Friday, April 30

The Friday Hot Sheet

Dragging today. It's been a long, strange trip of a week capped off by a marathon Thursday that I can still sorta taste in the back of my throat. Cocktails and funny stories with a pretty girl in Ponte Vedra followed by a trek across town to hook up with Lord Swift and my boys in Vendetta Nation at Endo for their regular Thursday Night blowout -- which got all kinds of loose. Ran into some old friends, threw back a bunch of J├Ąger shots with new friends Mia and Lucy, got some digits, danced to the beat -- I'm not even really sure what time I got out of there, but it was definitely a good time.

But like all late night good times, you end up paying for it the next day, and this morning's karmic banker came equipped with a beautiful, yet unbelievably sunny day that has got me squinting and shading my eyes like I'm a character in some early McInerney Novel. All I need now is for some guy to walk up to me on the street and offer to sell me a ferret.

Speaking of Jay McInerney -- you know that former John Edwards mistress that's been making the media rounds, Rielle Hunter? The woman Edwards was cheating with when his wife had cancer? Back in the day she used to run around with McInerney, who used her personality as the basis for Allison Poole, the lead character in a book he wrote called Story of My Life (and believe me, it wasn't a compliment) -- and then later turned up in two Bret Easton Ellis novels, including American Psycho -- where she had a less than pleasant run-in with Patrick Bateman.

I can't tell you how weird it is to sort of see this character on all the news sites, talking to Oprah, or whatever. Maybe it's just because I've read those books so many times, but it's sorta like a real life Purple Rose of Cairo --
Except instead of an charmingly befuddled archaeologist finding his way off the screen and into the real world, we get this skank.
Life is weird like that sometimes -- you hang around long enough and you start to see the airplane flying from left to right instead of imagining someone taking a white magic marker and dragging it across the sky. Characters come to life. You step into the books you read, the music you listen to, or the daydreams that fill the moments of an otherwise lackluster corporate day.
So before I start wanting Bolivian Marching Powder -- here are this weeks risers and fallers and the buzz as it looks from here.
The Washington Capitals It's one thing to lose a game 7. Pucks bounce where you don't expect them to, referees wave off goals on technicalities -- these are all reasons you why don't really want to play a seven-game series all the way to the end. But for the Caps to go into the playoffs with the best record in the league and one of the hottest players in the entire sport who leads them to a 3-1 series lead and then lose the next four games in a row to anovermatched Montreal team is just redonkulous. Seriously, who do you think you are -- the Dallas Mavericks?
 
Thai
Cinema
 
As much as I'd like to believe that I'm a fan of foreign films, the truth of the matter is that I only really know so much about them. There are so many countries that make movies, and each has it's own unique cultural touch. Whether it be Bollywood or Hong Kong, there's tons of fascinating things to discover. Unfortunately when you're browsing through shelves at video stores or the little stacks of DVDs you find at Oriental Supermarkets what you don't know usually ends up hurting you. Truth is, half the time I just end up choosing the DVD with the most interesting cover art.

However, Since getting Netflix I've been able to browse and search a little more effectively -- and it's gotten me on this increasingly interesting tangent involving movies made in Thailand. I'll fully admit that I came in through the martial arts door with Tony Jaa, (who is just a complete badass), but there's actually a lot more going on there than I first realized -- and it's been a pretty cool experience to see what's there.

I'm largely sticking to action titles at this point -- but what I'm finding is that aside from the inherent awesomeness of Muay-Thai as a fighting style -- there's also sort of a catty, ridiculous sense of humor that seems to be a part of a lot of their films.

For example, apparently there's this whole thing going on in Thailand where even though transgenders and overly effeminate gay men (collectively known as "Kathoey") are generally accepted in their day to day culture -- they still frequently turn up in their movies as villains. Like the other night while I was watching this cheeky rip-off of Charlie's Angels called Chai Lai (Dangerous Flowers) which seemed pretty straightforward and fun at first, but then just went out the window faaabulous in the second half and became this bizarre series of Boss Battles between these Thai hottie crime fighters and what seemed to be just wave after wave of drag queens. No real warning, not much setup -- just one minute it's a normal cop film with girls and the next it was as if RuPaul had declared war on Thailand. I'm still laughing just thinking about it.
 
Magic 8 Ball:
The Motion Picture
Perhaps you've already heard the news that Paramount Pictures has started pre-production work on a movie based on this kids toy. But what you might not know is that they're doing the world a favor. Apparently the original rights to this piece of crap were originally owned by the now gone Universal Pictures -- who wanted to make a romantic comedy out of it. Can you imagine just how awful that would be? How utterly Kate Hudson Katherine Heigl Jennifer fucking Aniston horrible something like that even existing would say about us as a society? Like if you looked at it your face would melt. What I mean is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor -- real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!!

