Year2001

God Bless the Blake Babies?

If you’ve tried to e-mail in the last two days and haven’t recieved a response it’s because my aol account has hit the fan in the “shit” sort of way. Some sort of person and or computer program gained access to my account, emptied my new mail folder, and proceeded to send out a porn ad to a lot of people. Not cool, by any means.

     Hello again. I’ve been away on tour, studying for a circuits exam, and also being lazy. The Recital / Red Shirt Brigade weekend tour diary should be up by the end of the week, but don’t quote me on that. Speaking of The Recital and Red Shirt Brigade, we’re playing a Benefit show in a barn this Sunday. For more information, click here.

     So we have this Blake Babies CD for instore play at Barnes and Noble, and I play it all the time (Probably more than my coworkers would like). So on the strength of the songs where Mr. Evan Dando delivers guest harmonies, I decided I would go see them when they came to detroit. Bad idea. Wheat was the opener, and I just don’t get why everyone is all “Wheat this” and “Wheat that” these days. They bored me, and they looked like they should have been tending bar in a slightly more stylish club. Then the Blake Babies played. You’ll have to forgive me for not having encyclopediac knowledge of critically acclaimed Boston-based bands (alliteration in your face, yo.) as I’m going to refer the the Blake Babies guitar player as “Mister Guitar Player.” Mister Guitar Player had a FULL marshall stack (Emphasis on full – TWO 4×12 speaker cabinets) turned up to eight billion. I was standing near the front of the stage and all you could hear was this dude’s guitar. After a few songs, I gave up on any hope that he would turn down, and walked to the back of the crowd, where the soundman had done his best to balance things out. Standing back there, you could actually hear Juliana Hatfield’s voice, but you had to settle for either being able to see really well or being able to hear really well. Most bands have a fairly reasonable idea of where levels should be set so that the stage sound is fairly balanced WITHOUT making allowances for guitarist ego in the amp micing. So, in summary:

  • Blake Babies
  • Guitarist is way too loud

  • has too many distortion pedals
  • won’t turn down
  • drowns out juliana, who everyone is there to see

Yes. Also I can’t forget these two special audience members:

     The first guy was wearing earrings, sandals, shorts, and an ancient Blake Babies T-shirt. Also important is the fact that he had a full head of grey hair. Whenever any of the ‘Babes would reference their happiness at being in Detroit, this guy would make a big show of flaunting his T-Shirt and saying “Welcome BACK to Detroit,” with plenty of emphasis on ‘back.’ He did this three times, and it was funnier each time, because he wasn’t doing it to be funny, he was doing it in what can only be described as a sad attempt to garner attention. Sad, sad, old, Blake Babies loving man.

     The second dude was with his girlfriend and he was drunk off his rocker. He sat on the stage with his back to the band and alternated between the following activities at random intervals:

  • Sloppily making out with his girlfriend
  • passionately air drumming
  • Closing his eyes and singing the lyrics to old Blake Babies songs “to” his girlfriend
  • Wearing a hat with an x-wing fighter on it (He did this the whole time)
  • Pointing excitedly at the guitar player (This was only during ear-splittingly loud guitar solos)

     My final gripe about this show was that it was fourteen bucks, both bands sucked, and the blake babies didn’t even play the two songs I came to hear. Their new album is called “God Bless the Blake Babies,” and while some of it is actually pretty good, this show has prompted me to ask that god not bless that guitar player, because he doesn’t deserve it. But he can bless Juliana all he wants, because she is a cutie.

     Another part of the reason I’ve been missing in action for awhile is because I finally acquired an arcade cabinet to tear apart. The game it came with is functional, but kind of lame. It’s called Silkworm, and it’s kind of an anomoly because it’s a 2 player cooperative game, where player one and player two both control totally different vehicles (helicopter and jeep). So it’s kind of like two games in one! At any rate, I’ve already begun tearing apart the control panel and the guts of it and am in the process of deciding what i should put in there. Once I’m done, you can expect a highly uninteresting walkthrough of all the alterations I made on this site.

