Well, once again it’s a ridiculous time of the morning and I still haven’t been able to sleep. The current time is 6:14 a.m. I’m tired but unable to sleep. Insomnia. You know the deal.
The problem tonight today? Crickets. Yes. Crickets.
Part of the problem is that I sleep in the basement. Apparently crickets love basements. And on top of that, the basement recently flooded. Apparently crickets love moist locations. Basically I’m trying to sleep in a moist basement that is apparently a paradise to the annoying black bugs and they’re moving in as such. Damn.
Having insomnia is bad, but what makes it really shitty is how every little thing can bug the hell out of you, pun maybe intended here. It’s not necessarily that I can’t sleep, it’s that anything minor bothers me so much that I can’t sleep. Like the bed sheets don’t feel right, or it’s too hot down here, or how the crickets won’t shut the fuck up. Something minor that with nothing else to focus on your mind fixates on.
The thing people don’t realize about crickets is that they’re loud as fuck. This is obvious when you think about it; you can hear crickets outside chirping at night through the walls and windows. This isn’t really a problem, but the fact that you can still hear the bastards when they’re outside is testament to how loud they actually are.
Now imagine one or more of these black, creepy fuckers a few feet away from you while trying to sleep. They’re loud. At first you can kinda tune them out and not let their sound bother you, but as the hours pass without sleep the noise works it’s way into your conscious thought. You can’t not hear the crickets chirping.Chirp, chirp, fucking chirp. Hours upon hours. Chirp. Actually more like CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP,CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP.
It wouldn’t be bad if the chirps were consistent white-noise like a fan, AC, static on the radio, rain falling outside, wind blowing through trees, traffic on the nearby road, or even the high pitched buzz of a phone charger. Something that can blend into the back of your mind where your brain can tune it out. Nope. Not the fucking crickets. Sometimes these loud fuckers stop chirping only to randomly start up 5 minutes later. This instantly raises my pulse because I’ll have anxiety about how long the silence will last. These devilish bastards will be silent for 10 minutes, let out two quick chirps to get my blood pressure up, and then go back into silent mode for five more minutes. It’s like they’re purposefully tormenting me, just breaking up the chirping with silence to remind me they’re still there, not letting my brain completely tune them out.
Each cricket also has its own chirp too, like how people have different voices. Some crickets chirp in a well defined way, a clear and rhythmic chirp, chirp, chirp, whereas the one droning on currently has a very persistent and staticy sound to him. Like a constant buzzing noise. A sort of CCCHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. The sound could easily fade into white-noise if he’d be consistent, but he stops every now and then to remind me that he’s there. What a fucker.
A few nights ago I snapped on a cricket. One wouldn’t shut up and I started moving furniture to violently murder him with a can of Raid. I’m usually not hostile towards bugs (except mosquitos for obvious reasons: if something is trying to feed off of me they’re going to die) and I even let spiders roam the house unchallenged (at least spiders are quiet), but the cricket had to go. When I found him I angrily used way more Raid than was required. I was really upset and took it out on the poor guy. This is what anger can do to a normally passive person.
The one haunting me now is smartly hiding under something that is basically unmovable. At least that’s where I think he is; I can’t find him anywhere else. That’s another thing about crickets; their sound is really hard to locate. The noise has a way of scattering all over so it seems like it’s coming from everywhere all at once. You can figure out his general location, but this isn’t good enough if you’re looking to hose him down with poison. You gotta know exactly where he his. So if he isn’t around the heavy wooden chest I’m assuming he’s under the damn thing.
I didn’t think I could write an entire post about crickets, but they can go fuck themselves. I’m actually looking forward to winter when there won’t be bugs invading the basement. Maybe then I can actually get some sleep because as of now I’m just listening to these annoying bugs making loud obnoxious and inconsistent sounds. I swear any cricket I find I’m going to kill with my economy sized can of Raid with zero guilt. I don’t care. I wish death and destruction on their entire species. Fuck em.
Update: I was able to sleep after putting ear plug in my ears. Luckily I work at an airport so have ear plugs all over the house. It made sense to use them. There was another problem though: apparently when you block sound from your ears in a mostly quiet room, your brain starts to hallucinate sounds as sensory deprivation seems to do. I couldn’t hear anything but occasionally would hallucinate sounds. Unusually these were electronic beeps and boops sort of like what you’d find in old NES video games. While I didn’t hear the cricket anymore, I was terrified of my own brain making up sounds and scaring me because it had nothing else better to do.At least that problem is way more interesting than crickets chirping.
I sometimes frequent the blogging subreddit, but not too frequently. The sub seems to focus mostly on increasing viewers, finding topics to write about, and doesn’t seem too concerned with the “art” of blogging. It isn’t too active of a sub with most posts getting at most between 20 to 30 comments. Compared to some subreddits (like the famed r/wallstreetbets) it isn’t really active even if you can find some decent information from time to time.
I still check it out sometimes and one comment resonated with me this past week. The actual discussion was about how many blogs actually “make it.” (which is an unexplained victory condition: what the hell does “making it” blogging mean? Make money? Keep it running for more than two years? I mean eventually you’ll die and your blog will end but that doesn’t seem like you’ve “failed at it.” Anyways, /rant #1.) There were varying answers but the one that stuck with me was one that mentioned “the valley of despair.” [Big Fucking Note here: I went and found the thread I was alluding too and the poster in question referred to it as “the dip” and linked to blog describing “the dip.” I really have no idea how I came upon the term “valley of despair” in regards to blogging, but apparently the term is real. Who fucking knows. Maybe my mind just connects dots on its own and doesn’t notify me that it’s doing so. Or maybe I’m losing my damn mind. I just wanted to stay accurate with what I’m actually writing.] I didn’t officially know what the hell the valley of despair was but something in the back of my mind knew it too well. Even if it wasn’t explained to me I already knew exactly what it was.
