Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oasis! Oasis! Oasis???

Ugh. You know that saying, "be careful what you wish for"? Well I'm finding out that it's pretty damn spot-on.

A few months (or was it weeks?) ago, my sister called me and told me that Oasis would be playing Chicago in December...and would I want to go? Of course. I love concerts, and seeing Oasis has been a dream of mine (they're big, but not big enough in this country to mount a full-on tour of "smaller" cities like KC or St. Louis--so I always missed them). I said "yes," and she bought the tickets (which were expensive). I told her, come hell or high-water, I'd get her there.

But she's changing jobs, and isn't sure if she'll be able to get the day of the show off. Worse, the show is in Chicago, a city I visit, but am not at all familiar with. I've never driven in the city before. Leah has, but can't go with us because she has to work. I've contemplated just flying, because the arena is within walking distance/short cab-ride of the airport...but I just checked out ticket prices and I'm looking at slightly less than $500. That's a lot of money--to top it off this month I have to pay personal property tax on my car, make my first student loan re-payment, AND it's Christmas season.

So basically, flying is out. Which is good because Amber is terrified of flying. But it doesn't matter because she might not even be able to go (she finds out this week...I hope). Anyway, I feel like I now have this little cloud hanging over me. I want to go to this show...but I'm having trouble getting it to work. I guess the first step will be finding out if she can even go--then I can compare the various modes of travel. I've never done Amtrack, but my parents swear by it...so perhaps that's the way to go???

Anyway want to be an alternate for this show in-case she bails??? (Leah can't go, she has to work).

Back Home in STL

Well we did it. We survived the first 1/2 of the holiday season. I can't believe that tomorrow is December 1. Where has this year gone???

Anyway, there was turkey, and there was snow. Not very much snow...but a hole helluva lotta turkey. Seeing the family was nice. We didn't have any meltdowns or squabbles, which is rare (for any family). I did manage to break one of my mom's newer bowls on Thanksgiving...but I don't feel too bad about it...because I was the one that bought them for her (still...sorry mom!).

I'm glad to be back home. Though I miss my family, KC just doesn't feel like home anymore.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taveling Wilburys Volume 3

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! Last week I wrote a mini-novella about The Kinks and their album-- THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY. This week, I'm in KC for Thanksgiving, so I didn't get to write nearly as much as I would have liked.

I like interesting, strange, weird music...and as most you know I dig classic rock--there's no classic rock more interesting, strange, and weird than The Traveling Wilburys. Most people have never heard of them, but everyone knows the band's members individually.
So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:

Supergroup-defined (in the music world) as a group/band consisting of members whom are already famous. Most "supergroups" fall into one of two categories--awesome and lame. For every Blind Faith, CSNY, or Gorillaz...there are a dozen Damn Yankees or Bad Englishes out there, stinking up the joint.

The best supergroup, in my opinion, was formed in 1988 when former Beatle George Harrison got together with Rob Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and ELO-front man (mad genius) Jeff Lynne to form The Traveling Wilburys. Or should I say, "become" the Traveling Wilburys. The band had been friends for years, appearing on each others records--when Harrison's need for a B-side led to the formation of the band. Lynne was producing both Orbison and Petty, and over dinner they all decided to hop into the studio to record a song. But, as this was a rather spur of the moment decision--they had no studio to record in.

Ah! But their friend Mr. Zimmerman had a studio in his house! A quick call to Bobby Dylan got them a studio...and a fifth band member. The first Wilburys record, entitled VOLUME 1, came out to much critical and commercial success. This album is amazing and should be sought out by any classic rock fan. But of the two Wilbury records, I prefer VOLUME 3.

Yes, that's right. There are two records: VOLUME 1 and VOLUME3 (the numbering being a joke played on the record buying public at the behest of Harrison). I think VOLUME 3 jells better, overall. Shortly after VOLUME 1 was recorded, Roy Orbison died, leaving only Petty, Harrison, Dylan, and Lynne to carry on. I like Orbison's songs on VOLUME 1, but his voice is so different than the others (who all have pretty different-sounding voices) that he seemed a bit out of place on the first Wilburys record.

A lot of people dismiss the Traveling Wilburys as a joke-band. And in some respects, it's hard to argue against this. The songs are hardly serious, but they are fun. But just because something ROCKS doesn't mean it should take itself so damn seriously. That's the first reason I love the Wilbury records. You get all these famous guys together, at the peak of their game, and they're just letting it all hang out (so to speak). The second reason I like these records is that the songs are so collaborative. Unlike a lot of bands (supergroup or not), The Wilburys were all about sharing the spot light--in most cases the guys take turns singing lead vocals through out a single track. This old-school tactic make seem like not a big deal...until you hear Bod Dylan take over for Tom Petty (who took over for George Harrison) in a less than sixty-second time span.

Take for example, "Where Were You Last Night?" This song starts out as a Dylan song, but then the second verse is sung by Harrison (with everyone doing the chorus). By the end of the song, everyone's had a turn at the mike. Awesome.

VOLUME 3, while a collaborative effort has the dreaded Jeff Lynne-production thumbprint. It's a very 70/80s-ish wash of sound that people either love or hate. Basically, Lynne makes everyone sound like his old band, Electric Light Orchestra. This annoys some people, but I can over look it--because the band's other major influence is Tom Petty. Petty was the youngest Wilbury, and on the first record he was the most reserved/underused Wilbury. VOLUME 3 sees Petty really stepping up to the plate in a big way.

"You Took My Breath Way" is a lengthy, mellow-rocker that sounds like it could have fit nicely on a Heartbreakers album. I like it because it's at once very heartfelt, and also tongue-in-cheek (which is the only way to take a song writer talking about writing a song). The cheeky "Cool Dry Place," is 100% a Wilburys song (because it's so crazy) but features a very Petty prominently. It's a surreal song, about trying to find a place to store one's instruments (apparently, you need a cool, dry, place). Petty's also behind my favorite track on the record, "Poor House," which is a very country-fied jam about getting cleaned out by...wait for it...a woman. "Poor House" is pretty funny too.

Dylan, the great poet of our time, has a lot of great moments on VOLUME 3, too. His best song (and my second favorite song on the record) is "If You Belonged to Me." Maybe it's the sexist in me, but I love this very un-PC song. The lyrics are crazy too, example:

You say let's go to the rodeo
And see some cowboy fall
Sometimes it seems to me you've
Got no sympathy at all

This same song goes on to refer to the narrator's competition as a "ruthless pimp." Only Dylan could reference pimps and rodeo's in THE SAME FUCKING SONG. I'm not doing it justice, this song--like all of Dylan's contributions to VOLUME 3 are bizarre, surreal, I-can't-believe-I'm-hearing-this type stuff. But the strangest moment comes at the end of the record (more on THAT later).

George Harrison and Jeff Lynne are in the mix, but it's really Petty and Dylan doing much of the heavy lifting. Lynne's big moment is on "New Blue Moon" but even that song is pretty collaborative (with some great guitar, I might add). Harrison, who was pretty used to being the fourth wheel, remains more upfront than when he was in The Beatles, but still remains in the background for much of the record. I'd say his best track is "Devils Been Busy." George's sitar/Indian-influence is felt heavily on this track (it's done right, not done overboard like on some of Harrison's solo records).


