Thursday, January 26, 2012

Parson Brown Infuriates Me

So let's get this straight, Parson Brown didn't do anything wrong in "Winter Wonderland." He didn't do anything wrong because he didn't exist. He was a snowman the stupid couple built, called Parson Brown and then proceeded to have an inane conversation with an inanimate object.

I've been thinking way too much about this lately because I have had this demon spawn barrymore of a song stuck in my head, seemingly for weeks. I find myself whistling it in the shower. Everytime I step outside my voice drops to its rich baritone (more likely a painfully off key and crackly girly alto) and out it comes, "walkin' in a winter wonderland."

It's awful. I've read articles potentially heard about people who have perpetual hiccups. A lot of them end up going a little crazy or killing themselves because they can't handle constantly and uncontrollably hiccuping. My situation is literally, exactly like, if not worse than, that.

So let's do something you should never ever do: Think too much about the lyrics and meaning of a holiday song.

Starts out strong. Listening and glistening is an excellent rhyme and I have to admit "walking in a winter wonderland" is some solid alliteration and a catchy chorus.

But that's our only respite... the very first verse.

They jump right into it. Coming out strong replacing the very specific blue bird with the completely non-defined generic "new bird." What exactly did they mean when they said new bird? We know it's a song bird, but apparently there aren't any song birds with a one syllable name? I did some research and according to Google, if you ask "what is a new bird", four of the first ten search results are about the addition of a brand new bird to the Angry Birds franchise.

What else did they predict?
Walking in a Nuclear Winter Wonderland?
I'm choosing not to go down the path of explaining how Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist) predicted the world domination of Angry Birds and may, in fact, have been the original inventors of the smart phone. Geniuses stuck in the wrong time. The technology of their era failed them, so they chose the next best thing to get their message out... to ensure future generations would be excited for the new birds of Angry Birds... they chose to predict the future through holiday themed music! (Or they were idiot hacks.)

So I'm not going down that road, instead I'll move forward to the worst verse of the Christ forsaken calamity of a song. 

First they build a snowman. Fine. Great times. We've all done it. 

Then they name the snowman Parson Brown. Hmmm... excessive maybe? I've never named a snowman to impress a girl, but I'll let it slide.

"He'll say are you married?" - So when they build him they said they are going to pretend the snowman is Parson Brown. That's pretty specific. Almost like snowman Parson Brown is the persnowification of a real person whom they know. Wouldn't he know if they were married? What a shitty Parson, doesn't even know his flock.

Then their response is "We'll say no, man." 

Have some respect you little pieces of shit. This is 1934 (thank you Wikipedia). First of all, you're both probably considered tramps and trollops for romping around in meadows together when you're alone and not married. Then you have the audacity to talk to the Pastor, even if he is a terrible person (probably an abusive drunk) who doesn't care about the people he represents, with no respect. 

(Or maybe Bernard and Smith were foreshadowing again to the hippy movement of the late 60's and early 70's, knowing a young Steve Jobs would be engrossed with the culture and go on to develop ground breaking technology that would eventually allow Angry Birds to be invented).

Pictured: Parson Brown
Follow up to their ignorance... "But you can do the job when you're in town." 

How non-commital is that? First of all, do they know this guy or not? Is he just some rambling gypsy who jumps from town to town? 

Maybe he's really busy and they should sit down and make a real plan with him. Weddings take preparation and can be a time consuming portion of a Pastor's duties. Whenever you're in town swing in and hitch us up is not an adequate wedding plan. 

Are they orphan trollops and tramps? They don't want to include any friends and family? Are they gypsies too, just in a different gypsy troupe? These F'n kids are ridiculous.

That's as far as I could remember when singing the song to myself. I'm not proud of my terrible memory, but before you read further, give it a try. I knew half the next verse, but not the whole thing. Can you remember the whole thing hot shot? Bet you can't!