I suppose it’s easy to see in retrospect, as everything is. This blog right here had a “dead period” (actually two of them) not too long ago and since I’ve gotten my act together I’m finding some success. It feels like I’ve hit a stride where all I need to do is to keep working at the blog and it’ll be successful. I’m quietly confident about it and while I don’t think it’ll ever be a super-popular monetized thing I know it won’t be a “dead blog.” Looking back at those dead periods when I wasn’t writing, wasn’t posting, and felt about deleting the damn thing was, obviously, the dreaded valley of despair. And according to that one resonating Reddit comment, is the primary obstacle to successful blogging.
I didn’t want to make this post about blogging though because I’m in a new valley of despair in another area of my life: creative writing. To sum it up quickly, me, lost without any major goals, decided to take up creative writing about three weeks ago. I attempted this years ago and just didn’t stick with it, but this time it’s different. (Really. I’m fucking sticking to it this time.) I took my old blog and started collecting some short stories and chapters to a “book,” made a Facebook author’s page for myself, and started posting and sharing my work (please go check these out if you’re interested). Initially I was met with some warm reception from a few friends and, holy fuck, I was actually doing it! I was going to be Jeremy the Author Guy and sell books and shit. I was riding the wave and on top of the world was king of the world.
It’s funny what two weeks can do to you though. My last few “chapters” haven’t had shit for readers/viewers/likes/feedback at all, and I’m fundamentally wondering if I’m actually cut out to be a writer. Do I even have that “gift” that creative writing requires. (It doesn’t. I’m convinced, logically, that all anything takes is hard work and “talent” is just some bullshit idea people who don’t want to do hard work use as an excuse to not try anything. /rant #2.) Even if I know in my mind that it’s just hard work and dedication, I still feel in my heart there is some vague thing called “talent” that I might not have and will never have it even if I don’t believe it. It’s like some festering, subconscious fear I have, like being scared of the dark knowing well you’re perfectly safe. Hell, and maybe my stories are just terrible. This is a really scary thought because if they were no one would say it out of kindness. I’d like to really know how bad I am so I can either 1. give the fuck up or 2. know what I’m bad at exactly so I can improve on it. But pestering friends and family to read your shit is a whole new level of cringe that just comes across as attention seeking. BUT I JUST WANT FEEDBACK GUYS.
Let’s define this a little bit more though as it makes total sense with writing/blogging/whatever new project you’ve started. Some uninspired Googling has given me a bunch of charts and websites talking about “emotional change” and while that isn’t exactly what starting a project is, I think it’s close enough to actually be the same thing. Like maybe starting a new project is a subset of “emotional change” as you’re adjusting to having an entire new part of your life you’re dedicated to. There also is apparently a Dunning-Kruger valley of despair, but that doesn’t seem to be relevant to the topic at hand.
Since I couldn’t find a site that seemed legit or non-clickbaity enough, I just screencapped everything Google tossed at me. As you can see most charts show the same sort of trend when faced with “change.” It’s kinda like a sine curve or something.
And then I went and drew my own so I can talk about each point I labeled, as well as not get any sort of copyright bullshit tossed at me.
This is usually called “uninformed optimism” or some shit like that. Basically this is the point where you’re high off actually making a decision to progress forward at something. You have a goal that you’ve set upon and you start working towards it. Actually doing work towards a goal feels fucking amazing and even if you’re scared of the future, at least you’re taking matters into your own hands.
This is the start of the valley of despair also called something lame like “informed pessimism.” This is where you realize that your goal isn’t going to be all fun and games and that, holy hell, sometimes doing a glorious and noble task like writing a book is actually not that fun sometimes. And sometimes it’s actual work that you dread.
The pit of the valley of despair. I think with creative writing I’m somewhere between #2 and #3 (although I’d like to be closer to #3 so I can actually get over feeling awful about it. I don’t even know how to explain this spot on the chart because it’s like an unexplainable pit in your stomach. It’s a total feeling of shit, like you’re not meant or cut out to do what you’ve set out to do. Like the universe itself doesn’t want you as an author/blogger/artist/whatever. It makes you want to quit and many people do give up their project in this phase. The project feels like a mistake: a mistake that you continue to put time, effort, and resources towards that also feels like a waste of all of these. The general feeling of being shit is also kinda shitty. There doesn’t seem to be a way forward and you’re not happy doing what you’re doing. It’s a feeling of being lost and of wanting to toss the towel in and give up.
“Informed optimism.” After hard work and giving up all hope you find some success but you’re not letting that shit go to your head because you think you still fucking suck at what you’re doing, but there are clear signs of progress if you quit being pessimistic enough to notice them. I like to think you make progress continually at this stage because of giving up in the valley of despair. You simply don’t care if you make it or not and your project just becomes something you do without attachment anymore. There’s something very freeing about not giving a shit, and this allows you to do what you do in the most genuine way possible. I say this so clearly because this blog right here is at #4 I think. I don’t give a fuck if no one reads it or if I fail, and contrary to what you’d expect, I’m actually have some success with it.
