Thursday, August 21, 2008

Losers

I'm one. You're one, too. Everyone at one time or another has been a loser. Over the past several years, though, there has been a movement, I guess I'll call it, of parents insistent on shielding their children from losing. This is a horrible error on their parts.Two things should be noted here: I am not a parent and this phenomenon has been covered in the media quite a bit so maybe my take won't be groundbreaking, I just have to get it off my chest.

When you shield a person from the painful things in life (death, coming in second, racism, etc.) you do your child a great disservice. They do not grow up to be well-adjusted. I was not one of these people growing up, and maybe I'm not well-adjusted either, but I learned that losing was "a part of life" as my parents said, and while it's no fun to lose when you are seven years old, it happens and I am better for it, now. I have met these people, however, the people who have never lost and they walk around with a sense of entitlement, like they are better than others. As adults, though, instead of whining, they file lawsuits against anything and everything when something doesn't go their way. They have never participated in an activity without being rewarded for it. If they lose now, somebody else is at fault and the person who was wronged is entitled to a cash payout as compensation. These are the types of people that get my blood boiling.

In my freshman year of college, I took a Sociology class in which we watched Menace II Society. After we viewed it there was a discussion about the social ramifications, reasons driving the characters actions, etc. There was a girl in my class who I had some contact with outside of the class at parties, etc. She was from a very small town in southern Minnesota and thought she knew everything, including being absolutely sure that the "big city" (which I had told the class I was from, immediately causing her to view me with suspicion) was a Godless cesspool of evil, even though she had never been there and claimed she never would go. Which made her reaction to the movie even more confusing. The discussion went around the room and after a few minutes, she piped up, "Why are we talking about this like it's real? This is totally made up, this does not happen." All eyes turned to me and another girl in my class who grew up in South Minneapolis (in the smaller classes my freshman year, we would go around the room and introduce ourselves briefly--people always took note of the kids from "the cities", everyone always knew who we were that first year.) Now, neither St. Paul or South Minneapolis are South Central Los Angeles, but it was close enough for the discussion, I suppose. "Of course this happens," I replied "I went to high school with people in gangs and not all of them graduated for a variety of reasons, reasons that are portrayed here." She refused to believe me--she had never been told she was wrong before, never been challenged, had always won and besides being a know-it-all, she was a bully. The girl from South Minneapolis echoed my statement and the small town girl announced she wouldn't listen to nonsense, that we were lying to her and left the class. She never returned to that class and I heard later she filed a formal complaint with the Sociology department that went nowhere, of course. I'm sure there were more formal complaints after that, I don't know. This is what you get when you don't let your child lose however: your child assumes he is always right, and when they are wrong it is somebody else's fault. "I can't lose," they think, "I have always been right."

I also hear about the parents who complain when their child comes in eighth in a competition and is not awarded a medal or ribbon or whatever. Does it occur to anyone there are many other children who may not have even been accepted into the competition? Should those kids be awarded medals, too? Should I get to play third base for the Twins and be awarded a gold glove just because I like baseball? Sure, I might not be the best but I really like baseball, that's fair, right?

When I finally realized that I was not going to be a standout baseball player, I focused on what I was good at and it made me a better person. Sure, maybe I haven't won awards for any of the things I am good at, but I enjoy them and they are rewarding nonetheless. I don't need a medal to prove I'm a competitor or that I excel at any particular activity. Sometimes I compete and I don't win, but I don't complain about it, I try harder next time. That's the way it should be. If everyone's a winner all the time mediocrity prevails, because then nobody has to try to improve, they are guaranteed recognition no matter what their performance and thus don't have to apply themselves at all. I don't think parents see what a disservice it is to their children to demand recognition for participation in anything and everything. Besides it breeding mediocrity, it makes it more difficult to identify what the kids are truly good at, because they have a roomful of medals and awards just because they signed up to compete, not necessarily because they excel at any one thing. More importantly, they don't learn how to lose and that is a skill everyone needs to have. Learning that you can't win all the time makes you more well-adjusted, less spoiled and much more fun to be around (ever been around an adult that hates to lose? Amusing aren't they?)

