Saturday, December 31, 2005

Top 10 Music

As I mentioned in my emailer, there really weren't too many new albums I got that knocked my socks off. I got some live Bob Schneider shows and some live Wilco shows that dominated my CD player. I also somehow stumbled onto DONOVAN and simply can't get enough of the guy. He's an underappreciated genius. However...there were a few things....maybe even ten...I liked alot this year.

1. BRIGHT EYES I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
This album is soooo good. I thought it was from 2004 I listened to it so much this year. "Bright Eyes" is really just a guy (pictured above) named Conor Oberst. I kept seeing his male waif photo everywhere and avoided him because I hate trendy "emo" guys. Then I got some of his songs on a sampler, got the CD and firmly vowed to quit judging waify emo guys forevermore. The album is fairly stripped down acoustic stuff...with some horns and other nice, subtle toned instruments. It's a really great record. Go get it now.

2. DWIGHT YOAKAM Blame The Vein
I'm admittedly a huge DY fan but this album was kind of a return to form. He has a new producer/guitarist onboard (Keith Gattis) and the guy has really brought Dwight back to life. This album isn't all twangy country, there's some real lively rock and some hillarious psychedelic stuff too. A good, fun album.

3. FIVE A.M. This Morphine Life
Yeah, I manage em, so what. If anything, I should be sick of their songs...but this is a great album. Trent has become an extremely solid songwriter and the rest of the band seems to have plugged in to a genuine "sound." The guys were always kind of all over the map (and that was great) but this is a defined rock album with powerful lyrics and great musicianship. I wish it had gone over better...but there's still time. Go buy you a copy at:

4. RODNEY CROWELL The Outsider
I'm a big Rodney Crowell fan and an even bigger fan of his guitarist Will Kimbrough. Will is, quite simply, the man. He was in Todd Sniders band forever and has been with Rodney for a few years. Well, Rodney seems to have finally figured out he has a RIPPING guitarist and he lets Will tear it up on this album. Some of the songs are a little "on the nose" lyrically, but there's alot of heart on this one. And Will Kimbrough is a God.

5. JAMES MCMURTRY Childish Things
Here's where the list starts to take a turn. I didn't really go crazy for the rest of these, but I liked em alot. McMurtry's album is interesting and insightful and fairly angry. He's got a real dry delivery. In fact, his delivery is so dry, I can only get through the entire album in spurts. But still, he's saying alot of things that need to be said about the current state of affairs in the U.S. and he's a great songwriter.

6. GWEN STEFANI Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
I can't help it, I love Gweny Gwen Gwen. This album is totally lame, but the pop songs on it are rad. Especially "Holla Back Girl." If I hear a cheeseball pop song on the radio and it's catchy, and doesn't drive me insane.....I generally buy the album. That's what happened with Pink. This album isn't a work of genius, but it's fun. I also like Kelly Clarkson but can't be seen buying her stuff. Someone hook me up!

7. OLD 97'S Alive and Wired
I usually don't put live albums on a top 10 list, but I love the Old 97's and this album captures their live show really well. It's like a greatest hits album for a band with no mainstream "hits." If you've always wanted to check out the Old 97's, this album is a nice intro.

8. Calexico and Iron and Wine In the Reins
I really dig Calexico and never got the hype with Iron and Wine, but this album seems like a nice pairing for the two. Iron and Wine's vocals are quiet and interesting and Calexico adds a great Southwestern flava to the music. It's only like, 6 songs....but there's a few songs on here that simply rule.

9. WILCO Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
My favorite band does a live album....and it's so-so. Of course I love all the songs and the new lineup is pretty amazing....but this album is kind of a snooze. Plus, I have other live recordings of shows that are better. They also mixed the crowd noise in a really weird can really hear the applause and singing from the crowd. That takes me out of it because when you're at a show, you can't hear the crowd clear as day. Still, Wilco rules.

10. Ryan Adams Jacksonville City Nights
In typical RA fashion, there's some GREAT songs on here and some "dude, why is this on here" songs. My love/hate relationship with Ryan will always burn brightly. However, this album sounds alot like his first band Whiskeytown...and that's a good thing. He also has 2 other albums out this year (one of which is a double album for Chrissakes) but I've only heard one of them...and didn't dig it that much.

So there ya go. Movies are next but maybe not until tomorrow. I'll start compiling and see what happens. Stay tuned true believers...


I just want to vent and get these flicks out of the way. I have to admit too...this was the first year I was genuinely offended by a row. I can usually pick a few that are just stupid...but hate reigned supreme in 2005...

That being said..the most hated movie I saw was....

1. CRASH Why did I hate you so? Here's just a few reasons...
Lets say you watch CRASH. You're a smart person. You would never head into your day seeking to do no harm to others or let a preconceived notion sway you one way or the other. You think for yourself. You're smart, wise, and reflective. If anything I just wrote rings true in some "gut" level, you've fallen victim to CRASH. The movie is operating on a simple advertising level....trying to make you feel smart and reflective over stuff you TOTALLY knew already. Unless you're a closed minded, right wing douchebag. In which case, you probably hated (or loved because it was SOOOooo true) CRASH. Furthermore, it attempts to cover up it's racial stereotyping with a heavy handed, narcissistic view on life. Saying you think black people will carjack you, Hispanics are housekeepers who are really pretty nice and white people are megalomaniacs isn't a racial/social breakthrough, it's still a stereotype. Yes, the movie makes you think (and Matt Dillon and Sandra Bullock were really good!) . But I shall now appeal to the same ideas: Children need guidance. Lets make a movie! I'm a genius!

I have other issues as well...but these will stand for now.

2. FANTASTIC FOUR I've always had a soft spot for this comic...and they totally fucked it up. As a screenwriter (and gossip follower) I know they had about 10 drafts to work with...and it shows. They tried to cherry pick all the "best" parts of the drafts and ended up with a STUPID movie. It's not a difficult story, but they tried to be fun and sexy and scary and exciting and ended up looking like 5 kids playing with action figures. "Oh! Oh! pretend I could start a solar fire and then you could like, trap Dr. Doom in it with a forcefield and then..." I could go on for my hate of this film....but read my review at Soundwaves Cinema. Enjoy.

3. THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVA GIRL Yeah, another kids movie. But here's the deal...and a mini rant. I work with kids and have 2 AWESOME cousins who are under 10. At work, we can't show anything stronger than PG. We shouldn't even show that (by "school" rules) but we do. No one realizes that 98% of "kids movies" are PG. Anyway, my point is.....the most creative and fun place for filmmakers should be for kids films. Just have FUN. Go crazy! The kids will love it. Instead, we get pseudo-fun tripe like THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL. Just like F4, it's grown people playing with action figures. It's stupid. It makes our kids stupid. It makes my face hurt. Stop doing it. Trust me when I want to get to know a character. That's why "magic" cards and the LOTR trilogy are popular. They want to feel like they know the characters. What do these studios trot out? Lame puppet shows. Wake up people.

I also really didn't like SHOPGIRL and I felt it was a middle aged rich guys wet dream.....only Claire Danes is nothing to get wet over. Other than that, kid movies pissed me off. I love kids and look for them to reinvigorate the film industry....but keep feeding them shit and the same will come out.

Tomorrow.....I go nice...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

In the year Two-Thoouuuusaaaand....and Ten

I see alot of movies...some good, mostly bad. And I'm not bragging or being a know-it-all. Trust me. Many of the films I see courtesy of Film Threat are real bad. So bad they make you almost afraid to see new and "undiscovered" films. It also makes a film lover downright cranky. There's just not alot of originality out there. If there's originality, there's bad camerawork. If originality and good camera work are there...the editing sucks....or (and in most cases) the writing sucks. It's tough to make a solid, indie feature...even though access to great equipment is remarkably easy to get.

I mentioned I had a beginning film class at a local Community College and it was bad. Well, the class was fine but the students were pretty much morons....especially the ones ages 18-21. An older guy and his girlfriend did a nice video and there was some other cool stuff...but only one person (besides me of course) really tried hard. And the guys I'm talking about made a 25 minute film! 20 minutes longer than what it was supposed to be. It was actually really cool too. Other than that, it was lame imitations of skate/bike/jackass videos. Yee fucking haw.

