Archive for March, 2011


The Burning Giraffe

Once upon a time, there was a girl. “Sometimes,” she said, “I feel like I’ve been somehow torn out of a surrealist painting.”

Normal is relative, she knew. What is normal for one person is not for another– however, she concluded that we can all agree that there are some things that there is a sort of agreed upon definition of.

This girl feels she is taken from a surrealist painting because her perceptions, compared with others, are abnormal. This girl’s normal is made up of giraffes on fire.

What brought all this on for her was seemingly innocuous: her class was discussing birthdays as a child what they entailed culturally. She followed everything they said at first, knowing what “should” happen: There’s cake, a party, everyone gives you presents… but then she nearly laughed out loud at another condition that is supposed to be in place that seemed absurd to her mind.

“It’s almost impossible to get in trouble on your birthday, isn’t it?”

Everyone around her nodded and agreed. Her laughter quickly died, and she slid down in her chair.

This was not an isolated incident for the girl. Another one, brought up by a web comic one evening:

“Hey… your parents go through a few different names before they remember yours, right?”

The confused expression said it all. It was confirmed by the response of the girl’s new shrink.

“Occasionally my parents, who are in their 70s, will call me my brother’s name, but it’s always followed by ‘Oh! I’m sorry, Scott.'” He said.

“So it’s not normal to go through your mother’s name, your sister’s name, and whatever before they get to yours fairly regularly.”

“No.” Not in the way described.

“Okay, well… when you talk to me, you have to tell me that shit isn’t normal. I don’t know.”

The Burning Giraffe doesn’t stop there.

She watched a youtube video of a director throwing a fit on set, guided there by an article on the insanity of the film industry. Most people watched it and laughed at absurdity of the reaction: it’s a grown man throwing a temper tantrum like a five year old. She was amused and disappointed in humanity, just like every other viewer, at first. However, she also had the addition of a knee jerk reaction of sick terror at the point where the director comes back into the set, through a side door and seemingly out of nowhere to resume his tirade. She honestly and truly felt, for a split second, someone was coming through her bedroom door to do the same to her. And this was in her room, in her house a city away from where this could have happened. She had to wrestle that stupid fear to the ground with logic before the sickness would leave, and even then, a lesser form lingered.

That disturbed her. She didn’t mind being unusual, that was her common state. Perhaps her family is just a little strange. Auto-immunity on your birthday not existing and almost no physical contact can’t be that unusual. Not all families are huggy. Not all parents will let you get away with setting the couch on fire just because you happened to be born that day, expecting the same standard of behavior they always expect. That seemed reasonable.

What doesn’t seem reasonable is a grown woman, in her own house an hour away from her parents’ house, terrified her father is going to come through the door and start screaming, complete with exactly what the director said at the end of that youtube video.

“I DIDN’T FUCKING YELL AT YOU.”

… off runs the burning giraffe. It’s normal to the giraffe to be on fire, and it’s normal that it is running around a desolate setting with strange people without faces.

It’s normal for the giraffe to be on fire here. Most giraffes would be grazing or chilling at the waterhole. Now, what is truly normal: to be on fire, or to be going about life?

She never used to know it was abnormal to live in this world of zoo animals aflame. She used to say “Well, my home life sucks, but so does everyone’s.” Apparently it doesn’t. Apparently other people’s birthday memories don’t include hysterically sobbing on the couch while being screamed at as a teenager and not being allowed to move or leave until their older sister forcibly rescued them. Apparently other people don’t have the recollection of being spanked so hard as a kid a handprint stayed there for the rest of the day, possibly longer, they just can’t remember, and are terribly frustrated that interferes with the comforting lie that “Well, at least they never hit me.” Apparently other people don’t rationalize away that pesky, interfering fact and say to themselves, “everyone was spanked when they were little,” leaving out the fact that other people don’t have stories like that one (or have problems with anyone touching their ass with an open palm to this day.) Apparently other people never had to deal with their clothes being yanked on, or inappropriate comments about their body. Apparently most people don’t have the disturbing realization that some of the shit that has been said to them falls under the definition of sexual harassment. Apparently, none of this was normal, and no one bothered to tell her.

Normal people probably don’t worry about libel when talking about their lives, she knew. She knew names in true stories were often changed to protect the innocent, but that wasn’t what would occur should she tell someone. It would be to protect the guilty. Having a strong sense of what is just, that made her sick. Angry.

So, instead of writing it herself, she asked her friend if she would tell her story on her blog. Looking at the words there in print, identity hidden, she felt better. No one had to know, but the process of it being written down made her heart lighter, even if it did make her cry a couple times in the process. She asked her friend to add a last note as to why she wanted her story told.

