Sunday, April 11, 2010

Update on 2010 Goals

OK, so it's been a little over 3 months into the new year so I wanted to look at my resolutions and see how I'm doing.

1.Get to a Final Draft of my Novel or at least to the 5th Draft – Wow, I'm behind on this one. I've started printing out the Novel, but I haven't had much time to work on it so far.

2.2010 Postcard Experiment – I’ve got enough postcards to make it to June 15th right now and I have to say that's pretty good. Things have started to slow down a bit, but I think it might pick up a again soon.

3. Write 30 Poems for Joseph – I haven't done a lot with this one either. I've finally decided to make all 30 poems sonnets, but other than that I haven't done anything else with it. It's hard, but I hope to get on track soon.

4.Album – I'm still doing research on field recorders but nothing serious yet.

5.Read 50 Books this Year – I'm actually doing well on this I've read 36 books so far.

6.Lose 30 Lbs this Year – I've lost 10 pounds so far but I keep gaining and losing 5 lbs so I need to exercise more and keep going on this goal.

7.PRIVATE GOAL - I'm doing well on this one.

8.Pay More Offerings – So far so good on this one as well.

9.Be More Friendly – This one has been hard, but I have to say I'm trying hard to be more friendly. I've got a new promotion that requires me to be more friendly and outgoing. I've also been trying to meet new friends. I can't say I'm good at it yet, but I'm trying.

10.Type up My Journals – I was doing well on this until we lost power for like 3 days and I got out of my rhythm. I hope to get back into things soon.

11.Find More Opportunities to Serve – I've been lucky enough to find a lot of opportunities to serve others and I hope to keep finding ways to help others out. It's not always easy and I don't always look forward to it, but I'm always happy after I do it.

12.Pay off My Cars – Things are working out to get this done by the end of the year so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

13.Follow My Daily Schedule – I haven't been following my schedule at all but I really need to. Obviously I haven't been doing as well as I should so maybe I need to think about doing better on this one.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Top Ten Albums

Everyone has a top ten list. I love the idea of making the list, but this was very painful. It hurt to list bands and then cross them out. I also spent most of my time debating over who should be ranked number one or two. For those of you who don't know me, I love R.E.M. and Pearl Jam. How do I choose one as my ultimate album? But I digress; I solved my problem by eliminating both bands from my top ten list. What a concept! Then, the list just came tumbling out. I’ve spent a few months with the list, looking it over and taking bands on and off and rearranging the order. Enjoy!

To be honest, I failed in my attempt to create a top ten list because I have 4 runners-up. But what the hell, it’s my list and if I want runners-up I’ll have them. If I'm ever forced onto a deserted island and my Overlord makes me pick only ten albums, I’ll worry about it then, so get off my hairy back.

In the end, I don't think the list will be truly finished until I’m 60-70 years old when it's been a few years since I've bought albums or gone to a live show. Until that day comes, this list will have to do. I hope future me isn't a mean old man in an one-piece that stares and spits at people.

Top Ten Albums / The Albums I’d Take with me to a Deserted Island.

1.Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows = For all those record label idiots out there that thought the original Napster was killing their business, this is one of the bands I found by chance on Napster and then went out and bought all their albums at the time and continue to follow them loyally. Idlewild is a Scottish band and is still not as well known in America. They started out very much as a punk band. In articles, they've talked about being fans of Black Flag and other pioneering punk bands. This album was a major departure from that genre as they've slowed down just a little and have spent more time on their craft and sound. I originally fell in love with this album because it reminded me of R.E.M.’s Murmur, which isn’t as easy to detect, but for me the energy was the same. This album clocks in at 43:57 minutes with 12 songs. I love the ride this album takes me on as it seems to visit all the great places an album should.

2.Damien Rice – 0 = The second band on my list I also found through Napster and once again spent money on buying up albums, b-sides, and live recordings. This clocks in at 61:27 minutes with 10 named tracks and two hidden. I had been thinking a lot about music before finding him and thinking about how no one was trying new things or even odd things like combining an opera singer in a song (I know no one will believe me when I say this but I was really thinking about how great that could be) then I found Damien Rice and he did it! “Eskimo” has a great moment in it where a women belts out in operatic style in the song and it sounds amazing. He even one-ups my idea by having her sing in Icelandic. The album as a whole is a complete journey and once again, there's not a dud on it. The second best thing about this album is Lisa Hannigan. She backs on most of the songs and has the voice of an angel. If I had to say who my favorite female singer was, it would be her. This album still gives me goose bumps.

3. Social Distortion – Social Distortion = This is one of the very first albums I was introduced to during my musical revolution. The album clocks in at 41:16 minutes. It has ten songs on the album and each one of them have a special place in my heart except for “Drug Train,” I’ve never cared for that song as I’ve never had an interest in drugs or had any close friends who had to deal with drugs. I’m a big proponent of songs and artists speaking to me as an individual. If the song doesn’t have something in it that I can relate to I don’t usually care for it (major reason I’m not a fan of rap (I grew up in Wyoming for heaven’s sake). Back to Social D, this is a great album to sing along to and I almost always include one of their songs on a mix for newcomer to music.

4. Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew = My Irish angle, the Siren of my shipwreck. I can listen to her all day long. I was so sad when Damien’s ego fired her and I was worried I’d never hear her sweet voice again, but happy day, all is well. She came out with her own album and no surprise, it’s amazing. She is tender and playful and knows how to invoke wonderful images and emotion with her songs. I can’t wait to hear more from her in the future. This album clocks in at 38:32 minutes with 10 tracks.

5. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells = You either hate this guy or you love him. I love him. This album introduced me to the man the myth and the legend, Jack White. Every single song on this album will break your bones and re-build them into a monument of the past rehashed into something better than you were before. I cannot complain that I was given the degree of simple complexity that this album holds. Jack has said in interviews that he while in the band he had a fixation with the number 3; colors, instruments, wording. It’s all there if you want to look for it. It clocks in at a monstrous 40:25 minutes and dumps 16 tracks on your head.

6. The Cure – Disintegration = I was introduced to the Cure by a high school friend and due to my teenage angst and depression fell deeply in love with the band. But even now as a fairly well adjusted adult I still go back to this great album more than any of the others. It’s got a great feel to the whole album as one song ends it feeds the beginning of the next song. The album clocks in at 71:47 with 12 songs. “Lullaby” and “Fascination Street” are my least favorite songs with “Untitled” being my favorite. I love this album for the linear notes were Robert recommends that we “Play this Loud”, and if you follow the advice you are well rewarded as “Plainsong” slowly erupts around your ear drums.

7. Nirvana – Incesticide = By far my favorite album they ever did. I have a special place in my music heart box for Nirvana’s music and they use to rank higher up on my list but as I’ve gotten older I lost respect for the man for taking the easy way out. Regardless this album can always put me in a good mood. I love the eclectic sound and the wonderful covers of Devo and The Vaselines. It clocks in at 44:44 with 15 tracks.

8. The Flaming Lips – Soft Bulletin = This album clocks in at 58:26 minutes and has 14 tracks, which include two remixes of songs on the album. I found this band surprisingly by the crappy radio station that plays before movies start in some theaters. I heard "Waitin' for a Superman." It blew me away. A great song with intricate musical style that matched the emotion of the lyrics and just a audio treat for my ears. The whole album feels like an experiment, and the whole time you’re listening to it you’re trying to figure out if you’re the scientist or the blob. At times, and depending on your mood, the roles change. This is also one of the first albums that I actually listen to the instrumentals and enjoy them, most seem to bore me but not the Lips!

9. Cat Power – The Greatest = Chan Marshall is my second all-time favorite female singer. Of all her albums, this one wins me over. It’s so smooth and smoky, it sounds like a romanticized bar scene in a gritty 70s blacksploitation film. The music gets me relaxed like a warm bath, as I soak in her vocal chords. It clock in at 44:34 minutes with 12 tracks. Her first album that all original.

10. The Pixies – Doolittle = This album came as a recommendation by my cousin. It clocks in at 38:38 minutes and has 15 songs. Once again no losers on the entire album. This album was one that I liked, but my love for it seems to grow deeper roots with each listen. The funny thing is that I much more prefer “Wave of Mutilation (U.K. Surf)” over the album version. I also had the pleasure to see the band perform this entire album recently and it’s cemented itself in my psyche now and forever. I enjoy this album a lot for the fact that there are some major themes that run through each of the songs and pop up throughout the album making it a rewarding re-listen.

Runners Up

1. The Strokes – Is This It = 36:28 minutes with 11 tracks; took off New York City Cops after 9/11. Two different covers.

2. Tegan and Sara – So Jealous = 45:41 minutes, 14 tracks; white stripes covered walking with a ghost

3. Shout Out Louds – Howl Howl Goff Goff = 44:05 minutes, 11 tracks

4. Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley = 28:03 minutes, 12 tracks. What he's the King.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goals for the Year 2010

1.Get to a Final Draft of my Novel or at least to the 5th Draft – At the beginning of this year I’ll be starting the third draft at the end of which it will require the second edit. The fourth draft will be sent to a list of friends and family and at the end of which it will get a third edit. Hopefully ending with a final draft or, if there is still some work to be done, a 5th draft. It’ll be close, but I want to be able to start looking for a publisher and or agent in 2011.

2.2010 Postcard Experiment – I’ve got three months worth of postcards at this point and I hope to have 9 more months worth soon. In the end, it’s a fun multi-person project across the planet and is something fun to do with friends and family. Let’s see what happens.

3. Write 30 Poems for Joseph – In July 2009, I started a project with an old friend at which point I promised to write 30 poems that were inspired by 30 of his sketches and vice versa. Now I have to admit that I don’t write poetry as fast or as often as I did in my younger angst-filled years. But I think I can write about two poems a month, so I hope I can get them all done by the end of the year, and then I can harass Joseph to finish his sketches based on 30 of my older poems.

4.Album – My wife was a little surprised that I had a goal of making an album, but it is on my things to do before I die list and those things aren’t going to get done on their own. I’ve already got a lot of creative goals set for the year, so this goal is more about research and set up. I hope to figure out the best field recorder to buy and maybe even buy one by the end of the year. Then, in 2011, I can start the actual work on the album.

5.Read 50 Books this Year – This might seem like a crazy goal, but really all I have to do is read a book a week with two weeks off for the holidays and I’ll be golden.

6.Lose 30 Lbs this Year – I’m way over my healthy weight and I’m also borderline diabetic, which means I need to start taking better care of myself. To accomplish this goal I need to lose 2.5 pounds a month. I’m only going to eat oatmeal for breakfast and a light lunch. I’m also going to exercise for two hours a day. If I can’t lose 30 pounds, next year I’ll get some lipo 


8.Pay More Offerings – If you don’t know what I’m talking about sorry I’m not going to explain it. Let’s just say I need to work on being less-self centered.

9.Be More Friendly – Now my father’s side of the family have never been known for being outgoing and friendly and I have to admit I’ve never tried very hard to overcome this shortcoming. Well, it’s never too late to begin. I’m going to put a greater effort on being nice to people by being more outgoing, smiling, and remembering people’s names.

10.Type up My Journals – I’m reserving Sundays to type up old journals and making a weekly entry.

11.Find More Opportunities to Serve – I’ve been thinking about spending a Saturday each month doing service in the community at either a shelter or nursing home.