     I just got an e-mail saying that Eric’s Trip is getting back together and TOURING in support of a live album, and if I was still a junior in highschool, I wouldn’t be typing right now, because I’d be doing handsprings around my bedroom.

     “The band Eric’s Trip has decided to put on a reunion tour this August/September. The cross-Canada dates will begin on August 12th 2001, with the final maritime dates in the first week of September. All dates are still tentative, and will not be announced until more of the details have been worked out. This exciting reunion tour will bring together the four Eric’s Trip members (Chris Thompson (guitar), Julie Doiron (bass), Rick White (guitar), Mark Gaudet (drums) ) who played their last show on that fateful summer day in 1996. Rick White and Mark Gaudet’s Elevator, Julie Doiron’s solo work and Chris Thompson’s Moonsocket remain priorities, but the Eric’s Trip tour will be a fun chance to show off the advancement of their musical prowess over the last 5 years. Rick White is currently working on an Eric’s Trip “Best-of” live compilation, which will come out on Teenage USA recordings and sold on the tour.”

     Let’s see, another thing to tell you is that if you saw Weezer on that Yahoo! tour, and were wondering what the hell happened to that song they opened with, it’s on the b-side of the hash pipe 7″ which I stumbled across last night for $3.99. Fun. Lots of good multimedia at the official Weezer site. Oh! This:

     “Weezer played their new song ‘Hash Pipe’ last night to many screaming fans at the MTV Movie Awards. This sets a new record, as it marks the first time in 4 years that MTV has played real music.” -Craig Kilborn

     You might want to know that Radiohead tickets are already on sale for the Toronto-area date. You might not. I don’t know you really, so how should I know. Unless I actually do know you, and then I probably know whether you want to know or not. Also, The Illinois and Ohio shows go on sale at 10:00 AM tommorrow morning. Hot damn. The temptation to pull a Grateful Dead-esque week of Radiohead is great. Another thing about radiohead (kind of): You’ve probably already instant messaged the crazy radiohead artificial intelligence AIM screen name (“Googlyminotaur”), but if you haven’t be sure to do so. Fun things to do are to curse at and / or proposition it.

“He’s my best friend.” – Ryan Allen, Re: the Googlyminotaur.

Oh, I forgot to tell you. My puppy’s name is Speck.

     Chris O. submitted the older Pete of Pete & Pete fame’s IMDB listing, and suggested checking out the trivia section:

Was suspended from high school during senior year for setting his guitar on fire in the halls.

Attended Hunter High School in New York, NY

Plays cult-favorite Stuart in Ameritrade commercials…

2000 – Is a junior at State University of New York where he is studying documentary filmmaking.

     ..how cool is that? SUSPENDED for setting his GUITAR on FIRE in the HIGHSCHOOL? I’d love to hear his defense of that. I’ll bet it involves the phrases “the man,” and “spirit of rock n’ roll.” Also: am I the only person who didn’t know it was him in those Ameritrade commercials? Everyone I tell about this is like: “Yeah, AND?” and I’m all “But it’s HIM! I didn’t KNOW!” Ugh.

     Don’t you just hate it when you’re using Instant Messenger and you go to type “yeah” and what really comes out is “yeha,” like you’re a big cowboy or something? I hate that.

Totour

     If you live in or reasonably close to Champaign, Illinois, and know of a place where the Bluetip / RSB / Recital show can be moved to, please get in touch! The venue flaked on us.

     The crazy rock band of which I am a member is going to be playing a whole bunch of shows in the coming weeks, most of them with the Red Shirt Brigade (The only people in all of Michigan who let us get on shows). Some of these shows will actually be out of state, so if you’ve ever wondered how quiet and awkward someone who maintains a mostly pointless website would be in real life, here’s your chance to find out. Info:

Wednesday May 30th
Stormy Records
22079 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn, MI
(313) 563-8525
w/ A Thousand Times Yes, and Red Shirt Brigade
8:30 PM Sharp
$2.00

Thursday May 31st
@ Jefferson House
111 Jefferson St.
Kalamazoo, MI
w/ Red Shirt Brigade
9:00 PM