The piece-de-resistance, the crown jewel of VOLUME 3--the thing that makes this record better than VOLUME 1, is "The Wilbury Twist." This song is a pseudo-dance "craze" song, like "The Twist" or even (dare I say it) "The Hokey Pokey." Oh course, it's bent and twisted and crazy as all hell. I love it. The album comes with the complete lyrics--with these really crazy illustrations that accompany them. It's satirical and fun. It's everything that's great about the Traveling Wilburys distilled into one song:

"The Wilbury Twist"
Put your hand on your head (hand on your head)
Put your foot in the air (foot in the air)
Then you hop around the room (hop around the room)
In your underwear (in your underwear)
Ain't ever been nothin’ quite like this
Come on baby it’s the Wilbury Twist

Lift your other foot up (other foot up)
Fall on your ass (fall on your ass)
Get back up (get back up)
Put your teeth in a glass (teeth in a glass)
Ain't ever been nothin’ quite like this
It's a magical thing called the Wilbury Twist
Everybody’s trying to do the Wilbury Twist

China, Belgium, France, Japan
Thailand, Poland, Pakistan
Everybody’s trying to do the Wilbury Twist
Roll up your rug (roll up your rug)
Dust your broom (dust your broom)
Ball the jack (ball the jack)
Howl at the moon (at the moon)
Ain't ever been nothin’ quite like this
Everybody's talking ‘bout the Wilbury Twist
Everybody’s trying to do the Wilbury Twist

Puerto Rico, USA
England, Cameroon, Norway
Everybody’s trying to do the Wilbury Twist
Turn your lights down low (your lights down low)
Put your blindfold on (your blindfold on)
You'll never know (you’ll never know)
When your friends have gone (when your friends have gone)
It Could be years before you're missed
Everybody's trying to do the Wilbury Twist

It's a different dance (It's a different dance)
For you all to do (for you all to do)
Spin your body (very versatile)
Like a screw (spin your body like a screw)
Better not forget it on your shopping list
You can stop and buy one
It's the Wilbury Twist
Aint never been nothing quite like this
Better come and get it,
It’s the Wilbury Twist

I guess by now you’ve got the gist
Everybody’s crazy ‘bout the Wilbury Twist
Ooooooo, aah!

VOLUME 3 is an interesting, often over-looked album--by a "dream-team" band. Check it out. And be careful when you try to do the Wilbury Twist.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Classic Limemonkey Comedy Moment--Soap

I was messing around on Youtube, and I was reminded of this nugget of "classic Limemonkey comedy."



It's not an act folks. I need help.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Going to KC for Turkey-Day

Well can you believe it, Thanksgiving is nearly upon us!

Last year was spent in sunny New Mexico, which means this year is my family's turn to torture...I mean, feed us. Oh, I can't wait. A drive (even if it is across the blighted wastelands of Missouri) is always preferable to a flight--even if it is only a few hours. Something that most people don't know about me: I'm not crazy about flying. Mr. Jack and Mr. Coke have been helping me cope, but even with their aid...I prefer to drive. Which is what we're doing after work tomorrow night.

I'm bring DVD's this year. My family likes to watch movies, and this year I've got a few oldie-but-goodies (including OLIVER AND COMPANY, a Disney movie about dogs based on Dickens OLIVER TWIST staring Billy Joel). Leah is making pumpkin soup (which makes my farts smell like the lip of a volcano) and I'm making my homemade bread (hopefully Lindsey will help). My Mom will once again violate a helpless turkey carcass in the name of deliciousness.

Ah, memories.

I'm excited about seeing my family (who I have not seen since the wedding in September). I'm also excited about all that food (cos I'm a pig). Anyway, in case I forget--Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finished.

Just wrote the last of it--the first draft of THE MOSQUITO VINE is complete.

356 pages.

95,136 words.

"Better"

Fan-made video for the new song "Better." Not the best quality, but this song is awesome and I wanted to share:




Now, I must go write!!!

New G'NR

Yes folks, I went out and bought the Axl Rose album...I mean, Guns 'N Rose record--CHINESE DEMOCRACY.I've only listened to about 1/2 of it--and I must say, it kicks a lotta ass. Though it's not quite as good as old G'NR, this new by-product has a pretty good sound. I was worried because I'd heard (and liked) a couple of the demos that had leaked (most notably "I.R.S.") but hated "Shakler's Revenge" when it was officially unveiled in ROCK BAND 2.

That said, "Shakler's Revenge" has grown on me. I like it. BUT I LOVE "Better." Holy shit does this song kick some serious ass. Also good is the title track "Chinese Deomcracy."

Some of it seems a little overbaked, but overall I think it's a solid purchase (though by no means worthe 17 years of development). Anyway, I'd do a full review...but alas--I have a novel to finish. But I wanted to say SOMETHING about this record because I knew I was probably going to be too busy later this week.

The only question I have now is: does my Dad like it? Dad has never been into records like I am. But apparently he had Amber go out and buy it for him. I'll wager he doesn' t like it...after all, this is hardly a "true" G'NR release (no Slash? no Duff? WTF!). Oh well, I just pretend it's a solo record and judging it by that standard--it's pretty damn good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Khaaaan!!!

I'm a good husband.

Unlike a lot jerks, I'll go and see a movie I already know before hand I:

A. Won't like

and

B. Know wasn't made for me.

I do this because I love my wife, and because I know she probably does the same for me sometimes (God knows I drag her to a lot of concerts...to band's she's never heard of). So last night, I bit the bullet and took her to see TWILIGHT. It was just as bad as the commercials make it out to be. I think that somewhere, maybe in a parallel universe--TWILIGHT is an awesome CW (or is it WB?) weekly network drama. Maybe as a Fox Family/Sci-Fi made-for-TV movie.

As something I had to pay $9.00 to see--it was a turd.

But it's all good. Our theater was empty, so I got to lay down. It was nice. Oh, the soundtrack wasn't half bad (awesome Radiohead song over the credits, from IN RAINBOWS). Some of the previews were pretty good...

Of course, I am planning on making Leah pay (because I'm not all good). You see, last week I told her:

"Baby, I'll go see TWILIGHT--but only if you watch STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN with me."
That's right. We're boldly going where many nerds have gone before tonight. I realize that the awesomeness of KHAN is a pretty poor punishment for brooding teenagers (with fangs). In fact, it's hardly a punishment at all because I know she'll like it. Why?

Because:

A. It fucking rocks

and

B. It has the best STAR TREK line of all time (yes, even better than "Live long and prosper"): "Khaaaaaan!!!"

and

C. Shats the shit

I figure it you're going to be a nerd (and make no mistake about it, if you like TWILIGHT...you are a nerd) you may as well also like some GOOD nerd-flicks. Apparently she's planning to see it again next weekend in KC with my sister--I won't go, unless I can get her to watch STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (which also rocks).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Black Dynamite

Check out this (real) movie trailer (warning, it is a red band trailer, meaning it's f-ed up):



Not only does that look AMAZING...but even if it didn't, I have to see this for the Captain Kangaroo cameo.

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! Well, the votes were all tabulated (or whatever) and The Kinks have come out victorious. Interestingly enough, the record I put up on the voting block this week is celebrating it's birthday today! I didn't plan this, it just kinda worked out that way (which is awesome, it's fated).

