Posts Tagged television

The Call Of Hulu

27 September 2019

Television in San Francisco was just background noise. Comedy Central in the evenings while I was doing something in the other room. Not consciously, but I assume to make the place feel less lonely. Didn’t Palahniuk have something clever about that in Lullaby, about how we’re all scared of silence?

I thought that my lack of attention to television in those years while everyone else was fawning over “Lost” and “Orange Is The New Black” made me a better person. I was a musician. A creative. I didn’t have time for such pedestrian pursuits. But without a drive to keep going, I succumbed, and these days, television is the new band practice.

Oddly, it started in Hawaii. You can only spend so much time at the beach. And without much else to do there, I got turned onto Netflix, Amazon Prime, and later Hulu. And like all of you, I’ve now got lengthy queues in each that I’ll never get through. Shows have gotten better, but not enough that the ol’ boob tube doesn’t still feel like a pathetic recreation. I can’t shake the feeling I should be reading more and creating more. People used to say they had too many books to read or things to do or friends to catch up with. Now it’s they have too much in their queue and aren’t currently accepting any more recommendations.

And now Disney, NBC, CBS, and others are fleeing the big three and trying to start their own thing? Who wants the cost of more separate services and the hassle of maintaining more logins? I predict the upstart services will ultimately still get aggregated under a larger umbrella service for exactly that reason, which essentially amounts to the √† la carte cable pricing people have wanted forever. Didn’t they used to say that model leaves less-popular content producers (e.g. educational programming) out in the cold?

I’m now reminded of something else from Lullaby, about how our constant attention to distracting screens withers our imagination. Johnny Marr said something similar on his book tour a couple years ago, about how he’s glad smart phones weren’t around when he was young. All that idle time waiting for a bus left his mind free to try to entertain itself, to create, to come up with the ideas that would become the music of The Smiths. That’s worth considering.

Anyway, on to the other kind of “show.” Live music, that is. I attended a couple of them recently that got me thinking. Giuda has a huge following and must be among the best on the planet at what they do. Jail Weddings is incredible live — as good as any band I’ve seen in a club setting. But here’s the thing… both were killer shows, but they were also relative ghost towns. Maybe I’ve been out of it too long. I’m trying to remember that things happen. Poor promotion, competing shows, bad luck. Could have just been flukes that I caught these shows back-to-back. But it left me uneasy with a harsh reality: being in a band these days ain’t gonna be like it was.

Maybe people have gotten more “virtual” even in just these last few years. I’ve heard my promoter friends complain that no one comes out anymore. They’d rather stay home and watch Netflix in their jammies (a pastime I’ve grown accustomed to myself, if I’m being honest). It’s just harder to get people out of their houses and away from their screens, I guess. I feel it, too.

And then consider that This Charming Band had a built-in tribute/80s/Moz audience. The Rumble Strippers had the built-in rockabilly scene. Not to at all minimize the hustling we did in both cases to get good shows and big crowds, but we had some clear advantages. People had reasons to attend beyond just us. So with all that in mind, not having a leg up like that but instead just forging your own path and doing your own thing? Well, good luck. I’d want my next music project to be more like that and free from the trappings of catty scenes, but that seems like assurance that it’ll be playing empty rooms on weeknights. That might be OK, but it’s not what I’m used to and certainly not something to look forward to. I’m not sure I have the same energy for it anymore, though I suppose my motivations are different now. Back then, I think I was more interested in impressing people. As I mentioned a while back, I feel like these days I have less to say and less interest in who hears it. Maybe that means I should get into the recording side of things rather than hustling to fill venues? More rumination needed.

On a side note, I failed to follow my own recent advice about watching openers, and I missed the chance to see Hammered Satin with Giuda. Next time, for sure! At least I got out of the house and showed up for these bands, though. It was good for them and good for me. But more of a feat than it used to be.

“What did we do before we made facial expressions with punctuation? Oh yeah, we played in the sun.”

— Unknown

I don’t think Buddy Holly’s much of a waiter.

31 December 2012

You remember in 1994 when John Travolta appeared as hip gangster hitman “Vincent Vega” in Pulp Fiction?  Remember how it revitalized his career, bringing him back to the spotlight and letting us begin to believe him as something more than a pretty face who could dance?  Suddenly, he was able to pass as dark, quirky, and potentially even a badass in the right light (see Get Shorty, Face/Off, Michael, etc.).  It took something special though.  Not just the role, but the overall vibe of the movie.  It took the class and edge that directors like Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and the Coen Brothers bring to their features.  It’s not like Travolta didn’t have it in him all along — clearly he did.  But he needed the right opportunity.

