Sound Off

Please Don’t Play Tag. It’s Just Too Dangerous.

Do you ever just read something in the news that is so outrageous it makes you stop and question humanity as a whole?

Well, that happened to me. Because I found out that elementary schools are deciding to ban the classic game of slap and run away, Tag.  Shock. Horror. Confusion.  All these things. Plus hunger. But that’s a different story.

I know, I know, I’ll give you a moment to grieve… Okay, moment over.

If you haven’t read my previous posts, you should know that I got hurt quite a bit as a child.  From my brothers’ secret attacks, to a tree and bike collision, my childhood was far from band-aid and emergency room free.

But I like to think that despite all the cuts, bruises, and broken bones, I turned out to be a socially capable adult and functioning member of society (Please refrain from further investigating that statement).

I also like to think that playing (physical) games during recess in elementary and middle school are crucial to cognitively developing social skills with other people.  How is a kid going to grow up knowing he wants to play football if he never gets the chance to play it during school?  How is a child supposed to know what defeat is if everyone gets a trophy and there are no losers?

Newsflash:  The world is full of football and defeat. Life is tough, to ignore it is preposterous, and to ban it is blasphemous (big word usage, +100 points). Get a helmet and go back out there.

This one is about a trip down memory lane and paying tribute to the fallen soldiers of the recess game world.

Let’s take a look at the games considered too dangerous but I played them and turned out fine:

Red Rover: Ahh, Red Rover, Red Rover, send Pete on over! The classic game of death grips and running full speed ahead at the weakest pair in the line.  This is a game of strategy for both teams.  So while you’re over there picking the weakest kid on the opposing squad to run through your child chain linked fence, he or she is over there plotting the same revenge to be extracted.  And is there a better feeling than breaking through an elementary arm grip?  I don’t think so.

**Redeeming Value: Learn how to shake a hand.  Have you ever shook someone’s hand and it was like holding a dead fish?  Prescribe that kid a game of red rover and he or she will have the firmest handshake in town.

Tetherball: I’ll be honest.  I made my mom put a tether ball up on a tree in my front yard so I could practice daily.  There were lines out the playground to get a piece of the tether ball champion at recess.  The best was the momentum, once you got it, there was no stopping – and hearing the chain that connected the ball to the rope hit the pole to end the game was nothing short of a magical experience.  Short kids shouldn’t play this game. It’ll be an uphill battle from day one.  Sorry.

**Redeeming Value: Hand-Eye coordination.

Butts Up: Fifth grade aim is mediocre at best. Plus, if you were a girl lucky enough to survive three rounds of this game – you were pretty much guaranteed a prom date by age seven.

**Redeeming Value: Obtaining a prom date earlier than everyone else.  Avoiding that type of stress is seriously encouraged.

Freeze Tag: Survival of the Fittest.  Run or be frozen.  Don’t know how you can take that away from a kid. If you were the only kid to escape freeze tag without becoming a statue?  You’re a legend, and definitely a future Olympian.

**Redeeming Value:  Learn to be a statue.  If you’re good at freezing, you’re probably good at being one of those guards in front of the royal palace who don’t move at all. Or you could become a gargoyle or a garden gnome, depending on your level of ambition.

Dodgeball:  What were balls made for if not for dodging?  Get over yourself.  If you’re out, sit down. Hopefully there’s an athletic Joe out there who can catch a ball and you can learn how to shadow the good kids and not get out on the first throw.  If you don’t have athleticism, use your brain. Making the star baseball player become a human wall for you is probably the best advice I will ever give.

**Redeeming Value: Learning to sneak under the radar.  Shadowing the best player on the team will ensure you that you will at least not be the first one out, thus you’ve removed the brand on your face that says you suck at throwing and catching. CHA-CHING.

Rest In Peace, Recess Games.  You were always there when I needed an ego boost or stress relief.  Hope you’re up in activity heaven just hamming it up with banned books and platonic hugs from inspirational teachers.  There is now a thirty minute play period in schools where kids just kinda sit down and stare at things.  It’s apparently way more fun and a lot more safe.

PS – I challenge anyone to a game of tetherball. Anyone 5’4 and over 160lbs with extreme athleticism need not inquire.

The Bare Necessities.

I asked my mom the other day, “On a scale of 1-10, how dramatic am I?”

In unwritten dramatic scales, 10 presumably consists of daily temper tantrums in the street because you can’t get two toppings on your ice cream cone, and 1 consists of ignoring all problems in your day to day life because you’re just “so over the drama.”

My mother rated me at an 8.

