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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Post Christmas Hi-jinks!

In an animalistic attempt at getting some gum open, I swallowed part of the plastic wrapper.

Also, if you're wondering the secret behind Adam Clayton's awesome bass stylings for U2, wonder no more, there's an in-depth interview in Bass Player magazine up in here.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Best Emails of 2005

Some people are doing their best cds or movies lists. I thought I'd take an alternate route for today and share with you the highlights of my favorite emails that I've either sent or received in the past year.
Fun Fact: Only 2 of these emails are fictitious!!

10. Subject: How to blog
F: Dude, I don't think I need "blog" advice from someone named "Tony."
M: Yeah, you do. This article was nominated for a bloggie. When was your
last nomination?
F: Thanks to you, never! And a blog about blogging is just a little too
post-modernist/meta for me. And anyways I like to think of my website
as more of an Adventure Magazine than a blog. I mean, I rarely write
about my own bowel movements and I even more rarely tell the truth.
M: What's that you say? Every one of your entries is like a bowel movement! Zing!

9. Subject: Cookies
Did you eat all the cookies in the breakroom? That's not cool, Peter, not cool. It was ***'s birthday and he only got one. I'm not placing blame, but *** saw you had a stack of 6 cookies next to your monitor. I'm going to have to write you up for this...

8. Subject: Lunch?
Noon okay?

7. Subject: Hey Jake
Did you fart?

6. Subject: Radio
I will definately tell you straight up and RIGHT AWAY if somehting is interfering with my ability to work efficiently

keep your ears open

5. Subject: Office Noise!!
...and when i'm trying to work and learn the ropes of 120 new accounts handed to me in mid cycle with a dozen hold overs and per requests. - I DON"T WANT TO HEAR IT....especcally not talk show jabbering. instrumental music is easy on my mind, song with lyrics are a little more jangling, TV or talk radio is a complete concentration KILLER for me. i can't read, write, study, or think with the IDIOT BOX on.

4. Subject: I cant wokr with all this noise!!
sometimes it seems like you're more intrested in DJing entertainment for us all, than working... and you seem to have this punk attitude about it....

3. Subject: NOISE POLUTION!!
BUT SINCE YOU E-MAILED **** about me me behind my back, i will reply to both of you:i have just as much right to work and concentrate here, as you do to listen to radio commedy on the job! the people back here perviously were acoustically considerate and quiet, played music occasionally AT THEIR DESK, and had no attitude about it....

2. Subject: Mask! here today, wearing a surgical face mask just like Michael Jackson. I swear, he's so weird. And apparently he's being super weirder than usual. So that's pretty, pretty weird.

1. Subject: RADIO!!!
...asked yu many tiemes!!! TURN DOWN YOUR RADDIO!! I CAN'T CONCNETRATE WITH THAT STUPIRD CARP PLAYEING!! Ive asked *** and he said to go and tell *** about it so I don't evne nkow why I'm writing this !! ?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Gluttony

The 23rd: Shopped like mad. Then shopped some more, then played some video games while cooking mac & cheese which got overcooked because I am Wolverine and can't be bothered to check noodles. [Former band name] show at the Tonic. The Beauty rocked it, then Garrett and Timmy got ready and stuff and then Timmy walked off after about 1 song, so Garrett kept playing. Then Lowenbad played rock music with samples. We finally took the stage at 12:30. Got home at 2:15, then got Taco Bell, then watched Zoolander with T, Mo, Jake G. and Ben. Got to sleep at 4am. Yipes.

Christmas Eve: More shopping, then wrapped gifts for the entirety of "It's a Wunnerful Life". Then a pleasant little service at church, then on to granny's, then Empire Strikes Back pinball while wearing a Boba Fett mask at the open house of Bill & Dagmar. Then home: sleep disturbed, not by visions of dancing sugarplums, but the sounds of Armageddon raging on our street. Seriously, Christmas morning from about 3 until 4:30, we experienced the most horrific windstorm of the season, and I seriously thought that our windows were going to break. The house was shaking; Yoshi had to sleep in his crate, which he usually only does when he's sick, but this time I think he was just taking shelter. Total hours of sleep in 2 nights: not enough.