Success! (whatever that actually means) I don’t even want to get into this because I don’t know what it’s like to be at #5. I’m assuming this is the point where you feel confident at what you’re doing — a quiet confidence that isn’t cocky — and your project has become a facet of who you are and part of your life. You accomplish things in a determined but carefree manner. I get this impression when I visit successful and mature blogs as well as many YouTube channels. Like go watch a newer SmarterEveryDay video and tell me Destin isn’t at #5 on this chart. That man is in the zone doing what he’s doing and he’s confident and enthusiastic with what he’s doing.
“Hey Black Haired Guy, got any tips for us bloggers/writers weathering the storm in the valley of despair?” No, no I do not because, like I said, I’m not at #5 so don’t think I am qualified to give tips and am kinda hoping for tips myself. But if anything (and maybe to just get myself fucking hyped the fuck up to continue on creatively writing) don’t give up! Because what else are you supposed to do besides not give up? If you give up in the valley of despair you’re fucking giving up. The whole thing this chart hints at is the fact that success might just be making it through the valley in the first place. Like maybe this is where the 80 or 90% of blogs that “don’t make it” go to die; what if the valley of despair is just the great filter between you and success? I just don’t see what you’d gain by giving up because giving up is giving up!
Being slightly more specific maybe I do have more ways to get myself siked up more tips for those in the valley of despair. Make small bits of progress: a book isn’t going to write itself in a few days and a blog won’t be successful in the first few months or years. Take things one tiny bit at a time. Write a chapter every two days or post a blog post every few days or every week. Maybe make a schedule and hold yourself to it like it’s a job? Try to summon memories from when you first started and we’re enthusiastic about your dream/goal. Find that passion that surely still lives deep within you. And if you’re really lost? Write down a plan. Writing seems to be a large part in marketing yourself so try doing that for some possible success. Ask people to read and critique your writings and learn from it. Or, to sum up what I said before: don’t fucking give up!
Note: I was in a strange mood when I wrote this; namely I was sleep-deprived and fairly drunk. So it’s a bit different from my most posts that are a bit more “thoughtful.” In fact this post seems to just be a trainwreck of bitching. But in the spirit of just doing whatever the hell I want though, I’ll post it anyways.
To start this post off let me state that I’m typing this on my phone. Yeah. I’m typing this on a Samsung Galaxy S7. Why? you might ask. Well, it isn’t because I feel like doing it, that’s for sure. I’ve written a few blog posts on my phone when I’ve been struck by inspiration and unable to make it to my laptop, but I always sit down, get comfy and in the zone to edit and post them from a real electronic device meant for doing work. Ya know, a proper keyboard and sometimes a USB mouse if I really need to get shit done. Working on a phone isn’t a choice here though: it’s a necessity. Hell, I don’t even know if I’ll make it to posting this from my phone/tablet. But we’ll see. If you read this on June 23 or the 24 I probably persevered and posted it totally from Android products. But I wasn’t happy about it that’s for sure.
(Spoiler: My computer did start working so I am editing this on a proper device. But the original draft was written on a shitty S7.)
What led to this was my son (a two-year-old) spilled one of my birthday-beers all over my laptop. This didn’t seem to be a problem at first as it still typed okay but after about 20 minutes the keyboard ceased to work at all. This sort of spurred me on with this blog post because I wanted to write about how shitty birthdays are and as the actual day went on I just got more and more fuel to dump on the fire so to say. This event was the final “holy fuck birthdays do suck” event and solidified my will to write a post about it. So to android it was even though I fucking hate typing something on a phone while plopped down on a goddamn couch.
What started the idea of a birthday sucks post was basically me whining and bitching to a coworker a few hours before my birthday actually began. I’ll cover it in a little bit a separate post but it was basically the typical stuff I cry about most of the time: the arbitrariness of how we measure time, how as you age it makes birthdays sucks even more, the (useless) self-reflection that comes with the day, all mixed in with some fairly moderate self-loathing. Some of these themes are already featured on my New Years’ post and my Daylight Savings post. What was a surprise was the fact that I didn’t even have to make it to my birthday for things to start falling apart.
The downward trend started when I was told I needed to take one of the kids to Drive-Right (a driver training school in case they have a different name in your area) at 9 a.m. My birthday was on a Saturday so it should’ve been a relatively carefree day: no school, no work, no doctor appointments, no dentist appointments. There was no reason to have to worry about anything! It’s Saturday after all. This early job of mine kinda threw me off before I even went to bed. I famously need my sleep and anything less than 10 hours fucking destroys me. I also can’t fall asleep unless I lay in bed for 3 or 4 hours. Realistically I think I’m a cat or something. I’ve tried my damndest to change these habits but they seem to be as a belligerent part of me as my DNA is. Me trying to wake up early is like me trying to be taller or something.
What happened around 2 or 3 a.m. was the dread that I wouldn’t get enough sleep. I’d eventually fall asleep and instantly be awakened by an alarm, miserable, tired, and groggy at 8 a.m. or so. That’s only 5 hours of sleep and with every minute that passed that number became less! What happens is you get hit with the anxiety about not being able to sleep. Even while I was physically tired my mind was awake, alert, and dreading the early alarm and the certainty of being tired and miserable. This creates a terrible feedback loop where you can’t sleep and are stressed out about the fact that you can’t sleep and this makes it even less likely you’ll be able to sleep! Around 5 a.m. I quit trying to sleep and got up to play some video games.
So right away my birthday was starting with me suffering from insomnia listening to the birds chirping at 5 a.m. as I groggily played Twilight Princess. I’m not even fond of the game and bitched about it here but it was something to do. Fuck, I even did the Princess Agitha bug quest because there is nothing else to do that early in the morning. I had to pass the time somehow and even though I wasn’t exactly having fun I toiled away finding those infernal golden bugs.
From that point on things got really foggy and my past days blended together. I wasn’t sure exactly of the flow of time and the hours seem to both crawl along and jump ahead at the same time. It would be 11:05 and then 11:07 and then 12:15. What the hell was going on? i was able to complete the trip to Drive-Right and from then on I tried to pass the time as quickly as possible. The main goal then on for my birthday was to make it until 110 or 11 p.m. where I could actually get some fucking sleep.
Somewhere in the uncertain flow of time I got that stupid ass moon in Super Mario Odyssey: the infamous jump rope moon. As I mentioned in an unpublished post I had to glitch out the R of the MARIO letters in New Donk City and cheese the fuck out of the game. This isn’t a really important matter but it was seriously one of the highlights of my miserable day. I’ve been utterly dreading this moon for the past half year, and today I got it! On my insomnia ridden hell of a 33rd birthday I got that goddamn moon. Finally.
I took about a three hour nap between 12:30 and 3:30 thinking it would help my condition — and it did somewhat — but it didn’t get rid of it completely. I still felt miserable: sleep deprived, jittery, anxiety-ridden and feeling like a bum by “sleeping” until almost 4 in the afternoon. I couldn’t explain it any clearer than by saying that I felt “dirty,” whatever that means. Like my sink felt grimy, my hair felt greasy, and my brain was covered in a toxic fog. My sister mentioned that I sounded like I just came off a cocaine binge and I’d imagine it would feel about the same. The only problem is that I didn’t get the high from actually doing cocaine. I just felt like shit with no upside at all.
So that’s where I am right now, or sort of am. We went out to eat and I had some beers and even though they’re a depressant they seemed to wake me up a bit somehow. About 4 or 5 beers in I almost feel normal. They gave me some focus and motivation towards my goals such as writing a blog post about how shitty birthdays are. But even after the day started to look up the entire beer incident happened and the day went to shit immediately before it almost ended on a high note. On top of birthdays sucking for some higher-up, cerebral matter I’m dealing with the fact they my birthday has been total bullshit for totally mundane matters. This still doesn’t change the fact that birthdays suck for legitimate reasons: it just means I’ll write about it in another post. This one has been rambling and Thompson-inspired enough that it should end sooner than later. Birthdays suck and more on that in a few days.
As outlined in this post I’ve spent the past month listening to all of Weezer’s discography in chronological order. There were a few times I got hung up on albums I liked and listened to them more than was needed (Hurley, Maladroit) instead of powering through everything like I should’ve and that makes the process longer. (It’s hard to force yourself to move from Maladroit when I the next album was Make Believe.) It also takes some time to really know and understand an album. For example The Red Album kinda sounds like shit at first but then it grows on you. I’m pretty sure it’s looked upon as a shitty album by most people but I ended up liking it more with each listen and appreciated what the band was trying to do. I’ll do a quick runthrough of all their albums because it sounds fun.
Weezer (The Blue Album)
Untouchable. Classic. I’m not even going to say anything else. The Weezer album everything else aspires to be.
The second untouchable classic, although I’ll elaborate a bit more. This album went for a more personal, vulnerable, and abrasive sound then their last album and was famously shit upon endlessly when it was released. In this album you could hear the band struggling with fame and Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s lead singer and songwriter, himself struggling with the spotlight, being seen as “a cool person,” and trying to mesh that with his personal view of himself being a loner, loser, geek who can’t find love anywhere. The dude sounds like he’s struggling with some stuff.
Pinkerton is also a legend because in retrospect critics seemed to find it a decent album after all. But this was after the damage was done and Weezer has famously never released an album as abrasive or personal as Pinkerton since. Some people think that Rivers was so fucking destroyed by opening up on the album and trying a new sound and having it all shit upon that he’d never make a deeply person record ever again. Maybe that’s true to some degree too…
Weezer (The Green Album)
This was the first “new” album I’ve heard and it is what you might expect it to be. It’s a solid album that is glossy and poppy and doesn’t take any real risks. You can’t fault the band because this was their first album after a hiatus so it serves as a safe return to form. Especially after Pinkerton got shit on it’s no surprise that Weezer played it really safe on this one. It’s decent but nothing spectacular.
I loved Maladroit because Weezer seemed to totally rock the fuck out on it. They got their “safe” album Green out of the way and you could tell they just jammed out on Maladroit. The sound more confident and relaxed here. I would get a smile on my face through many songs because the band just sounds like they’re having fun playing music. While some songs were kinda meh, I really liked Maladroit.
I didn’t have huge expectations for Make Believe and I wasn’t let down by being let down. This album was led by the famously bad “Beverly Hills” and, yeah, it fucking sucked. While there were a few good songs on here (like that one ballady song with the “woooaahh ooooooaaahhhh” chorus aka “Perfect Situation”) most were shitty. I also wasn’t in a good mood when I was listening to this album and the songs seemed to make my mood even worse. Every mediocre song I had to sit through was like nails on a chalkboard. A special shout-out to “We Are All on Drugs” for being especially terrible and the worst Weezer song I had heard up til that point. Yeah. It gets worse.
Weezer (The Red Album)
The Red Album luckily lead Weezer to do more experimentation instead of the blatant poppy and bland bullshit from the previous album. The other band members sing on the back half, the songs “feel” different, and there is that massively long song called “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)” which is about the most unweezer Weezer has ever been. And I actually like most of it. I give the Red Album massive credit for the band not doing the same crap over again even if it doesn’t work out perfectly all the time. It takes risks. Popular opinion seems to be that The Red Album bonus tracks are stronger than the final half of the original album and had they been included initially the album would be one of their best.
