Sunday, March 29, 2015

Walmart: It's Sad In There

I had to go to Walmart for something, and I learned that Walmart is just about the saddest place in America.  I was looking for knee pads for volleyball, and no one seemed to know a damn thing about them.  They would stop other staff members and ask them, and each person knew nothing.  Then they called over the intercom for someone for sporting goods to come over, and no one came.  The more I think about it, all the people working there seemed to be just wandering sadly and aimlessly.  I didn't take it personally that no one gave a shit.  They just seem to have really crummy jobs.

"Anything I can help you with, or shall I flag someone else down who doesn't know anything about this dump?"
Anyway, while I was there I picked up a pair of pants to wear to work.  I left the newly purchased pants folded up as is and put them into my gym bag to wear the next day.  After the next morning's workout, I'm walking to my car and hear, "Hey, boss.  You get some new pants?"  I said, "I have tags on my pants don't I?"  To which he said with a chuckle, "All over, dude."

First off, he was very much a gym bro-type-guy, a little condescending, and I don't like being called boss by people who aren't my employees.*  However, it was nice of him to let me know so that I didn't walk into work with size 34 x 34 all up and down the back of my pants.  That's why I didn't notice the tags when I put them on - they were all on the back.  That's no excuse.  It was pretty stupid on my part.  Sometimes I think I might be dumb enough to work at Walmart.

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wI don't have any employees.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mr. and Mrs. Noisewater's Love Story

This is the story of the meeting of Mr. and Mrs. Noisewater that I wrote that will go on the site for our wedding.  Hope you enjoy.

Did I ever tell you about the time I met my bride to be?  It all started back when I was living at the apartment on Nelson Street in Chicago that I lived at with a revolving cast of four roommates for seven years.  We were having a birthday gathering for a good friend and a good roommate, and I was telling the guests the story about the time some middle aged woman gave me her powder blue paisley jacket with shoulder pads.  What happened was I was at a bachelor party and arrived back at the hotel before the rest of my friends and was waiting at the bar.  I saw her goofy jacket slung over the chair and this happened:

Dr. Ken: That's a sharp jacket you got there.
Jacket Lady: Buy me a beer and it's all yours.
Dr. Ken: Sure.  What'l it be?
Jacket Lady: MGD.
Dr. Ken: Bartender, one MGD please.

I didn't know it was a female jacket.  I guess I didn't notice the shoulder pads at the time.  I just slapped it on and texted my best man, Mr. HLP, "I am at the bar in a Mr. Furley jacket!

"No sticker for me?"
So here I am at the apartment telling this story when it dawns on me that I should put The Jacket on as a visual aid to give my listeners a better indication of just how awesome it is.  You just have to see it to believe it.  When we make it out to the bar, I'm in one of those moods where I just decide to go out in public donning The Jacket.  So that's what I did.

We ended up at Four Treys, a wonderfully divey karaoke spot in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago.  After singing a song or two, I'm feeling pretty tremendous when a gorgeous brunette saunters by, slaps a sticker on the shoulder of my jacket and says, "that's an awful jacket" and just walks by without stopping.  I said to my friends that I had to go talk to this one because she gave me a sticker and she has good taste - the jacket is quite ugly.

She was standing over by the Galaga machine, so I thought it natural that I challenge her to a game.  Galaga is a lot like Space Invaders, only the bad guys swoop down on you from all sorts of angles and you can rescue a second ship to get a double shot going.  She said that she has never played but would accept my challenge.  I figured knowing the whole double shooting trick would give me a clear advantage.  Wrong.  She destroyed me.  Mrs. Noisewater was deftly firing buttons to blast ships and moving her plane around while furiously dodging the alien ships and their laser blasts in a way that was demoralizing to me but sexy nonetheless.  I remember her starting to kick butt at the game and offering somewhat of an explanation for her expertise: "Careful.  I'm Asian, you know."  I tried to buy our historic Galaga machine years later for nostalgic reasons but alas, it was gone.  

Beaten but not broken, I asked for her number and we met up the following Thursday.  I remember picking her up with my car when she was stuck in Chicago's bitter cold and feeling like a hero.  Then on the third date she caught me looking up at the Bulls versus Heat game a few too many times and still liked me!    

