Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Anger Management

Fuck! Fuck! Fuckety FUCK!!!

Yeah, obviously, this isn't going to be a happy-happy, joy-joy entry.

Today, I left work and marched to my vehicle. I was bitching and moaning to a friend about something on my cell. In order to get a grip on my lock fob, so I could unlock the door, I had to place my pride, my joy--my iPod--onto the roof of my car. I called up another friend to vent about this exchange.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my iPod off the roof of my car. My iPod is gone. Gone. Like that. And for what? Because I didn't fucking THINK!! It was senseless!! I feel like a fucking idiot!! It would have taken two seconds. Tops. All I had to do was step out of my car and reach up and grab my iPOD. And now, my prized possession, the thing that helps me sleep at night, the object that I work out with, the item that I walk the hallways of my job with, listening to power songs, is gone for good.


I am so fucking pissed, right now!! Seriously!! I could spit! And if I could spit acid, like one of those alien creatures in the "Alien" Quadrilogy, I would.

I felt so awful. I didn't exactly take it out on my friends, Erik and Andy, but no matter how much of a happy front I tried to put up, I'm sure I wasn't easy to be around.

The whole night, I wanted to hit something--something that is so not me!! The victim of abuse, the item that saw the business end of my fist was--wait for it!!--a plastic container of macaroons. I beat the shit out of that damn thing. It was pretty ridiculous. On the plus-side, no macaroons were harmed in the making of this rage-filled temper tantrum. Erik even told me to hit him in the shoulder and, me being me, I hit him ever-so-gently in the armpit instead.

What can I say? Hand-to-hand combat ain't my bag, alright?! Besides, those macaroons are just delicious! Why waste 'em, right?

Tomorrow, I'm picking up a new iPod from some dude off of Craig's List. The price is $160, which is essentially $40 less than what I paid for my first one. I hope this guy doesn't try to fuck me over--literally or figuratively.

Anyway, I'm bitter and tired. I'm out.

But be warned: keep your macaroons away from my.

They're not safe!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Silent City

Alright, people! It's time for another shameless plug!!

Just as I did for my boy and former Pulpster, Kyle Koliha (a.k.a. Two Chord Truth), I want to put the word out on the street (er, highway?) that there's another Pulp alumnus whose star is on the rise: Kid's name is Matt Goodlett. He's a really cool, sharp, funny guy and one helluva talented writer.

Like me, Matty started out as an intern at The Omaha Pulp (* sigh *), working on the local events calendar, before rising up to become the Art Editor, covering theatrical productions and art exhibits. Since Pulp's demise, he has written for such fine local publications as The Omaha Reader and The Omaha City Weekly.

I knew this kid would go places. Though, not necessarily before me--BRAT!!--but still...

I kid, I kid.

Anyway, getting to the point--and I do have one!!--as of somewhat recently, Matt has started a literary/art magazine here in town that called Silent City. It's still a baby, at this point, but it's an absolutely fabulous publication! There are tons of great essays (Katie Wudel's brilliant "Generation WTF" will leave those who suffer from the college version of Postpartum Depression hugging themselves, rocking back and forth and laughing, all at the same time) interviews and articles in it, not to mention some startlingly beautiful, haunting artwork.

Pick up the latest copy and spread the word!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Love Me or Hate Me?

At this point in my life, I've come to realize that there really is no happy medium when it comes to people liking or disliking me.

I'm either someone you either love or hate. You either find me endearing or annoying. I remember there being a time when I wanted everyone to love me. I would literally shudder at the thought of someone disliking--worse...

Now, I don't even blink if I find out that someone hates me, dislikes me. Odds are, if you think I'm an asshole, I probably hate your ugly-ass guts, too.

Even Steven. Just the way I like it.

Seriously, though. I'm an awkward, weird, dirty-minded guy who tends to lack a filter and says what he wants to say and laughs when he wants to laugh, no matter how inappropriate the circumstances may (or may not) be.

I mean, come on, what's not to like?!

I mean, I don't go out of my way to offend or hurt people, but I've learned that I'm going to be who I'm going to be and if you don't like it, well, suck it. I'm a people-pleaser, but I've come to a point in my life where I realized that I can't please everyone and I refuse to change who I am for anyone but myself.

So, yeah.

People either tend to dig that or head for the hills.
And that's completely fine with me. I like it that way!!

It's something that I can work with, put my finger on, ya know?