Yes, an 8 on the drama scale. Mama Pete just sentenced me to a semi-regular mental and physical breakdown in a public place over frozen treats.

Keeping that in mind, but at the same time, ignoring it completely and thinking of me in a more positive, attractive, calm and collected light, I want to tell you a story.

On Thursday night there was an attack on my childhood.

It started with an infomercial. An innocent advertisement for a compilation of songs that serenaded me through adolescence, Now That’s What I Call Disney!

At the start of it all, it seemed like a mix I could get behind. A little piece of plastic disc nostalgia that I could really see myself enjoying… Until I saw the track list.

Frankly, it was just atrocious. Flat out wrong, immoral, and a complete mockery of the cartoons that taught me the wind had colors, carpets can fly, and legs were required for dancing.

I don’t know who did it.  I don’t know what committee is involved with the song selection. But, God as my witness, it needs to be corrected.  The world can’t go on thinking that “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” from Lilo and Stitch is a top twenty Disney hit. It just ain’t right.

This is the list chosen, by what I’m assuming can only be a panel made up of this woman and her friends, to represent Disney in the first volume of hits.

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At first glance you may think to yourself, hey Pete, your mom is totally right, you are dramatic, I actually think I saw you crying about missing toppings on your ice cream cone back in August.  And while I was having a tantrum, it was actually because my friend wouldn’t buy me a wine at 3pm on a Wednesday.

My thoughts on this CD are still valid.

There are so many more than twenty-two things wrong with this CD, but I will keep my rants and raves to a minimum, because I know you have lives, and if you don’t you should get one because reading my feelings on Disney songs aren’t going to win you any arguments, friends, or significant others.

But if you’re going to have a Now That’s What I Call Disney Volume 1, you’ll need a few Bare Necessities, if you will (umm…. yes, pun totally intended). Here are my expert feelings on most of the selections:

…THE GOOD

Can You Feel The Love TonightI’ll be honest, this is the first love scene I ever saw in a feature film. So, that alone needs to be a reason for it to be PRAISED. Lion love is like, so real.

Part Of Your WorldNever in my life have I found someone who had as many thingamabobs as me.  I also have never met anyone who didn’t know what a fire was and why it burned.  Still don’t. So… anyone?

Hakuna Matata: Zen Nation. I didn’t know what chill was until I heard this song.  Plus, teenage Simba was kinda hot, no? Just me? K.

Under the Sea: How did I know things existed under water? This song.  Figured the sea was just a big bathtub that covered the Earth’s floor before I found out there were talking crabs and singing corals down there. Just a big percussion party at the clam bake on the ocean floor.

Circle Of Life: NAHAHHHHHSSIIVVEEENNNYYAAA- NAMA-MEE-SCALABOOOOOW. Don’t know if that’s what it says, but I’m gonna sing it like that so loud, and so proud. Every time. Such a good song.

Colors of the Wind: I have asked four grinning bobcats, none have answered. I have no idea why the hell they keep smiling and someone needs to answer me. NOW.

I Just Can’t Wait To Be KingThis song taught me how to rule a household.  One time my mom told me to go clean my room before my grandparents came to visit. I was all like, “Kings don’t need advice from little horn bills for a start.” —  I don’t want to talk about what happened after that. (#Grounded)

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: Ummdiddaliddiaummdillaaaiiiiiiii. I don’t think there are actual words to this song, so it gets credit by default for being a jumble of syllables with a boss melody.

…THE BAD

When You Wish Upon a Shooting Star: Could this be a more boring opener?  Do I want to fall asleep immediately after one song? No. I want to continue my journey down memory lane and go back to the time that I actually thought body parts would grow if I lied (aside: this would be so cool if you could pick the body parts that grew after lying, like my hair, I’d be Millenium Rapunzel with all my fib growth).

Someday My Prince Will Come: The only acceptable song from Snow White that should be included on this cd is Heigh Ho, and you didn’t do that.

Bella Notte: More like better not. Snore city.  Population: everyone listening.

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes: To be honest, I didn’t even know there were songs in Cinderella, this is just dumb.

Once Upon A Dream, Go The Distance, Friend Like Me, I Won’t Say: Same thing, don’t even remember these songs. Like a bad football player, cut ’em.

Everybody Wants to Be A Cat: Newsflash: No one likes cats. Dogs are so in right now. Puppies are the new currency, and cats are straight up debt. No one wants debt; no one wants cats.

I See The Light, You’ve Got A Friend In Me, Life is A HighwayNew aged Pixar Disney movies shouldn’t even be considered for volume 1 (Post ’95). It’s just a sin. Get out of my face Tangled, Cars, and Toy Story. See you next year, suckaaaaas.

Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride: Does it sound like a good time? Yes. Do I even know what it means? No. I’ve never seen Lilo and Stitch because I like movies about real animals with real plots. I see you Lion King. Respect.

Reflection (NOT CHRISTINA AGUILERA): I don’t know why I would have to explain this, but not having Christina’s version of this song is nothing shy of eating a sandwich without condiments. Just deplorable.

… THE UGLY

Seeing as I just exiled ten songs from DisneyTown, there are some additions that need to be spoken for in order to make this whole ordeal right:

I’ll Make A Man Out of You: The fact that this song isn’t number 1 on the whole thing is blasphemous. This is the best song in Disney history. Coursing rivers, great typhoons, raging fires, moons with mysterious dark sides. Color me intrigued. Repeat. All day. Every day. Except when I get sick of it. I take one day off. Then start again.

Be Our GuestTalking candles? Pots and pans that have feelings? An ottoman that’s a dog? GIVE ME THIS HOUSE. I don’t need friends, I have decorations that will hang out with me. Life crisis averted.

Heigh-Ho: Give a kid a pick-axe and ask him to sing a song. What’s it gonna be?  This one. Unforgivable overlook.

Reflection (Christina Aguilera Version): Phenomenal acting by Mulan in this music video.  Very attentive, inquisitive stares into various mirrors of sizes and lengths.  Breathtaking.

The only way to make this right is to take my suggestions and reprint all the copies of the cd out there right now. I’m speaking for a generation of 85’s to 90’s babies. But really, I’m speaking for myself. Fix it. Fix it now. Make it right. Or make a man out of me. Either one would be greatly appreciated.

Although, under no circumstances, will I be doing this:

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GOOD DAY.

xoxo, Disney Pete.

Son can you play me a memory?

driving music

You know that feeling when you’re just going along with your day, walking down the street, sending an email, completely spacing out on your commute, and a memory hits you out of nowhere? You have no idea how it got here, but suddenly, it very much is. Of course this rarely happens with good memories that turn you into one of those people who laughs to herself on the train or smiles from ear to ear down the sidewalk. No, this memory phenomenon only happens with the most embarrassing, awful, “I thought I told you I never wanted to see you again” memories. The ones where you’re now the girl covering her eyes for no apparent reason because maybe that will make it go away. Yes, these little gems in time are reserved for those cringeworthy memories when you’re throwing up in the bathroom on a train from Rome to Florence (what? who’s done that? definitely not me…) or running into that person and making the world’s most uncomfortable small talk in the sobering light of day. Yes, these face-slapping memory ambushes are truly a scientific phenomenon and should be studied for the horrible moments of truth that they are.

I have good news though. These obnoxious memory punks have a much chiller, down-to-earth, make-you-pancakes-in-the-morning cousin, and her name is Music.

I love music. I mean who doesn’t, right? I firmly believe you’ve got to be some soulless devil worshipper if you don’t like music. Or at the very least you must be 100% devoid of a personality. Don’t tell me you’re “just not that into music” or you “just like what’s popular.” No. Wrong. Move along. If you’ve got one setting on your car radio and it’s Z-100 and you have no problem listening to whatever 6 songs they’ve got on a loop for days on days, then you are one of these people and we cannot be friends. Ever.

Anyway, I’ve found that right along with that stud muffin, Smell, Music has some serious memory super powers (here’s lookin’ at you, temporal lobe #psychnerd). You know what I’m talking about. You’re in your car, or kicking it shuffle-style on your i-Phone and a song comes on that transports you right back to that summer, that car ride, that person, that moment. It’s trippy, man. But oh so awesome. Because unlike the nightmare of a situation I described above, I’ve found music to be pretty damn positive about the whole remembering game.

To illustrate my point, let’s take a little trip down Jobin’s musical memory lane. It’s gonna be magical:

Like A Prayer | Madonna   Summer ‘06. Rachel and I cruising around in Spike, her white Chrysler lebaron convertible. Blasting this and singing it badly. Perfection.

Kiss Me | Sixpence None The Richer   High School. Singing this at the top of my lungs stuffed in the back of someone’s car. ‘Cause driving around was better than sitting at home. Jes told me I had a nice singing voice. Nbd.

Ain’t No Reason | Brett Dennen   Summer ’07. This was on repeat as I soaked in that last summer at home. Bring it on college, I can be thoughtful and deep.

Maggie’s Farm | Bob Dylan   Fall ’07. Riding the shuttle to my morning classes freshman year. It was early, I was doing my makeup on the bus, but it was freshman year and college was awesome.