Well fear not. Because Paramount Pictures has thankfully scrapped this whole preposterous romantic comedy idea nonsense
..in order to make a National Treasure styled action film about it instead.
 
The War
on Terror
I'm not trying to knock the efforts of the men and women who are putting their lives at risk in order to find and stop the threat of terror attacks by extremist groups -- but am I understanding this right? Terrorists have enough free time to watch South Park on a regular basis? Look, I'm not trying to tell you guys how to do your jobs, but I'm sorta thinking that there can't really be that many homes in Afghanistan who's cable package includes a subscription to Comedy Central. You want to find Osama Bin Laden? Screw the CIA, get Comcast on the phone. How hard is this?
 
The
Kentucky
Derby
The Derby is this weekend. Essentially it's the only two or three hours of horse racing that most of us ever pay attention to all year unless we're compulsive gamblers or just really into horses. I grew up in Colorado -- where tons of people are really, really, really into horses and although I enjoy the occasional horse ride or memory about that one scene in that old movie Private School where Betsey Russel rides a horse topless in slow motion for some reason or another that I didn't really care about -- horse racing isn't really that exciting to me. And yet, I watch the derby every year -- and for the life of me I don't really know why. NBC never shows the infield partying (which is rumored to be epic) instead choosing to focus on the rich ladies in hats and the animals themselves -- it's actually a really boring thing to watch on TV, until the race starts. Maybe it's the announcer guy screaming his head off, or just the raw power of the animals thundering down the track (which is pretty cool), but then the next time a horse race comes on TV I'll tune in for like a second and then realize I really don't care and switch to something else. Is it just the hype? What makes me watch this?
 
Guitar Video
Awesomeness
Rebuttal
One of my favorite things on the web is Viral Video Film School. It's a weekly show that examines the bizarre trends that exists on video sites like Youtube to see if there's any sort of underlying explanation for why that site can be so addicting. Well as I've written many times about on this site, I'm no stranger to that addiction -- hell, I've even been contributing to it a little lately myself. So lets see if Brett Erlich has any feelings about all the friggin' guitarists on YouTube?
Well whaddaya know, he does!

[Listening to:  Kelis - "Young, Fresh, n' New" ]


Thursday, April 29

That's My Jam: The Massholes of London

Here's an interesting question: What if an artist that you can't stand comes out with a song that you actually kinda like?
For example, I'm hearing more and more people falling victim to that new Miley Cyrus "Party in the USA" track, despite the fact that they're fully aware that it's Miley friggin' Cyrus.
Kind of the same way everybody drank the Kool-Aid and started falling all over
themselves when Kid Rock came out with that "All Summer Long" piece of crap.
See, pop music doesn't care if you don't like it at first. Pop songs don't care if you get sick of them after they get overplayed to death. Pop music is basically that Barbied-out chick at the club with the revealing clothes that knows that eventually you'll be back. She saw you lookin' when she first came in the room -- and even if you say out loud that you're not into that type of girl or you couldn't stand the whiny sound of her voice, she knows you'll buy her that drink if she asks you to.

Hate yourself for it later -- but if that cute girl with the caramel-colored skin and the pretty eyes that you're into suddenly gives you a smile and motions for you to come join her on the dance floor and the DJ puts on Lady effing Gaga, what are you really going to do?

My boy Grover and I once had a long discussion about a blog post we wanted to write together called "Songs I have pretended to like for women." Luckily, both of us are smart enough not to actually go through with writing it,
But trust me ladies -- a lot of men out there have been faking it for years.
It's one of the things I truly loved about j -- because even though we had similar headbanging music tastes, both of us were still occasionally vulnerable at times to the lures of top 40 sounds. But whenever one of us found out about it the results were an instant lifetime of shit-talking. It could be just that one song on your iPod, or that CD that you burned a copy of once 5 years ago from your ex sister-in-law that you never really listen to anymore -- but if one of us discovered it in your possession, it was on like the break of dawn.
I miss that.
Of course, as I've said many times -- the thing about pop music is that even at it's most cloying, it's built to be temporary. Pop songs eventually go away to make room for the next new thing.

Rock and Roll is a little more tricky. Annoying rock song that find their way into everybody's ears become the very worst things of all -- anthems. And classic rock anthems get played on classic rock stations where nothing ever, ever goes away.

But even worse, that song will then become one of those tunes a dance DJ will keep in his pocket for that time in the night when he changes things up and goes for a block of rock tunes. It ends up on movie soundtracks, gets played whenever your favorite team takes the field, and surely will be sung by this years "sorta rocker guy" on American Idol.

