Why is there a Dunkin’ Donuts every 2 blocks in this city? This can’t be all there is, right? I’m sure there’s a regular cafe with decent breakfast around here somewhere.
Jesus Christ, why is this crap popular? That sandwich was terrible, and I won’t be able to taste anything for a week because that lava they call coffee gave me second degree burns from my lips to my stomach.
Okay, I’m really hungover. There’s one across the street. I’ll just get something greasy and go.
Ugh, I’m on call this week, I can’t sleep, work is crazy, shit, I’m running late and… oh yeah, I can order ahead on the mobile app…
Just about an hour before I started writing this, 11:30am on a Sunday in the city of Rancho Cordova, I was walking east on Folsom Blvd to get fast food. Ahead of me is the Zinfandel train station when a late 90s dark green Toyota Camry abruptly pulls into the bus lane, the driver waving his arm in the air. I figure he’s waving at a vehicle behind him, and then he shouts “Get in the fucking car!”
I grew up in neighborhoods like this, so I tend to walk briskly with my hands in my pockets, minding my own business. Rancho Cordova has a habit of involving you anyway. The late-20s, thin, shirtless gentleman steps out of his car and starts yelling at me, “I said get in the fucking car, Sam!”
I look behind me, there’s no one there other than an elderly woman waiting at the crosswalk. I casually ask, “Do I know you?”
“Oh, you aren’t Sam?”
“Shit, you look a lot like my good buddy Sam.”
“Sorry man. You have a good one.”
I went my own way and he drove to wherever it was that he needed to be.
Okay, let’s break this story down a bit. Depending on your experience and world view, you could have read that as being anything from the setup to a horror movie, to being something completely normal and anything in between.
This is totally routine on Folsom Blvd.
Shortly after moving here, I was walking in that same direction, when a heavyset man with no shirt on was dragging a stolen shopping cart from Target behind him. He made eye contact with me and said “If you turn out to be a faggot, I’ll beat your ass!”
Rancho Cordova is a small, underdeveloped city on the east border of Sacramento, but still a part of Sacramento County. It’s the kind of city that’s gentrification-proof, see; not urban enough for hipsters to move there and no developers see a point in putting anything cool there. The cheap rent and lack of pedestrian traffic attract drug culture. The homeless population is more vagrant than that of the inner-city and sometimes prone to violence. Between the vagrants, tweakers, and angry young men being brought up in a culture that promotes their fundamental territorial instincts, being stopped by random sweaty, shirtless white dudes on Folsom Blvd is so normal that you quit noticing it’s happening by around the 4th time.
That may as well have been a methamphetamine handshake.
White trash culture in America is a relatively schizophrenic affair. It’s half toxic masculinity, half drug and alcohol abuse, together creating a dark philosophy that enables violence and sloth.
In this moment I reacted as casually as in any other case of mistaken identity. That’s because, growing up in this culture, that is a perfectly acceptable way for tweakers to greet each other. Your best friend could walk in, punch you in the chest, get you in a headlock, and 20 minutes later you’re drinking Keystone and having borderline rapey conversations about women you’re interested in.
I stayed aware of my surroundings, but you even do that with your friends in that culture. He stood with his chest puffed out in typical territorial primate fashion, speaking with aggression. I was able to see in his eyes that he wasn’t confident enough that I was Sam to push on the subject. If he didn’t know Sam and Sam owed someone money, this might be a more interesting story. If I am to believe Sam is his “good buddy”, I don’t doubt Sam would have jumped in the car, been punched really hard in his left side, and then went on to discuss the drugs he had just scored that morning.
Oh yeah, there was a kid in the fucking car.
The back seat did appear as if it was piled full of junk when seeing it strictly from the back. I would expect nothing less from a 90s Toyota; my Corolla had a different odor every week. It was after the gentleman was getting back into his vehicle that I noticed a carseat in the back with a toddler in it. This fills me with many warm childhood memories.
I promise to get in the car the next time this happens and write a routine about it if I survive.
San Leandro is a wonderful little city directly south of Oakland, about to be overrun by the great hipster exodus, as the number of barista roommates you need in order to subsidize your art in a 2br apartment has everyone fighting because Steve didn’t label his organic kombucha in the fridge properly. Despite having 3 breweries and a coffee roaster, the city just got its first gastropub, and the food isn’t anywhere near on par with the world famous sports bar that you should go to instead. Basically, San Leandro is one of the few regular-ass-towns in the bay area.