Inspired by a conversation earlier this evening, I present my picks for actors that I believe deserve a John-Travolta-in-Pulp-Fiction style career resurgence.  Someone give these guys a chance to reinvent themselves and return to the spotlight!  I believe they’ve got it in them!

  1. Paul Hogan
    Yes, Crocodile Dundee himself.  I realize that maybe he was more of a 1980’s curiosity and one-trick pony, but he was charming as hell.  And though he must be way up there now (in his 70’s?), I feel like he’s got potential as a charming but menacing Bond villain or mob boss.  Someone get on that.  Time’s a-wastin’!
  2. Erik Estrada
    My love for Erik Estrada can be traced back to CHiPs and was in fact the subject of my very first blog post on MySpace many years ago.  I was briefly hopeful of a resurgence when he appeared in that great Butthole Surfers video in ’96.  Thought maybe he was getting hip again, but no such luck.  I just fucking love this guy.  He should be in every movie.
  3. Emilio Estevez
    Man, remember Breakfast Club and Young Guns?  This guy had just as much charisma as his brother or anyone else in the so-called “Brat Pack.”  There’s no reason Tom Cruise should be starring in these blockbusters year after year while we don’t hear a peep from Emilio.
  4.  Ralph Macchio
    Perhaps “quirky badass” isn’t the direction to go here, but still, there must be something more we could be doing with Ralph Macchio.  It’s not like all his mega-appeal just suddenly dried up after the Karate Kid trilogy.  Couldn’t he find a place in a mob story or something?
  5. Robyn Lively
    Well since we’re talking about Karate Kid, ever since part 3 I’ve wanted to see more of Robyn Lively.  That’s all.
  6. Michael Keaton
    After Batman and Beetlejuice and several others through the early 90’s, he was all over the place.  Since then, it’s been all small parts or at least he’s been off my radar.  He’s totally ripe for a comeback, and as a real psycho too.  He used to do that well, and I bet he’d make an excellent brooding villain, assassin, or something of that ilk.
  7. Tim Curry
    He seems to be doing fine, but I think he’s vastly underutilized.  Look at Legend or It or Rocky Horror.  Aside from being one of my favorite actors, he has a natural creepiness that could be put to such great use.  I feel he’s being wasted on kids stuff these days, though that may well be by choice.
  8.  Jeff Goldblum
    I know he’s been getting some work on television, and it’s not like Jurassic Park was that long ago, but still… Jeff Goldblum has a thing that only he does.  The same way Christopher Walken has a thing.  This thing Jeff’s got, well I’d like to see more of it.
  9. Clancy Brown
    Most memorable to me as the vicious Kurgan in The Highlander, his unusual look and sound have lent their talents to bit parts over the years, but I feel like he could really break out if given a central role — maybe paradoxically as an anti-hero — in a more serious film.  Why not?  The Highlander also introduced us to Chrisopher Lambert, who deserves honorable mention on this list.  Besides Highlander and Greystoke, I don’t really know his work.  But he was very entertaining in those.  Bring him back too, please!
  10. Tony Ganios
    I always relate to him as my first greaser role model through playing match-chewing “Perry” in The Wanderers, but he also appeared in the Porky’s movies and a few others.  I understand he’s retired from acting, and that’s too bad.  He had (and has?) more potential than we ever got to see him use.

Surely I’m forgetting some great actors and actresses, but these are the ones that occurred to me immediately.  Any other suggestions?

Just Keeping The Population Down

17 September 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love love love the fog?  San Francisco’s Indian summer fog has arrived, and not a moment too soon.  It’s half the reason I live where I live.

Damn, Gina… I haven’t posted anything on here in over a month!  What can I say?  I go through spells of not having anything interesting to share (assuming I ever do).  It’s not that I haven’t been busy.  If anything, maybe too busy.  I figured I ought to at least check in with you, though.

Been to a bunch of great shows and events the last month or two.  Crowded House at the Warfield, The Blasters, Reverend Horton Heat’s 25th anniversary show at The Fillmore (filmed for a DVD), Wicked with Shel, Conan O’Brien live, disco dancing in stretchy gold bell-bottoms and white platforms, and Phantom Of The Paradise (spawning a minor obsession).  Had a couple of fun TCB shows in San Jose and Sacramento, where we got to debut “The Draize Train” and I got to go all guitar hero.  Got on a go-kart for the first time in over a decade, which was way more fun than I expected.  Got hit with a nasty computer virus (which I’m normally ultra-vigilant about).  There may have been more exciting events of note.  What am I forgetting?

