The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Nice Guy's Burden


I'm a nice guy, no apologies about it, but this is a cruel world for the nice guy. I try to keep this blog as free as possible of angsty musings, but I've been thinking a lot about this a lot lately and something had to give. I appreciate the indulgence.

Although it might sound like I'm talking about all the women I've dated, it's just the solid majority of them. The exceptions know who they are, and I'd like to say thank you for being exceptional.

On the almost laugh-free Comedy Central Show "Mind of Mencia" recently I saw something that stunned, but shouldn't have surprised, me. Carlos, the host, directed women to ask him questions that he would answer for all men. One women asked him, "Why are men jerks?", to which Carlos replied,"Because women only have sex with jerks!"
He continued by having the women clap who truly wanted to date a "nice guy", and just a few women clapped. He then asked just the women that clapped to clap again if a guy can be "too nice". Almost as many clapped.
"YOU STUPID WHORES!", he screamed, as is often his fashion. That statement in itself illustrates a huge difference in me and a lot of guys I know. I've never called a woman a whore unless she, in fact, has sex for money and I've called a lot more men bitches than women and I've never said it in anger to any woman, regardless of the ferocity of any argument.

I was lucky to have a strong female role model when I was growing up in my mother and her relationship with my dad was plenty contentious, but not abusive.

When I was growing up, I lived far far away from any kids so I was extremely socially retarded much later in life than most people, so I still quaintly hold on to the "Golden Rule" to treat people the way I want to be treated. I'm kind and honest with women I like because that's how I like to be treated.

Unfortunately, this have proven to make me a more effective girlfriend than boyfriend, with some women including me in on intimate conversations about their sexual past, as if I was "one 'o the gals."
"You know what Mark did in bed that I loved?"
"NO! And I don't want to! I've got a penis, we're not suppose to be privy to this intel!"

It was too late, I had been emasculated and placed in the "friend zone", never to return except as sounding board and crying shoulder to hear about how big as asshole the guy that managed to be smart enough to avoid this designation is.

The demonstration on "Mind of Mencia" started me thinking about the luck (mostly bad) I've had with women. I known and dated women that have had boyfriends that have gone above and beyond the usual lying, cheating and stealing. These women have been drugged, more than one beaten almost to death (including one woman that woke up in the midst of being buried in a shallow grave). Another found out that their boyfriend was getting underage girls to send him pornographic polaroids, and another's boyfriend called her so she could listen while he had sex with somebody else. I have more, but I need to move this along. Only in one case (and not the shallow grave one) was this kind of behavior a deal breaker.

I have been far from the perfect boyfriend, but I haven't lied, cheated, or stolen, to,on, or from my girlfriends. But through out my life I've been broke up with, basically, for being "too nice". "I would love to end up with a guy like you someday, but not today." Great, so after you get passed around like a frathouse bong, you mean. You'll forgive me if I'm not waiting around for that.

In my twenties the phenomena was more mysterious. I wouldn't throw around dangerous phrases like "I love you" or "wanna be my girlfriend?" but suddenly girls would stop calling when everything seemed to going great. Of course, I'm a lot older now so I know that (forgive me) she wasn't that into me, but at the time it seemed like someone called them in the middle of the night and told them to break up with me or else. But it wasn't all ignorance and paranoia.

In my mid-twenties I was at a party and found myself in a drunken make out session with a friend, as sometimes happens in your mid-twenties. She went to the bathroom and when she came back she wouldn't look me in the eyes, much less continue making out. Ok, I thought, this might be weird for her since we've been friends and we crossed a line, but it was still a bit puzzling that she wouldn't even talk to me.

A few weeks later she explained what had happened, a friend had stopped her coming out of the bathroom and warned her, "Don't hook up with Pete, he falls in love too easy!

What?! The "friend" that said this had never even met anyone I had even dated, much less been in love with, where could she have gotten this crazy idea? Who said what to who and why? Besides this helpful person was in a relationship where she'd never go home earlier than she was expected becase she didn't want to come home and find her boyfriend having sex with one of her two roommates again.