Hell, if it's classic enough you might get to hear it when you open up one of those greeting cards with the little speaker hidden inside.
Happy birthday Dan, it's a hallmark card that plays "Sweet Home Alabama."
..Over and over and over and over and over and over again.
Music snobs like me don't get to pick classic songs. We're too picky, and therefore can't really be trusted. Basically by our very nature -- music snobs sometimes get so caught up in trying to uphold the standards of what they think "good music" is that they sorta lose sight of what "good time music" is really all about.
But here's the thing -- even the worst music snob knows a truly great song when he hears it.
True classic songs are that way for a reason. Sure they get played to death and you can get sick of them -- but when a tune's truly got the goods, there's no way to deny it.

This is what makes that Kid Rock song so terrible. "Werewolves of London" already was one of those tunes. A unique moment of pop catchiness and smoky pool-hall attitude from an artist who wasn't really about either of those things at all, but came out with this perfect little groove anyways. But to intertwine it with that Lynrd Skynrd riff and then blather all over it the way Kid Rock does makes a lot of people forget Warren Zevon ever wrote that song in the first place.

I get that Kid Rock says he was paying tribute to some tunes he liked. But when you get right down to it, what we've got happening now is that those two songs are paying Kid Rock's rent. As if Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zandt's whole reason for writing "Sweet Home Alabama" was to keep a has-been white trash rapper in a wife beater shirt relevant for a few more years.

Plus (and this is perhaps the worst part of all) whenever I hear the first few notes of the song being played on the radio or in the club, I actually think (hope) it is "Werewolves of London" -- only to be instantly disappointed once the actual truth is revealed.

But here's the thing. As much as all of this conjecture further confirms and solidifies my long-standing belief that Kid Rock fucking sucks, the possibility (no matter how slim) will always exist that he will someday come out with a song that I actually kind of dig, which will not only throw my whole value system into question -- but will then actually make me out of be some sort of hypocrite.

Actually here's a better example -- in the early 90's rock music was sorta in a bad place overall, largely because the vast majority of it had become a bloated parody of it's own former self. Rock acts had become little more than costumed dancers, guitar solos were endless streams of pointless noodling, and as long as you were pretty enough to get on MTV you could have a hit record without really trying.

Not to mention the fact that Grunge was starting to dig in it's heels as a movement, and was gaining ground as the alternative to all of this posing and pretension.

Somewhere in the midst of all this building turmoil, a band broke out of Massachusetts and picked up a quick amount of buzz despite representing so many of the qualities that were making people really sick and tired of rock and roll in the first place.
That band was called Extreme.
Their first real exposure came (natch) via MTV, where a song called "Get the Funk Out" slipped into heavy rotation. The song itself was an encyclopedia of bad rap-metal cliches, and the video featured the lead singer essentially dressed up like the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But that wasn't all. In addition to all this, Extreme featured a guy named Nuno Bettencourt on guitar -- a true badass of a shredder who's talent in many ways eclipsed the band, but who's style and look fit them perfectly. The guy was a real player with chops and range, and even as annoying and copycat as his bands music was -- I was pulled right in.
Remember what I was saying the other day about guitars being sort of like the boobs of music for
me? How I tended to notice guitars first even if I truly desire to connect with music on a deeper level?
Extreme was basically a girl with zero personality but an incredible rack.
The guitar magazines adored Bettencourt for his flash and his knowledge, and for a while he seemed to be everywhere -- offering lessons, peddling his signature Washburn guitar (which I actually played for a while -- great little axe), and even doing backing track work for artists like Janet Jackson, Robert Palmer, BB Mak, and Toni Braxton.

Essentially the guy was all over the place, especially in the kind of media that I tended to take in. And even though I was sorta meh on Extreme the band, they weren't the worst thing in the world, and you could even sorta get used to them in a "I like the guitar solos more than I like the songs" kind of way.
Then this happened.
Now I know there's a bunch of you out there who are all like, "Oh I love that song" -- which is fine, this was a big hit. But I hate it.

I Hate, hate, hate this song. Cloying, whiny, overplayed to the point of torture on the radio -- not to mention the fact that I worked for a few years as a sound guy for a band that played this song every night, partially because the Butterly's could do the vocal harmonies perfectly, but mostly because of how popular it was.
Seriously, on the setlists they'd put out before every show this song was called "Panty Dropper."
Plus, like a lot of crossover hits do, the success of this tune reduced the band from whatever they were before to this one song. So the next thing they put out, a tune called "Hole Hearted" was basically *another* acoustic love song -- and the next thing you know this is all the band was about.

