Author’s Note: I’d like to apologize for any mistreatment and/or agony caused by the profuse usage of capital letters during Sergeant Gunnery’s boot camp tirade. Sadly, the Sarge couldn’t make it today because he is now a semi-permanent fixture on my garage ceiling — courtesy of eight rolls of duct tape. Hoo-ah.
If there were a scientific method for measuring and ranking all the things that suck in this world, car shopping would probably fall somewhere between getting shot in the groin with a potato-launcher, and dealing with a bout of moderate to severe Seafood Poisoning.
Unfortunately, owning a car is a necessity for people like me, and every few years I find myself in the same pinch at the local motor mall.
Looking for a car isn’t the hard part. In essence, it’s actually not all that different from putting a fridge on layaway. The part that makes it less desirable than a spud to the hangers is when any of the following semi-fictional bullshit-artists enter the equation:
- Jerry Flannigan aka “The Dice Man”
- Ron Wystromski aka “Big Cheddar”
- Dick McGiven aka “The Shark”
- Ed O’Mallory aka “Fast Eddie”
From that point on it’s nothing but a high-pressure hassle.
Walking through a car dealership is like hiking through the desert with a piece of rotting meat tied to your back. From the moment I pull into a lot, there’s always some greasy sales buzzard wanting to shake my hand before I can put my foot on the blacktop. After introductions, I’m getting forcefully shoved past the econo-car section of the lot, and tossed into a pile of Corvettes, Cadillacs and Monster Trucks.
Meanwhile, there sits a tiny, imaginary man in my head, behind a xylophone, frantically playing an ambiguous tune. It’s a circus melody that perfectly captures the stress and confusion of the moment.
Many people feel the same way about the whole experience as I do. However, they go about preparing for it the wrong way. Most folks look to generic buying guides like Consumer Reports or the Suze Orman Show for tips and strategies on how to buy a car. This advice is shoddy, at best. Neither of these pop-resources highlight that being approached by a haggling salesman is an Act of War.
If you wanna avoid the runaround and get the most bang for your buck, car shopping requires a tactical, military-like approach. Hopefully you’ve already completed Tuesday’s Basic Training. You’re gonna need it.
Let me break it down by operation.
Operation 1: Reconnaissance
Begin by surveying the dealership for a few days with a pair of binoculars from across the street. Behind a bush. Determine which day is staffed with the fewest amount of Sales Pests. Identify a breach area. Keep a log sheet of your observations. Take pictures if you can, and carry an infrared lens.
Operation 2: Infiltrate the Enemy Establishment
After the surveillance operation, enter the lot at the identified breach area, and park as far away from the sales office as possible. Stealth is key. Use the vehicles in the lot to shield yourself. Stay low to the ground. Remember to camouflage: sweat pants and a dirty T-shirt with a Budweiser logo on it. You’ll be hard to spot if you look poor.
Operation 3: Create a Tactical Diversion
You will eventually be targeted. Remain calm. The key at this stage is to create a Tactical Diversion that will delay and/or weaken the offensive strategy of the oncoming insurgent. Note: the following tactics are battle-tested, but may lead to a brief jail stint if executed poorly.
Choose from the following list of Diversions based on your scenario:
- Parking Lot Tag – When the Sales Pest has captured you for introductions, immediately initiate a game of parking lot tag by firmly tapping him on the chest and yelling out:”Tag, you’re it!” If he doesn’t give chase, insult his mother.
- Cops and Robbers (or Cowboys and Indians) – This tactic is also childish. But who gives a fuck. Integrate a lot of somersaults and barrel rolls on the pavement into your evasive routine.
- Panic Button Hand Grenade – Request a set of keys for a vehicle. Once you receive the keypad, hit the panic alarm button and launch it grenade-style deep within the enemy compound.
- No Speaky English – If you’re not confident in executing any of the above tactics, use language as a sales barrier.
Operation 4: Identify Target Vehicle
While your Sales Pest is trying to catch his breath, and/or bent over a car, puking his lungs out, survey the enemy compound and identify the target vehicle for a test drive. Make sure it’s a Ford. And make sure it’s not Gold or Burgundy.
Operation 5: Highway Storm
After you’ve targeted a vehicle to test drive, request the keys. Bring your Salesperson. If he politely declines, try softening him up by applying reverse sales tactics: place your hand on his shoulder and ask about his beer league softball career.
After he’s in the vehicle and buckled up, put the pedal to the metal. Really open up the engine during your test drive. Do things to the target vehicle that you wouldn’t do with your current vehicle; brake torquing, neutral slamming, red-lining – get a feel for the beast.
If the salesman shits the seat, Abort Mission.
Operation 6: Negotiate Hostage Situation
At this stage, a hostage situation could mean one of two things:
1.). You’ve landed yourself in the sales office and are negotiating the price of a car.
2.). You’ve landed yourself in jail and are negotiating the terms of your release with a lawyer through a piece of bulletproof glass.
We’ll concentrate on the first one.
This is your opportunity to put the hammer down. At this point, the enemy should be showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress. Use these symptoms to your advantage. Make a lot of sudden, jerky movements, and drop things on the floor, like a stapler, to create loud noises. If that doesn’t work, try a computer monitor. This will keep the enemy in a vulnerable, defensive state of mind.
If executed properly, he’ll do whatever it takes to get you the fuck out of his office. When he’s cowering, immediately submit a low-ball offer on the Target Vehicle. Hold eye contact. After he prints a contract at the newly negotiated (low-ball) price, illegibly sign on the dotted line. Do not shake hands, and do not turn your back to him while exiting the cell. Before fully carrying out your exit plan, bark. Like a dog. Do it with passion and fury.
While he’s under the desk, make your break at full sprint.
Eat my Pants, Suze Orman.
What’s the battle plan when you go car shopping? Please share your funny stories!
