Mar 29

What’s It All About?

The Court JesterI was just about to turn in for the night morning,** when my Google Reader updated with a new post over at Best Gay Blogs that just so happens to review my site. You can imagine my surprise to see the picture of the wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man staring back at me.

I’m honored to have been chosen as a highlighted blog, a majority of the blogs that get mentioned on Best Gay Blogs are in passing or as short introductory paragraphs in a list with others.

The review starts by saying:

Here’s a blog that makes you think. Not always because of the content, but because of the way it’s set up. Actually it’s a great blog, but it’s not one of those pages where you know immediately what’s going on and who the author is. […] and the posts have that aggressive, forward voice that you’ll either love or hate.

It’s actually quite spot on in that I speak with that exact “aggressive forward voice” in person and find that people either love or hate me. There is little gray area. I prefer it that way, because not knowing where you stand with someone can be a frustrating experience.

A bit further into the article the reviewer continues:

You’d assume, according to the title, Jestertunes is about music. And while there are posts that deal with music (and some mention the author is a musician?), most of the posts on the most recent page deal with anything from depression to eating healthy. All well written posts, dealing with sensitive, interesting themes you’ll enjoy reading. But then again, not quite clear in the sense that you understand the theme of the blog.

It’s hard to be pinned down to a “theme” as such on this page. I know that there are a wide variety of topics covered from music to politics to web design to random brain droppings that don’t fit in anywhere else. But it is all about me and my life and things that I find interesting and want to share. I figure that a reader pops over here and finds something that he doesn’t care for, chances are pretty good that the next post will be something entertaining.

I’m not a corporate-owned radio station that can only pick from a strict playlist. Reading this blog is a bit like going to a trippy independent film, you never quite know where you’re going to end up, which character is going to suddenly burst into song or draw sparkler letters in the air with his fingers; and you might occasionally leave the theater scratching your head.

The review wraps up with:

I guess the point of this review is to first mention this is really a great blog in many ways, but it’s confusing if you haven’t been reading it since it began. Just a simple paragraph at the top of the web page, a small blurb to define what it’s all about might do the trick. So we know what we’re reading and why we’re reading it. It could be symbolic; the posts expressing the “tunes” of someone’s life…the metaphoric beat to which they march…the music of their existence. But unless a blog is actually about rocket science you shouldn’t have to work that hard.

There is a certain amount of irony here in that I removed the “About This Blog” box from my sidebar a few days ago. I wanted to rewrite it.

But in the interest of letting everyone in on a little secret that I’ve kept to myself for a while, I’m finally going to reveal what Jestertunes is all about.

It starts with the nickname, Jester.

Back when I was working as a medic in Missouri, dating Toby and really figuring myself out, my boss commented that I reminded her of Danny Kaye in “The Court Jester.”*** She said I could double talk my way into or out of anything and leave everyone around me entertained, dazzled with bullshit and none the wiser.

I took it as one of the best compliments I have ever received and a nickname was born.

Several years later I fell into playing the role of Feste in a community theater production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night (or What You Will). If you’re not familiar with the play, it’s one of Shakespeare’s few true comedic works. It’s the play from which every modern story of a woman masquerading as a man steals ideas. The character of Feste was “The Fool” or the “Jester.”

Shakespeare often used the jester characters as the narrator, and more often than not, the jester was the one character who understood all of the other characters and their motivations. He would be in the background of nearly every scene observing the action and he would relay his opinions to the audience. He was considered harmless by his superiors, but would often have a hand in the downfall of the villain.

Feste was particularly adept at entertaining the court with his songs that often revealed a secret or satirized the court’s actions.

I accused my friend Leayn who roped me into playing the part of typecasting.

The Fool is an ancient archetype, even occupying his own card in the tarot deck:

With all his worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels he knows not where. So filled with visions and daydreams is he, that he doesn’t see the cliff he is likely to fall over. At his heel, a small dog harries him (or tries to warn him of a possible mis-step).

The Fool is the card of infinite possibilities. The bag on the staff indicates that he has all he need to do or be anything he wants, he has only to stop and unpack. He is on his way to a brand new beginning. But the card carries a little bark of warning as well. Stop daydreaming and fantasizing and watch your step, lest you fall and end up looking the fool. —aeclectic.com

So my friends, loyal readers, and newcomers to this site, perhaps you can see why I chose to call this little corner of the web world Jestertunes.

