Dec 31

The Year in Review

This has been one crazy, messed up, totally awesome, exhausting year.

It started out with my getting what was supposed to be a fantastic promotion at work, which turned out to be the bullet that caused a tailspin of disaster culminating in my airing some very personal dirty laundry in my resignation letter.

Out of that experience, Othurme and I decided to strike out on our own and open our own cruise travel agency offering discount cruise fares, Cruise Avenue and I’ve barely had time to blink ever since.

Business has not yet hit a level that is profitable, or quite paying the bills yet. I hope that changes soon. I need that to change soon.*

I went on three cruises this year. All of them were work-related, but there was at least some down time to enjoy the Bahamas, Ensenada and Catalina, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.

This year saw me distance myself quite a bit from the circle of bloggers that were once a huge part of my (online) social life. There are several reasons for this, but mostly I became sick of the petty dramas, arrogance, manufactured grievances, and in some cases downright despicable behavior being exhibited. Don’t worry… I’m probably not talking about you.

But also, I’ve been reconnecting with so many people from my past and real life via Facebook, discussing memories, people I actually know in person in places I’ve actually been, that the fringe internet blogger folk who never really gave a shit about me anyway took a seat at the very back of the bus.

This year, Total Eclipse was busier than we’ve ever been in our entire history. Our original guitarist returned and has quickly regained his spot amongst my best friends. The band grossed more than $30,000 this year. Sure, that’s split among all the members, but when you count in all the amazing places we get to go and the hospitality afforded to us, it’s not chump change.

Without a doubt, one of the most significant things that happened this year was the repair of a friendship that had been broken for more than 8 years. A friendship that had meant so much to me that I never got over the loss, broken for reasons that were unknown to me, and as it turns out, really had nothing to do with me. I haven’t talked about it much, but I suspect that I will tell the story here soon.

On a grander scale, it seemed this year really was the year of “change.” A new president, a political party system seemingly at war with itself, the deaths of many iconic performers and personalities, an economy that keeps toying with us, the devastating attack on civil rights by the religious wingnuts, and a feeling that the world is just polarizing more and more into two camps: those that get it, and those that never will.

Some of the entertainment highlights of the year:

  • Best Album of the Year: The Script. It’s been my go-to album all year long. Also, this was the best concert I saw this year.
  • Best Movie: (500) Days of Summer. I wanted to see it in the theater and missed it (who has time?) but caught it on a cruise ship in October. It’s now one of my favorite movies of all time. Top five at least. Honorable mention: I had never seen a zombie movie before… they never appealed to me, however, Zombieland ended up being one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in ages. I saw it twice on its opening weekend.
  • Best New TV Show: Glee. It’s like watching my high school experience every week… only with slightly better dialogue and a touch less drama. Honorable mention: Modern Family. It has not failed in making me laugh hysterically at least once per episode. And there’s usually a one liner to quote the next day.

Looking forward to 2010

I don’t care for New Year’s resolutions. Too much pressure to make grand life changes just because the calendar has moved forward. You should be willing to change your life everyday on a moment’s notice if needed. Why should you wait until Jan 1 to quit smoking, or go on a diet, or finally nail that hot neighbor?

Instead, here are a few of the things I would like to see happen in 2010:

I will rekindle my creativity in 2010. I haven’t written much in this blog or elsewhere… I haven’t written any music in ages. I haven’t created anything of worth or substance in so long I am almost afraid that I have forgotten how.

I will write songs and record my first real album this year. It has been brewing in my head for a while and it’s time to lock myself in a room with a guitar, a keyboard and my computer and force myself to crank it out.

I will travel somewhere new this year.

There is definitely a move in the near future. I do not yet know where we will end up, but the uncertainty of the housing market and the economy and the new business has left me incredibly stressed and I have to get out from under this soul-crushing cloud of worry that has been a constant companion for more than a year. This year it goes away.

I will write on my blog more often than I did this year. In fact, I will finally pick up the Record Contract story where I left off. I miss this outlet, I miss the storytelling and the feedback from my friends.

I will sleep more and sit up staring at my computer less.

I will upgrade my iPhone.

On that note, I’m going to sign out for 2009.

May your New Year’s Eve be fun, safe, and spent with people you love.

* How can you all help? Well… now that you asked, would you please consider linking to cruiseavenue.com on your blogs/facebook/twitter etc? I can’t sell cruises to people who aren’t coming to my website! Thanks!!

