This Is The Sound Of Settling.

I put up the link for Air America Radio, so check it out if you have some spare time and a Real Player. They will be expanding their server to make it more accessible. I tried for hours to listen in to “The O’Franken Factor” today, and only got 10 second blurbs every 2 minutes. Be patient, they’ll fix it and you’ll like it. Unless you’re some kinda Nazi.

Moving on, I received mixed reactions to my first top 10 post, but I noticed one sentiment that remained constant. I may be overstepping my bounds a bit, but I think that nobody on the planet likes Renee Zellweger. Not only that, but I think that everyone on the planet HATES her. I never thought that this overwhelming hatred for one solitary actress would turn into a worldwide epidemic. I apologize to Ms. Zellweger, she should have been higher on the list.

Last weekend, Ben, Sherry, Aaron, Celia and I went to Milwaukee to see Death Cab For Cutie. They put on a good show, although I’m constantly reminded why I hate The Rave as soon as I arrive there. Overbooking shows, complete price gouging, and an asshole staff make for a pretty pathetic night. You have to question the morals of a venue that charges 4 bucks for a cup of ice and Sprite. We had as much fun as we could have though, but it would have been cooler if we could have snuck upstairs to see The Darkness. They were also playing there that night, which made for an interesting clash of metalheads and indie rock kids in the same building. Hopefully nobody hurt anyone’s feelings.

I’m not through hassling the Madison Police Department for a job. Having turned me down already for the job of File Clerk (see previous posts), I am now trying for the position of Clerk Typist. This seems like basically the same job without having to handle evidence. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

The Weezer 10th Anniversary Blue Album Reissue is out now. This was the first CD I ever bought, way back when I was 12 in 1994. Since then, I’ve purchased some 600 other CD’s, but the Blue Album will always be one of the best I own. This either says something for the timeless quality of early Weezer, or the quality of CD’s I buy. I’m sure Celia would have something to say about this. And I bet she will.

And for God’s sake, start watching Arrested Development on FOX Sunday nights, or it’s going to be cancelled. If this happens, I will personally execute the entire cast of “Yes Dear“. I swear to you, I’ll do it.

Stick around for the second half of my top 10 later this week.

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Butter Your Buns.

First, the bad news. Kentucky and Wisconsin both lost, Duke still sucks, and the skylight window got ripped off of our roof this weekend.

Yeah, some heavy wind got under our open skylight, and blew the damn thing right out of it’s casing. Judging by the cracks all around the seal, it almost tore the whole fixture right out of the roof. It was a windy weekend here in Madison. We called emergency maintenance to come out on a Saturday and check it out, as there was now a 2 by 4 foot hole in our roof with rain on the way. The guy comes over, and basically puts his (and my) personal safety at risk by attempting to climb into the fixture without a ladder, almost dropping himself, the window and several tools down the stairs.

This is all going on shortly before we are expecting some friends to come over. I thought for sure that they would show up and see me attempting to drag a dead Jamaican guy out of my apartment. But, he temporarily fixed it, and it was permanently fixed this morning by a small army of workers and a large ladder. Way to go, Goldleaf Development! You saved my window. I want to put this behind me as soon as possible.

Anyways, my NCAA picks went completely down the toilet this weekend with Maryland, Kentucky and Wisconsin getting booted out of the tournament. They were 3 of my final 4, with Duke being the only team remaining. Of course, I hate Duke with a burning passion and pray nightly for a loss. The last I checked, I was in 294,000th place on the Yahoo rankings. I don’t think I’m going to win it this year. That being said, me and Celia had a decent weekend. We went out to eat with aforementioned friends, and I got the chance to read Ben’s newest draft of his screenplay.

I put a few new links up, and will post again in a day or 2 with a new (old) Mediocre At Best picture and story. Right now I am listening to Algebra One’s “Earn Your Halo”, and watching The Kids In The Hall. Bye.

A New Man.

Once I was old enough to form words and sentences, way back in 1985, I swore up and down that I would never get married. Not only that, I also swore that I would never have children. This seemed implied considering I wasn’t going to get married, but I also didn’t feel the need to father any bastard kids as well. I was going to be a bachelor for life, make and spend my own money, and die alone and afraid as we all will someday soon. I carried this mantra with me until somewhere around January of 2000, shortly before my 18th birthday.

