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We're flying forever bored

Posted on 2010.06.16 at 00:45
Current Music: The Gaslight Anthem - Stay Lucky
The other day I was walking with Mack on the sidewalk. Traffic on the road was backed up behind a school bus, which is by far one of the most maddening situations to be in, but as I wasn't in the traffic, I didn't really care. My attention was grabbed by a man, who looked to be mid 60s in age, sitting in a very nice car. Now, I do not consider myself to be a "car guy". I just don't get it. Any car that gets you from point A to point B is all the same to me. A beat to hell but still functioning 1971 Dodge Dart will cover the same distance as a 2010 Porsche 911. The guy in the Porsche might look better during that drive, but both get you there. That's pretty much where all my car opinions begin and end. I can change a flat tire and basic stuff like that but I am far from a mechanic. I don't know much about cars, and I don't care.

That being said, the man in question was in a nice car. And it was the kind of car people drive to be seen in the car. He paid a hell of a lot of money for this ride and dammit, people are going to know about it. He even had the top down and his cool guy sunglasses on. All he needed was a scarf blowing in the wind and a trophy wife to complete the look. But what struck me here was the color this guy chose for his self esteem mobile. It was some horrible greenish yellow blend thing. I mean it was bad. Pimp My Ride bad. Not the "before" either. After Xzibit and his loyal band of Mexicans tricked out some kid's Trans Am with the world's tackiest paint job. That's what we're dealing with here.

So I've stopped on the sidewalk. I had to stop walking to fully appreciate the horridness of this guy's decision. And he sees me. He sees the guy on the sidewalk stopping and staring at his car. This, of course, is exactly why he bought the car. And yes, I am staring because I am impressed. I'm just impressed for the wrong reason. But I know he sees me and he knows that I know and all that.

Now I could have just walked on, but the fact that he saw me staring at his car made me feel like I had to acknowledge the moment. So what I said next will baffle me until the end of time.

"Nice paint job!"

What? Why the hell did I say that? It's a terrible paint job. It's the worst feature of the car. But there I am, praising it like some colorblind lover of exotic cars, without even the slightest hint of sarcasm in my voice. Nice paint job. Christ.

So the guy gives me a bit of a nod as if to say "thanks" (or more likely "I know") and traffic moves on. He drives away, now feeling confident. His wife told him it was an ugly color when he brought it home from the dealership. His buddies crack jokes about the color when they play golf on Sundays. But he stuck by his choice. And now, some random guy off the street took time out of his day to compliment his choice. That's all the encouragement he needs to move on to his next horrible decision that I unwittingly contributed to due to my need to say something to the guy in the car with the horrible paint job. I just hope I can see it, whatever it may be.

-jb

And I don't think it'll be so bad and I know it won't be so bad

Posted on 2010.04.09 at 19:10
Current Music: The Living End - Pictures in the Mirror
There are three commercials on tv now that have really got me thinking. They feature three different actresses, all at different points of their career. These commercials are not necessarily bad, but more on the “uncomfortable” side. I’ve decided to write about them here in hopes that I can make some sense of them.
Commercial one features the young successful actress Ellen Page and Cisco Systems, which as far as I can tell is a company that makes telecommunication devices. The main storyline in this series of commercials seems to be that Ms. Page is returning to her small Canadian hometown, which apparently runs exclusively on Cisco Systems despite being in Canada which as well know, is at least 10 years behind the rest of the world on everything. What makes these commercials stands out to me is that fact that they exist. Ellen Page is 23 and seems to have a successful career to look forward to. I figure she has to still have some Juno money left over and it’s not like she hasn’t worked since then. Perhaps she’s thinking her career might not last and she’s cashing in while she can. That actually might not be that stupid of a move.

Commercial two is a little more troubling. It is the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter commercial with Megan Mullay. Mully is best known as Karen on the long running NBC sitcom Will and Grace. She had a short lived daytime talk show, and has appeared here and there since then. So she’s doing well for herself. So someone needs to explain to me why she’s dancing around in a supermarket aisle singing about butter like spread. Again, it’s not a stupid thing to want to make sure you have enough money, but there’s a line. I don’t know if she’s crossed that line but doing a lame dance while praising I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to the strains of a badly written parody written to the tune of “Turn the Beat Around” sure is toeing the line a bit. “Humiliating” is probably too strong of a word, but “Embarrassing” isn‘t strong enough. I mean really, check this shit out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbLuE3K8Lxg

Commercial three is by far the most troubling. Jamie Lee Curtis for Activia. For those who may not know, Activia is a kind of yogurt that makes you have to…drop the kids off at the pool. And Jamie Lee Curtis is more than happy to let you know all about it. Jamie Lee Curtis gets constipated and eats some yogurt to get things moving again. This is something you cannot now unknow. Jamie Lee Curtis is 51 years old and has had a long career, going all the way back to the original “Halloween” movies where she had the lead role of Laurie Strode. She’s a best selling author and married to Christopher Guest. She does not need the money. I am sure of it. So why is she on my TV telling me about this stuff? I don’t need to know about her digestive system’s issues. I understand that companies have to advertise, but this is not the way to do it. Let’s not put the mental picture of Helen Tasker on the crapper into the minds of American audiences. I know there are some celebrities who will only endorse things they actually use and that’s admirable, but this is just a little too honest for me.

