Month: October 2013

I don’t know if Versatility is the word, more like wrong about lots of different things

Thanks to Rick for the shout out here.  I’ve been reading Rick’s blog since around the time my blog buddy and I started this one.  I found him after doing a search for country music blogs.  He writes with really good insight on a lot of different subjects; in particular his musings on history and the American West are real favorites of mine.

Thanks Rick!

So there are some rules here- I have to display the award:

versatile

Name 15 blogs that I want to give this award to.  This is tough for me because I’ve only been on here about 10 months, so I’ve got a limited pool to draw from.  So we’ll see.  I may fail and get my award rescinded.

Jogging Dad – A definite must read for me.  It’s about running, but it’s also about something I can relate to, because I play music- balancing something we love to do with responsibilities like family and trying to hold onto it while we get older.

Ranchandsyrup – one of my Balloon Juice buddies and one of the only fellow bloggers I have met in real life.  If other bloggers are as cool as him we should all have more meet-ups.

Adventures of a One Punk Army – I like reading his show reviews, because sometimes I forget there are people who like the music but don’t play in bands.

Journey into Awesomea critical look at comics and culture.  I like critical thinking and I like comic books, though my knowledge of comic books is pretty narrow- if it’s not XMen, Doctor Strange, or the Avengers I’m probably lost.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations– more than anything else I just love looking at the book covers he assembles from classic science fiction.

Huh, well I came up very short.  Well I like these blogs and I recommend them.  Almost forgot- This Farmer’s Life– a blog by an Indiana farmer about his farming life.   I’ve always been interested in farming.

And I’m supposed to name 7 interesting things about me.  I suspect I will come up short here too.

1.  I have always wanted to be a farmer.  I have a rough plan to make this a reality.

2. I have been to more countries (15) than US States (11).  Though in my adult life I have been to more new states (3) than countries (2)

3.  I would have been to three new countries, but when I applied for a visa for my Korea trip I had to make a copy of my passport and I forgot it on the copy machine.  I went back to the place to ask for it but they said they never found it.  Which for Japan is VERY suspicious (I was living in Japan at the time).  Some human trafficker probably got a few years of use out of it before it expired.

4.  I prefer going to movies by myself because I usually forget the details of the movie soon after leaving the theater and find it awkward to pretend that I remember things that I really can’t.  I will only go see Transformers style movies with other people, because then I can just say “yeah that was AWESOME” and not reveal my memory problem.

5.  I started learning Japanese at age 22 and am more or less fluent.  I read at about 4th grade level though.  I write at about 1st grade level.

6.  I studied Latin in college but I can’t remember any of that to save my life.  My favorite poet was Ovid.  That much I remember.  The class was by a professor named William Fitzgerald who really brought the literature to life.  I always wondered if he was related to the great Robert Fitzgerald.

7.  I read the entire Harry Potter series in a week.  Wait, that’s not interesting, that’s just nerdy.  Whatever.

Oh well I give up.  Thanks again to Rick and check out the blogs I mentioned.  They’re good.

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Lou Reed

I’m sure a lot of other people will have more insightful things to say about ‘ol Lou.

He was never a hero to me like Joe Strummer or Joey Ramone, but I loved his music, especially with the Velvet Underground.

Sunday Morning is a gorgeous tune:

This one too

This is a great rock and roll song

And one that my band covered a few times:

Rest in peace Lou

I can’t help but watching stupid Walking Dead.

I told myself I was done after season 2.  I hated that season with a passion.  Not just because I hate most of the characters, but because I can’t stand tv shows/movies that stay in one place for two long.  I’ll put up with it in a sitcom, but a ongoing drama should have a change of scenery.  Maybe it’s kind of peculiar, but it’s how I am.  I was really bored by Reservoir Dogs for this very reason.

So I started watching Season 3, mainly because I hoping for these people get bitten.   Before I started watching I read somewhere that Lori Grimes dies and she was my least favorite character on that stupid show.  I couldn’t resist watching for that. Thankfully the show obliged by killing her off quickly.  NOT THANKFULLY the show appears to be bringing her back as a ghost.  About the only good thing about the show is that it has shown a strong tendency to kill off characters in order of worst to best.  Sadly this doesn’t apply Rick Grimes.

I don’t really want to get into the various issues people have with race and gender on the show.  Those have been done to death.  What I do want to talk about is the fact that the show appears to be written by idiots.

I covered this a bit before, but zombie fiction doesn’t really work as horror, mainly because zombies are shitty monsters.  Yes, if you wake up in the middle of the zombie apocalypse and don’t know what’s going on, you’re in trouble.  But if you survive the first few weeks you’re pretty much going to live if you don’t do anything stupid, because zombies can’t adapt.  A monster that can be stopped by a sturdy fence is not a scary monster.  Shit, the Walking Dead regularly shows zombies being stopped by car windows. They’re just tapping on them like, let me in.

