Friday, June 29, 2007

Dinosaurs of Rock!!!

Even though I'm really tired (and working a 16 hour shift tomorrow), I'm still pretty excited about this weekend. Sure, the drive out to St. Louis is going to be killer (especially after only 5 hours of sleep) but I'll get to see Leah.

And The Police!

This will be the second major rock show at the Saavis/Scottrade Center/whatever-you-want-to call-the-place-where-the-Blues-play. Unlike that Stones show (which was awesome), I'm going to actually have a seat...rather than a crappy "limited view" slot. I'm a bit disappointed with the opening band (Fiction Plane. Yeah, I've never heard of them either). But whatever.

I broke down and bought tickets to another show today...again at the Scottrade Center. The "Dinosaurs of Classic Rock" Summer continues with a trifecta of guitar awesomeness: ZZ Top, The Pretenders, and The Stray Cats. That's at the end of the month.

I'm excited...Leah is just tagging along.

Such is life.

There's another show I really want to attend in August at the Missouri State Fair--Alice Cooper with Blue Oyster Cult. No one wants to go with me though...ugh...and I really don't want to drive all the way out there alone...ugh...but I will damn it (if I have to). You can't beat two more dinosaurs for only $17!!!!

Celebrity Death-Cult

Right now the news is filled with really important stories/items. The Immigration Reform bill, flooding in Texas, and as I write this a possible terror attack has been foiled in the UK (God bless those Brits, and God save the Queen). But what do I keep hearing about? Paris Hilton.


Like the Anna Nichole Smith thing, I've opted not to blog about Paris Hilton. I made the decision to not discuss what I consider to be a triviality. But they just keep shoving this shit down my throat. Anyway, I'm not going to bitch and moan about something (after all, complaining about it is one of the ways it stays in the news, right?). However, Ms. Hilton's legal/drug problems got me thinking. I was reminded of of Amy Winehouse (yes, I'm talking about her again). Bear with me for one moment...

About a month ago I wrote a review of her new album. In my review I commented on how strange it is that we seem to relish/revere her substance abuse (and other personal problems). You can read that review in it's entirety here:

I almost got off topic in my analysis of her album, but veered away from critiquing the woman and not the music. I wrote:

"It's funny. The things we think are funny celebrities do, that make us sad/hurt when our loved ones do them. That by itself is a topic worthy of further discussion, I'll save it for a later posting."

Well, this is that later posting folks.

Many people find Winehouse to be amusing. A nice little diversion from their everyday, hum-drum lives. Leah will sing along with "Rehab," in which Winehouse sings about being told she should go to rehab...but she refuses. In fact, the song sorta makes it a whole "girl power" kind of statement. See, Amy likes to drink. Amy likes to drink a lot. In fact, I've read that she often pukes on or just off stage at many of her gigs. But that's rock 'n roll, right? Right. People all over the world see her behavior and think (to some degree) that it's "cool." Okay, most people probably don't think her vomit is cool...but they see her as dangerous and edgy (basically "cool"). What is my point?

My point is, ask Leah if she thinks Amy Winehouse is a badass who does what she wants--and she'll probably agree (I think she would, at least. And if she wouldn't I know there are many who would). Part of the reason people think that is because she is a heavy drinker, and that fits her image (and our own image of what a musician should be/do). But ask Leah about my own struggle with alcohol and watch her attitude change. Suddenly, binge drinking isn't something funny a posh celebrity is's something a loved one is engaged in. Now the stakes have changed. See, I'm writing about Amy Winehouse...but I don't KNOW Amy Winehouse. Never met her, probably never will. Neither has Leah.

And that's the difference folks. People on TV or in movies are just that--on TV and in movies. Not real, flesh and blood like you and me. The distance means EVERYTHING when it comes to what we will tolerate/accept when it comes to their behavior (dangerous or otherwise).

I'll give you another example: Kevin Smith. Leah loves Kevin Smith, thinks he's hilarious. We both listen to his podcast, it's really funny. Basically he just shoots the shit...talking about random stuff going on in his life. Every so often you'll hear a flick of a lighter followed by the big lug taking a drag off a cigarette. Leah has pointed it out to me, she thought it was funny. She thought he was "badass" for just lighting up...not caring that he was recording and we could hear him smoking (and it is cigs he's smoking, Smith has been clean for many years now). What Leah doesn't think is funny is when I smoke. She is very worried about the health of my lungs because I have been an on-again off-again smoker for the past 4 years. What's the difference? She knows me. She has a real emotional stake in my well being. Smith is jester, a clown who she only sees and hears. For her, he is less real than I am.

Last month, I re-read British author Nick Hornby's brilliant little book, ABOUT A BOY. I wish I had my copy here with me in Kansas City (alas, most of my good things are in St. Louis). The novel is set in the '90s, and one of the main characters is a young boy named Marcus. Marcus has a very enlightened conversation with a schoolmate about Kurt Cobain. Again I wish I had it in front of me to quote, but basically Marcus tries to dispel his schoolmate's romantic notion of Cobain's suicide. He points out that Kurt has a child, a little girl...and how terrible his death is for her. What was Cobain thinking, taking himself away from someone who needed him so much. In the novel, Marcus's mother has recently tried to "off" herself. He knows the fear and the anguish suicide can have on the survivors (and his mother didn't even die). The boy's friend doesn't see it that way, and Marcus reasons it's because to her Kurt Cobain isn't a real life person. Hornby hits the nail right on the head. In our celebrity obsessed culture, we don't view celebs as real people. They're actors playing a role, even when they're not on screen.

It's a sad business.