This should bring about no surprise that the historic Bal Theatre, a beautiful landmark left over from the 1940s currently hosting cover bands and touring comedians, is run by a guest speaker on Ancient Aliens. Dan Dillman, the tinfoil-hat-in-chief of the venue, hosts an annual event devoted to conspiracy theories and UFOs because of course he does. A candidate in the 2014 mayoral election, Dan Dillman gained notoriety after an altercation with police in 2010, which apparently resulted in a sentence of 4 months in jail, but I can’t find any follow-up on that and he was running for City Council later in the year. Really though, you could say the guy truly represents The Dro.
A couple friends of mine advised that I get completely fucked up and go to this with them. I got stuck in traffic so was not able to sufficiently pre-rage. The first chunk of this presentation I was half-way sober for.
It opens with Dillman giving a slide show presentation on the subject of time travel, which was this year’s theme. They were essentially presenting that there were time travelers among us, and they had been influencing us throughout history. He starts out by showing clips of classic films where characters were seen holding one hand against the side of their head. This was clearly proof that time travelers from the future were talking on their cell phones. How were they getting signal before cell towers were invented? Fuck if I know.
The rest of this thing was such a meme-fest that you could basically live-Snopes the event. They started showing old pictures of figures who resemble John Travolta and Vladimir Putin, indicating that they had actually traveled through time to different points. If I would believe this about anyone, it would be Putin.
By this point, we’re talking so much shit that the guy in front of us seems rather perturbed. I mention to my friend, “You know, anyone sitting by themselves is really into this and not here ironically.”
“Oh shit. We should simmer down.”
“Nah, let’s sit with him, he looks lonely.”
The next half-assed rabbit hole is about science-fiction films. They were discussing how technologies appeared in such films that came to actually exist in the future. Yes, because people growing up watching Star Trek didn’t set out to invent that shit. Much like aliens built all of our old stuff, time travelers built all of our new stuff. I snarkily mention to my friend, “I’m surprised they haven’t got into the Simpsons yet.” BOOM! Ask and you shall receive mother fucker!
Please consult the following image:
This was presented to the crowd, with the question posed: “How did the Simpsons, in 2008, predict that Barack Obama and John McCain would run for president in 2012?”
If you do not know what is wrong with that comment, please stay far, far away from me.
Now, to make things even better, in his narration, Dillman said that the Simpsons “predicted Donald Trump’s 2015 victory.” Look, Dillman isn’t good with numbers, I get it. The following is from his campaign website:
This November you’ve got two choices for Mayor, two incumbent city council members, who are making promises to the future, when they have already had 12 years between them to get something done, or me “Dan Dillman” who has fresh idea’s passion dedication and experience.
So, the Q&A starts. OH, OH YES, THERE’S A Q&A! I already know my question.
I was excited to see you brought up the Simpsons, because they are well-known for predicting the future. One thing that’s bothering me is that, as I recall, Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee in the 2012 election. Could this be the Mandela Effect, and could you tell me how you feel the Mandela Effect pertains to time travel?
I begin to stand up to indicate that I have a question. My friends immediately interject, “Blake, what the fuck are you doing?”
“I have a question.”
“Dude, sit down.”
“What? It’s a good question.”
“You really shouldn’t.”
“Are you afraid I’m going to get us thrown out or something?”
Moments later, another person at the convention asks about the Mandela Effect and the Simpsons. Not on the same error, but goddamnit that was my fucking question!
This is the end of Dillman’s presentation. We move onto Servando Gonzalez, who was so fucking boring that it was like watching a professor from an underfunded community college trudge through shit he doesn’t understand. In trying to explain time travel using quantum mechanics, he on multiple occasions admitted to not really understanding quantum theory.
Half way through this, we realize we’re too sober for this shit. One of San Leandro’s best bars is about a block over. We’re venting about this, trying to get lubricated enough for the rest of it to be fun. We come back in during a film presentation, UFOs and Nukes: The Secret Link Revealed.
It’s the tail end of it, so I’m not sure what event we’re hearing about. Something to do with a UFO appearing as an ICBM compound starts having problems with their missle systems. All of this is paraphrased as I was drunk and don’t have a transcript: Several air force personnel identified a mysterious cigar shaped object in the sky. “You mean a missle?” It had no cockpit… “So, like, a missle?”
…or propellers. “So, definitely a missle.”
Next up was Ruben Uriarte, publisher of several books mostly obsessed with an alleged UFO incident in Chihuahua, Mexico, and Deputy Director of Investigations at MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). After talking to us about Chihuahua and his adventures with his co-author Noe Torres for what seemed like a million years, it turned into a MUFON recruitment seminar. He was showing some infographic of the most reported UFO sightings in California, and I’m excited to report to my Sacramento friends that you were #1! I was trying to find a source on their website, but have given up because I’m a terrible journalist.