Sure, it's painful to get passed up, come in third or fall down during competition, but if more parents insisted that their children pick themselves up and try again, rather than cry foul or demand recognition even in defeat, ultimately it would make them and their children better people.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Koren Zailckas Is Kind Of A Liar. She's Really Pretentious, Too.




I'm reading Smashed by Koren Zailckas for the second time. I had a weird reaction to it the first time and I couldn't figure out why. I thought, at the time, it was because a lot of memoirists works, like James Frey's and Augusten Burroughs's had been called into question with regard to their honesty, and that maybe I had just been reading too many of them, but that wasn't the problem at all.

The story is about her being a "problem drinker" in high school and college. Certainly, she illustrates this well, but she stops short of calling herself an alcoholic and, in fact denies that she actually became one at several points along the way. It's clear to me (and everyone else I know who read the book) that she in fact is a recovering alcoholic, no question. She would binge drink each and every time she consumed alcohol. She ended up in several perilous situations and once ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. She sort of romanticizes these things as indescretions of youth and mistakes that everyone makes along the way. I disagree. I drank to get drunk each and every time I drank during the same time frame in my life, as well. I never ended up in the hospital and was never in the types of peril that she put herself in even once. She was colossally irresponsible when drunk but doesn't see it, I guess. She seems to view it as what's it's like to be a woman in the modern age, seems to feel like she needed to "compete with the boys" when she was on the town and that is utter bullshit.

That isn't the real problem here, however. It's apparent that she believes that she was above all of this, even while she was doing it. The book has this pretentious holier-than-thou tone that is stomach-churning. She was "stuck" at Syracuse while her friends went off to the Ivy League and her sorority sisters were bitchy and shallow but they drank and she needed friends to drink with. She takes herself out of the narrative, as if she's a spectator in her own life who has no control over what happens and it's so utterly ridiculous I can hardly describe it. She accepts no responsibility for any of it. "I drank too much, therefore I stopped, but I certainly wasn't an alcoholic. Those people don't grow up in the Boston suburbs." is how she comes across on each and every page.

So, to Koren Zailckas: Get over yourself. You were an alcoholic, which means you still are one, you just don't drink anymore and for that I commend you. But, you have done a great disservice to your readers in denying any culpability for your actions. People read memoirs to learn something and maybe to encourage themselves to get help for any problem they may be having, but all we learned from you is that you thought you were better than everyone you ever hung out with in high school and college. You view your book and the fact that you now live in New York City--which you bring up several times for no apparent reason--as proof of that. In not taking responsibility, you by proxy think you are better than your readers as well, so none of it rings true. It reads only as a snotty 24-year-old who thinks she's unbelievably cool because she managed to get a book published. Shame on you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

With Teeth

Damn.

Two nights ago I had a dream that my teeth were falling out, which isn't too weird in itself, because I have dreams that my teeth fall out all the time. Everyone always offers up Psych 101 answers as to what it means, but for me it really is just a dream about my teeth falling out. I have a terrible fear that they will fall out even while I'm awake. What I can't get over, though, is how terribly gory and disgusting this one was.

Usually when my teeth fall out in dreams, there is no blood, I always, always look into a mirror right after they do to look at my mouth while this feeling that is a mix of dread and wonderment comes over me. Most often it's just my two front teeth that fall out while I'm eating something (usually a burrito for some reason.), but the other night it was really detailed and bloody. I'm freaked out about a lot of the things my subconscious makes me view during my slumber but this might take the cake (aside from the time when I was ten and dreamed my body was a big ice cube that then melted so I was just a head.)