The reality is: Amy Winehouse is someone's little girl. A little girl has grown up without a father, and most people think killing himslef was the most artistic thing Cobain ever did. Kevin Smith is probably giving himself Cancer. Paris Hilton is a fucked up individual--these people should be pitied. Someone should try to reach out and help them, not take their fucking picture.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two Videos

Here is the video for the new Bravery single, "Time Won't Let Me Go":

And the hilarious video for "Alfie" by Lily Allen (I saw the video on FUSE and it reminded me of Jimu (because he told me he liked the song)). In case you haven't seen it Jimu:

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed...

Ugh. I was up all last night reading (yes, on the job). Boy have I fallen down a deep, dark friend/writing buddy/possible best-man Paul twisted my arm into reading Stephen King's first novel in the DARK TOWER series. THE GUNSLINGER is amazing, I have to admit--I was a skeptic. But boy does this shit get under your skin.

As a rule, I avoid series novels because:

1. I have literary ADD


2. Rarely is there a series that will justify itself. Does that make sense? Most series, I find, could actually be one really good book...and for some reason, some A-hole/Tolkien-lovin' idiot thinks should be 12!!!

Speaking of Tolkien, it may be blasphemy...but I can't even get through the RINGS books. Sorry nerds of the world...Tolkien is boring and falls under #2 of the above (my opinion). That said, THE HOBBIT is one of my all-time most re-read novels. Why? Well gee, let me see...maybe because it has all the good shit from the other RINGS books but, let me has an ending I can reach in less than FOUR MONTHS!!!!

I'm telling you all of this to underscore how much I dislike series. There are only two ways to get me to participate with a series. One is to pay me (seriously, I need the cash right now). The other is to have SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO KEEP GOING. Damn you King, damn you...

Needless to say, I'm going to the library tomorrow and getting the next book.

For those not in the loop, THE DARK TOWER takes place in what first appears to be the Old West...but it's not (there is magic, and the remnants of our is society littered across the land...but our society has been forgotten). For a while, you think you're in the Old West. The the honky-tonk piano player starts playing "Hey Jude." Then you know you're not where you think you are. But no one knows who The Beatles's just an old song/traditional type song. There are machines, but most of them don't work (and no one seems to know how to reproduce them). Yet we find an atomic powered water pump. Meanwhile our hero is chasing a dark wizard through the desert (and taking LSD). Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

How could I not want to keep going?

The Sun and the Moon

WOW. Ever have that friend who one day decides to "grow up" and actually do something with his/her life? Yeah, me neither. But pretend for a second that New York New Wave/Disco/Retro/Rockers The Bravery aren't a band but actually you're loafing friend. Well two years ago, they put out their self-titled debut...and it was good. People complained that it was a little late coming (The Killers beat them to the retro '80s punch), but I enjoyed it. I saw them in concert a few months later...other than lead singer Sam Endicott's stupid faux-hawk I had no complaints.

Did I ever expect to hear from them again?

No, I did not.

Did I ever expect their second record to be an amazing leap forward?

No, I did not.

Basically, The Bravery is that friend who cleans up/picks him/herself up and makes something of life. They could have just re-recorded the first album and dopes (like me) would have bought it. Instead, THE SUN AND THE MOON is a brilliant transition to bigger and better things. The album works as both a concept album AND a bridge to a new musical identity. The first half of the album is what the first record was: dark, synth-heavy '80s pop (think Joy Division). Edicott howls and snarls, there is a thumping bassline, and they let the synthesizer fly.

Now, as best I can figure...that's 'the moon,' and it's dark as night (unless "Every Word Is A Knife In My Ear" is supposed to be a 'happy' or 'light' track). Then, about half-way, they hit the current single--"Time Won't Let Me Go" and everything changes. We get to the 'sun' part of the record. And wouldn't ya know it? Edicott starts SINGING!!! And there are soft, acoustic guitars!!! And sensitive lyrics!!!

See, who says that party boy/girl can't change?

Lyrically, The Bravery I like to say "Not Dylan." But this time around the writing is better. The single "Time Won't Let Me Go" name-checks Bryan Adams "Summer of '69" AND S.E. Hinton's novel THE OUTSIDERS (one of my all-time favorite books). Nice. Another great track from the 'sun' half, "Fistful of Sand" puts into words that feeling of struggling to hold onto a loved one...even as they slip through your fingers. Touching boys. The final track, "The Ocean" also hit an emotional nerve with me because it's about being far away from the one you love. Not sure if the song is really that good...of if my personal life is coloring my judgement. Either way, the songs on the second half (tracks 6-12) are all more emotional and less moody. This works on all of them, save one: "Tragedy Bound." Imagine a whiny, 'my-so-called-life' style song about a girl who is (unrealistically) has the saddest life EVER. You can skip that one, I won't tell...

Like their hated enemies/rivals The Killers, The Bravery have dramatically switched sounds on their second record. On SAM'S TOWN, The Killers chose to ape Springsteen...The Bravery have opted for U2. By the end of the record, you'll swear that Edicott is auditioning for a U2 tribute band. Oh well, it's growth...and the guy is trying.

It's a shame that the band's efforts probably won't be rewarded--they've made a fantastic record. The problem is, however, that most people will have written them off as one-hit wonders (with a small hit, that is). The emo-kids who liked the first record are going to be put off by the last/better half of the record that's less club and more quite reflection. The hipsters who would like the record are going to be put off by the faux-hawk/eyeliner the band has had in the past (not to mention the whole 'wearing their influences on their sleeves' thing). Oh well, the single is catchy and straddles the fence between the two sides, Sun and Moon. Maybe that'll be enough to ensure that there is a third record. I hope so, because I'm really excited with the direction The Bravery are headed.

