Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bee Talk Pretty One Day

Here are some closeups of the aforementioned bees. It’s hard to get a good picture of those little boogers, they’re constantly in motion. I think bees are fascinating. If bees could talk, I think this is what they would say:

* You know that guy with the camera? Have you noticed how his eyelid keeps twitching? I think he has myokymia! He must be fatigued, look at those bags under his eyes.
* No wonder Dallas has the highest crime rate in the nation. Stupid humans!
* I hope those teddy bears don’t decide to come after us!
* Wow, those humans allow their larvae to buy cars on the Internet. Stupid humans!
* Damn I can’t wait for that Borat movie to come out!

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what they would say.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sometimes It's The Little Things

I'm going to use this post as an excuse to take a short study break.

In a sign of how pathetic my life is, this is what I have gotten the most excited about this week: I found out that I get Bravo on my cable system although I'm not supposed to. Why the excitement? Now I can watch Project Runway! Tonight is the 11th episode of season 3, but in the runup to the new episode they're showing all the previous episodes today. I'm recording them all, but who knows how long it will take me to catch up?

I leave you with a couple of shots taken in my back yard this week.

I spied this little spiderweb, but where is the spider? Probably in my closet.

This is one of the cinnamon basil plants I grew this year. This one is thriving, the other cinnamon basil and my sweet basil have really been struggling since they went 3 days without water while I was in Memphis at the height of the heat wave in August. It's kind of hard to see, but this thing is swarming with bees. I bet that makes for some interesting-tasting honey!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - With My Sister

This is me and my sister a long time ago. There used to be a park between Dallas and Fort Worth where you could drive through while animals roamed around. They had giraffes, zebras, and even rhinos (which absolutely blows my mind, seems like trouble just waiting to happen)! No apes except for what you see here. I'm actually glad that it's gone now, it doesn't seem right.
Seeing this picture reminds me of what a giant a-hole I was to my sister as we were growing up. I don't know if I was jealous that she came along or what, but I was so mean to her. Luckily we now get along great and it doesn't seem that she holds our past against me. As we got older I think we started to realize that once our parents are gone, all we'll have of our family is each other. We have the same warped sense of humor and appreciation of the absurd. Unfortunately my sister lives in North Carolina, so I only get to see her once or twice a year. Maybe someday we'll live closer to each other.

See more self portraits here.


Monday, September 25, 2006

The Attack That Is Massive

OK, I’m still recapping the events of the weekend before last. What with school and all it’s a little hard to keep up.

My second concert of the weekend was Massive Attack. Luckily there was a day in-between Ween and MA. Before the concert I was a little bit worried about how Massive Attack would sound live. Their records are incredibly dense, and I wasn’t sure if they could carry that heavily produced sound to a live setting. Um, those concerns were totally unfounded. The band was outstanding. I was disappointed to hear that Daddy G would not be in attendance due to the birth of his child, but his absence didn’t really detract much from the proceedings. The guest vocalists were absolutely amazing and were the highlight of the show for me. Elizabeth Fraser and Horace Andy were both in attendance, and were both in fine form. Hearing those voices live raised some goosebumps. “Man Next Door” was particularly good. Deborah Miller was also great, particularly on “Unfinished Sympathy”. My favorite MA album is Mezzanine, and I was very happy that they played all but 2 songs from that disc. The bass in the theater was incredible.

The stage setup was interesting, with a big bank of LED-like lights behind the band. There was also an LED message board of sorts just below the drum risers where various messages were scrolled right to left during the show (like on the Massive Attack website). Right before the show started there were a bunch of factoids about Dallas scrolled across the screen, which was kind of an interesting departure from the local-pandering practice of “Is (insert name of town here) ready to rock!?”

I was a little surprised at how sparsely attended the concert was. There were assigned seats, but about 3 songs into the show someone went up to the front of the theater and stood there. When it looked like they would be allowed to stay, a mass migration to the front of the theater took place. I was sitting on about the 6th row. After the migration I had to stand to be able to see, but that was OK with me. I wish I would have attempted to bring my camera because there were a lot of people with digital point and shoot cameras, and no one seemed to be hassling them at all. I just assumed that cameras were a no-no.

Allow me to digress a moment into the crapitude of concert talkers. When the revolution comes, I say the first ones up against the wall are the concert-talkers and the movie-talkers. These two jackasses who had been sitting in front of me moved to the empty row behind me after the crowd surged to the front. And they talked. And the fact that I could hear them during the songs was amazing considering how loud the band was. After throwing a couple of stink-eyes at them to no effect, I climbed over the seats and moved up two rows since there was room. Now I could see better and I could no longer hear the jackassasauruses.

