Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stealing a page from Peetie’s playbook

Overheard lines:

“This wine goes well with jerky. Didn’t you know that?”

I’m pretty fluent in sarcasm, and believe this line to be completely in earnest. I also believe that the only things that go well with jerky are hunger and absence of other food.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Review Haiku

Before you point out that these aren’t real haiku, shut-up.

The Kingdom

Jason Bateman wasn’t funny enough.
Jennifer Garner wasn’t hot enough.
This movie wasn’t good enough.

Death Race

It’s Jason Statham.
You know what you’re gonna get.
Sweet, sweet violence.

That one really was a haiku!

Tropic Thunder

Ben Stiller isn’t funny.
Some other actors made me laugh
But not very much.

Man on Wire

I wish my Friday night
Didn’t involve documentaries
But this one was pretty good.

In summary, Death Race and Man on Wire were both pretty sweet, for completely opposite reasons. Tropic Thunder was amusing, but not funny, and certainly not hilarious. The Kingdom was only interesting because of the last line.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I hate my hippocampus

As I was walking down the stairs today a song popped into my head. It wasn’t anything I’d been listening to earlier. It wasn’t ubiquitous Top 40 dredge. It was this:

Kids kids kids kids
To know us is to love us
Just like the sun above us
We’re shining just for you
It’s true!
Every morning
We’re always up and doing . . .

A song I’d been made to learn in 5th grade chorus. Chorus was optional, but who could turn down a chance to leave class? It was a trick though, because they made us sing schlock like this. I think they tricked us by having us sing Island in the Sun by Harry Belafonte. And what 5th grader doesn’t love Harry?

I think it’s funny that my remembrance of the song cuts out in the middle of a sentence. Evidently it got even worse from there and I repressed it. I was morbidly curious so looked up the lyrics online, only to discover they don’t exist. Which leads me to conclude that the chorus teacher was making it up as she went along.

Unfortunately I remember most of the rest of the songs as well. Of course Belafonte was the highlight, though I’m not certain we ever performed these numbers. We had a song about the world needing peace, and another about a Guitar Man. Yet I can’t remember the amino acids. Stupid brain.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If you like Snapple, you might also like . . .

A friend, knowing my impeccable taste in everything, asked me to make some recommendations. 80s Sci-Fi, Worthwhile TV, and Recent Music

80s Sci-FI
Brazil – surreal and deep
Buckeroo Banzai – surreal and shallow
The Abyss – gets me every time.
Akira – one of my favorite movies, of any genre
12 Monkeys – probably 90s, but overlooked
Donnie Darko – indie turned mainstream
Primer – very indie

Worthwhile TV
Firefly – keeping up the sci-fi theme
Battlestar Galactica – don’t knock it til you’ve tried it
Cowboy Bebop – a fun romp
Frisky Dingo – superhero parody
Venture Brothers – another superhero parody
How I Met Your Mother – all hail Barney
Coupling – similar to HIMYM in many ways
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia – wrong, but hilarious

New Music
Little Jackie (and Imani Coppola) – I’m hooked
Ed Harcourt – also, hooked
The Good, The Bad and the Queen – New Blur!, Sort of.
Dr. Dog – fun variety
The Pillows – my favorite Japanese band. Even more than Green Leaves
Splashdown – Not new, but great
Scissor Sisters – retro greatness
Beautiful South – retroer (comparative of retro) greatness

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kind of surprised I get invited

I went to Punch and Judy’s wedding reception last night, and rerealized that I hate receptions. I knew this going in, hence the rerealization. It could very well be that all my reception dislikes will dissipate once I’m no longer bitter and/or single, or that I just inherently hate the reception format. And before I criticize things for the next page, I should say congratulations Punch and Judy! And their reception wasn’t particularly objectionable, it just happens to be something I can write about today.

