Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best Movie of 2009 (IMHO)

I was looking over a list of the top grossing movies of 2009 to remind myself of what movies came out in '09. It's amazing how many bad ones there were that I blocked out of my memory, like Inheart. There wasn't a lot I saw this year that really blew me away so trying to pick a best movie out of the bunch came down to three. My pick for the best movie of 2009 didn't do very well at the box office, or with critics, but I have to pick Surrogates as my top choice.

Surrogates stars my main man, Bruce Willis, as FBI Agent Tom Greer in a world where most people rarely leave their house. Their life experience is lived out through the use of remotely-controlled robotic bodies, known as surrogates. The handicapped are able to walk, the disfigured are able to look beautiful and the lazy...are allowed to continu being lazy. Damage done to the surrogate is not felt by the operator so it is seen as a better and safer method of life.

Murders start happening and there is a group of humans who refuse to live surrogates who live on the outskirts of town. Greer eventually stops using his surrogate to investigate the murders and figure out what's going on. Overall, it's a really intriguing concept and I think they pulled it off rather well, unlike my pick for Worst Movie of 2009.

My other top movie choices of 2009 were The Hangover and Star Trek. The Hangover was funny and easily the best comedy of this year. Star Trek did a fantastic job of introducing these characters to an audience that knew very little about them (me) and having the story make perfect sense.

Worst Movie of 2009 (IMHO)

For me, the worst movie this year has to be District 9. It's the polar opposite of my top movie of 2009 in that it has a great concept yet fails to deliver on it. D9 tells the story of aliens who crash land in South Africa, who are then captured and kept in camps while scientists try to study them and their technology. It's a much more "real world" take on what would happen if aliens did actually land here and weren't out to completely destroy us, like in every other alien movie. Where the movie fails, though, is in its main character who makes completely nonsense choices in his actions.

The movie also starts off in a pseudo-documentary style which is cool but then it just degenerates into a generic, over budget action movie. The main character becomes despicable by the end and you're left to wonder what happened to such a wonderful concept.

Honorable mention for the worst movie goes to Disney's A Christmas Carol in 3D - a story which didn't need to be told yet again, and certainly not in 3D.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just Older Pt. 2

I think another appeal of listening to "classic rock" is there is little to no chance of an artist and their legacy becoming tainted. My friend Rick once pointed out that it may actually benefit some artists (Sublime, Nirvana, Bob Marley) if they die early in their career. The upside is that we didn't get to see them suck. There was no Kurt Cobain solo album where he experiments with a reggae style and drum loops. All we have is three studio albums and we're left wanting more.

There are plenty of '90s bands that I love(d) whose last few albums have been a downhill slide (see Everclear, 7Mary3, Live). The career of most classic rock artists is essentially over - there won't be any new Queen or Zeppelin albums. Their statement in music has been made.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Twitteriffic

If you can answer any or all of these three Twitter-related questions, you win a lifetime supply of hominy.

1) Why is my company on Twitter?

2) Why are they following Steven Seagal on Twitter?

3) Why did they send a tweet to Steven Seagal?

Answers will be accepted up until midnight on December 22, 2009. Read the fine print for all rules and restrictions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just Older

I don't know if other people are going, or have gone, through this but I notice my musical taste changing as I age. I used to like bands such as Queen or Led Zeppelin, but now I LOVE them. I find myself listening to 95.5 KLOS and their playlist of Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie a lot more than my usual choice of 106.7 KROQ and their roster of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and Rise Against. I like those bands okay but I'd much rather hear the older "classic" rock. I surely must be getting older.

The only thing I don't like about classic rock is some songs tend to drag on for a minute longer than they really need to, like Free keeps repeating "all right now" at the end of "All Right Now" or Guess Who's "American Woman" where they keep saying "I'm gonna leave you woman...so long...bye bye...I'm gonna leave you...I gotta go...bye bye..." Just leave her and end the song already, plz!!!

In the meantime, enjoy the Bon Jovi song "Just Older" --

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Awk. Ward.

I got an email from my high school about a Christmas thing this past weekend. It advertised an appearance by Santa, crafts and free breakfast. In my head, I pictured stacks of pancakes and muffins, and 10-15 local artists selling homemade crafts so we could pick up some Christmas gifts. The campus is maybe 5 minutes from where we live, so The Wife and I went to check it out. Plus, I figured I could show her where I went to school.

Here's what we ended up getting: Santa Claus (as promised!), mini-bagels and donuts (well, it was free) and tables set up with craft supplies so kids could make stuff (not a local artist in sight). Crap! We felt pretty weird since we have no child of our own and I don't want to look like a molester and/or kidnapper. Quick, time for Plan B: grab a bagel and donut (respectively) and then flee! That was a fine plan, you see, until a girl from my graduating class spotted me and said hello with her husband and kid. #$*(!, we've been seen! We talked for two awkward minutes and then got the heck out of there.

Not really how I envisioned my Saturday morning going but I have to give props to my Wife for going along with my stupid crazy ideas sometimes. Perhaps I should have emailed back for more information before we drove over there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Semi-Glare™

One of my pet peeves is The Glare. I guess I should call it The Semi-Glare™. Let me fill you in on what happened - I was in an informal meeting of my department. By informal, I mean we all gathered around one side of the room by the printers to listen to my boss talk for 5 minutes. I had forgotten to turn down my cellphone ringer so when someone called me, it started crankin' out Poison's "Nothin' But a Good Time" - it was on volume 3 out of 7. In under 1 ring, I was reaching for my phone. I fumbled a bit with it in my pocket and shut it off during the second ring. The boss didn't say anything to me during or after the meeting. In my opinion, everyone that heard the ring should have just gone on with their day because there's nothing to say.

But no, afterwards, the guy I was standing next to gave me The Semi-Glare™ and said, "Hey, good time for your cell phone to ring." Guess what, asshole? I didn't do it on purpose - I forgot to turn my ringer off! I don't need your follow up commentary! I know I messed up, that's why I immediately sprang into action. If I was the jerk you're making me out to be by talking about it, I would have let it go or even answered the phone.

Just the way he said it really irked me. It's like when I see Moms with their crying children at church. When you see them get up from their seat to take the baby outside, it's because they realize it's a distraction and they're doing something about it. You turning around to give them The Semi-Glare™ is completely unnecessary, you douchebag. If the person that's causing a distraction is doing something about it, just leave them alone. Go ahead and upgrade your Semi-Glare™ into a full Glare for someone more deserving.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

KISS

I was finally able to cross one band off my List of Bands I Should See Before They Retire (or I Die). I wanted the best, I got the best - I'm talking about the hottest band in the land - KISS!

The concert was at Staples Center last Wednesday and it was pretty good. The opening act was Buckcherry who we heard as we were walking in and finding our seats. We caught their last 4 songs and they were alright. The guy sitting next to me decided to strike up a conversation and asked how many times I'd seen KISS. I told him this was my first and he said this was his 8th time, but "usually he's hanging out with the band and watching the show from backstage." I didn't press him for information but going from backstage to the nosebleed section is quite the downgrade. He then started talking to me about pro wrestling at which point I was dumbounded. I have a passive interest in both KISS and pro wrestling but this dude was pretty weird to begin with. The Wife was getting annoyed with him so we got up to "get a drink" and said "we'd be right back" but we eventually returned to our seats when the lights when down for KISS.

They opened up with "Deuce" and "Strutter" and played for over 2 hours total. It was a good show with lots of pyrotechnics, flashpots, fireworks and whatnot. I was a little disappointed with some aspects of the setlist (like 2 songs from the new album and some older cuts like "100,000 Years" and "Shock Me.") We did get the classic staples like "Detroit Rock City" and "Shout It Out Loud" a few surprises like "Calling Dr. Love" and "Lick It Up." Overall, I'd give the show an 8 - I'm glad we went but I don't need to rush out and see them the next time they come through on tour.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Enchanted Water Pt. 2

I forgot to mention this in my previous posting about Kangen Water, but I found this article, written by a chemist, that completely debunks the entire thing. Enjoy the article, anonymous blog commenter from last time! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Enchanted Water

A family member recently gave the Wife and I one gallon of ionized water from Kangen. Kangen water claims to be filled with antioxidants which can slow aging and prevent disease. I'm not really sure how the process works, but I believe it's something along the lines of a pyramid scheme. You start drinking the water, then you get other people to buy an ionizing system by giving them a free sample.

