Tag Archives: life

My psyche hates me before a show

You have no talent worse yet you have no skill worse yet people secretly know this but no one is telling you even the people who have purchased your work and can’t stop gushing on about it are really just a part of a well hidden secret plan called ‘let’s just be nice to June but not tell her she sucks as an artist (cuz’ didn’t she have some weird, big head injury awhile back or something like that?)’ and no one except your husband and your mother-in-law are going to come to this show and no one is going to ‘get it’ and certainly no one is going to buy anything and if they do it means you’re not really an artist anyway which you well know and if you really loved your kids you wouldn’t have played Go Fish with them only twice today and Bingo only once and made homemade pizza for them but you would’ve instead not painted at all today and how many times in the last week do you think your husband has internally rolled hie eyes and somewhere deep, deep, deep down wished he’d married one of those nice midwestern girls who love to cook and are babymakers and who think sports are fun to watch and buy regular milk instead of organic and are you forgetting that all these paintings are stupid and infantile and look like your preschooler made them and people are just going to smile and tell you how great they all are and how great you are and how great the desserts are and how great the setting is and how great it is that you do this because what the frikkity do you expect people to say when you’re standing right there and they are looking at your sorry excuse for a piece of art and thinking ‘what the frikkity is she thinking…I could so do this’ because they are they really are they really no kidding seriously are a part of that secert ‘be nice to June even though she sucks’ plan.

Saturday, November 3rd, 7:00pm in Auburn, CA: my next show.

Arranging Blues

A note to all those up-and-coming arrangers out there: when deciding how much to charge for a hack arranging gig, keep in mind that you will fall into bed exhausted at 2 AM, only to find yourself wide awake at 4:30 AM with one single line from the song stuck on endless repeat in your head.

awake at 4:30
Go for hazard pay.

Come on baby…

Hey Roadies…

So, here’s the scoop:

My beautiful wife of 8.4 years and I have spoken a couple of times on “Date Nights” for local groups. The basic gist is the importance of romancing your significant other, as well as creative ways to do so, long after the proverbial “honeymoon” is over.

I’ll post again next week, and tell a bit more of what Rona and I actually talk about, but I was hoping you guys can give us a hand for our next speaking engagement. With complete understanding of the can of worms I’m about to open (given the high average intelligence and the low average maturity of the Addison crew), I pose the following question:

How do you continue to light the fire in your significant other?

Sincerely,

Matty

On 30

Well, it happened. October 14th came and went. And with it, out went my 20′s. For the past few days I’ve been fielding questions like, “How does it feel to be old?” and “So, what is 30 like?” and “Are you depressed?”  And I answered:

“It feels sort of the same.” “It’s just like 29.” “Yes, I am depressed.” and “Please go away.”

I’m not sure why I’m feeling like this. It doesn’t have anything to do really with health or age or social interaction. For me, the pressure is this:

It’s time to get your shit together. 

Pay your cell phone bill on time. Stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. Get serious about marriage. Stop just keeping your business alive and grow it. Make sure your health insurance is the best coverage you can afford. Think about selling the motorcycle. Stop pretending that certain people you’ve called friends are actually friends. Have a plan. Quit smoking. Don’t eat fried food like a crackhead smokes rock. Have faith in yourself. Don’t just expect things to happen in your favor; make them happen. For God’s sake, just get your shit together, dude.

You’re all older and presumably wiser than I.  Any advice would help.

Fellow Travellers In The Valley of The Shadow

He who goes by Bill Metanoya emailed me the other day and told me that he was going to hold his breath until I blogged again, that he needed a fix.  I can only hope that he was bluffing.  If not, my most sincere apologies to Becky and Larissa. 

Here’s my blog.  Take a deep breath, Bill, you’re gonna need it.

Sometimes obeying God feels like utter and complete shit, and the thing that pisses me off about most Christians is that they won’t admit it. 

God told me two years ago to do something, and I did it.  I completed the task.  I finished the race.  I fought a good fight.  I can say, without hesitation, that I obeyed Him. 

In the end, at least thus far, it hasn’t gone “My” way, or at least in the direction that I thought it should.  The end result has seemed like it in no way justifies the sweat, blood, and tears that I invested.  I felt like I was at the end of a big fat cosmic, “Eff You!  See ya sucka!”

Most Christians don’t like to hear things like that.  It makes them all twitchy.  The platitudes start flying fast and furious. 

