5/31/07

Emo Kids Can't Mosh. This and other things learned.

That is just one of the things I learned at the Fall Out Boy concert I attended Wednesday night.

I know, I know. You're all thinking, "Fall Out Boy? WTF, Johnny?"

Well, I admit it. I like that band. I'm not gay. I don't wear black eyeliner or paint my nails black, but "Sugar, We're Goin' Down" is probably one of my current favorite pop tunes. In fact, that whole CD is damn good. I realize the fact that I like their music is probably the kiss of death for this band, but I am not crazy about their newest release, so there's still hope for them.

So the story goes like this. Last night, since I knew the concert was happening a scant few miles from my house, I decided I'd check for tickets right before show time. About one out of every 20 times, depending on the show, some last minute radio promo tickets or what not show up back in the pool, and you can get pretty good seats. So for fun I checked it out. I thought at the very least it might be fun to grab the wife and go sit on the lawn.

Well, when I searched for tickets and saw PIT, I knew they were right in front of the stage. Then I saw seats 14 &15, which generally puts you dead-center, so I clicked the "purchase" button. What I thought that meant was I would get prompted for my credit card number and all that crap, and I could decide based on the total price and a conversation with my wife as to whether I should make said purchase.

Apparently, when ticketmaster already has your credit card on file and you're logged in, clicking the "purchase" button means "Thank you for your purchase. Please come again." There may have been a little more blame to be placed on me not paying attention to wtf I was doing while on the phone at the same time, but there it was. I was the proud owner of two pit seats.

Except there were no actual seats.

I called the box office to confirm where my seats were. I said, "Hey, I just ordered tickets and I'm trying to find out what GAOPIT means, and where seats 13 and 14 are in relation. The lady on the other end of the phone said, "Yes, the pit is general admission. The seat numbers are for reference only."

I said, "So...what? There are no seats, or you just grab whatever seat you can?"

"There are no seats. It's standing room only. As I said, the seat numbers are for reference only."

I still had no idea wtf she meant by that, so I asked her. "What are they referencing? How many imaginary seats you've sold?"

She didn't like that too much, and immediately started trying to wrap up our conversation. So that was pretty much the end of that. I hung up and then gently broke it to my wife that we'd be standing in the pit, and that if she got carried away on some body-surfing wave of 18 year olds, I'd meet her back at the car after the show and we'd compare bruises. Strangely enough, she was OK with that. So was I, because I've never been in a mosh pit before, and I figured it was about damn time.

My second mistake after buying the tickets was not paying attention to the lineup. There were FOUR warm-up bands on this tour. Four. Which, in case you are all keeping track, is exactly three too many. The list (in order of least suckage to ultimate suckage) was: The Academy Is, +44, Cobra Starship, and some rapper dude named Paul Maul or Paul Wall or some shit like that selling his grills from the stage. He said "what it do" a lot. I don't know. I don't speak rapper.

The only one of the 4 I had actually heard of was The Academy Is, and they were pretty good. However, we got there at 6pm and we could have easily showed up 3 hours later and still had plenty of time to find our seats and watch FOB. Yeah. I call them FOB now. I was in the pit, mofo. Don't mess with me.

My third mistake was not listening to my wife when she wanted to smuggle in more than 2 little bottles of vodka, because it was a looooong, dry night. When a bottle of water cost 4 bucks, I didn't even want to price out a beer.

We sat around on the lawn for a while seeing the sights, then went down to the pit to get situated before FOB came on. I looked around and it was pretty empty. Other than a couple dozen teenage girls up against the rail, and maybe three or four skinhead dudes, a couple of stoners who were dead ringers for Wayne and Garth, and one squat, jar-headed fat guy with B.O. who I took to calling StinkBlock, it was just us, a few bouncers and what looked like some A&R guy for the band.

There was also a lone freaky looking goth boy wearing guyliner (thanks sarah), fingerless gloves with black nail polish, fishing lures dangling from his ears, and a name tag that said "Hello, My Name is DANCING KING." Name tag aside, he looked like he was a shitload closer to the other end of the royalty spectrum from what I could see. So needless to say, there didn't look like there was going to be much moshing going on. I think that as emo kids, they are more depressed than angry and they just don't have the energy needed to do anything other than jump up and down in one spot for a few seconds when their excitement overwhelms them. I am pretty sure that when emo kids actually do bump into each other and get upset, they just cut themselves instead of each other. Relieved that we weren't going to have to defend our lives, we just leaned against the back railing with the A&R guy and watched.

