Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In Defense of the Friendzone.

It gets a bad rap. It's often associated with dorks. Maybe that's fair, I don't know, I haven't taken a poll. What I can say, is that I spent way more time there than anywhere else and it used to mess with my already beaten down self-esteem and perceptions of manhood (I'm also a dork). Years have passed and opinions have changed. You spend most of your time in mostly one mode, you get to understand it's benefits and blessings. There are many and hopefully I will convince you of that.

One common misnomer about those in the friendzone is that they don't get laid. This simply is not true (not getting into details). I would bet their sex lives, in many cases, are far more interesting and varied than those who are considered to be boyfriends. Again, I didn't take a poll, so I don't know for sure. It would just seem to make sense.

Liberty. Something I value more than anything. For me it means complete honesty, saying and doing what I want, complete openness. Unless one is perfect, or completely boring, I've found that there are lots of things girls just don't want to know about in your past. I was never a good liar and can't live in secret, I need to put it all on the table. For most, that's too much to deal with.

Along these lines, there is a serious commitment or obligation with those in the friendzone. You need not take care of a friend as you would your lover. People are burdens, a girl can be a drag, and in some cases a financial responsibility, which means less money for yourself to spend on booze or food or other treats. That's no good.

There are no expectations that go along with it either. Like consistent showering, meeting the person's lame family (only to be judged by them), keeping a job, and most importantly, compromising on places to eat. Friends understand friends, and in all healthy cases, respect an individuals free will - and, you really don't hear about it if you opt out of the plan and do your own thing. You're just not tied down.

So, every once in a while that girl comes around, your friend, who you'd like to sleep with, but haven't, and she rambles about her relationship problems. Instead of getting annoyed or angry with her stop and think. Think that that could be you tied down to her emotional drain. It could be you that she was bitching about. But instead, something inside, either fear or wisdom, made you not want to put the move on that hot mess. This is all okay - don't beat yourself up. Be happy you didn't because in doing so, you kept your life, your freedom, and your peace of mind - and probably sanity too.

What used to leave me depressed ten years ago or so, or even empty, for not doing anything and remaining in the friendzone, I now see as a blessing. Years have passed and many of these ladies have been through just a series of depressing, draining relationships that I get to hear about every now and a good friend. Or, even worse, they've started their own families with Mr. Boyfriend material (the chump you used to envy). Think now, you or I possibly could've been tied down to that shit, or worse yet, accidentally knocked them up. Then where would we be?

Life would be a lot worse. No doubt.

Embrace the Friendzone, it's your friend, not your enemy. Keep your dignity and peace of mind.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Things I Thew Tantrums over, as a Child.

Let's ignore the current tantrums that I've thrown. That's for another blog. Here's a list of some things I lost it over as an over-sensitive western PA youth. See if any of these relate to your childhood experiences.

1)A Wendy's burger with pickles, tomato and ketchup on it.
I liked my burgers relatively plain, I still do for the most part. My grandpa ordered me and brother hamburgers with everything on them. He thought he was doing us a favor. We freaked out. Literally. It was traumatic for everyone involved and we were rightly accused of being spoiled. This was probably around 5 or 6 years old.

2)My Hair
I was in kindergarten or 1st grade. You had to look good. The pressure was always. My hair wasn't doing what I wanted it to do. My mother tried helping me comb it. I got mad at her too. That combined with being late for school gave me serious anxiety. I ended up toughing out a bad hair day and probably forget about it as soon as I entered the school.

3)My first movie, Popeye
I was a Popeye nut. My dad used to tease me about it, and bro and sis stuck spinach in a hamburger of mine to mess with me. The movie was coming out and I had to see it. As we were getting ready I was hit with a serious panic attack as I had no idea what a movie was like. I was nervous, I thought the characters of the movie might walk into the crowd and meet me. I didn't want any part of it. Eventually with some slight encouragement and arm twisting, I made it. I all worked out okay.

4)Canned Green Beans
My greatest fear as a child where green beans from the can. They were a horrible texture and tasted awful. When they were served for dinner there was always a question of whether I'd be forced to eat them. They literally made me gag. I would sit at the table for hours. There were a few tantrums thrown over this situation. My dad had little patience for it.

By the time we entered grade school, there were bedtimes. I'd often have trouble falling asleep cause of anxiety and fear of not falling asleep. It got to the point where I'd stare at the red digital clock radio probably every 5 minutes. There were times when I just couldn't sleep and I'd be so frustrated I'd throw a tantrum. I've since learned to enjoy the night, and being tired in the morning isn't the end of the world.

