April 2003

Random Thoughts

Friday night. Just after midnight. I am as sick as I have ever been, and as such, I find myself sitting at home after sleeping the day away. My muscles, lungs and entire head are all very angry with me. I seem to have done something to make them and various other parts of my body very displeased. What exactly that was I canít be sure.

So here I sitÖcontemplating the finer points of things like Big Macs, laser hair removal, and the underrated art of mixing over the counter cold medications. All while trying to come up with something witty or intelligent or inspirational or something like that.

Hard to do when under the influence of an impressive cocktail of more cold remedies than I probably should be taking. I just finished spending a half hour of my time watching a TV show that was more or less the only thing on other than the war channel, and I honestly have no idea what it was about.

Funny that, my cable subscriber insists that I get something along the lines of over 70 channels. I should call them on Monday because it seems that the vast majority of what almost used to pass for entertaining stations to tune into have been replaced what I have affectionately come to refer to as the war channel. Thatís all there is on a Friday night, other than electric circus, but I have yet to figure out exactly what that show is all about either.

In fact, most of whatís on TV these days confuses the hell out of me. The original TV Batman And Robin recently returned for a "look back" a couple of weeks ago. They drove around in the batmobile, did the interview bits, made all the predictable jokes and all that.

I felt soooo bad for poor Adam West. I understand that bills have to be paid, but to see a geriatric version of Bruce Wayne/Batman parading around in the old Batmobile damn near broke my heart.

I loved that show. So much of my humor comes from that show. And now, it's a look back and in this case, the objects in the rear view mirror should maybe appear a little farther away. If it wasn't for the fact that the original show was so cool, and that I have the movie (and I mean the original, not the Micheal Keaton version, although I quite enjoyed that as well) on tape somewhere, I think it may very well have seriously cracked the rose colored glassess of my childhood.

I actually watched the introduction for a show called "Vampire High" tonight. From what I gathered from the 30 second opening credits, itís a show based on the idea that there is this group of Vampires that really just want to fit in their high school, and at the same time fight crime and evil and all that.

I have come to the conclusion that most of the shows that are on TV today are nothing more than a product of pulling random scraps of paper out of a top hat or a bag. Think about it, you have a bag with characters, a bag with various settings and then a bag the "twist". I can see a group of TV executives standing around pulling these little bits of paper out and creating next years Emmy winner.

"OK boys, looks like this year itís going to be a charming crime fighting robot who lives on the rough streets of Los Angeles helping out neighborhood kids and fighting his arch nemesis who is a demon from the 4th century hell bent on world domination."

And our robot friend (who really, has to be named Robby, what else could it beÖ), has an orphaned wisecracking street savvy friend named Chip (bad puns must abound), and a dog named Skippy.

Hell, Iím seriously considering giving up the whole music thing to pursue a career as a sitcom writer.

Or perhaps Iíll just have some more cough medicine.

As PromisedÖ

It started innocently enough. We had just finished playing a show at one of the local bars. The show went very well, and the band was doing the post show decompression and starting to think about the inevitable packing up of gear. One day, we will have roadies or at least a couple of midgets to handle the packing and unpacking of gear. Itís the only bad part about playing, and really, those duties are better suited to some sort of a minion or lackey rather than wanna be rock stars such as ourselves.

But that day has yet to arrive.

None of us saw it coming. Living in the prairies as we do, I donít think any of us would have expected what happened. One just doesnít see a whole lot of sudden attacks by 8-foot swordfish when there arenít large bodies of salt water in the immediate area. Had we been playing on a cruise ship in the south pacific, and had Dave been covered in chum, it might have been a foreseeable risk.

We were not, as I have mentioned, on a cruise ship, and Dave was not, to my knowledge, covered in chum.

Dave was wrapping a cord onstage when he stood up and came face to face with the reason that swordfish are called swordfish. From itís hiding place on the wall, a giant blue monster of a creature swung itís head and nearly impaled the back of Daveís skull on itís tusk (or whatever itís called).

Now Dave is a pretty tough guy. Iíve seen him take some pretty hard hits. Dave constantly is attempting backflips and various other acts of gymnastic dare devilry, so he is no stranger to injury.

And he hit the floor.

Josh and I both just stood there as Dave just lay on the floor, slightly twitching. Really, there was nothing that we could do. Between the fact that his assailant was an 8-foot swordfish, and the fact that the attack ended as quickly as it started, we were both far too stunned and utterly powerless to really be of any use.