Jason gives THE SUN AND THE MOON a B+

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Goal #2: COMPLETE

Well I did it! I have now completed EASY, MEDIUM, and HARD on Guitar Hero II. I know that for some of you, that isn't a big deal...but it was one of two goals I had set for myself this summer. My primary goal (make as much money as humanly possible) remains...but what a sweet victory I have tonight.

That damn Living End song took me forever to beat. When I finally got it, it was by the skin of my teeth (lots of flashing red lights). "Free Bird" is weird. There are only two reasons it's hard:

1. Like David pointed out, it's really long
2. Those damn solos

The rest is kinda, dare I say it, boring. If you can hold out (i.e. stay focused during the simple parts) and conserve your star can make it through "Free Bird" just fine. I bought the skull/octopus guitar that I unlocked (it's sweet and is my new favorite guitar). But my victory was a bit--hollow (if that's the right word). See, I still need 5 stars on 3 songs to have all 5 stars on MEDIUM. I thought "Gee, you can beat HARD--but you can't get 100% 5 stars on MEDIUM? L-A-M-E"

So I stopped celebrating and played those three songs about 10 times a piece (again, that fucking Living End song was my bane). Finally though, I did it!!! I unlocked the stupid (in my opinion) Viking Guitar (and bought it). All that work for a guitar that looks like a Viking's head with a sword through it? Lame. Try again Harmonix, try again. Anyway, I was on a a groove--so I kept going. And I wound up beating another 5 songs on the EXPERT difficulty.

I'm not too worried about EXPERT. Sure, from time to time I'll try it...maybe if/when I get bored. But frankly, as another blogger put it:

"I don't even mess with...[EXPERT]it's a widowmaker..."

I have to agree, I mean there is hard and then there is just stupidly-impossible. I can't believe there is a reward for getting 100% 5 stars on EXPERT (how many people in the WORLD have gotten it? Do you know anyone?).

Now onto more important life goals...anyone know what THOSE are???

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm Turning into a Metal-head...and it's all Guitar Hero's Fault

So I went to Best Buy today and turned the money my "Uncle Paul" (read: my sister's 42 year-old boyfriend) gave me into some headbanging CD's. I bought a Motorhead (love "Ace of Spades") CD and the new Avenged Sevenfold album ("The Beast and the Harlot"). I'm not a full blown psycho or anything, but I do blame Guitar Hero. You play through those songs a few 100 times and you start to like them. It's an insidious stroke of marketing. I don't care, there are so many good (really good) old school/classic rock bands on these games that kids nowadays just don't hear.

Think of all the middle schoolers who went out and bought a Rick Derringer CD (rather than the new 50 Cent). It's a beautiful thing...

Anyway, I'm sure none of you care...but I'm now TWO (count 'em) songs away from beating Guitar Hero II on HARD. All I have to do is complete the Living End's "Carry Me Home" and I'll have the last set list finished. THEN I'll have to face the dreaded "Free Bird" on HARD. I can't begin to imagine what that must be like.

Oh, and David: I tried Buckethead's "Jordan" on HARD. It kicked my ass...I barely made it through with 3 stars.

"Icky Thump"

Awesome video for the Stripes new single:

Icky Thump

There aren't very many bands that are consistent in delivering "the goods." As I write this, I'm trying to think of a band...any band, that still making great records on a regular basis. U2? Well Bono is so busy saving the world that the band's output has become somewhat sporadic. The Stones are all but dead (the last record was great...for corpses). Pretty much everyone from the '90s has vanished. Green Day could qualify...if they put out a few more records. Music fans are pretty much screwed.

Oh, wait...there's The White Stripes. Jack and Meg White (who were once MARRIED and not siblings (despite what they tell you)). Yes friends, it's true...believe the hype: The White Stripes are the only awesome rock band that is still producing en mass. All the other pretenders to the throne...well they're just that--pretenders. No one (save Robert Pollard) beats Jack's sheer volume of songs. The guy is prolific (he's in two bands...he produced Loretta Lynn's last album), prolific with a capital "P."

Two years ago there was GET BEHIND ME SATAN, two years before that the epic ELEPHANT. This year we get ICKY THUMP. Like all music greats, Jack has broken out of the punk/alt-rock box the world would like to put him in. Sure, I love "Fell in Love With a Girl" as much as the next guy...but I don't want him to re-write it for the rest of his life. The 2003 album, ELEPHANT, was The White Stripes perfect record. It was loud, raucous, and a logical step from the band's breakthrough WHITE BLOOD CELLS. Then two years ago they put out GET BEHIND ME SATAN. Nearly everyone I know hates that record. Why? True, the single "Blue Orchid" sounds like vintage Stripes...but the rest of the record was a strange, wandering, slightly unfinished mix of Mississippi blues/country/rock. Both Jasper from the Plane Nine Rock Podcast...and my love Leah HATED this record. Leah probably won't remember this...but she actually asked me to turn it off when I was playing it in my room. Jasper went so far as to say that the band tried to "trick" fans by releasing a rockin' single while the rest of the record was so different.

I have mixed feelings about a few of the tracks of that record...but overall, it was a great album. So here it is, two years later...and there is a new White Stripes album. How is it?

ICKY THUMP is a return to the heavy/blues influenced rock of the early albums. I'd say it falls somewhere in between the punk of WHITE BLOOD CELLS and the British Zep-Rock of ELEPHANT. That's a good thing. The album starts with the title track/lead single "Icky Thump." A brilliant, loud, vicious, anti-anti-immigration song. The guitar work is frantic and blistering, the lyrics biting as Jack takes on the double standard that is America:

"White Americans, what?
Nothing better to do?
Why don't you kick yourself out
You're an immigrant too.

