Friday, October 31, 2008

A letter to my father.

I just wrote this in a frenzy to my dad in an email. I thought there was some good stuff in there. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing.

You know they say technology makes life easier, or better, and don't get me wrong I love all my high tech gizmos and I want more, but in reality technology only makes life different. We are still people. We have the same fears and doubts and joys and temptations and frailties and love and passion and longing that all people ever have had. We are human no matter what trappings of civilization surround us.

I have discovered in 36 years that mankind is quite adept at learning how to adapt to new situations. We are also quite extraordinary in our ability to build on the lessons learned by our previous generations when it comes to things like education and technology and farming and building etc. But when you get down to the nitty gritty of the human experience we are all doomed to make our own mistakes. We never really learn from the past when it comes to the true nature of ourselves. Every generation experiments, and every generation has it's pain. We repeat the mistakes of our forebears continually because that is what it means to be alive I guess. We look at our children and know that no amount of caution in the world will necessarily prevent them from doing stupid things for love or greed or revenge or whatever. That's who we are. It's sometimes harsh, but it is also beautiful.

Sorry to get heavy. I'm just writing creatively with you as an audience. I think about these things. I love humanity and I always look at the future with an optimistic view, because to me we are no worse or no better than we have ever been, but now we have a lot of fun toys to play with. Technology I think creates some of our current problems as well as provides the solution for them.

War, sadly, I believe will always be with us. Because there will always be those that disagree so much with another that it becomes apparent (and even justified) to obliterate them. "You're wrong and I'm right so now die." And of course it gets even more complex. I just fear for America. Our America is dying a silent death, and the new America will be something I'm not sure I know how to deal with.

Oh well. I'll still try to sell my bullshit to whoever will listen. And kids today and the kids of tomorrow will continue to make the same mistakes that we have all made forever. Life is good.

I love you Dad. Thanks for being my dad. If my son regards me half as well as I regard you, I will have been a successful parent.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Okay I named my son Kirk. So I'm a nerd. Whatever. The thing is my little boy who is three and put his pees in the potty at the Home Depot this weekend and is such a big boy is becoming a nerd too. We do have the right to brainwash our kids as we see fit. That is what religion is after all. Anyway, back to the potty. Kirkie has been wearing underpants and not having accidents, and the Home Depot thing was huge. He is a little shy of public bathrooms, as we all are, but he not only peed in a public restroom for the first time, but it was also standing up, and in the low urinal. I was praising him so much that when a stranger walked in he too understood and praised Kirk. Yay!

Kirk, who must be called Buzz these days, because he is Buzz Lightyear, is a big Space Ranger. He calls me Woody. I haven't heard the word daddy in months. I am Woody, all the time. His mom is sometimes Jessie, sometimes Mira Nova, but also sometimes still mommy, but I am always Woody. I'm so proud of my little space ranger for finally figuring out the potty thing. It's been work, and there are many bribes involved, but mostly there are rewards, and the things he gets for successful pottying are lessons in EARNING.

Back to the nerd thing. I lost my train of thought because potty time is such a big part of my life now. By the way, I recommend it. Simple lessons to children go a long way in understanding your own humanity. Anyway my Kirk is finally starting to watch Star Trek. He knows he is Kirk and he digs it. He has loved Star Wars for years, literally, and the Beatles, and Depeche Mode and other things I've exposed him to, but just recently he has discovered a fondness for the Trek. Original series of course.

He really likes the Corbomite Maneuver. Thats the one where the alien is all scary at first but turns out to really be a young Clint Howard. The alien is called Balok, and Kirk talks about his friend Balok all the time, but he hides under his blanket and cuddles me when we watch it, because he thinks the "puppet Balok" is scary. It's cute. I tell him it's okay, and that Balok just wants to be friends. He gets it but just can't deal with the Balok dummy. I like the cuddles though. He also likes to watch Spock's Brain. One of the silliest episodes, but Kirk digs it for some reason. He also like to watch the "silly black and white guys fight", and the "one where Kirk takes the Tribble from Chekov." Then he always says, "I love it when they beam."

