This post sponsored by GlaxoSmithKlin

I can’t seem to remember when I first started getting migraines. I can recall fragments of memories where I’m lying in a dark room at my godparent’s house when I was six or seven or ones where I’m wore a brand new Chicago Bears sweatshirt without having washed it (Thus, it that still had that weird, chemical smell that some new fabrics had back then) that ultimately led me to getting a migraine. But I’ve got no idea when these damn bastards first started or what causes them.

Over the years, I learned a few tricks in combating them. If I took some light headache medicine at the first sign of an onset, sometimes I’d get lucky and advert it. But chances are that it wouldn’t work and I’d be left with playing the waiting game until nighttime came, where I could fall asleep and hopefully wake up in peace. Dark rooms and quiet places were always helpful, but they were akin to giving a dying man a shot of morphine. Sure, they might help dull the pain, but they were by no means a solution to the problem at hand. No, I thought that pharmaceuticals would save me.

Back in my younger years, I can remember my grandma giving me Bayer’s to combat the problem. After a few years of taking two capsules once a week, they had about the same potency as Skittles. My mom stepped it up to Tylenol a few years later, then Extra Strength a few after that. By the time I started middle school, I arrived every Monday morning with a pocket full of pogs and two Excedrin pills to stash in my locker just in case one came that week. As I was leaving three years later, I emptied out the few Excedrin Extra Strength pills and slap bracelets that remained. In high school, they came out with Excedrin Migraine and I was excited, for finally I figured they’d invented something that my body wouldn’t grow immune to after only a few bottles. You can imagine my annoyance when even they had stopped being effective by the time I got my diploma. Finally, in college, I discovered Goody’s Powder, a magical elixir that not only cured migraines, but any other body pains you were having. In fact, not only were they amazing for curing all that ailed you, but they were excellent for fooling your friends into thinking that you were addicted to cocaine, but that’s for a different post.

It was around my sophomore year that I started hating both medication and the chiropractors. I’d been going to that latter for about 10 years at this point and I finally realized they were only hurting my case, not helping it. But the elimination of those body twisters didn’t solve the issue. The elimination of medications, however, was a big struggle. By this point, I probably only had a migraine a month, but I was still scared of growing immune to the only thing I knew that worked. Plus, I was only in my late teens and I didn’t want to end up like Bret Favre and become addicted to painkillers by the time I was 30.

So I started prepping myself. I tried to psych my mind into thinking meds were useless. I told myself that the people moving out west during the early 1800s didn’t Tylenol! I reminded myself that there weren’t any pharmacies or doctors in the remote mountains of Appalachia! Of course, a simply snake bite used to be fatal back then and they all used heroin as a treatment for everything anyway, but that’s beside the point. I finally started believing my body could beat most of the stuff out there. I got rid of my Nyquil and cough medicine. Gone was the Pepcid AC and throat lozenges. They were all useless in my mind and ever since, I’ve made my body fight off any of the illnesses that would have made me reach for them before.

That was three years ago. Today, my medicine cabinet is quite bare. There’s a jar of pills that I never finished off leftover from the great Poison Ivy debacle. A half-used stick of chap stick lies on it’s side, nudged between a tube of Neosporin and a box of Band Aids. A dusty box of floss lies in the corner behind my toothpaste, which means my dentist is surely going to yell at me the next time I see him.

Last night, after one of the easiest and stress free days I’ve had as substituting, I came home and felt “it” coming. For no fucking reason whatsoever. But I told myself I could beat it. I had a big dinner and drank a few cups of coke. I took a long, hot shower and let the water beat on my neck until the skin was practically numb. And yet shortly thereafter, despite the early warning, the food, the caffeine, and the added blood flow to my head, I was curled up in bed, with a hot rag draped over my forehead, cursing myself for what I knew I was about to do next.

An hour later, I was reached past the toothpaste and around the Band Aides and over the chap stick. My eyes were fixed on the little blue box hidden behind everything else. The one with fraying corners and marked with a fading “GOODY’S” on the cover. The one containing the supernatural concoction of powder held in tiny sheets of folded wax paper that I so desperately wanted. And had, just like every other time.

Sometimes my fleeting willpower shames me more than anything else.

I thought pirates only wanted booty

As much as I love the idea of a bunch of nerds actually standing up for what they believe in and taking action in a form other than creating a message board or forming a dinky on-line petition, you’ve got to be kidding me.

Look, I’m not one to champion copyright laws. Those four 180-capacity CD holder cases shoved under my bed aren’t full of thousands of movies, programs, and complete seasons of every TV show I’ve ever watched. Honestly. You know, there’s no reason to look, just take my word on that. HEY, GET AWAY FROM THE BED!

