Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rockstar No More

Its weird, I realized that I will never be the rock star I thought I'd be. I'll never play coffee houses, concert halls, or stadiums that only four years ago I thought I'd be playing by now. I thought that's how I would change the world. I thought that I would write songs that would make people stop and say, "I feel the same way."

I realized it unfortunately after drinking a bottle of wine. I can understand, although not agree with, rockstars turning to drugs. When you don't have that little voice holding you back, something deep and true can come out.

I pulled out the guitar and started strumming chords that eventually made a song that sounded like what I was feeling. This is a strange phenomenon that I remember having weekly in college. The guitar does weep as the Beatles say. It can also celebrate, be angry, pull your inner thoughts from your subconscious and into a melody.

To me, it sounded beautiful. It sounded true. Then Sallie asked if I could stop playing so she could hear the television. I was immediately pulled back into the domestic life I've landed. I wasn't pissed. I wasn't sad. I was simply pulled into my future. I knew that I could never tour the country becuase I could never leave Sallie. I knew that I would never have those moments rockstars talk about on Behind the Music where I formed a heroin addiction and abandoned my family. This isn't a bad thing. I didn't become the famous voice of a generation I always pictured, but that's because I'm in a place where those songs just don't make sense.

To me, this is sad and happy. From freshman year of high school until junior year of college I felt comfortable in my dark place. It's where I could create. It's where I could grow. It's where I could live. I try to return there sometimes to get what I consider my best writing. Every time I return though, I find it harder and harder to stay there for extended periods of time. Does this mean my creative career is coming to an end? I hope not. I hope that I can remain creative in a time of light.

It's healthy though to sometimes throw a C and A minor chord together and just feel sorry for myself.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Early Proud Moment

I remember when I was an early teen, probably around 14-15ish, I recieved my first computer. It was a used machine from my dad's work, but having it in my room gave me this intense feeling of power. I knew that through this vessel I could connect to the internet, a gateway to the rest of the universe.

The problem is of course, my parents weren't about to hook up the internet for free reign in a 14 year old's room. That's when I went to my aunts house and found inspiration.

I think my uncle Tom probably knew someone or traded Heavenly Hash for a box filled with those 2500 minutes free AOL disks. I snatched a handful of the disks and brought them home.

I didn't know the full logistics of what I was going to try to do. I knew I needed some sort of phone cord, an email address, and a modem.

I searched the boxes in the basement and found a 15 foot phone cord. I had a phone in my room, so I knew the connection was there and 15 feet should've been fine. So I had the first of my three needs.

I used to get about an hour a day on the downstairs computer internet, so I used the next day to sign up for my first yahoo email address:

That night, I checked the back of the computer and found that yes, I was equipped with a modem. I connected the phone cord, popped in an AOL disk, and hit connect.

That awful dial up noise exploded from my computer. Not wanting to catch the attention of my sleeping parents I turned the surge protector off.

I now had a forth goal, some sort of muffler. This was easily accomplished with a few blankets. For the next 2500 minutes, I was surfing the net, talking to 14 year old girls on instant messenger, and feeling like I conquered a fairly difficult problem.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Updates so hot, they'll burn your kitchen down

A few weeks ago Sallie had a late night craving for some hash browns. She asked me to accompany her in the kitchen. The wok became hot, obviously because stoves will do that, and she grabbed the kitchen towel to protect her hands.

"Sallie, the towel's on fire."
"So I was saying to my mom..."
"Sallie, the towel's on fire!"
"And she was saying..."

Sallie casually looks down at the kitchen towel in flames and then freaks out for a moment, and beats the fire out on the kitchen counter. Luckily I had recently cleaned it, otherwise oil residue probably would've lit the whole kitchen on fire.


Fast forward to this weekend. Again, Sallie is cooking breakfast foods, this time omelets for both of us on Sunday morning.

Now I can't be mad about this near disaster because she was trying to multitask and do her laundry while she was waiting for butter to melt. What she didn't realize was she had the stove on high and her laundry took longer than she had expected.

Enter Dan: I walk into the kitchen that I notice is getting smoky. Look to the stove and see a two foot high buttery flame from hell desperately trying to grab hold of the ceiling. Since its an oil fire I can just put it in the sink and turn it on, so I grab the pot and bring it outside so it can burn itself out before the smoke alarm goes off.

