Monday, July 28, 2008

California Here I Come

I'm taking a little vacation time at the end of this week. I have a special trip coming up. I'm heading out to California. Why, you may ask? BECAUSE I'M GOING TO A MOVIE PREMIERE! I know it's kind of cheesy, but it's still pretty cool if you ask me. A friend of mine is a movie director, and the last time I saw him he mentioned that I should try and come to the premiere of his next movie if I could, so I'm taking him up on his offer. I mean, c'mon, this may be my only chance to attend a Hollywood premiere as a guest of the director!

I had some stress over what I should wear at first, because I usually do not dress to impress. My friend said that I could wear whatever I want, but I didn't want to show up in shorts and a t-shirt. I did some snooping around on IMDB since they have lots of photos of people at premieres, and it really does run the gamut. I'm shooting for retro casual. Think more Jack Black than Daniel Craig! I'm sure I'll be the turd in the punchbowl anyway.

I don't know if I'll get to meet this guy or this guy. I certainly wouldn't turn down the chance to creep out this lovely lady in person. But either way I think it will be fun. I will also be spending some time with my sister (she's going to the premiere with me) and zoo animals. And there will be In N Out Burger. Good times! I imagine the experience will be something like this:

I'm not putting the name of the movie in the post because I don't want people searching for info on the movie to stumble across this post. It could result in me being blog-outed, and we wouldn't want that! But you can see the name of the movie in the photos below.

The invitation looks like a giant matchbook. Very cool.

Here's the inside.

I guess it's kind of dorky of me to wear brand new Chucks to this thing, but I'm kind of a dork anyway so it works out.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

A New Toy

I finally bought the lens extender I've been wanting forever. I'm hoping it will help with wildlife shots. It makes my camera look ridiculous since it makes the lens section even longer. I haven't had much chance to play with it yet since I'm trying to get the last paper I will be writing for a long time under control. Right after the extender came in the mail I put it on and went outside just to see how much the image would be magnified. There was a rabbit in my yard, so I took some photos. Not bad for manual focus and handheld (this lens/extender combo should really be used with a tripod). I wish I would've thought to put on my monopod, but I actually wasn't expecting to see anything worth taking a photo of! So here is the very first shot with my new toy:


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Teh Weirdness

I have seen a couple of really weird things lately.

I have a rather long commute to work. Most of the time I do my best not to look at the hundreds of people that I pass by on any particular day. But not too long ago I looked over at one of my fellow drivers, and I swear if I had been drinking coffee I would've spit it all over the dashboard. I saw this really tricked-out Camaro one morning. It was bright red with silver racing stripes, and it even had a hood scoop. Sometimes when I see cars like this I like to look at the driver to see whether my preconceived notions of who drives vehicles like that are correct. Well, this time, they certainly weren't. As I passed the Camaro I looked over and saw one of the oldest, wrinkliest little old ladies I've ever seen driving a car. She had to have been in her eighties. I instantly thought of that scene in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" where that old lady is driving and can barely see over the steering wheel. I just never expected to see that. It was definitely spit take material. I wonder if that's her car.

The other weird thing I saw (well, really the weird part is what I heard) was at Target the other day. I was walking close to the toy section when I heard the familiar whines of a child begging mommy for the latest gotta-have toy. Only there was something different about this whine. It was in French! Now that may be par for the course in Paris or Montreal, but let me tell you you don't hear a lot of toy-whines in French in Dallas, Texas. And I don't know if it was just the kid or perhaps the unfamiliarity of the language, but this particular toy-whine and mommy-denial seemed extra whiny and dramatic. In the toy-whine Oscars, this kid might have won best actor with mommy taking best supporting actress.

Life can be strange sometimes.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ween Plays Tulsa

I’m experiencing an unexplained burst of energy today, so I have to take advantage of that and get my concert post out there!

A week ago Saturday I went to see Ween in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This was the closest they were coming to Dallas on this tour, so I decided to make the trip even though gas is so expensive nowadays. This was the second time that I had seen them at Cain’s Ballroom, so I pretty much knew what to expect as far as what the place would be like.

Since I was also visiting Holli and Faith that weekend, I drove to Tulsa from Oklahoma City on Saturday evening for the show. It wasn’t a bad drive, about 100 miles, but I thought it was lame that the whole trip was on a toll road. I think tollroads are bullshit. If you need money just tax me, OK. And what’s up with tollroads that are still tollroads after the road is paid off? Just call it what it is – a road tax. This is how politicians get away with cutting taxes. They make up for it somewhere else, like raising tolls on tollroads. It’s a tax! Anyway, the trip to Tulsa was $9 roundtrip. What a ripoff!