The Kinks are an amazing band, and THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY is one of their most well-known albums, but how many of you have actually heard all of it? Very few I'll wager. And yet, thanks to brilliant advertising, 99.999% of you have heard at least one song off it! Besides being a fantastic rock record, this album is also very thought-provoking. So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:

On this day, November 22, 1968 The Kinks released their sixth album THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY (hence to be referred to as VILLAGE GREEN). Upon it's release the album was branded a flop and the world moved on. But like a lot of great art, time has been kind to VILLAGE GREEN, and the album is now regarded as one of the band's best efforts.

VILLAGE GREEN is a very (very, very) English record. It's also a concept album. These two factors probably contributed to it's poor reception here in America. Singer-songwriter Ray Davies, who wrote all the songs on the album, celebrates the traditional English country-village (the "Village Green" which is brought up throughout the album), while at the same time lamenting and mourning it's disappearance. It's difficult to tell exactly how much of Davies bemoaning is genuine and how much is ironic. The album opens with the song, "The Village Green Preservation Society" which, though sung in a very sincere manner...if clearly meant to be tongue in cheek with it's list of things the band (as the Preservation Society) wishes to protect: draft beer, china shops, custard pie, strawberry jam (and all different varieties), Sherlock Holmes (and Moriarty), and the whole damn "English speaking vernacular." It's all a bit extreme, including the assertion that this "society" is also the "skyscraper condemnation affiliate/God save Tudor houses, antique tables and billiards."

And yet, even though the song is a bit ridiculous, to the extent that it seems to be a parody...in comes the chorus: "Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do?" and I begin to wonder if perhaps Davies is only half poking fun. The answer can be found on the rest of the album, which is nearly 100% earnest in it's assertion that the times are changing...and it kinda sucks.

Less about "green" spaces transforming into modern skyscrapers (though that's in there too), VILLAGE GREEN is about how time and the change it brings effects one personal life. Ray Davies is a young-man beginning to realize he's getting older. There are two themes of VILLAGE GREEN, both are very much intertwined. The first thing the album is about is time. The passage of time, the marking of time, the struggle against the change time brings, and finally the acceptance that one must grow older. The second theme of the album is photography, specifically as a reaction to time.

On a majority of the record the subject of photography/photos/taking pictures comes up. The question Davies seems to be asking throughout is: why do we take photographs? Is it because we love each other (like in "Picture Book" a song so pro-photograph it's no wonder HP included it in a 2004 digital photography ad campaign) OR do we take photos for darker, more selfish reasons (like in the album closer "People Take Pictures of Each Other")?

Davies and the rest of The Kinks seem to think it's a little of both. "Picture Book" is a bouncy, glorious ode-of a song about looking back on one's life via a big book of pictures. Though the chorus is a bit dark "pictures of each other/to prove we love each other," the content of the photos described in the song are all seemingly random snapshots of our lives. It's almost like photography as an extension of our memories. After all, if we don't remember something, it's like it never happened. And just like a picture of "a holiday in August/outside a bed and breakfast in sunny Southend," our memories can be inexplicably random (why DO we remember the odd little things we remember?).

The darker side of photography, however, is found in "People Take Pictures of Each Other" (which actually seems like it should be the title of the more well known "Picture Book"). The song has a soft, French-like quality about it. Davies sings about how "People take pictures of the Summer/Just in case someone thought they had missed it/Just to proved that it really existed." Which leads us to a world or mindset where, it's not a question of "if you don't remember it, it didn't happen" but rather, to a place where "if you have no photographic proof of it...it didn't happen." I find that many people in my generation and beyond are obsessed with photos, so much so that many people (parents at a dance recital) agonize so much over the photos that they miss the actual moment. The song also touches on the albums other theme, of time when later one Davies sings: "You can't picture love that you took from me/When we were young and the world was free/Pictures of things as they used to be/Don't show me no more, please." That's a bold, and frankly powerful lyric...and really encapsulates the complexity of VILLAGE GREEN. The album goes from "Picture Book," a love letter to photographs...and ends thirteen songs later with the exclamation "show me no more, please."

That's why this record is so fucking great. It's this giant, complex mediation of life and death, disguised as a pop record.

"Do You Remember Walter?" has nothing to do with photos, but it's a central track to the record. Whereas "The Village Green Preservation Society" is all about trying to hold onto the past, "Do You Remember Walter?" is a frighteningly realistic look at how that fight ALWAYS ends. The song is one man's recollection of his old school chum, Walter. Walter and the song's narrator were once young and idealistic--they were going to "fight the world and be free," with the goal of saving their money and buying a ship to sail the world! Now he's married and fat, in bed by 8:30. He's not the cool guy that smoked and drank, and had a bunch of fun with his "mates." Now he's this empty shell of the free-spirited kid he once was. And, as the narrator laments, "Walter, you are just an echo of a world I knew so long ago/If you saw me now you wouldn't even know my name." This suggests to me, that the narrator--like Walter, lost that battle against time. There is a brief respite from the gloom, tucked away at the end of "Do You Remember Walter?" when Davies sings: "And if I talked about the old times you'd get bored and you ll have nothing more to say/Yes people often change, but memories of people can remain." Which, in a way, reflects on the albums other theme of photography, in that like our memories, photos can preserve events AND people in the past forever. So Walter is gone, but never forgotten.

A bit of hope.

"Village Green" is a slower song, one that's essentially a list of all thing country things that the narrator/Davies misses about pastoral Brittan. It's a good song, notable for mentioning the titular green-space AND also referencing photographs: "American tourists flock to see the village green/They snap their photographs and say gawd darn it/Isn't it a pretty scene?"

The Kinks ape The Yardbirds on "The Last of the Steam-Powered Trains" which shares many thematic similarities to "Do You Remember Walter?" It's a bluesy-harmonica fueled stomp that finds Davies proclaiming that he is the last "of the good, old fashioned, steam-powered trains." This of course, is used as a metaphor for Davies/the narrator's staunch stand against the endless parade of time: "I'm the last of the good old renegades/All my friends are all middle class and grey/But I live in a museum, so I'm okay." It's about trains, but it's also about being that last holdout against growing up and adult responsibilities.

But it's not all heavy on VILLAGE GREEN. The album has fifteen tracks, and some have very little to do with any larger theme (except in the most abstract sense). Of these, I enjoy the vaudevillian "Sitting By the Riverside." With it's heavy use of keyboard (there's a great freak-out moment mid-way the song, when the keyboard reaches this climax...this thunderous peak, then crashes and the vocals kick back in, it's fucking great) and laid-back vocal harmonies, this song reminds me of the Beatles-throwback songs like "Your Mother Should Know" or "When I'm Sixty-Four," in that it's a rock band playing a song in a style their parents would have liked. I always find those kind of songs fascinating.

Another non-theme related song I find really interesting is "Big Sky." "Big Sky" is a trippy, near-psychedelic song--that's nearly spoken-word. Davies croons and wails about all the injustice/terrible things that the song's "character" the sky (Big Sky) looks down upon...and shrugs. He shrugs because he's, well because he's just so gosh darn big, and our problems are just so small. Is Big Sky God? Does God, like Big Sky, see our problems and find him/her/itself too powerful or mighty to help? Or is Davies being a bit sarcastic, is Big Sky not really overwhelmed but rather complacent?

"People lift up their hands and they look up to the big sky/But big sky is too big to sympathize/Big Sky's too occupied/Though he would like to try/And he feels bad inside/Big sky's too big to cry."

What is Big Sky "too occupied" doing? Is he too busy staring down at our suffering to do anything about it? Maybe God's hypnotized in such a manner, maybe that's why we have war and disease and suffering. Then again, isn't that what we all do? Don't we as people look at other suffering and throw our hands up and say "I'm too busy to help!" What are we too busy doing? If The Kink's "Big Sky" is God, then we were certainly made in his/her/it's image.

From contemplating such large, theological questions, The Kinks switch over to the "Star-fucker" phenomenon on the song "Starstruck." Which of course is about a girl who runs around, going nuts because she's starstruck. Other album oddities include a song about fat cat ("Phenomenal Cat"), and an Orwellian-ode to Animal control of the world ("Animal Farm"). All three of these tracks make fantastic use of the mellotron--which allowed the band to simulate woodwind instruments (though they sounded pretty real to me).

I've probably over-thought this record. I know I'm misrepresenting it--it's not a dodgy, stuffy old record with a lot of things to "say." VILLAGE GREEN is just a rich, detailed, thought-provoking piece of art that, like a good painting or film--can stimulate the mind and, if you chose...give you something to think about.

Or you can hum along with it. It's full of wonderful, beautiful hooks. VILLAGE GREEN is a very literate, yet very lively rock record. And we all know how few of THOSE are being made today. What do I have to do, put it in your hands? Go. Get it. Listen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Close.

I am very close to finishing my novel. If not Sunday, then Monday for sure. This thing is so close to being done. I worked my @$$ off this week, waking up and writing before work AND working at night. I took Thursday off, because I got a little burned out...but I've re-charged my batteries, and am ready to finish if off.

Wish me luck.

The Kinks "Waterloo Sunset/Village Green Preservation Society"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Going "Dark" for a while

I thought about it, and I really want to get the first draft of THE MOSQUITO VINE completed before Thanksgiving (which is a little more than a week away). I'm not sure if I can do it, but that's the new goal.

So, in the meantime, I'm going to be avoiding things like TV and the Internet (the two great time wasters of Western Civilization). I wasn't going to say anything, but I know (some of) you freak out when I disappear (like anyone will notice, right?).

I'll still do a Classic Album's Revisited (which by the way, you can help choose if you take a look over to the left) on Saturday...but other than that, I'm not posting anything until this thing is done. I feel like I am THAT close...

Wish me luck.

~The Limemonkey

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No SOLACE

Just back from the movies. Me and Leah spent the day at the movies, we saw ROLE MODELS (which was hilarious and awesome) and the Bond flick QUANTUM OF SOLACE--which was terrible.

The last Bond film, CASINO ROYALE, was an fantastic re-booting/return to form for the series. Though his casting might have been a little controversial, I think Daniel Craig is the second best Bond ever (with Sir Sean being the first). I had high hopes for Craig's second outing as Bond, but those hopes were dashed, pretty quickly in fact.

The first problem I had was the opening--first things first, these movies are supposed to open in a very specific way. They've been opening the same way since the 1960s. Bond walks out, shoots the camera, there's blood...then the pre-credit sequence begins. The last film got away with not following the formula because we got to see Bond get his "00" staus (but he DID shoot the camera). QUANTUM decides to wait until the end. Bond shoots the camera (though the mission is over) and the credits roll. True, this is a bit of a nit-pick, but I've been a fan of this series since I was a kid...so I feel like I have the right to be picky, I grew up with this shit.

My second gripe with the pre-title sequence, is that it's a simple car case. I'm not sure if the filmmakers realize this, but the car chase is dead. It was killed in the 1990s. I was at the funeral, please, please stop with the car chases. If you're going to do one, at least make it interesting.

My other gripes are technical gripes-- plot issues and camera work. I know these movies are supposed to be Shakespeare or anything, but for God's sake let's at least have what's at stake made clear. There's something about Boliva's water-shortage being staged so that a coup can occur--but everyone thinks the bad guys are really after oil (which doesn't exist, or does it? Someone takes a bath in a lot of oil...). To make matters worse, Bond's quest for vengence is murky--who exactly does he blame? Not Mr. White or Mr. Greene--her ex-boyfriend (who was dead, but not really?). But at the end he DOESN'T kill this person??? WTF.

Which brings up the camera work. QUANTUM OF SOLACE commits the cardinal sin of action movies, it doesn't let you see what's happening. I know there is a school of thought that says "make the camera shakey, with lots of quick cuts...and the audience will feel like they're there" or worse "they feel part of the action." Well I don't want to be part of the action, I want to SEE the action. There is a roof-top chase early on in the film that is unwatchable--there are clearer scenes in CLOVERFIELD for cryin' out loud (and that film's camera work is (an inentional) mess). Half the time I couldn't tell who was doing what. The director is clearly an action-director n00b.

I realize this rant is full of spoliers, but honestly--even if you read this, you won't have it spoiled for you...because at no time is there anything to spoil. Stuff just kinda happens. Nothing is really very clear or interesting. I leaned over at one point and whispered to Leah "This is boring." And that right there sums up QUANTUM.

So what was good about it?

There wasn't much, but I was able to think up some stuff that was good about it:

Mr. Liter.

Felix Liter, the CIA agent who helped Bond in the previous film. He returns, and though he says little, I totally identify with his character (tough guy, restrained from doing what he thinks is right by a snivling boss who's more concerned about money). Sadly, Felix is kept to the sidelines.

There is also one fantastic scene at an opera that is actually well done. But the rest is pretty crappy (I'm sick of Bond being on the outs with MI6, too...the guy goes rogue so much, it's a wonder they still give him a paycheck).

The next Bond flick should (in my opinon) open with Bond killing the remaining Quantum members, and let this current plot thread end for good. Perhaps a stand-alone mission will be better than this poorly executed sequel.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Novel Update


Another major milestone reached today--I cleared 80,000 words today.

Yikes!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--I love writing, but I am NOT looking forward to editing this thing. I'm going to stop trying to guess how long it will be when it's finished, but I'm now leaning more towards 350-400.

I get the impression from some people that they think I might be on a tangent or something--rest assured, I am in control. I'm just really bad at estimating. Today, for example, I set out to work on a very important scene. I thought it would only be two or three pages, but the reality was actually 10 pages.

Anyway, when I started this thing, I was very hesitant to give details--I'm not sure why, I guess because it was all still forming in my mind. Now that it's (nearly) done, I'm finding I'm more comfortable talking to people about it.

That said, he's a picture of the (unofficial) main character of THE MOSQUITO VINE:

That's a 1938 Packard-120, it's sort of the catalyst for the whole novel. I'm not really a big car-guy, but I've always liked older cars. I've never actually been inside one (or driven one) so I'm having to do some creative guessing...but that's part of the fun of being a writer. You get to make stuff up. I haven't decided if the car's going to "live" at the end or not. I was going to "kill" it, but I'm finding it very hard to do. So yeah, that's what's going on inside my head right now, do I destroy a fucking amazing (imaginary) car or not.

These are the thoughts that will keep me from ever being successful in the "adult" world.

Candy-O

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! Last week was all about Bowie, this week I'm taking a spin with The Cars on their second album.