I hate The Line. They actually didn’t have one last night, so kudos to them. I hate standing in line for anything, even things I really want to do. So standing in line to talk to someone I can just talk to later? Aggravating. When the couple are good friends it’s not so bad talking to their family, but when they’re only casual friends it’s murder. “Oh hi Mr. Punch. I took your daughter on a couple dates last year. So . . . slow line huh.” I hate it when I only know one of the newlyweds and get stuck making small talk with the other one. The bride and groom should have different lines so the line would be half as short and you just pick the one you like more. Kind of defeats the purpose of marriage I guess.

I don’t like wedding cake. Perhaps the figurative bitter taste in my mouth is translated to actually disliking the food. But the fact remains that I have never had a wedding cake that I really enjoyed. I’d rather skip the cake and grab an apple pie at McDonalds on the way home. Which I would’ve done last night if I weren’t carpooling.

I don’t really like formal events. And what’s more formal than a wedding? I’m not arguing that the event should be a casual freeforall, it just so happens that I don’t like a structured serious party. It becomes less of a celebration and more of an obligation. Again, last night was a pretty good mix, but still too formal for my tastes. The wait staff had the hors d’oeuvres on silver platters, which drives me crazy. I haven’t used a cashier at a grocery store since they built the do-it-yourself lines. I don’t want to have to talk to someone to get my fancy snacks.

Assigned seating is a bad idea. Assigned seating at mixed tables is worse. How am I supposed to whisper snide remarks about toasts to my neighbors when my neighbors are Aunt and Uncle Prim’n’proper from Des Moines? Thankfully I’ve only experienced this once or twice.

Here in Columbus, folks hire my good friend Lolly to emcee the event. He’s a good guy and does a good job. But he does this thing where he reads prepared statements that the couple have made about each other while they just stand there watching. 1. They should record the couple reading the statements themselves, because it’s a little weird having Lolly profess his love for Judy on stage. 2. They also should have them play while they’re having their first dance. Both events (neither of which I’m particularly fond) would benefit from occurring simultaneously.

I also don’t like the daddy/daughter dance. But if they have it, for goodness sakes have the mother/son dance at the same time instead of separate events.

Don’t get me started on the money dance. You get married, and get gifts, and get my spare change? Rub salt in my wounds.

In general I don’t like the dancing, but that’s because I don’t like dancing. I see little way out of having dancing in some form at the reception. Apart from staying single.

I guess a big problem I have with wedding receptions is that I don’t value tradition. It’s something you do just because it’s what people have done before? That’s dumb. I threw my hat at graduation, and it did nothing for me. So stomping on glasses, throwing flower grenades, cake smashing (I HATE cake smashing, incidentally) don’t do any of them if you don’t particularly want to do them. Tradition is not a good reason. Tradition is a physical manifestation of cliché.

Congratulations to Punch and Judy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Can't blog now Flanders, I've got a class to teach!

Seriously, no time. But here's a picture for you:

Some guy with too much time decided that Harley Quinn needed to be in Batman 3. While I ridicule his use of his free time, I applaud his taste. Harley is a fun character, and Kristen Bell brings a ray of sunshine everywhere she goes. Even as a psycho clown.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Works like a charm

I just discovered this site a couple weeks ago, which I think is a couple years after it became cool. I can't be on top of everything. xkcd, check it out.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A broken record . . . music stuff again

We were gloating to The Spaniard the other day about how indie we were for attending our underground concert last week and she decided to one up us because some friends of hers were playing at The Newport. So we couldn’t very well tell her how into the local music scene we were and then not go to the show could we?

We showed up at the show and it sounded pretty bad (sorry first band) so we went and got gyros instead. A wise decision, though a bit greasy. I had my second air synthing experience of Columbus, which was notable but which I can’t discuss without looking like a tremendous jerk.

We soon returned to the concert hall as the second act finished their set, so I have no review of them. The third act was AMA . . . wait for it . . . ZING. Amazing. The lead singer yelled into the mike a lot and did a lot of strutting and pelvic thrusting. The only lyric I really understood was an introduction “The name of this song . . . is CORRUPTION!” The singer took his shirt off halfway through the set to reveal a pretty sweet wifebeater. They concluded the act by explaining how they were a Christian rock band, which really is the perfect way to end your hard rock performance. This act only cemented my view that I enjoy bad things nearly as much as I enjoy good things. Sorry 3rd band.