Whew, got a little sidetracked there! I wanted to get there about an hour before the doors opened so I could get a spot right up front for photos. Punctuality, however, is not one of my strong points. I ended up getting there about 5 minutes before doors, and there was a huge line of people. I thought fer sure I was screwed on getting a rail spot, but luckily once I got inside I was able to get a spot on the left side of the stage. Right next to me was a 7 year old boy and his mother. Man, how cool does a mom have to be to take her son to Ween? It was his first Ween show, but not his first concert.

There was an hour and half wait before Ween hit the stage, but it went pretty quickly. The first thing I noticed when Ween came out is that Gener is looking pretty large these days. Especially if you compare him to how skinny he is in the Chicago DVD. But if he’s healthy then more power to him! Deaner just got out of a leg cast a few weeks ago. He seemed none the worse for wear.

The show was great! Gener seemed to be having a good time throughout the night. He was smiling a lot. There were quite a few equipment problems, but they fought through things pretty well. Dave blew out an amp, and there was something wrong with Glen’s keyboards for the first few songs, but you couldn’t tell from the sound. This was my fifth Ween show. The setlist was pretty standard for the most part. I heard some of the La Cucaracha songs live for the first time, including my favorite “serial killer who sings like Al Green song”, “Object”. “Albino Sunburned Girl” was a nice treat. This was my first Ween show at which “Ocean Man” and “Jonny On The Spot” didn’t make an appearance, but that’s OK because it allows them to work in stuff I haven’t heard live before. They played “Flutes of the Chi”, which was pretty rare until this tour. For some reason Deaner wanted to play drums on “The Mollusk”, so he did. Claude came out with Deaner’s guitar shortly thereafter. They were pretty jammy and stretched out quite a bit during the show.

During the encore I got to hear one of the songs that I’ve been waiting to hear for a long time. I don’t know which part is weirdest: (a) that Ween has a song called “Poop Ship Destroyer”, (b) that I requested it a few times loud enough for them to hear it, or (c) that they actually played it! The live version differs greatly from the album version. They usually stretch it out live and make it kind of an occasion for all sorts of solos and other weirdness. There was a guy with a video camera in front of me between the barricade and the stage, and at the end of the song I could see on his screen that it clocked in at almost exactly 20 minutes. A couple of times Claude (the drummer) tried to end things and started to get up, but Deaner kept playing and made Claude keep going. It was really cool! They ended with a great cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” sung by Dave. Kind of makes me wonder why they never play “It’s Gonna Be a Long Night” live since it’s such a similar-sounding song.

I didn’t find the crowd as annoying this time as I did last time at Cain’s. But I think that’s mostly because I was right up front. I didn’t have to worry about people trying to elbow their way past me. It also helped big time that Cain’s is now smoke free. Even though the guy next to me eventually was able to sneakily smoke a cig, the overall air environment was much more pleasant this time. A couple of assholes did throw stuff onstage, including a beer which got Glen’s keyboards wet (as well as my head). I hope someone beat the crap out of that jerk. I also got hit in the head with a water bottle that was mostly full. Thankfully it didn’t hurt. I’m telling you, if I coulda found whoever threw that thing right at that moment there woulda been a ruckus. As it was I turned around and gave everyone a double-barrelled one-finger salute. Nobody copped to it.

I didn’t get a setlist, but after the show I was skulking around the merch table to see if they took plastic (unfortunately they didn’t), and I saw a girl with a setlist. I asked if she would mind if I took a photo of it, and she let me. Since “Poop Ship” wasn’t on there, I’ll just have to take credit for that one!

Piss Up A Rope
The HIV Song
Bananas & Blow
Learnin' To Love
Take Me Away
Transdermal Celebration
The Grobe
Voodoo Lady
Albino Sunburned Girl
Buckingham Green
My Own Bare Hands
Happy Colored Marbles
Flutes Of Chi
Your Party
Exactly Where I'm At
Roses Are Free
She's Your Baby
Stroker Ace
Touch My Tooter
Woman & Man
I Can't Put My Finger On It
Slow Down Boy
The Mollusk (Deaner on drums/Claude on guitar)
Never Squeal On The Pusher
Poopship Destroyer
Ace Of Spades

Classic Deaner face

Deaner ignores the smoking ban

Gener ignores the smoking ban

Rare shot of Claude on guitar

The girl next to me was pointing at Claude all night. You can see her pointing in the corner of the frame. Here's Claude's response.

Curtain call


Thursday, July 17, 2008


I still haven't written my concert post. Right now I'm in my usual (of late) mode of just trying to somehow get through the week without my head exploding. Only to make it to the weekend where I will lounge about in recuperative (but unproductive) stupor so I can get ready for next week. I'm so ready to graduate next month. Between work, school, and volunteering at the library I have so many hours of my existence devoted to things that right now are feeling more like obligations than choices (even though they're really all choices of various levels). I ditched the library today because I just didn't feel like getting home with only enough time to eat dinner and then go to bed.

