Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Mixes That I Promised I'd Post But Then Never Did

Shut up.

From April/May 2010: "Country Noir"
Inspired by all that 'True Blood' I was watching and some new pearl-button flannel shirts at the time, not to mention some unseasonably warm Seattle weather.

"Dirty Boots" - Sonic Youth
"Killing Him" - Amy LaVere
"Son of a Preacher Man" - Dusty Springfield
"Be Gone" - Brand New
"The Heavens" - The Raveonettes
"Jack Killed Mom" - Jenny Lewis
"Bad Things" - Jace Everett
"Strong Enough" - Sheryl Crow
"Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" - Nancy Sinatra
"Hurt [cover]" - Johnny Cash
"Fallin'" - Connie Francis
"Come Undone" - Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
"Acid Tongue" - Jenny Lewis
"Lust" - The Raveonettes
"Chick Habit" - April March
"Kill! Kill! Kill!" - The Pierces
"Time is a Train" - Amy LaVere

From Novemeber 2010: Rainy City @ Night
Inspired by partying way too much on weeknights and in the rain.
"Cities in Dust" - Junkie XL
"Kids" - Sleigh Bells
"Bitch" - The Plasticines
"Oh, Cherie" - New Young Pony Club
"You Can Count on Me" - Panda Bear
"Crystalized" - The XX
"Suicide Blonde" - The Weepies
"Checkered Floor" - Silversun Pickups
"Star Power [acoustic 2009 version]" - Sonic Youth
"Very Loud" - Shout Out Louds
"Month of May" - Arcade Fire
"Fashion Party" - Das Racist
"Call Your Girlfriend" - Robyn
"Hoeing Weeds Sowing Seeds" - The Russian Futurists
"We End up Together" - The New Pornographers
"At the Indie Disco" - The Divine Comedy
"Elephant Shell" - Tokyo Police Club
"Body" - The Servant
"Gonna Be Sick!" - The Do
"Come on, let's talk about our feelings" - Fight Like Apes
"Height of Summer" - The Knife

What's this aboot?

Josh and I just got back last night from an amazing 2-day trip to Victoria up in Canada. His grandmother (an amazing, nurturing, kind and classically classy broad by the name of Janice) surprised us with the trip on Christmas day. She truly is a remarkable woman. Her husband passed away this past year, and Josh took it really hard as the man was a very important father-figure in his life and present right from the start. You couldn't tell much that it's effected how she lives, though. She's active in her church, in her neighborhood, and she walks everywhere. She has an amazing perspective on life that's contagious when you're around her. It was so nice to just not worry about schedules, or fitting in life with work, or pace when she was with on this trip with us.

We took the ferry from Port Angeles, WA up to Victoria at 7am in the bitter cold, but just the ferry ride alone was spectacular. Having never been on any sort of water craft other than a little speedboat on a lake, I was blown away by the experience. I've always been fascinated and petrified of the ocean in equal parts; looking out at the gray vastness between WA and the city of Victoria I was struck by how small one could easily feel. I do think that experiences like that are needed to gain perspective. It's very easy to be very "me" focused in today's update-my-current-status culture, so being pitted against nature if only for the briefest of times does wonders for the mind and soul. I found myself very calm on that boat, holding on to Josh and staring out at the churning waters.

Victoria as a city reminds me a lot of San Francisco; they know that tourists drive their economy. The architecture is beautiful and is well maintained, the streets are clean, and there is little evidence of crime or major city-centric issues even when you walk a dozen blocks from all the major tourist attractions. We stayed at a hotel on Johnson just a few blocks walking distance from the major shopping districts and were a 5 minute drive from the water front, the famous Empress Hotel, and that bitchin' looking Parliament building.

Side-Bar: What is it with Canadians and their shoes?! We must've seen fifty shoe stores in the area right around the hotel. The "mall" was mostly shoe stores as well. It became a joke for our little group that maybe there is a massive, nation-wide shoe fetish? I've also noticed that when Cnaadians come down here to stay at the hotel it's always to shop no matter what time of the year it is and it's almost always for shoes. WTFrak? Anybody have any insight into this?

On Day One we walked around the downtown parts of the city, relaxed, and then went up to Buchart Gardens for a few hours. That place was incredible. I'm now at the age where I can appreciate walking around for long hours looking at trees and flowers, despite the fact that the ten year old whom lives deep inside my psyche was mocking me the whole time and wanting to watch re-runs of the 90s X-Men cartoon instead. Janice treated us to dinner at their amazing restaurant where I had salmon that didn't suck, which is hard to do when not cooking it myself. The service was great and the wine was awesome. We took several-thousand pictures there so when she gets them off her camera and on to the internets I may post some here.

Day Two was spent at the BC Museum of Natural History and wandering around the Empress pretending we were guests and going in places we weren't supposed to (why yes, the tea room does look quite nice and I do feel under-dressed for it with my 4-day unshaven look and my ratty-ass Cons...). The Museum was neat; they had a really great display that was sort of a "behind the scenes into science" thing but I'll describe mostly as dead shit in jars--Which is amazing and a little Lovecraftian.

Weird shit I noticed about Canada that fits the stereotype(s):

1)They apologize. A LOT.
I don't think I've ever heard that many parents apologizing to their kids as they discipline them before. "No, Hannah, it's too cold and I already told you you can't take your coat off. Sorry." I personally think adding on that little "sorry" all the time would sound so condescending that I'd want to murder everyone in Canada after about a week...

"No, I'M soh-ry."

2)Bryan Adams is a big fucking deal.
So are Alanis and Michael Buble. Seriously, I heard Alanis three separate times on various radio/shopping mall areas. And not new Alanis; classic Alanis. I was also convinced that if I herd Michael Buble's new single again I could successfully karaoke it.

3)Canadian men are either very outdoorsy/masculine or very foppish and waxed.
Thus my slender, tight jeans yet quite bearded look drew looks of confusion (amusement?) from the various ladies working at coffee shops and gay dudes hanging out around the gay bar down the street. "Who is this amalgamation of twink and straight-acting guy?! My SENSES ARE SHATTERED!!!!!"

All in all it was a silly, fun trip and a got to go on a boat. Great success! Now it's back to America so I can work my ass off and eat cheese and watch Sarah Palin be a dummy on television. God love this country.

"You'll make me work; so we can work to work it out.
And I promise you, kid, I give so much more than I get.
I just haven't met you, yet!"

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Okay, so, really quick; I have to say something about the film "Exit through the Gift Shop."

I don't think a lot of people (by which I mean the handful of critical reviews I read by Googling it and reading the first 3 pages of user reviews on Netflix after I had watched the film) "got" that it was poking fun at and questioning the way one person could take someone else's art--Especially someone else's art which was already using someone else's art--And make it their own (or try to). Street artist/counter-culture tee profiteer Banksy put it best: "He (the artist known as Mr. Brain Wash) took Warhol's concept of making images in pop culture useless through reproduction and then he made them even more useless."

Essentially the film is about this fellow who sees something counter-cultural and says "Hey, I can mass-produce that and sell it!" much in the way we see Che Guevara or Audrey Hepburn on tee shirts that can be seen everywhere from Value Village to Wal-Mart. He is definitely an artist, but the film begs us to ask ourselves if he's made art for the right reasons (and if there are reasons); at what point is it not "using your own lens to make commentary using someone else's work" and instead complete and utter bullshit? I really feel like that is what the film is about.