The Cars are (in my humble opinon) one of rock's most underapprecitated bands. They flooded the radio with singles back in the 1970's and are now all but forgotten (or worse, used to shill crappy electronics stores...BOO!). Their first album THE CARS is classic, but for my money their masterpiece is their second album CANDY-O. So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:

In 1978, The Cars "raced" (sorry, bad pun) onto the music scene with their eccentric blend of rock and electronic music--later to be dubbed "New Wave." Though not by any stretch the typical "rock guys," The Cars were a nerdy kind of cool. In many ways, The Cars are responsible for bands like Weezer (who share a link to The Cars, I'll discuss later). Singers Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr didn't sound like anybody on the radio at the time, with their stiff, deadpan delivery. Combined with a synthesizer, their delivery sounded very futuristic...almost robotic. And yet, at the same time, there was something very warm and organic about The Cars--with their rumbling, steady baselines and shredding guitars solos.

The Car's first album, THE CARS, is legendary--most of the tacks went on to be singles, with heavy rock radio rotation. When most people like of The Cars, they think of "Good Times Roll," "Just What I Needed," or "Best Friend's Girl," all of which is on the first record. THE CARS is a helluva record, but when I think of The Cars...I think of CANDY-O.

CANDY-O is THE CAR'S darker, more sinister twin brother. Both albums are fantastic, but put a gun to my head, and I'll pick CANDY-O in a heartbeat.

The album opens with "Let's Go," a fun/upbeat number about a girl that's growing up and experiencing the "nightlife." The song has the signature bass-line/keyboards that make a Cars song a Cars song. But that little extra ingredient is the hand-claps. Lyrically the song is interesting, featuring some of my favorite Ocasek-penned lines:

She's laughing inside 'cause they can't refuse
She's so beautiful now, she doesn't wear her shoes
She never likes to choose
She's got wonderful eyes and a risque mouth
And when I ask her before, she said she's holding out
She's a frozen fire
She's my one desire

One of my favorite Cars songs of all time is on CANDY-O: "It's All I Can Do." I'm not sure exactly when or why this song crept into my heart, but it's stuck there, and I can' t get it out. The song has a great guitar-hook, and I love the way the drums explode at the first Chorus (not to mention that funky-buzzing keyboard). It's a bitter break-up song, about being defeated and ready to throw in the towel--so here we have the darkness starting to settle in. Every thing's not all fun and games "Let's Go!" But even though this song is sad, it kicks ass...and I like that.

"Since I Held You" is similar to "It's All I Can Do," though it's a little faster.

The keyboard heavy "Night Spots" has a futuristic/computer-toned keyboard that sounds like something vaguely Japanese. It's very much a period piece (the period being the late 1970s). It's a standard "let's go out and party...boy what a weird party this is" song...but damn if the song isn't one giant guitar solo! And a sweet solo at that. It's very good at synthesizing the decadence of a night out on a neon-tinted landscape of booze and dancing.

"You Can't Hold on Too Long" is very similar, though with few keyboards and more vocals. I think this song, like the rest of CANDY-O has influenced a lot of modern bands--for some reason this song reminds me of a stripped down version of a song The Killers might do. In general though, The Cars were very influential on modern music. When the band broke up in 1988, Ric Ocasek began a new career as a record producer, helping bands like Guided By Voices, The Pink Spiders, and yes Weezer--craft a sound very similar (though updated) to the one The Cars created on their records. It's a clean, almost sterile sounding pop that still has that human element to it. I also hear this sound in many of the later No Doubt records, specifically ROCK STEADY (which is itself a pretty good record).

The recipe was perfected, in my opinion on "Got A Lot On My Head" which comes near the end of CANDY-O. This song is a speedy-blast through a confused/agitated mind. It's a song about being a little to wrapped up in someone (of the opposite sex) and is classic Cars. Everything about this song is perfect, but it's the little touches that impress me the most. Like the "You-hoo-oos!" in the chorus or the chugging guitar-lick that opens (and basically repeats during) the song.

I think the album's most famous song, however, is the one at the very end "Dangerous Type." This song is heavy on the keyboards and has a guitar riff that's sounds suspiciously like T-Rex's "Bang a Gong." Maybe that's why I love it so much? Either way, this song has an almost widescreen scope to--it's an epic thing, full of grandeur (listen to that soaring ending, have you ever heard such a crescendo? And those wanky-electic vocals at the end, forget about!!! It's too fucking sweet my freind, we don't deserve music this rad).

CANDY-O is an awesome record, and now that I've gotten the music out of the way I can get to something that's just as important--the cover. Boy is the album art hot. I don't have this record on vinyl, but I sure wouldn't mind having it...if for nothing else, than for that artwork. The cover was painted by famous pin-up painter Alberto Vargas (who only agreed to do it because is great-niece was a fan of the band). The woman in the painting is a hybrid of two women, Nancy Beth and a woman named Candy (oddly enough). Beth was a dancer who initially agreed on posing for the cover, but backed out half-way through the painting because she decided NOT be naked on a rock album cover (Boo!). So the band hired a woman named Candy Moore to stand in so the cover could be finished. Once the label saw the original art--they flipped, and have the nipples toned down, and the pubic hair removed (again, Boo!). But on the bright-side, Moore's participation on the cover led to a brief love affair with drummer David Robinson.

Anyway, the cover's awesome, the music is awesome. CANDY-O (the "O" incidentally stands for "obnoxious" according to the band) is a fucking great album. Go check it out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Cars "Dangerous Type"

A hint perhaps?

Traffic Feed Removed

I removed the "Live Traffic Feed" gadget from the bottom of my blog.

I got this gadget from my buddy Murph's blog, because I was curious to see who was looking at my blog...but recently I've become a little too interested in it. I only got one bit of feedback from it, and it was negative (yes, I agree Brittany--it was creepy). It was starting to be like TV ratings, where I would think about posting things that would get me "hits."

That's not cool. That's not what this is supposed to be about.

So I ditched it. Much like the music player, it was a fun experiment...but one that I no longer want to continue. Maybe sometime, someday when I grow up (and can handle it) it'll come back, but for now--it's gone.

So there it is.

300


So last night I reached the 300th page of by novel.

It's a minor milestone, but an important one nonetheless. I can't believe I have a story that spans 100-pages...let alone 300 of them.

Tomorrow, while Leah is at work, I'm going to get up and write. I'm not going to finish it this tomorrow, or this weekend...but I'm close. Damn close.

Anyway, it's a good feeling...but I'm kinda scared about what happens next.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Limemonkey makes the (digital) pages of The American Communication Journal

Well this is interesting. I received a comment today on YOUTUBE from a college kid, somewhere, who was doing a paper for a communications class--this is what he/she had to say:

Hey, I don't know if you already know, but for school i'm doing an assignment about youtube and vlogging, and while researching this video came up in an article in the American Communication Journal.

the link is:
(triple-w)acjournal(dot)org/holdings/vol10/01_Spring/articles/molyneaux_etal.php

cool hey? :-)

Sure enough if you go here you can read an article entitled "Exploring the Gender Divide on YOUTUBE: An Analysis of the Creation and Reception of Vblogs." Not only is my very first video blog linked in the article, but this is what they had to say about it:

Similarly, in the second video, indoor male (IM), the vlogger presents his viewers with a brief update on his daily life. He states what he has been doing for the past week, mainly writing, as well as his plans for the next few days: going to the movie theatre, and taking his fiancĂ©’s dog to obedience class. Like the woman, he too is vlogging from his bedroom. He is lying down on his bed, addressing the camera. The furnishings in his room appear sparse in comparison to the woman’s room. There are a few pictures arranged on the back wall of his room. Nothing is hung on the beige, concrete side wall. His room appears to be a university dorm room.