We believe the 4th band was called Genghis Green, though we’re not positive of that. And they were pretty sweet. Props to Genghis Green. However, by far the best thing about the band was that their keyboard player played a keytar on one of the songs. A. Keytar’s are inherently funny and B. they became funnier after this Flight of the Conchords epioside:

Demetri with his Keytar

Anyway, we named the Keytar player Barry and he was sweet. He also rocked out on the keyboard, donning a pair of sunglasses, but it wasn’t the same.

The last of the five warm-up acts was Gadget Voz, who were fine. Not great, but they had an interesting sound. They had a guy with a video camera walking around the stage the whole time, which I would’ve thought distracting, but they’re evidently professionals. Or I just couldn’t tell when they messed up.

Karate Coyote was the final act, and put on a good show. I didn’t really hear a lot of who they listed as their influences in the music, but it was perfectly enjoyable happy rock music. I enjoy female vocalists in bands and they had 2, both of which did a good job. And one of them makes the t-shirts they sell. Talented and domestic! I’m not sure making band t-shirts counts as domestic, but close enough.

Some good music, some good people watching (we saw some great judgment-impaired dancing) and a good time all around.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some vids

Youtube is being stupid. As always, when someone claims computer soft/hardware is being stupid, chances are good that they’re in fact the ones that are being stupid. But in any case, I can’t get it to import these videos to my blog. If you want to see them you’ll have to click on the link. That’s going to cut my number of views dramatically.

Back when I had a stache

Me confusing people (including you)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Evidently I now have a music blog

After a bit of a conservative rant last week, here’s a liberal one for you.

I got invited to join a group protesting Katy Perry’s song “I Kissed a Girl” the other day. Really? Of all the things in the world to protest, you want to protest this song?

A disclaimer: the protest was on facebook, where it is exceedingly simple to come up with lame ideas and bother thousands of people in a short period of time. Every couple weeks I get invited to cut gas prices by not buying gas on a particular day. I get invited to join some group hoping to gather a million members to support an American Idol contestant or fight hunger in Darfur. While I support fighting hunger in Darfur, a facebook group simply isn’t going to do anything. And why say you’re getting a million members when I have never EVER seen such a group with a million members. In any case, my point is this protest (consisting of everyone calling their local radio stations on a particular day to ask them NOT to play the song) is a silly form of protest.

Not only is the form of protest ridiculous, but I don’t support the protest’s ideology either. This is the song that you have the most issue with? I certainly don’t think it’s a good song, though it is dang catchy. I certainly think it’s overplayed, but what summer hit isn’t. I didn’t get invited to protest Umbrella last summer. The issue of course is that the song depicts a girl kissing another girl. The song’s not remotely dirty and it really isn’t promoting homosexuality (cue Seinfeldian not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But if you happen to believe that there IS something wrong with that, this song isn’t even preachy or obscene, so why should I be protesting it? I wouldn’t be incredibly happy about my girlfriend kissing another girl when I’m not around (when I’m around is more complicated) but somehow I just can’t be offended by this song.

If you need a song to protest, why not pick gangster rap? Misogyny, violence and vulgarity not enough for you? Maybe you’d like a new cause (rap probably has enough detractors already.) I find the ideas behind this John Legend song much more objectionable that Katy Perry:

The One by John Legend

Repeatedly cheating on you doesn’t mean I don’t love you? I give you more money than your friends have so your life is better? I think that’s much more dangerous doctrine than a girl enjoying kissing another girl. But again, catchy, so it’s definitely on my iPod.

How about this one:

Pussycat Dolls hit new low

The Soup summed it up for me. There are so many reasons to hate this song. The “dancing”, the “lyrics” (HA HA HA HA), the message (more stuff will make me happy!)

Leave Katy Perry alone! (that was in fact a Chris Crocker reference.) Or don’t. That song is getting annoying.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Personal best/worst

I made two people vomit last night, my personal best. With laughter, not my fists or ipecac or some other emetic.