Friday June 1st
TBA

Saturday June 2nd
The Praire House
308 S. Prairie
Bloomington, IL
w/ Fly Everywhere, Red Shirt Brigade
7:00 PM
$5.00

Sunday June 3rd
@ Foudini’s
202 East Green Street
Champaign, IL
w/ Red Shirt Brigade, Bluetip
9:00 pm
$6.00

Saturday June 9th
@ Mr. Muggs
Ypsilanti, MI
w/ a whole bunch of bands
4:00 PM (Bands all day)
$6.00

Sunday June 17th
@ Wilson Barn
Livonia, MI
w/ Red Shirt Brigade, Amplitude, Gabriel, others.
6:30 PM
$5.00

Ryan A. Sent me this e-mail:

this is from SPIN.com:

“In related Radiohead news, apparently Kid A and Tim Burton’s 1993 animated classic, A Nightmare Before Christmas, if you play them concurrently, synch up in a style similar to the old Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz style. We have not actually tried this, you see, but we are quite excited at the prospect. For I have always likened Thom Yorke to the Pumpkin King.”

i know you are gonna fuckin try this shit.

love ryan

I tried it and it didn’t work. I *wanted* it to work, but it just didn’t.

Speck

     This is my new puppy:

     We pick him up on Saturday morning. He’s a beagle, and he needs a name. Right now, I want to call him ‘Tex,’ but my mom isn’t having any of that. Please help.

Also: There was an actual update yesterday, so you can look it that if it strikes you as something worth doing.

Dorito Discount Entitlement Theorom

     I got a crappy haircut today.

     That movie I asked about awhile back is called “When the Cat’s Away,” or “Chacun cherche son chat” if you’re french. It turns out that everyone in the world (Literally: I got emails from Germany and Holland.) knew this except for me. I recently became obsessed with seeing it again, but couldn’t for the life of me remember the title. Unfortunately, it’s not out on DVD yet. In case you feel like barfing, you might want to click here and learn about a remake in the works starring: Heather Grahm. Blah.

My David Sedaris History:

     I never really read David Sedaris until relatively recently. People had recommended him, but I was always too busy inching (Or perhaps more appropriately, millimeter-ing) my way through some other book to bother. Of course, it didn’t help any when some dude (“dude” in this context means “Kid who looked like he was just visiting from ground zero of an abercrombie EXPLOSION) was all snootty to me when “Me Talk Pretty One Day” came out.

Him: Is this discounted?

Me: No, it just came out, but in two days the new bestseller list will come out and if it’s on it, it will be.

Him: Well it will be. Dave Sedaris is my MAN.

Me. (Pause) Ok.

Him: So since it’ll be on the list in two days, you can give me the discount.

Me: (Pause to check if he is serious) Um, actually no I can’t. I can only give the discount on books that are actually discounted.

Him: Dude, it will BE ON THERE! SEDARIS WILL COME THROUGH!

Me: (It doesn’t really matter what I said next. He didn’t get a discount. Anyone who walks through life just assuming they should get discounts shouldn’t get discounts period.)

     So yeah. The fact that Sedaris was this dude’s “MAN” negated roughly all but maybe one of the recommendations his work had collected in my brain. But then hardcover copies of “Naked” got remaindered at 3.98 and this, coupled with my employee discount prompted me to buy one. I read it, and it was good. Next, I promptly lent it to my friend Rob, who still has the Dismemberment Plan (“Emergency & I”) and Jawbox (“Jawbox”) CD’s I lent him in January 2000, so I will probably never see it again. Based on the knowledge that Sedaris didn’t suck, I bought “Holidays on Ice” this past holiday season. The elf story was way good. But I was just never able to bring myself to buy “Me Talk Pretty One Day.”