Ahem, sorry. Like I was saying, I’m not the best person to preach the evils of filesharing. In fact, I can’t help but think it’s a good thing. As services like Napster and bittorrent and sites like Myspace and YouTube continue to grow, more and more stories such as Okay Go‘s develop. Every time downloading and sharing files gets easier, whether it be through a new service or through new technology, more and more deserving people get their shot at “making it,” whatever the hell that is. Bands/comedians/authors/DJs/stupid pet trainers who would have gone unnoticed 50, 20, hell, 5 years ago now have a shot. They don’t have to play “the game” and can mass market themselves directly to the people. Call me crazy, but I’ve always been a fan of eliminating the Middle Man whenever possible.

But having also been raised as a child on the wages of concert tickets and record sales (and also eating way too many M&Ms on tour buses – I blame the music industry for my massive sweet tooth), I can’t help but see where the other side is coming from as well. There’s no way around it – downloading is stealing. No ifs, ands, or buts. You are obtaining something illegally that you didn’t pay for. You are getting something without giving anything in return as payment or compensation. The original artist is getting Jack and Squat for their work, effort, and time. You. Are. Stealing.

Well, in the conventional sense.

See, they might not be getting money, but they are getting fans (I just typed that as “fangs” which would be almost as cool if they could get those too). Back in the day, guys like Dave Matthews and John Mayer got their name out amongst college students by playing free concerts around the country. They understood the power of a rabid fanbase, which they parlayed into huge record sales. Well file sharing is no different, in fact, it’s easier. Now Mayer only has to do a live radio broadcast of his new CD, like he did back in September, and he can let the power of the internet and piracy take it from there. The smart artists figure this stuff out and don’t try to fight new changes. There’s a reason groups like Aerosmith have stuck around for so long while ones like Metallica have crapped out. If you attack your fans for trying to share your music, suddenly you’ll have no fans left to share anything.

And thus despite my upbringing (thanks Dad!) and clear understanding of the unethicalness of downloaded…I can’t help but think that downloading isn’t just here to stay, but a force that’s more good than evil. I have yet to see any concrete proof that downloading, and only downloading, is hurting any of the major industries. Yes, CD sales are down, but so are the number of quality CDs. Yes, less people are going to the movies, but DVD sales are higher than previous VHS sales a decade ago. And I’ve yet to hear of a major artist go bankrupt due to pirating. So don’t try and stop piracy simply because it’s something we haven’t had to deal with before. Imagine if radio executives had said that about television.

But admit it for what it is. Running to some island and acting as if your God given right is to share a copy of Adobe Photoshop worth $399 won’t help a damn thing. Downloading is stealing – that is, until we change the minds of the people.

Just in case you didn’t know

I want to make sure some of my friends know one important fact:

Just because you’re 23 and out of college, that doesn’t mean you have to propose to your girlfriend. You know, you can try living together while dating first or maybe waiting for a year or two if you want. There’s no law requiring you get married once you’ve been handed a degree or gotten an entry level job at the nearby Kramerica Industries factory. Just because you’re old drinking buddy decided to propose to his lady doesn’t mean you have to as well. It’s not a race, folks.

I understand we grew up in the South where tradition is king, but Christ. I couldn’t see myself getting married right now any more than I could see a small monkey crawling out of my ass tomorrow. In fact, I’d have an easier time picturing the latter. If I ask another one of my friends why they’re getting married and their response is, “Uh…isn’t that like what we’re supposed to do now?”, I may just go postal.

When are people going to stop doing things simply because they think it’s what they’re supposed to do?

Mmmm…pesticide coffee

Pesticide coffee

Call me demanding, but I expect my coffee to be pesticide free by default. To me, you’re in bad shape if your favorite local eatery has to go out of their way to let you know there aren’t any added chemicals in your coffee that might cause a third arm to grow out of your chest. Yet there I sat in Uno’s pizzeria, laughing my ass off, and wondering why those family members who were accompanying me did not find this as funny as I did.

I thought Serendipity was a crappy chick flick

While partaking in my daily ritual of scouring the internet for pointless crap in between halfway completing two more worthwhile tasks, I stumbled across an article about the lost art of serendipity and how today’s youth no longer discover new things on their own. Yet for some reason, the only thing my mind could focus on was the sound of Grandpa Simpson’s voice screaming, “MAAAAAAAATTLOOOOOOCK!”

It doesn’t take long to get a visual representation of the author, William McKeen. On the downswing of middle age. The world around him seems a bit too unfamiliar, too alien. And man, did he enjoy the good ole’ days a hell of a lot better than now.