6)Skating Party
I threw a tantrum at a school skating party cause all the kids were having fun and I was afraid to skate. I sat and cried most of the night. People asking me what was wrong made it all worse. The weird thing is, the skating party the year before, I had a good time going around. I guess it had to do with the vibe. Gawd I was a miserable child.

7)Getting Stung by a Hornet.
I was probably 4 or 5, enjoying a can or bottle of root beer, sitting on my dad's old wrecked Plymouth Fury(i think). My first encounter with the evils of nature. I got stung near the eye and ended up running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I was breathing heavily and freaking out. My mother called a hospital for help and made some weird baking soda concoction. I survived.

8)Swallowing Soap.
I was getting a bath around age 4 or 5 and it was bubble bath, and I swallowed soap. I freaked. I thought I was gonna die, I literally ran around the house buck naked like a crazy man. I think it was the taste of soap that wouldn't go away that made me lose it.

9)My first detention.
The idea of a detention in school seemed to be quite serious. Like the biggest thing ever. In reality, while my father (he was the one you feared) wanted good grades, I never saw him get upset over these detentions - which like these unspoken things in our household. What was really the big deal, an hour, or half after school. Not the end of the world. Anyway, I got written up for missing an assignment, and I started crying like a baby. I obviously didn't appear as tough as I thought I was, or pretended to be. It's funny how a silly punishment can totally change a boy's vibe.

10)Basketball Practice - suicides
I maintain making the basketball team in 4th was hardest thing I've worked at or tried for in my life. Really. No joke. Lots of my friends got cut, I made it(this was pre-leg problems). During a weeknight practice, we were asked, or forced to do suicides...Or sprints (length of the court). Maybe like five or six times in a row running as fast as we could. This was before I had limits. This was before I was lazy. I really hustled my ass out there.
After the last sprint we were called into a circle and I was hyperventilating. I couldn't stop. This was like minutes, it seemed like an eternity. This led to panic. It made me think I had asthma. My throat was dry and I thought I was gonna die.
A heavy breathing/hyperventilating tantrum occurred. I had to be taken aside and walked into the locker room by the assistant coach. Eventually, everything subsided, I was able to calm down. I think I left practice early that day.

11)First Little League Loss
I was used to winning on the Sacred Heart Colts. My first real taste of team sports. When we were served our very first loss of the season, I broke down and cried, like a baby. Not sure why. I didn't care about T-ball that much, a year before. This was somehow different. Everybody needs to lose at something. It builds character.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Was So Great About the Brady Bunch

The first sit-com I remember being totally drawn into, maybe even mesmerised by, was the Brady Bunch. I was born in 76, so they were airing re-runs around the time I was four or five. I remember them briefly taking it off the air in our local area, and I was sad. It came back on a few years later and was on, on some channel, quite often from the 80s into the 90s, as re-runs. Why can I always sit through this show, and not get bored, and still laugh at the same dumb shit? Eight or nine times over. What did it have? Why is it great? Special?

The Aesthetics
The show started in the late 60s through the 70s, providing for some intense visual stimulation. I think the first thing you're in awe of is that sweet house. Mike Brady took a modern approach to the design of home, and it just seems like a lovely spacious, yet warm, place to be. The colors in the kitchen are fantastic and the staircase is just "sick." Don't even get me started on Michael Brady's den. Every child fantasized about having a workspace like that when they become professionals. Well done Mr. Brady.

I could go on and speak volumes on the other obvious, the clothing. What we thought was silly in the 80s, as we viewed the reruns, was actually pretty sharp. They pushed the envelope, okay, maybe not for the time period, but it's still an element that drew us in and worked well with the backdrop of the house. Seriously speaking, Greg Brady has some pretty cool sweaters and shirts that I would have no problem wearing today.

How about the beginning? The song, with all the blocks with their heads in it. We've seen it so often it means nothing, but think back and remember how happy you were when that intro started and Mike and Carol's mugs appeared in the in the box with the light blue background, and everything built up, simply and clearly explaining the whole premise of the show, in under a minute, in a fun, catchy and possibly an original way. (I'm smiling as I type this, just thinking about my own joy at the intro song).

Music was kind of a large part of this brilliant program. We just stated the catchy intro theme, but there were three whole episodes devoted or featuring the Brady's performing music, and another episode with Davey Jones. Those were always my favorites. I own a Brady Bunch CD and it's pretty damn solid, with a great, fun studio band with great grooves, percussion, horns, and happiness. The Brady band was good and need not be laughed at or mocked. Of course they were produced, but their producers had taste and a sense of silliness that shows through on the Album or on the various episodes. Nice work. And Greg Brady has a good voice. He need not be mocked either.