Now here we are, over 4 years later, and its 90 days and counting until my wedding day.

I was just as shocked as you are now. Everything happened so quickly, that before I knew it I was completely wrapped up and fully dependent on someone else. At the time, I tried to play it off and remain distant and available. But it was only a matter of time before I threw up my arms in defeat, and hopelessly fell in love with Celia.

It’s not very difficult to fall in love with her. In fact, it’s so easy to fall in love with her that she should carry around a warning sign and an insurance waiver. Once you work up the courage to talk to her, she immediately sucks you in with her coy innocence, yet sheer brilliance and honesty. Speak one word to her, and you instantly feel like you could trust her with a dead body that needed to be hid as soon as possible.

And she would know where to hide it, too. She’s the most intelligent person I have ever conversed with. I’ve become so spoiled on conveying messages back and forth with her, that I sometimes forget how normal people think. Therefore, the patient, good listener person I used to be has been replaced with someone who no longer has the time to hear anyone else’s asinine ideas. We operate on a different plane. It may not be a higher plane (mostly due to Celia’s fondness for poop jokes), but it’s still our own little world. The big difference from most being that you are always invited into it, unlike other couples who shut you out with incoherent mumbling and code words. Code words should only be used in S&M relationships, not day to day life.

And boy howdy, is she beautiful! I’m thoroughly convinced that I will dearly pay for my indulgences in the afterlife, because no man could deserve a woman less than I deserve Celia. She’s the type of woman who’s so gorgeous that if you look at her long enough, you think about killing her. You know what I’m talking about. You look and obsess about someone so much, that they become too perfect to live on this earth. Then you have to go and take them out in some horrible fashion. Beauty and death are hand in hand. If you are with someone who you think you could kill on the grounds of her being perfect, the search is over. Marry that woman. But then don’t go on and kill her. Just keep that to yourself.

She’s high-class without being snobby, and low-brow without being unattractive. She appreciates fine art and architecture, classic literary works, antique jewelry and furniture, and all things Victorian. She doesn’t belong in this decade. Her beauty best suits her for the 20’s. I could see her jitterbugging with Al Capone, and then outsmarting him out of all his money and alcohol. But, believe it or not, this is the same exact woman who will laugh for days and days about the very notion of a dancing monkey.

As the days draw near, she works diligently on invitations and accommodations and all the other little things. She makes sure that my tux isn’t embarrassing, that everyone has directions, and the cats will be fed while we’re away. She does all this while working full time, and putting up with my staggering apathy and lack of common sense concerning all things resembling daily life. What I offer her is beyond me.

Now that I’ve given up my lifelong belief that I never want to get married, I also am giving up the belief that I will never become a Father. I used to think that all intelligent people knew better than to bring a child into this sick, disgusting world. Therefore, only stupid people reproduced, eventually leading to a completely stupid planet, leading to the complete de-evolution of our species. And while I still believe that, I also know that our child will be in good hands as long as Celia is around. (I plan on only lasting another 35 years. I never planned on going on any longer.) If we have a girl, she will be raised to become a beautiful, intelligent and strong-willed independent woman who is capable of succeeding at anything she decides to do. If we have a boy, he will be raised to respect women for whom they are, not for what they are expected to do for him. He will understand what it really means to be a man, and not just what it means to act like a man. The world will still be in chaos, but they will always have a Mother who knows how to make sense of it.

She’s everything you could ever need, and I get to spend the rest of my life with her.

And the best part is that she wants me to.

I love you Celia. And I can’t wait.

3 Years Ago.

Allow me to take you back to the year 2001. I noticed that 3 years ago to the week we played this show you see in front of you, and I just wanted to post the old picture because I liked it. I didn’t like the show itself, nor the venue or anything else that happened that night. We were all in a bad mood, and our equipment was failing on us in the cramped, 100 degree sweltering barbecue known as the Blue Moon Cafe in Neenah, Wisconsin. We opened for Hill of the Dead, not only the best metal band in the state, but the lead singer happens to be Celia’s brother and my future brother-in-law.

So here we are, playing our catchy ska songs to a bunch of metalheads who are tapping their watches with impatience. Later on, the same crowd would destroy the Blue Moon during Hill of the Dead’s set, hereby banning them and us from the venue for life. How we got attached to that verdict was beyond me.