-Happy Blogging, Private First Class \m/
- Car salesman brothers guilty of fraud (modbee.com)
- Bucks Blog: What I Learned the Hard Way About Leasing a Car (bucks.blogs.nytimes.com)
I’m so excited right now. I can barely contain myself.
Originally, I wasn’t even gonna post anything for the New Year, and then I thought: how could I pass on the perfect opportunity to recap, rock out, spread some lovin’ butter, and announce all of the cool shit that I have planned for 2013?
Ready. Set. Launch.
2012: The Year of the Bitcher
First off, this has been such an incredible past four months. Getting all of this stuff out of my head and onto paper has been nothing short of orgasmic. What a silly word. Whatever. Creative writing is something that I’ve always wanted to do in one capacity or another, but I never really had the discipline or support that I would have liked in order to pursue it. It’s hard to imagine that only three posts into it I almost quit.
…I’m glad I didn’t.
I owe it to all of you insanely cool people that have jumped on board and backed me up. You’ve stood behind me each and every wacky post. I’ve never in my life had this kind of unconditional support. Ever. I’m getting a bit choked up.
No. Fuck that. Hold it in.
I know it sounds kind of cheese, but it’s the truth. Your readership, participation, and encouragement have inspired me in ways greater than you’ll ever know, and it’s you that continues to inspire the evolution of this raging monster that I call: MY RIGHT TO BITCH.
I don’t just write for me. That would be boring as hell if it were the only reason. It’s not interactive that way.
I write for you, too, and that’s why I love blogging. It doesn’t just get put into a drawer in some shitty, pleather-bound journal — it gets launched into cyber space. And after it goes live, it becomes a full-contact sport. Anything goes.
Every time I send something out there, within minutes, you guys are already chewing it up, twisting it, breaking it, spinning it, smashing it, lighting it on fire, and barfing it back onto my screen. That’s the coolest part for me. That’s the pay off. To put time into something that I love so much, and to have it all come back to me like that makes me want to keep doing it.
And for all that, I love you. There. I said it.
The Awards Shit Show
Thanks to all the people that went out of their way to drop an award off. I don’t get into all of the question answering stuff, but I greatly appreciate the recognition. If you nominated me for an award over the past month, check out the Trophies and Stuff tab, and scroll to the bottom of the page. There’s a little thank you note for each one of you guys. I can’t promise that it’ll be a love letter. You know me. I also included a link back to your page as well. Thank you.
Now please don’t send me any more fucking homework assignments.
Post of the Week
You probably noticed in the sidebar an image with the title: Post of the Week. There’s also a new tab at the top of the screen with the same header. This is a new, totally rad thing that I’m gonna be doing from now on. Fuck being Freshly Pressed. Post of the Week is way cooler.
Every week, as usual, I’ll be trolling the blogosphere in hot pursuit of one standout post – one that I think deserves to be read and recognized. There are no genre limitations. Check back often. Whether you’re here or not, I’ll be sure to let you know if you got picked.
See, this is just another one of those reasons why I should be getting a Christmas Card from you.
The Bitchin’ Blogroll
The Blogroll is finally up. Scroll to the bottom of the sidebar. Hopefully I didn’t make any glaring mistakes or leave anyone out. Call me out on it if I did. After all this stuff my brain is officially toast — mistakes are likely.
It’s kinda like checking to see if you made the basketball team, isn’t it? Many more to follow…
Guest Panel Shenanigans
Now for the big announcement. This is going to be off-the-hook. At the top of the screen you’ll see another new tab titled: Join the Guest Panel. Click it.
Read it. Sign up.
Don’t be intimidated.
I’m gonna need some help throughout the coming year. I’m putting together a series of Blogger Panels that will become part of some interactive blog ideas I have in the hopper. I can’t go into details. It’s top secret for the time being, so don’t ask me to tell you about it. If I told you I’d have to kill you. Well, maybe not that extreme. But I’d definitely have to break your fingers.
All *auditions* need to be submitted in the comment section under the Join the Guest Panel tab at the top of the screen. Please. Keep this organized. I’m sitting on top of Mt. Laundry right now. Make it easy for me.
Lastly, a few personal shout outs: thank you to The Cheeky Diva for her help in getting me FP’d (sounds dirty), and to Le Clown for the guest blogging opportunities on both Black Box Warnings, and A Clown on Fire‘s Christmas Blogroll Extravaganza. And finally, thank you to Mr. Radar Nelson for the guest blogging spot on Seasons of Insanity. Nancy Grace is a Pig.
Are you excited? I’m jacked to the max. I can’t wait to start the New Year.
It’s gonna be a big one. It’s gonna be a fun one. And it’s gonna be jam packed with more profanity, shenanigans, and water-based lube than ever before. I’m glad to have you all aboard. Let’s rock and roll…
-Happy New Year, and Happy Blogging \m/
In order to find out what all of these things have in common, you’ll have to stop by the My Right to Bitch Blogroll Induction Ceremony on A Clown on Fire. And bring a side a dish. Preferably one with lots of beer in it.
It’s a gloriously festive occasion. I hope you can make it.
I’ve cracked the code. At least I think I did. Stop by the party, and I’ll explain the inner workings of the the very wacky, impressionistic, and sometimes indecipherable A Clown on Fire website. Important answers will be discovered. Answers to questions like, “What the Fuck is a A Clown on Fire?” Perhaps the most burning question of all…
It’s must read material.
Would you expect any less?
Here’s a Preview:
A Clown on Fire is Like:
#3. Eating the most delectable piece of chocolate cake, and finding a dirty band-aid with part of a finger still attached to it in the last bite… (the suspense)
I don’t wanna spoil the fun…
Go check it out!
