Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cranked-Out and Jammed Filler: A Short Story!

Viewer Discretion Advised. 

Sometime between dropped connections of the internet(I recently moved to my girlfriend's place in the depths of Carver, MA where we are evidently reduced to literally scavenging for internet connection) I had decided to venture into my word processor and start writing a new blog entry, which would in turn be copied and pasted on my blog site once I physically gather enough internets to achieve this.  Them internets are wily little bastards, though.  I swear there is a actual new entry on its way, but amidst boredom/ADD, I came across a short story I had written about a year ago for a college English class.  I must stress this was last year, like, yeah... that last year of Patrick's life.  For those just getting filled in, the majority of 2011 was a bit of an exercise in self-destruction(a topic will we will dive into in a later blog entry).  Like, apparently I was conducting a social experiment... on myself.  In a nutshell, there was depression brought on by a catalyst(shitty fuckstorm of a breakup), self-medication to cure this depression, and then clinical depression as a result of this self-medication.  It's just that easy kids!  So as a result, I can remember about 35% of about 75% of last year.  You do the math.

I think the answer is like, 26.25. 

Getting back on track(which is an ironic turn of phrase to use while talking about a trainwreck), the paper was written the night before I had to turn it in.  Procrastination was not a new phenomenon to me, and being Mr. Dead Inside had nothing to do with this.  I've always thrived on it as an easy motivation reserve(or so I tell myself).  And speaking of motivation reserve, I believe cocaine was involved, something the pusher of said illicit substance insisted on assuring me it was "fire" and "rocket fuel".  In regards to cocaine, these words are now adjectives, by the way.  And regardless of potency, and the fact the transaction is complete and you would like to kindly be on your fucking way now, they will continue to sing of its likeness to rockets, fire, fossil fuels, etc... And, like a true professional, I curbed the rocket fuel with a healthy dose of Franzia boxed wine, as well as a reserve stash of percoset.  Somewhere in there, I think a pretty goddamn good short story came out.

Okay, okay, I know this is sounding like a ringing endorsement for substance abuse.  I swear it isn't, and I cannot stress enough that abusing drugs was mostly not that fun.  It left me spiritually void, emotionally exhausted, and I really hurt a lot of people close to me.  But I'm not going to lie, I wrote some of the best lyrics and prose of my life last year.  Maybe I needed to be spiritually dead for awhile, and suffer for the sake of my art to truly appreciate the vast and devastating beauty of life?  Or I'm just a self-absorbed loser who never learned how to cope with the demons in his head.

Either way, I've written way more than I think I needed to preface this short story, so here goes.  The short story!

Note: Please mind spelling/grammatical errors as the author was not of sound mind at the time.  Never really was, come to think of it. 

"Geoff's First Day"

