Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

I’m not sure how long this has gone on for, but every week when I talk to my Dad on the phone, he asks me if I have any good news. So I tell him “I still have a job, that’s good news, right?”, but I know this is not the good news that he’s fishing for. My Dad wants to hear that I’ve found the girl of my dreams, his future daughter in-law, and that she can’t wait to start to pumping out the grandchildren. Like I said, this has been a recent addition to our phone conversations and it doesn’t look like it’ll be going away anytime in the near future.

When these conversations began, I think I was amused by the fact that my Dad was talking to me about girls. I embraced being a bachelor, using the cliche “I’m happy being single” whenever anyone brought up dating and quickly dismissed the “good news” question whenever it came up. Over time, that happiness of being single started to dissipate, and the itch to find a significant other started to show up to my chagrin. It’s not that I don’t want to be in a relationship, it’s that I usually get stuck in the “friend zone”, and it’s not because I can’t “initiate”, I’m just not the type for the girls I chase.

So after doing some chasing and being shot down, I turned my attention to a certain popular dating service. I found a deal for a 3 month trial and decided to give it a shot, since 3 months of this service would only cost me the equivalent of a video game purchase. I often found myself frustrated. I didn’t have a problem with the service, I ended up talking to people who only checked the site once in a blue moon. I can be a bit of an anxious person and I like to be in a rhythm, so perhaps this dating service doesn’t really fit with my personality. I didn’t expect to hear responses every day but I think waiting over a week for people to answer some basic questions is also too long.

Then I found Whitney. Whitney’s very cute, very smart, and has a sense of humor. ┬áThe fact that she’s in the midwest wasn’t going to deter me from getting to know her, especially since I grew up there and would consider moving back there at some point. We found a nice rhythm and I didn’t find any red flags with her. (Maybe the distance was a red flag.) She didn’t seem crazy, she was just sick of the bar scene and wanted to find someone serious, and didn’t care if that guy was across the country. We only knew each other by first name and at a certain point, I decided to give her my personal e-mail address, which coincidentally has my full name in it, hoping to move things along to where we would actually talk on the phone or fly out to see each other, (or however this works), but I guess this is where I messed things up.

So, I have a blog (this one), so you should probably know that this is not a personal blog where I talk about my issues or my exes or anything like that. I write short stories about my life, like I’m doing right now. At the time of my corresponsdance, my most recent post was about how my friend thinks that this little kid at church looks a lot like me and that they could be my kid. (Technicolor Salvation). It’s become an inside joke between a bunch of my friends, so I decided to write about it in a creative way. I wrote about how I think this kid is my kid from the future and then wondered why my wife from the future would send her back to me. It’s definitely an comical piece that really breaks down the perils of time travel, but I could understand why this piece in particular might scare off someone who is interested in dating me and doesn’t know me very well.

I know Whitney visited my site because I have Google Analytics and no one from her suburb ever visits my site. You could call this stalking, but she stalked me first by looking me up and visiting my site, so I think we’re even. She never wrote to me again, so I can’t be sure this is the reason that we stopped talking, but since I’m a writer and she’s left the ending to our online relationship open ended, I’d like to believe that she was scared off about the story of the future child. And do you know what? If she can’t accept that kid as our future child, maybe I don’t want to be with her anyways.

When I was in 5th grade, I had to be lab partners with a guy named Colin. He was a bigger, taller kid who had red hair that wasn’t quite wild enough to be a mullet. We didn’t hang out during recess or at lunch but it’s not like either of us were disgusted by our pairing, at least not until he told me that his favorite band was Metallica. Like the good Christian boy I was, I told him “I don’t listen to devil worshipping music”. Not that I listened to Christian music as a kid, but Metallica seemed to be the opposite of Kris Kross, and that’s what I was listening to at the time, so Metallica and Colin had to be evil. After all, Colin did pour vinegar into his test vial of sugar to ensure that whoever his lab partner was, they wouldn’t want to sneak a taste.

Little did I know that Kris Kross would not withstand the test of time and that Metallica was the horse to bet on, but fortunately Colin and I never kept in touch after I moved to San Diego so he can’t point that out to me. He also can’t make fun of me that my first metal show ever was just a couple of weeks ago, at the ripe age of 27 years old.

You might expect a fascinating story of how I went from “Metallica is satanic” to “I’m going to a metal show”, but honestly it’s not much of a story at all. In fact, I still don’t like Metallica. I like two metal bands, Mastodon and Dethklok and Mastodon is considered “metal for people who don’t like metal” while Dethklok is a cartoon, though their music is actually well respected by the metal community. (Dethklok consists of Metalocalypse creator Brandon Small – who went to the Berkelee School of Music, Steve Vai’s bassist, Frank Zappa’s guitarist and a drummer known as the “Atomic Clock.)

No one can really take credit for getting me into either of these two bands. No one made me listen to these bands in the car, or slipped me a burned CD. For Mastodon, it was the critical buzz and the fact that they had Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) sing on their song “Colony of Birchmen” on their album Blood Mountain. For Metalocalypse, I had been a fan of Brandon Small’s previous (and super underrated) cartoon, Home Movies (remember I’m a film major), so checking out Metalocalypse was a no brainer for me. When I found out that both these bands were going tour together, it was clear to me that this was a sign to go see my very first metal show.

I found out about this show on a bus trip from Minneapolis to Chicago. Surprisingly this isn’t the only concert I ended up getting tickets to on this trip (Jon Brion + Nels Cline = mind explosion). I didn’t have wireless for my laptop on the bus, so I called Sherlan and he happily picked up the tickets for what would be both the first metal show for the both of us.

A couple of friends voiced their concern about my safety regarding this show. I didn’t really think it was warranted since these two bands don’t have a typical metal following. Sure, since they’re metal bands, they’ll have some metal fans, but they’re also two bands that reach non-metal audiences, with Mastodon reaching the hipsters and Dethklok reaching cartoon-loving nerds. Of course, that didn’t prepare me to see a guy wearing a Bathing Ape button down shirt when we got to the show. (Also we parked next to a car with a license plate that read M. Bison)

The show itself wasn’t a disappointment, but I would say that it was pretty much the same as a regular concert except for the fact that kick drum is mic’ed to be intentionally ear drum shattering loud and that the bands take little break after a few songs from all the intense shredding and drum beating that they do. Also, the Dethklok soundcheck might’ve been the only soundcheck ever that has amused me, as their roadie went up to each mic and growled a monstrous “HEYYY!” into each mic before walking off stage. Check one two, one two, this surely was not.

There was a mosh pit, there was some crowd surfing, but all in all, it wouldn’t be that different than going to a Foo Fighters show. There were no animal sacrifices or prayers to Satan. Nothing was harmed during the concert (except in cartoon form, lots of things die in the world of Dethklok, including mermaids), but more importantly my ears weren’t ringing and no one made me bleed with their spiked bracelets or whatnot. I know that while this was not a typical metal show, metal shows in general aren’t as violent and grotesque as I was led to believe as a child. So while I do feel bad for being so judgmental as a child, what happened happened and I can’t change that, nor can Colin change the fact that he put vinegar in the sugar. Dick.