Saturday, August 29, 2009

As far as we've come...

I watched a program on the sexual revolution of the late 60's and fairly extensive interviews with Hugh Hefner were featured in one section. Now, I’ve got to say that I don’t have a lot of respect for the man. For one thing I find it really creepy that you only ever see him in pictures where his arm is around a couple of girls that are young enough to be his granddaughters. Oh wait a minute, I mean his great-great-granddaughters. Maybe I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with that if the road were not firmly labeled as one way. It is glorified for a man to score with a hot, young, nubile girl that (if she’s lucky) has just graduated from high school. Can a woman date someone who is 60 years younger than she is? No. 40, 30, 20, even 10? No. If there’s one thing that makes me angry, it’s a double standard.
Ok, back to the subject. Hugh said something that I agree with. He said that he thought that it was funny that what was (and still is) considered obscene was nudity, instead of violence. He considered sexuality to be one of the nicer sides of humanity; so why censor that? To an extent, I agree.
Here’s where I think ol’ Hugh went wrong:
Playboy did open minds in some ways, but it was not glorifying sexuality in general, it was glorifying male sexuality and a standard of female flesh, and even worse so today. It’s not a message that says “Sex is not a bad thing” it says, “Sex with this is not a bad thing. This is beauty, this is what should be valued.” The sexual revolution was about all people being beautiful, all people being able to freely experience the guilt and shame-free ecstasy of love.
In Hefner’s magazine and TV shows, there is nothing about two people being free to love and enjoy one another, it is about the entitlement of men, and the accessibility of women, whether that’s for serving you drinks, or being there whenever you want to have sex. I have a problem with that.
I certainly have a problem with sex only being viewed as useful for procreation, and all positions other than missionary being illegal (oh yes, that was the case). But I also have a problem with the fact that to this day when a man has a lot of sex he’s viewed as a virile stud, and when a woman has a lot of sex she’s a slut and a whore. I have a big problem with that.
I have a problem with the fact that in a professional situation a man has to be driven, committed, and aggressive to get to the top, and that’s a good thing; the traits of a big league player. When a woman does that, she’s a career driven bitch who clearly just needs a good lay to remind her that she’s a woman.
The Women's Liberation movement was absolutely invaluable; socially, politically, and sexually, and I believe that it made a crucial change in US culture. I owe a huge debt to the women who spoke out. The longer I'm alive the more I could be classified as a feminist. In reality all I want is equality; funny that that should still come with a stigmatized label, huh?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Noticed a lot of referrals from here, so I checked it out:
I'm glad they (you) liked my review of the Indy Journey concert. Tickled me that it got "re-blogged" if you will. Still revelling in memories of that concert. What a great night. What a great band. What fun we all had in the short time we were together.

Re: David Duchovny
That's just a thing I do.

To be honest Renee is kind of hoping for a re-re-re-blog...

EDIT: Yes!!

Am I missing something?...

I passed a U-Haul trailer that said "Washington DC" on the side with a picture of the Capitol dome. And below that I'm pretty sure that I saw "Capital of the North". So I'm wondering, was this trailer painted in 1864?

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's not the final destination...