“Can I help you?”
A coy yet disinterested voice muttered from behind a desk.  Justine, the young and attractive brunette receptionist for the head of the Human Resources department, was seemingly immersed in whatever was happening on her computer, which more than likely involved pictures of kittens or celebrity gossip.  There was an awkward silence after her query, which now managed to break the spell that ICanHasCheezburger had on her.  
“Oh, well, hello,” replied the young man Justine seemed oh-so-eager to help.  Geoff Wilcox, age 19, was checking in for what he believed to be his first day of work at K’Save’s, the awkwardly-named department store famous for selling brand name clothing at low- low prices.  Normally a brilliantly arrogant asshole, Geoff was reduced to a blithering idiot at the sight of the lovely Justine. 
“Hi!” Justine replied with wider eyes to show he had her full attention.  And that hopefully he would sense her impatience.  
“Well... okay, here’s the thing.”  Geoff literally forgot what he came in to do.  Which was to find Karen in Human Resources who would in turn begin his orientation.  He stalled and tried to remedy the situation with some charming awkward behavior. “Let me ask a hypothetical question.”
“Mhm,” Justine mumbled, leaning forward in her chair, resting her head in her hands.  Her fake zebra-print nails seemed to be engulfing her lower jaw like a homosexual bear trap.  But Geoff was looking at her nails, but into her dark, brown Sanpaku eyes.  God, he loved Sanpaku eyes.  Because of this, he just knew there was some troubled side to her, which just made him melt down to a frothy, awkward little boy-puddle.  Yet bravely, he struggled to get the next batch of words out.
“Let’s just say I’m like... this is like my first day here.  Which it is.”
“Yes, okay. It’s you’re first day.”
“And like, there’s a lady I’m supposed to talk to?”  
“Oh, yeah, you must want to talk to Karen,” Justine interjected.  
  “No, no, let me finish!”  Justine was startled, understandably.  Geoff was completely lost in his own thoughts, as per usual.  “There’s like, a lady who is supposed to bring me on an orientation of sorts?”
Justine, rather indignantly picked up her phone, hitting the intercom button, and paged “Karen to the H.R. department please.”
“Yeah, Karen!  That’s the one.  Where might I find her?”
Justine blinked before replying with, “Well, I just paged her.  So just wait right here and she’ll be in to help you, okay?”  When Geoff sheepishly nodded yes, she turned back to immerse herself in the world of kittens and Perez Hilton once more.  Geoff kept his hands in his pockets; nervously playing with the random sundries he kept in there... a pen, cell phone, loose change, loose cigarette.  Not working for the past four months has reduced him to perpetually borrowing cigarettes; this particular one coming from his friend Nate.  After about 30 seconds of fumbling around in his pockets, Geoff finally chimed up to make small talk with Justine, who was clearly utterly disinterested in him.  
“So... how long’ve you been working here?”
“Too fucking long...” Justine replied distantly, eyes glued to her computer screen.  Luckily for Justine, Karen arrived shortly after this response to save her from further awkward small talk.  
“Hey, hon, did you page me?”  Karen was a tall and broadly built middle aged woman.  She was well-dressed and well-groomed as anyone representing the good name of the HR department of K’Save’s should.  Justine poked her head back up, quickly minimizing the non-work related material on her computer.  
“Oh yeah, this kid is here to see you.”  Geoff shuttered when he heard “kid”.  It was too obvious there was an age difference, he guessed.  Justine couldn’t have been much older than 21, but according to her there was a drastic difference in social class. He shook it off and turned to talk to Karen. 
“Oh hi, my name’s Geoff Wilcox?  I’m supposed to be starting today in the Men’s department?” 
“Really?  Okay, well, my office is over here... let’s take a look through my files.”  Karen proceeded to lead Geoff to her office.  He took one look back at Justine, who surprisingly sent him a subtle flirtatious smile.  This proceeded to screw with Geoff for the next five minutes.  
Upon entering her office, Karen asked Geoff to take a seat, to which he obliged.  She opened up a cabinet and pulled out a folder that kept files of new hires, and asked what his name was again.
“It’s Geoffrey.  Geoffrey Wilcox.”  While she thumbed her way through the folder, which really should have been kept in alphabetical order, Geoff looked around the room.  Apparently Karen had two very young sons, and her and her very well-tanned husband liked to vacation in scenic Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Also around the room were numerous comic strips cut from newspapers that made poked fun the foibles of office life.  Her voice chimed up, breaking the spell of the Cathy and Dilburt comic strips surrounding him. 
“Here you are.  Gee-offrey Wilcox.  Right?”
“Yeah, it’s just Geoffrey.  You know, like the other Jeffrey but with a G-E-O.” He has to explain this way more than he should.
“Oh, haha.  Okay.  Geoffrey it is.  Or do you like Geoff?”  
“Well, I guess it’s not a big deal.  I go by either.”  Geoff was being oddly wishy-washy at this moment.  He almost always goes by Geoff.  He was still thinking about Justine.  
“Well, pick one, so we can make your name badge, kiddo,”  Karen replied in a light-heartedly aggressive tone. 
“Geoff works.  So listen, what’s the deal with where we’re supposed to park?  I mean, it’s like half a mile away from the entrance.  Is there like a shuttle service from the parking lot we can put in place?”  His trademark arrogance was starting to come back.  Karen was reading over his paperwork and completely disavowed his question.  
“Okay hon, I’m gonna have you watch an orientation video now.” Karen pulled open a drawer on her desk to pull out a DVD, and flipped the laptop on her desk around. “It’s about 10 minutes, and it just kinda goes over the history of the company, and like what our policies are and such.”
“10 minutes?  That’s five times my attention span.  There better be bright colors to hold my interest,” Geoff replied sarcastically.  Truth be told, he does have debilitating ADD.  
“Well, just do the best you can.  You might find some interesting colors,” Karen said, immune to Geoff’s sarcasm.  She proceeded to start the DVD.  Although the company clearly made the effort to transfer an orientation video to DVD format, it was clearly taped sometime in the early 1990’s.  Bed music that sounded like they could have been aborted Huey Lewis and the News instrumentals played passionately in the background, and current K’Save’s CEO, Dom DaMendi, flashed a smile and welcomed the new hires to the K’Save’s family.  Geoff cracked a quick line to the effect “Oh gee whiz, I’ve always wanted a family!” followed by Karen shushing him.  He knew she thought it was funny.
