MonthApril 2001

Assorted Candies

     I saw Evan Dando last night. He played basically every Lemonheads song you could possibly want to hear. Also: he did so acoustically. Fun times. ‘Outdoor Type?’ Check. ‘Rudderless?’ Check. ‘Into Your Arms?’ Check. ‘It’s a Shame About Ray?’ Check. ‘Bein’ Around?’ Check. He even closed with ‘Frank Mills.’ These facts made me smile. Some pictures from last night:


     You may or may not remember the Thrills Gum I stumbled across sometime last year. For your reference, here is a picture:

     Thrills is gum that is made to taste like soap on purpose. Not content to rest on their “We make really weird candy” laurels, Wonka has found it necessary to unleash another marvel that will probably remain untouched in vending machines across the country. Below, please find photos of the ‘Xploder.’


     Here is the thought process you would have to follow in order to actually find yourself desiring an ‘Xploder:’

“I sure do love Pop Rocks! I wish they were flavorless though! No! I wish they were CHOCOLATE flavored! NO! I Wish chocolate WAS Pop Rocks!”

…and then you’d be absolutely thrilled to find that the ‘Xploder’ exists. Because it’s basically just chocolate with what appear to be miniscule, flavorless poprocks mixed in. Personally, if I ever caught myself having such a series of thoughts, I would kill myself.

     I want a job thinking of new candy bars for Wonka, because obviously you don’t have to have any GOOD ideas, just IDEAS.

     If you haven’t checked back in awhile, you might also be interested in yesterdays’ post, which was pretty substantial in its own right.

After the fact

     Disclaimer: this is another one of those mammoth posts that was written probably a little bit every day for a week. So every time I say ‘today,’ I don’t mean the same day, contrary to normal logic. And yes this could have easily been fixed by finding all such references to ‘today’ and replacing them with correct dates, but disclaimers are just much more fun.

     I know I said I’d be back last Friday, but I ran into one of those “Just when you thought everything that could go wrong had already gone wrong” moments. A certain person decided it would be fun to harass my family and friends in the guestbook of the site we established in memory of my brother. Their M.O. is to skim the other entries, use someone else’s name and e-mail address in the form, and be extremely vulgar and nasty. They said some pretty upsetting things, enough to have my mother just about hysterical. The people whose names and addresses were being used made it very clear that they didn’t write any of it. Most of this happened on Thursday night. Here’s a post written by a friend of my brother’s, Michele, followed by their reply. This is probably the least offensive message they posted.

Today’s painting is absolutely beautiful. I just wish that Chris could have finished it…I love you Chris and miss you more than you will ever know. Take care of us down here. – Michele

Today’s painting is absolutely ugly. I just wish that Chris could have not sucked so bad. I didn’t love you Chris and don’t miss you more than you will ever know. – Michele

I ended up just deleting their trash from the guestbook late Thursday night. On Sunday night, they were back at it. Here’s a post written by a friend, Cyndi Lareau, followed by the reply this jackass posted last night:

Hey Chris! I added a VanGogh candle holder to your memorial. So this way, no matter how cloudy, you’ll always have a “Starry Night.” – Cyndi!

Hey Cyndi! I just wanted you to know that I am going to smash the present you left for chris along with everything else at that stupid memorial tonight. If you want to stop me come tonight at 11:00pm, then you can see how sick I am…

…so yeah, that’s pleasant. And then just the other day they started prank calling us at home. Just the fact that I have to waste time worrying about this bullshit is absolutely disgusting to me.

     The Recital played a benefit show in Grand Rapids last weekend. Despite the fact that there were several other shows in town the same night, there was an enthusiastic crowd and a good time was had by all. On the drive up, we stopped at a rest stop and observed the most incredible vending machine EVER. It was an ice cream vending machine, and after you put in your money and made your selection, the top of a cooler (visible through the glass) flipped open, and a vacuum hose dropped down. The hose then moved over to the selected variety of ice cream, turned on, sucked it up, and deposited it in the ‘pick-up bin thingy’ at the bottom for your eating pleasure. Kind of like a claw game at a carnival, but you always win and the prize is ice cream! We were dumbfounded.

