janradder: (Default)
It's an odd feeling to be standing in a crowd and waiting to see a band play when you realize that not only are you the oldest person there, but you're more than likely the only person there whose age is north of twenty-three. It's a little like being the dad who accompanies his son to his first concert. He stands around with kids less than half his age looking uncool and feeling out of place as he realizes that the youth of today have their own culture and behaviors completely separate from his.

That was me Monday night at the 7th Street Entry when I went to see Titus Andronicus. And that feeling only increased when the band took the stage and started playing their first song.

In case you've never heard Titus Andronicus, they sound a lot like Bruce Springsteen if he were born in 1985 and raised on a steady diet of hardcore punk and Henry Miller. They rage, they scream, they spew out sloppy chunks of melted asphalt ripped straight from the Garden State Parkway that they kick up as they barrel down the highway doing eighty and leaving long streaks of paint and metal each time they sideswipe the barriers along the median. At the Entry, the band's singer stood onstage wearing his heart not on his sleeve but on his chest in the form of a hand-made Black Flag T-shirt, and with the first chords and the first pounding drumbeats, they churned out a raging punk rock assault that stormed off the stage to shatter against the back walls of the club. Which is why as they played all I could think was who could not want to slam to this music?

Apparently, the answer was the kids around me. They stood anchored to one spot, staring at the floor and shaking their heads and like spastic rag dolls. Inexplicably, they'd stop one by one, even though the band was still playing, and stare at the musicians for a few moments before going into another seizure. Occasionally, someone would accidently knock his neighbor with a flying arm or head, and then move over a little so as not to do it again. I started to pogo and bump into the people next to me, and when I did, the kids around me gave me a look that said I'd crossed some sort of mutually agreed upon line. Apparently, accidentally nailing the guy behind you with your flailing head is okay but intentionally bumping into the people around you as you jump around is being a jackass.

So I listened to the band as I avoided the jerking limbs of the kid in front front of me, and I watched the audience around me. Each one stood apart from the rest, engulfed in his or her own personal moment, shaking and trashing to the music. It was as if every kid were wrapped in his or her own pod so that nothing else existed beyond its walls. Which, in a way I realized, is kind of how most people go through their lives nowadays.

We've got cell phones and iPods and laptops, and through them we supposedly connect into a larger world. Instead, we exist apart from one another, chatting on the phone as we ignore the cashier who rings up our purchases, listening to headphones to shut out the lives around us, reading news feeds, Facebook updates, and blogs within a virtual world while we ignore the one outside. Like the kids at the show, we dance alone in our cocoons, oblivious to the people around us unless one of them knocks into us and breaks our illusion of solitude.

It might come across as sounding like an old fart reminiscing about the old days when I say this, but so what: Shows were better when kids slam danced. And here's why -- when there was slam dancing, even if you weren't there in that pit, there was no way you could ignore the people around you. You helped pick up the kid next to you that some asshole had knocked over after you shoved the asshole back into the pit. You watched for the stage divers not only so they wouldn't accidently kick you in the head when they jumped but also so you could catch them before they hit the floor. You pogoed with the crowd, bouncing off your neighbors, feeling the sheer exhilaration and joy of being alive. Going to a show was a shared, communal experience, regardless of whether you knew a single person there, and for however long a band was on the stage, you became part of a larger world.

Maybe I'm wrong -- maybe the kids at the Titus Andronicus show did feel like they were connected to one another, and maybe just I don't get it because I'm not eighteen anymore -- but I don't think so. Then again, most generations think they had it better than the younger ones. Still, I can't help thinking our lives might be richer if there was a little more slam dancing in them, if only because it would force us look up from the floor and see the world around us for a moment. At least then we'd know for sure if we really were missing out on something or not.
janradder: (scared)
Today at the coffee shop, there was a man sitting next to me who: 1) refused to chew his food with his mouth closed; 2) ate his breakfast at a very leisurely pace; and 3) sucked his teeth and smacked his lips between bites, so that he sounded exactly like my dog licking his lips.

