's Diet," it was missing the simple, seductive hooks of earlier songs such as "April Fools" from his 1998 self-titled debut, "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" from 2001's Poses and "14th Street" from 2003's Want One.

In Stars, Wainwright has given us a disc containing songs of anthemic, grandly operatic proportions as well as those of startling, heartbreaking, quiet intimacy. People have always claimed that Wainwright's music is somewhat cinematic and/or theatrical in its sound and scope. In regards to this particular outing, no truer words have been spoken. There are songs here that, while they are lovely to the ear, have a very visual quality to them.

The disc opens with "Do I Disappoint You," featuring Rufus at his most self-indulgently theatrical, melodramatic and over-the-top. I loved every second of it! As reflected in past songs such as "Dinner at Eight," The dude has always had daddy issues with folk-singer/actor Loudon Wainwright III, so it should come as no surprise, with lyrics such as "Do I disappoint you in just being human / and not one of the elements that you can light your cigar on" or "Why does it have to be fire / Why does it always have to be brimstone," that ol' Rufus is ceremoniously extending his middle finger in papa bear's direction again.

Speaking of flipping the bird, next up is "Going to a Town," the artist's most overtly political song to date, about his disappointment in our country's leaders and his yearning to, well, get the hell out of America. In interviews, Wainwright has mentioned that this track is unlike any of his other work in the sense that most of his songs usually take a little time to seduce you, whereas, with "Town," it has a much more immediate sound to it. Agreed. Normally, it takes a couple listens for me to inevitably fall head-over-heels with his songs, but the crystalline, continuous piano melody of "Town" is extremely hooky. It won me over straight away with its sound and, of course, it's message, which is pointedly conveyed without ever sounding preachy.

It is my immense pleasure to talk about the bombastic, supremely rousing and sharply witty "Between My Legs," this album's answer to "Old Whore's Diet." While it has that signature drama-queen flamboyancy that we've grown accustomed to with Rufus' stuff, it's also unlike anything I've ever heard. With its rude, crude, downright hilarious lyrics ("You can go out dancing / And I'll go write about you dancing without you/ And I'll shed a tear between my legs") and roller coaster-like twists and turns, ups and downs, the song is, in a word, brilliant. It's fast moving, catchy-as-hell and it offers one of the best samplings of another artist's (Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera") material I've ever heard. And a special, separate kudos should be given to veteran Brit actress Sian Phillips for her gameness in going along with this explicit, fun-filled track. Her spoken word monologue is a mixture of creepy and graceful. Download this sucker, now, people!!!

"Not Ready to Love," ironically enough, may very well be Rufus Wainwright's most beautiful love ballad to date. It may not soar to such sweeping, epic heights as, say, Want One's "Go Or Go Ahead," but it is absolutely lovely, poignant and ("I'm not ready to lie. / I'm not ready to love / Until I'm ready to love you / The way you should be loved. / Until I'm ready to hold you / The way you should be held") true. I dare you not to get emotional while listening to this song!

Ever wonder why you stick around and hold out for that one person you know really just doesn't give a damn about you? Yeah, me either. But this stirring, exhilarating song playfully taps into that desperate desire and insecurity. It's another over-the-top theatrical tune that, in a way, kind of reminded me of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

"Tulsa"--apparently about a little, um, get-together with Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers*, I'm afraid, is the one complete misfire on this disc. There aren't too many songs by Rufe that I just automatically flip past, but unfortunately, this is one of those. Thank god it's only two-minutes long. Dreadful.

In "Leaving for Paris No. 2," one of this discs most subtle, haunting treasures, Rufus seems to channel Chet Baker a la "My Funny Valentine." It's pulsing, enchanting, melancholy piano strains will leave you feeling a bit introspective and wanting to, well, just look at the title of this song. Of all the songs on Stars, this track is the most cinematic in tone. Indeed, it's as if it slinked right off the set of a black and white movie from the '30s or '40s.