I also made two people fall asleep with conversation last night, so it was a pretty mixed evening. It was 2 AM, but winners don't make excuses.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Concertfull week

Surprisingly I went to another concert last night. It was pretty much the same as the Radiohead show, with a couple minor differences. Namely, it was in some guy’s basement.

I’ve never been a big proponent of local music, which is too bad. I feel like it would raise me to a new level of elitism if I could namedrop a bunch of bands that haven’t even recorded their music yet. Bands that you’re not going to hear on the radio for another ten years. I guess what holds me back is that I know most of them will never be on the radio. Lots of the groups just aren’t that good, and it doesn’t seem worth my time to learn a bunch of stuff that’s not that enjoyable and will never be pertinent.

But last night’s bands were all quite enjoyable. I’ll hold off as to whether they’ll ever be pertinent (ie influential and/or famous) but it was certainly an enjoyable use of a couple hours. A friend of ours was performing so Twig, Links and I went to hear her and ended up catching another 3 bands while we were there.

It was my first indie house concert. I’ve been to a fair number of house concerts in Provo, but they were all much more rock oriented. It was a little bit surreal to be crowded with 30 other people in some guy’s basement to hear some people jam out with their fiddles and sing incomprehensible lyrics. But it was also pretty sweet.

Saintseneca was the first band, and were a more modern Decemberists. Perhaps the best moment of the night was when they started to play 99 Luft Balloons and some kid shouted “Goldfinger! Sweet!” Hilarious if you’re a snob. The second band was amazing primarily because their leadsinger looked almost exactly like Will Farrel. It was really disappointed that they didn’t play Don’t Fear the Reaper so he could rock out on the cowbell. I really liked them at the time, but decided against buying their CD (I did end up buying the other 3 CDs available. I don’t pirate exclusively.) Our mutual friend who performed did a fantastic job. I’d never heard her perform before but she was really great. The name of her “band,” composed of herself, is The Boy Who Could Fly if you feel like looking her up on myspace. (Or I’ll do it for you: her page . The other bands are on myspace as well.) We almost left after her, seeing as it was midnight on a school night. But the last act was also very enjoyable. His name is Pul Baribeau and his stuff is actually available on iTunes. Though I really liked his act, it doesn’t sound nearly as good on CD. Oh well.

Go to an indie show in some guy’s basement. You’ll have a good time.

Probably not Kari's favorite picture of herself, but she can blame her sister for having it on her blog.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Radiohead near my head

For all of my rock snobbery I’m not much of a concertgoer. I think it’s been a year since my last (Fratellis and Flogging Molly) but an opportunity came along that I just couldn’t pass up: Radiohead. They’re on tour, but only hitting about a dozen US cities. Luckily one of those was Cleveland. If they were really cool they would’ve come right to my doorstep in Columbus, but I guess I have to put some effort into our relationship as well.

The drive wasn’t noteworthy. Laurie’s GPS unit didn’t seem to like my driving, but we got their eventually. And because of our detour we saw the bridge from Beetlejuice, so that was pretty sweet. It probably wasn’t the actual bridge, but 2 out of the 2 of us in the car thought of Beetlejuice when we saw it. We decided to make the trip an Ohio cultural experience and stop at a locally owned drivethrough, which was a bit of a mistake. Not a Shoney’s level mistake, but it certainly wasn’t the best meal we’ve ever had.

We got there in time to get a pretty favorable parking spot and a nice spot on the lawn for our blanket. For most of our time waiting, and throughout the opening band (Grizzly Bear, who generally failed to make an impression on me) we peoplewatched. I’d guess we had 12 to 15 thousand people there, which is most likely every hipster in Ohio. Plus one guy who looked like a 70s Parisian stereotype. I kid you not, I wish I’d snapped a picture.

Speaking of which, concert pictures are nearly always horrible, and this time was no exception.

Radiohead was, of course, awesome. It certainly would’ve been nice to be closer to the stage, but I was happy to keep my arm and leg, as well as my hearing. Their laser/light show was pretty sweet, but not as sweet as Thom Yorke’s dancing. Check it out:

Thom Rocking Out

What a nerd. But a genius and generally likable nerd. As expected they played all of In Rainbows and mostly stuck with newer material. They hit OK Computer a couple times, but no The Bends or Pablo Honey. I would’ve liked me some High and Dry, but the new stuff was great. The live performance really kicked up some of songs I don’t traditionally like that much. All in all an excellent use of my Monday night.

