Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I liked Michael Jackson. I mean, really, who didn't? And it makes perfect sense that the mourners have come out of the wood work in droves lamenting over a tragic life ostensibly ruined by eccentricities and deviant behavior.

It's also inarguable that there was some genius there and yes, records like Thriller, and chunks of Off The Wall and Bad, respectively, are nostalgic wonders. But while thinking about it--and how could you not think about your personal relationship with the self-anointed King of Pop--I don't think I had ever owned a Michael Jackson record until a few years back when I had received some remastered promos while running my university's radio station. And I wondered about this. If everyone in the world bopped to school with an MJ cassette in their Walkman, then why hadn't I?

While many are categorizing his music as R&B, Jackson interestingly never referred to himself as the King of that silky smooth genre. He wanted to tackle pop, an aesthetic that both supersedes race and age and also intentionally defies substance. Pop is not the chosen outlet for the politically outspoken nor is it it heady or divisive. It is mass culture, it is mainstream, it is a hit, a song for the world. When he was at the top of the charts, Jackson was quite possibly the most popular person in the world, and at the time, it would have been unfathomable that one day he would take a sharp left turn off of Normal Road and wind up being the butt of our mean-spirited pedophile jokes. And so, way back in the 80's, Jackson was the furthest from being the underdog and this was something I could not relate to. I couldn't imagine being that popular, being that universally acclaimed, existing as a brand almost as ubiquitous as Coke. It seemed overwhelming and huge and stressful and abnormal. Like a modern day god, mythology, worshiping, surreal pedestal high and tall. Perhaps I'm giving myself too much credit, but in a way, I may have predicted his bizarre downfall. I may have wondered about just how long MJ could handle this unprecedented level of fame (I would venture to say that he is and was more popular than Elvis) when especially considering his ostentatious lifestyle. And through this, maybe I distanced myself. Why invest in a personality doomed for self-immolation?

Or maybe I was jealous that I couldn't dance for s***.

Monday, June 15, 2009


After weeks, maybe months, of driving to faraway shelters and adoption drives, Shana and I had finally found our puppy. Barrett C. Dworken, nearly four months old, is the latest addition to our family, and in truth, I had no idea that you could become so attached so quickly.

Shana had a dog growing up so this emotional connection is old hat, but for me, it's quite strange to feel so connected to an animal. I had always loved dogs, had enjoyed playing with them, and in the dog/cat-person argument, I would always insist that dogs were actual pets while cats were the mammal equivalent of house decorations.
And ever since Barrett came into our home a week back, he has since then burrowed a permanent place in my heart (I acknowledge the inherent cheesiness of said statement and its cliched implication, but really, I would have never said anything like it before I had a dog).

He is playful, obedient (somewhat), and incredibly sweet. I should say that we are rather lucky to have a dog with his disposition, but this is not to say that there aren't any issues. Barrett has not learned how to walk with a leash (this will take some time), and he's fully equipped with a genuine separation anxiety. The latter is a result of Shana's expressive spoiling.

Recently, though, I have encountered two types of reactions to Barrett: there's the friend who is thrilled, supportive, and complimentary, and then there's the friend who asks, why? And in truth, I can't articulate the reasoning for getting a dog (aside from Shana's constant campaigning for one). If I had known the huge responsibility and the expense involved in raising a puppy, I'm not sure I would have been so agreeable. But in retrospect, it's better that I wasn't aware because as I look over to my right and see him resting on his side on our living room floor, I can't imagine life without him from hereon in.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Jenny says this is "totally true!" If it is, this sort of nails us all. But whatever...

Monday, June 01, 2009


A lot of candles on this cake=old. You got that, right?

You missed my birthday but let's not make a big deal out of it. I'm old. Seriously. O-L-D.

Last week, I went to see Green Day at one of their "smaller, intimate shows", and I stood, on my right, next to a middle-aged man in a charcoal gray sports jacket with peppered black hair and a "hey, I'm having a good time"-smirk across his face throughout the performance. See, guy was so happy to be away from responsibilities like taxes, bills, children and programming DVR's, and I got that. Then on my left, stood, rather, pogoing a twenty-something dude thrilled to be there, pumping fists at every chorus, feeling, no, FEELING Green Day. Looking to my right and to my left, I had a moment. Like had it been a television show, the action would have slowed down and there would been a Death Cab For Cutie song playing in the background. There also would've been a voice-over involving a "how did it get here" realization, "where am I?" awakening and/or "what does it all mean?"

Thing is, I realized at this exact moment that I was old because I felt myself relating so much more to Pepper Hair than to Fist Boy.

And it's been pretty much downhill since then.