We did have a single mosher -- one of the skinheads -- but a single mosher does not a mosh pit make. This guy was absolutely batshit crazy, and he was moshing with...well, himself mostly. He would ram into his girlfriend every once in a while for good measure, but for the most part, he was just slapping at his own head. He knew every word to every song, and he never stopped moving/dancing/screaming and/or dry humping his girlfriend. I think the emo kid in front of us was a little scared of him. Or turned on by him. It was hard to tell through the waves of angst radiating off his body.

Other things I learned at the FOB show:

(1) If you flash the band with your camera, your camera will get taken away.
(2) If you flash the band with your boobies, you will get taken away.

The show itself was pretty impressive. It was a little tough to hear when you're that close, and the acoustics at SPAC suck, so sound quality wasn't great. As a spectacle, however, it was really well done. They giant video screens were going non-stop, and the pyrotechnics were amazing. The drummer was on a riser at the very back of the stage that had to be 30 feet in the air, and there were flamethrowers to either side of him, pointing toward the ceiling. When these things went off, I could feel the blast of heat on my face from 50 feet away. He was maybe 4 feet away from them, and I am 99.9% sure he has no eyebrows or arm hair right now.

We left during the last song and I'm not sure if there was an encore or not. On the way out I gave our tickets to a couple of girls who were going nuts at the railing that separates the lawn seats from the inside seats, and pointed down to the stage. They took off running, so I hope they got to see something before the show was over.

I think I'm getting too old for this shit. Will that stop me from going? Probably not. My plan is to just hang out in the back, drink smuggled vodka and pretend we have kids there.

Who's with me?

5/29/07

Overheard at Starbucks.

Overheard #1:

Mom: "Little girls who are lucky enough to have fancy dollhouses shouldn't jam their fingers into their noses."

Overheard #2:

Girl: "Oh, that guy behind the counter is really nice. I should have taken off my glasses so he'd recognize me."

Guy: "So...you're like Clark Kent now?"

5/26/07

Two things I can live without ever seeing or even comtemplating again after this post.

Friday morning, I got in to the office around 6:10 am or so. As you can imagine, the building is not exactly teeming with life at that hour. There are a few other early birds like me, but for the most part it's pretty barren.

I like my coffee. I generally drink a full cup on the way to work. What this means from a practical standpoint is that (a) I don't fall asleep and drive into a bridge abutment, and (b) by the time I get to work I have to pee.

I went to my desk, and got involved in rebooting smtp servers or some such, and by the time I was done, my bladder was close to its limit. This was the unfortunate reason that I burst through the men's room door so quickly at approximately 6:45, only to surprise the crap out of some person I never saw before. What was this person doing the exact second I came crashing in?

He was diligently checking out his bare ass in the mirror, of course. What else would someone be doing in a bathroom at 6:45 in the morning?

Why, I do not know. Perhaps he missed a spot shaving. Perhaps he went hiking Thursday and was doing a post-hike tick inspection. As I said, I don't know, and don't want to know.

Also, before your imagination runs away with you, it's not like he was standing on the sink or anything. For some unknown reason, our men's room contains a full-length mirror. Presumably, this mirror is not for ass-inspection, but who am I to say? Other people might (and apparently do) have a different opinion on that matter. Anyway, he quickly zipped up and left, and now I have someone else at work to avoid in the hallways.

That was the first thing. The second thing - while not quite as shocking on the surface - has deeper implications. The two handicap-accessible stalls have railings in them. Draped over these railings you will sometimes see reading material that consists of newspapers, magazines, and other assorted printed matter. I never, ever touch this, because I know the dirty habits of my coworkers, and I am 100% sure that no matter what it is, it contains traces of fecal matter on its well-thumbed pages.

Anyway, the thing I noticed hanging over the railing the other day was: A Victoria's Secret catalog. I suppose there is a remote possibility that some guy was looking for a present for his wife, but I'm thinking not.

All I know is, I don't ever want to walk in on anything that involves that.

5/16/07

It's only "All Ages" if you count the parents.

Last night my wife and I went to see a relatively new band called The Click Five. They have a brand new single called "Jenny" that is well-crafted and catchy as hell. Whether it has any chance of seeing airplay remains to be seen. They had some modest success a couple of years ago with a tune called "Just the Girl" written by Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne, but this upcoming CD features a brand new lead singer.