Here's the video in question:




Wow. As if being married to an ex-Psych major wasn't bad enough, I got people I don't even know analyzing me!!! I thought this was mildly amusing, so I decided to share it.

By the way, it's only 11:15Am but I'm having a HORRIBLE day. I nearly walked out of the office and went home. My boss-in-law in driving me nuts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fightin' Old Man Winter

So today was the first really cold day out here in STL-land. It was one of those days where it actually got COLDER as the day progressed (usually the morning and night are the coldest times, as there is no sun) ANYWAY...today sucked.

Why?

Well my boss feels the same way about HEAT as he does about AIR CONDITIONING. He did purchase some sort of heating device today (some kind of "heating dish") while he was out running around, but there is a problem--it can't be plugged-in anywhere near by desk because of an electrical problem (actually the only problem is--we have too much shit plugged in).

Long story short is, after work I felt terrible. I had to run around outside today, and I wasn't wearing a coat (just a hoodie). I decided to go and buy some equipment for dealing with the cold weather. I really needed a pair of thin gloves with the fingers cut out (like the Goth kids used to wear) because my hands were FREEZING all day...but I need my fingers free to type and use the phone.

Went to KOHL'S (where I do most of my shopping) and I picked up a thermal undershirt and pants combo, some super thick winter socks, a scarf, a flannel shirt, two heavy fleece shirts...and this absolutely absurd/super warm hat.

How absurd is it? You be the judge:

Crazy Hat Jason

Oh, and in cases you ladies were wondering...yes, those ear flaps DO come down...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Two Endings?

So I'm getting close, this time for real, to finishing my novel. As I creep closer to the finish-line (finally) I'm facing one last MAJOR challenge--

THE ENDING.

I have a pretty good idea how this whole crazy thing called THE MOSQUITO VINE will wrap up, but I'm a little conflicted on whether I want a positive ending or a more negative ending. Will my characters live or die? Writing a short story, you really don't get very attached to your characters. They live, they die...you don't really feel anything. I've spent a year+ with these little voices-in-my-head and now I'm facing the possibility that all will not end well.

I'm toying with writing two ending and letting my first couple of readers pick the best one. At the same time, I fee like I should just "man-up" and decide on my own. Hmm...what should I do???

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Aladdin Sane

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! This week, I'm getting freaky with David Bowie.

David Bowie and super-cool glam rock go hand-in-hand, which is why ALADDIN SANE is so glam-tastic. Only Bowie could put out a record that sounds like The Rolling Stones, a James Bond Theme, and a 1950's doo-woop single. So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:



In 1972, David Bowie toured the United States as Ziggy Stardust (his alien alter-ego). Both America and Bowie were never the same again. Bowie's previous record THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS proved to be a smash hit--but the weirdness was only beginning.

God only knows what Bowie thought of mid-seventies America...his sixth album ALADDIN SANE (which is a play on "A Lad Insane") is supposed to be/rumored to be Bowie's take on the US...but Bowie is an enigma wrapped in a mystery--so to be quite honest, I don't "get" it. I've never been real big on concept albums or story albums...or whatever. Some songs go together, they make an album--great.

But don't try to tell some over-reaching narrative. It just doesn' t work.

And neither should ALADDIN SANE. This thing is very much a "kitchen-sink" recording, meaning they threw in everything BUT the kitchen sink when they were recording it. So say that there is excess on this record would be the understatement of the decade...but hey, this is glam rock at it's finest (meaning it's supposed to be vampy and over-the-top). ALADDIN SANE has a surprisingly harder edge than I remembered. But I'll get to that part in a minute.

More than about America, ALADDIN SANE seems to be about The Rolling Stones. Mick and the boys loom large over Bowie's sixth record, no more so than on the record's opening track "Watch That Man." This song sounds EXACTLY like a Rolling Stones song. In fact, prior to researching the album for this blog post, I thought this was a cover. It's not. The Chuck Berry-eque guitar licks, the frantic/half-muttered lyrics, the horns, the female backing-vocals...it's all very Stones-ish. Apparently audiophiles (people waaay to into recorded sound) are split very heavily when it comes to this songs final mix. When you listen to "Watch That Man" on the radio you don't notice it as much, but the instruments are pushed "up front" with Bowie's vocals (rather than being on a separate channel, "pushed back" like in a lot of pop recordings). This means that for large portions of the song, Bowie cannot be heard as clearly as if he'd been bummed up a little "higher" than the music.

Bowie defended this (to his record label that wanted him to change it) by saying some crap about his voice being just "another instrument" (or some such nonsense). I think he really just liked it because it made the recording sound rougher, more crappy--like a Stones song.

Anyway, the Stones pop-up again a few more times on the record--once in "Drive-In Saturday" when he mentions Jagger by name, and again towards the end of the record when Bowie legitimately covers the Stones on "Let's Spend the Night Together." It was the latter that first attracted me to this album. There's something about a good cover, I just can't resist it. Most times covers blow--but there's something special about Bowie's unique take on "Let's Spend the Night Together." Bowie's version is spacier, but it's more than just a few electronic whizzing sounds...Bowie's attitude is softer, sexier than Jagger's. Then there's the little verse that he adds toward the end:

They said we were too young Our kind of love was no fun But our love comes from above Let's make... love

Followed by an awesome guitar outro, this little bit of himself carries an otherwise awesome cover into legendary status and--in my book, is better than the original. A feat that almost never happens.

ALADDIN SANE is packed with interesting songs, with vastly divergent influences. There's the blues-R&B stomper "The Jean Genie" that sounds like a Cream or Yardbirds songs. Bowie dabbles in doo-woop on "Drive-In Saturday," which is about as far from the Yardbirds as humanly possible. This song, about a post-apocalyptic future-world where people watch porn at the drive-in to re-learn sex, gets the "Craziest song on this album" award. Because it's really, really freaky man. Also freaky (but not nearly as freaky) is the cabaret/vaudevillian "Time." Whenever I hear "Time" I think of Queen, the song's sheer pomposity makes me think of Freddy Mercury. It's that kind of song. It's very long and strange, words really don't do this song justice. I love it, and yet if I met it in a dark alley I'd probably run the other way.

"We should be home by now" indeed.

But the jewels in ALADDIN SANE's crown are "Cracked Actor" and "Lady Grinning Soul." Written in Los Angeles, "Cracked Actor" is a ballsy rocker--the hardest song on the album. It's about an aging Hollywood actor getting serviced by a prostitute. With some drugs thrown in there. The song has fucking amazing guitar work and Bowie playing harmonica (of all things, I can't imagine Bowie doing THAT). The lyrics are full of all sorts of loaded phrases and double entendres.

"Lady Grinning Soul" has been described as Bowie's best attempt at a Bond Theme song. As in "Bond, James Bond." It certainly is very cinematic and strange. This song is all about the lush piano and acoustic guitar. It's very surreal but at the same time romantic--just like David Bowie. "Lady Grinning Soul" also has features the awesome "she will be your living end"-lyric. It's about as far from traditional rock 'n roll as music can get, and yet it's on the same record as "Cracked Actor" and "Watch That Man." It takes a big set of balls to pull something like ALADDIN SANE off.