In my thirties, my sweet and patient nature (their words, not mine) was appreciated much more, but not without problems. I seem to give the women the feeling that they are going to marry me if they date me. I understand that a lot of men in their thirties think about starting families, but I don't do a single conscience thing to suggest that I'm even remotely ready for that step yet. But something creates that feeling in them regardless of my arguments to the contrary.

It has quite an ironic effect, women that I genuinely like run from it.
"I don't want to get married yet, I still have things I want to do!", they say.
"Neither do I, I don't recall asking you to. I just want to spend time together!" I'm paraphrasing, but I've had this conversation countless times with so many women, some I've known less than two weeks. The effect is quite the opposite with women in relationships where things were a bit, um, more casual or it's obvious, despite mutual attractions, that things wouldn't work out.
Her: "So, how badly do you want to have kids? I can't have them."
Me: "We just met 15 minutes ago." Really, that conversation happened to me once.

I got engaged once, when I was 18, and it was a mistake so big you could see it from space. This has made me very careful about approaching that mile stone again.
The mother of my children has to be someone I can stand for the rest of my life, and you can't figure that out until you get to really know someone and that takes time. Besides, what's the rush? I've just wanted the women I've been with to feel as beautiful and special as I sincerely believe they are (present tense because I still believe it for all of them).

But regardless, it's not something I want or feel like I need to change. Being a "nice guy" is not like jury duty, some loathsome activity that can be avoided. I am what I am and I can't change that any more than I can grow a luxurious head of hair , and just like my baldness I don't see it as a problem. It just makes me sad that so many wonderful, intelligent, and beautiful women can't deal with it when someone tells them so.

But if another woman says to me, "Pete, entertain me, my boyfriend's being lame," I'm charging admission.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Your Pal vs. James Lipton

I just wanted to write about something other than my book, I'm about halfway through writing "Surviving Retail" , in case you're wondering.

I always wanted to go on "Inside the Actor's Studio", if just to answer the famous "Ten Questions". But I can't wait 'til never, so....

I'd love it if some of my friends might attempt to answer these same questions. This might not be televised, but I have less sycophantic smarm than James Lipton.

01. What is your favorite word?

02. What is your least favorite word?
No. This is starting off swimingly, isn't it? Two questions, two syllables, brilliant!

03. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
I can and have been inspired by nearly everything at one point or another. It's like when I first ate Indian food and it felt like I was using some of my tastebuds for the first time. Anything that gives me that feeling mentally, it could be anything from a movie or a book or a off handed comment of a friend, can hit at the right moment and make me truly glad to have lived long enough to experience it.

04. What turns you off?
Dishonesty. I recognize how in some ways it makes the world go round but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I've tried to be as honest and straightforward, which is not to say I'm perfect at it, but I always try my darnest. The one thing I've discovered from this course of action is that you are only responsible for half of someone's opinion about you, anything you do or say has to go though the listener's filter before it gets to their brain.

05. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. It can be used as nearly any form of word: Noun "You Fuck!" Verb "Let's Fuck!" It's the vulgarians spice, shaken liberally over any conversation you can get away with. It's especially cathartic when you add syllables FFFFUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK! Try it, it works surprisingly well.

06. What sound or noise do you love?
My Mom reads this, but theres no future in frontin(check question 4), A sound I truly love is the sound of a woman having an orgasm. But there is a noise I love almost as much. I played with my Pal Christian in his basement and it reminded me of how much I love "playing" guitar feedback. I put playing in quotations because it's more like guitar torture, doing dumb shit like rubbing the strings against the amp as the feedback sounds like bombs falling. However I only love it when I'm causing it, it doesn't seem as cool when someone else does it. Come to think of, I'm going to leave that on the anecdotal turnpike and drive away.

07. What sound or noise do you hate?
People using emory boards on their finger nails, it drives me bat shit.

08. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
This of course would mean I could just pick a job and everybody else has to go a long with it. I would like to attempt almost any type of performing, except porn star or chainsaw juggler. I don't want the risk of losing a hand or deal with the body hair maintenance. Both jobs run the risk of either fate, I guess.

