Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How do I feel for thee?

Q: What song is the current soundtrack to your dreams?
A: "Courtship Dating" by Crystal Castles

Let me warn everybody that this track is not for everybody.
It's currently residing on my "indie dance" playlist.
Along side the likes of Justice, Daft Punk (I know they aren't indie) and RJD2.

Crystal Castles Courtship Dating Video

how do i feel for thee
your smile brings disease
cuz we're young
willing from the start

when your skin is shed
find a pile of your head
now then i'll look so smart

stove burns on my hands
show them to my friends
make you participate

eyes roll back around
limbs fall to the ground
seasoned to procreate

the first to interfere
are culled before the deer
when they wander into the cage

stuff their arms and thighs
then they roll their cardboard eyes
their skin will never age

stove burns on my hands
show them to my friends
make you participate

eyes roll back around
limbs fall to the ground
seasoned to procreate

stove burns on my hands
show them to my friends
make you participate

eyes roll back around
limbs fall to the ground
seasoned to procreate

stove burns on my hands
show them to my friends
make you participate

eyes roll back around
limbs fall to the ground
seasoned to procreate

stove burns on my hands
show them to my friends
make you participate

eyes roll back around
limbs fall to the ground
seasoned to procreate

make you participate

Monday, June 29, 2009

How much credit should Ryan Seacrest give Ed McMahon?

Q: Could I turn this blog into an obituary column?
A: I may just have to if July is as filled with as many dead as June.

Fred Travalena is dead.
Another one bites the dust.
He was, star worthy, I assume:

If you want to see Freddy T in action, go to this YouTube clip.

But speaking of stars.
And dead celebrities.
Let’s take a moment to talk about Ed McMahon.
He, in my opinion, played a large role in a massive American Cultural Sensation.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m not referring to his Tonight Show sidekicking.
Which, in its own right, is historic… However, since his era next to Johnny Carson ended, more talk show hosts have gone the solo route (and I don’t think it’s because of a “nobody could be as good as Ed, so let’s not try” motive).

I’m talking about Star Search.
That’s where his true legacy lies.
(Unless, if he ever came to your door with a huge novelty check – then you can think different)

If Star Search wasn’t successful, shows like Pop Idol (the British precursor to the American version) would not have been green lit – not to mention the avalanche of like programming today.

Britney Spears, among many others, got a break on Star Search.

There is something very pure about Star Search, if my memory serves me correctly:
The judges were nearly anonymous.
Yes, I think there was a brief portion of every show in which Ed McMahon would introduce the judges, but once a “star’s” performance was over there would be a slight pause, before an overall score would appear.

Can you even imagine this reverse judging practice in today’s talent shows?
No celebrity guest judges
No theatrics (more of a Dancing with the Stars sin)
No extravagant proclamations
No insulting and condescending language.

That last one is especially key to me, as I think back to the Star Search engine… Everyone on Star Search was good. Star Search didn’t waste our time, or pander to our more predatory inclinations, with sub-par talent.

We can never go back to Star Search.
We can never have a talent show without a William Hung

…and frankly: There can’t be a show with a classy gentleman in a tuxedo at the helm.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Who else died last Thursday?

Q: Is the death of Michael Jackson making people not recognize the death of Farrah Fawcett?
A: No.

John Callaway is dead.
He actually died Tuesday night, before Michael and Farrah - but I didn't know this until after I had already heard the Jackson and Fawcett news.
Strangely, it was this IMDB article that informed me.

For the record, of these three people, Callaway, Jackson & Fawcett: only John Callaway won the Peabody Award.

Back in my early formative years, this Chicago newsman had a large presence in my family's household. Especially before my parents had access to Cable Television, they turned to PBS for news. His time as the anchor of WTTW's Chicago Tonight usually caused my prime time television watching to be delayed a half hour nearly every weeknight.

My Dad once ran into Callaway in downtown Chicago. Now that I'm remembering it, it might have been 20 years ago. It was the focal point of the usual "What did you do today?" stories that were a regualar fixture of our family weekday dinner table conversations. I remember how my Dad was quick, polite and respectful in his approch of Callaway. I don't remember his exact words, but I think my Dad only complimented Chicago Tonight- saying that his family enjoys watching it...