Either way, the next verse is about laying around a fire conspiring about the haphazard plans they made with the snow built man of the Lord. They are dedicated to pursuing these plans unafraid. Maybe they should be afraid? Maybe they're not thinking very logically about this whole thing and they should take a step back and sober up. 

This is where the song really goes off the rails. 
The next day these kids build another snowman, but today it's a circus clown.
If you're really ready for Gypsy Brown to drive his wagon scattered with bells and jingly trinkets into town to marry you, why are you playing with circus clowns?

Circus is over I guess... wedding still on?
They have a grand old time with Snow Clown Brown until the other kids in town, who inevitably spend most if not all their time picking on these idiots, come around and murder Reverend Bozo. 

Our main characters don't even care. The physical representation of their love, their religion, their marital bliss, their joy and love of clowns, and their merriment was just snuffed and without a blink they finish the song with a completely irreverant thought and some pretty racist stereotypes about the Inuit peoples.

"When it snows / Aint it thrilling /
Though your nose gets a chilling / We'll frolic and play

The eskimo way / Walking in a winter wonderland"

Snowman's dead.                                 Let's frolic.                               My nose is cold.  

Hey, did you know that the northern natives who have a very rich culture of traditions and amazing, practically unparallelled, perseverance when compared to any other modern peoples is made up of a bunch of chumps who just play in the snow all day, live in igloos and have chilly noses. How are they even still around?

Worth it.
The moral of this blog: The 30's were filled with psychics, warlocks, and divinely touched demi-gods amongst man. Instead of preventing the second world war or preventing the AIDS epidemic... they wrote songs for Irving Berlin (pictures right).

Thank you for wasting however long this just took you to read with me. That song has been haunting me. Feel free to suggest new songs I should obsess about and break down line by line for the sake of entertainment/wasting minutes of the day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I like setting up meetings for the following Tuesday...

So at some point either I or the student I'm setting up the meeting with types, "See  You Next Tuesday."

It makes me chuckle every time.

So this is literally my fourth attempt at writing this weeks blog. Yes, it's Friday. Yes I said I was going to do these things on Tuesdays, but I am really bad at this and my job has actually been making me work all week. The nerve!

One of the posts started out as a brief retrospective of my hatred of Tom Brady and the Patriots, ie Freedom and America. But I couldn't even get through the second paragraph. It was shit.

Then I had a couple of attempts at describing what makes a good kickball team.
That one actually came from a pretty solid base.
Bartending during the day at Marshall Street I have had the pleasure met four different kickball teams who play in the Saturday winter league.

Two of the teams are okay. The majority of them had never played kickball nor had they been to Marshall Street. So, you know me (or you don't, whatever), I was really excited to talk to them about all things kickball and to get them really drunk so they would like Marshall Street a lot (and so they would continue to talk to me about kickball).

It worked with one of them, and they're hooked. The second, not so much. Turns out I have absolutely nothing in common with pretentious, obnoxious, and extremely competitive young doctors at Strong. Okay, so I have two things in common with the pretentious and obnoxious things, but I'll talk about all the German Indie Garage Acoustic Metal I listen to and the foreign independent documentaries I watch in another blog... oh, you've never heard of them, yeah, I'm not surprised. (hipsters!)

The third was the worst though. (The fourth was inconsequential, they play for Dragonfly which isn't open during the day, but they'll never be back.) First they came in in waves, sat or stood under the projection screens while the playoff games were on, and then they made me come to them for their drink and food orders. Then they gave me shit about not coming often enough while I was the only bartender in a bar with 40 other people in it. (Woah is me!)

Then one of the dudes sent his burger back because he wanted it well done (without asking for it well done) and it was too perfect juicy and pink for him.

Then the dude demanded their team shot right before complaining that his free liquor wasn't very good and he'd like it sweeter the next time.

To top it all off the table of 10 or 11 ended up leaving me about a 6 dollar tip. F them so hard. I even smiled the whole time they were being awful themselves.