...and just like any family, we here at K’Save’s have a little thing called respect.  And we want you to know that the respect goes both ways.” The CEO had a deep, throaty baritone, along with a strong Boston accent.   “So, instead of using terms like, “employee”, and “boss”, and “customer”, we like to use our own words.  We’ll say helping hands to talk about you employees there,” The accent really was not the least bit subtle. “And boss?  Call ‘em team leader.  And last but not least, the customers.  Our number #1 priority.  The reason why we’re here today.  But don’t just think of them as a cold number.  We like to call them friends.” Geoff rolled his eyes, which Karen managed to catch him doing.  The video then moved on to talk about the history of the company. 
The story of K’Save’s started in Providence, Rhode Island in 1934, with the wild ambitions of struggling fruit peddler Kristoph Savory.  His waning interest in produce gave way to his sudden admiration with high fashion at the time.  Kristoph often felt ashamed of his tattered apparel, and knew there was a market in selling nicer clothes at significantly cheaper prices.  Working with a seamstress friend who also managed to acquire designs for various name-brand pants, dresses, and shirts, they began to design clothing out of his own home, and sell almost carbon-copies of all the big name brands at the time... Fred Perry, Chanel, you name it.   Realistically, they could only produce a few articles of clothing a day, but demand was running high, and Kristoph knew he needed help.  A friend referred him to an Italian investor by the name of Vittorio DaMendi who was well-versed in the fashion district of downtown Providence.   Vittorio was a very generous man, and even offered Kristoph the warehouse where he would open his first major K’Save’s.  The exchange was simple; Kristoph would pay Vittorio a nominal fee, and Vittorio would return with brand-name clothes that the big name stores couldn’t sell, as they were out of season.  The store was exploding with customers.  Kristoph was not only surprised by the amount of his fellow working-class customers coming in, but also at the quality of the clothing coming in... much of which seemed like it couldn’t have been much older than a few weeks.  Guess that’s the nature of fashion.  Kristoph, who passed away in the early 50’s from, ahem, accidental death, left his fortune and the CEO chair to Vittorio and the DaMendi family, as per his contractual agreement with Vittorio.  Because of this, ahem, kind gesture, K’Save’s has always kept a strong emphasis on family values, with Vittorio’s son V.J. taking over in 1967, and his son Dominic taking over in 1990.”  A significantly more eloquent voiceover announced “Please pause the tape now and talk about how you can apply your family values to your job.”  Karen paused the DVD and looked over at Geoff, who was rolling up a booger between his index finger and thumb.  Karen’s facial expression was mostly blank, other than intense eyes that seemed to be asking, “...Well?”
“Uh, wait... what?”  Geoff actually was paying attention to the video.  He just was inquisitive as to the relevance of the question being asked of him.  
“Seriously, I wanna know.  How can apply your own family values to how you conduct yourself here at K’Save’s?”  
“Kind of a personal question, don’t you think?”  Karen was not used to a response like this.  Her only instinct was to follow up with,
“You were serious about the family joke you made earlier, weren’t you.”  Geoff had a sick sense of humor when it came to the sordid details of his life, but he was half-serious.  He sighed (clearly doing this all tongue-in-cheek) and began to explain.
“Well, I never knew my dad.  Pretty sure he’s dead or dying in a crackhouse somewhere in Warwick.  So right off the bat I have abandonment issues.  So, how can I apply that to how I deal with customers at K’Save’s?  I hope the customers like clinginess and projecting guilt onto them.  Because I’ve got tons of that to spare.”  Geoff flung the aforementioned booger across the room, thankfully away from Karen, who kept opening her mouth to come up with a response, but shortly would second-guess herself and just continued to let Geoff speak.
“Oh, and my mother’s an alcoholic with borderline personality disorder.  So, yeah, to answer the DVD’s question, it probably wouldn’t be particularly prudent to apply my particular brand of “family values” to how I conduct myself here.   I’ll think I’ll just stick to drinking lots of coffee and trying to stay as chipper as possible for 8 hours before going home to my mom who may or may not decide my existence was a mistake today.”    Again, Karen’s awkward gasping and incomplete transitional words were finally broken by her saying,
“You know?  Let’s skip the rest of this DVD.  Let’s go meet Todd, your team leader.” 
“Yes, let’s go meet this Todd fellow.  Things just got way to real in here.”  Geoff had a slight erection.  Still thinking about Justine.  He tried to will it away when he stood up to follow Karen out of the office, but it only got worse.  Geoff discreetly shifted his package to make it less obvious, and thankfully Justine was too busy feverishly looking through Facebook to notice Geoff was even walking by. 
Geoff followed Karen onto the sales floor and towards the men’s department.  John Waite’s “I Ain’t Missin’ You at All” could be heard playing on the loudspeakers.  The store was well-lit, yet its placement in the middle of mall allowed for no natural sunlight to enter.  There was no carpeting of any kind, to facilitate weekly floor-buffing.  The aroma of plastic-y luncheon meats could faintly be smelled from the Subway right next door.  Geoff saw who must have been Todd from several yards away:  Todd was about 6’4”, pear-shaped, and borderline inbred-looking.  He most likely wasn’t, just the byproduct of very unfortunate genes.  Beady eyes, baked-bean teeth, and a scar that run up the back of his head, most likely from some sort of brain surgery.  He was also balding, but could not have been much older than 29.  Geoff and Karen’s arrival put a horrifying grin across his face, snaggletooth and all.  
“Todd! I’m glad you’re out here.  This is Geoff, he’s going to be starting today in Men’s.”  Geoff’s erection was gone. 
“Geoff!  Well, mighty fine to meet ya, sir.  Put ‘er there,”  Todd declared to Geoff in his not-so-subtle Southern accent.  He reached out for a handshake, which Geoff subconsciously responded.  Todd’s pot roast hand was literally crushing Geoff’s.  
“Nice... to meet... you... wow, Todd that’s... some handshake you got there...”  Todd let go, and Geoff proceeded to gingerly rub his hand.  