What I cannot handle, however, is not knowing where I stand with people. It irks me to abso-fuckin'-lutely no end. I hate not knowing if people that I care about or people who claim to care about me--friends, family, lovers (no, not all in one breath to all of you filthy pervs out there!!)--drop off the face of the Earth or don't make an effort to get in touch with me or return my calls.

Another thing that makes me freak is when I talk to a friend, a certain immediate family member or--yeah...I'll go there--my See You Next Tuesday (figure it out, innocent ones) of a boss and there's the tiniest bit of an edge in their voices that I can't read.

I hate that!!

To me, there is nothing scarier than standing upon shaky ground or thin ice. After all, it's easy to fall through the cracks.

No, this is not a Howard thing, either. Today, I'm happy to report, I managed to beat the bloody crap out of Howard several times over with a rusty crowbar (in my head, anyway). It's more of a I-want-to-know-what-the-fuck-is-going-on thing.

I want to know how everyone feels about me at all times!! I don't want people to just tolerate me, put up with me.


I want people to have strong, guttural reactions to my presence. I want women to either swoon, smile, recoil, blanch, or kick me in the balls at the mere sight of me!! I want men to get a fuckin' hard-on, high-five me, slap me on the back, hit me in the face or, well, okay, yeah...kicking in the balls works pretty well in both cases.
[BLOGGER'S NOTE: If you really think about it, a good kick to the crotch works well for just about any occasion, whether you're trying to inflict pain on another human being or just trying to induce gut-busting laughter and guffaws all around. Just sayin'...]

And if you do like (but preferably love) me but have a beef with me, let me know. Here's a tip: Passive-aggressive behavior--which, I'll admit, I'm guilty of partaking in a lot of the time--makes me want to bite you. In the jugular.

Look, I don't ask for much (Okay...that's a complete and utter lie. I ask for a lot!!). Just tell me where I stand and don't leave me hanging. Let me know if you be lovin' or you be hatin'.

I want to polarize the masses.
I want to be famous and infamous to all people at all times!! So, don't be passive. Don't be afraid. Get it out in the open, ladies and germs! Step right up!! Step right up!! Come one! Come all!!

Seriously, though...

I promise I'll try to not get mad. Scout's honor (Yes, believe it or not--and I know that many of you won't believe it--I was a cub scout, ever so briefly, many, many, meh-heh-heh-henny moons ago!!) You have my word.

Fair warning, though: I might still kick you in the balls.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Am Jack's Amusing E-mail Conversation

Tina: I am a little scared of Howard… and Bruce :)

Me: If you think about it, I've got my own Tyler Durden, like in "Fight Club." Wait! Does this mean I have to shoot myself in the mouth in order to make him go away?! DAMMIT! LOL! ;o)

Tina: At least you know you always have an out :P

Me: You, my dear, are sick. LOLOLOLOL!! :oP

Kill Howard

This may come as a surprise for many of you and none of you, but I have named my giant thatch of chest hair.

I call him--yes, him!--Bruce.

No, seriously. I'm not joking here.

Bruce has become such an ingrained part of my persona, that many of my friends ask me to let the big guy himself out to play, breathe. And I happily oblige, unbuttoning and unleashing the shear masculine charms of Le Brucey baby.

And let me tell you...he's the life of the party.

Make no mistake: He's always been there (well, at least for the last 15 years or so), but recently, my friends and I decided to initiate him as a full-time member of our little circle of friends.

So, yeah, Bruce. He's the man.

Tonight, though, with the help of one of the best friends a crazy dude like myself could ever ask for, I came up with a name for another part of me.

We put a name to my mortal enemy, the demon inside me that constantly makes me second-guess myself, worry to the point of exhaustion, incapacity and, eventually, quite possibly, if I let it have its way...death.

Its name is Howard.

Howard has been around far longer than Bruce. In fact, I would say Howard has been around since about the time I turned seven, when everything changed.

Here's the thing. Do I think it's okay to worry about things? Of course! It's only natural to wonder or even fear what the unknown has in store for us, what's going to happen. Hell, there are some things that people should be worried about (um, the price of gas anyone? Hello?!)

Howard, on the other hand, is that constant voice in my head that causes me to go fucking bat shit over the tiniest things. He's my voice of self-doubt, my fear of being forgotten, that I'll say or do the wrong thing, that I'll never find love, that I'll get sick, that I'll die a homeless man, that I'll die young, that I'll break my parents' hearts, that I'll hurt the ones that I love, that I'll hurt myself, that my cat will die because of me, that I won't be able to succeed in any way...