The show was billed as "all ages" and from going to previous all ages shows, we thought we knew what to expect. Normally, you go in, get your bracelet or stamp, then head to the bar where the grups are hanging out segregated from the kids, and you drink and listen to some good music.

The girl who took our ticket looked to be about 17. She handed us a little photocopied sheet from the FYE store that said we could meet the band and pre-order the CD after the show. We took the flyer and walked into what can only be described as the cafegymitorium.

There were maybe 40 people milling about, and unfortunately for the band, this number never increased. The average age appeared to be somewhere around 14. This average included the parents, and, as it turns out, the band members themselves. As they become more popular I'm sure the crowds will get bigger. I think they will, as long as the lead singer's voice doesn't change when he hits puberty. I'm kidding. But damn, they were young. The guitar player looked like he might have needed a ride from his mom to get to the gig, but he was fantastic.

After a diligent inspection that consisted of one quick glance around the mostly empty rectangle of a room, we realized there was definitely no bar. There was an upright cooler case with soda and water and red bull outside, but that was it. We instantly decided that if we couldn't buy overpriced drinks and get buzzed, we'd buy overpriced red bull and get wired.

After we stood around for 20 minutes not knowing what to do with ourselves, we noticed a couple of guys pushing a giant cart full of stacked chairs. "Oh," my wife said. "They must be putting chairs out after all. Maybe we're just early." The guys with the chairs then proceeded to put a single row of chairs flush with the back wall of the room.

That was it.

As it turns out, this was "Parent's Row," and it seems that most of the parents either knew this from previous concerts, or as result of some parenting gene found deep in the reptilian level of the brain. Even before the last chair was down, everyone over the age of 25 was doing the zombie shuffle to the back of the room like the sound guy just popped the top on an extra-large case of fresh brains.

Since we were already standing awkwardly in the back trying to pretend our red bulls had vodka in them (and next time, they will - oh yes.) we decided we'd have a seat as well. Our only other option to Parent's Row was to go sit on the floor by the stage with the slutty 12 year olds who I am fairly certain all have The Osbornes for parents.

I really couldn't believe what I was seeing at times. I saw a 13 year old doing a dance that would have made a seasoned stripper blush. I saw another girl who was probably 15 sporting a full sleeve tattoo. WTF? Sometimes I'm so glad I don't have any kids, because I don't think I would handle it very well if my daughter came home from the "library" with a neck tat. I wanted to jump up off my seat every once in a while and yell something like "Melanie! Stop that! It's disgusting!" but then I didn't. With my luck someone in parent's row would have a kid named Melanie who just happened to be a little tart and then the next thing you know the cops would be asking me all sorts of questions about where I knew her from and well... I just didn't want to go down that road.

The opener was an amazing singer named Kate Voegele -- from Cleveland of all places -- who has a voice that's a cross between Patty Griffin and Avril Lavigne. She was great, and after her set we went to tell her so. I said, "You have a great voice. You remind me of Patty Griffin" and she said, "Thanks. You remind me of my dad." No, not really. She said that Patty Griffin was her idol, and she couldn't believe I said that. Her dad was there, and thank god he looked older than me. He saw me talking to his talented daughter and said, "Back off, perv." No, again I lie. He just asked me who I mentioned and when I said Patty Griffin, he seemed pleased. It was funny because on stage she had such a presence but off stage she didn't look old enough to get into an R-rated movie. At any rate, her record comes out on May 22nd on myspace records of all places. Even though she looks 14, she apparently just turned 20 and writes all her own songs. Check her out. For all you Cleveland people, her CD release party is at the Cleveland House of Blues on 05/24/2007 at 09:00 PM. Get tickets and see her now, because I predict she's going to go places. Trust me, it'll be worth the ten bucks.

The Click Five were really pretty good, considering this was only their second show on the tour. They had some technical difficulties with some mic stands and what not, but they laughed it off and even made up a song about their roadie "Steve [Who] Saved The Day" when he brought out another stand. They all had that Lords of Dogtown mop top that you see everywhere these days, and that I personally may or may not have sported as a pre-teen in the mid-70s. To put it another way, they looked like a bunch of skate punks in suits and ties. It was funny to see this new band trying to look like OKGo in 2005 who were trying to look like The Knack in 1979 who were trying to look like the Beatles in 1964. It all comes back to Lennon & McCartney eventually it seems.

At one point, the lead singer announced a song and said it was by Nick Lowe. I turned to my wife and said, "Besides you, me and the band, nobody in this room has even heard of Nick Lowe."

Damn these talented kids. They all make sick, but I'm really glad somebody is still making the good pop.

5/14/07

24 is on in ten.

I did something bad to a tendon in the back of my hand, so I can't touch-type very well.

I've been balls to the wall for the last two weeks doing freelance graphic design work at night.

I mentioned that my next post would be about my pets, and I have a lot of ex-pets to write about, however it's gonna be a few days. If anyone else out there has any good dead pet stories, lay'em on me. Maybe it'll pry a few more stories loose from the nooks and crannies of my mind.

What I'm saying here is that I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It might very well be a topless Rosie O'Donnell wearing a miner's helmet and a thong, but at this point I'll take what I can get.

I'll leave you with this, and let you fill in the blanks:



Yeah, I just grossed myself out a little bit there.

5/8/07

Actual conversation I had at a previous place of employment.

My Boss: Is this new problem ticket for the same issue as last time? Because it references the original problem.

Me: It's new. It's in our queue?

My Boss: Yeah, I'm not sure why. We're not the ones who own the TLA.

Me: I think because when this happened they figured it was a different issue even though it wasn't.

My Boss: I understand that, but in that case, since they own the TLA, they should own both problem tickets. It shouldn't hit our queue at all. Not if the TLA assigned to the app is the same.

Me: OK, I'll look into it. I think it's only an urgency 3 ticket anyway, so Steve may have just agreed to take it because it does relate to our systems now, whereas the original problem really didn't.

My Boss: OK. Keep an eye on it and let me know when it's closed.

Me: OK. Um, can I ask you a dumb question?

My Boss: Sure.

Me: I know I should probably know this but -- What's a TLA?

My Boss: It's a three letter acronym.

Me: Yes, I know that. But what does it stand for?

My Boss: Three Letter Acronym.

Me: You're telling me we have an acronym for an acronym.

My Boss: Yes.

Me: That's completely ridiculous.

My Boss: Yes.

Me: OK. I think that's all I have.

My Boss: OK. Talk to you soon. Bye.

Me: Bye.

Click.

5/7/07

This Just In!

I received this picture today via overnight FedEx. It was mailed yesterday morning from a MailBoxes, Etc. in San Diego, California:



There was nothing else in the envelope except a few grains of beach sand and one long, blonde hair. Maybe the rumors are true. Maybe he did fake his own death to escape his unwanted fame.

I want to believe that. I really do.

5/6/07

Searching For Spring

It's that time again. And by 'that time' I mean the time whereupon I rely on the other denizens of the web to write my blog for me. Without further ado, I present:

Fantastic Google Searches That Somehow Led People To My Site:

mary and joseph miracle - I think this person got disconnected before they could finish typing, because I did a similar search using just that criteria and found almost nothing. By adding the word "Whip" to the end, however, I found exactly what I believe they were looking for.




This stuff tastes so bad it's almost sinful.

butt plug pager - this idea has some possibilities. On the plus side, you'd always know when you got paged. I can't count the number of times I didn't notice a page because my pager was on my desk or in my coat pocket. On the negative side, it would make answering a page while you were in public pretty difficult. "Excuse me for a second." POP! "Yeah, it's my boss. I gotta take this."

old underwear germs - I need more clarification on this one. Are you looking for germs that exclusively inhabit old underwear? Or underwear germs of a specific age? Because these two things are not necessarily one and the same. It's all in the inflection, my friend.

my girlfriend is sleeping with the bass player - Let me guess. You're the drummer, aren't you? All I can say is get used to it.

retractile testicle stuck - Sometimes, when the last battery in my flashlight gets stuck in a similar fashion, I find that rapping the flashlight sharply on the edge of the kitchen counter can sometimes jar it loose. I've also had success dipping the end of the flashlight in boiling water. Another way: If you find someone to hold it very tightly, a firm tap on the end with a hammer can also get it unstuck. You might want to try something similar.

labia shows - You know, it's good to see labias branching out these days. They used to be such a one trick pony. It's really encouraging that they've been getting out there and giving the people what they want. I've even heard about this new Broadway labia show that is apparently the current "must see" when you're in NYC. I think it's sort of a rip-off of Cats, except they're all shaved bare.

