Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Talkin' Bout My Generation

This past weekend I had ten of my friends from back home come up to visit (I know - I was amazed I had ten friends as well). Most of our time was spent simply sitting at my apartment drinking and taking part in other redneck activities (putting down two handle bottles of Crown Royal and another bottle of Seagrams 7). Believe it or not - redneck parties are more than Skynyrd and sleeveless shirts - I ended up having some of the most intelligent and worthwhile conversations about religion, politics and life in general that I have had in a long, long time (after which I ripped off my sleeves and belted out ‘Sweet Home Alabama’).

After thinking about how awesome of a weekend I had I came to a realization. Does anyone else notice my generation as being painfully superficial and boring? I am blessed to have both grown up with and now work with some extremely intelligent (read as: insane) people that provide interesting, challenging conversation on a daily basis. In terms of the bar scene, however, I can count the number of worthwhile conversations I have had on one hand. (Side note - the number of conversations that made me want to kill myself outnumber the number of times a Clevelander has talked to me about the weather).

I realize that I normally hang out on W 6th, and there is about as much free-thinking on W 6th as there are videos on MTV. The crowd I am normally around is about as cookie-cutter as you get. In fact, like the mother of a 6 yr old, American Eagle puts together entire outfits and lays them out - all it takes is Daddy's credit card and a constant effort towards getting laid and BAM - you fit in. Where did the effort go? Has my entire generation given up on connecting on anything other than a completely superficial and physical way?

Now I am not acting like some great philosiphizer. Quite the opposite, I think of myself as fairly uneducated and na├»ve. But I don’t let that turn me into an Abercrombie Zombie (oh please tell me I just coined a phrase). Why has my generation turned off any sense of real, one-on-one communication? Where is the effort and the enthusiasm? Our parents grew up in the 70’s, fighting “the man” on every possible issue, and here we are, being herded like sheep by the word “gay”.

The word “gay” has morphed into simply meaning “different”. Anything you do that has not been widely accepted by the herd is now “gay”. I enjoy reading, going to museums, I have a favorite artist, I prefer ‘American Beauty’ to ‘Die Hard’ and sometimes I even listen to people when they talk. All of these things make me “gay”. Remaining completely unintelligent, uneducated, unchallenged and unconnected, however, is cool (there are variables such as how expensive your jeans are and how much gel you have in your hair - but this isn’t a math lesson).

So we wander the bars like zombies – feeding on phone numbers and one-night stands. The generation that brought you “Next” is going to be walking down the aisle of a Church in a few years. That is our idea of a relationship, 15 minutes of scripted dialogue and move on to the next model (Frat Boy 2.0 or Bleach Blonde – Now With Breast Implants!)

I understand I have had my panties in a bunch for the last 6 months, but this is still extremely frustrating. What is the point of walking through life with no challenge or meaningful engagement? How can living in the status quo be not only accepted, but expected? I feel like my entire generation is so jaded we just accept whatever we are told to do (how else could Nickleback sell all those records?). My friends are all incredible people who are not only willing to call my bullshit, but bring up new and challenging ideas of their own. As I try to carve my nook in this new city, however, I find it extremely difficult to find people of the same mind set. Am I just hanging out in the wrong scene? Or is my generation really as flaccid and uninspired as they appear?

Maybe I should just shut up and pop my collar, I mean, who thinks these days? How gay.

(I had written this and then read my much more intelligent (though not nearly as handsome) friend’s blog about the same topic. He does a much better job of relaying this thought without sounding like a whiney bitch. This blog actually started out as a funny take on the bar scene and ended in a rant (a not very well thought out rant at that). I apologize, I promise I will be funny next time.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Skynyrd Thing

Today marks the 30 year anniversary of the plane crash that killed Lynyrd Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zandt, Stevie Gaines, Cassie Gaines, Dean Kilpatrick as well as the pilot and co-pilot.

I don't think any self-respecting redneck / rock fan could let today slide without atleast bringing it up. So raise those Jack and Cokes and sing along to that terrible cover band when they kick into "Sweet Home Alabama" tonight.

Friday, October 19, 2007

How Many Octobers Are There Again, Dane Cook?

And how many postseasons? I forget - it would be great if you could run the same commercial 600 times a game so that I could get that drilled into my head, thaaaaanks.

Random Thoughts on a hungover Friday:

Why do I get hangovers from drinking only a few beers? I was being responsible last night, kharma, now hold up your end of the deal.