We got nuts about each other pretty quickly, and then she got notices back from all of the graduate schools she applied to.  Jaemi was looking for a career change into urban planning, which was something more challenging and exciting for her.  She didn't think she would get accepted to any of the schools, but she got accepted to all three.  What is crazy is that even though we hadn't been together that long, we were both ready to tackle a long distance relationship with no hesitation, and off she went to live in Santa Monica California, enrolled in UCLA's Masters in Urban Planning program.

The distance was difficult at times, but it also meant taking fun trips to meet up with one another.  We met in spots in between Chicago and L.A. with trips to Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado and spent one New Years together in Costa Rica.  I never bought into the whole "absence makes the heart grow fonder" thing, but it was true in our case.  We were so excited to see each other on my trips to California, or her trips to Chicago where we would sometimes Hotwire a "fancy" hotel.  Also, it made us really appreciate when the two years would be over and we could be together for good.  Forever.  That's what we plan on doing, and that's what we would love you to help us celebrate on August the 1st in the one the cities we travelled to together and fell deeper in love, San Francisco.  Thanks for reading.

Love,

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater



Thursday, March 12, 2015

We were out at the bar the other night, and were are all picking up the smell of marijuana from somewhere every so often.  We weren't sure at first who it was, but then we saw couple sitting at the table just below us and knew they were the culprits.  You see, we were in a row of tables elevated up a step or two, and seated below us was a couple not saying one word to each other but rubbing each other's arms and faces.  They enjoyed the texture of one another's skin for the better part of two hours, and it was endlessly entertaining for us.  There is no way this was just pot they were doing because never have I seen two people out in public acting in a way as if there were no one else around, or in the world for that matter.

Or maybe some good pot is just that good these days.  But do I want to be that messed up anymore?  I mean these two couldn't even form words to talk to one another.  Or were they speaking to one another through some sort of weed ESP?

What do you think, readers? What were these kids puffing on?  You ever see anything like that?  

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Bands Women Hate

When it comes to couples and music, some is meant to listen to together, and I bet you and that special someone have songs that you dance the night away to or scream out the open windows during a road trip with one another.  But then there are others that us men need to hear on our own.  You don't want her to like that band, and you never would in your wildest dreams expect her to.  That band is just for you.

I conducted extensive research through surveying numerous men of all ages* to see which bands women hate the most.  Now, outright metal is not on then the list would just be dominated by metal, and we wouldn't learn anything from that.  Of course women don't like metal, and the ones that do are often scary and we don't want to date them.  If she can beat the tar out of me in a pit, then I tend to get scared off.  What I set out to do here is to try to find the bands that are hated by women not because they are too heavy for them, but because they annoy them for some other reason.  This way we could find the common factors of non-metal bands that are loved primarily by men.  

I conducted a study in which I played one of the top nine bands (in no particular order) that the men have determined to be disliked universally by females, and I recorded Mrs. Noisewater's reactions to them.  Here is what I discovered.

DISCLAIMER: I got midway through this project and thought that I am really generalizing and making assumptions a lot with a list like this.  And assigning gender stereotypes to music is kind of wrong.  I know this.  But I finished anyway because I was halfway through, and if I keep giving up on stupid projects like this, then I'll never finish any of my stupid projects.

1. Ween are so damn weird that when you're listening to them and someone else pops in they're like "Just what in the hell is this weird-ass stuff?"  They play stuff that is very strange at first, but eventually that weirdness is . . . it's just Ween.  There was no one else like them.  Some songs are too obnoxious even for fans of the band, but then other times it's just genius.  They have tons of songs that are in a wide variety of genres where Gene Ween sings entirely different for every song so that you can sneak them on without anyone knowing it's Ween.  Then they got entire albums worth of stuff like the song listed below that is unmistakably Ween.  And pretty darned annoying to the unconditioned ear.
Sample Song: "Big Jilm" by Ween.  
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: "Halloween music and farting. Happy farts."
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: "I don't like it."

2. If you watch the concert video below you will see an arena filled with 95% dudes.  This is because women very rarely like Rush.  I think they have the perfect storm of elements rarely appreciated by female listeners: They're heavy, they're ugly (well the singer is.  He looks like a chicken), they sing in falsetto, and they play progressive music.  And then guys get together and air drum the hell out of their songs, and that doesn't exactly draw women into the band.  
Sample Song: "YYZ" by Rush
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: "It sounds like a a promotional video for a gym with guys cycling and doing x-games stuff.
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: It's okay.