“Well son, that’s what 20-odd years of being brought up on Southern cookin’ gets ya,” Todd replied.  “...along with this,” to which Todd grabbed his own Rubenesque torso and wiggled it back and forth.  
“Yeah... so.  Men’s clothes, eh?  Good stuff, eh?”  Geoff replied to try and change the subject concerning Todd’s odd distribution of adipose.  
“I’m gonna let Todd take you from here, but I’ll let you know if I need anything from you, k Gee-off?” Karen quickly interjected.  Geoff sighed. 
“Yes, thank you Karen.  Todd and I are going to talk about Men’s clothes now,” Geoff said, having difficulty looking Todd in the eye.  Or anywhere for that matter, he was quite repugnant.  Karen left, and Todd proceeded to walk Geoff through the strategically placed sections of the men’s department(or as Todd would say, “May-ins”).  Underwear was grouped with socks, then pants, button up shirts, T-shirts, sweaters, cardigans, and jackets.  Somewhere in there was an endcap for novelty boxers, marked at 40% off.   Todd asked Geoff questions similar to Karen’s concerning his family, to which Geoff gave a similar reply.  Todd seemed too distracted by tidying the various shelves of pants and shirts to notice the darkness in Geoff’s replies.  Todd noticed an elderly man fumbling through several folded pairs of corduroy pants that were marked on clearance, many of which ended up on the floor.  Todd turned to Geoff with a goofy, snaggletoothed grin and announced,
“Your first friend! Let’s see if that gentleman needs any help.” Geoff rolled his eyes again.  A concerned Todd asked why Geoff would be rolling his eyes.
“Isn’t it a bit presumptuous to refer to our customers as ‘friends’?  Like, shouldn’t that term be saved for someone with whom… well, someone who you, you know, are friends with?”  
“They are friends with the whole K’Save’s family.  They have a vested interest in purchasing the product we provide for them.”
“Right, for all we know this old guy just wandered in here out of boredom.  He clearly has no regard for the displays you worked so hard on, as every pair of corduroys seem to be on the ground at this point.” Todd noticed this, and became visibly flustered.  He shook his head, flashing his award-winning baked-bean smile, and approached the old man.
“Hello friend, what can I do for y’all today?”  The old man perked his head up the ground where the pants lay, revealing a face that did not reflect the sunny disposition of Todd.
“Eh? What?  Just lookin’ for pants.”
“Right, was there a size in particular you were looking for, sir?”
“Pants! I’m lookin’ for pants!”  The old man was shaped something like a basketball balancing on a pair of popsicle sticks.  He was wearing a weathered cardigan, despite it being the middle of June. 
“Okay, let me know if you need any help, friend,” Todd replied exhaustedly.  Geoff remained the background, hands in pockets.  He rubbed his fingers along the one lonely cigarette in his pocket, as dreamed of smoking it at that moment.  Todd broke his daydreaming with,
“Geoff, could you do me a favor and help refold some of these pants?”  Geoff complied, and proceeded to pick through the pile of discarded pants.  The old man managed to always be in the way of Geoff no matter where he stood to pick up the pants, and at one point upon standing back up, Geoff’s head collided with the old man’s jaw, causing said man to lose balance and topple to the ground.
“What’s wrong with you, you fuckin’ idiot?!” The old man managed to wheeze out while he rolled and writhed on the ground. “Oh god, I broke my hip! I know I did.  Why don’t you watch where you’re going, are you stupid??”  Geoff was horrified, although he knew he didn’t actually do anything wrong.  The old man clearly was in Geoff’s way, so much so it almost seemed on purpose.  
“Uh… I’m sorry?” This was about as much remorse as Geoff could muster up in any given situation.  Todd’s normal cheery face suddenly turned sour; intensified even more by his grotesque features.  
“Boy, I say what is wrong with you?  Y’all nearly killed this old man!”
“Yeah, y’nearly killed me, retard!” The man managed to sputter out between coughs and pained moans.
“Uh... it wasn’t… I mean, I didn’t mean… um…” Geoff was speechless.  Todd was standing right there in plain view of the situation, yet still insisted on blaming Geoff for this accident.
“Oh, that’s it, mister.  I am tired of your excuses... you are fired!  Come into my office right now!”  Geoff got sick to his stomach.  Fired?  On his first day?  That’s a new record.  And this time he wasn’t at fault!  Todd called another employee to watch after the old man while he called an ambulance, and then stormed to his back office where Geoff was to meet him.  Geoff sort of looked around before leaving the old man to meet Todd out back.  He entered his office, which was covered in way too much Disney paraphernalia for a grown man to keep in his personal office.  Geoff’s sickness was slowly being taken over by anger.  He was livid.  
“Whew, that was a close one, huh Geoffy?”
“Fired?? It wasn’t my fault, I swear!  The guy seriously got in my way on purpose!  Trust me, if I wanted to injure an elderly man, I have way more effective and interesting ways to do so.  This is ridiculous!”  Geoff was thinking about that cigarette even more.
“Relax Geoff, you’re not fired!  That was just a great example of one of our policies!”  Geoff was again speechless, but out of confusion.  He asked Todd what in Sam Hill he was talking about.
“Listen, sometimes, especially for our, ahem, elder customers, it makes them feel better if we just, you know, pretend to fire a helping hand in front of them.  Even if it’s clearly not their fault.  You know?”  Geoff was still in awe. He blinked incredulously.  Todd continued, 
“Okay, we don’t actually fire you.  It just makes our friends feel like we are really going above and beyond to rectify a situation, even if it’s at the expense of a helping hand’s career here.” All of this was said in Todd’s cloying Southern accent.  Geoff finally chimed up.
“This is insane.  Not only is it sadistic to consider that old people like to watch employee’s lives get ruined… because by firing us we no longer have jobs, which is essentially our livelihood… but, what about the off chance that, let’s say, that same customer comes in and sees that I still work here?  I’m still there to injure him again!  Makes no sense to me.”
“Boy, you think these old fuddy-duddies remember what y’all look like? You’re just another nameless, faceless helpin’ hand down at K’Saves.  Why I could fire you three times in a week, and that guy wouldn’t remember!”  
Geoff sighed, his hands back in his pocket.  The two exited the office and headed back towards the sales floor.  Geoff finally turned to Todd asking,   
“So, when can I take my first 15?” 