It was all I could to to keep from turning to him and yelling, "My god, man -- do you have no decency? Will you just fucking stop smacking you lips?!" I even went so far as to bite my finger so hard I thought I might have bruised it because he was so maddening. Thankfully, another table opened up and I quickly took it, because the guy sat at his table for another couple hours and had I stayed, I might not be writing this at he moment because I would be locked up in jail for assault and battery.
janradder: (crying)
Twenty minutes ago, Arie learned that the tiny bits of plastic and paper he and his brother threw down the heating vent in their room two years ago didn't burn up in the furnace but instead is sitting somewhere in the ductwork. Since then, he's spent the past twenty minutes crying and debating in an effort to get me to dismantle the ductwork and remove the twenty cents worth of crap that's inside it. He's also started asking Éiden if he's going to throw stuff down the vent when Éiden has gone up to his room. If I never hear someone talk about crap in the ductwork again, it'll be too soon.
janradder: (charlie brown)
1. People who take up more than one table just so they can put their dirty cups or bags on it, especially when the place is crowded.

2. People who have loud conversations on cell phones.

3. People who think it's impossible to hold a conversation with the person sitting directly across from them without sharing it with the entire coffee shop.

4. The kid rhythmically tapping the metal table with his pen as he listens to his iPod.

5. The baristas who have had the same damn Lucinda Williams CD on repeat for the past two weeks.

Seriously, I need to start bringing some headphones.
janradder: (charlie brown)
Now to start off, I'm not talking about all people who declare their political allegiances on the back bumper of their car -- there are plenty who do who are perfectly reasonable motorists. Nor am I talking about all bad drivers since there are many of them who drive cars with no political bumper stickers. However, among those who do voice their political opinions via their cars and who are bad drivers, this is what I've noticed:

--Drive aggressively fast
--Speed up whenever I try to pass them on the highway
--Weave recklessly through traffic
--Knowingly run red lights and stop signs
--Cut me off on purpose, fully aware of what they are doing.

--Drive aggressively slow
--Sometimes take up two lanes at once making it impossible to get past them
--Drive ten miles under the speed limit in the passing lane and refuse to budge from it
--Stop at intersections where they don't have a stop sign to let the person go through who does have a stop sign
--Cut me off without realizing it because they're wandering vaguely about the road.

Has anyone else noticed these traits?
janradder: (crying)
So Arie was so tired this evening, he lost it with his brother and, after screaming at him, hit him in the back. I took away Arie's extra reading so he yelled at me and refused to brush his teeth, then began issuing threats until he'd lost his entire bedtime ritual.

Éiden, on the other hand, in spite of being tired, was an angel. He played nicely in bath, sat next to me enraptured by Green Eggs and Ham, and quietly read to himself for a few minutes after. Yes, he was perfect. Until it was time to get in bed. Then he was out, and in, and out, and bothering his brother, and running around upstairs, and getting his brother, who was now wide awake since he was in bed, to join the festivities.

Both the boys lost cartoons for tomorrow and I finally had to threaten Éiden with a spanking to get him to go to sleep.

Gotta love daylight savings.
janradder: (crying)
Look -- I know how fun Christmas is and all, and it gets pretty damn dark and pretty damn cold in Minnesota for a pretty damn long time, but enough already. If you're not willing to take your Christmas decorations down yet, at least have the decency to leave the Christmas lights on your front lawn off. I'm just sayin'.
janradder: (Default)
And seriously pissed off.

Almost a week and a half ago, I called my son's doctor to get a refill for his Adderall prescription. Because it is a controlled substance, I have to bring the actual hard-copy of the prescription to the pharmacy, so I've been waiting for it to arrive in the mail. By this past Friday, a full week after I'd originally called in the request, I still hadn't gotten the prescription, so I called the woman in charge of refills again, explaining I only had three days left of meds for my son. She called back that afternoon and said she'd mailed it out on Wednesday.

It is now Monday afternoon, and I still don't have the prescription because the woman, in all likelihood, it was never mailed out at all. I have now put in two calls to her, once on Saturday so she'd hear the message first thing this morning, and again this morning. She has not called back so I've placed an angry call with the doctor's nurse explaining my situation.

This is not the first time something like this has happened with the medication refills that originate out of this woman's office, though it is the first time it's happened with the Adderall. In fact, every time but one that our pharmacy has faxed in a refill request, it has gone unanswered as my son's med supply steadily dwindles, and they've had to fax two or three times more (in addition to my own phone calls) to get the woman to actually do the job she's paid for.