3. Steely Dan has the jazz type of vibe that doesn't seem to do it for everyone.  I think there are a song or two that made it big on classic rock radio that infiltrated female audiences, but it's pretty rare that you find a hardcore female Steely Dan fan.  Jerry Seinfeld really likes these guys, and he is man.  Okay, it's true.  I have zero basis for anything on this list . . .
Sample Song: "Peg" by Steely Dan. 
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: "Sounds like bad wedding music.  Or maybe Romantic comedy background music.  
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: "Is this Michael McDonald?" - I think that is not a favorable review.


4. Prog rock bands just seem to be a dude thing, and Yes played just about the most pretentious music you could find.  Just look at the clip below: How many keyboard players are on that stage?  Three?  But I have the "Yes Album" and "Fragile" on vinyl, and they're both amazing.  Oh, also, Rick Wakeman wore weird cloaks like a wizard, and Dungeons & Dragons outfits aren't exactly pussy magnets.


Sample Song: “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: This is the band where your friend wants you to go with to see them and the plays has a bunch of weird-looking dudes bobbing their heads.  
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: "Meh."

5. The progressive thing seems to be a very common thread in these bands, and Frank Zaapa also had the weird factor going on, like Ween listed above.  Like Ween, he also has mysoginist lyrics that additionally push the females away.  Then again, Frank's wife did make quilts out of the panties thrown on stage during shows, I am told, so apparently chicks dug him at some point in his career.  I just haven't met any.
Sample Song: "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" by Frank Zappa
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: This is also like background music, but it’s too annoying to be in the background.  I need to put on a big flowey skirt and dance around with hippies.
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: "When is this game over?" - I think that means she hates it.


6. Grunge rock was huge with men and women alike in the early to mid 90's with bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, but Alice In Chains seemed to be bigger with the fellas.  Perhaps it was that they played music that was a little heavier and really, really depressing.  Those songs that make you want to do tons of heroin until you die don't bring loads of babes to your shows, but it is terrific on vinyl on a rainy afternoon.
Sample Song: "Over Now" by Alice In Chains
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: “Why are they playing “Taps?  Is this Alice N’ Chains!?  You know I hate Alice n’ Chains!  
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: "They sound like a bunch of whining teenage girls."

7. Tool played music that was heavy and progressive, and we are learning that those are sure fire attractions to dudes and dudes only.  They also had videos with disgusting imagery of weird demon-like beings doing gross shit.  I still don't like to watch that part in the "Sober" video where the monster guy opens up the pipe to find a giant bloody worm crawling through, and he touches it!


Sample Song: "Parabola" by Tool
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: This makes me want to slit my wrist.  I want to drink a bottle of whiskey and cry in the corner.  This is Tool!  It sounds like an insane asylum.  It would drive me to an insane asylum and then I would throw that bottle of whiskey into someone’s face!
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: I knew she hates Alice N' Chains and Tool more than any other bands, so if I could have done it again I wouldn't have had them right in a row like this.  She almost quit at this point, but I talked her into sitting through the last two clips . . .(skip to 4:45 to bypass the intro)

8. I suppose Dio is the most clearly heavy metal band on the list, and I was supposed to be avoiding metal bands.  However, I did include him because of all his lyrics about dragons, sorcery, and witches.  That's not subject matter that the ladies like to rock out to and sing with their girls.  Or is it? See below . . .
Sample Song: “Rainbow in the Dark” by Dio
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: "I kind of want to dress up like a slut and dance with my girlfriends."
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: "I like this one!"

9. AC/DC sang thinly veiled sexual innuendo rockers like "Big Balls" and "Sink the Pink."  Do women like that?  If I overheard an attractive woman singing "Sink the Pink," I would be pretty surprised.  And frisky.  But, now that I think of it, I can remember seeing a lot of concert footage of women lifting up their shirts and showing boobs and AC/DC shows.  Still, they're a pretty dude heavy band if you ask me.  
Sample Song: “Let Me Put My Love Into You” by AC/DC
Mrs. Noisewater's Thoughts: "This is a song you would hear before a sports game.  It’s like a sports pump up song."
Mrs. Noisewater's Verdict: "It sounds like AC/DC."  That's actually a genius assessment because that is exactly what can be said of all AC/DC songs whether you like them or not.  


What do you think of the list, friends?  I have nine bands so I could really use your help to find that tenth . . .
________________________________________
*I group texted two friends who are around the same age as me.  That was the extent of the research.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

That's My Girl!