Best moment: When L.A. proves itself to be as vapid, lame, and completely head-up-the-ass as everyone thinks that it is right there on film. I miss my home town :)

Anywho, Christmas was pretty great.

Spent a day that was 80% neat, 20% awkward with Josh's extended family. It was nice to be around people with his last name that don't think our love is one-way ticket to hell (or at least aren't so obvious about it). I could go on and on about the people there, the stuff we ate (Jello with 3 distinct layers and an "ancient family secret ingredient" being the third layer), and my thoughts on how the whole family dynamic of his clan and their feelings about us is totally fucked up, but I will respect his wishes and keep my mouth shut and my fingers in my pockets instead of typing about it here. I've probably already said too much.

I got some very cool items, including this interesting piece of art by James Jean entitled "Rift" which you can get an idea of here or by watching this video . . .

As you can see, it's pretty fucking sweet.

We also got a Nintendo Wii! I could gush, but you'd get bored, so all that I'll say is that it's candy apple red and celebrates the birth of our Mushroom Kingdom's Lord and Saviour, Mario. Like my relatives in Rhode Island would say, it's gaaaaaaaaaawjus!

I don't have any regrets about this Christmas, other than that as always I wish I could've gotten more for more people. The thing is, I feel pretty damn good about what I was able to get and that everyone I value in my life received some form of my appreciation for their kindness and friendship. Whether it was in presents or drinking my booze, I'm truly one of those rich men with the friends and not so much the moneys that we're supposed to emulate because of that parable; which is nice.

Speaking of James Jean, I finished the fourteenth TPB of Fables entitled 'Witches' the other night. Overall I enjoyed it (I think Mr. Willingham is at his best when setting up arcs and laying the ground structure or when writing shorter, prose-y tales and charming vignettes), even if I didn't care for the baseball two-parter at the end. I've so many questions because of my trade-waiting! Will Rose Red ever get out of bed? Will the Blue Fairy kick some ass? Whom will stand up to Mr. Dark? Will Ozma and Stinky the Badger face off for control of Nu-Fabletown?! If you've never read the series, I'm sure I sound balls-out crazy. But then that's your loss, I suppose.

Some other things of note: DADT has been repealed which is awesome. Men and women with much more intelligent and much more eloquent thoughts on the matter have already said much, so I'll simply say "thank you" to those whom helped rid our country of this backwards-thinking law and given us one more step towards true equality.

And my friend Ally's mother passed away last week just before the holidays. She's in a much better place, and I'm glad that Alli O and I got to see her before all of this happened, but there are some definite, ah, issues that I've been dealing with ever since all of this began. I know it's not my place to speak about what her death means to me right now, so I'll wait to post my feelings and thoughts about the whole thing for another day.

Right now, I have my cat and I have my coffee with Bailey's. And the world feels sort of peaceful.

"What could I do? What could I do?
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view."

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Yeah, 3 days later and I'm still feeling the Turkey Day. My gut has expanded quite nicely, my bank account is diminished, and my sleep cycle is all sorts of jacked up. Not to mention the crap I came back to after not working for 4 days(!) . . .

. . . But the good should come first. We did the whole Black Friday thing and actually did score some great deals. Waited in line like a madman with my mom and Josh at Target from around 2am to 4am, but luckily a steady supply of coffee and liquor in the coffee kept us warm and alert. We scored my dad a new TV as an early Christmas gift along with a few other items at super cheap cheapness. All things considered, I really did manage to knock out a few people on my list without spending too much, so that was nice. Kudos to the brave folks working at Target that morning who put up with I and the other retail zombies who were out to devour bargains.

It was good to see the family again, and with little event or angst, which is a relief. My brother's girlfriend continues to be a source of amusement because, well, they're 17 and ever so in love. I mean who am I to judge, right? It's actually adorable. But it's also hilarious because thewholeworldisgonnanedrightthisverysecondZOMG if they don't text each other every two minutes.

My mom and Josh and I went and saw Burlesque, which was an okay movie. Everyone was great, the costumes were great, the music was great, but the script was only okay. A lot of the lines were trite and pretty run-of-the-mill, with the exception of everything that Stanley Tucci said. Cher was awesome. Christina did a decent job with what was written for her. Still, Alan Cumming was totally under-utilized and pretty much any hot guy with scruff could've played Cam Gigandet's part. Also, Eric Dane was completely useless and not even the slightest bit menacing or believable as the "millionaire with a cold heart" figure. Kristen Bell was hot as hell, though. I mean come on, the voice of Gossip Girl in leather and feathers telling me to show her what I've got? I'll take two. Lastly, big ups for David Walton, who plays a very sexy and very funny DJ. A super small role that gets one of the best quips in the whole film.

Driving was fine--It was definitely one of those "worry about the other drivers on the road, not the road itself" experiences. You shouldn't go down the Interstate when it's snowing and visibility is like 7 feet at 70mph, bigass truck guy. That's why you ended up spun out. We got back to Seattle Saturday evening and it was like the "snowpocalypse" had never happened. Everyone was speeding and being cocky and not using their signals. Oh, city. You're a funny guy.

Hey, so, is anyone else reading the current arc of that new X-Men title? 'Curse of the Mutants' started off pretty weak (and pretty much undid Dracula's current continuity from the brilliant 'Vampire State' story) and pretty lame, but I really think the arc has hit its stride now. I'm still not crazy about the idea of vampire Jubilee or the idea that Dracula has some douche bag kid with an exxxxtreme name that we're just now hearing about (seriously, why hasn't his daughter Lilith come in and taken this punk out?), but the scene where Cyclops organizes the "tough skin" powers group of X-Men as the first line of defense was pretty darn cool. I loves me some Husk, especially when she's doing something as rad as staking vamps.

This week should be full of work and worky-type fun, but hopefully it'll get capped off by some fun times on Friday evening. I really want to try this not-really-all-that-new bar on the hill called Hunter + Gatherer, and we almost went 2 weekends ago but got too hammered and ended up somewhat accidentally going to The Unicorn instead. Which was pretty much what I expected it to be: With too much kitsch, good service, and a whole lot of hype. We'll see what this weekend brings!

"Love me cancerously,
Like a salt sore soaked in the sea.
Bitter and dumb,
You're my sugar plumb.
You're awful, and I love you . . ."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seattle drivers fail at Winter . . .

. . . As evidenced by the following:

. . . Yeah, we can't really handle it over here. It's funny how many people drive like assholes when it's normal driving conditions and are very unforgiving when you make a mistake, miss a turn, etc. but a little bit of ice and snow and suddenly we're all nut-bags on the road. There's got to be a point where a logical person says "maybe I should just park my car and hope for the best, and contest any tickets that I get" instead of thinking they can go up the Queen Anne or First or Broadview.

And another thing, WHY isn't anyone helping out the vehicles in these videos? Seriously. Get people out of vehicles, help push the sliders tot he side of the road so they aren't just sitting there, and if you're the dude filming it maybe ask your neighbors who has cat litter so you can toss some out on the roads?

