Those who work the night shifts certainly understand what type of life you have outside of that domain. Like directions to maintaining your favorite Sea Monkey for longer-lasting fun, your life is maintained a certain way. Why would my life have any difference other than working on the air? Depending on what events are transpiring in my life at the time, life is pretty average for me. It's not all sex, drugs, and rock and roll--maybe rock n' roll, but I'm certainly not drowning in my own puddle of vomit in some Tempe bar. Life for me is pretty simplified and desolate for me. Let's see...
I wake up around noon just about every day, surf the internet, read the news, read magazines, cook meals, watch TV, and play Playstation games until I have to go to work around 6:15 P.M. Wash, rinse, repeat... I have to say that the video game portion of my day is my favorite and that's where we'll kick off the Best Of 2009 list...
Best Gaming Partner of the Year:
Bret Vesely, 98 KUPD Overnight Sensation
Should anyone really question this selection? After all, Bretsky is about the only one who really understands me and he makes for a hilarious gaming partner in Call of Duty and Rock Band. I don't think I have ever laughed harder when it comes to talking shit to 14 year olds in Call of Duty. Upon finding out that Bret and I have gotten annihilated by some pre-pubescent pricks fromAnn Arbor, MI, somewhere in the conversation Bret has blurted out things like, "At least I'm getting laid tonight..." OK, so not that funny, but you really have to be there in the moment when the shit-talking is taking place. Other than that, comments included cannot be read here in this forum, but when it's just the two of us playing Call of Duty, think of the Clerks 2 Racial Slur scene. While it's not racially charged, it's in the same taste.
Not only does Bret have a sharp tongue, his text messages at 4:30 everyday saying, "Are you ready, Lars?" usually had me excited to rap on the Rock Band drums for a good two hours. Bret and I even made ourselves a band with no name--it was just us two. Of course, I was Lars Ulrich--Bret and I would play "And Justice for All" as one of our openers when starting the game--and Bret was Tom Scholz of Boston. We got so serious with playing Rock Band in March and April that we would text each other in the middle of the day asking if the other person had a "meet and greet" or was "stuck in catering with the radio station promotions director" before hitting the stage on TV.
However, if you're the neighbors downstairs you can only imagine the annoyance I was for the first 4 months of the year for two hours a day. On the other end of the screen Bret would be playing the flying colors of Boston's "Foreplay" with a 95% accuracy and I'd be tapping the yellow drum pad on the Expert level to keep the crowd roaring. Once the song would be finished, each player had about 30 seconds to text the other person some smart-ass comment just before the next song started. "Way to go Flea!" or "Robert Trujillio wouldn't have missed those notes. Metallica should fire me."
All in all, Bretsky never fails to let me down when it comes to playing video games.
Best Game of the Year:
Guitar Hero: Metallica
Up until this point, I think a lot of people would have thought that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 would have been my Game of the Year for 2009, but I really had to take into consideration games that I liked as opposed to what everyone thought I should like. I don't think I can justify CoD:MW2 as being a great game until I have at least hit level 70 and I'm only at level 30. Don't get me wrong, I love to play video games, but I think my love for music will always come first before anything else--especially if that video game allows me to translate those skills over to the real deal. This is why I have chosen Guitar Hero: Metallica.
Ever since I was a teenager, I was always enamored by the complexity of Metallica's guitar riffs, but more fascinated by how Lars Ulrich was able to play the drums. While he's not the best drummer in the world, I have always been drawn to the intricacies of the beats in "...And Justice For All" and "Disposable Heroes". After buying the game, I realize now that playing those songs on Expert is nothing more than having the endurance and speed to keep up with Lars--I managed to do this with the latest installment. In fact, an electric drum kit that I have (not a Rock Band or GH drum kit--a REAL KIT)--the one that was collecting dust for a few years--has gotten quite a bit of use due to my new-found love for playing Guitar Hero drums. In fact, when the game was given to me on the day of the release, I took it home and made sure to unlock all of the songs as soon as possible just so I could learn "Blackened" on Expert--to most, finishing this song would seem impossible. For me, pure enjoyment!
