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EZ Listening

I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I’ve finally gotten over the pneumonia. It took two months, three courses of antibiotics, three doctor’s visits, a trip to the urgent care clinic on a Friday night (which is SO damned fun, you have no idea), a breathing treatment, some Prednisone, and more codeine than you can shake a stick at, but I think it’s officially done.I was still coughing a bit during the Minicon weekend, but this week, now that I’ve caught up with the sleep deficit? I am golden. It is so awesome, you have no idea. When you’re just sort of slogging around for so long you forget what it feels like to not feel like shit.

And I can tell I’m feeling better, as I was looking at the bathroom floor this morning, thinking “Man, I am so sick of waiting to deal with rebuilding the subfloor. Maybe I should just do something in the interim myself? It couldn’t be that hard to lay linoleum, right? Wow, I totally should re-caulk the tub this weekend.”

Hello crazy! I’ve missed you!

I’ve been thinking a lot about assholes the last few days. No, not the things that everyone has, from which by-products are passed. No, the people who are jerks, who are so self-involved that they don’t even consider how they come across to the rest of the world.

I worry a lot about being an asshole too much. It’s probably one of my biggest concerns. Which is not a request for a bunch of comments stroking my ego and assuring me that I am not an asshole, because whatever, I am sometimes. Everyone is. It’s sort of inevitable, because no one can be a saint 100% of the time. My goal is just to keep the ratio in the 90s and then make quick amends the rest of the time. I doubt I even make this mark. I certainly engage in snipey petty bullshit, although I try not to, or try to keep my venting contained to safe harbors (see the previous entry), but sometimes it slips out at inappropriate times and is hurtful and then I try to make up for it, because really, that’s all you can do. If you’re an asshole, your punishment is to essentially grovel and hope to be forgiven. And also learn from the experience. Mostly, I try not to inconvenience other people because of my own laziness or ineptitude because that is one of the truest marks of an asshole and the usually the mark of everything that truly annoys me boils down to exactly that. Being irresponsible with your pets? Throwing your cigarette butts out the window? Taking unfair advantage of your friends’ generosity? Insulting someone just to try to build up yourself? It all boils down to putting your own needs before the inconvenience or detriment of others.

And in my rush to not be an asshole, it has occurred to me recently that I have been allowing other people to be an asshole to me. There’s a weird social convention, there. People will ask permission to do something assy, as though by receiving permission first, it excuses them from poor behavior. “Hey, I’m going to have to stomp on your foot. Is that all right?” “Oh, I might need to borrow your house for three months… you don’t mind being homeless for a little while, do you?” “Oh, man, I think I’m about to screw you into the earth. My bad. Want some lube?” “Hey, do you mind holding still while I shit down your throat?”

And because I am always trying not to be an asshole myself, I always say “Oh, no problem! Feel free. Whatever I can do for you.”

Why do I do that? Because it means that I’ve absolved them from guilt. It’s my own damned fault, then, isn’t it?

So that’s my current plan for mental paradigm shifting. You want to be an asshole? Fine, but you’re not getting the green light from me.

It’s totally spring here in Wisconsin. It’s so weird. Ten days ago, I was standing in snow up to my knees and they were predicting a low of 3 degrees. Yesterday, it was 63 and I was driving around with my sunroof open, singing out loud to Blink 182.

Over the weekend, Esteban said something that I’ve been waiting to hear for 17 years. “Did you know that Green Bay has an alternative radio station now?”

I was rendered speechless and quivering for a full minute. Alternative radio station! Alternative! Radio! Oh my god! No more Nickelback! No more annoying pop traif! No more having to indure a top 40 radio station that is still playing songs from 10 years ago! Alternative! Joy! Pure unadulterated joy!

You have no idea how much I miss my little college radio station, the station that introduced me to Peter Murphy, to the Dead Milkmen. The station with the dj who had Broadcasting 101 class with me and would play The Descendants “Wendy” whenever he wanted me to call him during his shift. Oh WWSP, how I miss you. And when I drive to Milwaukee, I listen to my iPod until the precise moment in which 102.1, Milwaukee’s alternative station, comes in loud and clear. I know exactly when I’m in range, right after the glacial drumlins, as I pass Acuity’s headquarters with the ginormous American flag, that means that it’s time for spontaneous Postal Service, random Offspring and its inexplicable love of that “Insane in the Membrane” song. And when I go to Shermer, I know that when I start to lose that station when passing the Kenosha Harley Davidson store, I can switch over to Chicago’s 101.1, where clearly, my lack of smoking dope precludes any appreciation for Sublime, but other than that, I love them because they introduced me to Blue October before anyone else had even heard of them. And they played Stars once, right before Lollapalooza. Oh joy of joy.

So yeah, new radio station. However, I’ve been listening during my morning commutes and they still seem to be finding their way. While there has been a few Smashing Pumpkins and Violent Femmes songs, I’ve also heard a lot of U2 and Dave Matthews Band, which I don’t really think of as alternative. Really, it’s just less poppy Top 40. They don’t really have a website yet, otherwise I’d write in and request some Death Cab or Imogen Heap or something. Maybe that’s not alternative though. Maybe alternative is just the label that aging hipsters like to bandy about so that they don’t feel guilty about getting old.

My, my. People in glass houses.

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