The Red Album also has the worst album cover so far because it’s a fucking joke. While the album is a bit more experimental than everything else Weezer has done, the cover makes the whole thing look like it isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Cuomo has on a fucking cowboy hat and sports a mustache? Really?
Raditude is shit and everyone knows it’s shit. I went into it trying to be open but totally expecting it to be shit. Once again I wasn’t let down. While it has some moments that are, uh, commendable from a creative standpoint (the song with the sitars) most everything else is garbage. Listening to it it almost sounds like an album someone in high school would like when their emotions are making them batshit insane and unstable. There’s songs about love and girls and that whole high school love and the whole thing has a manic depressive feel to it that reminds me of high school for some reason.
Raditude also has the worst Weezer song ever: “Can’t Stop Partying”. It sounds like a parody — yes a parody — of the Rebecca Black song “Friday”. Can’t stop partying, partying, partying. It’s Friday, friday, gotta get down on Friday. Yeah. Another special shoutout to the “I’m Your Daddy” song for just being really creepy and strange with the chorus singing “You are my baby tonight, and I’m your daddy.” Holy shit.
Oh wait, we can’t forget the cover. It’s a terrible album cover that features a dog. That’s it. At least the cover basically matches the album in terms of how shitty it is.
I see Hurley as like Maladroit’s twin or cousin or something because they seem like they’re cut from the same fabric or something. They’re both albums that feature Weezer at their best making catchy, poppy-punkish music that is fun and jams out. Lately I’ve been appreciating Hurley a bit more than Maladroit as it seems much more consistent.
Once again Weezer drops the fucking ball hard with the album cover. I never watched the show but apparently the album Hurley features a picture of some dude named “Hurley” from the TV show Lost. While it sorta fits the albums “fun” nature by being a picture of an actor it really doesn’t make the best album cover. What does that cover make you think the music will be like? I really don’t know, it’s just a picture of a dude.
Everything Will Be All Right In The End
I tried listening to this when it originally came out but could never get into it. I didn’t think I was in the proper Weezer mindset at the time to really get into it. (I was in a heavy Animal Collective kick at the time and as you can guess that didn’t mesh well with Weezer.) On this album Weezer tries to get “back to their roots the shack” and does somewhat of a good job at it, but even better is that they start making good songs with some meaning behind them again. There’s a few meh songs on here but it’s a pretty solid album. The trajectory they’re on from Hurley to this album is promising. Another shout out to the album for 1. not being titled Weezer 2. not having the band on the cover 3. having an interesting cover and 4. having a cover that actually somewhat matches the music on the album.
The White Album
This album is beloved by Weezer fans and at first I didn’t really get it. Like it seemed like a solid album but didn’t seem like anything really special. But it does fucking grow on you. I’d say White’s best quality is that nearly all the songs are good and you don’t want to really skip anything. It really is Weezer doing what they do best: making good, catchy, pop-rock songs. It’s just a great, solid album to listen to.
Shout out to “Do You Want To Get High” for being the long-lost Pinkerton track because it sounds like it came right off that album. And it doesn’t sound like a fake “We did a Pinkerton song guys!” where they tried to make it sound like arealPinkerton song and failed miserably. It has the genuine Pinkerton feel to it.
Weezer apparently makes shitty album covers for great albums (aside from Maladroit) and great covers for shitty albums. This cover is amazing so you know what I think of this album. To be fair I didn’t give it much of a chance because it seemed pretty much hated by everyone but just picking a few random songs and letting them play gives disappointing results: it’s Weezer trying to be hip and cool again by making bland, what-you’d-expect-to-hear-on-the-radio-at-the-time songs that just have nothing special about them. After Hurley, Everything, and White a fan at the time couldn’t help but be sorely let down by the band. It’s like a Make Believe 2.0 or something but worse. Like they were doing so damn good for three albums straight and drop this turd on their fans.
The Teal Album
I was going to count this as a real album but naw. It’s just a cover album. The songs are decent and Weezer plays them nicely, but it’s a cover album. I’m assuming they found such success with their “Africa” cover that they churned out a full album of covers just because they could.
The Black Album
Okay. This is their newest one and I was excited to listen to a new Weezer album after my marathon of their discography but fuck was it a let down. I guess I know how true Weezer fans feel nearly anytime an album is released! I’m sorry guys. I feel really bad for you.
It starts off strong enough with “Can’t Knock the Hustle” and “Zombie Bastards” with the songs offering some nice and catchy music but which are kinda weak on the lyrics. “High as a Kite” is a masterpiece of a song and would be a welcome addition to a Weezer Greatest Hits album or whatever, but then the album just takes a shit. The songs sound decent, they’re catchy enough and you catch yourself singing the chorus nearly every time they come around, but there isn’t anything going on with the lyrics or any sort of song dynamics. It just drones on song after song until it ends.
The album closer “California Snow” seems like a polarizing song but I like the tone the song takes with its heavy synths and shit and to me it seems like a great closer song for a great album that isn’t the Black Album. Like if the entire album was in the style of “California Snow” Weezer would’ve made at the very least an interesting experimental album that would’ve been risky and at the most it might’ve even been fantastic. But the Black Album is mostly “meh”. I mean maybe it’s better than Pacific Daydream or Raditude but that isn’t really saying much is it?
Weezer in General…
Phew. I thought that’d be a bit quicker to go over but these guys did release something like 13 albums. It sure has been a hell of a journey listening to all of their stuff (and linking pictures of the album covers).
