Love this website. Punch in an address, pick a dialect, and let the good times roll.
(This version is actually better than the original article. Fancy that!)
Th' Culture of Sugar-Pawdies
We haf all heard sto'ies of sugar-Pawdies. Famously, Henrietta Nicole Smif, a fo'mer Playfella model an' spokesmodel, married up wif an 89-year-old billionaire. He repo'tedly lavished her wif expensive gif's an' maintained a luxurious lifestyle fo' her. But were they acshully in love? Was this hyar not so much a relashunship as it was a business transackshun? Most impo'tantly, kin this hyar setup pow'ful be beneficial t'etch of th' varmints involved?
As Samantha fum th' tellyvishun show, Sex an' th' City, once said, “Money is power. Sex is power. Tharfo'e, gittin' money fo' sex is simply an exchange of power.” Th' relashunship of a sugar-Pappy (a man who provides money an'/o' gif's t'an offen-much-yo'nger woomin, in exchange fo' her compenny) t'his “ward” is offen one of power. While it starts out wif th' woomin havin' mo'e corntrol (gatherin' gif's while wifholdin' her affeckshuns), it usually does not last. By allerin' th' woomin t'become dependent on him financially, he starts t'gain th' upper han'. He may begin exercisin' this hyar by denyin' her sartin freedoms: choosin' whut she wars o' how she does her hair, decidin' how they will spend their time, an' offen, isolatin' her fum varmints her own age.
Howevah, is all sugar-Pappy situashuns based on th' control of one varmint on over t'other? Kin it acshully be based on love? Absolutely. Thar is sartinly situashuns in which a yo'nger woomin junerally falls in love of a much older (an' wealthier) man, as enny fool kin plainly see. Howevah, once thet kind of extreme gif'-givin' precedent is in place, it becomes harder t'separeete love fum mere appreeciashun.
In th' absence of love, though, whut separeetes a sugar-baby (th' recipient of a sugar-Pappy’s lavishin') fum a prosteetoote? They both give their time an' compenny (an' offen, sex) in exchange fo' money o' fines. One c'd argue thet th' sugar-Pappy is essentially takin' her off th' market an' keepin' her as his own private exco't—sumpin thet high-class professhunal services occashunally provide. So whut is th' difference? Thet is, unfo'tunately, a quesshun fo' th' ages (an' offentimes, fo' th' courts).
Finally, eff'n th' sugar-Pappy setup is akin t'a power struggle an' th' control on over t'other hoomin bein', an' kin even be cheapened t'thet of a john’s relashunship t'his prosteetoote, how kin it postibly be beneficial t'th' varmints involved? One wo'd: loneliness. While thet wealthy man spent his intire career on overwawked yet succeedin', he may haf not had time t'find a partner. As he retches an age whar he kinnot easily meet a woomin, he may find it mo'e cornvenient t'“buy” compenny. He may mighty fine unnerstan' she is aroun' only fo' his money. Yet it offen seems th' men is okay wif this. He gits whut he be hankerin': someone t'spend time wif him, mebbe even haf sex wif him, in his later years. On t'other han', she gits whut she be hankerin': a lavish lifestyle, which she may not haf experienced otherwise. An' yessuh, mebbe she even appreesheeates th' compenny he provides. No one is immune t'love, af'er all, ah reckon.
February 27, 2010
Love this website. Punch in an address, pick a dialect, and let the good times roll.
February 26, 2010
A fellow crocheter makes hats with wonderfully simple embroidered designs. She makes it look so easy that I figured, "Hell, I can do that!" Turns out, not so much. My first attempt was to make a simple five-point star design. Like this:
(I'm making diagrams, because clearly this experiment didn't last long enough to take actual photos.)
However, instead of sweet pointy stars dotting the neatly consistent rows, I ended up with a hat covered in this:
Pretty rad, huh? I was really proud of my accomplishment until I realized it was crap. Well, until everyone around me noted that it was crap. That's when it really dawned on me.
So, I took a break from embroidery. But then gave it a whirl one day while home, sick with the flu.
What do you mean you can't tell what the white is? They're swirls! Swirls!
February 24, 2010
Notes from the Future: so, the above link now takes you to a YouTube video of Orson Welles' drunken rambling. I wonder if this website might have been a bad idea for the couple involved. Yikes.