     At any rate, two of us bought a Nestle product called the ‘Tandem.’ So you can imagine the dorky multiple of two jokes that were slung around the car. Eating Tandems in Tandem, etc.

     When we arrived at the venue, we were bowled over by how nice it was. It had an undergound backstage area – complete with sorted M & M’s:

…so big ‘ups’ to Cyndi Lareau for setting everything up in regards to that show. Incidentally, Cyndi also won the ‘slightly heightened sense of self worth’ offered in my last post, by finding the MST3K episode ‘Hobgoblins’ for me. So I’ll revise my former statement and say: huge ‘ups’ to Cyndi.

     Goddamn eBay person outbidding me with 10 minutes to go. I had been the only bidder on this arcade machine for 4 days, so I thought I was safe. Damn damn damn. I had big plans for this game. I was gonna gut it and put in something not quite as lame. New eBay superstition: never talk about an auction until it’s over with. Damn. Please note the subtitle of the game in the screen shot below. So great. Also note that this subtitle is TRADEMARKED. Because we all know how in-demand “Battle Fire Engulfed Terror Island” is as a trade name.

     I’ve seen two movies in the past few weeks: Josie and the Pussycats, and Memento.

     Josie and the Pussycats was pretty similar to what you would expect. Dopey plot, dumb jokes, etc. If you’re into seeing Rachel Leigh Cook hop around for an hour and a half though, you can’t go wrong. Incidentally, did anyone else see her on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart the other day? He asked her how old she was, she replied that she’s 21, and he yelled ‘twennyone!’ Which of course prompted her to throw her arms in the air and yell ‘Shit!’ in a gruff “imitating a frat boy” voice. Truly great television. To me at least. Anyway, I should probably mention that every time they use a piece of recording and / or mixing equipment in this movie, it’s capabilities are complete fiction, and that bugged the shit out of me. Best exchange of the whole movie:

“I still don’t understand why you’re here.”

(mumbles) “I was in the comic book”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

     Memento, on the other hand, was great.
Pretty incredible since it’s this guy’s directorial debut. This is the sort of movie that would be fun to re-edit linearly (Okay maybe not FUN in the strictest sense of the word, but INTERESTING, yes). Does anyone know of a site that’s dissected all the intracacies of the plot yet? If not, I might just put up a message board or maybe something like the magnolia site.

     Some obligatory Weezer triviality: The boys are touring japan right now, and are putting up some pretty amusing photos on the karl’s corner page. Particularly this one and this one. Also, you can download MP3’s of one of the shows where they played under the name ‘Goat Punishment’ and played nothing but Nirvana Covers (seriously):

1. Mr. Moustache
2. Aneurysm
3. Breed
4. Dive
5. Swap Meet
6. Blew

     So I was at work today and someone I’ve never seen before in my life came in and asked if she could pick up her paycheck. Now, a lot of people work at Barnes and Noble, so this is not uncommon. Thing is, no one else recognizes her. After I call the floor supervisor to get the checks, she turns to me and asks “Does she work here?” referring to the paycheck-wanting girl. Anyways, the supervisor goes through the checks, and doesn’t find one for some anonymous girl that no one recognizes. So she asks her name. The girl says “Mary,” and when prompted for a last name, mumbles something, excuses herself and promptly leaves. Which makes it look like this person is just wandering around trying to collect paychecks from random businesses. Is there even a remote possibility that this could work? Is there a manager somewhere who just hands paychecks over to the first person to wander in off the street to claim them? Crazy.

     Number one best discovery of last weekend: Singing an unaccompanied rendition of that one Toadies song (Update! It’s called “Possum Kingdom”) is infinitely funnier if you substitute the word “Jebus.” But it’s only funny to people who get the “Jebus” reference. Otherwise you just look stupid. But I guess you look stupid either way, it’s just that people UNDERSTAND why you’re looking stupid if they get the reference. Or something.