...Eh? I never got a grade on this paper, come to think of it.  Probably for the best.  I have a real blog entry coming within the next few days; sober as a churchmouse.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Where's my dogs at?

One of the many services I wanted to provide with the inception of Manifest Clandestine-y was to actually write straight-up album reviews.  Honest-to-goodness.  Yes, in addition to being a shameless weirdo, I am also quite unabashedly a huge music snob.  A fact that has been brought to my attention numerous times by the most critical people in my life; past girlfriends.  For example:

Girlfriend "A": "What do you mean you can't stand hearing the new Ashlee Simpson CD for three weeks straight?  Ugh, you're such a music snob."

Girlfriend "G": "You listen to weird older people's music(e.g. apparently anything that came out before 1998.).  Let's listen to my iPod."  (Scroll through her iPod... The Fray, Sublime, Collective Soul, Nickelback(!!!), Paula Cole, you get the picture.  I made fun of her.) "OMG, you're such a music snob.  People at work think you're a weirdo, and they don't like you."

Sure, Gin--- uuuh, I mean, "Girlfriend G" was right, and probably about both statements.  But the fact that no one likes me will be a rich and fruitful topic for a blog entry another night.  For now, we are utilizing my innate musical snobbery to take on an album review.

...And of course, I couldn't pick a serious album to examine, oh Heavens-to-Murgatroyd no!  So what ended up on the chopping block for Manifest Clandestine-y's first album review?

None other than Jaime Broza's "I Want a Dog".  

I happened upon Broza's album at, of all places, my place of employment Whole Foods.  Yes, in addition to providing folks with the highest quality, all-natural food around, we now sell CD's up front... music that, just like any product, is good for your soul.  Gluten-free, macrobiotic, hormone-free(this is untrue, I saw the new Nickelback<wtf??> release up front), and ready to cleanse and renew your spirit just as though you just finished an intense Zumba session and ate a Cliff Bar.   C'mon man, being a white, upper-class Hinghamite is tough!  

