Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

Myspace Only

I hate it when bands or businesses only have a Myspace page instead of having a web page of their own. I understand if you are just getting started or in the twilight of your career...then a website of your own might not make sense. But anyone who is stable or growing should have their own website.
  • Myspace can't be accessed through many places (like work or school) which makes sense, some webpages may end up getting blocked too. However, more than 9 times out of 10 a band's/business' webpage will not be blocked. This allows me to look up concert dates, business hours, menus, among other things.
  • Myspace just seems like a childish way of doing business. It definitely doesn't come across as professional. Yes, I know this is my own bias. I just don't like always having to log into myspace to check what is going on with my favorite place. Logging into myspace leads to people wanting to chat and a rash of spam messages and friend requests...every time. I don't want that if I just want to check out when you open.
  • For people who don't like logging into myspace often (me). I miss out on all your bulletins and news. Plus if I do log in, it gets mixed in with the rest of the clutter and again could be overlooked. I prefer signing up for your email list. That is sent right to me (and my phone), I can access on any computer, I can keep if there is something that I want to follow up on, I can forward to friends, etc...
  • Myspace pages always have much less information than a personal site...and with the exception of the built in music player, less user friendly.

I think myspace can be a great addition to your normal business practices as a band/business. Low cost, friends, messaging, etc... I just don't think it should be your only web presence.

End Hate

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Art of Music

This past weekend, I went to the Des Moines Art Festival...twice. Initially, I went because Collective Soul was giving a free concert on Friday night. My good friend CT and friends headed to downtown Des Moines to grab a bite to eat at Centro (delicious) before heading over to the festival.

The Collective Soul show was pretty pathetic. Not Collective Soul's fault, they were decent from what I could hear. The sound system was terrible. The sound kept fading in and out. This was particularly annoying with the vocals but affected all members off an on. We weren't that far away and we could hear nothing when Ed talked between songs. Finally, Collective Soul took a 20 minute break so that they could fix the sound system. But of course, that 20 minute break is a quarter of the show for an opener...so we basically got cheated. Course we didn't pay anything, and the last couple songs did sound much improved (still not great, but decent). Luck for me, there were two very pretty, red-headed sisters (I have always had a thing for reds) a short distance in front of me to help distract me from the awfulness of the sound system (but I am not the type of person who can just walk up and talk to unknown people...I wish I was). Funniest quote overheard "Well, there it is. Their one famous song." This was when Collective Soul started playing their second song of the evening "Breathe." And that is what is wrong with Collective Soul, they have so many great songs and varying styles that people just don't consider them as amazing as they actually are. Just naming the hits: Shine, Breathe, Gel, December, Smashing Young Man, The World I Know, Where the River Flows, Precious Declaration...and many more. Collective Soul has so many good songs that you should go see them whenever they come around, you won't be disappointed (unless the sound system sucks!). I've seen them several times throughout the years and always leave being reminded of just how many songs of theirs that I enjoy highly.

After a quick tromp through the art showcases, CT and I headed over to Peoples on Court to watch Isaac James. IJ is local band containing ex-Stone Sour drummer Joel. They put on a good show...they sounded better than their demo CD. With the exception of the lead singer trying to do stadium type crowd interaction in a small bar, I thought they were wonderful. Note to singers...for 100 people, you really don't need to go "That wasn't loud enough, let me really hear you make some noise." It always makes me just roll my eyes.

Opening for Isaac James was a band called A.D.D. I had seen their name several times previously as an opening band but had never checked them out. The name threw me. With a name like A.D.D., I thought they were some local band with a name matching some flavor of the month. I pictured the naming session going like this:
"What should we call our band?"
"I don't know Deathwish Monkey*?"
"No more monkey names. How many times do I have to tell
"Oh, I know Viagra! Because we always get the crowd up...and we're sexy-like."
"Really you want to be named after something that reminds people of Bob Dole's penis?"
"Hey bassist, pay attention...we are trying to name the
band. Put that pudding cup back, sit still. What do you have ADD or
something?...wait a minute ADD, that is a popular diagnosis and is on the news
all the time."
"It would be like free publicity!"
In spite of the not so great name, A.D.D. was great sounding hard rock band. And rock hard they did. Every song sounded interesting and varied, they were tight musically, smoky gravelly female vocals, great melodies and harmonizing. They were a delight to hear. I will definitely be checking them out again next time they come through town. Isaac James and A.D.D. was probably the best $5 that I had spent in a while.