Some quick and severely underdeveloped show reviews:

RSB / Absinthe Blind / Trocar / 1000 Times Yes
@ The Lunchbox in Ann Arbor.

I got there kind of late so I missed all of 1000 Times Yes and most of Trocar (Sorry!). I did, however see Absinthe Blind, who are really young and really quite good. Their new record is coming out soon (I think..) on MUD. And RSB was drunk and good. Wow, that’s the worst show review ever written. Let me try to remember some other details.

     Okay, I got some. For those of you not familiar with the Lunchbox, it is just a house. A certain person, who we will call ‘Ryan Brescoe’ for reasons of anonymity, went to this show with me. This ‘Ryan Brescoe’ has a habit of falling asleep at the drop of a hat. Perhaps he is narcoleptic. At any rate, he was sitting in this armchair about 20 feet from where the bands were playing. He fell asleep during Absinthe Blind’s set, and slept through the end of the show. With loud music being played a stone’s throw, NAY a pebble’s throw away. I need to start carrying a camera to document this ‘Ryan Brescoe’ and his incredible ability to sleep in the most bizzarre situations.

Spoon / Oranges
@ The Magic Stick in Detroit.

     With all the good press Spoon’s been getting, you’d think this show would be packed, right? Well, there were probably twenty to thirty people TOPS at this show. I’ve never seen the Magic Stick so deserted. I didn’t care much for the oranges, but Spoon knocked my socks off. They opened with the guitar-less “Take the Fifth” from their new album, which left guitarist Britt Daniel free to wander the audience with the microphone, returning to the stage occaisionally to slam two beers over the course of the three minute song. Very rock. There were also some crazy “looked like they belonged in a hot body contest at a sleazy bar in Canada” girls there, who were totally smashed and standing in the front, relentlessly propositioning Spoon throughout the set. They bought shots for them, and protested loudly when Britt declined. They made a point of showing parts of their underwear to the band. It was pretty amusing to watch Daniel squint through the lights to get a look at them while the Bassist and Drummer exchanged “Wow this is really quite weird” looks. A member of the Oranges stood at the side of the stage laughing the whole time, and eventually talked them into waiting for Spoon backstage. So I’m sure that was an interesting ending of the evening for the band. Let’s see, anything else? Buy their new CD.

     Also, I’m going to see Evan Dando of Lemonheads fame later on tonight (Disclaimer to earlier disclaimer: This time when I say ‘tonight,’ I really do mean ‘tonight’). In about a week I’ll get to see Juliana Hatfield with the Blake Babies in the same venue. Why the hell didn’t they tour together? They could have done a ‘Drug song medley’ at the end of the night, because the two of them are incapable of being in a room together without writing and / or performing a song about their mutual drug experiences (See also: Lemonheads albums, new Blake Babies album). That would’ve been ‘Rad’ I dare say.

     For Marty: an interview with John Carpenter about the making of Big Trouble In Little China (The DVD version is coming out soon).

     P.S. Never type the phrase “Just when you thought everything that could go wrong had already gone wrong,” because the following things will happen the next day:

  • You will manage to drop big gobs of both toothpaste and butter on your pants right before leaving for work.
  • You will get in a car accident.
  • The other party involved in the accident will not stop.

Self-explanatory

For connecting butts:

     I just finished printing the 32 page final project for my technical writing class. So that’s where I’ve been. I’ll have a proper update on Friday, but it’ll probably be pretty boring as my latest obsession is with buying the guts of an arcade game cheap and building it from the ground up.

     If you read this page and are the sort of person who obsessively tapes MST3K, I need your help. I’m looking for the episode ‘Hobgoblins.’ I need a sample from it. Your reward will be a slightly increased sense of self-worth.

TV Party

     Remember the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and how finicky it could be? I know that my circle of friends developed a fairly complex system of methods intended to aid the nintendo in properly running its own software. These methods, which were littered with very particular motions and precise numbers of repetitions, bordered on mysticism. Your mission is to tell me what you had to do to get your NES to work properly. Perhaps I’m wrong, but for some reason I just see this as a topic with an unlimited number of humorous anecdotes associated with it.

