Friday, April 25, 2008

The Accountant's Catharsis

I finally figured out why I chose to study accounting.

Sure, it pays well. Yeah, I'll be able to live anywhere in the country and find a job. And one day, of course, it will allow me to provide for a family, or at least for myself. While this is what attracted me to to accounting, it's not why I chose it.

I guess I could study something that I actually enjoy, like English or Sociology or even French. So why not study one of those subjects? Because they require opinions. They require thought. And they require emotion. Feeling. And emotion and feeling are things that, frankly, I've had quite enough of. I chose accounting because somehow I knew that I would need something in my life that would provide an escape from disappointment and hurt, happiness and love.

Numbers don't feel. They don't hurt if you neglect them. They don't swell with joy when you tell them you love them. They don't care if you hate them. When you touch them you can't send a chill down their spine because you can't touch them and they don't have spines. Numbers don't feel; they simply exist.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Payoff

Before I came here to California one of the things I was most excited for was to go to legit band shows. Having spent the better part of last year in Idaho, I've definitely been hurting for quality live music. However, due to long hours at work, few show-going friends, and not many familiar bands passing through the Bay Area, I went almost three months without going to a show. So, when I found out Jimmy Eat World would be coming to San Jose, I resolved to go, even if it was in the middle of the last week of tax season.

Last night I snuck out of work early, changed into show-appropriate attire in my car, and drove to the venue, a small arena on the San Jose State University campus. After taking a leak in the men's room (in which two women oddly-but-not-so-oddly-in-a-Northern-California-type-of-way also decided to relieve themselves) I hiked down the steps to the floor. I was somewhat late but still early enough to catch the end of Dear and the Headlights' set. And I'm glad I did because who should I see on stage rocking bass? None other than Rajiv Patel.

I was surprised to seem him but at the same time I wasn't. In an effort to get his attention before he packed up and walked off stage, I quickly became "that guy" and forced myself to the front. After a few minutes of yelling and dirty looks I finally got his attention. He packed up his gear and joined my on the floor, scoring me a bottle of water and orange. Paramore played well ... not my style, but they played well, even if their singer did rip off lyrics from "One Armed Scissor" by At The Drive-In.

For Jimmy Eat World I started off on the floor but after two songs Rajiv snuck me backstage.
When I was on the floor, it seemed that Jim had lost his man boobs; but watching from the side of the stage, much closer, I could see they were still there and, in fact, larger than ever.

I really enjoyed the set -- Big Casino, Sweetness, Crush, Dizzy, Always Be, Blister (glad Tom is still singing, as rarely as he does), Work, Your New Aesthetic, Authority Song, Here It Goes, Kill, Just Tonight, A Praise Chorus, Pain, Bleed American, Get It Faster, and Let It Happen ... for the encore: Hear You Me (Rajiv and I rocked together arm-in-arm on this one), Futures, and I almost thought I would go the entire show without hearing The Middle, but alas, it was their final song. It would've been awesome to hear a Static Prevails song, but I wasn't expecting it so it wasn't a big loss.

Thanks to Rajiv, I definitely got a bit more than I bargained for this time around ... but having seen them eleven times before, I see it simply as the payoff for my years of devoted fandom.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The original Mr. Stevens

And I'm definitely not talking about Sufjan...

The hair, the shirt, the beard, the pants, the pre-song banter, the song, the decade ... I wanna be Cat Stevens.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A few things I just don’t get

License plate frames. You buy a car from a dealership. A few weeks later you get the permanent plate in the mail. When you put the new plate on, you reattach the dealership’s license plate frame. Why? Free advertising for the dealership that made you pay too much for the car you’re driving? Now, I’m not talking about the frame your folks got you when you graduated from South Kentucky University, or the one that says, “My other car is a pirate ship.” By all means, keep those (of course, I’d never have one myself). It’s the dealership frames I don’t understand. Especially one as revealing as the one I saw the other day from No Credit Check Auto Sales.

Business letters. Specifically, the closing right before you sign your name. “Very truly yours,” I don’t even know what that means, but it might just be a polite way of saying “Give me more money.” “Sincerely,” has become so ubiquitous and trite that you might as well be signing “Insincerely”. “Best,” Now this one I kinda like because it’s so vague. Best what? Sure, the recipient of the letter might think it means something like “Best wishes” or “Best regards,” but as the writer of the letter, I like to think it means “I’m the best”.

Eyebrows. At this point in human history eyebrows serve no purpose. “Not true, they keep sweat out of your eyes!” Of course they do, but who sweats nowadays? Professional athletes? I wonder what the professional athlete-normal human being ratio is. OK sure, there are plenty of professions that require a bit of physical exertion. But as technology advances, it’s only a matter of time before robots replace the world’s manual laborers, thereby rendering eyebrows obsolete. Chances are your eyebrows already are.