I just liked the picture, is all. I’ll keep posting Mediocre At Best show pictures on the coinciding dates in the future. And my apologies to Ben and Celia, there were no good shots of all 4 of us at once. I’ll post plenty of you 2 in due time.

2% Skim

My attention span is about as short as hey a butterfly!

Nevertheless, I’m not going to be successful at anything unless I can stick it out, and come up with something that can be interesting for more than a paragraph. All the great ones can do it. F. Scott Fitzgerald would constantly rewrite and edit his drafts until they became something completely different than what he started with. That explains why the first 1,000 printings of “The Great Gatsby” had that infamous “axe murder” ending that was subsequently removed and replaced in later editions.

Some authors have the gift of being able to keep their readers glued to the pages, unable to put the book down for any reason. This is due to an abundance of adhesive applied to the spine of the book, and that was a funny joke. But seriously, pick up anything in the “Goosebumps” series, and that magnificent bastard R.L. Stine can keep you gripped for upwards of 48 pages. I’m convinced you need to be born with a gift like that.

Lesser authors will unnecessarily pad out the book for hundreds of pages with worthless fluff; Describing clouds, gratuitous sex and violence. Swears-a-plenty, that sort of thing. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have made an empire out of quantity over quality. But you can’t argue with success!

So I decided to test the waters a bit, and figure out what writing style was not only the most comfortable for me; but which one was also the most commercially profitable. I took a common task (walking across the street for a gallon of milk), and adapted it to 3 different commercial styles of writing. This would calibrate my style, and shape what I would become.

First off, I described the act using the writing style of depressing, descriptive memoir. This style has been around for literally hundreds of years, and I thought it would be a good jumping off point. Here’s what I came up with:

Tender steam escapes from between my parted lips, my feet stepping onto dirty melting snow. The dark full moon in the clearest sky of early spring beams down its’ spotlight, leaving me alone on this stage of asphalt. Cautiously avoiding sidewalk cracks and wingless doves roams I, trickling tears turning to ice on red cheeks. Cars dodge the fool who doesn’t check for danger, too immersed in failure and loss to comprehend basic pain. Crossing the street of broken dreams, and into the supermarket of lost souls.

Is it I who holds the gallon of milk? Plastic container of life-giving fluids, clinging to me like a frightened and cold child during the most violent of thunderstorms? I will comfort it, shelter it, and do what I could not do for myself.

Stepping into the unforgiving fluorescent light, cradling moo juice like the most premature of infants. The shelter is quiet now. The glass sits empty, waiting, yet begging to be flooded with sweet nectar. I shall comply, and give satisfaction when I could never receive it tonight.

Drink, dear Sir. Drink.

This worked well, and was surprisingly comfortable for me. I could have stopped right there, and decided on a winner. But I wasn’t going to half-ass my one shot at success. I continued on. My next style was that of a Stephen King or Dean Koontz. They like to tell stories about people in dangerous situations coming to terms with past mistakes to overcome their peril. Here was my interpretation:

The Pick-N-Save on O’Keefe Avenue had been built on an ancient Sioux burial ground. Everyone knew that the dairy isle had been site to some of the most brutal killings this town had ever seen. Everyone, that is, except Ryan.

Ryan knew he had less than 5 minutes to get the milk, as he urinated fiercely into the eggshell toilet. “Shit”, he said, “I’m later than shit”. “I’m no better than a damn shitty woman”. He quickly squeezed out the last few drops and headed through the lush forest to the abandoned market.

Being in these woods reminded Ryan of when he was 9 years old, and a stranger had stopped him as he played alone in the forest by his home. The strange man was nude from the waist down, and repeatedly made Ryan sing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, as the man laughed and danced, his flaccid unit swinging wildly.

Being reminded of this, he picked up his pace, knowing he had only 3 minutes now before the milk went bad, and the entire market would be sucked up into an abyss. It was at this point that Ryan pondered shopping at a different market.

“Shit”, he said to himself. But nobody could hear him anymore.

This proved to be quite uncomfortable for me to write. Living a virtually molestation-free childhood (almost), I couldn’t relate to graphic depictions of male genitalia. I quickly moved on, as I hope that you will do.