     If you’re big into Spiderman (And let’s face it, who isn’t?), and were looking forward to the movie, this picture of the Green Goblin costume should pretty well destroy any of that enthusiasm.

     Just in case you missed it on every single other website in the world, all of Radiohead’s Amnesiac is available for download, free of charge. Direct links:

     …and while we’re covering the whole MP3 thing, you can check out an MP3 of ‘Paper Crowns’ from the forthcoming Burning Airlines full length, “Identikit,” here. Thank you, UsAgainstThem.

Quick Barnes & Noble anecdote:

     So there’s this homeless guy who is in B&N from the minute we open until right before we close. He sleeps in his car, and he never really talks to anyone, just sits and reads. My theory is that he’s building up an incredible base of trivial knowledge, and will then go on Jeopardy and / or Millionaire and win enough money to buy a house.

     Okay, you know how I’ve been raving about how great Tivo is? Well I forgot to say that also, it’s bad. Why bad? Because it turned me from someone who never watched T.V. regularly into someone who follows WAY too many shows almost religiously. Here is a concise list of all the shows that I rarely, if ever, miss:

  • West Wing (1 hour)
  • Sportsnight (1 hour)
  • Survivor (1 hour)
  • Bands on the Run (1 hour)
  • MTV Cribs (.5 hours)
  • The Daily Show (2.5 hours)
  • MST3K (2 hours)

     Add that up, and it comes to 9 hours. Tivo lets you fast forward commercials, so figure about 22 minutes worth of actual show for every half hour and you get 6.6 hours of MANDATORY (I know, I know, it’s unhealthy) TV every week. Plus all the other crap that’s on every day that I only watch sometimes, like the Wonder Years, syndicated Simpsons episodes and Rock & Roll Jeopardy. So Tivo saved me a couple hundred bucks by letting me win the system in a contest, but they turned around and are now robbing me of probably half a day every single week. If only I weren’t so weak-willed.

     Another reason Tivo is bad is that it reminds me just how much quality television is NOT being aired anymore. My short list of shows that should still be on the air and are not includes the following, in the order of how badly I want them on the air:

The Adventures of Pete and Pete

You’re probably reading this and saying: “WHAT!? The Adventures of Pete and Pete is NOT on the air anymore?!” I share your outrage. Such is the state of the world in which we live. A world where children tune into Nickelodeon and do not find Artie, the strongest man in the world, but instead a Spongebob Squarepants. Those of us who immediately think of 10 year-old Pete’s “Petunia” every time someone mentions a tattoo will never forget. Thankfully, there are some good internet resources to help us remember just how great this show was. (Warning: if you drive up the price of Pete and Pete videos on eBay because of this, I will be very angry with you. I’m not done buying yet.) On to the links:

  • This is a pretty good starting point. It’s got a section where it details most of the music used in the series. Betcha didn’t know that Magnetic Fields songs were used in three different episodes!

  • Anoyone who has ever seen the classic episode “Farewell my Little Viking” will take this T-shirt pattern to kinkos and get it put on a shirt (Click on the raccon that is holding a T-shirt).
  • Somebody seems to have put up a video clip, but it’s broken into three parts and has to be assembled. I haven’t had a quick enough connection to take a look at it yet, but here’s what you do: download these three files into one folder. Download this .bat file into the same folder. Double click “Video.bat.” This should assemble the whole mess into one video file of indeterminate format. Let me know if it’s worth the trouble.
  • Finally, here are two sets of behind-the-scenes pictures.

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose

I loved this show. How can this show not still be on the air? There are so many reasons for some crappy cable station to pick up the rights to this. Koob went on to ER! There was a crossover with “Married… With Children!”The guy who played parker’s name is Corin Nemec! That has to be the funnest name in the world to say. Try it (Out loud). Corin. Nemec. Rolls off the tounge. Sadly, there is a severe shortage of internet information on Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. Here is the only site I could find. Synchronize Swatches, indeed.

