Friday, November 19, 2004

I Hate You, UPS: A Rant

Why does anyone use this miserable fucking excuse for a delivery company? "Delivery"? It is to laugh and then to puke. Yesterday I had a sticky on my door from UPS, informing me that they had attempted to deliver a package but required a signature. So I signed the sticky. Then I got home today and there was another sticky, this one informing me that I had to actually sign for said package in person. You know, for added inconvenience. So now I gotta go all the way to the UPS depot, way out in the willywacks, to pick this thing up. Which I've got all day to do tomorrow. Except they aren't open on Saturdays. Not open on Saturdays? What is this, the Fifties?

So if I want this thing before the weekend, I've gotta drive out tonight and get it, and they close at 7 pm, so I head on out there and there's tons of traffic and did I mention that it's way out in the toolies and there's no sign with the street name so I go five miles out of my way and then have to come back and there's tons of traffic?

Then I get there with the sticky and have to fill out a second slip with all the information that's already on the sticky and I hand it to the guy and he goes back to the loading dock and then comes back and says my driver isn't back yet and if I'll simply wait another 30-60 minutes I can have my package. Which is odd because it's now 7 pm, which is when they supposedly close. So I ask the guy if I can just sign for the package now and then have the guy deliver it Monday and that way I've already signed for it and he doesn't have to get my signature. Well, of course I can't! That wouldn't inconvenience me nearly enough!

So now I get to do all this again Monday and not tomorrow because they're not open on Saturday because it's the Fifties and everyone just puts up with this crap because I guess there are no other parcel delivery services or anything. And here's the best part: I don't even know what this package is! It originated from L.A., so I'm guessing it's screeners, but it might just be some stupid promotional item and if it is, I'm going to have to purchase a flamethrower.

So, in conclusion, what can brown do for me? It can kiss my ass.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Machinist

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Longish post coming eventually, but meanwhile here's a terrifying picture of Hillary Clinton to tide you over:

Also, I have received word from my publisher that I will have books in hand by the second week of December and possibly as early as Thanksgiving (though that seems like a stretch, being next week and all). So there's my Christmas shopping taken care of. (And yours, too! It's the perfect stocking stuffer! Nothing says Christmas like moonshine-swillin' hillbillies!)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Hit and Run

I feel like I owe a post here, but I was up late taking a beating at the poker table and now I've got to finish the index for my book (a fascinating task, right up there with re-ordering my CD collection), so I'll take the easy way out and just hit the links.

If your post-election blood pressure is finally returning to normal, get it back up into the danger zone by reading this open letter from A Very Sad American. Then quickly read this satirical response, in order to restore equilibrium.

You know what I don't really need to hear much more about? The blue states and the red states. I don't know about you, but I'm about done with that. I don't need to see anymore cute new maps with the United States of Canada and Jesusland, or Coastopia, or any of that. And, like Neal Pollock, I don't need to read too many more rants about the South. Everyone knew how the South was gonna vote. Why isn't anyone picking on North Dakota? Dammit, what this country needs today is more anti-Idaho rhetoric. And Alaska. Don't let them off the hook.

Okay, enough with the thought-provoking political stuff. How about Survivor's evil queen of lesbian voodoo?

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Sound of Four More Years

At the risk of stating the obvious (as if that’s ever stopped me), music doesn’t always make sense the first time around, or even the twelfth time. Sometimes it takes a galvanizing event to make it snap into focus. I didn’t really get Beck’s Sea Change at first, but a conveniently timed romantic misadventure turned it into my favorite album of whatever year that was. Similarly, I had some qualms about the latest work of my favoritest musician, Mr. Tom Waits. On the first few listens, I admired Real Gone, but it was bumming me out. In my 20s, I had a much higher tolerance for morbid doom and gloom, but as I edge into my late 30s, it’s not quite as much fun to listen to a guy obsessing on mortality and apocalyptic doings.

