I've been having a hard week. I've been a little sick but mainly I've just been kind of depressed. The coming of winter always makes me anxious and sad, there's a bunch of internal strife in the band right now and I'm finding myself having a bit of an existential crisis. The physical symptoms of all this are that I want to sleep approximately 23 1/3 hours a day, that I either want to eat nothing or seven gallons of ice cream and that my fuse is insanely short.
And that's really what I've been thinking about, the nature of anger and violence in people. Everybody has anger and violence in them to a certain degree, but our society makes you squish it all the way down in yourself in order to get by. Not that that's a bad thing. Living in a world where everyone is fully in touch with their fury would be like...well, I guess like living in Boston. Oh well.
I personally have a lot of anger, a terrible temper and, when angry, a blinding all encompassing fury. I have always hated this in myself except for the few times it has served me well in emergencies. I mean, I guess I'm glad I have a well of anger to draw from in the sense that I know I wouldn't hesitate to really hurt someone who was hurting LBS or my close friends, but I'm also convinced that that well is fairly poisonous, which is why I spend so much time in shrinkville trying to tap into it and figure it out.
My attempts to get in touch with my inner violence have been pretty successful, and I think in general I have added a few inches to my fuse. But sometimes, like when I'm depressed, I can feel it bubbling up inside me and pulsing just under the surface. And when it finally erupts it never ceases to amaze and scare me just what lives inside me.
Example: On Wednesday morning I was riding to work and was feeling pretty bad about life. I knew that my fuse was short and so I had been trying to be extra-courteous to people in order to avoid anything that would set me off. Anyway, pulling out of an intersection I got cut off by some yahoo in a van. I had to slam on my brakes and had it been three months, and a lot of experience, ago I probably would have wrecked. The fuse had been removed from its protective sheath.
Then, with no cursing or beeping from me, the guy started screaming at me. He was cursing me out and staring at me in the rearview mirror. The fuse had been doused in gasoline.
He finally pulled ahead and for the next half mile kept speeding up and then slamming on his brakes, apparently in an attempt to teach me a lesson. And people, I HATE it when motorists take it upon themselves to teach their fellow drivers a lesson. It's some seriously dumb shit that could end up with someone being dead. The fuse had been lit.
I was in stage one of fury at this point, where I'm angry but I still understand myself. I started giving the guy the finger and yelling at him that he was being a dick. I mean, I'm on a motorcycle for Christ's sake. It's dangerous enough without any extra assholes.
The finger set him off and he started having a fit. He turned all red and just lost his mind, screaming and cursing. He subsequently stuck his head out his window and mimed shooting himself in the head and then pointed at me. The bomb exploded.
At this point absolute fury took over and this is what both fascinates me and scares the hell out of me. It's like one of Alex's droogies takes over my brain and starts running the show. I literally don't know this guy inside me.
Here were my thoughts as I remember them. I wanted to somehow end up with this guy in an alley and beat him with a crowbar. Then I moved on to a favorite fantasy of fury Joe - the handgun. I wanted so badly to have a handgun, order him to his knees and then have him beg for his life while I say things like "who's the big man now?" "What, you don't want to shoot me in the head anymore?". I never graduate to actually wanting to kill someone, but I do get as far as completely breaking his spirit and doing a fair bit of maiming.
About two minutes later I turned off the road and hit a parking lot to recover. My knees were shaking, my breath was short and the adrenaline in my veins felt like electricity. Then I felt really guilty about just how angry I had just been and wondered what I would really be capable of. And I know I'm not alone in these feelings.
It makes you wonder. As much as we live in the 21st century, there is a huge part of us that is still in 30,000 B.C.
Anyway, I've now moved on to just wanting that guy to get a moderately severe case of the flu. I consider it a major moral victory.
Sorry about the past few days, but Blogger decided to crash hard and not let me into my blog. Bastards! Don't they realize what they're depriving the world of? HA.
Anywho, because of the break I have a few entries waiting to be put down on virtual paper, but of course they are going to have to wait. You see, a little team called the Boston Red Sox did the unthinkable last night. Good god damn I've never been more excited about a sports victory in my life.