That is, until I wash my hands. Or something silly like that.

Yeah, it's an extreme example, but nevertheless, it is an example of the worries that I constantly struggle with, the fear that is always there. It's Howard in all of his seemingly infinite power.

Well, I am here to tell you, today, that I am done.
I am alive. I am fine. The World is Not Ending.

So, no more mini heart attacks. No more sweating. No more paralysis.

No more, Howard.

I am not a violent man by nature (well, okay...maybe I'm a little violent...but only at heart and in mind), but here and now, let me make my intentions crystal clear...over the course of the rest of this year, I am going to reclaim my life.

And when I arrive at my destination...

I am gonna kill Howard.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grr. Argh.

Wow! What perfect timing!!

Who would have guessed that on the very same weekend the amazing new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight," debuted to groundbreaking records, that my very own Two-Face would emerge?!

Through the grapevine, I found out that, apparently, one of my "friends" thinks that I am a "pussy" whose problems/issues aren't valid.

Look, I am a very emotional person; sometimes, yes, to my own detriment.

This is not news.

I am not mad that you think that I'm a pussy, sir. No, what I am mad at is that I have never done anything but offer my friendship to you, listen to you when you needed an ear after your women done you wrong for the gazillionth time, and give you a hug when you looked like you needed one. What I am mad at is that before I found out that you called me that name, we bumped into each other and smiled at me, talked to me like I was your bosom buddy.

And then you turn around and degrade me, make me feel like a piece of shit because you're feeling sorry for yourself. Cry me a fucking river, dude! We've all got our problems.

I am who I am. I am one of the most emotional, high-maintenance, neurotic people people you will ever meet in your lifetime. I can be an absolute handful. No doubt about it.

But here's what I'm finally starting to realize about myself, after all these years, despite whatever mistakes I've made in the past...

Most of the time, I'm a pretty awesome person and a damn good friend.

Fuck you if you can't look past your own issues to see that.

You're the one who's missing out.

Back In Business!!

I'm absolutely elated to announce that after a very lonnnnnng break (three years!!), I'm back in the newspaper biz again!! As of Saturday, I've been hired on as a freelance writer for a super awesome weekly alternative news rag called The Omaha Weekly Reader!!!!

It's a weekly gig where I will write about upcoming local events ("Eight Days") Plus, I've been told that I can pitch story ideas as they come to me, not to mention that I will also be considered for writing pieces for the paper's food page ("Dish") as well as on the music page.

So, yeah! Yay! Finally! A step in the right direction!!

I honestly couldn't be more pleased, thank you very much! I'm super happy!!

Hey, I guess it had to happen sooner or later, right?

* WOOT!!!! *

All These Things That I've Done

But I can't confront the doubts I have
I can't admit that maybe the past was bad
And so, for the sake of momentum
I'm condemning the future to death
So it can match the past
Aimee Mann, "Momentum" (1999)

"Live with no regrets."

People are always telling me that and, ya know, I wish I could subscribe to that philosophy, but the truth is...I've never been able to do anything without second-guessing myself afterward or beating myself up for my past mistakes.

I am a man who has immersed himself in his past.

After all, I have done bad things in my past, horrible things. For two years, I was a self-destructive jerk who really didn't care about anything. I was foolish with my body and I hurt a lot of people, lost a lot of friends, not to mention some opportunities that could have let me live Happily Ever After.

But those times are just memories now. Most people have forgiven and forgotten. I just wish I could be one of those people. I wish to G-d that I could let myself off the hook for the mistakes that I've made, the horrible choices.

What can I say?
I've always been my harshest critic.

It's crazy. There are moments when I'll look back at a mistake that I've made and think about how much better, more fulfilling my life would have been had I not been such an idiot.

And then I just...panic. I freak!!

Not just a little shiver down my spine. I wish! No, I suddenly forget how to breathe, unable to continue what I was previously doing. It's like I'm trapped in that moment inside my head, living it over and over...and it takes fucking forever to calm myself back down, get myself back to good again.

For instance, last week, without going into detail, I was at work when I began thinking about this huge mistake I made in my past and BOOM!! I was gone. My breathing became erratic and I was useless to pretty much anyone and anything--catatonic, baby.

The same paralyzing, suffocating questions kept echoing and bouncing around in my skull: Is my fate signed, sealed and delivered? Am I going to be a failure?