I will get to the actual art of the art festival later this week.

*Deathwish Monkey is copyrighted 2009 Gubby Corp.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Call me Norm Jr.

Unlike Norm "coolest woodworker on earth" Abram, I am not a natural at building things. I also don't have the super awesome tool shop that Norm works in...my tools mostly consist of a $5 drill, a hammer, screw drivers, and a couple tape measures. All handy stuff but nothing that would really help much with woodworking. I did take a few shop classes in high school (against the will of my guidance counselor) but never felt really comfortable working with power tools and wood. I have watched Norm for years and am always amazed at what he accomplishes in one short weekend. Norm is one of my heroes.

I will never be Norm but I do try when the mood strikes. I've installed wood floors throughout my house, have rebuilt the stairs, redesigned and added on to my deck, etc... Most projects turned out pretty decent (often thanks to help from my father or brother). They were always projects that were adjusting, adding on, or rebuilding something. I've never really felt that I had done anything from scratch. Until now. Norm was my inspiration...not any one show, but just the fact that he can create such wonderful things all the time.

It started off, easy...not even a construction project. I've always wanted a library room - a room that has bookshelves on all sides. My house doesn't have room for that though. To help compensate, I have several bookcases set up where there is room, but nothing impressive to display my many leather bound books. About 6 months ago I had an idea. I would move my sofa loveseat sofa slightly and put bookcases on either side of my front room window. This would provide a great showcase for my books and storage for DVDs, etc... After shopping around, I decided that I would not be happy with anything that I could buy. It just wouldn't fit right, wouldn't be what I wanted, or it would be very expensive if it was closer to what I was looking for ($1000+ easy). I love bookcases but could not justify that.

The plan changed and became much more ambitious. I decided I would build a bench seat with a shelf underneath the window (moving the loveseat altogether), and then build more shelves up the wall and around the window. This was a quite a project for me and scared me more than a little. I know Norm could have probably done it all in an afternoon, but I wasn't so confident in my abilities. I spent a couple months planning, measuring, and designing. Then finally I built up my courage and started in. I was working within a few restraints: 1) most tools were borrowed, so I had to work when I could get the tools, 2) budget restraints, I didn't want to put anything on my credit cards so I had to spread out the purchases, 3) space, I was working in my living room and garage...the living room, I still relaxed and watched TV in, 4) time, I might have a couple hours after my job to work before it got too late to use power tools...so most was weekend work.

After lots of time, sweat, and a little blood (all fingers intact and no scarring!) - I present to you the Super Cool, Awesome Bookcase Overflowing w/ Very Excellent Reading (SCAB OVER). It is a crap picture from my phone (my digital camera broke), I'll be posting much better pictures next week. But like a proud poppa, I just couldn't keep it in.

Most probably had never seen my house before, this was just a blank wall with a inset window...pretty boring. I still need to move most my books over, organize the electronics and stuff on the lower shelves but you get the idea. The bench cushion is 6 inch, medium firm foam, covered by a micro-suede fabric...just needs a few throw pillows to add some spice. I like it a lot. Special thanks to Ed & Joe, The Furniture Guys on PBS & TLC in the mid-90s for the inspiration on this part. I originally hoped to use the upper shelf as a showcase for the mighty Pegacorn, but it isn't tall enough...so I am still looking for a permanent place for that. I am particularly happy with how my Lord of the Rings books with Smeagol/Gollum bookends look on the shelves. I am probably going to buy some of those binders that look like books and throw my DVDs in those...such a cleaner look, especially now that I have someplace to put the binders. The upper shelves will hold books, DVDs, trinkets. The larger shelves below the bench will hold, cable box, xbox, stereo, guitar hero instruments, exercise equipment, etc... It should really help cut down on the clutter in my living room.