After this, Dillman was due to speak again. Looking at the program, there were another 2-3 hours of this shit. We decided to pub crawl Oakland and forget half of what we just learned.
On the way out, I got to shake hands with Dan Dillman, who I still wasn’t sure was a believer or an expert con-artist. I got to look him in the eye, but will not disclose my judgment as he seems like the type of person to sue you for libel. Opinions aren’t valid, people. I was handed some amazing information to take home, including this declaration of independence from our alien overlords.
Despite all of this, please support the Bal Theatre. I would hate to wake up tomorrow and find a Whole Foods in its place.
I’m going to tell you the story of Valentine’s Day, set in either 2009 or 2010, I really don’t remember. It was my first Valentine’s Day after being dumped. It was kind of amazing.
I might have been interested in someone at the time, but I wasn’t really pursuing it and chose to engineer an album for Sacramento-based harsh noise outfit Liver Cancer instead. I was recording it in Geordan’s garage, and part way into the session I started feeling this pinching in my side. I try to shut it out. About half way through the recording session, I suddenly find myself rolling on the bathroom floor in agonizing pain. I was also uninsured at the time. Geordan comes in, “Are you alright, bro?” “NO!” “Where does it hurt?” “Here!”
“I think that’s your appendix. Do you need to go to the hospital?”
“Nah….. nah. It’s probably diarrhoea or something.”
“What’s your pain level?”
“Seriously?” “Fuck, it just hit 9, might be dying, let’s go to the god damn hospital.”
So I get a ride from the band out to Sutter Hospital in Roseville. They have me pee in a cup and give me a comfy hospital bed. Two incredibly beautiful nurses come over, start using me as a human pincushion and pressing down firmly on places that are supposed to hurt. Basically, it was the most action I’d had in months. They mention blood in my urine. Great. Every uninsured American wants to hear that they’re peeing blood. At least red pee on Valentine’s Day is festive, right?
They do some kind of a scan on my abdomen and just leave me unattended in that room for hours. I have to say, you have not lived until you’ve spent Valentine’s Day in the emergency room. The grand rotation of insanity that ensued made me not feel lonely in the slightest.
First, we have an elderly man who is a tad bit wasted. He doesn’t like his hospital bed. He might have a bit of dementia. He decides he’s tired of hanging out in here and just leaves in the hospital gown with his bare ass hanging out. Shortly thereafter, nurses are scrambling around trying to find the man. He’s humbly returned with police escort and handcuffed to the bed. I sense a BDSM theme forming.
Next, we have the girl. I see her wandering around the hall in a daze, hateful look in her eye, ghost white, and I start thinking, “Huh, what are you in for?”
One bad fucking night. That’s what she was in for.
She goes into the womens’ room and locks the door. Suddenly, there are 2 police officers outside the bathroom door banging on it. They demand she unlock the door or they’re going to unlock it and drag her out. Well, they unlock it and drag her out kicking and screaming. They bring her fiancé in to try to calm her down, but he really, really isn’t helping.
It starts getting ugly when she throws a bedpan on the floor and hurls her cell phone at a nurse. She’s screaming up a storm. The cops hold her down and cuff her to the bed. When do I get to be restrained?
This sad woman was a paranoid schizophrenic with a bladder infection following a medication abortion, and the police are there because she’s on suicide watch. Her fiancé starts coming around periodically and being horribly frigid and cold. Regardless of your stance on that subject, it’s a horrible experience for a woman to go through, and this guy finds that to be a mild annoyance. A schizophrenic dating a sociopath sounds like the beginning of a really bad movie. At one point he walks in, tells her that he never really loved her, and just fucking leaves.
FIREWORKS ARE LIT NOW! She starts convulsing in a maelstrom of loathing and sadness. Here come the authority figures and medical technicians. “Give her Geodon.” “No! No! You don’t know my medication! You talk to my fucking shrink! I take Seroquel! Don’t give me that shit!” “Did you bring the shot?” “No! I don’t want it!”
I probably should have warned you this story goes from being darkly comic to kind of terrifying. She starts to fade out, and for some reason they wheel her out into the aisle like she’s on public display for the rest of the ward. She’s half coherent and the guy handcuffed in the bed next to mine is starting to sober up and chimes in. “They’re trying to help us you know.” “…gurgh…..ggg….fuck……you……”
They continued on like that until she finally passed out. A friend of mine at the time who was also my emergency contact pops in. There was an ongoing joke that we had the same bad taste in women. He jumps straight to “Who’s the hot girl cuffed to the bed?”
“Dude… just…. no….”
