Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vent Column: Resolutions

DIGImmortal Photo: 365 Project &emdash; Day 80 12-31-09 Good Riddance 2009

Vent Column: Resolutions
Written by Rob Acocella

Wow! It's been a really long time since I've taken the time to write a Vent Column entry. Truth be told, I've changed a lot in the years since starting Paragon. It's been a decade of complete and constant change and evolution and one of the things I learned to do was not hold on to anger as much as I used to. That means that even at moments that I'd had great ideas to write about and venom to spit, if I'd waited on them for a more appropriate time to sit and write it out, the urge and feeling would dissolve and I would no longer feel the anger as intensely.

However, today's installment deals with something we see every single year at the same time: New Year Resolutions.

Every year at this time you hear people starting to profess what big new changes they're going to initiate right away as of the first of the new year. Well, I've got news for you, if you're waiting for the calendar to say the right number on it, then you're just looking for an excuse to put off those changes.

Nothing in my life that I've changed that has ever meant anything to me, ever had to be done on a certain date unless it required an appointment of some kind or relied on someone else's schedule to get initiated. When I decided to change the way I dealt with certain people, I didn't say "I'm going to do this on Monday!" and when I decided to go vegan for myself and for the animals that I loved, I didn't wait until the next grocery shopping trip, or the first of the month, or for the right time of day. When I decided to get back into the martial arts, I didn't wait until a few after my decision, I took the time to find a school that was right for me and I checked out the very next available class, and I've never looked back since. Anything that's important enough to change can and should be done immediately, otherwise you're just looking for an excuse to delay and/or back out of it at some point.

You want to work out more and eat more healthy? Why do you have to say so on December 26, and then wait a full week before actually making the change? Why can't you just decide right then and there that if it's important enough to you, you can do it right now? Opt for a salad rather than a burger for lunch and then just go from there? What difference does the calendar make? Are you suddenly going to have less cravings for junk food or be less lazy the day after binge drinking your sorrows of the past year away? Doubtful. If anything, alcohol consumption actually raises your cravings for junk food and actually inhibits your bodies ability to burn fat. Do you really think that gym membership is going to make a difference past February? The novelty of going to the gym will wear off real quick when you leave all sweaty and walk out into the frigid Winter air.

My favorite are the people that decide to change the way they deal with other people "I'm going to be nicer to my family and neighbors this year." Or "I'm going to be more compassionate to strangers and give money to the poor and go to church more." You need a new calendar to start doing that? You can't just decide right here and now that not being a dick to people is important enough to institute immediately? If that's the case then you're doomed for failure. You're either a dick or you aren't, and going to church regularly for a month or two, or giving some spare change to a panhandler on the subway won't make you less of a shitbag, if that's indeed your personality type. In fact, the very fact that you need to wait until the most opportune moment to make that personal change speaks volumes about your unwillingness to actually be a decent human being.

In a sense though, I do get it, everyone wants their "Last Hurrah!" Everyone wants to make a positive change right after indulging in their worst qualities one last time. I guess the positive change they plan on making needs to feel justified after bad behavior so they look like even more the model citizen. I've got news for you though, you're still a douchebag.

Here's to a new year, stop being dicks.

Monday, October 28, 2013

This Ain't a Scene, It's a Goddamned Wasteland

By Antonio Staropoli

Anyone who knows me knows I'm the drummer in a band called Another Distraction, because I don't ever stop talking about it (I'm also pretty annoying). Now, you would think that having a band in the greater New York City area might be a huge advantage, but not really. The reason being, this scene is dying quicker than you can say, "Look, Jay-Z opened another 40/40 Club." And while everyone is out dancing to some talentless DJ at these clubs, venues that nurture rock acts and other artists are closing at an alarming rate.

First the legendary CBGB closed back in 2006, which was a huge blow to what was left of the scene. So many bands got their start there, from The Misfits, to the Beastie Boys, to Agnostic Front. It makes me think I should have been born 15 to 20 years sooner. Recently, Maxwell's in Hoboken closed, which hosted some of the biggest names in rock, like Nirvana, R.E.M., and Bruce Springsteen. I am happy and proud to say that my band got to play there before they closed. They really took care of us and made us feel welcome, even though we were "nobodies."

So, as if it to pour salt on the wound, Roseland Ballroom is scheduled to close in April of 2014! As soon as I heard this, I thought to myself, great another one bites the dust. I've seen so many bands play there throughout the years: AFI, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Primus, All That Remains, Dethklok, and Bullet For My Valentine to name a few. These places aren't just venues that host rock shows, they really are a part of the history and culture of this area. And, not to mention, they gave musicians a real opportunity to make it.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the main reason these places closed or plan on closing is due to financial issues. Which tells me that there is a lack of support out there. Yes, you know who you are, people. “Yeah sure, I'll come out to see your band play. Oh sorry, I can't make it, but I'll come out next time.” Do me a favor, spend the $5 to $12 to see a few local bands and support the scene! You might actually have a good time and discover a band you really enjoy listening to. It's one thing if it's not your scene, but if it is, you have no excuse.

The biggest problem I have is actually with the bands. When you play a show, have the same courtesy and respect that the other bands had for you and stay to watch them play! If anyone understands the importance of support, it should be YOU, the musicians! This also goes for when you aren't playing a show as well. You know who you are too. Take time out of your busy lives to go support the bands that you've played with in the past. That small gesture could go a long way.

[Editor's Note: Keep what's left of the scene alive, go check out Another Distraction when they play live again. Or, ya know, if you can't make it that night, go next time.]