Going on a more biographical route, "Sanssouci," for all its upbeat pep, explores a rather dark chapter in Wainwright's life, when his crystal meth addiction left him temporarily blinded**. Wouldn't ya know that it's a joyous, catchy tune that you can actually sing to in the car with friends? Rufus!! You rascal, you!!

Finally, we arrive at the disc's title track. Simply put: it is everything that we've come to love about Rufus Wainwright: tongue-in-cheek and self-referential with the veneer of theatre and a touch of bawdy cabaret.

In other words, you want to savor every second of it, which is not unlike this majestic album itself.

Do you disappoint us? Not by a long-shot, Mr. Wainwright.

Grade: A

Blogger's Note: The info regarding Flowers and Rufus' temporary blindness comes courtesy of Wikipedia. Thanks, you crazy Wikis!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mea Culpa

Me: Man, that party last night was not cool.
You: Yeah, I know!! Skate Land is so not cool!!
Did you hear what those guys, Brad and Casey, were saying about us?!
You: Oh, you mean that we had the hots for each other and that we were, like, boyfriend and girlfriend?

Me: Yeah! I mean, that's, like, crazy, right?!
You: Oh, totally!! I'm on the rampage, right now!!
Me:, too.

That conversation was exchanged over 17 years ago. It's one of my first memories of our friendship and it makes me smile every time I think about it. We were so innocent and unaware of how truly hurtful people can be.

For those of you who read this blog, you'll notice that I haven't written anything for about a week. Well, I've been doing a lot of thinking since my last entry, when I hurt someone that I care a great deal about.

Today, I'm going to do something I've never done with this blog. I'm going to make an apology. It's not easy for me to do this; not because I'm bad at apologizing. I think we can all agree that I'm the King of Apologies. No, this isn't going to be easy for me because I meant what I said when I said it.

I. Wanted. To. Hurt. You.

Sometimes, when we're angry, we do or say things that make oodles of sense at the time but once the dust settles, we look back and wonder, why was I so hot about something so silly, why did I lash out like that?? Sometimes, we need to look at the big picture, the grand scheme of things.

For instance, when Anonymous wrote that vicious comment on my blog, it put my whole day in a tale spin. It freaked me out because, as harsh as their words were, there was still a kernel of truth to what they wrote. I'll admit it. Of course, I'm still happy with what I wrote. They had it coming, no doubt about it!!! Yet, my point is that I remember waking up the next morning, thinking to myself, why did I let that goat-blowing windbag get to me???

It's true what one of my friends wrote in a recent blog entry. We hurt those that we love. And make no mistake, I do love you, dear. And the thing is, I know that you really don't even want or need an apology. And yet, here I am...trying to find a way to undo what I did, unhurt the hurt.

It's not so easy, but here goes: I am so very sorry, chickadee.

I'm going to tell you something that I didn't really think I'd be prepared to say. It's going to be long-winded in only the way that I know how to be, but run with me.

Three months ago, when The Bad Thing happened, I remember thinking to myself, I don't want these fucking memories! I want to give them all back. I have all these amazing things that happened, so many wonderful words exchanged. I don't know what to do with any of it now!! It's like a giant waste of space in my head because it means absolutely nothing now!! It literally hurts to even think about those memories. I wish I could make it all go away: The pain, the crying, the memories...everything!!

I will say this and I will say it only once: I talk-er-write a good game, but if I lost you, all of the pain I went through in regards to The Girl would seem pretty damn insignificant in comparison.

I take you for granted, sweetheart. I always have. It's a horrible thing to say and it probably doesn't win me any points in the Friend Department, but there it is. I think that when you've been friends with someone for so long, you stop questioning loyalties and you just expect that person to be your friend to the end, even when you're a thoughtless, self-involved sonofabitch like myself.

When I realized how hurtful what I wrote was, I tried to be like The Fonz and act like everything was fine and, ya know, to hell with her!! I don't need her!! And then, when you called the other night, I could hear the hurt in your voice and even to the last second, I played it off, like it was nothing to worry about. And then, yesterday, it hit me:

I need you.

Seventeen years is a long time. And while you may not have been physically in the picture at all times, you have always been there for me.