“Some people don’t know what normal love is. Or what normal life is. Be patient with them.” She paused a moment in her dictation. “And don’t feel sorry for me. That’s not what I want. If anything seems weird in your friends’ or families lives, if they seem not to know what a normal family is, reach out to them. Adopt them into yours. Help them find someone to talk to that will help them realize that even after years and years of not normal, things can be okay.” She lost her voice for a moment, then continued: “Tell them they don’t deserve this.” She turned away and it took her a few moments before she could finally say the last, most important part of all her tale: “Please-” her chest jerked, forcing a pause, “please tell them it’s not their fault.”

And with that final statement, she wept.

****

Sort of a PSA, but not really, considering it’s true. If you know who the girl is, please don’t mention it in your comments or responses. She’d really rather not have her parents find this and sue her ass for libel, no matter how unlikely that scenario is. Leave responses or well wishes to her below if you want, but if you really wanna help, go talk to that person you know whose life sucks balls. They’ll appreciate it.

*ahem* Now, if this sounds like you, or someone you know, call 555-…

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The Limits of Kindness

Okay, I know you’d never frigging guess it from some of the ranting I do here, but I do try to be nice and help people out when I can. I do. But damnit people, I do have limits.

All right. I helped out a friend with her journalism project once, doing an interview for her. APPARENTLY you cannot do interviews over the internet or, really, even the bloody phone. And then, even when the first damn interview is done, you get harassed again for a follow up interview. Each of these take about an hour. And have to be in person.

I work two jobs. I’m on spring break now, but I have work every single damn day and I have projects to do for school. I’m being bothered again for another project and another interview. I’m tired when I get home, and I have chores to do so that I can, you know, have clean clothes to wear and food to eat. Then I have projects I have to do for my own classes. My point is, while I could go and try to find the hour in the day, it is possible, I really don’t feel like being probed again. I need that time to hunt for another job for the summer (one of my two jobs only occurs while school is in session) or just to finally have some time to myself. I’ve been nursing some form of a cold or flu for the past damn week. I don’t want to have to get up and drag myself to campus or wherever she wants to meet and then play twenty questions.

I’m writing because I feel guilty, I suppose. I’m that person that actually answers the grad students that need surveys for their projects in the psych department e-mails. I know people don’t respond and it screws these grad students– and I know that no one wants to be interviewed, and that there is, of course, the possibility that I’m this friend’s last hope.

The thing is, there ARE other people she can interview. I’m not the only college student in existence. And furthermore, what the hell did she do before I gave her that first interview? She should go back to those sources. For the last interview I gave her, it was on how little time I have due to school and my jobs. She cannot exactly claim that she figured I “wasn’t doing anything.” And then, on top of that, the last time I was interviewed, the “follow up” questions hinted toward her writing taking a slant that I did not appreciate, even if her professor is the only person reading her work in this case. It also doesn’t help matters that this project is another one on the subject of my finances, and frankly I feel very uncomfortable discussing my finances in any more detail with her. She went into some very personal detail last time. Mayhap it is because she goes into such uncomfortable detail she’s having problem finding subjects, but that is not my problem.

It’s a relief to write that. It isn’t my problem. My projects, my work, my health, those are my problems, not saving her academic ass.

What does it say about the strange wiring of my brain that I had to reason through this this way to relieve my guilt for something that was never my problem in the first place?

P.S. If you want to interview someone about their pets, it helps if you bother to remember their pet’s name and sex correctly. It just seems like a common courtesy to me. Especially when my cat’s name is Ginger and you decided she is male and named Chester. Otherwise, I might just feel that you’re using me.

So. I went to the Gaga show.

But this isn’t about the show as in, a review, per se. This is about the grievous amount of stupid I met there and after I returned from my glorious vacation at the Monster Ball. Everywhere I go people are still tripping balls from this show, and those that are squeeing are not the issue. The ones that make these complaints are:

“Omg, she was so PEDESTRIAN, like, there were kids and old people there and she was saying really sexual stuff and swearing, and THEN there was that thing with all the fake blood and stuff!”

I shit you not, people. I overheard that from someone when I was shopping for canvas in the quasi-official art store for campus. From an art student, I assume, judging by the hipster twit vibe coming off of her as she spoke to the shopkeeper, who also was the classic hipster twit. I had to leave the store to keep from laughing my ass off.

Okay, people. Have you never HEARD of this lady called “Gaga” before?