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Dec 17

For Crying Out Loud

Oy Vey.

I realize this is going to stir up a bunch of shit, but I’m beyond the point of caring.

So, this guy Nick from Florida who has lived in San Francisco for the past two years threatened to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge last night via twitter:

Taking the 22 bus to the Golden aGate bridge. Too kill myself. Life isn’t worht living. Fuxk u all. Cya 10:45 PM Dec 15th from Tweetie

Alright I’m here…fuck u all…esp the one who knows it th emost. At the bridge..try and stop me now you asshole. Fuck u all for not caring 11:25 PM Dec 15th from HootSuite

Which prompted me to post this:

is it @nickstarr-suicide-from-golden-gate-bridge o’clock again already? 11:39 PM Dec 15th from Tweetie

Which some people seem to think was insensitive.

Right. Normally, I would agree. Normally, I would never think say such a thing.

However, anyone who has followed Nick for more than, say a month, know that makes these statements on a regular basis. Like, really regular. As in “I’ve lost count how many times this has happened.”

People who follow Nick or have heard about him have also, undoubtedly, heard the drama surrounding his “homelessness.” I put quotes around “homelessness” because Nick has voluntarily chosen to live on the streets in an effort to save money for elective cosmetic surgery. He hasn’t lost his job (surprisingly). He’s not like millions of Americans who are unemployed, or living below the poverty level. He’s not a discarded disable veteran. He’s not a victim of foreclosure. He’s not suffered some horrible string of events that has left him with no place to live. No, Nick has lost around 100 pounds and instead of being happy about his positive and healthy changes in his weight, he’s fixated on the extra skin that has been left behind. In other words, he wants a tummy tuck so badly that he has chosen to sleep in parks and on sidewalks, and begging for online donations.

And he hasn’t stopped whining about it since.

When u’re the edge of spending the night on the streets you would think a friend would show up to take u in. Alas apparenly I’m friendless. 8:50 PM Jul 31st from Tweetie

Please if you are going to ask me questions about why I’m homeless, what surgery I want, etc read this first http://bit.ly/NicksQA 10:49 AM Aug 5th from HootSuite

Any friend who hasn’t bothered to ask how I’m doing nearly a month into being homeless, is NOT my friend any longer. I’m done with f(l)akes. 9:37 PM Aug 29th from twhirl

The heartless bastards at EdFund who garnished my wages for my student loans can’t/won’t deffer/lower my payments b/c I’m homeless 4:50 PM Sep 9th from HootSuite

inside a bar drinking & chatting it up w/ the staff, great. Finishing up and picking up my 20+lb backpack and remembering I’m homeless, bad. 7:22 PM Sep 18th from qTweeter

Holy shit. Wednesday is my 100th day living on the streets of San Francisco homeless in order to save for @NicksTuck. 8:31 PM Dec 7th from Tweetie

It’s cold and I’m being rained on, both literally and emotionally, in San Bruno. This is how I spend my 100th night homeless #WishIWasntBorn 2:45 AM Dec 10th from Tweetie

Crisis averted; I shook the mac until the screen turned on. Thinking about staying homeless an extra month to save up for a new computer now 1:48 PM Dec 11th from HootSuite

To all the people who said love should be easy..what about me? I’m effed up. How would someone love me? I’m homeless, body issues, depressed 5:47 PM Dec 11th from Seesmic

Did I forget to mention that this is not the first time he has made the conscious decision to be homeless?

But back to his suicide cries… I took a quick look through his twitter stream, back as far back as I could stand to go (not that far). Let’s look at just last week:

I feel like a gross fat ugly nasty mess tonight. Why would any guy ever want me? I wish I was never born. 7:12 PM Dec 13th from Tweetie

I am so drink. I want someone to kill me. Ikm at Badlands now. Twin peaks hotel rookm 48 later. Make it painleess. Kill me.Kill me. Kill me. 7:38 PM Dec 13th from Tweetie

Kill me. Kill me. Kill me. Kill me. Kill me.Kill me.Kill me. Kill me. Kill me. Kill me. Kill me.Kill me.Kill me. Kill me. Kill me. Kill 7:43 PM Dec 13th from Tweetie

The next day:

Maybe I drank too much last night…. 7:50 AM Dec 14th from web

Or how about last month, when he planned to starve himself to death to alleviate any “moral/religious” issues he has with suicide:

U people don’t get it; the starvation isn’t about weightloss, its about killing myself. Not drinking is b/c of what I lost last time I drank 7:16 PM Nov 14th from web

It seems there’s a pattern to his depressive episodes… it follows nights out when he’s been drinking heavily. He even acknowledges this, sort of:

Almost every single instance of depression has been while I’m drinking; and no guy has wanted to be my bf b/c I’m fat; so cut out the intake 4:58 PM Nov 11th from HootSuite

Not enough of a pattern for you? Let’s go back a bit further:

If someone wanted to kill me tonight…I’d be more than happy to accept your offer…Death is the only great adventure. I’m a fat loser 8:18 PM Jul 29th from Tweetie

KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL ME! KILL 8:19 PM Jul 29th from Tweetie

STOP FUCKING TEXTING AND CALLING ME YOU ASSHOLES…NONE OF YOU CARE FOR ME AT ALL…YOU ARE ALL LIARS AND NO ONE LOVES ME 9:25 PM Jul 29th from Tweetie

If you want to know me then read this http://bit.ly/NickIsFat I will forever be that fat ugly loser in my head…I wish I was aborted 9:29 PM Jul 29th from Tweetie

I couldn’t bring myself to go any further, but had I wanted, I could have brought you to July 3rd, 2009 when he tweeted that he was headed to the Golden Gate Bridge to throw himself over the edge. He was stopped by the cops and hospitalized involuntarily for 24 hours. Or the time before that… or the time before that… OR back to his first Twitter suicide wolf cry that gave him a taste of positive attention, culminating in a newspaper articles written about him.

Alright I’m out Twitter…time to get a few more drinks and debate jumping from a bridge tonight, Sunshine Skyway Bridge here I come. 09:17 PM August 01, 2007 from web

Just paid the toll for the skyway bridge…should I stop at the top? What should I do with my car? I guess leave it there. 09:27 PM August 01, 2007 from web

alright this is it. Parked my car. I wish everyone who ever was nice to me well. See you in the next life – August 01, 2007

So when I say I’m skeptical about the seriousness of his latest threat, perhaps it’s not so hard to understand why.

*phew*

And now we come back full circle to the most recent episode. Nick hasn’t been seen online since his last tweet. His facebook page is full of people from two camps, those who are new to his drama that are begging for people who know him to report if Nick is ok or not, and those who were/are encouraging him to jump.

I am not in either camp.

Matt, Jester, Justin, Nick Starr
Image by JesterNCal via Flickr

I’m seemingly in a hotel all by myself… someone who knows Nick personally, who has offered help and friendship and been turned down. I have many friends in common with him who have offered him help.

I understand that he is mentally ill, there really is no question about it. Anyone who voluntarily lives on the street and threatens suicide with every third cosmopolitan clearly has issues.

But I am also certain that he habitually and routinely abuses his facebook and twitter followers by manipulating them into providing him with some sick positive attention.

I wrote the following on the “fuck u all” Facebook posting:

Look… even if he actually managed to leap from the bridge, I’m reminded of the boy who cried wolf.

The fact of the matter is, Nick has repeatedly denied help. He doesn’t want therapy. He doesn’t want rehab. And until he does, no one will be able to help him.

He cries for sympathy for being homeless without realizing the ridiculousness of his situation. He *chose* to be homeless. So any whining about how cold it is, or how many bugs bite his face gets is a gigantic slap in the face to anyone who is, or ever has been homeless due to circumstances they couldn’t control.

He cries about never having a second date, when he regularly tweets about his dates DURING the date, as if the guy doesn’t have any idea how to use an iphone or computer, when in all likelihood they met on craigslist, adam 4 adam, or grindr.

He posts photos of his tricks without any mention of whether or not they gave him permission to do so. My guess is a majority had no idea that he did it. That doesn’t really make him a great candidate for a boyfriend.

He refuses to listen to anyone who tells him that this surgery isn’t going to magically make his life better… that until he learns to like himself and work on becoming a better person he will always struggle with these self-esteem issues.

He screams that he has no real friends, but fails to mention that what he really means is ‘friends that meet some special requirement.’ I personally have invited him to join my bf and I at various events in the city. He’s not turned up once, because they weren’t in the Castro with a gaggle of gay guys where he might get laid.