Anyway.....I just watched a demo reel from a co-worker's son who can't be much older than 13. His stuff is really, really, really....good. This kid has a solid understanding of editing. SOLID. I have no idea if he just has a really good teacher or just picks up on how films are put together...but he knows his shit. I suspect it's both and it's impressive. I've also helped teach groups of High School students video production and have consistently been impressed at their grasp of editing and camera work. These are 13-15 year olds I'm talking about. I mean, when I was that age I was sitting on my ass playing Atari all day. Now I see 3 videos from a 13 year old that were made in NOVEMBER.

I guess my point is....I see hope in the future of filmmaking. I'm not saying this kid is Orson Welles....but to see someone understand the medium so well makes me think a filmic revolution is forthcoming. And I say VIVA LA REVOLUTION! Party on, Wayne.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

There's a disease....rollin' 'round the hospital...

Ugh. I've been feeling real sick these last few days. I don't think I can go to work tomorrow. As such, I've put the wife down to bed and succesfully snuck out of the house and down to 7-11 for a 6-pack of coors light (to get me through a second viewing of ELIZABETHTOWN on my Mac...and no, it's not out yet), some Vitaminwater (lemonade is my morning poison) and some chocolate hostess donette gems which will be delightful over said Vitaminwater and morning coffee. Repeat that whole last paragraph in joyful "Stewie" from THE FAMILY GUY speech and you'll see why I'm so giddy. INDEED.

Yet something always bothers me about our local 7-11's. Well, three things...

1. Don't call me "boss." It makes me feel bad. Why not call me "Massah?" I'm no more your boss than you are mine. In fact....who can refuse to sell me beer? You. Who is in charge of changing the Big Gulp machine? You. Who's in charge of putting new hot dogs on for me? You. Who squeezes new cheese into the nacho machine at 2 a.m. after I stand there for 5 minutes wondering why it won't come out? You. Who politely looks the other way as I cherry pick items off the counter and put them in my pocket? You, sir. You. In short, I should be calling YOU "boss." Not the other way around.

2. The counter at 7-11 is not a casino, dude. I understand you won 4 free tickets and/or $5.00 on the California Lottery. But take your f-ing tickets and go scratch them somewhere else...these nachos are HOT! And Goddam it, don't even try to remember your lucky numbers it at home.

3. Who the hell are you people talking to EVERY time I come into a Quick-e-Mart or 7-11!?! No matter what time (including 12 midnight on a 30 mins ago) 9 times out of 10 there's a guy working the counter wearing gold chains and an employee shirt yammering on the phone in his native tongue. I talk to enough of these guys to know that these Quick-e-Marts are family owned and run. Are you calling home because rates are cheaper at work? Does the Persian Godfather who owns the joint keep calling in and seeing how much Slurpee is left? Seriously, next time you're in one of these places, check and see if the counter guy is on the phone. It's a solid 90% of the time. They probably are talking to no one and just don't want to talk to me.

Anyway....I'm opening ELIZABETHTOWN now...the most honest mistake a filmmaker has made in a long while. Good night, and Good Luck.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Someone pay me..

...glad I posted what I did last night so, yet again I was first on something (although no one else has caught my KING KONG references...they will! Maybe...).

Anyway....looks like ESPN's Jim Caple reads this blog. Just think, I could be a staff writer for ESPN too...I am available.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sellouts suck.

I'm a San Francisco Giants fan. A BIG one...both literally and figuratively. I know we haven't won a World Championship since what...1953? So what I'm about to say isn't about petty jealousy. It's about baseball...and the sanctity of the game.

I just heard that Johnny Damon has signed with the Yankees. All I can say to that is, may you suffer a career with no (more) World Series rings just like your money grubbing, celebrity seeking, buy a championship at all costs bitchwhore cohorts like asshole Alex Rodriguez and roid freak Jason Giambi. Normally I don't care what the Yankees do and I just let them ramble on..and on...and on. I also enjoy watching them spend huge money to NOT win the World Series. But here's what really gets me...

Players like Jason Giambi, John Kruk, Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith (although I hate him), Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon (to name a very few) have genuine personalities that are vital to baseball. When you join the Yankees, you cover up your personallity. You have to cut your hair, grow no facial hair and show no tattoos. It's a team rule. Sound like joining the ranks of corporate America or worse, the military? Well it should. It's bullshit and it's detrimental to the game. You have to conform to wear the pinstripes. Ironic because the most popular Yankee ever BABE RUTH wouldn't put up with that BS.

When Giambi was on the A's, he had a personality. He had long greasy hair. A goatee to cover his f-ing hairlip. He lets the tats on his arms show. Now, as a Yankee, he might as well be working at Enterprise RentaCar with a white shirt and black tie. I'm no A's fan (but I do go to quite a few A's games...more than most A's fans I might add) but Jason Giambi wasn't "just a player," he was a personality. Now Johnny Damon, he of the long hair and beard. He of the Amy Poehler "Johnny I love you...". He of fun, class, personality, stats...BASEBALL LORE will always be clean shaven. Short haired. Just another brick in the wall. What a fucking sellout asshole.

Like I said...more power to the Yankees for having the money to try to buy rings. Yay. And I'm never one to say "hey, don't take the money....stay where you fit." That's pro sports/TV/Movie/Life. But dammitt let everyone think you were the real deal. Now you do this. F-You Johnny Damon. I hope you never, ever win shit while on the Yankees. Just like the other big personalisy (Giambi) who got sucked into the corporate money machine.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Chuck Norris

My webmaster Jed sent me's too damn funny!

Chuck Norris

When Chuck Norris has sex with a man, it is not because he is gay, but
because he has run out of women.

Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the
information he wants.

If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds
till." After you ask, "Two seconds till what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the

Chuck Norris uses ribbed condoms inside out, so he gets the pleasure.

Since 1940, the year Chuck Norris was born, roundhouse kick related
deaths have increased 13,000 percent.

There are no disabled people. Only people who have met Chuck Norris.

There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another

It was once believed that Chuck Norris actually lost a fight to a
pirate, but that is a lie, created by Chuck Norris himself to lure more
pirates to him.

When Chuck Norris's wife burned the turkey one Thanksgiving, Chuck
said, "Don't worry about it honey," and went into his backyard. He came
back five minutes later with a live turkey, ate it whole, and when he
threw it up a few seconds later it was fully cooked and came with
cranberry sauce. When his wife asked him how he had done it, he gave
her a roundhouse kick to the face and said, "Never question Chuck

Those aren't credits that roll after Walker Texas Ranger; it is
actually a list of people that Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked in the
face that day.

If you unscramble the letters in "Chuck Norris" you get "Huck corn,
sir." That is why every fall, Chuck travels to Nebraska and burns the
entire state down.

Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot
broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart
while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Chuck Norris does not have AIDS but he gives it to people anyway.

Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead
decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter
he grew a beard.

When Chuck Norris plays Oregon Trail his family does not die from
cholera or dysentery, but rather roundhouse kicks to the face. He also
requires no wagon, since he carries the oxen, axels, and buffalo meat
on his back. He always makes it to Oregon before you.

Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and
unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was
finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his
soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and
admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every
second Wednesday of the month.

A man once asked Chuck Norris if his real name is "Charles". Chuck
Norris did not respond, he simply stared at him until he exploded.

Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned
beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.

Chuck Norris can make a woman climax by simply pointing at her and
saying "booya".

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

After much debate, President Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb on
Hiroshima rather than the alternative of sending Chuck Norris. His
reasoning? It was more "humane".

Chuck Norris often asks people to pull his finger. When they do, he
roundhouses them in the abdomen. Then he farts.

Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are
trademarked names for his left and right legs.

If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck
Norris you may be only seconds away from death.

Chuck Norris uses a live rattle snake for a condom.

Aliens do exist. They're just waiting for Chuck Norris to die before
they attack.

Chuck Norris's girlfriend once asked him how much wood a woodchuck
could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. He then shouted, "HOW DARE
YOU RHYME IN THE PRESENCE OF CHUCK NORRIS!" and ripped out her throat.
Holding his girlfriend's bloody throat in his hand he bellowed, "Don't
f--k with Chuck!" Two years and five months later he realized the irony
of this statement and laughed so hard that anyone within a hundred mile
radius of the blast went deaf.