     Fast Forward to now, and a friend is letting me borrow “Me talk Pretty One Day.” I am finding it to be way funnier then his previous work. My absolute favorite part so far comes in a story called “You Can’t Kill the Rooster.” The bulk of the story is spent describing the mannerisms of Mr. Sedaris’ brother, who it seems is incapable of speaking without liberally peppering his speech with profanity. The highlight comes towards the end of the story:

     “When a hurricane damaged my father’s house, my brother rushed over with a gas grill, three coolers full of beer, and an enourmous Fuck-It Bucket – a plastic pail filled with jawbreakers and bite-size candy bars. (“When shit brings you down, just say ‘Fuck it,’ and eat yourself some motherfucking candy.”)”

     I have no idea why I am so enamored with this idea, but I am. Every time I think of this, I smile and probably look really weird to passers-by because I’m all of a sudden smiling for no reason. And sometimes also not really looking at anything in particular when I smile so it looks like I’m totally crazy.

     I wrote another play, in which I introduce a few new characters (Of course, if you didn’t read my previous dramatic work, then all of these characters are new to you.):

Creepily Sentient Doritos: We are so good.

Adam: Huh?

Doritos: We are so, so good. Additionally, we are cheesariffic!

Adam’s Stomach: No! Don’t listen to them! They always fuck me up!

Adam: But they look so tasty and there aren’t any other snacks around!

Doritos: Yes! Snack-tacular! Cheese-tastic!

Adam’s Stomach: No! Mark my words! If you eat them I will be all fucked up!

Adam: I dunno…

Adam’s Brain: Dude, he’s right.

Adam: Who’s right?

Adam’s Brain: Your stomach.

Adam: My stomach has a gender?

Adam’s Brain: Yep he’s a “he.”

Adam: Oh. I suppose that makes sense.

Doritos: Eat us! We will make you feel full in a splendid way!

Adam’s Brain: Don’t you remember the last two times you ate doritos?

Adam: No…

Adam’s Brain: Oh. Well, both times you felt all queasy and gross. And you made me remember for you not to eat doritos.

Adam: I did?

Adam’s Brain: You did.

Adam’s Stomach: You did! Walk away! Eat some cheese! Or pretzels even!

Adam: No, I think I will eat the doritos.

Doritos: Yay!

Adam’s Stomach: Fine! But be prepared to pay, you fucker!

[Later…]

Adam: Arghhh.

     If you’re into icelandic tenors warbling over some bowed guitar, the Sigur Ros tour EP is available for download here. Hop to it.

     You may or may not already know that Motley Crue recently put out a tell-all book. In it, they take turns writing chapters. I am not ashamed to admit that I am reading it (but I would like to stress that I did not pay money for it). Here is the (unabridged) first paragraph of Tommy Lee’s contribution:

     “Duuuuuude. Fuck yeah. Finally. How much room is Nikki going to get, bro? Fuck. The dude tried to put his own mother in jail. I love him; we’ve practically been married for twenty years. But sometimes it’s dysfunction junction over there. I’m not like that. I’m a hopeless fucking romantic. That’s a part of me that a lot of people don’t know about. They know everything there is to know about another part of me, but not a thing about my heart. Dude, it’s bad, but it’s all good. All fucking good.”

     I’d like to point out that I am not making this up. Harper Collins actually published this, and yes, he actually did use six ‘U’s in ‘Dude.’

     Weezer trivia: If you look closely at the bottom right hand corner of the live photo in the new album, you’ll see Mike and the ‘bots. MST3K represent!

     The Faint plays Ann Arbor on June 3rd. I will be out of town. Poop. Also: The Josh Dodes Band plays Royal Oak on May 29th. If you’re into that.

He who laughs last…

     This is officially not a very interesting update. I don’t really have anything to say, but I’m bored and I haven’t updated in a week or so, so I feel kind of obligated. What to talk about? I recently bought a pack of American Gladiators trading cards for fifty cents. This is my favorite card:

     I’m not sure why it’s my favorite card. Perhaps because Mr. Gemini appears to be in such a jovial mood.

     Also, another thing to talk about is this kid who was at a bar. He was playing one of those golf arcade games that uses a trackball, but he had this crazy ‘system.’ His system was to start with his hand at the back of the trackball and suddenly jerk his arm forward, smashing his hand into the plexiglass that protects the screen at an alarmingly high rate of speed. He and his lady took turns doing this for about three hours. One time he hurt his hand really bad and I laughed at him. Stupid trackball golf system kid.