I dunno, man. In Wedgwood, people were helping people when I was out on the roads--I don't know why it's not more evident in the metro areas. It's just another reason I don't want to live right in the middle of the city and prefer the peripherals. I mean, I'm sure there are some do-gooders out there who were assisting their fellow incompetent man. Yet while I do find these videos AWESOME and hilarious at times, I don't think I could ever sit there and film such events without wanting to go help somehow.

Call me Clark Kent, I guess.

I had my studded tires put on today, so I had no probs on the Interstate or up here in my 'hood. I will forever advocate their use. This is the last season that mine will have any effect, but I had them for a solid 4 years; brand new when purchased. That's a four year investment and a solid effort in the not dying department.

So yeah. Drive safe out there, folks!

"This thing was built in a day,
knowing that Romans took longer than that.
We bought a bass player;
a cold, old soul
and he's a first class welcome mat."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Do you dare believe your eyes?!

Yeah, so I went ahead and changed a few things on the blog. The main one was the template. I'm going to play around a bit until I find something that suits the tone of what I have to say. Right now I like the blue bits, but we'll see.

Some secondary things include the ability to share my words on Facebook and Twitter, an Adult Content warning (which yes, narrows my readership but also warns the children that there will be times when I gush over David Beckham and post pictures or links to pictures that back up said gushing, like this little number), and some tweaked functions like what I feel is an easier archiving system.

So if you fear change, best to turn back now and quit following my corner of the universe.

But if you're unafraid or mostly cautious until you see how it pans out of change, read on!

Internet Crushes, pt.1

A slight follow up on yesterday's post re: adorable people on the Internets. I'd like to take the opportunity to list some random people I've been crushing on either because they're a) adorable or b) awesome bloggers/writers/etc. or c)a combination of options "a" and "b."

Please note that I've never once met any of these people, but still find their internet-personas fantastic enough to gush about each and every thing that they do to all of my cohorts and pals.

Spreading the love to the following 5 People of Interest!

1. Caleb Goellner: A writer for various comic/word nerd/pop culture sites out there including Comic Book Resources and ComicsAlliance, Mr. Goellner is an Internet crush of mine because he's not only witty and hilarious, but because he's freaking adorable. Also, he loves pugs. Which means I loves he and his postings.

2. Monica Guzman: You know how sometimes you read those blogs out there, and the person's "voice" and sensibilities are so similar to yours that it's awesome yet completely eerie? Monica Guzman is my "holy crap it's like she's ME!!!!!11" person. She writes for The Big Blog, an aspect of the Seattle PI (which went totally online and totally tossed its print edition right when I moved out there, thus crushing my dreams . . . No hard feelings though, dudes!). She was recently featured in the Seattle Weekly, and also in my heart.

3. Kate Beaton: Writer/artist/genius behind the web-comic/blog "Hark, a vagrant," milady Beaton never ceases to amaze me with her charming drawerings and insight into pop culture and literature. When she combines the two, if I could quote my college roomie Derrick for a second when describing beer, "it's like heaven on a pink and fluffy cloud." Damn right, D-Rock. Damn right.

4. This freaking cutie on and his puppy!: He's hot, and that dog looks like a Pokemon. Melt!

5. Dan Savage: The one, the only, the amazing sexpert himself has written for dozens of publications both print and web-based, contributes to various radio and television programs, and is the star of many an "OMG I super-duper-for-realsies wanna meet that celebrity!" day-dreams of mine. I met him once for all of a minute about 2 years ago when he was doing one of his infamous sex talks at U of Idaho, and got him to sign his books "The Kid" and "The Commitment" for Josh. He was pretty chill, and I thought about offering to buy him a cocktail, but decided this would probably come off as nutty. Then again, so does this blog post . . . Ah well, six to one; half a dozen of the other; he's hot and damn it he can write.

"Eyes lit:
I want short breaths.
I've got dark eye lids.
I need the sun in to repent."

Sunday, November 21, 2010


It's HELLA cold in Seattle. You know I mean it because I used the word "hella" in a sentence without a hint of snark.

Although, since you can't sense snark on the Internets you'll have to trust me when I say that the use of the word "hella" is part of a snark-free zone.

Side-Bar: "Hella" is recognized by my Mac as a real world, but "snark" is not. When did this happen, of computer of mine?

But yeah, it's hella cold and I love how this city freaks out about it. The snow makes Seattle piss its pants and forget itself, which is hilar and terrifying all at once. I'm going to have to be a cautious driver again, and you all know how I hate being the bigger person.

I'm working on an "It's Hella Cold" mix. So far all I've got is a track by New Young Pony Club (that super-duper-awesome-one-you-guys that was played on Gossip Girl like a month ago), "Secrets" by OneRepublic, and "Crystalized" by The XX. A hunt for new tunes is definitely in order! Short order, you might say.

Today we went with Brian and Gabby to the Sunday Market in Fremont and saw lots of cool things. Things like a turn-of-the-century type writer that I fucking had a massive want-boner for, and this guy was selling it for $20. A disturbingly good deal, and here I had no cash.

But alas, I'm sort of waiting for some of my moneys to get dispersed back to me. I, like several hundred other Seattleites, recently had my identity stolen. Apparently anyone living in or boozing it up in or eating foods in the Capitol Hill area was a target. I personally had around $200 stolen from me, but luckily my bank kicks ass and flagged the phony charges. I'm waiting on $90 of that bunch to still be returned--right now it's just a provincial credit, but I'd rather not tempt fate, you know? I'll wait until it's real dollars in there and not imaginary pseudo-dollars.

Anyway, it was really cool to see everyone out and about despite the cold supporting local vendors and crafters. I will be back with moneys for you, kick-ass type writer! After we browsed, we had pho. It was really nice for this cold I'm starting to get (yes, it's time for my annual "cold of perpetuity" whereupon I'll have a cough and the sniffles for about 2 months). Alli says that during this time I'm a lot like a Dickensian orphan struggling with the black lung, guv'nor.

Speaking of Alli, last week Ellen and Alli and I had a "ninja photo shoot" in the arboretum. Details/photos will hit this blog as soon as Ellen is done editing them. It's for a calendar for their friends in Korea. I played a bank robber. Juuuuuuudge.

Un-Related: This is the most adorable thing I've scene on the Internet all month. A cute scruffy and tatted boy holding a corgi puppy like his own personal piratey parrot? WHERE DO I SIGN. Note that it's not even a question as to where.

Today I watched the first 20 minisodes of that new Avengers cartoon on Comics Alliance. It's actually not half bad, for having very "kid friendly" animation. It views a lot like the first run of the Justice League cartoon that Timm and Dini did in the late 90s/2000s. Lots of epic moments and cool cameos, new-to-universe accessibility in stories, and nods to fans. If you can get past some of the cheesy dialog clearly aimed at the childrens, it's totally worth it. And kudos/balls for including The Mandrill. Here's hoping that it gets a few good seasons and segues into a more badass version of itself, much like the JL cartoon did when it turned into "Justice League Unlimited." Would I love to see a similarly plotted series featuring a rotating cast of Avengers characters? Oh you bet your ass I would. Especially if it would mean animated Kate Bishop or animated O'Grady Ant-Man.