It was you who calmed me down when the clown freaked me out at the The Fright Zone and rapped with me to Warren G's "Regulator" that very same night. It was
you--and only you--that clapped for me when I made a complete ass of myself at my Bar Mitzvah party when I did that lame Top 10 List that everyone still gives me shit about to this day. It was you who bought me a copy of the Seal CD, Human Beings. It was you who hauled ass out of bed and came over and slept on the couch at my parents' place when I was house-sitting because I was too afraid to be alone. It was you who drove me to my birthday shindig when I called you out of the blue, just so I'd have a designated driver. It is you who has always stuck by me, even when I've been a complete douche bag to you and, yes, it is you who I always seem to find new ways to disappoint.

You have always deserved better than what I've given you. Last Saturday, when I wrote what I wrote, was no exception.

You deserved better.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Exiting Stage Left!!!!!!!!

I am so very tired of drama, this year. I've had it.

That's it!!!

I am not interested in you for a number of reasons; one of them being that you are my best friend's ex. Another reason is that you are my FRIEND!!! I don't know how many more times I can stress this. It is never, ever going to happen. I am simply not into you like that. I'm really not trying to be a dick, here!! Though, I'm sure that's how I will probably come across.

Look, I know this is harsh and it sucks that it has come to this point, but I feel that I've been pushed to the breaking point. And yeah, maybe it's my fault for thinking we could move past this by pretending it doesn't exist. Perhaps it was foolish of me to think such a thing. Maybe I'm partly to blame for this because I kept inviting you over for dinner and/or just to chill out. If I led you on in some way, shape, or form then I am truly sorry. Maybe you're right and that we should take some time apart for a while. Know this, though: I DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN!!!!

We are all adults here!! For the sake of my sanity and our decade-spanning friendship, please, end this now!!

Moving on...

I'm done with certain friends of mine who bitch and moan when they make stupid-ass decisions like giving their dirt bag boyfriends hundreds of dollars or taking back the same boyfriend, even after they throw them across rooms in front of their children. I'm tired of having to be the good guy all the time, dropping everything (including answering the phone at a fancy restaurant while I was on my trip to Minneapolis!!) for said gal pal so she can bend my ear and tell me how stupid she is and how horrible her life is. What I'm really fucking annoyed with, though, is (even after all of the above-mentioned stuff) getting bitch-slapped in the face for letting it slip to a mutual friend who happens to share my hatred of her boyfriend that she was back with him. I hate being threatened that she'll never forgive me if said mutual friend calls up her mom and informs her that she's dating Mr. Asshole again.'s a tip, darlin': If you've gotta keep who your dating a secret, then maybe that should be taken, in of itself, as a sign.

At this time, she and I are no longer on speaking terms. Why? Because I told her exactly what I just wrote in the above paragraph. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, the truth hurts.

And finally...

To you: Stop apologizing for what you write about me. If you write it, then surely you mean it and you're being honest. You shouldn't have it any other way. The way I see it is this: It's been over a month since there's been any one-on-one contact. I kind of thought we were passed this. Yeah, sure, I still read your blog--ya got me there!--but I read everyones' shit.
It's all the same to me. I get bored at work and that's what I do. If you wanna talk negatively about me in your writing, that's absolutely fine!! That's your right. But puh-LEASE, stop apologizing about it later on, under the wrong-headed impression that I'm still on my "favorite barstool," crying in my beer about losing you. It hurt for a while. I'm over it. [Blogger's Note: As for music having that effect on you, from one person to another, I think that's a good thing. Music should do that. It means we're human and that we feel.]

Ok...breathe in...breathe out...

From here on in, I am going to do my damnedest to avoid drama as if it were a hooker in Thailand. I'm done worrying about crushes. No more abusive ex-/current boyfriends of platonic (soon to be former) gal pals. Flame on? Flame off!!

As Rufus recently sang on his latest album, I've got a life to lead.