The other night, some friends were over, and we were talking about this chapter in our lives, and this couple named Dan and Jaime listened intently to my story.  They nodded their heads and said things like, ”Yeah… we’ve felt like that before.”   

I told them how I felt like I had been stabbed in the back by The Almighty, and Jaime said something that finally meant something to me. 

It was along the lines of, “Well… you obeyed God and it didn’t feel good.  So what?  Congrats!  You’re now like every prophet in the Scripture.  You’re in good company.  The question is not whether or not it feels good, the question is whether or not you were obedient.”

It put my soul at something resembling peace for the first time in three months. 

Sometimes obeying God feels like shit, and I’m ok with that.  If, in the future, God brings someone into my path who says this to me, I will speak peace and truth and empathy into their lives like Jaime spoke into mine. 

You may now exhale.

Dear NBC, …really?

Okay, so I’m stealing a bit from an oft used bit on SNL, but really? So since I missed the last two episodes of the greatest show on television (#2 behind The Fall Guy), I can’t just go onto iTunes like I’ve done in the past, spend my less-than-two-bucks, and watch in peace. Now I have to go to your site, select the show by way of a semi-clunky flash interface, then go to episodes. Once I’ve done that, I have to choose which chapter of the episode I’d like to see. “Chapters”? Really? Any chance you might assume that folks would want to see the whole show? Once I’ve chosen the chapter(s) I’d like to see, I have to sit through 30+ seconds of commercials for each chapter. This was one of the reasons that iTunes worked for me. One-click, no commercials. I spend some money, you make some money, everybody wins. But you had to go and screw it up.

Remember when we had that great relationship? Remember when every college dorm in America filled up on Thursdays to see if Ross and Rachael were gonna finally hook up? Yeah? Well that’s done. I still love the greatest show on television, but it’s a reluctant love. As if the greatest child alive was born by accident from two parents that suck.

Not My Finest Hour, Volume 1

G and I trecked up north to Camarillo last night, to have dinner with my folks. When we get together with my family, one fun game that my mom likes to play is “let’s all remember stories about my son Michael, and every stupid or embarrassing or illegal thing he’s ever done.” It’s supposed to be good fun, kind of like a sitcom episode, with the added benefit of building my character by forcing me to be humble. Or some crap like that.

So, I was reminded of an episode from my elementary school years, when I was hired by the next-door neighbor to feed their dog for a week while they were on vacation. As most of you probably know, being hired to dog-sit is pretty much an open invitation to rummage through the entire house, find out all of your neighbors naughty secrets (my first and last introduction to edible undergarments), explore their finances, things of that nature. The tricky part is figuring out exactly how much time you can spend in their house while you’re supposed to be feeding the dog before your mom becomes suspicious and sends your always-too-honest older brother over to check on you. It’s like an episode of 24, counting down the minutes of unrestricted privacy invasion before Jack Baur shows up and crashes the party.

On one trip, I was almost out of happy-fun time when I noticed that they had a fire extinguisher in the pantry. I pulled it out, tested the pressure by spraying it all over their kitchen, then put it back and quickly cleaned up. And by cleaned up, I mean I wiped off maybe 20% of the white powder from the counter with a single pass of a paper-towel. At age 10, this counted as your basic deep-clean. Still does.

The next day, our neighbors came home, saw the mess in the kitchen, saw the powdery footprints leading into and out of the pantry, and using the clever science of “Reason”, figured out exactly what had happened. They didn’t make a big deal out of it, but they wanted to let my folks know that they were going to deduct the cost of recharging the fire extinguisher from the amount I was being paid for the gig. My mom confronted me about the incident, and I, of course, did what every troublemaker kid does when confronted with obvious and overwhelming evidence of his misdeeds.

I completely denied it. Denied that I knew anything about it. Suggested that the neighbors were making the whole thing up.

My mom believed me.

She marched back over to the neighbor’s house, stated that her son was not responsible for the mess, and suggested that is was probably the neighbor’s own son, who had come home on leave from The Marines, thrown a party for some friends, and that the white powder was obviously cocaine.

Yes. Cocaine. My mom accused our neighbor’s son, the marine, not only of snorting enough coke to fill a low-flying Cessna, but also of leaving roughly 480 grams of the stuff in piles on the counter.

coke party

I, of course, said nothing.

