Jul 27, 2009

Pardon The Delay

Honest Notes will be back on Wednesday, maybe even earlier if time allows. Hope you all had a great weekend. -HN

Jul 22, 2009

Better Bundle Up

Let's be honest... Fashion is as much about functionality in daily life as it is an expression of style and personality. The choices made in attire serve as a uniform, whether for business or pleasure, that identify each person in that moment of time: the greasy jumpsuit of a mechanic, the skinny black jeans and American Apparel t-shirt of a hipster, or the wrinkled and rolled-up dress shirt with loosened tie of a claims adjuster. Of course, part of fashion is also incorporating certain pieces into a different context so as to blend in or stick out such wearing as combat boots as part of a casual outfit. The boots may appear to clash but they are not a superfluous detail in that footwear is a genuine necessity in the wearer's day. Unfortunately, however, there are those who add items, items which would otherwise be considered utterly normal, for the sake of completing the outfit they see in their heads when the context is simply questionable: multiple wristwatches on the same arm, multiple polos worn over each other in a "layering" effect, or one of the bigger offenders, wearing jackets, sweaters, or coats accompanied with shorts.

There is so much that needs to be comprehended with this travesty that Tylenol must surely be drooling at the thought of the possible revenue generated by the mere attempt to explain this mismatched combination. For the sake of time and simplicity, consider only the meteorological implications: just how cold is it that someone would need to layer themselves with a shirt and jacket but then somehow forget to cover the rest of their body? Or is that is just too hot for their legs to handle what their upper torso can with ease? Perhaps it was a hot day that quickly turned for the worst in the form of a sudden cold snap that caught them off-guard save for the cardigan that they conveniently packed with them but that they would normally only bring out during Christmas when the windchill is in negative territory. Maybe it was an unplanned January trip from the Virgin Islands to Newfoundland on the exact date for laundry day.

No one really cares what you wear but please stop treating your closet like a goddamn costume shop. You don't live in Milan, Paris, or in the unit across the hall from the Satorialist so just stop reaching for things out of your ass hoping that the next stab in the dark you make will be treated as avant-garde, let alone at all seriously, instead of the lotto quick-pick that it really is. It's just so fucking simple: if it's hot dress like it, if it's cold dress like it. People aren't looking at you thinking that you're cool enough to pull that down parka, short-shorts, and sock-less loafers, they're looking at you wondering what you did with your earmuffs, Casper & Friends coloring book, and court-appointed chaperone.

Jul 19, 2009

Wherever I May Roam

Let's be honest... It would be amazing to pick up an instrument and without any prior experience be able to play lick for lick, beat for beat the same configuration of notes, tone, and accentuation as world-famous musicians. Imagine, putting oneself in those god-like shoes, either alone or in front of one's peers, from the very comfort of a living room. Recent gaming technology grants such virtual power and unsurprisingly it is a runaway hit that originally began as simple guitar interaction but has evolved to include a full band. The game series even continues to expand its song library from The Beatles to The White Stripes so as to involve multiple generations of rock fans. Seemingly, the sky is the limit for music-loving gamers; unfortunately, however, the "sky" is really just glow-in-the-dark cutouts shaped like stars and quarter moons randomly glued to the ceiling of their bedrooms save for the constellation that happens to read, "Mom loves you."

Sure, it's fun to hang out with friends and rather than playing against each other play towards a common goal but doing so under the assumption that it somehow makes somebody a musician or musician-like is a farce. You don't become the world's greatest lover by masturbating ten times a day so why would you think that practicing on a piece of plastic with plastic buttons will prepare you for the real thing? Hell, it takes most guitarists a while to get accustomed to not only a five-button setup that resembles nothing to actual chords or notes but also having to strum in a style that is dumbed down, even on "expert" mode, at best. With that being the case they should just rename the series, "DDR: Hands and Fingers Edition!" It's really nothing but a distorted fantasy when the irony is that all the time and money spent drunkenly fooling around after-hours with friends could have been best used to learn how to play these songs with wood and steel instruments in the first place, maybe even opening the possibility of playing something... original.

But fine, it's a total blast to sit in front of a TV, press some buttons in time with pretty colors on the screen, and hear yourself "play" and judged in front of a virtual crowd. I bet at parties you have girls come up to you requesting you to do "Master of Puppets" just so they can whisper behind your back, "Wow, did you see him solo? OMG. He must masturbate like ten times a day!" Right. Well, while you're off in the den showing how it's done to "Freebird" I'll be tuning a guitar in time for your girlfriend to tell me how she picked a song to distract you long enough to show me her tits while I play her "Yellow Ledbetter."