  • 375 $ Cost ($200 wood, $100 foam, $30 paint, $20 Fabric, $25 nails, screws, misc)

  • 6 months, from original concept to completion.

  • 4 Trips to the store (3 to Home Depot or Menard's, 1 to Hancock Fabrics, 1 to eBay for foam...I don't think that counts though).

  • 3 Times I screwed up - luckily all minor and relatively easily fixed...no money wasted!

  • 1 injury - cut along my right knee, not even sure how it happened.

  • Zero - number of "Before" pictures that I remembered to take

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Warning: May be some slight spoilers for those of you reading or watching the Twilight books and movies.

I recently finished the second book in the Twilight series. As you might remember, (ex)GF-Unit asked me to read them so we could talk about them. We are trying to remain friends and I am continuing to read.

Twilight Sucks by ~DevilsPhantasmagoria on deviantART

I was not too enthusiastic about the first book...I still think it is about thinly disguised domestic abuse. I found the whole book to be unoriginal as vampire stories go and figured the second book would be more of the same. I was not let down.

I don't hate the books, I just find them pretty blah. I thought the first book started out OK and they were building a decent amount of character depth for Bella...unfortunately that didn't last long and the more I read, the more that I didn't like her character at all.

I thought the books were going to be about an ordinary girl who happens to basically wind up in a fairy tale...meets the fantastic love of her life, dream come true, it really could happen to anyone type story. I like this type of story, where the every day person over comes great odds for great accomplishments. However, it slowly comes out that she is not ordinary - she smells better than most (attracting vampires) and she also has the gift to be immune from their powers. She is one of a kind...not the everyone is an individual type one of a kind, but an actual one of kind born with physical traits that no one else can compete with. Once this happened the story lost some of it's interest for me.

She is a total bitch to all her friends - the minute she has a boyfriend, she only spends time with him...completely ignoring any other friends. Is it really only because he is a vampire and they don't know? No, she just ignores everyone else...no one else is important if she is happy. More than that, she treats any other guy who might like her like total garbage. Even before she started dating Edward, she just totally dismissed Mike and any other boy that liked her. No one else even had a chance. I understand not liking someone "in that way" but she hadn't even met these guys for more than 10 seconds before she decided that they weren't good enough for her.

I know I am supposed to feel sorry for her in the second book when her heart is broken and she goes into a catatonic-like state but I really can't. She treats everyone who offers to help her like garbage. God forbid she try to like someone who is human.

Predictions for the last two books.

  • Bella dates a Zombie or Frankenstein monster - probably Mike, but of course she will just tease him throughout the book as "just friends" even though she is constantly hugging him, rubbing up against him, and staying at his house till late every night.
  • Friends Jessica and/or Angela become witches and they try to work out a lesbian love affair with Bella. Bella will act interested and mess with their emotions. She'll be all cozy with them until Edward walks in the room and then she'll act like it was all their doing and she was just an innocent victim.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

Email Spam Filters

I don't know why Spam email filters always seem to block emails from my bank, credit cards, and cable company (no matter how often I mark them as safe) but yet always allow the "Buy Discount Canadian Viagra/Cialis" emails through most of the time.

Seriously, this morning...17 messages in my Junk Email folder, 12 of which were fine...and 4 emails with the exact same subject about Viagra. I don't think I have ever had an email I wanted to read with Viagra in the subject. Yes, I know it is a popular medication but I imagine 99.99992% of emails with Viagra in the subject are Spam.

I suppose the spam filters are doing their job since they are now pretty good at blocking "Cum Gargling Sluts" and "Barnyard Babes"...but at least those were funny. The discount medication emails are SO boring.

Please IT people...learn how to block Viagra,V*I*A*G*R*A, vaigra, and every other variation in the subject and please leave my bank statements alone. How about you just block anything were the message starts out "Dear (email address)" instead of "Dear Michael"...that alone would be a good start.