There isn't a national flood of attention to remember John Callaway, but I don't think he's being remembered any less from those that admired him.
People like my Father won't break a stride living in a world without Michael Jackson.
People like my Mother won't think twice about the loss of Farrah Fawcett.
But people like my parents, who depended upon people like John Callaway for a nightly news fix before it became a 24 hour news cycle circus - know of this passing, and will mourn approriately.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's your favorite Michael Jackson clip from YouTube?

Q: How can the Internet prove to you that it's not full of crass with no class?
A: Look at the example of how the news of Michael Jackson spread.

The end of the world will not be televised.
It will be ushered in via Facebook status updates and tweets.

I must admit I'm very happy to be a living in the digital age today.
A social arena that has given me much evidence (in the form of blind dates, hit-in-the-crotch videos and Miss Teen South Carolina) to think otherwise, today the Internet is using it's powers for good.

Take a visit to YouTube, who wasted no time placing classic Michael Jackson videos front and center for people like me wanting a classic MJ fix. We are all capable enough to produce our own tailor made tribute.

I really wish I was at work today when the news spread (and it's not just because I had to leave early because old man TQ has an horrific pain in his post-basketball back). I'm fascinated by how news like this spreads.

Sports Radio told me shortly after 5 pm...
Minutes later, the Seattle Sutton man wanted to make sure I heard the news when picking up my latest bundle of food.

...and then there was the reaction on Facebook...
Expecting nothing but crude "one gloved pall bearer" jokes, I was hapily proven wrong as the vast majority of "my friends" focused on the talent that made him famous rather than the choices that made him infamous.

I breifly watched MTV in the early evening - fittingly they were honoring one of the founding fathers of the Music Video industry. If there's a Mount Rushmore of Music Videos it'll probably be Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim.
(I welcome anyone to have a conversation with me on who belongs on this list, for I feel my last two choices are debatable - but the first two are by far not)

It's apparent that ABC and NBC had pre-canned Farrah tributes ready to go - I give CBS the credit for running a Michael Jackson fueled program in the prized 9 pm (10 pm for you east coasters) time slot.

The people I feel sorry for the most are those that wanted to see Michael Jackson perform live, never had seen it, and had tickets to his announced tour that was scheduled to begin in the near future. I only hope the massive musical reacation that is sure to come will provide some relief.

Who do you want to see at this (I'm sure it's being planned right now) tribute telecast / concert?
-Usher dancing?
-Beyonce singing Billie Jean?
-Kanye sampling The Man in the Mirror?

I'm sure MTV will have something utilizing Britney and Justin Timberlake.

I have an odd request for this tribute. And although it may appear like a joke, it's something I think can be pulled off if done right.
I would like to see Weird Al Yankovic play a straight cover of Beat It - prefrerably with an aucoustic guitar and nobody else. I think Weird Al has music talent underneath his joke song writing skills - and to play a heartfelt version of a song he morphed to launch his own career would be a great gesture.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why do men slap their significant others' butts?

Q: Where is the line between confidence and conceit?
A: The area where jerks thrive.

A few days ago I shared a story that involved me walking up to an attractive woman, attempting to ignite a romantic spark only to be douched away.

On the Blogger site, I received the following comment:
Anonymous said...

Maybe try swithing it up- Stop being nice guy and play the a*hole and see what happens!

Without needing to explain how I know this, I'm over 90% certain a young woman typed that comment. That should be a surprise to nobody.

The concert in which that above story took place, had more than enough examples of varying degrees of public ass spankings. I have also seen a father, holding a child of less than two years, slap the mother of his child in a similar way during a picnic. And I don't know why the following specific memory still exists in my mind: a very young self, while in a flower / garden shop saw a couple my parents' age involved in this popular-since-the-dawn-of-time salutation.

In formal response to the anonymous comment:
There seems to be something flawed in a woman who is attracted to jerks, thus I do not want to play up an aspect of her I don't deem desirable. More importantly, I am incapable of following through to the extent that I would need to in order to be truly convincing. Of course I can act (and sadly have acted) deplorable in specific times and places - but eventually I'll have to prove my 'bag appeal' by either puffing out my chest at an inferior male or execute the aforementioned swinging hand offensive to below the belt.

