We saw them on February 19, 2015 at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. It was fun and one of the most ramshackle shows I’ve ever seen.

If you’ve never seen the show before, it’s a Canadian mockumentary-style comedy about a bunch of idiots who (often) have criminal schemes which (always) lead to their incarceration.

We’ve enjoyed the show for a number of years, so when I saw they were coming to Los Angeles, I bought tickets. Continue reading ‘Trailer Park Boys Live’

It’s been a recent fantasy of mine to perform guitar on the street. Not really concentrating on making money, but more to just do it. I’ve kind of fantasized that I would be playing some Bikini Kill song on the off-chance that another fan might recognize it and want to join in. This is the weird dream.

In any case, I’ve been compiling a list over the last week. These are songs that I think I could play with reasonable skill. All would be played on acoustic guitar. Continue reading ‘Public Guitar Playing’

Certainly not all of them. This is just something I wrote up on a break. But I stand by all of them for the moments they provide, for what they teach me about writing, and for just being plain great.

And most of these are SCENES, with a beginning, middle and end. Anyway…

PULP FICTION, Jack-Rabbit Slims Conversation. The twist contest got a lot of notoriety, but the conversation leading up to the dance has the juice. It’s got playful interplay, sexual tension, lots of guarded responses. There’s serious subtext being conveyed, along with one of my favorite revelations in the movie, where Vincent tells Mia the rumor about Tony getting hurt by Marsallus because he gave her a foot massage. “You think my husband tossed a man out of a building because he touched me feet?!” Continue reading ‘Some of My All-Time Favorite Movie Scenes’

For whatever reason — morbid curiosity, reading the list of albums covered in the 33 1/3 series, an accident — I’ve been listening to Guns N’ Roses’ “Use Your Illusion I” for the first time in years. I think I’d heard bits of it over the years, but only bought it on CD for the first time two years ago (used, of course). My thoughts are as organized as the album:

1.) How To Enjoy It: don’t pay attention to it. If you’re putting it on for a dedicated listen (which still happens, I bet), then you’re going to be disappointed. You’re going to hear every over-thought, over-produced moment, every “sinister” backing vocal track, every calculation that makes the record feel largely unnatural and mostly dead. However, if you put in one ear bud, do other things (house work, homework, work work), then it sounds like fun. Continue reading ‘Random Thoughts on USE YOUR ILLUSION I’

Believe it or not, I watched the pilot for “Gotham.” Here are some feelings and thoughts that I came up with and then typed:

1.) Good start, then less good, and then both bad and good. But not “so bad it’s good.” Just flip flopping. I thought they handled the Wayne m-rder really well, and that kid’s scream alone in the alley was awesome. I liked the introduction of Bullock and I liked the early bits of showing Jim Gordon as both composed and badass. All of this happened in the first 10 minutes. From there, then we get the “story” which isn’t much of a story. I am willing to give this show the benefit of the doubt and assume that the pilot has a TON of heavy lifting to do early on, so there’s lots of set-up to handle. They did it in a largely entertaining way, it’s just they were doing it better at the beginning before they started in with the whole “Remember these past events” type scenes. Continue reading ‘Random Thoughts: “Gotham”’

I have never been a fan of Lebron James. I’ve always kind of found him boring, and I finally figured out why: he has no rival. He exists in a vacuum of his own talent. The only thing he ever needs to overcome (it would seem) is his own insecurity. And talent on its own isn’t compelling.  Continue reading ‘Lebron James Is Boring’

A friend recently sent me a copy of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” insisting that I listen to it.

I barely got through it.

Of course I’ve heard “Thriller” all the way through before. I think. I’m pretty sure. I think, given the amount of times I’ve heard the hits through my life, I’ve probably lapped the album over and over again. Despite never owning the album until recently, it was a clear part of my childhood. Mostly due to ubiquity, but there you have it. I also consider “Billie Jean” to be The Best, and I constantly rework the chorus to “Wanna Be Starting Something” to fit my daily activities (such as “Wanna Be Carvin’ Pumpkin” or “Wanna Be Fartin’ Something”).

But all of that aside, this album… I can’t do it. And I think I know why:

That musical period — the big rock and pop of the early 80’s — is my least favorite period.

The years between 1981 and 1991 showed the rise of U2 (one of my least favorite bands), Bruce Springsteen (who got started earlier, but became a super-duper star at this time… either way never did it for me), as well as the low-point of the Rolling Stones. The Ramones struggled, the Clash broke up, Van Halen used synth keys AND broke up, and KISS took off their make-up. David Bowie and Mick Jagger made the video for “Dancing In the Street,” arguably the most embarrassing duet since “The Girl Is Mine” by Jackson and McCartney. On the other end, I never got into Metallica, or the underground hard core and punk scenes, or any of the bands mentioned in “This Band Could Be Your Life.”

…I think, technically, “Dancing” is more embarrassing because of a.) the video, b.) the clothes worn in the video, c.) the fact that these were once titans of the industry who clearly seem lost in their strange homoeroticism, and d.) the video again. BUT this last trip through “Thriller” reminded me of how awful (awful awful AWE-FULL) “Girl is Mine” remains. All the things embarrassing (yes, I’m embarrassed for the people involved while I passively listen) elements of “Girl is Mine” actually trickle their way through the remainder of the album, specifically synthesizer. Truth be told, as much as I enjoy “Wanna Be Starting Something,” my eyes almost rolled out of my skull when those “horns” first popped up. Sooooooooooo shitty.

Oh, there are many band and albums I enjoy from this period. “Purple Rain,” much of the early R.E.M. albums, and lots of singles. But there’s always things to enjoy in things you claim they don’t enjoy (like how I hate U2, but I can still list 8 songs I like). I think that era was the height of the pop single, with artists producing radio-friendly hits which play for a few minutes before changing to another artist.

I’m not sure where this leads me other than away from “Thriller.” Maybe someday I will feel differently. But I don’t know how differently I’d have to feel to allow synth horns.


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