Who's using who?
What should we do?
Well, you can't be a pimp
and a prostitute too."

Mexico seems to be one of many themes running throughout ICKY THUMP (check out the crazy cowboy getups on the album cover) . The Corky Robbins cover, "Conquest" features what can only be described as a Mariachi band from hell. The Stripes are notorious for using a very simple guitar/drums formula (there's only two of them after all) but ICKY THUMP is actually very textured and features a couple of different instruments, including an organ (and bagpipes of all things). "I'm Slowly Turning into You" and "A Martyr For My Love For You" are two excellent tracks that utilize this instrument.

One thing that has always fascinated me about The White Stripes is how two people can sound like an entire ("Seven Nation") army! People are always trying to get White to add more band members...but if you ask me, the Stripes do alright all by themselves. The wall of sound on "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)" is proof positive of that. Speaking of "You Don't Know What Love Is" it's the best song on record...and if you only have $.99 go on iTUNES and download it. Totally worth the dollar.

The slower, blues numbers, like "300 M.P.H Torrential Outdoor Blues" and "Catch Hell Blues" could easily be covered by Muddy Waters or Leadbelly (if they were alive) and nobody would bat an eye. Jack is, besides a taxadermist (he's a weird guy) and a rock star, a blues historian of the highest order. Like Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, White does his best work when he's paying homage to his personal blues heroes.

It's not really "groundbreaking" or "life changing" but in a summer with few new releases worthy of your CD player, ICKY THUMP is an oasis.

Jason gives ICKY THUMP an A+

Goin' to the Drive-In

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Boring 2 Days and My Birthday

Well Leah is gone. I miss her already. Today begins my weekend...and she had to leave. I'm bummed because I didn't get to spend very much time with her (and we really didn't do anything). Well, nothing I can really write about here.

Yesterday was my "Friday"at work...and it was my 24th birthday. I got off work at 7:00AM and went to sleep. I woke up early for my birthday "party." Me, Leah, and Lindsey had a mini-movie marathon (we only got through 2 movies). We watched the original 1978 SUPERMAN and BATMAN BEGINS (the theme was comic book movies). We were supposed to watch GHOST RIDER (looks terrible, but Amber keeps raving about it), but alas SUPERMAN is nearly 3 hours long...and I had to go to work.

My mom cooked a really nice dinner, and Leah made me a Pineapple Up-Side-Down Cake. Lindsey and my dad made ice was nice. I got a CRAP LOAD of CD's for my birthday (which almost never happens). The reason for that being, I buy so many CD's everyone usually gets me something else. But, as you all know, I'm not really financially able to purchase new that was pretty much all I wanted. I got the new White Stripes album--I listened to it on the way home from work this's fantastic. If you have a spare $10 go pick it up (expect a review later this week).

Leah bought me a couple of back-issues of Detective Comics (which is a Batman book) and the latest Hellboy. I spent about 2 hours last night in some guys cubicle reading them (thank you Leah). I started reading again at work. I'm so sick of being the only person that actually DOES HIS I gave up and joined the larger, loafing community. Now I spend about 1/2 my night reading. I read THE FACTS OF DEATH by Raymond Benson. Yes, it's a cheesy James Bond novel. Yes, as an English major I should be reading better...but you know what? After 9 months of reading "literature" I wanted to read about guns and fucking. Thank you Mr. Benson.

I'd read it before, way back in High School (at the height of my Bond-mania). At the time I thought it was great, now...not so much. The villain(s) were lame. Their plot was lame (and made no sense). Plus, I counted two large (like Hummer-sized) plot holes. How do these things get published in such a state? That's like the typos I found in John Grisham's A PAINTED HOUSE. Those guys make SO MUCH MONEY...and yet they still have simple typos.

Heads should roll.

Benson doesn't write Bond novels anymore, but he did write a lot of them. I like them (yes I still like them) because they're nice "popcorn reads." Light, fluffy, and of no nutritional value. Benson's a huge fan of the Bond series (both original novels and films). What's cool about his books is he merges both the movies and the original Flemming novels (with the Flemming novels trumping the films when discrepancies occur). As some who has read all the Flemming novels (and who owns all the films...even the really bad ones) I find this very satisfying.

Now that I'm done with THE FACTS OF DEATH I'm going to start THE DARK TOWER books my friend Paul is always trying to get me to read. I'm hesitant to read anything by King when I'm all alone at night...but what can ya do?

I have the next two night off...and I have no money and nothing to do. I guess there's always Guitar Hero! I'm sure I'll post a few dozen times here to kill some time. I have a bunch of album reviews/random posts I've been wanting to make. I also found some pictures from my trip to Oahu from 2 years ago...maybe I'll post them tomorrow (God I wish was there right now).


Friday, June 22, 2007

Ah, Friday

Well today so far has been good. I got off work at 7:00AM and had breakfast with my Dad downtown. I had to stay down there until 8:30 when those bastards at the home office had my check. To kill even more time, I stopped by Coffee and Magazines (and bought a copy of SPIN). I sat on Oak street reading it:

See that headline Terri? "The Dangerous New Queen of Soul." So it's not just me who is scared of Winehouse (I feel so much better knowing I not the only one).

I got my check, made a beeline for the bank...and went home to bed. Part of me wants to brag about how much it was, but that wouldn't be right. I am really pissed about the taxes. The Federal government totally raped me (can you say over $600?). Now I'm just waiting for Leah and Rusty to get here. Tomorrow is my b-day, and I really wish I wasn't working. But it's probably good that I am. Anyway, here's a quick video of the Noah's Ark that is my parent's house (my baby sister got another critter this week):

Thursday, June 21, 2007

If You Could Love A Color

Okay, time for something that's not Guitar Hero or work related!!!