However, there are always those saintly women who - in the true spirit of sisters of mercy - want to save these horrible alpha males. Women who interpret outward aggression as cries for help and chauvinistic gestures as displays of affection. I am envious at the power of their self delusion.

But I have hope, because most of these women - the party girls specifically - are beginning to break down. Their bodies are incapable of maintaining the drinking regimen fostered on a campus (for some) ten years ago. They are no longer able to skip the following day's schedule without consequence - or show up in public wearing pajamas. It's when these women finally begin to evaluate an exit strategy is when I think I'll finally have my chance.

It's when the facts that I don't live with roommates, and don't live within stumbling distance of a bar will look like positive aspects. Someone who doesn't have to take another weekend shift waiting tables to pay for a recreational drug habit, but rather can take someone out for an evening. I can go on - but in case any about to be reformed dames of debauchery are reading this - I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How is facebook tormenting you today?

Q: Is she your friend (Facebook asks)?
A: No. And please stop dredging up women from dating past!
* * * *
Before I get into the bulk of my subject matter, the most recent episode of All Songs Considered is jacked with so many nominees for "Song of the Moment" I can't decide.
Get the podcast or pluck songs to add to your NPR player
I actually think the song "Take it Home" by Lightning Dust is epically beautiful.
It's too new to even be on YouTube - I'm dying to embed a clip to give the following monologue background music.
* * * *
First Facebook began suggesting that I request the friendship of nearly every alum of Maine West Township High School. I can understand why the system would do this: for I have three distinct friend circles that have high numbers of Maine West graduates. An odd coincidence because nobody in one of those circles knows people from the other two - and they are all from different graduating years. I just politely decline every one that comes up.

But lately, I've started to notice the names are oddly familiar.

Two days there was a woman that I went on one date with more than three years ago.
One date, that was it.
Not exactly a friend.
I blew it off (like she did me three years ago) thinking that there must have been some odd small world mutual friend that triggered my unfortunate walk down memory lane.

Today there was a woman who I know I never dated.... I wanted to... Long story that I won't get into here but we exchanged a few e-mails and never got off the ground (or away from the computer to use today's vocabulary). I checked to see if me and this second girl had a mutual friend on Facebook: we don't.

And I've realized what happened.
Facebook, when I first joined, asked if I wanted to check my e-mail address book to see if my "contacts" had Facebook profiles. I agreed and this saved me a lot of time and helped me get a jump start in compiling enough friends to no longer make me feel digitally unpopular. Of course, there are a lot of people's e-mail addresses I've saved that I don't consider a friend...

These two women I've mentioned fall into this category. I really do not appreciate Facebook going back into the contact bin to try to find people for me to "connect" with digitally. I need to do what I did over a year ago (when I got my current cell phone): clear out my contacts.

Deleting a woman's cell phone number from my phone is probably the last step I take before I can finally move on, accept my dating failure, and get on with my life... Those that know me well, know I love to dwell... Those that know that probably think it's some sort of fuel source for yours truly.

But I'm sorry, I just can't seem to delete those e-mail addresses from that screen on hotmail.com. It's a screen I never visit anyways. And if these women ever decide to admit guilt and enter a 12 step program from heartwrenching tease-bags I can't have their apology message exiled in my spam folder.
* * * *
Back to music:
(for an optimal reading experience, open this YouTube link in another window for background music)

It's a song called "15 to 20" by The Phenomenal Handclap Band.
What an amazing name for a musical group.
Speaking of names of musical groups: a friend of mine had a very astute observation.
He said it shortly after I corrected him on the pronunciation of the following artists:

MGMT ("management")
Adele ("ah-DELL")
Okkervil River ("ACK-a-VILLE river")
and he's already heard me correct others on Bon Iver ("bone-E-vare")

His comment, "Are these people intentionally picking these names to allow people to feel elitist when others mispronounce their names?"

The more I think about it, the more I agree with this comment. And I'm starting to feel guilty that I'm a fan of some of this music, because to be in a conversation with someone about music is way to difficult anyways... it doesn't need this in addition.