The problem is that the writers of Walking Dead have to keep zombies around but find ways to make them actually matter.  Because if the Zombies don’t matter then you have a really boring show.  But the initial danger where everyone is confused and hugely outnumbered, has passed.  So they take the 28 Weeks Later route- have characters do the stupidest possible things just to keep the story going.  Hey, wander around a dark prison basement instead of just barring the doors?  Why not?

There also appears to be no character arc for anyone.  Who is main character?  Rick Grimes is out of it half the time, so I guess it’s Laurie?  What is he or she learning?  Beyond not getting bitten, what are they trying to accomplish?  Do they have goals?  Why are they following Rick, when Rick clearly has made nothing but bad decisions?

Successful zombie fiction is either sociopolitical commentary or it’s about what happens to people when society falls apart.  The Walking Dead takes that route.  Which is fine.  Except that the show has nothing to say about this beyond the fact that if society breaks down people are likely to become monumental assholes.  INSIGHTFUL!

I just watched an episode of season three last night.  Rick Grimes, his kid and Michonne are driving down the road.  A man with a backpack on is running down the road, screaming and begging them to pick him up.  They have an empty seat in their fucking car.  They just keep driving.  At the end of the episode, he is dead.  The stop to pick up the backpack he dropped.  These people are evil.  Who are we even rooting for?

I’m rooting for injuries.  I’m hoping they all get eaten, starting with Rick.  Followed by that old annoying guy, that wimpy lady, the Governor, all the people in the governor’s town, Carl Grimes (yes, the kid, I said it, I want him to get bitten too), that other girl, then everyone else except Glenn, Maggie, Daryl and what the hell Merle, cause at least Merle is having a good time.

 

Update- DAMN IT THEY KILLED MERLE!  (sorry if you’re like me and still catching up on Season 3)

Seaworld

For San Diegans Seaworld, when people talk about it at all, is almost a punchline.  Almost.  It’s not Orange County, but it’s considered a bit lame.  Everyone knows the Zoo is the best.

Which is kind of a bummer, because Seaworld is actually pretty fun.  Grandma got us all passes last Christmas so we’ve been visiting every other week or so.  She got us the Silver passes, which means free parking.  We had passes a couple ago, back when they were offering a deal that if you bought a one day ticket it was good for the whole year.  They must have been really hard up for visitors.  But after buying them we went one time, realized parking cost ten dollars and were like, yup, let’s go back to the Zoo and free parking.

But now parking is free and so we’ve been attending the place.  Buying the occasional snacks and drinks and whatnot, making some money for whoever it is that runs the place now.

I know there are probably some thing to object to about Seaworld- keeping our dolphin cousins in small pens isn’t super cool.  I don’t have a response to that.  I just ignore that little voice in my head.

I have nothing profound to say about the place, but I do have a few observations:

  • We’ve been there at least 20 times and found a new aquarium that we’ve never been to this weekend.  I’m pretty sure we’re out of stuff to find, but that was a nice surprise.  They had a pretty cool variety of coral dwelling fish, my son was pretty excited.
  • Our end of the day ritual is always a ride on Shipwreck Rapids.  The ride itself gets you pretty wet, which is fine, I’m expecting that.  But just to add insult to injury, there’s a spot where people can shoot a water gun AT TOTAL STRANGERS riding down the rapids in those circular rafts.  What kind of an asshole do you have to be to think- yeah, I want to get total strangers soaking wet, that would be fun.   Of course if I knew the people on the rafts I’d be squirting them I was Jesse Ventura holding that huge gun in Predator.
  • Saturday was Say Yes Day.  A seldom observed impromptu holiday which means I agree to say yes to almost any request (where my usual answer is- no man, that’s too expensive).   What I learned- smoked turkey legs= not worth the $9.  Not because it wasn’t enough turkey, but because it was too much turkey.

All in all it was a good day.  And it reminds me- I need to take more pictures.  This blog would be greatly improved with photos.  I’m not much of a picture taker though, and when I finally did inherit my wife’s hand-me-down camera I promptly lost the battery charger so now it is a paperweight.

Don’t leave me hangin’ bro

Let me preface this by saying Imagine Dragons probably aren’t aiming their records at me.  I just don’t think I’m in their target audience.  Which is fine.  But I listen to pop radio for what it can teach me about writing songs, and this is my blog so I’m gonna say what I am gonna say.

Anyway, this song is pretty interesting:

It’s a pretty heavy song for pop radio.  One minute it’s Katy Perry or Bruno Mars and then BAM it’s a song about some sort of robot man waking up to a destroyed world.  And it’s not danceable either.  Again, this sort of music isn’t really my cup of tea, but having a hit this way is pretty fucking cool.

Their latest hit is Demons.

The lyrics are a perfect example of something I find super annoying about pop songs.  I get it, the point is to try to appeal to as many people as possible, so songwriters keep lyrics as vague as possible.  But I always get annoyed, especially since their previous song had some lyrics that were actually interesting.  I could imagine that robot waking up.  This dude with demons?  Who is that guy?  I don’t even know.