We (H-Bomb, Rocking Robin, Brendo, LBS, Fantelope, 12-G and myself) gathered in my living room and took the whole thing in. I drank at least three liters of diet coke. We collectively polished off all the Halloween candy we bought for the kids. Both LBS and H-Bomb complained of heart-attack-like chest pains. I smoked like a chimney. Fantelope? Well, he sat there in a state of stoic dignity like the urban Buddha he is.
In the ninth we all took each other's hands and watched as Keith finished the red birds off. Then we freaked the fuck out. I thought I was going to pass out from screaming and jumping up and down and Brendo, well, I think he may have died. I'm not sure. I probably should check on that.
In the aftermath we walked down to Davis Square to see what was going on. All in all, it was a peaceful crowd and the nature of the people was so un-Boston. By that I mean everyone was hugging and high-fiving, strangers were meeting and everyone was happy. It's weird but pretty amazing to be in a group of a thousand people or so who are all just incredibly happy. It felt kind of like some Red Sox cult with Curt Schilling being the new David Koresh.
Of course, it wouldn't be a night out if there wasn't something to complain about. And sure enough, Pete and I were heckled by a couple backwards baseball cap wearing college morons who assured us that we are now marked for death at their hands.
BBCWCM: Get a haircut!
Me: Fuck you
BBCWCM: You're dead! You wanna fight?
Me: Um, no. I'm 28 years old. Grow up.
Anyway, good night all around. And I think this red sox high is going to last for at least a few days and I plan to take full advantage of people treating each other nicely for a change.
Boston Red Sox, 2004 World Champions. Feels good, right?
I know that by saying it I threaten to jinx the entire proceedings, but I'm getting a little excited over here. If anyone had told me last Saturday that on October 25th the Red Sox would be two games up in the world series with Pedro yet to pitch I would not only have not believed them, I also would probably have kicked them right in the Jimmies for teasing me so.
But here we are and the Sox could not possibly be in a better position. It's hard not to think that perhaps this is the team of destiny that we've been waiting for all these years. Dag.
In other news, thanks to everyone who came out and made Friday night such a special show. You see, every time we have a big show like that we spend the week preceding it convincing each other that no one will show up. By showtime we all are bummed out and expecting to see three people. So it was pretty damn sweet to walk out on that stage Friday to be greeted by a few hundred of our closest friends. Thanks.
If 12 years ago I had known I would be here now, typing these words for real, I would have fully freaked out. This is a really big deal for me as a lifetime Bostonian and rock fan and I really hope you can join us there tonight. Because, honestly, I may still fully freak out and how often do you get to see me have a meltdown?
OK, enough sentimentality, this is my favorite thing in the world right now:
For someone I don't even know, man do I hate that A-Rod.
Call me naive, but I don't understand how you can at all be a Yankee fan after Alex Rodriguez's disgusting display last night.
To me, it wasn't his flagrant cheating that made me so mad. I mean, I understand that in a game like that the adrenaline is flowing and that sometimes the thought of achieving your goal clouds your judgment. And so sometimes you do something stupid, like whack Bronson Arroyo in the arm to dislodge the ball on a routine play at first. But after you do that you should stop, put things in perspective, apologize to Arroyo and be a man about the fact that you cheated. Then you go and take your seat.
But not Rodriguez. He stood on first and clapped his hands at how happy he was with himself. And then when the play looked like it might be overturned he threw a hissy fit tantrum. And then a bunch of Yankees came onto the field to argue that it was all perfectly legal. And then when it was overturned (the correct call) the entire stadium erupted and fans started throwing things at umpires and players. Shameful.
This is entirely reminiscent for me of the time late in the season where the Yankees pushed to have Tampa Bay forfeit two games because they were late to the park. Of course, they were late because of a devastating hurricane, but that didn't seem to matter. To the Yankees, it's win at all costs. Personally, I think that sucks. Had the situation last night been reversed and it had been Johnny Damon smacking that ball out, I would have been appalled and would fully have expected him to take responsibility.
Basically, I would hate to cheer for a team that is the equivalent of the playground bully. And that is why I now fully believe in Boston's long time mantra....yes people, the Yankees do indeed suck.
So Brendo Frendo and I are both at our wits ends with these Red Sox. Every time we think that they're out of it they come back and pull us along through another stay of execution. I may be a huge fool, but right now I legitimately think they will win this series. Undoubtedly, my heart will be shattered, but it has been an insane ride this year. Yay Sox.