12.Pay off My Cars – By the end of the year I’d like to have both my cars completely paid off.

13.Follow My Daily Schedule – Let’s face it, this is going to be a busy year and I might just fall short on a few of these goals and the only way I’m going to get them done is by keeping myself organized and on track.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Done for Another Year

Official count 50,413.

WOW, I'm tired. I had several 5,000-word writing days and I'm worn out. I also realized while writing this story I was actually writing two novels, which is alright, but now I have more work to do get this one done. Thankfully, I can take a break from it while I go back to working on my first book, which I'm waiting on my wife to edit. Guess I'll take a break from fiction and focus on some poems.

I encourage anyone to give NANOWRIMO a shot next year. It's well worth it.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Pixies at the Palladium 11/07/09

I've been waiting to see the Pixies for sixteen years, and to be honest I never thought the day would come. They've got a history of breaking up and on their past reunion tour they didn't come anywhere near Salt Lake City. Then, a few months ago I heard the Pixies were talking about celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Doolittle album's release, which of course is my favorite album.

I took the necessary steps to ensure I got tickets to the show, which included finding a roman coin with a metal detector and trading it for a elephant's haunted tusk and taking it to my local Wal-Mart at which point I was able to return it without a receipt for a phone number that would allow me to call and order tickets to the show. Later, I found out I could have bought them online, but I think I had a more memorable experience.

OK, I'm going to backtrack a bit: My cousin Michael introduced me to the album back in 1993 when I was asking him for some musical recommendations. He also suggested a girl named PJ Harvey and the Cowboy Junkies. He was also the cousin that introduced me to Temple of the Dog and Social Distortion. I have a lot to thank him for, I know.

Back to the album known as Doolittle. I quickly fell in love with Here Comes Your Man, Hey, There Goes My Gun and La la Love (after a former flame put it on a mix tape). However, it wasn't until I watched the movie Pump Up the Volume and heard Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf) that I truly fell in love with the Pixies. I've loved them ever since, but I never thought I'd see them live since I found them right after their break-up. I got close when I saw the Breeders open for Nirvana, but it just wasn't the same.

I was excited and giddy. It's been a long time since I've felt giddy about seeing a band live. I'll admit that I've spoiled myself with seeing bands live. I've come to know what to expect and how to make the most of any show. However, I couldn't help but feel the seventeen-year-old inside me jumping up and down with anticipation. What would they be like? Would they break up before making it out to the stage? Would they be rusty, or would they blow my mind? I didn't know and I wanted to find out.

The opening band was alright, but I wouldn't ever buy their album. Rain Machine, if I remember correctly. The best way I can describe them and their sound is by saying I think they found each other in rehab centers and self-help group therapy sessions. They had small small moments of possible talent, but seriously there was at least one member of the band that might have been a lost first-year college student that was screaming for her mother on stage while going through a caffeine crash.

The Pixies started their set with a great classic Surrealist film from the 1920s famous for a particular scene in which it looks like a girl's eyeball is cut open with a straight edge razor, but for any squeamish people out there no worries it was only a cow's eye.

At which point the smoke machine began to pump out white heat and the band came to the stage. Black Francis or Frank Black, depending on how you know him, was in fine form. He didn't talk to the crowd at all, only making a few comments to his fellow band mates off mic. Kim Deal was the main communicator of the band, making funny comments about the songs and such. David Lovering would also make a few comments here and there. They started the set with four B-sides then they gave us all the songs on the Doolittle album. I have to say these guys held up to their name. They sounded tight and clean. The sound was amazing and never disappointing. Frank brought the screams and emotion to each song. It wasn't until they finished Gouge Away that Frank Black waved at the crowd. The band took the time to wave and take a few bows to the crowd. I wasn't sure they'd be coming back out, but lucky for us it was only a quick break.

When they came back for their first encore, they played some more b-sides and a song I never ever thought I would hear live, Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf). I figured they would pick one version to play for the concert fast or slow never did I think they'd do both! I turned into a 14-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers Concert. If I was wearing panties I would have ripped them off and thrown them on the stage.

After the first encore, it took a while before the band came back for a second encore. It looked like they were trying to decide if they would come back out, but they did and proceeded to play a few non-Doolittle songs. And if my night wasn't great enough, they played my favorite non-Doolittle songs: Bone Machine and Where is My Mind? I have to say if you ever get the chance, please please see this band live.

Below is the set list enjoy.

1.Intro Film (Un chien andalou)
2.Dancing The Manta Ray
3.Weird at My School
4.Bailey's Walk
5.Manta Ray
8.Wave of Mutilation
9.I Bleed
10.Here Comes Your Man
12.Monkey Gone to Heaven
13.Mr. Grieves
14.Crackity Jones
15.La La Love You
16.No. 13 Baby
17.There Goes My Gun
20.Gouge Away
21.Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
22.Into the White
Encore 2:
23.Something Against You
24.Bone Machine
26.Where Is My Mind?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

First Day of NaNoWrimo

The first day of NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is always fun and daunting at the same time. I'm excited to start a new story--the prospect of creating something new and seeing where it goes. But I'm a little overwhelmed about the fact that I only have a month to write 50,000 words.

The nice thing about it all is the whole idea that you can't read what you've written the days before, which is what kept me from ever finishing a novel before NaNoWrimo.

I'd encourage anyone that has ever thought about writing a novel, or who's attempted to write a novel and hasn't finished, to give it a try. In the end, the only words of advice I live by are, "Just because you can boil a chicken, doesn't mean you can skin a rabbit."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creative Goals for 2010

One of things I truly enjoy in life is being creative. I want to state upfront that I do not consider myself anything great or important. I do however enjoy spending my free time creating new things or being inspired by other artists.