Warwick Avenue | Duffy   College. This was my ringtone for a seriously long time. Amazing lady power soundtrack for walking to class. Love it.

Sex on Fire | Kings of Leon   Dublin ’09. Every pub we went into. Gold

I Gotta Feeling | Black Eyed Peas   Dublin ’09. Every night before we went out, and usually the pub too. Double gold. 

Stutter | Maroon 5   ’11? ’12? Walking out of the metro exit on my way to work in the morning, so professional. Sometimes these things don’t make sense…just gotta embrace the randomness. 

Silver Lining | Rilo Kiley   ’13. Driving through DC on a random Tuesday night to an open mic night with Grace. Girl power, gettin’ cultured. Bring it. 

One Headlight | The Wallflowers   Every summer in my memory. Driving down Crossbay Blvd.  for another glorious Rockaway beach day. Nothing beats it.

And you know I hooked you up with a playlist. Listen here and it’ll be like you’re living my life. Like I said, trippy.

Here’s to the memories, Music.

Cheers, Jobin

PSA: Move it.

MOVEmove

Let me set the stage here for a minute. You’re waiting, like many of us spend a surprising percentage of our life doing. Waiting for the bus, the water to boil, the text message reply. Even in this age of instant gratification, everyone understands that a certain amount of waiting is just part of life. It isn’t a coincidence that sayings like “It was worth the wait” have held up for so long. Waiting. It happens.

But I’m here to talk about the other, darker, side of the waiting story. The kind of waiting that happens when common sense becomes a foreign concept and people forget how to MOVE.

This is a feeling I’ve been sitting on for a while (pun totally intended) and its time to take to the airwaves, or, ya know.

I am the first to admit that I walk faster than most. So, it is certainly unfair of me to expect everyone to move at the pace I’ve grown accustomed to. That being said, I don’t think I’m wrong when I assume that everyone has a personal line. The one that indicates when you’re maybe walking a little slower than I’d like and when you’ve entered into DO YOU NOT HAVE ANYWHERE TO GO?? territory.

If it’s 8:15 am on a Tuesday and I am in a crowd of people leaving a train station, I’m betting most everyone around me has somewhere to be–work, class, the gym, the doctor’s office, hell, even if you’re just looking for the nearest bathroom, you’re on your way somewhere.  Don’t tell me that you’re just out for your morning train station stroll, I ain’t buying it.

And while I could go on endlessly about people walking too slow (don’t even get me started on groups of four that apparently need to walk side-by-side) I recognize that this is a tale as old as time, and only part of the bone I’ve got to pick.

I actually want to discuss leaving.  A metro/subway/T/tube/L/whatever train, specifically. I understand that many people are tourists or just going somewhere new when they venture onto a city’s metro system. Maybe they glanced at a map, or looked up directions on their phone, but they’re still in an unfamiliar place. I’ve been a tourist before and I understand that all the planning in the world cannot prepare you for being in a city’s transportation system for the first time. It’s a science. The kind of thing that gets mastered over time by people that use it every day, getting to know the ins and outs, the quirks, the frustrations, and how to deal with unexpected and completely inconvenient track work obstacles.

All this aside, leaving a train does not require the type of honed knowledge I just described. It requires 2, maybe 4, steps and a heaping side of common sense. This is the moment where I become baffled, flummoxed, and inevitably annoyed.

Time and again I’ve noticed that how to approach leaving a train seems to utterly stump a surprising majority of people.  I’ve discovered that in these situations, suddenly, not knowing exactly where you are going basically elicits a form of perplexed paralysis.  Although in most (I’d dare to guess almost all) modern public transportation systems, you will be met with large, clearly placed signage indicating where you should go if you want to exit here or there, transfer to this line or that. I understand that signs take time to read and you need to get your bearings, but I can tell you this much: none of the signs say “Don’t worry, just stand right in the doorway of the train until you figure it all out, no rush.”

My thoughts on this are simple:

  1. The signs aren’t going anywhere, so if you take five steps out of the train before you start reading them, you’ll probably be fine. Also, there probably aren’t that many different directions you can go in (hint: usually it’s left or right) so maybe just pick one so you can get out of the way, and then figure out if you need to turn around. It will take very little time and you won’t get lost, I promise.
  2. There are likely other people behind you who also need to get off the train. Many of them probably know exactly where they are going and may even be in a bit of a hurry. Others who might not would also like an opportunity to read all the signs and figure out what they’re doing. This will not be possible if they cannot leave the train.
  3. There are also likely people waiting to get on the train. They are patiently standing on the platform waiting for everyone to get off the train before they try to get on, but there is a small window of time before the doors are going to close. This is not a situation conducive to figuring out your next move while standing in the doorway like an earthquake is about to hit.
  4. MOVE.

xo Jobin

Ear Candy

Let’s talk about something that girls absolutely love. Something that is a sort of coming of age activity in a young woman’s life. It’s something that involves thoughtful planning weeks in advance, consulting with friends for advice, all in preparation for this one moment.

