Monday, May 19, 2008

CC

All right so the first order of business: a comment on cynicism.

There are many people that will lay claims on being cynical, but they sadly do not have the grasp of cynicism that is necessary to function with it. What they lack is the ability to laugh at what makes them cynical. Lucifer himself was the ultimate cynic: he was the first to laugh at God's infallibility. If one can attain that, then they are a true cynic.

Yes, you heard it right: I am saying that in order to be cynical, one must strive to be like Lucifer. Ahem. Moving on.

Now there is a place that I truly enjoy. I never thought I would. It's a little dive bar on 26th St and Lyndale Avenue called the CC Club. Absolute dive, but it's been growing on me like a tumor as the months have gone by since my first visit there.

My first foray into the world of the CC Club was, shall we say, unpleasant? I got the service that a chimpanzee might have provided: few words exchanged, a glare, my beer basically tossed like a grenade onto my table, and excrement thrown all over me...okay, that last part didn't really happen, not literally, but figuratively, most definitely. I left the bitch a 25 cent tip and felt good about it.

But as time passed and more visits accumulated, I started to develop a taste for the sticky, dank, dark environment that was the CC Club. I would attend with friends such as DQ, Benji P, and so on, and it simply started appealing. I have compiled a number of reasons why this place appeals so:

1.) Always a boisterous attitude when you enter amongst those already imbibing spirits there, excluding the aging, almost geriatric individuals near the front.

2.) You are bound to meet some type of character there, whether you know them or not. Take, for example, this guy who came up to me and a friend of mine whilst we sat at the bar and proceeded to rant about some great punk-esque band, concur on my observation on Dillinger Four being astoundingly awesome, make a googily-eyed expression at my friend (female) and walk off, never to be seen again.

3.) The mix between gutter punks (*shudder*), old losers (*blech*), and yuppie scum (*UGH*) somehow is incredibly appealing. You can see some interesting confrontations if you wait long enough.

4.) The prices aren't obscene. That's never a bad thing.

5.) THEY HAVE FOOD TO EAT, but...

6.) It is remarkably close in proximity to an amazing deli across the street. They have everything there, from good 2-for-1 deals on cigarettes, if that's your thing, to some amazing gyro sandwiches, if you're simply famished and didn't want any CC food. Or a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos and XXX Vitamin Water that you bought for no particular reason other than it looked tasty. And it was.

There are many reasons to love a dive like the CC Club. There are also many reasons to hate it. But I see it as a very integral part of our city life here in Minneapolis. It is a good place for the young to congregate, whether or not they want to consume large amounts of intoxicant. It's been around for many, many years and has been sang about by bands like The Replacements or Motion City Soundtrack. Truly an awesomely awful place on many levels. You know that a place is a place fit for kings when it has the ability to bring down the lofty and raise up the lowly in the way that the CC Club does.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Too Much Love

So in the spirit of writing more accessible and less pretentious (a better term for them actually: bullshit) works in this measly blog, I am returning to my roots (from six or seven months ago...yeah, eons, I know) of simply dissecting and disseminating aspects of this city I call home for the time being. So, to begin, I should give you an idea of what occurs on a Saturday night for many people (sometimes it seems a tad too often?). This is a little something known as Too Much Love.

It began in early 2007 as a pet project of Peter Lansky, known by many as DJ Sovietpanda. Like or hate the kind of music he does, you must admit, this local celebrity of sorts knows how to project himself and his parties quite effectively and has definitely been reaping the (at least social) benefits for the last year or so. The music is a mix of hopefully danceable tunes; electro (the fixture many of the frequent attendees cling to and call home, musically), techno, hip-hop, and general pop/rock remixes of songs that you've forgotten about since you stopped listening to them in 1998. Sometimes things are shaken up a bit by guest DJs, such as my personal favorite Naughtywood, whose music just makes me feel like I'm permanantly stuck in that hotel I've bitched about where everyone's fucking except you. However, in this case, this tension isn't bad, since it just compels you to dance a tad harder. This being said, the VIP room is also accessible to those who are little more hardcore/purist in their fandom of electronic music, and offers some more specified types of music, and seems to perpetually reek of ganja. Going to this institutionalized carnival-esque event has become somewhat of a ritual for many and one can generalize it all they want, because the stories deviate very little from a set path.