First, this was NOT billed as an all ages show. This was explicit and was billed as an R rated place to be and for fuck’s sake, even if it wasn’t, LOOK AT HER PAST SHOWS. She has killed herself on stage before. Fake blood is a staple. She grabs her crotch and makes out with boys, girls and whoever in her VIDEOS. And even if you want to claim you NEVER saw anything she did visually before, let’s fucking think about some of her lyrics. “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick,” anyone? This is the woman who discouraged the rumors she had a dick with the phrase “I’m not offended, but my beautiful vagina is very offended.” And the woman who said of her lipstick for MAC “We look forward to seeing this color on condoms around the world” or something to that effect. This woman is explicit. She is not PC. She is sexual, she is crude, she is in your face.

On the subject of the elderly: They don’t know what sex is? How the fuck did them there grandkids and kids get there then?

On the subject of the kids there: You shouldn’t be bringing anyone under the age of 16 to a fucking 100 USD per CHEAP ticket show. Fuck you. In short: if your kids don’t have a job to buy their own tickets and go by themselves, they shouldn’t be going and aren’t old enough to go. Shit, they shouldn’t be listening to Gaga in the first place– her records are explicit and have parental advisory stickers on them. Your little eight year old shouldn’t be there to be “traumatized” by her “low brow” antics. Your eight year old can go listen to someone else. So unless YOUR ASS bought them the tickets and brought them there, they aren’t there. Ergo, if they are so traumatized by Gaga being Gaga, by everything from her screaming “FUCK YOU” to everyone that tormented her in school, to her ripping the heads off of teddy bears, to her rubbing one of her dancers’ crotches and purring sexual things, that’s YOUR shitty parenting that is at fault. YOU brought them there.

Therefore? You have no reason to complain if you’re a parent and your precious angel has nightmares now from the images of Gaga vomiting up copious amounts of blood, then her heart, and then swallowing the heart back down while a clip of her screaming “Make it stop” is played over the top of the image. If your little Suzy has nightmares about dying of exsanguination, maybe you’ll learn to screen what your kids listen to and see before it gets into their hands. Just remember: All that? Your fault. You’re the adult that makes the money. You decide how it’s spent. Don’t you dare try to censor my entertainment because you want to be your child’s friend and give them what’s popular instead of being a parent and telling them no.

Oh, and to the little art students that object on the grounds it is “offensive” and just for shock value– aren’t you the people that are smearing your own feces on a canvas and calling it art? Hm? And furthermore, even if you’re not, you should be against censorship in every way, shape and form as it limits true freedom of expression, and that means you should be FOR people policing what their kids see THEMSELVES because ADULT ENTERTAINMENT should not be censored for the sake of the kiddikins. Furthermore– was it just for shock value because you didn’t get it? Have you never been beaten down by people and kicked while you’re down so many times that you feel like you SHOULD be vomiting blood? That you wish you could just cough up your heart so you never had to feel anything again, and then realize feeling nothing is WORSE? Have you ever had to swallow the most bitter, disgusting feelings of self hatred, of rejection, of ugliness, sadness, and self disgust and force yourself to keep going?

Call me an emo kid snob, but if you haven’t, your art sure as fuck isn’t art I’m interested in seeing. I like my artists deranged and giving their severed ears to prostitutes. People who paint “happy trees” are not artists I’m interested in. That’s art, sure, but if you want to complain about it being pedestrian, i.e. “low” or easily available to a person “traveling on foot” and therefore, according them, unrefined or somehow crude, your pretty ass abstract lines and paint splatters that don’t offend anyone certainly are pedestrian. “BUT THEY MEAN [insert complex meaning here]” Sure they do. But they are accessible to the common person. They offend no one, save the people like me that think you should have to have actual skill to create art. If Gaga’s depiction of herself forced you to look away, then that is much more dangerous to put out there on the grounds that it WILL offend. It’s not being safe and making what will sell at the newest rich snob art convention because it looks lovely next to their coffee table. Again, this is not to say that appreciating the aesthetic value of a piece of art is wrong in any way, or that a piece of beautiful art cannot have deeper, more unsettling meaning. It is, however, to say that if you condemn something on the grounds it offends you as not being “what art should be” then you have no grasp on what art is.

I enjoyed the hell out of the show. I went to be wrapped up in the fact that Mama Monster IS batshit insane. She’s delusional and admits such herself. I went and for those that are wondering, my little monster paws were NOT smacked down. All the gays there? They were fabulous. Fun. And didn’t bother trying to scare the straights– no, Gaga and the Scissor Sisters managed that quite well on their own. We just had fun not being the gayest person in the room for once.

