Monday, December 31, 2007

My Top Ten Albums of 2007

Sorry for the delay....it's tough for me to rank things. I'm like a freeking O.C.D. patient when it comes to making lists. Just FYI, the movie one won't be up till the weekend as I simply must see "There Will be Blood" before I rank anything cinematic. That being said, here are my favorite albums numbers 6-10. 5-1 should be up tomorrow pending hangover size.




6. Bruce Springsteen- Magic

When I saw the video for “Radio Nowhere,” I think I posted on here that Tommy Tutone would be pissed that The Boss stole his riff from “867-5309.” Since then, I’ve managed to overlook that as “Radio Nowhere” is a great song that gets me fired up whenever I hear it. I also had some trouble getting into the album and it really took some time to grow on me. But now, I get it and I like it.

While I still prefer “The Rising” to “Magic,” there’s some real advances here for the Boss. He’s “sin ging” all pretty like and seems to be more…available lyrically. He’s not afraid to speak out against the bullshit our government is pulling but he manages to insert these thoughts into songs about life and relationships almost seamlessly. A good example of this is on the song “Livin’ in the Future Age,” my favorite tune on the album, wherein Bruce chats up his lover by assuring her everything’s gonna be all right and the rape of the constitution can’t happen because we’re livin’ in a future age.


7. The Hives-The Black and White Album

I like-a the rock a rolla, what can I say. When you’re battling traffic for 2-3 hours 3 days a week, nothing quenches the road rage like some solid guitar rock that makes you want to play your steering wheel while you curse at the asshole in front of you who just cut you off.

I also love the Hives cocky attitude, smooth suits and their dedication to the guitar riff that made their last album “Veni Vidi Vicious” so ass-kicking. We need more people in rock who want to rock and rock hard. And The Hives do. I’m dying to see them in concert but they were just on the road with Maroon-5 and I can’t go there.



8. Amy Winehouse- Back to Black

Yes, I read the gossip and yes, it’s the epitome of irony that a song about refusing rehab is written and performed by a chick who seriously needs to go to rehab. Hardy har. But, beyond all that is a really great album that borrows heavily from the Phil Specter “wall of sound” sound yet updates it without ruining it. “Back to Black” is a really, really…good album.

Winehouse can belt it out and her self deprecating, life-of-a-fuckup songs settle in with beats and grooves and horns and all sorts of cool sounds provided by Mark Ronson who I think will be shown to be the true mastermind of this album if Winehouse goes with someone else for the next album. If there is a next album. But still, this is just a solid effort and it makes me feel like I’m a hip guy for liking something everyone else likes. That rarely happens.


(I couldn't resist this awful pic of her as a kid!)


9. Will Kimbrough- EP




Will’s new album is an EP….so that’s not just a clever name. I am a huge Will Kimbrough fan and I love this record…but not quite as much as his last few. Plus, I have to come clean. I bought “EP” at his show in Sacramento and listened to it for like, 3 weeks straight. But now, I can’t find it. I bet if I knew where it was, it would be in the top 5. Sorry, Will!

However, I do love this album and I really like the way it feels organic yet really refined, if that makes sense. While he’s redone older songs “Godsend” and “Horseshoe Lake” (which Todd Snider did a while back) there’s some songs on here that are real steps forward for probably the best unsung guitar player out there. His songs have always been awesome lyrically, but there’s a new level on songs like “Hill Country Girl” and “Interstate” that really show how versatile and, well, badass Mr. Kimbrough is. He very well may be an alien. Check him out here.



10. Tommy Womack- There I Said It

For years I had heard great things about Tommy Womack through the Todd Snider community, but I never heard the guys stuff until this past year at South by Southwest. Turns out the mini-hype was well worth it as Tommy is a no frills singer songwriter with that perfect combo of humor and insight I love in my singer-songwriters.

“There I Said It” is an album by a guy who realizes his dreams of being a rock star ain’t gonna happen. But if you’re writing an album lamenting (sort of) the loss of what you thought would happen but embracing what you do have, you’re still making music and that’s the point of art. You do it because it’s what you do…it’s your passion. One of my favorite songs of the year “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Blood” is on there and there’s a song about a day spent swimming with his family at a friends house that’s just about as perfect as songs get. His awesome and funny website can be found here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

new five a.m. video!

The band I manage, five a.m. made a freeking sweeeeeeet music video. It stars Eddie Furlong, Rumer Willis and Ice-T! Check it out below...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Aint Talkin 'Bout Love

I'm talkin' about VAN HALEN!!!

As I mentioned last night, I saw Van Halen and it was just fricking great! Seriously, awesome show! My brother in law scored tix the day they went on sale ($100 a pop! I'll get back to that) and since then we'd been anxiously awaiting the show like two school kids waiting for Christmas break. Finally, the day arrived and I managed to secure us a ride to the show (my wife) and somehow coerced my sister to pick us up. You know what that means...beer! And lots of it.

We left a little too early and decided to get dinner at the Pyramid Ale House in Berkeley. Their Snow Cap is my favorite winter beer so we had some of that and as usual there, some substandard food. Yet before parking the car, we saw a sign that said the BART station was nearby and taking BART to the show (BART is Bay Area Rapid Transit...it's a subway) we could miss all the traffic and my wife could have an easier trip. So, we took BART. Across from us was this guy:




I'm not sure if he was a pimp or a minister, it's hard to tell. But he had that red pinstriped suit on, a sweet white hat and matching red leather shoes. Next to him on the seat was a fur coat. It was pretty kickass! If you look at the reflection in the window, you can see my taking his photo and trying to be sly. BART took us to the show and we got there just in time to miss another one Bob Marley's less talented progeny do some crappy reggae act. All I heard was a lackluster version of "I Shot the Sheriff." Laaaame. Also lame was the fact the "large" beers were $11.00! EACH!! Frigging criminals.

So we got some beers and headed off to our $100 seats which my bro-in-law was convinced were pretty good. The section we were in was just in front of the stage, to the side so that was a good start. Then we started looking for row 19. That would be....the last row. Yup, nose bleeders for $100! Again, frigging criminals. But then again, it's Van Halen with David Lee Roth back at the helm and I didn't really care. Although I felt ripped off a little. Those are $50 seats, people. Here's a photo from our seats from when the show started. The top is blocked off because that's the ceiling at the Oakland Coliseum!!



Grrr.

Before the show started though, i started missing my buddy Lance who is the biggest VH fan there is. I think he and I saw VH with Sammy about 6 times one summer. He lives in Reno now and had his kids this weekend so he couldn't come along. But I texted him and then continued to text him the setlist which was smart because I would have forgot it. Here it is in all it's glory:

You Really Got Me
Show Your Love
Running with the Devil
**A song I didn't know and neither did my bro-in-law**
Somebody get me a Doctor (and I went to get more beer)
Beautiful Girls
Dance the Night Away
Atomic Punk (this was a great surprise)
Everybody Wants Some (and I wanted more beer so I missed it)
So This is Love
Cathedral (part of it anyways) into...
Mean Streets
Pretty Woman

Drum Solo!! I hate to say it, but of the 4 unattractive men up there, Alex Van Halen looked the worst. He looks half dead but dude can still play the drums!

Unchained
I'll Wait (which seemed odd since it was written about and for Valerie Bertinelli...who Eddie divorced....but their kid was playing bass.)
Cradle Will Rock
**last beers**
Hot For teacher
Little Dreamer
Little Guitars (probably my favorite song of the night...Unchained is my favorite song ever but I couldn't hear it very well from our nose bleeders)
Janies Crying
Ice Cream Man (with that same story from the other blog posting I did)
Panama

Eddie guitar solo...which was great! You know, people always focus on Diamond Dave's antics and Alex's giant drum set and 15 foot high gong, and they forget just how innovative and amazing Eddie is. Dude's still got it even if his fingers look like wrinkled dolmas.

Aint Talkin' 'Bout Love
and
Jump

Jump was pretty "gay" as there was a huge inflatable microphone that plopped down from somewhere and Dave started like...riding it around. Not cool. But overall, man....I couldn't ask for much more. I'm not one of those people who needs to hear obscure songs from a band and VH covered the classics. Plus, they were selling shirts that had designs culled from all the old David Lee Roth tours and that was super sweet!! I had a great time until I got home to dogs on crack. I think this is the best reunion tour ever. No frills, just rock.

So.......

I saw VH tonight and it was really, truly amazing. But now, I'm mostly drunk and want to go to sleep but a few things stand in my way...

1. I'm not really tired

2. This computer (at my moms house) sucks. And...

3. I worked it all out (as I'm prone to doing) so I could be safely taken to the show and safely dropped at "home." However, I'm at my parents house and have to sleep it off here rather than go home and snuggle with my girls. In and of itself it's awkward to be drunk at the house you grew up in and be staying there...alone. Plus, I really wish I was home. BUT...Igby is here with me which leads to the biggest problem....