So to answer my initial question: does Weezer suck? No. Not by a long shot. I legit have like 4 or 5 Weezer albums (not counting the first two obviously) that I now love. Hurley, Maladroit, and White are on constant Spotify rotation currently with Red and Everything showing up if I’m in the mood. That’s like half their discography! But I will say they have the most inconsistent discography of nearly any band I’ve listened to. Most bands go on a long uphill run where each album gets better and better (the Beatles, Led Zeppelin) or go on a steady downhill run where their albums start to suck (Arcade Fire), but Weezer is all over the place. In my opinion they release some of their best and worst albums back to back somehow (Red-Raditude, Hurley-Raditude, White-Pacific Daydream, Maladroit-Make Believe). I can’t think of any other band that can pull that shit off as flawlessly as Weezer. It almost reminds me of the Star Trek movie series where the first one sucked, Wrath of Khan was good, the Spock movie was okay, The Whale Movie was great, etc.
Weezer also lacks a clear theme, direction, or trajectory with their albums over their career. For example you can tell that Arcade Fire started to get more into dance music and disco music from their past few albums and that this trend is increasing. Animal Collective (maybe a lesser-known example) started very experimental and noisy and became more poppy over the course of like four or five albums, and even Pink Floyd went from epic 15-20 minute jam session songs to heavier, more aggressive and shorter “rock” songs as time went on (think of Meddle to The Wall). The Beatles went from writing catchy, poppy songs (“I Want to Hold Your Hand”) to more experimental songs (“Happiness is a Warm Gun”) over their time as a band. These bands have momentum and direction and you can almost expect what you’re going to get from the next album –for better or for worse — while Weezer just jumps all over the place. Once again think of the poppy bullshit of Make Believe to the experimental Red. Also think of White as being a good Weezer album where Weezer is, well, good to Pacific where they make poppy bullshit music, to Black where they take on a more “electronic” feel. They’re all over the fucking place.
I will say that Weezer has never captured that genuine sincerity of their first two albums which is a huge disappointment. Cuomo goes from a really introspective, flawed, and aware person on the first two albums who all but disappears on the rest. The songs are still Weezer in that they sound like Weezer (most of the time) and have Weezer topics in the lyrics but that deeply personal perspective that is present on the first two only appears as a ghost for the rest of the albums. I don’t know what exactly happened but I’m certain this is why everyone is hoping and expecting another Pinkerton or Blue; they want that personal Weezer back that speaks to them and they don’t care much for the “Can’t Knock the Hustle” Weezer. I might be picking the obvious ones here but still, go check out “In The Garage” and “Beverly Hills.” Read the lyrics. These songs are from the same band, or not the same band depending on who you ask.
So does Weezer suck? No. But it’s also kinda complicated.
This post will be a little bit different as I start out with the question of does something suck, in this case the band Weezer, and then follow it up it later with if it really does suck. I originally was going to write a post saying that, yes, Weezer does in fact suck, but that had one major problem with it: I hadn’t actually listened to any other their albums besides the first two. Trying to say a band sucks by not listening to anything besides the critically-acclaimed and wildly popular first two albums (Weezer and Pinkerton) is quite a flawed plan, so I held back on that.
But Weezer still might suck for the reasons I suspect they do so I’ll break the post into two parts.
Let’s start off by saying that I was never a huge Weezer fan. I first became aware of the band back in high school around 2001 or 2002. They appeared on the scene with the slightly-okayish song “Hash Pipe” and some music video with Muppets in it (“Keep Fishin’”). There was also the slightly-catchy but really cringy and annoying “Beverly Hill”s that I was never a fan of. It seemed like a geeky band released a “try too hard” song about being cool or something. What was really strange about this “new” band Weezer was they seemed really well-known and popular when these songs came out even though I had never heard of them. One girl in high school even had a Weezer shirt. Like they release a few okayish songs and people are wearing their shirts already? What?! The songs weren’t that good.
It turned out that Weezer was a thing because they had already released two magnificent albums in the 90s before going on a hiatus. I became aware of this fact after high school when my friend Brent and I went on a road trip to South Dakota. This isn’t too important but on the long drive back to Illinois he put on an album by Weezer, and it was really good. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was treated to fantastic, unnamed songs that I later discovered were “My Name is Jonas,” “No One Else,” “The World has Turned,” “Undone (The Sweater Song),” among many others. Even on my first listen stuck in a tiny Saturn in the middle of nowhere I knew this album was something else. Usually when you first listen to an album you don’t know if it’s good or not but this was one of those rare albums that I knew was a classic. Weezer was a thing because of that album at the very least.
I later came to find out that that album was their first one, titled Weezer but constantly referred to as The Blue Album because, well, it’s blue (The Blue Album is basically its de-facto name now.). I later listened to their second album Pinkerton a few years later and that album was good because it was heavy, raw, and you could hear the band struggling with their newly-found success, especially in regards to the lyrics. It was a mess when compared to Blue but a real, genuine mess that had its own dark, quirky, insecure personality. Remember I found all of this out after their new “success” and the “Beverly Hills” days.
Currently Weezer is back in the spotlight with their cover of Africa and even released a new album of cover songs titled Weezer but called The Teal Album. They also have another album coming out in a few weeks titled Weezer but called The Black Album (are you seeing a pattern yet?). With all of this recent news about Weezer it got me curious as to what they’ve been up to in the past decade and a half.