My kid rules. The thing is I really didn't force it on him. I just asked him if he wanted to see an episode, and he watched it with me, and then asked for more. I tried to show it to him a year ago and he wasn't into it, but he liked Star Wars. Trek takes a level of sophistication. I can remember seeing it in re-runs when I was about his age and I was intrigued by it. The uniforms have bold colors, and the characters are classic. The kid who calls himself Buzz Lightyear truly loves space fantasy. He calls Captain Kirk him. He says,"look at what I'm doing." He loves that there is an awesome space hero called Kirk. By the way when we listen to Metallica I do point out that the nice guitar player is named Kirk too. He likes Metallica. We listened to Master of Puppets once and he was all headbanging in his carseat.

I let him drive the car this weekend. We went to a parking lot near our house and I sat him in my lap and let him steer. He needs to work on that, but he thought it was the greatest thing ever. Then I let him drive us home. When we got home he told his mommy that he drove. She asked, "Where did you drive?" and he shouted, "Home!" Whoops, I forgot to tell him not to tell his mother. Heh.

I love my three year old son. I only wonder what will happen when his new sibling is born. I can't imagine loving anyone as much as I love him. I guess I'm going to learn a new lesson about humanity soon. I do love babies. Being a dad rules. Please gods don't make them hate me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Okay I'm in Ad school. I'm in a portfolio school to learn how to sell stuff creatively. I do a lot of concepting but I am also learning how companies think when they are marketing to segments of our population. There is a generational component to this. This component has given me grief and has made me cause many disruptions in class. Let me explain.

The three main "generations" being marketed to are the Baby Boomers, the Generation Xers, and the Millennials.

I know the boomers well. They are our parents. The hippie 60's generation. The first rock generation, the Viet-Nam survivors, we don't need to be reminded about them, they are in charge and they are arrogant and harder to define than you might think. They were hippies, they were yuppies, and they are afraid to grow old. It's easy to sell to them. I have issues with the boomers that I openly state. My generation has lived in their shadow for so long, but I love the music and culture of the 50's and 60's. I love the boomer cultural contribution and fully recognize how it has shaped my own life.

Then there is Generation X. It's seems we are forgotten before we even came of age. The new Lost Generation. What the fuck? In 1990 I remember this new cultural phenomenon where a new generation was finally recognized. But before we ever had a chance to become anything they go and create a new generation under us, the Millennials. Apparently the Boomers were sad about how horribly they treated the X generation that they got to have a whole new generation to become their children. A redo? Well fuck you. I wish more of you fuck asses died in Viet Nam!

Okay. I'll calm down. The Boomers didn't create this. It's a product of capitalism and marketing. The boomers were mistakingly given two generations of children, when culturally it's not quite real. I'm not saying Mellenials don't exist as their own separate generation, but they CAN NOT BE THE CHILDREN OF BOOMERS. One generation begets another, which means these children are the children of Xers. So the timespans of these generations need to be refigured.

Here is how they have it written now:

Boomers-44 to 62 years old
Xers- 31 to 43 years old
Millennials-13 to 30 years old

Both Millennials and Xers are said to be children of Boomers. Okay, I understand we are different culturally because of certain things. Thing like the fact that the kids today were born into technologies that the rest of us grew into. Still on a realistic cultural level this is not a way to define generations.

I am 36, but I do not think of a 26 year old as a different generation. The kids who are 21 years old and younger sure, they were made by the Xer's or late Boomers. The problem is that your 44 year olds were not really boomers either. They graduated in 1982 and loved punk rock. Viet Nam was not their war, those kids loved Duran Duran and Metallica. They were proto-Xers. It's their kids who are now in their late 20's and those kids are Millennials. The kids who fucked up in my high school and had babies the year of graduation, those kids are Millennials. I waited until I was 33 to have children. My son is a late Millennial and not whatever brand they want to place on him.

This is a subject of much debate because people have kids at different times in their lives and things, but I would say your individual generation is more or less the people 10 years older and 10 years younger than you.

But in marketing segmentation is important. I can go there too. I quit my job at the cafe because the kids who I would be hiring would have been born the year I graduated high school. If you were born in the 90's you truly never can remember the time before every human had their own phone, or DVD's or ipods, or the internet. When I was a kid I had to get up to change the channel.