Oh, and I finally finished watching the full Brisco County, Jr. series I remember from my youth.  Such a good show!  Such a tragedy it was only around one season (1993/94).  A quirky, sci-fi western with the incomparable Bruce Campbell, the late Julius Carry (a.k.a. Sho’nuff), and the delicious Kelly Rutherford… all written by the guy who went on to produce “Lost.”  I’m not a big DVD watcher, so this was an accomplishment for me.  Let me know if you want to borrow it.  ūüėČ

Coming up, I’ve got a few weddings to go to, including one this weekend.  Friends which also happen to be exes.  By this time next month, the clear majority of my exes will be married, if the hitched don’t already make up the majority.  It’s too depressing to do the math, but I’m pretty sure.  They’re all breeding too, or will be soon.  Good for them.  I won’t lie… it does make me feel behind the curve a bit.  I am now older than my dad was when I myself, the youngest, was born.  I’m used to feeling, frankly, more mature than most people my age (which could be horsefeathers, but hey, it’s how I feel).  Settling down is the one area where I sometimes wonder if I’m missing out on something essential.  I know there’s no “right” answer or path I have to take in life, but did I somehow fall behind my peers here?  Do they all know something I don’t know?  Or is it vice versa?  Much to ponder.

In lighter news, I’m also going to clean out my storage unit once and for all this weekend.  That means a pile of dusty crap on my living room floor for a few weeks while I sort it all out, but I think I’ve at least got a plan now.  If you have little ones who might be in the market for free toys from the 80’s and early 90’s, be sure to let me know.  It’s almost all gonna be up for giveaway.

Lots of stuff on the horizon.  TCB has a few shows in central CA in October, starting out on the tropical shores of Bakersfield (10/15) and ending in giddy Fresno (10/16).  By then, I should have my new signature guitar picks in use, woo hoo!  Then November will mark TCB’s 5th anniversary!  There’s a good chance we’ll be doing something in SF to celebrate that, so stay tuned.  I think I’ll need to write something about that, you know, looking back on the last five years and all.  And if all that weren’t enough, I’ve started playing with a few different original bands — one on the Smiths side of things, the other a rockabilly band — so we’ll see where those go.

OK, I think we’re sufficiently caught up.  Onward and upward…

Watching:The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

[amtap amazon:asin=B000F7CMPE]

Whoops, there goes another rubber tree plant…

7 August 2010

I’m freshly returned from my first ever trip to Charlotte, NC.¬† A business trip.¬† Was it high on my wish list of travel destinations?¬† Of course not, but it was a welcome diversion… and perhaps more importantly, it was an ideal next step in expanding my comfort zone.¬† This was a five-hour flight, after all.

I’ll confess to a certain reticence¬†concerning the South, and spying a large Nascar store in the airport as soon as I walked off the plane didn’t help.¬† (In fact, I was later to find that a¬†Nascar-branded skyscraper was visible from my hotel room!)¬†¬†I grabbed a cab and headed towards downtown.¬† It wasn’t long before I was experiencing first hand the heat and humidity that was to define my whole trip.¬† Near triple-digit temperatures and¬†the crushing moist air made me wish I had brought my business casual shorts and sandals.¬† The good news is that I was in air conditioning¬†more often than not during my 3+ days in town.

I don’t mean to sound negative though.¬† Aside from the weather and the almost comical lack of vegetarian food options (even the upscale Asian place served no tofu nor much of anything else veggie apart from a side of noodles), the trip was really valuable.¬† Not least because I found it all very inspiring.¬† Not just the change of scenery but even the general experience of travelling.¬† It really seems to get the creative juices flowing, or at least it does for me.¬† I remember my consulting days were rich in that department.

Christ, why don’t¬†I do more travelling on my own time?¬† It’s exciting, that getting up early on the day of your flight, the nerves as you pack up and leave the house, that walk through the airport parking lot, all leading up to some great unexpected wide open.¬†¬†It was the same preparing for Ireland as it was for anywhere else.¬† And then once you’re there,¬† I mean, my¬†memory/concept of both work travel and¬†vacations is wrapped up in experiences like the ones in Charlotte.¬† Walking around some neon-heavy outdoor marketplace on a night so hot and humid you can wear shorts.¬† Walking light because all my stuff is securely¬†in the hotel.¬†¬†There’s something to the idea of having so few possessions to worry about.¬†¬†Just being out there without much more than the clothes on your back.¬† Even the rental car — when there is one¬†— isn’t actually yours.¬†¬†Somehow it¬†makes you live in the moment more.¬† Really live.¬† No strings.¬†¬†You’re simply¬†there absorbing all the new sights and sounds, taking it all in.¬† And there’s a feeling of such independence that goes along with that too.¬† You, dropped into unfamiliar surroundings and left to fend for yourself.¬† You against the world.¬† Mano-a-mundo.