Of course, to the outsider, this is ludicrous and irrational and I probably sound certifiable, an idiot to be sure. But that's the way I am. I've never been able to just let things go.

I know what y'all are thinking: So you made a gross fucking miscalculation. Shit happens!! MOVE ON!!

But it's not just that mistake. No, I can't let myself off the fucking hook--not for a second--on anything.

And people say "no regrets?" Fuck! I wish it were that easy!! I regret everything!! You know the old saying, you'll be as sorry as the day you were born? That's me!! I am always sorry!! I am HAUNTED by my past!!

But I'm trying.

I'm making every effort to push forward, full speed ahead. For the first time in my life, my eyes are focused and trained squarely on what's in front of me, rather than the rubble, the destruction left in my wake.

I am going to fight for my future. I have come too far, at this point, not to. And I am going to win, this time. I don't know exactly what I'm gonna win, but if it's anything that will make me a happier, stronger person, than I will do whatever it is I have to do.

And yes, there are times when I will fuck up, I will make horrible mistakes. It happens to the best of us.

Hell, I know that all too well.

Will I ever live without regrets? No. I don't suppose I ever will. I think anyone who doesn't have regrets is arrogant, wrong-headed and immature. But it doesn't make them bad people.

Look, we were put on this Earth to make mistakes, dust ourselves off, learn from them and teach others to not make the same mistakes we did. I have made terrible, horrible mistakes. But I've learned from them--more times than one on a few.

But I have yet to forgive and forget. I think it's due time that I try.

My life depends on it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Save the Date!

I have never been, nor will I ever be, what one might refer to as a player, a pimp or a man whore.

Truth be known, and this is complete and utter T.M.I., but I would rather stay home and watch porn in the privacy of my own bedroom, living room, kitchen, and/or hallway (okay...the closet and atop just about any hard surface, too) than go on a date, blind or otherwise. Hell, most times, I would rather take a bath with my toaster oven than endure the awkwardness and humiliation that accompanies a first date.

And yet, there I was, two weeks ago, with two different dates in two days. Yeah, I was pretty shocked, too. That has never happened to me. Seriously. Never. Eh-var. At first, I was kind of excited about it, thinking gee whiz! Someone up there must like me!

But of course, me being me, the neuroses soon began to set in. I kept asking people--friends, family, co-workers, Romans, countrymen--the same question, over and over and over again: Am I a complete and utter asshole?! I mean, think about it. What if you find that both gals/guys are awesome and they both like you equally and vice versa? What then? The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone. What if I had to choose, ya know? I don't know if I could do it.

Could you just imagine? I'd become the first Jewish polygamist!! Actually...that plan doesn't sound half bad!! Kidding. Only kidding. [BLOGGER'S NOTE: Kinda.]

Plus, on a more serious note, there's still someone out there that I care truly, madly and deeply about, someone whose sequins, as creepy and desperate and Swimfan-ish as this sounds, I would follow to the ends of the Earth. What a world.

But all that is neither here nor there. Let's get back to dating.

I've always been the type of person who would much rather go on a dating Web site--J-date, usually--and just find people, talk to them online, progressing toward the phone and, eventually, meet in person. It's how I met my exes. Which probably doesn't exactly help my case, but still...

I mean, I don't think I'm an ugly cat, but I like the idea that they're getting to know my personality first before they meet me in person. It's sort of like a defense maneuver, I guess, an insurance policy. It's not like we don't exchange pictures or anything. They know what, er, who they're getting into from the get-go.

I've always thought that dating is kind of a bullshit way of getting to know one another. I always think of this line that Jerry Seinfeld once said, that dates are like glorified job interviews with the dwindling possibility of sex at the end. It's the absolute truth. After the date's over, you're always left wondering did I get it? How'd I do?!

At 27, I still find myself exasperated and confounded by sexual politics as well as dating etiquette, especially nowadays. On the date with the second girl, she wanted to pay separately. I had no idea what to think or make of this. I mean, aren't guys supposed to pay? Was it even a date or was it two potential friends just "kickin'" it, yo? Stuff like that makes me question everything when it comes to the do's and don'ts of dating and I hate being unsure of myself.

Which is a pretty funny thing for me to say, seeing as there's no one more unsure of themselves than I.

So, to wrap this up. The first girl, who I actually thought there might be a chance with (three hours of great conversation at the restaurant on the first date?!?! Way cool!!) all but fled like the wind from me on the second date. Not sure why. Maybe I was too tall. The second one, well, the jury is most definitely out. I still get a hardcore friends vibe, though, with no clue as to where I stand. I dunno.