Well, it sort of is related to my job. See, working nights is all backwards. You go in and it's pitch dark out...then as you leave the sun comes up. Everyday (or nearly everyday) I get to see the sunrise. It's really cool, and something that most people take for granted (the sun coming up). You can go and look up when sunset and sunrise is, the exact time. But let me tell you--there is no such time. It's a gradual, turtle-slow phenomenon. A "blink and you'll miss it" kind of thing.

Which is strange, if you think about it. How the hell do you miss it going from night to daylight? I can't explain it, but it's possible. Like the frog in the water slowly brought to a don't notice the change because it's both constant and minuscule. Truly a sunrise is a miracle. Don't believe me? Get up early tomorrow and watch it. It's gorgeous, and never ceases to fill me with awe and wonder. And yet, most people don't give it a second thought.

Now, most people who like sunrise (or sunset for that matter) go ga-ga for the brilliant, shimmering yellow and blazing orange. Don't get me wrong, I'm just like everyone else--I think those colors are astounding. But that's not what really impresses me. It's not what I look forward to seeing every morning.

No, for me it's all about the blue. That's the thing people forget about when day turns to night. The sky goes from blue to black. Watching it change back, from black to blue, is the best part of my day. The first color one observes is an electric white. It lingers at the edge of the world (aka "the horizon"). Then what I call "the magic gradient" appears. The range starts where the ground and sky "touch" (where it's white), to a light blue, to a dark blue, to an inky navy color (and the the blackness behind it).

It's that dark blue in between the light blue and the navy black that I adore. If you could love a color, the way you can love a person...then I'd love that color. When I hear the word "blue," that's the color I think of. You could show me a million paint samples (or "swatches" as they are called in the industry) and you'd never show me that particular shade of blue. I've thought many times about bringing in my camera and going up onto the roof of one of the buildings I guard and trying to take a picture of this color. There are two problems though:

1. I don't think it would be possible to capture this color (at least, not with my crappy $200 digital camera)


2. I'm not sure I'd want a photo of this color.

It belongs up in the sky, not in my photo album.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Batmans New Ride

This week both and Ain't It Cool News posted pics of from the upcoming Batman movie THE DARK KNIGHT (sequel to BATMAN BEGINS (which fucking rules BTW)). I guess in the movie, the Batmobile gets all fucked he has to use a Batcycle. Sounds cool...but frankly, it kinda looks ridiculous:

And of course, they had to get a new Batsuit (so they can make all-new action figures):

I'm okay with the new suit, but the Batcycle looks iffy to me. I'm still really excited about this movie. Hopefully it won't let me down like SPIDERMAN 3. What are your thoughts?


I'm six songs away from having Guitar Hero beat on HARD. I've been playing a shite load of the bonus songs, trying to get my fingers in gear...the last set list is killer. I came CLOSE to finishing "The Beast and the Harlot" but I lost my place on the fret board...damn it!!! I was 99% done with the song, too. I was pissed.

I love the game, it's very relaxing for me. But I must admit, there is another reason I've been hitting it so hard lately. Well, two reasons actually. For one--I haven't been able to play it for the past two weeks (always at work). Secondly, I'm competing with someone (even though they don't know it). Someone I know has a boyfriend who I HAVE to beat at everything (I have's in the rules). This douche thinks he's good at Guitar Hero (he can't even beat ONE song on EXPERT...which is why I've beaten 10 this week). For more information click here:

I'm such a tool.

Hey Leah, my career score is "da-bomb"!!!

Birthday, The Police, and other Junk

Saturday is my birthday (24 years). I'm not doing much, just having dinner and watching a movie--then I have to go to work. But LEAH WILL BE HERE!!! Which makes me happy, very happy actually. Because they don't have any for me work...I'm only working 56 hours this week. So I'm going to get a break. Next week, too, I'm going to get a break. I'm going out to St. Louis to see The Police (with me Mum). I bought us tickets for Mother's Day. As it just so happens, most of my family will be in St. Louis that weekend. Apparently, there is a PTA convention that weekend downtown. My Dad is a HUGE PTA person (he is president of my baby sister's elementary school). So Lindsey will be there, my Dad, and my Mom. I guess they're all going to hang out with Leah until I show up that Sunday. Good times. David/Jimu I'm going to have to get out there and see you guys while I'm in town.

Today was a strange day. I woke up to the sounds of blaring country music (ugh) that the painters were blaring right outside my window. My folks are getting the house re-painted. I'm glad because that means I'm not having to do it...but it sucks because they make all this noise while I'm trying to sleep.

But that's not really what was strange...what was strange was: today I was offered a job--in St. Louis!? I woke up and Amber told me I had a message on the machine (which is rare for two reasons: 1. No one calls me and 2. Those who do have my cell number). Turns out when I applied for a job at the school (and never heard anything back) they school KEPT MY NUMBER AND SOLD IT!!! I called this guy and he said he worked for some kind of marketing firm...something medical...he was vague. Anyway, we talked and he gave me a number to call when I get back out in St. Louis. I'm not sure how good a lead this will be, but it felt good. I felt like Leah. Leah is ALWAYS getting job offers. People are practically THROWING jobs at her.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Music Videos

I was watching MTV2 (which is SUPPOSED to play music videos) and it pretty much sucked. When I was a kid, MTV was awesome...thanks gen-X for totally dropping the fucking ball...oh, and thanks stupid teenagers for supporting crappy reality-non-music related programming.