I am raising the real next generation. I know lots of 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 year olds. Good kids. Good kids. Gen Xer's will raise good kids. Nerdy kids, who understand Star Wars as mythological allegory and strive to create a better world despite the utter failure of the baby boomers. Stupid Baby Boomers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Easy Money

My current job is working in a cubicle at a major corporation. It is so easy. I always knew that all of my friends in office jobs had it easy while I was busting my ass for the man in a string of blue collar jobs. I should have pursued a career much earlier (yes, I should have, I'm old and starting fresh, SCARY!) but I was just going from job to job without the ability to choose a vocation. I stay at jobs for long periods. I always quickly rise to the top in these fields, but they were never more than just, well jobs. I'm trying to change that now.

What I really want to talk about is how every job I've had in my entire life has gotten easier. Every subsequent job is easier than the last and they pay better too. This is only one man's experience, so bear with me.

My first job was when I was 11 years old. I had to pick up garbage and mow my dad's company's sales lot. Yes I was 11. When I get my yearly social security report it goes back to 1987 when I was 16. I was paid under the table for the first 5 years, but I did receive an actual payroll check. From ages 11 to 16 I made $2.50 an hour. I did the hardest, most demeaning, backbreaking work of my life for $2.50 an hour. I hated it. I even tried to quit,but my dad wouldn't let me. When I would get my paycheck, I would spend it on Star Wars toys, and waterslides. My mom would then yell at me for spending my money wrong.

Eventually I stopped buying toys, and bought things like a tv for my own room and my very own VCR. I had a VCR years before my parents did. Of course they tried to talk me out of that purchase too, but when they finally conceded they made sure I did it right. I had toshop around, and make sure I got the salesmen's cards. When it was time to buy I was told to pull out the card to make sure my salesman got the commission. I bought the VCR at JCPenney of all places.

When I turned 16 I thought I should ask my dad's boss for a raise. He told me how to approach him. I spent an entire day terrified of the confrontation, but I eventually walked into his office, and said that I was 16 and I was thinking I should get a raise. I had been there for 5 years doing the gruntiest of grunt labor and all he said was, "well you know this will mean you have to work harder?" Then he offered me $3.35 an hour, which was minimum wage at that time. I went on the official payroll and have paid taxes ever since. The thing is after that I didn't work harder. I got to do more interesting things like move furniture, fix things, and I often got my own truck to drive around in.

Soon after I left my dad's company to work at a grocery store. $3.85 an hour, and all I had to do was bag groceries and put them in peoples cars. I don't know if any store even does that anymore. I quit that job to work with my brother at the Hy-Vee deli. They offered me $4.05 an hour and it was even easier. I did a lot of things, but it was fun. I fried chicken and sold it to people. I worked there throughout high school and probably left making $4.75 an hour, which I thought was good at the time. (back then boys couldn't wear earrings at work)

In college I got a job doing phone bank junk for liberal causes. I got people to pledge money for Paul Wellstone, the Sierra Club, Minnesota NOW, and anti-Gulf War I stuff. $6.00 an hour. It was easy in that I just sat there and made phone calls, but it was hard because people hate being called at home. I got fired from that job. That's when I discovered I'm really not that liberal. Don't hate me, this was 1991 when political correctness gave no room for a South Dakota kid who was high all the time and liked to make jokes. Believe me, nothing I said then would even phase today's kids. Of course I skipped work a lot too, because it's hard to call people to give money for anything with a head full of acid.

After that I got a University job. I became a janitor. $7.25 an hour. I figured I would be rolling in the dough. I really liked the job. I had time to study, and I became a smoker there. I did a lot of writing there. I got drunk a lot during work and eventually had to quit school because I was a train wreck as a human.

Some time went on, I had various jobs, and then in 1993 I started to work for Courier Dispatch. I drove a van and delivered junk. I think I started at $8.50 an hour. There was a lot of lifting, but a lot of driving too. I smoked grass and made up songs. I worked there for two years and then left to join Airborne Express. I got more money and the work was less harsh. I worked my way up to dispatcher and finally quit in 2000 to go back to school.