It usually begins at one of the people in your group's house/apartment with a pre-game event of sorts that can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. This is an 18+ event after all, and frankly, it's quite difficult for anyone to have a good night at this dance club without being inebriated in some fashion or another, mostly due to the palor of our skin, those of us who frequent this place. Plus it also distracts us from any pain we might feel from seeing mismatched clothes or from the occasional horrifically and monumentally terrible mash-up/remix of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

So once the imbibation of fantastic spirits has concluded, the (most)sober person will sardine everyone into their car so tightly that you can't move much short of your little finger on your right hand. The music, usually in the same vein as the music you're about to hear and be dancing to, begins to play loudly on the car's stereo (unless you're lucky enough to be riding with someone who likes to blast Slayer as they careen down Lyndale Avenue at break-neck speeds), and you drive off into the night, ready to, in the parlance of our times, "get your drink and dance on."

You eventually pull into the nearby parking ramp just down the street from Minneapolis' beloved club First Avenue where the festivities are about to take place and quickly find a place to park. Sometimes, some of the people you're with will take some quick swigs of some sort of alcohol to further their buzz that seems to be inexorably slipping away from them like it's on a down-graded ice rink. Others will get out of the car immediately and light up some cigarettes if they are so inclined. Everyone congregates, throwing their jackets into the car, and they begin their brief trek to the black-brick den of revelry.

You get to the door area of First Avenue with your friends, sometimes having to wait in line, seeing countless people that you know and are good acquaintances with, saying hello, what's up, et cetera. At the door itself you're carded and if you're lucky enough to be over the magical number of 21 in age, you get no big black Xs on your hands and are bestowed a magical colored bracelet that provides you access to any of the five bars in the club. Now here's the tricky part: getting in for free. It's quite a complicated process, but there are two ways about it. You can either rich into your pocket/purse/whatever, and produce that nice shiny University of Minnesota, MCTC (or whatever college you attend) I.D., and show it to the nice girl behind the counter who will smile and nod you through, or you can rack your brain for the magical phrase for a moment (but not TOO long; they might realize you're trying to pull one over on them; they are a crafty bunch, those folks working the door at First Avenue), and finally say, the words emitting perfectly from your lips, every nuance perfectly enunciated, "I saw the ad in the City Pages," and sure enough, that aforementioned nice girl behind the counter will nod and let you through. Now I realize that these processes are quite complex, but with practice, in no time, you will no longer be shelling out three bucks every weekend that you go!

So now you're in the club. The music overtakes you, but you have not consumed enough vodka cranberries, PBR Tallboys (2 bucks only before midnight, remember!), and massive bottles of Summit EPA. You can't dance in this sober state, let alone look at all of these people in the eye for more than four seconds. As you're about to go upstairs, you are confronted by at least 24 people that you know in one way or another, you say your hello's, goodbye's, give your hugs, complex urbanified handshakes, and whatnot, and you are off on your merry way to the bar again.

Now if your fortunate enough, the guy serving at the bar (whom I call "The Machine") will working there. This guy moves like Data in Star Trek. One who is a cynic might assume that he is just hopped up on dexies or blow, but this guy must operate on pure energy and enthusiasm. He knows the patrons want to get drunk and they want to get drunk NOW, so he operates on that mentality, churning out at least four dozen drinks in a 15 minute span of time. So you order your drink, be it mixed, canned, or bottled, and you have it in less than 30 seconds. Pure magic. So you and your friends get and consume your drinks, getting into the mood, sometimes getting stopped by people from the City Pages to have your photo snapped, possibly to appear in the next issue or issues to come, sometimes shouting a hello to familiar face across the room who comes over to greet everyone. You make a run to the ATM, vowing not to spend more than the amount you extract for the rest of the night and return to your friends, some of which, usually the ones who began to emulate Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa back at your place, are getting antsy to go dance. Everyone brings their drinking to a close for the time being and file down the steps and onto the main floor where the lights are flashing in such as a way that would be detrimental to anyone with epilepsy.

Dancing occurs, of all types (bad, good, sexy, frightening, bat-shit insane), amongst you and your friends and others you may (or may not) know who make it a point to congregate with your group. The songs change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. In the case of it being for the worse, one of your friends suggests more drinks should be purchased and you, of course, wholeheartedly agree, feeling the music here stripping your buzz off you like it was your skin. Soon you will care very little (at least you hope).