It was not my finest hour.

a little good press

Dear New Century Volkswagen in Glendale,

I had to come in to your dealership today to pick up my new Jetta from your repair department, where it was getting a little warranty repair done. My wife was in the hospital (one more stamp on her card and she gets a free surgery of her choice), and I was the frazzled solo dad with a toddler and a newborn in tow. I was too scattered to say it at the time, but I appreciated …

  1. When I called you on my way to ask about dropping off the rental car, I said I had two kids with me, and your service manager said, “Don’t worry about the rental, just drive here and we’ll take care of getting it back to the lot for you.”
  2. Your waiting area has a children’s play center with very nice wooden toys, and they are kept clean. You’d be amazed at how often this isn’t the case. I also appreciate that it is encased in glass, and visible from your service manager’s desk, cashier’s line, and outdoor waiting area. I could let my 2-year-old hang with the wood-piece puzzles while I took care of business, and she was never out of sight.
  3. Without asking, one of the guys on your garage crew transfered both car seats from the rental over into my car. I have no idea how I would have managed that.
  4. This same guy ran over and washed off my daughter’s binky that had fallen on the ground.
  5. Once I was finally packed into my car with my two kids strapped into their seats, the service manager came out to meet me at my car, to finish out the paperwork, rather than having me come to the service window.

All of these small things made what could have been a frazzled dad nightmare into a manageable situation. They weren’t small things to me.

Thank you.

Jetta-Tastic!

Jetta

I am so in love with this car. It hugs the road, kicks like a mule when you step on the gas, and I love the diesel rumble. I’d tell you the gas mileage, but I’m still on the first tank, so I don’t know yet. The kicker? I jumped in for the first time, turned the key, and a flat panel touch screen popped up out of the dashboard. Turns out the guy who owned it before me dropped in a $1400 alpine car computer system, complete with DVD player. Sweet!

Drop-bys and test-drives welcome. Come see the new little bundle of joy. And also, I think we had like a kid or something recently, so there’s that too.

[flickr pics]

Birf-Day Shenanaginz

Ally totally stole my thunder. But that’s fine. No, really. I’m really OK with it. I’m not bitter.    :)

Here’s the deal: Next month I turn 30. I hate it. It’s awful, really. But I’m burying my 20′s in the desert, in high style, albeit a month early. Sara and I, and a few other couples, have rented a big ol’ house in Palm Springs for the weekend. (Yes, this weekend) It’s got a pool, spa, swim-up bar, and A LAZY RIVER.  Yes.  A Lazy. Frickin’. River.  Totally insane. Pool table, putting greens, basketball court, and more. It’s like adult Disneyland in the desert.

The party is this Saturday, the 22nd. If you’re a reader of this blog, and I’ve shared at least one beer with you in my twenties, you’re invited. If you qualify, chances are you know how to get ahold of me for directions/address. (This is to ward off Mike’s APU students looking for free booze. Damn freeloaders!)

So, get your asses to Palm Springs this Saturday. Blow off the Sunday morning church gigs. Drop the newborns off at the neighbors.  Whatever. Food and drink (lots ‘o drink) are provided. If you’re planning on staying the night, you’ll need a hotel, as the owner of the house has strict rules on occupancy. But the Travelodge is down the street, and cheap.  Here are some photos of the house, to get you all excited.

Bible Songs and Poo Poo

My first-born started pre-school this week.  I think we got our tuition’s worth of socialization.

When we asked her how the first day was, she said these exact words: “It was perfect!”  She emerged from the classroom with a Beginner’s Bible, two paintings, and a book order form.  Things were going as planned… until night-night time.

A couple of nights ago when we were reading a story, I substituted silly words and we laughed.  But this time Camille said “Dora was crossing over poo poo” and laughed harder than I’ve ever seen.  She gave herself hiccups.  It was hard not to laugh, too.  Then everything became poo poo and pee pee.  She sang, “Twinkle twinkle little poo poo” etc.  A comedienne is born.

I told her I had to leave if she said it once more and she covered her mouth with both hands while I sang and prayed. 

We just completed a Summer of potty training which contained extensive discussions about poo poo and pee pee without one giggle.  So I asked her what was causing her to make these new jokes.  “I don’t know his name,” she replied, “But Mom, there was this REALLY funny boy on the playground.”

My baby is growing up.

Announcing …

Josiah Michael Lee was born this morning at 7:32 AM, following 24 hours of labor (during which his mother sang a solo at church), and an emergency C-section. Turns out the guy had done a tuck-and-roll with the chord wrapped around him.

Josiah is sleeping peacefully beside us now. He was 6 lb 12 oz at birth, 20 1/2 inches long, and scored a 9.9 on that APGAR thingy that tests how advanced he is.

Say it with me now … he’s very advanced.

If you want to stop by and visit, call my cell first. If you don’t have my cell number, well, you’re probably not on the list of people who should drop by. Just saying.

Groupthink: Superbad vs. High School Musical 2

Two pieces of vastly different, youth-marketed media ruled this past August weekend.

OMG.

Or, if you’re talking about Superbad: OMFG

Superbad, the latest from Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and the rest, surpassed everyone’s expectations and made $32 million dollars in it’s opening weekend.

High School Musical 2 obliterated all previous records and cemented itself as a full blown pop phenom, becoming the highest rated basic cable program of all time, and the second highest rated television program (cable or not) among 9-14 year olds, behind only the 2004 Superbowl. Yay for my bank account.

I had a few thoughts.

  • Although both films are marketed at different audiences, (tweens for HSM2, older teens and early 20s for Superbad) there will be scores of young people who see both, and for whom both pieces of media will be internalized and mimicked. We can expect random outbursts of singing, dancing, frivolity, as well as bad McLovin impersonations for months to come.
  • Youth media has both matured and gotten soft all at the same time. People saying that HSM2 is the new Grease have forgotten how sexually provocative and naughty Grease was. They’ve also forgotten that the actual story of Grease is pretty dumb, lacking anything even resembling a genuine emotion. The kids occupying the alternate universe of HSM2 are actually given real things to think and feel, and sing about, albeit perkily. The writers and producers are actually making an attempt (in a mass market, squeaky-clean way) to give their young audience something to process. In the real world, the Wildcats would be singing about the first time Gabriella gave Troy a blow job. It would be soaring ballad, no doubt.
  • At the same time regarding the evolution of youth media, Superbad is (on paper) more disgusting, immoral, filthy, explicit, and deviant then anything John Hughes or Amy Heckerling put on screen in the 80′s and 90′s. In practice, I think it’s a sweeter movie (and more honest about how life actually works) then any of those PG and PG-13 rated farces where all parents are idiots and jerks and the kids know everything. John Hughes movies weren’t really about growing up, they were about declaring a state of perpetual immaturity apart from your hypocrite parents.
  • One of the recurring themes in Judd Apatow’s canon is the delayed maturation process of men in this culture. Knocked Up, which I adored, actually made me weep due to the loving, honest, painfully funny depiction of what happens when a man-child actually has a child. The crassness serves as a backdrop to explore this really interesting idea of what happens when men deal with each other, but refuse to actually deal with women as equals, and deal with sex issues with people who are equals and not objects.

So here’s my groupthink question: Has media aimed at kids gotten generally better or worse? Or both?

P.S. I am not actually recommending Superbad, if you were wondering. The language and situations are… really foul. I laughed at some of it, and I was actually quite moved by the simplicity and honesty of the ending, but there were not enough laughs between squirms for me to sit through it again, or tell you that you should go see it.

P.P.S. You should see Knocked Up, however, as the emotional payoffs are as big as the laughs. If you have a problem with honest observations of how single heterosexual non-Christian men living together behave, give it a second thought.

P.P.P.S. I am heartily recommending HSM2, but actually on DVD would be nicer for me… what with the royalties and all. My interests are conflicted, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Good Vibes Welcomed

I’m doing my once-yearly (annual? anal?) checking-in on the blog to beg for good karma. Tonight at 11:15pm I’ve got a big audition. This is the one that could make me as huge as I think I already am. It’s the ground floor of a Brooklyn-based band called Outernational. Google it if ya want.

I never read this site (not out of hatred or disrespeck, but simply because I can rarely work a computer if it doesn’t involve a point-and-click link to a poker site) so what I’m posting probably counts as worthless spam. But I allow myself this Smoked Processed indulgence because I know a lot of the folks who do read this, and some of you are nice enough to consider me a friend in some regard. Therefore, I eagerly ask your thoughts/prayers/good karma tonight if you think about it. I cancelled a $400 fly date on 6-hour’s notice to do the audition, and those of you who know how deep my love affair with money is realize that’s a pretty big thing for me.

Disclaimers:

1. Auditioning for this gig does not mean I’m looking to quit your band, if I’m currently in your band. It just means I’m tired of churches and Bar-Mitzvahs, and I want a Grammy, dammit!

2. If I get the gig, I’m not necessarily moving to New York right away. I hate New York. Especially on my dime.

3. If you don’t hear about this gig from me within the next 3 days or so, it means I didn’t get it and I’m probably pissed off about that. You can still ask out of caring friendship, but I might not be very gracious or appreciate your concern. I love you, I really do, but I’m a d%&k.