On another note, I'm sick of having to avoid writing about problems or gripes because it's going to hurt peoples' feelings. I'm tired of not being able to write about my issues, my wants, my needs anymore because too many eyes read this and certain pussy-ass douchebags who write under the cloak of Anonymous have some beef with me. It's a BLOG for chrissakes, people!! Deal with it!! More importantly, it's my blog!!

This is Neurotica. And I'm takin' it back, even if it kills me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Totally Rufus...

Change o' plans, people.

I know, I promised you a full-length review of Release the Stars, but I've gotta be honest: It takes me a little time to "get into" CDs. In a way, for me, listening to a new album is like swimming in a pool. I can't just dive right in. I have to dip one toe in at a time. So, needless to say, one car ride on the way home from work ain't gonna cut it. So, with that being said, I've decided, instead, to write an ode to Rufus Wainwright...


I was first introduced to his music when I began interning at The Omaha Pulp in September of 2003. I was working on the events calendar when my Editor-In-Chief, Leslie, put Rufus Wainwright's "Want One" CD into her player. It was unlike any kind of music I'd heard before: a unique hybrid of rock, cabaret and a little bit of opera. I was like, who the hell is this?! She informed me of who it was and that she had a massive crush on him--whether he's gay or not.

Within a day, I purchased my own copy of "Want One." And the rest, as they say, is history.

"Want One" is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite CDs. I remember playing it in my old apartment, in a haze of pot smoke, playing it and replaying it...over and over. I think, at one point, my ex-roomie Sharon started to get a little annoyed with that (the constant musical loop...not the pot. Ah, good times, Sharbear. Good times!) Anyway, the more I listened, the more I craved more Rufus. It wasn't long before I went out and bought his other album, Poses, as well as his self-titled debut CD.

I'm not going to delve into each CD individually. Not in this entry anyway. No, the main purpose of this blog entry is to explain what it is about Rufus Wainwright's music that compels me to play it in my car, at work, and even while I sleep.

Two words: The longing.

In each and every one of his songs, there's a sense of longing, a hunger for those intangible somethings we all desire: Love, acceptance, self-discovery. There's really a sort of underlying current of melancholy to his songs, a sadness--even in his more upbeat songs like "14th Street," "The Greek Song" and "11:11." And while I long for all three of those things that I listed above, what I indentify the most with, within his songs is that longing for a love that transcends mere flesh and bone.

It's that longing, that desire in his music that keeps me listening. No matter how fucked up you may be, the truth is everyone wants to be loved. Even if it's not in a romantic sense. Everyone wants to have someone there to comfort them, provide solace from the many harsh realities that this cruel world has to offer. It's human nature.

That's what his music is all about.

The way I go on about him, sometimes, I'm sure that one could make the argument that I have some sort of crush on him. In a way, that's not entirely inaccurate.

Music--to me, anyway--transcends gender. When it comes to music, whether you're straight, gay, bi, etc., all bets are off. Music can loosen up even the most stoic of souls, melt the hearts of the cynical and, yeah, by god, make a straight man or woman forget--even if it's just for a moment--about their masculinity or femininity, their sexuality identity and cause them to fall in love with a musician who somehow managed to burrow inside of them; an artist that managed to navigate around the rocky and, yeah, sometimes corroded terrain of their soul with just the precise lyrics and musical notes.

I don't know how the new CD is going to be. I don't know if it will be his best or worst. What I do know, however, is that Rufus Wainwright--with his cheeky lyrics, poignant, heartbreaking melodies and scratchy, rough-around-the-edges voice--is, indeed, a Gay Messiah.

But he may just be the Messiah of music as well.

And let us say Amen.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Go or Go Ahead...And Just Buyyyy Me

Those of you reading this who have any appreciation for music whatsoever undoubtedly know that tomorrow is a special day indeed. For those who don't and want to discover the most amazing contemporary musical talent out there, Rufus Wainright's latest, Release the Stars, will be hitting store shelves tomorrow (5/15/07).

Go. Buy. Thank me later.