The Recital has an 8 song CDR EP available for 4 bucks.

     These 8 songs were recorded in my basement to digital 8 track. The sale of these Ep’s will hopefully generate enough money for us to record in a real studio. If you want one, here’s the address: PO Box 2017, Garden City, MI, 48136.

Dangermouse.org: “Crumbs, DM.”

     Bjork tickets for a secret New York show go on sale at noon tommorrow here. The catch is that only 200 people will get tickets. If you get tickets, I am insisting that you sell / give them to me. The show is on this Tuesday, the 22nd.

This is a play I wrote a few days ago:

“ALMOND DEATH”

(INT. ADAM KEMPA’S BEDROOM, 4 A.M.)

ADAM KEMPA’S STOMACH: Hey!

ADAM KEMPA: Huh?

AKS: Down here! It’s me, your stomach!

AK: Oh. Hi.

AKS: Remember all that brown rice and almond chicken you fed me last night?

AK: Yep.

AKS: It is attacking me.

AK: I’m sorry!

AKS: Don’t bother being sorry, for I am about to exact SWEET REVENGE!

AK: Arrrgh!

Fin.

     About a year ago I saw a movie on Bravo. It was in french and about a woman who lost her cat. What the hell was it called?

Park West

What the hell have I been doing?

  • Looking for a car.
  • Buying a car.
  • Insuring a car.
  • Going to Chicago.
  • Going back to school.

     I usually end up writing an update a little bit at a time over a week and then being all critical and re-writing parts of it, but I’m being all cavalier about this one. I just wrote down all the stuff I wanted to talk about and wrote it once, straight through. But damn, if I didn’t write the FUCK out of it. Or something. Actually it’s kind of funny, because the only part of this whole update that I went back and changed was this paragraph, which is about not going back and changing stuff. Which isn’t really funny I guess.

     I was in Chicago to see Icelandic up-and-comers Sigur Ros on one of their few U.S. tour dates. They were pretty great. If you’ve never heard their latest full length, “Aegtis Byrjan,” you might have to wait awhile, as the band recently signed with MCA, who’ve taken measures to prevent any more copies from being imported. You can hear some of their work here in realaudio, watch a live show in realvideo here, or there’s always napster and it’s ilk. If your connection is slow, you’ll just have to settle for reading their tour diary and smirking at the broken English.

     Oh wait, I found some MP3’s at this site.

     The venue, Park West, was absolutely ridiculous. It was all dinner club style, with crazy padded couches and other such seating.

     First things first: the guitarist plays almost exclusively with a bow (I spent a lot of last October searching eBay for an overlooked violin bow that I could pick up cheaply. Here I thought I was being all clever reviving the bowed guitar. But no. Some Icelandic dudes already did it, and they’re doing it way better than I would’ve, PLUS they’re getting a paycheck from MCA for it). He also has his guitar run through some sort of delay unit, so that whatever bow actions he makes take a second or two to register any sound. I tried to get more info on what the hell they used to get these sounds, but all I could find was this frustratingly incomplete discussion of the guitarist’s setup.


     In the middle of their set they had this opera-ish singer trudge out and whine all Pavoratti-style over two songs. Here’s the thing: the music was so good that this potentially completely sucky situation did not completely suck! After the two songs, the opera guy and Mr. lead singer of Sigur Ros (Whose name is apparently Jonsi) hugged for a really, really long time. Hardcore hug action.

     They had this limited tour EP with them, of which only 1000 exist (I was at the merch table when one of their management was explaining the details of the plainly packaged EP to the merch seller person). I heard that they sold out at the Chicago show, so you’ll probably see them going for ridiculous sums on eBay. I’ll probably end up parting with mine, simply because all of the vocal duties on the cd are performed by the opera-ish guest vocalist, and I wasn’t really all that into him.