Doctor comes in, tells me I have a kidney stone, I need to drink lots of water, and that’ll be $10,000. Liver Cancer named a song after it, you can listen to it here:
Placerville is a weird place. I’ve been posting these pictures to my social media account as this has been going on. This one below is from December 13th. I was taking out the garbage and this was sitting on my trash can.
After posting it, various Satanists and drummers started asking me to steal it for them. I went down later that night, but it was gone. I didn’t see it again until nearly a month later. I was walking my dog last night and it was hanging out on the picnic table in the courtyard.
When I left for work this morning, it had moved off the picnic table and onto the grass. I’m thinking of adopting the little bastard, but I also consider that it has been moving by its own free will, and will likely turn into one of those catholic haunting movies if I let it into my home.
As it stands right now, my dog doesn’t want to go up and down the stairs anymore.
For one, it was the first Christmas Eve in recent memory where my employer did not require that I work. So, I offered to work anyway, as well as Christmas day. This was an alien thought to him, so instead I am enjoying “second weekend”, as I have come to call it.
I woke up and noticed it was a slightly soggy and gloomy overcast morning. Wonderful! I opened all the windows, grabbed a blanket, and played Dragon Age on my couch with my dog for about 7 hours. I ate leftover pizza and drank a lot of Mountain Dew. I beat the game, but am considering picking up my save from about 90 minutes prior, as I made a decision which brashly affects the family of my character from the first game. Whoopsie!
I enjoyed not having any allergies today. The rain kept the usual allergens down, and since I don’t see the point in ironically decorating Yggsdrasil in the genocidal culture that burned their temples down to build their churches atop of, my apartment doesn’t reek of dead tree.
I became hungry, looked around the kitchen and came to the logical conclusion of: fuck cooking. Fast food giant Jack in the Box is open all major holidays, and although they are a shining star of mediocrity, carry a great nostalgia for all the times my mother and I went there on major holidays, because holidays are dumb. She died this year by the way. Did I mention fuck this year with a bonesaw soaked in ebola and sadness?
I pull up to the restaurant and I gasp. Are they closed?! Is my last resource in this hick town lost on me? The lights are all off; the sign, the drive through menus, and the in-house lights are dimmed. I pull up to the drive through anyway where the order screen gives me this empty stare of bright white light. No text, no logo, no anything. A booming, enthusiastic voice yells at me “Hi there! Welcome to Jack in the Box! What can I get for you today??!?!?!?!?!!!!111!!!!1!!!!one” “Oh, hi. I need a minute. It’s hard for me to see the menu without lights out here.” “Oh yes, sorry. We’re trying to get that fixed.”
How many Jack in the Box employees does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
I place my order and pull around. The cashier is literally hanging out of the drive through window. As I approach, he yells at my car “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” (no, I am not making this shit up). I greet the cashier and his horrible lack of professionalism and begin the financial transaction. I am forced into a conversation.
He exclaims: “I can’t believe they have me working this late on Christmas eve! I should be home!”
“Huh. This year is the first time I’ve had a job that didn’t require I work holidays.” I’m balding and wearing my pajamas. I believe the look of horror on his face was him looking into his future.
“Really? Uh, wow. Wait, you said french fries right?”
“Oh okay. HEY BOSS! IT WAS CURLY FRIES! YOU CAN KILL ME LATER! Here’s your card back. Are you having a good Christmas so far?”
“Eh, I really don’t celebrate Christmas.”
“Oh, what do you celebrate then?”
“Nothing? Not even Hanukkah? Why?”
“I’m 30. I don’t have any kids and I don’t believe in any gods. There really just isn’t any point.”
“Oh yeah, I flip back and forth. Like-”
Okay, I hate to cut that conversation off, but the rest is him dumping all of his teenage philosophies on life on me until my cheeseburger is ready.
I get my food, say “Enjoy your holiday, you weird fucker”, and then promptly leave. Since then, I’ve mostly been drinking beer and watching Angry Video Game Nerd episodes.
And that my friends, is what Christmas is like when you’re a nihilist.
Do you like heavy metal? I certainly do. From stealing my mother’s copy of Blackout by the Scorpions when I was 5, to my Gothenburg phase as a teenager, and into the current era of slow building riffs, I’ve always had some heavy metal in rotation. It’s not the only thing I listen to, because well, that would be stupid. However, if a power chord on 11 doesn’t make you want to get up and throw shit, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. That last sentiment, however, is exactly why the world needed Babymetal. There’s this horrible thing called sub-culture where people define themselves by the crap that they’re into. If you don’t think you’re silly, think about Juggalos for a second. Haha, I know right?! You look that stupid. You really do.