-Happy Blogging \M/
- Blogroll Inductee – My Right to Bitch (clownonfire.wordpress.com)
- Whats the Difference Between Brownies and Chocolate Cake? (proflowers.com)
- Tinkerbell, Fairy 3 Tier Cake (fairydustdelights.com)
After a week of sorting through the paper-bomb that exploded all over my desk, and nursing my sore wrists from three straight nights of court reporting, I’m finally back from the dead.
When I originally (and over-confidently) stated: “Let’s get this party started,” I was thinking of something along the lines of “casual dinner party”. You know, some cheap wine, hot dogs and baked beans – the ambiance of Barry Manilow, maybe some Abba. Instead it turned out to be one of those parties where people are doing keg stands on the roof, shaving the house cat, barfing in the Jacuzzi, throwing m-80’s in the neighbor’s mailbox, and lighting the bushes on fire.
Thanks for all of the awesome feedback from the people that dropped by. It was a better party than expected…
Post Traumatic Pressed Disorder
If you’re hung up on being Freshly Pressed take my advice: prepare yourself. It’s a double-edged sword. It’s a great experience, but when the story-wranglers finally push the launch button on you, your words will be put out in front of a lot more people than you’re accustomed to being exposed to. I wasn’t ready for it. At times it almost feels like strangers are walking through your home, playing with your knickknacks. Criticism is inevitable too. Personally, I take it really hard. Everyone’s a critic though, right? Opinions are like assholes? It’s a tiny little glimpse of stardom, and a reminder of why I never want to be famous.
You’ll ask a lot of questions both during and after the experience about yourself, your writing, and your message. After some time off to process the whole thing, I realized a lot about me, about my writing, and about the messages being cranked out of this noisy machine.
The whole thing made me realize that what I do is bigger than me. It’s not just about me, it’s about taking advantage of the opportunity that this platform gives us all; the ability to reach across the world and communicate a message – good or bad.
My experience has been about opening up, making sense of my life, and figuring out how I fit into the bigger scheme. When I started, I didn’t have my mind set on becoming some fucking celebrity goofball, or even making a modest living at it. Writing is important to me because it’s the only way I know how to communicate something without stumbling. I could never voice any of this without writing it first. It would come out wrong and the message would be lost.
This is all really important stuff for me and many others. Whether you’re a recovering or struggling alcoholic, dealing with anxiety or depression, coping with the loss of someone in your life, or just want to make people laugh, we all want to be heard, understood, validated, and learn from others that have managed to dig their way out of the ground.
That’s why I value conversation. There are so many meaningful messages out there looking for an ear. It’s not just about blogging, it’s about communicating. Sometimes it’s one simple phrase that can change the course of a life for the better or for the worse. Never underestimate the power of intent.
On a Lighter Note…Wtf is this place?
You might be wondering what you stumbled on here. It’s not what you think it is. This whole thing is sort of like Self-Help. Sort of. Not really. For the most part, My Right to Bitch is just one big metaphor that continues to unravel. Oftentimes, I’m the one doing the unraveling…
Don’t take most of it at face value. It’s positive when you sort through all of the slang and fuck’s. I look at it like fighting for the arm rest on a plane. It’s my space too. There’s a lot of meaning beneath all of the *ha-ha* stuff, and I always encourage people to dig deep to find it. But, feel free to take from it what you’d like and throw the rest in the trash.
Sometimes it’s introspective; me working through some internal conflict, or finding a way to dig myself out of another depressive funk. Sometimes it’s about sharing a personal experience with hard lessons. Sometimes it’s a fresh perspective about something, and sometimes it’s just for fun.
I try to keep things in perspective. Words to live and die by: ”if you’re not looking at the big picture, you’re losing at life.” A lot of this is *big picture* stuff. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just me writing from my viewpoint and sharing. I have this weird thing about making up shit on the fly though, so if you ever stumble on a word or phrase you’re not familiar with, make sure you check the Official MRTB Dictionary. It’s corny. I know.
It’s not really protected under copyright law either. I just like the way that little “©” looks. I guess if you wanted to rip it off you could probably get away with it. But don’t do that. That would be kind of a douche bag thing to do.
One last thing before you go…
Drop a link in the comment section of your best post. Give it a header too. It can be funny, gut-wrenching, or a brutally honest rant. I don’t care what it is. Just make sure it’s something authentically you, and is something that you want people to hear. If the comment tray won’t allow you to post a hyperlink, try removing the hyperlink and paste the address. Any problems, let me know.
–Happy Blogging \M/
P.S. I’m gonna be answering some burning Hypothetical Questions sometime this week. Make sure you bring a question of your own to the *ahem* party.
[Credit] ”Who are you people and where’s my horse.” is an excerpt borrowed from George Carlin’s, “It’s Bad for Ya.” stand-up performance. (2008) I’m not the owner. Just a fan.
If you’re not tripping over an autograph line of rabid followers of your blog right now, I think I know the reason(s) why. I know what you’re thinking, “sounds kind of uppity coming from someone with less than 200 followers”. Don’t worry, I’ll get around to reading this myself too, eventually.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the whole scene, to my credit, I’m a fast learner and a close observer of people and their habits. And hot chicks. Throughout my travels, I’ve noticed a lot of stuff that us bloggers do which I believe is counterintuitive to acquiring and maintaining a fan base — providing that this happens to be one of your goals. That is what you want, isn’t it? The debate goes on…
Allow me to break down my Eureka moment for you.
The way I see it is that everything you’ll ever come across on a blogging site – regardless of what platform you use — falls somewhere along a continuum that is anchored by two different stylistic approaches.
At one end of the spectrum is what I call the Art Blog, which is more or less an exhibit; and the second type is what I call a Conversational Blog, which is used for exactly that — starting conversations. It’s difficult to distinguish the two from each other at first glance; however, a quick skim of any blog will reveal the author‘s motivation for creating his or her content.
Once you become familiar with this concept (that I invented just now), you’ll not only realize where your blog falls along the continuum, you’ll also understand what areas you may be lacking in. Hopefully you’ll be able to increase your following by making the necessary adjustments. Keep in mind that most blogs fall somewhere between these two styles. Let’s delve deeper.