A few years later, after failing to find a way to recreate that success they fell apart and broke up. The story might have ended there (save for the fact that "More than Words" still gets played on the radio) -- but somehow the members of Extreme weren't satisfied with just ruining their own careers -- and they eventually started showing up everywhere. Singer Gary Cherone joined Van Halen for a short, horrible time, the band's original drummer got into artist management and unleashed the crappiness of Godsmack onto the world, and Bettencourt landed a gig as the guitarist in Rhianna's touring band -- which seemed like a good fit for him.

All of which was fine for me, as I had written off Extreme as a "crappy" a long time ago and was happy not to think of them ever again.
But then this happened.
Why I clicked on this video in the first place it's hard to say. When I first heard Extreme was getting back together I pictured them playing State Fairs or something. But there had been a time when I had a lot of love for their guitar player, and the website I found this on talked it up a lot. But you know what? This is a pretty cool little rock song. Certainly nothing earth-shattering, nothing that hasn't been done before -- but I dig the riff, I love the guitar solo -- and I was actually grinning at the whole premise of the video.
Or at least I was until they trotted out the pregnant chick wearing the bikini.
Look honey, I'm happy for you. I wish you and your child the happiest of futures -- but get the hell out of my music video, ok?

It's funny too -- because as cliche as the whole clip is -- it's (at least in my opinion) a fun little ride in the beginning with the kids pretending to drive, and the whole "if I knew then what I knew now" gag -- but then, almost like clockwork the Bahhston attitude comes out in the second half of the clip and suddenly there's half naked pregnant women, old ladies flipping us off, biker guys with huge beards, American flags everywhere, and a guy arguing with the cops who've come to shut down his house party who eventually gets roughed up and carted off to jail while all of his Masshole friends stand by and do nothing.
"Fackin' Staties shutting down Ow-ah pahhty. Well,
isn’t that FACKIN’ CONVENIENT? Yankees Suck!"
..But I digress.

These things happen. Your favorite authors will write books you don't like. Actors you adore will show up in romantic comedies. Bands will sell out. But what happens when you suddenly find yourselves in a place where someone you thought had let you down turns around and does something you really dig?

It's easy to sit back and shoot arrows at artists and performers. As a media consumer, your only real obligation is to have an opinion about things. Whether you like something or not is a matter of personal tastes and emotional resonance.
For example, I really like big dumb rock songs with killer guitar solos in them that are about chasing girls.
I just wasn't expecting to hear one from a bunch of whiny sellouts who were famous for writing a bunch of power-ballads.
Has this ever happened to you? Where you've come to a point where you're convinced that you really can't stand a given artist or performer, only to have them sort of sneak up and put out something that you really, really dig? It's an odd thing to go through, wondering how someone you dismissed could be capable of making something that in it's own way finds it's way to make you smile.
So, who are some of yours?

[Listening to:  Shugo Tokamaru - "La La Radio" ]


Wednesday, April 28

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Day

"Guitars are sort of like the boobs of music for me. I tend to see them first, but I'm actually more interested in your eyes."

[Listening to:  Shivaree - "Thundercats" ]


Tuesday, April 27

Dyslexic Blasphemy

So the other day I was at a doctor's office filling out paperwork -- and I happened to glance over at the little table next to the chair I'm sitting in and caught sight of this:
And I swear to Stacy Dash -- the very first thought that jumped into my mind was:
"Ronnie James Dio wrote a book?"


[Listening to:  Peeping Tom (feat. Amon Tobin) - "Don't Even Trip" ]


Monday, April 26

The Biggest Aristotle

Summer's right around the corner, which means the sun will be out, the surf will be warm, and the beaches will be open. -- but like a lot of people out there, sometimes it's not the most comfortable thing in the world to step out on the shore after you've been storing food in your belly all winter.

Even if all you really wanted to do is get in the water and enjoy yourself, in today's world where everyone apparently has nothing better to do than pilates or preacher curls all day long -- it's tough to be the one who doesn't look utterly perfect in a bathing suit.
I know you guys think this physique is the result of hours on end at the gym
-- but the truth of the matter is that I could probably stand to lose a few.
Trouble is -- it's really hard to find an effective diet plan that's easy to stick with. Life gets stressful, and things tend to happen that you don't always expect -- which can lead to binge eating, falling off the wagon, and night after night filled with the empty calories of booze.
So what's a guy to do?
Luckily, I think I've finally found the answer. It's a new diet so simple that anyone can understand and stay with it. No counting points, no calorie journals, no restricted menus or expensive medications. Just simple, natural, common sense mixed with some motivated self-discipline and a healthy awareness of the processed food temptations and habitual risks of your current daily routine.
Here's how it works:
Every day, wake up in the morning and enjoy a glass of water. Then when lunchtime rolls around, it's time for another glass of water.
Then when your day is done you can enjoy a sensible, full-flavored dinner if,
and only if you hear someone reference early '90's rappers
The Fu-Schnickens.
The way I figure it, despite having a great vibe and a decent string of popular songs to their name -- most people these days seem to have trouble remembering the exact name of this particular Fu Tang Clan -- despite the fact that Shaquille O'Neal used to sit in and do a verse with them every now and then, and find it much easier just to call them "You know, those guys that sorta sounded like Das EFX?"