Christmas Day: 4 gift exchanges, 3 stockings, 2 dinners, 2 breakfastes, 1 nap. Fun times with my loved ones, but still a long day.

Yesterday: We finally got a good night of sleep and woke up at about 10ish and in our post-Christmas stupor, Mo & I spent the entire day in the house, whittling down the piles of chocolate, cookies, and candies we got during the previous days. We began the day by tidying up a little bit, then having leftover Chinese food with coffee while watching the end of Bad(der) Santa, which we had seen the first 1/2 of on Christmas night. Then we watched 40 Year Old Virgin, another comedy that was released as an unrated movie for it's dvd release. Then I finally got to play King Kong on the Xbox which looks amazing and is in widescreen. Then T went and got Papa Murphy's, and her and Mo and I ate that and watched "After the Thin Man" and I drank about 2/3 of a bottle of some festive wine, which really didn't affect me since I'd had so much to eat in the day. When it was over I was ready for bed, it felt like about 11:30, but found it was only 8pm. So we watched Arrested Development which is unceasingly funny and then we watched about 1/2 of "Another Thin Man". Then we went to bed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

U2 Rose Garden concert wrap-up

Here's the thing: I've been listening to this band for most of my life, that is, for the past 18 years. I remember hearing them on the radio when I was 9 or 10, but secular radio was strictly forbidden during my childhood. It was the forbidden fruit, but to my young ears, it was the only fruit that was out in the "real" (aka non-Christian) world that was worth listening to. I had no idea what the lyrics were about; my naive mind tried to interpret every song as a Christian faith song, to justify listening to the heathen radio. So here was this amazing sounding "With or Without You" and I couldn't imagine how anybody could even make these sounds, or "I still haven't found what I'm looking for", and wondering how the drummer could play tambourine and all those drums at the same time. Achtung Baby came out when I was in 8th grade, getting ready for high school and preparing for manhood. I latched on to these things. Like it or not, U2 played a role in my own search for identity and meaning - not just the lyrics, but the photos on albums, the concert videos, the tv specials, the 1993 Grammy awards promise to "continue to f*** with the mainstream". When I finally tried to sort out the lyrics and figure out what Bono was so passionately howling about; after hearing these songs dozens if not hundreds of times, I started to figure it out. Relationships are with women are tough and mysterious and good and fulfilling. Friendships are hard. God is out there somewhere, but where? The world is a strange, scary place, full of tragedies but comprised of wonderful people.

The show last night was f-ing brilliant. We had pretty good seats overlooking the stage on the left. Full house, decent sound mix, although the bass was boomy and indistinguishable when everyone else was rocking. Bono's voice has never sounded better. The song selection was a little on the safe side, although they did do "Miss Sarajevo", wherein Bono did the full-on kick-ass operatic Luciano Pavarotti verse. They did a full band cover of "Instant Karma". They also did I will follow, Until the End of the World, and Mysterious Ways, but nothing from October, Rattle & Hum, Zooropa, or Pop. They opened with "City of Blinding Lights" with Adam on a bit of synth piano on the intro and closed with an acoustic version of "Yahweh" with Larry on synth, then 40.

And so I was on the verge of tears for most of the show; I think it was because almost each song triggered a memory. This band has been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I've listened to music, and it was exhilarating and surreal to see them again. I've seen U2 four times before, twice on each of their last tours, and this was probably my most enjoyable show of all.

Epilogue -
After the show was done, we saw Adam Clayton exit the room while wearing a bathrobe.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fending for Myself

To celebrate my 28th birthday, my wife drove up to Seattle for 24 hours. Actually, she went up there for a work thing; maybe she'll blog about it herself. So, what do I do when my wife is out of town? I fend for myself, very very poorly.

Before she left:

Ten Minutes later:

For dinner last night I had a cheese quesadilla and some mint chocolate chip ice cream, then I tried to eat some of the awesome red chili peppers that Moz bought, but they were kind of waxy and started electrically shocking my teeth, and then I realized they were plugged in and were actually the new Christmas lights that she bought for the kitchen.