February 23, 2010
With their parents growing increasingly rad by the minute, the kids decided they had to learn this fancy step, as well.
February 22, 2010
It was a great day for sledding: bright skies, (relatively) warm air, and fat snowflakes.
February 20, 2010
(Reprinted from http://www.truelovedirect.com/the-culture-of-sugar-daddies)
We have all heard stories of sugar-daddies. Famously, Anna Nicole Smith, a former Playboy model and spokesmodel, married an 89-year-old billionaire. He reportedly lavished her with expensive gifts and maintained a luxurious lifestyle for her. But were they actually in love? Was this not so much a relationship as it was a business transaction? Most importantly, can this setup really be beneficial to each of the people involved?
As Samantha from the television show, Sex and the City, once said, “Money is power. Sex is power. Therefore, getting money for sex is simply an exchange of power.” The relationship of a sugar-daddy (a man who provides money and/or gifts to an often-much-younger woman, in exchange for her company) to his “ward” is often one of power. While it starts out with the woman having more control (gathering gifts while withholding her affections), it usually does not last. By allowing the woman to become dependent on him financially, he starts to gain the upper hand. He may begin exercising this by denying her certain freedoms: choosing what she wears or how she does her hair, deciding how they will spend their time, and often, isolating her from people her own age.
However, are all sugar-daddy situations based on the control of one person over another? Can it actually be based on love? Absolutely. There are certainly situations in which a younger woman generally falls in love with a much older (and wealthier) man. However, once that kind of extreme gift-giving precedent is in place, it becomes harder to separate love from mere appreciation.
In the absence of love, though, what separates a sugar-baby (the recipient of a sugar-daddy’s lavishing) from a prostitute? They both give their time and company (and often, sex) in exchange for money or goods. One could argue that the sugar-daddy is essentially taking her off the market and keeping her as his own private escort—something that high-class professional services occasionally provide. So what is the difference? That is, unfortunately, a question for the ages (and oftentimes, for the courts).
Finally, if the sugar-daddy setup is akin to a power struggle and the control over another human being, and can even be cheapened to that of a john’s relationship to his prostitute, how can it possibly be beneficial to the people involved? One word: loneliness. While that wealthy man spent his entire career overworked yet succeeding, he may have not had time to find a partner. As he reaches an age where he cannot easily meet a woman, he may find it more convenient to “buy” company. He may very well understand she is around only for his money. Yet it often seems the men are okay with this. He gets what he wants: someone to spend time with him, maybe even have sex with him, in his later years. On the other hand, she gets what she wants: a lavish lifestyle, which she may not have experienced otherwise. And yes, maybe she even appreciates the company he provides. No one is immune to love, after all.
February 18, 2010
So I was surprised when she came into my office one day, a couple months ago, a big smile lighting up her evil face. She wanted to talk about construction changes. I wanted her to leave. I was cold but polite, waiting for her to finish talking though. Instead, she walked around my desk to stand by me.
Whoa! Intrusion of personal space! She stood less than a foot from me, much closer than we had ever been (and ever hoped to be, in my mind). But she didn't say anything. She awkwardly smiled at me, as if waiting for me to say something instead of "okay, okay, I'll talk to George, then get back to you." But I wanted her to leave. More than anything. Just go already.
She said "Excuse me," in her I'm-just-a-sweet-old-lady-voice, then kept walking. I was left dumb-struck in her wake. In a haze, I lurched out of my office where I immediately told all my coworkers what had just happened. By the end of the day, we had all decided it was the funniest thing to ever hit our office.
The next morning, I was greeted by the morose face of my boss. "We've had some bad news," he said. "The landlady passed away last night." The implications of what he said hit me even harder than her fart the day before.
When I told him what happened, Keene said, "Do you think the fart was actually her soul leaving her body?" I peed my pants a bit at that.
I had never been around someone just hours from their death. It felt strange. I might have been one of the last people she talked to, and she farted in my face.
Keene then said, "Maybe she thought, 'There. I've farted in that little bitch's face. Now I can die happy.'" He has a strange way of dealing with death.
One night, shortly after, The Dude took the opportunity to fart on me, as little boys like to do. Keene said to him with a face oh-so-serious, "Uh-oh, you know what happened to the last person that farted on your mom..."
Days passed quickly and quietly, much like the gas itself from the poor lady's buttocks. The landlady's memory has lived on. But it is a happier memory. It is the way she should be remembered. Not as the tyrant who roamed the hallways with a scowl and a copy of the lease in hand. But the lovable cad who stole into an office just long enough to have her fun.