     All sorts of crazy instrumentation was busted out. There was the string quartet, an organ, an electronic keyboard of some sort, a flute, a piccolo, a xylophone, etc. If you were there and saw the crazy brilliance of the last song, I’m told it is called ‘Haffsol,’ though I’m not sure whether or not it’s been released on anything. So, in summary: crazy, icelandic, good, you missed out (unless you were there. Then you didn’t miss out. So your summarry would be different, and would read as follows: crazy, icelandic, good).

     Oh crap. I forgot the candles. Can I insert additions after I’ve already summarized? Yes. Yes, I can. They had a roadie come out before they took the stage and absolutely litter the stage with candles, and for a lot of the set the lights were kept dim. So it was visually appealing, as well as (insert word that is like ‘visual’ but pertains to audio here) pleasing.


     If you, like me, are a big fan of Chris Ware, then you probably already know about the piece he did for that children’s comics thing Art Spiegelman put together. But did you know that there was a previous version that was rejected because it was deemed too harsh for children? And that it appears in the new issue of Mcsweeney’s? Or that the new issue of McSweeney’s comes with a CD containing a soundtrack to each and every article, composed by They Might Be Giants? Now you do! Also: The Chris Ware piece is especially interesting to fans because it never made it past the pencils stage, and you get to see how much Mr. Ware changes stuff around before actually committing to inks. Really dorky and neat. If you’re not familiar with Ware, he’s a crazy perfectionist of a comic book artist, and as this review suggests and this interview confirms, he is actively seeking out all copies of his first published work so that he can destroy them. So awesome.

     If you already have the Ryko reissues of every Elvis Costello album, get ready to buy them all again. It seems Rhino has acquired the rights to the back catalog and is reissuing each album as a double CD, the extra disc containing all sorts of rare and/or unreleased stuff. This all kicks off in early August, with the (non-chronological) release of three of his albums, and you can expect to empty your wallet once every six months from then on.

     A random anecdote from a friend of mine, that I thought I would share with you:

     I went downstairs a little while ago to make myself a cup of tea and apparently I had put the box of Cheerios in the fridge. Noticing that the milk was missing, I began a housewide search. The milk ended up being on top of the washer in the laundry room. I have no recollection of eating cereal earlier. I wasn’t even drunk last night much less this morning so it can’t be blamed on alcohol.

     Some reader mail from Greg, regarding the pictures of Evan Dando in the last update:

“I saw evan dando play a couple months ago in NYC. He was wearing the exact same shirt then as he was in that picture you took. I wonder if his wardrobe consists of more than one article of clothing…”

     Interesting. It’s funny because, when you think about it, it’s totally believable that Evan Dando only owns one shirt.

     My personal favorite children’s book “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” is in development as an animated series at HBO. This could be a good thing, except for the fact that it will be narrated by Sharon Stone. So who knows.

     The directors of “City of Lost Children” and “Delicatessen” have a new movie all set to go and it looks to be just as crazy as their previous work. It’s called “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain” and you can visit the official site here, or download the trailer in two different formats: .ASF and .MOV. Also: They’re in French and all.

Some extra Chicago photos (Titled):

Title: “Awesome sign in Chicago that I took a picture of.”

Title: “Some jackass thinks he’s a comedian and why the hell does EVERYONE in Illinois have a fucking customized liscense plate? Christ.”

     Finally, some good quotes for drummers from Robert Fripp of King Crimson:

“When it feels like the music asks for a drum fill, don’t do it. There are three other musicians who would like to use that space.”

“The most intense you can play is to stop playing.”

     I know I said “finally” about those drummer quotes, implying that that was the last little thing I had to say, but I found something else. So disregrad that occurrance of “finally,” or if you’re feeling frisky, mentally transpose that “finally” onto the begginning of the following sentance. [Mentally transpose here] Did you know that Mellissa Joan Hart (Clarissa, Sabrina) put out an album? It was on eBay recently, and sold for almost thirty bucks, so that’s not cool. If anyone knows where I can get ahold of these songs for free, Let me know, because I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. And speaking of lame 80’s teen sitcom stars putting out albums, Screech from Saved by the Bell is in a band.

I know I’m forgetting something.

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.
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