I’m the fool who observes your lives, sings his songs, spins his yarns, and hopefully entertains.

*I had to physically restrain myself from adding an “Alfie” to that post title.

** Insomnia really sucks.

*** For the youngin’s in the house, Danny Kaye was a movie star who was a singer, dancer, comedian and brilliant actor.

Mar 28

T-Minus 9

American IdolOh dear god, Ryan Seacrest is wearing a Sanjaya Pony-Hawk wig. The fact that it’s a joke makes it less ridiculous than Sanjaya’s wearing of it for real last night.

Blake Lewis and Lakisha Jones are both safe. No surprises there.

Phil Stacey is one of the bottom three tonight.

Melinda Doolittle is absolutely safe.

Chris Richardson is safe this week.

Sanjaya Malakar is inexplicably safe. Depressing, really. I think this is a good argument for moving away from a democracy. The general public quite apparently can not be trusted to vote.

Haley Scarnato is in the bottom three.

Jordin Sparks is safe for another week.

Chris Sligh and Gina Glocksen are left hanging for the commercial break.

Gwen Stefani is up for the night’s musical number. She’s got a team of dancers and Akon singing doing something along the lines of whooping along with her. What is the point of having him perform with her? What did he add? He yelled, “C’mon Everybody!” That’s worth what, a couple of grand for that 3 minutes? Why does Gwen’s solo stuff suck so much? I love No Doubt. I love her voice, but I just can’t stand the stuff she’s put out on her own. I’m sure there’s a team of homos out there who are petitioning to have my card revoked for saying that.

Ok, Chris and Gina get to find out their fate. Chris Sligh is in the bottom three.

That makes Phil, Haley, and Chris Sligh the bottom three. Phil is immediately sent back to the couch. He’s safe.

I believe Chris Sligh is leaving, so does Simon, he said, “Bye Bye Curly.”

We’re both right. Chris is gone. No more rhythm issues, no more lisp and hamming it up for the camera from him.

American Idol Top Nine Once again, I think a contestant got screwed by Sanjaya. But everyone else got it right.

Looks like Chris Sligh and Phil Stacey had a bet which one of them was going home. As the cameras faded Chris reminded Phil that he owes him fifty bucks.

Sanjaya owes him at least another week on the show.

Mar 28

Top 10

American IdolI’m looking forward to tonight’s show. I hate Gwen Stefani’s solo stuff, but there’s no question she’s a pop icon. I can’t wait to see what she’s got lined up for the top ten. They’re picking songs that inspired No Doubt.

Lakisha Jones is up first with a Donna Summer song, “Last Dance.” It’s great to see her show some personality and actually own the stage a bit. She looks great. I can’t say the vocal was the best I’ve heard from her, but she’s definitely deserving of her spot in the top ten. I still want her to pick something a bit out of her comfort zone. The judges were quite happy.

Chris Sligh wants more sleep. Gwen picked up on the fact that he has no sense of timing. He’s performing “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police. It’s one of my favorite Police songs. I’m not Chris’s biggest fan. I don’t care for his style or his lisp. He was definitely out of sync with the band. His vocal sounded good… the timing could be fixed using Pro Tools in the studio, but that’s not helpful during a live performance, right?

Gina Glocksen is up with another of my favorite songs, “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders. This is the perfect for Gina. She really connected to this one. I think it’s the best performance she’s had so far. This was amazing. I’m so excited for her. Simon even raved about her, and he’s not really into her.

Shih Tzu or Sanjaya?My excitement suddenly gave way to a fit of hysterical laughter. The camera panned over to a shot of Sanjaya and the creation he has made out of his hair. From the shot that I paused on with my Tivo, it appears to be a ponytail on the top of his head. UMB thinks he has it pinned up into a mohawk. I’m not sure what it is yet, but it’s the most ridiculous thing I have seen in ages.