The night continues on until last call, drinks drank, dancing had, and festivities abound. You understand that this is a completely pointless and fruitless practice (unless you are the type to come to this to, as the boys from A Night At The Roxbury, refer to it, score), but you got to socially immerse yourself in an aspect of Minneapolis night life. You and your friends get back to the car (unless of course you go to an afterparty somewhere else downtown, something that seemed to happen a little more often in the fall of 2007) and you all make your ways home. Love or despise Too Much Love, this is a key part of Minneapolis' youth culture today; it is indeed pointless, but it has become ingrained in our minds as something to do on weekends.
So what did you accomplish by going out to First Avenue tonight? You may wonder this to yourself, especially if you're excessively introspectual. So what happened? You drank. You were merry. What more could you want? What did you have to lose? Well, aside from the mysterious $7.50 that you spent at some point in the night, as evidenced by the crumpled receit in your pocket that you find the next day and question in the midst of the worst headache and gut-rot in the history of time itself.

The Family Guy Nation

Now I've been thinking, especially since earlier today I watched the thrilling and hilarious conclusion of the Cartoon Wars episode of South Park. You know, the one where Cartman takes on Family Guy and Kyle rushes to stop him and then the shocking truth about the writers of Family Guy comes out, with a little cameo appearance by America's original animated bad boy to spice things up on the side? That one. Anyway, this episode got me thinking about the nature of Family Guy and South Park and how, while quite similar, they both represent the crucial distinction between pastiche and parody.

I must first admit that yes, I am admitting that I got influenced by a South Park episode, as embarrassing as that sounds. But yet, at the same time, I have always felt this way about Family Guy. I do find Family Guy to be a funny show; it amuses me in all the right ways. But what it has in its ability to make us recall parts of pop culture (or not), it lacks in the ability to be subversive, which is something I wish comedy would strive to be more. Family Guy represents what has become of what we find funny in this day and age of Youtube clips and soundbytes. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with that, because that stuff is still indeed funny in its own way. But it's meaningless, and since we are a people who love to find meaning in things (like it or not, we do), it's slightly disturbing to see subversive edge being lost. On top of that, it's arguable that by partaking in this exchange of references, these knowledges, is a very isolating and, at worst, alienating process. The more you know about pop culture, the more you can participate in its referencing. The less you know, well, you get the idea. Last time I checked, and after taking an entire semester on the nature of comedy itself, comedy was supposed to be unifying, not alienating. However, that's not to say that this referential style of humor is totally alienating; we can indeed come together and enjoy the references together as a group, but what's disturbing, at least somewhat to me, is the loss of meaning and, like I've been rambling about, the subversive edge.

How does Family Guy work, at its base? This South Park episode nailed it. Normally, South Park will go for the satirical and over-the-top parody of something to make it funnier, but in this case, Parker and Stone were restrained and simply showed Family Guy for what it was: completely arbitrary references drawn away from their original context and simply being presented as is. This relentless intertextuality can be quite wearing on a person, especially someone who seeks subversion in his entertainment. *Cough* So anyway, it makes these ahistorical references through observations of popular culture that carry little meaning in terms of narrative, context, and just plain, straight-up fucking coherence. Family Guy's humor boils down to this: either you get it or you don't. Obviously, that's how a joke works, but at this level, it is as simple as, "if you haven't seen an episode from that show Northern Exposure, you're not gonna get it." That's not humor, that's what can be called a giant, empty fuck room. There's nothing there. It's like the way we all watch Youtube videos. Some of them are funny based on the physically comedic aspect to them, like the kid falling out of the car and smacking his face against a parked one (classic), or simply referential, like showing clips of Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in all the moments where he says "Junior." Is this what's funny today? Sure. I'm not pretending that I don't find this kind of humor funny; like I said before, I laugh at Family Guy. It's a funny show. But I just find it remarkable how many of us find stuff like this funny and how it has coursed its way through our culture so much so, that that is usually what we think of when we think of comedy.

I get this feeling that Trey Parker and Matt Stone felt the same way, since this South Park episode I've been yakking and yammering like a group of middle-aged women at Starbucks about, at the end of the day, comes across as so damn deeply political; so much so that it is NOT pastiche like Family Guy and becomes an honest-to-Christ parody. Now that's not to say that South Park, like Family Guy, is not intertextual as hell; it is. However, it handles the intertextuality in a much different way: Family Guy, like I said, just shows random pop culture references strung together, and South Park does the same thing, but they tie it into a larger point or sometimes even their narrative. In other words, they typically think about what they are writing before they produce it for the screen. This being said, Family Guy's dirty little secret (at least in South Park's world) is that the show's writing staff is populated by manitees that simply nudge random pop culture references into a tube that randomly organize them into a, you guessed it, random reference. And sure enough, it actually, in its nonsensical way, makes sense: you could do it yourself, as could a manitee. Honestly, the hilarity and yet also the truth of this joke South Park put forth, for me, was staggering; I nearly shit my pants laughing.