- jb

If that don't get it, you can catch it on the b-side

Posted on 2010.03.16 at 17:38
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Alkaline Trio - The American Scream
I think I’m addicted to the skip button. I think we all are.

Allow me to explain. I, like most people in my demographic (not old enough to be considered “old” yet old enough to not know who the fuck Justin Bieber is), own an iPod. And I love my iPod. I can’t believe there was a time when I had to listen to actual cds when I wanted to hear music. It seems like the caveman days when you think about it, but it may have been the last time I was ever patient with music. Or at least less picky.

The problem mostly presents itself at the gym. I have to use my iPod there because they keep the radio on Q 104.3 (Slogan: For those who need to hear “Hotel California” for the zillionth time). I’ll put in my headphones and put the iPod on shuffle and off I go. But that’s where the problem begins. I start skipping songs like it’s my job. And these are not bad songs. I would imagine that I like these songs; it would explain why they’re on my iPod in the first place. But I can’t help myself.

For example, let’s say Fuel’s “Jesus or a Gun” comes up. I’m on that so quickly I surprise myself. I hear the first chord of the song and I’m hitting the skip button. I don’t know why. It’s not a bad song and one could argue that it is a good song to be listening to at the gym, but there I am skipping it. I’m not hoping a specific song comes up, I’m just passing on it. Again, I like the song, that’s why it’s on my iPod. So why skip so quickly?

Because I can. Before the iPod, if someone went to the gym or for a run or really anywhere they wanted music, they had to being their discman. And if you’re just taking your dog for a walk in the park, you’re only bringing one cd, so you’re stuck with whatever band you brought with you. Sure, you could burn a mix cd, but that gets you 20 songs, tops. And you have to take the time to pick the songs, burn the cd and hope you don’t get the urge to listen to a song that isn’t on that cd while you’re out and about picking up your dog’s crap. The whole thing was a big hassle, but it was the top technology. If you wanted to skip a song, you could but you’d still be stuck with whatever was on that cd. So you’d stick it out because you only had that hour or so of music to work with. I just checked; I have just under 7 days worth of music on my iPod. So I don’t give skipping a song a second thought because it’s not like I’m going to run out of things to listen to.

What is strange about the iPod shuffle feature is that although I have a week’s worth of music to pick from, when I hit shuffle, my iPod seems to want me to hear the same 40 or so songs right away. After that many instances of me hitting skip, it appears to get the idea and starts slinging me some new tracks. Maybe I’m losing my mind, but I’ve never heard anyone else bring this up and I know it’s not just me. It’s like I have to reassure my iPod that I really don’t want to hear “Hey Jealousy” again before it can bring me something else I can skip over right away for no reason.

Kind of a related thought: You ever go to turn on a light switch as you’re walking into a room and completely air ball on the whole flipping the switch thing? Not only do you feel like a Grade A jackass, but for some reason you always keep walking into the room: “Fuck it, I’ll just be in the dark for a while.”

Maybe now we’re spoiled. Maybe I’m in the age group that will actually be a compulsive song skipper. Sure, people in their 50s and 60s have iPods, and they can skip over songs as quickly as I do, but I’m guessing they won’t because they never really had that option and they got along fine with it, so the thought doesn’t even enter their mind. Look at it like someone who lived through the great depression still saving bread crusts 60 years later. It’s completely unnecessary, but that behavior has been ingrained into their head and it’s not going anywhere no matter what. Maybe my habit of skipping handfuls of songs at a time in their first few seconds is actually something that has been building in my mind for years because I really don’t remember a time without cds, and that’s where this all started.  I suppose it's a generational thing.  And although I think I understand it, I definitely don't get it.

-jb

And I'm starting to feel a lot like charlton heston

Posted on 2009.12.30 at 21:47
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Today’s little frustration is those self checkout things they have at Shoprite now. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, I’ll explain. Most supermarkets noticed that people hated standing on the checkout line when they only have a few items. So they installed “Express” lanes for those who had 12 items or less. This worked out well enough for a while until people started abusing that whole “12 items or less” thing and would sneak on with something like 20 items. Of course the cashiers would never do or say anything because they aren’t being paid nearly enough to care and it’s not worth the fight. But the customers complained again. People just weren’t getting out of the grocery store fast enough. So a new idea was brought to light: Let’s let people scan and bag their own groceries! How could that possibly go wrong?
This is almost a good idea, but whomever though all this up forgot one very important thing: The public is full of morons.