Jul 15, 2009

Saturday Night Fever

Let's be honest... Everyone deserves to let off some steam after a long week at the 9-to-5. If only for a couple of hours once a week, people should be able to unwind with a friends and a few drinks so that their stress and obligations can be put on hold. Perhaps within the context of this leisure activity one can allow himself to be more open to possibilities: less-than-intellectual conversation, crude jokes, nostalgic music, and maybe even getting to know the person occupying the next stool. Romance does not have to be on the evening's agenda but if such an opportunity presents itself then why not throw caution into the wind? It all seems like such a casual event but do not be so quickly deceived.

Someone once wrote in an online article on the benefits of going out that, "Clubbing is what separates the men from the boys. You’re either one of the guys dancing with women on the floor, or you’re on the sideline with your Corona watching him. It’s difficult, but definitely possible." I would recommend that the only kind of "clubbing" this author experiences intimately be the business-end of the type endured by baby seals in the infamous Northern pastime. Apologies aside, square-toed shoes and extra-large barely-buttoned dress shirts purloined from a Mervyn's outlet paired with an overpriced Miller 64 hardly separate the "men" from anything other than their common senses and their cash from their wallets. I will just skip all together the part about the vomit-inducing "music" coming from a DJ whose tastes include whatever he can lick out of Ryan Seacrest's anus that week. One of the core issues that should bare the most importance is the thought of the club as a meat market where somehow one will distinguish oneself from one's carbon-copy clone brethren enough so that the night's prey takes notice or is danced with long enough, or be made drunk enough, to be left distracted and lower its defenses. And this is the "norm," this is the strategy, this is the natural game plan that goes unquestioned and undeterred.

It's embarrassing. Either you're too stupid to realize that it's loud, out-dated, pay-to-play live version of "Hot or Not" or you're too shallow to even care. Or maybe you're not that interesting in conversation outside of mouthing enough syllables to ask if she'd like another drink so you let your Al Gore-like dancing and roofie coladas do the talking for you. If it's a bit of fun and companionship you're after then find a place with a bottom line that is just that instead of waiting in a long line to pay $20 for the chance to play in their sandbox. Go have a good time but skip the douchebaggery of lousy club drinks, creepy dudes complaining about the sword fight they've unknowingly created themselves, and the person whose life ambition is pressing "Next" on her iPod while sitting behind the speakers. Fuck, you do so much better than that.

Jul 12, 2009

Dressed to Kill

Let's be honest... there is little as classic and timeless as a man in an immaculate, well-fitting suit. One can almost feel the genuine pride he puts into calmly buttoning each shirt hole, one by one, choosing the right tie while using the right knot with just a touch of slack, and then facing himself in the mirror while taking care to lightly brush off stray pieces of lint that may have attracted themselves to the fabric since the last time it was pressed. Everything has come together in harmony as he sits down, reaches forward, and begins to tie his Chuck Taylor sneakers. Wait, what? All that effort cheaply thrown into the pyre because of a pair of shoes... for what reason?

Actually, there are a number of feasible reasons; take for example the case of Coaches Vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Week that took place earlier this year that had basketball coaches around the country raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society simply by wearing sneakers when they would normally wear a pair of dress shoes. Other examples of situations where one would choose sneakers over dress shoes would be because of a lack of time, a lack of memory, or a lack of sobriety. That would be about it.

Rules in fashion encourage those to constantly challenge its boundaries, but they're also there to encourage you not to look like a complete fucking tool. We get it, you want to look all dressed up and proper without sacrificing the real you who plays by his own rules and who just because puts on a suit doesn't mean is one. Give us a fucking break. Hell, even as great as promoting a cause like cancer awareness is even the cancer society knows what a complete fucking eyesore sneakers with a suit is, that's why they do it to get attention in the first place and also why they know to keep that shit limited to a fucking week. So stop being such a "rebel" by copying what you saw some cokehead douchebag celebrity wore on a red carpet that one time back in '99 and put on some real shoes. Here's $5, run over to Payless before someone sees you like this, dumbass.

Blues Brothers

Let's be honest... Sunglasses are the epitome of instant style. They project a sense of mystery while also serving to protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. So many media icons have relied on them throughout the years as their signature from Roy Orbison to ZZ Top, Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator 2." Indeed, shades have proven to be a lasting fixture in the arsenal of cool but their effectiveness and credibility quickly diminishes as the sun sets on the horizon. Who are these people who have never appeared to have received the memo regarding the nightfall, who press forward plastic-to-nose in mocking defiance of the sun?