Dorothy, step forward into the world of Technicolor…
The Art Blog
The majority of posts found on an Art Blog are exactly that — works of Art. Compositions are shared for the sole purpose of being observed and appreciated. Art Blogs are the poets, stream of consciousness writers, story-tellers, comic-strip artists, etc. Successful Art Blogs usually have a lot of likes, though they normally lack any significant interaction beyond that. Sometimes, if it’s a particularly great piece, many will drop an appreciative comment, but the conversation abruptly tails off at “Great job!” Really, what else can be said? Again, whatever was posted was meant to be looked at, not hashed up and down.
Art Blogs are like museums. When visiting one, the guest usually strolls about casually, looks around, stops, stares, maybe sits for a minute, contemplates, wanders off, and eventually leaves with a sense of appreciation for whatever was on display. It’s rare to happen upon a conversation during a visit. It’s not the type of setting that really promotes “mingling” with random strangers. That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen. Art lovers talk art, but the displays are usually designed to stir the emotions of the observer on a personal level. Plus, most pieces are open for wide interpretation – like a mangled ball of steel, for instance.
Writers of Art Blogs are probably aware of what they are already. They’ve constructed this type of setting for exactly the reasons listed. Most authors are either content with creating pieces to be appreciated, or use their blog strictly as a medium for online-journaling. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many will grow large followings based on their commitment to producing high-quality, artful content.
The Conversational Blog
On the flip side is the Conversational Blog. Content found on this type of page is constructed with the intention of promoting interaction with and among readers. The author usually bases his or her posts on topics that are meant to be viewed by a larger audience by comparison. Topics can often times be controversial in nature, and/or are emotionally-charged. A crafty author of one always leaves the piece open-ended by the end. If executed well, the article will continue to be expanded in the comment section by other readers – engaged readers. Write that down. I just wrote it down too. Wait a second, this is confusing now…
Conversational Blogs also incorporate other bloggers into their posts and/or pages. They’re not only excellent networkers, but also good cultivators of friendly “blog neighborhoods” (bloggerhoods? Hmm, I like that…) within the bigger sphere. Inviting guest bloggers and contributors, dual-posting, and reblogging are all tools that they use to help solidify and grow their audiences. By incorporating these tools and techniques into their pages, they’re not only promoting themselves, they’re also practicing good “PR” . By doing so, they increase the likelihood of future interaction with their fan base.
This type of approach doesn’t require a particular format or genre. Conversational blogs incorporate a wide variety of content. News, politics, random humor, medicine – whatever — the possibilities are endless. However, the goal is always the same — to pose or imply questions that elicit responses with the intention of opening a dialogue.
Cultivating a Fan Base
This may come as a surprise to some, but there are a lot of folks out there that want to engage with you. The challenge is to attract them and build a relationship from there.
When someone takes the time to read through one of your posts, don’t just thank them for the visit, seize the opportunity and speak. There are some interesting characters out there (like me) that are frothing to spar, share a story, or provide a laugh. Why pass on an opportunity that you’ve tried so hard to cultivate? By going into social-phoebe mode, you’re only setting yourself back and creating more work.
A post a day is difficult to do – especially when nobody’s reading.
When you’re hopping around and looking for a conversation, you’ll find that some will oblige, and others will decline. It’s worth a shot either way. After all, growing a following is based not only on consistently producing interesting content, it’s also about being likable. Charming is the word I prefer.
People are smart enough to pick up on sincerity, despite the fact that many operate through a persona. They also know whether you appreciate them or not, and it’s up to you to convey that.
More Free Tips
- Shtick ‘em Up – Most bloggers have a shtick. If you’re one of them, ask yourself if it’s a concept that will limit your writing, long-term. Personally, I consider this question daily. I may be limiting myself in the long-run. Don’t place limitations on your blog. It’s hard enough as it is. Variety is the spice of life, or something like that…
- Good Writing vs. Good Blogging – Being an excellent writer is one thing. Being an excellent blogger is something different all together. Consider this article. Where do you fall within the spectrum? Have your efforts been fruitful? Again, ask yourself if what you write about is something that an audience would want to engage in.
- Brevity is Key – There’s nothing that deters me as a reader more than an extremely lengthy post. I think I speak for most when I say this, but I don’t want to read a three thousand word submission. Ever. I hate books, and three thousand words is getting close to a book. Succinct and effective is the key. Get to the point, make it a good one.
- Quality, Not Quantity – If you’re in a hurry to post something daily, you might want to consider not only how it affects the quality of your content, but also how your audience is reacting to the frequency of your posts. With so many blogs out there, and with each of us following our fair share of them, it’s likely that most followers aren’t reading your stuff on a daily basis — unless it’s top-shelf, every day. It takes a lot of time to be a “follower”. Being mindful of that, it’s safe to assume that most people are selective about what they read. Also remember, it takes time to produce something high-quality, even if it’s only a thousand words. Be selective. Otherwise, you might not only burn yourself out, you’ll also burn your audience out too.
Hopefully you’ll find this article useful. If you’re like myself, you’re always looking for ways to improve your stuff. Interacting with an audience can be just as fulfilling as the writing part. So, considering all this begs the question:
Are you the Curator of an Art Blog or the Mediator of a Conversational Blog?
Let’s get this party started…
- The Art of Writing Blog Comments (zemanta.com)
- Zen and the Art of Blogging (clownonfire.wordpress.com)
- Art of Writing Persuasive Blog Entries for Greater ROI (mokshis.com)
Apparently, Santa Claus went on another week-long bender up at the North Pole and decided to drive his sleigh right through the pilgrim picnic table. Give that slob a DUI ticket and throw him in jail until December. Run tell that, Rudolph.