So, yes, we've established the Brady Bunch band was outstanding, but there was other music on the show, on every show, and in many or most situations. We call this the background music. This program had the best ambient music ever, perfectly appropriate for every scene. I specifically remember the noise for when Bobby kisses his first girl and the fireworks go off. We tried to imitate that sound in grade school. I can't put it into words, maybe awkward. I believe the credit goes to Mr. Frank DeVol for scoring the background sounds. Thank you sir. Exceptional work.

The Characters
I was always able to feel connected to each and every character on that show to the extent I really thought I knew them and even wanted to hang with them in real life. What I would also do is relate my own family members to characters on the show. I saw a bit of my father, in Mr. Brady, I saw both Alice and Carol in my mother, my older brother was named Greg and there were similarities there too. I could see a bit of Marcia in my older sister. We used to refer to my younger brother as Cindy Brady cause he told on somebody once, and there was an episode where Cindy was a tattle tale. Great choices for the Brady kids. While they weren't superstar actors and actresses, I can't imagine anyone else taking their place.

The Plots
Some of the story lines were just ridiculous. As stated previously, the music episodes were my favorite, particularly the Johnny Bravo episode, but there were other awesome shows and scenarios. Marcia getting hit with football and breaking her nose, the football playbook being stolen, the haunted house, Buddy Hinton, the Grand Canyon and Hawaii special episodes and it goes on. There was always a lesson to be learned; an ethics or morality of sorts that we can all respect and try to live by. Mr. Brady was probably the perfect TV father, instilling a work ethic/self discipline/kindness on his children, while being loose enough to understand the changing times and styles. The guy got a perm for god sakes. Another fascinating layer to the show was, that you can see them having early issues when the families first get together (first season), but, as the show progresses, they come together as one family. If you haven't seen this, compare some of the first shows, with other ones from seasons three or four. They grow together, and we grow with them.

So I think the unity of the aesthetics, sound, characters and plot all work together to provide this distinct and unique television show that was on for eight seasons and never won an award. Sometimes the experts are wrong and sometimes it's all about the heart. How something makes you feel inside. And for television shows, I can't think of anything that both makes me laugh, and feel warm all over.

It wasn't a perfect show. Nobody would ever claim that. Some of the later episodes were not up to par and Robert Reid (Mr. Brady) was known to get into arguments with Sherwood Schwartz (creator) over the integrity of the show in the later or last season. I'll give them a pass on that, as they've given me a sense of morality, warmth, smiles and giggles, and maybe love too.

The Brady's will always be timeless to me. In my heart, I will always consider myself, half Brady. Can anyone else say this much about any other commercial 30-minute television program?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Self Sabatoge.

I seem to excel at it. Whether I'm meeting someone new or just ruining a good situation. Not sure what it is, maybe voices or spirits inside. Might be tied to a fear of succeeding, I think many of this. It might also be tight to boredom. Possibly I get tired of a good situation, it gets old too me, so I decide to decide to squash it. Even though it was something good.

There are few things I haven't destroyed. I think the band is one of them. For some reason I'm able to interact like an actual adult around those guys and the main objective is having a cool song or arrangement. You can forget yourself in those situations. Bands are unique like that.

Other than that though, I'm mostly a screw up. Not because I'm less than anyone else, but because I chose to do it. It's weird. I notice mostly with conversations around people, and especially women. Maybe I'm trying to constantly create a volatile/non fragile situation in my human interactions. Maybe I need to be entertained or dazzle.

Children do this. I still do. I get bored. I'm sorry. That's how I am. My apologies for any of those I've offended during the years, if I did.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Haven't written in a while, and really not much to say.

Had some time off at the end of the year and a couple weeks into this year but now I'm back to work. Thankfully. I always go into these breaks with high hopes and in some regards it was really great to be away from work, but generally I find I get messed up during long periods of leisure.

This time around I found my self getting into a 7am bedtime routine. I saw very little daylight and much of it was a blur. But I can assure you I was quite cozy and warm in my bed. My bed seems to be one of the best friends I got. All this laying around and no bed sores.

Did anything positive happen on break?
Yes. We had a couple good gigs and I looked at a house. A house that I may try to purchase if I can get renters. I'm thinking I go home to my small but great apartment and do the same thing over and over again. Maybe I need a house and landlord status to get my ass in gear. You know if it works out I'd almost be making money each month, I think.

I like my stuff. A house would be the ultimate possesion. Something I could personalize and really make mine.

I'm getting lots of warnings against it, but we'll see what the bank says and if it's still around. If nothing happens with this at all, at least it's temporarily given me something to dream about. Sometimes that all you need.