February 17, 2010
(Reprinted from http://www.luvemorleavem.com/articles/2010/01/recognize-dating-warning-signs)
Nothing is worse than taking the time to get to know—and develop feelings for—that special somebody, only to discover their hidden monster. If only there were signs to look for during the early days of dating, signs you should steer away, signs that no amount of money spent on you will make this couple compatible. Look no farther: here are your signs.
1. Arguments. Simple, yes. Telling, absolutely. It has been said many times over that relationships should be easy in the beginning. You are still discovering one another, learning about each other’s likes and dislikes. While typical first dates may find the couple playfully arguing about the dinner bill, if you find yourself ready to go head-to-head with your date, this is a bad sign. As a relationship wears on, it becomes easier to find fault with a person, to start fights more easily. So wouldn’t it be better to get off on the right foot with the right person?
2. Differing beliefs, values, goals. This is a step beyond arguing, but equally (if not more) important. While the first couple dates are not the best time to discuss whether you want kids someday or whether you believe in an afterlife, you can get an idea of where your future together may stand. If you are the type who likes to spend your evenings relaxing with a loved one, yet your date reveals his love of the party scene, you may want to proceed with caution. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but such differences as these can, over time, create a drift in your potential relationship.
3. Treatment of others. One of the best pieces of dating advice is to watch how your date treats the staff. Is he kind to the waitress, or does he act demeaning? Does he laugh and talk with the bartender, or make snide comments to you? This is very indicative of his human nature. When a person is in a position of power (even if that power comes in the form of customer-server relations), it is important to see just how he or she will respond to it.
4. Rapport with friends. Friends aren’t always right. Especially when it comes to picking a guy for their friend, they will feel as if no one is good enough. Yet, when they see a catch, they will let you know. On the flip side, if all of your friends are rallying against your newest date, question why. It’s likely not a conspiracy to keep you alone forever.
5. Instinct, instinct, instinct. Many times, a person will ignore his or her gut when considering a relationship. Why? Because they don’t want to be alone. Sometimes, being with the wrong person can seem better than being with no person at all. Nevertheless, try, try, try to follow your instincts. If you have to talk yourself into seeing that mediocre guy again or if you are bothered by something but can’t put a finger on it, don’t do it. Realize that there are millions of single people in the world. There is no need to settle on one which is sending up your red flags.
February 16, 2010
No one knows where Scar Cat came from. I like to think Alcatraz, but I cannot confirm this. He appeared at an animal shelter one day: no owner, no history. They named him Gorseth because that is a very appealing name that just screams "Bring me home with you!"
The Dude and I had just decided the day before that we wanted a cat, so we went to the shelter to adopt. After browsing for a while, we decided to take a closer look at Gorseth. Once out of the cage, he snuggled right up to the Dude, purring, and acting (for all intents and purposes) like a cute little kitten. We signed the papers, forked over the dough, and brought him home.
However, he was not who he appeared to be. It turned out that he was a vicious creature of the dark: jumping from high ledges onto our heads, attacking our toes while we slept, and even punching our crotches when he felt the situation warranted this. It is because of this behavior that we renamed him Scar Cat (or Pooper, for short).
Regardless of his wild ways, he assimilated into our lives.
We had Pooper for several years before he disappeared. While we loved him as part of the family, he had other plans. Every day when I arrived home from work and he snuggled my face, he was actually timing how long the door stood open and unguarded. Every time he chased me into the bathroom to chill with me, he was actually distracting me from a plan gone awry. When he curiously chased squirrels through the window like any cat would, he was actually measuring window frames and plotting coordinates. We only discovered this later.
It all happened one chilly day in March. I had rushed home to grab sleepover supplies for the Dude. As I ran inside, with the screen door slowly closing behind me (relying on its pneumatic air pump to avoid slamming shut), Scar Cat seized this opportunity and ran outside. I raced outside but couldn't find him. First mission, Hide-From-Owner = success!
Now, he had gotten out of the house before. Wild hearts cannot be tamed. Neither can wild cats. However, he had always come back home before nightfall. But this time was different.
Night came and went. No sign of Pooper. Days of postering the neighborhood and leaving messages with the shelter followed. Then passed the weeks of walking around the neighborhood, calling, "Pooper! Poopy-pants!" while bewildered neighbors watched. Finally, months of morbidly looking at any street we drove down, checking to see if a lump of black fur lay in the gutter. No sight of him.
After several months, I took my broken-hearted son back to the shelter, hoping a new cat would cheer him up and fill that gap of toe-biter in our lives. Instead, we found a rambunctious little sucker which would eventually find its way onto my eternal shit-list.
But the Dude loved her, his little cat named Dodo.
We pined almost daily for the mean black cat we used to have. But the consolation prize cat worked and my son felt happy again.
While at work one day, I received a call. The man asked for me by name. He asked if I had a cat named Gorseth. Instantly, I was suspicious. "Yes, I might have had a cat by that name once..." He introduced himself as a veterinarian. "Your cat was brought into our office by a man who thought he was a stray. We scanned his microchip and your name came up." My hooting and hollering with joy was interrupted when the man then said:
"Do you have any idea how your cat got to New Mexico?"
Heh? New Mexico, what? The vet said his office was located in Albuquerque. As in, six hours south of Denver. The vet then asked if I would like to come and pick up my cat. As I thought of my slim bank account, I hesitated, then said, "Of course! I'll be there this weekend!"
Friday night rolled around. My best friend had agreed to take a last-minute, middle-of-the-night road trip with me. Why in the middle of the night? Because we had a concert Friday night and People's Fair Saturday afternoon. Friday at midnight was the only chance we had for a jaunt to New Mexico. As soon as the concert ended, we set off for Albuquerque, double-fisting large cups of coffee. We hit New Mexico around 3:30 a.m., breaking the land-speed record.
Finally it was time to get my cat back. We arrived at the clinic and loudly declared, "I am from Colorado. I am here for my Scar Cat." The nurses had apparently heard of the kitty's journey and all watched with teary eyes as he was brought out.
Since that fateful summer when Scar Cat ran away to New Mexico, we've had no more incidents. He still stares out the window wistfully. But he now settles for occasional supervised jaunts outside...on a leash.
After a few months of being back home, his eye started to get wonky. A quick visit to the vet informed us that he had caught the Herpes in the desert.
Way to go. I hope she was worth it, Pooper.
February 15, 2010
(Reprinted from http://www.truelovedirect.com/why-do-people-cheat)
There are a lot of misconceptions about affairs and cheating spouses. Perhaps the biggest misconception is that it could never (or would never) happen to you. “I know my husband…he would never cheat!” or “I hate cheaters…I could never be one!” However, cheaters aren’t born cheaters. Many times, they are not horrible individuals who set out to hurt their spouses, but rather, regular people who have found themselves caught in a messy situation.
Maybe it starts at home: his wife stops showing affection, loses her sex drive, is quicker to snap with him, even ignores him altogether. When this coldness is carried on for months or years, the interest of another woman can be hard to decline. This new woman doesn’t get after him (again!) for not doing the dishes. She doesn’t roll her eyes when he says she looks pretty today. She has no obligations to be with him—only her desire. More often than you may think, it is an emotional connection that leads men to cheat, rather than a need for sex.
Another misconception about cheating is that it is primarily men who are doing the cheating. The old stereotype of a man leaving his wife to be with his secretary has lingered long after its legitimacy left. More and more, it is women who are straying. With such popular television shows as Desperate Housewives, the women feel they are lacking something in their relationship, and venture out to find it. As is the case with many men, women may decide to stray if they are not receiving adequate attention and affection at home.
Recently, I talked with a female friend. She is not your archetypal cheater: she loves her husband, is dedicated to their marriage, and has never had thoughts of straying before. However, she confessed that an ongoing email conversation with a coworker has lately turned inappropriate. It started with a typical office email, in which they made jokes at the bottoms of memos, shared funny stories, or secretly gossiped about coworkers. As friends, they even talked a bit about their respective relationships. He revealed he was not happy, while at the same time, always comparing her to his wife. “You’re so much cooler,” he had said. “If we were single, I would much rather be with you.” After weeks of hearing how great she was or how beautiful she looked that day, her will was starting to cave. Furthermore, the emails had begun getting steamy and suggestive.
It has been said that once that seed of desire has been planted, it’s hard to not let it bloom. She went home every night and automatically focused on her husband’s flaws: how much better-looking, fitter, or attentive her coworker was.