Someone who's opinion I respect (not necessarily always agree with) wanted to know why I liked Radiohead so much. He believes they are infinitely overrated. I was rather stuck speechless. For some reason the comment, "I like the sound of their songs" doesn't carry enough weight. I stammered out some response calling their music "organic" and it wasn't well received. (He laughed at changed the topic)

More recently at a party a complete stranger overheard that I go to a few concerts and started getting into a next level music conversation that I couldn't escape. He kinda had me cornered, and I had too much pride to retreat and surrender. He was throwing band names out left and right with NONE of them recognizable to me... Finally he mentioned Animal Collective and I told them I "didn't get it" and tried to re-establish my ground and mention that I saw Grizzly Bear (one of the current indie/hipster darlings that is just a national TV appearance away from pissing off many underground fans).

I said that I didn't get why so many people were talking about them right now, that I also couldn't join that party. I should note that since making that comment I've given their album Veckatimest, (don't ask me how to pronounce that - I don't know!) and am starting to understand them better...

But at the time I didn't get them, and the comment had an instant reaction of shock with the reply, "But they are the pinnacle of SimRock!"

There's no better way to make someone else feel musically stupid when you call out that there are names of genres you don't know. I told this story to someone, and they suspected this label was known only to him. Half fictious and half self relevant.

At least when I invent names, like my theory on Mountie Rock, I make it well known it's not an actual genre recognized by others.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why am I in a dancing/party mood today?

Q: Hey, remember that video clip of an "impromtu" dance scene?
A: It doesn't matter if you did, probably better if you don't...

Here's some music to play in the background courtesy YouTube (again, apologies to the crowd reading on facebook):

Turns out that clip I posted last week was NOT a track from M.I.A.
That song "Unstoppable" is actually from an artist known as Santogold.
I feel like I should turn in my "I know what I'm talking about" music card.
It caused a funny moment in my inner monologue as that "Unstoppable" song shuffled it's way from my iPod to my ears today: I looked down and was like, "Oh, that's some other lady singing."

Which means we're back to square one trying to understand M.I.A.'s popularity.

But that's not stopping my bad mood because-
Today I'm playing basketball
Tomorrow I'm playing softball
Friday I'm playing cards
Saturday I'm playing golf

In the words MySister's made famous, "we book early."

Quick Thoughts:
From a very unconfirmed source Phoenix may come back to Chicago as early as this September.
They are in an all out blitz to promote their latest album.
An album I hope will appear on many year end top ten lists.
It'll be on mine, most certainly.

Every day that goes by that I'm reminded how happy I am to live on the street side (not alley) of my building.
Last night, when I couldn't sleep, I just sat out in the post rain freshness basking in the moonglow of Washington Street.
As most nights, it was quiet... unassuming.
Now that the weather's nice, I'm going to head out there on a nightly (if not midnightly) basis.
Reading a book or drinking a beverage.
Watching life.
People watching is vastly underrated.

Last weekend a young woman was running around the block.
About three laps (more if she begun before I walked onto the porch)
Her pace was remarkable.
As was the sound - her shoes were hitting the sidewalk hard.
It made me envious of her stamina.
Although, not to the point that I want to start running.

My mother used very strong and descriptive words to describe my non-diet eating habits last weekend: "Totally out of control"
Seemed a little harsh.
Not to mention inaccurate.
If you really sit down an consider the rare moments of your life that are truly "out of control"
I can't help but first think of being in a car, moments after it's run off a cliff.

I don't think as many 29 year old single men (I was that age when I started, but I am also still single) have dove head first into a Seattle Sutton Healthy Eating program with as much vigor and dedication as I.
My campaign couldn't have had worse timing: the start of Football Season.
The quality of my friends' lives were put into jeopardy.
The last memories of the Kyle Orton era may fade due to the decreased levels of snacks while viewing.

By the way, I understand this is a giant pat-on-my-own-back about my success - but I feel like I've earned it.
And I also think I've earned the right to go off the SSHE grid and enjoy a cookout if given the opportunity. Yeah, I may eat four hamburgers this upcoming weekend. I know how to deal with it. I have now gone on multiple streches of time on various food vacations or intended breaks in the system and have been able to re-lose the small amount of weight gained back. However, I do understand that these gaps in dedication are pushing my eventual weight goal further away. My goal was to lose 40 lbs. by two months ago, and I'm still 10 lbs. shy of that. But I'm no longer concerned about when it will happen because I'm confident I'll get there... ... ... eventually...