With that being said, I will be writing a full-length (read: long-winded) review of the new disc. As for those of you reading this who are already rabid Rufus fans, I implore you to write a review and/or post a comment to the entry, telling me what you think of the disc or just what you think of Rufus and his stuff in general.

Y'all know who you are. phone's on viiiiibrate for youuuuuu.

Yes, I appreciate the fact that those of you who have no idea what the significance of the above "vibrate" comment is, now officially consider me to be a ginormous cock-n-balls.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Last night, at ten o'clock in the evening, my beloved friend David died.

And while the details regarding how he died are irrelevant, what certainly matters to me, as well as to every person he touched, is how he lived his short but triumphant life.

He was such a good listener. Whenever you talked to David, with his one trademark raised eyebrow, you not only got the sense that he was listening adamantly to every word you said, but he was actually analyzing each and every voice inflection for shear maximum effect. Of course, then he would tell you what he was really thinking.

And when he spoke...!!

When he spoke, you always, always, always knew that you were never going to get anything less than the god's honest truth--even if you didn't want to hear it. David had a knack for detecting a lame excuse, a white lie, a pure lie and a half truth when he heard one. Honestly? The man had the Best B.S. Detector. Ever.

But he was also one of the most compassionate men I've ever met. When my dog was sick, a few years back, he gave me a number to call for sick Malteses. And eventually, when my puppy did pass away, he came up to me with these sad eyes, gave me a hug and said one thing: "I'm so sorry, baby."

"I'm so sorry, baby."

Yes, David was gay. And everyone knew it. He wasn't shy about it, but he wasn't that flamboyant either. And yet, the fact that he was gay never seemed to bother anyone--not even those skeptical of homosexuality. As cliché as this is to say, to know David was to love him. Simple as that. The loveliness of David the Man outshined any bigotry or hatred anyone might have had toward his particular lifestyle. To everyone, he was just...David.

And it is David--a partner for one, a co-worker to many, and a friend to all--that will be missed long after his untimely passing, last night. David, an avid lover of lighthouses, may have been the proudest man I ever met, but what I think everyone who ever had the privilege of knowing him would agree on is just how proud they are to have known him.

We all have beautiful memories of David. For some, it's the memory of traveling down the interstate with him, singing along to Dido's song, "White Flag." For others, it's taking a trip to Chicago with him and discovering parts of yourself that you never knew existed before. For others still, it's the memory of mall walking with him and just being bathed in his wise, warm and soulful presence and just...talking.

For me, one of my fondest memories--one of my last memories, actually--is when he walked by my desk and, out of the blue, stopped, looked at me and said the following words that will haunt me for many days, months and years to come: "I'm so proud of the person you've become."

To that, I wish I had given him the reply that just finally popped into my head only moments ago: I couldn't have done it without you, buddy. I couldn't have done it without you.

God, I'm gonna miss you, David.

We all are.

You truly were our lighthouse.

Monday, May 7, 2007

A Queen for a King


Gee, can ya tell I'm excited?

Friendly Fire

I hate to crib from a fellow blogger, but I, too, have an issue with a friend and, like my fellow writer mentioned in their latest entry, the issue is really neither mine nor is it any of my business.

And yet, here I am writing about it.

So, let's set things up. I have a friend who has, let's just say, not had a good track record with men. In fact, except for a few exceptions, here and there, her taste in men could be considered as abominable. Some of them have stolen from her. Some of them have had weird pedophilia tendencies. Some of them have been drug addicts (which goes back to the aforementioned stealing). Needless to say, yeah, not exactly a sterling reputation when it comes to picking the best and brightest of gentlemen callers.

For the most part, I have been there for her when it comes time to pick up the pieces when her relationships reach their inevitable doom. I do it because that is just what friends do. They stick together, try and help pick up each others' broken pieces, and help glue said pieces back together again.

In the last two months, my friend began dating a guy who most would consider as a giant Fucking Loser, drinking everyday, smoking pot and doing G-d knows what else. The guy, sweet though he may be, is, in fact, just that: a ginormous Fucking Loser. Pure and simple. She knows this, too, because she has told me, straight up, "he's such a fucking loser!!"

