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February 18, 2009

Masters of Puppet

“Master of Puppets I'm pulling your strings –
Twisting your mind, smashing your dreams –
Blinded by me, you can't see a thing –
Just call my name, 'cause I'll hear you scream.”

- Metallica, “Master of Puppets” (video below)

OK, so those aren't the most cheerful lyrics to start a post – but since today’s topic is addictions, they seemed perfectly appropriate.

Earlier this month, Pamela tagged me to do the list of five addictions, which only posed a problem in that I have so dang many to choose from. Eventually, after eliminating the, um … “adult oriented” ones and ranking the others by a weighted scoring system, I came up with my list. God bless you if you think I’m kidding.

So in no particular order, here we go:

1. Death Magnetic: As much as I immerse myself in music, my method of audio delivery remains somewhat old-school. For example, my car features a mere single CD player. Every so often, I’ll keep the same disc spinning over and over again, because there isn’t anything else that would justify the effort of manually switching the CDs.

Within that framework, you can better appreciate what I’ll say next: last November, I put Metallica’s new album into the car CD player, and it has remained there ever since.

Honestly, it took me somewhat by surprise; I was one of those who thought Metallica’s best days were behind them. About three songs into the new CD, I distinctly remember thinking, “Holy cow – this is the real Metallica again!” The best songs on the disc are as good as anything they’ve ever written, and the 75-minute album is remarkably strong from start to finish.

Also, two related notes on this topic: 1) To many people, Metallica’s high water mark was 1986’s Master of Puppets, whose title track is a harrowing description of cocaine addiction (see how these topics tie together?), and is performed in a live video below that is definitely not for the easily offended. And - because I’m generous about these things - the band’s first video from Death Magnetic is linked below; it’s eerily similar in style and content to their first-ever video (for One) that was released in 1989.

(I know, I’m off to a rambling start – I’ll try to keep the others shorter … )

2. Diet Pepsi: I’ve alluded several times to my sleep deprivation issues – but for whatever reason, I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker. That’s why I give thanks every day to the man who created Diet Pepsi.

From a sleepy runner’s standpoint, it’s almost the perfect concoction: a caffeinated drink that tastes fantastic and has zero calories. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how much of this stuff I drink on a daily basis.

Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m so hooked on this soda, that if for some reason it ever went off the market, I’d throw about 2 weeks of detoxes before staggering around incoherently and checking myself into Sober House so I can cry with Dr Drew and Amber Smith. Yes, I worry about these things sometimes.

3. Lost: OK, it’s a time travel show now. It’s geeky science fiction run amok. I normally don’t fall for these genres – but I’m along for the ride wherever (or whenever?) this series ultimately takes us.

Obviously, I can’t begin to do justice to the amount of complexity and intrigue at the heart of this show that appeals to me – but a couple of anecdotes might illustrate just how far in the tank I am for Lost nowadays: 1) I’ve come to think of Doc Jensen as a dear family member who I welcome into my house two or three times per week, and 2) on Valentine’s Day, I got my wife a box of chocolates with a gun hidden underneath. And if neither of those things make sense to you, don’t worry about it … I won’t waste your time trying to explain it all here.

(Before you ask – it was a toy gun. But only because I couldn’t afford a real one.)

4. Drymax socks: At one point, I was contractually obligated to tell you all about Drymax because they were generous enough to provide me some products to review (see review on right sidebar). Well, that was several months ago … and I’m still crazy about these socks. In fact, they’re the only brand I’ve worn ever since I got my hands on them.

We’ve had a couple weeks of heavy rain here, and I’ve done several recent runs through muddy, sloppy conditions – including all kinds of puddles and stream crossings - without any foot or blister issues at all. It’s gotten to the point that whenever I overhear someone talking about socks, I blurt out “Do you know about Drymax?” before going into some little spiel. A few of my training partners have tried them as well, with good results; when it comes to these socks, I’m like the Pied Piper of Carmel Valley lately.