I'll admit that I have a personality prone to addiction.
Chronicled by periods of mass consumption to levels commonly associated with the term, "binge."
Today I used this term, to describe a past habit, to two friends.
It was in anticipation of a show I'm (upon NetFlix's trusty delivery) about to begin:

The last show I got into from square one through DVD was The Wire.
I watched an entire series per weekend.
Watch until sleep, continue after waking.
This "consumption" of the show was met with high criticism.
My friends believe that the show's depth could not be absorbed from your primary senses.
That it needed to stew in the back of your mind to appreciate the full flavor and richness.

It's tough for me not to start another episode after just seeing an episode I enjoy.
I usually get upset when I see a good show and think begrudgingly, "A whole'nother week until the next one?"

Hopefully, I won't shotgun this show like cheap beer and savor it like.... you follow, right?
Writing about it openly will help my cause, help convince me this is the preferred path.

(By the way, only a little over three weeks from the highlight of the summer: Lebowski Fest)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why is watching Hitch DANGEROUS?

Q: What will watching Hitch on a lazy Saturday afternoon get you on a Saturday evening?
A: A little bit of courage, but a ton of rejection.

I want to tell you what happened at the Park West tonight just before Phoenix took the stage...

Jeff and I got into the venue relatively early, easily a half hour before the show began.
It didn't take long to notice an attractive young woman by herself not too far from us.
She was perpetually texting and looking around.
I pointed her out to Jeff, who made the joke, "Maybe you should go give her some company?"
But I already was conjuring up a plan.
If she was still by herself by the time the opening act (Amazing Baby) was through, I'm was going to go over there.

The set ended, and she was still alone.
I asked Jeff if he wanted another beer, and left to walk in the attractive woman's direction.
While almost to her, we made eye contact and I said a quick "hello."
She replied with a half smile, which by this time I was about a half step past her.
And I instantly stopped and turned just a little over 90 degrees and began a conversation:

TQ: Are you here by yourself?
Attractive Woman: Yes.
TQ: I've seen you here for over an hour, was wondering if someone was making you wait or not
AW: Nope, I'm here by myself.
TQ: That's funny, I almost came here by myself too. (NOTE: THIS IS A TRUE STATEMENT)
AW: Yeah, I'm a Phoenix freak.
TQ: Me too, I knew I had to buy tickets the day they went on sale because - after that SNL spot - I was certain this was gonna sell out.
AW: It's crazy how they got so big so fast.
TQ: I was looking online and saw they were going for, like, $70.
AQ: Oh no, it's over a hundred now - I sold my other ticket for $120.
TQ: Well, I just couldn't sell it and go it alone - I brought a friend from work... By they way, do you want to stay here by yourself? You can join us (pointing) over there - it's a better view of the stage.
AW: Do you have seats?
TQ: Yeah, we're on the stools, but you can have mine because I'm gonna stand during the show...
AW: Well, I'm gonna go up and start dancing when the show starts anyways.
TQ: I'm about to get a drink - do you want something?
AW: (hesitant) Uh, you can buy me a drink but I don't want to get a drink from you.
TQ: Oh (realizing what she's implying) yeah... Uh, you want to go get a drink then?

-This is when the couple sitting to her left interrupts us-
The 40+ year old man asks Attractive Woman if she will hold their seats when they go to the bathroom if they buy her a drink. The woman of the pair then motions for ME to get the server's attention. By the time I get the server's attention - get my order of Sprite in along with Jeff's beer Attractive Woman is now conversing with the woman. I interrupt to ask Attractive Woman's name - who stalls before responding to me with "Stacy." A name I am not confident is her actual name. Before I know it the man gets his drink orders, along with the Attractive Woman's order, to the server.

I'm now feeling completely emaciated and exposed... drenched in failure and feel every eye in my immediate area around me. "Stacy" has accepted the drink offer from somebody else, and I stupidly ask her if she wants to go back to where I'm seeing the show. and she says, "I think I'm just going to mingle with these people here for a bit."

I rejoin Jeff and he asks, "Where's my beer?" and after my non response he quickly adds on, "I knew you weren't going to get a beer.... Hey, nothing ventured nothing gained."