I bet there are a lot of people that haven't heard this record, if you fall into this sad category I urge to you go out and track down a copy of ALADDIN SANE. It's a fantastic record that belongs in your collection.

Friday, November 07, 2008

'Nutter Week Down

So here I sit, another week gone and done with. What a week it's been.

I'm glad all this election none-sense is over (for at least 4 years).

Tonight I'm staying in with Leah. I'm going to work on my novel project and write my weekly "Classic Album's Revisited" column (no, I won't tell you which album...you have to wait till tomorrow to find out).

That's about it.

Not too shabby.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

TMI Of the Week: "I think I might be a Nudist"

It's getting colder out there people, and yet I still find myself lounging around naked.

WTF? I hear you asking.

We're poor, so the past few summers I've been going "natural" around the house. I don't do it cos I'm a pervert (though I am a pervert), no--I do it to stay cool. And yet, as the leaves change and Old Man Winter moves back into the neighborhood, I find that I'm still not really wearing clothes. In fact, even though I'm a disgusting, fat, slob I wish I could go everywhere naked.

Being naked is freeing. Being naked is good because that's the way we were meant to be. If people were supposed to wear clothes, we'd come out wearing parkas when we're born. I think this country would be a better place if we were all nudists. Imagine the obesity statistics if everyone were naked! Have you ever tired to gorge yourself on pizza and McDonald's while being naked? It's pretty tough to wolf down garbage when you can see your nasty gut just hanging there, staring you in the face.

Crime would be limited to as well--where would criminals hide there guns if they were pant-less? Exactly, up their asses. Kinda hard to run up to someone and rob them at gunpoint with a .45 up your bum. See what I'm saying? I'm saying I'm crazy and I'm naked.

Just do me a favor, before you judge me--give it a try. Go one day mostly naked (I know you can't be naked all day, unless you're a shut-in like me--ya gotta go out sometime right?). But be careful, once you go nude you're no longer a prude!

Quick novel update


Last night I didn't go to bed (like I should have). Leah was staying up making pumpkin soup (from scratch for her lunch the next week...or at least it seems that way (we have a lot of soup)) so I couldn't sleep. Another thing that probably contributed to keeping me up was my credit card bill (never check that shit after 6:00pm).

The point is, I was up so I decided to write. I only got a few pages out, but when I quit for the night I checked my word count--and it turns out I crossed another milestone.

As of this morning my novel is at 70,026 words. The general, academic definition of a novel being 80,000 words--so only 10,000 more before I'm "legit."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

R.I.P. Michael Crichton

Yesterday author Michael Crichton died in California, he was 66. Crichton is best known as the author of ANDROMEDA STRAIN and JURASSIC PARK, as well as being the creator of the television show ER.

I've told this story a million times, but I got into "adult" books when my Uncle David loaned me his copy of JURASSIC PARK when I was in 4th grade. The book is a terrible, horrible mess of techno-jargon and cardboard characters...but for every 25 pages of boring, there were 15 awesome pages of limb-ripping Dino-carnage!!!

I was hooked.

SPHERE and CONGO are fabulous sci-fi/techno-thrillers...that were both made into horrible movies. Still, Crichton was always reliable at always being on the cutting edge of science. His last few books kinda sucked (STATE OF FEAR, NEXT), and he'd kinda turned into a cranky old Neo-con in his later years (as I'm sure we all will one day become)--but I still feel like I owe Crichton a lot in terms of my love of reading as well as my own writing.

Mr.Crichton, thank you for all that you did--you will be missed.

A Night of Secrets


Secrets.

Everyone has them, and I am no exception. That's probably hard to believe, considering I have this blog...but believe it or not, I do actually do a bit of self-editing. Anyway, chicks love secrets--and they LOVE "sharing" emotionally...which is why girls love Post Secret.

I've mentioned Post Secret before, it's a blog where this dude posts secrets every Sunday. People mail him their deepest, sometimes darkest, secrets on little post cards. I read it now and then, but Leah is very religious in her reading of the new secrets that are posted on Sunday.

Well tonight the creator of Post Secret gave a lecture at our old school (DUMSL). I kinda wanted to bail out on this event, mainly because I have feel really weird walking around campus AND NOT being a student. Anyway, Leah says I'm always bailing out on the stuff she plans (which is only half true--besides, most of the things she wants to do scares the crap out of me: horseback riding, swimming, dancing, etc.). So tonight, even though I wanted to do some writing, I made a point of taking her to this guy's lecture.

It was interesting. I forget his name (shows how much I pay attention) but the guy's interesting enough. He worked for the same crisis hotline as Leah (which is cool). And even though the event was sort of a commercial for his website and four books (which were in the lobby for sale), it's all good because he donates a lot of money to suicide prevention. There were three acts to this event: the first was him telling us how he started Post Secret as an art project, the second part was a slide show of secrets that were deemed "unprintable" by his publishers, and the third was an open mike.

I did okay until the open mike portion. There was one mike, and it was about three feet away from where I was sitting (on the end of the aisle). When the dude finished his lecture, he opened the floor up to anyone who wanted to get up and either ask a quesiton or tell a secret they wished to share.

This chick got up and went on this long rant about how she got an STD, and how it changed her life...and how she was going to follow the Post Secret guy's example and start an art project. I started to squirm, because she was very nervous and doing that whole talking-too-fast thing people do when they're nervous. Then she started describing her project, and things went downhill. This girl, who has this nasty/taboo-ish STD starts talking about mailing notebooks out for people afflicted with this illness to write their thoughts, feelings, story, etc. and to share and pass this book along to other (some, as she said, who might not even have the disease).

Except she didn't say "pass" or "share" but instead said "spread." She just kept saying "spread" over and over--and I nearly lost it (because I'm an immature fuck). To make matters worse, she kept saying "spread" and the name of her project "HPV Files" like, back-t0-back. I felt bad for her (because it sucks to have an STD, let alone get up and talk about it (I imagine)) and I also felt bad for being so damn immature. But I couldn't help it.

So anyway, I thought that in the spirit of tonight's STL Post Secret-ness, I'd share a secret with all of you--dear LIMEMONKEY readers.

And here it is:

"I am a horribly immature."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Limemonkey Voting Curse Continues!

The Limemonkey Voting Curse: "If I vote for you, you will not become President of the United States."

Today the curse once again reared it's ugly head--I didn't vote for Obama...and now he is our new President.

To Mr. Obama: YOU ARE WELCOME!


Even though I think this is a wonderful/historic moment for my country, I am also very fearful. I hope that Obama doesn't let us down, and I hope we don't let him down. By that I mean, I hope no redneck asshole tries to kill him.

Washington, and politics in general, is a nasty stagnant swamp--ANY change is always good change, so long as it has the people's blessing. Tonight this country has spoken, and we've decided we are willing to take a chance on change...and someone who is young and relatively inexperienced. While many of my older friends and relatives see youth and inexperience as a detriment--but as a young and inexperienced person, I believe that sometimes what is familiar and safe must be cast aside so that what is new and potentially better is given a fair shake.