This time it was totally different, though. I was driving to my parents' house and sneezed while I was driving. One of my teeth came out and I panicked but kept it together until I got into the house. I immediately ran inside and had blood running down my lip and my mom thought I had been in a fight (this must stem from the fact that I came home bloodied from fistfights fairly often in high school.) and I ran up to the bathroom to look in the mirror, of course. I lifted my head back to see what the problem was and I had this contraption that was a mix of string, wire and what looked like miniature pieces of the bio-armor the aliens wore in Independence Day (this is highly nerdy, I know.) wedged into mouth. There were visible holes in my gums and my teeth were being held into my mouth by this structure, but not well. When I shifted my head forward several of them would fall out but were tied to the string so they would hang there. And the taste in my mouth was like rotten Jagermeister. It was horrible. "Why did you let your teeth get this bad?" my dad inqured. "I didn't know they were, they seemed fine this morning." I replied.

Then I woke up. I was bathed in sweat and immediately reached for mouth. My teeth, as always, were fine. Dreams always fascinate me, but I marvel at the ability of someone's subconscious to turn on it's owner like a rabid animal. What did I ever do to it?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Bum List

Ten years ago, I was a very different person. You were too, of course, even if you don't know it or won't admit it. However, I would wager that I was a vastly different person than I am today, not just the kind of different that comes without having gained any knowledge just by simply aging and picking up on how life works.

In 1998 I was a fourth-year junior (yeah, that's right) going nowhere fast. I was ostensibly a graphic design student at a state college but really, I was just a raging alcoholic who was afraid of himself, afraid of any ability he may have possessed, secretly disliked (and was disliked by) most of his friends, who didn't attend class much and drank to extreme excess at least four nights a week. I was extremely overweight and unhappy about it, and really was unhappy about everything most of the time. Instead of being outwardly sad all the time, though, I was outwardly mean. Really mean. Also fairly racist, pretty homophobic, and just generally unpleasant to be around. Eventually, I found a close friend in BT, who brought out the worst in me to that end and I in him. We were horrible to everyone and everything. I once made a girl who had turned me down for a second date cry in front of an entire basement full of people solely for his entertainment. Yeah, that's what kind of a guy I was. No remorse, a sharp, bitter tongue always primed for use. People, especially girls, avoided us and I always figured it was because the girls knew we were "badass city kids" but the truth is painfully obvious.

BT and I had our own language much of which revolved around quotes from "The Simpsons" and various movies. Everyone would know what the line was from, but only we knew what it really meant--we always assigned a double meaning to each quote. In addition to that, if something sucked we would often say "You can slap a rainbow sticker on this.", be it a movie, party, long drive, anything. We also assigned "alternative" derogatory names to many minority cultures, but they weren't "offensive" so much as "funny" to us, since they were our terms (and if you're hoping I'll list any of them here, you're out of luck). Yeah, we were a great guys, you would have loved us.

For years we and a large group of our friends would attend "Edgefest" which then morphed into "X-Fest" which was put on by a local radio station (the radio station changed formats at one point leading to a name change.) during Memorial Day weekend every year. Two days of concerts, thousands of people camping, thousands of people that we deemed "white trash" drinking and camping around us. We managed to nearly ruin an entire day for everyone there, too. A beautiful day that found almost everyone else we were with heading down to a nearby river to get some sun and wash off the previous night's detritus and that morning's hangover. BT and I quickly pooh-poohed that idea, grabbed lawn chairs, planted ourselves under a tree and played "Count The Mullet" for about five hours, drinking beer after beer after beer. I don't remember the final count, mostly because I'm mortified that I wasted most of a perfectly good day doing this. We then spent the afternoon constantly referring to a friend's older brother, who drank two entire bottles of cheap tequila straight from the bottle during the course of the day, as Mankind, and could not figure out why he was pissed off at us, because it was hilarious. Now granted, he looked like him, but, to be honest, he showed great restraint after two bottles of cheap tequila in not beating us both senseless. We were just pointlessly mean, to anybody and anything we could be mean to and the most amazing thing about it was that we didn't see it, we thought we were the two funniest people alive.