This week we'll be hitting the road and heading back to Idaho to be with my family for Thanksgiving. I'll be skipping entires for a day or two while we enjoy family time, but I might need to therapy-rant on here while we visit, so be on the look out for that . . .

. . . Also, be on the look-out for THIS!

That's right kids, my piece for Mutineer on the fine folks at Coffee Strong was published in the annual Holiday issue (Nov/Dec for the layman among you)!

Because I love you, loyal readers, I'll link you to the Internet-only version found right here.

However, you'd be doing me and my pals at Mutineer a huge favor by getting out there and buying yourself a copy. How else will you see the AMAZING photography work done by Josh Mackey and Mike Bowen? You could Google it, I guess, but you would probably fail in an epic sort of way. So go grab yourself an ish, yeah?

If I don't see you before then, Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

"I like the bad boys,
In the big towns.
I like the bad bands
And their big sounds."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dollars and Nonsense

Today is going to be a productive day. There are things to purchase and things to do, and window shopping to be had. I need new jeans. And a new pair of boots. And a few new "cold weather" shirts and such. Losing weight is a bitch because while you feel great about yourself, a lot of your old clothes don't really fit the same. Yes I know that complaining about it makes me sound ungrateful and narcissistic, but it's a big problem when you have no fucking money, you know?

While we're speaking about clothing, have you seen Gap's new logo? It's disturbing. Not as disturbing as their call to "artists" to redesign the logo for them (Noam Chomsky's head must be imploding), but yeah--it's pretty offensive to anyone who appreciates, you know, things that look good. AdBusters is going to have a field day.

"Hello daddy, hello mom.
I'm your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Making babies.

This is going to be one of those stream of conscious-y type entries.

Drip, drip, drip.

Surreality takes a metaphysical form: That moment when I realized that all of us are getting married and/or having kids. I went to 4 weddings this past summer, and all of them were uniquely different and totally ridiculous in ways both good and bad. One was very small, one was huge, one was mid-sized, and one was small-ish.

Each time that I got jazzed up and put on my dancin' shoes, I felt the same two-flavored emotion: Excitement and Sadness. Excited to be there for such a magnificent moment in the lives of people I know, and sadness that the seconds and minutes of every single day just sort of fall off the calendar. It's no wonder sand is used in hourglasses. Talk about the perfect, most approximate metaphor, huh?

Sometimes I want kids, and sometimes the idea scares the daylights out of me. Sometimes my brain is all "oh dude, of course you have to have kids, they're so adorable and squishy!" and sometimes it's like "yeah, but then when are you going to visit Italy? Australia? Kenya? Japan? Antarctica?" Then there's that third, instinctual, Freud's Id voice that's like "GO FORTH AND PRO-CREATE, MOTHER FUCKER!!!!" and then sex isn't fun so much as it is a mission statement, and that's a major cockblock by my brain and by stupid biology and stuff.

Sometimes it's tempting to get up out of my office, shut off the computer, leave all my stuff on a street corner in a box marked "Please Take--FREE" and run away to somewhere else that's not here . . . But then, the fact that I have student loans and Facebook makes this pretty much impossible.

Is today's theme "I really want to go do something different?" I think if this were a certain city block populated by muppets and multi-racial kids, it would be sponsored by the letter "P" for "Pensive."

"Can I get-get-get to know-know-know-know ya better-better, baby?"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gonna change my way of thinkin'...

Today I get to go to the FSA Food Expo at the Seattle Convention Center. It's basically a day where different food vendors, restaurants, catering companies, and breweries market and sample their product for regional businesses interested in buying. Is my hotel going to buy anything? Probably not. But it's paid, and it's an excuse to go eat rad food.

I'm sort of at a weird place with my job. They've got me doing about 25% of the job of the Director of Sales, 50% of the job of front desk person, and 25% of the job of an administrative assistant for my boss. My official title is "Guest Services Manager," and I'm still only a little bit sure of what that means. I sort of feel dead in the water about it. On the one hand I'm grateful to have a job, but on the other hand I've got that feeling on the fringes of my psyche that I always tend to get when I go months without affirmation that my degree is worth something--The feeling that I'm going nowhere. Doing nothing worthwhile. A placeholder.

To stave off the good ol' insecurities, I've taken to exploring new web comics, reading non-fiction, and (attempting) to try one new restaurant or one new bar every week. So far so good--we were introduced to this amazing Cuban sandwich shop called Paseo. We've been three times now in two months; something about the caramelized onions makes it instantly appealing at just the mention of its name. It's absolutely one of the best kept secrets in the city. Make no mistake, it's not "first date food" as Alli and I discussed. It's definitely "I've seen you naked and I still want to have sex with you" food. Should you go there, and should you purchase one of their sandwiches, you will end up looking like a total slob. A satisfied, perfectly content, in-total-bliss slob.

You know what I hate? Yelp. It's like all of the opinions I never ever wanted to hear and all of the whining, complaining, irrational customers I've ever dealt with were all corralled into one place so that they could all be grumpy and totally irrational and obtrusive together. It makes me want to bash my head against a wall repeatedly. Guess what, "portlandgal444," nobody cares that you think Starbucks is the root of all evil. I'm sorry nobody reads your blog, but don't take it out on the rest of the Internets by publishing your rants where everybody can see them. And if you're going to, at least try and be interesting. Or have something objective and well-rounded to say. In summary, DIAF.

If you're not reading The Abominable Charles Christopher, you should be. It's beautiful and hilarious and heartbreaking. And it's got adorable animals!

This weekend I've got my buddy Daniel's birthday and a re-bachelor party for my friend Nu_Ryan (which is what I call him on the Internets), whom just finalized his divorce. Busy-busy-busy bees, we are!

"Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Crawling out from under the rock...

...The rock, in this case, being work and everyting work-related.

My job became pretty hyper-stressful these past two months for several reasons: The first being when I found out that my wages had been lowered without my knowledge. I never thought I needed to check my rate of pay on my pay stubs, but one random glance one random day led me to discover that for 2 months my wages had been slashed. Which is illegal if no one tells you.

A long, arduous, 2-month battle with the hotel building owner later, and now I'm back to making what I rightfully should've been making in the first place (with a raise[!]). No wonder I was barely making ends meet for a while there, huh?

The next reason is because of our awkward transitionary phase. We're picking up in business, but we only opened 5 months ago, so we still have shit for employees. There aren't enough of us, so when something breaks down or someone gets sick everyone is royally screwed. We've only just recently hired a few extra housekeepers and an extra front desk person (thank God--I can actually have office hours in my shared office space!), yet there's still not enough equipment or funding to go around. It's absolutely insane and not in any way under my control, which is eternally frustrating.

The final reason is because I've been having some intense dreams recently. I haven't even told Josh about this because I don't want to freak him out. The reoccuring dream happens every few nights, and certain details are always a little different, yet the over-arching "story" of the dream stays the same:

In my dream, I have children. They keep telling me that they're hungry, so I keep making them food. Yet there's no food left in the house. I run frantically through the house opening doors and drawers and closets and cabinets but we have no food. So I go to check my bank balance online and I have negative however-many-thousands of dollars.

Sometimes, also, our cat talks to me and repremands me for doing a poor job of parenting.