Just take my word for it: try Drymax socks. You can thank me later.

Finally - this is somewhat off-topic, but I’m going to switch directions a bit with this last item …

5. NOT Facebook

This is probably going to sound crass … but I simply don’t understand the widespread fascination with Facebook. I’ll admit that it’s a pretty awesome social networking device - and yes, I’ve got a page there, and I’ll even be your friend if you want to track me down … but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why so many people are so freakishly compulsive about this site, especially when it comes to the minutiae.

I mean … I have friends that I probably wouldn’t recognize on the street if I tripped over them. I don’t honestly care if Susie is in a cheeseburger mood tonight. Getting a superpoke doesn’t necessarily brighten my day. And I’m not interested in joining the People Who Think Pluto Should Still Be A Planet. Really now - aren’t there better ways for me to waste my time? Besides, I thought that’s what blogging was for.

I guess my point here is, if you find me on Facebook somehow, that’s cool – drop me a note if you want to add to your friend tally. But if you really want to earn my friendship, here’s what you do: take me to a drive-thru for a tall Diet Pepsi, so we can talk about Lost plot twists and listen to Metallica CDs in the car while we’re waiting.

After all, these addictions don’t feed themselves – and I’m always on the lookout for a good enabler.


On to the musical portion of the post! My original intent was to embed the first video from Death Magnetic, called “The Day That Never Comes,” in this post. However, Metallica is notoriously protective of redistribution of their content (remember the Napster fiasco?) - so if you want to watch it, you have to click here.

However, since I don't want to leave you completely empty-handed - and just in case you’re completely obsessive like me – here’s a live version of “Master of Puppets”, filmed when Metallica were at the height of their powers in the late 1980s. Fair warning: it’s filled with plenty of F-bombs (both spoken and visual), so viewer discretion is advised. It’s definitely a hardcore scene – but when I was a teenager, there was no other environment I would rather have been in. Sometimes I wonder how many of the idiots in these crowds are also wearing a tie and sitting behind a desk somewhere today; I know I can't be the only one. (Click to play)


craig 2/19/09, 6:18 PM  

I'm with you on the facebook thing. I've got a post in the works on that topic. I also have an account. So maybe I can figure out how to send you a virtual case of Diet Pepsi.

Anne 2/19/09, 7:13 PM  

Heaven's to Betsy, will I ever take another second to read what I write before I hit Publish?!

I just don't know what to make of Lost this season. It's still fascinating, and I'm still a big fan, but I'm just not diggin' the rapid back-and-forths and keeping track of who's in what "time zone."

21stCenturyMom 2/19/09, 8:30 PM  

Who says you can't get no satisfaction? Victory is mine! Although the post I'm really waiting for is the Calvin and Hobbes post and if we dont' see it soon I might friend you on Facebook!

Thanks for playing!

Bruce 2/20/09, 1:47 AM  

I'm with you also when it comes to facebook, who has time after catching up on blogs etc? Still lovin Lost also. Only one show into the new series here so no giveaways please.

Judi 2/20/09, 9:51 AM  

loved your post. i havent read your blog in a while. but when i do, i like what you write.

and i am addicted to facecrack, i mean facebook. lol. i have a lot of fun on there.

Deene 2/20/09, 10:38 AM  

i do the same thing with leaving the same cd repeating, sadly it's black ice at the moment. also i finally watched my first ever episode of Lost last night.

Rick Gaston 2/20/09, 10:57 AM  

I'm one of those guys who think Metallica's best music before the Black album. Black album was aite then I stopped listening after that. Lost is something I want to start on my Netflix soon at the moment however I am re-addicted to Japanese animation movies/series. What am I 12, for the moment I am. Are you my friend on Facebook cause I don't remember either. I'm not too addicted to it but I enjoy it. I like the random hello's. Last weekend though friends and I managed to organize a run together through FB, an ultra runner I ran into a few weeks ago in the Headlands contacted me to see if I want to go long on Saturday and just yesterday Flora was asking about the Bear 100 because Cascade Crest sold out a week after it opened.