Word of the Year:
Chortle (noun): a snorting, joyful laugh or chuckle.
This word came up more than a dozen times this year for me and it just sounds funny.
Urban Word of the Year:
Snail: An attractive girl who is interested in having sex at any given time. A hot version of a skank.
Reason: Girls get wet and leave snail trails... ie: they are "snails.""jonny you need to get to this party asap, it's crawling with snails" (courtesy of urbandictionary.com)
The first time I heard this word it was out of a woman's mouth. It has to be, quite possibly, the funniest urban word I have ever heard.
Upcoming Artist of the Year:
The Veer Union
I think a lot of people thought I was joking when I said I really liked the band The Veer Union. It's true. For reasons I can't explain, I was really drawn to their disc Against the Grain. I think part of this had to do with the fact that I tend to correlate songs that mirror what is going on in my life. A couple of songs really hit home with me based on lyrical content alone. In fact, their first single "Seasons" reminded me that we all go through ups and downs. Each metaphor made light of changes I happened to be going through from April to September. I was really stoked when I got to meet the band at the End of Summer Scorcher '09. They happened to be the nicest guys around and I wish I would have been able to hang out with them more that day!
Album of the Year:
Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way to Blue
I anticipated this album since I saw the band play at the inaugural End of Summer Scorcher in '08. I had read the music websites about the return of Alice in Chains with William DuVall fronting the band and I wasn't scared one bit about the band not having the Layne Staley sound. In fact, since first hearing William perform--with Jerry--a few years back at the Cajun House (Venue of Scottsdale), William was doing the backup vocals (Layne's part) for the Alice in Chains songs. It was no question in my mind that an album from Alice in Chains with William singing would be one of my favorites of all time.
Each hand-crafted song on this album has the signature AIC/Jerry Cantrell sound and continues to maintain the heavily cryptic metaphors within the lyrics. I will go so far as to say that this Alice in Chains album is band's way of saying "goodbye" to Layne for the first time since his passing (Jerry attempted this a few years back with his solo album, Degradation Trip, but it failed to translate to Alice in Chains fans). The track "Black Gives Way to Blue" clearly is about the loss of Layne and Jerry has said in recent interviews that it was the song that was the hardest to record because of the heaviness of circumstance.
But this album had a greater magnitude on me as a person. I'd have to say that this album was a strong closure point for me in--what seemed to be--a devastating time in my life; each dark lyric struck a chord within me in a time where I felt I was a complete failure and utterly imperfect; I had lost all belief in who I was as a person all due to one thing: a woman. Given that my relationship with my ex-girlfriend had ended months prior, I had known that I hadn't moved on from where I felt I had failed. I had wondered many days within the year where I was falling short when it came to being appreciated. When you are stretched beyond the limits of wondering why there is loss and loneliness, my friends in Alice in Chains were there to teach me that it's cool to be a little gun shy when it comes to moving on. They also showed me that whatever healing process you are going through doesn't have to have a time limit.
