Good morning. Hello. How are you? #489

ProForm are an evil company Stuart Chase would be bummed. Wirecutter let me down. 90-minute depression K-hole. Aging musicians. Old Navy 2006 9" Brown Bear market cornering. Depressing music.

Good morning. Hello! How are you? Doing well, I hope. I’m okay. Don’t have a headache, which is nice. I think this is the first morning in, like, three, four weeks without one. These allergies are hell. Burning eyes. My eyes is going crazy. The goggles. They do nothing. etc. etc. twenty-plus year old pop culture references. I’m listening to a band called HAVVK that sound great. Into it. Thank you, Jen, for alerting me to this musical act:

More treadmill bullshit. I used it for the first time yesterday, worked great, got a good workout. Need some sort of little stool next to it or something, gonna have to change shoes, didn’t think of that before, that’s going to be a whole thing. But I can manage that. And then I was trying to read my phone and I was like “this is small and wobbly I need to use an iPad” and I realized the thing didn’t have the iPad holder pictured in the photos on the site. I mean, you can sort of slide one onto the console — it has a little shelf — but on the photos, when I bought it, there was a separate tablet holder. So, I get paranoid I maybe accidentally threw away a part. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t because I meticulously, neurotically dealt with the packaging for the thing, putting the cardboard, wood, styrofoam, etc., all in different places (because of different disposal processes) and I definitely did not see a big ole tablet holder. I can see the little slot it slots into. I go to the website, look at the picture and, yeah, there it is. I mean look! It’s right there! There is no disclaimer, no “*Sold Separately” note!

So I call their chat and I’m like “yo did this thing come with this and I lost it, or was it supposed to?” and he’s like “no it’s a separate purchase.” And I’m like “well that is bait and switch but okay I need it can I order it from you or online?” And he’s like “no you have to call this number.” There is no accessories site online. They VERY MUCH make it look like it comes with it. So I call and the thing is A HUNDRED DOLLARS PLUS THIRTY-SIX DOLLARS SHIPPING AND HANDLING. I mean. I buy it. What am I going to do? I have been scammed, may as well finish up and go through with the scam, sit back and relax.

I’m really pretty gobsmacked. Between this and the bullshit iFit scam, this company seems so fucking shady. And this was the best-reviewed treadmill on Wirecutter! You really get the sense Wirecutter does not take the whole experience into account. This is a fairly earth-shattering revelation. Corporations, man. Turns out you can’t trust them. About a month ago, Wirecutter announced it was going paid, and I joked to some friends that maybe it was time to stop paying Consumer Reports, and I’d pay Wirecutter instead. I made a joke about Stuart Chase rolling over in his grave, even though Stuart Chase did not start Consumer Reports, but rather it was started by a bunch of his ex-employees because Stuart wouldn’t let them start a union oh my god it’s almost like all your heroes are flawed. BUT ANYWAY, NOPE. I am definitely NOT gonna stop paying Consumer Reports and give the money to Wirecutter I was momentarily deluded by corporate propaganda but I have once again seen the light thanks to a fraudulent treadmill company who, aside from the fraud, do make really good treadmills.

Had a 60-90 minute bout of profound depression and existential angst yesterday, it was really pretty bad. Nothing caused it, nothing snapped me out of it (hrm well, I did take a walk and then have two squares of 92% dark chocolate in a moment of panic maybe that snapped me out of it). Poor Emma had to endure it. I mean, I didn’t do anything horrible instead I mostly watched our kid through an extended tantrum (I swear the two were unrelated) so Emma could work and silently moped through dinner. But man, it was bad. I was resorting to singing to myself “Lord Kill the Pain” by the Red House Painters, and I found myself wishing Mark Kozelek hadn’t cancelled himself so he could write a sequel to the song “24” about the ravages of age, except in his case the ravages of age seem to have made him an asshole incapable of writing a song with his previous sensitivity and rather manifests his sadness about aging by solely writing about how he can’t bone young women anymore which, while admittedly not completely off my list, ranks somewhere around #88 and is not a major driver of aging angst and man, Mark, you really let us all down I am still very sad about the way you turned out. I could have almost gotten behind your rambling, inaccessible, non-musical albums as some sort of oblique branch of hip-hop if you hadn’t turned into such a curmudgeonly, rude, self-absorbed dick ruled by your dick. I guess the warnings were always there we just hoped for the best.

Come to think of it, I think my black mood started with a cris de couer about my oral fix. Look this is TMI but I love these stupid Icebreakers mints especially the golden apple and I fucking love xylitol but they make you fart like nobody’s business. I used to be obsessed with Peach Smints back in the day, sort of the first mint in America that used Xylitol and I do not recall them making me fart such frequent and smelly farts, but the Icebreakers really do. There’s a whole subreddit about it, which LOL. SO, you know, here I am 40 days without nicotine and that’s just great but you know what? I am 18,022 days into my oral fixation. I’m pretty sure it will never go away. Look all I want is some sort of non-caloric, tasty, non-unhealthy thing to stick in my mouth constantly. Is that too much to ask? Don’t say toothpicks. Don’t!

Then I got to thinking about my late-in-life masterpiece, the Defective Frequency song “I was right” and how much I love it and the very simple lyrics:

I was a teenage goth
Eyeliner and blood stains
I was a teenage goth

And I thought those demons were slain
But I was right
Life is pain

What a great song. Then I started thinking I should make a video for that song that could be kind of fun. Collect a folder of photos of all of the bands I mention in the chant and then sort of show them in sort of subtle, tasteful, black and white slideshow that fades into the background a bit for the main song part and maybe even work in a couple quality photos of teenage goths. Get a bunch of friends to send in photos of teenage goths. So by the end of the depression-spiral I was kind of convinced this was a good idea. And I’m still not convinced it’s a bad one. If you are artistically bankrupt from work and child-rearing and find yourself unable to make more music, well, then, make music videos.

