Sunday, July 31, 2011


I was perusing my friend list on Facebooks the other day when I decided to look at some photos posted by this one girl I went to high school with.  She went to go see Britney Spears in concert along with someone else from my high school.  I clicked around a few more photo albums and saw that she had not only kept in touch with, but had taken recent photos with, about 10-12 people from our high school.  Holy shit.

Compare that to my Facebook friends list - I think I have about 6 people I went to high school with on there, and I don't correspond with any of them regularly.  In fact, I frequently consider deleting them.

Switch over to the friends I have from college and I think I have 3 on my Facebook page, two of which are very dear to me, and I would never think about deleting.

I think the longest friendship I have going now is with someone I met when I was 15 years old while working my first job at the library, so we've been friends now for 18 years.

It just seems so odd to me - to have friends from high school that you've kept in touch with for 15 years.  Maybe I missed out on something there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Awkward Partygoer Pt. 2

So I was thinking a little bit more about my previous post (thank you for your comments Kristen and Jenny), and I think part of my problem is that, like Jenny said in her comment, I think I do much, much better in smaller group settings.  A group of 8 people or so allows a lot of time for everyone to interact, split off into side conversations and such and it's also not overwhelming to my brain.

I feel like this when it comes time for lunch at work, too.  My entire department consists of about 25 people and about 13-14 of us go to lunch at the same time.  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get the big table in the lunchroom but I much prefer it when we have to split up into two tables of 6-7.  Those are the lunches I find much more enjoyable so I think that is part of my "issue."

I also was thinking about the abundance of social media, as I mentioned previously.  I was struggling for something to say to a good friend when a good topic came to mind, which would then lead to other related topics.  I brought it up and good friend said, "Oh yeah, I saw your blog post about that" and that kinda killed my momentum for talking about it.  Blerg!  Oh well.  Still working on this overall and hoping the next friend function is fun and lively.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man

So...this trailer is out.

...and I'm not really sure what to think about it.  The Amazing Spider-Man, out in July 2012, will be Marvel's 4th film about Spidey.  Since the director and entire cast departed after the last film in 2007, Sony is treating this film as a reboot.  I think it's been recent enough that we remember how Spider-Man got his powers, what his powers and issues are - yet we're going to have to sit through all of that again in this movie.

Another confusing issue is the introduction of Gwen Stacy, played by the highly overrated Emma Stone, who was Peter Parker's first love in the comics.  Moviegoers have spent 6 years loving (or loathing) Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane in the original films.  They also spent that time understanding Spider-Man organic ability to shoot webs but now he'll have mechanical ones like in the comics.

I'm just wondering if all of this rebooting and restructuring is really necessary for a film franchise that only left us 5 years ago.  I'm highly unimpressed with the trailer but I could be proven wrong, as I was with X-Men: First Class.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Awkward Partygoer

Something's been happening over the past year or so that I don't really like - I've become somewhat of an awkward partygoer.  I don't know when or how this happened but I'll show up to a friend get together and end up being anti-social.  It's weird usually I am the one excited to go to the party...but then I show up and don't enjoy myself as much as I should.  I think part of me feels like I have nothing super interesting to talk about so I'm just awkward and not really outgoing and chatty.  And then perhaps I cling to The Wife a little bit too much (my observation, not hers).

Anyway, I'm just thinking/typing out loud here.  I know this is happening but I don't like it.  I was at a friend get together over the weekend and kinda didn't feel like chatting with anyone.  I was even amused by the friend who was looking at his watch and his girlfriend who said to him, "No looking at your watch! We're staying for a while!" (or something to that effect).

I wonder if part of it is just falling out of touch with certain the friend that once asked how much I made (when I was proud that I was actually doing well) so I told him and then he told me how much he made and his salary put mine to shame so I've felt awkward around him ever since; or the friend that tells me her son doesn't like carrots but loves broccoli as if that's something I want to hear about.

Part of me wonders if it's also an abundance of social media -- i.e., I already saw the photos/status updates from your weekend getaway and you already know that xyz happened in my life, so what else is new?