I know that the thought here is that scanning and bagging groceries is a simple task that can be done by anyone. You take the thing, swipe it over the red light until it beeps and then you put the thing in the bag. End of story, right? Of course not. There are people who cannot, for the life of them, figure out this technology which has clearly been imported from the Holodeck. The main offenders (as with most things) are old people. Not only do they move slowly, but their mind may not be as sharp as it was in 1903 so things do not go smoothly.

The self checkout process with these people goes as follows: Take a single item out of basket, examine it from every possible angle to find the bar code, stare at screen on checkout kiosk, slowly wave item in front of red laser thing, look perplexed when it doesn’t beep, try scanning several dozen more times with no success before calling over the attendant to inform them that the scanner must be broken, watch as attendant scans item correctly on first try, inform attendant that you now understand how it is supposed to work, hold scanned item like a newborn infant while staring at the screen as if you are a recent transplant from an Amazon jungle tribe who has never seen any form of electricity before, wait for the automated voice to tell you to bag the item, finally bag the item and stare at the screen with hands folded until the voice prompts you to either pay or scan the next item. Repeat.

It doesn’t end there. They have coupons. Imagine the entire process described above, only with coupons. It takes an extra 10 minutes for them to save 30 cents on cat food. Maddening.

So here’s my mindset as I see all this unfold: When a counter finally opens up, it is my mission in life to be The Perfect Shopper. I power walk to the open scanner. I have items out of my basket before I’m even there. My Price Plus card is out and ready to rock. I begin scanning with such speed and precision that the computer has trouble keeping up with me. I punch in fruit codes with uncanny accuracy as if it is an Olympic event and I am the United States representative. In a matter of mere seconds I am pressing the “Complete Order” button with such conviction that I come close to cracking the screen. I pay by card and again am ahead of the machine’s prompts. It is Man vs. Machine and I am kicking ass. I grab the receipt and start pulling it out of the slot before it is even done printing. With a final defiant swipe I place the receipt into a bag, grab my stuff and am gone. The employee in charge will make eye contact and give me a nod of respect and admiration as if to say “I wish all the customers could be like you good sir.” I take a step, pivot to face those on line to use the checkout and shoot them all a look that lets them know they have been schooled.

But of course not everyone can be as magnificent as I am. Some people are just too old, illiterate, or just plain stupid for this so I’ve come up with another one of my really great ideas. A test. What we need is something like the DMV but for things like the grocery store. A simple test and demonstration of skill to earn some kind of license to operate a self checkout would be administered there. The license would have a sort of skull key barcode that all self checkouts would recognize that would allow you to use them. If you don’t have a license to scan, the machine will not let you check out. You have to go to the line with the actual cashier scanning your shit with the rest of the people who are unable or unwilling to enter this century and still insist on paying for things with a fucking check. The test would take no more than ten minutes and would make everyone (me) a whole lot happier. We don’t let blind people drive. If you’re a moron, you don’t get to use the self checkout.

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

I have another entrant into the “Annoying people at the gym” category. His name is Crocop Junior. He is clearly training to be either a MMA fighter or a boxer. How do I know this? Because everyone knows this. He won’t tell you he is a fighter, but he wants you to know. He wears only the finest Affliction or Tapout shirts and is a serial grunter at the weights. But the main clue he is trying to be a fighter is his shadow boxing. When he’s not lifting, he is throwing punch combinations into the air. That’s the part that annoys me. He isn’t doing this to improve his technique or stamina; he does it so everyone knows what a bad motherfucker he must be because he can throw a three punch combination while doing that sharp exhale thing. He’s a fighter and you better damn well recognize.

No matter what the down time is, whether he is moving from between weight machines to getting a drink of water, his hands are up and he’s throwing punches. I’m pretty sure he throws punches while taking a piss. What is really the most annoying part about this behavior is the complete lack of boxing equipment in the gym. There is no heavy bag, speed bag, ring or weathered old black man to train with. He’s just in his own world, staring into his reflection in the front window, bobbing and weaving like he’s about to take on Holyfield, throwing those punches. Yes, you’re very manly. We’re all impressed. Go away.

Fell from top ten to not mentioned at all

Posted on 2009.12.14 at 16:37
Current Music: Social Distortion - Far Behind
We are nearing the end of the decade, which means it’s time for an endless parade of lists in magazines and blogs. Nobody ever agrees one hundred percent with these lists but they are fun to look at. I decided to give it a whirl here. I went with the top 10 albums of the decade. Obviously, I did not go by album sales or radio play or anything like that. These are just the top ten albums for me personally. And it’s killing me because even though I have thrown in an Honorable Mention section, I just KNOW I am forgetting something. But I’ve been thinking about this for about a week now, so I should be ok. So here goes. This is in no real order.