Interestingly, if you type in the words "Kangen water" on Google, two of the top three keywords it wants to auto-fill in are "bullshit" and "scam."

Anyway, this particular family member is highly religious yet also believes in the healing properties of this stuff and other kooky things. She also suggested I go see a healing priest to cure my diabetes, but all I got out of that experience was a cold that lasted a week (no joke). Needless to say, the Wife and I are highly, highly, highly skeptical of this enchanted water. I drank a cup or two of it and it definitely tasted different...like, kind of metallic. The rest of it was used to water our plants. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Softball Not Success

Unfortunately, we lost to our arch enemies, the Pink Unicorns, at softball the other night. But! We have nothing to complain about considering we finished the season 7-3 and finished up in second place!!! I don't really know what happened but I'm very proud that we all got better and we're functioning better as a team.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Long Beach Comic Con

The new Wife and I went to the Long Beach Comic Convention a few weekends ago. Overall, it was a letdown but what was interesting was the row of media celebrities available for autographs. Included in this row were: Josie Davis, most known for Charles in Charge; Tito Santana, former pro wrestler; Dave Ellefson, former bass player for Megadeth; and Deon Richmond, who I recognized from playing the Token Black Guy in Not Another Teen Movie. So in case you were wondering what minor league celebrities do with a free Sunday morning...this is it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Softball Success?

I've been playing coed softball in Burbank for the last 3 years or so. Typically, our team is not that good. Up 'till now, we have never finished a season with more than 2 wins. This season, we are 7-2 which is nothing short of astonishing. I think our biggest improvement is making less mistakes. Everyone is playing very smart defense - hitting the cutoff throws, and most importantly, not overthrowing the ball trying to do too much. And not to brag too much about my own performance, but I've pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings...which actually has more to do with our defense than with my pitching. :)

If we win this coming Sunday's game against the Pink Unicorns (the team we despise the most), we make it to the championship game. Or the playoffs. I'm not really sure how the post season is structured since we've never been close before.

Needless to say, it's a very exciting time for our little softball team that could. Our last regular game of the season is this Sunday at 6pm. Email me for the exact location, and then come on out and watch us slay some Unicorns! We're going out for drinks after the game, win or lose!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Movin' On?

So now that we're all newly married and crap, we're starting the process of looking for a home. We're pretty much back on our feet after me getting laid off last year, even though we're both making less than at our previous jobs. After doing some initial searches online, I think we're going to go drive around some areas this weekend and check some areas out. We started watching shows on HGTV like First Time Home Buyers and Property Virgins to see if we can learn anything, too.

One of the quandries we're in is whether or not to stay in Los Angeles. We've talked about it and I would rather be doing awesome somewhere else than doing just okay here in California. For the price range of a condo here, we can get a 3 bedroom house in a St. Louis or Nashville suburb. A house. With 3 bedrooms and a basement. A front yard and a back yard. And no stupid monthly HOA fees, which I'm guessing is a huge frustration for first time homeowners.

Oh, California...why must you frustrate me so?

The other thing to consider is that since I'm half-black/half-Chinese/half-Irish, we would need someplace tolerant of interracial couples. I imagine anyplace near a big city has to have some level of diversity (along with a handful of bigoted morons, of course) but I have no experience living anywhere but the melting pot of California.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween

So, Halloween is on Saturday this year, right? I can't decide which is more bizarre -- work telling me to dress up on Thursday or friends hosting a Halloween party on Friday.

Did I mention Halloween is on a SATURDAY this year?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wedding Recap-ish

Well, the wedding is finally over with and we are relieved. Everything went well and I'm glad we did things our own way. I think the most frequent comment I heard was people appreciated the personal touch we put on everything - that it was a casual backyard reception instead of in some banquet hall. They liked they could wear shorts and go back for seconds of barbecue chicken instead of being served filet mignon by a waiter. Even though it was a lot of work, I'm really happy with the way everything turned out.

The only downside is I feel like we barely got time to see everyone. Realistically, you'd need about 20 minutes with each table (maybe 5 for some) to sit down, catch up and properly thank everyone for coming. We had a ton of help from family in the planning, set-up and clean up process and for that, we are incredibly grateful.

For one of our giveaways, we made a mix CD since we're both big fans of music. Plus, I think a music CD is a much cooler gift than the typical 2-pack of truffles or whatever that gets eaten in 30 seconds. Here's the tracklist we used:

1. I Want You, I Need You, I Love by Elvis Presley -song we used for our first dance
2. Follow Through by Gavin DeGraw - this was going to be our first dance, but we couldn't find a good enough slow version
3. Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish
4. Go Home by Barenaked Ladies
5. Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
6. Afternoon Delight by Will Ferrell - from the Anchorman soundtrack, which is one of our favorite movies
7. Fit by Better Than Ezra - BTE is my favorite band, and this song is pretty romantical
8. Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk
9. What a Wonderful World Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiw'ole
10. A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Louis Armstrong
11. Have a Little Faith in Me by Mandy Moore
12. Across the Universe by Seether
13. Love is Just a Word by Ingram Hill
14. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again) by Sly & The Family Stone
15. I Love L.A. by Randy Newman - ironically, sometimes we just don't
16. Best Days by Graham Colton

Plus two hidden tracks - the first was me on the Kevin & Bean Afro Line (detailed here) and the second a comedy track about how being married is uncool by Greg Behrendt.

I really wanted to include Metallica's "Ride the Lightning", but we just couldn't find a good spot for it amongst the other tracks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

5 Smartest Cities

The other day on the radio, they read this list of the 5 Smartest Cities. The only problem with the list is one of the entries is listed "San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose" which, last time I checked, was actually three cities. What a dumbass list.

That's like asking someone what their favorite food is and their response is "Hamburger/spaghetti/fried chicken." Pick one city, you stupid f'ing list!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tragedy

Sorry, but this will be a weird start back to blogging. Posts will be forthcoming about the wedding but I have to get this out there because something hit me hard on Tuesday morning. My Mom asked me if I went to school with someone, and I said yes, and then she said his obituary was in the paper that morning. This wasn't a close friend of mine by any means, maybe more like an acquaintance, I guess. I knew him and had classes with him going back to 6th grade through high school graduation.

I read his obituary and then found the actual news story online, where he and his wife passed away in a car accident last week. For most of the day, I've been quiet and introspective. This is a guy who was 31 - like me. He was married - like me. And now he won't get to celebrate his 32nd birthday, but I will. He won't get to have kids, but I will. Just like that, his life was tragically lost in a car accident where he wasn't even driving.

I don't think I can make any sense of it at this point, and I don't know if I will. It's a weird mix of having a very heavy heart today, yet also feeling grateful for what I have.

Another guy I went to high school with passed away 2 years ago due to medical complications and that one hit me, too. But not like this. Just a really strange feeling. Sorry my first blog post back had to be a downer.

My thoughts and prayers go out to their families and for Pete's sake, hug your loved ones a little tighter next time you see them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

BRB

On hiatus until after the wedding! Too much stuff going on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

PSA

If your child is not old enough to know what a computer is, they do not need a Twitter / Facebook account with you posting updates as "them."

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nixed Wedding Traditions

As my wedding draws closer, and as we both get more tired of wedding planning, I'm realizing we are skipping a few wedding traditions. Yes, we're getting married in the traditional Catholic ceremony but after that, all bets are off. I don't understand the point to a lot of wedding traditions. I think some couples do them just "because it's tradition" but that isn't a reason for us. If I could give a 20-minute monologue during the reception, I would. But then I would also offend people who did these things and who think they're probably good ideas. So, here is a list of what we're skipping and why:

- Guest book. There's no point to a guest book because a) we have your addresses since we just mailed you invitations and b) no one writes anything besides "Good luck!" or "Congratulations!" Considering most guest books sell for $20 for 60-pages (of which, only about 8 will be written on), you might as well flush that money down the toilet.

- Cake cutting. I don't understand the significance of cutting the cake together. It's supposed to symbolize...that you both like dessert? That you can tandem operate a knife? Couples spend $40 on an engraved cake cutter they'll never use again, so this one's out. Plus, I hate hate HATE it when couples smash the cake in each other's faces. It's unnecessary and gross.

-Unity candle. The unity candle symbolizes the two families coming together...but doesn't the entire ceremony and marriage symbolize that a lot better than a $3 candle?

- Groom's cake - I wasn't really aware of this one until my Mom asked if I was having one. When I asked what the point is, she said it was a separate cake just for the groom. I guess it's usually done in the South where grooms tend to prefer liquor-soaked cakes, but I say Nope.com.

- Bouquet toss / garter toss - no one enjoys this. Yeah, it's supposed to be "the next one to get married" but when has that ever come true? When has a girl caught the bouquet and then her boyfriend proposes the following weekend? Never! No guy wants to catch the garter, either. It basically just points out all of the single people and there's no reason for that.

- Ice sculpture. Okay, not really a tradition but you pay upwards of $200 for something that is reduced to a puddle of water. In case you weren't aware, you can get the same end result from simply pouring a cup of water out. I have seen some ice sculptures where you pour a warm beer down the top and put your glass at the bottom, and it comes out icy cold. That's cool and useful, but having some douchy sculpture of your initials or a swan or something is lame.

I'm sooooooooo glad my fiancee never had a childhood dream of a fairytale wedding of ice sculptures and silver plated guest books.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wedding Quilt

Recently, while I was at a wedding, some girls were talking about wedding dresses. One of them said now that she and her 3 sisters are married, one of them suggested cutting up their wedding dresses and making a quilt for each using material from all three dresses. I thought this sounded like a brilliant idea but the girl relating the story could not have been more horrified at the thought of cutting up her dress.

Look. Okay, I know what you're gonna say, but -

Look.

LOOK.

It's a dress you wear once, then it sits in a closet. Any girl that thinks their daughter will wear her wedding dress is delusional so you might as well do something with it. There are reports that the brides amongst our group of friends are planning some kind of bride tea party so they have an excuse to wear their wedding dress again. You need to set aside a date and a time with friends to wear an article of clothing for only the second time?! Ludacris!!

I'm ecstatic to report my future bride spent less than $100 on her dress - it looks fabulous and she can wear it again for a variety of occasions. If you spend $5,000 on a dress, you might as well flush $5,000 down the toliet because that's exactly what you're doing. Weddings are insane.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pancake Palace

The idea of running a restaurant when I retire from Corporate America sounds like a good idea. My fiancee and I talk about this sometimes when we watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Sometimes the diners are run by an older married couple and they look like they are having a lot of fun.

I've been stuck on what the restaurant concept would be. The obvious choice would be Filipino food, but as far as I know, my fiancee doesn't have a stash of old family recipes. Personally, I love to experiment with pancakes so I'm pleased to announce the opening of Chris' Pancake Palace in 2035. Because pancakes are awesome and you can add anything to the batter to make them more delicious. Case in point - I crumbled up Oreos (sugar free), added them to the batter and they were awesome with awesome sauce on top. I've added banana slices and walnuts into the mix and those were awesome. We already know berries are good, and I'm trying to work on some way to get peanut butter in there.

My idea is that Chris' Pancake Palace will only be open for breakfast / lunch and serve up 70 varieties of pancakes. Either there will be a "mix in" board where you order up whatever you want added, or I will come up with the combos and give them clever names like "#12", "The Bill Paxton" and "Japancakes."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

He Shoots, He Scores!

Considering how much the Kings suck, I wouldn't mind moving to Florida and becoming a Panthers fan if I get to hear this guy call games:



Friday, August 21, 2009

Doctor, Doctor

I finally got to use my new health insurance last week - yippee! This doctor seems like less of a douchebag than all of my previous doctors, which is good. The overall medical group, though...I'm not so sure. I had to go back to have blood drawn so I went in at 7:45. They open at 8, and it has to be a fasting sample. There's one lady in line in front of me and she is also there to have blood drawn. I sign in and wait. And wait and wait.

Some other woman started complaining and the nurses said, "The lab technician gets here at 8, then he has to set up all of his equipment, which takes a while." Um, hell no! If a restaurant says they open at 8 am for breakfast, that means they're there at 6:30 to set up the f'ing tables and get the food ready. No one opens a business at 8 and then uses the next 20 minutes to actually get ready to open. I was so pissed! They finally took me in at 8:27 am. Grrrrrrr.

Luckily, I had a little bit of revenge because I had to give a urine sample. And I ate asparagus last night. Enjoy that, you stupid lab tech!!!! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

'90s Memories - Elastica

Elastica had a few songs on the radio in the '90s, but for my money, "Stutter" is the best one. You may also remember them for "Connection" and "Line Up." I don't know whatever happened to them but this song raaaaaaawks.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rock Superstar

I was listening to the song "Rock Superstar" by Cypress Hill the other day. It's one of only two songs of theirs I actually enjoy. The song's lyrics talk about being a superstar in the music scene. They rag on music artists who change up their style and sound in order to fit in and sell more records. And ironically, Cypress Hill released 2 versions of this song - "Rap Superstar" for rap stations and "Rock Superstar" for rock stations.

I think rappers have to have some the most unintentionally ironic lyrics across the board. As comedian Daniel Tosh once said, we have rappers who used to be thugs and criminals telling us not to illegally download their music because stealing is wrong.

Monday, August 3, 2009

'90s Memories - Afghan Whigs

Saturday, August 1, 2009

People Who Type Entire Emails into the Subject Line

Once in a while, I get forwarded e-mails from someone in my company. It makes me snicker because they are brief e-mails but the entire body is in the subject line. So it'll look like this:

Fw: to Chris
Subj: Switch out SKU #'s 1111 and 222 in all forthcoming magazine ads from July forward - have Rebecca doublecheck the barcodes
Body:


Nothing in the body of the e-mail. Everything's in the subject. I just don't know how to respond to that and luckily I never have to.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Chopped Liver

You know how, if people feel insignificant or socially slighted, they say they "feel like chopped liver"? Has anyone ever stopped to think about how chopped liver feels?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Colony

I've talked before about how much the apocalypse fascinates me. So I caught a few minutes of a new reality show on Discovery called The Colony. It's follows ten "survivors" in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment. Here's a rundown of the people on the show - an oil industry engineer, a scientist, an ER doctor, an aerospace engineer, a solar panel installer/fabricator, a contractor, martial arts fighter/instructor, a machinist, a marine specialist and a reistered nurse. Wow -- could they stack the deck any more in their favor? If I faced the apocalypse, those are the types of people I would want to survive with.

On one hand, it's kind of cool because they got some electricity by connecting twelve car batteries together. And in one preview, it showed them coming up with ideas for a generator. So they do some neat stuff like that.

On the other hand, these other "survivors" showed up and asked if they could find sanctuary in their abandoned warehouse. The "survivors" already inside answered the door with pipes in their hands...temporarily forgetting they were simply shooting a TV show in downtown Los Angeles.

I might have to check in on this show from time to time, but I think I might miss the sassy black woman and douchebag jock stereotypes on most reality shows.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good News / Bad News

Good news - we won't have to worry about the economy much longer.

Bad news - it's because Skynet will be here soon. Okay, fine, the article says "we are a long way (away)" but there is a report coming out about the threat of robot intelligence. A legitimate report conducted my actual scientists that see this as a concern.

How many movies do we have to make before we stop making smarter robots? I'm going to queue up the Terminator franchise, I, Robot and Stealth in my Netflix account so I can get ready to fight some robots.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Truth About Bottled Water

Great article on Yahoo! exposing some of the truths about bottled water. I've never seen the point in paying for something that comes right out of your faucet. It's amazing how mankind has survived millions of years without it (and Purell - but that's another rant), yet now bottled water is supposed to be safe and/or good for you. I drank from the hose when I was a kid!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

That's So...Cool

In the history of lexicon, think about how many words have been a substitute for the word "cool."

Now think about how many of those words we no longer use. Words like bodacious, gnarly or groovy are hardly said anymore.

(The creator of this blog assumes no responsibility if your head expodes upon reading the closing sentence.)

What's most amazing to me is that the word "cool" has never been uncool.

Am I right, or am I right? Or am I right?

Friday, July 17, 2009

You Get Me (Sometimes)

Once in a while, my iPod just "gets" me. Those times where it shuffles an awesome string of songs in a row. Well, okay, mostly awesome.