The road trip.

The road trip is a chance for a girl to become a woman. To venture out into the great unknown, or let’s be honest, just to the next town over for some ice cream (girls will do anything to drive somewhere, alone, so they can sing, rap, and top-half dance all the way to retail therapy).

The build-up to the road trip is something that can only be described as sensational. You have to pack.  You have to find out where your GPS cord is located, which is probably in the same place as that quarter you lost two weeks ago in the eternal crevice between the driver’s seat and the center console.

But more importantly than knowing where you’re going, or what the hell you’re going to wear when you get there, you need some high quality sing-alongs that will make you feel like Mariah Carey until your lungs collapse from exhaustion.

But therein lies the biggest problem. With great gifts comes great responsibility. The road trip is a gift, a chance to unwind and be stripped down to your true self. The only ones who truly know how bad you sing are your car, your iPod and the JockJams cd you refuse to take out of your glove compartment – it’s for special occasions, duh.

Until you get a shitty string of songs that come on your playlist and just punches all your good vibrations square in the face.

One minute, you’re jamming out to Aaron’s party, Come Get It, reliving your childhood and all the zuba pants and pleather  wearing men of your dreams.  You’re deeply rooted in a sequence of songs that are so nostalgic, you can almost taste the vodka shots you took out of a water bottle while sitting in a grocery store parking lot junior year of high school.

Then, you’re slapped with a big fat dose of playlist reality.  There is inevitably, whether you want to admit it or not, songs on your playlist that you have no intention of ever listening to, they’re just on there cause you feel bad.

But once you realized you’ve been hit with one song bomb, the war has already begun.  It’s a string of songs you are just so not in the mood for that they completely change the way you’ve thought about this road trip entirely.

You try to skip, but one song after another, it’s just plain bad and it doesn’t fit your mood. Why doesn’t my iPod know what I’m thinking? You start cursing at all the technology in your car. Your radio is now a douchebag, your phone is a piece of shit, you just don’t know where it all went wrong. You’re helpless.

And just like that, your day is completely ruined.

#FirstWorldProblems

xoxo Pete

Let’s address the elephant in the room.

pumpkin 1psl 3

Honestly, I’m about to drop some high voltage knowledge bombs about this goddamn pumpkin spice obsession.

I’m not going to say I hate it, because hate is a word I reserve for push button faucets and people who talk in elevators.

I’m just not all up in pumpkin’s face asking it to hang out with me.  I don’t let it have a special season, because that’s how egos grow, and I need pumpkins to know their place in this world.

Seasonal privileges are for treats that make you feel like you’re going to vomit if you so much as look at another piece.  Like candy corn. It’s a scientific law that candy corn has to get the hell out of your life by October’s end, because you start to see all foods in a tri-color hierarchy of white, yellow, and orange.

Let me make this perfectly clear, there are rules set in place that have been there for hundreds of years.  They were rules created by the bromagnons and the bromosapiens to protect our taste buds from over-indulgence.

In order to be a seasonal treat, you have to follow a strict criteria, which goes as follows:

1. It must be a treat that is solely used or consumed during a specific season.

ie. candy canes, candy corns, peeps, eggnog.

2. You must want to vomit after over-consumption of said treat.

Ever tried drinking Eggnog after December? It’s almost impossible. It’s at this time you may actually realize that it doesn’t even taste that good to begin with, and you’ll regret all of it.  Eggnog = regret. Remember that.

3. You can’t be a gourd.

Plain and simple, they are a decorative item in a cornucopia. You can’t have your own season if you’re part of a fucking cornucopia.

4. As  a seasonal treat, you have to have absolutely no value to the outside world after your said season is over.

You don’t see candy canes trying to make an appearance on Valentine’s day, or Peeps trying to squeeze their demonic candy crusted bodies into your summer pool party.  They know their place, they don’t want to be in the pool with you, they want to be there when you’re running around your house trying to find where your mom ninja-hid all the colored eggs.

There you have it. A tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme.  Pumpkins, go back to your hole in the ground, ya gourdy betch.  You don’t deserve your own season; not on my watch.

Now let me go enjoy my Shipyard Pumpkin in peace.

xoxo, Pete