End Hate

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sweet and Low

Last night, Matthew Sweet played a show for the Nitefall on the River concert series at Simon Estes Amphitheater. My friends Paul and Jen joined me and we had a pretty good time. (Paul I wasn't sure what to link you with so I linked you to the review of your family empire - ha ha)

It has literally been 12 years since I listened to a full Matthew Sweet album, so I was a little concerned that I wouldn't know many of the songs. I was pleasantly surprised that I remembered more than I thought I would. The ones that I didn't know had everything I liked about Matthew Sweet - chunky, catchy guitar riffs, 90's alternative musical tempos, and enjoyable melodies. It was the first date of his mini-tour and I thought they sounded pretty good for the first date. I hadn't heard his cover of Cinnamon Girl before. I would suggest checking him out next time he comes around.

This show was the culmination of me trying to see Matthew Sweet in concert for 15+ years. I have had tickets to 3 or 4 shows where he was the opening band but something always happened - traffic jam on I-80, blizzard, band schedule change, etc... I have always just missed him. I had heard the finishing chords of Girlfriend twice though! It was always THAT close. I sort of expected him to be come on stage and be struck by lightning or something to prevent me from seeing him yet again.

I enjoyed the music of the show quite a bit and was glad I went even though it was miserably hot and humid before the sun went down. Simon Estes is a great place to see shows. What I didn't like one bit was the sudden rule changes for the Nitefall on the River shows...and that being that no coolers, no outside food, an no outside drink allowed. Before yesterday (for like the past 5 years of the concert series), you could always pack a cooler and bring your own non-alcoholic beverages (as long as they weren't in glass containers). I thought this was a great setup. It's not that I never bought food or drink there. I probably bought food and drink more times than I did not. I just really enjoyed being able to eat or drink what I felt like because their selection of food is the same every single week...and they really don't have anything for someone who just wants a small snack.

So last night, I showed up with a cooler with a water, a mountain dew, and some grapes for snacking. I was turned away and had to take it back to my car before I was allowed entrance. I think my exact words at the time were "You have to be fucking kidding me!" Rule changes are fine, I understand that some times need to change. However, a little notice would be nice...the web site was saying coolers were allowed as of 5pm (for a 7pm show). It is changed this morning though. Changes the rules like that on a 95 degree day was just idiotic.

This was a totally unnecessary rule change. I can only assume that you did it to help maximize your earnings. I argue that it had the opposite effect. First of all, I planned to buy dinner there last night, but I didn't bring enough money for both food and drink since I had brought my cooler thereby thinking I didn't need to stop at an ATM. But you know what doesn't go really well on a hot day? BBQ and nothing to wash it down. So you missed out on that money. I was pissed enough that I decided I wouldn't buy anything to drink there either and probably won't in the future. Sure, I never have spent a lot on food and drink there but it is $10+ a week that you will definitely not be getting now. How about lost ticket sales? Well, I saw four girls in front of me that decided to sit outside on the bridge and eat instead (that's $48). I saw two families walk away since they couldn't bring their coolers (another $48). Plus any food/drink that these 8 adults and 5 kids would have had...let's play it conservative and say that as a whole they would have only spent $20 for all of them. So now you are down over $125...all because you want me to buy a $3 water? And that was all within about 2 minutes I was at the gate. If this is really a money issue, charge a $3 cooler fee to the people that bring them. I would pay that.

I liked having the option of being able to take some fresh fruit or crackers instead of having to eat from a vendor. I don't mind vendor food every once in a while but don't look forward to it every week. I loved coming to Nitefall even when I didn't really care for the band because it was a nice atmosphere where you could have a nice, value priced evening. I doubt I will now come for the shows I am just casually interested in. I probably also won't recommend it to families like I used to, it just seems to have lost something now. To me, allowing coolers always made it seem like a community...I met so many people by sharing a few small treats, it was always a good ice breaker to meet the person next to you. Now the whole thing just seems like it is about money and I think the atmosphere will change because of it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

Concert Promotion - Actually Lack There Of

I love concerts, all kinds - big rock shows, small club shows, feedback filled electric light shows, and intimate acoustic sets. We actually get a decent amount of good shows here in Iowa, not as many as when Sophia John worked in Des Moines (as CT pointed out to me yesterday), but still a good amount of concerts.