Speaking of aging ex-musicians saddled with day jobs, here is a heartbreaking article about the Wrens, and how after decades of being a band together, they broke up on the cusp of late-in-life success. One guy is a perfectionist who can’t produce songs to their final form, never got a professional job, and wants things to be perfect. The other guy got a job, rose through the ranks at J&J, has 400 people reporting to him, and cranks out his songs in no time because he’s busy and he has shit to do. It’s like an indie-rock funhouse mirror, choose which one resonates with you.

Anyway, the depression spiral sort of faded after our walk, surprise, exercise helps, or maybe it was the chocolate, or maybe it was the ridiculous, insane, phenomenal plot of the film I watched (Russ Meyer’s Vixen!, 1968). But, god. Yeah, it got dark there. I just wanted to do something else, anything else, than the day-to-day. I needed a break so badly. I saw some friends mock the renaming of the White Horse Tavern in Allston — apparently they now call it The Horse, which is so stupid and mockworthy but also it immediately made me want to go there, sitting upstairs at that bar, with that douchey crowd. I mean, I never even liked the White Horse Tavern but I had a few good drinks there with a few good people. It is probably 280th on my list of favorite bars, but MAN, I would have given my pinky to spend a couple hours there with an old friend.

It hurt. It was unpleasant. But I got over it, I think I’m back on an even keel. Today I am focused on work. I got my harassment training done, that was a good time. They have all of these video re-enactments that all take place in the same fictional company that is working on their big annual conference. They are very diverse, but seem to have a lot of problems with harassment and microagressions, despite the fact all the narrators tell me that diverse workplaces are better workplaces. They also have a boss whom you can call out on their implicit biases and she will just say “you know, you’re right, I shouldn’t do that.” Then they have these multiple choice questions. They played a video of a man obviously sexually harassing a woman, and then gave you the multiple choice of what a second woman, a bystander and witness, should do. I said “say something” and then they played a video of how that would play out, and it went terribly awry because the woman “said something” by basically jumping up and screaming “sexual harassment! sexual harrassment!” instead of, you know, acting like a sensitive human and saying some joke like “hey maybe stop touching her back, guy.”

AND THEN! Later they gave me another multiple choice that said something like “you’re nineteen years old, it’s your first day at the job, and you witness a manager engaging in sexual harassment. What do you do?” And in that one the correct answer was to say something. Like, okay, on your first day, as a kid, definitely say something but if you’re an employee with experience and authority, don’t? It was annoying. The nominal explanation for this discrepancy is that there were different sections/modules, one on diffusing things, one on reporting, or something, it was esoteric and academic and absolutely not how things play out in real life.

There’s another 2006 Old Navy nine-inch plush brown bear on eBay right now. In this house, the 2006 Old Navy nine-inch plush brown bear is known as “Brown Bear,” aka Jane’s prized, favorite stuffed animal. Every morning she brings a different plus kitty down to breakfast, selected amongst her coterie of plus kitties, but every morning she also, always brings Brown Bear. That guy is LOVED. So I keep buying them on eBay — I think we have three now? Maybe four. And then when Brown Bear starts to get completely worn out, Emma invites Brown Bear to a “spa day,” which Jane understands to be a washing in the washing machine, and then Brown Bear “comes out” brand new “looking.” Because it’s a new Brown Bear. We are sneaky. There’s one on eBay right now, and these 2006 Old Navy nine-inch brown bears are typically sold by these eBay sellers who specialize in tons of stuffed animals (I say “stuffed animals” instead of “plushie” because I am Gen X), but I only want 2006 Old Navy nine-inch brown bears, and I am slowly cornering the market on these things. Usually these people have “accept offers” on, they are asking like $50 and I offer $20 and they take it. This one does not have “accept offers” turned on, but it’s already gone down in price $5 since I watched it. I am going to get this brown bear I am a 2006 Old Navy nine-inch brown bear monopolist one day I will own them all. I’m like the De Beers of 2006 Old Navy nine-inch brown bears. I’m like Nelson Hunt but with 2006 nine-inch Brown Bears instead of silver. One day these things will be worth, like, $500 each because of me, and people will, like, take out loans with 2006 Old Navy brown-bears as equity. And then Jane will turn, like, nine, not care about Brown Bear anymore and the market will collapse and people will lose everything, like they did in the comics or Beanie Baby collapses. And it will all be because of Jane growing up.

Okay let’s do a mix! Most depressing mix, that seems fitting. Even though I’m better now, I really am. ALL SET THANKS. I swear this will be the last time I ever put Mark Kozelek on a mix tape, save for a full-throated apology and redemption arc. These songs span my entire life, but a lot of them are from high school, when I was a lot more depressed. There are two Magnetic Fields songs on here, but I think that is completely reasonable given the circumstances. Maybe don’t listen to this one if you are feeling tender today.

Okay! New day new me. Let’s go get Jane. Pet the kitty. Pick out clothes. Have breakfast. Watch her draw in her sketch book it really is pretty amazing how well she can draw. I mean, it’s probably not, like, actually amazing but it is amazing to me. Because I am a sappy-ass parent.

Mint the coin, Joan Robinson needs a biopic, etc. etc. Talk tomorrow!