Then I played about 2 hours of video games with my awesome bandmates, as part of our "friendship bonds = musical bonds" theory, and eventually turns into a lot of swearing at each other and calling each other all sorts of names. It's actually a lot more fun to get run over by a purple alien driving a jeep than you might expect.

Then I stayed up late; finding and downloading some songs by my favorite women singers: Joni Mitchell & PJ Harvey. They are incredibly talented women with unique voices that I think express a lot of personal insight that resonate on a larger level because of the microcosmic truth in them. Just because I get weepy when I'm all alone at midnight, falling asleep while listening to "A Case of You" or "Both Sides Now", does that make me any less of a man?

Naturally, Lola slept on the bed next to me the whole night, and groaned loudly when my alarm finally got me out of bed after an hour of ROCK!/snooze/ROCK!/snooze, etc.

So I ran downstairs, gave the last few bits of dog food to Lola and Yoshi, and then out the door, only to find frozen raindrops on my car windows. Then I went to the coffee megalopolis and got my fix, then finally got to the office, just 1 minute late, but still before the bosses.

Can't wait til Mo gets back.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Movie Round-Up: Narnia; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Star Wars; Lord of the Rings; Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Squid & the Whale

Today's post is a movie discussion taken entirely from emails sent back and forth between myself and "F", who wishes to remain semi-anonymous. We join the talks mid-email:

Me:...not to piss on your parade, but he also has "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" and "narnia" as 2 of his top 5 movies of the year. Oh, well, movies must not be his forte.

F: Well, to each his own. I liked hitchhiker's guide alright, but it wasn't my favorite of the year (although I can't really think of movies I saw that I liked that much this year — OH! Except Squid and the Whale). I thought you like Narnia?

Me: Narnia? Like I said earlier, "It was ok."

F: Better than Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, though, right?

Me: Sadly, no. Possibly better than the 2nd & 3rd Harry Potters, but that's not saying much. I don't know. It's much more of a kid's movie than Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, mostly because it is about 4 kids running around doing things. And I don't generally go in for overly sentimental, earnest kid's movies.

F: So you're excluding the LOTR and Star Wars trilogies from the "overly sentimental, earnest kid's movies" classification? I see... I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith this weekend. Twice, actually, once with the commentary on. Not a good movie, but Pitt and Jolie were fun. And the commentary was mildly interesting. Also saw Last Starfighter, which was as good as I remembered it from when I was like six.

Me: Goddam. I saw that one last week. Pretty, terrible, and pretty terrible. It was barely mediocre. Why why why? You must really hate yourself. And at least LOTR and SW had some sense of humor, and some character development. Narnia was all, "but what about our poor father, he's in the war now... he wouldn't want us to go to war". And they have absolutely no problem or shock seeing that every animal can talk. And Aslan is introduced and immediately is trusted by all the children, who aren't the least bit afraid of this 400 pound talking lion going feral on them.

F: Well, you know, they're unafraid in the books, so... I mean, that's half the point, right? That only children could save Narnia because they're so trusting and innocent or whatever. Kind of a Christian idea, I suppose. And Mr. Smith was pretty bad, but not unbearable. It just took too long to get started (like, once they start fighting it gets markedly better). There's some good dialog (Mrs: What do you think of the drapes? Mr: Hmm. Mrs: If you don't like them, we can return them. Mr: Okay, I don't like them. Mrs: You'll get used to them.) L. says a similar premise has been done at least twice before, and in better movies (which I've never seen): War of the Roses, else.

Me: Agreed on all points. I think the premise of Mr. & Mrs. Smith was done before in the 1996 TV series called "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with Scott Bakula and Maria Bello, or the movie Prizzi's Honor, from 1985, which this movie is a remake of... I calls 'em like I sees 'em. Stupid crap is stupid crap, whether it's from an artsy independent lo-fi director or some rich bastard with a $167 million budget.

F: But again, LOTR and Star Wars, those aren't stupid crap, right?

Me: Right, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith is the model of artistic vision perfected.

F: Man, you go from zero to overboard sarcasm in like two seconds flat.

Me: I learned it from you.

F: Impossible! I learned it from you!

The End.