Apparently either a lot or not very much depending on who you ask. They’ve released a ton of albums while none have seemed to have gotten the hype and love that their first two albums have gotten. Go pick any of the mid-to-later year albums and read some reviews on them: most seem like they’re “meh” while everyone is hoping and expecting another Blue Album. The same seems true with the songs on these albums: go listen to any random song off of these later albums and it’ll probably sound good but not too good. Like it’ll be what you expect a Weezer song to sound like without being a Weezer song from The Blue Album. While I’ve heard a few decent songs from these years (“Pork and Beans,” “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived”) nothing seems to be standing out as a “great album.” And for releasing like 7 or 8 albums since Make Believe (the one with “Beverly Hills”) you’d think there’d be something notable out there but there isn’t. They appear to be releasing constant 6/10 or 7/10 albums: albums that are good but not really good.
That was my original “Weezer Sucks” thesis: the band made two masterpieces and went to shit after they found success. Making this even worse is they kept churning out music in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to just make music, even if it was mediocre music. They didn’t release two good albums, a shitty one, and called it quits when they realized they were trash. No, they just got shitty and kept going. Their later music also lacks any sort of conviction or heart of the first two and even though they are shoveling out album after album nothing feels genuine. Listen to any song off of The Blue Album and then listen to “Beverly Hills” or “Can’t Stop Partying” and you know that band has lost its heart. Like they lost their soul or something. Arcade Fire’s past two albums have been shit, but it seems as if they’re still being genuine about their songs and just failing in the execution. Weezer just seems like a band that has lost its way and isn’t that enough to say that they Suck?
No, because I haven’t actually listened to anything post-Pinkerton besides a few songs here and there. Obviously it’d be stupid to write a Weezer Sucks post after not having actually listened to their later music. They’ve also been around for so long the middle stuff might actually be good and the latter music trash (Make Believe is closer to The Blue Album timewise than it is to The White Album), but I can’t say this unless I listened to more of their music. So that’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to sit down and listen to every Weezer album in order to get a real idea what happened with the band over the years. So does Weezer suck? I don’t know. Maybe. And if they do suck I might actually be spot-on with my reasoning and can make a second post saying “Yep, told you guys. I was right.” So far I’ve made it past Make Believe and I can say for a fact that it sucked, but as for the band and their entire discography? I don’t know. We will see!
Before I get too far into their albums, feel free to let me know what your favorite and least favorite albums by Weezer are. After I listen to everything I’ll be really curious as to what everyone thinks about their albums.
I think I’ve realized that I’m what people call a “High-Functioning Alcoholic” meaning that even if I drink quite a bit more than is healthy/good/normal I don’t exhibit any of the “classic signs” of being an alcoholic. I don’t miss work. I don’t drink and drive. I don’t gamble or blow unusual amounts of money when drunk and I don’t beat the shit out of my family. But by being this type of person you get sucked into the mindset that you don’t have a problem when you probably do. Since there is nothing to really gain by maybe, possibly being an alcoholic I think I’m going to attempt to stop drinking. Again.
That’s right: Again. I gave it a decent shot a few months ago and failed miserably. I made it two weeks sober and just totally fell off the wagon (or got on the wagon?) You might think that two weeks sober is pretty good, and while I suppose it is, it apparently means you’re not out of the woods yet. Upon reaching two weeks sober I realized that shit was beginning to get very verydifficult. Let me digress for a moment…
I used to smoke cigarettes and nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, is one of the stupidestly addictive substances known to man. Like it’s right up there with heroin in case you didn’t know. I smoked for about five years and tried to quit countless times and met failure each of those times, except for the last of course. Because I did quit smoking! I told myself when I was free from nicotine to never get addicted ever again because it was such a bitch to quit. I just never wanted to have to quit smoking ever again.
It’s common knowledge that quitting smoking is hardest in the first week; if you make it a week without smoking you’re good to go. I found this to be not precisely true as you still crave nicotine even after a week. In fact the urge never seems to totally go away; the cravings just sort of tend towards zero after a long time. But I would say after two weeks of not smoking I felt pretty decent and not at risk of smoking again. The hardest time occurs during the first few days though. Upon trying to quit cold turkey I found I became suicidal within the first six hours. It was no joke how nicotine (or the lack of) fucks with your mind. I know it was nicotine withdrawal causing my mental havoc because upon smoking a single cigarette my suicidal thoughts magically disappeared. My point here is that nicotine withdrawal peaks really fucking fast and is really shitty. With nicotine I found I needed to slowly “wean” myself off them because cold turkey just didn’t work at all for me.
Here. I made a rough chart showing how miserable I felt when I quit smoking. As you can see your misery peaks in a day or two and then slowly subsides to a low level by a week.
Since I quit smoking — which is one of the most ridiculous and addictive things ever — drinking should be easy to quit! Right? After all I never drank as much as a “real” alcoholic would; I wasn’t drinking daily for years upon years. Even if there were scary withdrawal symptoms (alcohol is one of the few substances that you can die from during withdrawal) I was confident that I wouldn’t suffer the worst of them like DTs or those fucking “pink elephant” hallucinations from the Looney Tunes cartoons. Like I wouldn’t end up hospitalized or anything so I have that going for me.
One thing that should’ve tipped me off that not drinking wouldn’t be that easy — even without any serious medical issues to worry about — is realizing how I can easily go a few days without drinking and that cravings really only happen on the third or fourth day. I assume I had this “nicotine withdrawal” mentality going on where I thought if you made it day or two without drinking you instantly win against alcohol, which is obviously easy to do. This is not the case.