Anyway, who need MTV when you have Youtube:

The Hives "Walk Idiot Walk"...such a kick ass song...great video:

The Wildhearts (great British Hard Rock) "I Wanna Go Where the People Go":

TSAR is a great LA band. "Band Girls and Money":

Amy Winehouse (she is so hot, in a scary...scary way) "Back to Black":

The Road to Victory

This summer is about two things: working and Guitar Hero. My quest to perfection (and international-legendary status) continues on my days off. Here is an brag/update on where I am in the game:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jason's Life Update (Part 2)

Well it's been a week since my last night off...boy am I tired. I spent the day playing Guitar Hero. Oh, and I saw NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM with my family. That's all I have done today. I was supposed to be getting a new computer in the mail soon, but DELL fucked up and randomly canceled my order. I got in touch with them, and even they don't know why (go figure). But, turns out that might be a good thing--Leah's sister gets a discount with DELL!!! So it looks like I'm going to save a few hundred dollars on my new laptop.

I worked 16 overtime hours thus far this week (Saturday begins the week pay periods). I need to work more!!! More I say!!! Though I don't think I'll top my 81 hours 45 minutes of last week. That was just nuts (seriously). I don't even remember half the shit that happened. And sleeping in my car SUCKED. There has to be a better way to live...oh yeah, that's why I'm in college.

WRONG! I majored in fucking English.

Welcome to the rest of your life Mr. Limemonkey. If I could go back in time and change ONE THING, I would tell my younger self "Screw majoring in 'what you like,' pick something that is going to get you a job."

I had a fellow guard (60 years young he was) tell me that I have no prospects. At first I was mad, but he has a point--I have no prospects. In short, I better get used to working 70+ hours a week (90+ when Leah starts pumping out those babies).

I'm giving up on writing. I need money, not a fantasy.

By Request...Something Really Gross

Well I guess some people (David, I'm looking at you) want to see how messed up my feet have gotten since I've started working. Now, I wasn't going to do this...because it's gross/not really something any of you probably want to see--but since one of you does, enjoy!

Now that's from basically walking for 16 hours in my crappy black leather shoes. My mother bought me some new "better" for my feet shoes that, truth be told--only made things worse. I'm back in my old shoes, but don't worry: I got trained on the Segway ( over the weekend. Now I have happy(-ier) feet.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm Going Nucking Futs

Okay folks, so last week I did a LOT of overtime...this week I'm cutting back a bit.

By one hour!

Yes, that's right--I'm doing a paltry 77 hours, rather than an extreme 78. What can I say? I'm a machine. That, and now that my laptop is dead and gone (and I need an extra $900) I'm motivated twice as much to work twice as hard. Anyway, listen to my crazy week:

Tonight-nothing (a guy needed to trade with me so he could attend some're a fucking idiot just work...OK, fine I'll trade with you just to shut you the hell up). Can you tell that I've lost what was left of my patience?

Wednesday--work 10:15AM to 6:16PM go home and sleep for 3 hours...wake up at 9:00PM, be at work by 11:00PM get off at 7:00AM

Thursday--Drive from my night post, to my Dad's work (he works downtown at Hallmark Cards) and eat breakfast with him at his cafeteria. THEN I'm going to sleep in his parking lot until he wakes me up. Be back on the clock at 10:15AM work until 6:15PM. Once I'm off work I'm going to my friend Murph's public reading. I'm going to have my camera their (but not my parents really good digital camcorder...that's going to be in use (little sister's dance/dress rehearsal). Hopefully that will last about an hour. Then I'm going home for about an hour...then, you guessed it!!! BACK to work by 11:00PM. I work until 7:00AM.

Friday--Get off at 7:00AM. Home for about 2 hours, then go back at 10:15AM to 6:15PM. Wash, rinse, repeat...back at work by 11:00PM.

Saturday--A day of rest!!! NOT!!!!!! Get off work at 7:00AM sleep until 1:00PM, back on my post at until 7:00AM the next morning.

Sunday--(Repeat of Saturday)

Monday--Day Off. Under no certain terms will I be working this day.

Now, I know some of you (pussies) are going to read this and say "Jason, you're fucking nuts." To that I reply, "No...but I'm getting there." I can do this. I have to do this, me and Leah need the money. I don't want to do this, but I am so get over it (sorry). Anyway, I'm sure the overtime will dry up. And next week is my birthday week, so I'm bound to slow down for Leah's visit.

For those of you with a deity...pray for s/o Wendleton

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jason's Laptop R.I.P (2003-2007)

Well it's gone folks, my laptop is officially dead. I could probably pay and get it fixed, but the cost versus how old it is/how much a new one costs...well it just doesn't make any sense to me. Besides, this is the second major problem it's had this year, and the fourth problem in general. So, I'm going to have to start working hard in the coming weeks so I can buy a new one. My folks have offered to give me some money (my B-day is June 23 BTW).

In the meantime, I can use my sisters computers (ironic that they have working computers because neither really uses them...):

My sister's eMAC

Enjoy the video blog:

UPDATE: So I gave up and bought a new computer today online, from Dell. Here's the specs---

Inspiron E1505, Intel Core Duoprocessor T2350 (2MB/1.86GHz/ 533MHz)
15.4 Inch Wide-screen WXGA Display for Inspiron 6400/E150
1GB, DDR2, 667MHz 2 Dimm for Inspiron 6400/E1505
256MB ATI MOBILITY RADEON X1400 HyperMemory, for Inspiron 6400/E1505
80GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive for Inspiron 6400/E1505
Image Restore
Microsoft Windows XP Home Service Pack 2, English, for Inspiron
Dell Owners Manual installed on your system,click on icon after system set-up to access
Windows Media Player 10
Dell Support
Icon Consolidation Application
Internet Search and Portal
Backup media for XP Home
Thank you for choosing Dell
Integrated 10/100 Network Cardand Modem, for Inspiron
Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0, for Inspiron
24X Combo CD-RW/DVD for Inspiron 6400/E1505
Sonic Digital Media, v7.0, forInspiron
Integrated High Definition Audio, Inspiron
Dell Wireless 1390 802.11b/g Mini Card (54Mbps), for Inspiron 6400/E1505
Norton Internet Security 2006 90 Day Trial,OEM
53 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery, for Inspiron 6400/E1505
1 Year Limited Warranty
No Warranty, Year 2 and 3
Dell Hardware Warranty Plus Return To Depot, Initial Year
Type 12- Mail-InService, 24x7 TechnicalSupport, Initial Year Warranty Support,Initial Year