But now to the heart of the matter. Humor has indeed become very (Jesus H. Christ I hate this term, but for lack of a better one...) "po-mo." It's randomly assembled and it lacks coherence and it constantly references itself. At least parts of it have. Family Guy can be seen as representative of this; it is the epoch of post-modern humor and even social order; it repeats the randomness over and over again, and in reality, there is no new joke there. Sure there are cosmetic differences, but it's simply the same thing, perpetuated endlessly. Now South Park takes a lot intertextuality and so on, but it subverts these things (god, I love the sound of that word) and plays with them from the inside; it uses this intertextuality as a frame, and instead of becoming acontentextual and meaningless, it creates a genius parody. However, this all being said, what was it that caused Parker and Stone to see the Family Guy sense of humor as important to devote two of their episodes to? One could believe, and this may be a stretch, that they were saying that Family Guy is representative of the way we think today as a people. We are the Family Guy Nation: all we understand anymore as a people is references to things we've already created and nothing historical is in our cultural mindset or even lexicon.Think of it this way: it is understandable that the one nation with absolutely no sense of history or context in the global sense, and only a sense of its popular culture, gets attacked by groups that were AFFECTED by this generalized ignorance of the rest of the world.

Now I have raised the stakes on two cartoon shows that I enjoy immensely so astronomically high, I want to projectile vomit all over the screen. But I gotta say: intellectual masturbation like this is incredibly addictive sometimes, especially when it seems to make a large amount of sense. What can be said ultimately? Nothing, really. These shows are both immensely funny in their own ways and nothing is actually WRONG with finding humor like that of Family Guy funny. There's nothing wrong with being cued into popular culture; it is indeed a way of life for all of us, especially those of us in the younger age group bracket. The only sad thing is that it seems like the majority is ONLY cued into popular culture, and sadly, I get this feeling that we all reach that point when we just get way too worn the fuck out to deal with the real world and its problems.

Miley Cyrus

I've found myself reading celebrity gossip more than I would be ready to admit recently. My so-called integrity has been extinguished long ago, so I don't feel too ashamed to write about it, and honestly, it is what interests people in my age group the most. Now this isn't calling Miley Cyrus a "stupid underage whore" because she clearly is not. She has made some at least semi-cogent claims that she will never stoop to the level that Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears, and others of their ilk have of late. I must first say that she should be careful what she promises.

If I recall, it was Spears who claimed she would stay a virgin until marriage (at least her younger sister was more honest than that). But look at when she is making this promise: she is fifteen fucking years old. For Christ's sake, I made so many promises and claims when I was fifteen that I may or may not have had any intention keeping, that I definitely did not live up to later on in life. You can't make claims about who you are as a person when you don't even fucking know who you ARE as a person! She has her parents and her gargantuan network (not to mention her many, many legions of fans) dictating who she is. She is being defined by culture itself and when she gains a sense of autonomy she may break away or may stick with it. I just think that with the nature of the business she has become part of being a glaring factor in this Hollywood story, it is more likely than not that she will become the next sex-tape gossip case with such-and-such boyfriend of the given week.

So what happened? Apparently, Ms. Cyrus (as the New York Times would refer to her as) recently did a photo shoot for Vanity Fair with none other than Annie Leibovitz, one of the greatest rock and roll photographers and modellers of our time. There were some photographs that depicted Cyrus wrapped a bedsheet, her BACK exposed. Naturally, reps from the Disney Channel went ape shit, as did Cyrus and her family, because 15-year-old girls don't EVER get undressed and to imply that she might not be wearing any clothes is not only a carnal sin, but it's indecent and disturbing. Through her publicist, Cyrus claims that she, quote, "had no idea any of this was going to happen" and that she was deeply sorry to her fans who she "cares so much about." See, her fans are young girls, mostly (but also including a nice percentage of my 19-22 year old female friends), and I can't remember the last time I saw an eight-year-old girl pick up a Vanity Fair and page through it, let alone having a moral epileptic seizure when they saw a photo of a girl with her BACK exposed.