4. I got home about 45 mins ago and just noticed Igby and Oliver (the puggles) got under my parents tree and ate a BOX of macadamia nuts covered in chocolate. At first I was terrified (dogs and chocolate don't mix) and now I'm just annoyed because those two are frigging AMPED up on sugar, chocolate and caffeine. I just want to go to bed so I can get up and go home....and now, that may not happen. They're chasing each other everywhere. EV-ERY-WHERE.

Post Script: I'm about 99.9% sure it was MY dogs idea to get into the chocolate covered macadamias.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

o.k...I'm back

So.....I have the month off of work and it's been amazing. I was seriously on the verge of losing my mind. I feel simply awful about ditching out on work, but if I didn't, I would have cracked up. Seriously. I spread myself way too thin and my literal and figurative "house" was in disarray. My physical house is still a disaster, but....we finished out short film in time to send it in for SXSW and I think we have a great chance of getting in and that would honestly be a dream come true. My mind is almost in order. Almost.

Since I took leave, I've spent time with lil Story (not enough) and grabbed handfuls of homework, readings, papers and just....hanging with fellow students, all of which I needed badly. Now I have a paper and a half left and I'm free. I couldn't be prouder of myself for taking this huge bite of responsibility and coming out the other side mostly unscathed. I had 15 units (5 classes!), my job, my band (who were luckily mostly recording), my BABY, my wife, my life....it was way too much. And sadly, I say I'm "proud" I did it all...but really, I'm pissed that I challenge myself in ways that no one but myself cares about. Seriously, I'm the only one that cares and rather than bask in the glow, I feel like....emotionally raped and as if I did everything half ass...save our movie which fucking rules. Ah well, lesson learned.

Anywho, I'm finishing up 2 papers this week and then..Saturday....VAN HALEN!! What a great cherry on top of this sundae. I unabashedly love VH, especially David Lee Roth VH and I need to blow off some steam. Plus, all the youtube vids of the "new" old VH have been awesome. I saw this tonight and damn, that Diamond Dave can spin a yarn....

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ohh if you knew how I felt now, you wouldn't act so adult now..

My favorite band of all time, as has been duly noted here, is The Replacements. They were, to quote their singer Paul Westerberg, sadly beautiful. They could rock your socks off with one song, then turn around and touch your heart in the next. Then they'd get really drunk, forget their songs and still manage a helluva show. Or so I hear. I never got to see them.

There's also something about them I especially love and loved about Jawbreaker, one of my other favorite bands. They just didn't give a shit about the big time. Jawbreaker did a legendary thing when grunge and Greenday hit in that they let every record exec in town fly them to L.A. or New York, put them up in the finest hotels and let these record companies wine and dine them. All without the slightest intention of EVER signing with any of them. When they finally signed (like, 4 years later), they let the record company buy them all new shit, they toured the world, and then broke up so they wouldn't owe the corporation anything. Sucked for all us Jawbreaker fans, but they did it all on their terms. Which brings me to The Replacements.

The Mats were a big underground band that seemed to be bubbling below the surface of the mainstream for years. They finally got asked to play Saturday Night Live which, for them, was probably a total shock. And hey, that's pretty freeking huge....especially in 1986 when that show didn't suck. So they agree to do the show, fly out there...and this clip below shows what happened. They were awesome, drunk, hilarious and then they all fell down.



Then some years later, Paul came back to SNL as a solo artist and this happened:



Man, I love the Mats.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More adventures in 7-11

So I was in 7-11 earlier and this really aggravated guy comes in. I mean, he wasn't like...stewing or throwing shit around, but I could tell her was annoyed. He starts kind of looking down the aisles and finally yells up to the register guy, "Hey man, where's the visine?" The register guy points down the aisle the guy is in and says "further down..." The guy keeps looking and he goes "I can't see it!?" The register guy goes, "in that aisle, but further down." And the guys goes, "damn dude, I can't see it."

And I thought that was really funny.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Poignant

I'll admit it, I read the gossip websites. Pretty much everyday. It keeps me up on what's new with celebs and their nip-slips and rehabs. Plus, it also spares me the hours involved in reading magazines or watching those daily gossip TV shows that are usually like, a week late on their info anyway. That being said, I'm totally Brittnied out.

I feel really bad for her and I must say, this whole...watching her fall thing is truly similar to Roman Gladiators or those slaves they'd throw to the lions just to watch them get torn apart. It's gone from "WTF happened!?!?!" to "dude, that chick is nuts" to "dude, that chick has seriously lost it" to just plain sad. I admit, as a storyteller/screenwriter/filmmaker, you simply cannot make up the shit that's this poor girl has gone through. It's sincerely tragic and it will end badly for Ms. Spears. And that's sad. I mean it, it's really sad.

Anywho, I remember seeing this clip a few years ago, before the nuttiness really kicked in and man, it was super funny. It's super funny now as well. But watch it and really listen to the last 10-15 seconds. Man, that's the kicker. It's the final scene in the documentary on Brittney Spears that will come out 5 years after we drag her down and pretend we didn't have a hand in her demise.

Monday, November 26, 2007

If someone....

....says you should google or watch the video for "2 Girls 1 Cup" DO NOT DO IT!!!! You have been warned.

Seriously, do not navigate over to google right now.

I'm not kidding.

You'll be really, really sorry.

And no, I'm not challenging you, I'm warning you. I gave in and sought it out because alot of people were talking about it, and I may as well have watched that creepy video from "The Ring."

You've been warned.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Heya, Chuck



I was walking the baby around and noticed "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" was on. I am, and always have been, a total sucker for holiday kids movies on TV. All the Charlie Browns, Rudolph, Fat Albert Santa Claus is Coming to Town...you name it, I've seen it 36 times. Except for anything newer than 1990...and the Garfield ones. So naturally I turned the baby away from the evil screen and zoned out to Snoopy making dinner for Peppermint Patty, Marcy, Linus, Lucy and (surprise surprise) Franklin who Charlie gave a high-5 to in a really sad, latently racist move. He didn't slap skin with any of his other friends...just the "other" friend. But as usual, I digress.

What struck me this year was how frigging rude Peppermint Patty is to Snoopy and Charlie Brown. I mean sure, toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks and jelly beans are shitty components for a Thanksgiving Day feast. But...hello....you're a guest you grouchy beeotch! You don't diss someones food when you invited yourself over because you have no parents. What really annoyed me further was Charlie Brown feels bad about it and soon allows his freeloading friends to go with him to his grandmas house for a "real" dinner. I wonder if all these years, Charlie Brown was more of a pushover/cuckold than a "loser?" I'll be looking closer this holiday season.



After the Thanksgiving show, a newer Charlie Brown special called "He's a Bully Charlie Brown" came on. It was all revitalized (or trying to be) and had Snoopy and Charlie Brown on a halfpipe skateboarding in the opening credits. Neat. They also had some glossy looking computer type animation that really sucked as well. It was basically a pumped up Peanuts and it lacked any and all charm of the originals.

Oh! The "acting" was horrible! They were like Peanuts Robots. "Hello, Chuck. How. Are. You? Going. To. Summer. Camp?" You get the idea. But what really made my night was the fact that we can no longer question or make sly innuendoes about Marcy and Peppermint Patty. See, in "Bully," Marcy and Charlie Brown get to go to summer camp but P. Patty has to stay behind and attend summer school. Torn apart by jealousy over Marcy and Chuck having fun while she is in school, she calls Marcy each night to see what she's missing.

Soon, while on the phone, Marcy starts doing things like, "Oh, hold on sir, I can't hear you because Chuck is nibbling my ear" (I'm not kidding...that really happens) and during one phone call she says, "Oh Chuck....quit squeezing my hand so hard." It all makes Peppermint Patty incredibly jealous and she comes unglued and she sneaks off to the camp to see what's really going on.

Once there Patty begins to look everywhere for Chuck with Marcy attached at her hip....where she is usually found. Now, simpletons would believe the company line that Peppermint Patty is jealous because Marcy is picking up on her man. However closer inspection reveals that Patty never actually states who she's jealous of. If you took some of her statements at face value and "in" the scene, you could easily easily argue she's mad that Marcy is straying from her and in fact, I think the lack of clearness speaks to the fact Peppermint Patty is a lesbian. Not that there's anything wrong with that and hell, since Dumbledore got outed it's only a matter of time before a classic cartoon character comes out of the animated closet. I do have to say my money was always on Goofy though...

Monday, November 19, 2007

EBAY is harassing me.



So I made boo-boo with my ebay account. Here's the deal...
I had a credit card on file with Pay Pal and that credit card expired before I could swap it out. Then I somehow managed to forget my Pay Pal password and accidentally blocked myself out of the site. While this is going on, I won an auction for a $4 bendy toy action figure thingy. I was going to do some stop-motion animating in my massive amount of free time.