I made it about a week and a half before I really started to know something was going on. I began to feel tired and exhausted all the time. I would sleep nearly 10 or 12 hours, drink three cups of coffee, and still be tired. I also started to feel like I was “fake” and in a dream for large parts of my day where I would blink and sort of be surprised at the fact that I existed or something. My mood noticeably degraded where I came close to snapping on a few of my coworkers. These coworkers are perpetually aggravating but somehow being sober brought my frustration front and center and almost allowed it to boil over. I was agitated, depressed, tired, and didn’t even want to eat. I’d come home from work and go to bed and just want to be left alone with the lights off. And everyday that passed made it worse.
You’re told that when you quit drinking that things are going to get better so a descent into depression, lethargy, and misery is shocking. You can power through the tough times here and there, but it seemed like the bad feelings just kept piling up without any reason or way out of feeling like shit. It felt like walking into a dark cave where there is supposed to be an exit in front of you but the further you walk the darker it gets and the exit seems like a made-up lie. Every day would seem worse than the day before, and eventually I wanted to drink again not to be drunk but just to feel like a normal person again.
So I made it two weeks and broke down just because I felt like I was going insane or losing my identity. As what happened with my nicotine-withdrawal-induced-insanity, upon having the drug you’re craving you instantly feel better. After one beer I felt calm, mellow, and like myself again.
Here’s my nicotine chart slightly tweaked for drinking. The dotted line is what I think will happen if I make it past two weeks. As you can see the time period here is about seven times longer: if you flip out without smoking in a day or two you will probably flip out by not drinking between the first and the second week. This also makes me think the comedown period will also be a ton longer, like on the order of a few months.
This is obviously some shit. Nicotine gives you a fucking quick battle with misery that starts and ends relatively quickly while alcohol seems to drag on forever. A huge downside to this is that there’s just more time for something stressful to happen to kick you back down again. If you stop smoking you can pretty easily pick a span of a week or two when nothing stressful should happen but how do you ensure that you have a span of three months without stress to stop drinking? Alcohol is a pain-in-the-ass to stop using, and I have a newfound appreciation for anyone who has become an alcoholic, realized they are an alcoholic, and made the effort to stop drinking. It’s apparently hard as hell to do so congrats to any and all of you who’ve succeeded. Stopping drinking fucking sucks.
Update: I wrote this about a week ago as a way to sort of write about my problems and not drink. I knew it would be frustrating to stop again so venting helped get my spirits up quite a bit. I’m now on my 11 or 12th day sober and it still fucking sucks, but the key it seems is to not think about things too much and to keep fucking busy with whatever you can find.
Most of our calendars and time measurements are based off obvious natural phenomenon: the time it takes the Earth to rotate once is called a day while the month is roughly based off the moons orbital period (29.5 days). There are also some random time periods like the week having 7 days for some reason (from the “seven planets” apparently), there being 12 months, and a day having 24 hours, but the year is one of the obvious ones. The year is just the time it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun and serves as a pretty good value for a “long timescale”. The year also corresponds nicely to the Earth rotating about 365 times which makes perfect sense that the year has 365 days in it. Even if things do get silly by realizing you need to have orbited the sun 21 times before you can drink ethanol, and some movies require you to orbit the sun 17 times before you can see them, I don’t really see a better way to measure this arbitrary period of time outside of the Earth zipping once around the sun.
I suppose my gripe with the year is the random time where we choose to consider it “starting”: the New Year. Obviously the Earth’s orbit requires you to specify something as the start so we all can be on the same page with regards to dates and calendars and shit, but January 1st seems really damn arbitrary. Consider the fact that the Earth’s orbit already offers a few “special” points that would make better sense for the “start” of a new orbit, and hence a new year.
And we’re already familiar with them. We all know that the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter (confirming my northern hemisphere bias) and this is due to the Earth’s axial tilt. Since the time of day varies by season these orbital points would make perfect sense to consider as the “start” of the a new year. There is a point where the Earth is most tilted towards the sun and we call this the summer solstice: the first day of summer. This is the longest day of the year for us northern hemisphere folks. There is an opposite point on the shortest day of the year called the winter solstice that serves as the first day of winter. From this point on the daytime length becomes longer. And in between these two days are the two equinoxes where day and night are of equal length: these serve as the first day of autumn and spring.
I made a picture.
It would make sense to plop the new year on one of these important orbital locations and adds a sort of whimsical touch onto what a year really is. I really like the idea of starting the year on the winter solstice as it does seem like a new beginning with the days getting longer. The winter solstice is also around December 20th or 21st and would only make the official start of the year a week and a half earlier from the current which isn’t a big deal.
What adds another layer of frustration to this is the fact that our calendar was started by the Romans who were very aware of equinoxes and solstices. Hell, the Greeks before them knew that the Earth was round and loved science and math. Being the Romans and basically making the calendar, why not plop the new year on one of those dates? They didn’t and you can read about the detail by Googling it if you want.
From here. This is a chart of how long the days are at whatever latitude you live at. This chart also shows where the equinoxes and solstices occur and how they correspond to day length. And as you can see, January 1st is nothing special at all.
Obviously we will never “move” New Years. We are set in stone with our lame ass calendar. In our modern synchronized world it would be impossibly complex to move the start of the new year to another day even if it is close and “makes more sense”. It would involve a massive amount of adjusting and coordinating and would lead to quite a few headaches with regards to birthdays and anniversaries. Like I realize this is something that will never actually occur but it’d be nice having the new year on some remarkable point in the Earth’s orbit. January first doesn’t mean shit in the Earth’s orbit; it’s just some random ass point chosen to be the beginning of the year. This makes such an “important” date seem rather boring and unimportant. This helps play into another gripe I have with New Years: people are fucking stupid about it.