Sanjaya Malakar is doing a No Doubt song, “Bathwater.” UMB and I were both right… it’s a series of ponytails on the top of his head making a mohawk. The vocals were ATROCIOUS. Awful. Terrible. There is not a word in my vocabulary that is strong enough to describe my distaste, so I’m going to make one up… how about… “malakar.” That song was malakar.

Haley Scarnato is tackling Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” She is a beautiful girl. Her voice is pleasant tonight, but there is no spark for me at all. She’s not special. Simon said it well, it was pretty, but forgettable. And there are a million other girls who can sing just like her.

Phil Stacey has picked the second Police song of the night, “Every Breath You Take.” He’s doing a nice job with this song. It’s in a good part of his vocal range and he’s connecting with the audience. It was solid. Funny, Randy just said “solid” too. He looks much better tonight with the hat on. He needs hair. He needs a bit less eyebrow sculpting.

Melinda Doolittle is up next with Donna Summer’s “Heaven Knows.” She is just a joy to watch. The big smiles, the attitude that comes across when she is performing. She was born to be on that stage. Her vocals are again impeccable. Fantastic! I want her to win. I want her to win so badly. Simon hates her outfit. I think she looks great.

Blake Lewis is taking the stage singing “Love Song” by The Cure. A great song! He just looks the part of a pop star, the hair, the clothes, his whole vibe. I love him. LOVE him. I’d buy his album right now. Paula thinks he’ll make the finale. I hope so. Simon told him he is the front-runner guy. Definitely.

Jordin Sparks picked “Hey Baby” by No Doubt. I’m loving this shade of music on her. It’s playful, young, with a lot of attitude. Talk about coming out of her shell… Randy said it was a risky song but she pulled it off. Simon called her the “most improved.” I am not sure I agree with that. That award would have to go to Phil or Gina for me.

Chris Richardson picked another No Doubt song, “Don’t Speak.” I really like Chris’s style, yes his voice has a tendency to get a bit nasally, but I think that’s a matter of practice and training to clear that up. I liked his performance of this song. He didn’t deserve to be in the bottom two last week, and he doesn’t deserve it tonight, either.

So for the wrap-up:

Safe:

  • Gina Glocksen
  • Melinda Doolittle
  • Blake Lewis
  • Jordin Sparks

Probably Safe:

  • LaKisha Jones
  • Phil Stacey

Danger! Danger!:

  • Chris Richardson
  • Haley Scarnato
  • Chris Sligh
  • Sanjaya Malakar
Mar 27

Ask Jester

Doctor Is InIt’s been a while since the last installment of Ask Jester, and you guys have asked LOTS of questions! So many I may never catch up!*

So let’s just get to it, shall we?

What is Melinda Doolittle’s religion? – Curious in Canada
Dear Curious – I don’t think it takes a genius to figure this one out. Her bio page on American Idol.com references “Christ,” “The Bible,” and “Jesus.” It’s pretty safe to assume that she is a Christian. Since she is also from the Nashville area, headquarters of the Southern Baptist church, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to guess that she is a Southern Baptist. If I ever meet her (it could happen, she’s a FOAF) and it comes up, you’ll be the first to know. I know that it’s difficult to enjoy a performer’s work without knowing their sexual proclivities and religious affiliations.

What was the last song sang by Antonella Barbra (Barba)? – Deaf Guy in Duluth

Dear Deaf Guy – I’m sure you’re using the term “sang” loosely, yes? I think what you meant to ask was, “What song did Antonella murder so badly that America finally voted her off the show?” Well the world was subjected to her ear-splitting renditions of two Diane Warren -penned songs, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” (Aerosmith) and “Because You Loved Me,” (Celine Dion) but it was her massacre of “Put Your Records On” (Corinne Bailey Rae) that finally sent her back to Jersey.

Who originally wrote “I Swear” and “I Can Love You Like That”? – All 4 One 4evah! in Allentown

Dear All 4 One 4evah! ::gag:: Gary Baker and Frank J Meyers penned the 1994 Best Country Song Grammy award winner, “I Swear.” It was a country hit for John Michael Montgomery and it was a massive pop hit for All-4-One later that year. Interestingly enough, “I Can Love You Like That” was also a country hit for John Michael Montgomery that All-4-One ALSO covered and had a hit with. Songwriters Jennifer Kimball, Maribeth Derry, and Steve Diamond won an NSAI Songwriter Achievement Award for “Song of the Year” in 1995. Delious Kennedy of All-4-One plays a big role in The Record Contract series I recently completed.