I want some concrete examples.  Is that asking too much?  I don’t think so.  “I have demons, don’t get too close to me” isn’t something you can just throw out there.  People are going to want details.  Have the courage to tell us! What are your demons man?  Drugs?  Some weird fetish?  Anger management issues?  What?  TELL ME!

And don’t expect us to watch the video to find out either, that’s cheating.

Guitar Wolf!

Japan’s greatest punk rock band ever came to town last night and I was there.  I hadn’t seen them in nine years, since I saw them at my friend’s club in Japan.  It was killer.

They put on a surprisingly energetic show for some guys who aren’t young.  If the legend is correct they put out their first album at the age of 33 and that was sometime in the 90’s.  By the end of the show their leather outfits were soaked in sweat. I wish I had taken pictures or recorded something, but trust me when I say, you just have to be there.  I’ll post a couple of their songs.  I know it’s cliche, but the recordings don’t really do their live show justice either.

Anymore, the best rock and roll bands walk a thin line between awesomeness and self-parody.  Everything Guitar Wolf does is over-the-top and cartoon-y.  Which is great!  My arms were sore from clapping along to their songs.  I went into the show, tired from a working Monday but once they got going I was sold.

If you watch the above video, you’ll probably notice what I consider either their most nervy, or maybe most self-parodic element- the fact that Seiji, AKA Guitar Wolf is a terrible guitar player.  And that’s a studio recording.  Live he plays much worse.  There isn’t a solo this man hasn’t met that he couldn’t fat finger or a key he could stay inside of for the duration of a song.

It takes courage to be that inept at an instrument and then name your band after it.  Their drummer, on the other hand, is a fucking master, and last night he played the physical equivalent of running a marathon.  There was one stretch that seemed like 20 minutes where Seiji took off his guitar, started crowd-surfing, pulled someone else out of the audience, instructed that guy on how to play a song, had that guy play for a few minutes, took the guitar back, played some more, finally finishing the song.  The whole time Drum Wolf (?) was tearing it up on the drums, not slowing down, not missing a beat.  The man’s not a big guy, but he was hitting hard.  I don’t if I’ve ever seen a better drummer.

The best thing about Guitar Wolf is what makes for the best punk rock- enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm and earnestness.  Those take maybe the most courage of all.  I wondered how a band like Guitar Wolf, which relies so much on interacting with the audience, would handle playing in the USA, since I don’t think any of them speak much English.  When I saw them in Japan there was a lot of call and response, which wouldn’t really work here.  Instead Seiji relied on the universal language- gestures!  It worked though.  I was clapping along.  I was raising my fists.  The only speaking he did was when he was trying to tell the guy he invited on stage to jump when he played:

You must jump.  It’s the most important thing.  For your life.  For ROCK AND ROLL!

Dating advice from a guy who is totally unqualified to give advice- Lower your standards!

My first pet was a rabbit.  I didn’t get laid until I was like 19.  COINCIDENCE?  Salon doesn’t think so.   I initially ignored this story as one of those dumbass personal essays that Salon tries to pass off as interesting.  Salon publishes a lot of crap.  Mostly crap really,  I don’t even know why I click on it anymore.  But I read this response on Jezebel, and I was slightly amused at the response.

Just to save you the trouble of clicking through it’s a post about a guy who believes he can’t get laid because of his pet rabbit.  He’s trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but I am not fooled.

I’ve had friends who talked my ear off with  “I’m a nice guy, why don’t girls like me BLAH BLAH BLAH.”   So far no one’s blamed it on a rabbit though.  I guess that’s a new one.

I don’t know man.  I’m a nice guy, why can’t I play baseball like my hero Tony Gwynn?

There’s no reason to listen to these dudes because they’ll drag you down man.  When I was young the last thing I wanted was some Negative Nelly hanging around causing repelling women and now I’m old and I don’t need to be hanging around people who haven’t figured out something the rest of us figured out 20 years ago.

Dudes who are upset about not getting attention from girls and are bringing up their alleged niceness are ALWAYS pining after some girl who is waaaay too hot for them.  It’s always true.  It could be a Law of Physics.

OH FUCK I JUST READ THE RABBIT GUY STORY AND HE’S FROM SAN DIEGO

Now I just know I’m going to run into the rabbit guy somewhere.  Shit.

Anyway, here’s the thing I tell these dudes now- Lower your standards.

You’re a desperate creeper… find a desperate creeper woman, they exist!*

You’ve got an unmanly pet?  Find a woman who goes on dates with her pet monkey!  Hope to God it doesn’t rip your face off!

Seriously, all that stuff other people say about working out, getting a haircut, learning to brush your teeth is just too much work.  Find a woman as lame as you are and make peace with it.  I don’t know why this is even hard.

While I’m on the subject i had a friend tell me in all seriousness

“If I ever get married I am going to insist that my wife shaves her pussy every day.”**

Yes, and when I am playing right field for the Padres I am going to insist that everyone refer to be as the Father Baseball.

*OH BOY DO THEY

**Would it surprise you to hear that the dude had been single for years at that point?  No, of course not.