Anyway, back to me and BF. We both have been significantly off our regular sleep schedules this entire week and are cranky as all hell. Yesterday we entered the living room at 5 and just started in on each other until we literally thought we would have to watch the game in different rooms. He was pissy and yelling at the TV. I was loopy from lack of sleep and was doing a lot of non-sensical shouting. Finally, when we were actually starting to become legitimately furious, we took a step back, ordered a pizza and agreed to an annoyance truce.
I am bleary this morning after a weekend of long long nights.
Saturday was the CMJ festival in NYC and so we headed out in the early afternoon to go and bring the pain with our rockness. Not to deflate any of our remaining rock mystery, but as we get older and more jaded the 9 hour round trip to NYC for one show becomes less and less appealing. Don't get me wrong, I love the New York crowds and playing there is still exciting in the moment, but all the driving can wear a man down. I used to deal with this by getting piss drunk at the shows and then sleeping it off on the ride home, but now I have no such distraction. So I just sit and look out the window at the beautiful scenery that is Route 95. Damn.
Anyway, the show itself was really good. We had a good time and played well for an audience that was split about 50/50 between our fans and record company people. Not record company people with any power, mind you, just people who work for labels. You can identify label people because they don't dance and they look at their watches a lot. One guy stood right in front of me, scowling and checking the time during the entire show. Thanks, pal.
And then of course there were the Red Sox to deal with last night. I'm glad they won but good god damn why couldn't they have done it in 9 innings? No matter what the outcome is, staying up until 2 AM to watch baseball on a weeknight blows beans.
So today I am trying in vain to reset my circadian rhythms. Dag.
As many of you know I am trying to become a kinder person, and overall I think I'm doing OK. This week I've had to deal with surly RMV employees, surly insurance agents and a girl who ran me over in her car. In all cases I kept it together and didn't get aggravated - whoops, except for the huge curse-filled tantrum I threw when my bike got hit. But give me a break, right?
But damn it, people make it hard, don't they? The amount of rudeness in our culture is bordering on insane. Small example; this morning I went to the MIT coffee shop to buy a muffin and a drink. I got what I came for and then patiently waited in line while everyone in front of me got their coffee. I was late and it was a slow line, with everyone was kibbutzing and dragging things out, but I was cool. These are the small things I refuse to get aggravated about anymore.
Anyway, suddenly I get bumped from behind and this woman rushes past me. At first I thought there was an emergency but then I realized what was going on; she's a professor. Excuse me for generalizing, but professors - especially at prestigious universities - are some entitled feeling motherfuckers. Not only did she not say "excuse me" for bumping me but she also just threw some money on the counter and started to leave.
I spoke up "excuse me, but that was very rude. You almost knocked me over, didn't apologize and cut a long line" to which she said "hmmmpphhh, I have a class" and took off. Her complete lack of manners started the familiar throbbing behind my eyes and it took all I had to not curse her out and cause a scene. I mean, if we were at a rock club I wouldn't push her out of the way to get to the stage. Damn. Manners, people. They aren't hard.
These are the little things that will eventually give me a stroke.
I have owned "The Beast" for a week. Here she is....
Simply put, this is the best thing I have ever owned and that includes my Star Wars Luke Skywalker underoos. The sweet purr of the motor, the smell of the gas, zipping down the highway at insane speeds...I love it all.
Anyway, I seem to have a curse upon me that dictates that any nice new thing I own must be broken or maimed in the immediate aftermath of me buying it. Every guitar, amp, bike, tv, etc., always takes some trauma in the first initial splash of excitement of having bought it. I think it's God's attempt to keep me in my melancholy place. But this bike was going to be the exception. I would keep it pristine and buffed to a mirror polish no matter what. No one would hurt The Beast.
Of course I was wrong. And so yesterday in the parking lot of Dunkin' Donuts The Beast met her fate as I was backed into by some oblivious lady in a honda accord. The impact destroyed the front fender, quite possibly bent the front wheel assembly and very nearly pinned me under six hundred pounds of metal as I vainly held the bike up and screamed "STOP BACKING UP!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!!!!?!?!?!?!?!"
I then threw a fit, stomped around the lot and finally cooled down enough to exchange information. In the end, the bike will be fine, but I've only had it a week. I don't need this crap.