Chuck Norris appeared in the "Street Fighter II" video game, but was
removed by Beta Testers because every button caused him to do a
roundhouse kick. When asked bout this "glitch," Norris replied, "That's
no glitch."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Someone's always smarter than you....

Last night during KING KONG, I was intently studying just what Peter Jackson was trying to say with this film. Some films are total crap and aside from sociological readings, there's not much to glean from them. But I simply refuse to believe that anyone as intelligent as Peter Jackson just makes "movies." That being said....some spoliers may lie ahead. if you haven't seen the movie, you may not want to read this...

The first thing that jumped out at me was how the character arcs and their objectives were clearly and well defined. All the characters are completely obsessed by something. Ann Darrow wants to be an "important" actress...or at least a popular one. She'll stop at nothing to become one. This sets her on the adventure. Carl Denham wants to make amazing movies...or at least very popular ones and he will truly stop at nothing to do this. He, next to Kong may be the most obsessed. King Kong is incredibly lonely...he's a misunderstood king...the very last of his breed. When he goes, there will be no more gigantic gorillas. These three are the dynamic character, the antagonist and the protagonist of the film. However, everyone in the film is obsessed. Jack Driscoll is obsessed with writing. The ships captain is obsessed with the desire to be the greatest live animal captor around. The movie producers in the film are obsessed with money. Everyone has their bugaboo and it's perfectly laid out. All that being said, we will now get into the conspiracy theory-esque portion of this mini-review.

There's no doubt KING KONG, both now and then, is a parable for racism. White people go to faraway island, capture a native, chain it down, sail back and proceed to make money off of it while denigrating and harming it. That's all as obvious as can be. However, from about the 3rd scene in the movie and on, the racist element kept leaping out at me in a new and certainly intentional way. On the way home, I kept piecing it together as best I could on one late night viewing and I was going to post on someone else's blog or on Film Threat but I figured I'd do it here. This is what I noticed...

smarter cont.....

In a very early point of the film, a black character grabs a script from Ann and proceeds to read it illiterately. He mispronounces "Driscoll" and even the word "theater" which is ironic since he works in one. Like I said in the opening, things like this are there for a reason in good films...they don't just "happen." Once onboard the ship, we see the Captain isn't just a ship for hire, but he's basically stealing exotic animals and selling them back in the U.S. This is very much is what happens to Kong. Here's the stuff that really hit me though.

In a scene in New York, a big showdown takes place in front of the Hermitage Hotel. Why was this name sticking out to me?? It bugged me for the rest of the movie. I knew I had heard it before (Hermitage) but I didn't know where. When I got home, I googled it and it turns out Hermitage was Andrew Jackson's home in which he employed a good bunch guessed it...slaves. Ironic? I doubt it. Hell, Jackson even knocked one of them up!

Normally, I tend to really reach when looking at a movie. It's fun to apply a say, "feminist reading" to a film or look at it as existential or post-modern. Admittedly, I can get out there. So while I was very much tuned into the whole "obsession" theme, that early scene with the illiterate black kid kind of flavored my viewing. It made me tune into the race element. I was willing to let it go (aside from the burning Hermitage question) until the closing scene of the movie. As Kong lies dead on the ground, a group gathers around to take photos and check him out. The camera cuts to two officers at the right side of the screen and on the left is a group of 3-4 of which is a tall black man. The black man totally stands can't miss him. One officer then looks to the other and says (something to the effect of) "I don't see what the big deal is....he's just a big, dumb animal." That just smacked of white views on blacks during slavery...hell, even now most likely.

So as I figured this out at 2 a.m., I couldn't wait to be the genius who unlocked the secret of Kong. The next day I google "king kong"+ racist and found 400,000+ people who were already smarter than me. Dammitt! Not only that, but David Edelstein at Slate kind of goes there as well. However, to the best of my knowledge I AM THE FIRST to publish these thoughts that are taken directly from the movie after opening night. I'm sure someone else will notice this (most like the brilliantly insane Armond White) but I'm saying I saw it and wrote about it first! If you notice anyone else ripping me off, alert my lawyers.

King Kong is dead. Long Live King Kong!!!

Originally uploaded by dlew022.
If you'll note the time I'm posting this, you'll see it's 1:30 a.m. on a school night. But I just got in from KING KONG and wanted to be amongst the first to say.....IT ROCKS!!!

I'm not a big CGI guy, but Kong is freeking amazing. Andy Serkis (the guy who provided the eyes and movements of Kong as well as for Golum in the LOTR films) deserves an honorary Oscar....he also deserved one for playing Golum. Serkis is truly a cinematic pioneer and someday we'll look back and realize that.

The film drags a little in the beginning but all that stuff needs to be there as the storylines get set-up as well as the theme of the movie. Once the crew hits Skull Island, it's ON like DONKEY KONG.

I'm impressed by this movie on so many levels, I can't even start to explain. One thing I will say is that this is a movie about loving movies. It's a totally FUN time and it's also very touching. I distinctly remember seeing the original KING KONG as a kid and being very sad at what becomes of him. This new version really adds to that and what you end up with is a fun, exciting and touching film.

One final note....every time I go to the movies, I hate it more. Teeny bopper wanna-be gang bangers yap all through the show and it's tough to say anything because they may be packing some heat. The last thing I need is to get stabbed by some Rohnert Park dipshit in a movie theater. Also, to the idiot old man in front of me who kept narrating to himself throughout the movie- fuck you.

All that aside, take your chances and see this EPIC on the big screen. More later.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

And now for a really big shew...really big

In an attempt to avoid the inevitable, I've been taking 6 units a semester at Santa Rosa Junior College in order to not pay back my $20,000 in student loans. The plan is to take "fun" classes until I get all my credit cards paid off, then start in on the student loan. Brilliant! As such, I have a digital video class and an introduction to Theatre Arts class that are wrapping up this week. Past classes have included golf, screenwriting (which I have an AA and a BA in...and got a fucking C- on my script in the class...nice) and another digital video class. Easy, easy stuff.

Today we had a student film festival to show our final projects and I showed a video I made for the band I work with...five a.m. I originally had a really great idea for a video but I don't want to share because I might still do it. But then I realized that what people don't see is all the boring ass driving a band has to do just to bring you some rock n roll goodness. It's incredibly ass numbing and tedious. So I cobbled together a bunch of video I have collected recently and over the years and made a video for the song "Already Gone." I think it came out really well. It's kind of...a weekend on the road with the band. Only shorter.

We showed it in class and even though I have made other shorts before, I've only watched them in front of a group maybe I was kinda nervous. Plus, the song is really beautiful and slow and the other shorts included one guy lighting himself on fire, getting slapped and jumping off rooftops (cleverly named "dumbass") and 4 other shorts were skate/bmx/snowboard videos. The 3-4 other ones were actually quite good.

Anyway, the video should be up on my website soon and it went off without a hitch. I got extremely lucky matching up the live footage to the song. A few times during editing I had to it 2-3 times because I couldn't believe how in-sync it was. I was forseeing a mega headache matching it up...but it worked. Everyone in class seemed to like it....but I'm sure they would have liked to see more farts getting lit on fire. Ah, youth.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Went to a party last Saturday night....

Some good friends of ours had a nice, mellow Christmas party Saturday. Wait, it was a "holiday" party Mr. Bill O'Reilly. That's right beeotch! Anyway, I was doing some beer drinking and hanging out when I suddenly did the lamest party foul ever. a while at least.

A neighbor was borrowing some DVD's from our hosts and I asked to see them to give them my seal of approval. He handed them over and, rather than set down my bottle of beer (God forbid), I tucked it under my arm and began to look through the DVD's. One of them slipped out of the pile and fell on the floor next to the couch I was standing in front of. Without thinking twice, I bent over to pick it up....while the beer was still under my arm.

I'm about 6"4 and have quite the beer gut going so bending over and then standing back up takes me a solid 2-4 that's how long the beer poured onto the couch for. When I stood up, I just kept looking at the DVD's until I felt that my leg was wet. Then the neighbor kind of went "ohhhh dude." I totally drenched the couch. I felt terrible...I still do. I apologized a bunch and they said that since they have a kid, the cushions are washable but still. What a jackass. I mean, I wasn't even all that drunk, it was just a bonehead move on my behalf.

So, if you plan on inviting me to your HOLIDAY party this year, get some plastic coverings for your furniture.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Over it...