And that, right there, is essentially why people cheat: the grass on the other side is greener. They become accustomed to the grass right in front of them. When that grass starts to brown from lack of attention and care, they can’t help but focus on the bright green grass across the street. What they don’t see, however, is that that same vibrant grass will, with time, also start to brown if they are not careful.
February 11, 2010
February 10, 2010
Around 2003, maybe, a friend gave me a...gasp!...digital camera for my birthday. I was drawn to its glamour, its convenience, its instantly gratifying screen. Into the drawer went my big Canon, to be forgotten and forsaken
Oh, and please say hello to the newest member of our family:
This past Sunday was the Superbowl. We dodged several invites to parties, instead settling on the aquarium. It was bound to be nearly empty.
Then hoo-ah! Off to the aquarium!
"Hey, guys! You want to split my Gogurt with me?"
These seahorses have been sitting around all day, watching the Superbowl, and eating way too much junk food.
I'm going to add this as another goal: to die and reincarnate as an evil red fish with glowing eyes.
This will be my henchman, Hank the Eel.
And this shall be my arch-nemesis, the happy-go-lucky puffer blow-up fish
with the to-die-for lips.
These fish look like they just brawled.
February 9, 2010
Keene said to me last night, "You should host a cooking show called 'Cooking for the Unprepared.'" I am constantly getting the itch to cook or bake something specific, only to find I'm missing one or two crucial ingredients. Other folks may pop over to the grocery store first. But oh no, not me. I like to substitute. I google. "Substitute for eggs." "Substitute for milk." "Substitute for baking soda."
In my defense, if the results of these Dr. Moreau-like experimentations tasted badly, I wouldn't keep doing it. Well, I might not keep doing it.
One night, I was determined to make Christmas sugar cookies (using zoo animal cutouts since, naturally, I didn't have Christmas-themed cutouts). I started mixing before I checked the full list of ingredients. Sugar: check. Butter: check. Egg whites: check, though my inability to separate eggs (even though I understand the concept and have the tool for it) is unbelievable. Vanilla and flour: check and check. Cream of tartar: che--um, wait. Crap. "Substitute for cream of tartar". It says I can use lemon juice, but I don't have lemon juice. ::shakes fist at sky::
I figured, "Eh, it's just half a teaspoon. No one will notice if I leave it out." I skipped off to the cupboard to get the baking soda. No soda. Double-crap. On the bright side, we have two full cans of baking powder. Back to google. "Substitute baking powder for baking soda"?
Then I discovered if your recipe calls for both cream of tartar AND baking soda (which it does!), you can just use baking powder. "One teaspoon baking powder is equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar." My recipe called for 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. I stared at that for a bit. I thought about asking my 9-year-old son to figure it out for me, but realized he wouldn't learn complex fractions until the following year. Fortunately, Keene seems to have a calculator in his head, so I enlisted his help. He looked as if he wanted to say something, but didn't. He figured out the answer, then went back to his computer. Good man, there.
After I mixed all of the ingredients together, I looked at the next step: "Roll into 2" balls." Huh, so apparently, these cookies aren't really meant to be cut into shapes after all. Well, that wouldn't stop me. I rolled them into little sticky balls, baked them a tad too long, pulled them out, THEN cut them into shapes. Take that, recipe!
That is a typical night of baking for me. My family has just learned to accept it. However, last night, I redeemed myself.
Keene made chili and I wanted to make cornbread to go along with it. I pulled out one of those $0.44 blue boxes of corn muffin mix. I happily poured it into a bowl, poured the 1/3 cup of milk in, then looked in the fridge for eggs. Crap. Who does the shopping around here anyways?! "Substitute for eggs." "Just add 150ml of milk for every egg." I hesitated, then said to Keene, "Eh, may as well try!" then poured in more milk.
Let me tell you: the corn bread turned out wonderfully. When cooked properly (which, contrary to popular belief, I have cooked many things the right way), the bread is dry and crumbly. However, when using only milk, it was moist and kept its form and didn't make your mouth feel as though you're chewing on sand. Huzzah! The kids licked their plates after eating the bread, then each asked for a second piece. I said repeatedly, "My, this is sure tasty, don't you think, Keene? Who needs eggs, anyways. Mmm..."
February 8, 2010
If I could force every single friend or loved one I have to read Chris Guillebeau's blog, I would. Then I would quiz them for an hour, to make sure they really got it. I mean, really understood it. Then I would make them read it some more.