One of the best ways to poorly argue that today’s generation is too cut & dry, too filtered, and too focused is to employ the tactic McKeen seems to enjoy – Quickly define your age so as to turn off younger readers and then proudly proclaim, “In my day, we used to waste time! Lot’s of it! On purpose! For fun! You kids suck!”

I used to be in agreement with people like McKeen. I thought we were losing a valuable art in our daily lives, one of uncovering and finding items we enjoyed without having to be told about them. I thought the only decent way to discover the true gems in life was to find them the old fashion way – without technology. I didn’t even think it was possible to find anything worthwhile in the giant goop we call the Internets. And then I realized how blatantly wrong that concept was.

Battlestar Galactica. Mitch Hedberg. Watership Down. Angela. Stan, whenever he has a site. David Gray. DMZ. Box Car Racer. Heather Armstrong. Imogen Heap. Techno. Doc. The Postal Service. Firefly. The Stand.

All artists, authors, creators, books, movies, and countless more I never would have discovered for myself without technology.

Just because people now a days don’t waste their time flipping through newspapers or wandering the stacks of a library doesn’t mean they aren’t discovering unexpected treasures throughout their day. McKeen truly shows his age when he talks about how easy it is to find things on the Internet, how personal and custom tailored our information is, and how much time technology saves us. I guess my only question is this:

Really? It’s easy to find things on the Internet? Have you ever used Google? Name the last time you were looking for something specific and found it within 2 minutes. Chances are you had to wade through a lot of crap before you finally found what you were looking for, whether it be a recipe for a certain souffle or a funny op-ed your favorite comedian wrote a few years back. I’d even be willing to bet that occasionally, you unintentionally watched a video of a new comic or read an article by an unknown blogger while on your quest. And you enjoyed it. Maybe even enjoyed it so much as to start a second, separate search to find more pieces created by them.

Gee wiz, don’t look now, but that sounds awfully similar to that “lost art” McKeen seems to be lamenting over.

Time saving and technology are not two (okay, three) words that I put together very often. American’s spend more than an average of two hours a day on-line just at work alone. And what do you think people are doing during those two hours? Reading the few news articles of the day that interest them? Watching our favorite funny videos over and over each day? Listening to the same songs by our favorite bands, whether they be old school Beatles or somebody new like The Killers? Give me a break.

We surf at random, blindly, having no idea what the next click might hold. Sites like Break and College Humor are massively successful because we know that each day, new and unexpected items are going to be uploaded to them. They might be funny, they might be stupid, or they might be one of the greatest things we’ve ever seen, read, or heard. But one thing is certain. There will be at least something we’ve never seen before and that excites us. We know we’re getting something fresh, something new, something we might even love.

There’s a reason people don’t spend an hour a day pouring through their local paper or strolling through the library or going to the bookstore instead of using Amazon and it’s because we’ve got shit to do. Like work. Like play. Like experiencing life.

Or maybe more like spending an hour watching the Top 25 videos on YouTube or reading the most Dugg articles of the week.

Either way, don’t blame technology for the “lost arts” of wasting time or serendipity. Neither are going away any time soon. If anything, technology has only enhanced them both and allows us to pursue them as much we want.

Bring It On, Mother Nature

When I become President, one of my first acts in office will be the order to use deadly, even nuclear, force against this mother of all bastards. El Nino can run and hide every few years, but it sure as hell can’t escape the wrath of Goob.

Ramblin’ Man

I just typed the start of a sentence that read, “It’s amazing how quickly the furor over the new Facebook features died…,” but then I stopped and thought for a second. No, no it isn’t. As I wrote on Facebook Talk, today’s college aged group seems to be by far the most fickle when it comes to spending time on something worthwhile. I doubted the buzz over the new features would be longlasting, but I had I hoped that it would possible transform to some other medium for change or last a bit longer than it did. But no, people just bailed on the “movement” once the new features were not even deleted, but just curtailed. No worries, I’m still gonna keep the new site and run with it for a while. I still think it has potential, if nothing more than for the domain once I get a few daily readers and a decent PR. Actually, beyond the domain name, I’m happy about something else – I’ve found a default WordPress theme that I both love AND is coded properly. I’ve been struggling to find some decent themes lately and that one is certainly a keeper – one that I might even want to take and use on a different site as well.

In other Goob news, I have an open letter to send out:

Dear Mom & Dad. If you could go back in time, buy this house, and then raise me in that, I’d be thrilled.

Much love,
Your Favorite Son

Seriously, imagine all the freaking fun you could have with a house like that, especially as a kid! When I was younger, my godparents lived in a large house in Chicago that was both huge and ancient. It had hidden doors galore and some of the earliest memories I have were running around looking for new rooms and passageways. There’s nothing like discovering something new in the walls or corners of a room you’ve been in a million times.