Too late, it starts beeping like crazy.

I quickly run outside with the flaming pot to see that it is in fact pouring rain. So my thought of not adding water to the oil fire was useless. I tried to keep it away from the rain, but it was that sort of sideways rain that no matter how much roof there is over you, the water still finds its mark. Needless to say the oil fire became pissed and was making all sorts of angry popping noises.

At this point Sallie came upstairs, realized what happened and started laughing hysterically. I joined in once the flame went out. The pot is ruined, but what can you do.

The moral of this story, really more of the question of this story: How did Sallie not burn her house down before she met me?

In other news, Sallie and I are going to take a super savers mini-vacation to some cabin in Tennessee over Memorial Day weekend. Should be relaxing if nothing else. If someone wants to come check on the cats once over that weekend, please apply here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'll Follow You Into the Dark

I wrote this for a friend's blog,

It's a little corny, but it reveals a moment I've not told anyone up until this point. The only people that know are me and the hippy girl, but I don't think she even knows that I remember it.

I was going through an emo-kid phase for the first few years of college. It had been a while since my last girlfriend because I was convinced I was in love with one person for about six years. She was dating someone else. Obviously, I blogged a lot, felt lonely, hated girls, essentially I listened to a lot of Brand New and Taking Back Sunday.

Then a little hippy girl started working at the restaurant I was at. I had no intentions of even attempting to date her. I wasn’t really attracted to her… initially.

I was that guy that used to pull out my guitar at parties. I didn’t rip into cry fest songs or Dave Matthews Band covers like most. I would take request. I was there to get people singing together.

Well, long story short, hippy girl witnessed one of these impromptu jam sessions. She asked me for guitar lessons. I went to her house a few times over two weeks. I showed her how to string a guitar, play basic chords, and got her to the point where we could start learning songs.

The first song she wanted to learn was Death Cab for Cuties “I’ll Follow you into the Dark.” I learned this song and spent several hours trying to teach it. She just mastered the chorus when she looked me in the eye and planted one on me.

Eventually straining our necks to kiss over the guitars and repeating song weren’t working. I removed the guitars and she turned off repeat and we started kissing again. I was lost in the moment. I managed to recapture that room spinning, stomach churning excitement. I had forgotten about the girl I thought I loved. I had found the peace I was looking for, for years.

We continued laying in her bed listening to all of Death Cab for Cuties “Plans” album over and over again. We stopped talking about guitar chords and actually got to know each other.

Obviously I didn’t marry this girl. We didn’t fall in love. We didn’t even fall into lust, but it was the push I had been waiting for for six years. It was the first time I realized there were other women. If it wasn’t for that album and that hippy chick I would’ve never started dating Sallie. I would’ve continued drinking five nights out of the week. I would’ve stayed in that dark place. I think of “I’ll Follow you into the Dark” because that was the song that brought me back into the light, so I could follow someone into the dark.

If you want to hear the song click below

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Credit Crisis

So Sallie and I did one of those 0% interest, 0 payments for a year deals when we bought our furniture. Everything was going according to plan. We were making payments. We were on schedule to pay off the furniture right on time.

So our year with no payments no interest ended in March. We received the March bill, paid the last $100 and shipped the bill a week before it was due. Wash our hands of that crap right?

Well then why did a bill show up a few weeks later wanting to charge us $400? Because in fine print, on the crease of our last bill it said that our promotion ends on March 2nd even though the last bill was due March 18th. Even though we paid the bill in full, we were about a week later than when the promotion ended. They screwed us.

So we tried to call a representative to see if we could talk sense into someone. Of course we could only get recordings. On further inspection of our last bill... again in fine lightly colored print... it said to dispute any charges we need to write a letter. They will review our dispute and write back whether we owe them or not.

So the bill is due in a few days and today Sallie called them to find out "what's up?" and to make sure they weren't going to charge us any late fees or anything while this case is being reviewed.

They said that this is under review and it could take 30-60 days for a response. Oh yeah, by the way, if we don't decide in your favor you have to pay the interest on all the time it took for us to review your case.