MTV’s the State

Better then UCB and maybe even (Dare I say it?) The Kids in the Hall. All that remains of the state is this video, which contains only the sketches that feature original music, because they couldn’t clear the rights to most of the others (Translation: This is not a ‘best of’ tape, but rather a ‘What we’re allowed to release’ tape.) Thankfully, sketch comedy always spawns a rabid internet follwing, so there’s plenty of stuff floating around about the State.

  • Members of The State still (kind of) maintain an official site here. The news section reveals that they recorded a comedy album that Warner refuses to release! D’oh! Their links section is probably the most extensive.
  • Here you can find some clips in Realaudio, including “Porcupine Racetrack,” the State’s musical. I am not ashamed to admit that I once tried to organize a live staging of this musical.
  • Here’s a collection of MP3’s from the show, including the immortal “Porcupine Racetrack.” All sorts of wav files can be found here.
  • There’s a (not quite) complete archive of scripts here.

     I saw “Blow” this weekend. I really liked it, but I can see how people might see it as a straightforward biopic. There were a few neat camera setups (The sideways one outside the motel comes to mind), and some nice use of repetition (And by repetition I mean within the framework of the story, not just the sort of numbing repetition found in say, “Requiem for a Dream.” (I know I’m starting to abuse the parenthetical aside here, but I also want to point out that I’m not slagging the numbing repetition of “Requiem for a Dream,” as it was very important to the mood and plot of the movie. Just using it as a reference.)) Even if it hadn’t looked good I would have seen just because Paul Reubens is in it. I even sat through the absolutely awful Mystery Men because he was in it. But yes: It was pretty good.

     I was going to see Memento on Saturday, but we never got around to it. I’ve only read great things about this movie, but so far there hasn’t been much of a reaction to the opening weekend. Anyone seen it?

     Finally, I should probably admit that I’m going to go see Josie and the Pussycats tonight. For four reasons. The first reason is kind of a long story. When I was younger, in the days when comic books cost less than a dollar (When I was your age…) there was this hallmark card shop next to the grocery store where my mom shopped. They carried a very limited selection of comic books, so once I’d acquired all the Gladstone Disney titles for that month (Gladstone doesn’t exist anymore, I don’t think, but back in the 80’s / early 90’s, they held the disney comic book liscense. Uncle Scrooge was the best, of course), I’d venture over into Archie territory. Ever since those days I’ve guiltily been an Archie comics fan. I even watched those lame made for TV live action movies that were on ages ago. Now, Josie and the Pussycats is an Archie Comics property, so that’s why. The other three reasons? Rachel. Leigh. Cook. You can download the trailer in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Oh, and also the “Three Small Words” video (Rachel Leigh Cook miming cheesy girl pop punk) in three sizes (small, medium, large).

     Yesterday our drummer, Rob Byrd, admitted that he wanted to see ‘Joe Dirt.’ Needless to say, we kicked him out of the band. But then we took him back when he apologized, because he’s a drummer, and it sort of makes sense when you think of it that way.

Three more quick links:

  • Go here and vote to get Radiohead’s ‘Ok Computer’ era ‘Live at the Ten Spot’ concert played on Saturday night. Thanks, Scott.

  • In case you were looking through your CD collection and thinking to yourself: “Damn it! There are so many songs that appeared in the “Animaniacs” animated series that haven’t yet been released on any of the three soundtrack CD’s!” then this is the site for you!
  • Also if you ever get the urge to go looking for MST3K information, you will very quickly discover that roughly half of the population of the world has set up an MST3k fan page of their very own. Here is the official news site. Should save you some time.

Quotes

     I’ve been spending a lot of time working on putting out a cd for the noise making unit of which I am a member. In case you’ve never done this: It is a lot of work!

     Why is Greg Proops not insanely famous? Every time I see him on something, I laugh hysterically at his comic timing and quick wit. A few days back he was on Rock N’ Roll Jeopardy, and he handily defeated all foes. I even used to watch that Comedy Central show “Vs.” to see him make fun of the contestants. There is no justice. Check out the Official Greg Proops website, or alternately: The Unofficial Greg Proops website.