What are the lyrics to “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” by Yvonne Elliman? – Google’s Broken in Great Britain

Dear GB, you can find all the lyrics you could ever want online at www.stlyrics.com, and www.lyricsdepot.com, even for songs like this one from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I highly recommend the version by Helen Reddy, uh.. err.. that is… if you like that sort of thing… which I of course don’t because that would make me completely uncool.

Is a dog perm good for a woman’s vagina? – Poodle Lover in Peoria

Bad Hair DogDear Poodle Lover, there are so many, many things going through my head right now. Isn’t it bad enough that we dress up our dogs in little sweaters and bonnets? Must we further subject them to ridiculous hair styling techniques? That being said… Vagina PoodleWHAT?! Are you trying to tell me that your lady’s short and curlys aren’t curly? And they’re long enough to perm? How would that even work? Can you imagine what a vagina in rollers would look like? And the chemicals (dog strength notwithstanding) are probably not designed to be anywhere NEAR a mucous membrane. You should probably consult a professional. Hair designer or psychiatrist. Your choice.

What’s the best way to cover a bad unibrow? – Bert Ernie in Sesameville

Dear Ernie, show these to Bert:
Groucho Marx BabySki MaskWhoopi Goldberg

Is it ok to shave your stomach, but not your chest? – Hairy in Healdsburg

Dear Hairy, no ma’am.

I’m working on the next edition, so keep the questions coming!

* That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.

Mar 26

Another Project

About a year ago I debuted the N2Notes.com music review site and then promptly got too busy to do anything with it. I dusted it off this past weekend, redesigned the site, freshened up some content and released it into the wild again.

I’m looking for a couple of folks who are interested in contributing their opinions to the site as a reviewer. I plan to start producing some podcasts and interviews and have some cool features I’m not prepared to talk about yet…

It won’t pay anything (for now) but you can get some cool new music out of the deal, and a place to display your writing talents.

Anyone interested? Comment here or drop me a line:

Mar 24

Schadenfraude, or, I Need an Addiction

You know what totally makes you feel better when you’ve sunk into a depression?

Making fun of people who have it worse than you.

Usually.

I just caught a couple of episodes of the A&E series “Intervention.” If you aren’t familiar with the show, here’s the premise… some family member talks the subject of the show into appearing in a documentary on addiction. What they don’t know is that at the end of the filming period the family springs an intervention on them and sends them off to a rehab center. Personally, I think I would be very suspicious of a documentary crew filming me snorting heroin off a People magazine before leaving for my job as a prostitute at a local bath house. But then again, I’ve never done heroin, so who knows what would make me suspicious.

I have an strong desire to drink a dirty martini while watching the show, but I don’t because the irony police would probably beat me with clubs for doing so.

Normally I just sit and quietly cry while watching the show. I don’t know why I voluntarily do this, I don’t imagine straight guys have any idea what I’m talking about, but most women will… I am an empath and I will tear up watching Oprah, anything with an animal getting hurt, anything where two people snort and snot all over each other crying and hugging whether in pain or joy… I will cry along. And I can’t turn the channel.

While I was wiping my eyes tonight watching the story of Kim the anorexic and then Kristen the aforementioned heroin-addicted prostitute and realized that I was also kind of jealous of them.

They have an excuse for the mess that their life has become. It’s not necessarily a good excuse… but it’s something tangible. They could have finished school, but their father beat them senseless and they started drinking at the age of 8 to escape. They could have accomplished something but crystal meth derailed their dream.

I could have finished school, but I was trying to work nights to pay for it and got burned out and bored. I could have accomplished something but I can’t say no when I should, quickly get overwhelmed, and then get burned out and bored. I keep getting screwed over by other people when I should know better by now.

I’m jealous that people like Kim and Kristen have someplace to turn for help. Yes, they are at rock bottom, yes they are boozy messes. They hurt the people around them and do untold damage to their bodies. But they can disappear to a facility in the desert somewhere with nothing to do but get their shit together.