Oh and it didn't stop there. Reps at Disney went on to say that it was a "manipulation of a 15-year-old" in order to sell magazines. That may be. But I kind of find it hard to believe that people over at Disney and Cyrus' family are that out of touch that they don't have any idea of what to expect in a photo spread from Vanity Fair. Not only that, it is very interesting that this becomes an issue all of a sudden. Her parents were present. They and Cyrus looked at the photos after they were taken. Cyrus herself said, quote, "I think it's really artsy...it wasn't in a skanky way. Annie took, like, a beautiful shot, and I thought that was really cool. That's what she wanted me to do, and you can't say no to Annie." (quote taken from Yahoo news article). Then all of a sudden there is a reversal of opinion in the Cyrus camp and Vanity Fair becomes the Basin of Sin that is all things morally vacuous and indecent.

What's the point here? There is an undeniable influence from Cyrus' network, the Disney Channel and propping her up to be this virginal, all-things-innocent, "good" girl. Now it is most likely a fact that there are many readers of Vanity Fair who happen to be perverted, sick, and twisted 40-something men who fondle themselves imagining Miley Cyrus doing unspeakable things to them with hot wax and fuzzy, pink handcuffs. That's fine. That's sick, but fine, since they're not doing anything more about it; they're keeping it private (one should hope, of course). To show Cyrus like this in an aesthetically pleasing, dare I say artistic setting, as a young woman beginning to "bud," if you will, is not tasteless or obscene. Creating an image of her being pure and virginal: THAT is obscene. What is the image of virginity made for? At the end of the day, to be taken away. By creating that image, you make someone into a fetishized object and that's really what's being thought about when the aforementioned perverted old men see her now. THAT is what is being marketed. Disney is marketing her so-called innocence that, I hate to break it to you, is not going to last forever. Either way, her image will be defiled in some way, but it's a little less obscene and disturbing when it's being shown in an honest manner. I find it disturbing that the virginal image is not seen as obscene, but rather, ideal, and that Cyrus' parents and Cyrus herself are taken in by this definition Disney has afforded them. But that's belief structure for you.

Now this all being said, I personally think Miley Cyrus is unattractive and her dimples need to be deflated by several inches.

Music

First off, I must have probably the most important disclaimer I could possibly write: this is not me condemning music in the slightest. On the contrary, music has provided me more inspiration than anything (film, television, video games, books) ever could and it will continue to do so in the future I am sure. Music is fundamental to artistic expression all over the world and many of my friends and those close to me embrace music either directly through making it or indirectly through using it as, like myself, inspiration. I can say what I will about screamo being "a musical abortion" or Nine Inch Nails being the greatest band of the 1990s, but at the end of the day, one must give the necessary props to anyone with the balls to get up on a stage and make something that they (hopefully) believe in. Now I am sure there are exceptions, but for the sake of argument, let's just stick with this statement. It's the most positive you'll ever see me be. Now, moving on.

So recently I've found myself unable to listen to music. I'm not sure why. It just strikes the wrong chords within my head, no pun intended. There is just something about music right now that just is not sitting well with me. There is no explanation, at least not necessarily; if there is, that is something for my therapist to help me figure out. But I find myself having the most intriguing reactions when listening to music these days. The way certain genres of music sit with me are the following:

Techno/Other Electronic Music: Techno and most other types of electronic music (with certain exceptions), works off of this notion that there is a build and release. If Freud were to hear techno, he would quite possibly shit his pants in ecstasy with the orgasmic symbolic nature of it. A good techno song is like amazing sex (for a girl at least since the musical equivalent of a male orgasm is a song by Melt Banana); its intensity and complexity builds, builds, and builds on itself until it finally culminates with multiple beats that make you want to move your body, no matter how inhibited you may be. Putting a friend's assertion that he "shits on techno" in the garbage where it belongs, it is the most effective dance music out there. That said, I can't listen to it right now. I can dance to it, of course, but I can't put on my ear buds and listen to it on my iPod. When listening to techno, industrial, electro, etc, I just get this uncanny, well, tension that I don't know how to deal with. It feels like you're walking through a hallway of a hotel, dorm, or apartment, and every room is occupied with couples, and whether you know them or not, you know they're all fucking and having the time of their lives, and it just reminds you that you're not one of them. So this, in turn, makes me uncomfortable, and that in turn, makes me angry, so I press and hold down the Play/Pause button on my iPod as fast as I possibly can.