Sticking to this plan is guaranteed to not only to radically cut your daily calorie intake and shed pounds from even the toughest of trouble areas, but it will also give you a new appreciation not only for the unique and flavors of the food you eat, but it will also bring a new significance and importance to dinnertime, one that perhaps has gotten lost in our modern, busy world.

So take the challenge now. Get yourself a good water drinking glass, start spending your free time looking for hot new beach fashions to wear, and prick up your ears so you won't miss a single opportunity to take full advantage of the Fu Schnickens revolution.
Remember, all you have to do is hear their name -- then it's time to get down.

Well whaddaya know, there's one now.
..Bon Appetit, fatty.

[Listening to:  Lostprophets - "Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja" ]


Sunday, April 25

Sunday Shred: Back to Basics

Sometimes you want to break a great song down to its component parts -- learn every note, understand every nuance and theme, try and figure out where the songwriter was coming from and what it is that so often makes the simplest tunes the best ones.
And sometimes you just want to crank it up to 11.

[Listening to:  Stevie Wonder - "Contusion" ]


Friday, April 23

The Friday Hot Sheet

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit
with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity."

                              - Albert Einstein
What makes a week feel long? I mean when you get right down to it -- 7 days is still only 7 days. The actual length of a week is never really any different -- so why is it that sometimes you look back over your shoulder and can't even remember a hint of what Monday was like? For example, I was all over the place this week. Meetings, deadlines, international phone calls, little league games, a teacher conference, homework to catch up on, dogs to walk, meals to cook, apartments to clean up. So yeah -- it has felt like a long week. Truth be told, it's felt like a lot of long weeks lately. It's hard to even put it all into words, which perhaps has been part of the problem.
But in the end I guess there's really nothing you can do about it: the clock just keeps on moving.
All that being said -- I'd much rather have a chance to sit with that pretty girl than ever have my hand on the stove again the way it has been lately.
So before the hourglass runs out and I have to start back at it again -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here..
The NFL Draft   My son had a little league game last night, so I basically missed the first part of the draft. Luckily my friends on twitter were primed and ready following my recent pre-draft rant to stick it to me if the Jaguars did decide to go ahead and pick Tim Tebow, only to have the thing go from bad to nightmarish when Broncos head coach Josh McDumbass traded away half the teams future picks to jump up and make sure that Tim Tebow didn't miss the first round. I still don't even know what to think. The guy who's been the bane of my football existence for years is now about a half-step away from being the leader of my team. Worse yet, their first game is against the Jaguars -- which means I'll get the chance to see the thousands of suddenly newly converted Broncos fans first hand as they cheer for the backup quarterback on the OPPOSING TEAM sit on the bench and make small talk with the punter. I mean, I guess I'm just gonna have to suck it up and start accepting it -- my team is my team, but honestly, it's like drinking diet Jagermeister. What's the friggin point?
 
Netflix    For what seems like years I was a member of the Blockbuster video service that was sorta like Netflix. It was sorta cool at first to get movies in the mail, watch them, and then take them to Blockbuster to trade them in for another one -- but eventually it turned into this process where they'd mail me a movie, I'd open it up -- realize I had already seen it on cable or didn't really want to watch it that week, and I'd just put it back in the mail that afternoon. Part of the problem was that somehow Blockbusters selection was severely lacking (especially compared to the choices I now have with Netflix), but that the lack of on-demand options meant I had to keep waiting for something good to come along. So about two weeks ago I dived into Netflix, and once I got it working on my TV I've been hooked to it. It's a much deeper site with a much better selection of bad movies just the way I like 'em, and it's a billion times easier to access. I know everyone else is already on this, so I feel like a dope for waiting so long to jump on board -- but better late than never, right?
 
HBO
Zone
Recently after a shakeup of the channel listings on my cable as a result of the addition of a bunch of HD channels, I happened across a bunch of extra HBO and Cinemax channels that I sorta knew I had access to but had never really bothered to check out. One of these is inexplicably called HBO Zone -- and while I'm sure it has an actual purpose or specified genre in mind when it was created, the important thing to know is that this is the place where HBO hides all of it's horrible softcore porn. Basically it's hour after hour of movies with plots(!?) that inevitably lead to unintentionally hilarious sequences of naked white people writhing around not having sex while moaning as if they were.