....I With the New
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
Uhhh...yeah. It took me all of about 10 minutes to get over the old mac. I still miss it....but not that bad. In fact, I haven't looked at it once since Jumbo the G5 was switched on. I'm excited to have imovie with more ram/memory and fun stuff like garageband and the little dashboard thingy.

I will now proceed to not leave the house for the weekend.


Out with the old....
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
I get attached to inanimate objects. I always have. When I was a little kid I was fairly inconsolable for a day or two after we gotrid of our washer and dryer. I remember it was a very 70's-chic pea green color. The dryer crapped out so my parents got new stuff and I was very, very upset. It's the darndest thing too. When I was 8 or so, my dog Spike got hit by a car and I think I was sadder about losing the washer and dryer. Maybe I'm a cyborg.

My point is, we JUST got a brand spanking NEW Mac G5!!!! Erica's parents bought it for us for Christmas too!! How totally COOL! Thanks M&M!

Erica and I were going to take out a Mac loan to get one because our old iMAC was getting wonky in it's old age. It's seen here in the picture. It's Ruby colored and I love that computer. It was my best friend when I was homesick. It was the first thing Erica and I bought together.

It started with me in Petaluma and was with me as I toiled over learning screenwriting. It went with us to L.A. for me to pursue my dream. It was my weapon of choice for 2 feature screenplays and 3 shorts. It's been a great computer and now, it's being put out to pasture. As you can see by what it's saying, it isn't happy.

This will be the last thing I write on this computer for a while. I'd like to get a real office some day and be reunited with my Ruby Red iMAC. Until that day comes.....Godspeed fair Macintosh. You've been a loyal compadre on many a drunken night. Sniff.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It was twenty (five) years ago today....

John Lennon
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
that John Lennon was shot and killed. I know it's cliche to tell your "Where were you when...." story, but I'm doing it anyway. I was 8 or 9 years old and we were living in the armpit of California, Orland. I DISTINCTLY remember this all so clearly....

I was trying to go to sleep and the phone rang. My mom answered and all of the sudden she was crying and really upset. Being the little momma's boy I was, I started getting upset because my mom was upset. I started yelling to her...trying to figure out what was wrong. I was afraid my Grandpa had died or something.

She came into my room and told me that someone had shot John Lennon. This stunned me. I grew up on the Beatles as one of my Aunts was a total hippie and the other one really loved the Beatles. My mom was a fan although she used to say she never forgave them for breaking up...she even gave all her Beatles records to my Aunt. I remember spending hours at my Aunts house, making her play me Beatles records while I rifled through her Beatles memorabilia. I remember being scared of John Lennon because he was frequently naked in many of his photos. Yuck.

Anyway...the news of John being someone else...on purpose...knocked me for a loop. I couldn't grasp why anyone would hurt such a great person. I started to cry (but admittedly, mostly because my mom was crying) and still to this day....I don't understand.

But I went
and talked to John and you should too. I miss you John.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

That's right you're not from Texas...

The wife and I just got home from 4 days in my favorite city (Since New Orleans got doused), Austin, TX! I'll post a more detailed trip review when I get settled. I even took A picture. Yeah, A picture. That's good for me, I usually forget I have a camera. Anyway. I thought I'd share
"Don's Top 10 Things About Austin." Volume I, 10/23/05.

10. Flipping on the radio or walking into a sports bar and hearing Robert Earl Keen, Todd Snider. Jack Ingram, Rodney Crowell and Wilco fricking rules. Glad some state has good taste in music.

9. Queso is delicious...but only in Texas. Here, it's too salty.

8. The Ironworks is my favorite restraunt. I ate three meals in a row there at last years SXSW but only one this time...and it was yummy. Brisket and pork rib combo platter. We landed in Houston, drove to Austin, went to, two, three. Perfect way to start a perfect trip.

7. Whataburger is AWESOME at 3 a.m. when you stumble in for a double chesseburger and fries. However, it's not nearly as good when you're sober.

6. "Bike people" are annoying. Today is the annual Lance Armstrong sponsored "Ride for Roses" bicycle race. All the bike people were staying in the same hotel as us. Now, I'm all for healthy behavior and having a hobby and Lord knows it's for a great cause you people really need to wear the bike shorts 24/7?? Case in point:

I mean, come on! Wear some sweats or the twig and 2 berries for your fellow cycling enthusiasts. Ugh, it was annoying! We get ride a bike. Now quit posturing all over the hotel.

5. My friend Dan is a supercool guy. He took us to a kick-ass restraunt that had the best tacos ever and then he gave us a mini-tour of some neighborhoods in Austin. Thanks, Dan!

4. Pickles and pickled jalapeno's are not enough "vegetables" for 4+ days. Especially after you've read #'s 7 and 8 above. I did have a serving of sauteed okra (which is good, apparently sauteeing cooks the snot out. Who knew?) but it didn't help "things." As a sub-top ten addition, I'd like to also add that it's not good to eat meat for every meal. Unless it's bacon.

3. Lonestar Beer is awesome..and really cheap. You can get a 16 oz. Lonestar at concerts in Austin for a mere $3.00! I also like Lonestar Light but it was conspicuously absent from town. Maybe they never restocked from when I was there for SXSW?

2. My friend Pete and his wife and kid are supercool people. Pete and I have known each other for a while via Sundance and SXSW via Film Threat, but we've never had the chance to hang out under normal (read; mostly sober, not rushing to see films and/or fighting off hangovers) circumstances. He welcomed us into his house and even took us to a killer Mexican restraunt. Thanks for the hospitality Pete and fam!

1. Austin is everything Northern California wishes it was. Culturally sound and diverse, friendly, fun, honest, passionate. Yeah, it is in Texas and yeah, that is kind of scary. But I even like Texas. At least the state is honest and proud about itself. Here, all people care about is how things seem. "If I have a Kerry/Edwards" bumpersticker on my car, I must be a liberal. And I must be a liberal because it's the 'cool' thing to be here." Meanwhile these people are driving fucking SUV's and buying houses for $600,000. Meanwhile bills get passed through VOTING to cut art and education and to treat "illegal" minorities unfairly. It all sounds pretty phony to me.

Anyway, I'll quit ranting and just say Austin is a wonderful city and I hope to live there someday soon. Great music, great food, great film events and a great sense of pride. Plus, you can get a house there that you won't be paying for until you're 70. If you get a chance, GO THERE. I'll be back in March.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Hall

The Hall
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
Yeah, I'm a blog flake. What can I say? I've been busy...and lazy. So here's what I've been up to...

The last weekend in September, my grandpa took me to Cooperstown, NY to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was AWESOME!! My grandpa and I are very close but we haven't been on a trip together in probably, 20 years. I owe pretty much everything to my grandpa. He's always been supportive of me and my ideas. He financially helped me get through college and he's just a really neat guy.

The Cooperstown area is simply gorgeous. I never realized that it was named for the father of author James Fennimore Cooper. When I think "baseball" and "New York," idyllic farm country doesn't come to mind. But that's exactly how the area is. I'd love to come back in the late Fall and see all the orange, red and brown trees. In fact, I could see myself retiring there. It's just so pretty and mellow and there's such rich history...and baseball stuff.

The Hall of Fame was really cool. Did you know there are only TWO teams in all of baseball? Yep, that's right. There's the Yankees and there's the Red Sox. That's it. Well, that's what you would think if you had never heard of baseball and went to the Hall of Fame this past summer. Yeah, I know the Yankees are the #1 team popularity wise in the world and yeah, the Red Sox finally won the World Series. But c'mon. I shouldn't have found the Hank Aaron exhibit by accident. I was literally wandering around and there, in a dark corner was the Hank Aaron stuff. That's just weak.

I was really just bummed there wasn't more Giants stuff, but they haven't won anything in forever and Barry is still a few homers away from the record. Speaking of Barry...

I thought it was cool the HOF was just about baseball. There was none of the drama surrounding players. They had McGwire, Sosa and Canseco stuff without any mention of steroids. They had a Ty Cobb exhibit with no mention of racism and general assholeness. That stuff does matter in personal judgement of a player, but when you'e at a place to celebrate baseball, it's nice to just have it be about baseball.

It was really cool to see so much great baseball stuff. It was also REALLY great to spend time with my grandpa again. If you have an older relative you haven't talked to in a while, give them a call or take them out to lunch. Take advantage of this time you have together while you can. it won't last forever. Plus, they don't eat much and dinner is usually around 4:00.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Well it's better than being pissed ON....