She made that statement after she broke up with his ass about three weeks ago, which occurred directly after he drunkenly threw her across her living room in front of her two-year-old, my godson. When she informed me of what he had done, any good will I had toward the man flew right out the window. So, for about two weeks, she went on and on about what a loser, what a friggin' zero this guy was (all the while e-mailing back and forth with him, telling him that if he changed, someday...maybe...they'd get back together). I was there for her when she needed to cry, when she kept calling herself stupid over and over, asking me why she keeps picking such horrible guys as boyfriends (I told her that, like me, she wants to see the best in everyone...even if the signs are right there in front of her telling her otherwise).

So, yeah, she was a mess.

Now, that pretty much takes us to last Thursday. Keep in mind that the whole break-up thing took place over the course of two weeks or so. Anyway, she calls me up, the other day, and says "don't be mad at me, Hal. But Shane and I are back together. He's really changing."


It was less than a week or so before that he was lying to her about his drinking habits, making prank calls and passing up an evening with her in order to go throw back some brewskies with his buddies. And he's "really changing?!" Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!

And the thing is, my Gal Pal is so smart!! When I was going through my little rough patch, she had the best, smartest advice for me. It angers and frustrates me to no end that she's being such an idiot. She's so much better than this "man." What the hell is she thinking?!

She's done this dance before!! Many a time, in fact!!

But of course, I don't tell her any of this. Instead, I listen to her, nod my head and politely agree with what she's telling me. Normally, I would have yelled at her, but for some reason, I just placated her. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's just because I'm so very tired of watching her go through the same self-destructive motions, over and over again.

I just can't do it anymore. I just can't watch her hurt herself anymore. She's always said that I'm the best friend that he has. As disgusting as this sounds, part of me wants to just draw a line in the sand and say, "him or me, sweetheart. Him or me."

No, I don't have feelings for her. What I mean is, if you stick with him, I will not be there, this time, to bail you out as you endure emotional--possibly even physical--hardship after hardship. You dump him and I'll be there for you when you're feeling alone and sad. To some, that might make me sound like some manipulative, put-upon sonofabitch. I, on the other hand, think of it as tough love. I mean, who wants to stand by and watch someone that they love dearly knowingly jump into something that is bound to tear them into little pulpy shreds?

Apparently, me.

Of course I'll be there for her. Alas, as Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and Elton John once sang, that's what friends are for. Anyway, like I said, this is her bag, it's her life and it's her issue. I can't tell her who she can and cannot date. She's a big girl. I just wish she'd start acting like one.

For her son's sake.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

This Is The Life....

I know this is very out-of-left-field, but here goes...

It was brought to my attention, this morning, that a very close friend of mine who has been ailing for the last few months has now taken a dramatic turn for the worse and has about two weeks left to live. With that in mind, I just want to take this time to say something to all of you--random readers, family, friends...wherever you come from, wherever you're going to...

And what I want to say, I know, is going to come across, for many, as sappy, preachy, cliché and even condescending to some cynical naysayers out there (it is what you make of it, I guess)...but I want to say it anyway because everyone--myself, included--needs to hear it every now and again...

No matter how depressing it gets, no matter how unsuccessful you feel you are, no matter how lonely you may be, no matter how hopeless everything seems...

Don't ever, ever, ever wish your life away.

It's a one-time thing. There will never be another you. We are so very fortunate to be alive and to have the genuine blessing of a Next Day. Treat each and every single one as if it were a gift, a fresh start, a new opportunity to be who you want to be, to do what you want to do.

Treacle? Perhaps.

But can you honestly tell me that I'm wrong?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Listen Up!!

So, I know it's a little late to start making New Years resolutions, but I've decided to do the unthinkable. That's right! I'm making an Almost Mid-New Year Resolution. And, for many of you, it will be something you've really been waiting for on my end, lemme tell ya.

From here on out, my goal is this: to talk less, listen more.