I needn't wallow and stare out the window only to drone to "Private Hell":
"Give away a love
And then remove another too
Painted words adorn the walls
I feel cold...uh huh
Lately I'm beside myself
Standing on a corner
Where I threw you on a turn
I'll move on...uh huh
I excuse myself,
I'm used to my little cell
I amuse myself,
In my very own private hell"
Or lie in bed for hours on end with "Acid Bubble" attempting to get out of bed, but falling short each time. Imagine the opening guitar riff as the motivation to only get up and use the bathroom if I absolutely needed--feeling closed off from a world that doesn't understand:
"And you never paid attention to all the lines I crossed
Forgive this imperfection it shows and know
I am the child that lives and cries in a corner
Dies in a corner
Alone inside your mind"
Conceding to something that was to be "no more," suddenly became OK. Singing harmonies at the top of my lungs for hours after being told that I was the worst possible individual to ever enter into someone else's life; being told that you made someone else's life miserable because of who you are; being told that I was too rigid and closed-minded to ever bend for anyone else; feeling each word told as a hot dagger to the chest multiple times; fearing the future and what it would hold without the other person; finally accepting defeat and tired of trying. Having "Black Give Way to Blue" for the only ten minutes this year the unexplainable happened--tears of happiness eked from my eyes. Being free from a control that couldn't be controlled :
"I don't wanna feel no more
It's easier to keep falling
Imitations are pale
Emptiness all tomorrows
Haunted by your ghost
Lay down, black gives way to blue
Lay down, I'll remember you
Fading out by design
Consciously avoiding changes
Curtains drawn now it's done
Silencing all tomorrows
Forcing a goodbye"
Where I thought I had lost someone important turned into finding someone who meant more than anything else: me. I had found someone I had lost 2 years ago and more excited than ever to be reintroduced to myself. Every fiber of my being was released and I could face the world again without shame or guilt. "All Secrets Known" reigned triumph on the hardest year of my life. I couldn't hide from myself or anyone else any longer:
A new beginning
Time to start living
Like just before we died
There's no going back
To the place we started from
Falling through fingers
Trust in the feeling
There's something left inside
There's no going back
To the place we started from
All secrets known...
All wounds are healing
Truth is worth saving
I want to feel alive
There's no going back
To the place we started from
All secrets known..."
Through all the nights of being on the air in 2009, only a select few could hear the anguish in my voice as I was putting myself through flames of confusion. For a night person, the days were far longer for the person writing these words. Does this "Best of" section show vulnerability as a man or even the voice on the other end of your speakers? Of course. I'm human just like every other person. Any man who says he has never been through a traumatic experience with a woman or loss of friend can be labeled a beguiler. This chapter of the year was, by far, the longest and the most difficult for me. The smoke that has cleared from the destructive force of 8 months of personal agony only to know that I WAS THE ONE who turned out better.
I owe Alice in Chains more than anyone could ever imagine and this is why they get Album of the Year.
Best Bar To Break Up In:
O'Kelly's in Mesa, AZ
While we're on the topic, the beginning of the end had happened long before the break-up was to occur with my ex. The morning of Super Bowl Sunday was a huge blowout over where to watch the football game. I'm not going to place blame on either side, but let's just say that we ended up watching the game together at the bar--unhappily. Since the fight was the worst one to date, the company was finding it difficult to be in a good mood when we arrived at the bar. 40 minutes to the Super Bowl and I was asked to tell her a joke because she wasn't in a good mood. For whatever reason, I knew that her question foreshadowed what was to happen a few days later. If I couldn't make her laugh with a joke, then it probably was going to be over. I don't think anything would have made her laugh because of her disdain toward me for the fight earlier.
At that moment, the relationship should have ended right there in the bar. Why make this the Best Bar to Break Up In? I'm not quite sure, but considering the Cardinals lost that day, it seems like a great place to determine your fate because we all know now what happened--in the game.
Best Strip Club to Frequent:
Dream Palace in Scottsdale, AZ
After I had started to use Twitter more often in conjunction with the radio station, an old friend had come back into my life: The Dream Palace and their Twitter page. When I saw that their page started following me, I had wondered who was actually running their page.
Years ago, a talented fellow, named Jimmy, worked the overnight shift at 98 KUPD and had another job at the Dream Palace. Surely Jimmy had moved on from working at the Dream Palace! Surely he isn't the person running the Dream Palace Twitter page! Surely Jimmy has moved out of state and pursued a career in comedy or computers!
With my interest piqued, I sent a Direct Message to the page website asking who was running it. Sure as hog shit, Jimmy was running the page and was excited to hear from me! What do I say? I had looked up to Jimmy YEARS ago when he was working overnights at KUPD. I could only wish to have his cunning humor and wit on the radio! To me, Jimmy was more of a rockstar than any rockstar that came through the station. To me, Jimmy was a legend.