Stage Fright
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
Lets get personal, shall we? Something has been bugging me lately and I really want to see if my brothers out there feel the same way I do about peeing. First note.

I hate when the people on the cover of magazines stare at me when I take a leak. Case in point. That photo of Matt Damon pointing sat atop our loo for about a week and a half. Every damn time I had to take a whizz, I had to contend with Will Hunting staring me down like a dad during potty-training. I was relieved when the new issue of PASTE arrived in the mail. This is a great magazine by the way. lots of good info on new bands and some great features about musicians. If you subscribe you get a free DVD and CD every issue! Pretty cool. Their film section is getting good too...but I digress.

The new issue of PASTE has those droll emo dudes Death Cab for Cutie on the cover. Now I have to contend with this:

every time I go pee. I feel like Tom Cruise during the orgy scene in "Eyes Wide Shut." Fidellio indeed.


Why do people put low hanging mirrors behind their toilets? I can't freeking stand that! You go in to take a leak and you have to like...stare at yourself while you do it. If and when we ever buy a house, I will not have a mirror behind the toilet. It serves NO purpose either. Why do people have that sort of thing in their bathrooms?? What possible reason could there be to have a mirror located there? Lame.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Take me out to the balllllgaaaame....

Are you mocking me?
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
For my birthday last year, my wife got me 20 Giants games. It was such a sweet thing to do!! See, when the G-men moved into their new digs, I took out a student loan and bought season tickets. I got RIGHT behind homeplate but WAY up there.

However...they are GREAT seats. You can see the entire field, the scoreboard as well as McCovey Cove and the Bay Bridge. My mom has tickets that are like, 12 rows behind first base and mine are way better. They kinda look like this shot...

When we moved to L.A. I was splitting my seats with a friend. She got the rest of them since I moved. As my luck would have it, that was the year the Giants went to the World Series and I was in L.A. with 1 million front running ANGELS fans and unable to see any games in SF.

It was extremely painful. I wanted to be there so grandpa and I went to zillions of games as a kid and I couldn't be there to share this with him. It sucked. Lucily the L.A. games were sold out and I missed game 6. Just thinking about it...ugh.

Anyway....for my bday, I got to pick any 20 games from my original seats. Being the smart Giants fan I am, I chose only a few from before the All-Star break but I backloaded my picks because I thought Barry would be back. Yet doesn't look like he's coming back this year at all. He said today maybe in September...but that won't give him enough time to get into 2nd place in home runs with 714. He only needs 10.

So now I have like 11 games for a SHITTY baseball team. There's really no one I like on the team...AT ALL. I don't even like Barry that much but how often in your life can you see a guy hit his 715th homer and move into 2nd place ALL TIME.

The worst part is, the Giants are like 14 games below .500 and only 7 games out of first! They can win this thing and we kind of promised the woman who sold us tickets we'd buy into playoff seats. Ugh...NOT interested. I can barely muster the interest make it to a regular game let alone a high pressure embarrassment for my boys in Orange.

It's quite a conundrum and I feel bad going away when the going gets tough. Bt it ain't cheap to go to a game and getting there is flat out boring. Next year's ON!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Who you gonna believe...?

Who you gonna believe...?
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
So now that the dust has settled on the cancellation, we got the Rashoman happenning. First, I read this:
We're a big fan of the drinking game that accompanies the announcement of a musical tour cancellation -- you know, the one that forces players to down shots every time the words "exhaustion" or "dehydration" comes up.

While neither of those bon mots came up in the declaration that Ryan Adams was opting out of the last few dates of his West coast tour -- the rather limp "illness" excuse was proffered instead-- it seems as if Mr. Adams was quite "dehydrated" the day before bailing on the trek.

In addition to his usual onstage threats of violence against audience members -- some for being too loud, some for shushing the noisemakers --the sunshine boy also turned on his bandmates, firing guitarist J.P. Bowersock and treating the others to tirades along the lines of "How many scotches does it take? What the fuck? I think I was the only one playing in the right key there, but I don't know. I mean, I only wrote the fucking song and everything, so I should know what fucking key it's in."

As performance art goes, we'd rate that outburst a
C-plus -- good enough to pass muster on the Bowery, but a few cuts short of meriting inclusion in that Aristocrats sequel . . .

O.K.,,, now that was the story as I had heard it from Jason and from various sources online that were at the show. Plus, it fits the R.A. M.O. as it were.

So I then decide to go to his site and see what Ryan has to say. Read it for yourselves. I guess there's some Indonesian junk that's going 'round.

Why can't anybody just be honest anymore? Rafael Palmeiro, Karl Rove, Bill Clinton and now Ryan Adams. Is there no accountability for anyones actions anymore???

One good thing is that now I can attend the Bob Schneider and Shelby Lynne concert at Bimbos Sunday.

I do love that lil Shelby Lynne...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I blame myself, really...

Ohhh...Ryan. You dickhead.
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
So after raving about how Ryan Adams is just my kind of nutty musician, the guy has an Axl Rose sized meltdown and CANCELS his West coast tour!

I found an odd journal entry (with GREAT photos) here: . I say odd because this girl acts like she just saw a GREAT show when clearly, it was pretty shitty. I don't think it's sarcasm either. Some people (namely girls) will get snowed by any skinny musician on-stage.

Apparently he proceeded to get wasted and then berate his bass player who then walked off. Today it was announced that "due to illness," the rest of the tour is cancelled. Yeah...the bass player got sick of enabling a drunk fuck and quit.

He also berated the audience, but I don't really blame him for that. See, Ryan Adams is like that really weird kid you couldn't help but tease in grade school. When I was a kid, we teased this freak named Carl. He'd be all calm while we harrassed him, but you could sense the temperature rising. Finally he's just start chasing you and as you pulled away, he'd hop on one foot pull off a shoe and huck it at you! It was awesome! That's like going to see Ryan Adams.

The guy will spazz out over anything. I once saw him grab his mic stand and turn it around with his back to the audience because they wouldn't shut up when he was playing an acoustic song. Folk singer Robbie Fulks fanned the flames when he said he's pay people CASH to yell out "Summer of 69" at RYAN Adams (not Bryan Adams) shows.

I dunno....I'm annoyed now but I feel worse for my friend Jason who got me the tix. He's way more stoked on the new album than me, and he got us SECOND ROW! I guess when you mess with a drunk, you get the barf...or something.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Here's something the other tour guides won't tell you...

Originally uploaded by dlew022.
I have a thing with 7-11. I love that place! I eat their food whether I'm drunk or sober...well, except the nachos which I once made the mistake of eating while sober.

Never again!
Their sandwiches are surprisingly good as well.

I usually peruse the aisles just to keep up to date on what's new in snacking and it's a good thing I did.

About a month ago I was coming home from work and I stopped at 7-11

like I usually do for a Big Gulp. It was HOT so I was craving ice cream as well. As I looked in the ice cream case I saw an odd shaped cup. I took it out and looked at it and...damn, someone is a GENIUS.

The cup is filled with ice cream and what you do is, tear off the paper cover and slip the ice cream cup on top of your Big Gulp cup. Then you tear off the other paper lid and press out the ice cream into your cup. fill the Big Gulp with whatever soda you choose.

I'm a big fan of
Barq's rootbeer though and for some reason, the 7-11's here have downgraded to IBC rootbeer. So I've been hitting the Coke floats pretty heavy. If you find yourself in 7-11 be sure to check out the "Soda Float." It's well worth it.

Friday, August 05, 2005

If you believe there's nothing to see...nothing to do...

You're probably right. Sweet Jesus my life has been dull. Even getting drunk is boring these days. There hasn't been much in the way of shows or movies or ANYTHING so my life is on cruise control. It sucks that I need those things to make my life more interesting...but that's the truth.

Granted, during the summer I actually have to work close to 8 hours a day so that makes me sleepy. During the school year, life's much easier. Work is fun though....although it's NOT what I want to be doing. Anyway...moving on...