If anyone still decides to throw some love my way, it is GREATLY appreciated!

Wells Fargo: We’ve Made All The Money We Need, And Do Not Want Your Business

We shot the pilot episode today for a new reality show, called Wells Fargo: We’ve Made All The Money We Need, And Do Not Want Your Business™. Since it will take a few months for the show to air, I’m posting the transcript here for your entertainment pleasure.

Scene 1: In Which Michael Finds A Car He Wishes To Buy

Gretchen: We should sell your truck and buy a car that can fit our growing family.

Michael: I agree. Also, you’re sexy. Look, here’s the exact car we’ve been talking about, for a reasonable amount of money. It is an environmentally-friendly clean-diesel 2006 Jetta, with low milage. We should buy it.

Gretchen: Let’s buy it.

Michael: Rather than spend the money we have earmarked for a down payment on our first house, let’s go get a car loan to purchase the vehicle. That way we can put more money down on the house, and qualify for a lower interest rate on our mortgage.

Gretchen: That’s a sound financial decision.

Scene 2: In Which Michael Applies For A Car Loan from Wells Fargo

Michael: My wife and I would like to apply for a car loan, so that we can purchase a vehicle for our growing family.

Wells Fargo: OK, let me get some details. How much money do you make annually?

Michael: (an amount that is 6x the purchase price of the vehicle)

Wells Fargo: Excellent. What are your monthly expenses for rent and outstanding loan payments??

Michael: (an amount that is 1/4 of our gross monthly income)

Wells Fargo: Great. It looks like you and your wife have established a sound financial footing for yourselves, one in which your income exceeds your expenses by a reasonable amount.

Michael: Yes, we have.

Wells Fargo: It also looks like you pay all of your bills on time, don’t bounce checks, and have generally conducted yourselves like responsible adults.

Michael: Yes, yes we have.

Wells Fargo: Great! We’re not loaning you the money.

Michael: Excuse me?

Wells Fargo: We’re not loaning you the money.

Michael: Why the $#%&* not?

Wells Fargo: You don’t have enough credit history.

Michael: … credit … history … ?

Wells Fargo: Yes. It shows on your credit report that you haven’t borrowed enough money to qualify to … ya know … borrow money.

Michael: Does it show that we took out a loan on a brand new Saturn 6 years ago, and that we paid it off 3 years later, just like we said we would?

Wells Fargo: Yup.

Michael: I don’t understand

Wells Fargo: Well, you paid it off.

Michael: Yes …

Wells Fargo: So it no longer counts. It doesn’t show us how you will manage your current debts.

Michael: WE MANAGE OUR DEBTS BY PAYING THEM OFF!

Wells Fargo: Yes, it sure looks that way, doesn’t it.

Michael: Does it show that we have a platinum credit card that we pay off every single month? Does it show that the credit limit on that card is high enough that, if we wanted to, we could just charge the car to our card?

Wells Fargo: Well, technically, since you opened that card up under your business, it doesn’t count toward your personal credit history.

Michael: Would you like to guess whose credit record is going to get f’d up if I stop making the payments?

Wells Fargo: Sir, don’t get snippy with me.

Michael: Sweetheart, I haven’t even started to get snippy yet. So, we’re not getting turned down because of bankruptcy, late payments, bounced checks, felony convictions, or bad dental hygiene; we’re getting turned down because we HAVEN’T BORROWED ENOUGH MONEY?

Wells Fargo: Yes sir. We have no way of knowing if you’ll pay back the money you’ve borrowed unless you’ve borrowed lots of money already, and paid some of it back.

Michael: Ok, let’s review. My wife and I will make more money this year than 80% of the people in the county.

Wells Fargo: Yes.

Michael: We pay less than 1/4 of our monthly income in rent and other fixed expenses.

Wells Fargo: Yes.

Michael: It’s not like we’re buying an Bentley here; we’re buying a family sedan for under $20,000 dollars. The payments will be less than $400 a month.

Wells Fargo: Yes. Not excessive at all.

Michael: We have our accounts here with Wells Fargo, and you have the balances in front of you. You know that we could pay cash for this car.

Wells Fargo: Yes.

Michael: And we’ve paid off every dollar we’ve ever borrowed in our entire lives.

Wells Fargo: Yes.

Michael: Can I ask a question?

Wells Fargo: Of course.

Michael: If you aren’t making car loans to people like us, who the hell are you making them to?