Is my fear of growing older and feeling directionless when I'm 30 manifesting itelf in the form of these odd dreams where I'm broke and have no way of taking care of those whom depend on me? Probably. I hate feeling helpless, and stupid, and embarassed, so it only makes sense that I'd hate being broke with kids. Plus it doesn't help that in the dream my cat is a total bitch.

Anyway, it hasn't done wonders for my sleep cycle.

My battle with soda has continued. I've fallen victim to temptation at a friend's house a few times and had a can of regular Cherry Pepsi here and there, but other than that it's Diet soda all the way! Blerg.

Josh and I are doing well. We hit a bit of a bump recently but I feel like things are smoothed over. He's the one constant in my life, and I'm glad that I've got him. Few other things make me feel good after a long, shitty day at work than just being around him.

Thanks to my mom we now have nearly $500 worth of brand new living room furniture :) I'm really pleased with how it looks. I feel like we need to push the "modern, industrial forest" aesthetic a little further with some larger prints or some really gaudy pieces, but I dig everything about it thus far. I'll post pictures when I take some.

Now for lists.

Three Bands I'm Currently Over-Listening To:
1) Discovery
2) Sleigh Bells
3) Best Coast

Three Foods I'm Currently Overeating:
1) Bananas
2) Various Lean Pockets
3) Tortilla Chips

Three Things I Hope Happen:
1) Josh has a good birthday.
2) I get a bite on something--anything--that I've submitted to various editorial people.
3) I get tickets to the Capitol Hill Block Party (DEADWEATHER! BEST COAST!).

Three Things I Will Make Happen:
1) Call my mom back after a week's worth of phone tag.
2) Buy a wedding present for Josh's brother.
3) Write more, more, and more again.

Three People I Need to Call:
1) My mom (cheating on this one)
2) Alli
3) Julie

Three People I Need to Write:
1) Aunt Charlotte
2) Lindsay
3) Matt

I'll be posting wedding stuff soon, so get stoked for that :)

"Life has a funny way,
of sneaking up on you
when you think everything is okay;
then everything blows up in your face."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Twitching Hour(s).

I think that between the hours of 12:30 and 2:30 at my job, I've achieved new states of boredom. I can't access Facebook on the business internet, which is unfortunate, but even then I think it would have its limits of any sort of entertainment factor.

Today has been exceptionally slow. Over half of a family reunion just checked out, and what was a group of 30 individual rooms is now down to around 10. They were all lovely people, for the most part, with nothing but good things to say. Which is rare given that in every family there are always the stcik-in-the-mud/no-way-in-hell-can-I-ever-be-happy types. Anyway, with those folks gone and very few arrivals today, my day has been spent doing little lame tasks just to stay active and keep me from standing still behind my desk. You can only mop, dust, and make a pot of coffee so many times before it just becomes redundant, you know?

The interesting thing about working in a hotel is that you get to see the real face of people. In retail everything is very simple; very transaction-based. Sure there are those customers that you really connect or bond with, but those are few and far between. In the hospitality industry you get an actual good sense of how people act privately as well as in public; it's not just their game face that they're wearing. I've met some very nice and kind adults since working here. I've also met some very spoiled, very self-righteous adults. The kind who can barely handle it when it takes an extra five minutes for a fresh pot of coffee to be made, or who can't follow simple instructions on how to log on to the hotel internets; they expect you to do it for them.

It's not just an American thing, either. Spoiled adults come from all nations, or so I've ascertained. Apparently there are no limits to how truly moronic one can be when they feel as if they've got no time to take a moment, breathe, and think something through before they complain about it. Can't get the door open? Stop shoving your card in, pause for a moment, and carefully/lightly swipe it one more time. Very simple if you just come down and stop acting like it's the biggest and most inconvenient thing in the world, ever.

I really do like my job, though. I don't see myself getting burned out on this industry as fast as I did retail.

Still, I hope that things perk up for me in the writing department. I've had a great time writing again for Mutineer and really hope it brings steady work, or at least work every now and then a few times a year. We'll see what comes of it . . .

. . . I really need a new pair of shorts. None of mine fit me anymore. But when you shoot from a waist size of 34 to a 28 or 29 in just a year, that's bound to happen. I really like this soft linen shorts I found at H&M; they come in khaki or in basic black and they're disturbingly comfy and very well-made. The next time I have thirty bucks, yeah?

I've successfully made the transition to a soda-less life, and I have to say it's been quite an experience. Not only do a find that soda is more convenient than a healthy alternative (seriously--this is another reason why America is obese), but that taste-wise it seems like they don't even want to make diet soda attractive in taste or visual aesthetics. Diet Coke is, I'm sorry, totally atrocious. Diet Dr. Pepper is fairly acceptable. Diet Sprite is my favorite so far in terms of taste. Diet Root Beer of the Barq's variety is absolute nonsense. And why do they even bother to make Diet Red Bull? It does absolutely nothing and, if you read the calorie count, has nearly the same as a can of normal Coke. Worthless! But I've stopped getting it at restaurants, and stopped buying it on-the-go for a pick-me-up, and we only have diet at home. And it's diet soda all the way at bars and clubs.

Speaking of, I really want to go dancing some time soon. Perhaps after I buy my new shorts? But shorts at a club is so blech, unless you're going for a beachy/nautical/I'm adorable and should be on a yacht a'la Nate Archibald from "Gossip Girl" sort of look.

My birthday is in two weeks. I don't know what's planned, but Josh assures me he has everything under control. The control freak in me wants to jump in and take over, but I really don't want to get in his way on this. I had a ton of fun planning his birthday last summer and Julie's birthday this past Novemeber, and I LOVED planning our Halloween Party . . . So part of me really wants to get involved, but it's sort of my birthday, which means I can't and shouldn't butt in too much. What worries me is that he's going to go overboard or stretch his mind and wallet so thin that it will depress him, and then put him in a shitty mood if everything isn't perfect. In reality all I want is just to be drunk with my friends.

24, 24 . . . Will it be different than 23? Sources say no, not really. I'll find out soon!

"Everyone's alive but ill.
Let's just take a deep breath,
And lock the doors so no one;
No one has to know.
I can say I'm doing well,
As long as, as long as I can see the room
From the graveyard shift."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Routinely Different

I just bought the following MP3s, which I'm sad to say I actually didn't have in my repertoire:

1. "In Circles" - Sunny Day Real Estate [yet I possess so much of their music . . . WTH?)

2. "Bang Bang, I'm a Burnout" - Dum Dum Girls [I liked them AFTER they became popular]

3. "While Oceana Sleeps" - Sparta [this album got all scratched to hell before I could back it up on the iTunes, so I'm starting to grab all of it again beginning with my favorite song off of it]

It's been a while since I wrote in this blog because so much change has been coming my way in the past month. March/April has ended up pretty rad and pretty much a bold step into the unknown as well. This strange existence I've made for myself in Seattle has yet to even out and become some sort of routine. Perhaps this isn't a bad thing? Still, I like lists and routines and day-to-day stuff. So perhaps the constant ebb and flow of change is just now part of my routine? I don't know. I suppose when ever I start seeing a pattern, I'll ease into it.