The weekend concert bonanza was precipitated by the proximity of Dallas to Austin and the Austin City Limits festival that took place that weekend. Lots of bands on their way to or from ACL make stops in Dallas (or in the case of Ween, Tulsa). A similar thing happens in March with the South by Southwest festival. I actually prefer this to seeing these bands at a festival, because outdoor festivals can be a beating and you get abbreviated sets unless it’s a headlining act. You can get closer than 2 miles to the stage, and the sound is much better too. The downside is I actually had to miss one of my favorite performers, Aimee Mann, because she was playing the same night as Massive Attack. Seeing as how rare an MA tour is (they said it was their first time in Texas?), and the fact that I saw AM 3 (and a half) times in 2005, I can live with that. If I had been crazy (well, more than I already am), I would have attempted to see the Flaming Lips on Saturday. I’m not really very familiar with their music, but after hearing about their stage show I want to see it.

And big props go out to H for turning me on to MA. Alright!


Sunday, September 24, 2006

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

If you shop at Target, and you're in the market for a frozen pizza, this one kicks ass:

The crust comes out crispy, so if you're not into that you may not like this pizza.

This post not sponsored by the Target Corporation! That is all.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Straight From the Deaner's Mouth

Deaner updated the Ween site today, and he posted his impressions of the Tulsa show. Kind of interesting to hear his perspective:

cain's ballroom tulsa, ok
this was supposed to be a warm-up show for the acl festival, we actually played here with the foo fighters in 1995 and i love this club. it is the original home to bob wills and the texas playboys, who i grew up listening to, and it's famous for decades of legendary performers visiting the club, including the sex pistols, willie nelson, and just about anyone else who matters in music. this gig was a blast, a sleeper, one of the best gigs we played all summer. the people at the club were so courteous and nice to us and the crowd came to rock. a great way to end the summer, since one hour festival sets don't really count as ween shows.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ween

Last Friday I made a trip to the dirty, dirty state of Oklahoma (I keed, I keed. Well, mostly) to see one of my favorite bands – Ween. Unfortunately Tulsa (or as I like to sometimes call it, Tusla) was the closest stop to Dallas on this tour, but I figured a 3 and a half hour drive was reasonable since I’ve been waiting 3 years to see Ween in concert again. I took half a day off from work so I could get there in plenty of time.

The doors to the venue were to open at 7 according to the ticket. I got there right around 7 and there was a huge line of people waiting to get in. I took a few pictures and then decided to get in line. After about 10 more minutes they finally started letting people in. I knew that Ween allows taping and cameras at their shows, so I brought my camera to the concert. When they took my ticket they didn’t even ask to look inside my camera bag. I could have smuggled a blunt in there! But I didn’t.

Unfortunately I was too far back in line to get a spot up against the fence right in front of the stage, but I staked out a spot about 3 rows back (had there been any “rows”, it was standing room only). I knew I was in for a long night of standing since Ween typically plays about 3 hour shows. I wanted a beer or two something fierce, but I decided not to partake since I didn’t have anyone to “save my spot”, and I really didn’t want to have to fight my way to and from the bathroom once the show started. I think I was the only sober person in that whole place. They had a great deal on beer (for a bar anyway) – you could get a six pack of Bud or Coors for $12. Yeah, only the cheap stuff but hell around here you would pay $4 for one. I met some nice people, one couple was originally from New Orleans and they were permanently displaced by Katrina and now live in Frisco, Texas (strangely enough only about 10 miles from where I live). It was just going to be too expensive for them to rebuild in New Orleans, but luckily they did OK with their insurance. Another couple was from Wichita, and this was their first Ween show. I only include this for comedy reasons, but the folks from Wichita thought that I looked like McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy. Like I said, I was the only sober person. The show started about an hour after I got to my spot.

The show was great, but it was slightly marred for me by a couple of factors. One was that starting from about the third song on, it was a battle to maintain my position in the crowd. Fucking weasels kept pushing their way past (or in some cases trying to push their way past) all night. There were a couple of tense moments when I objected to having some asshole try to worm his way into my spot. I didn’t get there an hour early to have some Johnny-come-lately get in front of me! The other bad thing was that I have been spoiled by the smoke-free environment of concerts in Dallas. I think I am on the fast track to emphysema after Friday night. There was a lot of smoking going on, both legal and otherwise. My voice was about an octave lower the next day, and I felt as if I had a smoked a whole pack, sans filter. An only slightly annoying factor that came into play late in the game was the hippy factor. Ever since Phish covered the Ween song “Roses Are Free”, there’s been a small hippy contingent to Ween fandom. A rather obnoxious exemplar of said crowd wormed his dirty, smelly way in front of me toward the end of the show. Oh well.