Hip-Hop/Rap: I don't normally listen to very much hip-hop or rap music, but I do have enough on my iPod that it's substantial enough of a genre worth covering. For me, listening to (hopefully good) hip-hop music usually is a nice liberation from the influx of indie, punk, and industrial that I usually listen to and it provides me with this sense that maybe I do understand the black community a little...okay, that was bullshit, but in all seriousness, it reminds me that there are other genres out there worth exploring, especially when they have roots in other genres you like. However, when I have turned on some Brother Ali, or Ill Bill, or whatever lately, I get this overwhelming sense of feeling incredibly fake and, dare I say it, self-righteous. This one is pretty damn obvious why I probably feel this way. Does it even need to be said? But the root of it since it's part of this epic issue still escapes me.

Punk/Pop-Punk: Yes, I do have some pop-punk, but in order to sound like a "true fan," I must rush to add that it's outnumbered and overshadowed by my "classic" punk collection. That being said, punk music is sadly an outlet that I've usually used when I've gone through periods of having difficulty finding pleasure in aural stimulation, but no longer is it effective. Punk is just one of those genres of music that works on a level of nihlism that is infectious, at least for me. Yes, some of the bands involved in punk have a kind of/sort of (or downright) political sensibility, but that isn't really why anyone listens to a punk band, at least on the onset of liking them. Punk is listened to for its catchy power-chords, its brisk, 2-3 minute-max songs (that's why "Frankenchrist" by Dead Kennedys never really sat as well with me as their earlier and far superior "Plastic Surgery Disasters"), and its brash attitude. It's hard to deny that, especially after a couple of beers, at a punk show, you have difficulty not nodding your head vigorously with the angry, yet bitterly and ironically peppy beat of the particular band performing. Pop-punk, though not even coming close to the aforementioned infectious nihilism of classic punk, still has that happy, ignorant sensibility with those incredibly easy-on-the-ears power-chords. However, I recently have had difficulty listening to any punk music without wanting to drive a pencil into my eyeball and twisting it six or seven times. I've been feeling like my IQ drops 60 points whenever I hear "Anarchy in the U.K." or "D4 = Putting the 'F' Back in 'Art'", as much as I love those songs. I feel like I haven't graduated high school yet and I should be made fun of for my acne-pock-marked face. In short, the annoyance I feel when punk music enters my ears has, as of late, been staggering.

Acoustic/Folk/Indie/Sad Bastard Music: Now this makes me feel bad that I've had trouble listening to this genre lately, but I guess it can be understandable in some cases. However, this set of music is my bread and butter when I'm taking time for myself, which I have been doing a lot of lately (compared to usual...so that's not saying much, but I digress). This is the good stuff that gets in your head and usually in its lyrics, it notes and even explores the idiosyncrasies of the human condition in (hopefully) an effective and moving way. This is the kind of stuff you want to hear in a movie to heighten the emotion the characters onscreen are feeling. This is the stuff that inspires me that absolute most when I'm writing something, especially that of the "sad bastard" variety. But, but, but, as I am sure one can guess, there ha been a problem with it lately, and it's actually quite simple. It is so oppresively weighty and saddening to listen to it these days. It's quite telling that you can't listen to something as amazing as "Between the Bars" by Elliott Smith or whatever for more than the first 10 seconds because you've switched to Lewis Black for humorous respite. However, there are no direct reasons why music of this variety makes me feel so oppressed and down; the sound of an acoustic guitar or sensitive lyrics being sung on my iPod is just too moving to handle, I suppose.

Now I have gone through a very general list of genres in my music library that have provided me with some difficulty lately. One has not, and that is the one of stand-up comedy. It's pretty obvious; since it's funny, I want to listen to it. It's also very direct; it brings up no lingering emotions, tension, or underlying issues or whatever, it just tickles me, pun very much intended in this case. Now I am sure that I can only listen to Bill Hicks for so long and I am equally sure that I will find some desire to listen to music again in the future. It is just one of the more odd things that has happened to me in recent years and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. Maybe I've just become so disillusioned with music that the only thing I will be able to stand hearing within six months will be the sound of air being blown into a jug. However, I feel optimistic that something will snap me back into enjoying it, because honestly, a life without concerts, trips to Cheapo to buy CDs, iTunes browsing, and simple sitting-and-listening sessions would be pretty damn empty, and I don't think anything could substitute that.