I'm only going to write a couple snippets here, so it will intrigue you enough to click the link and follow the good advice back to his blog. I'm tricky.
- Simplifying your life is like running – not that complicated. You don’t need gadgets or monthly magazines to do either of these activities.
- Contrary to what you may have heard, it does not always “take money to make money.” You can start many businesses for less than $100.
- If you’re only working 10 productive hours a week but technically have to be on a job site for another 30 hours, why not spend 5-10 hours of the extra time doing something useful instead of just surfing the internet? Ideas: learn a language, write a novel, plan your retirement, whatever.
- It’s not that hard to change when you really want to.
February 7, 2010
(Reprinted from http://www.truelovedirect.com/valentine%e2%80%99s-day-survival-guide)
Valentine’s Day is that magical day that comes around once a year that puts a man’s romantic side to the test. What? You don’t have a romantic side? Don’t sweat it. This day of love can make or break a relationship, but with these tips, you won’t go wrong.
When in doubt, buy a gift
Does your girlfriend celebrate V-day or does she detest it? Yes, it is true: some women hate this holiday with fiery passion. Without giving anything away, how do you find out? Well, you don’t. Here’s what you do, though. Find a meaningful gift for her, whether it is a card with a nice note inside, a gift certificate to a spa, or those Valentine favorites, the homemade coupons (“good for one backrub/car wash/dinner”). Hide it in your pocket until you feel confident giving it to her. But if she brings up how much she hates this “Hallmark holiday,” you are probably better off keeping it in your pocket until her birthday.
Speaking of gifts, avoid dolls, balloons, and boxes of chocolate
Unless your honey specifically requests these items, it is best to avoid them. These items reek of “I forgot it was Valentine’s Day, so I stopped at the grocery store on the way over.” Just don’t go there.
Make reservations weeks in advance…or better yet, cook at home
This is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants. Because of this, do not count on slipping into a restaurant at 8:00 p.m. and being seated anytime before morning. Call ahead. However, if you are seeking a romantic atmosphere, a crowded restaurant may not be the way to go. Instead, try honing your kitchen skills.
Even if you don’t celebrate, spend time together
Just because she loathes this holiday, it doesn’t mean she wants to (or should) spend it alone. Make a pact to not say the V-word, while still celebrating your love (or hey, even you like) for each other. Watch a movie, bake cookies, go shopping, anything where you can be together.
Over-the-top cheesiness is best
Valentine’s Day is, without a doubt, the cheesiest holiday of the year. It is based around love, hearts, sappy poems, flowers, and all that other delightfully gushy stuff. Quit running from this fact and just embrace it. Take any idea and mock it, make it ridiculous. Are you thinking of making dessert? Bake heart-shaped cookies. Want to give her flowers? Leave a trail of petals throughout the house. This is the time of year when silly really works in your favor.
One good cliché: flowers
Unless she has allergies or an aversion to harmful plucking of innocent plants, she will love receiving flowers. Ever since middle school, when young girls desperately hoped to receive a single rose from their crush, women have always hoped (albeit, secretly) to get a beautiful bouquet on this particular day. Be sure you are aware of her feelings, however, before delivering them to her office. While many women would fall in love with a man who brought her flowers, other women feel it is inappropriate or unprofessional. It is best to tread lightly and have them sent to her home.
February 3, 2010
I saw these comments on The Art of Non-Conformity, but can't remember where. So if you are the writers of it and wondering why you have appeared on some random blog, just know your thoughts are appreciated.
Since the subject of marriage has been introduced in the comments, I’ll just throw my view out there: I think marriage is outdated. If people continue to learn, grow, evolve, and change as they get older, being tied to the same person for their entire adult lives rarely works and doesn’t even make sense. I think a better solution would be a commitment for a certain time period such as 5 or 10 years which provides all the legal benefits and which can be renewed if both parties are still in agreement.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” -Karen Lamb
Some of my most fulfilling experiences have been on days when I haven’t had a lot planned. I’ve taken off for long runs in dozens of world cities without a map or any knowledge of the local language. I’ve watched the sunset without an agenda in Zambia and the Faroe Islands. Almost every time I experience something like this, I always think to myself, “Wow. Life is good. I am so thankful to be alive.”