And finally, I’d like to request a favor of Mother Nature. Knock this “getting dark earlier” shit off. I’ve put up with it for 22 years and I’m putting my foot down this time around. I let you have your little natural disasters, killer snakes and sting rays, and even that fraking El Nino every now and then. All I ask in return is that you let the sun stay out until at least 8:00 at night or so. Thanks, I appreciate it.

Almost Here…

I hope all you Battlestar Galactica fans out there know about the webisodes that are showing this month. They’re showing two a week from now until October 6th and they explain what’s been going on since the end of season 2. If there’s a better show on TV than this one, then I don’t know about it.

Mother nature hates us, no surprise there

I’ll be honest; this laptop I got for free has been a Godsend. The built-in wireless Internet in addition to the neighbor’s unsecured channel (and now, our own channel, cleverly titled Shyzer) has equaled me being able to sit outside in the sun and type/chat/surf until my little heart’s content.

Of course, that was before the record breaking 429 F heat wave swept through the area, causing pavements to sizzle, plant life to shrivel, and my own body to boil and burst after a mere 12 seconds of direct sunlight. I like to say I’m in the wrong era and should have been born 400 years in either direction, but damn if my ancestors didn’t get screwed over by not having AC.

As for my predecessors in the future…well, I’m sure that by 2406, we’ll have invented some sort of ray gun that zaps those cute little umbrellas in tropical drinks and enlarges them into global heat shields. I figure the inspiration for such a device will come from either American’s lazy desire not to have to put on sunscreen anymore because it’s too much of a hassle or because the o-zone will have become only a brief paragraph in their history books, like the dodo bird, Democrats, or Lebanon.

Whichever comes first.

The Anti-Tivo

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of extraordinary commercials. That’s right, those little 30 and 60 second blurbs that most people hate and skip straight through are at times small drops of Heaven for me. I say “at times” because truly it often feels as if I’m searching for the proverbial diamond in the rough. I can’t count how many local car dealership ads and childish soft drink commercials I’ve sat through with the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the next commercial to air will be one that I’ll fall in love with and race to the computer to download. It’s not often enough that I find a great commercial, mainly due to the fact that I don’t really watch that much television in the first place. But trust me, when I do, it brings immense joy into my life.

If a company spends money on an ad campaign, one would assume that their main goal is for as many people to see the ad, correct? We can take that assumption a step further and find that there are certain advertising agencies that are known for producing better commercials than your garden variety, run of the mill ads. These advertising agencies might have a vast portfolio of memorable ad campaigns that were not only wildly successful, but in turn massively profitable. Therefore, I’m guessing that these advertising agencies would charge a higher fee for developing and producing a series of ads and such, if a company hired them, they would expect a high quality ad in exchange for the high price tag.

Which leads me to a question that I’ve yet to find a reasonable, or even competent, answer to. Why is it that almost every company out there fails to make their ads readily available and easily accessible for their consumers on the Internet?

How much more dense can these companies get? They’ve shelled out high dollar for an ad campaign, they’ve managed to land a series of ads that don’t make people want to immediately flip to the next channel, and they now have a base of consumers who are actively seeking out these ads just so they can watch them repeatedly and share them with others. So why is it that whenever I see one of these types of commercials, I’m forced to search countless forums and Google result pages in an effort to find a video copy?

Whether it’s by myself or someone else, the ad will inevitably be found either buried on the companies website on some remote server or directly ripped from a TiVO feed and posted to the web. To make matters worse, half of the time when the commercial is actually found, it’s usually encoded in such a manner that it can’t readily spread. Most of the time this means that the video is encoded in flash format and embedded in the webpage, which means a nerd like myself is going to have to figure out a why to rip it off the page and encode it into something more easily transferred. Hell, half of the time I give up and shell out a few bucks for a month subscription to Ad-Rag and then rip it straight from their server…

And don’t even get me started if all I wanted in the first place was the musical score!

What is the point of this? Why spend time and money on an ad campaign and then execute it so poorly that your consumers who enjoyed it are prevented from viewing it again! I’ll admit there are some companies, such as Apple, who at least make it easy to find and view their latest commercials. But even then, you can’t download the commercial or soundtrack unless you view the source, find the code, load only it, and then save page as. And frankly, I think it’d be a lot easier to simply hit a “download” button instead.

So listen here all you Fortune 500 companies out there. First, stop making shitty commercials. Make them funny. Make them memorable. And then make them available for download.

Is it really that hard of a concept to grasp in this day and age?