Ween played 2 new songs and a cover, so the majority of the evening was old favorites. I love how into it the crowds at these shows get, lots of people sing along to all the songs. Deaner was ripping it up as usual, and Gener was in fine voice. There was one encore, and when that was over we had just hit the 3 hour mark. There was no opening act. I love how these guys play for so long, but it makes other concerts seem too short.

I was going to put in some stuff about why I think Ween is worthwhile, but I think I’ll save that for a separate post. Here are just a few of the pictures I took. I took over 200 pictures!!! I wanted to make sure I got a least a few good ones.

And here's a cover of a Wings song that Ween played that I'm really digging. This recording isn't from Tulsa, but it is from the current tour:

Let Me Roll It

Any time I'm in another state I try to find this beer - it's one of my favorites. Due to a really stupid law in Texas this beer is not sold there. Something about the alcohol content being too high for the state's defintion of a "stout". Ironic that it can be bought in the land of 3.2 beer - Oklahoma. But only warm!

This is Cain's Ballroom. Originally it was known for having lots of famous country musicians play there, but it has become a mecca for all kinds of bands. Hell, the Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, The Talking Heads, and The Police have all played there!

View of downtown Tulsa from in front of Cain's

Gener pulls a play from the Tom Waits playbook ;) for "Stroker Ace"

He's going to give me emphysema, but damn does he look cool!

I love the look on Deaner's face here. The band is watching Gener do this weird faux-Nusret Fateh Ali Khan thing.

I think Deaner's hands were cramping up or something. He was moving his fingers around in this weird way!

You want me to sing what?!

Someone brought this hideous painting that they created and held it up right after the show started. Deaner grabbed it and put it up in front of the drum set.

The aftermath

Patrick Dempsey shows his approval


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Have You Hugged a Panda Today?

I’m still working on my concert posts. I know all 3 of you can’t wait! Yesterday was completely devoted to school, it was the due date for a bunch of stuff that I didn’t start working on until Tuesday. I’m hoping not to wait until the last minute next week.

In the meantime, here are a couple of items of interest:

* The worldwide stupidity trend continues unabated. We now go to China. Too bad the panda didn’t bite his head off.

* I’ve always talked about this, now here’s some backup. If you know someone with the middle name of Wayne, watch your back.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've Been Tagged

Tish tagged me to answer these blog questions:

1) Are you happy/satisfied with your blog’s content and look? Content – Not really, I think it’s been kind of boring lately and it’s never been very focused. I’m OK with the look.

2) Does your family know about your blog?
No. I didn’t want to have to worry about offending anyone.

3) Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog? Do you consider it a private thing?
I guess the answer is yes since I haven’t told any of my friends that I blog. I think most of my friends aren’t really into blog culture – none of them blog and I don’t think they read any either. There’s also a macho component, it’s not the type of thing that a guy tells his buddies that he does.

4) Did blogging cause positive changes in your thoughts?
I think sometimes it has helped my outlook when I vent, I think it’s a good way to release and get rid of negative thoughts. Other times I think it helps to clarify my thoughts if I put them down in writing.

5) Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or do you love to go and discover more by yourself?
I like to search for new blogs to read as well as the old favorites.

6) What does a visitor counter mean to you? Do you like having one on your blog? I’m a statcounter addict, but I think I’m getting better. In the past I’ve been sent into a funk or into a good mood by how many hits my page got. That’s really f’d up. I’ve realized that I care too much about what other people think about me, and that’s something I’m working on changing.

7) Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
I think I have seen pictures of all of the bloggers that I read.

8) Admit it. Do you think there is any real benefit in blogging?

9) Do you think that blogger’s society is isolated from the real world or interaction with events?
No. Everyone I read blogs about events in their real lives.

10) Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it’s a normal thing?
Criticism annoys the hell out of me 9see my answer to #6). Luckily I haven’t received any criticism on my blog.

11) Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?
I occasionally read some political blogs.

12) Were you shocked by the arrest of some bloggers? I didn’t hear about this.
I guess it would depend on what they were arrested for!

13) What do you think will happen to your blog after you die?
It will go to Blog Hell.

14) What song do you like to hear? What song would you like to link to on your blog?
Too many to list! Actually I would like to post some music here occasionally, but I need some pointers on how to do that.

15) The next “victims”?
I tag… nobody!!!


Monday, September 18, 2006

More Concert Goodness

Today is all about survival. I went to another concert last night - Massive Attack. So, I'm working off of 5 hours of sleep. And I have some assignments due for one of my classes today. So the reviews will have to wait. Short review of last night - Wow!!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Small Taste

JC went on a little road trip yesterday. I leave you with but a taste of what I saw. The full report is going to take awhile!