I'm very self-involved. It's one of my biggest character flaws. I talk about myself...all the time. One of the biggest, most common criticisms that I get is that when people talk to me, confide in me, etc., I tend to go back inside my head to pull out a personal experience of my own to match theirs. And, ya know, that's a good thing...on some levels. I mean, it's good to be able to find things you can relate to when it comes to communicating with other people.

The problem is that when I'm trying to find something in which to relate, I tend, well, not to listen to what they're saying. What's worse is that most people can see exactly when it happens. I think my eyes do sort of a glazing-over thing. I'm not quite sure how it works, actually. Either way, though, it's no good.

One of my favorite lines in "Pulp Fiction" (and I think it may be a deleted scene, so if you don't remember this amazing nugget of Q.T. dialogue, it's probably because it never made it past the cutting room floor) belongs to Uma Thurman. She tells Vincent Vega (John Travolta) that there are two types of people in this world: Those who listen and those who simply wait to talk.

Well, sorry to say, for a good portion of my life, I have been one of those people who fall into the latter category. As previously mentioned, I tend to listen to a small portion of what another person is saying and then I space out and think of something really witty to say, some way I can tie myself into their story or, yeah--guilty as charged--think of a new, more entertaining subject to begin talking about.

Hell, just tonight, two phone calls in a row, I was asked if I was even paying attention to what the person on the other end was saying (I wasn't) and if I had an answer to their question (nope again!). Gotta's getting pretty embarrassing. If I'm any type of friend, I need to really start being more considerate of other peoples' thoughts and feeling and stop thinking about myself.

Yes, readers, as a special treat, just this once, the window has been opened for one and all to comment about the other ailment I suffer from: Only Child Syndrome. So, have at it. It's a one-time thing (but something tells me no one is going to ever let me forget it).

Wrapping things up (hey, I'm tired, alright?!?!), look, I think it's a pretty common thing for everyone to think that their shit, their drama is more important than the next guy or gal. However, if you are truly a good friend, you will find a way to get over yourself, listen and just be there--really there!!

For those friends of mine (and family) who read this--and you know who you are--from now on, I am going to try and be that person.

Happy Almost Mid-New Year!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Neurotica Unleashed!!!

I could be that guy. The guy who just doesn't dignify something so full of bile and acid as the comment that was posted to my last blog ("Save Me") and lets it go.

But I am not that guy.

Listen, Mr. Anonymous or whoever you are (and we'll get to that in a minute), if ya don't like what I have to say in my blog, here's a friendly tip: DON'T READ THE FUCKING THING, DUMB SHIT!!!!! I mean, for chrissakes almighty, I'm not twisting your arm!! If my "self-indulgent drivel" really offends you that much, then click out of it and do something else to occupy your time. I mean, it's that simple!!

Granted, you have every right to post your opinion, sir (or madame…who knows?), but at the very least, if you're gonna be a dick, be a dick with some constructive criticism to offer!!! Yeah, I get it, save myself! Very deep! But ya know what? If you actually read my blog, you'd realize that I have been working hard to improve myself.

But ya know what? I won't lie…I still have my issues, my fears, my problems. So, yeah, I write about them. And okay, do my words sometimes make me come across as some small, pathetic, insecure man? Maybe! Sure! I gotcha!! But that's a price I'm willing to pay. It makes me feel better after I write what I write. And it makes me want to work even harder than before to become the better man that I know I can be.

Everyone has their methods of working through the shit in their life, whether it be heartbreak or just trying to find your way. Like me, some people write. Others marinate and simmer in their own depressed juices, thinking that doing nothing will solve things. There are also those who run away from their own issues, with the idea that traveling to the ends of the earth will give them some answer, some solution.

You want revelations?! What the fuck, man?! Every day there's something new!! If it's not one thing, it's another, right?! When it rains, it pours!! Rome wasn't built in a day! And I am fucking trying!!

"Save yourself?!?!" Fuck yourself, dude!!