I am seriously fucking pissed off today. Éiden is home from school with a high fever and because of this woman's laziness, I now have to cart him out in the cold rain, drive to the University, find parking, pick up the damn refill that should have been here last week, head out to Target pharmacy, wait twenty minutes to an hour for them to refill it and be back home by 3:30 so I can get Arie when the bus drops him off at home and take him to his 4:00 appointment. And, right now, it's 12:50. This is absolute, fucking bullshit.

ETA: I just got off the phone with the woman's supervisor who not only apologized for all of this, but said that either she or someone else would be waiting for me at the front door so that I don't have to find parking and traipse my sick son through the rain, for which I am immensely grateful.
janradder: (Default)
I just spent $25 on a floor lamp. What did I do when I brought it home? Put it together and immediately broke it.
janradder: (Default)
1. The roads around here are seriously fucking dangerous. I've now started to go into spins on three separate turns and a straightaway when traveling at speeds well below what you'd consider safe. And, in about twelve hours, I've now seen three pretty bad accidents because of the ice.

2. Do the white baristas at Anodyne realize how offensive it is to play an hour of gangsta rap where practically every other word is either nigger, ho or bitch and half of the songs are about shooting someone in the head while the other half are about prowling for pussy? Did I mention that Anodyne is often frequented by preschool-age kids?

3. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow when the high is supposed to reach into the (positive) 20's. Someone in the paper the other day mentioned that you never realize how warm freezing can be until you go through one of these cold snaps.

4. Working on the third draft of my book is slow and, at times, is really kicking my ass, but I think it's going well and I'm getting some good work done.

5. When I was driving Éiden home from school today, I saw a cop car pulled over next to another car on the side of the road in my neighborhood. At first I thought it was either an arrest or a routine traffic stop. Then I realized that the cop car's hood was open and he was helping a couple of guys jump start their car which made me smile. I don't think I've ever seen a cop stop to give a jump.
janradder: (Default)
Sonia Pitt, fired MnDOT director and recent recipient of a $90K a year job with Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration, has been once again fired.  According to the article, she was hired just two days after being dismissed by MnDOT.  Two weeks ago, after being on the job for two months, her new employer finally got around to doing a background check.  Based on the 25 page arbitrator's ruling which upheld her firing in May, the TSA decided perhaps they did want her working for them anymore.  In addition to her most recent firing, Pitt may also face criminal charges for taking an unauthorized state-paid trip and billing the state for over 94 hours of personal phone calls.  Yay for justice!
janradder: (scared)
I swear that Minneapolis Public Schools has a screening process that ensures only the dumbest candidates ever get to interview for school receptionist.
janradder: (Default)
Sonia Pitt was a  MnDOT executive in charge of emergency response.  Last August, when the 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, she was on  an unauthorized state paid trip to Washington D.C.  When she heard about the collapse, though her job was to oversee emergency operations, she chose stay in D. C. for another 10 days before returning to Minnesota while search crews continued to look for the bodies of the 13 people who died in the collapse.  Later in the year, for these actions, she was fired.  Her termination letter states that "she engaged in activities that violated MnDOT's ethics code and was involved in 'activities that cannot withstand public scrutiny without embarrassment. ... do not safeguard the public trust in the integrity of MnDOT, and undermine public trust in the Department.'" (from the Minneapolis StarTribune)

Now, as a reward for this violation of the public's trust, she's been awarded a nice job at Homeland Security in the Transportation Safety Administration.