Lets see....some CD's I've been really digging are:

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals "Stone Roses." Now, Ryan takes alot of shit but I think music needs more people like him. All the loose cannons in music are dead, boring or shushed as lunatics. Sure, he's a spoiled baby alot of times but he's also prolific as hell. He's already got ANOTHER album coming out in September and this album is a double disc! My buddy Jason just hooked me up with 2nd row tix to see him in Oakland at the Paramount so that's totally cool. Although I think Ry is in a Grateful Dead phase right now. he even has a beard! Ack. Remind me to tell you my Ryan Adams in Penngrove story. Good times.

Another cool album is Rilo Kiley's "More Adventurous." To be honest, I'm not sure what I love about this's pretty freeking strange. Yet it's strange in an accessible way. I love the singer Jenny Lewis (no relation....yet) and her kind of harsh/honest lyrics. Her voice makes me feel happy too. I also love the way the band is so ecclectic. Good stuff...lame reason for liking them. Sorry, best I can do.

As usual my CD player is chock full of Wilco and the Replacements...but I've been listening to probably my #3 favorite band of ALL TIME Slobberbone alot lately. They recently "broke up" but have essentially reformed with a new bass player and apparently a keyboard player and named themselves "The Drams." I thought that was a lame name but apparently a "dram" is that measuring device used by bartenders to make drinks. That's my boys! I actually got to see The Bone's 3rd to last show at SXSW last year and it was O.K. Coulda been better. Me and Pete were there and once the 25 Lone Star Lights (each) wore off, we felt kind of duped by the whole thing. Plus, I crapped my shirt. A story for another day.....

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Joe Ely

Joe Ely
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
The other night I went and saw Joe Ely at The Mystic here in Petaluma. One perk of moving back here is the fact I can walk down there from our house. It's literally 2 blocks away which is pretty sweet.

Also sweet was the fact I got in for free. I have no idea how...I just walked up to the door, $20 in hand and the guy apparently knew me and let me in. Makes me glad I'm not an angry drunk as the last few times I've been there, I've been hammered. I also know the bartender there. Another small town perk I guess.

Anyway..the show was super cool. It was a Wednesday night and I was probably the youngest person there, not counting the little kids that were dragged down there by their parents. The place was half full and everyone was sitting at tables and chairs about 20 yards from the stage. Kind of weird for such a legendary troubador, but it was midweek.

If you've never heard of him, Joe Ely is easily one of the best songsmiths around. I wish I could say, "you know that song ______, well he wrote that" but he really doesn't have any "hits." His fans include The Clash and Bruce Springsteen who sings on his album "Letter to Laredo" which, if he sounds interesting to you at all, is a great album to get.

The show was just Joe and Joel Guzman on accordian. Guzman apparently won a grammy for best tejano album. Ely didn't really seem to have a setlist and just kind of meandered around, playing whatever he felt like. But every one of his songs is like a story. He also told some great stories in between.

Then, about 3/4 of the way through the show, he played a slow song and out of nowhere, this older couple just got up and started slow dancing. It was These 2 just didn't give a shit that 200 people were sitting there. And fortunately, they were good dancers.

After that, everyone started getting closer and closer to the stage and by the end of the 2 hour set, everyone that had been quietly sitting was gathered around the stage. It was really of those special kind of nights. I'm so glad I went.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 Pee. Pants.

I think i just wet myself. I swear to God I'm sober right now, but this just made my stomach hurt. Watch
and then you can do it yourself HERE. Don't say I never gave ya nothing.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I fought the law and the law is STUPID!

Originally uploaded by dlew022.
Last night I went down to my favorite local brew pub to watch the Giants game and have some beers. We took the kids at my work to the County fair ALL day yesterday so my feet were hurting. I decided to ride my bike which I rarely do. Dempseys is maybe 3 blocks away so I usually walk.

I go down and hang out for a while and probably drink 5-7 beers. I head out around 11:00 and remember thinking to myself, "if I was really hammered, I couldn't be riding this bike so I must be O.K." I'm about a block from my house when I see some cop pull up behind me and turn on his lights.

Baffled, I "pull over" and look back. This cop steps out and goes, "sir, can't you please get off the bike and show me some ID." Are you fucking kidding me?? I know I wasn't driving erratically so I was thouroughly confused. John Q. Law comes up and takes my ID and says "have you been drinking?" I felt like saying, "Well, duh. why the hell else would I be on a bike at 11:00 at night?" But instead I told him yes in a very sheepish way.

So I stand on the corner for a good 10 minutes with this cop running my ID...his lights going, police scanner blaring and start to actually get really worried. I got a DUI when I was 22 and I NEVER drink and drive. EVER. How ironic would it be if I got another fricking DUI on a BIKE?? It was taking him forever to run my info and the longer it took, the more I started sweating it.

Eventually the cop came back and told me he was citing me for not having a light. He said there have been alot of people getting hit by cars so they're out citing bicyclists who don't have lights and whatnot. I was relieved to say the least. He even seemed a little embarrassed and thanked me for being so polite. I still can't believe I didn't mouth off but the thought of going to jail for being drunk on a bike didn't appeal to me at all.

It's nice to know that at 11:00 on a Friday, 4th of July weekend even, that our local police are running a bike sting 2 blocks from where there are 6 bars and nightclubs in a row. Brilliant work fellas.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

There goes the last DJ...

Doug Smith
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
My friend and my favorite radio DJ Doug Smith died last Saturday night in a motorcycle accident. I still cannot believe it. When I got in my car to go to work Monday morning, I fully expected to hear his show on The Krush. What I got instead was this horrible news. I know it might seem silly to still be upset at the loss of "a voice on the radio" almost 5 days later, but you'd have to have heard Doug's shows to appreciate the man.

He had killer taste in music and brought a ton of new and interesting people onto his morning show. Wine experts, science experts, food experts..all local. He even had segments on film, books, plays and live music. His show was more than was enlightenment.

I got to know Doug over the years and the guy was as genuine in person as he was on-air. I'd see him at shows and we bumped into each other on the ferry to the Giants games all the time. We'd grab some beers and talk about the Giants or music until we docked and then off we'd go.

Lately I've kind of resisted the fact that I'm a part of this community, but the loss of Doug has made me feel closer to this area- and moreso the "scene" here- than ever before. I'm going to try to live my life a little bit more like Doug and appreciate what I've got around here. Yet...not having him and his show make it hard to know what direction to go next to find out where all the cool stuff is. I hope he's doing well someplace else but I know the people of this community miss him dearly.Check This page out and see what I mean.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

...slap it up, flip it, rub it down...OH NOOooo

Last Christmas my in-laws got us an overnight stay at a spa in Calistoga. It included a room (duh), a mud bath, a blanket wrap and a 1 hour massage. I've never had a "real" massage so the idea was both appealing and scary as hell. See, I work with youngins in Calistoga and I have just the kind of luck that says I'll get one of the kids' parents as my masseuse. Or my masseur. "So, Billy tells me you don't let him play with Legoes any more {crack!} why is that..."

We checked in and went to our room which had a HUGE hot tub in the room. That was a nice start. Being six-foot four and 250 pounds, my usual routine of sitting in the tub with a 6pack of Coors Light tall boys isn't usually very satisfying. A big ole hot tub seemed pretty sweet so I already felt the trip was a success. After checking for the bible (none) and seeing what kind of coffee was available (crappy), we headed down for our mud bath.

Calistoga has a geyser and a natural hot springs. All the water in the place is powered by said hot springs. Pretty neat. However, such natural amenities are usually powered by sulfur which smells like a cow-shit/rotten egg milkshake. So as we stripped down and went into our private mud room, I saw what looked like a giant "L" shaped tub of shit with the accompanying smell. What the hell, you only live once so into the drink I went.

It was actually kind of neat and very hot. I closed my eyes and it felt like I was one with the mud. Very relaxing in a weird, everything-your-mom-said-not-to-ever-do kind of way. My wife however, couldn't quit squirming around and that was annoying. It's bad enough sitting in a tub of hot mud but when the person at your feet is like a 4 year old at a movie, it's a drag.

After we rinsed off, we got wrapped up in cozy blankets and they locked us in a dark room. It felt like preschool nap time and I conked out immediately. Although the back of my mind was plagued with who my massager would be. I decided it's not right to kill the massager (ohhh SNAP!) so I let it go. Soon our guide came in and said it was massage time.