So, I call Pay Pal and in order to reinstate my account to me, I need to provide them with the credit card number. Since the credit card had expired and I replaced it, I cut up the old credit card and tossed it. The guy at Pay Pal then said I would have to have the BANK fax them a clearance to which I responded, "are you high? Do you think I have time to have the bank fax you my information? Can't I just tell you my moms maiden name and my dogs name and we can move forward?"

"No, sorry" was the response.

So I then think to myself, well screw it. I'll just let that account sit there and I'll open another one under another email. Brilliant! I set one up and then went through similar phone BS that basically ended up being, I can't change the Pay Pal account or email or some such thing on my Ebay. I need to jump through the hoops to get my Pay Pay fixed. But in the meantime, I have yet to pay my $9 ($5 shipping) for my bendy toy and so now, my Ebay account has a strike and I'm on like, double secret academic probation suspension. And it's all rather annoying and I really don't shop much on Ebay but knowing I can't is really frustrating. But here's the kicker...Ebay emails me about 6 times a week to remind me I have "a strike" and my account is on hold.

I mean, Jesus H. Ebay....I frigging get it. I won an item, did not pay and now I'm in trouble. But for F-'s sake....don't you people think I know by now?! It's reminding me of that storyline in "Short Cuts" where Lyle Lovett keeps pestering the couple who just lost their son to pay for and pick up the cake they bought. He keeps crank calling them and won't let it go that they never picked up and paid for a cake they bought for their kid...when truth was the kid got hit by a car and died. Boy did Lyle's character feel shitty when he found out what happened.

I seriously want to call Ebay and make up some crazy, sad thing that happened but that's never good karma. But still....leave me alone Ebay! I'll fix my shit soon...sheesh...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

lazy blogger...

....i didn't even bother to capitalize.

But seriously...
Many times I wonder how a book or movie becomes "a classic." In terms of newly found crazes, that is.. I generally miss the rise as it comes up, or wholly disagree. But lately I've been reading several people who are just crazy about Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces." I read many blog innuendoes before and finally caught the film about a year and a half ago...when we had "On-Demand"...which, corporate levelling aside...RULES!! Anyway...it's a really, really under-the-radar-yet-you-must-see movies.

There's one scene in particular which apparently sums up the feelings of post-60's hippies as well as 80's kids....or something. It's the one below...and it's just fucking great. Seriously, greatX5. But the whole movie is really good and much like small time classics such as..."Harold and Maude" and "Edward Scissorhands" (that people have rethought and said, "ya know...that shit was the shit!!) I think "Five Easy Pieces" is a GREAT movie on the fast track to being the movie cool/smart/hip people go "Ohh man, that was great!" then get all wrong in their assessment of it.

No matter what you think of the whole thing, here's a clip to whet your appetite...Friend-o. Go rent this...ASAP...you'll be deemed cool somewhere, sometime.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Living and learning...

I love to learn. Seriously. As much as it bites me in the ass in that I know seemingly a teeny, tiny, miniscule bit about everything...just enough to have a conversation with any annoying nut job at a bar or supermarket, I LOVE finding new writers, filmmakers, music...pop culture phenomenon ("Jenkem," anyone?) and whatnot. It's just the bees knees. But when Norman Mailer died the other day, alot of people I enjoy reading were writing their little blog tributes and I seriously had no clue who he was.

Sure, I heard the name and saw the youtube clip posted below (which is freeking...amazing. We don't get "real" moments like that EVER these days) but really, why was he famous? Who was Norman Mailer? I had no idea and I just spent the last hour reading about him and damn it if he wasn't exactly the kind of brilliant/perma-damaged/creative force freakshow I usually find solace in.

My point is that although I can still remember the original "Herbie the Love Bug" license plate (OFP 857)...I'll never know anywhere close to anything. I'm not down about it, I'm just saying.

Enjoy Norman Mailer -vs- Rip Torn on the set of Mailers film "Maidstone"...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

If you haven't...


Checked this out, you're seriously missing out on something cooler than hipster cool could ever be:

http://www.robertplantalisonkrauss.com/

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm back!



After a brief hiatus, I'm back to my blog. Aside from baby time, I've just been plain busy. We're STILL editing our new doc, school is in FULL swing and work, sleep, baby, movies, shows....wow. My old plan to get rid of February and add another hour to the day seems more and more genius all the time.

I'm holding it all together pretty well and I've seen some GREAT movies lately and I also saw Springsteen again! The show was just o.k. Like pizza and BJ's, even when it's so-so Springsteen is pretty great. I just wasn't that crazy about the setlist. It was alot of new stuff...which is o.k....and kind of vapid/pointless old stuff like "Tunnel of Love" and "Workin' on a Highway." Plus they shut off the beer on the third level where we were THEN shut off the escalator going down so it took forever to get more beer.

Still, you gotta respect The Boss. He can do whatever he wants and dammit, you'll like it. I love that he doesn't give in to convention. The whole setlist is here: http://www.brucespringsteen.net/live/2007setlists.html#20071026

I also saw two AMAZING movies: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "No Country for Old Men." I'm doing a review of the latter for Film Threat but man, I simply cannot wait to see it again. I saw a special screening of it in San Rafael and Josh Brolin was there. He was pretty funny and off the cuff...in a douchebaggy kind of way. It opens this Friday I think and you should check it out. Be warned....it's uber violent and bloody and it's also an incredibly frustrating movie, but in a great way.

Tonight there's a really special screening of "There Will be Blood" in SF and I really, really, really want to go. It doesn't even open until Christmas. But, the earliest I can safely leave work would be 4:00 and the doors open at 6:30. Parking near the Castro is a nightmare, plus I have to go to SF again in the morning. But here's the thing....I'm totally loving the MA program at SF State and I really dig my classmates and they all get to go. They all live really close to SF. I hate missing out on fun stuff. When I went to Cal State Northridge, I didn't really work much so I could really enjoy being just "a student." Now I have to balance so much and it takes away from what I really love to do. I'm literally on the fence about going.....grrr.

Anyway, that's a brief update and I plan to write more and more often.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Final blog posting...

....as a non-parent.

How weird, huh? My last post was about the death of one of my oldest friends and this followup posting is (hopefully) my last as a non-parent. The circle of life just smacks you in the face sometimes. Our lil one was due LAST Tuesday (some girls take FOREVER to get ready) so they were talking about inducing my wife next Monday. So after drinking hippy-dippy pregnancy tea for the last week and 1/2, getting pregnancy inducing acupuncture, meditating, thinking positive and walking several miles, my wife went old skool. 2 ounces of castor oil!! Yeahhh baby! How very "Litte Rascals" of you!



I was feeling exhuasted last night so luckily, I fell asleep around 10:30. At around 4:00 a.m., her usual groans of annoyed discomfort became kind of...curious sounds of a "what the hell is going on" variety. Judging by the castor induced bathroom noises, I had a feeling what was going on but apparently more than just the ole bowels moving. There's apparently labor pains and contractions...I dunno. It's been such a long, tenuous ride I just have to take it as it comes.

I do think this is it though. God, I hope so. This is all like a really shitty pleasure delay akin to waiting for morning to come on Christmas Eve. Only we can't really sneak a peek at the presents.

In my final posting as a non-parents, I'd like to say the following...

I hope I'm not a shitty dad like the dad in all those "Everclear" songs. I do have to say the correllation between shitty dads and really creative people seem to go hand in hand, but so do the occurances of girls who turn to drugs and porn due to shitty dads. I'll be proud of my little girl no matter what, but a full page spread in FOX will give me pause.

Everyone says I won't be able to do the things I want to do...and that's fine. It's been a pretty great 35 year long ride (36 years on Sunday!). But what people don't realize about me is, I love seeing movies and hearing music. It's a part of who I am as well as filmmaking, writing and general debauchery and adventure. I do hope I am able to calm down a little, but at this moment, I think it would be unfair to my kid to throw away everything I am in order to fit some Americanized ideal of what "a parent" is supposed to be and act. But then again, maybe I'll want to do that. I dunno. We shall see.

I can't wait till my daughter is here, but I wish she and I and my wife could just go away for five easy days in Hawaii or something. We could just veg out and be left alone. I'm sick of the phone ringing and being asked what the deal is. But what's worse is (and I know, I should be all happy and positive) it's never going to end now. Sure, there will be some lulls when people have met the baby and are over her, but from here until she's like, 18....it's going to be non-stop. One thing I've realized over the past 2-3 years is, I need and love my space. We'll see how that pans out.

But most of all...more than anything...I hope the baby is HEALTHY. I'm sure she won't be HAPPY when she comes out, but I pray she's healthy and my wife pulls through perfectly as well. It's all I've been praying for and wishing on stars for so if you read this this morning/day, I would hope you'll say a little prayer for that too.

BABY TIME!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Aww man...again?



I lost another great friend from the Phoenix family last week, Scott Adrian. At first I wasn't going to post that photo above but dammit, Scott was fucking NUTS and that's him. I don't mean that in a bad way and I think he would be amongst the first to admit it and when I look at that photo, I still get the feeling I always got when I saw "Scotty-Wotty-Doo-Da-Day." Dread, mixed with laughter, mixed with feeling like "old times" mixed with "something is going to happen tonight" mixed with...if it does, I'm glad he's on my side.