Nor do the experiences have to be exotic to be serendipitous. I also enjoy sleeping in a couple of times a week, going out for coffee almost every day I’m at home, playing video games, and deciding on a whim to do something completely different one day.
February 1, 2010
Denver-based Dirty Laboratory is back with a new album by Extra Kool, Even’s Dead: Chronicles of an American Waster. Following on the heels of last year’s horror-themed, Creature From the Whack Lagoon, Even’s Dead sounds more refined, more fully developed. It seems even more attention has been paid to the music behind the lyrics this time around. Produced primarily by AwareNess (also with the Dirty Lab label) and Satyr, Even’s Dead features many notable guest rappers like Kool Keith, Existereo, or Jason the Argonaut.
This album comes across as lighthearted and even humorous at times. However, it just wouldn’t be Extra Kool without some hint of melancholy: “Sugar Skulls” is a haunting track, with a poignant piano piece overlaid with distortion. But the track that stood out most strongly to me was “Another (K)Night on the Town,” insanely catchy and buoyant, but with dark lyrics. It is this juxtaposition that makes Extra Kool consistently stand out in the Rap scene.
Be sure to check out my interview with Extra Kool in this month’s CMB, “Extra Kool: Chronicles of a Rap Poet.”
Extra Kool is not like any rapper you will ever meet. To start, he’s the kind of guy you would be ecstatic if your daughter dated. He’s polite, down-to-earth, funny, and sensitive. His raps are poetry, his delivery is emotional and affecting. Yet don’t be fooled into thinking he is destined to be a speed-bump in the rap world. He has worked hard for many years, has aligned himself with some of Denver’s top rappers, and is ready for the success that his many fans see coming his way.
What do you think of the Denver music scene?
Extra Kool: I think Denver is starting to come along, not just in rap, but in all types of music. We're no L.A. or Seattle—or Tennessee for that matter—but I think the bands out here are making noise. Along with…the professional sports being really good here, people tend to look at us more now than a few years back. (Go Nuggets!)
A transport from New Orleans, Danny Vincennie has lived in Colorado for most of his life. He has been rapping since he was young, drawing inspiration from his everyday life and the life of those around him to create genuine stories. He has routinely turned his many heartaches into savage, biting songs. On the flip side, though, he also finds influence in more light-hearted subjects like horror movies (such as “Monster Squad,” after the ‘80s cult-classic).
Who are your influences—both locally and nationally?
EK: I would be nothing without the Dirty Laboratory, People Like You, and Tom Murphy. But [what inspires] me to do what I do is not only other artists, but everyday things such as work, love, hate, sex, fear, and strangers. Musically, I'm a big Tom Waits fan. But overall, the people on the Lab keep me writing.
In 1998, Vincennie took on the alias Extra Kool, and a year later, began performing local shows. “Most of my early shows were really hard to watch. Most of the time, I kind of stood in one spot and just rapped as fast as I could…the reaction wasn't always good.” Around 2003, with his stage show improving, he met some rappers who would later become his label-mates. “I was putting together a show with Ancient Mith and I asked him if he knew any rappers that wanted to play. He brought me an under-aged Time, with a fake ass work-order to play 21+ clubs.” About a year later, Time (along with AwareNess) formed the label, Dirty Laboratory, a label that would support a creative collaboration between fellow rappers.
Which local rappers do you like?
EK: I feel Time is the best rapper in the world. I'm not just saying that because he’s my best friend or because we're label-mates, but because…the way he says things is truly original. He has made me grow so much from the early days of rapping as fast as I could, to today where…I'm much more organized and confident with my words.
Under the label of Dirty Laboratory, Vincennie has released four albums, including the brand-new release, “Even’s Dead: The Chronicles of an American Waster” in January. Following closely on the success of last year’s “The Creature from the Whack Lagoon,” his newest album is more like a compilation of misfit songs. “On Creature, [Doctype and I] really let loose and had fun with a theme about monsters and major labels shooting us down, and a couple of tracks about family. But this new CD is…full of my favorite songs I never released before.”
What has been your biggest challenge as a rapper?
EK: Being taken seriously, and finding a reason to keep dropping thousands of dollars into CDs that everyone wants for free.
Vincennie has received his fair share of recognition in Denver. Two years in a row, he has been selected as a runner-up as Westword’s Best Hip-Hop MC (leading him to jokingly refer to himself as Denver’s second best rapper). He has been reviewed and lauded by critics and fans in many states. He has even received radio airplay. Yet, the industry is difficult to break into, and even more difficult to remain in.