I’ve defended Nick in the past when he was (most likely) accused of things by people who didn’t even know him. I talked to him long before he came out. I always gave him the benefit of the doubt because he was a fat kid who grew up and came out late (which I totally relate to) but after the 4th (or 12th? Who knows) suicide threat I realized that this is the only way he knows to get any positive attention.

He has done this so often that he manages to get featured in newspaper articles about the power of social networking in preventing suicides! This dates back to before he moved to San Francisco, even.

So while I do sincerely hope that Nick is ok. I’m incredibly disgusted that he continues to pull this bullshit and conning new people who don’t know his tricks into getting concerned and frantic over his antics.

And it’s true. I hope he’s ok. But when this turns out to be the latest hoax, I’m done.

UPDATE::

“After a day in the hospital, and a day offline to myself today, I wanted to say that I am ok, but would like simply to be alone for a while. 9 minutes ago from HootSuite ”

So, there you go. As I suspected, he has once again totally played his audience and will do this again.

And if he ends up washing up on the shoreline in Richmond or Pacifica (two places where most of the numerous Golden Gate Bridge Jumpers end up) in a few days, all I can say is “rest in peace. What a waste.”

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Dec 08

Look at That, It’s December 8th Again.

I was totally going to do a recap of The Jester Show from last night. But Dave beat me to it, so you could click over there and check it out…

In the meantime, you could read my post from 2006 about December 8, 1980.

Dec 05

The Rumors Are True

You might have heard some rumblings around the internet (clearly this news is epic and the ENTIRE internet is hanging on every bit of Jester news available) that there might be a new episode of The Jester Show in the works.

It’s true.

Not only is there there a show in the works, the guest is none other than one of the few internet celebrities that is bigger than me.

That’s right…. it’s Dave from Blogography!

He even confirms that he’ll be gracing me with his presence on his latest blog post: http://www.blogography.com/archives/2009/12/radio.html

So if The Jester Show is kind of your thing, and let’s not kid ourselves, it is… join us won’t you?

Jestertunes Radio

Jestertunes Radio

Don’t miss it – Monday at 6:30PM Pacific on Talkshoe.

If there are any topic you’d like us to discuss, please let me know in comments… better yet, call in and join in on the show!

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Dec 02

I’m Just Too Damned Old For This Shit

I’m sure everyone knows by know that I’m really into music. I play in multiple bands, write songs, listen to my iPod even when I sleep, and frequently see live music.

I typically limit my concert going to groups/artists that I really like… preferring to spend my money on entertainment that I know I’m going to enjoy. Reasonable enough.

Apparently there is another reason why I limit myself to these shows; I am an old grumpy codger.

Here’s how it went down… A good friend of mine that I have recently reconnected with is the promotions manager for a very popular radio station in Sacramento. They held their holiday concert event, “Jingle Ball” last night and he offered UMB and me tickets to the show plus meet and greet passes.

The lineup consisted of Jason Derulo, Cobra Starship, Boys Like Girls, Kris Allen, and Justin Bieber.

Of course I was looking forward to seeing Kris Allen. I was a big fan throughout last season’s American Idol, obviously. I knew one song from Cobra Starship, “Good Girls Go Bad.” I was vaguely aware of Boys Like Girls.

I had never heard the name Jason Derulo before, despite the fact that he apparently had a recent #1 single for four consecutive weeks.

I might add here that I never listen to the radio anymore. I get my music via late night video views, online reviews, and recommendations from friends… and let’s not forget the genius of Last.fm, which has pointed me to many great artists I might not ever have discovered otherwise.

And I knew there was some young kid out of Canada that was quite popular due to his performances on YouTube, but had not spent more than a second’s thought on Justin Bieber.

Back to last night…

Kris Allen signing autographs.

Kris Allen signing autographs.

We stood in a lot of lines… one of which was a line that descended stairs into the “VIP Area” where the meet and greet was to occur. While standing in this line, there were suddenly a series of sustained high-pitched screams from the downstairs area, presumably from the front of the line.

UMB asked me, “Where do you suppose this line is actually going?” “From the sounds of it, the depths of Hell,” was my response.

Now, if I haven’t painted this picture well enough yet, let me take a second to point out that UMB and I were literally surrounded on all sides by gaggles of middle-school-aged girls.