Mark and Carter Jam - Dave Matthews Band
Suffragete City - David Bowie
Easy - Barenaked Ladies
For the Movies - Buckcherry
On the Cover of a Rolling Stone - The Refreshments
Where Are You - Our Lady Peace
Piano Man - Billy Joel
X-Ray Mind - Mad Season
Days of the Week - Stone Temple Pilots
Love is Stronger Than Death - The The
Since You Broke It - Graham Colton Band
Kickstart My Heart - Motley Crue
Why Pt. 2 - Collective Soul
Make Yourself - Incubus
Perfect - Alanis
Turning Japanese - Incubus
Waxing or Waning - Better Than Ezra
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
An Expose - Steve Martin
A Place for My Head - Linkin Park
Champagne High - Sister Hazel
If You Could Only See - Tonic
American Girls - Counting Crows
Would You Rather - Dane Cook
Dead Meat - Bush
Keep on Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
Versions of Violence - Alanis
Horses - Jerry Seinfeld
I Will Follow - U2
Wherever I May Roam - Metallica
Sympathetic - Seether
Hands Clean - Alanis
No Way Back - Foo Fighters
Girly - The Refreshments
Red Mosquito - Pearl Jam
12 Oz. - Home Town Hero
Good (acoustic) - Better Than Ezra
New Rose - Guns N' Roses
Inside Voice - Jim Gaffigan
Interlude - My Chemical Romance
The Door - Silverchair
Charm - Wild Colonials

...after that, it kind of fell apart with an instrumental Everclear tune, a depressing Alanis song, Macy Gray and then Travis. But aside from those two songs I skipped, that's a damn good playlist of songs right there.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Company Lunch

There was a company sponsored lunch recently at work, my first experience at this new company. For whatever reason, it was a Hawaiian themed day with lunch catered from (wait for it...) El Pollo Loco. ¿Aloha, mis amigos?

About 11:30, they announced lunch was ready and I waited 15 minutes for the line to die down. The guy that sits next to me said last year, there were a ton of leftovers all day long, so I figured I had plenty of time.

11:45 rolls around and I walk to the kitchen to find they are completely out of tortillas, chips and salsa. And they're down to 2 pieces of chicken - both wings. And there were 5 people in line behind me.

So I piled on the rice and beans and grabbed one wng. So sad.

An hour later - they apparently ordered more food, and announced there was more chicken. Again, I watied because I figure the people that got nothing would go first. 15 minutes later, I walked over to find one drumstick and two wings left.

Either I work with a bunch of vultures or whoever orders food has no clue what the hell they're doing. Thank you for the rice, beans and 0.06 ounces of meat I had for lunch, company.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Transformers

After being incredibly disappointed by the first one, and reading the plot description of the sequel, I can safely say I have zero interest in seeing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

I recently saw a shirt with a weeping Autobots logo and underneath it said "Michael Bay raped my childhood." I was never much of a Transformers fan but that is well said, Mr. 40-year old man-looking-at-Transformers-toys-even-though-you-hated-the-movie-anyway.

Something occured to me about the Transformers universe, too. They take the shape of vehicles and such to blend in with humanity. So...why don't they all take the shape of fighter jets? Think about it - if Optimus Prime is chasing Starscream, but they're both trying to blend in, Optimus is a big rig while Starscream is a jet. Guess who can't cross the ocean on wheels or their robotic legs?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Genius Idea #46 - A Posse

I was walking out of the bank when I noticed that strip they have by the door with the height markers on it. You know, so if someone robs the joint, they can look at them as they leave and tell the cops he was 5'11" white dude. I noticed those markers go from about 5' to 7' which is when Genius Idea #46 struck me - get together a posse of midget bank robbers. They'd scamper out the front door and the bankers would be unable to give an accurate height description.

In case they have trouble reaching the counter or appearing as a legitimate threat, they could team up with ex-basketball players. Most of them are thugs anyway. The majority of people are between 5' and 7' but surely a posse of midgets and ex-ballers would run rampant on a crime spree. As long as I can be your kingpin and take a cut of the loot, you're free to use Genius Idea #46.

Genius Idea #46 brought to you by Bank of America - where America banks.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birfdays

This year marked the first time in...6 or 7 years I worked on my birthday. It had been a habit to always take my birthday off. But with me being 2 months into a new job and needing to save up vacation time for my wedding, it didn't happen this year. If you can do it, I enthusiastically recommend taking your birthday off from work. Even if you do absolutely nothing, it's still better than working. I've spent some of my past birthday days off watching Stanley Cup playoffs, going to the beach, getting a tattoo, watching a movie by myself and visiting the Kevin & Bean show.

Perhaps next year I'll finally get around to taking those surf lessons.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bolivia = not so smart

This has been making its rounds across the interwebs, but apparently a Bolivian newscast thought this footage was from the crash of Air France Flight 447...it's from LOST. *sigh* Are people that eager to get breaking news that they don't bother to verify anything these days?

There's also an email going around (that my fiancee's Dad forwarded to her) with images from this scene of LOST and saying that a memory stick was recovered from the wreckage. Riiiiiight...because technology loves saltwater.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Staff Meetings

Ever since getting laid off from the bad place, I work in fear of getting one of those "mandatory staff meeting" emails. Nothing makes my stomach more uncomfortable. Take for instance, Monday morning. I came in to work early, opened up my email and there was a message from one of the managers that came in late Friday evening - it said "staff meeting on Monday at 10am." Grrrrrreat - now I have 2 hours to worry.

10am rolls around and we have said staff meeting...about time off and the upcoming holiday. Wow. I mean, WOW. Couldn't you have sent a frickin' email about that?! In this economic climate, couldn't you have said "Monday meeting about the holiday"? Is it too much to clue people in - especially one who's 2 weeks away from getting health care and is in fear of getting laid off again?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Superpowers?

Sadly, I think the superpowers I've long been awaiting have finally developed. You would think I'd be excited but I recently learned I have the ability to nap for at least 10 minutes through any sound. I slept while my 2-year old nephew ran around and made noise in the very same room. And last week, I napped in my car with the windows open while they were running generators and testing chainsaw sharpeners nonstop. *sigh* I don't see how this ability will be helpful for mankind.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Favorite Comic Fridays - Lou Santini and Ken Napzok

Sure, I know him personally and play softball with him, but Lou Santini is one of my favorite comics. And! He's playing this weekend in downtown Los Angeles, so you get a Favorite Comic Fridays post one day early. Lou was the host at my first comedy show and he's an all around great guy. I'd be a fan of his clever comedy even if I saw him randomly. We're going to check out one of his shows this weekend - probably the Saturday show. They're a bit long, but please enjoy these clips to whet your appetite!

Lou Santini Standup Demo


As a bonus this weekend, my other comedian friend I would be a fan of regardless, Ken Napzok is opening up!

Crazy Hair Kenny

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter Than Ezra

I hate to mention Twitter for a third time on my blog, but Better Than Ezra is actually doing something really cool with their Twitter page. Around 5pm on the day of a show, they tweet the location / photo of some backstage passes they've hidden near the venue. One was hidden behind an ATM near the House of Blues in New Orleans, and another was taped to a parking sign at a hotel in Tulsa.

I think it's a very cool interactive thing for the fans. A little Amazing Race. When they come out here in August or September, I might have to have someone log onto Twitter at 5pm and tell me where to go. Either that or spend $300 on a iPhone. Any volunteers?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Catholic Engaged Encounter Pt. 2

You socialize with other couples during meal times and breaks but we didn't expect to make any new friends out of this weekend. Everyone was nice but ultimately, you're there to focus on your relationship and not to make new ones.

The majority of couples were Catholic or some form of Christian. There was discussion about God and faith but I'd say it was not preachy. I would recommend this retreat to anyone interested in building/improving a strong foundation for their marriage regardless of faith. Just listen to this for a reason why - at the conclusion of the weekend, one couple wanted to share their story. They said they had been fighting for most of the week and hadn't spoken to each other on the 3-hour drive up to the retreat. They weren't even sure if they wanted to go at all, not believing this weekend would change anything. But on Sunday afternoon, they were beaming with happiness and said it felt like each had their fiancee back.

I don't mean to make it sound like the weekend is all sappy crying and lovey dovey - there were quite a few hysterical moments over the two days, both between ourselves and with other couples. It's not all heavy stuff.

With divorce rates on the rise, it's amazing to think investing one weekend can make you stronger as you enter marriage. As the tagline on the website states - a wedding is one day, a marriage is a lifetime. Check out the Engaged Encounters website for more information and please help spread the word to those you think might be interested.

My fiancee and I were really into the weekend and overall experience. We want to do anything we can to help curb future divorce and build stronger relationships, so we signed up to volunteer on future retreats! Go CEE!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Catholic Engaged Encounter Pt. 1

My fiancee and I recently went on a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend. Its goal is to make the couple better prepared for the lifelong commitment of marriage through discussions and exercises. Attendance is required if you want to get married in a Catholic church, but we thought it would be a good idea anyway - just to make certain we haven't skipped or buried any issues over the years.