So I imagine somewhere in South Carolina, there is a guy with a rubber "denied" stamp, inking hundreds of cases and throwing them in a "mail in 45 days" pile.

I don't want to pay anything because that's an admission of fault and I feel it can hurt us. I don't want to get hit with $200 in interest either.

So anyone with any advice on how we can attack these jerks if they rule against us or how we can prevent these idiots from charging us unfair charges, please chime in.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday's Best

So I went to an Easter service two years running now. Not bad for someone that was largely absent for a good 6 years.

It was weird going to a non-Catholic service. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it. I'm used to going through the stations of the cross, kneeling and standing for the entire hour and a half service. I'm used to the church going from 50-75 spectators with elbow space to 150-200 people standing all along the perimeter of the church. (Which turns communion from a ten minute ordeal to a good twenty-five minute)

Its weird because I'd really like to go to a Catholic service when I'm at another religions service, but I know I also don't like the Catholic services much. I just really like the familiarity to it. For instance, today we were at a service where six or seven helpers held loaves of bread and grape juice for communion and you walked up to them to tear off a piece of bread and dip it. I didn't feel compelled to get up to get communion. Something about not saying the prayers, or the priest not handing out the bread just didn't feel right. There's something about the whole Catholic process that is ingrained in me, almost like the one we were at today was just some strangers handing out food and I didn't want to touch food that people I don't know have. That probably shouldn't be thought process going through my mind but it was.

Another thing that I miss, but I know I don't is the Catholic music. A capella, out of tune, church goers sing the straight and to the point Hymns, whereas all the places I've visited in the past year try to be hip and cool by singing cover songs or just trying to God rock I guess. Either way, my mind wanders and I start staring at the stained glass and various religious iconography.

The sermon was good. I do like that about the non-Catholic services. Instead of sticking with the strict format of the Catholic church, other religious leaders get to speak for as long as they allow. Although most the time they overstep their welcome by 5-10 minutes, they get more of a message in there.

I don't know really what I'm getting at. I guess something is just ingrained into me from my Catholic upbringing that just doesn't allow me to accept other services as easily. I miss coming to church on Easter Sunday and the priest giving the members hell because obviously most the people there on Easter haven't been coming the rest of the weeks. You leave the service feeling at peace but guilty and that's a great combination to live with the rest of Sunday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What Went Through My Mind

Here's a play-by-play of what went through my mind at the concert tonight.

7:30- Finally we're here. When did it get so cold out?
7:43- The old security lady reached deep into my pockets at the door. Somehow I don't think she was looking for weapons.
7:50- Looking around this pit I find myself wanting to fight a lot of people. Note to self, look into anger management therapy tomorrow.

8:00- Opening band "Ours" comes on stage. Everyone comes out with pre-torn black shirts, the bassist has a scarf on. This band exclusively shops at Hot Topic.
8:01- This guy is really sad.
8:03- The drummer is staring at the ceiling. He looks really bored.
8:10- Is this still the first painful song?
8:12- This guy is more sad than originally thought. If the band wasn't so boring I would buy merchandise to cheer him up.
8:15- This guy might be sad, but he sure can slam that tambourine.
8:18- This guy behind me tapped my shoulder and told me to move out of the way so his 5'00" girlfriend can see. Assuming this is "baby's first concert." Fight the urge to point out obvious, "You're at a sold out rock show, in the mosh pit, in the back. Even if I move, someone else will come along."
8:20- Sure enough, another taller guy moves in.
8:21- Taller guy gets the move out of the way spiel. Instead of giving short couple grief and stink eye, he jokes with them and remains in place. I wish I would've thought of that.
8:22- The singer is yet even more sad. Fairly sure his eye makeup is running down his cheek with tears. Afraid he might cut himself on stage.
8:24- Hear girl behind me complain about not being able to see. Boyfriend makes snide remark. Urge to fight people rises.
8:30- "Ours" leaves stage.

8:32- More people push in. Guy and girl behind me are even more pissed. I'm feeling a little bit better.
9:05- Testing for "Blue October's" singers microphone gets erupting cheers. Seeing as how there are only 6 "Blue October" songs I don't like, this should be a good show.
9:24- Someone starts smoking a clove cigarette and someone else simultaneously farts. The pit is not a pleasant place right now.
9:25- The Point has a radio DJ come on stage to talk about Pointfest. DJ is actually funny. Maybe I should give the Point another chance. DJ announces a new "Blue October" album has come out that I don't know. Immediately I pray they don't play much from it.