But all that got me thinking of how groups form and interact. Of the three groups, there was one or two obvious leaders in each crowd, but they didn't really dictate too much. The groups definitely had a shared persona and similar interests. I could see how they ended up together - Hey, I can't help notice that nobody likes you. Nobody likes me either, you want to hang out even though we really don't like each other. Yeah? Awesome! My dad never hugged me.

There must be a secret corner of the internet I've never heard of where all the D-Nuggets (Douche, not Denver) get together and decide they're going to stick together to try to ruin the day, night, week, hour of whomever they subject themselves to. Maybe they're all still on Myspace?

I will be the first to admit that I am not everyone's cup of tea. I know this and I've accepted it, it's part of growing up. I can be brash, I can be loud, sometimes I just don't shut the fuck up, but I'm also really nice to everyone the first time I meet them and give everyone a genuine chance while putting my own best foot forward (my best foot is my left one due to a couple of unfortunate surgeries when I was in high school).

You can tell me how much you hate that dude from work for doing all sorts of dickish stuff (STEPHEN, you forgot to put new toner in the God Damn copy machine! JESUS!"), but if he's really nice to me I'll probably still like him at least a little bit. I'll find something.

I didn't add the hearts...                          
but I'm not mad about it.
I'm not expecting everyone to fall in love with me right away.
Eventually, yes.
But right away, come on now, who am I, Fabio from Top Chef?  That guy's an angel sent right from heaven. When Padma met him she instantly told Salman Rushdie to eat a D and shove Satanic Versus up his B.

Designing, understanding, and navigating social constructs is one of the most usefulskills a person can have. Where we get messed up is knowing that very few people actually have those skills. Even the people whose occupations require them to excel in these areas, politicians, teachers, counselors, drug dealers; are often only adept at dealing with their target niche of constituents.

Think broad. Widen the spectrum. Nobody is going to make you happy 100 percent of the time , so we need to teach ourselves to find, hold on to and remember the best in everyone. Whether that means falling in love and staying together forever or simply not murdering them because you don't enjoy jailhouse showers (they don't rock) or they were nice to a puppy one time (it was a really cute puppy), we should all try to find that one thing.

That one thing can't define the relationship though.

Not murdering someone or briefly feeling intensely positive feelings for someone should not outweigh the sum of that persons actions. People change. Friends might have been positive figures in your life at some point and you'll always remember them somewhat positiviely and at least be cordial based on that, but that doesn't mean they have to be your friend for the rest of your life.

You'll change too.

I have. I used to be way less awesome. I still have room for improvement, I know it. I could totally be two inches taller and so many more people would respect me for it.

This took a twist for the ranting, but to get back to my initial purpose and point of view -

Not every kickball team is I'm Kick James. In fact, none have even come close. We just work, and we're just good at being together. Even when we get too excited, take things a little personally, and get intense, we always bounce back and remember why we're there (beer). Even the teams we've seen (the caped people, the birthday with the crowns, the generally nice yet totally forgettable people) did not understand us and they never will. They're not meant to.

If you're not affiliated with Kick James, you should really consider somehow getting your foot in the door... but you probably can't play because we already have 92 people on the damn team.
I'm an awful captain.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ramblin' Man

So it turns out it still snows in Western New York. The proverbial "they" says things like "when it rains, it pours" and "did you see Veronica, she looks like a whore," but in this case both of those things are true: if you replace rain with snow and pour with white outs and trucks in the ditch on the 390 and Veronica with your mother and whore with is such a nice lady.

I didn't die on that trip into work this morning, which I have decided is a good thing. Recently, besides being terrible at keeping a blogging schedule, I have been very consciously living my life.