     Bonus trivia: Apparently, Greg Proops did all sorts of voices in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a few in Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

     Now: this is the part where I sort through month-old e-mail and find sites people suggested to me.

     The March issue of Ventilator has some good stuff. Especially the Patti Smith piece. Also, there’s some fun Beulah pictures from the noisepop thingy.

     If you, like me, are somewhat intrigued by this whole Minus 5 / Young Fresh Fellows double album thing, then check out this interview with Mr. Mccaughey, courtesy of Swizzle-stick.com.

     I guess this one has been making the morning radio show rounds, and rightfully so. This guy broke up with his girlfriend. She proceeded to leave him 53 insane voicemails. He proceeded to put them up on the internet! Har! Destiny’s Child would not approve. This one came from Livonia’s own Rich Greene.

     Are you a dork? Are you bored? Great! Then you have time to read and enjoy this Star Wars prequel theory courtesy of Mount Pleasant’s own Chris Hatfield.

     So I was talking to someone on AIM last night, and we had the exchange reprinted below. At the time I thought: “Oh, that’s kind of funny. I should save it and reprint it on my extraordinarily dorky website.” I just read over it again, and probably it doesn’t even warrant reprinting here, but I refuse to let my 3ish-A.M.-last-night-self down. So here it is.

Them: he made fun of Moby right before he played Jo Jo’s jacket

Them: Malkmus I mean

Me: ha.

Them: he said that Moby looked like a “spaz” on his album cover, just in case you were wondering

Me: that’s awesome

Me: ANd true!

Me: “It’s funny and true!” – stupid simpsons quote that I cannot stop using.

Them: I use that all the time.

Me: I’m pretty good about restraining myself from others.

Me: That one just will not be stifled.

Them: The worst is when someone says something remotely funny, I ask them “where they got that from” as in like what movie or tv show…

Me: exactly.

Me: we are a generation of quoters.

Them: i swear, half my conversation involves quoting some sort of media

Them: EXACTLY

Me: And shamefully, I think I got that from something.

Me: ha.

Them: hahahha

Me: I just can’t remember what.

Shows, etc.

     I saw the Dismemberment Plan last night at the Magic Stick. They put on a slightly-less-great-then last-december’s-set-but-still-awesome show. The new songs sound great and they say the new album, tentatively titled ‘Change,’ will be out in October. They didn’t play Girl O’ Clock, though.

     I also saw A Perfect Circle this past week. It must be nice to be in a band that is so ridiculously tight. Mr. Maynard spent most of the evening making fun of Ted Nugent, which is understandable. The opening act was a band called Snake River Conspiracy, who I ignored pretty effectively until they had the balls to cover ‘How Soon is Now?’ by the Smiths in Rap-Metal fashion. It was interesting, to say the least. The best part of the whole thing was that it was held in a building at Eastern Michigan University, and there was no smoking allowed, so you can imagine how lost some of the goth set looked between sets without their ‘props.’ Trying to figure out what to do since they weren’t allowed to angstfully smoke, etc.

     So I was looking around for a site that would have clips from MTV’s jackass, because I wanted to see a certain clip. The clip I was looking for was the one where one of the jackasses intercepts the delivery of a drive-through fast food order on foot, and proceeds to dance around in front of the intended recipient before spiking their meal onto the ground. Instead, I found this site, which appears to be a bunch of people who do things that are very similar to the things the jackass folks do. I was curious so I downloaded a few clips. They’re actually kind of good in that ‘I’m glad I’m not that stupid’ sort of way. Download this one, and you’ll get the idea.

     Why you don’t see atari 2600’s with the frequency you would think you should (Last paragraph).

From the Tool news page:

“We knew Tool was playing in four US cities before the European tour, in mid May, but only now is the list of cities available to the public. You lucked out if you are in Atlanta, Detroit, New York, or Chicago. Exact info coming soon.”

     Here’s a good place to keep up on all this Episode 2 nonsense.

     If you have access to free printing of any kind, you should probably print out several thousand copies of these flyers.

Finally, a few stolen links: