Friday, November 15, 2013

Sorry Millennials, I'm trying not to be a prick...

"It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption."  - Charles de Montesquieu 

When I was younger, about 14/15 or so, I got massively into slower, more "metal" hardcore music.  Bands such as Snapcase, 108, Deadguy, Overcast, Converge, For the Love Of, Starkweather and Undertow, among many others, were spearheading a new direction I couldn't have been more excited about.  I truly loved it, it affected me greatly.  The only problem?  All the old bastards around my area were telling me that this music was crap.  

All the local guys (wish I could say women, but sadly, our scene was painfully male and white), would tell me this shit isn't hardcore.  You wanna be real?  You want hardcore?  Listen to Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Warzone etc.  These guys even thought Dag Nasty  was "pussy shit." This new music was so offensive to them, they just couldn't let me enjoy what I loved.  

This brings me to the 2008 Warped Tour that Gaslight did an 8 show stretch of.  I, regretfully,  spent the first few days of the tour making fun of bands.  Our friends Against Me and Street Dogs were on the tour, and we had some egotistical idea that we were part of only a small group of legitimate bands on the show.  After a few days of watching Pierce the Veil and Devil Wears Prada and bands of that genre, I decided I will not turn into that old prick that I once hated.    

I decided that even though I'm not enjoying the music, there are obviously thousands of kids who are getting something totally real and legitimate out of it.  Pierce the Veil is their Snapcase, like it or not.  When I mentioned my epiphany to then Tom Gabel, now Laura Jane Grace, I screamed over the noise "I know this isn't my cup of tea, but these kids can play, and people fucking love it"… He looked at me and said very clearly "Nope, they are really just bad."  

He may have been right.  I still can't listen to the new,  A.D.D ridden, singing like Paramore on every chorus hardcore.  But, I can't deny how much younger people love it, and the effect it has on them personally.   So I guess it's not for me to say.  This got me thinking about millennials, and the general perception that Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers have about them.  

Recently I've been hearing and reading and listening to a lot of debate about the Millennial generation.  Apparently humans born between 1981-2000.  Being born in late 1980 makes me a true transition child.  A Reagan baby who was never affected by his policies.  

I've been a part of the switches.  From the rotary dial home phone, to the push pad home phone, to the cordless home phone, to cordless home phone/answering machine packages, to alpha/numeric portable pagers, to car phones, to alpha/numeric portable phones, to data ready flip phones with a camera, to the iPhone, to the chip in my wrist that will contain my life almanac and allow the proper authorities to shut me down like a bad robot in the Jetsons, and so on…

Imagine for a minute, people of my age, that Americans born around 1996-1997 or so, have consciously known nothing of their country but terrorism and war.  Throw in a major depression, and the largest political divide our country has seen potentially since the Civil War.  It took me until 11, after we began to "liberate" Kuwait, to begin my slide into paranoia and fear.  They get to be born with it.  

According to US census data, no generation has suffered more from the financial crisis than millennials.   Median net worth of people under 35 years old fell 37 percent between 2005 and 2010; those over 65 took only a 13 percent reduction.  

Also, according to a 2012 Newsweek piece using analysis by the Pew Research Center, the wealth gap today between younger and older Americans now stands as the widest on record.  The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 or older is $170,494, 42 percent higher than in 1984, while the median net worth for younger-age households is $3,662, down 68 percent from a quarter century ago.  

Add to those facts that they are the "study" generation for the effects that 24 hour news, brevity technology and smart phones have on people.  Just like my generation and prescription drugs.   When I think about it, I'm impressed they don't all have nervous fucking breakdowns.  And no wonder why you'd turn into a bit of a narcissist when every tool used to shape your own identity is one of self-aggrandizing.  For the way they are, how can I blame them?  I'd like to see someone of my parents generation have the capacity and comprehension to tweet, listen to music and write a dub-step song on their phones all at once.  I can't even figure out what happened on Lost, let alone navigate Tumblr.  They can, we can't.   

The people coming out of this generation have a growing cynicism of the "American Dream", and as far as I can gather, they have a right to.  And I assume as the years pass, everything they created will find balance and the next group of young people will talk shit about them.  That's the way of the world.  

But maybe it shouldn't be.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dancing with the reaper, in Spain...

"The road to the future leads us smack into the wall. We simply ricochet off the alternatives that destiny offers. Our survival is no more than a question of 25, 50 or perhaps 100 years." Jacques Yves Cousteau
About a month ago, in a 36 hour period of time, I lost somebody I had loved my entire life,  lost somebody else I liked very much and respected, and heard of the passing of someone I had a close, yet fleeting 6 weeks with. 

The older I get, I seem to always lose something while I'm gaining something else. The amount of people I've known who have simply come and gone from my life is extraordinary.  I'm only 32, but through experience, lived and observed, I can safely conclude that getting old is not for sissies. 

Any number of thousands of things can kill you everyday. To be able to escape all these variables and wind up on the better side of luck can only last so long. But with each passing birthday, and fuck, each passing day, I find it remarkable to still be alive.  The general math is that each year of touring subtracts 3 years from your life, I'm in my 60's in rock and roll years.  Mick Jagger is 286 years old. 

I wish it wasn't taboo to tell young children not to look forward to birthdays. But to tell them when they reach these age pinnacles, while celebrating with cake and friends and clowns and bowling reality, it's a celebration for them simply not dying. Well done on avoiding catastrophe for one more year kid.  I'll never utter this to a proper child, but come on....are we really partying in honor of the day of their birth?  I don't think so.  

