Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Bar Scene

It was another great weekend. Lot's of time spent on the river, playing basketball, and drinks with friends. Appropriately enough, I spent a good amount of time out at the bars, which got me thinking, why not write a blog on the bar scene.

I have mixed feelings on bars. For me the best part of the night is usually the pregame and the inevitable Jumbo Slice or 7-11 hot dog(my weakness) I get after coming home. Being at the bar usually means huge crowds, loud noise, and overpriced drinks. These are all things a reserved, laid back, and cheap guy like me detests. For instance, Friday night I went to this place called The Guards in Georgetown. I don't know how any person can enjoy that. It's a packed frat house basement with terrible music and about 150 degrees. But I guess it has a dance floor and attractive girls which is enough reason for some to go. Look some people thrive in that scene which is great, but for me there is nothing worse than that atmosphere. By the way, I stayed there for about 5 minutes and took a cab home.

Not everything about bars are bad, in fact I've had some of the best times in my life kickin back and having a few beers there. I love going to watch a sports game or to have a couple beers at 8 or 9. Unfortunately, it always seems people don't go out until 11:30, when all the bars are crowded as hell.Look, obviously most people don't like big crowds and expensive drinks, but the fascinating thing is that people still go. I think most people would prefer to go to a house party if the right people were there, but the fact is the house party after college is virtually non-existent. Guys don't go to house parties because they know the girls will be at the bars. House parties have now become pregame parties. I can't remember the last time I was at a party and stayed there the whole night. The argument that it is easier to meet girls at bars is bogus to me. Sure, it all depends on the house party, but wouldn't it be easier to meet a girl/guy when you can hear yourself speak and can actually rotate your body. I guess it's all about who is at the party.

I love people watching at bars, not in a creepy way of course. Just watching how people interact. Bar conversations are some of the most fascinating interactions to me. You're in a situation where often times you're either drunk or talking to a drunk person. In addition, you can barely hear and you have about 100 strangers around you having separate conversations at the same time. Also, you add on the fact that all the single people in the room are either trying to hook up or trying to get noticed. This causes some hilarious interactions. It's funny to see guys hit on girls at bars. For me, if a girl isn't interested I know pretty much right away, but it seems a lot of guys just don't pick up the signals. It would suck to be a woman and have creepy guys hitting on you every night. No wonder women are more prone to seek commitment than men. Also, many bar conversations seem to be forced. Do people actually care what the other person is saying or are they just trying to fit in. The bar scene would be a fascinating psychological experiment.

I feel like the chances of meeting a quality person at a bar are slim to none. You have guys that are mostly going to try to get laid and girls that are highly( and rightfully so) suspicious of creepy guys. You always have people that are inebriated, and prone to believe the BS the stranger is saying, which can lead to some awkward mornings. The fact is, people still go and will continue go to bars because that is what everyone does and where everyone is. If you think about it, going to a bar sober is one of the worst times you can have. Have you ever been sober with a bunch of drunk people. You feel like your in a room with a bunch of 2nd graders and that is being nice. Like everything else in society people want to fit in and be a part of the crowd for the most part.

It's also interesting how certain people go to certain bars. In the DC area you know if your going to Georgetown your going to see the super preppy,rich, and younger crowd. Arlington will be the young professionals and yuppies, and DC will have the most racially and economically diverse crowds.

I remember in college each bar had it's own group of people. The Spoke would be for the hipsters and pot heads. Right next door you had the Pub where all the meat heads would go to grind on unsuspecting girls. In between you had Charlies, which started out as a bar with a good mix of people, but ended up more like the Pub. Uptown you had ABC where you had the older crowd, and was more of a chill place to relax. Across the street was Mcmurphys, which was the bar many people stumbled to last or went to Wednesday nights to see Guitar Dudes. Finally, you had the Monkey Bar in the middle, where most of the athletes would go. Basically every bar had its own identity and for the most part people found their niche and went to the same bar every time.

I'm obviously bias on this subject because I'm a weirdo and my idea of a good time is floating down the river on a kayak alone. But it is an interesting topic. Please let me know if you have any crazy bar stories to tell. Thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Michael Jackson Hysteria

I've been wanting to write about the ridiculous hysteria following Michael Jackson's death for weeks. I've been going back and forth on how to talk about it. The reaction to his death is baffling and confusing to me. Was he a great music artist, of course. In fact I'm listening to PYT(Pretty Young Thing) right now. Did he have a significant impact on music? Yes, of course he did. Has he done anything noteworthy other than being a freak in the last 15 years or so, not really.