However, chief among the things that we did on a near-constant basis that were just all around negative was managing The Bum List. This was an ongoing, ever-shifting list of people, famous or not so, that we decided were bums (we--thankfully--never wrote this list down, even ten years later it would have been just too much to bear to know I had done it) and it was was added to almost daily. This wasn't the meanest thing we did but it gives the best idea of who we were, I think. It all started one night when were were watching 48 Hrs. and realized that Nick Nolte, in nearly every film he is in, gets fed up and utters something along the lines of "Awww, God dammit!" We decided he was a huge bum right on the spot. The list never stopped, we added so many people to it I can't even remember half of them, I'd bet. More importantly, I would never try. It was such a waste of time and such a mammoth exercise in negativity there are hardly words. You couldn't go anywhere with us and not hear "Dude, that guy is a such a bum!" at least once while you were with us. After a while, to add people to the list all one of us would have to utter was "Aww, God dammit!" and The Bum List had grown. Eventually, like all relationships forged in negativity like this, we turned on each other and we very quickly grew apart. Realtionships like this often have a limited shelf life, they sour, get old. I was not as sorry as I thought I would be to see him go.

I got married a couple of weeks ago and my one remaining college friend, The Scribe, came in for the event. Nine months ago I watched him tie the knot in L.A. We have spoken not less than once a month since we reconnected via MySpace about three years ago (when people say social networking sites are useless, I use this an example of why they are not). He is one of my favorite people ever. We didn't hang around in college as much as we should have and I could never figure out why, but he told me while he was here that it was because of BT, he couldn't stand him. The negativity, the way I changed around him, how we just picked on people for virtually nothing. He knew I was better than that, but didn't know how to help the situation, either. He finally let it go and went West. Nothing makes him happier (happier for me, at least) than the fact that BT isn't around anymore and that I am a good guy (these are his words, more or less).

I knew I had become a better person, but in the process I had to shed not only BT but most of my other college friends, too--none of them were the cat's pajamas, really. Nobody was around to corroborate my story, though, as it were, but now I have proof. I am not a racist, homophobic, generally unpleasant asshole any longer and it feels good. It feels good to be a nice guy and feels good to have people tell me so often that I am a genuinely fun person to be around. I never used to hear that before and it never gets old. Ten years ago nobody ever said those things to or about me. But, then again, ten years ago I should have been on The Bum List, too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Huey Lewis Has Ruined My Life

Something strange is afoot in Minneapolis. I thought this was a countrywide phenomenon, but as it turns out it's just here and I can't figure it out. If you are often referred to as a "hipster" by your family, friends, neighbors, strangers on the street, etc. (and I don't want to argue about hipster/non-hipster crap today and yes, I'm including myself in the "accused hipster" camp.) you are then required as a Minneapolitan or St. Paulite to then ignore sports entirely if you want any sort of credibility, possibly by throwing out the sports section while digging up the New York Times crossword puzzle in the back of the paper, just so you are not tempted to see what is happening with the Twins or if the Vikings are making any off-season deals. This is ludicrous, inane, elitist and just really dumb.

Now, I am not necessarily a true Sports Guy. I don't know who has the highest batting average on the Twins right now or who has the most home runs. I know who is going to the All-Star Game (Mauer, Morneau and Nathan) and I can give semi-informed opinions on two of our four "major" sports teams (I don't like hockey much and I despise the NBA as an entity), I am admittedly more of a Music Guy, I can rattle off all kinds of useless information about many, many different bands and I will argue this is akin to knowing what Wade Boggs batted in 1986 (an astonishing .357 for those who really need to know). These "guys" aren't mutually exclusive, however. You can be both. You can like your local baseball or football team and still like Clinic and Tokyo Police Club. I know, because I do. In Minneapolis, though, being a Music Guy and liking sports, however mildly, is akin to admitting that you own a vast array child porn or are eagerly awaiting a Huey Lewis And The News reunion. Suddenly, you're suspect at best.