What the hell’s going on here? When I was a kid the Christmas season didn’t start until December. Nowadays, people are tripping over pumpkins trying to get their lights stapled to the house. It’s no wonder the rest of the world hates the U.S. We’re not thankful for anything unless its a 50% off Black Friday deal. By next year, we’ll all be eating turkeys stuffed with candy canes, and it’ll only progress from there. I’m holding a clump of mistletoe above my back pocket right now. You know the procedure…
Maybe I’m over-reacting. Maybe Santa’s just addressing his chronic procrastination once and for all. Congratulations. It only took a couple thousand years for him to figure out that it’s a lot easier to manage the big delivery day by planning ahead a little more. I’m probably way off though. Common sense leads me to believe that someone who’s capable of delivering trillions of parcels in one evening probably isn’t thinking about Christmas past the month of December. It’s not like he has a thirty day return policy – that’s your problem, kid.
If that’s the case it begs the question: what exactly goes on at the North Pole Headquarters for the rest of the calendar year?
I’d imagine there isn’t a lot to do up there — regardless of what time of the year it is – other than play with some kid’s Xbox or GI Joes. That means Chris Kringle is probably out at the bars getting looped on eggnog when he isn’t wrapping presents. I can picture his jolly ass stumbling back to the house — drunk and belligerent — telling dirty jokes to all of the disgruntled elves, and decking the halls with moldy beer cans. That might explain the beer gut and rosy cheeks.
And to think, for all those years you were convinced he was eating the cookies and milk you left out. Yeah right. The deer ate those. Saint Nick was eating your leftover Chinese food in the fridge, and pounding down half your liquor cabinet. If it’s linked to seasonal depression, I apologize. I’m way out of line.
He can’t be all that jolly though. How many managers have you worked for that haven’t been complete jerk-offs during a high-stress work week? Whatever they’re all uptight about pales in comparison. Try dealing with his mess. Stop crying about your yearly inventory…
Hostile Holiday Takeover
The reality is that it’s quickly becoming like a corporate merger, or more accurately, a hostile takeover. The Chris Kringle Corporation has gained majority market share of consumer focus during the month of November. As a result, the Pilgrims and Turkey Corporation have agreed to sign over their rights to the official Thanksgiving holiday. From now on the two entities will act as one. Here’s what we can expect moving forward:
- It will be mandated that Turkeys be stuffed with garland rather than traditional bread stuffing
- Christmas lights, decorations, and trees must be in place no later than November 1st
- Thanksgiving floats must incorporate at least one Reindeer, Elf, or fucking Jingle Bell
- One member of every U.S. household must spend at least one night camping outside of a big-box store prior to Black Friday.
To hell with all that. Since nobody else wants to celebrate Thanksgiving anymore, I’ll just have to enjoy it myself. In loving remembrance of the holiday, here’s a few things that i’m thankful for.
Things I’m thankful for
- Microwaves — There’s a good chance that many of my future Thanksgivings will consist of microwavable Turkey Dinners and Hot Pockets. Keep me away from stoves. The only thing I know how to do well with a stove is start grease fires. Bless you Mr. Microwave oven inventor guy. Two minutes is about how long I like to wait before I eat anyways.
- Electric Blankets — My favorite winter time activity is sleeping. I’m like a bear. My metabolism slows to a crawl, and my heart rate drops to about 12 bpm’s for the duration of winter. Without the aid of an electric blanket I might not ever make it out alive.
- Jessica Biel – What a hottie. That’s all.
- Amazon.com — When the mad shopping dash starts, I’ll be sitting at the finish line drinking a glass of eggnog. Three days after that, all of my online orders will be wrapped and sitting under the tree. Take that you fist-fighting consumer whores.
- Aspirin– I’ll definitely be stockpiling these for the holiday season. I usually keep a bottle on me anyways in case I run into a small talker. I think it would be kind of fun if they fit in a Pez dispenser. At least I could have a chuckle before I double over from a holiday-induced migraine.
- WordPress — I’m really glad I stumbled upon it. There’s nothing I miss more than having a homework assignment on Sunday nights since graduating. At least this homework has been fun…
I don’t wanna hear anymore Christmas music, talk about shopping, or see any holiday lights. To the chunky guy in the red suit, I say wait your turn. Let’s not be hasty in hustling the Indian Corn and Hand-Turkey art projects back into storage just yet. This is supposed to be a time to relax, and to put out the family feud fires from last Thanksgiving…
…Enjoy your Holiday, consumer whores.
What Are You Thankful For? Make ‘em good…
- Too soon for Santa? When Mr. Claus gives pause (mercurynews.com)
- Thanksgiving Trivia – What is the earliest date Thanksgiving can occur? (jeromeshaw.wordpress.com)
I’ve been a real arrogant asshole lately. Look at me — hoarding all of my prized trophies without sharing them with anyone else. It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got around to passing out some hardware to all the folks that I’m grateful for. You’ve been supportive, thoughtful, inspirational, and bitchin’. Take your awards and hide them in a safe place. You are all winners. We are winners together. Oh, and fuck all that question answering bullshit. Pass them on. Praise a few people that deserve it. Thank you all.
Enter the Award Ceremony to check out a bunch of wickedly cool people. Or don’t. Your choice.
But don’t do this:
-Happy Blogging Bitchers!
- Those Asshole Secessionists (pervertedwisdom.com)
- Memo to the assholes who still call themselves my family (kevinroy.org)
If you’re not familiar with him already, Le Clown is a fast-rising WordPress phenom, and winner of the prestigious Alan Smithee Blog Award. He’s the man solely responsible for Canada’s leading export, quality blog content – surpassing the country’s previous top export, maple syrup. He’s also a surprisingly polite French Canadian (an oxymoron, I know), and a fluent speaker of both French and Frenglish. You might be wondering how I know so much about Canada? Please, there isn’t much to learn…
When I’m not busy looking for porn on the internet, I’m usually reading through blogs – lots of them. It’s a great way to find inspiration when (le) creative tank is running on fumes. When I first discovered Le Clown, I immediately noticed that his material had the opposite effect on me. Rather than leaving me with a new found sense of inspiration, I felt like a poo-head instead. View at your own risk. By the time you finish visiting the circus, you’ll undoubtedly want to end your pathetic blogging career.