Rock & Roll was the devil’s music as soon as it landed. The genre’s name was a reference to fucking, it was invented by blacks and sold to white kids when atheism was as hated as Islam, and people of color were hated even worse. About 15 years into Rock & Roll’s life, its louder, ugly cousin named Heavy Metal was born. More sexual innuendo, simpler chords, bigger fuzz boxes, bigger amps, bigger hair, pointier guitars, Robert Plant’s package on full display, and now they were actually writing songs about Satan! That’s right, before Ozzy Osbourne was a tv dad no one respects, he was the scariest son of a bitch in popular music. The moral panic kept growing until grunge killed the genre and nobody cared anymore.
This started to cultivate a personality type associated with heavy metal. We listen to scary music. Glenda in accounting was horrified when I put on Mercyful Fate the other day. Hah! Fuck her! There was a time and a place for this kind of anxiety, it was called the 1980s. Satanic Ritual Abuse was a huge conspiracy theory that wasn’t outright debunked by the FBI until the early 90s. Dungeons & Dragons, a role playing game where players could practice the imaginary kind of magic that so many great metal songs have been written about, was being taken too seriously by kids and lead to a few deaths. The problem is, after the people who play Dungeons & Dragons accepted that their hobby was just nerdy bullshit, metalheads never did the same.
Enter the 90’s. The death metal scene was emerging in the late 80s, but oh crap, it’s landed. Louder, meaner, more violent, and all those songs about sex now involve necrophilia and knives. Satan is still a big topic. This really enabled the metalhead as we know him, but then an abomination was dropped onto the genre that it never recovered from…… Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power. This is an album that almost single-handedly destroyed heavy metal forever. Now there was a section of heavy metal that was only about how tough you are. Your music is tougher than other people’s music. How do you know this? Philip Anselmo told you so when he was inciting a small riot of methamphetamine addicts full of beer who beat their girlfriends. The album’s dumb riffs and pseudo-political commentary just swim in the shallow end of a white trash pool that’s better left explored by proper misanthropes and junkies like Eyehategod. Have you been told you listen to pussy rock by a Disturbed fan lately? Thank Pantera for that.
Meanwhile in Japan, Christianity was never a widely established religion, fucking has been the norm, and mixing genres that don’t belong together has become a casual hobby. This was the perfect climate for a teen pop producer to casually go “Hm, this needs more blast beats”. Thus, Babymetal was born! That’s right, Japan has found they can sell extreme metal to 12 year olds if they throw in teen-pop harmonies and random breaks for dance beats because nobody there is afraid of it. The record spends its time going down a whole mesh of heavy metal tropes whilst doing random genre breaks for hip-hop, reggae, and house music just because it can. Basically, if Mike Patton were involved, everybody would be on this album’s nuts.
But, no, so many metalheads are butthurt. Those who aren’t butthurt, but don’t like it, just don’t care. They don’t listen to it. It’s that Vulgar Display of Small Penis that has men on the internet in droves screaming about how heavy metal is being destroyed by this. It’s because the album features all the things that usually make them macho: blast beats, death growls, grinding guitar riffs, fast chromatic guitar solos, all these things they’ve sworn for years make their music more masculine than what the jocks who beat them up in high school listen to, and it is in no way scary, brutal, or in validation of their masculinity.
Let’s be real here. Listed below is a picture of my little sister. She competes in amateur MMA tournaments in Reno. She listens to R&B. If you’re a pussy, but you listen to goregrind, you’re still a pussy. Just come to terms with it.
This is why Babymetal is so important to heavy metal. It strips that delusion away. It takes every element you’re familiar with and places it into a context that it just doesn’t belong in. This gives you the opportunity to reflect on some things, like wow, a lot of heavy metal these days is really over produced. You know, drum triggers, guitar amps so oversaturated they have no dynamic range, and that death(mall)core shit really has the clean vocal choruses dialed in like radio metal schlock such as Five Finger Death Punch. Your taste in music has never made you tough, scary, or validated your masculinity for you. If you go listen to The Cure right now, you’ll only be as gay as you already were.
With that, here are some Babymetal videos on Youtube if you want to start deciding that kawaii metal is actually adorable and not ruining the identity you’ve wasted your teens and twenties trying to achieve.
As I have now seen at least 3 variations on this meme reposted at least a million times, usually by people who know nothing about music, I have wasted several minutes of my own life forming my counter graphic. Have a nice day.
I am definitely against SOPA/PIPA/PROTECTIP/COICA and whatever the hell else they’ll rename it to when it comes back in 6 months. I think Wikipedia’s black out today has been a great way of making a point about internet censorship. However, I’m surprised piracy websites don’t see the irony in participating in the black out. I don’t think it’s helping.