I've been thinking about some of my future goals that I want to buckle down and finish soon. I've given myself till the end of 2010 to do this. Some I hope to finish before this year's end. I'm crossing my fingers that no surprises pop up to keep me from accomplishing my creative goals.

1. Finish my novel - This one is tricky because a large part of getting this done is based on my wife's ability to edit the novel with in a reasonable amount of time as well as a small group of friends and family that I want to give advanced copies of my novel also need to be able to read and send me feedback before the end of the year. Both of these situations could possibly keep me from getting it completed. But that's why you set goals to try and finish things quicker than normal.

2. 2010 Postcard Experiment - This one also has me depending on others to help finish it but even if it works smoothly I have a lot of work that needs to be done each day. If it works out it will be a cool experiment that in the end will only prove that everyone has creative juices in them.

3. Write 30 Poems - This is a project that I'm working on with Joseph Adams. I started this project in June of 09 and as of yet only written three poems. It's really up to me to buckle down and get it done. Once I'm done then I can harass Joseph to get his part done. I would rather do that as I'm great at nagging.

4. Start working on my Album - I know everyone knows I can't sing and I can hardly play a guitar or any other instrument, so how do I plan on making an album? Well frankly none of the above reasons seem like good enough reasons for not making an album. What I want to do first is buy a portable digital recorder and start field recording my base tracks. Then I'll find myself a free mixing software (let me know if anyone has a favorite) and then I'll start laying down some tracks and sooner or later I'll have an album.

Friday, September 18, 2009

100 Things to do before I die.

1. Ride in a hot air balloon
2. Get certified in scuba diving (just found out this is hard to do with asthma so we'll see about this)
3. Publish a novel
4. Paint an oil painting
5. Have Kids
6. Tour Graceland
7. Sleep under the stars at 75
8. Hike the Appalachian trail
9. Build a ship in a bottle
10. Perform in front of a crowd
11. Write
12. Retype my poems
13. Run in the New York Marathon
14. Type up my written journals (I've started this one)
15. Keep a Journal (the blog works right?)
16. Fly a Remote controlled Airplane
17. Pet a Big Cat (leopard, tiger, etc.)
18. Ride in a helicopter
19. Learn to fly fish
20. Shoot a crossbow
21. Work in a record store
22. Set up a squirrel feeder in my back yard
23. Grow a garden
24. Build my kids a tree house
25. Launch a rocket
26. Play paint ball
27. Take up bird watching
28. Keep a meditation journal
29. Cut down my own Christmas tree
30. Climb a tree at 80
31. Sky dive
32. Mine for gold
33. Build a sculpture
34. Do my genealogy
35. Serve on a jury
36. Own a stuffed squirrel
37. Own a life sized suit of armor
38. Read the classics
39. Read all of Kurt Vonnegut's books (about halfway)
40. Learn to play the guitar (started this but I've got a long way to go)
41. Learn to play a harmonica
42. Learn to fly a plane
43. Learn Latin
44. Own season tickets to the symphony
45. Own season tickets to the opera
46. Watch a space shuttle launch
47. Watch a bull fight (even though I think it is morally wrong)
48. Take part in the running of the bulls (give Karma a chance to get me back for watching a bull fight)
49. Watch a demolition derby
50. Watch a dog race
51. Go to a Monster Truck Rally
52. Go to a Jazz club
53. Go to the David Letterman Show
54. Go to the Conan O'Brien Show
55. Go to the Saturday Night Live Show
56. Go to an Auction
57. Go on a treasure hunt
58. Go on a cruise
59. Save the world for two years or so
60. Go night swimming at least once a year (not doing so hot on this so far)
61. Make a pair of Pants
62. Make an album
63. Make a sand castle on both coasts
64. Make my own camera
65. Make a walking stick
66. Make something out of leather that's cool
67. Shake the hand of a prophet
68. Be in a community play
69. Be an extra in a movie
70. Visit Texasarkana
71. Visit Athens, Ga
72. Visit Paris
73. Visit Rome
74. Visit Ireland
75. Visit Germany
76. Visit important historical sites of America
77. Spend a day in each of the states
78. Visit each continent including Antarctica.
79. Visit count Dracula's Castle
80. Visit Jerusalem
81. Visit Hell, Michigan
82. Visit the unclaimed baggage center in Scottsboro, AZ
83. Be married to Jacqueline til the day I die.
84. Be a skilled wood carver
85. Find ways to serve other people in little ways
86. Become a regular volunteer for an organization
87. Sacrifice for someone I love
88. Sacrifice for a stranger
89. Learn calligraphy
90. Improve my drawing and watercolor skills
91. Find joy in the journey
92. Relax more
93. Find time to be quiet each day
94. Learn old English
95. Learn a living language
96. Make a life sized catapult or trebuchet
97. Never stop dreaming
98. Never stop learning(I’d like to get a Bachelor’s degree in English and Science, I’d also like to get a PhD in Medieval History).
99. Increase my power of memorization
100. Sleep in a castle

Things That Use to Be on the List that I've accomplished

1. Graduate from College
2. Ride on a Train (did this on my last trip to England)
3. Build a trebuchet (made one out of Popsicle sticks)
4. Plant a tree (I've planted 5 so far)
5. Eat sushi (love it)
6. Visit a cave (done this a few times love caves)
7. Own a sword (I own a civil war sword)
8. Learn to fence (Took a class (but I want to take another one))
9. Learn to play chess (I'm a beginner I'd like to find a partner)
10. See a Broadway play (I've seen Chicago, Les Miserables, Wicked, and The White Lady, but I'd like to see more)
11. See Idlewild live (I've seen them three times since the creation of the list)
12. See the Flaming Lips live (I've seen them twice and been on stage with them for one of the times)
13. Go river rafting (Done this once but I want to do it more)
14. Learn to Bow hunt (took a class and it was rad)
15. Make something out of Popsicle sticks (see #3)
16. Visit New York
17. Visit London (done this twice)
18. Visit Scotland

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Psychedelic Furs and The Killers at the Hollywood Bowl 9/16/09

I never thought I'd see the massive Psychedelic Furs live, but when a band that loves and respects the 80's as much as The Killers, it was bound to happen and I'm glad I was there to see it. The Psychedelic Furs did an amazing job of showing the young ones how to rock. They played their hits and burned up the stage. They however neglected to play their hit song Pretty in Pink. I'll admit I was a little hurt, but I figured they were just sick to death of the song.