humpy rabbit - Little known fact: This was one of the rejected cartoon mascot ideas for Trix cereal. They ultimately went with "Silly Rabbit" because "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids" tested much better to the target demographic than "Humpy Rabbit, Tricks are for Prostitutes."

testicle hammock - This one intrigued me. On the off-chance that this person wasn't really searching for "banana hammock," I could almost see how a testicle hammock might have some appeal. I imagine it would be comfortable, supportive and the woven mesh would provide stellar ventilation. Of course, your junk would look like a bag of suet, so you'd want to keep it out of sight of birds and squirrels.

is it marmaduke that dog always makes me laugh - No, you must be confusing him with some other cartoon dog. That's the only explanation. Well, that's not quite true. There is one other explanation. The other explanation is that you are brain damaged and would laugh at a picket fence.

monkey peeing in coffee cups at restaurant - You need to be more specific. Do you want to know how to make this happen, prevent it from happening, know if it ever happened or just see pictures of it happening? I know, so many choices. I suggest you get a monkey, and then you'll be covered for all of the aforementioned possibilities. Of course, they're probably not going to let you into restaurants with him. After that first time, anyway.

is brown skidmarks in the front of your underwear a sign of your period? - Well, that depends. Are you a guy? If so, then no. If you are guy it just means you have yesterday's underwear on backwards. It also means you need to do a better job back there, Sheryl Crow be damned. If you are a girl, then that's different. While it's certainly within the realm of possibility that your period would manifest itself as a brown skidmark, I think you should first make sure that your creepy little brother hasn't been wearing your underwear and then putting it back in your drawer.

searching for oscar - I too, have been wondering about this. I haven't seen Oscar around lately, and your search got me to thinking. So I stopped at his crib to check up on him. When I got there, the cops were all over the place. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but...

Oscar is dead.

I knew you wouldn't believe me unless I took a picture, so here you go:



Foul play is suspected. I'm not sure who finally caught up with him, but I asked around a little bit. Fat Jimmy over at the pawn shop told me he heard somebody yelling, then he heard what sounded like a garbage can getting kicked over. Some more yelling, then a single gunshot. Crazy Tina swore up and down that she saw a big-ass yellow bird fleeing the scene, but she was high on crack and pretty drunk at the time. So far police have come up empty.

Oscar, this 40's for you, Homes. Rest in peace, you smelly-ass SOB.

Until next time, whereupon I jump the shark and talk about my pets, Johnny out.

5/2/07

I can't believe it's been five weeks.

Yeah, I'm on pager duty again and it officially sucks it. Needless to say, I won't have a lot of time to write about the stuff percolating in my brain until this weekend sometime.

In other news, my credit card number got stolen and someone used it to buy a bunch of country CDs from a French music website. Capital One was on that like flies on shit, and called me the next day. Apparently my buying habits don't normally include purchases of country music from France, so all sorts of red flags went up. I could probably cause some real trouble if I ordered some rap music from Israel or something.

They blasted through their brownie points pretty quickly though when I called them back on the fraud line and got hung up on by some dude name "Steve Smith" who was clearly in Bangalore somewhere. After I punched in all sorts of information to the automated system, he came on the line. His job was to rattle off some charge amounts and stores and I was supposed to verify or deny using my card at those establishments. Apparently, he got pissed when I couldn't understand him and had to ask him to repeat himself a few times.

I was very nice about it too -- it's not like I was a dick or anything. Hell, he obviously spoke English way better than I spoke his native language, so I'm not sure why he got so angry so fast. Maybe he was upset about the 10,000 rupees he pissed away on that "How to speak with a American accent" 4 DVD set.

I even apologized for my lack of ability to understand whateverthefuck language he was half speaking. I said, "I'm sorry -- but I'm having trouble understanding you. Could you please repeat that company name again?" He replied with something very angry sounding and completely unintelligible, and then hung up on me.

I am pretty sure it was Hindi for "I'm going to use your card to purchase $1600 dollars worth of Ravi Shankar CDs, you American asshole" but I could be wrong.

After that, I started thinking, "Did I just get phished by an elaborate automated voice-recognition system?" I had punched in my account number, the last 4 digits of my social security number and my card code, and if the number was fake, I had just given up all that information willingly.

So I called the number on the back of my card to verify that the fraud number was real.

The nice lady confirmed for me that it was indeed just a pissed off Indian dude who worked the phones for Capital One.

So I guess that's better, but I still want to call him back and tell him he's an asshole.