This past Sunday I spent a day at the state fair that culminated in a concert by Journey! With me was friend and fellow Journey aficionado, Jamie. On our way into the Indiana Fair Grounds we saw a big, light-up road sign that we felt started the day off on the right leg. "Enjoe Tethe Fair".
We strolled through most of the livestock barns, midway, and a couple of the exhibit buildings, with various breaks to eat some fried foods (what state fairs are all about!) and drink claustrophobic root beer. Things we did not eat include: Pork or Chicken On-A-Stick, fried Oreos, fried pizza, fried Pepsi, Fiddle Sticks, Dippin' Dots, Hot Wisconsin Cheese, chocolate covered bacon, Ribbon Fries with or without barbecued pork, sausage, sour cream, cheese, or bacon. Things we did eat include: funnel cake, corn dogs, and honey ice cream (delicious by the way.)
We got to see several classes of Draft Horse Competition and part of a goat show before hitting the grandstand 40 minutes before the concert was set to begin and after laughing at the fact that Jamie's seat was actually right behind a pillar (which I may or may not have predicted when he called dibs on Seat 37 back in March), we noticed that the sign on the pillar actually said "Section 5" and we were supposed to be in 6, so sadly no blocked view for Jamie.
Heart opened and even though I don't count myself among the throngs of hardened Heart fans, it was still enjoyable. Also very, very loud. They need to talk to their soundman though; there was a bit of distortion. But that's none of my business.
Right after Heart left the stage and while most of the audience was cheering for more, someone caught a glimpse of Ross Valory walking between the trailers and started cheering for him instead, so he stopped to give a bow and some funny poses, which really made the audience's day. I'm not saying that Heart doesn't have a good following, I'm sure that they do, but I do find it incredibly amusing that the bassist for Journey alone got louder cheers. To be perfectly honest the calls for a Heart encore had already died down a bit before Valory was spotted, but still.
Heart came back on for a 2 song encore and then there was a brief intermission while the stage set-up was changed.
And incidentally, again no offense to Heart, but Journey knows how to do a stage. We're talking banks of lights, rows of amps, stepped drum riser, Revelation album art floor covering, projectors, and a Fortress o' Keyboards flanked by a grand piano. Journey is not worried about conserving electricity. The downside of all those flashy lights is that they did confuse my camera quite a lot, so I ended up with a slew of very blurry and quite psychedelic photos (a few of which that can be made sense of, plus others from that day, can be found on Phasebook.)
Arnel Pineda (whom Jamie and I have affectionately nicknamed Zippy; 'cause he loves to jump around and dance so much) was great. He does love one move that comes close to a pelvic thrust, but he's got the blood of a showman, that's for sure. I think that he fits in very well with the rest of the band and the style of music. Fantastic voice. But I've covered that before.
Now, anybody who listens can tell from his music that Neal Schon (second biggest music crush!) does some amazing fingerwork to get the ridiculously fast note sequences in some of the songs that Journey does, but to watch that in action on the big screens was fantastic. Neal Schon's hands are magic, that's all I have to say. He's amazing. He's also a lot of fun to watch and obviously loves what he's doing, as do all of them.
Bit disappointed that Castronovo didn't sing lead on anything. On the concert DVD that I have he does the lead vocals for "Mother, Father" on top of playing drums and he's really fantastic. Of course he was fantastic just playing drums for this concert too. You know who else was fantastic? Jon Cain, that's who. He did a couple of short piano solos that were truly, truly great and also played backup guitar on a lot of songs. I had no idea that he played guitar as well. He's got some mad skillz. There were in fact several pleasantly surprising instrumentals in this concert that I'm not sure have been recorded. At least, I haven't heard them on an album. Anyway, they were great.
After a good hour and 45 minute set they left the stage and we all clapped and yelled and stomped our feet until they came back out for an encore. They did a long instrumental number and then "Any Way You Want It" with extended guitar and drum solos. After their encore all five band members lined up at the front edge of the stage to wave and bow and clap back at us before exiting, stage right, single file. Trailing the others by a couple of yards and sporting a funny, bustling sort of walk was of course, Ross Valory. "Oh Ross! He's such a kidder!"
As it was already getting on past 11pm when the concert let out we left pretty quickly, though we did pause to consider the possibility of riding the ferris wheel now that it was dark out, but decided against it and got out of the fairgrounds faster than I thought we would. About 10 or 15 miles out of Indy we passed a nondescript bus and then another one, so I mention to Jamie the fact those those buses look an awful lot like the nondescript tour buses that had been parked behind Journey's stage area. And that the band had in fact left with the quickness. And oh hey, I think that Journey is supposed to play in Illinois or Iowa or something in the next day or two. You don't think...?
Then we passed a third bus. Yeah, that has to be them is what I'm thinking. Quite a coincidence if it isn't. But naturally without substantiated evidence the sighting wouldn't be peer-review worthy. And then we come up on a fourth bus that happens to have a window on our side. A window with a light in it. As we begin to draw up to pass this bus I go ahead and make a generic joke about maybe being able to see Neal Schon inside and then I get a look in the window and who do you think is sitting there? No, not David Duchovny. Arnel Pineda! So I yell something along the lines of: "OH MY GOSH IT IS HIM!" At that moment I remembered my joke from only a second before so I amended (in a slightly more reasonable tone o' voice) "Oh, not Neal Schon, I mean it's Zippy! I saw Zippy!"
By this point we were actually already past the bus so I say to Jamie, "Do you think we should slow down and wave?" and he says, "Kinda, definitely yes." So we did, but only briefly so as not to be a danger to ourselves or others, so I can't say as he saw us, but we tried.
The concert was totally and completely awesome, but knowing for a fact that we were within a meager three yards of Journey, well that was the amazingly creamy, soft, enticing icing on the otherwise delicious cupcake that was the day. The whole thing could totally be a Mastercard commercial.
So thank you Indiana: We did enjoe tethe fair. We enjoed it very much.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