Scott had a ton of serious problems all over town. I never, ever had a problem with him though. He and I went as far back as any of my Petaluma friends as he used to live around the corner from this dude Lloyd who I was friends with when I was 11 or 12. Once again, we'd see Scott coming and know trouble was en route. However Lloyd also had a thuggish older brother and between the three of us, we could usually escape his wrath. I can't believe we had a friend named Lloyd. That name is ridiculous. LLoyd. Even spelling it is ridiculous. Anyway...

As time went on, Scott and I were on the football team together (both playing "left out") and also on the track team. Yeah, I was on the track team...what of it? Scott was the ONLY guy in the entire school insane enough to do pole vaulting. I remember that it was on long track team bus rides he and I really became friends. Then we started hanging out at the Phoenix together and were friends for life. He had a penchant for pissing off friends but I think we were alot alike and the early years of our friendship gave us a mutual respect so he never flipped out on me.

The nickname Scotty-Wotty-Doo-Da-Day came from these really great cookies he would make for special occasions. I have no idea when they started getting made and brought to events, but they always made me bust up laughing. Scott, this big, goofy, buffed, tatted out dude would show up with a plate covered in saran wrap and someone would go, "dude, what is that?? And he would say, "Dude, they're Scotty-Wotty-Doo-Da-Day's!" as if you had to be some kind of fucking moron to not know that. When people die, it's those little insights and....insider speak I miss the most. It's the shared joke that you would always get into when you saw each other and never finish saying before you both started laughing as it was old, and familiar and good.

As I said, Scott was frequently in trouble. I heard stories of him beating people up and getting his ass kicked as well. I heard stories of drugs and general weirdness, but I honestly never saw any of it. When I saw Scott, we would hug and grab a beer. We went to a bunch of concerts together and stayed in touch over the years while he was in the Army, living in Germany. I'm really glad I got to hang out with him on Butter and Eggs Day back in the Spring. We hadn't seen each other much and he was in "Cool Scott" mode, even though he was having a shitty time at home and was in serious trouble with the law. We just hung out and talked and drank and had a blast.

I'm still kind of processing it all because sadly, I've been too busy to even think about it and have time to be O.K. with it. I'm sad, but not surprised. Scott was crazy. I think that just like when Nate died, the sadness will kick in when I'm at Gales or the Phoenix and Scott should be there...and he won't be.

I miss ya buddy! Hope you're seriously freaking people out whereever you are!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Hardly Strictly my last weekend...



Since I've been lazily uploading (hillarious) YouTube clips instead of "actually" blogging, I thought I'd throw you a bone and go over my last weekend! Yayyyy! Lets see...

I haven't really posted much about this but my wife is majorly pregnant. Yeah, thanks. She's due the 9th which, yes, is tomorrow. I'm somewhere between excited, terrified and just ready for this kid to be here. I've recently realized I can't really put things that are about to happen or "might" happen into real feelings. I used to worry about every single minute detail of everything before it happened. So much so I'd either end up a nervous wreck or have no feelings whatsoever when the thing DID happen because I kind of lived through it already. So now I just take things as they come. By now you're asking what this has to do with my weekend. Well, I'll tell you.

Since I have no idea how I'll feel when my child arrives, I'm trying to go do cool stuff now. For instance a few weeks ago Will Kimborugh was playing on a Thursday night in Sacramento. I love Will Kimbrough but by Thursdays, I've been driving to school/work and home three times over. Driving two hours to Sac was not appealing. But, I've never seen an entire Will Kimbrough show and when the baby comes, I may want to sit home and make goo-goo eyes until it's time for her to go to bed. So, I went. And I was sooo glad I did. It was an amazing, uplifting and fun show.

So this weekend the baby could be here but Jeff Tweedy was playing the Friday night slot at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. It was a calculated risk to go, but again, I figured it's not that far, the baby isn't here...it's Jeff Tweedy...etc. So I went. I called my friend Brook and picked her up around noon and off we went. We got there way early. So early in fact, we drove right up to one of the stages. It was weird. Like...we were in the wrong spot. But no one said anything so we walked down and grabbed a spot about 100 yards from the stage. Some Australian band was on first then the amazing Buddy Miller. Both were very good and it was a perfect day in SF.

T-Bone Burnett and Friends had been scheduled to play but until midweek last week, no one knew who his "friends" were. I was thinking they could be Robert Plant and Allison Krauss since T-Bone produced their new album (which is amazing, by the way) but it was soon announced his friend were Doyle Bramhall II, Neko Case and...John Mellencamp. That made the yuppie factor jump to 100 for people at that show. Ugh. They hit the stage and it was o.k. at best. It was totally unrehearsed which wasn't bad when the band was doing blues and rock standards. Bramhall and Case were awesome and then out came little Johnny Cougar. I love Mellencamp, don't get me wrong...but he didn't seem to fit here. They played some new song he and T-Bone wrote about the Jena 6 and then something else and then "Pink Houses." The bass player was totally lost on "Pink Houses" and it really made for a weird sounding song. It was all just o.k...not bad, not great. Then came my hero, Jeff Tweedy.

I felt bad for Jeff because a bunch of people split before he went on. I was glad they did because we got closer and really, when there's 20,000 people or more, losing a few thousand doesn't make much of a difference. It was also odd because T-Bone had like, 12 people onstage then Jeff was up there all alone. But he played for TWO HOURS! My friend Cori came too and she likes Wilco but had never seen them or Jeff solo so that was cool to see her see Tweedy solo. And he played a little bit of everything. Uncle Tupelo, Woody Guthrie, old Wilco, new Wilco. It was an awesome show and I'm so glad I went. I may not feel like doing stuff like that any more or I may be too tired. But rather than dwell on what may or may not happen, I'm content knowing that my last concert as a non-parent was my favorite artist on an awesome day.

I also haven't been drinking the last three weeks which is weird. Well, I take that back. Weekend before last my inlaws were here so I got a 6 pack and a 22 oz beer which I drank. The next day...ugh. I have never had a worse hangover. It was really weird. I had a headache that wouldn't quit even after I ate and drank a ton of water. Not cool. Lesson learned.

So Saturday I went to a nice funeral for my friends dad who passed. It was nice to be there and my friend couldn't make it so I'm glad me and my sister and our friend Nate could be there for him. Saturday night I met with our editor who is doing a GREAT job on our new doc. Then I had 2 pints at Russian River and met the nearest living relative of General Custer: Ken Custer. We had a nice talk about Westerns since I've been watching pretty much only Westerns in a class. I don't know why I constantly meet the strangest people whereever I go. Maybe it's because I'm strange and we are all attracted to one another? Maybe it's because I notice interesting people and I'm not afraid to talk to them. I dunno...but I met Ken Custer and he's a cool guy. After my two pints I hightailed it home to watch Seth Rogen and Spoon on Saturday night Live and it was a great episode...for once.

Sunday I saw THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD and it was out-frigging-standing. One of the best of the year. I'll write more on it later but I really want to see it again and it's a long, slowish movie. Now, it's off to work and to await "the phone call" which can come at any moment.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What do you do with a drunken sailor...err...talentless wench?

If you're David Letterman, you do what people should have done a loooong time ago....take her down! If you watch this, I'll buy you a parakeet...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Scorsese Sesame Street

Just trying to get all my youtubing done before it's too late....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Life before Youtube...

Must have suuuucked. Too bad that in just a few short days, I won't have time for youtube or something. But in the meantime...

Monday, September 24, 2007

You gotta watch it with the commercials, just like everyone else


So my favorite show of last year, well, second favorite since LOST woke up halfway through, was HEROES. I'm a total comic nerd at heart and really only stopped collecting when they started making 8-bazillion storylines throughout 20 different comics in order to get us to buy more shit. I distinctly remember being pissed at this brilliant move even when I was like, 14 and it turned me off to comics. However now it's really easy to drop $20 for a big, thick comic book that covers entire storylines. Recently I've read "30 Days of Night," most of "Preacher" and "Mavel Zombies" (in which all the Marvel characters get bit and turn into flesh eating zombies) and I'm smack dab in the middle of "Watchmen," which is on it's way to being a movie. I also whizzed right through the prequel to "Marvel Civil Wars" which was awesome. But, as usual, I digress.

I love the show HEROES and recommended it to everyone. But now that it's out on DVD, everyone seems to kind of hate it. That is to say, everyone who has rented it and didn't watch it week by week, Monday by exciting Monday kind of hates it. And here's where I have to get back to something I've mentioned before: some TV shows need to be watched week by week and not on DVD. Some might call them "water cooler" shows as in, the phenomenon grows because people at work discuss episodes at the ole water cooler. And I think there's something to that. I loved talking SEINFELD with my work friends back in the day. But with HEROES, I feel like you need a week to dream and digest and wonder what's going to happen next.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a "great" show in terms of say, DEADWOOD or SIX FEET UNDER. Those are shows that compel you to watch them in order on DVD. I think THE SOPRANOS is like that too, but I've never seen an episode...sue me. But I will say I totally missed DEADWOOD when it was on HBO and literally ripped through the first season on DVD in one weekend. It's that good.