~ "I Want A Dog"managed to catch my eye for a couple reasons.  For one, the title (which is about as subtle as the colossal dog on the cover's testicles) is clearly a bold promulgation.  Right to the point.  Kid wants dog.  And you know, it's that the kid wants a dog.  Doesn't need it.  The child recognizes there is a clear-cut difference between what is essential for him/her to live, and what he/she desires.  Sure, maybe if this were the Bronze Age, or you were living in Siberia and were short one husky on your sleigh, you might be in the position to say that you "need" a dog.  But the kid knew his priorities and chose to express himself appropriately.  A "please" would have been nice, but let's not split hairs.
~ The other reason is considerably more cynical, and starts to explore how I positively loathe children's records.  What purpose does it serve?  Just introduce your child to real music at a young age.  I guarantee good things will come from it.  I guarantee.  Children's records were basically created to drive parents to the brinks of madness and serve no other purpose.  I just don't believe in the genre.   I feel like music doesn't need training wheels, get that youngin' listening to John Coltrane right off the bat!  I digress.  
Honestly, just a quick perusing through the track listing was enough to inspire me to do an album review.  Sure, I'm an immature, soulless prick who can take anything as pure as a children's album and find several ways, backwards and forwards, to pervert it for my own cheap amusement.  That's the sad part.  I'm not even trying to impress other people, this is purely to satisfy my own sick sense of humor.  

... I digress.   Keep in mind that I am a grown-up, and thus was pretty much incapable of actually listening to more than 8-15 seconds of each of these tracks.  At this point I can't even really consider this a proper album review(nor can I can this a proper album).   Fuck it, let's give this a go.

1) I Like Dogs
This is literally a spoken word track of Broza asking a little boy if he wants a dog(sounding suspiciously like he might have a "puppy" in his giant trenchcoat).  Little boy responds with "Yes".  "Why?" Broza inquires of the boy... to which he responds "I like dogs".  

Yes, this exchange happened, and was put to tape.  Award-winning stuff.   This of course leads us right into....

2) I Want a Dog
His overwhelming desire to own a dog; set to this jazzy little country-folk track.  Again, my head hurts too much to delve into this any further.   On a scale from 1 to 10, I rate this song a borderline retarded 2.  

3) Waters of March
An odd sophisticated bossa-nova track sung by both child and Broza... subject matter is lost on me.  It's just irritating enough to be a children's song, but I honestly can't picture any child enjoying a bossa nova track.  This is starting to get weird. 

At this point I decided that an accompanying lyrics sheet may aid the process so I don't actually have to listen to the whole song.  Yes, for an album review.   Drats, I can't fucking find one.  

4) Turn That Phone Off
Okay, now this song was just sad.  From what I gathered, Mom or Dad(probably Mom, the little Chatty Cathy) won't get off the goddamn phone and pay attention to her kid.  I felt a connection to this song, for I too have fell victim to being ignored by a mother talking on the phone when I needed her undivided attention and/or a snack.  Out of pure unbridled frustration, I kicked a bag of trash, which unbeknownst to anyone contained a very sharp soupcan lid.  I managed to slice my little foot open, and had to be rushed to the ER to get 8 stitches.  By golly, did THAT get her attention!  I was 23, by the way. 

5) Three Blind Mice
Oh great, a cover.  And sung a cappella by three actual visually impaired mice.  Next. 

6) Guatemala
Hmm... a third-world Central American country that's been engaged in a nearly 40-year civil war?  Sounds like a great idea for a children's song!  Next. 

7) New School
A rockin' tune about a kid starting at a new school.  I'm sure some kids(or adults) can attribute just how scary this can be.  But I can't.  So I skip to the next one. 

8) Birthday Crying
Another spoken-word track, this time the singer is grilling the little kid on whether she's cried on her birthday before.  She did, because nobody liked her birthday cake; which was strawberry shortcake.  Well gee, I wonder why they complained.  Probably because strawberry shortcake fucking sucks? Whose idea was it to put fruit anywhere near a fucking birthday cake?  I'm an adult and I still don't like strawberry shortcake.  Dumb hooker.  I hope no one came to your stupid fruit-covered cake birthdays ever again, and thus become socially ostracized and forced into prostitution.   Moving on...

9) Birthday Parties Always End In Tears
Honestly, just one look at this song title, and I think "Wow, did we really need to delve into the sordid details of the Jaime Broza's traumatizing youth?".  Maybe we shouldn't invite Uncle No-Boundaries and Aunt Xanax-and-Bourbon to our birthday parties... or anywhere... anymore... ever.   This might be a good point to touch on next time you meet with your shrink.  