School was great, then the dot com bust happened and Belsum lost her job. I quit school and worked at the coffee shop. At first I made less money, but eventually I was the manager. That was a great job, a dream job. I did it for years, but in time I felt I was stagnating, so here I am now, working in a cubicle.

This job is fine. I don't hate it because it is a new experience for me, but it is temporary. Hopefully soon I will be able to make even more money doing a job where I get to be creative. Of course if a million of you readers buy a Mercurial Rage record I can just become a humble popstar. Go. Buy it now.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Good Food

I've been trying to eat well these days. You know salads and things. Especially when I'm at work I have been seeking out vegetables to eat rather than your standard burgers and junk. I'm always looking for foods with vibrant natural colors. Orange, green, red, yellow. Not the dull brown of fried foods. Today I had a hankering for Sushi. I found a place in the Minneapolis skyway that serves pretty decent sushi for not a lot of cash. Of course I seem a bit wankerish in my cubicle eating my sushi, but who cares. I love good food.

I'm kind of a redneck. I guess. It's because I'm from South Dakota and I actually enjoy fast food on occasion. I love a McRib when it comes around. I love KFC now and then, and I love fried food, and the comfort food of my youth. My vegetarian friends pigeon hole me into a group of "bad eaters" when actually my tastes are quite diverse. Sure I eat shit a lot, and I love a buffet, but my gastronomic urges are much more complex than that.

First off I think vegetarians are evil. You heard me. Evil. They are taking the pleasure out of food. Food is to not only sustain, but to be enjoyed. If you are a vegetarian by religion, okay, I'll give you a pass, (and Indian vegetarian food with its long history of practice is simply perfect, I don't even know I'm not eating meat when it's prepared correctly),but if you are vegetarian because you think meat is murder, well you don't belong on the evolutionary food chain, and you should and will die out as a species.

I love meat. Most of my friends, who are primarily vegetarians for some reason, think of me as some big red meat eating carnivore. I do love a steak occasionally, and I do love eating pig wholeheartedly, but my favorite dish is fish.

When my wife and I go out to a fancy restaurant, there have been many times where they put her steak in front of me and my fish in front of her. So here I am the big meat eater, but still not manly.

Sushi seems sophisticated, but here I am the big redneck loving it the most. It confuses my friends. Especially the vegetarian ones. All I have to say is try it. Raw fish is the most delish. Yum!

So my wife thought my list of favorite foods would give a glimpse of my character. So here it is. My top 10 list of favorite foods.

1. Sushi
2. Thai Noodles
3. Spaghetti
4. Campbell's Soup
5. Fried Rice
6. Totino's Frozen Pizzas
7. Fried chicken
8. Hot roast beef sandwich
9. Pot Pies
10. Chimichangas

There it is. I am a redneck, but I know quality and taste too. Macaroni with hotdogs cut into it didn't make the list nor did fishsticks, but as a dad I deal with that cuisine often enough.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Metallica Rules

First off I have to admit that I had a hard time logging on to my own blog. I have too many passwords and things and it's starting to get confusing. Imagine if I get Ronald Reagan brain. I'll never be able to sort anything out.

The new Metallica record rules by the way. It thrashes and rocks. My good friend Jon could give you a better review, but all I got to say is it is a welcome return to the Metallica of old. I bought it off Itunes for $9.99. That is cheap really, considering that back in the day the first Metallica record I "bought" was the "9.98 CD". The 9.98 CD was an EP of cover songs that came out in between "Master of Puppets" and "...And Justice for All." It's weird to think that Metallica was the band that was fighting the industry with a CD that had it's price on the title, a price that was by the way very much lower than records were being sold at that time, and also being the band that fought Napster. It's not really weird. It's business. Music is a lot cheaper today than it used to be. Thank you Lars.

I don't work at a coffee shop anymore. I work in a cube. I process TPS reports for a major company. I like it. I dress well, put in 8 hours and go home. It's very different from anything I've ever done. At night I go to school to learn how to use my creative talents to sell you all shit. Please buy my bullshit. It's all I have.