And the swordfish just stayed on its perch, a smug smile on its fishy face.

There is a happy ending to this story though. After several surgeries and a couple of life saving organ grafts, Dave has more or less returned to his normal self. The entire band has had to go through several victim survival therapy sessions to really come to grips with the whole ordeal, but weíre doing OK. Dave is back to doing backflips, and the entire band is now able to talk about the whole thing without breaking out into nervous fits of laughter.

We tried to press charges, but really, the story is so outlandish that no court in the world would possibly convict. We are moving on.

And Now A Short StoryÖ

I watched her little drama almost every night. From my little metal perch I could see the events of her entire evening unfold. They were invariably predictable, invariably the same.

She was a pretty girl. I suppose that some would say she was average looking, but somehow a little bit more. She had her flaws as we all do, but she seemed to be capable of making it seem like those flaws really didnít matter.

To be sure, I never spoke to her. I preferred to simply stand back and watch the drama unfold. It was the same story almost every time.

She would come in with two of what Iím sure she would call friends. In all honesty I feel that describing them as accessories would probably be a more honest description. You could tell simply from the feigned interest and the chosen distance between the three of them that theirs was a dynamic based more on reinforcement than actual friendship. I came to the conclusion (in my own judgmental mind) that these three women probably wouldnít know true friendship if it saved their life.

It would just be a good story to tell endlessly to anyone who would listen. That's the kind of girls these were, the kind that tell the same stories over and over again, because they really don't have that many good ones, but they want it to sound like they do.

But for some reason, she stuck out. I couldnít tell you why exactly, she just did.

So I watched her, to pass the time at first, but it became something like tuning in to a TV show that you really enjoy. The plot and characters are always the same, but thereís a comfort in that.

Like I said, she was a slightly above average looking, but she had a pretty good idea of how to work things. She always wore outfits that were revealing enough to set her apart from the rest, but at the same time, she managed to keep the things that needed to be kept hidden for imagination to come into play. And of course, the guys ate it up like flies to honey.

It amused me to no end to see her sitting there, surrounded by guys desperately competing for her attention, never realizing that they were fulfilling every stereotype of masculinity known to man. You could almost see the clubs and the chest beating if you looked close enough.

One of them may have even discovered fire at some point.

And the night would end, and she would choose the lucky one. The victor. She would be completely intoxicated at this point, and as she walked out with her new man for the evening, you could see all of the imagined class she had dressed herself in draining off of her and leaving a trail behind her.

The strange thing was that she would do this at least 4 nights out of seven. This was an art that she had more or less perfected. What I came to realize over time was that this was something she had wanted. Why? That is a question I have never really been able to answer. Sitting up on my metal perch I have tried to blame it on fear, or insecurity, or perhaps control or loneliness. Truth be told, none of these answers explain completely, either on their own or in some combination.

The closest I have come is that she must have really enjoyed it. And for that, despite the fact that I no longer sit at my metal perch, I feel obliged to thank her. And perhaps I would, if I wasnít so terrified of her.

Because I Feel I Have ToÖ

I figured I should write something about current world events this month. I figured I should write something about the incredible ignorance that the great empire has shown. I figured I should write about the fact that news agencies have sold their souls for a chance to get the best footage. I figured I should say something about the fact that CNN is actually selling their coverage as Internet pay per view. I figured I should say something about the greatest tyrant and dictator alive residing just south of our boarder. I figured I should comment on the sheer incredible wrongness (and yes I know thatís not a word, but itís times like these when words fail me the most) of this entire debacle. I figured I should say something about the fact that millions of people are tuning in to watch the fall of an albeit evil, but sovereign state.

How do you say, "hey, somethingís wrong with this picture", when it is so glaringly obvious to anyone who would care to look at it through anything other than the biased lens of a state fed news machine.

You canít.

A duck is a duck.

And this is wrong.

If you disagree, good for you. All that I would suggest is rather than accept the disinformation (and have no illusions thatís what %90 of what is being spread is), try to do some research on your own. Talk to people, read, think, that sort of thing.

You see, thereís nothing anyone can do about stopping this mess. The only thing that we can do is learn to think ourselves, and encourage others to do so in the hopes that in the future, misinformed, ignorant, bigoted red necks might not so easily come to take the reigns of nations again.

That is allÖ

Final Note:I got to meet Matt Good at the show in Calgary. I tried to send Rich a beer, but he had to go to a hockey game before the show. All things considered it was a fantastic night.

You know where to find meÖ

Nate@natepike.com