I believe this because I am an American, and in America we always look forward to a better tomorrow, no matter how bad things may seem.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sarah Palin is a Fucking Moron

And so are you if you think this woman could/should be President:



McCain REALLY thinks this person is ready for such an important job? Yikes.

Look, I'm not saying a woman shouldn't be/couldn't be President...but this woman is a moron. She's a complete and utter joke--just like this election. Truly she is from the George Bush Jr. school of special people (i.e. a puppet for smarter, less attractive behind the scenes people).

As for the election in general, think about it like this:

If I shit in one hand and piss on the other and ask "which hand would you like to shake?" have I really given you choice? No, I have not--you're getting something gross either way.

McCain's alright, I guess. I DID NOT like his immigration "reform" (i.e. "Free Pass") from a few summers ago...but whatever. I drank the Obama Kool-Aid for a while, but the Rev. Wright/Socialism/bankrupt-the-coal-industry thing is freaking me out.

I guess what I'm saying is: like always the choices are terrible, and no matter who wins--we all lose.

And Palin is a fucking moron.

Jason & Leah Visit Chicago---Zack & Miri Make a Porno

So this weekend was pretty weird. Friday I drove up to Chicago with Leah and her Dad. The road up is pretty boring, but her Dad's caddy is pretty cherry (I like to roast my buns on the heated leather seats). We went for many, unmentionable reasons (i.e. I'm going to keep my ass out of the fire by not getting into it).

We had a pretty good time--Leah secured us a fucking fantastic hotel room (for mega-cheap, on the "miracle mile" downtown no less), got trapped in an abandoned train, we visited the Museum of Science and Industry (where we saw baby chicks and a WWII German U-Boat captured by the US Navy), then we ate real Chicago pizza (as one does when in Chicago). We got to pal around with Leah's Dad at this really cool bar, and I got to see a better/fun side to him (which was cool).

But I got pretty bummed out Friday night at dinner. We ate with some of her relatives, and they provided an anti-anti-depressant--the usual crap, talking "career" with me...or my lack of one...one of her relatives told her Dad to get rid of me....good times. To top it off, we met everyone at this super nice/fancy hotel...and I was dressed like a complete tool. I'd brought a nice black button-up shirt, and was planning on changing before going to dinner...but we were a little late getting to Chicago (stupid traffic) and we ended up having to go straight to the restaurant. So there I was, everyone dressed up (some in suits) and I'm sitting there, eating lobster in a fucking zip-up hoodie. Holy shit. No wonder these people think I'm a loser/douche.

We got to come home late Saturday--and Sunday we went to the movies!

Me and Leah love podcasts. I know it's an old fad (for the record, I was listening to them in 2004 before they were mainstream) but I still like 'em. Anyway, we both love podcasts...but we very rarely agree on the same one. EXCEPT FOR ONE--SMODcast. SMODcast is writer/director/geek Kevin Smith's podcast, and it's fantastic. Leah really likes Smith's filmography she was stoked about seeing his latest flick ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO. I was a bit skeptical, Smith being (in my opinon) a (loveable) hack. The subject matter was a bit off-putting as well (you better believe I shortend the title when I was buying tickets). But the film turned out to be very funny and actually very sweet. I'll go out on a limb and say that it's Smith's best film--ever. It's a shame more people won't be seeing it. So if you're 18+ and bored, go see it.

Anyway, it's Tuesday night and I'm supposed to be working on my novel--but instead I've been reading. I just finished that Michael Chabon novel THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY (I know, I've been reading it forever). Though it kinda lagged there at the end, overall it was pretty damn good read. Solid characters and a bittersweet ending. Chabon is quickly becoming my new favorite author. I'm changing pace a bit for my next read--I'm tacking my massvie complete SHERLOCK HOLMES novels. I'll probably work on my book tomorrow.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bellybutton

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! This week, however, I've been kinda lazy. I got busy and forgot I had to go to Chicago--so I didn't have time to put together a very good entry. I debated not doing one, but vowed to ROCK ON.

Last week I looked at Queen's epic NEWS OF THE WORLD--this week I'm listening to Jellyfish a band heavily influenced by 70's glam-rock, like Queen!

Jellyfish was a small band, a footnote in the grand history of r
ock. But their impact is still felt among cool pop bands, and anytime I meet someone who's aware of them, I know I have a new friend. Their first record BELLYBUTTON is a fanastic piece of pop (and ROCK) history. So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:

Prior to 1990, I had no idea what "Power Pop" was. All "power pop" means is rock music with strong pop sensibilities (melodies, strong lyrical hooks). A good example is Cheap Trick, The Cars, Badfinger, Ok Go, and Weezer.

Anyway, the first band I ever heard labeled as "power pop" was Jellyfish. Formed out in California, the band has a sizable cult following among pop-lovers. I've heard them described as both neo-hippies and dayglo-hippies--basically they had a nice 60's pop sound merged with 90's rock. As a kid, I liked them because they worshiped at the alter of The Beatles (like me). They only put out two records, but every single memeber of the band still works in the music industry to this day (working on everything from the latest Paul McCartney record to the last Kanye West single).

The artwork on the back of the album shows glistening strawberries and cherries mixed together, with a strand of candy beads. This is very much what this album sounds like--it's very sweet, sometimes sickeningly sweet. What's great about it, however, is that often the songs are very subversive/dark despite the sugary coating. BELLYBUTTON opens with "The Man I Used to Be," which is the saddest song--about how war/conflict can tear a family apart. Lead singer Andy Sturmer has a very distinctive voice, similar to say Freddie Mercury. If you hear this guy's voice once, you'll forever be able to pick it out anywhere.

BELLYBUTTON is epic in both song writing and production--the album is full of keyboards and strangely a harpsichord. "The King is Half-Undressed" features the harpsichord, and like a lot of Jellyfish songs--it sounds a bit like a broken carnival ride. And what I mean by that is, it's a sweet song, with a very bent, musically dark side to it that gives it a little kick that makes it better than just "good." The break-down in the middle is very Beach Boys-ish, too.

That' s another thing about Jellyfish--lots of "Bum, bum, ba"s.

There's a certain timelessness about this music, which is another reason why I enjoy this record--even to this day. The melancholy, XTC-ish "I Wanna Stay Home" sounds like it was recorded (and produced) today. By harkening back to an earlier period, Jellyfish manages to avoid sounding "so 90's." There's a bit of jazz ("Bedspring Kiss") and a splash of country (the twangy vocals in "Baby's Coming Back"). Like a lot of classic bands, Jellyfish didn't have one main influence.

As a side note, Jellyfish spawned two really talented musical careers--guitarist Jason Falkner and Jon Brion both got their first taste of mainstream success with this band. Falkner played on BELLYBUTTON and Brion on the band's other record SPILT MILK. Falkner is an excellent songwriter, whose talents were sadly not utilized by Jellyfish (go check him out, he's played on a crap of different records usually as a session musician for everyone from Beck, A Perfect Circle, Paul McCarteny, Air, Aimee Mann, and Travis). Jon Brion is a mater-producer whose oddly been doing the hip-hop thing most noteably with Kanye West. Both have fantastic (seriously go get them) solo-records.

As for BELLYBUTTON, it's a fantastic blast of sweet power pop. The melodies, the guitars, the hooks...it's bliss people. SPILT MILK is good, but for my money, the first is the best. If you like 70's glam rock or 60's pop, you owe it to yourself to check Jellyfish out.