As for hiding behind "Anonymous?" You're pathetic. And the thing is, I'm pretty sure that I know who you are. I won't come right out and name names, though, because frankly, I'm not 100% sure and I don't like making blind accusations. But I am sure about this. From now on, if you've got something you want to say to me, if you want to write any further personal attacks against me, even going so far as to make physical threats, then you grow some fucking balls, own up to your inflammatory words and you sign your goddamn name!!

Hey, I feel better already!!

Save Me

It's so common.

In movies and on TV, you always hear women going on about how they want their knight in shining armor. A man to pick them up and carry them away toward that bright, shiny place in their hearts and minds otherwise known as--you've got it!!--Happily Ever After. In fact, on a fairly recent episode of "Grey's Anatomy," our modern-day icon of feminism (god, I sure as hell hope not!!), Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), referred to her Dr. McDreamy as a "knight in shining whatever."

But what about guys like me?

I mean, I know, as men, we're supposed to be the hunter/gatherers, displaying only a limited range of emotions and desires (sex, manly sports, sex, eating buffalo wings, sex, etc.), but honestly, I want to find my knight in shining armor, too!!

No, I am neither gay nor did I come out of the closet since my last blog. The meaning behind those words are actually quite simple. That is, I want a woman to save me.

"Save me."

Those are some pretty interesting words to choose, right? Pretty dramatic really. I mean, I'm not in any mortal danger. No one has tied me to a train track a la the "Dudley Do-Right" cartoons. I'm not sick or in need of an organ donor. No, the truth is quite simple really.

I'm no picnic.

Yes, as you may have noticed throughout every single one of my blogs, I am a bag of quirks and idiosyncrasies. I mean, just look to the left of this entry in the "About Me" section. That, right there, pretty much tells you what you're in for before you even read this sucker. But as I've also mentioned, in the past, there really is more to me than those, um, qualities. Deep down, I'm a pretty decent guy who is eager to please and ready and willing to do anything to make someone crack even the faintest of smiles. But ya have to get to know me first. You have to be willing to peel away all of those layers to find that, yeah, there is a man under here who wants to love...and be loved.

But yeah, needless to say, I guess I am what you would call an acquired taste.

Now, it would be selfish of me to just expect some woman to just put up with me, take care of me, constantly boost my low self-esteem. No one should ever expect that in a relationship. That's not a girlfriend. That's a nursemaid, possibly even a shrink. However, what I would really love is for a woman to just look me in the eye, look past all of the aforementioned neuroses and eccentricities and I'd love them to be able to look at me and think to themselves, ah, yes...There it is. I see it now. There is someone with potential in there. He may not have it all together now and, yeah, he's kind of a mess, but ya know what, there's a man inside of him, right here and now, that's worth sticking by and fighting for.

Most of all, though, I want someone who will be happy just being with me. Not the person I may have been at one time. Not the person that I could or will be.

Just. Me.

That's what I want. That's my knight in shining armor: The person who sees me for who I am and is willing to overlook the not-so-desirable personality traits, able to realize that there is a man in there that is worth knowing and loving.

One of my all-time favorite movies is "Sideways." The main character, Miles (beautifully played by the great Paul Giamatti), is this depressed, insecure, cynical oenophile (wine lover) with the lowest self-esteem you could ever imagine. It's the closest a movie has ever gotten to portraying me. Every time I watch it, I think to myself, did Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor write this film with me in mind?! Anyway, there's this woman, Maya (Virginia Madsen), that he's fallen for, over time, but has never had the guts to do anything about. They finally have a moment together about an hour into the movie. She asks him why he likes Pinot Noir so much and he gives a monologue that makes me want to hold myself every single time I hear it. Why? Well, because it is so truly, utterly me:

"Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."

The monologue itself is brilliant. No denying that. And then something happens that elevates it from just being a scene with two talking heads, but a moment of real, nearly tangible emotion and feeling. While he's talking, the camera closes in on her and you realize, she knows that, deep down, he's talking about himself. And it's then that she falls in love with him. She sees him for the man fucked up yet lovely man that he is. And it is then that she places her hand on top of his. Magical, magical, magical.

I guess that's really what I'm looking for: My own Maya. My Knight in Shining Whatever.

My hero. My champion.