It turned out that Jimmy invited me over to the DP a few times and I found it in myself to take him up on that invitation. Sweet! A hook-up at the Dream Palace! Jimmy could find me a stripper and I could just go to town for weeks on end! Right?
Wrong. Heading to the Dream Palace in the Summer of 09 was about seeing my friend, Jimmy. Did I go in to check out all the wiggling asses and huge tits? Fuck no! I went in to catch up with Jimmy. After 4 or 5 visits, the girls realized that I was just Jimmy's friend and treated me just like any other person. Dream Palace 2009 proved to me that I could go into a strip club and not spend any money because...any money that was spent was for Jack in the Box for Jimmy.
Coolest Porn Star of the Year:
Why lie? I've seen her pornos and I'm a fan! But I became more of a fan when she responded to one of my Facebook posts during the National League Championship. I told people to pray for the Phillies against the Dodgers and I never expected a porn star to respond back to anything that I ever wrote on my Facebook page. All I can remember was that she responded a few times and made me laugh. She gets my vote for being one cool piece of ass with killer "good luck" tofu fajitas that led the Phillies to the World Series!
Porn Site of the Year:
Again, why lie? Of course I've watched porn this year. But why pay for it when you can watch THOUSANDS of free videos to your computer or iPhone. I was introduced to this site by one of our promotions assistants who said, "I know a great place where you can watch porn from your phone and all the videos are free." I didn't want to believe him, but it was true when he pulled up the website on my laptop. I mean, if it's not free, it's not for me. So, after being introduced, I said "JACKPOT!!" The great thing about this website is that I've seen some of Abby's other videos on here. I have also found the most tasteless and disgusting videos to torture my co-workers with on a weekly basis. You should try it sometime! :-)
Porn Star to Most Likely Make Me Laugh Multiple Times This Year:
Bree Olson or @breeolson on Twitter
I don't watch any of her pornos, but when Bret Vesely told me that Bree had some of the funniest tweets known to the Twitterverse, I had to subscribe to her page. How can you go wrong with tweets like:
"I allowed several of the crew on my last movie shoot to fuck me 1 of the crew even came inside me right before one of my scenes."
"Just passed a super 8 on the highway. Tempted to turn around, check in, and call some men to come fuck me."
"Got a hot creamy load dumped in my pussy last night. Come see me tonight at the pink pony gentlemens club in Atlanta Georgia!"
"Any men in fort Wayne wanna get me drunk and take advantage of me? That sounds so hot right now."
"I have serious sexual issues. I spent over 4 hours just in masturbating today. Not including the 2 times I had sex."
Who says this shit? Bree does!
So I'm shopping in the grocery store and standing in the checkout line... HEY there are new tweets!
@breeolson: "I am so horny. Time to vibrate. I played beatles rockband most of the day"
Bree is pure comedy gold when you're least expecting it!
The bonus is that Bree Olson was Bret Vesely's first radio interview EVER!
Best Hot Chick Website to Make My Mouth Water:
I have no words for how hot this chick is. Check it out for yourself.
Best Song to Have Playing in the Background While Having Sex:
"A Looking in View" - Alice in Chains
So we all know that I have an affinity for the latest album from Alice in Chains, but when they released this song for the first time for free on their website, I heard its grittiness and thought, "Wow, that song is just a 'fuck' song!" In my mind, it ranks right up there with every female's favorite NIN song, "Closer". I don't know what it is about that AIC song, but it's still waiting to be broken in, so I think I'll save it for a special occasion in 2010.
From gaming, music, to my perverted mind, I have to say that each experience in Part 2 of the Best of list made for a successful year for me! Stay tuned for tomorrow's final installment of Shan Man's Best Of 2009 as you will get to read "The Best Text Message Conversation", "Best TV Show", "Best Chick to Make Out With", and much more!
Thanks for reading!