But all it took was one little election to put me in a much more receptive frame of mind. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as this is a record meant for this time of year anyway. It’s the sound of wind whistling through skeletal trees that have shed all their leaves; it was never meant to be heard during Daylight Savings Time. When it gets dark early and there’s a bite in the air, it’s Tom Waits Time.

This is not Waits For the Beginner. There is no entry point into this album for the uninitiated. (Try Mule Variations instead.) You need to be immersed to even stand a chance. The disc kicks off in the most alienating way imaginable with “Top of the Hill,” a chugging clank-a-thon that is almost completely tuneless for four or five minutes until what may or may not be a kazoo enters the mix, playing a solo that replicates the sound mass murderers hear in their heads when they finally snap. (I’m speculating, of course.)

Next is the song that sticks in my head the most,“Hoist That Rag,” which sounds like the national anthem for a potential Mad Max version of America, as performed by wanted men hiding out in a crumbling bar in some bordertown hellhole. There’s a lot of vocal percussion/human beatbox stuff on the record, but you shouldn’t get the impression this is the equivalent of that a cappella Todd Rundgren album from the ‘80s. In terms of previous Waits records, it bears the most resemblance to Bone Machine, what with all the clattering and doomsaying. But the classic Swordfishtrombones/Rain Dogs sound is alive here, too, in songs like “Sins of the Father” and “How’s It Gonna End.” Then there’s “Circus,” which sounds like it came right out of the Waits-O-Matic; there’s one of these on every album – the creepy spoken word piece with references to peculiar characters like Sassafrass Joe and One-Eyed Davey. (Okay, I made those up, but I don’t have the lyric sheet handy.) Coming 20 years after the fact, the straightforward lament “Day After Tomorrow” bridges the gap between “Johnsburg, Illinois” and “Soldier’s Things.”

I can do without the hidden bonus track, as usual, and “Metropolitan Glide” hasn’t taken me anywhere special yet, but Real Gone is going to get plenty of play over the next few weeks here on Moonshine Mountain. One other thing: the CD sleeve/booklet has the songs in the wrong order. I don’t know why that is. It’s annoying.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A Couple More Things

Yeah, I'm depressed and angry, too. But:

1. No, you're not moving to Canada. Enough with that crap already. First of all, they don't want you. There's a long waiting list (over a year) and you have to have a job waiting for you and they're not gonna open up the borders for a bunch of whiny Americans who didn't get their way. Besides, even if your little Utopian dream came true, what would that leave in the USA? Rich white folks, Bible Belt rednecks and all the poor, elderly and minorities who couldn't just up and move to Medicine Hat. And this country would be right next door and they'd have nuclear weapons. Eh, hoser? So take off that damn toque and lay off the back bacon.

2. Here's my other favorite. "The Democrats are finished! We must build an entirely new grassroots party of the left!" Okay, sunshine. You're right, that 49% of the country that voted for Kerry is no base to build on! Let's write off the elections for the next 20 or 30 years while we build a new base of...who, exactly? New blood in the Democratic leadership is an excellent idea, but come on, get off your white horse already. The two-party system ain't going away.

I guess that's all the venting I've got for the moment. My real ire is reserved for the Bush voters, of course. It's a huge shit sandwich they've prepared for us, and now we've all got to take a bite.

Fear More Years

It’s a cold, gray blustery morning of the soul here on Moonshine Mountain, but you probably knew that. If there’s a silver lining somewhere, I’m at a loss to find it. The first thing I heard on the radio this morning was Howard Stern saying, “I feel like the gates of Hell just opened up.” I can’t add anything to that.

Along with four more years of doom and gloom, Election Day brought me a package in the mail containing the page proofs for Hick Flicks. So instead of wallowing in the horror, I get to spend the next few days re-immersed in redneck cinema. So there’s that. At first glance, it does indeed look like a book. Pitchers and everything.

[NOTE: I wrote this hours ago, but this is the first time I’ve been able to get into Blogger. I guess there’s a lot of angry blogging going on. What else is there to do?]