Dean Ween

Gene Ween

Friday, September 15, 2006

News Break

* So we can figure this out, but we can't cure cancer? Sheezus.

* Proving that America hasn't cornered the market on stupidity, it's the Australians! Way to show those stingrays, guys!

* Is this real? Holy shit. I wonder if they're edible? Now I know what to get my cousins for Christmas.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Prefer The Term Sasquatch, Sir

As I’ve previously documented, I’ve been AWOL a lot lately because I’m a big whiny baby. That said, school is kind of kicking my ass these days. So far I’ve been able to keep up with everything but it’s taking lots of effort.

Last night I had to do a “project” of sorts for my reference class. Our assignment was to observe for 2 hours at a library reference desk and then write a report about it (and no, this doesn’t count). I was told that 5-7 would be a good time to observe, so I headed for my local library right after work. It turned out to be not too busy, but I did observe a couple of things to put in my report, including a man who asked for a book about Bigfoot (preferably as recent as possible). I didn’t tell him that I prefer the term Sasquatch. The librarian hooked him up with a 2005 title. All this made me think of a friend of mine who’s all about the Bigfoot.

I also got a look at the “anything can happen” side of the public library. I carried a stroller down the stairs because the elevator was broken. The automatic paper towel dispenser in the men’s restroom went berserk and just kept running and running, causing a pile of paper towels to pile up about a foot thick on the floor. I watched as the librarian approached a teenage couple getting a bit too cozy and asked the boy to give the girl’s arm back, to which he replied “it’s not your arm, what do you care?” Is “because I said so asshole” an appropriate response?

I got to see how books are ordered, which was pretty cool. After a finding a book for one guy, he asked if the library had a more recent edition. They had a 2nd edition, and a quick web search revealed that that book is now in a 4th edition. An order was placed right there at the desk for the 4th edition. Later a woman came in asking for a book that did not show up in the system. A quick search of Amazon revealed that the book was just published on September 4th. Boom! An order was placed right then and the woman will be notified when it comes in. At this particular library, each librarian gets a budget, and they can pretty much order whatever they want as long as they stay within their budget. That’s pretty damn cool.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - With Someone

Beauty and the Beast

Here's a picture of me with one of my favorite performers - Aimee Mann. Last year in Austin I played the part of stalker fanboy and waited by the tour bus after Aimee's concert. Luckily she was very nice and allowed me to have this picture taken. Note her "dude!" necklace.
More SPCs here.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

I'm A Loser Baby...

I’m depressed. That’s why I haven’t posted in so long. I don’t know, it just seems kind of weird to post about stupid stuff like whether I’m using facial moisturizer or about the guy last week who floated an air biscuit as he stepped off the elevator when I feel so crappy. When I feel this way my natural tendency is to withdraw. I guess it’s a protection mechanism: “If the world doesn’t want me, then fuck ‘em, they can’t have me anyway!” No, it’s not rational, but feelings never are. And I’m probably the only working person you know who hates weekends. “Two whole days by myself – just what I need!”

I’m so tired of being alone and I don’t see this situation changing anytime soon. This isn’t a new situation for me, but it never gets any easier, and actually I think it’s getting worse as I get older. I’m just like anyone else, I want to get married and have a family someday, but it just seems so far away. I’ve tried to be proactive about this situation before and it never works out. How many times can you slam your head against a brick wall, or put your hand on a hot stove?

I know that relying on someone else for my happiness is a problem in its own right and is bound to fail. The only person who can make me happy is me, and that’s what I’m going to work on. I am hoping that my career change is a step in that direction.

I just wanted you all to know why I haven’t been around. When I feel better I will post more.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Enough With The Memphis Already!

OK, this is it for Memphis. Hey, it only took a month!

These first 2 pictures are from the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated. It is now the National Civil Rights Museum.

Six Flags Over Memphis! Er, I mean seven.

These are the famous ducks from the Peabody Hotel. Word to the wise, if you actually want to see the ducks march from the elevator to the fountain, get there early. If you show up 2 minutes before 11, the 500 other people there tend to block your view. The only time I could see the ducks was after they were in the fountain and a bunch of people left.

In a bizarre twist, the hotel that we ended up staying at unexpectedly after our flight back was cancelled had doves and ducks living in a big atrium next to some of the rooms. These doves were perched right outside our room. In an even more bizarre twist, when we came back from dinner, the doves were (in the parlance of our times) "getting it on". Get a room!

Side note: So that's what it sounds like when doves cry.