Many years ago I was at The Fest in Gainesville, Florida.  The morning after we played, I wound up going with friends to the Top, a bar that serves delicious vegan biscuits and gravy on Sundays.  I went for food...but, since I went with members of Fake Problems and Look Mexico, I wound up drunk on whiskey by 1:00 PM.

While walking away to start seeing bands, I stepped off a curb and my face came two inches from a speeding bus. My hazy mind barely recognized the severity or danger. An occurrence where every element shoes, my hat, the size of my feet, not to mention innumerable variables that went into the bus, its driver and passengers could have changed the outcome.  For some reason, that day, I stayed two inches away from being a "senseless" tragedy. 

But really, it makes perfect sense. The more you live, the worse your odds get. Even with these fucking wheat grass shots my girl makes me drink.   Adding to my already growing sensibility that no day, or no situation should ever be taken for granted.  

Soon enough I'll be broken down to elements. Perhaps my soul will advance in some kind of cosmic or spiritual journey. But more than likely, I'm plant food. Which usually turns into animal food, which people eat. So, ironically...I guess death turns us all into cannibals.  That's fun! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blogging, Flogging, Jogging and Logging...

As anyone who checks up on this site periodically already knows, I'm shitty at keeping this updated and consistent.  But, in all honesty, I don't really think I've had much to share lately.  The things happening these days are not for public consumption and I'd be a typical and thoughtless character to just toss any old junk on here for you to waste your time on. 

I do feel that the blogging and social media waves that have happened over the last 10 years or so are absolutely watering down legitimate content.  It wasn't always the case that a random drummer for a band could have access to the same soapbox and platform that the President uses.  I barely passed high school English and could not, with a straight face, break down most commonplace grammatical law. 

And here I sit, on a bus in Bristol, England...wondering what the fuck to talk about. 

Sorry, nothing yet.'s a thought. 

I would like to call out to the men of the world to act on a movement of decency and courtesy involving public restroom toilets.  As a man, who by the cruel hand of fate must sit down to tackle my stomach a good 3 times a day, I'd really rather prefer to not sit on a pool of your urine.  It's one of those simple concepts that everyone got yelled at by your mother for, pick up the seat when you pee, put it down when you're done.  If these simple rules are followed, the fabric of human decency and interaction will improve. 

Most men I know who have an issue with this is due to their OCD's and fear that their precious little hands will touch something remotely dirty.  Even though, logically, most public toilets are cleaned once a day.  Even dirty ones get a touch-up every few days.  When is the last time you cleaned your toilet at home everyday?  So I ask you this, frightened Freddies, you're only afraid of touching the remnants of pee from someone you don't know? 

I feel foolish that I need to write this, to call out to humanity to help me.  The time it would save me to pull my pants down and start my business without playing janitor.  Not to mention the serious environmental impact my "barrier" of toilet paper that is most often laid on top has.  I'm sad to say my carbon footprint grows, because you're too lazy or afraid to pick up a seat. 

I'd bet good money that if they did a swab test, your penis is dirtier than the toilet seat.  Maybe you should wash your hands to touch that. 

Ok...hope that was worth your 5 minutes. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter, Darwinism and Natural Disasters...

"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." - John Steinbeck

It's cold again, it was bound to happen.  Every year there comes a time when it becomes inescapable.  This will now be my 32nd winter.  It feels impressive saying your age like that, makes me feel like a Game of Thrones character. 

Ned Stark - "How old are you? What say you young squire?"
Me - "This is my 32nd winter, sir."

So my pre-winter "training" is over and I'm in full cold weather mode.  Said "training" consists of subjecting myself to all levels of cold, via ill-suited clothing, leading up to the coldest months.  The logic is that I'm preparing my body for the forthcoming winter, and if Darwin is right, adapting and overcoming the cold. I think it makes sense, who knows if I'm right. 

But, there is something to say for people who have to live through winters.  Part of the reason that the Californian and Floridian "perpetual sun" vibe can begin to irritate cold weather peoples.  Winter is hard.  It's dark, and cold.  The days are short, the foliage is dead.  At night the only life is steam from passing mouths, building rooftops and greasy grill exhaust from the local fry and dies.  There is a solitude.  A bleakness. 

And what I'm trying to get understanding between the people who have to endure them. 

Prior to last year, the upside to dealing with the brutally hot summers and ice cold winters  of New Jersey was the fact that we were mostly exempt from natural disasters.  Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunamis and Hurricanes are a foreign news piece for Jerseyites. All we have to do is deal with a few blizzards a year, buy some gloves and an ice scraper for your windshield, maybe a blower if you have a big driveway,  and you're mostly set. 

Well, not anymore.  I think one of the reasons some people from here weren't too worried about Sandy is because, historically, the hurricane warnings have been "crying wolf" my entire life.  At least twice every summer, since I was little kid, we've had hurricane warnings.  All with different weird names, all of them decrease in power by the Carolinas, or magically veer east over the Atlantic Ocean before they get to us, leaving merely a thunderstorm that half the populous bought canned food and generators for.  

Apparently things have changed.  The coast is pushing back and some serious re-consideration of where property is built, and more specifically HOW it's built is very much in the for-front. 

I'm off-topic, all I'm trying to say is...winter is cold, people who don't have them are soft, and global heating might be real.