I just wrote about bandwagon fans in sports, and in a lot of ways it's the same idea here. All these people come out of the woodwork claiming to be Jackson's biggest fan and that their lives were changed by him. I wonder if their lives were changed by him on June 24th or any day before he died, probably not for half of those people. It's just this fakeness in people that I don't understand. First of all, if Michael Jackson had that much impact on your life without meeting him in person, you have some issues that should be handled by professionals. Second of all, I bet half of these people were calling him a freak and child molester for the last 20 years.
I guess when someone dies everything is forgiven. I just don't get how more people aren't seeing this.

Let's talk about the good first. The guy was an amazing music artist. His music crossed racial and economic lines. His Thriller Alum was maybe the best album ever. His music videos broke down racial barriers on MTV. In fact, I would put his best 10 songs against anyone elses. I'm listening to "Man In the Mirror" right now. What a piece of music that is. The guy was a great singer, performer, and blessed with great producers and writers. I wasn't even born at his peak but I've heard when Thriller came out it was a Beatles like craze. The guy deserved all the accolades back then.

The fact is, you can't separate a person's life in two parts without recognizing both parts equally. If you can talk about the good, you can talk about the bad. It seems like the media and public are giving him a mulligan for the last 20 years. I'm confused, wasn't this guy the butt of every joke for a long time. When is the last time he had a hit song? Sure, he had a terrible father and had virtually no real childhood, but so do a lot of people. The guy was a freak show. He started off as a good looking African American man and through a million plastic surgeries ended up looking like a scrawny, pale, skeleton. I guess now that he is gone all that is forgotten. Sometimes I wish I had blinders on like so many other people.

The guy was accused of child molestation, and let's be honest, does anyone really think he didn't at least do something. The guy paid a $25 million settlement to clear his name. Some will say he was tired of dealing with it. If you were accused of something like that and innocent would you just settle it like that. It is a bunch of BS as far as I'm concerned. He had 12 and 13 year olds sleep over his ranch. If you had a son would you let him sleep at Michael Jackson;s ranch without supervision. If you say yes, you are either lying or a pretty damn twisted.

Why is Michael Jackson's death getting more coverage than the economy, war, and every other issue actually important in this country? It's almost like news has now become more about being popular than reporting relevant information. Look, it would be one thing if Jackson was murdered or stricken with cancer. The fact is though, he didn't take care of his body and took about 100 different pills. His defenders will say well what do you expect when you have an upbringing like he had. Okay, well a lot of people have shitty upbringings and don't turn into people like him. They also don't have millions of dollars to get help with their problems. Sorry, I'm not going to feel sorry for Michael Jackson.

We will probably never see anyone like Michael Jackson again, for better or for worse. He was an amazing music artist, but you can't just forget about everything else just because he died. Jackson was a tragic figure. He was a person who was constantly in the spotlight and eventually was overcome by it. It is okay to think what you want about him, but if your opinion has changed just because he's dead that is just sad. Looking to get some hate mail from all those bandwagon Michael fans.

Below are my favorite Michael Jackson songs. With all the negative things I've said, the guy has some damn good party jams.

1. Pretty Young Thing
2. Rock With You
3. Man In the Mirror
4. Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
5. Wanna Be Starting Something
6. Thriller
7. Billie Jean
8. The Way You Make Me Feel
9. Beat It
10. Black or White

Next Blog: My thoughts on the bar scene

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Appreciate life

With all of life's responsibilities it is easy to forget to appreciate what you have. Furthermore with the economic recession, poverty, and everyday tragedies that occupy much of the news it is easy to think about what is wrong in the world. We complain about too much traffic, fighting with our significant others, frustration at work, problems with family. It makes me wonder how much time people actually take to appreciate what they have. It bugs me when well off people complain about their lives. The fact is most people have it worse and have actual issues to complain about.

Look, I'll be the first one to say I've lucked out in life. Things always seem to turn out well for me. I've been blessed with parents that love me unconditionally and have been able to provide me with everything needed to succeed. I have a steady job that although is not always entertaining, provides me job security. It is ridiculous to me that I have a job and thousands of others who are much more qualified and experienced than me with mortgages and families to feed don't. I have been lucky to always have great health(knock on wood). In fact, I don't think I've actually been sick since elementary school and have never been injured any worse than a sprained thumb.

All of the luck I've experienced in my life has allowed me the freedom to do what I want. A lot of people have to travel long distances or pay an exorbitant amount of money to find the place or thing that makes them happiest. For me the place that has always made me happiest(the Potomac River) is just a 10 minute walk away. I'm a guy with simple tastes. Yesterday when I wrote this I was floating down the Potomac, the sun shining, with a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon(classy I know) and a slight breeze on my back. For me that is living the dream.