10) The No Game
Every child knows this game; I'm glad an adult is advocating this behavior through song.  Prick. 

11)My Work Is Never Done(a sentiment I am really starting to feel at this point)
This is just getting weird.  Another spoken-word track(aside from a short ditty at the end) with Broza asking a mouse how many kids he has.  65, apparently.  He laments on how is work is never done; which is why he spends his whole mouse-y paycheck down at the racetrack or the gentle-mouse's club downtown.  

12) Lost Cat
YOUR PARENTS ARE LYING.  KITTY GOT HIT BY A FUCKING CAR.  THEY SAW IT WITH THEIR OWN EYES AND LIED TO YOUR FACE.  They even helped you hang up signs around town and put out an ad in the paper.  Wow, they sure did go to great lengths to be cowards.  They just need to keep avoiding confrontation; it's fine.  They have a career to focus on, they don't need their children's milestones or the opportunity to share their wisdom to sully up their precious time... nope, because they can just lie, and the problem goes away.  Isn't that right, parents?? It's okay to lie to kids.  Shelter them from their own emotions.  Protect them from growing wiser.  Baby doesn't need to learn how treacherous and abysmal the outside world is... they've been trained to trust you and only you.   Consequences?  Naaah. 

... 13) Where's Charlie?
Another little bossa nova ditty asking where Charlie is.  Which of course, judging by the Latino flavor, I can only assume is code for "Where's the cocaine at, meng?".  Rumor has it Broza's coke habit is the stuff of legends.  

14) Monster Voice
Jesus Christ, another spoken-word track.  Grown-up and child go back and forth making retard noises.   Please do not let this CD anywhere near my future 4-year-old.  

15) Trick or Treat
Okay, a random holiday-themed song on a non-holiday specific disc.  That I thought was supposed to be a concept album about wanting dogs.    I'm still disappointed that the dog-wanting premise never panned out on this disc.  

16) Choo-Choo Train
Internet.  Laptops.  iPods.  Smartphones.  iPads.  Text messaging.  XBox Live.  Apps.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure little kids don't give a flying fuck about choo-choo trains anymore... but nice job anyway, Broza.  

17) Sisters
Broza's got jungle fever, baby!  Kinda inappropriate for a kid's album, but whatever.  At this point, I'm sure the little rascal's ADD kicked in(probably by track 8), and is already in the other room eating crayons, or whatever it is children do.  And I'm sure liberal-minded parents will sing praises of it's lessons on diversity.  Margarita needs a ride home by the way; she finally finished cleaning the guest bathroom.  

18) Dog Sounds
These are dog sounds.  Like, sounds made by dogs.  But by people.  Annoying people.  Somehow, this doesn't really stand on par with other popular closing tracks, but I suppose "Dog Sounds" is this album's "Love Reign O'er Me".  

Overall rating?  2 out of 5 stars.  

No, scratch that.  2 circles out of 5 stars.  

What?  Doesn't make sense? Neither did a 27-year-old music snob doing a children's album review.  But I did it.  And rated it with my own arbitrary rating system of non-sequential ranks and symbols.  And in the end, I think we all won.  Or at least, I satisfied my ego.  And that's really all I can provide for the children of America... a smug sense of self-satisfaction. 

Time for some real adult music now.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 is about to get Twenty-Twelve-ier.

So this should answer the burning question on everyone's mind: "Okay, I know Pat started a blog, but please tell me there's more?!"  Short answer, yes.  Long answer, the following blog entry.

Relatively shorter answer to preface: I have been meaning to follow up my infamous inaugural entry for some time now.  However my last month has been plagued by a widely celebrated series of holidays, including the birthday of some magical baby, and the celebration to hang up your brand new cat calendar. That, and a severe lack of red wine, hindered any sort of progress towards following up.

I just want everyone to know that I fully intend on blogging on a regular basis(as the world exhales a collective *sigh*), so fear not.  I actually have been conceptualizing some interesting fodder for future entries, it's just a matter of finding the time and red wine to actually sit and type out the goddamn thing.  Anyway, I'm going to keep this brief.  Happy 2012, softskulls.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Adding to the endless deluge of pseudo-intellectual hob-knobbery...