So now basically I'm terrified of what's going to happen if I ever have a kid. He'll probably come down with measle-lupus-mumps-a-flu on day three. Damn.
I'm back after a weekend in Pittsburgh I can only describe as sexy. Ladybetrothed Sarah and I set out on Sunday to the University of Pittsburgh so she could check out their medical program and I could check out how long it takes to read an entire book in a host student's apartment while they are away at work (Answer? Not long enough).
Anyway, the weekend was a smashing success. The admissions folks loved her almost as much as I do and so who knows, maybe someday I may call Pittsburgh home. Go Steelers!
In other news, why does Southwest have open seating on their flights? All this does is cause problems, with passengers trying to cut each other in line to get the best spaces and other people feigning handicaps in order to be pre-boarded. That's right, I'm talking to you Mr. Green Sports Coat "I wasn't walking with a limp at the bar three minutes ago but now I look like I lost a knee in 'Nam." Damn.
Also, It's LS's b-day, so send her some love. She's a good lady.
So, I know I'm opinionated, and everyone is certainly entitled to agree or disagree with me as they see fit. However, on a couple issues I just think I am stone cold indisputably right beyond a shadow of a doubt certain guaranteed correct. One of those issues in aggressive driving. It's bad.
I mean, it's bad and unnecessary no matter what, but it's especially bad when you're on a motorcycle and are the recipient of an aggressive, just on the edge of road rage, huge asshole. Here's an example.
This morning I was driving my new bike to work. Yes, folks, new bike. More on that later. Anyway, I was just scooting along, getting used to the increased power, different braking system and extra weight when I can to a stoplight. Now, the light was green as I approached but then turned yellow. I was afraid to try and stop really fast, so I coasted through the light just as it turned red. Obnoxious? Yes. Dangerous? Not really. Annoying to other drivers? A little. Annoying to an asshole aggressive dickhead? Very much so.
So as I made my way through the intersection the aforemention Asshole peels out and lays on the horn at me. I was thoroughly confused, but figured it wasn't a big deal. Then Asshole gets right on my fender and stays on the horn all the way to the next light, where he pulls up next to me and stays on the horn while giving me the finger. I really didn't know what to do. I didn't want to antagonize him for fear that he would get out and want to fight, or stab or shoot me, but I also didn't want to totally ignore him for fear of the exact same thing. So I looked at him and shrugged an apology for my non-transgression. This didn't sit well with him at all and he got even madder.
When the light changed I did not move, nor did he. I think he wanted me to pull out so he could ride my ass again. I wasn't having it and sat there like a stone until he finally gave up and peeled out again.
That, my friends, is an Asshole. Just for everyone's information, he is a twentyish, slightly bearded white guy who dresses kinda city-hip hop. He drives a black, 1980's era Mustang with the MASS plate 52K P12. If you see him, honk for me, because he is an Asshole.
In general, this kind of stuff just really bothers me. Why does anyone need to act like that? Did he really think he was teaching me a lesson, like I was going to go "Hmmm, after a solid minute of being physically threated and honked at, I guess I really should think about my reactions at red lights and how my slight discourtesy might affect other drivers"? And yes, maybe he was having a bad morning. But had he hit me and made me crash and hurt myself I guarantee his morning would have been A LOT worse.
All I'm saying is that everyone needs to relax a bit. Especially you 52K P12 because you, my friend, are an A-hole.
So, Blogger appears to have taken Delaware Part II off of the blog, but I just put it back and so you can now all breathe a little easier.
Anyway, I saw perhaps the lamest thing I have ever seen in my life this morning. Let me set the scene. Do you remember in the 80's when the hip hop world was all about track suits, Adidas sneakers and gold chains? Do you remember how every crew had to have at least one member with an oversized boom box (or ghetto blaster, as they were called back then) who held the radio right against his head as he walked around? That was cool. Then. Not now.
Today I saw the most un-hip hop kid walking through the halls of M.I.T. He was white to the point of albinism, wore high water tight fitting jeans, an ill-fitting shirt and coke bottle glasses. But what made this poor kid so lame was that he was singing along and sort of dancing to the Japanese pop-rock that he was blaring into his head via a laptop perched on his shoulder. A laptop.
I know many of you are probably thinking to yourselves "Does this moron really think that this Delaware story is interesting enough to merit three entries?" And the answer to that question is a definite no, but it's been slow in Joe world so cut me a break.