Finally, I wanted to try my hand at a gritty, courtroom drama. With people like John Grisham and Tom Clancy ruling the bestseller lists, and television shows booming with true crime mysteries, I thought I could certainly cash in here. And if I was lucky, maybe I could sell a script as a pilot to CBS. Something like “Communist Dance Party Productions Presents: Detectives of Death!” I gave it a shot:

They were on to him. He could feel it. Sensations tingling up his neck and straight down his spine. He was being watched, and he didn’t like it.

“Did you steal the milk?” She said, stern and to the point.

“I did no such thing!” He fired back. “I never left the house that night! I have witnesses!”

“Really?” She replied coyly. “Well then, let’s just have a look at the surveillance tapes.”

And so on and so forth. Upon completion of this search for my niche, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I couldn’t compromise my morals and ideals, and I couldn’t be someone I’m not. Unless it was for a reasonable amount of money, then I can write any way you want me to.

Hey, a butterfly!

Terror Alert: Elevated

Just last night, as I was settling in for a night of wholesome FOX programming, I received a phone call. The voice on the other end was foreign to me, but sounded urgent. I listened carefully as they delivered to me the shocking news.

I was a terrorist. Or at least I looked like one.

Frightened, telephone shaking in my hand, I shouted “Who is this?” “Who are you working for?!” But there was nothing but silence on the other end. I slowly hung the phone up and thought to myself for a long amount of time. “How could I be a terrorist?” I thought to myself. “When did this happen? Last week? I didn’t even leave the house last week!” I juggled all the possibilities around in my head for hours. How could I have become a terrorist without even knowing it?

Immediately, I became defensive. Surely, this was a joke. A cruel joke. It’s hard to accept such a terrible accusation when you spend most of your days playing with cats and doing crossword puzzles. It seemed irrational.

But nevertheless, I tried to get to the bottom of it. So I went online and did a search for “terrorists”. Within seconds, my computer was red-flagged by the US Government, and my savings and checking accounts were instantly terminated. They were on to me, and I knew it. Eventually, I managed to get some information on terrorists.

Now, I don’t even want to get into all the many reasons why I could NOT be a terrorist (afraid of guns, can’t swim, allergies, etc.). I suspect that even the least capable terrorist can walk to the mailbox without getting an ear infection. It was becoming clear that I was not the terrorist they claimed I was, and I was involved in a case of mistaken identity.

But I remembered that they never really said that I “was” a terrorist. There was just suspicion of it because of the way I looked. Racial profiling has been a big deal since September 11, and I fully understood that some people were keeping their eyes open for the bad guys. “I must really look like a terrorist”, I said to myself. So again, I went online and did a search for “terrorist pictures”.

This is a picture of one of the more recently captured terrorists:

And here is a picture of me taken this previous Thanksgiving:

Almost instantly, I could spot some differences in our appearances. First off, the amount of hair visible above the neck of his t-shirt is more hair than I have on my entire body. Secondly, I would never let someone take a picture of me with my hair like that. I do my best to keep it well-groomed and straight. Concerning the beard, Celia would never let me out of the house with a growth like that. She would mumble something about me looking like a caveman, and I would saunter up the stairs to charge the electric razor, no questions asked.

Despite all the damning evidence supporting my claim of not being a terrorist, I still tried to understand the reasons for my accusal. I do wear glasses I don’t need, and I do dye my hair black, so someone might think I’m disguising myself for an upcoming bombing. Still, I thought those reasons alone were paper-thin, and certainly not enough to be locked up for suspicion of terrorism.

I was just about to close the case on my freedom, and declare it a stunning victory. Just then, a UPS man came to my door with a slender envelope. Slowly, I opened it up, and was horrified by what I saw.

The final nail in the coffin. They had found me out. How anyone could have snapped a picture of me while I was undercover will always be a mystery to me. My hearing is on Thursday, and I’m looking at 20 to life.

Pray for me.

Clear!

Poor Tom Servo. 2 weeks ago, Mystery Science Theater 3000, the greatest show in television history, went off the air for good. They will be missed.

In regards to my upcoming wedding in June, I’m planning on changing my last name back to Zeinert. So, my question is, how does the name Ryan Zeinert sound? I need opinions here. At the very least, I’ll know for sure that my kids will always get to sit in the back row in school. I always had to sit in the middle, which was terrifying for me. I need to sit where I can see everything, and nothing is behind me. When I go out to eat I need to sit in a corner or up against the wall. I fear assassination attempts. Screw having people look at me when I don’t know it. Enough of this.

Go Kentucky Wildcats!