My closest friend from college Alli returned from Korea/New Zealand/L.A./Not-Living-Near-Me and it's been absolutely amazing to have her back. She and I spent an entire day together right off the bat hanging out and re-acclimating her to pervasive Western culture. She's mostly unaware of American pop-culture from 2008-2010, and it's hilarious and adorable. I explained the television show "Jersey Shore" to her, which was the most fun I'd had in days. She and I have already fallen back into our old relationship, and the ease at which we picked back up on each other's conversational nuances, witty banter, and finish-each-other's-sentences-style of interacting astonished me. It was as though she'd never left, to borrow a phrase from the rest of the everyone. She's beginning her search for a teaching job in Seattle and moving in with our friend Ellen and Kim, who is moving out of the apartment . . .

. . . Which is odd but pretty expected but still sort of weird as in I don't know how to feel about it? On the one hand I'm going to miss living with her, but on the other hand I think it'll be better for our friendship. When you live with someone there are bills and money and routines and who-gets-to-use-the-bathroom-first conversations and fighting cats, and that can put a tremendous amount of strain on a friendship. Not that I think it ever got bad between us or changed, but it still felt different sometimes. I'm sort of stoked that it won't be different anymore. I guess that's one strike against accepting the tides of change, yes? Plus this way Alli and Kim and Ellen can go be girly together so it's a good thing for all of us; I really truly believe.

I'm writing for Mutineer Magazine semi-officially now. The piece I'm working on has proven rather difficult, but once I sat down and chained myself to the desk for a solid two hours I found it was easy to get back into my normal writing flow. Everything balances itself out, I guess. Look for my story (hopefully) in the July issue of Mutineer. You can buy it nationally (holy shit). So please do.

We have to buy a couch now. IKEA looks promising. Not sure yet. I'll take pictures of it when we drop some dollars.

"You can't hear a sound,
When walls break down.
You've wasted my days,
Building on shaky ground."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Drugs are bad.

Some of you may be wondering where I got my new banner for this blog at. Or some of you may not care. Either way I'm not talented enough to design something of that nature, so credit needs to be given where it's due.

My spiffy new banner was deisgned by my fantastic and talented boyfriend Mr. Josh V., and you can see more of his design and photography at his deviantART account located over here -----> His photography work, in my biased opinion, is particularly choice.

The new job is going well. It's nice to have dollars again, for the time being. People are either really, really great and friendly or really, really awful. Yesterday was an exceptionally bad day in terms of awfulness.

A guest at our hotel checked in the night before last, and was sketchy and loud and a total tweaker, and she and her boyfriend/husband/dealer/whomever kept making absurd demands (no, you can't get 10 extra pillows for a one night stay, but you can have 2--and no, it's not okay if you take chairs from other rooms because other people need their chairs, too). They also had an infant with them. I'm talking sock-on-the head, must be kept in a carrier or held, still breast-feeding infant.

Well they checked out the next day and had problems paying because they kept changing their minds on the payment method, and then had a nice long argument with each other in our lobby about money, which was awesome as I was taking calls. Then they left, and everyone was relieved.

And then a housekeeper found about a quarter of an ounce of crystal meth in their room.

Now of course no one can prove it belongs to them, and other than the fact that nobody else had been in the room in 72 hours there wasn't much to go off of. But once we'd all finished panicking, filing police reports, and calling in a team to come and test the room to see just how deep cleaned it needed to be (enough to strip all of the linens and throw them all out, but not enough to throw away the furniture--we ended up placing the room out of order for 48 hours while it's cleaned with special HAZMAT stuff), and disposing of the drugs, it dawned on me.

Baby. Breastfeeding. Meth in the room. Wow.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love kids. Absolutely and entirely, and I'll do pretty much anything to make them happy. Just the sound of a kid crying often puts me in a strange, sullen place because I hate to see them in pain or sad. When I watch Law and Order I revel in the moments when the fake criminals that harm children are captured and sent to jail (or worse).

So yeah, I kind of shut down and had a really hard time thinking about it. As a matter of fact, it's sort of bumming me out now so I'm going to drop the subject.

Cadburry Cream Eggs I've consumed thus far this Easter season: 3

Recently I've decided to cut soda out of my life as much as possible, and to only drink diet soda on certain occassions that may call for it (drinking at a bar [since I've cut beer out as well] or going to a movie for instance). I have to say, I don't know how people have been doing it. I know that the saying goes as "you can't taste a difference between the two kinds," but dear lord you definitely can. It's noticeable. And I'm not sure I like it. So perhaps it's time for me to just cut all things soda out of my life entirely? We'll see . . .

"Too much life in you, my dear.
I would sing;
You would burst in tears now."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Current Infatuations

A few things that I'm curently obsessing over:

-"Country Noir" music. In other words, darker, thoughtful, sultry country music with a bit of a rock edge that tends to tug at the heart strings. See: Amy LaVere, Jenny Lewis (lately), The Raveonettes ca. "Pretty in Black," Johnny Cash (later in his life), The Pierces, Loretta Lynn remixes, Cowboy Junkies, The Derailers, and sometimes though perhaps not at all on purpose Sonic Youth.

- My big black way farer sunglasses: http:// [the hyperlink function is being odd, hence the big ugly link right here in the middle of this post--but trust me, they're yummy]

- The fact that my last retail job's paycheck still hasn't been mailed to me despite the fact that it was 3 weeks ago that I last worked for them, and that I called HQ and talked to the payroll department whom assured me they'd over night the check. Yeah, not so much. Still waiting on about $140...

- Did I mention Easter Candy in this blog already? I do believe I did. It's so delicious.

- Plain, cotton, solid colored v-neck tees. Yes I know I'm late to this hipster bandwagon and that I'm actually probably most likely not cool anymore, but they're just so damn comfortable. The most!

- Getting to see my family again. I had this strange dream last night where I went home to visit them, and my sister didn't know who I was at all. It was really, really surreal and awkward and it made me cry in the dream. I was in our kitchen and I was talking to her, and she was just ignoring me and playing with some handheld video game or something, and she kept saying "I can't talk to you right now" and I'd ask her "why?" and she'd reply "because I don't know you." My subconscious must have it in for me pretty badly. This dream then segued into a dream where I was working in the white house as an intern for fictional President Jedd Bartlett from "The West Wing." Mary Louise Parker's character was there, and so was the guy who plays Josh Lyman, and so was John Spencer's character, and inexplicably the guy who was my waiter at Red Robin last night . . .

- . . . Which, by the way, said waiter was incredibly hot, so he belongs on this list. And why were we at this veritable snaffu of a chain restaurant, you may ask? Simple explanation is that it was the original Red Robin restaurant; the first one ever. And it's closing down this week. And it's only 2 miles from my apartment. How could I not go? Plus, we had our out-of-town friends here and they really wanted to go, so in the spirit of letting people have their own vacations and getting to choose stuff, we accompanied them to a pretty decent meal.

That's all, for now. Although I'm sure this will change as quickly as the weather . . . When I make a country noir playlist, I'll post it.

"I went to a cobbler to fix a hole in my shoe,
He took one look at my face and said
'I can fix that hole in you.' "

Saturday, March 13, 2010

That playlist I promised, and a few other things of note.

This is a "blog housekeeping" post, meaning it feels a little arbitrary but comes from a place of sincerity.

