Monday, May 25, 2015

Millennials & the sad death of the traditional handshake

In my line of work I read a lot of articles geared towards a business types and if there’s one topic business types love almost above all other things it’s millennials. Most business types don’t understand millennials. They think they’re entitled, whiny, unmanageable and illiterate in all things that can’t be boiled down into 140 characters or that don’t start with a #.
                Unfortunately, older business types have a nasty habit of keeling over or retiring. That has left middle aged business types in the unenviable position of, if they want their business to continue, having to hire millennials. Ick. As a result, the internet is packed to the gills with articles instructing business types on the proper way to interact with millennials, much in the same way that pet stores are packed with books teaching you how to interact with your new puppy.
                I personally don’t think millennials are all that bad. I guess I may be a little biased. They’re my people. Sure we’ve got our faults, but so does every generation. At least we don’t go around calling ourselves the greatest of anything and god never tried to wipe us out with a giant flood, like certain other generations.
                But business types’ reservations in regards to millennials aren’t totally groundless. There’s one very specific area where millennials are a complete and utter nightmare and I have no idea what can be done about it. If things don’t reverse course soon, however, there’s a very good chance that business as we know it will never be the same again.
I’m talking about handshakes.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Long-awaited, highly-anticipated end to my musical career (Part II)
Part II. 

As that new group started to expand, however, those old insecurities began to resurface. Our interests expanded beyond watching horror movies and listening to music to actually playing music. I had some pretty hardcore Nam flashbacks at the point, only instead of Charlie, I saw Tuba players and John Phillip Sousa flipping me the bird. We had a number of guitar players in the group and one guy who was willing to play the drums, a girl who could sing and that’s where I saw my opening. Despite having no musical talent whatsoever or really understanding the instrument at all, I would make myself instrumental (BAM!) to the group by becoming a bass player.
                Anyway, so I got the bass, formed a band with some friends and we immediately went nowhere. Before the band began though, I remember another guy in our circle wanted to get a bass too and I stopped just short of making a voodoo doll of him and poking it in the arms each night. I guess you could say I had some mild-to-severe abandonment issues. I was scared of being replaced and I hoped and hoped and hoped that he’d find another calling. Like the kazoo. Or computer programming.
               He got the bass but we started seeing less and less of him when relationship drama kicked up between him and another friend’s girlfriend. At the time it was sort of a relief, but in hindsight, I feel guilty about how I mentally reacted to the situation, even if I never came out and expressed those insane feelings to anyone.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Long-awaited, highly-anticipated end to my musical career (Part I)

I seem to be going on a bit of a run here where I end up shedding some part of my old life each week. Last time, I was regaling you with the tale of how I parted ways with my old college dorm room television. This week it was two bass guitars, an amp and some assorted musical accessories. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where I do 800 words on donating my old “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” hat to Purple Heart and what that means to me spiritually.   
                But first, the musical stuff. Many heartstrings were tugged on last week when I put my old TV out to pasture. The exact opposite was the case with the instruments. That makes no sense because I never really loved that TV. The musical gear and I had a lot of fun together over the years. It was a big part of several years of my life in a way that TV could only have dreamed of and yet, as I watched it all gradually leave my parent’s yard sale on Saturday, I felt nothing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been trying and failing to sell that stuff at yard sales for going on two years now, whereas the TV I just sort of forgot about until very recently. More likely, the lack of emotional resonance caused by the official end of my musical career (such as it was) was due to the absence of a Gerard Way soundtrack. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Consumer Electronics is Hard to Do
It’s pretty hard to find a more ridiculous venue for a classic, mournful folk song than a movie where Justin Long gets turned into a walrus. Last week I came close, but fell short. Like I said, it’s tough to beat. For god sakes, Mac from the Mac & PC commercials got drugged and had his legs cut off and then had his leg bones attached to his face to act as tusks in that movie. True, ridiculous story.
                The song in question is Gerard Way’s cover of “O Waly, Waly (The Water is Wide).” It’s a fantastic, heartbreaking ditty about love and loss and sailing and boats and so forth. It’s a real heart-string tugger from Scotland that dates back to the 1600s and plays over the end credits of the Kevin Smith film “Tusk,” which is that Justin Long, body-mod movie we were just talking about. That movie has a completely bi-polar tone where it plays dead serious and very jokey sometimes in the same scene. So the emotional gut punch that is Way’s cover, in an insane uh ... way, makes sense playing right after a scene where Justin Long (full-fledged walrus at this point) is visited by his old girlfriend and the kid from “The Sixth Sense.” It’s a sad, absurd scene, why not cap it off with a four centuries old Scottish song covered by the guy who most of the general public will always remember for his vampire-on-prom-night look from the early 2000s?
                I’m getting off topic. Last week, I was sort of in a sad mood on Friday morning. Nothing major, just sort of a gray mood. A “one of those mornings” kind of thing. In honor of this, I decided to fire up that song on my phone (courtesy of Youtube) and sad-sack my way to work. However, I wouldn't be making my usual morning commute.
                On the way to work, I had to stop off at a local municipal building to drop off an old TV I had hanging around from my college days. Old TVs are literally the hardest thing in the world to get rid of. I tried selling it at a yard sale for five bucks. No takers. I tried giving it away at the same yard sale for free. No takers. I tried leaving it outside at night with a sign that read “Free.” No takers. I tried putting it up online for free. No takers. Somewhere in this process, someone made off with the TV’s cord and left the TV behind because the copper wire in that was more valuable than the rest of the TV. At that point I was stuck with an old TV that now had no cord. In other words, it had somehow become even more worthless.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Non-hygiene-related bathroom nightmares and how I survived

Last week’s “Scariest Moment Ever” was a swan-based monster movie that could have ended with me kick-boxing a majestic creature, but instead ended with me walking away at a casual pace. This week’s “Scariest Moment Ever” was more of the psychological thriller or crazed murderer variety.
As anyone who’s followed this blog for more than a week or two knows, interesting things happen typically only to me in one of two places, the gym or the bathroom. Sometimes both. Those are the real doozies. Sadly, this one is set exclusively in the bathroom, so do whatever you need to do to prepare yourself mentally for that.
In the interest of maintaining some dignity and not grossing anyone out to completely, I’ll keep the scene-setting to a minimum. Let’s just say, I was sitting in the bathroom at work, doing what a man does in that position. I heard another party enter the restroom and relieve himself at one of the urinals. I believe he washed his hands and then went for the paper towels. So far, so good. This mysterious, hygienic stranger, utilized the trashcan, presumably on his way out the door and then it happened: the lights went out.