09. What profession would you not like to do?
The return desk of any store. If there are enough returns to warrant their own desk for them, I don't want to be anywhere near it. All those bad vibes are already way too often the stuff of my nightmares.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
You were right about me. I really dont give a shit about that stuff.

James Lipton does K-Fed and a beer bong

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Things I miss about the Eighties(Unfortunately)

About 1986, there was a bit of a revival craze that idealized the 60s. I thought then that there would be no way that there could be a 80s revival. I thought that once parachute pants, Day glo, and Cabbage Patch Kids passed beyond the horizon of popular culture that they would never return. In my teenage snothood, I figured these things were too superficial to inspire nostalgia.

But I was so very wrong, anyone able to either see or hear should know that. My issue is that everything that references that era practically bludgeons you with it. Way too many measures have been taken to scream "Hey! It's the eighties!" For all the references and people with haircuts like them, you'd think Flock of Seagulls were as big as The Beatles, or at least Duran Duran. But in reality, they were only slightly bigger than Kagagoogoo. And we didn't have Rubik's Cubes attached to us. At least not all of us.

But I find myself wistful remembering certain aspects of it that I couldn't have cared less about at the time.

Synth-pop bands always had a token guitar player, even though the music sounded like it was recorded about 5 miles away from the nearest guitar.

In the 80's you could always tell when someone was about to go solo when they would be featured on their own bands single, like Scandal featuring Patty Smyth. This was especially sad when Wham started "featuring" George Michael, because there were only two guys in that fuckin group. Hopefully he warned Andrew Ridgely to get his resume together.

In my day when people danced in movies they danced for their very lives! "Step Up", "Bring It On", what are they dancing for? Just winning a contest or going to a dance college instead of a regular one.

"Breakin' 2"-To save their beloved community center, which helped them escape the stifling drudgery of urban life.

"Flashdance"- To escape the stagnant rat race of blue collar welding and dancing at the one stripclub in Pittsburgh where they don't expect you to get naked.

"Footloose"- Escaping the stifling oppression of a fundamentalist Christian community.

Speaking of dancing, we could even have dance songs without accompanying dances. I mean have you ever seen anyone ever do the Safety or Neutron dance? Thought not.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Political Parties, the Ultimate Dysfunctional Relationship.

While going through a "what's it all mean?" thing thinking about every relationship I've ever had with a woman and a "What the fuck is going to happen next?" thing when thinking about the Middle East and our (non) involvement and the resulting implications and I came up with a theory. We've seen all the ends of these kind of relationship at one point or the other.

The relationship of conservatives with the Republican party is like the typical Asshole boyfriend. You fall in love with the way he makes you feel so you don't spend much time thinking about what's just behind the surface. He says exactly what you want to hear, all the while doing things behind your back that you excuse or refuse to believe,because you're in love. The sex is great, but he consistently changes his position to suit his needs first. At first this didn't matter you were so in love, but too many disappointed nights have lead you thinking differently. Unfortunately, he has gotten you pregnant and/or given you an STD, so the effects of this are going to be around for a while.

The relationship of liberals with the Democratic party is like the typical Boring boyfriend. You like all the same things and get along great, but you just can��t find that spark. On paper, he's perfect, in reality, you want to beat his brains in just so something interesting can happen. He's trying so hard to be likable, he just ends up looking pathetic with no personality to call his own.

I think America could stand for, politically, what the urban dictionary refers to as "strange". Someone, a non crazy third party, to arouse our loins, and our intellects and more us, truly, forward as a society. Unfortunately it's not in the selfish, small minded children that we've elected to do it.

And if this union produces a baby, name it after me.

Sign of the Apocalypse- And on the Teen Choice awards, the first live performance of Brittany's baby's daddy, who's only discernible talent is being such a douchebag he bleeds vinegar and water!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ted Nugent's Rejected Nicknames

This made me chuckle, hopefully you will too.