A lot of people think that for life to be good you have to make millions and date hot women. While that certainly doesn't hurt, I wonder if they are as happy as I am on a daily basis. Okay, maybe Tom Brady is, but I think I enjoy life as much as anyone simply because I appreciate the simplicites of it. Think about the people in this country that work 7 days a week just to feed their families. They can't just decide in the middle of the day to crack open a Sam Adams and go to the river. They are literally working for their livelihood. We take the freedom and luxuries we are given for granted because for some that is all they know.

Appreciate what you have, but don't feel bad about having it. Quality of life is largely based on circumstances. While you should recognize what you have, don't feel bad about having it. Take what you have and run with it. Yesterday for example, I was writing and reading on the river, then played basketball and finished up the day with some beer pong at a friends house. Doesn't sound too spectacular to the average person, but for me that is as good as it gets.

Thanks for reading everyone. I wrote my Michael Jackson blog today and will be posting it mid week. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Random Pet Peeves

Everyone has things in their life that really get to them. Usually they are just little things, but are annoying all the same. Sometimes you don't know how people don't realize they are doing it. I've always said I don't understand society. I realize I do a lot of stupid and ridiculous tings too, but at least I recognize it and generally don't try to embarrass myself in public. Is it that most people don't care or are just oblivious?

Many of my pet peeves come from people at work. It makes sense seeing as I spend 80% of my waking hours there. Don't get me wrong 99% of the people I work with are great people and I am really lucky to work in that atmosphere, but there are a couple that get under my skin. I'm going to leave names out of this obviously. So, there is this guy, we have nicknamed him "Laffy", that comes into the building once or twice a month and literally never stops laughing. It isn't really the laughing that bothers me as much as the loudness and sound of the laugh. It is really quite a spectacle and not at all in a good way. Look, being happy and laughing is obviously a good thing, don't get me wrong. Hell, I would love to laugh half as much as this guy at work. I just can't seem to figure out what he could possibly think is that funny at work. Was the proposal or contract really that funny? What is this guy drinking cause I want some of it. I don't care how funny or exciting your job is nothing is funny enough to laugh at every second. The way I know this is because he is always the only one who is laughing. Why is no one else joining in? I want to record this guys laugh someday so you that don't work on the 11th floor in Legato know what I am talking about. This same guy also used to talk really loud everyday on his speaker phone. One day he was talking to his bank and shouting his SS#, account number and pretty much all his other personal information, even though he works in a cube with 100 other cubes and offices around him. Again, people baffle me. I hope one day he hears me when I tell him to shut up, but usually my voice is drowned out by his laughter. Am I being a little too sensitive on this, ya probably, but what can I say loud people drive me nuts.

Speaking of loud, another co-worker of mine has a habit of putting everything on speaker phone, almost like he wants to make sure everyone knows he's doing work. Just last week he felt the need to put his conversation with the furniture store on speaker. It's widely believed that this guy doesn't actually do any real work or at least no one can figure out what he does, which makes it even funnier. Someday I'm going to write a blog on work and delve into this situation further.

Apart from work, drivers that don't know how to merge really bug me. I don't know whether they are dumb, oblivious, or just don't give a shit. For instance on 66 East right before the Tysons Corner exit there is a place where the left lane ends, and it it goes from 2 to 3 lanes. There are about three signs before this happens indicating the merge, plus the fact that every other car has moved out of the lane. Without fail, one or two cars always stay in that lane until the last second when they swerve back into the right and slow traffic. I'd understand if these people were from out of town but I'm putting my money on it that they do this everyday. Even if you aren't from the area you should be able to read signs.

Another thing that really grinds my gears is overexposure in the media. This Michael Jackson thing is getting ridiculous. The media outlets are treating this like it is some kind of world changing event. The fact is on June 24th half the people that are proclaiming Michael Jackson their savior thought he was a freak. In my next blog I will delve more into what I really think of the situation. Also, just overexposure of any type whether it be the steroids in baseball, the latest kidnapping, Jon and Kate's struggle to stay relevant. The media blows everything up. The real people to blame are the consumers though who keep reading and are interested in this nonsense.

Loud and obnoxious people grind my gears as well. Look, I know you want the attention and think you're special but instead of dressing weird and shouting and causing drama just start writing a blog or something. At least then people have a choice whether to listen or not. I always say people that have to try to be different are really the most unoriginal people out there. Being unique is not something you have to try to do, it is something that comes natural. There are so many people out there that are deliberately idiotic to get attention and you know what we give them it.

Okay, I have ranted enough for one day. I would be interested to hear your input on what "grinds your gears" By the way, I obviously got that phrase from the Family Guy episode.

Thanks for reading!