What we don't get here is really any kind of promotion of these shows, there are literally HUNDREDS of shows that I would have gone to had I known about them beforehand. My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult at Vaudeville Mews? That was a few weeks ago...was it advertised anywhere besides VM's website? Not that I ever heard of. It's not a new phenomenon. I remember it happening all the time in college too. The local music bar seemed to get great shows once all the time...you would think they would have thrown up a flyer or two in the student union or something. I would randomly stop in and but it would always be the same crap local band...so I'd stop for a few days and then hear about all these great bands that were there. WTF?

I always thought the whole point of concerts was to get people to come. I always thought that at least they promoted the big concerts, the small ones just got overlooked. So why hadn't I heard of this before Saturday? 50+ bands at a 4 day festival, 2 hours away.

Twisted Sister, Junkyard, Kix, Dangerous Toys, Skid Row, Eve 6, Saigon Kick, Candlebox, Sevendust, Puddle of Mudd, Saliva, Jackyl, Warrant, Lita Ford, Powerman 5000, Dokken, Great White, LA Guns...

No promotion for the biggest city in Iowa, less than 2 hours away from the event? Nice job. Luckily my bro heard a casual mention on House of Hair (a nationally syndicated radio show) and I did some research. Do you know how pissed I would be if Junkyard played Iowa and I was not there to see them? I've been wanting to see them since 1989, they are probably in my top ten favorite bands.

Please concert promoters, you can do a better job. I can only come to your shows if I know about them. Oh and by the way, Promote is in your job title, so why aren't you doing it?

End Hate

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Letter to Jessica

Over the past weekend, Jessica and I have broken up. This was my idea/fault and in no way should reflect poorly on Jessica.

Dear Jessica,

I know this is hard for you, I wish it could be another way. Hurting you is not what I wanted or ever intended.

I really had hoped that I would come around and love you how you deserve to be loved - whole heartedly, the way that you seemed to love me. You made me feel so special and loved. I tried. I really did, but for some reason I could only get there 70% of the way. And the majority of the remainder wasn't because of you, it was all me. There were a lot of little things and a couple larger things that have always bothered me and made me have trepidations, but nothing that couldn't be overcome with enough love. For me, there was something missing, some kind of connection or some kind of chemistry...something. Honestly, I am not sure what it was, but there was just a part of me that was not happy.

It was not you - you were wonderful and always did so much for me. You were so great that it should have been easy for me to love you. I just couldn't get past that point, no matter how much I wished it would come about. I liked you a lot, I still like you a lot. It was enough to keep me happy for a long time...and I probably could have stayed like that for a long time still. However, I know you needed more and it hurt that I couldn't provide the level of emotional support you needed. In my mind I wanted to, but my heart couldn't do it.

I was really afraid that if we kept things how it was we would be happy for a while but I think that resentment would slowly start to creep in...from both of us. I think our relationship would have slowly soured and that it would be even more painful once it final did end. I didn't want to end up hating you (even though I totally understand if you hate me at the moment).

There has been many sleepless nights and much soul searching over the past few weeks to come up with the decision to end our romantic relationship. I'm not saying that for people to feel pity for me, I just want you to know that I didn't come to this decision lightly. It was a very difficult decision to make. You have been so amazing to me and for me. All of my happiest moments of the past year have included you. However, at this time I still couldn't see a long term future. I came to the question of whether I was in it for the long term or more because it was convenient and easy. Ideally I would have been able to answer that I was in for both reasons but more and more I could see that the convenience was becoming larger aspects for me rather than the long term.