I know it's not the greatest, but the price was right. Also, I don't use my computer to play video games (I'm a console man). All I need is a computer to word process/surf the Internet really. I really don't want MS Works(that really sucks), but luckily for me I still have my MS Office software my parents bought me for X-mas a few years ago. I wouldn't wish Works on my worst fucking enemy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day Off

Well I just got back for a (short) shift. Today is the first day in 7 days that I have worked less than 16 hours. I'm pissed...but also relieved in a way. I'm tired. My feet hurt, etc. Anyway, tomorrow I have a day off (boo! hiss!). It couldn't be helped, I had to take a break. Not to worry, though. I'll be back at work bright and early on Tuesday (guarding a bank, no less). I'm going to long off my sister's eMAC and try to fix my laptop.

Wish me luck.

In the time I've been sitting here...those bastards have called me and asked me to come in tomorrow morning....


I really need the money, but I told them "no." I need a day off.

Friday, June 08, 2007

78 Hours

Well today is Friday, and for my company--the end of a pay week. I get my first check today (it won't be much, only one week's worth). I originally signed up to work three extra shifts...but that turned into an extra shift every day this week (nearly). As I sit here, filling out my time sheet, I'm shocked to see that I worked a total of 78 hours and 40 minutes (my relief was late one day). The sad part is, even with these kind of hours...I'm still not making "enough."


No video blog, as I only have an hour to get back downtown to work another 16 hour shift. It looks like I'll get BOTH of my days off this week--so in between screwing around with my computer, I'll film/post one then.

I hope every one's summer is going better than mine.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bad Day

Well I wasn't sure it would be possible, but I think I may soon be posting on this blog even LESS than I am now (or at least...more sporadically). No, it's not because I'm working too much (I am) but because my laptop is dead.

Let me tell you about my day.

I woke up at 4:00AM, took a shower and was downtown by 5:30. I worked until 2:00PM (got a $28 parking ticket, despite assurances from my bosses that I was parked in a safe spot). Then I get home, turn my computer on...and it say: "Disk Error" then it tells me to "Press Control+Alt+Delete to Restart." So I do that, and it restarts...and I loop this about a dozen times. So, I boot it up and press F12 and start running the diagnostics--and I have a hardware problem. I don't know how serious it is, but I'm not paying anyone to fix my 4 year old laptop. I bought it 4 years ago, it's a DELL (read: cheap as hell). It was the cheapest laptop that DELL produced at the time (they have since discontinued to manufacture the model). In fact, my laptop is so old, that when that laptop battery recall/scare happened a year ago I was FINE!!! My laptop was made BEFORE the ones that were in the recall group. So, it's old.

I've been wanting to get a new one, I was hoping I could wait until I graduated. I really don't want VISTA. The two tech-y people I know are split on it. Jimu has no problem with it...while Leah's computer guy hates it and told us both to avoid it. I don't want an Apple. I love Apple as a company, but having a PC is great...if you don't know why, go look it up....I'm too tired to write.

Which is part three of my shitty day--you see, it isn't over yet...not by a long shot. Though I am tired, I can't sleep. In five hours I have to be back downtown for another overnight shift. Fuck.

That's about it.

I'm using my sister's Apple (speak of the devil) to write this. She's pretty cool about letting me use it, but if we have a falling out (Read: I piss her off) then she'll cut me off and I won't be able to get online...until, August when I move in with Leah and I have access to her laptop. And yes Leah, I haven't forgotten about my old Gateway in my closet...but that thing is 7 years old for one...and for two it doesn't have a wireless card--so I'd have to set it up in Amber's room (yeah right). Plus, that thing is loaded with spyware and such (I used to download music like crazy from AudioGalaxy (which, to show you how long ago that now legit).

I'm not going to have a Friday Video Blog on Friday this week either. Even if my laptop magically came back to life, I'm working a straight 16 hour shift. I may record one and post it Thursday evening (if I can get my sister's Apple to play nice with my digital camera).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lame Duck

One of the things I got into heavily four years ago was talk radio. I worked nights, and found that I could only read about 1/2 through my shifts (otherwise I started to get sleepy). So I bought a cheap $5 radio and started on the FM band. But I soon grew tired of the same classic rock songs...and I moved on to the AM band. My Dad told me about this crazy show, Coast to Coast AM and I would listen to that about 50% of the time. But frankly, it's just a little too crazy--so I started flipping around.

Eventually, if a person listens to enough will find Rush.

They say that television and the movies are dominated by the left, and I guess that's true. Well the Conservative right has the airwaves. AM radio is chock full of these people. Rush Limbaugh isn't really representative of the average right-wing radio host (believe it or not). Rush is actually pretty considerate to both his callers and his listeners. I chuckle at his ego (which is nearly as big as his fat head).

True, I don't always agree with Rush...on many things, but I do find him refreshing for some reason. I consider myself to be a moderate (middle of the road) person...I could go on and on about talk radio and what it's taught me about politics--but the real reason I'm writing this is because of a shocking thing I heard on the radio this past week.