We've been very open and honest with one another so I didn't think this retreat would unearth anything major. We found some little things we addressed and know we need to work on, but I now feel 101% confident I've chosen the right person to marry. It was an emotional weekend for us and even moreso for some of the other 40 couples in attendance.

The retreat was led by two older couples who would read from papers they'd prepared. Some of these felt really long and dry - they write them ahead of time so they won't get sidetracked telling a story. If it's written out and read, they know exactly what to cover and how long it will take. I felt this took some of the emotion out of it but I do understand the reasoning behind it.

After each topic presentation, couples would split up and answer questions in our workbooks. Then we met up and discussed our answers. The majority of the weekend was this - listen, write, share; listen, write, share. While it gets repetitive, I think it works because you're given time alone to think and collect your thoughts before talking with your partner. If you don't finish, or if something turns into a bigger issue than you'd realized, then you can come back to it later.

I overheard some guys talking in our dorm room about how good the weekend was for them. They admitted they were avoiding some issues as a couple, and there's only so many times you can put it off.

We had a group discussion with anonymously submitted questions that was intense for everyone. I thought some of them might be silly questions or they would just be too generic. But the ones shared were very honest and personal problems in need of advice on a couple's specific problem. Some couples even stood up and expanded on their questions, and got great input on tough situations.

Back tomorrow with the second half of this post.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

'90s Memories - Failure

"Stuck on You" by Failure



Greatness.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do It Again

When talking with fiancee the other day, I said even at my thirtywonderful years of age, I can tell some of my ships have sailed. She thought this was depressing and said I should never give up on something I wanted to achieve. My response was this isn't depressing because ultimately, I'm happy with my life and decisions I've made. I have a beautiful fiancee I can't wait to marry, a great family and friends I wouldn't trade for a crate of apples.

Still, I was thinking about it. Given a clean bill of health and a chance to do my career path over again, there are a few options I think would be fun to attempt:

- President. Why the hell not go for the biggest job there is. If Dubya could be elected twice, anything is possible. There's something cool about a politician that works his way up from local city councils to Mayor to Senator to President. Plus, seeing Obama in office and his commitment to changing things is inspiring. America has been around for over 200 years, and only 40 or so dudes have held this job. That would be cool to have your name on the list.

- Astronaut. If my brain had any capacity for science, this would have been fun. Again, the number of people with outer space travel on their resumes isn't that high, so it would be cool if I could do that, too. I don't reallly know what NASA does anymore besides send satellites up and occasional shuttle missions.

- Guidance counselor. This was actually something I seriously considered after getting laid off. Going back to school for this would have taken way too long for my patience level, and would have required well over 3 years to get the proper psychology degree(s). I talked to my guidance counselor 2 or 3 times in high school, and I always thought this was a way overlooked job. Especially nowadays, I think kids could use someone cool and easy to talk to more than ever. Unfortunately, I never considered a career path in psychology and now it's too late.

- Hollywood mogul. I think it would be fun to start off as some crappy production assistant and get to see all of this behind-the-scenes stuff. This occured to me when I saw The Price is Right and these 19-year old kids were directing people where to go. I thought to myself, "That looks like a crappy job...but they get to work on the set of TPIR every day." Fortunately, my parents had more ambition in mind for me than to toil away as a PA hoping to catch a break somewhere along the way. I like to think I'm good at networking and bullshitting with people so I think I could be good at that.

Perhaps in another lifetime. If I never get to be President, I'm okay with that. Like I said, I'm happy with the life I have!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Softball Team Names

I signed up for another softball team starting in July. There wasn't any discussion as to what to name the team, so there wasn't a chance to submit any of my genius ideas. I always think a team in a parks & rec league should inspire as much fear in the other team as it possibly can. Sure, you can go with something like The Destroyers of Death or something. But for my value, nothing could be scarier than either one of these two team names - We Have to Talk or I Think I'm Pregnant.

Nothing will make a guy's ass clinch up tighter more than either one of those Four Words of Fear.

Friday, June 5, 2009

TP

I don't know how long they've been doing this but I noticed patterns embroidered on our toliet paper the other day. Hearts. Flowers. Neat designs or whatever. Considering what it's used for and its ultimate destination, isn't this one of the last things we should be decorating or sprucing up? Is anyone and/or their ass happier because it was wiped with a heart patterned paper??

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Restaurants

So I was thinking about going to Les Sisters for dinner on Saturday night until I looked at their menu. Don't get me wrong - it's a small New Orleans style restaurant with delicious food. But they're one of those restaurants that mysteriously raises their prices and slashes the lunch menu after 5pm.

When I go out to dinner, most of the time I'm ordering off the lunch menu. I just prefer a sandwich or a burger over something like pot roast or a stuffed chicken breast. (Maybe I just like eating with my hands.) The point is at this restaurant, and many others - when "dinnertime" rolls around, 90% of the lunch menu is unavailable and whatever's left goes up in price a couple of bucks.

I can go get a po' boy sandwich at noon for $6.95 but I show up after 5pm, it's gone up to $9.95 for the exact same sandwich. I hate restaurants that do that. I call bullshit. I shake my fist at your dinner menu, Les Sisters. But I'll see you in the lunch hour sometime.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Deadliest Warrior

I had little interest in watching the show Deadliest Warrior on Spike when I saw the TV ads but after seeing my first complete episode, I declare this show AWESOME. Each episode takes a look at two different classes of fighters, analyzes their weapons and fighting styles, and uses "state of the art" technology to determine who would win in a fight between the two. It's a total guy show because only guys would sit around and debate would win in a fight between a Samurai and a Viking. Or a Spartan and a ninja. Or Superman vs. Thor.

It's an hour of testosterone that should come with the same warning as Cialis does - may cause an erection that lasts more than 4 hours.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Road Trip?

My fiancee got invited to a bridal shower for the fiancee of my cousin, neither of whom she's ever met. And it's in Michigan.

Whaaaaaaat?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

'90s Memories - Spacehog

In the Meantime - Spacehog.



Awwwwwwesome.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

'90s Memories - "Sister" by The Nixons

The post the other day about favorite bands reminded me (again) how much love I have for '90s bands and the music of that era. I'd venture to say I'm stuck in the '90s. Even more than that, I'd say I'm loyal to a lot of those bands. So, from time to time, I'll dig up a gem from a "'90s band." There were a lot of great one hit wonder kinda bands from that era. Songs I "found" on Napster and still have in my iPod.

For today's post, please enjoy "Sister" by The Nixons -

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Favorite Bands

Like most people, I enjoy lists. I have a pretty solid list of who my Top 5 Favorite Bands are, but if you ask me to expand that list to a Top 10, I am stumped.

I base the Top 5 mostly on the percentage of a band's output I enjoy. Even a crappy Foo Fighters song is better than most stuff out there. I also factor in how often I've seen each artist in concert and how good of a performance they gave. The problem with coming up with #6-10 is it's pretty much an 8-way tie. I enjoy the majority of their songs, and have probably seen them live once or twice. So, in an effort to nail this down, I'm going to go on record as saying this is my Top 10 Bands list:

1. Better Than Ezra
2. Foo Fighters
3. Alanis Morissette
4. Dave Matthews Band
5. Nina Gordon / Veruca Salt (only when she was in it)
6. Ednaswap / Annetenna
7. Hootie and the Blowfish
8. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers / The Refreshments
9.
10.

...and this is where I run into a problem because Ingram Hill, Athenaeum / Mark Kano, Everclear (even though their last album suuucked), Our Lady Peace should probably have a spot on there. And I also really like Soul Asylum, Metallica, Fastball and Garbage.

With only have 2 spots left, I think I should just stick with a Top 5.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Better Than Ezra - Absolutely Still

If you head over to Better Than Ezra's newly redesigned website, you can download their first single "Absolutely Still" for absolutely free!

You can also stream their entire album from the Alternative Addiction website.

Also, you can also see their music video for "Absolutely Still" here:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wedding Websites

With my wedding coming up shortly, we've talked about doing one of those websites. I've been opposed to it mostly due to privacy issues. Think about most of those sites and the amount of information given away - full names of bride, groom and the wedding party, dates and locations of events, and registry lists that frequently have a "ship to home address" option if you purchase online. That's an incredible amount of information to just give away to strangers if you want to set up something fun for your family and friends to see.