I know you are not happy now, but I know one day that you will be. You are an amazing person. Your talent and compassion are endless. You are smart, great with people, and getting your life into order. You have so much to offer the right person. I am more assured of your happiness than my own.

I do wish things could be different. But since they are not, I hope that after enough time has passed that we can be friends. I still want to know you are doing well and everything you accomplish in life. I think us being friends can happen and I think it will be good...but I know it will take a while.

I wish you only the best. I will miss you, but will always cherish the memories we have together. Goodbye.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals

I was going to write a nice long post about game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight...but then was pulled into several meetings and ran out of time.

It's OK though because Lax Guy wrote a better post than I would have written...so basically, I am here to tell you (in my best Beavis voice) "Yeah, what he said. Heh, heh, heh."


Watch game Seven tonight! Last time you will have to put up with hockey for a good 4 months!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good News Everyone

Woo Hoo!

In case you haven't heard, Comedy Central has ordered 26 brand new episodes of Futurama. New episodes will start airing next year.

Furturama has been my favorite cartoon series for years. It is more cohesive than Family Guy and a little more mature than the Simpsons (although both of those are great in their own right).

For years, I have been disturbed that Futurama was cancelled while King of the Hill continued. KotH is OK, but it is not the brilliance of Futurama...no Owl Traps, no Suicide Booths, no Bachelor Chow, no human hating robots, no always hungry crablike doctors. KotH just couldn't compete and yet somehow it did.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two Minutes Hate


The North American Free Trade Agreement was touted as a treaty that would make trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico easier, cheaper, and therefore being beneficial to everyone involved. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't, I am not a trained economist to determine such things.

One thing I know it has done though is create a shit load of work and paperwork for me. Although I have no training or really much knowledge on NAFTA, I have somehow become the expert in this field for my company (and by expert, I mean I know slightly more than any random person that you might meet on the street). My expertise came about because I ship a lot of packages for my company - many to Canada, many to Mexico...so I had to learn a little bit about NAFTA in order for these items to ship out correctly and in a timely manner.

What I hate about NAFTA:
  • Now instead of a printing out a shipping label. I must now print the shipping label (3 copies), commercial invoice (4 copies), and NAFTA declaration (4 copies). I have to keep a copy of each for myself...for 5 years, and stuff the rest into the shipping pouch. What a waste of time, paper, and storage space.
  • I am the one in change of assigning the Harmonization Tariff codes to all of the companies products (again because I know slightly more that everyone else). How hard can that be? the 2009 NAFTA schedule (the guide you have to follow) is 3000+ pages long. Yes, I can ignore much of it because we don't ship things like "Live Animals" or "Chemicals" but then does our product fall under the category "Aluminum and Articles thereof" or "Vehicles, Parts and Accessories thereof"? (more on this in the next bullet). The file is large enough that it seems to take forever to open, let alone navigate.
  • Of course it doesn't actually list all the categorizations plainly and simply...it says something like "Vehicles class 8701 - 8705, excluding 8704, and whereas class does not also match 8707, Parts and Accessories, NELOS." So you also have to go look up what every other classification says and lists before you can assign one. It is all written in legalize so even when you do read the 50 pages surrounding the category you think your product MIGHT be, it doesn't really make any sense.
  • It is just hard to get information and answers on any of it. It has gotten better in the past couple years but still I am usually searching through 3 or 4 government sites before I actually find the info I need.
  • Plus now NAFTA isn't enough, you now need ECCN declarations and a bunch of other stuff, just to send a set of bolts to a customer who is missing them.

I don't disagree with the idea of the NAFTA idea, just the implementation. I wish it was easier to ship like promised.

End Hate

Monday, June 8, 2009

Knowing is Half the Battle

Every boy I knew growing up liked GI Joe (and many of the girls). We would run home from the bus stop everyday to catch the GI Joe cartoon. Everyone collected as many of the figures and machines as possible...because Oh My God their arms and legs were jointed! How cool was that?
I was always confused by a couple things:
  • Why was Cobra Commander such a whiny bitch in the cartoons? He was the head of a terrorist organization and yet he was always being a cry baby. He didn't seem tough...and he should have been tough. He should have been a total badass. I am sure they were trying to make him uncool so kids didn't want to emulate him, but that always caused it to ring false in my mind.
Cobra Commander art by Tim Seeley.