Speaking of Huey, I think Mr. "I Want A New Drug" is sort of responsible for this. First of all, these guys were painfully dorky. Not geeky or nerdy, just dorky, the way your Uncle Sal is, with his lame jokes about 12-inch pianists and his polyester plaid pants, where everyone just sort of groans and goes "Well, that's Uncle Sal!". Sure, they had several hits but Lewis singing about wanting drugs was about as convincing as if, say, Frank Sinatra had released a rap album and wanted us to take him seriously. Secondly, Lewis & Co. admitted to loving sports on a near constant basis (indeed, two of their albums are named Sports and Fore!), and were a little defensive about it if I remember correctly. Even though the wore the facts that they golfed a lot and were, I think, 49ers fans like a badge of honor, they were aware it made them a little unhip. People that were hip in the 80s (i.e. people with bleach blond hair who dressed like extras from Tron) immediately hated them and it wasn't just the bad music (while I love Back To The Future more than an adult man should, they singlehandedly ruin the soundtrack for me). They just sucked. If you admitted you liked them, you were admitting you sucked, too. Hipsters however, hated them just upon looking at an album cover with a golf reference for a title--Lewis didn't have a chance. I don't think it was this way B.H. (Before Huey).

When I was in high school I worked for a now-defunct company called Suncoast Pictures (they were owned by Sam Goody) at the Mall of America. We sold movies (this was the mid-90s so it was just VHS tapes but then during my senior year we started carrying laserdiscs, which were the size of an LP and were the coolest fucking things I had ever seen--The Godfather was issued on four discs, had a behind-the-scenes documentary with it and cost something like $150. Surely, nothing would ever be more awesome. The machines that played them cost somewhere in the neighborhood of the asking price for a 5,000 square foot condo on New York's Upper East Side. Awesome.) and it was a rag-tag bunch. One of the people I worked with this guy whose given name was Francis but insisted everyone call him Fritz (I just realized this now: he had to have done this in "honor" of Fritz Lang, but I didn't know Metropolis was required hipster viewing back then.) He was an art student at the University of Minnesota and he was the first hipster I had ever met, even though I didn't know what a hipster was at the time. He was 22, knew more about movies (or "films" as he always called them) than I did, would do awesome things like ask for "yellow soda" at restaurants because, as he informed me, the servers would never say "We have Mello Yello" if you ask for Mountain Dew like they do with Coke and Pepsi and it pissed him off (by the way he would also order "cola" from time to time and this was more confusing to the server than just ordering a Coke and being informed they only had Pepsi.) He also loudly, actively hated sports. If sports came up he would always say "I don't watch sports, dude. They're boring." and stomp off (looking back on this, he was so over-the-top anti-sports it was insane. He was also the kind of guy who thought Krzysztof KieĊ›lowski's Trois Couleurs Trilogy was too commercial--never heard of it? My point exactly.) I never had the occasion to ask Fritz if he liked "The Power Of Love", but it's safe to say he loathed everything Huey Lewis stood for, except for maybe new drugs. If you haven't put this together yet, Fritz was clearly a douchebag. But at the time he was the coolest person I had ever met (this is more telling than I'd like it to be, for the record) and I immediately stopped following sports because it was cool to do so. This lasted until oh, the second day of my freshman year of college when I realized that: a) I would never have anyone to hang out with on Sunday afternoons if I didn't watch the Vikes and b) I could accurately be described as "a douchebag".

People that could be described as hipsters in other cities don't do this. My friend Tipsy St. Swingsteen has some friends in Philly and she once said they are just like her friends here except they are also rabid Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers fans. My friend The Displaced Yankee currently lives in Durham, NC and works and an ad agency chock full of hipsters and pseudo-hipsters. Sometimes they go to truck pulls(!) and something called "mud rallies"(!!) on the weekends and follow Duke basketball religiously. In New York if you are hip, you like the Mets (never the hated Bronx Bombers) or go to the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones games. But here if you say you are doing something sports-related it's met with people making faces like someone might have shit on the bottom of their shoe and/or a possible tirade about the insane amount of money paid to athletes. Yes, they are overpaid, so are Radiohead, it doesn't make me like them any less.