The server comes back around to our area and I stop her saying, "'I'm sorry to complicate things for you but I ordered a Sprite and a beer over there - and I tried to buy a girl a drink but got shot down and didn't feel like waiting over there like a dumbass for my drinks - sorry."

A minute later the server returns saying that my drinks are over there, and they want you to come get them. "Who paid for them?" I asked. I didn't appreciate having to walk back there, I wasn't exactly able to strut over there with any large measure of confidence.

"Stacy" is still where she was, but instead of walking back to her, I stop just short of her - where the 40+ couple was... The man was the one who paid for the drinks according to the server and I immediately told him that I didn't intend for him to by me drinks. He smiled and offered that he liked my shirt (It was a Peter Bjorn and John shirt) and said he and his wife like that band too.

I decide to fess up.
I tell the married couple that I thought them buying "Stacy" that drink was a way to stop me from talking to a single woman. The wife at this point makes a nonverbal nodding of the head in agreement while the husband laughs it off as nonsense (not seeing how his wife is reacting). The man asks for my name, and then tells me instantly forgotten names in return. I can't remember my exact wording to them at this point, but I remember mentioning how I felt like I "had" to go talk to this attractive woman, and didn't believe that she was here alone. He jokes that he put roofies into my Sprite. I kindly return the joking mood and ask him if he's seen The Hangover because of the large role roofies play in that film's plot. The married couple did not see it, but "Stacy" pipes in saying she has seen it - but I'm don't quickly think of a way to use her comment to rebuild a second effort for her affection. Especially with my stamina and inertia lost from my first attempt. Before I turn back I give one last glace to "Stacy" and politely say, "Have fun on the dance floor."

Then I walked back and handed Jeff his beer, telling him it was bought by the cockblocking older couple... Don't ask me why, but I didn't feel bad enough - and bought all three of them another round. The show starts soon, and true to her word Stacy passes by us to her eventual resting place - directly under my line of vision to the stage.

And this is the worst part: she's with these two douchebags that were standing on the opposite side of the married couple. I noticed this pair when I first walked up, but didn't think they were rivals because:
1. they looked like douchebags
2. they looked older than me ("Stacy" is 25 years old TOPS)
3. they looked as if there weren't there to have any fun (not smiling / not talking / just brooding in their own Massengill

These guys did have something over me: arms.
They weren't muscle heads, but they were wearing tight fitting t-shirts and had arms built for pushups, not fifteen foot jumpers.

During the show, I had a good time.
I moved like I enjoyed the music.
Meanwhile, "Stacy" was drunk out of her mind.
She literally fell down once while dancing.
Not a good idea for her to be that close to steps.
The two douchebags just stood, nearly like statues next to "Stacy"
They bought her multiple bottles of beer.
(By the way, the drink I tried to buy her once, and ended up finally buying her was White Wine)

And there she was, drunkly dancing and casually touching that douchebag.
Jeff tells me that I'm not missing much, and should be happy.
But I wanted to be that guy to have his arm around her.

On the walk back to the car, Jeff says, "you're attracted to party girls, aren't you?"
It's tough to abjectly deny this statement.
It's tough to not admit that girls that dress in that way, present themselves out in that fashion, don't have an effect.

On cue two very forty, very drunk, women come stumbling out of the Old Town Art Fair yelling to us. "Peter Bjorn and John! I love PB and J! Hey, don't they sing that song (start whistling the chorus to 'Young Folks')"

Jeff told them they were correct. After they walked past us Jeff made a comment that I could get those two easy. And although I felt like I had been kicked while down, I'm still able to get a smartass comment out, "Sorry Jeff, but I don't have a license to hunt cougars"

Lesson I have learned: Don't watch Hitch on days you can be around attractive women.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What's your favorite Saturday afternoon movie?

Q: Are movies sometimes better with commercials?
A: Welcome to a lazy Saturday.

I cleaned my kitchen floor today.

Gotta love movies on commercial television on Saturdays.
Spike ran Kill Bill Vol.1 & 2 back to back.
And as I write this, TNT is showing Hitch.

Hitch is such a wonderful film.
The kind you can just watch and watch.
Nobody knew Kevin James could bring it the way he did.
And now he's box office gold - even when he stars as a mall cop.