As It Seems

~ Jeffrey Adams crawled out of the crater that he’d been using as a foxhole and peered around at the desolation; surprisingly even more nightmarish in the stark light of day. Not a thing stirred and as he let the ruined shards of his armor fall away from his body they clattered to the stony, decimated earth like gunshots. It was the only sound to be heard and Jeffrey winced.

He started to step away, but paused to look back. In his shocked state Jeffrey found in himself an almost crippling reticence to leave the bits of armor and the burrow that had shielded and protected his life through the long and terrible night. He dragged his gaze away from the ground and scanned the horizon for movement.


Scorched blisters marred the vast expanse of earth everywhere between the few mutilated skeletons of ancient trees that had somehow remained standing. They were gone now. It was all gone now.

“War ruins everything,” Jeffrey thought with surreal clarity. He finally pulled himself together as best he could, and moved off in a westerly direction. He had no reason for choosing to go west. He had no reason not to go west.

Deep within his body a handful of miniscule bots worked hard to control and repair organ and tissue damage, but it was a battle that was being slowly and inevitably lost. His armor had successfully shielded him from the first dozen hits before breaches began to occur. Tiny fissures and cracks grew with every subsequent blast, leaving his vulnerable body bare to the insidious waves of radiation. Particles too small and too fast to at first be noticed by the bots ripped through Jeffrey’s body, leaving paths of torn and shredded cells in their wake. This is what the bots noticed, and by extrapolation came to the conclusion that the body was under attack. They rushed to secure the function of the brain and other critical organs, but even as they did, heavily damaged cells were dying or mutating everywhere.

Mercifully, Jeffrey couldn’t feel any pain yet, and he continued to walk, staggering through the erstwhile battlefield, vacantly looking for other survivors on the way. The bots continually triggered the systems in his body to release enormous amounts of endorphins, attempting to keep his stress levels down. The hormones coursing through his body, added to the traumatic shock and lack of food, water, and sleep combined to leave Jeffrey disconnected and slightly giddy. He stumbled over an arm lying at the edge of a blast site and he inexplicably giggled.

“You’re a horrible person,” he told himself.

“I’m sorry, but I was ‘disarmed’ for a moment!” he responded in his mind. He snorted again and moved on, stepping over the body that corresponded to the arm, some eight feet away. There wasn’t much left of it. Jeffrey suddenly doubled over and began retching violently, his entire abdomen heaving. The bots had finally lost their hold on subduing his stomach and wave after wave of nausea and dizziness washed over him. Thick stomach acid, tinged red with blood, seared his throat as it was forced up from his otherwise empty belly.

After several minutes the nausea subsided just enough for Jeffrey to stand back up. It was integral that he find water, food, and medical help immediately but none of those things entered his delusional mind, so he simply continued to walk. All around him was vast, desolate emptiness and hours later, when he finally could walk no more, Jeffrey collapsed with his back against the still smoldering side of an unearthed boulder. His arms and legs trembled with false chills while his core temperature soared far beyond dangerously high. His hands were clammy and numb and bloody lesions had begun opening up on his skin.

Beyond his consciousness the bots prepared for their last stand. His body was fading fast. No one must capture the secrets of the state. Each bot, mindlessly triggered by the dying processes in Jeffrey’s body, prepared a tiny, but incredibly powerful detonating reaction within themselves. In perfect synchronization the microscopic bombs ignited. For a moment, just the briefest of moments, Jeffrey did feel pain. Inexplicable pain. But that subsided into nothingness soon enough. The bots were gone, taking with them every last thread of hope and leaving a surprisingly large amount of damage in the delicate body they had been charged with.

Jeffrey’s body slumped to the side, a single chilling groan escaping through parted lips as the weight of his dead mass forced the air in his lungs past his larynx. The secrets of the state were safe. There was no one left to try to capture them anyway. ~