I don’t really drink… occasionally a glass of wine, a martini or a manhattan… but it’s not that often. Certainly not everyday. Not even once a week. I don’t use drugs. I’ve smoked my fair share of pot, mostly in my teens and early twenties. I haven’t been stoned in probably a year and a half or more. And that time may have been the only time in the past 3 or 4 years. I wouldn’t even know where to find any. I have never used meth, cocaine, or heroin. I will admit that I have in the past taken a morphine pill, but the intense itching that followed made the experience so unpleasant I have never touched another one. I have had a half-tab of ecstasy, which apparently for my body weight was the equivalent of a baby aspirin. I experienced no effect. I was actually disappointed by this, but never bothered to seek another dose.

I smoke the occasional vanilla clove cigarette, maybe 4 cigarettes a week, unless I’ve been drinking or I’m at a casino, where I smoke more. I’m not addicted to gambling. I enjoy it, yes. But I don’t go that often. I haven’t been since December.

I’m not addicted to porn. I’m not addicted to my email, or shopping, or any of the other pitfalls that trap so many people.

But I want to be. I want an excuse.

But mostly, I want to go to “Promises”.

Mar 24

Wherein I Vomit All My Stress on the Page

What Would Freud Do?I haven’t really written about all the stuff that is going right now… mostly because I don’t want to appear to be looking for sympathy. Partly because I spend more than enough time thinking about everything that I try to write on all these blogs just to give my mind something else to do.

Here’s a little bulleted summary of all the stuff going on, keeping in mind that I could probably write an entire book on each of the following:

  • My business partner and I have split ways. Our 6 year+ friendship seems to be over and she has all but accused me of stealing from the company. In actuality, she owes me well over $20,000 in back salary and reimbursable expenses. I spent 2 years of my life working my ass off to try and turn a business that was losing $5,000/month into a profitable one. I worked 70 and 80 hour weeks non-stop on her behalf. I took on responsibilities that were well above and beyond what I agreed to do (and beyond what our written agreement laid out). UMB worked with me for no additional salary for over a year. I sacrificed my career momentum, health insurance, and retirement savings and put my own dreams of opening my own business on hold to help her achieve her dream. And now she’s trying to screw me out of money that is rightly owed to me. I’m not even asking for a piece of either company. I’m not asking for anything more than what I should have been paid. But I’m aware that I chose to do this. No one twisted my arm and made me go to work for her. She is leaving me little choice but to take her to court. It’s going to be ugly.
  • The house. Long story short: Countrywide Mortgage Company should be investigated for fraud. They are trying to foreclose on the house. They have lost payments, placed payments in a “holding account” instead of applying them to the mortgage, and they have opened several unnecessary escrow accounts and refused to refund them. They have raised the interest rate twice this year, DOUBLING my mortgage payment (you may remember from above that I have not been paid in quite a while). Phone calls made to them require a minimum of a half hour on hold, only to discover that I am talking to the wrong department and need to be transferred, which means being put on hold again, only to be disconnected during the call transfer. This happens EVERY time I call them. My parents and I have retained an attorney who is trying to stop the foreclosure. And I have to try and recreate the sequence of events and locate any paperwork relating to the mortgage that came in during the period of time when I was working 70+ hours a week. I have NO idea where anything is. I fear I’ve tossed most of that shit.
  • I have had absolutely no response to my resume being sent out over the past several weeks. I had an interview scheduled for last week, but the guy canceled at the last minute. He has not rescheduled. I don’t think anyone is interested in hiring someone who has been self-employed for the past two years. Especially when that someone never finished getting his degree.
  • The one thing that has kept me (us) from just picking up and leaving California (to go where?) is my involvement with the two bands I play in. It’s the one thing (besides writing here) that I get to do for myself and look forward to every week. Lately, both of them seem to be falling apart. No recent gigs, nothing really coming up… and the bass player that Total Eclipse finally found (after a couple of months of searching) may be a complete flake that is going to stunt our progress and ability to play all the gigs that we usually get for the summer.
  • The first of the month is rapidly approaching, meaning that bills that I can’t pay are due.
  • I can’t sleep, even when I’m exhausted. I finally took a handful of benadryl at 8am to get some rest. Of course that caused me to sleep through the phone, leaving my parent’s calls unanswered, pissing them off.
  • I can no longer tell where the CFS leaves off and the full on funk begins. I have no energy and no desire or money to do anything. I haven’t left the house since last Saturday. I actually put on pants today, but only because my aunt stopped by with a message from my parents.
  • I need a shower.
  • I need to dye my roots.