But shows like HEROES need time to sit with you. Not because they're so overpowering and amazing, but because there's a simple spacial aspect at work. When I was a kid, I could not wait for the next episode of "The A-Team," "Miami Vice," "Robotech," "Manimal" (or whatever). You'd watch em and spend a week re-enacting them or quoting them or dressing like the characters...or whatever. You watch those now on DVD or reruns, and they suuuuck. Sure, they were sucky to begin with, but cultural phenomenon figures into these shows as well. You needed to rush home to see em and then the next day you spend a few minutes bonding with a friend at school or work over the episode, and then waiting all week for the next one. Those are popcorn shows, shows which don't really "deserve" bigtime DVD releases, and HEROES is the same. Here's what I'm saying...

I have a semi co-worker who I really like, but we have nothing in common. She's older, has a bunch of kids, a longtime husband and a house. All things I don't have. We did a kind of entertainment based "dogs sniffing butts" last spring and finally found some common ground: HEROES. We have a great rapport and sought a way to connect on a simple level and TV was an easy concept to agree on. Now for the last three weeks we wonder when it's coming on, what will happen, what we're excited for and then, other people get involved and either like the show too, want to watch it, or think we're dorks. In any case, it's social and it's good. I sure as shit don't need to tell this person about my sex life or my feelings about Barack Obama, but it's sometimes nice to have a friend (or acquaintance) who you can share a pointless, inane TV show with.

So if you watched HEROES on DVD and didn't get it, I'll simply give you this scene from the always amazing film, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS:

Channel 38's showing
Rich Man, Poor Man - all 12 parts.

- No shit?
- Back to back.

Holy shit. Fuck!
Fuck!

364 nights a year I do dick.
The one night I decide to go out...

You gotta tape it for me.

- Can't do it.
- Why not?

You can't tape Rich Man, Poor Man.
You gotta watch it with the
commercials just like everybody else.

That's a good point.

Falcon Eddie.

Man, was there ever a more terrifying
screen villain than Falcon Eddie?

No.- You're gonna watch it?
- Yep.
- All 12 parts?
- Back to back.
Shit.
It's a tough call. You're a bastard.
Yep.
Oh, shit...
Don't drink too much punch.

YA-TAA!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Getting into the Groove

Although I am still dog tired most of the time, things are starting to gel since my last post. I'm mostly caught up on my reading and I don't feel like some bumpkin in my classes any more. Now, I'm really loving my classes. All of them! It feels so good to be in exactly the kinds of classes I've always wanted to be in while studying film. Not to say College of Marin, SRJC and Northridge didn't have their moments, they did. But every one of my classes is really intriguing and I'm having a blast. My fellow MA students are extremely cool too and I'm making friends. Please send money. Oh, wait...that was another letter I need to write. But seriously, I still need a nap. That traffic's killin' me.

Another cool thing is, I'm a TA for one of my instructors. While the prospect of more work isn't too great, it's a slick move to be a TA in the first year of my MA. There's a possibility I could have a paid position by next semester! Right now in my big yellow messenger bag I have 25 essays awaiting my grade. Pretty freaky for me and for them.

Aside from work and school, John and I have been tinkering with our new doc. We shot it in August and rather than be all long winded about it, here's what will be the trailer soon:
http://pop.pressdemocrat.com/default.asp?item=676590

I'm aiming for SXSW for the premiere but I'm also planning on submitting to Slamdance if we get done soon enough. I really think this one will be better than STRINGERS as John and I are older and wiser...and we both bought nice cameras. I'm hopefully meeting with an editor this weekend and we can crank it out by the first week of October.

Things are cruising now (sort of) so I hope to blog more often.

Friday, September 14, 2007

How I been rollin'

So last week, I started the MA (Masters) program in Cinema Studies at San Francisco State. I'm loving the classes and for once, I'm really feeling challenged by the work and, more importantly, by the other people in my class. That's not to get down on past classes and teachers, but most college students-in my experience-are lazy morons who are going to school because our stupid society has decided "everyone" should get a college education. Some people don't belong in college. When I first went to college out of High School, I did not belong in college. Maybe I don't now either, I dunno.

Anyway, I've been beyond super busy. It's almost laughable. Here's my schedule on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Pile on top of that the fact I have a ton of reading and usually 3-4 films I need to watch each week. Welcome to my nightmare....

5:30 a.m.
Wake up, shower, check email.

6:00 a.m.
Hit the road

6:15 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
Sit in commute traffic. It's been taking me 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours to get to school each time I go...and San Francisco is like, 50 miles away. Plus it costs $5 to cross the Golden gate Bridge and another $5 for parking so by the time I burn gas with that, I'm down about $60 a day. Why not take the bus? Read on...

9:10 a.m. Classes start. Tuesday is Genres (Westerns in this case), Wednesday I have an undergrad Doc class at 9:10 (I'm also a TA in there) and then an Intro to Grad studies class from 1-4. Thursday I have a 9:10 class in Non-Narrative film.

All my classes are totally great but by the time I get there, my ass hurts and I'm in a bad mood. Luckily I've been feeling sick on wednesdays so I don't have to do what I do Tuesday and Thursday which is...

12:00 noon
Race to my car, and drive to Calistoga to go to work.

1:30
Get to work and...work.

5:30 or 6:00
Go home. See Erica. See Igby. Kiss the baby. Check email and tell myself over and over that it's not Igby's fault dad can't plan well and he really, really needs a walk. Look at dishes piled in sink. Look at stack of books that have chapters that need to be read so I don't sit in class like a frigging mute. Remember the last 2 meals I've eaten have been in the drivers seat of my car on the 101 freeway.

7:00
Try to ignore Jeopardy and do my online reading.

8:30
Realize I'm fading fast but have a chapter to read.

I should also point out that I don't sleep well when I "have" to wake up at a certain time. For some reason I always think my alarm will fail. Plus Erica is like, 8 and 1/2 months preggo so she's extremely uncomfortable in bed. She tosses and turns and moans and groans so I now sleep in the other room. Which sucks. It's official: We are roommates.

9:30 or 10:00
Go to sleep and do it all over the next day.

I will say, having Wednesday the way it is is pretty nice. And, I've stayed at my Aunts house one Wednesday and will do it again...she's about ten miles from SF so that's really nice. Today and Monday are also nice but the baby is coming, John and I are still editing our new short doc and I'm lazy by nature.

So, that's where I've been and what I've been doing. Things are hectic right now and I'm trying to find a groove. it's happening, slowly. Oh! I'v also been seeing some great films in SF after class on Wednesday....more on that later. As you can see, I got shit to do....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Last Weekend

So last week was pretty lax at work as the kids are still on summer break and our program shuts down. I had a few things to do, but mostly it was mellow. My wife's friend came in from L.A. last Thursday so I used her going to the airport as an excuse to go to Dempsey's and get a ride back home safely. I hadn't been there in a while and, well, it wasn't that great. Same people doing the same stuff. Yawn. I hit some other bars too then we had dinner and I went home. But, late that night I told A.J. (my wife's friend) that I had a big plan for the next day.

Friday rolled around and I got up around 11:00 after A.J. started yelling "Donny and A.J.'s Day of Fun!!" as loud as she could. So I got up and we walked down the street and had pizza...then went next door and saw the movie ROCKET SCIENCE. It was really, really good! It's about this super competitive girls on the debate team who recruits the school stutterrer to be on the team. There's alot more to it than that and the film is pretty one of a kind. I LOVED the music most of all. It was done by Eef Barzalay of the band Clem Snide. Lots of funky guitars and toy instruments. Very cool.

Then phase two of the day went into effect. There's a bus stop 20 feet from my house that goes downtown every 20 minutes. My idea was to take the bus to Russian Rivew Brewing, hang out there till my wife got off work and at that same time, my buddy and I would be off to see WILCO. Did I mention Wilco figured into this plan too? Well, they did. So we took the BUS downtown to drink beer.

There was me and A.J. and this younger hispanic girl on the bus when we stopped around the corner and picked up a young black man on his way to work at Target. As the bus rolled on, he turned past us to the young girl and said, "So where's the parties at tonight?"

She rightfully said, in a "who the hell are you?" type of tone, "Parties? How would I know where the parties are at?" The black kid shrugged and goes, "What, are you pregnant?"

Seriously, that was the conversation. Apparently if you're a female and don't know where the parties are, you must be pregnant. She said she wasn't pregnant and then proceeded to go sit next to the guy and chat the whole way downtown. He even scored her digits! I weep for our future.