This was the third time I saw the Killers live and I'll admit I really tired hard to hate these guys when they first came out, but heaven help me they are a live band. They're the type of band you can easily dismiss on the radio as rehashing a past decade but once you stand in a crowd caught by their light, music and presence it won't be long before you're smiling like you mean it. Yeah I just said that.

They played their hits and several songs from their new album, with out a dull moment. The highlights were their cover of Only Fools Rush In, which was spot on. There were several times that Brandon was channeling a little Elvis during the show. The second was a small dream come true. The Psychedelic Furs came out during the encore to play a duet of Pretty in Pink with The Killers.

In the end I'll never pass on the chance to see either band play me sweet music.

Sorry I don't have my usual set list, I went under prepared.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Five Hand Signs I Hate Seeing in Photos

Let's try something different for today's post. I'd like to share the five finger signs that I hate to see in photographs. You all know and love them, but using them in photos and daily life is really getting old. We all have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs (usually), why can't we come up with something more creative?

These are in order.

Number five: The ASL sign for love.

Alright, I actually took two years of ASL and love the Deaf, but I hate when everyday people use this sign as away to communicate their deep and unfailing love for someone. You would think the fact that a person wants to take a picture of you (and possibly keep it) shows this person likes you and may even love you, and also knows that you feel the same way without needing you to use a hand sign to remind him or her of this fact. Talk about smothering someone.

Number Four: The Rock sign, or We Are About to Rock sign, or This Song is So Awesome sign, or I'm a Rebel That Shows My Individuality By Throwing Up the Most Used Hand Sign By Nearly Everyone in the World.

I'll be the first to admit that I've thrown this sign up many a time in the heat of a great rock concert, but I don't use it in everyday life or for photographs. There really isn't anything rocking about taking a picture.

I've also noticed there are a lot of people who use this sign that are trying too hard to prove they really know how to rock by learning the secret hand sign, but in all reality the closest thing they've come to rocking out was seeing Yanni on PBS, once.

Then, of course, there's the other end of the spectrum -- the guy with the huge gut wearing the really tight black concert T (he bought when he was 16) with thinning long hair. He usually has the "I haven't taken a shower or even been fully naked in months look." This guy flashes the sign way too often. I think it's more to do with the fact that he's at a point in his life where he can't tell if he is or isn't at a concert. He's got that buzzed look all the time, and rather than be taken for some kind of poser, he flashes the sign every chance he gets, just to be on the safe side.

Number Three: Hang Loose

My first thought on seeing this sign in photographs is, Have you ever surfed a day in your life? Let alone seen a surf board? And really if you're sitting on a sofa or on a family vacation to Yellowstone, do you need to remind people that you're hanging loose? Just because you're visiting Hawaii doesn't mean you know how to adopt their culture. There's nothing wrong with relaxing on a vacation, but it's not like the natives appreciate you adopting, and then mutilating, the meaning of their hand signs.

I personally would be afraid to flash this sign casually, what happens if a Polynesian surf squad is out there tracking down and killing all the whities flashing that sign. I am sure it bugs them to no end seeing us use it. It takes away from the original meaning (whatever that is). They will find you one day and stomp your puny butt into the ground.

Number Two: Giving the Bird, Giving the Finger, or Flipping Someone Off

OK, this is a big one for me, it's very similar to the love sign. Do you really want to be giving the person the bird just for taking your picture? I mean, when you're 80 years old, well wait, never mind, if you're regularly giving the bird in photographs I think we all know you won't make 80, you'll be lucky to make 50. You'll probably die in a back alley bar with your wrinkled tattooed body lying in its own puke. But just in case you make it to 80, do you want to force your loved ones to try to find the best photograph they have of you for your funeral and all they have to choose from are pictures of you flipping the bird?

And the most-hated sign I see people use in photographs that makes me want to puke and kill myself a dozen times over.

Number One: PEACE

Give me a break! First off, who doesn't want peace beyond the "secret government puppet masters"? Everyone wants peace, so do we really need to tell each other that we in fact do not like war and would prefer to live in a world where there was no war? Seeing those stupid splayed fingers makes me want to go on a killing spree, which in fact is giving off the opposite reaction than what the person is trying to convey when flashing the sign. So please, for the love of peace, stop using it!

I also hate the stupid teenagers that try to make the peace sign "sexy" by displaying it sideways or covering parts of their face or crap like that. I mean, really, do we need to make everything about sex, even peace? I know, I know, the immortal John Lennon said make love not war, but half these girls and boys trying to appear mysterious and coy for their profile pictures only end up making themselves look fools, instead of sexy and politically aware, so let's stop the madness.

There you have it. My top five most-hated hand signs people use in photographs.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


It's been three months since the last post and yeah I've been busy.

I'm about a day away from finishing the first draft to my novel at about 75,000 words. I'll give it to Jacq to do a light proofing. I'll spend the month of September and October working on my two short stories that I have at different stages and take a week off from writing at the end of October to outline my next novel.

Once November comes it's time for another NANOWRIMO. This way I'll have another rough draft to work on after my 2nd draft is being sent to friends and family to comment on. I'd like to be working on two different novels at all times so that I keep busy and learn how to write well enough to one day get a book in the stores. I'm just hoping by the third or fourth book one of them will get published.