By the way, I found all of those examples by simply Googling a random first name, followed by "wedding website." Incredibly easy.

I think we're going to do a very simple website without full names or any mention of dates. It's going to be a sub-section of my own personal site so I think it nearly impossible for someone to just randomly come across. I understand people are excited about their wedding and doing a website can be fun, but it makes me wonder how many people snoop around for private information on these things. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I'm a frayed knot.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time Travel Fund

They talked about this recently on Kevin & Bean - the Time Travel Fund. Basically, you invest $10 and whenever time travel is invented, they will come back and bring you to the future. Even though it sounds about as legitimate as the International Star Registry, $10 is too cheap of an investment not to make.

The exciting news is I hope I will get to see my swampus and flish after all! :) So, in case you don't see any new posts for like two months or so, it's probably because I'm living in the year 33,561,162. Hope to see some of you there.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tweet

Damn it. My favorite band started using Twitter. So now I'm subscribed to one Twitter feed on my Google Reader. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

I was talking with a friend of mine over the weekend and we both agreed that Twitter is lame because you can do the exact same thing on Facebook, but without all of the photos, videos and interaction. You can update your status on Facebook every second if you wanted to, and it has the incredibly convenient 'wall-to-wall' feature letting you see the conversation between two people, instead of that stupid @username BS, so then you have to click over to someone else's username so you can see what the original comment was.

Can anyone explain to me what advantage Twitter has over Facebook?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brain Development

*sigh*

No, let's make that a *SIGH*

Last night during Survivor, I saw a commercial for Juicy Juice Brain Development, a juice drink aimed at 2-year olds to promote brain growth. The beverage is "enhanced with DHA, an essential building block for brain development."

Yeah, instead of...I don't know - teaching our children, or interacting with them to build their social skills, let's just cram a juice box down their gullet and see if that makes them smarter. Need I remind you that Juicy Juice Brain Development was not around when Stephen Hawking was born, and that Albert Einstein never watched a Baby Einstein video. Stop relying on commercial products to promote the growth of your kids, their bodies and their brains, and start raising your kid right.

On a somewhat related note, isn't it amazing how humans have survived over 200,000 years without Purell? That might be another rant but I just wanted to throw that out there while I'm grumpy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Earthquake Stories

Last week, there was a mild earthquake at 1:25 on a Thursday, so during the work day. I was in my car at the time and felt my car sway a bit. It honestly felt like a strong Santa Anita breeze - it was no big deal. I had to clock back in so I walked back to find people from my office standing outside. Was there an order to evacuate? I decided to take my chances since I'm new and I wanted to clock back in, at least. I walked back to my desk and sure enough, my least favorite thing about earthquakes started - earthquake stories.

Without fail, whenever an earthquake happens on work time, you can expect the following scenario to happen: 1. mild earthquake happens; 2. people freak out; 3. everyone spends the next 20-30 minutes standing around talking about the earthquake and sharing earthquake stories. This. Annoys. The. Crap. Out. Of. Me.

Why? Because there is no story. Unless something actually falls and breaks, there is no story worth telling. This was a 4.2 and the building barely shook. There is nothing to talk about. Anytime someone came back from lunch, the first thing someone would ask is, "Did you feel the earthquake?" Then they'd talk about the magnitude of this earthquake, what it felt like, where they were when it hit and any other irrelevant stories barely related to earthquakes just so they could kill time. Get back to work, you assholes!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paper Empire

Today is the official release of Better Than Ezra's new album Paper Empire. If you pre-ordered it from their website, you got it early so I've been listening to it since Friday. I was a little puzzled after my first listen but overall, I like the album a lot. I think my confusion lies from the fact that singer Kevin Griffin was working on a solo record, and had some demos of songs up on his MySpace page. A few of these tracks ended up on the BTE album so I'm not really sure how much was written as a "BTE song" and how much was written as a "Kevin Griffin solo song."

Some of the tracks seem very pop-ish and experimental to be Better Than Ezra songs - songs like "Nightclubbing" and "All In." The track "The Loveless" even has a kind of gospel background vocal track to it. Other songs seem like straight up Ezra we've come to know and love like "Absolutely Still." I remember reading somewhere that "Hell No!" was written as a kind of response song to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Of course I'm going to recommend the album to you, but I'd say the standout tracks are "Absolutely Still" (the first single), "Black Light," "The Loveless," "Nightclubbing," "Hell No!" and "Fit" which seems primed to be a wedding first dance song. But not mine.

Amazon MP3 link
iTunes link

Monday, May 11, 2009

Uncle Bozo

This past weekend was Mother's Day and I have a story to share. My fiancee blogged about my uncle's exploits on Mother's Day last year, so here is this year's story. "Brad" offered to come out for Mother's Day this year for lunch, and said he'd bring pizza over for lunch at 2:00 for me, fiancee, my Mom, my Grandma (his Mom) and the two of them. First strike: bringing your Mom a pizza lunch for Mother's Day.

At 2:15, he called on his way and asked if we'd ordered the pizza yet, when he told us he'd take care of everything. Strike Two.

At 2:30, he showed up while my own Mom was out getting the pizza and salad. (Fiancee and I were busy planting two trees in the front yard.) Ultimately, Brad spent more time with his wife and dog, instead of with his mother. Strike Three.

And another Mother's Day bites the dust. I wonder what will be on tap for next year.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Nelson - After the Rain video

While listening to my iPod the other day, I rediscovered this gem of a song - "After the Rain" by the band Nelson. As I was rocking out at my desk, I had a vague recollection about the bizarre music video they made for this song. I seem to remember it involved Native Americans, and some dude wearing a bandana. God bless YouTube. Any Nelson song that can be stretched into a 7 minute music video is GOLD. If Nelson came walking out of my bedroom poster, I'd be scared shitless but this guy takes it pretty well.



I think this video was conceived while smoking peyote, which explains why they kept the Native American in the video. I also remember seeing this video and wondering where in the hell they shot it. Surely, Nelson never did a full tour with a faux rocks and nature stage set, did they?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Snapple Dip

I started listening to the Adam Carolla podcasts and I'm surprised by how good they are. I'm kind of sad I never listened to his show on 97.1 before it got the axe. His podcast the other day with Jim Florentine had me nearly crying at work. I had to pause it a few times just because it was so bizarre and funny.

On this particular podcast, they talk about guy pranks. Adam tells a story about working on The Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel. During a meeting, Jimmy once stuck his schvantz in Adam's Snapple without him knowing about it. Someone in the office thought that was the gayest thing they'd ever seen, but both Adam and Jimmy argued pulling a prank like that was one of the manliest things you could possibly do. Guest Jim Florentine related a story about his brother taking a crap in a lunchbox and hiding it under his bed, and then an even weirder tory involving a Jack in the Box that almost made me lose it (my control of my laughter) at work. If these two stories sounded amusing, download the podcast. If you're already grossed out, then just read the next paragraph and be done with my post for today. :)

All this to say, hearing about these pranks made me kind of sad I've never done anything on this magnitude in my life. The only person I could have established such a manly rivalry with is my brother. Much to my sister-in-law and my fiancee's delight, I have to admit I think we're too old to be pulling such pranks on each other. I'm not saying you have to guard your Snapple like the Secret Service, but I still feel like a missed out on a little guy bonding over the course of my 30 years.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weeding Update

One week of banishing songs from my iTunes. Now I'm down to 8,338.

Ah, progress.

So long, entire Hoobastank catalog!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Movie Theaters

Dear Everyone,

If you're going to see a movie on opening weekend starring a character from a film series that's grossed over $1 billion, could you please not show up to the theater 2 minutes before showtime? I'm trying to watching the previews and you walking up and down asking if seats are taken is annoying. Did you think Wolverine was some indie art house movie no one was going to see on opening weekend?

Thanks,
Chris

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conan Punches a Camel...Twice

I watched Conan the Barbarian over the weekend and it was pretty long and incredibly slow in parts. I wouldn't recommend it, but this clip below is easily the most random and funny part of the movie. I don't know where the second clip is from, as I fast-forwarded through a majority of the movie. I think Mortal Kombat should incorporate the Conan Camel Punch in the next edition of their game.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

He's In Trouble

This past Sunday in our Sunday school class, we watched a video that covered some of Jesus' parables. In the parable of Lazarus, Lazarus gets his reward in Heaven while the rich man who ignored him goes to Hell. They showed a short clip of the man in Hell, surrounded by green flames and begging for something to quench his thirst. At this point, Clark turned me and whispered, "That guy's in trouble!"