Speaking of consulting, that was definitely the vibe of the trip.¬† Preparing for it was not unlike reliving those old days.¬†¬†Bringing a laptop, living out of a hotel, wearing my trusty work jacket (and digging out of it two crusty Dramamine vials that expired in 2006)… then keeping receipts for expenses and just¬†remembering all the little details like that.¬† Well, it was my own white collar version of a washed up gunfighter dusting off his guns and coming out of retirement for one last ride.¬† Happy and sad at the same time.¬† I really need to get around to writing my old consulting stories here and just exorcising that once and for all.

I always enjoy catching the local news when I’m travelling, just to try to get a flavor for the place.¬† Usually I’ll watch the Fox affiliate, because even though their 24 hour cable station’s reputation is understood, the local branches like our own KTVU seem relatively independent.¬† Charlotte’s?¬† Not so much.¬† I’ll spare you the breakdown of every skewed story choice, story angle, and show of incompetence I witnessed.¬† You’ve got the Daily Show to do that for you at the national level.¬† Suffice it to say the anchors’ views — or perhaps in some cases¬†the network’s views — were plain as day.¬† So much for journalistic integrity and unbiased reporting, eh?¬† Is “news” like that a bad influence on the local public, or is it actually a product of the existing public disposition?¬† I watched and thought no wonder people here think this way… it’s what they hear every day on T.V.¬† But I guess they might say the same for the more liberal Bay Area.

Anyhoo, Charlotte was nice.¬† We all stayed in/near what is kind of like the Metreon of that city.¬† A movie theater,¬†an outdoor music bandstand, several restaurants.¬† We¬†met up with a local coworker one night and walked around downtown for the evening.¬† Highlights included Crave,¬†billed as¬†a “dessert bar.”¬† Basically it was an embarrassingly¬†trendy bar that also happened to serve food… to the tune of 26 gourmet desserts.¬† I bought two.¬† Because I’m a grown-assed man, that’s why!¬† Don’t question me.¬† Oh, and when walking near the ball park, we happened across The Breakfast Club: a full time 80’s dance club!¬† Sounds great, right?¬† Well, even though it was open on a Tuesday night, all we saw was a bouncer, and empty parking lot, and what looked like a half dozen prostitutes loitering nearby.¬† We passed.

So there you have it.¬† Another wall comes down.¬† This makes all of the continental United States and possibly even Hawaii “reachable” again.¬† Pretty exciting stuff.¬† I may not be that far from a European trip… eventually.

“In the face of such uncertainty, believe in these two things:¬† you are stronger than you think, and you are not alone.”

— Maya Angelou

An Incontrovertible Denouement

10 February 2010

Well it was a very successful weekend from a¬†TCB perspective.¬† We sold out The Blank Club, and in general had an awesome show.¬† We¬†played a lot of newer songs (for us anyway), and Shel finally got to hear “Asleep.”¬†¬†Also in attendance were several friends I don’t see that often, so there was a good vibe in the room.¬† I was stressing out leading up to this particular show, but it ended up being nothing and the whole thing went off without a hitch.¬† And when all the dust had finally settled, I felt like a million bucks.¬†¬†Sing Blue Silver¬†had¬†a triumphant re-debut which included our own Nick.¬† Most surprising was their singer,¬†who is an uncanny sound-alike to Simon Le Bon.¬† Well done!

My weekend continued with more live shows, including unexpectedly seeing¬†a 10-piece soul band out of Santa Cruz called “The Inciters.”¬† I imagine Colin would have dug it.¬† The crowd there were the expected Northern-Soul-by-numbers types.¬† Funny how that homogeneity really stands out when you look in at other¬†scenes, but it’s harder to spot among¬†“your own.”¬†¬†I suppose an outsider¬†looking in on¬†some rockabilly show would just see me as part of a sea of identical pomps and cuffed jeans.¬† And for the most part, they’d be right.

I even got out on a Monday to see The Dirt Daubers, a bluegrass side project from Col. J.D. Wilkes of The Legendary Shack Shakers.¬† I knew about the project and picked up the CD months ago, but I was blown away to see they were coming through town.¬† They put on a very entertaining show, albeit pretty tame by Shack Shakers’ standards.¬† Even they were surprised to see the big crowd on a Monday (and they said as much, indicating they were very happy to be in S.F. which was nice).¬† Only problem was that much of the crowd were¬†young hipsters, dancing inappropriately to the music with a verve that was clearly contrived.¬† You could almost see them thinking “look how¬†ironic I’m being!¬† I’m at a bluegrass show!”¬† I ran into Orlie there, and he pointed out that the lead singer from the Dead Kennedys¬†was¬†standing behind us.¬† We¬†met him briefly, which was cool… though I must confess that it didn’t mean much to me as I’m not what you might call a punk aficionado.¬† I stuck around for a few songs from the headliner (Scott H. Biram), but I wasn’t feelin’ it so much, so I skedaddled.