When you take away being wasted and all the bad dancing, being at a bar is just a lot of nodding and pretending you understood the person next to you. Does this mean deaf people are partying all the time? (That one might have been a low blow)

A friend of mine wanted me to join eHarmony as a test to see how the people on there actually are but I refused, "I have too much self respect for that shit." I said. But where the hell do people meet these days? I never meet anyone interesting at the bar and it is an extremely intricate maneuver to get a phone number in daylight hours without sounding like a skeeze. A friend told me the best way to is to be introduced through friends - so I now blame my singleness on you - get hotter friends, Reader!

The Cleveland Indians cancelled Rocktober. I had to miss Jason Isbell and the Drive-By Truckers and Ryan Adams would be game 3 of the World Series (if we make it). I feel dirty picking sports over music - if 17 yr old goth Jeff could see 24 yr old sports Jeff he would be PISSED. He wouldn't do anything about it though - some things never change.

When the hell did the leaves change color? Fall is my favorite time of year and I just now noticed the leaves had changed and were falling. What the hell! Luckily there is more than one October - wait...whats that, Dane Cook? Aw Shit.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Unfunny Post (Mid-Mid-Life Crisis)

Every year I go through a month or so where I take stock of my life and realize how big of an idiot I am. I know, I know, "But Nom, how could you get all of that done in a month?" - real funny, Reader - I'm being serious here. Normally nothing MAJOR is changed in these episodes, there was the year I quit drunk dialing (ok, there was the year I cut BACK on drunk dialing), followed by the year I quit doing shots (ok, the year I cut BACK on doing shots) and the year I quit making bad decisions (ok, that one is just a flat-out lie).

Of course I am kidding - it is just that instead of gradually making small changes, like normal humans, I prefer to get in a really shitty mood for a month and make wholesale changes. Normally when people ask what the hell is wrong with me I say, "I think I am having a mid-mid-life crisis". Seeing as how I do this at least once a year, however, I think I will just call it "Nom's Annual Period". (Ooooh the acronym is NAP - I like it)

I haven't taken stock of life since moving to the Land of Cleves a little over a year ago. I think I assumed getting a big-kid job meant I didn't need to have these freak-outs anymore. As much fun as the last year has been I have been in a pretty nasty funk for the last two months and decided to do something about it.

I have been on a health-kick that has resulted in a totally revamped diet and workout routine. Besides the fact that I lost 10 lbs and actually look in shape instead of like a fatty fatty fat fat – I once again fit into my weapon of choice – a 1982 Neil Diamond World Tour shirt. Rawr.

Another welcomed change has been my drinking habits. I love whiskey. No seriously I love the stuff. Problem is - Crown and Cokes are like a delicious candy left on the pillow of bad decisions. I can’t drink the stuff without blacking out. I still love to get smootmahootnied - but regret my last few blackouts and have learned to stop when I get drunk enough to dance (for everyone’s sake). I have also stopped going out as much. Having money left to hit up concerts and games is amazing – and W. 6th will still be there next weekend.

I have also done a lot of little things – reading, catching up with friends I have lost touch with, concerts, Tribe games and even writing quite a bit.

While I am still in a bit of a funk I think I have realized why I get like this. It is easy for me to lull myself into a routine – to become too scheduled and comfortable. I had gotten to the point where life was easy – work all week, eat junk food everyday, when the weekend hits I would roll down W 6th wasted and spend the daylight in recovery. Life was easy, and damn good.

Am I finally growing up? Of course not – don’t be ridiculous, Reader. That being said – my priorities have definitely shifted. I am getting back into challenging myself at every opportunity. The books I read, the conversations, even my diet and exercise habits are ways to see what I am capable of and avoid the status quo (that and I want to look good naked). What is the point of life if not to put yourself in every opportunity to succeed and find out what you are capable of? To quote my favorite movie "It is a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself...makes you wonder what else you can do."

I guess this incredibly long and painfully dramatic post comes with this realization: The pursuit of happiness is just as much about the pursuit as it is the happiness.

Or maybe I just need some Midol.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Tribe Time

I did everything I could to tell myself the Tribe was going to get trounced by the Yankees and that I shouldn't get my hopes up - but after watching their 12-3 win last night I am in full-on man-crush mode. I have never seen a team have as much fun as this team - from Barfield giving Garko cheap shots in the kidney at every chance to Trot Nixon hitting people in the face with a pie after every game (side-note - thats the ONLY thing Trot has hit all year). When Wedge shaved off his mustache I thought this team was doomed - but much like Casey Blake's beard this team fought through some ugly outings and looks ready to kick some ass.