As we waited in the hallway, a tall nurse looking gal and a short, portly, could be Ron Jeremy's brother guy in a pony tail approached. I looked at my wife and smiled. "Heh heh...your masseur looks freaky. Have fun!" But sure enough, per my usual luck, I get a chubby hand in mine and a nasally plugged voice says, "I'm Son-Bear, I'll be your masseur today." Perfect. We had asked for a female masseuse for me but...whatever.

The massage was O.K. I was pretty knotty (not naughty, dick) but as an eternally smart-assed guy, the sound of lotion being squeezed into a hand is cause for an automatic Beavis & Butthead type moment. I stifled my laugh and eventually realized *I'M* not rubbing on *HIM*, it's the other way around and I'm fairly certain that sucks more for him than for me. When it was all over I felt so-so and went to take a nap.

When I woke up my neck and shoulders were pinched to no end and they still are today...a day and a half later. Isn't that exactly what's NOT supposed to happen? I even sat in the hot tub watching Bruce Springsteen: Live in New York which was on PBS. That's a LONG show and my neck still hurts. Ugh, annoying. I can't say I'd never get another massage, but it wasn't everything I had hoped for. At least there was no happy ending from Ron-Bear.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Everybody's workin' for the weekend

Originally uploaded by dlew022.
So how was your weekend? Mine ended up being pretty damn good! It didn't start out looking that way...

I manage a band called five a.m. which is pretty miraculous considering I can barely manage getting through a day. The other miracle is...they're really, really good and they allow me to drink all their beer while onstage. The guys just finished their new album entitled "This Morphine Life" and it's fricking awesome. Go buy it...NOW! Anyway...

I book the gigs and I booked them to play this great venue called The Mystic last night, June 11. No sooner did I do that than I see the greatest band ever just announced a gig in Berkeley at the Greek. DAMN IT! That hurts. But I believe in my boys so was able to get over it...for the most part.

A few days after that I get an email from my heterosexual lifemate Pete that says he and the Film Threat crew are going to VEGAS for this really great film festival. I call Gore and he says I can totally go! Sweet! What days are the guys going? You guessed it...June 10-12. SHIT!

I made my bed and had to lie in it but I'll tell ya what. Five a.m. kicked so much ass last night, it made it all worth it. I've "managed" these guys for almost 10 years and there's been some highlights and some lowlights. but last night was one of the best life experiences I've ever had and I'm glad I could be there. Plus, Vegas is really hot and I've seen Wilco about 12 times. So...there.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Darlin' don't you go and cut your hair....

dan's barber shop 3
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
With the 3 day Memorial Day weekend upon us, I set out to do what any other bored American male should do on a 3 day weekend: Drink beer.

I started off at McNears where local radio personalities Sarah and the oh-so-cleverly named "No Name" were doing a radio shin dig. I hate their show, but they often have Kevin Smith on so I occasionally listen. Plus, my band is having their CD release there June 11 and we wanted to hand out postcards. See! I have an excuse for slumming it with piss poor radio personalities.

The promoting of the show went really, really well and I hope it helps our draw. But....people who are fans of radio personalities are fucking weird. I understand it's the job of local radio people to make
the show feel like it belongs to the fans. But, and I've noticed this when listening as well, you don't actually know these hosts. They aren't your "friend." Still, over 200 people crammed in this little party room to hob-nob with No-Name and other b-list radio personalities and it was just plain creepy. I saw 2 or 3 girls come up to these radio hosts and go "Ohh, No-Name...I'm Jamie -Lee, I called last month about the monsoon season in Tibet" (or whatever) and these poor shmoes have to pretend like they give a shit. It was sad. Anyway...

After that, I cruised over to my favorite local hang-out which will remain nameless due to the nature of the following story. The person involved could get mad at me. The place has really good beer and I can sometimes manage to snap off a halfway decent conversation about music or movies there. Key word: sometimes. So after 2-3 pints, the head chef comes out. She and I have a love/hate relationship. I always manage to say just the wrong thing and when I do, she smells blood in the water and never lets me off the hook. Oh, by the way, she's a full-on butch lesbian. Insert typical "but that's cool with me" backpedalling here..but it's true. I really don't care and I actually like her quite a bit.

So, she walks out of the kitchen looking very peppy and kind of...trim or...glowing. I go, "oh, _____ you seem really happy. You look really trim or sleek or something. Did you get a haircut? She laughs and tells me, "No...I just got back from having my breasts removed." Gulp. This was done for purely aesthetic purposes by the way and I have to admit, the intended look definitely happened. It just struck me as funny that one persons breast removal is another guys haircut.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by dlew022.
So...since I'm forever late on blogging, I thought I'd share what I did last weekend. Every Spring, local radio station KFOGhas this big ole shin-dig in San Francisco. They have bands, beer, food and the BEST fireworks show ever. I don't know how they do it or what they do to make it so freeking cool...but it's simply awesome. The bands this year were sort of lacking, especially considering Wilco, The Old 97's and other bands I like have played before. This year was Kathleen Edwards (who was great) John Butler Trio (who I liked better when they were called Ben Harper) and The Wallflowers who somehow keep growing on me. Matt got me into the VIP area so I spent most of the Wallflowers set drinking free beer and rehearsing for the photo below this one. But the Wallflowers sounded great, from what I could hear. I even got to harass "Rock Star Whore" Nic throughout the day which is always a highlight. Nic's guaranteed to love any male with some semblance of good looks if he's on stage holding a guitar. She fought her way to near the front just to snap a pic of the Fruit of Mr. Zimmerman's loins.
When the day was over, we were beat but had a GREAT time! We took a taxi back to Sausalito where we were lucky enough to have some Russian taxi driver who was kind enough to point out all the shortcomings of America. In a followup story to "America's education system is lacking," "beer is good" and "water is wet." Thanks, ya damn pinko commie.

Spot the drunk guy!

Spot the drunk guy!
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
I have no clue what's going on here. i mean, clearly I'm drunk...but look at my hand (the one on the hot chick dressed in blacks shoulder). Sweet Christ! When did I become lobster hands Lewis? The other, less intoxicated people in the photo are (l-r) Nic, Matt, retardo the drunk ass, Erica, (my wife) and
1/2 of our friend Mary-Colleens face.

Ahhh...the City.

Ahhh...the City.
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
This is a shot of the ferry terminal as we approached San Francisco last Saturday. I still find it hi-larious whenever I hear the word "ferry"...considering San Francisco's reputation. I particularly like when someone says "Oh, you guys rode the ferry?"

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A long time ago....

Nerd Alert
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
So yeah. I'm a flake on my own damn blog. I was supposed to be giving updates on my STAR WARS viewing and a mini SITH review but I completely dropped the ball. My bad. I did take a photo of the theater can see it here. Yay. Whatta dork. As I mentioned about REVENGE OF THE SITH, I absolutely and totally loved it. I loved the build up. I loved cutting work...err...getting sick and deciding to go to the movies. I loved the people in sleeping bags out front. And, most importantly, I loved the movie.
In a way I'm more angry about the other 2 prequels because this one was so good, I wonder what the hell was going on with the last two. Episode one was a total waste of time, energy and anything else. Episode 2 was slightly better. I actually liked it quite a bit but mostly because of Yoda.
Episode Three does NOT screw around. Heads, arms and legs get chopped off and a general mood of darkness settles in pretty quick. I don't want to give anything way but I will say that by the end, I truly felt a sense of closure. It felt good that something that started for me when I was 5 or 6 ended in a good way. Hard to believe that these films have basically been with me my whole life and now I'll probably never see another new one.
Kinda sad...but kinda neat too. It's not like I sat around waiting for new STAR WARS installments, but they've always been there. Now I'll have to move on to something else or become an incurable dork who collects every STAR WARS releated item he can find. Only time will tell if I choose the way of the Jedi or the Sith...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

You are my father?

Aww dad
Originally uploaded by dlew022.
Just got in from REVENGE OF THE SITH and looooved it. But I want to digest it a little more before I post. Also, I conked out during ATTACK OF THE CLONES so no re-review. Not because it was bad, moreso because I've been fighting a cold.