- So here's that playlist I promised several weeks ago; it's my "I get up at 5:30 so I can drive north on I-5 all groggy like clutching a cup of coffee and trying not to crash my car and make it to work on time by 7" playlist. Or, as it is labeled on the CD,

Ryan Goes to Work:

"Everybody Say" by Takka Takka
"Nick and Norah's Theme" composed by Mark Mothersbaugh
"In a Cave" by Tokyo Police Club
"Hard to Live in the City" by Albert Hammond Jr.
"Lights Out" by Santigold
"Ticking Clock" by Sisero
"Again and Again" by The Bird and The Bee
"Catch my Disease" by Ben Lee
"Every Time" by Lincoln Hawk (not a real band)
"Some are Lakes" by Land of Talk
"What I Am [cover]" by Emma Bunton
"Talk Show Host" by Radiohead
"Piazza, New York Catcher" by Belle and Sebastian
"When I Come Around" by Green Day
"Needle in the Camel's Eye" by The Wolfmen
"Plea from a house cat named Virtue" by The Weakerthans
"Racing Lights" by Stars of Track and Field
"Happiness" by Goldfrapp
"Acid Tongue" by Jenny Lewis

- Also, I have friends visiting from out-of-town this weekend and I couldn't be more stoked if I were at Disneyland chowing down on chicken tacos and a chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream cone. Although that would be pretty damn awesome.

- Also, I finished that Chuck Klosterman book and thought it was only okay. Not as fresh feeling as Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs or as snarky in a fun way as IV, but somewhere in-between. At the end I was left wanting a bit more, and wondering if I'd really learned anything about anything other than just how the author feels about love, death, and Radiohead (I mean, the bits about Radiohead really are brilliant and insightful, but a tangent is a tangent is a tangent). I also have come to despise his critics--Not those who blast him, but those who praise him. His writing is great, but god damn it all he's not the next Hunter S. Thompson. He's a smart guy, but this narrative is not the front-runner of a new wave one might callously refer to as "modern gonzo journalism." Just because you don't get it doesn't mean it's Fear and Loathing. Stop pretending like you've read anything by Thompson, and stop pretending you care that Salinger is dead. FUCK.

- Okay, on a lighter note, it's Easter candy season, which means my love has returned to store shelves:

- So some of you out there might have cats. Answer me this, readers--Does your cat sometimes sit in the middle of the room in the sunlight and just meow and meow and meow for an unknown reason? I mean my god, I'm right here in plain view and there's food in the bowl and water in the bowl and what could she possibly need? Is she just validating her existence by proclaiming "I am here!" the only way she knows how or is there a more desperate and sad meaning to these cries? I need a book on cat dementia.

"Bitter heart, bitter heart tries to keep it all inside.
Bitter heart, bitter heart--The shadows will help you try and hide.
Bitter heart, bitter heart is getting just a little fragile.
Bitter heart, this bitter heart o' mine."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One state, two state, red state, blue state.

It's so weird being considered the "insider" by people whom haven't lived in Seattle before.

For example we have friends moving here some time in the summer/fall, and so of course they ask us umpteen questions daily about the area, the rent, the weather, etc. etc. In some ways this, of course, makes me feel important. And one of my major flaws is that I like to feel important (just ask my boyfriend--I imagine it drives him nuts [though I think that this need to be seen as reliable/important/informed/self-assured is one of the reasons I adapt to new environments so easily and will move through the ranks of a career path at a quick pace if given the opportunity to do so; so maybe this bad habit isn't such a bad thing?]). I walk a fine line of self-indulgence when I dish out advice like potato salad to out-of-towners. After all, I've only lived here for 9 months.

There are so many things that I'm still learning about this city, yet so many things I feel like I know already. I have pizza preferences. Coffee preferences. Sushi preferences. Neighborhoods where I will and won't go out (love it in Fremont, hate it in Pioneer Square will pretend to like Bellevue). Are these all subject to change? Well of course. But these preferences developed so subtley over time I hardly noticed them until I really started to think about it.

Or maybe this all has to do with the fact that I registered my car last weekend, finally, in the state of WA. I'm now totally and certifiably legal in the state, mostly. Another piece of me becomes another part of another state. I'm like a puzzle of the western United States, or maybe I'm just a piece of that puzzle and there's no puzzle glue left to hold it all together. So I guess that makes me a Washingtonian-by way of Idaho-by way of Nevada-by way of Californian? I can't wait to vote for things in places. And have an opinion on the assorted taxes and property values. And complain about out-of-staters in a baseless, accusatory, and often narrow fashion.

I feel a bit smarmy today. Maybe it's this cold I'm fighting? Maybe.

"And she has never seen traffic lights,
Lifts or escalators, or loads of strawberries
In the mouths of light entertainers."

Friday, February 26, 2010

But then again, maybe?

I have to say, I really like the set schedule that my new job provides. Being out of the office at 3pm daily (or earlier depending on my workload) and having weekends off has been absurdly great.

The only bitch of it all has been getting up at 5:30 am every day to make it to work on time (7am). I don't know why, but for some reason my normally 15 min.-long solo showers have turned into 25-30 min. showers at this time of the day. I seemingly zombie-out when the water hits me, I think. Perhaps I should invest in a shower timer?

As long as I have my coffee, nobody gets maimed.

I've made a mix for the drive to work in the wee hours when traffic light and it's still dark out. Unfortunately I'm not at home so I don't have it with me. I'll post it when I have access to the playlist on my iTunes.

So I'm reading Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live right now and so far it's enjoyable. I really liked his more recent book IV and generally find his observations very poignant and almost-always absolutely true. He's also a writer who's very aware of his voice and his viewpoint, and doesn't lose sight of either even when writing about or for others. I'm only a few chapters in to KYTL, so my observations at this point are pretty limited and perhaps even unjustifiable until I've read the piece as a whole, but I do have one main criticism thus far: The writer knows he's famous.

It's this weird thing that writers do after they've become a household name--It's not arrogance per se, or some sort of implied superiority to the reader. It's the tone that becomes so matter-of-fact and literal that the writer-as-narrator becomes almost untrustworthy. I find myself thinking "is that really how it is, or just how you perceive it?"

This tone is just fine when a writer claims to be the informed and reliable narrator from the get-go: Political pundits whom write books do this all of the time. We know that Ann Coulter is writing her book to be self-serving and from the viewpoint that she's onehundred percent right and informed before we've hit page 2 (or lately even before we've opened the damned book).

With a writer like C.K., however, his tone throughout the book is often self-reflective and at times even a little self-deprecating. He writes himself as the "every man, regular guy" who his readers can and should identify with. He might not think like us, but his experiences are our experiences and his interactions within his culture are ours as well. He is his reader. And maybe that's the problem?

Thus, when he slips into that tone of "here's how it is, and if you don't know about it or don't agree then you just don't get it" he actually does come off as the aforementioned arrogant fop. His readerhip doesn't like being talked down to any more than I'm sure the writer does. It's that self-awareness of celebrity and (dare I use the term?) "value" as a brand name moreso than an individual that causes this shift; at least that's what my perception is. The writer knows you'll read his book because he's the writer, so of course you trust him. If you don't, then the book is just not for you and why are you reading it, then?