I’m packing my desk as I write. I’ve decided to pursue things that come natural to me from now on — things like breathing, walking, etc. Ok, I’m no slouch, but god damn, this guy is endlessly funny — especially the comment threads.
Despite his ego being the size of the Northwest Territories, Le Clown is unlike many of the honorary members of (le) Freshly Pressed hall of fame. As we all know, the majority of stuff on the front page is sub-par. However, Le Clown has rightfully earned his star on the sidewalk by continuing to produce stellar content. As a result, his viewership is trending upward, post-induction – ahem, WordPress editors, market research opportunity!
His phenomenal readership aside, engagement with fans is what I find most impressive. Every person that interacts with his blog is acknowledged, unlike some truly arrogant players I’ve come across. I can’t even imagine the amount of time that’s required to keep up with (le) blog. I get anxious just thinking about it.
You may be wondering if I’m a paid promoter of the circus. The answer is no. You may also be wondering if I’d like to be a paid endorser. The answer is an enthusiastic yes. I won’t quit my day job yet…
More Clowns you Should be Afraid of:
- Homey the Clown – Step out of line and you’re gonna get a rock-filled sock to the back of the head. Whatever shenanigans you may be considering, rest assured, Homey don’t play that game.
- Ronald McDonald - Don’t be fooled by this clown’s happy disposition. He’s laughing all the way to the bank while you stuff your gut full of hamburger grease. If you’re not careful, he might have to blow up a balloon catheter animal inside one of your arteries soon. Would you like fries with that?
- Carrot Top - Never trust a clown that’s going through Anabolic Steroid withdrawal. What ever happened to the skinny goofball with the suitcase full of props? The bigger he gets the more he looks like a woman. I don’t get it?
A few other things Le Clown can do that you can’t:
- Impregnate women just by staring at them — some men, too
- Fashionably wear white foundation and a foam nose in public
- Watch Hockey Night in Canada while his ego does the grocery shopping
Very commendable effort my French-speaking neighbor to the north. I bow to Le Clown and always enjoy your humor. Canada, please don’t be offended by this ignorant American — he means no harm. Besides, I love Don Cherry.
-Happy Blogging Ya Coulrophobic Bitchers!
- Coulrophobia (thatguythatreviewsstuff.wordpress.com)
- WordPress To Retire Le Clown’s Not Featured on Freshly Pressed Jersey (clownonfire.wordpress.com)
- What’s On a Clown’s Mind (clownonfire.wordpress.com)
I know it’s premature to be talking about things I’m thankful for, but dammit, I’m glad the pagans hijacked Halloween back in the day. Those earth-humping heathens knew how to party. Can you imagine what a shitty party it would’ve been if they hadn’t invented Halloween? No free candy, no blood and guts, no slutty zombies… scratch me off the guest list.
Ok, I might have confused the facts. One thing I know for sure: every kid in the U.S. is itchin’ to hit the streets with their killer costumes in pursuit of free candy. Halloween is the biggest, baddest holiday bash on the calendar for those little squirrels. Don’t ruin it for them by being a douche bag.
Here’s a few tips to avoid a toilet paper job from the neighborhood kids:
Turn your light on
Unless you live in an apartment or your car, there’s no reason for your porch light to be off on Halloween. Go out right now and spend twenty dollars on some candy for the little gremlins, cheap skate. People did it for you, now keep the enchantment alive. If I find out your lights were off on Halloween I’m gonna wash your windows with peanut butter…
Don’t pass out dumb stuff
Do not pass out anything other than candy. This isn’t an advertising opportunity for your local church or business. Getting a pamphlet in the pillow case is about as lame as it gets. The only thing dumber than a flier is a handful of pennies. Do the kids a favor — put those pennies in your gas tank and drive your lazy ass to the nearest grocery store. Rule of thumb: If it doesn’t give you a sugar-buzz, don’t put it in the bag.
No pictures, please
Let me refresh your memory in case you forgot. The goal on Halloween night is to hit as many porches as possible within a two hour span. Don’t waste valuable minutes looking for yourPolaroid camera. I doubt you have a wall of fame dedicated to trick-or-treaters anyways. You have ten seconds to put the candy in the bag. Go.
Don’t embrace the Trick
Look, I get it. Halloween is all about celebrating blood and gore, but don’t bother with all the antics. Most of the kids that show up aren’t strong enough to carry their own candy, yet alone fend off a violent chainsaw attack. Don’t be that guy that embraces the Trick part of Trick or Treat. Don’t you get it? It’s a rhetorical question. They aren’t asking for one or the other, it’s just a way to get you to open the door. If you don’t heed my advice, you might be pawning off that chainsaw to pay for your post-holiday nasal reconstructive surgery.
Bonus Section: The “Don’t-Buy” Candy List
Be mindful of what kind of candy you pass out. Kids have a very keen palette. They’re experts in the field, and they know what they like and don’t like. Don’t pass out the following:
- Whoppers – I don’t even know what these things are. But, if I had to guess I’d say they were mothballs covered with chocolate.
- Raisinettes – Here’s another one I don’t get. Why do candy companies think they can put chocolate on anything and make it taste good? A raisin, last I checked, is a shriveled grape. Why not chocolate-covered shoe laces? These things look and taste like rabbit pellets.
- Mound/Almond Joy Bars – You should feel like a nut when you buy this crap. I don’t know why they were even invented. Apparently some desperate candy-chemist thought coconuts tasted better with chocolate on them. Newsflash: nothing makes a coconut palatable. That man should have been fired and deported.