Like a lot of guys my age, it was a pretty regular ritual when I was younger to try and sneak downstairs to watch Skinemax after 11pm on weekends -- where you'd hang on through the bazillion sequels of Emanuelle just so you can see some hot European boobs, but this -- this is something else entirely. Because for whatever reason, the people who are making these movies have decided that what was really lacking from softcore porn over the years was (wait for it) ..computer animation.

I discovered this rather interesting artistic choice when I happened across a little gem of a movie called (I'm not making this up) Cleavagefield -- which is a slightly modified retelling of the recent shaky-cam horror flick where a deadly sea monster attacks Manhattan -- except in this version, a giant green CGI dinosaur stalks through the Valley looking into various apartment building windows where he can watch people getting it on. There was also some subplot about the monster chasing a group of strippers across the city for some reason -- but by that point I was so lost in laughter that it's hard to even remember why.

Now for those of you artless bastards who haven't yet been swayed by the intricacies of this plot or the promise of cutting edge special effects enough to want to rush out and immediately find this movie -- lets not forget about the porn stars who are participating in this thing who aren't getting to have sex in it. There's something really kind of weird about it -- almost like getting a bunch of major league baseball players together for a game of wiffle ball -- and you can kinda tell that the skanks don't quite like it. I mean, if you've seen mainstream porn these days you know it's gotten to a really unlikable place full of spitting and drool and howling frenzied action that doesn't so much look like intimacy as much as it makes you wonder if the quality of meth they sell in Los Angeles is really that much better than what the people on Intervention get to play with. And yet, here those same people are -- not getting to do ANY of those things. I'm sure the way it actually works is that they film one take where they're going at it for real and another where they're not -- but really, what must that be like?
 
The LosersThe Losers opens this weekend -- and while the story is nothing that we haven't seen before -- it does feature ultra hottie crush object Zoe Saldana as a character named "Who cares she strips down to her lingerie in it." I also find it sort of amusing also that even though the title comes from an old DC comic, the cast features the guy who didn't get famous from Watchmen, The guy who should be ridiculously famous because of The Wire, and the dude who's career never really took off despite being in both of the Fantastic 4 movies. Will it be fun? Sure -- who doesn't love shit blowing up? But how many of us are racing to see this one tomorrow? Probably not enough to make these guys winners just yet.
 
Tiger WoodsShowed up at the Masters tournament a few weeks back and had a respectable finish, but learned that it's gonna take more than that to escape the shadow of his scandal. And yet, felt good enough about the whole thing to make yet another bad decision when it was reported that he was spotted "rocking out" at a Nickelback concert in Orlando earlier this week. Nickelback, Tiger? Really? Porn Stars and Waffle House waitresses I can eventually forgive. But Nickelback? And you went backstage too? You know what -- Screw Elin's pain. I'm suing you for alimony now. And I want HALF!
 
Iron
Man 2
I know it's getting all the hype and advertising we can possibly stand and then some, but lets not forget that it's a sequel, and those don't always turn out the way we would like them to be. Besides, I hear they've taken some liberties with the plotline, and judging from what I can see in this advance clip -- the changes they made aren't really up my alley at all.
See what you think:

[Listening to:  MeShell Ndegeocello - "Virgo" ]


Thursday, April 22

That's My Jam: My Work is Clean

Back in my roadie days I worked a show at the Milk Bar headlined by iconic punk rockers Fugazi. It was a particularly memorable gig for me (after soundcheck an impromptu jam broke out featuring me on guitar while the other band members switched instruments and goofed around, and this was all before I was charged with finding the guys in the band a suitable vegan restaurant at the Landing to have dinner at -- which, if you've ever been to the Jacksonville Landing you know isn't the easiest thing to find) -- but the reason I bring this up is because in addition to helping unload their gear and setting up the stage, I was the guy who ran lights for the show that night.

We had a fairly standard stage setup for lights at that club -- Footlights and spots so you could see the performers faces flanked on each side by a couple of banks of par cans that we filtered through colored gels for effect. Unless the performers requested something special we usually stuck to red, blue, and green. The spotlights were fitted with amber gels so they weren't so harsh on the eyes of the people on stage -- and everything fed back to a tiny little control board in the back with faders on it that we used to flash between "scenes."
Nothing really special at all when you think about it.
Anyways, I forget who opened for Fugazi that night (probably some local act) but during their set their lighting guy started flashing the lights, blinking the reds and fading back and forth between the greens and the blues. Pretty standard stuff, the kind of thing most people hardly notice at a small club concert like this.