Mrs. Noiswater and I were having breakfast a little while back in this great Greek diner in Chicago where you can get around 38 different egg skillets.  As long as I have been going in there, which is about as long as I've been writing on this blog page, it has been run by a middle aged Greek American with a thick Chicago accent who runs around there trying to run the whole place in his pajama pants.



On this day he was hollering at one of his staff members in a way that was making us uncomfortable, and this is not a side I had ever seen in him.  He is usually very busy and short with people to an extent but always very polite.  On this day he laid into this poor waitress and told her exactly what he though of her and performance for all his customers to hear.  "The toilet's clogged?  Well go plunge it!  Ah, go ahead and cry in the bathroom or whatever it is you do," he said to her as she ran towards the kitchen.  Then he warned someone never to have a daughter, or something to that effect.  So, we gathered that this was daughter he was lambasting.

Then when we brought our bill up to the counter to ring up, he went right back to his usual charming self.  He even commented on how pretty Mrs. Noisewater was and asked if she had a single mom around and winked at me.  What a smoothie!  But Mrs. Noisewater's mom is happily married.  Sorry Pajama Pants.

Well, I'll give the guy a pass because he has been nice every other time I have seen him, maybe this daughter of his really is a pain in the butt, and he does grill up a mean skillet.

What do you think, readers?  Do we get some a-hole liberties when interacting with our own families?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

After work today I made a right onto a street with two lanes going in the same direction, and a guy in a mammoth tow trunk in the far lane laid on his horn.  Now, if he can't fit on the road, is that my problem?  I assumed that when he bought the thing he was planning on fitting on streets and what's more having room enough to pick up a car and tow it.  So despite the fact that he didn't seem to think the two of us could fit, he managed to pull up next to me and give me a dirty look.  Looks like we fit just fine.  Then he rolled his window down, glared at me, and then rolled it right back up.  I gave him a look like, "What do you want?"  He rolled it back down so I said, "Oh, I thought you were going to say something."  That came off like I was the world's biggest hard ass and I was being antagonistic.  But I really was just wondering if he was going to say something or not.  I told him, "I thought it was cool, you know, because it appears as if we both fit."  He said something threatening with the fuck word in it, which I think was "You had better watch the fuck out," or something.

That's the closest thing to the truck I could find, and it's blurry.  Whatever.  I'm going to bed.
There really is no need to get into conflicts with random weirdos, and this guy really did look off his nutter.  It's not important to be right.  Getting home safe and sound to your family is a way bigger deal.  We got conceal and carry in Illinois now so this guy could have shot me.  As a matter of fact, by the look on his face, if he had a pistol he certainly would have gunned me down right there on Ashland Avenue.  And my last words would have been, "I know your tow truck is extraordinarily wide, sir, but I was quite sure we could both fit in our respective lanes when I merged."

I always envisioned my last words would be wordy and descriptive.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Updates. Updates. Updates.

1. Mrs. Noisewater and I have a wedding in August.  My only job was finding the DJ.  I made sure I talked to three or four different reputable DJ services with good Yelp reviews.  Ultimately I went with the guys who got back to me quickly when I had a question, they had a reasonable price, and we were on the same page with a lot of things.  For example, I don't want to hear any songs that are at every other damn wedding you've ever been to like "We Are Family," "Celebrate," or "Last Dance."  Also, no group participation dorky songs like the Conga line, the limbo, or the "Electric Slide."  The guy on the phone was laughing and totally got where I was coming from.  So I booked him.  I just have the photo booth to do and I'm all done.

2. I just finished George Clinton's autobiography, and I think the best story in there came when they were recording "Let's Take It To the Stage," and a random junkie white guy wandered in asking if he could record some guitar for some money.  George is a bit of free spirit so he agreed.  The guy came back with his own beat up guitar, recorded a solo over the song "Shit, God Damn, Get Off Your Ass and Jam," and everyone was speechless because it was so good.  They had agreed on $25, but it was so good George gave him $50.  George wanted to credit him on the album too, but the guy disappeared never to be heard from again.  Nobody knew who the hell he was.  I love reading rock biographies, and even if it's a bad one, if I get one story like that then it's all worth it.

3. Reading about all the Parliament/Funkadelic stuff got me digging through some old songs, and I came across this one by Bootsy Collins.  Tell me this isn't the sexiest damn thing you ever heard!  I've listened to this one 6 times in the last 4 days.

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4. Here is a little known fact: My profile picture on Blogger since the very beginning in 2005 is a picture of George Clinton himself stepping off of the Mothership.

Who among you knew that?