Before I sign off, what is this fuss about¬†Lost¬†lately?¬† It seems like so many people these days have shows they just have to watch every week.¬† Somehow I never got on that train.¬† The idea of a Tivo is just baffling to me.¬†¬†Really there aren’t any shows I watch regularly save for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and those aren’t the kind of shows that you have to see every episode of.¬† I will admit to one guilty pleasure though.¬† While I don’t watch it religiously, I’ll usually stop for Burn Notice¬†when it’s on.¬† Aside from it being deliciously clever and chock-full of spy trivia, it also stars Bruce Campbell himself.¬† Me gusta!

I fear the man who drinks water and so remembers this morning what the rest of us said last night.

— Greek proverb

King Of The Mountain

1 February 2010

So, I know I’m a week late on this, but did you all watch the state of the union address?  The White House must do its research, because I have to admit, Obama said damn near everything I was thinking (and had in fact spoken at length about just days before while lunching with my folks).  There’s plenty of blame to go around, but my general view is that the Republicans are being the dicks they always are (shame on them), and the Dems have been too stupid to recognize that, accept it, and work around it to actually get something done (shame on them).  I was entertained by how different the comments and angles were as I flipped back and forth between Fox and MSNBC.  Both ridiculous in their own way.  The address itself was good I thought.  It struck me as relatively candid.  The official Republican response was comically empty.  It was delivered with absolutely no charisma, and it said nothing whatsoever.  The only thing I heard of any substance was a rehashing of Obama’s own points as if they were somehow fresh counterpoints.  It was embarrassing.

I was particularly caught by the whole bit about the failure of virtually everyone in Washington to put the good of the people ahead of their career self-preservation and political posturing.  It sums up so much of what’s been wrong (and getting worse) in American government the last few decades.  And it’s not just Republicans.  OK, it’s mostly Republicans.

As I recall, the founding fathers were not career politicians.  They were business men who worked in government out of duty and necessity.  It was a burden, not a reward.  And when the work was done, they wanted to get back to being business men.  I’m reminded of that scene in Gladiator where the emperor Marcus Aurelius offers to make Maximus his successor.  Maximus refuses, and the emperor says, “that is why it must be you.”  In today’s world, every one of those fuckers in Washington gets their position and spends the rest of their career doing what they have to to hold on to it.  It doesn’t matter what’s best for the people and nation that they were hired to serve.  Because it all takes a back seat to their own ambitions.  It’s sickening.

This is not supposed to be “king of the mountain.”  It’s not supposed to be that once you get into power, you just use that power to help yourself.  Getting into office isn’t supposed to be like winning the lottery.  It’s not a reward.  It’s a job.  You were sent there to do a job.  You were sent there to represent me.  I didn’t vote for you and give you that power because I felt like you’re such a swell guy that you deserved to be rich and powerful at my expense.  No, I sent you there to do a job.  If you are unable or unwilling, then step down and make room for someone with the integrity and sense of duty to try to help their country instead of themselves.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

— Greek proverb

UPDATE:  Just after I posted this blog last night, the Colbert Report had something poignant to add — hilariously illustrating the sad fact that many politicians will resist a thing not because they think it’s a bad idea or because it won’t benefit the people… but simply because they don’t want the other side to get the credit or look good.  It’s incomprehensible to me.  What a disservice to those poor people they dupe into following them.  Because those poor souls all think you’re on their side and working for their best interest.  But you’re not, you’re working for yours.

NOTE: As of 2023, this updated link should take you to “The Word” segment from the February 1st, 2010 episode (#669) of “The Colbert Report” I originally had embedded here.

The Four Horsemen Of Acapulco

18 December 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: tired tired

It’s been a strange couple of weeks, no doubt.¬†¬†Drama and changes with friends, “friends,” work, you name it.¬† Things appear to be settling down though, and I’m looking forward to the holiday break.