- Marshmallow Candies – Another candy invention gone wrong. I don’t think these things even decompose. There are probably millions of them – still in the wrapper – buried in landfills across the U.S. I think they should change the name from Peeps to Poops.
- Popcorn Balls – Popcorn is cool at the movie theater, but not that cool when it’s shaped into a ball, held together with Elmer’s Glue. Wtf were they thinking? One positive thing about them is that they make awesome projectiles. I wouldn’t recommend passing them out if your house has windows.
I hope I was able to provide some closure for last year’s unfortunate toilet-papering incident. Pass out jumbo-sized candy bars — the bigger the better. Think like a kid. Don’t be a Halloweiner this year, or it might happen again.
P.S. I hope a zombie eats your face off, Pat Robertson.
-Happy Halloween Bitchers!
- 10 Candy Tumblrs to Fix Your Sweet Tooth (mashable.com)
- Top 5 Picks For ‘Best Halloween Candy’ (wycd.cbslocal.com)
- What Candy You Give Out For Halloween, Says A Lot About You (1019litefm.cbslocal.com)
- The Real Halloween Horror: Trick or Treat Candy’s Bitter Human Toll (dailyfinance.com)
On the night of the audition I drove out to the band’s practice facility, located in a rough part of the city. I was a bit leery as I pulled into the half-lit parking lot. The place was in shambles, and covered with half-painted brick and graffiti. I walked up to the back entrance and pounded on the black metal door. Nobody answered. I double checked the address, and another knock went unanswered. For a few minutes I paced the parking lot looking for a sign of life. It started to feel like I’d been duped. Suddenly, the back door swung open and out popped Mike with that familiar grin on his face.
The inside looked like a converted whore house, and smelled like a combination of a dirty bar and a gym locker room. It had rock and roll written all over it. There was a long hallway with a series of rooms that were being occupied by other bands. I could faintly hear music being played down the long corridor as I lugged my equipment inside. The band practiced behind the first door on the left. The room was partitioned, and the seating area and practice room were separated by a large Plexiglass window.
The room was full of amplifiers, guitars, and sound equipment, and the floor was covered with empty beer bottles and ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts. I set up in the corner of the room and went through my normal warm-up routine. I tried my best to chop through the nerves. The band was sitting in the next room behind the glass window, paying little attention while I warmed up. Everyone sat around talking and drinking – business as usual.
As soon as I finished, the band filtered into the room and we went through introductions again. I taped the playlist to the top of my kick drum while everyone else plugged in. The sound of the amplifiers heating up energized the room and I could feel myself welling up with nerves.
I struggled for the first half of the set, confusing songs and getting mixed up on some of the parts. I didn’t feel all that comfortable – mainly from the enormous amount of self-induced pressure. The guys could sense it I think, and decided to take a break after the first run through of the set list. Everyone left the practice area and went back behind the glass. I knew they were talking about me. It wasn’t a great first impression by any stretch. The opportunity that I’d been offered was slipping away from me. I needed to find a way to salvage it — fast.
After everyone left, I stayed seated behind the kit and exhaled my frustration. The room was quiet with the exception of the low frequency buzzing of the amps. My mind tossed around a number of self-defeating thoughts, and I was starting to feel like I’d forgotten everything. I needed to get to a better state of mind – and quickly — so I started playing some familiar cover tunes. It was the same old crap I’d rehearsed a million times before.
I was so wrapped up in the moment that I didn’t notice the guys watching from behind the glass the entire time. When I stopped playing I was surprised to see everyone in the next room pressed up against the window, their mouths agape. I guess that’s all I needed to do, because that ended up being the night I officially took over as the new drummer for the band. The magical feeling was short-lived though. The clock was now ticking. We had one month to prepare for the biggest show to date, and the first show ever for me.
For the next few weeks in felt like we never left the practice studio. Every night we’d hammer out the set list, drink a few beers, and do it all over again. It was a time to bond and get loose — have some fun. Some nights I would go to the studio alone and practice. I’d crack a beer and run through our songs, then finish up with some cover tunes. I don’t recall getting a whole lot of sleep during that time span. It was pure, nonstop adrenaline keeping me functioning.
On the eve of the first show I went to the studio alone. My kit was looking a bit neglected from being in the dirty whore house for so long — it was desperately in need of a good polishing. I wanted it to look immaculate for the show. I shined up the whole kit. The cymbals looked like mirrors, and the blood-red finish on the drums looked as deadly as the day I bought them. After I finished, I packed everything up and headed home for the night. It was time to get some rest.
The following morning was a complete blur and evening came fast. The radio station that was sponsoring the show had arranged a shuttle bus for all the bands on the ticket. There were five in total and they were the best that the local scene had to offer. I met with my group at the scheduled time at our rendezvous point, and all five groups piled on the bus. Attendance was expected to be through the roof that night. It was completely sold out – unprecedented for a local show at that venue.
I sat nervously on the bus. Everyone else seemed relaxed. All the guys except me were seasoned – I was still a virgin. I tried not to think about it. The radio station spotted an advertisement for the show too, and we’d down a shot of whiskey together whenever it came on the radio. For as anxious as I was, it was a cool feeling being behind the scenes for once. For so many years I was the guy in the audience. Not tonight.
We pulled up to the venue and the place was hoppin’. It looked sold out. People were lined up out the doors. The bus cleared out and we went in through the backstage area. Each of us were given an all access pass on the way in. Unbeknownst to me at the time, a backstage pass also meant free drinks for the bands and their crews. Good thing — I needed it.
We were scheduled to perform before the headline act. Most of the night was nothing but mulling about, nervously killing time. I watched the crowd from one of the balconies. The main floor was packed to the gills. It was nothing but a mass of drunken idiots swirling around in front of the stage – thirsty for a good show. I watched the minutes tick by, and as it got closer I started to grow even more restless. The group before us began setting up on stage, and I decided to go outside to get some fresh air. I was a nervous wreck.
