Monday, November 14, 2005

Year-end Wrap Up of the Vexing

There are alot of things that but the shit outta me. I am a very cantankerous person. But at least I'm cranky now, and won't have far to go when I get older. Consider this practice for my crabby old age.

1. The use of the word "hobo" to describe homeless people. A hobo is specifically a migrating vagrant, and there is a connotation of a hobo being someone who has chosen this lifestyle. A homeless person is someone who lives out on the streets, and not by choice. I see this word used copiously on a certain "I overheard something" website, and since I happen to know that one of the editors is a Republican and a fan of Ayn Rand, I suspect shenanigans in the form of trying to belittle the homeless. Anyhow, I really don't want to see this word re-enter the lexicon in its current neo-con form. We need to make it our duty to correct people!

2. The use of the word "co-ed" when referring to women attending college. Uh, it's 2005, people. I can't think of one university that has recently begun to admit women where this term might be applicable. Again, this is another archaic word that has taken on an essense of deprecation. The men are "eds" and the women "co-eds"? It's like we're just hanging out, waiting to meet the right ed. Which brings u to no. 3.

3. Housewife screeds.
There have been a plethora of tomes lately about the joys of being a housewife, all written by women who should know better, as EVERY ONE OF THEM HAS A JOB OUTSIDE THE HOME. Believe me, there is not ONE person I know who would not like to be supported by a more affluent partner and left at home to supervise the nanny and do some charity work in between tennis matches, but this is not a reality for most people. Hang it up, ladies. No one cares to hear the rich upper class opinion on how the rest of us should live our lives. You are as obsolete as co-eds. Which brings us, oddly, to no 4.

4. The Shocker.
Not shocking, but annoying. And why? Because as a gesture it is meaningless, and I don't have time for meaningless hand gestures. Let me break it down for you, kiddies. The middle finger has a meaning. It means "fuck you." The thumb between the index and middle fingers? Means "gotcher nose." The shocker? It refers to an act, but there is no contextual meaning. Does it mean "I would like to perform this act on the person to whom my fingers are pointing?" No, it does not. All it means is "I am cooler than my mom." And as such I have no time for this. The Lindy is much more entertaining, and that's hard to believe that references to a two-year-old photo of torture is funnier.

Note: entry no. 4 is where I particularly feel like a crabby old person. the kids today, they can't even come up with a meaningful GESTURE, geez, they're so moronic. it's not like the devil horns!

5. New York Times reporting scandals. OMG, can they just stop this already? I think my high school newspaper had higher standards.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Not At All-Gifted

Whatever you do, don’t open the box!

Dear Pandora;

I know we only met a few weeks ago, but I feel like I’ve known you all my life. I bought you an expensive dinner and bragged about you to my friends, encouraging them to try your 10 hour free trial. You were too good to keep to myself—I wanted to share you.

But Pan, you’ve made no effort to get to know me. At the beginning you were so eager to please. I told you I liked The New Pornographers, and you played them for me, and other people who kinda sound like them. But then you started playing weird stuff—you apparently thought I would like anything with harmonies and a mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation--so I told you a little more about me: I like The Smiths, The Pixies, Nirvana. I made the mistake of telling you I like Filter. Remember that day? I think you played Mudvayne and Alien Ant Farm.. But no matter how much music I added to my list, you still screwed around with me. Every afternoon you’d start your jam-band set: Phish, Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler and even the Grateful Dead. I had to stop working on my very important spreadsheets to tell you THUMBS DOWN HUNNY! And then I’d get that sad little message from you “We’ll never play that song again.”

Pandy, you’re so smart in some ways, but so dumb in others. You know I like songs with “vamp” (yes, I had to ask Jack what that meant), but what I like about The Decembrists is not the accordion. Sure, I like a squeezebox as much as the next guy, but I don’t want you to play Weird Al because I told you I like “Engine Driver.” Also, what’s the deal with trying to push such crazy shit on my in the late afternoons? There was that one afternoon that you played some Huey Lewis song that wasn’t even a hit (I think it was called “I Know What I Like”). I told you I like the Smiths, and you never play any, or any Morrissey either, or even any of those Johnny Marr projects.

In case you’re baffled, is the online “radio station” portion of The Music Genome Project, a really brilliant project that analyzed thousands of songs and categorized them by certain criteria. Pandora sort of acts as an e-harmony of music—you tell it what you like and it searches the databases for things that have the same musical criteria they’ve applied. You can tell it you like an artist or a specific song. It’s pretty neat. You get 10 free hours and pay $36 for the year if you dig it.

But my time with my new girlfriend Pandy has taught me that music is more than just a check list of things—it’s my response to it (and yours too, I guess). Sure I like mild syncopation, subtle vocal harmonies, and a major key tonality, but I also like quirk. How do you quantify quirk? Or exuberance?

I still like Pandora—she’s cute and easy. I sure wish she was smarter.