I boosted my holiday spirit last night by seeing El Vez and Los Straitjackets.¬† I’d never¬†seen either of them live, but I was at least¬†familiar with LSJ’s music.¬† I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was still surprised.¬† The¬†Independent was as packed as I’ve ever seen it, and the show was hilarious.¬†¬†Fun, but very, very weird.¬† LSJ was acting as El Vez’s backup band.¬† They’d occasionally break in with a Christmas instrumental, and the encore was mostly just them.¬† El Vez went through several wardrobe changes during the course of the night, from a Santa zoot suit to a shiny black jump suit with monstrous faux fur cuffs.¬† At some point he was dressed as a toy soldier, and there was also some sort of full body rainbow shiny¬†suit that made him almost too reflective to look at.¬† He was at all times flanked by the two Elvettes, who sang as well as performed small bits of campy theater with El Vez and LSJ that reminded me some of a burlesque show.¬† The music was mainly¬†mash-ups of Christmas songs and oldies, with some pop songs mixed in (such as Oasis’ “champagne supernova in the sky” though sang as “super Chevy Nova in the sky”).¬†¬†So to recap,¬†the stage was a mix of many things that you don’t normally see together…¬†surf music,¬†suits and¬†lucha libre masks, Christmas music and iconography, sung by a flamboyant Mexican Elvis dressed in sparkly lam√©, joined by two pinups singing, dancing, and joking.¬† All overtaken during the final encore by a pair of¬†giant inflatable Santa and Frosty.¬† My favorite moment of the night was El Vez trying to introduce the band… “these are the four horsemen of the apoc… acop… copa… Acapulco.”

(Maybe the strangest part of the night was the crowd.¬† It was surprisingly older and kinda nerdy.¬† I guess maybe this is the “novelty act” crowd?¬† Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like the crowd we saw at Tenacious D a few years ago.¬† Now that was a nerdy crowd.¬† That reminds me, I know they’re played out now, but I saw the Tenacious D movie on TV¬†recently, and I’m sorry but those guys are fuckin’ funny.¬† They are still underrated in my book.¬† And is that Dave Grohl as the demon?¬†¬†But I digress…)

Well Christmas is here yet again.¬† I know I say this every year, but this¬†must have been the fastest of my life yet.¬†¬†I can’t believe we’re here again, and that it’s almost 2010.¬† Even though it went by¬†in what seemed like an instant, looking back I can see a lot has changed for me in the last year.¬†¬†Panic is largely behind me, and I’ve¬†had some fundamental shifts in my outlook on life, what direction I want to¬†go, and what I might be ready for.¬† Maybe I’ll get more into that next time, but yeah… hello and goodbye 2009.¬† We hardly knew ye.

As I have in¬†recent years, I continue to discourage Xmas shopping for me.¬† I too will be doing precious little shopping for anyone else this year.¬† The economy still sucks.¬† Many of my friends and family are out of work, or have been.¬† And as always, I have too much crap as it is.¬† For those few who are¬†close enough to me that you’d even consider getting me something, believe me when I say I’d be just as happy to¬†grab brunch or dinner with you.¬† So let’s do that instead, umkay?¬† But to keep the tradition¬†alive, as I did in 2007 and¬†2008, I put together a list of some of the silly material things my heart secretly desires this Christmas.¬† So if you’ve got loads of cash and you’re looking to buy my love, look no further… this is between you, me, and Sandy Claws:

  1. A 2010 monthly calendar for my wall at work.  The theme of 2008 was bulldogs, and 2009 was wildlife.  2010?  You tell me, Santa.
  2. A fretboard belt buckle.¬† These unique creations are available at Black Crow Arts, and though they’re a little on the unnecessarily expensive side, I can’t deny I still want one.¬† Ideally one set up to match my main guitar, that 335.¬† I think some configuration of the GB-FV2 model ought to do it.
  3. An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.¬† With a compass in the stock, naturally.¬† (Which reminds me, how are we a week away from Christmas and I’ve not heard a single mention of this movie on T.V. yet?)
  4. Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards: Funk & Disco Grooves.¬† This is a tab book that covers a bunch of Chic songs, and I would love to get my hands on it… but they don’t sell it outside of the U.K. and will not sell it to me.¬† I’ve tried.¬† I may have to call in a favor from some U.K. friends.¬† Who can find it here.¬† ūüôā
  5. A pair of “convertible” mittens.¬† I have never actually seen these in person, but I’ve heard rumors of their existence.¬† Apparently these are mittens that you can somehow fold back to expose you fingers for temporary dexterity.¬† This is great, because my hands are always the first things to freeze when it gets cold out, and regular gloves don’t really seem to help much.¬† Mittens though I think would do the trick.
  6. A new storage solution for CDs.¬† Any ideas?¬† After nearly two decades of collecting, I think I’m pushing a thousand, and I’m about to start putting them in cardboard office boxes.¬† Someday, a simple (if large) shelving unit would be the answer.¬† You know, if I had like… a den.¬† But until then?
  7. A plane that loops the loop, or perhaps a hula hoop.¬† Oh come on, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
  8. A 1979 Gibson Les Paul Pro Deluxe.¬† Goldtop, please.¬† I’ve fancied the idea of getting a guitar from the year I was born.¬† You know, to grow old with.¬† And I’ve also wanted a goldtop LP with P-90’s.¬† So with this combo, I could kill two birds with one stone.¬† Made for only a few years, and surprisingly not too popular on the vintage market.¬† They pop up on eBay, but rarely.¬† (Alternatively, I wouldn’t mind one of those bronze, steampunk creations by Scott Walker.)
  9. Any number of things from that German rockabilly site.¬† You know, this one.¬† I particularly like the Sun Studios and Wanderers belt buckles.¬† And though I don’t want it, I love the fact they have a replica Wanderers jacket for sale.¬† Their prices aren’t bad, but here’s the catch: the shipping is astronomical.¬† How do I get this shit to the U.S. without paying more in shipping than the items themselves cost?¬† Santa, of course.
  10. A professional painted portrait of myself.¬† Big enough to hang over a mantle someday.¬† Ideally, I’m thinking something in a dramatic Soviet-era propaganda style, but photorealistic like something by Alex Ross.¬† Because yes, underneath it all, I really am every bit as egotistical as I let on.