So A.J. and I got dropped off downtown and spent a good 3 hours at Russian River before our respective rides took us away. Wilco was amazing!! I know you might think I always say that, but I listened to a few live shows lately and they were dull and boring...and it felt like Tweedy was doing the same banter. And he did the same sort of banter at the show we went to, but then he opened up and had fun. They played for over 2 hours and included some songs I've never heard them do. They were tight but loose and had a kick ass wall of sound going the whole night! It was killer!

Then I came home and watched about 5 episodes of "Flight of the Conchords" and passed out in my chair.

This will be the last big weekend for a while as the baby is coming, I start the Masters Program at SF State this week, we're editing our new film AND my work restarts this week. Not cool, not fun....busy. It's almost like I'm a grownup and that's not cool.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm afraid of Americans



Each day that I walk my dog, we always pass these crappy, stinky, ghetto looking apartment buildings and on the balcony of one of them is a big ole American flag. I've noticed it the last 3-4 times and it always gets me thinking. Do you notice that like, 98.7% of the American flag stickers you see on a car are usually accompanied by some kind of pro-war or pro-Bush sticker? Or at best there's a "support the troops" ribbon and at worst, something creepy like...a rebel flag or Calvin pissing on a Ford logo or what have you. When did my flag become the logo for arrogant, misinformed, xenophobic dipshits? Yes, you absolutely have the right to support who you want and support the idea of "America" (which incidentally is being raped by the very same people you so rabidly support) but I can't help but feel people flying the flag don't really support "America" as much as they support bullying anyone who doesn't support right wing philosophies or war.

I will say that when I see an American flag with a peace sticker near it, that same car usually has about 50 stickers promoting all sorts of leftwing drivel which pisses me off because it's exactly the reason I can't stand lefties. Pick a POINT people...not 50 points. Look at the righties, they get the talking point and stick to it...and they're ruling the world. Figure it out!

Yesterday I finally saw the people in the shitty apartments who had the flag on their balcony. It was three fat ass early 20-somethings. They were drinking beer on their balcony and having a good ole (boy) time. Their buddy pulled up when I was there and he had some shitty raised up truck that had a rebel flag sticker next to an American flag sticker. I noticed he had pulled up next to indentically decorated shitty truck that belonged to someone in the apartment of rednecks. That's when it clicked for me.

So many people use the flag as a kind of, scare tactic. Where the flag used to stand for freedom and an open door and a better way of life, it now it stands as a kind of warning for non-whites and people who might want peace or healthcare for everyone. I realized that everytime I see an American flag sticker on someones car as I pull up next to them, I think "Oh, God...bet this guys a huge Bush supporter." Or if I see one hanging from someones door or porch it inevitably has some kind of strong right wing slogan near it. I guess what I'm saying is, when did that happen and what can be done about it?

I've never really been into bragging about my territory. Yeah, I know this blog and my films stuff say Petaluma Films, but that's an homage and not a sticking point like "Nor Cal" logos or Rebel flags are. I've just never really been into arguing about where I'm from and yelling "Wesssst Siiiiide" to random people. But I just feel like the American flag has become a badge of bullying for anyone who doesn't want to think for themselves. It's flown and shown as a warning or as a "Mess with us and we'll stick a boot in your ass" type of slogan and that sucks.

And that's my rant for the week. But seriously...what gives?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Joey, do you like...gladiator movies?



If my name were Joey and I were in the cockpit of "Airplane" and heard that question, I'd have to say "no, I don't like gladiator movies." I realized this last night while watching the movie "300." I kept meaning to see it in theaters, up on the bigscreen but something always came up and I kept missing it. I know now that secretly, I didn't really want to see it because I don't like gladiator movies.

I kind of thought I didn't about a year ago when I tried to get into HBO's "Rome." It was cool looking...had lots of blood and nudity, but something was amiss in my mind. It was just kind of "meh." Then, last week, I rented the directors cut of Oliver Stone's "Alexander" because word on the street was if the movie had been released the way it was released on the speical directors cut, it could have won some Oscars. I got about an hour into "Alexander," started dozing off, fast forwarded to the scenes where Rosario Dawson was naked and then shut it off. I didn't even feel bad, it just wasn't doing it for me. Which brings us to my renting "300."

I wanted to rent it when it came out, but all the copies were checked out. Instead I rented some "Deadwood" season one episodes because I never saw that either. (**Note** It RULES!!! and the aforementioned "Alexander." So after watching five straight season one "Deadwood" episodes, I had to get more. When I went to get more, I noticed "300" was in stock so I got it. After watching 5 more "Deadwood" episodes over two nights, last night I decided to watch "300" so I could savor the "Deadwood" tonight. And "300" was o.k. It was just....o.k.

Yeah, it looks totally awesome and unique. The battle sequences are cool and there were some shots in which I literally went "oooooh." But other than that, ho-hum. I will say (and this is without cynicism) it's nice to see a full-on right-wing Republican based movie. While I certainly don't agree with right-wing conservatism, it does deserve to be recognized and presented as art. If you think I'm overanalyzing the movie then you really must have been spacing out. The Spartans are easily Republicans of the current ilk. They go against the populace to wage a "pre-emptive" strike and this enter into an un-winable quagmire. Oh, wait. that's my interpretation. What really happens is honor and duty to country and freedom inspire 300 spartans to attack the brown skinned persians who are seeking to take over the world through their barbarism and mysticism. Yeah, no Muslim connection there. Plus there's lots of right-wing required male homo-eroticism to make any closeted gay man sweat while he watches the movie beside his Christian wife. But I digress.

My point is, "300" was o.k. and I realize now gladiator movies aint my bag baby.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Randoms



Here's some weird/funny/random stuff that happened to me recently...

About a month to a month and a half ago, we started hearing this frigging rooster crowing in the park across the street at around 4:00 a.m. every morning. We live across from a huge park that has a gigantic playground and a little choo-choo train that goes by maybe twice an hour. The train whistle is kind of annoying, but it's also kind of quaint. However, the low, guttural build up to crows that comes from a rooster loose in the woods is just annoying.

Each morning my wife and I would groan and one of us would curse the bird...then we'd put a pillow on our heads and go back to sleep. But the day after my last Giants game my wife told me our neighbor came over that night. I'm not sure if I mentioned the new neighbor before...but when we moved in there was some questionable concerns about his like (or murderous hatred) of animals. So my wife tells me "__________ came over last night and he said "well, you won't have to worry about that rooster any more." Yeah, he killed it. We didn't ask how or when but the why was pretty evident.



Yesterday at work I was walking back from lunch and I crossed a bridge that has a little creek in it. I stopped and wondered if there were even any fish in the creek so I looked down. There were all sorts of little minnows and even a few bigger fish just hanging out. The I saw a turtle swimming under water! It was just cruising around and eating stuff it found on the bottom of the creekbed. I stood there and sort of revelled in the neatness of the moment. It was nature in action and not like...crows or squirrels. It was a turtle just swimming along!

As I stodd there taking in the peaceful scene I somehow wondered how turtles have sex. Well, how do turtles have sex? It struck me as odd not only that my mind went there but also that I had never really thought about it before. I mean...they're basically a shell with 4 legs, a neck and a head, right? I've even owned a few turtles in my life and the thought simply never crossed my mind. It just seems like an awkward mating ritual at best and a painful disaster at worst.
----------------------------------------

I was walking Igby in the park last night when my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number or area code so I didn't think it was anyone I was trying to avoid. I answered it and the womans voice on the other end said, "Oh...hiii.....this is (so and so) from the (so and so) and I'm wondering if Gilley or Glenda are there?" "Gilley or Glenda?" I asked. "Yes...either one" came the reply. "Sadly," I said, "I think you have the wrong number."

Gilley or Glenda...come on.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

other 756 $tuff...

This feels funny to post, but I have to.

So, the guy I went to the game with last night is NOT into baseball. Great guy, cool guy to hang with, great taste in music....doesn't get like...diehard freaking out about sports. That's fine. But as we were leaving, his ticket from the game kind of fell out of his pocket. This guy on the steps saw it and acted like my friends liver had fallen out. "Dude, your ticket!!! My buddy brushed it off and said, "nah, it's cool" and the guy looked like some kind of murder or ancient burial ground uprooting had happened. I saw some freaky looking guy pick it up and give it to some skater punk.

Now look, I gave up collecting comic books and baseball cards a long time ago. But I still have my stub from Greg Maddux's 300th win and I have stuff that means alot to me personally. I can admit to you, dear blog readers, that I grabbed a BUNCH of streamers from the home run celebration last night and stuck em in my pocket. I like stuff like that.

So, this skater kid ends up with my buddy's ticket and my buddy just keeps walking. So I walk over to the kid and go, "oh man, thanks for grabbing my ticket" and I swipe it from him. No one said much and we all went on our merry way (us, way, way before the end of the game because once Barry hit it, I was done for the year!) back to the car.

By the time I got home I was restless so I decided to see if people were selling ticket stubs on ebay. Sure enough, $68 for a stub. I put my extra on ebay for $50 starting bid and buy it now for $300 and I currently have TWO bids! I end within the half hour...