Green Day - Warning (2000)
This album was released on my 18th birthday which I thought was a cool little birthday present, but it turned out to be somewhat symbolic. As my 18th symbolized my legally becoming an adult, this album is the one where Green Day grew from just another California Pop Punk band into something much more. It was a gutsy album; full of musical and lyrical deviations from the norm. The “purists” say this album was a turn for the worse, it’s a shame that they missed out. My favorite album of all time.

The Gaslight Anthem – The ‘59 Sound (2008)
It’s hard to not like these guys. They came up from the basement shows in New Brunswick, playing simple songs about simple things. When people try to describe this band to someone who has never heard them they usually give some variation of “They’re like if Bruce started a punk band”. Which is accurate enough I suppose, you’d have to be deaf and blind to not see the obvious influence, but I think the real appeal of this band and this album is that it is just Rock and Roll. There’s not enough of that these days.

Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb (2003)
When word got out that the original front man of Catch 22 was starting a new band, expectations were sky high. Third wave ska had hit a bit of a wall and there was a general lack of enthusiasm for new ska bands. It seemed like everyone was starting either a hardcore band or some shitty hardcore/screamo hybrid band. So when EGN dropped, it was like a time machine for those who had forgotten how much they actually liked this stuff.

Zebrahead - Broadcast to the World (2006)
It’s undeniably hard to carry on with a new lead singer. Very few bands can do it. It takes a great deal of work to make the old songs fit with the new guy and write new songs that don’t make the band seem like something has drastically changed for the worse. It also takes a dedicated and understanding fan base to accept the new guy and what he brings. Zebrahead was able to pull it off with BTTW. New singer Matty Lewis fit right in to the band’s unique blend of Punk, Hip-hop and Ska for one of the band’s best releases to date. There’s lots of bands that sound like Fall Out Boy these days. But there are no bands that sound like
Zebrahead and Zebrahead doesn’t sound like anyone else. Maybe that’s why I like them so much.

The Offspring - Conspiracy of One (2000)
Another excellent outing from The Offspring. This is another album where a band tweaked their sound with exceptional results. This album is the band finding their middle ground. They know they aren’t the super hardcore punk band and they know they aren’t just the pop rock band that gets hits like “Pretty Fly For a White Guy” on the radio. They are what they are: a catchy as hell pop/skate punk band that stopped trying to impress people starting with this album.

Lucky Boys Confusion - Throwing the Game (2001)
My manager from my days at Sam Goody turned me on to this album. We would put it on when we didn’t want to hear Sting or Linkin Park anymore. Unfortunately, LBC’s foray onto a major label did not go very well so they still haven’t gotten the recognition I feel that they deserve. Anyway, lots of good songs here and lots of fun memories to go with those songs.

Blink 182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)
Blink’s best album. After finally going mega with “Enema of the State” there were lots of ways they could have followed it up. TOYPAJ was definitely the best. I feel like this album is blink really finding their swagger and letting it all hang loose. The result is a slightly harder and faster Blink. Success didn’t make them feel it necessary to change their sound or look or attitude. There’s the breakup songs, the love songs, and the songs about sex with animals. Nothing is missing. It’s a can’t miss album for anyone who might even think of becoming a fan of the band.

The Living End - Roll On (2000)
I love this band. Every time they come around on tour (which is not very often at all), I always go because they always put on a great show. This album always sounded like a live album to me. It isn’t, but it feels like it is. Normally when a band performs a song live, it might be faster or longer or played slightly differently. When TLE plays a song live, it sounds like it does on the album because they nailed it the first time around. When we close our eyes and listen to music, we like to envision the band performing the song on stage but sometimes can only picture the band recording the song layer by layer in a studio because it sounds too polished. But with The Living End I always feel like I’m in the front row of the Stone Pony watching the guys pound out the songs flawlessly with the energy and urgency of a fireman responding to his first call.

Eve 6 - Horrorscope (2000)
A sad case of “Great Album Overshadowed by One Song.” We all heard “Here’s to the Night” a million and one fucking times, but never heard “Amphetamines” or “Jet Pack” on the air, despite them being great songs. I’ve always liked Eve 6’s lyrical style. There are always strange plays on words, tongue in cheek sarcasm and many subtle (and not so subtle) innuendos. I think part of the reason I like this album so much is that it kind of allows me entry to a cool kids club. When this album is brought up, most people either only remember “Here’s to the Night” and never really listened to the rest of the album (if they even bought it; Napster was HUGE at the time), but those who have given it a good listen know that buried under all the prom theme song hype, there is an awesome “Sophomore” record from a band that wanted to be more than just a one hit wonder.

The Bouncing Souls - How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2001)
We round out the top 10 with every one’s favorite Jersey punk band. I remember going to see the Souls at the now defunct Club Krome not too long after this record had come out and really being blown away. I had seen them a few times before and they had always gotten a good reaction and put on a good show, but this show was different. People seemed to be singing along louder, stage diving farther and moshing like they had something to prove. This show sticks out in my mind because I see it as a representation of the era where they went from “well known punk band” to “punk icons”. HISMSV is a perfect example of what a Bouncing Souls record should be. There’s shout outs to Jersey, sing along choruses and no compromise musicianship. This is one of those albums that should be required listening for any group of kids that want to start a band. Sit them down, tell them “this is how you do it” and then make them listen to it all the way through a few times. The music community will thank you.

HONORABLE MENTION

Two Honorable mentions that didn’t fit in the top 10 but needed to be acknowledged.

Folly - For My Friends (2001)
I’ve never been a big fan of Hardcore. It always seemed like mindless noise to me. Honestly, for the most part, it still does. But if you were going to/playing in local shows in New Jersey in 2000 , you were going to see Folly about half the time. These guys were everywhere. I would usually watch a song or two and then go hang out outside or go home or what have you. But after hearing nothing but praise for them, even from those who weren’t big hardcore fans either, I picked up this EP at a show. It’s six songs of chaos. They weren’t just another band making noise for 40 minutes. It was hardcore, yeah, but it was actually good. And after a couple listens, I began to appreciate their live show more. I’d stick around to watch them play more often. They usually played a good set, and every now and then some kid would get punched in the head, which was always entertaining. So 9 years later, I’m still not much for hardcore, but if that’s what I’m in the mood for, this EP is what I’ll put on.

Bouncing Souls Digital (2009)
2009 has been the 20th anniversary of the bouncing souls. To mark this milestone, the band has released a new song every month for the past year instead of releasing a full album. It’s an interesting idea. It’s now December and all 12 songs have come out, which is pretty much the length of an album, but it has been stretched out of the course of the past year. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It was kinda fun to have a new song every month but I didn’t get the “album” feel of it. I like to hear an album all at once. I mean, all the songs are out now, so you can burn them to a cd or put them all on your ipod but it’s not the same. In my mind the songs play more like a playlist rather than an album. They’re good songs and all that, but I guess I’m one of those people who likes to have it all at once. However, lots of people have given this experiment heaps of praise over the past year so perhaps I’m in the minority on this one. Maybe this will be a new way for bands to release new music. Perhaps in the future, bands will have new music months where they release a few songs a week. Some might go with the once a month thing. So although I wouldn’t put these songs on a list of the decade’s best, I will put it on because it could very well be a new way we receive music. I figure that’s worth a honorable mention.

-jb


Gotta do what it takes. Cause it's all in our hands.

Posted on 2009.11.10 at 18:10
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Sum 41 - The Hell Song
So the rumor floating around is that Steven Tyler has left Aerosmith. You may be surprised to find that I am not really all that worried about this. I think this is just something rock stars do. I think that it is understandable that tension can rise over 30 plus years as a band and someone has to go. But I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. I know there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing” but I don’t get how someone can simply walk away from something as big or as successful as Aerosmith has been. Add on top of that the way this is going down and I’m really not getting it.

After Tyler fell off the stage in July, the rest of the tour was cancelled. Some promoter sued the band and made them play a makeup date in Hawaii when he had recovered. They then played a one off show in Abu Dhabi of all places, and that might be it.

Now that we have the facts out of the way, there are a couple ways this can play out:

1.
The band really is broken up for good. Perry and Tyler release a subpar solo record or two and that will be that. Kramer, Whitford and Hamilton sit at home and are disgusted by all this but are comforted by their massive piles of money. I get a new favorite band.

2.
The band gets back together, at least for one last tour. The band has had its share of member changes over the years, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise if this happened. The band now is the original members from 1973, but those who know their Aerosmith history (me) know that in the late 70s to the mid 80s, there were a couple hired guns to replace members who have quit. So perhaps they can put their differences aside one more time and do a proper farewell tour. I mean, do any of them really want the last real Aerosmith show to have taken place in Abu Fucking Dhabi? Wouldn’t Boston make more sense?

Note: If this happens, they have to STAY retired. I don’t want them to take a 3 year intermission and then go back on tour until the end of time like Kiss. Fuck Kiss. Yes, I know “Kiss” is supposed to be in all caps, but again, fuck Kiss.

3.
The band plods on without Tyler and gets a new singer. This can not happen. It will not work. Hetfield is the only one who gets to sing “Enter Sandman”, Axl is the only one who can do “Welcome to the Jungle”, Tyler is the only singer I care to hear perform “Sweet Emotion”. Conversely, I don’t want to hear anyone but Mike Dirnt play “Longview” nor do I want to hear someone other than Brett Gurewitz play “American Jesus”. The same goes for Joe Perry. I don’t want some hired gun touring with Steven Tyler cranking out the “Walk This Way” riff. It’s just wrong.

This possibility also includes the inevitable album with the new singer. So not only are the people going to these concerts not going to hear the classics sung by the right singer, they are gonna have to deal with the band shoehorning in a handful of the new songs that nobody wants to hear. So, you know, that’ll be good times.

Obviously, the fan in me wants to see the boys work things out and end this the right way. Honestly, I’d consider it the universe making the whole Brett Favre thing up to me. At least some of my idols should be able to bow out gracefully. There is a certain pride that we attach to people and things we are fans of. When you like a band before they get popular, you have a small sense of pride about it and you’re “proud” of them for making it. Then you’re proud to call yourself a fan of them to other people when the band does well. It’s strange but it happens even with small things.

I used to wear my Brett Favre jersey with pride. He played for my team, he didn’t talk shit and played great. I felt compelled to defend him to others when they would criticize his habit of throwing too many interceptions. He was a small part of who I was. I was proud to be a Brett Favre fan. But we all know how that ended. I can’t be a Brett Favre fan anymore. I’m almost ashamed I ever was. I’d hate to have to tell people I’m an Aerosmith fan and then have to agree with them that the last few years were pretty sad, depressing and even a little embarrassing. It’s all in the way things are handled.

I am aware that perhaps this is just going to be it for them. If they never play another show or record another album, but did so with class and without making a spectacle out of it, I’d be ok with that. Just do me a favor guys, at the end of the day let me still be proud to be an Aerosmith fan.

-jb


Don't be afraid, we'll make it out of this mess

Posted on 2009.09.19 at 01:11
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: MXPX - Invitation to Understanding


They say that Australia began when England began shipping their criminals and crazy people there.  I think there is some black ops government program to ship all the crazy people to New Jersey.    More specifically, central New Jersey.  This gives the crazy people the opportunity to decide if they want to spread their special brand of crazy to New York or Philadelphia.  Central Jersey is just the second to last stop on the long train ride for crazy people.  While these people are deciding which major city to infect, they have to kill time and stay in shape.  They all go to my gym for this purpose.

The main reason I chose my gym is the fact that it is 24 hours.  I thought that I could go late enough at night that I could avoid most people.  And while that is true, I do share the gym with a good amount of night owls most nights.  And it’s usually the same people.  Being a bit of a people watcher, I can’t help but pick up on some of these people’s quirks and things that make them….well, let’s go with “unique”.  Because I do not know their names, I have assigned nicknames to these people.  So here’s a brief rundown on who I share the gym with:

Metal Big Bird – This guy has generic looking tribal tattoos coming out of both sleeves and stretched earlobes.  Hair dyed jet black, parted down the middle with military precision.  The big bird part of the name comes in because he is somehow shaped like big bird.  Can’t explain it.

Sunday Afternoon – A late 40s/early 50s middle eastern guy who dresses in a very strange manner.  Collared golf shirt tucked into NBA style warm up pants with what appear to be hiking boots that show no evidence of being worn while hiking.  Mostly sticks to the treadmill which he has set on a ludicrously low speed, much like a Sunday afternoon stroll through the park.  He works out as if he is afraid to sweat. 

Tool Academy – I call this guy “Tool Academy” because he looks like he should be on the show.  Always has his hair perfectly done with 3 tons of gel and does that thing where the mouth hangs halfway open which gives off the impression that there is not one single thought kicking around in that head of his.  His gym attire is top notch and he wants everyone to notice.  He has outfits.  Everything matches.  This includes shoes. 

Baby Blue – The resident Guido.  Ed Hardy shirts, Yankee hat turned at 45 degree angle, known to wear jeans to the gym.  Acts out stereotypes like it’s his job up to and including unnecessarily loud grunting at the weights.  Once brought what I assume to be a date to the gym who was wearing so much perfume I thought the Taliban had begun chemical warfare on Middlesex County.    

WaWa – Saved my favorite for last.  If I had to guess, I’d say Wawa is 50 years old.  But in her mind, at least when it comes to fashion, it’s 1983.  Neon colored spandex outfits are the norm.  These outfits are complimented with the latest in leg warmer fashion.  Full makeup is usually worn, but this is not a problem because she, much like Sunday Afternoon, does not ever do anything that could cause her heart rate to rise above “resting” .  Any and all sets on a weight machine are done with the resistance set to 10 pounds, which as far as physical exertion goes, falls somewhere around walking into a light breeze.  Throw in teased to hell bleach blonde hair and you begin to get the idea here.   

Wawa gets her name because she always has a Styrofoam cup of wawa coffee with her.  This is the beverage of choice instead of water or Gatorade or really anything that might even make a little bit of sense.  While moving from machine to machine, she is sure to move her large bedazzaled to hell and back bag with her.  I don’t know what is in the bag (I’m assuming a small domesticated animal of some sort) but it never leaves her side.

After her “workout”, she will sit on the curb outside waiting for her ride.  Why does this bother me?  It doesn’t.  What bothers me is that she uses this time to smoke a cigarette or two.  I’ve seen her chain smoke outside a gym.  I know I may be coming across as a judgmental asshole in this entry, but I don’t think I’m crossing any lines here when I say that this is easily the most retarded thing ever. 


I like to be ahead of the curve, so I’m just gonna point out that I was hating Kanye West way before everyone else.  I remember writing about what a pompous, no talent, ungrateful, douche-ass he is way back when pulled that “George bush doesn’t care about black people” stunt during a Hurricane Katrina charity thing.  This must be how the Dixie Chicks must have felt in 2004.  Just a big bunch of “I told you so.”

-jb
 


Well I got this guitar, and I learned how to make it talk

Posted on 2009.08.14 at 02:03
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: none. how strange.
I have never seen the Beastie Boys perform "Sabotage" competently. Go ahead, go on youtube and find a decent performance of that song. Very strange. You'd think they would learn how to play their biggest hit but they always sound like something that might get a two star rating on Guitar Hero.
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Reno 911 got canceled. I was bummed at first, but the show hasn't been the same for a while now. I never really liked any of the new guys. Maybe it's for the best. You know, before it gets sad.
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Les Paul died. Not being a very serious guitar player or historian, I'm not all torn up about it, but I do like his thought process: "Hey, let's plug this in and see what happens!"

When you think about it, what he did was clearly the work of a crazy man. He took something that was considered to be as developed as it was gonna get and made it a million times better. He did this by adding electricity to something that had no business being plugged into an electric current. This would be the modern equivalent of someone figuring out a way to make a soccer ball electric. It doesn't sound like it makes any sense, but it could very well be the next billion dollar idea.

I am also going to nominate Les Paul for induction to the Man Hall of Fame. Just the idea of plugging something in to see what happens is pretty manly and when you take into consideration that he is in some way responsible for Metallica, Pantera and Iron Maiden is pretty fucking manly.
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21st Century Statement: "Hang on, my phone takes much better pictures."
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Preseason football is like watching a State of the Union speech. You watch it out of a feeling of obligation and it's actually interesting for the first 20 minutes or so but then you start flipping around the dial to see what else is on.
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-jb

The kids will like this, who cares if it's great?

Posted on 2009.07.21 at 00:39
Current Mood: Amused and Annoyed
Current Music: The Explosion - If You Don't Know

So a music video was recently brought to my attention that was so shockingly, disturbingly impressively bad, I had to write about it. The problem is that I was not sure what I wanted to write about the video or how to best address it. It is so unbelievably horrible I was actually at a loss of how to best express how much it sucks.

Let's learn about the video before I get to my presentation. The video in question is for the song "Stick Stickly" as performed by Attack! Attack! who hail from Columbus, Ohio. A quick look on Wikipedia shows that there are two vocalists in the group: Johnny Franck on guitar and “Clean Vocals” and Nick Barham who handles the (I swear I am not making this up) “Screamed Vocals”. They, along with their band mates, create what is surely the apex of the downfall of modern music as we know it.
I’m attending my family reunion in Wisconsin in a little while. The topic of conversation for the first few days is what you’ve been up to. So I’ve decided to take “Clean” Vocalist Johnny Franck and put him in his family reunion somewhere in Ohio surrounded by his aunts, uncles, grandparents and anyone who has ever had high hopes for him.

---------------------------------
Scene: Franck Family Reunion
FADE IN

JOHNNY’S UNCLE FRED
…So we settled the lawsuit.  Sure, she lost her eyelids, but it's not like THAT was my fault too.

(EVERYONE LAUGHS)

AUNT MARTHA
Johnny, how is your rock and roll band doing?  

JOHNNY
We're doing good.  We did the Warped tour and it's been good.  We even shot a music video.

AUNT MARTHA
That's nice.  You know, I don't think I've ever heard one of your songs. 

GRANDMA
I don't think I have either.  Do you have a record with you?

JOHNNY
No, but we could watch the music video on the internet.