But please, all four friends of mine that read this, keep inviting me to your shindigs.  This awkward phase will pass and I genuinely do value our friendships and our time spent together.  Like I said, I'm thinking/typing out loud here so this post may very well get taken down in a day or two anyway.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Graham Colton

The Wife and I headed over to The Hotel Cafe last night to check out a set from Graham Colton.  I'd seen Graham about 6-7 years ago when he opened up for Better Than Ezra.  I was impressed back then so I've been following his career and picking up his albums along the way.  I think he's played quite a few shows here and there in California over the years but a completely free Saturday night made it an easy decision to check him out.

Graham played for about an hour and was very entertaining.  He was surprisingly really funny, too - commenting that he hated San Francisco (where he played the night before) and saying he used to play in a band called the Graham Colton Band, which is actually true.  He joked that he's incredibly vain when it comes to his career and tonight, the band was calling themselves the Graham Colton Explosion.

He has a real genuine quality that comes through.  At the end of the show, he said he wanted people to go home with his music if they liked him, so he invited people to stop by the merch table, say hello and pay whatever they wanted for his music.  We stopped by, said hello and he was kind enough to sign the CD I got for our donation.

Check out his latest music video for the single "Pacific Coast Eyes."  Head over to Graham's website or iTunes if you like what you hear.

You might also recognize Graham's song "Best Days" that we played at our wedding.

We are definitely going to check him out next time he's in town so let me know if you're interested.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

I was in the mood for something episodic and comic booky so I booted the first disc of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes up to the top of my Netflix queue.  I watched it with a little trepidation because Marvel's track record with animated series has not been great, in my opinion.

Add to it that Captain America is my favorite character and I think I prefer the Avengers over the X-Men and I was sure this series was going to suck.

I could not be wronger more wrong.  The first disc starts out by collecting the animated web shorts and telling background stories of the individual characters.  So the first episode is only about Iron Man, the second is Thor, then Hulk, then they start sharing some characters with episodes focusing half on a character like Black Panther and a little bit of Hawkeye.  I didn't realize these were web shorts until I looked up the series on Wikipedia.

By the time the series officially starts with Breakout (Parts 1 & 2), I was just dying for the characters to all come together and start kicking some ass - which they do!  I think one aspect I most enjoy is seeing characters come to animated life.  Mandrill is an incredibly boring character on paper but when you see him move around and use his powers in cartoon form...well, he's still boring.  But how cool!

They are really using a ton of characters so far in this series - everyone from the main Avengers to villains like Living Laser, Wrecking Crew and Doughboy (who?).  Only the first two discs are out commercially and available on Netflix but I just stumbled across the entire first season available via Netflix Instant about an hour ago.  A big bonus is that The Wife is enjoying the series.  Can't wait to see how the rest of Season 1 wraps up.  Great work, Marvel.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Finally had a chance to watch this movie thanks to Netflix Instant.  This movie essentially takes a look at "street art" and focuses on a couple of subjects - Shepard Fairey, the ever elusive Banksy and the main subject of the movie - Mr. Brainwash.

The movie is overall enjoyable, even humorous at times but ultimately left me feeling annoyed.  I was/am annoyed because of the mere notion of "street art" which I consider to be graffiti and a public nuisance.  I fully believe art has a time and a place - I just don't think you need to vandalize someone's property as your canvas.  If an artist is really that talented, I think they should be able to get their art out through legal and mainstream methods rather than mess up our already crappy looking major metropolitan cities.  I guess they're reaching a much larger audience because you get random people walking down the street but my first emotional reaction is always going to be annoyance.

Another thing that bugs me is the notion that what these guys do is art.  I know, I know, art is all subjective and whatnot.  But as someone who makes his living as an artist, what the main artist in the movie, Mr. Brainwash, does can hardly be called art.  He is shown in the movie having a staff of artists scan in images out of books, Photoshop them to some minor extent under his orders and print them out.  So, he's taking an image he didn't originally photograph and having someone else manipulate it.  The work of Mr. Brainwash they show in the movie seemed highly derivative of Andy Warhol's work so it seems he hardly has an original idea. Where  does the creativity of an artist come in to play here...?  And of course, Mr. Brainwash ends up selling a lot of his work for a LOT of money which infuriates me as well.

On the plus side, even though I would consider it vandalism, a lot of the work I've seen from Banksy does seem rather clever and in fact, humorous.

I'm not really sure what to say of the movie as a whole since it left me liking the work one street artist (yet still despising vandalism) and being highly annoyed with another street artist.  I guess it it made me think about what really is considered "art" and I don't think anyone can provide a definite answer for that.