What would a dream-come-true for you, regarding your career?
EK: Getting my song played on the radio at least ten times a day, instead of maybe once or twice a month (thank you to Alf at 93.3 for playing my song with Kool Keith!). Being able to pay my bills off of CD and download sales.
One little-known fact that sets Vincennie apart from many musicians is his decision to abstain from drugs and alcohol. When asked about his choice, he says, “Some of the best music, movies, and books were [created] by strung-out people who have hit rock-bottom and have taken the pain of whatever addiction they have and poured their heart onto their work. [But] I just choose not to indulge, because it's never interested me in any way. I see people falling apart every day. I'm already a very emotional person, so why would I want to magnify depression with addiction? My addiction is wanting to be wanted…[and] needed. I always say bad times make for good music, but overall I just want to be happy. And if happiness means I never write another song in my life, I would take it in a heartbeat. I am very happy these days. I have a beautiful woman in my life and I'm alive.”
What advice would you get to someone wanting to break into the rap industry?
EK: “If you make it big, will you please take me with you?” Honestly, keep it up and do it ‘til you’re done, even if it never blows up.
Extra Kool will be touring this year with California-based The Wreckin Kru, as well as hosting a CD-release party on February 20th at Leela's European Cafe. Also, watch out for the Cool-Ade mix tape, which will be released as a free download from DirtyLaboratory.com/promo in March.
How many Metal bands does it take to scare away a hippie? As it turns out, three. Granted, I’m no hippie, but spending a Friday night surrounded by Metal-heads sure made me feel like one. On January 8th, I went down to Toad Tavern in Littleton, specifically to see the second band, Born in Winter, because … well, the things I do for love.
The show began with The Broke and Down. Color me surprised, because I actually enjoyed them! To start, the singer had a great voice, reminiscent of Serge Tankian of System of a Down. He held his own as a Metal singer, as well, occasionally dropping his voice to a husky, unintelligible growl. But it worked, and it worked well. In addition to System, the band clearly gathers inspiration from Slipknot, from their coveralls and face-paint to their melodic choruses. They put on a great show, especially considering they were the first band in a line-up of five, all together.
There were a couple of aspects that bothered me, however. In addition to System and Slipknot, there was another band that seemed to provide inspiration to Broke and Down: Limp Bizkit. Yeah, I hate to say it as much as you hate to read it. Some of the songs were very similar to those of the nineties Rap-Metal movement, with scratching records and tag-teamed raps. In 10 years, that style of music will be considered retro and cool with teenagers. But until then, well, it’s not pretty. Rapping aside, The Broke and Down is definitely a band to watch for.
Next up was Born in Winter. I was curious to hear them since they are so well known in the local music scene. Having recently lost a guitarist, they are now a four-piece band. (Why can’t every band be a four-piece, I wonder?) With the change-up, the band’s sound has vastly improved (or so I hear). Each instrument stood out better; each musician’s skills were more evident. At times it was hard to discern the bass line played by Forest, yet she played extremely well and was able to do more without the second guitar to block her sound. The singer, Nicole, was a pleasant surprise. Her stage presence and performance were memorable (especially for the many drooling men around me); her voice was pleasant while still being worthy of Metal.
The third band was Less Than Under. Less than under what, you ask? I still don’t know. They ranked less than under the other two bands, from what I saw. Let me reiterate here: I am not a Metal fan. I prefer banjos over electric guitars, tapping on spoons over banging the drum like you’re trying to kill it. Metal is just not my thing. So, Groovey, I welcome your expertise on this … feel free to interrupt at any time.
Less Than Under seemed to appeal to the crowd, for sure: the mosh pit was kicking like it was 1994. But between songs about “tasting the back of my hand” and the singer’s ability to make every other spoken word unfit to print, I realized I was too old for this music. Not Metal, but this music, in particular, this angry-for-the-sake-of-being-angry, makes-me-want-to-punch-someone music. By the end of the set, my ears were buzzing, my eyelids were twitching, and my brain was ready for bed. I’m sure the following bands – Nemesys and Ransom – were just lovely, but I will never know (thanks a lot, Less Than Under!). As I left with my tail between my legs, I realized that this was a matter best left to the experts.