Yes, Clark. He certainly is.

Monday, April 27, 2009

iTunes Weeding

I think I've hit something of a wall with iTunes and my music collection. I currently have 8,744 songs on my iTunes which means I can go for 24 days and 13 hours without hearing a single song repeated. I mostly set my player to shuffle the songs and just listen to whatever comes up. While I absolutely love having that much variety, the truth is that I'm starting to miss the songs I really love. Take this evening, for instance. It shuffled to a song called "Extraordinary" by Annetenna - a song I easily rated 5 out of 5 stars. Sadly, it has only been played twice.

So, my mission over the next few weeks is to trim down the library. One of the reasons I keep so many is songs is because sometimes a random song will come on and it will just grab me and become an instant favorite. A perfect example of this is the song "Home in the Woods" by Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons. I never know when some random song will catch me and speak to me. One time, my fianceé asked if I thought I had enough songs on my computer and I said, "Yes - but there's still good music I haven't found yet."

*sigh*

As it stands right now, I have -

- 44 items not rated (new albums and such).

- 73 items rated 1-star out of 5. I've weeded out a lot of-1 star items, but I rate most of the free TV shows and podcasts as 1-star since it doesn't really matter.

- 318 songs rated 2-stars.

- 2,283 songs rated 3-stars.

- 4,665 songs rated 4-stars.

- 1,413 songs rated 5-stars.

I already see some cutbacks coming to artists I am kind of in the middle on. I probably have their entire albums (either purchased, borrowed or "found") but only need 75% of their catalog. So those filler songs by 311, Queens of the Stone Age, White Stripes, Rubyhorse, etc. will probably get chucked first. That's my guess. I'll report back on my weeding as it progresses.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tales of the Unemployed Pt. 4

Alright, this should be my last words about this topic, but this is a more fun post than the others. (Sorry for that, btw.) In my experience, the most useful job searching website is Indeed. It works like Google - you type in a job title and zip code, and it pulls searches from CareerBuilder, Monster, plus dozens of other job websites you've never heard of. My second favorite job board site is Craigslist, just because it cuts out a lot of the bullshit of job boards.

In my recent experience, I think the most bizarre job interview I had was with PTM Images in Pacoima. The posting on Craigslist was kind of vague but sounded exciting, so I submitted my resumé. I got a response from the President who told me to come in "anytime between 9am and 3 pm." That sounded odd...so I wrote back and said, "I'd like to come in at 11. Can you confirm that?" to which he responded "yes." I got there and there were 8 people in the waiting room. All there to interview for the same position. And there were only 6 chairs. I had to fill out some paperwork, at which point 2 of the people walked out and didn't come back. Yes, the herd was thinning! And I get a chair!!

After about an hour, I was moved into the company's lunch room where I waited with 8 people (the original 6 plus 2 others). Apparently, this dude decided to crank out as many interviews as he could in one day by just telling everyone to show up. So, my actual interview didn't happen until 1:15 and it lasted less than 3 minutes. All because his job posting was vague and I didn't have the skills he was looking for. Thanks, asshole. The sad thing is that I, along with most everyone, would probably have walked out of the interview if we knew about the shenanigans, but when you need a job desperately, the employer has all the power. Sad, but true.

I think one of the most fun interviews I had was with Sport Chalet in La Cañada. They were really cool, and they have sports memorabilia all over their offices. The lobby had signed snowboards, jerseys and helmets, and it also featured a organizational poster dubbed something like The Most Important People at Sports Chalet. At the top (most important) were the sales associates that work in their stores, then the store managers, then the regional managers, then the corporate office people, then at the bottom, the president. I thought that was really cool of them. Even though I still won't shop there because their stuff is overpriced.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tweet Tweet

Ralph Garman on KROQ had one of his "Ralph's Rants" about Twitter, and to a lesser extent, social networking the other day. While I use Facebook and MySpace, I admit I am incredibly anti-Twitter. Ralph's stance is that because of the boom of the Internet and social networking, everyone thinks they're important and whatever is happening in their lives is important and has to be shared with as many people as possible.

As someone who writes on 5 different blogs, I like to think I'm the exception to that rule. I like writing, I like getting comments but if no one read my blog, I'd still write it.

Getting back to Twitter, though, I can't understand how 140 characters of anything is worthwhile. Receiving updates of the little things that make up people's lives is not a reason for me to sit in front of a computer screen. I saw on Dane Cook's blog (on MySpace), he was going to make some special announcements via his Twitter account. So it's not enough that a person (not me) reads his blogs, or checks his website regularly, now they have to sit in front of their screen with Twitter open just to get a password for his ticket onsale or whatever the hell he was announcing...?

They took some phone calls from listeners who said they love Twitter because it lets them stay in touch with their friends. To which Ralph's response was, "How about picking up the phone or writing a damn e-mail?" My thoughts exactly. :)

If, and this is a huge IF, I ever got a Twitter account, I'd just post completely inane stuff on there so I could maintain a steady follower count of zero.

Twitter update: I'm pooping.
Twitter update: I just Tweeted.
Twitter update: I just Tweeted that I Tweeted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tales of the Unemployed Pt. 3

I thought I was done blogging about this but just wanted to mention a few more things. I think one of the hardest things for me the last few months was not really having anyone I could really relate to and talk about things. Quite a few of my former coworkers found a new job within a few months, and some others were able to keep busy with freelance work to bring in some money. So if you, or anyone you know, gets or is laid off anytime soon, feel free to pass along my contact information as someone to talk to.

I remember one night in particular I wanted to crawl under a rock and just not come out again. I think I'll avoid getting into the details but just keep my offer in mind.

My only other piece of advice or whatever, if you get laid off, is to consider an incredible range of careers. I never thought I'd be applying for a job doing porn design or going on interviews in El Segundo, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Oh So Quiet

I've been working my new employer for a week now and the one thing I've noticed is that it's freakin' quiet. You could probably hear a mouse fart in the office. I held off on listening to music for the first few days but by Thursday, the quiet was driving me batty.

The other thing that kinda sucks is most of my favorite websites I check regularly are blocked - Yahoo mail, Facebook, etc. So, when I take my break and want a distraction, I fire up Safari and...have no clue what to look at. I can't read my email, I can't check social networking sites for any updates - it kinda blows.

We get a half hour for lunch, which is kind of nice because I leave at 4:30. It kind of eliminates going anywhere for lunch unless you hit up a fast food drive thru. But those are all minor things in comparison to having a regular job again.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Funny The Way It Is

Dave Matthews Band is giving away the newest single from their forthcoming album for free, so I decided to grab it. Upon download, it immediately added itself to my iTunes playlist and started playing - whoa now! Slow down there, DMB!! My music collection is stored on a separate hard drive and I like everything in one place.

I was curious about what else this harmless little MP3 was capable of, so I clicked the "get info" about the file. For the "Owner" tab on it, the MP3 was kind enough to automatically grab my name from my computer and lock it. So if I don't want to be the "Owner" of it, I have to change it and verify it. Jeeeeeez, talk about wanting to track people. If they're giving away the song for free, why are they having the file do these things? Should it really matter if "Chris K" is the assigned owner of this MP3 file if anyone with an email address can download it? Thumbs down, DMB.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tales of the Unemployed Pt. 2

When I first got laid off, my job search was very narrow. I wanted to still be a graphic designer, make exactly or more than I was making at the bad place and have a reasonable commute. That changed - as evidenced by the interview I had with MySpace for a customer service position. It's in El Segundo (about an hour away) that paid $15/hour. I was even considering applying for a cook position at Baja Fresh figuring at the very least, I'd be bringing home tons of free food and that's kind of like saving money. So, if you ever become jobless, my advice is to consider tons of positions. Especially in this economy, I think it's going to be tough to find a well paying job and do exactly what you were doing before.

The job I started recently pays about $10k less than I was making before, is about 45 minutes away and is kind of a mindless, production artist job. But that's okay with me. I'd prefer to have benefits and a steady paycheck than try to find my dream job in this current state.