Last week I remember another classic lazy watch:

The thing with lazy Saturday viewings - you can really get a lot of work done during those commercial breaks.
Pay bills.
Clean up a bit.
Check a recent fantasy baseball trade.
Research what the concert shirts will look like, to defuse the "first look" adrenalin that can lead to a impulse purchase...

Growing up, I didn't have cable, and that seriously restricted the wealth of pop culture movie knowledge I could share in friendly conversations. I'd like to think that it's at a level now it wasn't back then. Because today you can catch solid fare on Spike, USA, TNT, AMC, A&E (showing Independence Day... again!) without having to invest in the HBO like offerings.

So now I'll be leaving in less than an hour for a much anticipated concert.
Maybe I should turn off Hitch at the next commercial?
It's gonna be tough to walk away from it.

What do you want to clean?

Q: Or rather: What were you supposed to clean?
A: I was going to clean the kitchen floor today, and decided that I'd clean up my Blogspot site instead.

Welcome to the newly redesigned TodaysQuiz.
For those that actually view this on blogger, not on facebook, I'll embed a video of a song that I've been listening to a lot recently. (I don't know why embedded videos don't get imported along with the rest of it to facebook)

Truth be told, I blasted this song in a church parking lot last Sunday.
That might not have been appropriate.

I'll tell ya what's definitely not appropriate: Spending over $50 to see them play in Milwaukee.
Better judgment finally wins - I did not buy tickets this morning.
Even when my friend in Milwaukee gave me the go-ahead that he'd join me.

Speaking of what I'm also not doing this morning: cleaning my kitchen floor.
Let's see here... I'm leaving for the Park West in five and a half hours.
And I'm still not showered and ready - so I've got well over four hours from the time I finish writing this post.

And I was hoping to finish this damn book this weekend:

Probably the most time I've ever spent on a book I intended on finishing...

So now I'm procrastinating multiple items (especially if you consider the movie I ended up not watching last night).

Time to get to work.
Hope you enjoy the new look.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where is / What is / Who are... Phoenix?

Q: What do kids do when they can't figure out how to start a report?
A: Start it with cheesy definitions

1. A city in Arizona, known for many things. For example a community that former NBA all-star Charles Barkley calls home:

2. A mythical bird that is born out of fire (more or less):

3. A band from France:

I'll stop here, before I get into various dead or disappointing actors.

These guys first got on my radar in 2001, when their song "If I Ever Feel Better" was featured on a bonus CD that came with a Fatboy Slim album.

Six years later, songs from their next album, It's Never Been Like That, appeared on a mixtape from a coworker... And that's when I really started paying closer attention to them.

The track "North" began to make its way on playlist after playlist on my iPod. It's one of the few songs I've given the max star rating.

By the time late 2008 came around, I was now checking websites to see when the new album would be released and hoping they'd tour to support it.

At a friend's place the Saturday night they were to appear on Saturday Night Live, I was rather adamant about making sure we all see the performance (even though I was the only one in the room aware of them at the time).

I bought Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix the day it "dropped."
I bought tickets to see them live the day they first day they went on sale.

To say I'm looking forward to their show at the Park West this Saturday, would be an understatement.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Do you "get" the artist known as M.I.A.?

Q: Do you understand why M.I.A. is so loved by so many?
A: I didn't, but I think I just found out why...

There's a new semi-viral video now, and I think it's finally helped me understand why M.I.A. is so acclaimed. This has been a question bugging me for about two years now.

First, here's the video:

Let me begin my realization by making the obvious comment on the video:
It's shows just how infectious dancing can become.
Also, it shows how something can look totally stupid by itself, but how if you get lost in a crowd of "stupidity" everyone shoulders the load enough to not feel it.

I think there is something inherent about M.I.A.'s music that made this event most likely to occur during one of her songs... If you listen to her alone (like I have tried to multiple times) it makes as much sense as dancing frantically by yourself in an open space.

God, I can't begin to explain how this video has given me mental lockjaw... I'm not sure why I think it has to do with that song...

Also, I think M.I.A.'s music was used very well in Slumdog Millionaire. It was the first time I had heard her and thought favorable, not confused, thoughts. Could it be that her music makes more sense in the fiction world? When it's tied to something on a movie screen or something that appears potentially staged (like that YouTube clip?)