Anyway, this is just an observation made about an entire work in just a few chapters. Maybe it gets better? Maybe the tone shifts will become a central and important part of the narrative? I'll wait and see. The subject matter is too good to pass up, and I don't have anything else to read right now.

"Well all right, so I'm being foolish.
Well all right, so then let people know
About the dreams and wishes you wish
In the nights when the lights are low."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Music I've Listened To: "In and Out of Control," by The Raveonettes

As any long-time fan of The Raveonettes will tell you, every album of this Danish retro-alt. pop duo's feels like a soundtrack to some underground, unreleased Warhol film discovered in a dusty vault that you had to pay a seedy, mustachioed janitor to get access to. The lyrics and the instrumentals drip with ambience and style.

Their first EP "Whip It On" felt like the backdrop to a modern crime noir set in the hot deserts of Vegas.

"Chain Gang of Love" felt like an acid-trippy silent film taking place during the tumultuous transition from 1950s to 1960s Americana.

"Pretty in Black" was the B-Movie; a blood splattered Spaghetti Western piece of nostalgia.

"LUST LUST LUST" was a Tarantino-inspired, Grindhousey crime spree flick.

With "In and Out of Control" comes a beach-blanket-bingo sort of dance-pop with a sound rooted firmly on the happy-go-lucky beaches of East Coast suburbia. The instrumentals pop and swing and snap along at an easy, sometimes low-fi pace. But while the music may be all doo-wop and beach rock, the lyrics however allude to something far more sinister; a seedy underbelly that stains conjured images of patterned one-piece bikinis and pastel ascots. You can't help but groove to tracks like "Heart of Stone" and "Last Dance," but a closer inspection of the content reveals sordid tales of rape, rage, crime, and drug use on nearly every track. While the sound departs from the distinctly West Coast feel of previous Raveonettes albums, by no means has the band lost its direction or mindset. This is one groovy album a-go-go that fits perfectly into their already impressive body of work.

Go Download: "Breaking Into Cars," "Suicide"

4 out of 5 starxx

Music I've Listened To: "Break It Up," by Jemina Pearl

The lead singer of Be Your Own Pet fails to do anything incredibly impressive with her full-length solo album, but that's not to say that there's nothing going on in these tracks. Pearl's still got all the swagger and swarthy attitude that she showed fans as part of Be Your Own Pet, and she gets to stretch her vocal talents a bit more here to go beyond just wailing, screaming, and sing-song choruses. Still, perhaps it's that vocal room which helps as well as hurts most of the tracks. Gone are the manic, fist pumping instrumentals of BYOP where Pearl's voice feels truly at home in favor of a much more polished and more structured take. While that punky, gritty attitude is still present overall, it doesn't feel as genuine as it does on a BYOP record. Still, Pearl doesn't forget who she is and still gives us the vim and vigor of a young woman with plenty to say on tracks like "So Sick!" and "Looking for Trouble." The mellower moments like "Nashville Shores" and the ballad-ish moments like the moody "D is for Danger" are a nice change of pace for Pearl and show a desire to grow, but they fall flat in most cases. Jemina Pearl is still a formidable talent--and her predecessors in the scene seem to think so, too. Iggy Pop lends his production skills to the album on the whole and his vocals to the track "I Hate People," and Thurston Moore (yup) helped Pearl out on the unreleased (but not un-downloadable) cover of The Ramones' "Sheena is a Punk Rocker." With impressive letters of reccomendation like that, Jemina Pearl is someone to watch for. This album just feels like a brief misstep on a career that will more than likely skyrocket.

Go Download: "I Hate People," "So Sick!"

3/5 starxx

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And sometimes, humanity can still surprise me.

For those of you who "don't believe" in Valentine's Day, I'd like to share something.

Every time I feel that the world has sort of let me down, something like the above link comes along and makes me feel as though life is actually worth every meaningless, sardonic, melancholic, tense, wonderful, terrible, and heartbreaking second.

Happy Valentine's Day!

"Tomorrow's back to work and down to sanity.
Should run a bath and then clear up the mess I made before I left here;
Try to remind myself that I was happy here,
Before I knew that I could get on the plane and fly away."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hey! Come to this show!

Thanks to the blog The A.V. Club for this image!

Tomorrow night, low-fi surf punkers The Vivian Girls will be playing at The High Dive right here in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood!

They'll be right at home with fellow Californinspirational rockers Best Coast on the bar's main stage starting at 9pm. Charge is (tentatively) $10.

Hope we'll see you there!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Lots of things come in threes, or so they say (who "they" are is subject to much speculation and, sometimes, suspicion). Deaths, births, good things, bad things, numbers, signals, signs, yaddas . . . Everything comes in a set. One, two, three.

Here are some threes for me.

Three Things Non-Football Related I learned From The Super Bowl:
1. Dan Marino needs to lay off the spray tan.
2. Charles Barkley needs to lay off the damn $5 Dollar Boxes.
3. Betty White makes everything funnier by sheer presence alone.

Three Movies I watched Recently:
1. Julie and Julia
2. Smokin' Aces
3. Summer of Sam

Three Words to Describe Those Movies Listed Above (in order):
1. Sweet
2. Rushed
3. Cocaine

Three Things I'm Currently Obsessed With (or still obsessed with):
1. The idea of a cultural snapshot of America: New York City in 1977.
2. Brecken Meyer's adorable everything.
3. Boddington's in a glass.

Three Things I Bought At The Grocery Store Today:
1. Bananas
2. Ramen (chicken flavored)
3. Nonfat milk

Three Reasons Why I'm in Love:
1. Wrestling matches that turn into tickle fights that turn into sex that turn into tickle fights.
2. Morning coffee and The Daily Show reruns on hulu.
3. The ability to casually make fun of others without having to exchange words or gestures, only glances (see also: "relationship telepathy").

Three Songs I Keep Listening to Again and Again:
1. "What I Am [cover]" - Emma Bunton
2. "Machine Gun" - Portishead
3. "Hard to Live in The City" - Albert Hammond Jr.

Three New Facts About Me:
1. I quit my retail job last week.
2. I have to dress up for work now!
3. I paid a traffic ticket I never should've gotten in the first place.

Three Old Facts About Me That Loosely Relate to the Three New Facts About Me:
1. I'm in love with learning about, reading about, hearing about, talking about, and experiencing new music.
2. I really hate to iron.
3. I'm so broke it hurts.

Three Things That Happened at The Gay Bar on Saturday:
1. Some guy asked me if he could cut my hair.
2. I ran into someone whose name I remembered, but that was all. This person then proceeded to recite my life story, vital stats, and employment history like a damned personal Wikipedia. It made me feel terrible.
3. People fell down.

Three Short-Term Goals:
1. Get back to every-other-day blogging.
2. Complete a regular push-up regiment.
3. Get my oil changed.

See? Like I and also "they" said: Lots of things come in threes. Would this have been more insightful if I'd done lists that totaled in a number evenly divisible by three? Or is it more insightful that I thought of this after the fact? I'll have to mull that one around for a bit.

"Well I went to bed in Memphis,
And I woke up in Hollywood.
I got a quarter
in my pocket
And I'd call you if I could ."