Even within the graphic design field, I applied for a range of places - everything from toy design to porn. I actually had an interview with an "adult" company and got paid to do some sample work for them. I really had to think hard about that one. A job is a job and at least it would be more honest than doing spam. Luckily, they never offered me anything.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tales of the Unemployed Pt. 1

It's been a while since I was laid off and now that I have a full time job again, I feel like I can share some of the thoughts and feelings I went through during this period. Some of the next few posts may not be cheery, because it was hard to maintain a positive attitude throughout all of this. I'll try not to be too depressing.

The first thing I thought when I was told we were being laid off was "This can't happen to me." I'm a college graduate! I'm working for a company with offices in France, Germany, Sweden, England and Spain! I go to weekly meetings where I'm told my division is doing fine and the company is happy with us! Then we were called into a "mandatory meeting" and given our walking papers.

It was a completely miserable feeling made worse by the fact that I carpool with my fiancee. We got laid off around 11am and she wouldn't pick me up 'til 5pm. Luckily, they were pretty gracious with us and let us back into the building if we needed to. I grabbed lunch with a friend and exited the building around 2pm. I sat in the park across from the office for about 3 hours until she pulled up to get me.

One kind of sad things is that I will probably never trust a company again. I will always keep my resume up to date and be checking job boards every so often just to see if there are better opportunities out there. It was one of the worst feelings in the world to have the carpet yanked out from underneath me.

As I was saying goodbyes to a few people at the bad place, this one dude came up and we had a conversation that kinda went like this:

Dude: "Oh, you should enjoy your time off."
Me: "What?"
Dude: "Yeah, relax, take a trip. Go to Europe."

Riiiight, because last minute trips to Europe are dirt cheap and I can surely afford one over the next month when I won't be making any money. Brilliant idea, jackass.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Goodnight Moon

Do you remember this book from your childhood - Goodnight Moon? I came across an interesting article the other day regarding this book. Apparently, the author, Margaret Wise Brown, signed away the royalties to that book to Albert Clarke, her neighbor's 9 year old son. And what became of Mr. Clarke? He basically squandered $5 million in royalties and had about $27,000 left to his name in 2000.

On one hand, that's kind of cool she would give some of the royalties to a child. On the other hand, it probably helped ruin his life. He was kind of a problem child to begin with, and he didn't get any money from it until the age of 21. But if you had hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties coming in every year and never had to find a real job, that would sure as hell change your life. And thanks to Bill Clinton, he and his children will have royalties coming in from that book until 2043. That article is kind of interesting.

At least it's better than leaving everything in your will to your pet.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Offer

In case you haven't heard or figured it out, I recently received two offers of full employment. I initially accepted one at a printer I was temping at very close to home, but then got a way better offer at a place 45 minutes away, so I accepted that instead. I wasn't really comfortable at the printer for a number of reasons, but figured at the least, it was better than nothing. I'll go into more detail about my Six Months of Misery in future blogs. I'll also relate some stories that happened at the printer in the time that I was there, and try my best to refrain from using the word "douchebag" too much. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 3, 2009

How the States Got Their Shapes

I recently finished reading / skimming through a book called How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein. It probably isn't something you think about it but it's an interesting book. I mean, why does Michigan have that area on the other side of Lake Michigan? This book will tell you.

Each state gets its own chapter, so it's basically broken down into 51 chapters (DC gets its own) of 3-5 pages each. It's even presented alphabetically, so you can skip over the states that don't really matter (sorry, Tennessee!). I have to admit that I really blew through the second half of the book because the book can get incredibly dry. I hate to spoil it for you, but a lot of state boundaries are set because of rivers and/or mountain ranges.

I think the most interesting thing(s) I learned were how much foresight our forefathers had in planning our country out and acquiring land. They intended each state to be equal in size (hence you get a lot of states shaped like Wyoming, Colorado, etc.) but then some states come along and screw that up (Texas). There are also a few notes about how much impact one individual can have on a state's boundary lines because of their political connections.

Also of interest is why California is so freakin' big when it came into the Union so late - it's basically because the United States needed California more than California needed the US. With access to the Pacific Ocean and the amount of people flocking here during the Gold Rush, California could have been its own country. So basically, California set up its own boundary and the government was like, "Okay, you get to keep all that land if you join us." ¡Viva California!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mark Kano - Walking on Broadway

I recently got the solo album from Mark Kano, and I recommend it. Sure, I may be biased since I loved the crap out of the band he used to front - Athenaeum. He's just a straight up great songwriter. I think my favorite song is "Telling You I Love You" which is just a really great, sweet song. I wasn't sure about "Mr. Dog Catcher" at first but it's really grown on me. I'd heard an acoustic version of "Sad Songs" that was really awesome, and was just a little bit disappointed with this full band version. You can stream the whole album for free over on Bandcamp's site or you can just download it yourself for $7.92 (cheap!). It's the You Look Tired pick of the last few months!™

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

17 Going On Big 17

So, I saw a commercial last night for the new movie starring Matthew Perry and Zac Effron called 17 Again. In the movie, Matthew Perry gets to be a teenager again. I think I liked this movie concept better when it was called 13 Going on 30, which I liked better when it was called 18 Again!, Dream a Little Dream, Big and Freaky Friday. Seriously, Hollywood? Rehashing crap makes it crap twice over.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Du-Not

My Mom wanted to go to Bakers Square for dinner the other night. The only problem is they've gone bankrupt and our local one was changed into a Dupar's. So now, instead of getting a good meal for a decent price, you can get an okay meal for a ridiculous price. My Patty Melt sandwich cost $11. Good luck with that expansion focus in this economy, Du-Par's.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

TLC

I think TLC now stands for Ten Little Children - the required number of kids you have to have in order to get your own TV show on the network. A list of current / recent shows on TLC reveals:

Jon & Kate Plus 8
18 Kids and Counting
Kids by the Dozen
Table for 12

I have to admit I am a fan of Jon & Kate mostly because it's the first show I saw like this, and because of the personalities. But at this point, I'm kind of thinking TLC is running out of ideas. Much like ABC's "brilliant" idea to air a game show 3 nights a week, I'm thinking TLC is just saturating their own market.

At any rate, I'm going to talk it over with my fiancee and see if she wants to crank out 13 kids. Then we can just sit back, get paid to make a TV show and collect royalties for our income.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Amazon MP3

With over 8,000 songs on my iTunes, it goes without saying I'm a fan of music. I've bought quite a few cool things from the iTunes music store over the years, but now I'm discovering the benefits of the Amazon MP3 store. The two main things I like about it are:

1. No DRM (Digital Rights Management). Whenever I download stuff from iTunes, I keep a separate playlist of things that have the DRM on them. I burn those tracks to a CD, then reimport them so I can listen to them on any computer, any device. When you download from Amazon, you just get a plain, simple MP3. No restrictions.

2. Cheap prices. When the latest U2 album was released, it was available on Amazon for $3.99. Way cheaper than Best Buy, Target or iTunes. Most songs are priced at $0.99, but some of their songs are also priced at $0.79 and $0.89. When they were released, the new Chris Cornell and Snow Patrol albums were around the $3.99 price, too.

The one thing that's a minor annoyance is the song downloads as a .amz file, for which you have to download a program (only once) to open. Then you can manually add the songs to your iTunes or set the preference to import it automatically (but have your music in two different folders, which would drive me nuts). Aside from the stuff that's exclusive to iTunes, I'd say Amazon's selection of MP3s is pretty equal. Give it a whirl, yo.

Monday, March 16, 2009

IMAX

So, fiancee and I suffered through Watchmen over the weekend in IMAX. The funniest thing to me, though, was the pre-show commercials that touted the IMAX and its superiority. CRYSTAL CLEAR PICTURE! PERFECT SOUND! THE MOVIE VIEWING EXPERIENCE!

Except when the movie started, the sound was off by about a half a second throughout the entire movie.

FAILMAX!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Future is Wild

I recently finished watching a documentary series called The Future is Wild. It takes a look at what life on Earth would be like in 5 million years, 100 million years and 200 million years. And let me tell you, since you're not going to be around to see it for yourself, you might as well watch the DVDs to get a look into our future. It is indeed wild!

Basically, a lot of bad shit happens in the future including mass extinctions, the polar ice caps melting, volcanos erupting and all of the continents coming back together to form one super-continent. It's kind of a fun look at what would happen far off in Earth's future and you can tell the scientists and animators had some fun thinking about all of these things.

I think my favorite future animal is either the Flish or the Swampus. Check out the "photos" for why these guys so are badass:




Man, I'm gonna miss not being in here in 200 million years. :(