Anyway, when I left off, Jordan and Gordon were off being rockstars, tripping the light fantastic all over Dewey Beach, while Pete and I ate Combos and tried to stay awake. We watched a good two hours of the Discovery Channel and played a couple of games of Yahtzee.....oh hell, who am I kidding?... we actually snorted coke off the stomachs of expensive hookers and passed out in our own filth.
Finally J and G returned to the hotel room. That's right, room. Even with the amount of recent success FXA has had we still stay in one hotel room with two beds. Those familiar with the journal know that I prefer to sleep with Gordon because he is quiet and remarkably non-fidgety. Second to Gordon I like to sleep with Jordan because he is handsome....er...I mean, doesn't snore. My least favorite bed partner is Pete.
Pete is a weird guy. A great guy, but a weird guy. He does very few things like any other human I have ever known. Usually he does things differently because he thinks he's figured out a better way to do them, and usually he's right. But I think he may have to check his math on his sleeping technique. He wears a huge sleep mask that has enormous bug eyes on the front and wears industrial strength earplugs. Combine those two and you get petezilla the sleepmonster. When Pete sleeps, he goes into his own world and it is pretty frigging hard to get him out of it. And usually that's OK, he generally sticks to his side of the bed, but he's fidgety and unresponsive to everything. Give Pete a poke when he's snoring? No response.
So you know where this is going. That night I drew Pete as a bed partner. After he had suited up in his various bedtime fetish wear, he took a sleeping pill to help him doze and we climbed in and hit the lights. Everything was fine and we both drifted off, me into dreamland, Pete into a drug induced homoerotic fantasy land. About an hour into my beauty rest I feel Pete's legs tuck in behind me in a classic spoon. In his stupor, 12-G seemed to think I was his fiance which, I assure you, I am not. I pushed him away and tried to scold him, but he was unreachable. All I could do was look into the enormous creepy fucking eyes on the mask and wish a stroke upon him. This spooning kept happening throughout the night, until I was essentially sleeping half on/half off the bed to avoid the snugglemaster. Damn.
Finally, it was morning and I greeted the very groggy Pete with the question "What the hell was that all about?" He of course had no idea what I was talking about, but did assure me that it was lucky I got snuggled when I did because at present he was in the throes of fierce morning wood. Damn.
That's life on the road folks. Don't all sign up at once.
We got to Dewey Beach and checked into our hotel, The Sand Palace. Now, if the economy of Dewey Beach is such that this hotel is really considered a palace, well... then don't move to Dewey Beach. The hotel was more like The Sand Slightly Below Average Amenities But Still Pretty Clean and Perfectly Acceptable for Our Purposes Except for the Mold on the Ceiling and Slightly Odd Smell Palace.
Anyway, we took it easy for a couple hours and then headed to the show. The show itself was pretty good. There was a decent sized crowd and, despite Gordon being heckled for wearing a John Kerry T-shirt, people were pretty into it, especially "Nice to See You" which some people recognized from TV. Yay us.
After the show the band split into two factions. Gordon and Jordan stayed at the club, drank and mingled with the people. Pete and I went to the hotel to play Yahtzee and watch TV in out underwear.
Who won in the deal? Find out in Part Three!!!!!!!
Friday morning we loaded up the rock van and set off to play the Dewey Beach Music Festival in Dewey Beach, Delaware. Now, those of you familiar with the general geography of this great land will say "You guys are driving to Southern Delaware to play one show? Isn't that like nine hours away?" The answer to both questions my friends is yes.
The trip started uneventfully. We all got in the car and were cruising along when suddenly Pete and I realized that since neither of us had brought a laptop, we consequently had no games to play. And this, folks, was an emergency. You see, Jordan and Gordon like to drive and argue about directions, so they sit in the front seat and are happy. Pete and I, on the other hand, like to be removed from everything and therefore sit in the back, playing endless games of Scrabble. So without games it became clear that the delicate balance of the van would be disrupted with the apocalypse obviously not far behind it.
What to do? After much deliberation, it was unanimously decided that a non-distracted Pete and Joe would be bad news for everyone, and so we turned around and drove back to Target, where Pete and I bought travel editions of Scrabble and Yahtzee. They were expensive, but nine hours and maybe 700,000 games later we knew it had been a good decision.