California life is well and good. The fires and heat haven't killed me yet. I've been busy at my two jobs and wasting plenty of time reading, writing and watching TV when I can.

I recently found out I'm borderline Diabetic so I'm starting to eat less and cut down on my sugars and fats as well as exercising. Still wish I could find a sport I liked enough to want to do it a lot. Swimming's the top pick right now.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hollywood Bowl 07/05/2009 The New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara, Death Cab For Cutie

This was the fourth time I'd seen DCFC and the third for Tegan and Sara. In the end I bought the tickets to see The New Pornographers. I've loved this band for nine years but due to my previously crappy location they never stopped by the town. So I was excited to finally see them play.

It was the second time I'd been to the bowl but the first time as a local. The show was awesome the best I had seen for all three bands.

The New Pornographers

They were great, Neko was gone but I didn't noitce long the show took off and I got wrapped up in the music. The only song I wanted to hear that I didn't was Myriad Harbour.

My Rights Versus Yours
The Laws Have Changed
Use It
All the Old Show Stoppers
Mass Romantics
Sing Me Spanish Techno
The Bleeding Heart Show

Tegan and Sarah

They were in rare form for the show, talking about being sick seeing so many people and then talking about how ugly their mother thought CA looked. They also mentioned how the Marilyn Monroe look-a-like was ugly up close but she wasn't a lesbian.

Dark Come Soon
I Bet It Stung
Walking with a Ghost
Hop A Plane
Living Room
Like O Like H
Burn Your Life Down
Where Do the Good Go
Call it Off
The Con
Back in Your Head

Death Cab for Cutie

This is a great band, their down to earth and show the love to the audience. I'll never pass up an opportunity to see them play. I was especially excited about the fact that the LA Philharmonic was going to be playing with them.

Marching Bands of Manhattan
Your Heart is and Empty Room
The New Year
Crooked Teeth
President of What
No Sunlight
Summer skin
I Will Posses Your Heart
Little Bribes
The Sound of Settling

At this point they took a break and came out with the Philharmonic

I Will Follow You into the Dark
You Can Do Better Than Me
Grapevine Fires
Title and Registration
A Movie Script Ending
Soul Meets Body

This was the first and probably the last time I'll see a song set to fireworks. I have a link for you to check out to see what I'm talking about and sadly the video can't even match the emotion that was there. Sorry

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NIN/JA show Irvine, CA 05/20/09

I've been a Nine Inch Nails fan for 18 years, I first heard Pretty Hate Machine in 1991 and fell in love with the honest pain, anger, lust and lost emotions it portrayed. My favorite album was Broken as it came out in the perfect time of my life as a teenager rebelling against my parents, society and it just screamed of that rage you feel at that age. I also loved The Downward Spiral it was the first theme album I had ever really listen to. I loved it's depth how my friends and I would play with the songs on the CD player and how it would sound differently as you fast forward/rewind the songs. But as the world was jumping on the NIN bandwagon I was jumping off as my life took on new and different styles of music, but I've always been a loyalist and never lost my love for Trent and his songs. When I heard he was going on tour and with rumors of it being a farewell tour I decided I had to go see him.

The opening band was Street Sweeper Social Club. I have to say they were good. I don't normally like the metal/rap genre but I enjoyed them. Their highlight was the cover of MIA's Paper Airplanes.

Nine Inch Nails came out on the stage with drums and smoke clouds. Trent singing well and with emotion. He didn't speak to the crowd a lot, but for my first and only time seeing them I have to say it's what I expected and more. They played well and loud. Showing total emotion and fury.

I'm not sure if Trent was enjoying the show or not as he didn't play and encore for one of the first times on the tour according to the guy next to me, but I was satisfied so much so I left. I didn't want Jane's Addiction to ruin my mood.

Here's the setlist for NIN

1. Now I'm Nothing
2. Terrible Lie
3. 1,000,000
4. Heresy
5. March Of The Pigs
6. Metal
7. Reptile
8. The Becoming
9. Survivalism
10. Mr. Self Destruct
11. The Fragile
12. Gone, Still
13. The Way Out Is Through
14. Wish
15. Echoplex
16. The Day The World Went Away
17. The Hand That Feeds
18. Head Like A Hole

so for an old time fan I had a blast and would love to see them in a headlining tour.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Day 6 in LA

The biggest news was Redondo Beach Public Library called me back to offer me a job. I happily accepted. Now I just need to go through a month's worth of paper work and background checking before I can start work. I can't say that bothers me as it will allow me some time to enjoy California before starting work again.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Day 5 in LA

Well today was a lazy day. I picked up my comics and then finished catching up with some of my TV shows I had to give up when I dropped my cable. I did a little unpacking but I've got more to do tomorrow.

OK a thought I've had while making the move to the Cali lifestyle. I don't know if I'll ever be able to watch Letterman, Conan or Craig Ferguson again. I'm so use to shows coming on an hour earlier then they do here. I'm not a night owl so when it comes to 10pm I'm ready for bed so I can't even watch the nightly news.

Maybe the longer I'm here in Cali I might be able to become a Night Owl. Only time will tell.

Day 4 in LA

Today was a big day. It was my first job interview as a Californian. It was awesome. I've had people ask me how an interview can be awesome. Let me explain. I was comfortable and was able to answer all the questions well (I think I did well) and I was able to show my personality without being nervous. I think that's the best thing I can do. I have a lot of experience doing a lot of different things so I wasn't worried about that. Hopefully that means I'll be getting a call back soon, and if I don't I don't have to feel like I could have done better. That's how I had an awesome interview.