No, I'm not going to spend abnoxiously long paragraphs explaining what I mean, but I will summarize it:
  • - I'm thinking about my day to day existence rather than floating.
  • - I'm working on getting healthier.
  • - I read a couple things the other day, so that was good... even though The Governor is not proving to be very good at all.
  • - Jenna and I got a food vacuum sealer for Christmas so I've been vacuuming the shit air out of things.
  • - I'm spending time looking to the future and making positive moves to make that future way better than bad.
Not too bad, right? That concise explanation proves that I'm not an insufferable windbag. If you are reading this and at any point in your life you have thought I am actually an insufferable windbag, well that is mean and I don't know why you would do something like that to me. Jerk.

This man can legally shoot you if you
look at him funny. That's a real law!
So, this blog will mostly be rambling, like the title suggests, but it's also what I've been thinking about. I talked to my buddy Joe a little bit this afternoon. Joey and I have been friends since 5th or 6th grade I think. He's a cop back home and still one of the funniest guys I know. You wouldn't guess it when he has a gun or when you're standing next to him in general, but he is.

This got me thinking about relativity. There was a time, when I lived in Boston, that I thought it was the greatest place in the world and tried to get all of my friends to move out there to hang out with me. Eventually I talked my girlfriend into doing that and then she became my wife and she started doing the same thing.

Looking back at that time I'm not sure if I really wanted everyone to move out to Boston because it was Boston or if I just missed my friends. I am in a strange situation where I am still extremely close with my high school friends despite the fact that we rarely see each other and many of us are hundreds of miles away. We talk. We keep in contact. We pick up right where we left off each and every time we see each other, even if it has been years. We will still come to Rochester to help me move or build things or fix things if the situation comes up.

Approachable means the same
thing as smarmy, doesn't it?
Another spawning factor to this slew of thoughts was the save the date I received in the mail yesterday from one of my other high school friends who is marrying one of my friends from college. This got me thinking about how strangely words collide. My group of friends in Rochester is an incestuous conglomerate of people in love with each other who have no real reason to even know each other. If it weren't for a sandwich shop with great soup, the close proximity of some pretty large party schools, a long lived mecca of welcoming on Vassar Street and Phil's approachability (pictured to the right), who knows who I'd be hanging out with most of the time.

Probably just my wife and that would be disastrous. She would get sick of me so quickly we probably wouldn't even be married anymore and then I really wouldn't have anyone to hang out with besides maybe my dog, but Jenna would probably take the dog, so I'd really only have the bottle so I'd probably start drinking a lot and then I'd make all new friends, but not the right kind of friends, these friends would be all into some nefarious shit like bootin' black tar heroin or thinking Drew Barrymore is a good actress, or like thinking Drew Barrymore is attractive, or like thinking being adorable in ET correlates to being a relevant actress/person of interest well into your 30's (man I hate Drew Barrymore).

So with that tangent being complete I get back to my original point.

Drew Barrymore is the worst.

The way our worlds combine, collide, coincide, coca-cola classic, and constipate into each other is really interesting. Thinking about how chance, circumstance, coincidence, and randomness comes into play in our every day lives can really make a person start questioning life. Fate. Destiny. Or it can just help you realize how lucky you are to be where you are in life. Even if you're pretty miserable or in a shit situation, you could have just as easily looked left instead of right and been leveled by a city bus. Or you could be Adam Sandler or Justin Long, forever stuck to the black hole that is Drew Barrymore. The Wedding Singer was funny, that does not mean you were Drew. 50 First Dates was the start to the end of the Adam Sandler I used to know and love and I blame her. Justin, Jeepers Creepers should have been the greatest mistake of your life, not this, not her, not ever!

I'm not sure if there was a single line of value in this entire blog entry, but I am pretty pleased with that picture of Joe and the Veronica is a whore thing. Hope you enjoyed! Be safe out there.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Motivational Resolve

No, I did not post last week.            Yes, I should have.              I'm sorry PJ and I'm very sorry Kyle.