So on a previous blog, I mentioned I raced all over town trying to find copies of THE PHANTOM MENACE and ATTACK OF THE CLONES only to find them all rented and/or purchased. I forgot to add my own little Luke/Annakin Father/Son happenning to the anecdote.
I've lived here for over 25 years and my parents have lived in the same house all that time. We've also rented from the same video store over all that time...well, until I moved. I also have an account at a larger chain store NOT named BLOCKBUSTER. So I head to the stalwart indie video store of my youth and after discovering no STAR WARS, I decide to rent IN GOOD COMPANY which I loved the first time and had originally seen without my wife. I figured a little
Scarlett Johansson would make the lack of Lucas's stunning writing all O.K.

So I grab the flick and head to the counter. I kick the digits and the girl goes..."are you Don Lewis Senior or Junior?" I go.."Junior, why?" She gets that look on her face that says "minimum wage isn't high enough to have to say things like this" and goes, " says on here not to rent to Don Lewis Jr." My dad had blocked me from the account. The account we've had on the phone number we've, well they've had for years. I had just used the account maybe 6 months ago and turned the movie back in on time as well.

To make matters worse there was a "description" of me in the computer. The girl read it to me (apparently so I'd really believe I was blocked or due to my high security threat) and it read "tall...brown hair...around 27 years old." Nice one, pops...I'm over 30.

I opened my own account in about 90 seconds...but still. What a dick. I know it was him too because my mom doesn't rent movies. It's nice to know that you don't have to be a Jedi to want to kick your dads ass.

Monday, May 16, 2005

You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone...

Originally uploaded by dlew022.

Unless you live under a rock, you know that the "final" installment of STAR WARS hits theaters this Thursday. Now, if you're not excited you're either:
A) Female
B) A stick-in-the mud
C) Some uber-chic wannabe jackass
D) Still living under the aforementioned rock.

I'm a big way. So much so that I think I have a case of "Sith Fever" set to hit Thursday and I won't be able to come into work.

Now, I know the last 2 STAR WARS films have sucked mightily. They're especially galling to me as a screenwriter because George Lucas does every Screenwriting 101 no-no in both films. If you're Charlie Kaufman or Jean Luc Godard , hey...knock yourself out. Those guys mess with screenwriting in creative and exciting ways. Lucas merely wallows in cliches, hackery, cheese and the worst of all offenses, exposition through dialogue.

Yet I'm still excited and I know millions of people are as well. How do I know this you ask? Because as I got off work I decided to have a little STAR WARS prequel marathon this week. I went to THREE different video stores to wither buy or rent the prequels and all four stores said "Yes, we have no Padme." They also had no Annakin, Jar-Jar or Obi-wan for that matter.

Bag on the films and the die-hard fans all you want but we're never going to see a social/cinematic experience like this again. I'm glad I care enough to enjoy it while it's still here. I mean, sure. I loved the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and was there for the first screening all three times. But I also know that parts 1 & 2 didn't fly off store shelves the way CLONE WARS and PHANTOM MENACE have as we speak.

Stay tuned for more STAR WARS musings that will take you right up to the release this Thursday. I'm seeing the 12:00 (noon) show at Lucas's favorite theater in Corte Madera, CA.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Bruce at the Paramount

Also strange but cool was his set list. He of course played alot off the new album "Devils and Dust" and those songs sounded great. They're very introspective and reminded me that Bruce is like, 55 years old! The only real "hit" was "The Rising" and even that's not really a hit. Some highlights were "Youngstown" off his "The Ghost of Tom Joad" album as well as "My Best Was Never Good Enough"
from the same album. "Racing in the Street" isn't one of my faves, but he did a nice version of it on the piano and dedicated it to Monte Hellman. He also did "Nebraska," "The River," "Johnny 99" and a killer version of "The Promised Land." I also have to admit to not being as big a fan as I thought I was as I didnn't recognize half the songs. But in a way, that was really cool. I was totally engrossed by the show even though I was lost set-list wise. As I started to get a little sleepy, I looked at my watch and saw he had been playing for just over 2 hours! It seemed like an hour at most.

The show was really somber and intense and Bruce again asked people not to applaud in the beginning of songs. It was funny because he seemed to think people were clapping to give him positive feedback. Some may have been but my friend Chuck pointed something out to me after seeing a recent Paul Westerberg show. He said when people shout obscure requests they're really doing it to show off to everyone that they are HUGE fans and that they know alllll the songs. I had never thought of that before and Chuck is right. I think the same can be said for people who go nuts when an obscure song gets played. "Lookit me! I know this song! You probably don't!" I'm sure that's not the case for everyone, but it rings true if you think about it.

Anyway....Bruce Springsteen remains an idol of mine. He rules because he is who he is. He tried to sell out in the 80's when he married that starlet and released those 2 cheesy albums "Lucky Town" and "Tunnel of Love," but the selling out didn't take. He got a divorce, moved back to Jersey and married Patty Scalfia..but maybe not in that order. He not only plays his heart out, he makes music that can be fun, thought provoking and socially powerful. But, he never preaches. He lets his music talk for him. Bruce is the man.


Originally uploaded by dlew022.
In an effort to avoid scalpers, tickets could only be picked up in person the day of the show. You had to have your I.D. and the credit card you used to buy the tickets and after they saw that, in you went. No lolly-gagging, no going back to the car for bong hits or beer. In you go. But the line was like the one at Space Mountain! We lined up across the street from the venue and then headed into an adjacent parking lot. Once in the lot, the line snaked around in a seried of 3-4 switchbacks. If you were flying over, it probably looked like we were in some crazy maze. After the switchbacks, we went out of the parking lot, back around the parking lot and into the venue. It was crazy. Plus, I had drank about 1/2 gallon of water at work and was having a red level pee attack.

Anyway...I made it in and after relieving myself, I was glad I did. Bruce walked out at about 8:15 solo. He asked the audience to turn off their cell phones or else he'd "run through the audience with a chainsaw." He also asked people not to sing or clap along as it would throw him off. It seemed weird, but as the show progressed, it all made sense. Bruce simply owned the stage and the crowd. Having seen the guy run around for 3 plus hours with the E Street band, it was quite a change to see him alone onstage playing guitar, piano and organ. For a couple of songs he just stomped his foot, played harmonica and sang through this old fashioned mic that was all distorted. Very cool.

"Ain't no sin to be glad you're alive..."

Originally uploaded by dlew022.
I'm a pretty big fan of Bruce Springsteen. I'm certainly not as "fanatical" about him as I am about other bands , but I do love The Boss. I was always a fan of his but it wasn't until the 9/11 tragedy that he became a hero of mine. While everyone was off using their limited brain power and oh-so-hillarious punditry to analyze and try to come to grips with what had happened, Bruce just remained Bruce. He let his music do the talking.

I know I was really shaken by what happened on 9/11 and it was Bruce's opening number "My City's in Ruins" on that national TV broadcast that helped me get past feeling scared, confused, sad and generally despondent. Then a year or so ago I was going through another funk (not related to national tragedies as much as personal ones) and my Aunt got me and my wife tickets to see Bruce and the E Street Band at Dodger Stadium. The show completely uplifted me and drew me out of the major state of depression I was in. So when I heard Bruuuuuuce (!) was coming on a solo acoustic tour, I was super excited to go. However, I found out what date he would be here about a week after it went on sale. D'oh.

Never one to take no for an answer (unless it has something to do with making money or furthering my career) I latched onto Satan-in-a-website, all week, trying to score some last minute tickets. No luck. I kept trying and trying like a chump at a poker table trying to snag one measly ticket. Finally, last night, I told myself it ain't gonna happen. I did what every good junkie does and said, "one more hit and I'm done." I logged onto ticketmaster and my call was answered! I got ONE $80 ticket in row X of the balconey at the Paramount Theater in Oakland.

For those of you who follow the alphabet, X is 2 rows from Z and Z is the last row in most cases. In this case the seating followed that logic. But it didn't matter! I was IN! I left work in Calistoga and raced to the venue. I got there about an hour before the 7:30 show and found the most ridiculous line to get in I've ever seen.

To be continued.....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Does this blog look infected?

Infected with HILLARITY maybe! HAHAHAHAHAHah..hah...hah? Ohhh....damn that was good.

So...I started a blog. Yeah, yeah...everyone is doing it. But...I haven't been doing it and me, being the eternal late bloomer, must jump on a trend at the last possible second. Speaking of...have you seen my disheveled bedhead haircut? How about my Camaro?

Feel free to leave comments for me and join in the conversation. We're all good people the best of my knowledge anyway. Thanks for reading and I hope you visit again!