I hate that my house is such a dump right now. I don't feel like expending a lot of effort in my free time towards cleaning. At least with the end of school I will hopefully have a little more time for stuff like that. You know they say that the state of one's house is an embodiment of the state of their mind, and I can kind of agree with that at the moment. Cluttered house = cluttered mind. I need some clarity.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Go North Young(?) Man

A couple of months ago I found that one of my favorite bands, Ween, was going to be playing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I went up there to see them a couple of years ago, but I wasn't sure I would go this time since gas is so expensive now. But since Holli and Faith and fam are currently in OKC I had more reason to make the trek up north. So that's what I did this past weekend. I don't have my concert post ready yet, so how about I post some pics from the drive up? Yeah, I know, nothing impressive here, so I'll throw in a bonus concert pic too!

Crossing the Red River. It's hard to tell, but it really is red. That's because of the red dirt.

Not the greatest pic, but I was trying to drive at the same time.

I thought this one turned out very well for being taken while driving.

Gener gets ready to RAWK!


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

No Beck For You (By You I Mean Me)

The new Beck album, Modern Guilt, came out today. I love Beck’s music, and I really want to get the album, but I have decided not to for now. I was really cheesed when they came out with a deluxe 3 disc version of his last album less than 6 months after the release of the basic version. The deluxe version was 3 discs, two of which were the original version of the album. The other disc was not available separately. And I like a lot of the Beck remixes. So they wanted us to buy the album, then come back and buy the deluxe version, with a duplicate disc, less than 6 months later. F that.

It’s one thing if they decide to do this kind of thing 12 years later, like with Odelay. But 6 months? Look, I may be dumb, and I may be an ass, but I’m not a dumbass. Release them both at the same time, and I’ll gladly pony up for the spiffy version (they did this with Guero, both versions were available on release day). Or allow us to buy the extra material separately. Or at the very least say “hey, we’re coming out with a deluxe version in a few months if you’d rather wait for that”. But don’t try to trick me into buying the same thing twice. That’s taking advantage of your fans, and that sucks.

I think this can mostly be explained as a sleazy tactic of the record companies to grab a few more bucks before they go the way of the dinosaur. And I’m really not happy that that is going to happen, because despite the convenience there are a lot of disadvantages to digital-only music (unless it’s done right, like this [multiple high-quality formats, artwork, yada, yada, whatever]). But if you treat people like crap, don’t expect everyone to just sit there and take it. I'm going to sit back for now and wait to see if a deluxe version is forthcoming. I know some of you may be thinking "Jebus, dude, it's only ten bucks you freakin' tightwad, just buy it already!" It's the principle of the thing. I feel jerked around after last time, and I don't want to be jerked around again.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Alabamy Sammy

Last weekend I went to Alabama to help my family celebrate my step-grandmother's 80th birthday. It was nice to see so much of my extended family. A lot of them I don't get to see very often. I hadn't seen my mom's brother and his family in five years. I wish I lived closer to everyone. It was also nice to get some real pork barbecue.

It just so happened that there was an airshow scheduled for the same weekend. My dad and I are big airplane freaks, so we went to the airshow. I don't know what it is, but there is just something really cool about seeing these planes fly around all crazy. I ate a footlong corndog since the corndog line was the shortest, and I have to say it was pretty damn good. I also got a nasty sunburn on my arms and hands despite applying sunblock before we went out there. I'm thinking that maybe I sweated it off and needed to reapply later, which I didn't. I'm now in the peeling process.

I'm telling everyone that this is my new girlfriend. I mean, the fact that she doesn't know that shouldn't make a difference, right?

This is Fat Albert. Not the cartoon Fat Albert.

The Blue Angels were the featured performers.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

And a Bald Cardinal In a Pear Tree

I went out looking for my favorite bird this evening. While I was waiting I took some some flower photos and I also saw another bald cardinal. Oh, and there were balloons.

I saw these balloons floating up into the sky.


This is similar to what I looked like. I had just finished mowing my lawn and my hair was all akimbo.

Last year I saw a bald female cardinal. This time it was a male. I like how you can see his ear hole.

This was the only shot where I got the painted bunting in focus. He had his little bird back turned toward me.

I wish this one had been in focus! He didn't stay long, and he didn't come back. I'll have to try again sometime.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Busy, Busy

Ugh, I've been really busy since I got back from my trip last weekend. I have a homework assignment due tomorrow night and I've been spending lots of time working on that when not working at my real and volunteer jobs. Hopefully I can do some posts over the upcoming holiday weekend.

For now I will leave you with some flower photos that I took in my aunt's back yard.

Are these tiger lilies? I'm not sure. If you know what kind of flowers these are, please enlighten me!

OK, at least I know that this is a magnolia.

And so is this.