There was a time B.H. that people liked sports and music and it wasn't a problem. When I was little, there were older kids in my neighborhood that would talk about the Twins, North Stars, etc. and also talk about The Police, who had that song about the magic lady, and some band called Devo, that I had never heard of. One kid talked about Devo all the time and then when I finally heard "Whip It" when I was about eight, they were the coolest guys on the planet, until I saw them. Devo were geeks, I mean really geeks. Even though I was only eight, when I saw a picture of Devo I asked the older neighbor kid, who was borrowing me his copy of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, "Are these guys nerds?" I remember this clearly because the other older kids laughed and it was the first time I had made older people laugh at something I had said (without one of them saying, "Oh, how cute!") and not something I had done. But none of it mattered. Devo were geeks, he was a North Stars fan and a Devo fan and being a fan of one didn't draw suspicions as to his allegiance to the other. He didn't need to look like a fan of either by wearing a hockey jersey (of which the North Stars had one of the finest of all-time) or by wearing an upside down flower pot on his head (which would have resulted in a pummeling at the hands of his friends, most likely.) he just looked like a 14-year-old kid looked in 1984-- ringer t-shirt, Levi's and Adidas Top Ten high top sneakers. His clothing betrayed nothing about him, and somehow that was a lot more endearing than walking into a place, looking around and seeing that the guy in the corner is a D-Backs fan because of his Randy Johnson jersey and immediately knowing that the girl dressed in all black with the cat's-eye glasses listens to Bright Eyes while she cries herself to sleep at night (note: I don't know exactly what "place" these two people would be in at the same time, really, unless it was an AA meeting.)

Before Huey came along and started to turn the tide things were simpler. A.H. (After Huey), if you liked sports and music both, everyone assumed that you liked "If This Is It" and yacht rock--not "real" music, the kind of music that also requires a wardrobe so you can easily be identified as a "serious" music fan, which is indescribably pretentious. You couldn't possibly like The Cure and the Twins, could you?. If you watched the North Stars, it was assumed you were also going to see Foreigner when they played the Met Center the following night--even if you had a fever of 103. But I'm here to try to shift the tide back. I like sports and I am a "serious" music fan (admittedly--and embarrassingly--I have what could be described as an "indie rocker" wardrobe--lots of t-shirts, plaid western shirts, slim fit jeans, black Chuck Taylors, etc.) You don't have to pick one, you can pick both and if anybody gives you shit tell them to come talk to me. We'll watch the Trois Couleurs Trilogy, listen to some music and then we'll watch a Vikings game and so help me God, if they say the movies and the music are more entertaining than the game (barring a blowout, so maybe we'll watch a Vikes-Packers game at Lambeau in December--those are always nail-biters) I'll strangle them with my bare hands.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, Don't Play A Song For Me

I've alluded to this before but I write for a couple of publications based in town here. I write about music and, for the most part, I write about local music. On Saturday night though, I revealed a secret to a friend of mine who happens to be a local musician. I try to keep this secret from everyone (until now, I suppose) but every once in awhile it slips out and honestly, I'm just sick of carrying it around with me, because it shouldn't have any impact on my credibility as a music critic/writer: I don't like Bob Dylan.

Oh, I know, "But, he's Minnesota's most famous musician!", "But, he's a genius!", "Jesus, you are an moron!" I've heard them all, but nothing can convince me. This isn't to say he's untalented, because he is. I have not and will not disparage his fans in any way--I get why people like him, I just don't. But he, like Led Zeppelin, is one of those artists that it seems you are required to like if you work within or around the music industry in any capacity. I don't like Zep much, either, by the way.

I know what you are thinking: that I am a stuck-up, elitist, hipster douchebag who only listens to bands that are not or never were hugely popular because it's "cool" to do so. That is mostly untrue. I have respect for Dylan and Zeppelin both. They influenced tons of bands that I like and listen to all the time. Dylan, in fact, largely influenced the friend that I had this little exchange with on Saturday and I like his music quite a bit, regardless of our friendship.