Those are lighters (and cellphones), not stars.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Time for a change, of the channel

I’m really tired of Obama. To be more accurate, I’m really tired of hearing about Obama.

Do I agree with his policies? No. But that’s not really the problem. For one I don’t think he has much in the way of policies. I think the empty suit argument is pretty accurate. My problem is that people rabidly support him with little or no knowledge of his policies. It’s true I live in Columbus, a relatively liberal town, and interact primarily with college/graduate students, a relatively liberal bunch. Their support of him is slightly annoying, but I feel that if they’re voting they probably are actually researching the delegates.

Lots of people won’t. And thankfully, lots of these people won’t get around to voting. They’ll just jabber about how great Obama is all day long. But WHY? Why is he great? He’s great because people have told them he’s great. He’s great because Three 6 Mafia raps about him. They may have won an Academy award, but that doesn’t really qualify them to give political advice, especially in a song where every other word is lolli. There was a big hoopla about Ludacris doing the same this week. His song is much more blatant, and Obama’s people are trying to distance themselves from it. When Luda refers to Hillary as a B because she disagreed with Obama and that McCain should be paralyzed, it’s certainly understandable. It’s going to be a very sad thing if Obama wins because people decide to vote for him because he’s “cool.”

McCain’s not terribly cool, but I do think he’d be the better president. Again, that’s not really the issue that I have issue with. How about the media coverage; the media outside of the hip hop scene I mean. I glance through CNN’s political ticker each morning, and it’s pretty Obama slanted. I realize that it’s CNN, but when Obama has 2100 articles listed and McCain has 1200, that seems a bit much. Because again, Obama hasn’t done anything. Obama goes to the Middle East. Why do I care? He’s not the president, he’s a junior senator. McCain was speaking 2 blocks from my house and the only reason I knew was because I happened to get stuck behind his bus. Admittedly, I’m out of the loop and it’s not CNN’s job to tell me McCain is at OSU, but it certainly seems like somebody should have publicized it.

So Obama is popular. Is that enough? Maybe it is. I am ready to consider that what would serve the nation best is a guy that everybody likes. And really, I don’t have any huge issues with Obama. I think he won’t do much and will spend too much money doing it. I don’t think he’s going to sink the country. I while I think McCain is walking a dangerous line with his negative adds, I think the Paris Hilton comparisons are pretty accurate. He’s famous for being famous. Annoyingly famous. I just hope that no matter who wins come November, I get to hear less about Obama.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Truth is Out There

It’s a good week for the X-Files.

I certainly hope that those of you near Montauk have enjoyed your new Montauk Monster. I’m highly envious. But until Columbus has its own creature, I’ll just consider your Monster my own. What did it look like before it got all rotten and defurred? “Experts” (ie zoologists) think it’s a raccoon. But I think it was one of the Demon Dogs from Willow. I tried for ten minutes to find you a picture of one of those dogs, but was not successful. Instead you’ll have to go watch the movie.

More about the Montauk Monster

Elsewhere, a kid in Arizona caught a gar in a local manmade lake. Never heard of a gar? You’ll remember them after seeing these pictures:

Luckily the kid’s catch was only a foot or two long. So it didn’t, you know, eat him.

The evil fish

In other X-Files news, the movie wasn’t very good. It was enjoyable enough, and long time fans should go see it, but it isn’t going to convert anyone to the fold. And I don’t think it’s going to help Chris Carter’s case for making an X-Files 3 that would actually wrap up some of the alien mysteries. So while it wasn’t a great movie, and perhaps not even a good one, it was an enjoyable reminder of the series. It could have been much funnier and scarier, and it veered into downright cheesy a number of times. But the Scully/Mulder interaction was interesting and I think a valuable contribution to the series. I was hoping for a Krychek cameo, but was happy with getting Skinner instead.