This is What Reality TV Should Really Look Like:

I apologize to anyone concerned about the lack of updates… what can I say?  Not only did I have a very busy month, I can only operate this site in my spare time, so I guess I’ve found it easy to lose my focus as of late. I’ll even admit that I didn’t really want to make this specific update either. In fact the main reason for this update is that I was honestly starting to get bothered that my “Bohemian (Grove) Like You” blog was getting a little too overly obnoxious (since it’s been sitting there for quite a while). I also swear that after two weeks of that blog being “my headline story,” its presence was just a coincidence. And although my honest intention was to start making frequent updates on my site, I’ve found out the hard way that I just don’t have enough time or technical website/media knowledge to realistically cover the news in my spare time. Just keeping up with the news can feel like a full-time job these days!

So since I’ve been “inactive” as of late, I definitely have to thank all the great activists out there. So even though I haven’t been contributing lately, I’ve at least had time to read, watch, and listen to many of you. And even though nothing beats the satisfaction of having finished a fine work, it was nice to finally have some time off and watch from the sidelines for awhile… so thanks to all of you for all your work!

Anyway, sorry again for the lack of material. I haven’t given up on the site, but I’m definitely in the process of reorganizing, refocusing and re-energizing… stay tuned?

Okay, enough of my sorry excuses…. now even though I honestly feel terrible that I haven’t been posting so many of the great articles and videos that I’ve been watching the past couple of weeks, I can’t just show up all of a sudden and not post something besides a bunch of whining. So with that being said, it’s video time… and if I could only choose one (by the way: it is also no coincidence that this video also happens to bring us full-circle back to the title of this blog), this one in particular really got my attention:

How to Humiliate Myself in Public Without the Effects of Alcohol

When it comes to mechanical things and construction, I have a confession: I’m a completely useless idiot. I’m fascinated by people that are really good at working on cars and/or working on their own home projects and repairs because I honestly have no clue.

However, since I’m a guy, and I’m “supposed to know” how to do stuff like that, I have to force myself through projects (installing blinds, home theater etc) every once in a while; not to save time or money, but to literally protect my ego. Even if takes excruciating hours of trial and error, and I still only get most of the screws in the right way, I still need those occasional moments of satisfaction when I accomplished a project by myself because I’m “supposed” to.

Anyway, one of these “challenges to my masculinity” just surfaced as my mountain bike has been squealing to a point where I was going to have to force myself to take action and fix it. Since any idea of bringing it to the bike shop was completely out of the question (because I would instantly forfeit any right to refer to myself as a man in front of anyone in the store…ever again), I went out and bought myself a bottle of oil.

I was thrilled when I found the oil, as it actually had a very reassuring picture of a bike on the back of the bottle! However when I went to actually use it on my bike, I realized that it may have a picture of a bike, but it doesn’t actually show you where to put the oil, or in what amount. Is this considered common sense knowledge? But in true spirit of my personal challenge, I never asked anyone how to do it, and I didn’t even look it up online. Like the village idiot from a beer commercial, I just started randomly squirting oil on the parts I thought that “made the most sense.”

After feeling very accomplished and proudly riding down the street, the moment of truth arrived as I had to finally pump the brakes only to find out:

1: they have apparently been covered in so much oil that they’ve lost their ability to function.

2: the squealing is so much louder now, that after my first brake, I instantly had to turn around and pedal back home out of shame.

Near miraculously though, down the final stretch back home, I noticed my neighbor’s garage was open. I only see him once every few weeks or so, and so it was by sheer coincidence he had just gotten home. At first I was too embarrassed to ride by (because of the sound of my brakes), but after a brief circle, I remembered that he was one of those “handy guys” that could probably help me out.

Since I couldn’t bear the thought of hours of trial and error, internet research, or the devastation of having to load my bike into my car, take it to the shop, and endure deafening silent ridicule as the guys at the shop would probably use me as a punch line for months. “Hey, remember that guy who tried to fix his squeaky brakes by just randomly squirting oil everywhere and ended up making it worse?”

So after contemplating which option was the least horrible, it suddenly became a no-brainer, and I quickly pedaled home and flagged down my neighbor about four seconds before he was about to close his garage.

Anyway, not only is my neighbor a very nice guy, but he really is one of those “handy” guys. And as it turns out, there are actually designated spaces on the bike that you are supposed to squirt oil into while simultaneously spinning the wheels for its even distribution. Duh.

So what are the lessons learned?

1. Although I didn’t really pass my last “masculinity” challenge, I didn’t technically fail either. And when you think about it, I probably had the best possible outcome because…

2. Sometimes it’s awkward and you have to force yourself, but you should always take advantage of the opportunities to interact with your neighbors. If I would have missed that brief thirty-second window that had become available to me, it could have cost me hours, if not days of time, frustration, and embarrassment. I hope I can return the favor one day, but…

3. If you’re ever in an emergency situation with your car (for example), and you can only make one phone call, you could call me…if you need me to write a story about it. If you actually need help fixing or starting your car, I’d honestly be about as uselful as the guy in this video…

SNL and Irrationally High Expectations for Modernized Nostalgia:

I remember a time around when I was in grade school, that Saturday Night Live was the greatest show on television, and at that age, not watching it made you an instant social outcast. Not always because you were made fun of, but also because SNL seemed to drive a sort of temporary social language code every Monday, so if you didn’t watch it, you wouldn’t know what the other kids around you were talking and laughing about.

I haven’t really watched SNL much the last 10+ years, so it makes me feel like kind of a snob since I seem to only enjoy the SNL of “my generation.” To be fair though, when SNL was at its peak for me, there wasn’t exactly a lot of competition either, in fact I don’t think Comedy Central was even a channel then.

So now I’m wondering, did SNL really get “bad” like I thought it did? Or is it unfair to hold the show to the same standard in a world with DVR’s and a few hundred extra channels?

Anyway, after several advertisements persuaded me during the football games this weekend, I finally gave in and DVR’d an episode. Now I’m far from ready to proclaim: “SNL is back!” But Jim Carrey was the host, and there were a few decent skits, so I think it might be ‘worthy’ of another taping.

Hey, why not? The current cast might seem to pale in comparison to the all-star casts I remember in the late eighties/early nineties, but between a general faded interest and modern technology, it doesn’t really matter when I watch it now; but most importantly, my social life doesn’t depend on it anymore either (although that would still have to be funny, even if it was in an ironic way).

This also brings up a somewhat disturbing “I must be getting old” moment, because it also makes me wonder what modern kids would do if they put (whatever the cool kids are watching) on at midnight Saturday night, and they weren’t allowed to skip the commercials. You spoiled kids wouldn’t last a week in 1988! Back when I was a boy…

In case you missed it, I thought this sketch was pretty good, even though I can relate to a few of these moments more than I’d probably like to remember. But how can you truly experience human life without having an occasional awkward emotional breakdown?

Blueprint for Future Dissent

I think if I had an opportunity to show everyone in the world just one video (out of all the videos I’ve linked to thus far); I would probably pick the Love Police video from the New York subway, as I think it has the most potential positive impact.

I think that is because at heart, I don’t see myself as a “conspiracy theorist.” I see myself as an idealist, and that subway video gave me a glimpse of what idealism looks like, how badly I want to see more of it, and how frustrated I am that I can’t live that way in the present.

This video however, is not about idealism. To me this video is about seeing and accepting the disturbing absurdity of what we’ve allowed our world to become. Most importantly though, it shows that we have no reason to fear the system, because a corrupt system only has power if we choose not to resist it, and this video shows us that concept in action.

This video is so important to share now, as this latest Arizona shooting should sicken everybody. Not only was it a completely senseless act of violence, it won’t make ANYTHING better for ANYONE.

Therefore, I think the only way to truly beat the system is through peaceful resistance, and I can’t think of a better example of how to do this any better than through the examples I’ve seen from the Love Police. If you want a model on how to fight the system in the most effective way, look no further…

Soon to be Songs of the Year?

Pandora song(s) of the day: Every once in a while a “popular” song sneaks onto one of my Pandora radio stations and I (surprise, surprise) like it so much, I end up giving it a very rare “thumbs up” (Pandora owners know what I’m talking about).

Now I’m not against giving public respect on these songs, I just seem to find that when I look up the video, I am reminded very quickly of why I stopped paying attention to the “popular” music industry to begin with.

Without getting into detail, I’ll just say that these videos are probably the result of what happens when corporate marketing teams create videos, not artists. These videos make me feel like I’m watching some of the world’s most shallow and cleverly dumbed-down commercials that are selling products and ideas that I’m going to regret buying someday.

Even though I probably won’t watch these videos again, and even though I still thoroughly despise the pop music industry, I’m still going to acknowledge the occasional musical gem that sneaks onto my stations. I still really like these two songs in particular, and I sincerely hope they win songs of the year or some sh__ tomorrow…

(originally posted 12-30-10)

Alcohol, Drunk Driving, and Trying to Choose Between Two Extremes…

click for the article...

I won’t justify drunk driving, and I’ve learned (through several hundred personal experiences, and through several thousand observations) that alcohol is an extremely dangerous and destructive drug that usually causes far more harm than good. However, these mandatory checkpoints are way too extreme on the other end, and a trend that needs to be stopped before it escalates. Love the second video in the article…way to go Alex!

(originally posted 12-30-10)

A Happy Conclusion to an Age Old Argument?

This is one of the most interesting commercials I’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t hurt that I happen to be a huge Einstein fan too. However, this is a very controversial piece because the dialogue you will see in this scene is heavily debated …because it’s a mystery whether or not this event really occurred.

This is an ad for bringing back religion in schools. The problem I have with religion being taught in public schools is that the people that seem to always push it on us are completely ok with the idea… just as long as it’s a Christian denomination (of course). Since I am not a Christian however, I have always had a big problem with this issue.

However, I’m definitely not an atheist, and I don’t believe Einstein was either. Like Einstein though, my belief in “god” ironically had more to do with my research of advanced physics rather than through the church, the bible, or traditional man-made religions.

In the bigger picture though, whoever is right in the present is completely irrelevant, and I don’t claim to have all the answers anyway. I also think it would be inappropriate at this time to try and argue that my beliefs of science, religion, or philosophy are superior to anyone else’s beliefs; therefore, I expect the same respect from the Christians.

What I do know however, is that if every school in every society had a mandatory class that taught our children the teachings of not one, but several religions, philosophy, tolerance, patience, creativity, open-mindedness, imagination, logic, critical-thinking, peaceful debate, and a place to express themselves and their ideas without judgment…not only will I show you a road to real, positive change, but our next generation might give us an honest chance to see world peace in our lifetimes…

“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being” -Einstein

Btw, I hope I don’t sound like I’m comparing myself to Einstein as I wouldn’t last a week taking a college course in advanced physics. I find the subject absolutely fascinating, but my “research” of these subjects have mostly come from books specifically written for laypeople to understand 🙂