  • Why was the Joe team's weapon systems so ordinary and Cobra's so inventive? Did the GIs spend all their creativity and individuality on their outfits while Cobra's standard uniforms allowed them to have the budget for cutting edge weaponry? GI Joe's equipment looked like standard issue US Military hardware. Their Skystryker jet was an F-14, their Mobat tank was an Abrams...cool in their one right but crap compared to the Rattler and the Hiss. Cobra had style.

The Rattler was an A-10 with wing mounted engines and the wings pivoted for vertical landing and an extra turbine on the tail for stability. A bubble cockpit and a machine gun turret? It was just cool.

Rattler Photo Stolen from http://forums.yojoe.com/showthread.php?p=371279

The HISS was probably not very functional as a tank, I don't think it would have been nearly stable enough. Plus it had two smaller barrels instead of one large one, but it looked fast and the driver had a cool uniform (I always liked the thigh high boots). I thought it was cool that two guys could stand on the back bumper area and shoot while the tank was moving.

GI Joe Mobat Tank Photo Stolen from http://oldgijoes.com/gijoe82.htm

Hiss Photo Stolen from http://www.amazon.com/G-I-Cobra-H-I-S-S-Tank-Commander/dp/B0017PU1I8

But we all grow up, the cartoon plots became tired, the toys silly and we all drifted to new things. Then a few years ago, they tried to reboot the franchise with new toys and new cartoons, GI Joe Sigma Six. I watched a couple episodes and it was OK but I was disturbed at the animation. The characters looked like they were teenagers...young teenagers, not the cool barely legal kind. Yes, I know that in real life that many soldiers are under 21. The new Joe look however seemed wrong. First, it seemed like it was selling war to children. It was hard to believe that these fresh faced kids were battle hardened ass kickers who were experts in their respective fields. The tech was also too futuristic, too unrealistic. The whole show just didn't mesh. It was too cartoony. GI Joe fell off the radar screen again (well at least mine).

A few months ago, I heard that a new GI Joe mini-series was going to be shown on Adult Swim. The new series was called GI Joe Resolute. It was written by Warren Ellis whose previous comic work and web comic Freak Angels I highly enjoy. Warren Ellis doesn't do "kiddy" stuff, his stuff is bleak and tough and raw. I still had some reservations but was determined to watch. Resolute was great. Cobra was an evil team of terrorists, the Joe team was special forces/secret forces type team. Cobra Commander shot his own troops in the face when they failed (Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face!). Actual Joe and Cobra characters were killed. Characters had depth and emotions. It was what GI Joe should be. Not necessarily a realistic view of warfare but enough realism and fantasy to make it a good show. I highly enjoyed it.

This brings me to the new GI Joe live action movie: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I was not looking forward to this, figuring that they would just make it completely horrible. From the trailer, I think this is probably right too. But yet, now that I got a taste of good GI Joe action, I am hoping that this is not the case. I am not dying to see this movie, but I am not dismissing it off-hand like I had earlier either. I am trying to be cautiously optimistic that they just haven't completely ruined GI Joe. We will see.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Carpet Does Not Match

While getting my hair cut last night, I decided to get my hair bleached blond. I had thought about it since my last haircut, but didn't know if I would actually do it or not...that is a game time decision. So I did...as you can see in the horrible picture below. I don't take good pictures ever, but especially if I am the one holding the camera. I am just not photogenic. Anyhow here is the horrible proof of my blond ambitions. I wanted it to be lighter and more white, but this alone took three bleach jobs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I am a big fan of concerts. Big concerts, small bar shows, etc... I like them all. My busiest week for concerts was in spring of 1996 when me and my good friend db went to 5 concerts in a 7 day period, each between 1 to 3 hours drive away. Oh yeah, did I mention it was Finals Week in college? I was tired for some of the tests but still did really well so it was all worth it. I don't remember exactly which concerts they were right now as me and db went to tons and tons of concerts together...I want to say it was something like: White Zombie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Saigon Kick, Motorhead, and Primus. I know those were all concerts we went to, I just don't remember if those were in this particular week.

