Archive for November, 2014

After Midnight with Dean Wyatt

November 27, 2014

I saw his face again and for the umpteenth time I woke up in a cold sweat.  He died.  He was dead.  It was my fault for not being there.  It would never not be my fault.  It will always be my fault.  I reached over and took a sip of water from an almost spent water bottle.  There was no going back to sleep now.  Besides, I needed to take a piss.  I climbed out of bed and almost immediately bumped into his desk.  My desk.  It’s my desk now.  I reached up and pulled the chain and blinked in the sudden light of a bare bulb.

I trudged to the bathroom and did my business.  When I stepped back out, I swore again to get somebody to clean the place.  At the very least it hadn’t really been cleaned since before he died.  With mom gone, it could have been years since it was cleaned.  His pictures and his achievements were still up on the walls.  The only thing of mine was my old high school diploma but he had hung that up.  He had been more proud of it than I ever was.

I had thought of packing it all up and moving it out more than once.  Diamond Investigations had been there for ages though.  If something operates in the same place for decades, is it not an institution?  It seemed a crime to let it all go even if it was just so I could set up shop elsewhere.  Dad wouldn’t have given up the fight so easily.

He created Diamond back in the day to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads.  He always said he picked the name because it sounded classy.  I think he picked it to honor all lof those baseball games he and Pop Pop shared.  The diamond should have been green and not blue but there was no way to change Dad’s mind once it was set.

There was a little bit of coffee left in a cup from the afternoon and I sipped it with a grimace.  I hate coffee but I need it so I drink it under protest.  Besides, if I have to have it around to offer clients then I should probably drink it now and then.  It tasted no better after being left out so long.  It didn’t taste any worse either.  I pulled out my desk chair and sat down.  Since there was little hope of going back to sleep anytime soon, it would be better to look through files.  At least it was more productive than tossing and turning for an hour.

The Edwards case was pissing me off.  The husband was cheating.  The wife said she was sure of it. After two days, I was sure of it too but the slippery asshole proved elusive.  I just needed one picture and it would be payday.  Ther had to be a way to get it done.  Dad would have said what he always said: “Anything it takes, just get it done.”  Which was how I broke my in middle school.  I learned lessons and grew some character that day but I definitely got that Frisbee off the roof.

I looked to my left and there he was sitting in one of the client chairs.  Luke Wyatt, my dad.  It was as if the last few months had been a dream and he was alive.  He was right there but he wouldn’t look at me.  He was not looking at me.

“Dad?”

He stood up and started to walk out.  It reached out but he was already out of reach.  I stood up and followed but he was moving so fast.  I knew Dad had entertained dreams of playing in the minors and had run track in high school but this was ridiculous.

“Dad!?”

He still did not turn.  I followed him as fast as I could to the door but between pushing the door open and climbing the steps to street level, I lost him.  I stood in the middle of the sidewalk at a loss in my socks.  There was no sign of him.  There was no sign of anyone.

He was dead.  Wasn’t he?

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My Music Collection 4

November 11, 2014

“Pop Music”

 

A mantra that I’ve had lately is “There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure” which I got from somewhere on the internet.  Though I guess I would alter it to “There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure (within reason)”.  The term guilty pleasure is used by people as an out so they can like something that society has decided they shouldn’t.  A housewife might state that Soap Operas are there guilty pleasure.  No, that’s not your “guilty pleasure”.  That is your pleasure.  If you enjoy something, don’t be guilty about it.  There’s plenty of stuff that I love that I used to feel weird about liking.  Then I would admit that I liked them “ironically” but that wasn’t true either.

When I worked for a political campaign in the summer of 2011, I spent a lot of days working outside in the hot sun putting up huge 4X8 foot political signs.  The work was difficult and everyday I would feel horrible, probably bordering on heat exhaustion no matter how much water and Gatorade I drank.  We drove around in a giant black pick up truck with the candidate’s name plastered all over it.  So what do you do when you’re riding around in a pick up truck and trying to psych yourself up to jump back into the heat for physical labor?  Listen to music.  What music did we up listening to the most?  Top 40 pop music.  Here I am, fan of rock and metal and we’re singing along to the radio playing Top 40 hits.

I happen to like a lot of pop music because most of it has a fast, energizing beat and and the lyrics and tone are upbeat.  When I’m angry or psyching myself up I like to listen to heavy metal.  When I’m sad or tired I like to listen to friggin’ Katy Perry.  So here’s a short list of some of the bubblegum in my collection

Katy Perry (ft. Juicy J) – Dark Horse

Really I like practically any Katy Perry song but this is my favorite.  She has a clear, innocent voice infused with energy.  I first heard her during that fateful summer when she came out with California Gurls which was so infectious that I couldn’t help but love it.  Eventually she had me singing along and had made a fan for life.  Her music is supremely confident and a lot of it speaks to being confident in your own life.  I’m not reading too much into her songs either.  Listen to Firework or Roar sometime and tell me she isn’t about positive self-image.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

Teenage me would kick my ass for including this song on the list.  When I was a teenager, loving anything mainstream was an automatic Judge Dredd-style death sentence.  I clung to the old school classic rock, metal and even classical music rather than listen to whatever everybody else was listening to.  This song is bouncy and fun and playful and it’s actually fun to sing along to.  Screw you, Past!Steven.  You were a fool.

Selena Gomez & The Scene – Naturally

This song actually helped get me through some tough Depression alone in West Virginia as I tried to come down from a few horrible weeks at work.  The song has a driving beat and by the end of the weekend I knew the lyrics of this one.   For an ex-Disney star, Selena Gomez has a pretty put together act (even if she is dating the worst thing to happen to music in a while).  Like most pop acts, her stuff is heavily produced but comes with a driving, upbeat energy that feels honest.  It may not be, it may be wholly manufactured but, again, who cares?

Ke$ha – Blow

Early on after Ke$ha first appeared on the scene I heard a lot of people trying to downplay her or discount her music because of perceived sexual promiscuity.  All of that is just flowery language for her looking and acting like a skank.  I don’t care.  No matter how much she is responsible for her music, it is fun and super upbeat.  I like pretty much all of her songs but I especially love Blow because it practically talks about an underground rave revolution movement.

Britney Spears (ft. Nicki Minaj & Ke$ha) – Till The World Ends (remix)

I honestly think that Britney Spears didn’t really get good until after her breakdown and comeback.  I don’t know if I’m seeing things but there’s a darker edge to her music and more transparency and less playfulness.  In her early career it seemed she was trading on the whole school girl thing and skirting around sex but now that she’s older she can be honest and straight to the point.  Anyway, I like her music.  It’s heavily produced and auto-tuned but who cares as long as I like it.  I respect it as a former audio engineer.  Anyway, this one is my favorite because of the combination with awesome rapper Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha.

Lady Gaga (ft. Beyonce) – Telephone

Like Ke$ha, Lady Gaga seems to live in her own reality. However, unlike the Rave Revolution Universe that Ke$ha lives in, Lady Gaga lives in a weird world where art school continues into the real world.  Being weird and quirky is a driving force and nobody is better at it than Lady Gaga.  I remember Telephone in particular as being the gateway into being a Lady Gaga fan.  The music video was very controversial at the time so I decided to check it out.  The music video is not really all that controversial at all but it is definitely weird.  Behind or beyond all of that weirdness, the music is really good.

Miley Cyrus – Party in the USA

Miley Cyrus is acting on a similar impulse as Lady Gaga.  I don’t know if she’s more subtle about it or less subtle but people actually believed that she had lost her mind more recently.  The more I think of it, the less I think she actually lost anything.  She gained a level in performance is all.  She decided that the best way to get her brand out was to completely change her image.  As far as I’m concerned she succeeded and her music advanced in the process.  Party in the USA is the song that even people who don’t like her might admit liking but I think some of her new stuff is actually pretty interesting as well.  It’s obviously not just me, her records are selling.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: CM Punk

November 4, 2014

WILPW

I think enough time has passed and I’m finally ready to talk with calm emotions about a subject that rocked the world of sports entertainment and is still a sore spot with some people.  In some ways it actually turned out to be less of a big deal than it originally felt like.  Now it’s just a wave of what will become nostalgia for one of my favorite performers of all time.  Of course, I am talking about the departure of CM Punk from the WWE.  At the time, it was more of a blow but now I’m pretty chill about it.

In January 27, 2014 Phillip Brooks aka CM Punk walked out of the WWE, declining to perform as a sports entertainer from that point on.  The word was that he was tired and burned out and displeased with his position in the company.  There’s no real way to know the truth as CM Punk has remained mostly silent on the matter.  At first, I celebrated the move because who among us has not wanted to quit a job we were no longer happy with?  I always loved his character and of course I sided with him. I wanted a better position for him in the company.

As the days stretched into weeks and then months I started to think he was selfish for violating his contract and taking his ball and going home.  I wondered if he was ever coming back and then he finally announced that he had retired from the business.  I felt oddly good about it.  Sure, I was disappointed that his last match was the Royal Rumble.  However, finally getting some solid news provided closure.  Over time I realized that he didn’t owe anyone an explanation.  On top of that, he was able to retire on his own terms without a life-threatening or career-ending injury being the reason.  Months later he started to make appearances outside of the WWE and I found I was just as much a fan of Phil Brooks as I was CM Punk.  I still am.

That said, I will always love and respect CM Punk for the contributions he made to the WWE and the world of sports entertainment at large.  From life in Ring of Honor to Total Nonstop Action to the top of the heap of the WWE, CM Punk was larger than life.

You could read a rundown of his career all day from various sources so I’ll just talk about my personal fandom.  I first saw Punk when he showed up on the “ECW on SyFy” show and I was instantly curious about him.  He came out to ring to some of the coolest punk/metal music and was covered in tattoos.  Most prominent of those tattoos was the symbol for Cobra.  You know Cobra, they fought GI Joe all throughout the eighties and a bit in the nineties.  The other major tattoos were the Pepsi logo and his straightedge tattoos.

I have never indulged much in drugs.  The barely interested me and I always had other  things to do.  I have dabbled here and there with alcohol but I was always worried about its effect on me.  I was always worried that alcohol would help my anxiety too much but also I was worried how it would mix with my depression.  Eventually my reluctance left me with a very low resistance to alcohol and made me a “lightweight” or “cheap drunk”.  At one point, since I wasn’t really indulging much anyway I thought about just going straightedge like my hero CM Punk.  I decided against it but I still think about it from time to time.

Punk was always a great performer both in the ring and out.  He innovated both his character and his in-ring style depending on whether he was a good guy or a bad guy.  He was one of the few performers where I did not care if he was a good guy or a bad guy.  I was always happy to see him out and performing.  I was always glad to hear his <entrance music> which was instantly recognizable.   He became a welcome sight even when the rest of the show was mediocre.  He elevated everyone around him and seemed to be a wrestling luminary even at a young age.

He also was able to highlight a lot of the inequities in sports entertainment, an opportunity that management actually afforded him.  From the Straightedge Superstar to the Straightedge Savior to the Voice of the Voiceless to finally being Best in the World.  To me he really was The Best in the World with very little sarcasm.  I’m glad that I got to see his great career but I’m also glad that I got to see him retire while he was still relatively healthy.  At least we will always have our memories of his great career and, hell, he’s really funny outside of the business too.


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