If you don't know who he is link of the Nuge
He's known as "The Motor City Madman", but also "The Nuge", "Uncle Ted", "Sweaty Teddy"(eeeuww), and my favorite, "Theodocious Atrocious". These are the ones that didn't quite make the grade.

1. Jesus with Firepower

2. The Musky Avenger

3. Sir Ted the Fond-of-Self

4. ol' Scratch and Sniff

5. Fuzzy Wuzzy Bunny's Bestest Buddy

6. The Velvet Loincloth
(the people that suggested those last two got arrows through the throat from Mr. Nugent, himself)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chris Matthews is the John Madden of Political Punditry

I actually enjoy him, for the most part. But he shares with Madden, in my opinion the ability to proclaim the head-smackingly obvious. Also, the people around show enough respect them enough to ever say "Wow, did you really just say that?" The difference is that what the former football coach and sportscaster says is obvious to everyone, even people that don't know football, what Matthews says isn't obvious to nearly enough people .

John Madden- (any given Monday)"The team that puts the points on the board is the one that's gonna win."

Chris Matthews-(this past Sunday)"A recent study shows that watching the Daily Show might make you more cynical towards politicians and elections."

Really? Maybe that's because they're the only ones that seem to be paying attention. The Daily Show is blessed with fantastic writers and talent, but current political events are a satirical homerun derby. They get easy lobs from every branch and facet of government and Jon Stewart and company knock it out of the park almost every time when every other news outlet is too scared to lift the bat(Sorry for all the sports metaphors). Of course, they take quotes out of context and blow stuff out of proportion, but doesn't the "legitimate" media do that an awful lot too?

The Daily Show is seen as the most trusted news source in this country, but even they themselves call what they do "fake news". I think it's trusted not because the accuracy of the facts, but the feeling the show gives. It's the feeling that you are not alone. They really said that, they really did that, they're really getting away with this, and we think this is as fucked up as you do.

If the Daily Show didn't exist, we'd have to create it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Attention Wright family cousins!

I heard from our aunt Margaret Ann that a couple of you guys are checking the blog out. My e-mail is if you want to get in touch.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

a civilization build with 40 percent and opposable thumbs

One of my pet peeves at the toy store is people not listening to what I say. I'm writing in "Surviving Retail" many examples of this, but for this post I'll give only one, for the purpose of clarity.

A few months ago a lady was filling out a store credit form and I told her," We just need the name and phone number, you DON'T need to fill out the address." mentioning the extraneous line between them.

As I rung up the next customer (I've become a wiz at multitasking), I noticed her starting to fill the address line out so I reminded her,"You don't need to fill that part out."
"I'm sorry, you DID tell me that."
"That's O.K.,"I told her, "that happens all the time."
"Well, maybe if you didn't even mention the address line at all, just say you need the name and phone number." Her tone was sincerely helpful, but I had this happen an average of three times a day for nearly 6 years, and I had never found the right thing to do to avoid that bit of confusion.
"I did that at first, but people filled it out anyway."
The next customer chimed in with his own suggestion,"How about if you scratch the address part out?"
That didn't seem like a logical solution to me, I said,"That seems like a lot of work, it might just be easier if people listened to what I say to them."
This sent them chortling, she said, "Surely, you can't expect us to do THAT!"
Silly me.

The thing that really gets me is the only reason I say anything to make their lives easier. They can write out their address, e-mail, and blood type for all it effects me. But that's a hallmark of my toy store experience, trying to help people through their day, despite their best efforts.

In venting my frustrations to a coworker she said," Maybe it's something in your body language, it's said that 60 percent human communication is done through body language."
That got me 'a thinking, animal communication is about a 100 percent body language.
If that's true, that means with all we've accomplished as humans, we still do most of our communcating the same way as every other animal. Who knows how far we would have gotten without opposable thumbs.

It makes me think of an episode of Futurama, when Nibbler, Leela's pet, described Earth as a "primitive dirtball inhabited by psychotic apes."