What is wrong with our society that we continue to reward assholes, incompetents, and the lazy with brand-new jobs doing the same thing they failed at so horribly?  If there were any justice in this world, Sonia Pitt would be flipping burgers at some fast food chain, asking customers, "you want fries with that," while bragging to any and all who would listen that she "used to be somebody."
janradder: (Default)
I really don't know what to say about this idiot, Michael Savage.  He's a symptom of why talk radio is so horrible.  He's given a soapbox to air inflammatory comments regardless of their validity and he's given the ability to silence any dissenting opinions (either not taking calls from people who disagree, not booking guest who are experts in that area that he's mouthed off about and could provide a counterpoint, or silencing them when he actually does have them on his show by using a mute button).  What I think is worse than him, though, are the bigger idiots who eat this up as if it were news and take his, and other talk show pundits', word as gospel.  The whole lot of them really are a sad statement about the level of discourse in this country.
janradder: (scared)
Why is it that every time I call Qwest about a problem with our phone service they want me to add more features to our phone service?  Is it to give me yet another reason to call them regarding new features that don't work?  And why do they tell me I can "save" money by adding new features that I don't want and won't use when, in fact, it will actually cost me more money?  Also, while I'm on this little rant, is there anything more depressing as a musician than to be playing the music that people listen to while on hold?  I'm especially thinking about those songs that "rock out."
janradder: (death race 2000)
I have now seen the trailer for your re-do of Death Race 2000 twice and all I can ask is "Why?"  Why remake this film?  Why turn it into some crappy cross-breed of The Fast and the Furious and The Running Man?  Did you watch the original and think, "Gee, this would be a great movie if we just got rid of all the campiness and black humor"?

People who are so hard up for new ideas that they have to cannibalize other movies simply to turn a dollar should be strapped into movie seats and forced to watch and re-watch  a Tron marathon until their souls sink into the depths of the sticky gummi bear/coke/popcorn mixture that resides at their feet and they swear to never even look at camera again for fear of being forced to sit through a Pauly Shore retrospective.
janradder: (Default)
Apparently mail delivery from our local post office is "weather permitting."
janradder: (scared)
He has decided that he needs to whine about nearly everything and when met with the slightest hint of difficulty, he shrieks and screams like an infant.  To top it all off, each time he is left alone with his brother he starts spitting on the floor or the couch or whatever else is around and handy. Any takers for a whining, shrieking, spitting three year old?
janradder: (laughing)
A couple weeks back, when I was in South Carolina visiting my father, we made a trip one Sunday morning to the local Wal-Mart (I know, Wal-Mart, but that's where we went) so he could get some groceries and I could buy a few things that we'd forgotten on our trip -- kids' shampoo, a couple of pillows for the boys, and a pair of sandals for Arie.  Fairly controversial items, I know, but we really needed them.

So we went to separate lanes to buy our respective items.  As we waited in line, Arie picked out a pack of gum to add to our purchases. When the cashier got to our items she looked at them and then at me.

"I'm sorry.  I can't sell these to you.  We have Blue Laws."

I looked at her confused.

"It's Sunday," she explained.  "We can't sell anything that can't be consumed before 1:30 on Sunday."

She was very nice about it and almost seemed embarrassed to explain the situation.

"They're right there," Arie said.  "You just have to ring them up."

I told him we'd have to come back later for those things, bought the gum because it was something which could be put into your mouth and, technically, ingested (though the same could be said about the other items as well), and left with Arie still unclear as to why we couldn't just buy the things we came for. In the car, on the way back to my dad's house, I explained to him how some people in the county of Aiken believed that selling things on Sunday was an insult to God and Jesus.

"That's stupid!" said Arie.


(Here's the kicker:  Though the purchase of a pair of pillows for my two sons to sleep on, a bottle of shampoo to wash their hair with, and a pair of sandals to protect their feet was considered a profane act which desecrated the very idea of Jesus, I discovered later in the day that, should I have cared to, I could have legally purchased as much booze as was humanly possible to carry from the store and gotten good and liquored up on the Lord's Sabbath since hooch can be imbibed.  Go figure.)
janradder: (crying)
Yes, it is an occasion to cry.  I do it whenever their toys have become so mixed up and dismantled that it is next to impossible for it all to fit where it once did.  Each time, I am amazed at how much plastic crap they've accumulated -- little tiny pieces of plastic crap that come from lord knows where that have no home except the boxes and bins in Arie and Eiden's room.  As I clean and sort, sneezing on the dust and pet hair collected in the months since the last cleaning, I surreptitiously toss the crap that I know they no longer play with (but which would be met with obscene protest were they to realize I am discarding that which they otherwise wouldn't notice) and try to box away stuff that they no longer play with but which some other, younger kid might enjoy.  Every time I start this project I think to myself, "what the hell did I start this for?" and I feel like it will never be completed.  Looking at the work ahead, I think it's going  to be a two or three day project this time.


janradder: (Default)

March 2012

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