Speaking of Xmas shopping, I must¬†confess to¬†doing a little for myself.¬†¬†For reasons I’ve mentioned here before, I generally avoid buying DVDs these days… but¬†on Amazon, the complete series of¬†Kids In The Hall fell to about $40, and I figure even if I only watch it once, that’s worth $40.¬† I’m looking forward to vegging out with that sometime soon, maybe over Xmas vacay.

Oh yeah, so I’ll be off on vacation between Xmas and New Year’s.¬† I think that’s too late to catch the Dickens Fair (which I missed again this year), but I still plan on taking full advantage of this time off.¬† Sleeping in, visiting with friends and family, seeing all those movies I’ve been meaning to, and above all just relaxing.¬† If you’re gonna be in town and¬†want to make some plans, let me know!¬† I might even be down to travel some.¬† Maybe SoCal?¬† And then near the end of this little break, it’ll be time for TCB in Seattle on New Year’s Eve!¬† More on that next time, but should be a blast!¬† If I don’t get to it before next week, hope y’all have a great Christmas, Hanukkah, whatevs!

“When she calls me, I do not walk, I run.”

… in which I battle tempests, earthquakes, and the FDA.

19 October 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: tired tired

Getting right to it… a couple weekends ago… is kind of a blur at this point, but I remember that I somehow ended up eating at Chevy’s twice in the same weekend.  I also had the longest day I’ve had in a while.  It included selling a pedal board to a church, shopping at Target, a birthday dinner in Oakland, Club Gossip, Delirium, some warehouse, and driving some drunk guy home.  It was nearly a full 24 hours awake, followed by two full nights’ sleep within the next 24 hours.  This bizarre shift in my sleep pattern led to me getting up for work early that Monday.  I stuck with it and arrived early for work all week, which never happens.  I’m trying to ride that wave as long as I can, because it’s got a lot of benefits.  Among other things, I saw a sunrise.  It occurs to me that in my lifetime, I’ve seen more sunrises before going to bed than I have just leaving for the day.  Starting my day that early always reminds me of vacations.  The only time I usually ever start my day that early is when I’m catching a flight or beginning a long drive somewhere.  Something else I noticed… it’s crowded downtown!  Usually, by the time I’m rolling in, the FiDi seems pretty quiet.  But when you’re out there early, there’s considerably more hustle and bustle.  Makes me feel more a part of things down there.  Me gusta!

Oh, and it rained cats and dogs for one day.  More rain in one day than we usually get in the month of October, apparently.  And over 200 car accidents in the Bay Area that day.  Nice.  Luckily it remained clear the rest of the week and most of this last weekend, allowing me to spend a Saturday shopping with Majik, Booty, and Mr. and Mrs. Balls.  Not to mention seeing Dad’s new band for the first time… a great show in Santa Cruz that was followed by a delicious return to Mobo Sushi and its colossal menu.

Surely most of the people reading this will be aware that Morrissey is coming to town.  I’m curious to know if we’ll be hearing some new songs.  I was fortunate enough to have the incomparable Sus locate a pit ticket for me, so that’s where I will be.  I won’t tell you what it cost, but it was a lot.  Way too much.  It’s the fault of those scumbags the ticketbrokers.  I ranted about that once before, so I’ll spare you this time.  But suffice it to say that in the context of luxury problems and as a fan of live music, I consider these guys to be the scum of the earth.