Now I've just lost myself.
And I still can't sleep.
This song, and that scene, are blazed into my mental processes.


Damn right.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Exactly where does your mind run to when in neutral?

Q: What are your favorite kinds of posts?
A: The ones that make the least sense.

Let's start this mess off with a rundown of my Netflix activity
Or lack thereof
As you can see

I've not been getting my money's worth
On December 16 I received a couple movies
That weren't watched and returned until February 25
The next two I got spent another 6 or so weeks gathering dust
Then, after another 7 week hiatus I went on a tear
I only watched four movies in the first four plus months of this year
Six were viewed since Memorial Day Weekend
The above list doesn't count the two I watched "instantly" on my computer
Those movies were JCVD (which was awful like no other)
And How to Rob a Bank
JCVD and Chop Shop were quit less than a half hour into the "feature"
I watched all of that formulaic bank heist flick
Only because I will watch nearly anything featuring Erika Christensen

I have made fun of women who watch with their ovaries
Giving any film a good rating if there's a hot ass in there
I'm not too far from that
How to Rob A Bank, even with the beauty of Erika, is still awful
This latest push to watch a lot of NetFlix
Was an affront to a passing thought of canceling my account
It was a close call
My logical mind was trying to tell me it was a waste of money
Good thing we weathered that storm
Up next: Throat Punching Liam Neeson in Taken
Then it's back to "legitimate" fair like Revolutionary Road and Frost/Nixon
* * * *
Turns out my Mom likes Coldplay
It was a shocking development
Causing me to laugh
Around the world, millions felt a sudden feeling of justification
You need to understand something first
My Mom doesn't like music
She'll sing in church
But she owns zero musical albums
She can't even fathom why anybody would want to own a piece of music
Her car radio only talks
We were walking out of a restaurant a few Sundays ago
(More on that in a bit, the restaurant)
"Speed of Sound" was playing over a loud speaker
My mom wanted to know who sang the song
And after I told her, she said she liked it
As it turns out, it's only telling half the story
My Mom doesn't so much as like Coldplay
My Mom adores Joe Scarborough

Morning Joe is one of my Mother's favorite shows
Although not a conservative republican, my mom likes Joe
Turns out "Speed of Sound" is frequently used as a musical bump
That is, the song playing the show in and out of commercials
I offered to make my Mom a Coldplay mixtape
She refused
(Remember that Restaurant)
I ordered a pulled pork BBQ sandwich
It's becoming "the thing I order" out of nowhere
The sandwich was universally ignored by me for 25+ years
It's not been ordered at 3 different restaurants
Over established and trusted favorites
* * * *
This weekend is the annual Taste of Des Plaines
Do you love Des Plaines
Do you heart Des Plaines

I've been a resident of this City of Destiny for over 3 years
Every year since I can make this claim I walk over to "The real taste"
I call it that, of course not seriously, to coworkers
The bar is rather low to entertain me there
As long as there are at least two other people there that I know
* * * *
I'm golfing again
Invested in lessons again
The lessons are over
The investments aren't
Callaway had a dynamite promotion
Buy a Driver, get a 3 Wood or a Hybrid for $1
It ended with the month of May
Causing me to drive through rush hour to Mundelein
I had to consult with the best golf mind I know
Who also, thankfully, had special coupons that could be used at any time
My initial Driver and 3 Wood cost me a total of $30
Replacing them cost just over nine times that figure
Even though I have been told many times since then
By numerous people
How great a deal it was
I still had reservations, a tad bit of buyer's remorse
But all that negativity evaporated on the fairway of its 3rd hole
Here's a picture of what I got

I credit this club for helping me achieve my best score to date
Looking to make a new record this Friday
About two and a half weeks ago, I was regretting the entire golf venture
Thankfully, like my NetFlix cancellation thoughts, the feeling also passed
* * * *
I remember the first time I ever had to write off the top of my head
It was my Writing class my freshman year of high school
We had to write a journal
Like now, I never knew what to write
I remember writing reviews of Late Night with Conan O'Brien
The show had just begun that first week of my high school career
As I'm writing this I'm watching his first Tonight Show
Goodnight, hopefully it won't be another week plus before I post again