But almost the minute the lights started flashing -- Fugazi's front of house engineer ran over to us and began freaking out about the gels. "What's with all these glam rock light effects, didn't you get the rider?"
Turns out, Fugazi wouldn't play stages with colored lights.
All they want is plain white spotlights on the stage that turned on and off. No flashing, no blinking, none of that at all.

Somehow this message hadn't gotten to the promoter, so during the next stage changeover we spent what seemed an inordinate amount of time removing gels from all the lights around the stage.

Anyways, the reason I bring all this up is that although Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins come across as very different guys in person -- it's this same bare bones spirit that seems to infect both of them when it comes to creating.

Henry Rollins tends to just throw stuff out as it is. If you listen to his albums close, his voice rarely has any reverb, delay, or compression added to it. He's never claimed to be the worlds greatest singer by any means -- but for a guy who seems so focused and driven about details and disciplined thinking -- his music has always contained more than it's fair share of flubs and shaky transitions in the vocal lines.
When he was the frontman for Black Flag, a certain amount of sloppiness as a result of intensity was
an appropriate middle finger to all the perfectly produced pop records that were coming out a the time.
But with the Rollins Band -- especially this iteration of it featuring guitarist Chris Haskett (who would go on to tour with David Bowie) and bassist Melvin Gibbs (a frequent collaborator with Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid) -- Henry Rollins "it is what it is" approach to his singing always seemed a little out of place to me.
And yet, that's kinda what I like about it.
Rollins has always been more of a free-form singer, preferring to adapt his spoken word cadence to the rhythms of the band while weaving his ideas over the top of whatever foundation the music sets up for him. It doesn't always work (at least for me) -- but when it clicks the right way it creates the kind of groove that sort of gets into your head and stays there in a good way -- like marching music for getting through days that aren't always easy or clear to navigate.

It's almost as if the contrast of the imperfections of his vocal styles versus the tightness of the band makes the whole thing feel more personal somehow. Like you're privy to some internal monologue. Getting a look behind the eyes of someone who's focus is wound so tight that you don't know if it's a good thing or not.
Kinda like the way most people seem to view Rollins himself
But more than that -- Come in and Burn is one of those CD's I'll put on and play along with on guitar cover to cover. I can only imagine how much fun some of these tunes are to play on stage, especially with someone as intense as Hank leading the charge.
See what you think -- Here's Starve

[Listening to:  Helmet - "Like I Care" ]


Wednesday, April 21

Bad Donkeys, No Donut

Before I start in on this discussion -- I wanted to note that after a recent slew of sports-heavy Friday Hot Sheets, I got a text from my girl Hana informing me that there was way too much sports and not enough boobs on my blog lately (a statement I wholeheartedly agree with) and that I should fix it immediately.
So with that in mind, let's talk NFL draft.
First off, the NFL Draft is the worst thing ESPN has ever done to humanity. By definition, any process made up of guys in suits sitting around for three days waiting to say some other guys name every 15 minutes should not be on TV. Don't let any sports fan, no matter how football obsessed they claim to be try to tell you that the draft is in any way interesting. It's boring. It always has been boring. It always will be boring. It's one of those things that's infinitely better when alcohol's involved -- and even that might be at risk this year since it's going to be broadcast on a weekday.
Simply put, the NFL Draft is Valentines Day for sports geeks.
There's months of buildup, it means next to nothing concrete when it happens, nothing's really different the day after it's over -- and yet we expect for everyone else to understand importance and allow us to spend several hours, if not all day long basking in it. It's a non-event that is hyped beyond belief because fans are so starved for games that they'll take anything they can get.

See, once upon a time ESPN happened upon this unique situation -- an NFL event that the networks didn't want. One that allowed for multi-faceted coverage, endless hype, and played directly to their central demographic. Not to mention the fact that broadcasting it every year built up the kind of equity with the league that eventually enabled them to be a part of live game coverage like they always wanted.

Of course, back in the day the draft took place on a weekend -- where you could either go to a sports bar and make a party event out of it, or even watch parts of it at home and then step out for a few hours and run errands and play with your kids and come back and catch up on whatever you missed (if you even really cared). Now it's going to be on during prime time -- right up against popular network shows, all but taunting arguments and tension in the houses where it might get watched. And for what? to find out that the two guys we know are going #1 and #2 will go first and second? Which is to say nothing of all the added tension that has come this time because of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow (who if you follow this blog even casually you know I'm utterly sick of hearing about how great he is) -- and where he will end up.

The coverage of this question has dominated sports news and opinion outlets for as long as I can remember -- especially here in Jacksonville, where the fawning hero worship of Tebow is fever-pitched not only because of his local ties (he played high school ball here before leading this town's favorite college team to championship prominence) but also because of the Jacksonville Jaguars glaring offensive woes, most of which can be traced back to lackluster quarterback play.