JOHNNY'S FATHER
(Suddenly jumping to action)
No no no, I don't think we need to do that.  How about you just maybe tell them what it's like to be on tour.  We don't need to go through all the trouble of getting the video online and watching and all that.

JOHNNY
(Opening his laptop)
It's no big deal Dad, I have it right here.  It's saved to my hard drive, I wont' even have to download it.

UNCLE HECTOR
Yay!  Movie time!  I can't wait to hear my godson's song!

JOHNNY'S FATHER
Really, you don't need to hear it to appreciate it.  Its like all art, hearing about it is just as good.  In fact, you know what's really great?  NOT hearing it at all and just letting your imigination take over.

AUNT MARTHA
What's wrong?  You don't think we're hip enough to like Johnny's song?

JOHNNY'S FATHER
No, that's not it at all.  I just think maybe we could be using our reunion time to catch up with everyone.  Hey, did you hear Brad got into dental school?  Let's talk about that for the next couple hours.

GRANDMA
Oh hush.  You're going to spoil the fun.

JOHNNY
Got it all set up!

(The family gathers around the laptop.  JOHNNY'S FATHER begins drinking from a SILVER FLASK)

JOHNNY'S FATHER
Oh God.  Here we go.

(JOHNNY presses play)


 
(Upon the video ending, there is a very uncomfortable 40 seconds of silence.  Finally GRANDMA speaks.)

GRANDMA
Well.  Johnny, you looked very handsome.

UNCLE HECTOR
Which one was he?  Was he all of them?

JOHNNY
No, we're all in the video.

UNCLE HECTOR
Oh.  It's just that you all kinda look the same.

JOHNNY
Well, that's our look. 

UNCLE HECTOR
Ah.

(Uncomfortable silence)

AUNT MARTHA
I liked how you all ran in place at the same time.  And how you're bobbing your heads all together.  That must have taken practice.  And those girls jeans were very slimming.

JOHNNY
Yeah, that's our thing.

(Uncomfortable silence)

UNCLE HECTOR
So what happened towards the end there?  Was that a different song or what?  I'm confused.

JOHNNY
No, that's all the same song.

UNCLE HECTOR
Really?  It's just that it kind of comes out of nowhere and seemed.....really out of place. 

JOHNNY
We like to be diverse.

UNCLE HECTOR
Oh.

(Uncomfortable silence)

AUNT MARTHA
I'm gonna go check on dinner.

UNCLE HECTOR
I think the cat is throwing up.

GRANDMA
I also have to go.

(They exit hurridly.  JOHNNY and JOHNNY'S FATHER, who has had his head buried in his hands are left alone.  There is one more uncomfortable silence.  Finally, JOHNNY'S FATHER lifts his head up and looks over at his son.)

JOHNNY'S FATHER
When the guys at work ask me what my son does for a living, I tell them you're a janitor.
 
SCENE

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-jb

 


 

I’m sure you can’t help but remembering I thought that you’d be one not to forget

Posted on 2009.07.08 at 23:47
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: NOFX - We called it america
OK, Pepsi, lets not pretend the guy from black eyed peas is on the same level as Bob Dylan. I don't even like Bob Dylan and that commercial pisses me off.

And Pizza Hut - you're not fooling anybody. Your commercials are scripted. Nobody talks like that.

And while we're talking food, let's kill off the term "tucking in" when referring to eating. Don't know where that came from, I am only interested in seeing it go.

Whatever South Park does about Michael Jackson is going to be great. Can't wait for that.

Bands have to be broken up for at least 10 years before anyone can get excited about their reunion tour. Don't get me wrong, i'm psyched Blink 182 is back, it just seems like they were never really gone. Just kind of on vacation.

Which brings me to the Get Up Kids and their "reunion". I first thought they were getting back together for good and all that. Turns out that's not the case. They're doing a 10 year anniversary tour of "Something To Write Home About" and then their future is unknown.

I'm sure, it's just me, but the 10th anniversary of an album's release is not a good reason to get back together. It smacks of laziness and complacency to do this. The message I get from this concept is not "we're back and better than ever and we're gonna make some new songs and tour and all that good stuff". The message I get from this shameless money grab is "Hey, remember that good thing we did ten years ago? How about you all come out and kiss our asses about it for a little while. And after this, who knows? We'll probably break up again because everything after this record sucked anyway so we know for sure we can't write new material."

I really hope this isn't going to be a growing trend in music. That would get embarrassing really fast. I mean, Eve 6 is back together, but they're writing new music and moving forward. Are they gonna do a "Horrorscope" 10th anniversary tour next year? That would just be humiliating for all parties involved.

Stop living in the past. Prove that you can still write good music instead of just rehashing the old stuff. You wanna get back together, fine, but don't go sucking yourselves off about something you did 10 years ago.


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