You may also have heard that last Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.  Holy shit, I’m old.  I was living in the South Bay in those days, and I was what, 10?  I don’t have a lot of clear memories about the event, but I think I was playing “Legendary Wings” on Nintendo.  And we spent the night at Jonah’s house.  And the schools were closed for a day or two.  I can’t even imagine what it was like for people living here in the city at the time.  Now that I live here, it’s hard to comprehend some of the damage that San Francisco suffered at the time.  (Do you remember where you were?)

We’ve lost a lot of celebrities these last few months, but I wanted to mention one that may have been overlooked.  Wrestling personality Captain Lou Albano died last week at the age of 76.  He was one of the biggest icons in the mid-80’s when I was into it, and of course the tie-in with Cyndi Lauper and The Goonies.  R.I.P.

Cyndi Lauper – The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough

We’ve also lost Reno 911, which I’m very sorry to report was recently cancelled.  It’s one of my favorite shows on T.V., not least because it includes ex-members of The State (such as Thomas Lennon, Moz fan and misguided SATH fan).

Watching that Goonies video reminds me that Halloween is coming up pretty quick here.  What are the plans?  I know that Zombie Morrissey night is happening that weekend, which could be fun.  I’m not necessarily jazzed about dressing up, but it’s not out of the question.  What’s going on for Halloween folks?

The quote of the week is one of my favorite horoscopes yet from The Onion:

“You’ll struggle to find a sympathetic ear this week when the FDA lowers its recommended daily intake of your goddamn bullshit.”

Aww, that’s so sweet!

9 August 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: chipper accomplished

Well kiddies, just got back from a pleasant weekend in Anaheim.  The House Of Blues show was our best one there yet, with a crowd that included Moz Krew, Irving, Fabi/Megan, Miles, Couch Straps’ Dan, and many more.  Saw the Lew women.  Met Balls Sr.  Visited Montebello for the first time.  Got some Claim Jumper and some decadent butterscotch pancakes.  Survived the flights.  Researched ungodly piercings with Sus and Paul.  Lost a pillow fight.  A million other things I’m forgetting to mention too.  All in only about 24 hours.  If only every day could be so eventful.  Good times.

I made the mistake of looking in on a bunch of my high school classmates on MySpace and Facebook.  Holy shitake!  The vast majority of them have goodlooking spouses and/or children in their pictures.  WTF?  I guess by now the breeders among us have gotten started.  To be expected, I suppose.  But still shocking.  Am I behind the curve?  Or did I avoid the trap?  Or…?  Meh.

So a few weeks back, I posted that parody AFSCME PSA right?  Weirdest thing… on my flight today were a ton of people wearing AFSCME shirts.  Well in other funny commercial news, who among you remembers this one:

Freedom Rock

Let’s see, what else?¬† I saw¬†The English Beat with Shel, and it was amazing!¬† I’d never seen them before, but I was blown away.¬† A lot of fun, and Dave Wakeling seems like a nice guy.¬†¬†Oddly enough, they were opening up for Reel Big Fish.¬† I don’t know how that works, but whatevs.¬† RBF was fun too, though we only stayed long enough to hear the one song of theirs I remember from¬†my years with Maya: “She’s Got A Girlfriend Now.”¬† A while back there was an SF¬†Symphony event where they were playing old Warner Bros. cartoons, but doing the orchestral soundtrack live along with it!¬† I was so sorry to miss that, but I think I had a show that night.¬† Am I crazy or does that sound like the funnest date?¬† Had I a date instead of a show.¬† Hmmm…

I had just been thinking about that old T.V. show “The State” when I saw on Amazon that the whole series is finally coming out on DVD!  It got me to thinking about a few other of my favorite shows that are now also available in complete DVD sets.  I’m thinking Kids In The Hall… Dr. Katz… Brisco County Jr.  Part of me wants to horde that stuff, but it seems clear enough that DVDs are on their way out in favor of Blu-Ray.  I think about the folks I used to know with massive VHS collections.  So collecting DVDs seems like a similarly losing battle.  I don’t want to buy another DVD.  As rarely as I watch the ones I got, the format will be obsolete before I get my money’s worth.  I suppose that logic applies to CDs too, but I’m much more heavily invested in that, and plus there does not yet seem to be an heir apparent.  But still… I hate to think about that.  *cringe*


If you’ve ever flown out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, then you know that they were long ago pressured to institute a ridiculous noise restriction on flights in and out of there so as not to offend the surrounding communities.  The end result is that pilots have to execute this strange take off procedure where you go nearly straight up in the air, then coast silently for a while, and then the engines kick in again.  The pilot typically explains this process before you take off, and my flight home today was no different.  The quote of the week — nay, the month — comes from the pilot during the “coasting” period of our take off today.  Just as the engines go silent, he whispers to all of us over the intercom:

“Shh… we’re flying over rich people.”

My Precious

16 October 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:

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