Eh. What can I tell you?

It's hard out there for a pimp.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I'm kind of surprised that I never wrote about this, but I never ended up going to Israel.

I gave a lot of reasons, some true, some false.

But my biggest reason, one that I've never really shared with a lot of people, is this: My kitty, Lillie, was sick. And sick cats cost money.

Yes, I know, the trip was free. But incidentals and gifts and souvenirs and all kinds of other things can really add up in costs! At the time, my mom was telling me that I should bring $600 with me! And there was a time when that amount wouldn't have been a problem (read: when I didn't have, ya know, rent and bills to pay and I still lived at the parental units' humble abode), but that time was not then.

So, getting back to Lillie. She was sneezing a lot, coughing, her breathing was a little mucusy. And being the selfish person that I am, I almost considered getting rid of her. After all, I had a trip to go on!! I couldn't afford a sick cat on top of it!!

And then, one night, I looked her in the eye. She was so tiny. She looked so sad and pathetic. She gave me this look like, why aren't you taking care of me? It was then that I knew that she no longer belonged to me. It was the other way around. As gross and sappy and positively weird (yes, I've officially become one of those obnoxious pet lovers that I hate) as this sounds, as much as she's my little girl, I'm her daddy.

I withdrew from the trip a day or so later and took her to the vet.

I am so overprotective of her. To a fault, almost. I finally just started turning the lights off in my apartment when I leave. Yes, I've always known that cats are nocturnal and can see just fine in the dark, but's the dark!! It's so lonely!! Another example of my Protective Papa Syndrome is that even if the toilet seat is down, I make sure the bathroom door is closed, just as one extra precaution so that she doesn't drink the bleach water from the toilet bowl.

Yeah, it gets pretty bad. My friends think I'm completely nuts. Sadly enough, they may not be (completely) wrong.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing this is because, well, my little girl is growing up.

* sigh *

When I first got her, she was so tiny (five months old, my ASS!! lol!! Love you, Court) that I actually had to get her a bunny collar to fit around her neck. Nearly a year later, this last Saturday, I finally had to go the store and pick up a cat collar because she's gotten so big!! I came home and Erik and I cut off her little bunny collar. It's going to go somewhere safe like my little jewelery box [BLOGGER'S NOTE: Alright, alright! Knock it off with the gay jokes. I don't actually keep jewelery in the jewelery box. Just mementos and keepsakes, mostly!! So, like, fuck off!!]

Not only that but, also as of Saturday, I switched her from Purina One's "Healthy Kitten Formula" to the "Adult Cat Healthy Weight Formula."

As the great Bob Dylan once said, the times they are a-changin'.

I can't believe what a prick I was with her, those first few months. I can't believe I was going to give her up. It breaks my heart. The idea that I was so close to getting rid of one of the brightest lights of my life breaks my heart.

It's so funny how, when I first got her, I hated her jumping on everything and just getting into my shit. Now, I honestly don't know what I'd do without her. The idea of coming home to an empty apartment without her greeting me at the door and trying to crawl up my leg or sitting up on the chair and giving me one of her giant Lillie yawns, after several hours of puts shivers down my spine. In a year full of chaos (a lot of it caused by Miss Lillie herself), she's been my one true thing, the most stable thing in my life.

What a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Viva" La Coldplay

There's nothing quite as exhilarating as when one of your favorite bands, after a ho-hum previous effort, not only returns to form, but bounces back with a vengeance, exceeding your expectations as well as changing everything you thought you knew the band was capable of.

This is exactly what Coldplay has done with their latest masterpiece, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.

Come on! Let's get it out! Go ahead and say it: You Know How I Know You're Gay? You Like Coldplay.

Yes, much to the chagrin of male fans of the aforementioned British alternative rock band, Judd Apatow's modern comic classic, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," made it unsafe for once-secure heterosexual men everywhere to freely admit their undying love for Coldplay.

In fact, I was at IHOP (home of Mr. "I don't do stupid!"), a week or two back, when I asked Glen if he liked Coldplay. His response: "I don't admit it publicly, but I think they're alright."

What gives?! Why the backlash?!

When their debut album, "Parachutes"--their first masterpiece, in my opinion--crossed the pond over to the states in 2000, hit singles such as the soulful, rock ballad "Yellow" and the contemplative "Trouble" helped put their names on a list of Bands to Watch For. Still, some critics dubbed the band as a Radiohead wannabe.