UPDATE......sold the stub for.....$73.00

756


The dog days of summer are upon me at work. As much as I love my job, I'm getting sick of the same kids for 8 hours a day. Same arguments, same jokes, same reprimands, same Uno games (although I did buy a "High School the Musical" Uno set which seems to really intrigue the kids). Zzzzz. Yesterday was one of those days too....where I didn't feel like being there but had no real excuse or reason to leave early. I grabbed some lunch (same frigging store) and returned to my closet/office to eat. I then got a phone call from an old friend who had 2 CLUB LEVEL tickets for the Giants game.

Now, I had sworn off this sorry excuse for a team upon my return from seeing them in Boston. They frigging suuuuuuuuuuck. They don't even suck in a "hey, we're young and are going to get better" way. They're flat, boring, predictable and horrible. But, Barry was tied with hammerin' Hank and hell, I've seen some pretty cool stuff in my career as a baseball fan and dammit if this crappy '07 team didn't owe me something. So I had my reason to leave eearly and off I went.

I picked up my buddy at his house. He's a union plumber and these are Union Plumbers seats. About 92% of my friends and family are plumbers for some reason. Very, very weird. As I always say, I could be a plumber....all you need to know is shit flows downhill, paydays Friday and don't bite your nails. But I digress. My friend is not a sports fan and he just wasn't grasping the true magnitude of the situation. As soon as we got there, he did. The yard was buzzing.

I hate to be one of those sketchy liar types who say "I could feel it in the air" before something happens. Kind of like people who scream "it's earthquake weather!!" in October or November, almost praying for an earthquake so they can say, "remember when I said it was earthquake weather!?!" But once we got to our (sweet, 2nd row, club level, behind home plate) seats, there was a stillness in the air. It just felt like tonight was the night and I just wanted it to be over. Let me step back for a second.

I know people hate Barry. They say he's a prick, a cheater, he didn't sign their ball, he raped their kitten, he has a recliner outside his locker, he's a showboat...blah blah. I used to feel the same way. Then I realized, the dude is who he is and he simply is not going to change. Not for you, not for me, not for anyone. I totally respect that as long as he's not hurting people. I then realized, the guy has never done anything to hurt his team. Ever. He doesn't get busted at strip clubs or break his wrist doing wheelies on his motorcycle. Hell, he's been on TWO teams his whole career. For a guy thats always been the caliber of a player that Barry is, in the era of free agency, that's nuts. A-Rod is already on his 3rd team and he'll be a Giant next year making it 4 teams. Hell, Barry's only had 4 managers his whole career! What's my point? I guess I'm saying that for a selfish asshole (as he's supposed to be) he sure has shown alot of loyalty. Anywho...

Since I know people hate him and since I have a big mouth, I always find myself defending him. I'm a Giants fan and he is our team. I'll be damned if I'll let someone badmouth the best player on my team. But, it gets tiring and frankly, kind of boring. I, and I think all Giants fans, just wanted the HR chase to be over. I know I did. And I also wanted to see it.

So back to the still of the evening, August 7, 2007. Barry was 2-2 when he came up for the 3rd AB. The Giants were tied and the at bat was a pretty good battle. Then...the swing. The hit. I seriously don't remember any sounds. I just watched the ball and prayed it would clear the fence. It did and it strangely felt like a weight was removed from me. I was so happy for Barry and so happy he became the Home Run King and I was (and am) soooooo happy it's over. Fireworks went off, streamers burst fourth and Barry rounded the bases. When hank Aaron came on the screen to congratulate Barry, I was finally moved to tears. Well, moved to misty eyes. It was a perfect night and the highlight of an otherwise miserable season coupled with what, 9 years of arguing in bars, stadiums, message boards and anywhere else where I couldn't let it go.

No matter what I say, if you think there should be an * or not or if he really is a scumbag or if he's not that bad. No one's going to change their mind this far into the game. There's no new information (although my, Kerry Wood looked slender last weekend) about who did what and all we have now are blowhards on both ends. Think what you wanna think. me and Barry and all us Giants fans don't care.

Congrats Barry. You're the best. Don't ever change.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Superbad.

There's a new movie coming out called SUPERBAD and it looks hillarious. The first crop of trailers they had for the film didn't do much for me, but this scene is frigging...nuts.

NOT SAFE FOR WORK...OR KIDS...OR PRUDES You've been warned.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Flight of the Conchords

I'm really liking HBO's new show, "Flight of the Conchords." I agree it's kinda of a British "Tenacious D," But I never got into Tenacioud D. I do like FOTC though. It's still finding it's feet but this song makes me crack up every time. I'm putting it here so I'll know where to find it...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Me so sensitive...


Since I have still been working and thus, not really enjoying life as much as I'd like, I thought I'd share another side of me. My deep, sensitive side. Above is a photo of me with my new niece, Lizzy J at dinner at "The Tides" in Bodega Bay. Yeah, "The Birds." Again. OH! This time I got a mouse pad!

If I were single, in that photo you would not only see hordes of women behind me "ooh-ing" and "ahhh-ing," I'd have 20+ comments of equal "oooh-ing" and "ahhh-ing" from girls. Alas, as is evidenced by the tiny silver band that used to be a full inch-wide before I returned to Nor-Cal, land of amazing (yet not light) beer, I'm spoken for.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Today at work, I took a group of kids to mini-golf/bumper boats (ie: "LET'S GET DON!!!)/and video arcadery. If was fun although man, I'm sick of driving. Plus when the kids could only think of "Happy Birthday" as a song to sing all the way home, the day tends to go long.



That photo above is a camera phone shot of this awesome faux-gold pendant I made for my wife. If you can't see it clearly, it's me leaning on my left hand as it's folded under my chin. You pose for a few photos, pick the one you want and then the machine clinks it out on the pendant for a mere $5. Very, very romantic.

So there you go, I'm not all beer, movies, music and paranoia. I like kids and trinkets too. And beer, movies, music and being paranoid.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Project: Update 1



The man in the photo is my doc partner John. Take a good luck because he's sober (mostly) and that's rare. Then, look at what he's holding. It was a small camcorder that got dropped out of the window of a limo, run over by a rastafarian 4-door and then dragged by a boat.

Curious how that can happen? I bet you are....stay tuned true believers....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bob...Allen. Allen, Bob...

I simply cannot wait for the new Todd Haynes movie "I'm Not There." This year and last have been unexpectedly "Dylanccentric" due to his biography (ies), the Scorsese doc (which is frigging...awesome) and his lil tour than included Santa Rosa, right where I live. He's also playing this summer at the "joke" venue...Styx and Def Leppard are there 2 days later. I may actually go to Styx/Def Lep, but thats another blog entry.

I've always really loved Dylan, but he's so unapproachable as an artist and his back catalogue is so amazing, I always felt like a major late comer getting into him. Anywho, I sucked it up (and illegally downloaded tons of stuff) and now I'm up to snuff for the most part. Hence this late night entry and the new movie...which features a few different people playing Bob Dylan. Here...it's Cate Blanchett and a certain comedian playing a certain beat poet. It's all pretty awesome and brilliant if ya ask me!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Project

So this Saturday, I start a new doc project with my partner, John. I don't want to give too much away, but my real time friends know what it is and it's going to ruuuuule! By rule, I mean...totally, totally rule. I will say this...

There's alot of heartbreak in the world. Our democracy is crumbling around us, life's unfair, gas prices are ridiculous. People on our own soil...hell...in our own towns are starving and no one takes notice. As commoners in society, we really have no voice and sometimes, it's up to the music and filmmakers of the world to enlighten us. Our next film will touch on none of those issues. It will not solve or strike up a single conversation on the state of the world...per se.

All I will say is...if you like ridiculous, id driven entertainment but not as blantantly stupid as "Jackass," you're going to want to get in line now to see what we got cookin'. We shoot Saturday and I hope to have pics up soon to give you a better sense of the project.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New five a.m. songs!!

Sorry for not posting....I've been soooper busy. Ugh. I long for the days of not having a job and writing stuff all day. Blogs, screenplays, movie reviews. Alas, it doesn't pay well and if you don't get paid, you can't buy beer. Plus, personally there hasn't been much going on. Or so I thought. Then I realized I neglected to announce that FIVE AM, the band that I manage (and that also consists of my friends) have "released" the 3 songs they recorded up in Cou-Town. Or, Vancouver, BC if you will. These songs are amazing All three. I definitely think the song "Be Still" is pop perfection and you'd have to be a totally cynical asshole to not like it. I AM a cynical asshole and I love it. It's beautiful.

Although I love all three songs, my second favorite is the song "Lillian." When I first heard it, it took me aback. Having heard it live I always had it pegged for a more Americana sound. Pedal steel, a harmonica....maybe a wurlitzer. But the bands producer, Jeff Dawson, took it and crafted it into an even more beautiful creature that I really love now. At first, it took time to dig it because I had it turning out differently in my mind, but that's why you pay good producers. To make something special.