Why is this? Why if you identify yourself as a music writer are you then required to like certain bands? Dylan and Zeppelin are two. The Who is another (I do like them) and, for some reason, Elvis Costello is one as well (I like him quite a bit, also.) and The Beatles (duh.)

I'm not being ultra-elitist when I say I don't like Dylan. In fact, I do enjoy several of his songs every so often, but as a whole his work doesn't speak to me. I'm drawn to some of the music, however, sometimes I find the lyrics not revolutionary but just kind of insipid and ham-fisted, though I have never appreciated a lot of the '60s counterculture icons (Morrison, Grace Slick, etc.). I was born after "the revolution" happened and by the time I understood what "counterculture" meant, Dylan didn't seem like he could have been a poster boy for it at all. Maybe I just have a problem with baby boomers.

I know there are people that will want to string me up for this, but I can't help what I feel. I'm not trying to stir up trouble or be a jerk, I just don't like Bob Dylan, and I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me a bad person.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Only In Dreams

I have weird dreams. I know, I know, "everyone has weird dreams" is always the response I get but seriously, I have really bizarre dreams, more bizarre than most everyone else I know. I don't have vivid, strange dreams all the time but when I do they are always memorable and detailed, even if those details make little or no sense when I awake--I'm always amazed at what my subconscious brain allows itself to interpret as real and plausible.

Last night I dreamed that I was repeatedly traveling through time. But I wasn't helping to solve anyone's problems like Quantum Leap or Journeyman or even trying to solve my own problems. I was mostly traveling back to 2004 and 2005, visiting a lot of my current friends that I was not friends with then-- essentially doing a background check, I suppose. I attended a show at First Avenue and ran into several of my friends that I go to and document shows with now. They, of course, did not know me (and most of them didn't know each other) but, strangely (or predictably, since it was my dream), I had conversations with all of them. They weren't about anything substantive it was simply "Hi, good show." etc. and then I had to act like I did not know who they were, but seemed to not be doing a very good job of pretending--I would probably be a terrible candidate for actual time travel, I would approach people that didn't know me yet and somehow tear a hole in space-time continuum, ruining everyone's lives. I don't remember who was playing but I do remember hearing "A Punk" from Vampire Weekend being played in between sets and thinking "Wow, someone is way ahead of the curve here." Yeah, even my dreams are sort of pretentious sometimes.

After a little while at the show, I left and somehow ended up at a party at the building where I used to live in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. It was 2005 and the party was attended by people from my high school days, college and now. They all knew each other in that weird dream way where all of your friends from the span of your life just know each other and seem to hang out all the time while you aren't around. I am always surprised when all of these people know each other, but just accept it and continue on with whatever weird-ass situation I am in. At this party everyone seemed to have been waiting for me to show up (the future me, mind you not the 2005--or, in the dream, "current" me), but when I showed up they all just kind of ignored me or didn't see me. I was also dating some girl who was not my now-wife who in 2005 was my then-girlfriend. I was talking with a current friend of mine who was also a friend then--he was the only one talking to me--and I explained I was really from the future and it was ok that I was dating someone here because I was actually "future me" and not "current me", I also rattled off some time travel mumbo jumbo that sounded an awful lot like a mix the time travel premises from The Terminator and Back To The Future but he didn't seem to notice. At one point the party guests all gathered on some rickety wooden bleachers that were set up in the alley to take a group picture, but everyone was actively avoiding eye contact with me and I was avoiding being in the picture because of the space-time continuum, again. I decided I needed to get back to 2008 but had no idea how I had been time traveling in the first place, so I seemed to be stuck there. I had been jumping through time suddenly, randomly, by just opening doors and "ending up" in a different place but now I couldn't get it to work, and finally, anti-climatically like all dreams I simply woke up and wondered, "What the hell did that all mean?"