So of course local fans are going crazy over the idea that the Jags will get Tebow who will bless this city once again with his magical God-anointed touch and finally bring us to sanctified glory over all those sinners in Pittsburgh.
Problem is, the Jags apparently don't want him.
See, this is why the draft should be hated. Because nowhere else in the year is it more evident that teams don't give a crap what fans want. The draft is really all about finding guys who can run a certain speed or bench press a certain amount of weight. Teams want you to buy tickets, jerseys, and officially licensed video games -- but they really don't care what you want to see them do in order to help their own chances to win. They'll take some guy you've never heard of to play a position they've already got 5 guys playing, which means he'll sit on the bench for a few years before getting shipped off to Houston.

The Jaguars have desperate defensive needs, both on their line and in the secondary, not to mention holes on their offensive line. They have the 10th pick, which guarantees them a quality player regardless of position -- so it would be simple to think they'd take this opportunity to fill one of those holes and better their chances to win games next season.
And yet most sources say they'll take a running back like CJ Spiller, who they don't really need at all.
It's weird -- I'm not really a Jaguars fan at all. I grew up loving the Denver Broncos and I stick by them year after disappointing year -- but I live here. The Jaguars are the local sports story. And even if I don't have an allegiance to them, it's hard not to kind of want them to do good. Or perhaps better put -- as a football fan, it's sorta baffling as to the reason why they can't ever seem to do any better than 8-8 or 9-7 every year.

It's like having a friend who can't get a date and is always whining about it. You want him to get past it so he can be happy and live his life, but you can't really do anything but offer encouragement and maybe suggest things he might do to better his chances of meeting someone (like you're some kind or expert or something) -- but it's not like you can do the talking for him or anything.

Would I like to see the Jaguars win? Honestly I couldn't care either way -- but it's sort of frustrating to see them flail around apparently without any clue every year just because they won't pay big-money free agents or take chances on name guys with possible character issues. It doesn't really seem like it's that hard to find quality guys floating around if you're willing to pay them and deal with a few press headaches here and there as long as they are producing.

Personally, I would love to be able to go to the Landing or some sports bar and just sit back and watch the wind go out of the room when that pick comes up and they don't take Tebow, but there's still a chance they might take him in the later rounds if he's available.
But one thing I do know -- If Jacksonville does pick him, even if it's with the
very last pick of the very last round, this town will become utterly insufferable.
If you think you're tired of him on your TV with his mom telling women not
to get an abortion, just wait until he starts asking you to go buy a Chevrolet.
Basically put, if I ever want to be able to read the paper or listen to sports talk radio ever again without having to hear about it every time this guy blinks, one of the other 31 teams needs to take him.

The popular talk says that Minnesota or New England are interested. There's even rumors that Buffalo might grab him in the first round with the 9th pick (which is ridiculous, but still would be my preferred scenario -- not only because it would stick it in the eye of all these annoying Jag/Gator fans waiting with baited breath for him to be available for the tenth pick, but also because Buffalo hardly ever gets coverage from anyone, which means St. Tim would all but disappear from the radar).

If this happens, all will be fine -- But there's an even darker scenario on the horizon. One that's starting to pick up momentum as the draft gets closer and closer.
My Broncos apparently love the guy.
Which poses an interesting question -- which would be worse? Tim Tebow confirming the wants and desires of every self-righteous a-hole in the city I live in and extending what has already been an annoying period of unwarranted hero-worship, or dude putting on the uniform of my favorite team -- surely bringing with him scores of bandwagon ex-Gator fans into my life as newly converted Broncos fans and further enabling knowitall assmunch head coach Josh McDaniels to find new ways to screw up our playoff chances?
If Tebow becomes a Jaguar, I'll have to continue to endure him and his fans.
But if he becomes a Bronco -- I'll have to ..cheer for him?
So of course I'll end up watching. Soaking up three days of Chris Bermans awful puns, Mel Kiper's hairdo yelling stats at me, and guys talking on the phone just so I can know whether or not this is going to happen and affect my life somewhere in the 6 months to three years from now.
Pointless. And yet hypnotically fascinating to me.
Thanks a lot, ESPN.

[Listening to:  Erykah Badu - "Window Seat" ]


Tuesday, April 20

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Day

"I would probably snort lines of Cinnamon Toast Crunch if I thought I could survive it."

[Listening to:  Roy Ayers - "We Live In Brooklyn Baby" ]


Monday, April 19

Feeling Minnesota

I just wish you could have waited for me the way that I was waiting for you.

[Listening to:  VAST - "Pretty When You Cry" ]


Related Posts with Thumbnails