I listened to Sean Hannity, Rush, Savage, O'Reilly...they're all pretty pissed at President Bush (to one degree or another). I find this interesting--and a really good sign of just how shitty a job Bush is doing. These right-wing people are frankly supposed to sit there and support Bush. And in the past that's what they've done: blindly support him.

Not anymore.

I know that when a President reaches the end of his second term, he get becomes a shall I put it? Ineffective? But to ignore what people on your own side of the aisle want!? Seems a little stupid to me. Immigration reform, the enviroment, the "War" on terror. He seems to be making both sides unhappy on all these fronts.

A good example is the enviroment. Leftist, enviromentalists want Bush to commit to reducing CO2 emissions. Conservatives want Bush to ignore this. What does he do? Like a true politician he announces that we're going to try to reduce our emissions...but isn't specific. This pisses off the tree-huggers (who want him to get serious about the matter) AND at the same time it pisses off his supporters who don't believe in Global Warming (how dare he pretend to care about CO2!).

You would think that a man with the ultimate power, and who doesn't care about being re-elected would actually DO something (one way or the other)...but instead Bush seems to still be playing the political games. I didn't really follow our last President (too young) but I wonder if all so-called "Lame Duck" Presidents do this--or his Bush really that stupid?

My last year as President I'm doing all the shit I wanted to do but couldn't. Not touring the world at the taxpayer's expense (Clinton) or playing these same old, stupid political games (Bush). If you can't give us straight talk when you have nothing to lose, when can you?

I'm Ok...You're Ok

Jason Falkner (a distant relative of author William Faulkner) is probably one of the most low-key men in music today. I find this odd, because he started his musical career as the lead guitarist for Jellyfish (the ‘90s neo-hippy/day-glow-Beatles pop band). After parting ways with the bombastic, flashy Jellyfish, Falkner drifted in and out of bands…eventually he recorded two critically successful (but commercially tepid) albums: PRESENTS AUTHOR UNKNOWN and CAN YOU STILL FEEL? Then Falkner vanished for eight years. What was he doing? Well, Jason pays his bills by playing guitar (as a session musician) on some pretty big records. Here’s a short list of some of the people Falkner’s worked for: Travis, Weezer, Air, Lisa Loeb, Aimee Mann, Beck, Rufus Wainwright, Chris Cornell, and Sir Paul McCartney. The heavy hitters turn to Falkner because of his immense talent and technical prowess.

Falkner takes the term “solo artist” to heart. He writes all the songs and plays all the instruments (drums, bass, keyboards, etc.). I really admire this about Falkner, but this obsession with doing it himself (coupled with his chronic perfectionism) makes for some LONG waits between albums. That’s why when I found out he was finally putting out a new record, I bought it (despite the fact that it’s initially being released in Japan only and therefore cost an arm and a leg).

I’M OK…YOU’RE OK finds Falkner doing what he does best—mellow indie-rock. Like his past two albums, I’M OK…YOU’RE OK is pretty autobiographical. Songs like “Komplicated Man” and “NYC” are all about him. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, Falkner sings honestly about the complications of life and love. Nothing too terribly shocking when it comes to pop music, but it’s the sincerity with which Falkner writes and sings that makes him stand out. Also, in many of his songs Falkner doesn’t always paint himself well (sometimes it’s his fault the relationship doesn’t work out) and sometimes he gets rejected (the dude must be dumped all the time, I can think of three songs about him being rejected by various women).

All of this openness can turn some people off, and while the lyrics are “honest” they are by no means “easy.” Many of the songs are hooky, but this fact only because apparent after multiple listens. Like many of his indie-rock peers, Falkner’s music must be listened to several times before it will click with you. Once his songs take a hold of you, though, you’re humming them all day. The closest thing to a single would have to be “The Knew” (my personal favorite on the album)…which also surprisingly has a great guitar riff.

And here we come to Falkner’s greatest flaw. His talent is coveted because it’s so technical, so precise…and in a larger work, by another artist this is a good thing. Falkner’s playing style and clean tones get the job done AND sticks to the background (where it belongs) allowing the artist paying him to take the spotlight. Well, unfortunately for Falkner, his guitar work is…for lack of a better word…boring. And that’s a shame too, because Falkner writes some really catchy tunes. I have a feeling that this album is awesome when it’s performed live—when Falkner’s performance is rawer. Some of these songs sound like a robot is playing, rather than a man. I love Falkner (hell, I paid $34 for this record) but I know this is what’s keeping his career as a solo artist from taking off. The guy needs to loosen up.

Not to say that everything is musically vanilla on I’M OK…YOU’RE OK. “The Knew” as I mentioned has a great riff. Likewise, the fifth track “Hurricane” is brilliantly layered in spaced out textures. I was also impressed with “Runaway,” which to me is the most ‘classic’ Falkner track on the record—thoughtful, introspective lyrics coupled with an exotic sounding keyboard arrangement. Overall the album is highly listenable, and stands up well next to Falkner’s other two solo-records. Glad to have you back Mr. Falkner.

Jason gives I'M OK...YOU'RE OK a "B"

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Video Blog/Where I've been

I worked a 16 hour shift today, I just woke up. Yesterday I did feet are killing me. But, after tonight I have the day off. That's where I've been, that's why no Friday Video blog. I need to go and take a shower and get back on the road. No time to film anything new, luckily I have a clip I shot last Monday while driving back from St. Louis. I got bored in the car, and I wanted to see what it would look like with me driving.

Anyway, enjoy:

Oh, and I finally posted comments back to you (Murph and David) on the "4Am/Guitar Hero Brag" check that out.