It's unknown how exactly this phenomenon came to be. Are people mimicking their musical idols Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder or are they simply paying homage to their favorite 1980s horror movie, "They Live?" However ludicrous the explanation, it's difficult to deny the utter pretentiousness exuded by these people regardless if the sunglasses are worn ironically or otherwise; it's dark yet they're wearing sunglasses.

So really, just take them the fuck off already. You'll just be saving time in the long run since you'll need to have them off by the time the police department takes your mugshot and books you on soliciting sex from a minor anyhow.

Jul 9, 2009


Things have been a bit busy lately, today's edition was late and Sunday's never showed. There'll be a 2x1 on Sunday to make up for the lack of effort.

Thanks for continuing to read.


Jul 8, 2009

Loosen Up

Let's be honest... There is nothing funnier than fashion trends that come out of Williamsburg, unless of course it's a fashion trend out of Williamsburg featured in a Wall Street Journal article about four years too late. What is on tap for their next issue, supporting a charity while looking trendy with a LIVESTRONG bracelet accessory?

But skip past the obviously slow news day at WSJ headquarters and focus on the meat and bones of the matter: skinny jeans. Testicular ischemia-inducing denim leggings are not anything new. They were popular in the 1960s, reborn in the 1980s, and like clockwork have come back again in the 2000s; some would even argue that they have never really gone away since their initial popularity and have survived year by year traveling from one niche to another. Nonetheless, when the mania reaches a peak as it has (or did) in the past few years it is hard not to notice and create a definite opinion when confronted with it on a near-daily basis.

Let us be clear: we're not talking about slim jeans, rather those pairs of you-can-see-my-leg-veins-through-the-denim, do-you-think-this-lump-on-my-penis-could-be-malignant, I-hire-dwarves-to-hand-sew-denim-to-my-body-every-morning jeans. Proponents claim validity in the aesthetic behind buzz terms like "clean profile" or "Dior-inspired" similar to the way the public justified the castration of young boys in the Middle Ages so as that they later be hailed as angelic Castrato singers. Undoubtedly, it's not just a look, it's a lifestyle.

Look, you're not circa-1960s Mick Jagger or Iggy Pop, you walk about as "normally" as a samurai-era previously foot-bound Japanese woman, and are you completely sure you're comfortable with publicly displaying that Rolo you call a dick? Ironically, those jeans should actually be freeing up more oxygen-enriched blood to flow to your head to better enable you to realize just how fucktarded you look.

Jul 1, 2009

Home of the Free

Let's be honest... The United States of America has been a pillar of democracy since its inception over two hundred years ago. Countless men and women died to establish this country and its values while more continue to die in its protection. Regardless of sex, religion, ethnicity, or political affiliation its citizens are granted equal unalienable rights. But overlooked are these immeasurable sacrifices and Constitutional liberties by those nationals who find comfort in romanticizing the governments of other countries while criticizing their own using information they loosely gather from Twitter updates and their local neighborhood conspiracy-blogger barista.

It is safe to say that a healthy majority of these people have never left the sanctuary of their air-conditioned Urban Outfitters to step foot on a battlefield or be stationed halfway across the world years on end far away from their friends and families. They glamorize countries that have never gone to war or have higher rates of literacy. They blame problems, ones they do not personally face nor fully understand outside of Fox News soundbites, on one political party or another different from their own. They lament how other countries, never bothering to specifically mention an example, are somehow above these domestic issues without actually knowing the logistics of the countries' politics let alone are able to name their respective heads of state.

It begs the question, "When did it become cool to despise the country to which you were born?" Is the grass really that much greener or is ignorance merely bliss?

Honest criticism is an attribute so important that our forefathers found it crucial to protect it under federal law as a basic right; without it we would remain stagnant, sheltered, and blinded (Ed: and this blog would sincerely suck ass.) An honest voice should be a welcomed guest to every occasion, good or bad. But where is this sense of honesty in a person with such strong negative opinions based on such minimal, if not also misunderstood, information? Is it really that much easier to tune out, give up, and tell people you can't wait to get back to Europe where people really know how to live?

Look, every country, including the one in which you were raised, is flawed but it's the only one you have. Accept it and treat it as you would a family member. Just stop joining the club, drinking the Kool-Aid, and wearing your free "Nader '12" t-shirt when you couldn't even name a president past Bush that isn't featured on currency. Show a touch of respect, hell, maybe even some pride, for the people and the home which have allowed you to be free to open your mouth long enough to be the clueless dick that you are. Don't worry, either; your friends know who you are and have long ago uninvited you to their bbqs and firework displays. But hey, you were probably too busy making plans for Bastille Day, anyway.

Happy Fourth of July from HONEST NOTES. God bless America.