Good luck with your addictions. Maybe you should be careful with the Diet Pepsi one, I heard soda can make a hole in your stomach. I've got no room to talk though, I'm addicted to coffee. I wish I could kickoff the addiction to sweets most of all though. Hope the training for Western States is going well.

Lastly, I love my Drymax socks. I haven't forgotten how you hooked me up with Bob. Those guys are awesome.

Alisa 2/21/09, 6:55 AM  

I think I missed the Facebook train. I understand the fascination (sort of) but I'm not on the train!

Drymax socks, I may have to give these a try. I am always looking for good socks I have absolutely horrible blister issues (duct tape has become my BFF for long runs).

Back in the day when I would drink regular soda I was a HUGE Pepsi fan, I thought Coke tasted like syrup but now that I'm in the sugar-free (or close to it) phase in my life, I'm a Coke Zero person. I thought I would be be a Diet Pepsi person. Weird. (Remember Crystal Pepsi...back in the day!)

Backofpack 2/21/09, 4:44 PM  

1. Never heard their music.
2. Don't drink pop
3. Never seen Lost
4. Still got blisters with Drymax.
5. Like facebook

It's a wonder we get along! I think I like fb because it's quick. I need time to put together a blog post, and I need time to read everyone else's posts. Facebook is a quick shot and out. Of course, I don't participate in all that kind of strange pretend stuff that fb has to offer. Don't get that at all. But I like the status updates and photos.

Gretchen 2/22/09, 10:44 AM  

I took Lost off my Netflix about halfway through the first season. There were just too many times that the writing was so bad I found myself laughing out loud at scenes that were supposed to be serious. Does it get better? I love Scifi, so the time travel thing intrigues me. Maybe I'll have to give it another try.

Have you ever seen the documentary "Metallica: The Monster Within" ? If not, I suggest avoiding it. It absolutely murders their image.

PS-sorry my last comment was sort of conflicting. Yes, it was meant to say reading Gladwell turned out to be a good thing!

Annette 2/22/09, 4:33 PM  

You crack me up! I do share the Lost addiction and I've just recently tried Drymax and I'm loving them. (Not fully addicted yet - I can't afford enough to be exclusive yet.) ;)

robtherunner 2/22/09, 4:52 PM  

I must admit that as much as I have enjoyed blogging and "meeting" a lot of people I would have never known otherwise, I enjoy facebook because I can get a quick glimpse of what's going on in everyone's lives and I have also been able to reconnect with friends from high school that I simply wouldn't have without facebook. I think they serve different purposes, but they are both timewasters, but we can say that about all the shows that people are addicted to as well. I don't waste my time keeping up with t.v. shows so can't chat about what's going on with any of the regular shows. I would much rather "watch" real life dramas through blogs or facebook. I'll look you up and if I could buy you a burger and jam to Metallica with you I definitely would be interested.

olga 2/22/09, 9:42 PM  

I think you don't need FB because you write well. For those who don't Facebook is a great escape - no need to graciously tell the story, just mention a line or two. No need to read long stories either, unless you have Donald bookmarked:)

Bob - BlogMYruns.com 2/23/09, 4:40 AM  

LOL Michele

ditto on facebook...have no account yet, I have enough time wasting addictions like umm running --haha

good post and ya I like some good head banging Metallica tunes but the next tune on my mp3 can be a country, yupper I is a freak :-)

mindy 2/26/09, 7:38 PM  

Thanks for the Master of Puppets video. Takes me right back. I can still remember the smell of the new cassette tape (!) as my best friend and I listened to this album and read all the liner notes and were generally blown away. Lost is awesome and you're the third person I've heard talk about Drymax, so I'm ordering a pair once I post this comment!

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