It is amazing how much sports can comsume a city. I have friends from back home (Delphos) who made the 3-hour drive to go to the game last night, drove home to work today and are making the drive AGAIN today for the game. Another college friend is braving the traffic (compounded by a Maroon 5 concert downtown) just to meet up and party in the post-game atmosphere - she isn't even GOING to the game. Personally, this will be my 18th game attended this season, I have watched well over 120 games on tv and have spent a sizeable percentage of my salary on Indians games / apparel. Beyond the monetary costs - the costs of my social life have been astounding - from spending so much time glued to a TV, or sitting in the corner of the bar cursing while most guys are getting phone numbers. I went on a date ealier this year that began at a fancy restaurant and ended at the Harbor Inn so we could watch the last few innings. I have gotten goosebumps three times before 11am today thinking about the game. I honestly can't remember the last time I cried, but if the Tribe somehow pulls this off I can promise you tears.

I can't explain why. I have no idea why a loss can ruin my mood - or why I still yell "Asshole!" at every Yankees fan I see. Maybe it is the camaraderie; maybe it is just to have something to talk to strangers about besides the weather - and maybe, Bob Costas is on to something with his constant "magic of sports" rants. All I know is that when the 9th inning hits and I am sitting in Pronkville, my voice having left me four innings earlier, with 40,000 friends chanting and cheering: all that goddamn time and effort is going to be worth it. Unless we lose. Then Fuck the Yankees.

Monday, October 1, 2007

If You Scratch My Back...

Relationships are hard. Men don't speak crazy and women have trouble understanding men, what with our straight forward answers and the way we don't assume you already know what we are talking about. (I'm only kidding - I'm fluent in crazy).

Girls expect a certain amount from guys, and rightfully so. I am not blind to the fact that girls hold all of the power - you being the attractive species we should work to get you to stick around. From what I have gathered in my small amount of time around the female is that she enjoys surprises, especially those that make her feel important and attractive. Routine seems to be a form of evil - and a guy looking for a few bonus points can shoot a lay-up with a surprise dinner or flowers.

What I never hear people talk about, however, is what little things girls can do for guys.

I know, I know - guys don't deserve it and it's pretty lame for any guy to admit he wants anything from a girl that involves pants. I, however, know of one thing that every guy, every single man on the planet, possibly every male mammal on the planet and if there is life on other planets - and they have a difference in sexes - then male aliens love this as well; a good back rub.

There are many types of back rubs - the rough, clawing, cat-on-the-sofa scratch - good for an intense itch; the slow, deep back massage after a long day's work; the sexy-straddle rub in bed that always turns into something more. But none of these are as easy or as satisfying as the everyday, laying-on-the-sofa, just-barely-using-the-fingertips rub.

I have always loved this back rub - much like every other man who has ever walked the earth - but it was not until recently that I learned to appreciate it like a fine wine. Take, for instance, this past Sunday at the Browns game. As I sat with my roomate, Chuck, he looked across the crowd and commented:

"Now THAT is a good woman"

I look down and see an overweight, middle-aged man sitting next to a woman. The woman had her hand draped across his back and was giving him one of those spectacular back rubs.

"You ain't kidding!" I respond, before noticing a tanned blonde putting the cleave in Cleveland two rows away. "Wait do you mean the one giving the backrub or the hot blonde?" I ask.

"The back rub - goddamn that guys is living the life right now."

And I couldn't argue.

Side-note - my buddy Lyle pointed out the fact that when a guy starts getting a back rub he will FREEZE. No matter how awkward the position - the gripping fear that the back rub will end is enough to keep a man paralyzed in his position. I have been leaning over to get a beer and been lucky enough to get a back rub. I have no shame in freezing, in my leaned over position, and trying to still find a way to tip the can to my lips so I can get a drink while I savor the delicious back rub. Don't be ashamed fellas - you know its true.

Now I'm not an idiot (I just play one online), I realize women LOVE back rubs as well. That being said, a girl is never going to go to her friends and brag about how amazing her bf is because he gave her a back rub. It is one of those assumed roles of a boyfriend that are part of the boyfriend package. For guys, however, a back rub is one of those things that makes them think, "Damn this girl is AMAZING!" It takes maybe five muscles to give a guy back rub - and I can all but promise you he will be to scared to move through that all-day "America's Next Top Model" marathon.

I understand guys are idiots and we fuck up all the time - trust me I do. Girls deserve all of the hours put into coming up with creative ideas for dates and surprises and all of the other things involved with relationships. BUT - the next time a guy does something that makes you freeze in your spot and think, "Goddamn this guy is incredible" - remember how easy it is for you to repay the favor. And don't be stingy.