A ton has happened in the meantime, quick recap:

My face and these actions are basically the
 perfect representation of the holiday Season
Two weeks off of work. I have no idea how tomorrow is going to go, but it's terrifying.
The entire two weeks spent with my favorite Swede.Oscar loves beef jerky, skittlies, Dinosaur, and Marshall Street.
Christmas: Three cities, four days, too many meals, drinks, presents.
Lancers game: Indoor soccer is awesome.
Amerks game: Talk to the guys at the door and you will get your Swedish friend on the ice between periods.
New Years: Opening up every bottle of champagne at midnight and then drinking straight from the bottle is not the most economical way to celebrate. It is effective though.

So much fun, so many great things and people, but I don't really want to talk about all that.

So I didn't start writing this thing as a new years resolution. I think resolutions are like diets, they don't work because they are our special little way of telling ourselves what not to do rather than encouraging ourselves in the things we do well. They're lifestyle constraints, not lifestyle adjustments.

Sadly, I'm not very good at working out. I'm an excellent eater. I am fantastic at watching tv and telling people about the things I've watched even though it's obvious they don't give a shit at all. I'm really good at hanging out with my friends, and my friends are really good at sharing meals and drinks and laughs. Little changes I dedicate myself to are going to be way easier to uphold than entirely uprooting my life.

So let's talk about a new year. 2011 was awesome. 2012 is giving every indication of being even better. For me it is things like this (nodding my head toward the computer, more specifically the keyboard). I've said it before, I'll say it again, I enjoy writing this swill. Sometimes I try to be funny, sometimes it even works. Sometimes I try to be sincere and that rarely comes off as anything but silly. It's writing this and changing small things that is going to make the difference for me.

I'm going to focus on the small accomplishments starting with this post right now:

Brian's Irish Curse: My beer is good! I should not be calling it my beer, because it's really our Beer, but Brian and I made an Irish Stout and it is actually delicious. It's encouraging as hell and I can't wait to do it again.

Getting Healthy: So a lot of my motivation comes from Jenna. When she is motivated and moving forward it is hard not to follow her. That's mostly because she is an unimaginable force to be reckoned with and is uncompromisingly dedicated when she says she is going to be.

I've worked out like 4 times and it f'n sucks. But I did it and I'll do it again today. Tony Horton is a sonofabitch. We're doing a biggest loser competition with two of our friends, just to help motivate ourselves and each other. Did you guys know salad is delicious? The hardest part for me, personally, is the fact that I used to be so much better at this stuff. I'm at almost the same weight I was when I was in the best shape of my life, but you could never tell. I'm gonna have to work twice as hard and long to just accept that I'm not that guy anymore and figure out what the new shape of Tom Chew looks like. I'm going to guess it will look a lot like Ryan Gosling.

Reading stuff: So, this one still hasn't been embraced. The Governor is still on the shelf and the Game of Thrones series will be behind it, but I don't know when. I do know a lot more about playing video games online thanks to Oscar and I got 11 kills in a Modern Warfare 2 online deathmatch, but no, I'm still on page 30 something.

Follow through: There is a lot I want to do in my life. A lot of traveling. A lot of personal and professional accomplishments I'd like to meet. I want to buy a house. We're going to start a family sooner or later. I want to do so much, but I need to realize that there is only so much time and I need to remind myself, like I tell my students all the damn time, you can do everything, but you can't do it all at the same time. We can only plan for so much. We can only save so much money and go on so many trips and there are only so many hours in the day, and that sucks, but it is what it is and we just embrace it. At least I'm trying to embrace it.

So if you're reading this, still, you probably know me and you're probably really bored. I will ask a favor though: help push me. I mean, you don't need to be like, "Hey Thomas, it's Tuesday, good luck with writing and working out, did you read anything today?" In fact, please don't do that, because it would be weird. But if you like the blog, let me know. If you're doing something fun, exciting, active, and want to get more people involved, let me know. If you want to do something new or different or fun and exciting and want help, let me know. If you don't think about any of this ever again, that is also fine.

If you want more fun stuff, that is much more light hearted, I'm going to add some stuff to the Nerdy Stuff for Nerds pages on the sidebar.