Two years later, their second masterpiece, A Rush of Blood to the Head, was released.
With songs such as the hard-charging "G-d Put a Smile Upon Your Face," the mournful love ballad, "The Scientist," the luscious piano crescendo of "Clocks," the overlooked favorite for many (well, you know who you are), "Green Eyes," and one of the most haunting love ballads of all time, "Warning Signs," the album was a recipe for success. And a success it was. It became a giant hit, making astronomical sales and garnering universal critical acclaim, making lead singer Chris Martin and company household names and catapulting the band to super stardom.

In 2005, the inevitable backlash began upon the release of their third studio album, X&Y. While I think critics were unreasonably hard on the band's newest effort, I do think the album is certainly their weakest. I think it's because the band was trying way too hard to make these U2-ish (The Greatest Band in the World) arena rock anthems The band has always fared better by keeping things intimate, with their hearts on their sleeves. Sure, there were some bright spots, such as the lovely, emotionally-stirring "Fix You," the powerful, persuasive "A Message," and "'Til Kingdom Come" (originally written by the band for Johnny Cash, who died before recording sessions occurred). Yet, the band seemed far more intent on trying to be all things to all people than it was on trying to make well-written, catchy songs. The album sold well, but received mixed reviews.

I'll admit that I was over Coldplay for a year or so following X&Y. I thought the band had gotten too big for it's britches. A band like U2 can get away with such arrogance and pompousness, because they've been around for over 32 years, releasing more than 11 albums. Coldplay, as a band, is still young. It's one thing to aspire to be like a band you admire, but to start to believe you are that band or that you can be that band is entirely another. Coldplay began its journey with intimate, quiet songs about love, loss, and redemption and the more popular they got, the more they seemed to abandon those roots. U2 made the same mistake during the latter part of the '90s with Pop (not the band's best, but it still has some great moments). It happens.

However, as a band, Coldplay needed to read the writing on the walls that people were beginning to dismiss them as a whiny, self-indulgent band, well on it's way to achieving self-parody.

It is with great joy that I can tell you for their latest album, they saw the warning signs. Viva La VIda may very well be one of the best CD's I've ever listened to. Period.

The disc begins with "Life In Technicolor," a track that will surprise most fans for its lack of lyrics. It opens up the album with a rush of energy that seems to sustain it for all its 10 tracks.

The albums third track, "Lost!" is an absolutely perfect inspirational pop rock ballad that just makes the soul soar with it's pipe organ and clapping, not to mention Chris Martin's seemingly newfound vocal confidence. The man's famous, much-chided falsetto appears only briefly on the disc. Is it better for it? I don't know. I never had a problem with his trademark vocal stylings, but I do think its nice to see an artist stretch a bit.

The absolutely rich and gorgeous "Lovers in Japan," with its building, fast-paced tempo, will strike some people as sounding a lot like U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name," and they wouldn't be incorrect in making such an assessment. The album was co-produced by longtime U2 collaborator, the brilliant Brian Eno. This track is a real treat. It has so much energy to it. I love driving to it. Don't ask why. Anything that helps me get to work on time, I guess, right?

"Yes!" is a track that just grabs you and never lets you go. It's a twisty one, too, as it starts as a melancholy break-up rock song about loneliness, occasionally incorporating Arabic music, until finally morphing it's way toward a trippy, high-speed finale.

The title track has gained quite a lot of popularity, as well as airtime on TV as it was used for iTunes latest advertising campaign. With its classical sound, it's a grand, sweeping track, very reminiscent of Annie Lennox's 1992 "Walking On Broken Glass." The song's energy is absolutely infectious!

The most lovely song on the album is its simplest one, "Strawberry Swing." It kind of begins with a twangy country/bluegrass arrangement but eventually makes great use of African drums. The song is about savoring and not wasting the precious moments with a lover, because they may not always be around. It's a philosophy I've always subscribed to: Every moment counts. It's truly one of the band's best songs ever; an instant Coldplay classic.

I have listened to "Vida" non-stop for the last two weeks and each time I listen to it, it only gets better. I can't tell you how happy I am to have the band that made me believe that it was okay to keep your heart firmly planted on your sleeve back in top form.

So, yeah, a hearty welcome back goes to my favorite boys from Manchester. Coldplay rocks!!

Yes, you heard me: I LOVE COLDPLAY!!!

If that makes me gay, well, then really...who wants to be straight anyway, right?