Now that I’ve totally laid all this shit out and depressed the hell out of all of you, I’ll end this post with a little snippet of appropriate conversation I had with an ex-friend of UMB’s a couple of years ago. Let’s call him Jack because he was a real life version of Mr. McFarland from Will and Grace. Stereotypically flamboyant, snobby, with a sugar daddy that bought him a new convertible every year. I hated him instantly.

Jack: “I went through a period a few months ago where I think I was suicidal. Nothing made me happy. I didn’t have a job and didn’t need one, which made me feel kind of useless.”

Me: “That’s awful. What did you do?”

Jack: “Well, this one day I was laying on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I just couldn’t picture going on one more day. It was awful. But then I went out and bought new window treatments and everything was ok after that.”

::awkward silence::

::more awkward silence::

Me: “Jack, that may be the gayest thing I have ever heard.”

Mar 23

The Rules. Chapter 3: continued 2

The Rules of Engagement

STDs

It happens to nearly everyone. Studies show that nearly 92% of sexually active adults either have, or have had a sexually transmitted disease. Regardless of what you might think, it most certainly is not cool to have a standing prescription for penicillin at your local pharmacy. If you’re lucky you’ll get something curable. If you’re not so lucky, you have a shortened lifetime to pop pills that make your hair fall out and cause constant diarrhea and vomiting. Those are the mild side effects. Get tested. Always use a condom.

To the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

“Mine eyes have seen the gory rashes and the open sores
of the syphilis I got from all the one night stands and whores.
My vision’s getting blurry, and I think I’m going blind,
How I wish I’d seen a doctor for the warts on my behind.
I may be going crazy and it burns each time I pee,
How I hope it’s gonorrhea and not the HIV.
Herpes sores, pubic hair and crabs are almost gone
I should have put a condom on…
Glory glory hallelujah,
Penicillin might not cure ya.
Glory glory hallelujah,
You’d better put a condom on!”

Saving It

Okay here is something that no guy wants to do but should: Try to go with out any sex for one week and see what effect it has on you. I mean no kissing, no blow jobs, no midnight booty calls, no porno and no “self love” for one week, I dare you!
Why should you suffer this pain and frustration? Because it will show you how much you bodies biological cravings influences your thoughts and behavior. Are you more aggressive? Do you see women differently? How is your concentration? How did your modes change? How about your motivation to get out and meet people?
Most studies have shown that abstinence builds up higher testosterone in males after just one week this increase can make a male more aggressive and bold with interactions with the opposite sex. So forget about drinking to get up the never to talk to a girl just go with out it for a few days and you will be asking every girl in town for a date!

Mar 22

Good Morning to You Too

I have been stressing out so much lately that my already abnormal sleep patterns have become a jumbled mess of sleeping weird hours. For instance, I didn’t get to sleep until 8am this morning and by noon my phone was ringing so I had to get up. Then I was working on a post for HubPages and fell asleep on the couch until about 2pm.

When I woke up from that little nap, I found the following little gem in my email inbox:

STupid (STupid@you.com) wrote:
Guess what? Your site sucks, as much as you do. Get a life, a new hobby and
find something valuable to do with yourself bastard 😀

Website: Your site sucks 🙂
IP: 24.184.146.158

Normally an email like this would make me laugh at the bad grammar and the fact that the author couldn’t bother to back up their opinion with a real email address and name so I could respond. Normally, I would just delete and move on.

Today though, this email just gave voice to a nagging thought process that maybe I should just give up and go get a hamster in a tube job that I hate and accept the life of quiet desperation that is waiting.

It’s only another 30 years before I could retire and spend a year or so twiddling my thumbs on the porch before a massive heart attack lays me out and puts an end to it.

Thanks, STupid. You’ve given me something new to think about.