On that note, to all the people I haven’t mentioned yet, my personal favorites, the ones that thought you wouldn’t get nearly as gay a show as you got and are affronted:

How did you like them hip thrusts? I thought the latex chaps and glitter leotards accented them nicely.

Musical Impact, Musings

I’m taking on music again!

Well, sort of. More like something occurred to me the other day, and, as usual, now I feel the need to inflict it upon you all. Blame Post A Week 2011. It’s one of those weird, introspective, “how the hell did I end up so weird?” posts.

So, here’s what I was thinking: What do the bands someone likes say about them, or maybe their life? Everyone has different musical tastes, but all those preferences have to stem from SOMEWHERE. Is there a certain type of person that listens to a certain band? I don’t know. But if you come along for the ride, maybe we’ll find out.

—-

All of my favorite bands are rather… odd. For the purposes of this post let’s take a look at my current main four, and furthermore, my main four as I was first exposed to them.

AFI, Panic! at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, and Blink-182.

“Oh god! THE EMO. THE EMO, GET IT AWAY!”

HEY. Stay with me here. You want EMO, I’ll get out Dashboard Confessional. You don’t want that, trust me.

It was pointed out to me recently that all my bands are rather theatrical, Panic and My Chemical Romance (MCR) being the most so. What do I mean by theatrical, you ask? And furthermore, who the fuck are these people? Well, here’s some videos to explain.

This is an AFI:

(My most beloved band. I heard this song in an AMV on YouTube and my life was changed forever.)

This is a Panic! at the Disco:

(This is their newest single, unlike the others on this list. Panic has pretty much always been this way, thus, I give you all my current addiction instead of the first song of theirs I heard.)

This is a My Chemical Romance:

(First song and video of theirs I ever heard/saw.)

And this monstrosity is a Blink-182:

(One of the last of their videos I discovered, but everyone knows this song, it seems.)

I lost a few of you with that last one, I’m guessing. That’s okay. You probably shouldn’t be reading this blog if you don’t expect some sort of similar insanity. Hell, I probably lost quite a few of you with the three lead singers in a row that wear eyeliner. Blink is probably the most normal of this lot.

So. What does these guys say about me, the kind of person that listens to them? Well, let’s start at the beginning and take this chronologically, as I discovered them.

BLINK-182

Little known fact: Blink-182 was the first “real” music I ever heard, real being something that wasn’t a formulated kid’s band like Spice Girls or B*Witched and stolen via a friend’s ripped CD. I very distinctly remember lying in bed listening to this and going “What the… what is this?” My tiny little (12?) year old mind was blown.

Then it went away. I found them again a while later, only then realizing what the brilliance upon that ripped CD was called and who made it.

Fast forward to the present. This song is being played the instant I turn 23:

That’s “What’s My Age Again?” It is exactly like the title sounds. I am not inclined to resign to maturity, folks. The idea of running through a town naked for a music video? Sounds brilliant to me. Wanna know what’s even better? Let’s take a whole FUCKLOAD of money meant for a music video, give it away, and FILM WHAT HAPPENS. I went to go see these guys in concert in recent years, and they are STILL this nuts. Completely. Totally. NUTS. This is the shit that keeps me from taking everything too seriously and jumping off a cliff.

Yes, acting like a lecherous, insane teenage boy with no sense of shame and a fucked up sense of humor is part of what keeps my ass alive. Try it sometime. Go do something stupid or just straight up weird. It’s the part of me that likes these guys, that don’t care about being artistic with what I say, that gives you the blunt sarcasm with a liberal sprinkling of swearing you’ve come to expect from this blog. And, judging by the people I saw at the Blink-182 concert, there’s a certain kind person that likes Blink-182: they like rampant silliness. And some of them like pot.

PANIC! AT THE DISCO

These guys and My Chemical Romance were discovered at about the same time. I have seen these brilliant, wonderful, weird guys in concert twice, and was it ever worth the cash. These guys just have a certain sound to them that sounds like the inside of my head. I realize that sounds bizarre, but it is true. These guys win for being strange, poetic, and giving my tiny teenage soul freedom to wear striped jackets and top hats. They were creative and strange without being screamy or coated in eyeliner (well, most of the time) and most importantly, when I bought their CDs, I was taken far the fuck away from where I was.

The mix at the concerts I’ve been to seems to span the weird kids, the “normal kids” and a lot of people in between, but I’d definitely say they lean more toward the strange, artsy crowd. The escapists. The ones that like stories in their songs and bizarre music videos. The ones that see things slightly differently. That certainly describes me.