Anywho, the guys are back and we're currently plotting our attack and that's no easy task. I once managed a band that had 11 members and trying to get them to agree on gigs, albums, set lists and who's sitting by who in the van was brutal. Now that our little "team" has started evolving, I see those days happening again. And that's fine. In fact, it's something I look forward to because it's alot like making a film. We're all hoping and thinking and plotting in our own minds and when you get together, you have to hash it out. But it's a good feeling knowing we're all pushing in the same direction. "What" direction that is...I have no idea...but we all want to succeed and that's what's important.

PLEASE listen to the new songs >>>HERE<<< and chime in if you get a sec.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hi-larious

When I was at CineVegas, I was totally, totally blown away by this movie called "The Living Wake." The guy who wrote it and stars in it, Mike O'Connell is a comedian out of L.A. and I'd never heard of him. But I say now without hesitation, he's a genius. He's like a dirtier Zack Galafanakis and that's a good, good thing.

Here's a video he did that alerted Mark from Film Threat to his brilliance. It's nothing like "The Living Wake," but it's still really funny...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Annnnd...I'm an UNCLE!!




My lil sister Kiff gave birth to a baby GIRL TODAY!! Yay Kiff!! As you can see from the photos, the baby looks like Kiff if she was a really pissed off old lady. If you've never met my sister Kiff...now you know what she would look like if you met her in like, 60 years and her soup was cold.

Anyway, I'm super excited and proud and thrilled to be an UNCLE! I also think Kiff and her husband Chris are totally awesome people so I'm super happy for them as well.

GO KIFF!! Now we just have to think of a pointless, yet catchy nickname for little Elisabeth Jean....E.J.? Lizzy-J? Rest easy, I'm on the case!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

R.I.P. Shooter



Bad news for Giants fans as my personal all-time favorite Giants closer, the amazing Rod Beck was found dead in his home today. He was only 38. While I don't have a specific Rod Beck memory, I just remember him bringing a smile to my face when he came into games. He was fat, had a mullet and that burly 'stache and as he looked in for the sign, he'd always dangle his arm and swing it back and forth. Sure, it was all an act and no one knew that better than Beck. And then he'd strike your ass out.

As of now, there's no details on what his cause of death was, but I'm sure it'll turn out to be something shitty. Apparently he had gone to rehab for substance abuse in 2004. Plus he smoked like a chimney and apparently drank like a champ. Man, what a drag.

Read an excellent article abour Beck by the outstanding sports writer Henry Schulman HERE.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Best video ever...

Tonight...it's you...



Tonight....is...

CHEAP TRICK AT THE PETALUMA FAIR!!!!!

When I heard the news that one of my top 5 all-time favorite bands was playing the PETALUMA FAIR I squealed like a little girl as I drove my car through town. I. Love. Cheap. Trick! I've seen em 2-3 times but never in the friendly confines of my hometown...and it's going to be SWEEEEeeet! If you're reading this and can make it, come on down!! Pics to follow!

p.s. When I took a shuttle from the airport to my car after Cinevegas, the guy driving me had his name on a placard in the van. I took a photo and that's it! (Ed. note his name was "Surendra"...as in, "Surendra, surendra...but don't give yourself away...)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Home is where the nap is...

I made it back from Boston and I'm beat! I have friends who travel all the time, sometimes from city to city and hotel to hotel for months in a row. I don't know how they do it. Flying knocks me out and my nightbird lifestyle certainly doesn't help. I've also recently discovered the secret and joy of sleeping entirely through the night (hint: prescription drugs) and it's made me increasingly lazy. Or increasingly restful. Whereas I used to wake up every hour on the hour for five hours prior to when I needed to be up, now I'm out like a light. It's great but sometimes I just go back to sleep...like a normal person.

Anyway...Boston was incredible! I am now a Red Sox fan. I think everyone besides Yankee and A's fans kind of have a soft spot for the Red Sox, but being in that atmosphere was an incredible experience. I LOVE baseball and being in a stadium full of people who love their team (and aren't showing off for clients, yakking on their cell phones or reading the paper) was refreshing. People stood and cheered for every second strike, hoping for the K. Plus, the Red Sox not only have a great team, they're balanced in every sense of the word. Sluggers & superstars (Papi and Ramirez), working class players (Youklis), local heroes (Papelbon, Pedroia)....strikeout pitchers (Dice-K, Schilling the prick), a knuckleballer (Wakefield), a CLOSER (remember what those look like feloow Giants fans?) and some goats (Julio Lugo and JD Drew...although Drew seems to be coming on).

The worst part of the trip: THE GIANTS. Seriously, watching my team stink to high heaven with absolutely no hope of winning shit this year was the worst part.

But I'm back now and my job becomes the real deal (as in, 8 hours a day) for the next 2-3 months. I also have a new doc me and John are shooting and I'm going to attempt to write a short film and then, at summers end, get started on a feature script. Or maybe an outline that I want to shoot with some improv actors. I dunno. I'm ready to get back to work! Work on movie stuff that is.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Boston Days 2 & 3

I was out late last night and got up early today to tour Fenway, so I'll combine yesterday and today into one post.

The game yesterday was a blast! Fenway is everything AT&T wishes it was. The atmosphere is unreal, the fans are IN to the games and the whole experience is amazing.

We got to the park early for BP and walked right down next to the Giants dugout. As batting practice went on, some local TV crew started asking gathered fans what they plan to do when Barry comes up. The Sox fan next to me got all up in arms..."I'm gonna boo him! He's a cheater, a bum...a disgrace to the game of baseball!!" About 30 seconds after his little diatribe, Barry came out of the dugout for BP and the very same guy starts snapping pictures of Barry like crazy. I ask the guy, "If you're gonna boo this disgrace...why are you taking so many pictures?!" He got all pissy and we started arguing. His point of contention is that ONLY SF fans like and cheer Barry. I said, "You ever see the reception Schilling gets on the road?" Apparently that didn't equal the hatred for Bonds. At this point, Barry was signing autographs for kids...what a jerk. I was laughing.

The guy next to the picture taker decides to regale me with a story with the point being, Barry has no class. In this guys story, his brother in law is at the Red Sox/Brewers game when Aaron was with them. In the middle of the game, Aaron came into the stands to sign an autograph for this guys brother in law. After this well drawn story that really did have the conclusion that Bonds had no class, the following exchange occured...

Me: Soooo...Hank Aaron who got death threats because he was black and broke the Babes record walked OFF the field in the game,...in BOSTON...the last team to integrate in baseball...went into the stands and signed an autograph for your brother in law.

Fat Guy: That's right.
Me: That seems a little far fetched.
Fat Guy: You callin' me a liar?
Me:..............uhh......well, not a liar...but it seems fishy.

Then Barry got in the cage and bailed me out. Having really only seen barry on the road in Oakland and L.A. (who's fans are lame) I really had no grasp on how truly HATED he is. Sure, you hear the boos on TV, but being in the actual environment is really kind of hostile and uncomfortable. There's a true, deep, visceral hatred for Barry Bonds and it's really kind of scary to me. It's one thing to boo a player, but I felt like the boos and taunts Barry got had no sense of fun or joy behind them as they do with A-Rod or Damon. In fact last night at the game the guy behind me said the response to Bonds seemed more brutal than the one the Yankees get.

The game last night, as you saw, was horrendous. Who knew Julian Tavarez could channel Cy Young. This team is AWFUL. Simply terrible. I was surprised I didn't take much flak from fans, hardly any at all. The people around me booed Bonds but didn't really like...boo me. It was the way it should be done. All the fans I met were extremely, extremely cool. Asking questions about our park, our teams chances (hahahah!) and the whole Bonds thing. It was very social. In fact the scuzziest fams I met all weekend were Giants fans. A bunch of frigging sailors on shore leave embarrassing me and my team. During a moment of silence for a departed Boston sports writer, some jackass yelled "Go Giants!" Granted, I met a bunch of COOL Giants fans here but there's some bad apples in town and that was annoying.

Fenway park is incredible. The seats we had were brutal for both days-wooden with NO leg room. I'm 6"4 so I'm used to little leg room, but it was rough today on my booty and legs. Again, the whole atmosphere around the park is electric. Today, the fans were on their feet for every 2 strike count...cheering their team on. It felt like the game was big and mattered and it did, to Red Sox fans. They LOVE their team and they should. They're solid all the way around and have 2 GREAT young farm players (Pedroia and Youklis) who are going to be around for a while The Red Sox are the anti-Giants. I also LOVED the classic "Sweet Caroline" singalong that happens in the 8th. I don't know if they showed it on TV, but it's pretty funny.

I'm contemplating going to the game tomorrow, but might just hang out at a pub near the park. That's as much fun as being IN the park, and beers cheaper. Plus, I really think I hate this Giants team. I know hates a strong word, but that's why I use it.

dlew

p.s. Go Boston!