Behold!  America's newest and brightest young cultural icon brings to you his very own blog*!  Unless you have been living under a rock, or have suffered irreversible brain damage from smoking said rock, it is generally accepted(under penalty of strappado**) that we could only be talking about Patrick S.B. . In a bold move that is already generating buzz amongst the kitten-picture-meme community, Mr. S.B. has decided to utilize his spot-on opinions on life, music, food, entertainment, and other mundane foibles to where it matters most: The Internet.  Named after Mr. S.B.'s favorite justification for American 19th century imperialism, Manifest Clandestine-y annexed its rightful spot in the internet(and our hearts) on December 10th, 2011.  Amidst laudanumμ-induced reveries and a doctorτ-prescribed Pop Tart binge, Patrick S.B. creates fierce and jarring imagery of what he interprets as the world surrounding him - a bleak, desolate view of the cold urban landscapes he must face with every waking day.  Yet, within this grim world view, like a strange but beautiful tapestry, is woven with threads of childlike whimsy and genuine innocence.   Luckily, not every post is cut from the same cloth... Patrick S.B. offers a tour-de-force of opinions, facts, figures, poetry, prose, and perspicacity intertwined with lush and sophisticated melodies, harmonies, and rhythms engendering a rich yet accessible experience the whole family1 can enjoy.  Because family2 is what matters most to the Dayton, OH3 native... growing up with a tight-knit family including 4 brothers and 6 sisters certainly had an affect on his moral fabric.  He has taken a vow to continue his legacy as a spokesman for the everyday American; to read and write so the everyday American doesn't have to.  Mr. S.B. has also stated that he "looks forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Internet" and hopes to "spread (his) message of peace, love, and rock and roll to the much-deserving masses of our great nation".  If Mr. S.B. manages to warm the Internet's cold, calculating heart the way he's warmed America, well then hey... let's keep that laudanum and S'more's Pop Tarts a-flowin'.

- Patrick S.B.
Editor for Manifest Clandestine-y and close friend of Mr. S.B.

* - blog <blahg> noun.  A portmanteau of the words "blasé" and "log".  Essentially, a website where pretentious and humorless hipsters keep track of (or log) the trite mundanities of their everyday life. 

** -  Mr. S.B., a staunch advocate for "tough love", requests people be subjected to this classic form of Spanish Inquisition-era torture for simply not knowing who he is. 

(Mr. S.B. requested a green obelisk for this particular footnote as an homage to his two childhood heroes: Jesus Christ and the Jolly Green Giant)  There is a great deal of mystery surrounding what the "S.B." stands for exactly.  Due to the ambiguity of Mr. S.B.'s place and date of birth, and his family's crippling illiteracy, tracing his lineage has been next to impossible.  *Recent studies have yielded theories on the origin of "S.B.", possibly standing for "Saltimbanque-Biftek", Skitstövel-Brottfällig", "Sabungero-Bading"... it is commonly accepted amongst this research committee that he switched to "S.B." for anonymity purposes, and to maintain an "All-American" image that his otherwise extremely "foreign" sounding name may tarnish.

μ - Laudanum is an alcoholic beverage containing opium, morphine, and codeine, 
oftentimes  used as an analgesic(obviously) and cough suppressant.  It is sometimes
 known as "Tincture of Opium".  Poet Samuel Coleridge, according to legend, is said
to have written his famous poem "Kublai Khan" during a laudanum-induced haze.  

τ  - Mr. S.B.'s doctor was being sarcastic.  He can be very dry and sometimes his sarcasm is
 hard to detect.  Essentially, Mr. S.B. consulted his doctor, curious as to whether or not he 
could replace real food with its Pop Tart counterpart(e.g. blueberries replaced 
Blueberry Pop Tarts, apples replaced with Apple Pop Tarts).  Dr. Rasp Subaru 
supposedly found the question to be so ludicrous he felt compelled to reply 
sarcastically(the last straw being when Mr. S.B. asked about the health benefits of
replacing real S'more's with S'mores Pop Tarts). 

1 - Grandpappies may experience adverse effects to aforementioned enjoyment(e.g. indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, anemia, hallucinations, dysphoria, erections lasting more than 4 hours after viewing).  Consult your grandfather's doctors/hospice care before considering Patrick S.B. for your family entertainment.  

2  - As previously stated, very little is known about Mr. S.B.'s family life.  Illiteracy and social retardation plagued his parents and siblings for the majority of his formative years.  Patrick found refuge with various beat poets, bohemians, and French-Canadian carnival folk in the nearby Dayton "beat" district.   Many speculate he was the infamous "Little Ma'hambone-Jambon"; the young hobo/beat poet/petty thief who older poets on the scene referred to as "The Li'lest Daddio".  This is currently still up for debate amongst the research committee. 

3 - Sources now indicate that Patrick S.B. was born sometime between 2/6/1974 and 10/15/1991, somewhere between Pocatello, Idaho and Băile Tușnad, Romania.  Dayton, Ohio was decided as a "safe" halfway point.