My point is that I love concerts but lately I haven't been much in the mood. We have had some decent concerts come through - Slipknot, Motley Crue, Apolcalyptica, Adler's Appetite, etc... Sure I have seen Slipknot many times, and Motley Crue a handful so skipping them wasn't a huge deal. I've always intrigued by Apolcalyptica and would like to see them live...but when the time came around I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to check them out. Nickelback held no real interest (even though I love the beginning of "Animals" - the cheesy lyrics ruin it though). Lazerfest all day, outdoor rock shows are usually miserable experiences with lack luster sound. All the local bands I used to see have either broken up or been on a hiatus.

Last night, I checked out my first concert of 2009...that is quite a streak without a show for me. I went to Third Eye Blind at the Val Air Ballroom. I have listened to all of TEBs albums once or twice but have never been able to really get into them. I think that has changed now as they put on a great show. The opening band was utterly forgettable. They weren't bad, they just seemed to have songs that were lyrically deep but musically bland. A band that would be awesome if you knew all the words but as first time viewing really don't seem that interesting. All their songs sounded pretty similar (not bad, just unremarkable) with no real hooks to grab the attention of the audience.

Third Eye Blind was great. They sounded good (although he tried to make it seem like he was trying to check the audience when he screwed up a lyric in one song - the whole "just seeing if you guys knew the words" type thing). I liked that they had a good mix of electric and acoustic songs. It was a well thought out set list with a little from each album and their new album coming out later this summer. I was curious what kind of crowd there would be as Third Eye Blind hasn't had a record out in quite a while (6 years), let alone a huge hit. It was a decent crowd, maybe about a thousand, so it was a pretty intimate show. I know my brother was happy that he could get a drink in under 2 minutes.

As always, I would have been more than happy to do without guitar, bass, and drum solos but if that is what allowed Jenkins to do a solo Slow Motion, I forgive them as that was amazing. Slow Motion has always been my favorite TEB song and I didn't think they would actually play it.

It just has such awesome lyrics:
Ms. jones taught me english,
but I think I just shot her son
Cause he owed me money,
with a bullet in the chest you cannot run
Now hes bleeding in a vacant lot
The one in the summer where we used to smoke pot
I guess I didnt mean it
But man you shoulda seen it
His flesh explode
I am now looking forward to some more concerts this summer. Matthew Sweet is playing in a few weeks (who I have tried to see 3 or 4 times but it never has worked out), and the Black Crowes are playing in about a month. The Crowes totally pissed me off last time I saw them because it was just a crappy jam fest and they played only two of their hit songs. The of the time was spent listening to 20 minute versions of their OK but not great songs and smelling the second-hand pot smoke (gross). The upcoming concert is outdoors at an amphitheater on the river...so I should be able to entertain myself even if they are just jamming.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two Minutes Hate


I generally enjoy commercials and infomercials. I don't usually buy the stuff because most of it is way too specialized of a purpose or seems a little vague on their health claims...or I just don't need it.

Bumpits annoy me highly.

  • The commercial starts with an annoying scream

  • The commercial says "...So last year"

  • The commercial also says "...or rock a pony"

  • Oh did I mention that the commercial has horrible writing?

  • Do women really want to look like this?

    Before - nice and normal, After - hideously deformed head.

  • Bumpits make a person's head look funny shaped - alienish

I know for some reason women are obsessed with Hair Volume and always want to go bigger and (supposedly) better. This type of thing makes you look more like a laughing stock than anything else...OK maybe a peacock. Ladies, just be yourself. You are wonderful without stupid hair tricks. Seriously are your trying to look like this?

End Hate