I also found a new comic shop to call my own. I'm going to the Comic Bug in Torrance, CA. The guys there are all friendly and I have to say awesome. I'm looking forward to picking up my comics tomorrow.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Day 3 in LA

Alright OK so I had a bit of a panic today. The day started out fine. I took my wife to work. Went to Barnes&Noble to spend some gift cards I got from my going away party. I even went for a drive along the beach and saw a movie crew from Paramount filming along the beach.

When I got home I did some unpacking and even watched a few shows online and then I started to worry about my interview tomorrow and what would happen if I didn't get the job. I was worrying about paying bills and all of that adult stuff that I don't enjoy thinking about, but I am the man of the house so it's my job to worry about this kind of stuff.

Thankfully my wife and a nap was all I needed to calm myself down.

I'll spend most of my post tomorrow on the interview. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Day 2 in LA

It was a great day. The weather was awesome and I woke up early and enjoyed seeing my wife next to me, after spending two months apart. Unfortunately we had to sleep on our air mattress as our real mattress was still wet from the drive but that didn't hamper our joy. I wore loafers to church today. I have to say I was never a loafers guy, but California has helped me appreciate the comfort of loafers.

We meet new people at our church everyone was friendly doing all they could to help us feel welcome. We were even invited over to eat lunch with a family. It was so nice to eat real food again after spending the day before eating only gas station food and McDonald's. I'm not complaining but no one wants to eat that stuff forever.

Spent the evening getting caught up on a few shows and I'm trying out the Beta NBC Video Rewind, so far not bad. Only complaint is that it claims you can watch shows offline (because you download them) but when I try to open the program it automatically sends me online to the show's website even after I've downloaded the episode I want to watch. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that it's just me.

I'm trying not to be nervous about my job interview this Tuesday. Part of this move to LA is about trying to adopt healthier habits and trains of thought. I don't want to worry about something I can't control, like I would in the past. I want to go in do my best and focus on the idea that if it's meant to happen it will. I can only show them who I am and if that isn't what they are looking for I wouldn't be happy there. It helps me to calm down and enjoy the moments.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Day 1 in LA

We drove for 12 hrs straight the first 4 in rain. When we unloaded the boxes were warped, mattress was damp but we made it. We're tired hungry and soar. Went to find something to eat for tonight and tomorrow as well as a shower curtain.

Friday, May 01, 2009

What the Future Holds

I'm writing this while waiting to pick up my wife at the airport. I spent my last night in Utah with family, friends and co-workers. Tomorrow I start my first true adventure going to the 2nd largest city in America without friends or family with no job. All I take with me is a wife and my past. I would like to spend the next 30 days exploring the city and looking for a job as well as posting the days events. It will be an outsider looking in as well as a new native learning the ropes. Will I become the next plastic version of CA or will I become jaded to all the simple joys in life as I try to find the next great cool? Only time and my writing will reveal the final period.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ever Been?

Have you ever been to California? It's a good question even if it seems everyone and their french mini poodle has been. Just got back there and I think I might go back soon. I never thought of myself as a California kind of guy but I think I could see myself living there for a few years. We shall see what the future holds.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Latest In Action News

It's been awhile since the last update. I love the idea of blogging not because I like the idea of other people reading my entries as I know they don't. I like it because it's my modern day dear diary. I almost feel like a 12 year old girl writing in a diary about life's occurrences each and every day while wearing my fuzzy slippers.

The hard thing is that I cannot allow my blog to be my diary as we all know by now that you can be fired by the things you write. What power words hold (and the fact that HR has nothing better to do than to hunt for employee's musings online). For that reason I am not allowed to talk about everything that I think about. Which leads me to, at times when I'm in the greatest need to write, not to.

The economy has hit my family hard. My wife lost her job in December and as of right now still out of work. It's amazing how hard it is to get a job these days. She has applied to around 60 jobs and had several interviews and two very close calls. One problem is that with things so bad no one is in a hurry to offer a job to someone any time soon when they can save money by postponing as long as possible. We are in a hard place money wise. As for me job wise, things are good and bad, but due to the above acknowledgment I'm not going into details. I am the sole bread winner these days.

I am enjoying the fact that I have begun to write more lately than I have in a long time. I have a 1st draft novel and a poetry/art project I'm working on with a very talented rediscovered friend.

Oh, and I've also recently discovered I have IBS, which could be do to my daily stress, eating, or both. Let's just say things are better after a year of pain.

I've given up on having two specialty blogs on R.E.M. and Pearl Jam so I've combined my old posts to this blog. I did however keep one of the two blogs as I enjoy the title and don't want to give it up as of right now.

Let us hope that in the near future I can be a little more upfront with everything going on in my life.

I am learning to develop patience.

Shiny Happy People

Shiny Happy People
Out of Time, 1991
2nd Single
US Chart #10
UK Chart #6

Some say this song was an ironic attempt to publicizes the Tiananmen Square uprising. The title comes from a propaganda poster called 'Shiny Happy People'. This is all well and good but, I think they could have done a better job of portraying that idea in either the lyrics or video. Otherwise it seems to be something they thought up after words.

My own personal belief on the song is that it's a very happy shiny song, and at times I love the song, and at other times I would rather not listen to it. The video is an adrenaline rush of joy. I do have to say I love singing the "Do do do do do do dodo". I love Peter's expression throughout the video.

Kate Pierson from the B-52's has a great voice and I don't think anyone else could have helped Michael sing the song. I also have to mention that this song was turned into a Sesame Street song in 1999, called "Furry Happy Monsters".

Begin the Begin

From - Lifes Rich Pageant
Released in 1986
Track 1.

It is only proper that I begin at the beginning. The title of the song as many of you know is a play on words from the song written by Cole Porter, "Begin the Beguine", which was written in the 1930's. Personally I think it has a lot of the same energy of the big band songs of the 30's with a modern take.