Of course, these guys aren’t the ones for teenage angst at being different. No, that’s our next stop on the “how music describes the fucked up inside of Sam’s head” track.

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE

Those of you that follow my twitter know a little something about me, and it connects to this song:

If you only watch part of one video on here, let it be this one. Please? Just up to the 30 second mark. Where he gets the sandwich thrown at him. Now, feel getting hit in the face with that sandwich. Feel the gross sponginess of the bread, the cold slap of the bologna. Feel the last of your favorite tea being spilled.

Now imagine going through your entire school career that way. And that feeling doesn’t exactly stop when you go home.

Yeah, MCR has a certain type of fan, and it’s the ones that understand this video. A lot of us have anger problems. I’d like to think that most of us disagree with the anti-bullying bullshit going on right now that just makes bullying a joke. You wanna stop bullying? Let bullied go beat the shit out of those bullying assholes on the lacrosse team with our fucking croquet mallets. We are the emo kids that hate everyone, and we feel we’re fucking justified in it. The cult of the freaks is a screwed up one, we aren’t always that sensible, but at least when we’re together we at least have some company when we’re being called fags, freaks, and fuck ups. This is one of the few bands that seems to have a very specific type of person that listens to them, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just strongly indicates some things about you to other people if you like them. Besides, those people that react badly to that aren’t people MCR fans want to deal with anyway.

This band is the part of me that screams “FUCK NORMALICY. FUCK YOU. YOU WANNA STARE AT THE FREAK? OKAY! *Does a dance around the entire free space on campus, sporadically shouting “PENIS!”* THERE’S SOMETHING FOR YOU TO FUCKING STARE AT!”

… I never claimed I was sane, people. Or well adjusted. We MCR fans are just worse at hiding that fact than other people are.

AFI

“How can this be the most recent and the most important?! It’s just your current craze. That’s why it SEEMS important.”

Nope. All the other stuff I knew about in high school. AFI I discovered when I got out of the house. I discovered them by accident (seems to be a common theme with me, eh?) I’ve been out of the house for four years now at college. It’s not really that recent.

AFI is the music I live to. I am never without at least one album.

What does THAT say? Well, I’m strange. The weirdness seems to be a common theme. But what AFI has is something I can find in no other band: It has screaming rage, joy, romance, beauty and sorrow. It is no accident their fans are “The Despair Faction. ” There is no coincidence that at the concert we all screamed “Through our bleeding, we are one.” We AFI fans all seem to have a sadness, be it about us, within us, or in our pasts.

Here’s the thing, though. You got to an AFI concert, it’s not sad. Everyone is screaming and being crushed in the mosh pit, Davey (the lead singer) is jumping around the stage like a man possessed, Jade and Hunter are jamming (the guitarist and bassist) and Adam, hilariously, is the calmest of them, and he’s on the drums headbanging. Not everyone is wearing eyeliner and black, though some of us are. While we all may have something that makes us understand what it is to sing in sorrow, or understanding the feeling that “God Called In Sick Today” we’re not here crying about it. AFI is not music to weep to. It’s music to dance to. Angry dancing, maybe, but still dancing.

Yes, I’m describing AFI fans as lunatics that dance in misery.

I used to have a band that relished in its misery (Blue October, the Foiled Album and before) that I listened to all the time in high school. At concerts we were all pissed off at everything. We sometimes wept in rage.

AFI isn’t like that. AFI is my most important band because it shows how far I’ve come and is a big part of what has brought me this far (the only thing, I think, with more influence over my growth has been my partner, Jess). I listen to it when I’m down not to STAY down, but to fall into Davey’s voice and process. I’m not as sick as I used to be. My depression is slowly getting better. It’s because of my progress I could write the first post on this blog. Suicide isn’t a valid option anymore. I’m still pissy and sad and think badly, but hey, no one’s perfect.

I met Davey, Adam, and Hunter after I saw AFI in concert (Jade was collapsed somewhere in the bus). I got hugs from Adam and Hunter (they offered/were asked first, no crazy fangirl tackling here) and told Davey he saved my life more times than I can count.

The screwed up part is that I didn’t exactly know how or why AFI saved my life until I wrote this blog. I just have to write to process sometimes, I suppose. In any case, there you are. Personal growth and description of oneself through music. Or just me forcing you to listen to my stupid introspective bullshit. It’s really all up to your interpretation.

So, readers. What are your bands? What do they say about you? Fill up the comments section. I’m always curious about the folks that read this, even the ones I know outside the internet already, so get writing. 😀

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