The whole experience was overwhelming and I started feeling sick. I could feel the sweat bead up and trickle down my back, bringing a chill to my body as I stood outside. The music started and was audible through the stage doors. I needed to get away from it. The further I walked the more I thought about leaving – walking away from the whole thing. I wasn’t ready for it.
I quickly walked down Main Street past the storefronts. My heart felt like it was gonna explode inside of me. I could see and feel the wispy strands of steam being pulled from my body by the frigid night air, and my mind raced with thoughts that I didn’t want to entertain. Underneath all of the horrible thoughts was a deep-seeded fear of failure. I was afraid of letting everyone down – including myself. The warm breaths poured out in shallow bursts as I stopped and stood on the street.
Suddenly, I felt something come over me – an impromptu feeling of calm. It felt for a moment like somebody else had been standing there with me, talking some sense into me – like a family member that had passed on.
My mind flashed – recalling all of the events and memories that had lead up to this point.
I saw myself at the studio with the guys practicing, and all the nights that I spent out there alone – I saw all of the shows again in vivid detail, and the two-man band with our crappy Van Halen cover songs – I saw myself muscling through all of the rudiments for hours on end – I revisited the giddy feeling the first time I saw Excalibur gleaming under the music shop lights – I remembered the very first jam sessions with the dorky kid from high school…
…and then I remembered the buckets – the noble first attempt to try and imitate John Bonham, my adolescent-hood musical hero. I remembered the nightly dreams of being on stage — the conductor of an aggressive symphony — threatening to shake the stadium to a pile of dusty rubble. I could hear the sounds again of the guitars shredding through the air – electrifying the building, and the vocalist sending the crowd deeper into frenzy…
…tonight was that night I’d dreamt about, and I was only three city blocks away from the spot where I’d finally live out that dream…
Snap back to reality. Oh shit. What time is it?
I ran back to the venue at full sprint and stomped out a cigarette in front of the backstage doors. Just before I could tear open the door, something in my peripherals caught my attention. I turned and noticed beyond the parking lot a three-story, strobe-lit marquee next to the venue. How in the hell did I miss that? I watched the screen for a minute as it scrolled through the show advertisement. Our band flashed across the bright square in front of the entire downtown district. How observant of me. I guess I was too caught up before to even notice…
I got back just in time. The band that had been playing finished their set. While the stage was being cleared I ran through a mental checklist: Get the arms warm again – shake off the cold – get loose – set list – sticks – equipment – where’s my gear? – it’s right there – what happened to my drink? – bum me a smoke, I can’t find mine – where’s Mike? – I need some tape – 10 minutes until sound check guys – let’s go, we’re on the clock.
I ran through the set list in my head one last time as I got situated on stage. The crowd was starting to fill out, and was bigger than it was for any of the other acts. The sound guy mic’d up my drums and ran through sound check. I’ll never forget the exchange: “This your first show?” he asked. “Yeah”, I replied nervously. “Get ready, it’s better than sex.”
Everything was ready to go. The crowd was electric that night. The lights turned on front-stage and I could feel the heat on my forehead. I could taste the bronze on my tongue from the glistening cymbals standing in front of me. As the amplifiers began to heat up, the audience grew anxious, collectively bracing for the sonic onslaught. Then, in a split-second, I heard that familiar guitar intro scream through the air, sending a shot of adrenaline ripping through my arms and legs. With a four-count click of the teeth, and by the grace of the gods of rock, my arms came simultaneously crashing down onto the mighty Excalibur, sending a thunder-crack roaring into the frenzied crowd. The audience exploded at the sound of the crash. The electrical charge that blasted from the stage reverberated off the back of the auditorium and shot back through my chest. The impact sent me out of body momentarily, and I watched my limbs flying effortlessly through the air from above the stage — each and every meaningful note being played by something much bigger than me.
It was a spiritual moment – a moment when everything seemed as real as it could ever get. It was in that very moment – in that strange place in time – when I’d finally validated a lifelong dream. I’d officially become an ordained minister of rock that night. I’d become the conductor of an aggressive symphony – just like John Bonham.
After the show was over we all went out to a local pub to celebrate. We ended up drawing the largest crowd out of all of the bands on the bill that night – including the headline act. We had a good laugh about it, a lot of drinks on the bar top, and recounted the entire experience together. I felt relieved. It felt good to finally get that first show under my belt. As we left the bar, we even signed a couple autographs – what a trip. I’m pretty sure those signatures never made it to Ebay…
When I got home that night I fell face first to the bed and didn’t move the entire night. The whole experience was exhausting – both physically and emotionally. The next morning I rolled over in bed and relived that night all over again. It was hard not to smile. “I don’t wanna be a rock star”, I thought to myself…”I am one”.
Chase your dreams…
We (the band) continued the local circuit for the next couple of years after that first show together. We were fortunate enough to play some larger, radio-sponsored venues, and even got a spin on the radio at one point. I eventually left the band to pursue a college degree, and the group disbanded shortly after.
A few months after I left, I was invited out to audition with one of the biggest Rock groups in Detroit at the time. The band was a signed, national act. I was offered the position after the try out, but ended up respectfully turning it down. The experience made me realize that my love for music ran much deeper than any shallow dream of becoming a rock star ever did. The road to stardom is always costly in the end.
Oh, and I still play Excalibur to this day…
Outro: Led Zeppelin, Black Dog – Live at Madison Square Gardens. The Song Remains the Same (film), 1976
- Happy Blogging Bitchers
- The Conductor of an Aggressive Symphony (part 3 of 4) (righttobitch.com)
- Bands breaking up/meltdowns in the studio (gearslutz.com)
- Bands vs. Venues: Who promotes? Who makes money? Can everyone “win”? (aixelsyd13.wordpress.com)