The song starts out with a punch and continues to progress with a steady drum beat. The Chorus has an almost haunting echo to it. It ends like a car crash sudden with painful sours. I love watching Michael dance about the stage to this song; he seems to swing on a loose wooden gate.

What I love most about the song is the desire to start over. It is easy to see that we've screwed up and it's time to stop what we're doing and start over fresh. This is a common thread through out the album.

Some of the lines that stand out are, "The insurgency began and you missed it. I looked for it and I found it. Myles Standish proud, congratulate me." I love the fact that he seems to demand an answer to our inaction. The reference to Myles Standish, a famous solider during the Plymouth Colony only seems to give weight to the idea that we all must decide what we are willing to fight for. This also adds to the reference to Martin Luther, another man that was willing to try a new start and fight the most powerful organization to do it. "Silence means security silence means approval" this is a simple and yet great line. Even if we don't agree with what's going on, even if we are afraid, we have to do more we have to take action or our inaction is approval. "I can't think clear; you look to me for reason. It's not there, I can't even rhyme here in the begin." At last Michael makes sure to let us know he isn't the leader he is only one that stood up, and spoke making his voice heard, but it's up to us to do our part. Find our own way.


I have to start with this song. Its number seven on the list for most played songs live, with a total of 377 as of today. It's the most played song off the album Vitalogy, and one of my favorites from that album.

I have a strong memory attached to this song and really to the whole album. I use to listen to it a lot during a period in my life where I was working in a factor that made the "guts" to slot machines and vending machines. The job was alright, a little mind numbing, but alright. I'd go out to my car for lunch and listen to this album over and over again everyday and it would always cheer me up. I had just barely broken off a horrible relationship with my first love and I had a lot of built up aggression and this song is just great to scream along to. I still love going a little crazy in the car with this song.

Some of my favorite lines in the song are:
"I don’t want to be held in your debt...
And Ill pay it off in blood, let I be wed...
And I’m already cut up and half dead...
Ill end up alone like I began...

Everything has changed, absolutely nothings changed
Take my hand, not my picture, spilled my tincture

I don’t want to take what you can give...
I would rather starve than eat your breast...”

This is right in the middle of the song and it just demands to be song along to. I love hearing this song live just so you can scream it at the top of your voice with everyone else. It validates all the pain and crap you allow other people to put you through.

And for those of you who always thought the song was about the wonderful fabric know as corduroy please look up this website and give them your support.

Corduroy Club

Pearl Jam at Lollapalooza 2007

August 5th, 2007

Why Go, Corduroy, Save You, Do The Evolution, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Severed Hand, Education, Even Flow, Given To Fly, World Wide Suicide, Lukin, Not For You, Daughter/Another Brick In The Wall, State Of Love And Trust, Wasted Reprise, AliveEncore 1 Better Man/Save it for Later, Crazy Mary, Life Wasted, RearviewmirrorEncore 2 No More, Rockin' In The Free World

The energy before the show was high everyone waiting in a crowded mess of people for Pearl Jam to take the Main stage on the last night of Lollapalooza. If you stood still waiting you felt more like a stone in a river or oasis in the desert as a constant stream of people pressed past you trying to get just a few more feet closer to the stage. It all seemed futile, and I stopped moving once I made it to the left hand side of the sound board tent. Not my best seat ever but close enough to know the band would really be there and not just broadcasted on two large screens to either side of the stage.

The band was a few minutes late starting and the crowd began to grow restless, but once they took the stage Pearl Jam held it for the remainder of the night. They opened hard and stayed that way until they played Elderly Woman which Ed mentioned being for a young boy who use to ride the 'L' into Chicago to go to the record store. Later he would also mention the joy he has every time he plays in Chicago and the memories it brings. The set was basically a hits set with little in rarities but the highlights for me where, 'Education', 'No More'w/Ben Harper, and 'Rockin' in the Free World' w/Ben Harper on chorus as these were the only songs I haven't already heard live before. They also did a great little improv about BP oil that was fast and short (don't expect it on the next album).

All in all it was a fun show, but doesn't give the best representation of their regular tours. The crowd wasn't as willing to sing with the band as die-hard fans, but still it was a great show. The only thing that I didn't like about the show was the people constantly moving in and out and in front of you. I have to say I don't miss the old mosh pits of the 90's. I enjoy the current system of chairs on the floor and how they create a nice breaker between you and the other fans.

End note. See Pearl Jam on their own tour and not at a festival. They play longer have more rarities and the crowds are fun to be with. If you've only seen them at a festival go see them on their next tour you won't regret it.

Lollapalooza Recap site

Pearl Jam setlist site


Are you a dick? One way to find out go to Dickipedia and find out. Two of my favorite people to read about are Joaquin Phoenix and Your Mom.


Friday, December 05, 2008


Friday, November 28, 2008


Two days left in the month and I'm done! My novel is written. I can take that off my list to do before I die. The plan is now to take the month off and begin working on the 1st Draft. I need to flesh out the story, fix the plot and add another 70,000-100,000 words to the story. I found that having a deadline is the best thing for my creative juices so I plan to have my 1st draft completed by March 31, 2009. Next is to have someone read my story and tell me were the story falls short creatively. Then I'll work two months on fixing those problems which will be the end of May, 2009. I'll then have someone edit my novel for grammatical errors which should take at least two months which will end around the 1st of Augusts. I'll start submitting the novel to agents and publishers and take two months off and start my next novel in November 2009.

I would recommend the program to anyone who's ever thought about writing a novel but never got around to finding the time to do it. Tell them they should do it, sign up for

Thursday, November 13, 2008

D.Y.D.'s Dewey Decimal Section:

013 [Unassigned]

000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You're working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at