And a smattering, here and there, of foppish boys who were either begrudgingly accompanying their middle school girlfriends, or who were fronting that they were there for some serious rock and roll from the pop-punkers Boys Like Girls or Cobra Starship, but were really, secretly there because they too were hoping to catch Justin Bieber’s eye.

We finally make our way downstairs to yet another line that leads to a row of tables where the artists were seated, furiously signing autographs and looking rather blase about the whole deal.

Jason Derulo is a nice looking guy who smelled good and had soft hands. He couldn’t, however, figure out how to spell “Jester” so settled for the simpler “Paul.”

Jason Derulo

Jason Derulo

Kris Allen was next in line, and he was somewhat bemused by the interaction with Jason and had already added the “To Jester” on his photograph. UMB could only manage a “Hi” before getting star struck. I told him that he was hit on my blog, and that I really enjoyed the album (both are true statements).

Kris Allen

Kris Allen

The guys from Boys Like Girls were all very friendly, and the guitarist and I spent a moment discussing tattoos, before I moved down the line.

Boys Like Girls

Boys Like Girls

The members of Cobra Starship barely looked up.

Cobra Starship

Cobra Starship

And then we reached Justin Bieber. He’s about 4 feet tall with a floppy bowl haircut. I’d bet a year’s wages that he doesn’t have pubic hair. According to Wikipedia, he’s 15 years old, but he looks more like a 9 year old. He looked way up at me and said, “Hi Bro!”

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

Hi Bro? I could pick him and twirl him like a baton, dip him in blue cheese and bite his head off like a baby carrot. I’m old enough (gulp) to be his father, yet I get a “Hi, Bro.”

My hatred of the term “Bro” is another post in itself… but I just collected the autograph and moved along to find our seats.

Things I Learned from the Actual Concert

  • Jason Derulo is built, can dance, has a decent voice, but shitty songs.
  • Cobra Starship surprisingly didn’t suck. They are better live than on the recording.
  • Kris Allen can sing circles around the rest of the artists on the bill. He’s really short, and is already bored by being on stage.
  • Boys Like Girls were the most entertaining in terms of stage show and energy.
  • If at any time any artist thought they were losing the crowd, all one should do is merely mention the name “Justin Bieber” to illicit a shriek that can be heard from space.
  • Justin Bieber sings songs about his “favorite ladies” and finding “the love of his life” in a squeaky high voice.
  • Justin Bieber pays a very large black man to stand on stage, run a MacBook, and periodically say into a microphone, “Make Some Noise for Justin Bieber” as if there isn’t already a hysterical mob crying and screaming his name.
  • Justin Bieber also pays a different very large black man to act as a camel, that is, Justin steps off the stage and rides on his shoulders through the crowd.

The radio station setup a screen on stage that projected text messages that the audience could post to. If the texts displayed are a sampling of the intelligence level of today’s youth, we are in some serious trouble.

Here are some examples:

I loveeeeee u Bieber! Mary Me! <3 ~Anisa~

Skrem if u think Justen is hotttttttttttttttt!

U my wurld JB! SCREAM!

Ammmmyyyyyy loveeeeeeees the Bieber!

Every twenty seconds or so, another “Scream if you…..” messages would appear on screen, causing the entire audience to create this sound that I can only describe as a cicada operating a dentist’s drill on a chalkboard in hell.

Outside of a handful of moms and dads scattered through the crowd, UMB and I were the oldest people in the crowd. I’d say by a margin of 10 years.

At the end of the show, I excused myself to the restroom. I needed a moment away from little screaming and crying girls, and needed to empty my bladder. I made my way to the men’s room downstairs to discover that the lights were all out.

I spent a couple minutes looking for the light switch, found it hiding in a camouflaged panel and made my way to a urinal. Almost immediately, this girl comes walking in, sees that the lights are on and shrieks to her friends who were presumably waiting in Boston that there was a bathroom here.

Six girls then parade into the room. One remarks, “I only see urinals.”

“That’s because you’re in the men’s room,” I say over my shoulder, not leaving my post at the urinal.

There was another shriek that may still be echoing around the concrete walls of the bathroom as they ran past me to the far end of the bathroom and into stalls.

I finished up and tried to ignore all the giggling and exclamations of “how dreamy hottttt” (seriously, she pronounced the extra “t’s”) Justin Bieber was.

On my way out, I flipped off the hidden light switch and took off running up the stairs.

They are probably still screaming bloody murder.

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