9:30- Band takes the stage to crowd applause.
9:31- Starts with a song I don't know.
9:36- Plays a second song I don't know.
9:38- Fat security guard forces way into crowd to yell at girl for taking pictures.
9:40- Ok, three songs from the new album, they should be about exhausted on that.
9:45- Singer announces next song is his favorite on the new album.
9:46- Fat security guard pushes way back into crowd to pull two even fatter people out. Throws everyone off balance.
9:48- For real, play something older. Crowd is still excited, no one knows words but many try to pretend.
9:49- Two fat guys come back into crowd. Security guard stands behind me breathing like he's dying.
9:52- Singer announces they will play entire new album. I sigh loudly.
10:00- New album is good. I might have to get it. I wish I new the words. Starting to get tired. Short guy behind me is pushes slightly on my back, forcing me to stand on tippy-toes. Elbow hand out of way several times. Doesn't get picture. Try to look menacing toward him, but he looks too much like Drew Carey...who can hate Drew Carey?
10:01- Fat security guard reaches across me to tell someone to stop having so much fun. His armpit is too close for comfort.
10:05- Band plays 12th and final song from new album, promising old songs next.
10:08- My back/legs/toes hurt too much. I have to wuss out and leave pit. Ask myself if its because I'm getting too old, but then convince myself it was the short guy behind me.
10:12- Band has now played 2 of the 6 songs I don't like from older albums.
10:14- I liked these guys much better when the singer wasn't in love and was still on drugs.
10:15- Band plays one of my favorite songs. Still can't get into the show. Try to bring my mind back to when I saw the band 4 years ago. 15 people showed up and we rocked hard.
10:20- Band starts to play third of the six songs I don't like. Sallie and Beth both look bored. We agree to cut our losses and eat some comfort food.

10:40- Steak N Shake Turkey Club is awesome. Waiter compliments my Resident Evil hoody. I want to tip him $50. Luckily Sallie pays and keeps her head on. He got a good tip, but not a fanboy tip.
11:10- Get home/shower/type this. Time for bed!

So yeah, the concert wasn't great. I don't think I will go see Blue October again. The crowd that listens to them now just isn't my scene. Its unfortunate, but what can you do.

A long week

Well I didn't get the full time position at my work... at least this round. The recruiter called and said that there will probably be more positions in the near future and they would be reaching out to me. Basically, they made it sound like I would be hired the next round. I don't know if that was a corporate easy way to let me down, but I sure hope not. That would be cruel.

So I was feeling a bit down on Thursday about that, and at the same time I feel guilty for being disappointed. I have friends sitting in the next cubicles that don't have their job after Thursday of this week.So that Catholic guilt that was instilled in me as a child has me feeling double down over not getting the position.

Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have it.

This weekend we did a lot of chilling out and movie watching... well kinda. We actually went to a concert Friday night, the Ting Tings. I won't write about that here, you can see my review at

Saturday we spent most of the gorgeous day with the windows down in Forest Park... stuck in traffic. Apparently all of the greater St. Louis area thought going to the Zoo was a good idea. I only wanted to go to the art museum to see the traveling exhibit about the Ming Dynasty.

It was exactly what you would expect from ancient Chinese art. Scrolls, tapestries, robes, and dishes all decorated with Jade and dragons.

Today we're taking it somewhat easy. We're supposed to yet again get rain which will turn into snow tonight. I have the windows open right now. Oh Missouri, how I love thee's weather.

We're going to concert number two tonight and seeing Blue October. I feel like I'm in high school again.

BTW: Dungeons and Dragons was a hit. It sounds like it could turn into yet another addictive hobby.

This has been a long week. I'm ready for a nap. Next weekend promises to be just as busy. Rolla on Saturday. Easter Sunday. I'm also driving up to Wentzville to fix a friend's parents computer. Basically, yes we've gotten ourselves into one of our non-stop visiting-a-thons where we don't have a weekend of rest.