Alex Mathews

Alex Mathews – writer, bared naked dude blah blah blah

Cold Rain and Snow

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“Cold Rain and Snow” is another song pulled from the catalog of American folk music. This traditional was inspired by Obray Ramsey’s rendering with a solo banjo, and it is likely Garcia was attracted to it from his banjo playing days. The song would remain in the repertoire until the end. Again, we have a certain commitment to material that would be proven over time. The sentiment of Cold Rain speaks to the types of tales that, with their emotional content, would attract the Dead. The wonder of folk music and ballads is in the story that is told, or often half-told, without complete context. It leaves a canvas to shade and color, which was what the Dead did. This can arguably open the music for the listener to bring their experience, their emotional baggage, maybe their empathy, and sort of convene or commune for catharsis. This is something you can’t miss if you follow the Dead’s catalog. While Cold Rain is a simple emotional vignette of spousal dissatisfaction, the Dead’s up-tempo rendition all but demolishes the haunting Appalachian mood in Ramsey’s version. The singer’s escapism or resolve is forged into determination to go “where those chilly winds don’t blow.” The theme of basically bailing out of a bad situation may be viewed as escapism—but at the same time the resolve to do so is what can be liberating, and again the Grateful Dead are able to take tension, draw it out and take the listener to some place they want to go but perhaps won’t allow themselves. Like in Fuller’s “Beat It on Down the Line,” “Cold Rain” gives solace to the oppressed. The fact that the original essentially calls up the familiar or archetypal portraits ingrained in the collective experience, the Grateful Dead render these with their own spirit or attitude, laid over the template of the traditional. The effect on “Cold Rain” is a kind of joviality and resolve in the face of the subject matter, taking a pitiable character and tingeing him with a sense of humor, all the while remaining cautionary, oddly enough. Despite the hard luck of the singer, this version is a head-bopping number that could almost make the listener miss the sorrow altogether, or perhaps touch sorrow with the strength of someone ready to move forward.

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Tucker Max School Of Entrepreneurism

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I discovered Tucker Max a few years ago when I read I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Later I found it had been made into a movie, which didn’t make any sense to me because it wasn’t exactly a plotted sort of novel. Most of the time when I watch a movie I basically get pissed off that such drivel comes to the screen and it makes me feel the agitation that whatever I am working on is not going to hit the screen or the bookstores, while this mindless, uneducated trash is going to hit the NYT bestseller list and then get made into a movie. That is like my dream. I can come up with mindless, uneducated trash. No problem. Aim high, Nana always said. In fact, my internal dialog is mainly just a pitch meeting. Always. Ok, so a virgin guy with awkward social skills visits his aunt in Des Moines, where her car wash is under threat of foreclosure, and these horrible developers want the land, and these smokin’ hot neighbor chicks volunteer to help raise the money to save the car wash by getting really soapy and wet. And the nerdy guy gets laid. I must confess that this is usually the extent of my ability to conceive of a plot. If I haven’t seen it in a B-movie already, it’s likely I can’t conceive of anything original. But you know, human drama is always the same story told over and over. Sometimes you cook meth to reclaim your life, and sometimes you hold a bikini car wash. Sometimes you need to dispose of a body.

I won’t say Tucker Max is uneducated or necessarily mindless, because he is intelligent and hilarious. And his writing is comfortable. He is a misogynist with a heart of gold, and who doesn’t love that? I personally like midget sex, and Tucker is unashamed about it. I was nearly moved to tears to see the photo of him holding the hand of the midget he bedded in his second book, Assholes Finish First. So cute. But perhaps you aren’t turned on by a guy who gets drunk and uses poor young girls to feed what you might call his low sense of self-esteem masquerading as sexual prowess. That’s ok, because this guy is also a case study in success, and perhaps in the relative merits of being brutally honest and unashamed. He was turned down by every major publisher he queried. Not 499 out of 500, but like 1,000 out of 1,000. So he did what any self-respecting failure does. He took matters into his own hands. He started a blog back when it was still a novel idea—and not every mommy and internet marketer had taken to the web like cockroaches to pour out their impoverished souls—and he built a following by giving away his work for free, and then the publishers came knocking. Sure, it’s not Walter White kind of empowerment, but it’s something. And of course, that is why all these words here on my blog are totally free.

Which brings me to today’s idea (borrowed from Seth Grodin), which is that if you don’t start, you can’t fail. If you don’t actually rent the Winnebago and buy all the precursor, there will be no blue meth. I am mostly doing this to remind myself of this fact, and that failure isn’t as bad as never trying in the first place. Carpe Diem. I personally have the photos of the midget to prove it.

 

Wisdom From Cookies – 10 Things To Save Your Life

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So much talk about doing. The internet is chock full of people offering advice in lovely step-by-step formats. Apparently, the internet loves lists. 10 ways to fuck better. 10 things to do to improve your abs/sex life/bank account/marriage/divorce. 10 sites to bookmark. 10 stocks to buy/sell this year. 10 careers you never thought of. Of course, I use the internet to find out how other people do things. I especially use it to find out how people do things I don’t know how to do. Change a screen door. Make $100,000 in six months. Find a book agent. Write a query letter. Apparently, the 10 ways to fill in the blank is the best format to gain clicks and impart wisdom. I read recently in some post about the 10 ways to build a platform (the social cred kind, not one made of wood) that if you tell people shit you read on a fortune cookie, they will repeat it as though it was a quote from the Dalai Lama. Instant social marketing. Awesome.

So, in an effort to basically whore myself in an experiment (after all, if I’m only experimenting at being a whore it’s not like really being one, right?), I am going to offer the finest wisdom that can be printed on the two-inch strip of paper stuffed into a folded piece of tough dough that makes your mouth dry and mealy. You have to eat the cookie or the lottery numbers won’t hit. You did know that, right? So, here you go. Soak this shit in. Then retweet for your own social clout on the Twitter. And follow me, too. I am @alexsmathews. I tried a naked photo of myself to see if that would garner followers, but it didn’t work. I think it might be because I have no abs. Note-to-self: must read ’10 ways to beef up that six-pack.’

Ok, ready?

  1. Conquer your fears or they will conquer you.
  2. Your true love will show himself under the moonlight (In my case, I really hope that isn’t going to happen, homophobe that I am).
  3. Do not be covered in sadness or be fooled by happiness. They must both exist.
  4. There are no limitations to the human mind except those you acknowledge.
  5. You have an unusual equipment for success, use it properly (consider a photo with this one).
  6. If you never give up on love, it will never give up on you.
  7. It is never too late, just as it is never too early.
  8. Stop thinking about the road not taken and pave over the one you did.
  9. If you speak honestly, everyone will listen.
  10. Generosity will repay itself sooner than you imagine.

Ok, now go viral.

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