Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thank God He Isn't President!!!!


“You know, education — if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. “

“If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Thanks for handing us another election!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Back from Disneyland...

Somebody had fun at Disneyland. We've been back a couple of days. Tiger Woods 2007 has been slowly sucking my life away since it's arrival. Next week will be two years since I started this blog. Freaking amazing...

Friday, October 20, 2006

On Notice...

Yeah, I stole the idea from Steve O over at BIO. But hey it's a free country... Props to this site.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When Socialism Strikes...

Elementary school in Massachusetts bans the game of "Tag!"

What is up with that? Kids getting are getting into too many collisions so the article says. They also note that the school banned dodgeball as well a while back because it was "exclusionary and dangerous."

Tag though is apparently unsupervised. Touch football has also been eliminated. What is the cause of all this?

It's mind control from the evil Socialists that plague half this country under the softer label of "Democrats". They want to take away all the fun we have in this world, like success, fancy cars and individual freedoms like the right to play "Tag!". It's a crock of shit if you ask me!

First they take our power, then they'll take our money, and then they'll take our women!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Greg Graffin: Cold As Clay

Cold As Clay

I am getting old. I am missing all the good music. I have fallin off the edge. My Tower Records post below says more about that.

My focus on this post is the excellent CD, I found this afternoon on iTunes. Greg Graffin, lead singer of such bands as Bad Religion, one the greatest punk bands of all time (Social Distortion would be the best punk band) released a solo album, a la Mike Ness style. And it is out right awesome.

These punk rock songwriters sometimes can translate their music to other genres very well. It comes from the limited song form they use when composing. No room for themes and variations, it's straight verse chorus verse. You might get a guitar interlude but usually punk songs are riff driven.

Greg Graffin does a phenomonal job on this CD, playing folk, country and acoustic rock. His lyrics are deep and meaningful. However if you can't stand atheist liberals, this is not for you. And this comes from a conservative. (See Inner Logic post below)

Greg's voice lends itself well to his style. Doesn't really have to sing it to sound good.
My faves on this CD are:

The title track Cold As Clay
Don't Be Afraid To Run
Highway (Sounds folky and almost Baroque)
One More Hill (Almost Hank Williams-like)

Anyway good stuff if your ear likes acoustic rock or if you wanna try something new.

Friday, October 13, 2006

D'You Know What I Mean??

I felt compelled to write something a bit more personal this time. Kind of a post to leave for the weekend or something. I don't know I'll post more probably this weekend when something else happens that strikes my mind.

When I was 14 I went through some personal drama. My parents moved me from the giant suburbia known as the San Francisco Bay Area out to the golden hills of Calaveras County. I was laying awake last night, listening to my iPod and thinking of the past. This song by Oasis, "D'you know what I mean?" came on and for some reason, I just wanted to crank it up and think about the challenges I went through when I was 14, starting that new school and meeting new people for the first time. I have copied the lyrics over the post, just to do something different.

Liam sings...

Step off the train all alone at dawn
Back into the hole where I was born
The sun in the sky never raised an eye to me
The blood on the tracks and must be mine
The fool on the hill and I feel fine
Don't look back cos you know what you might see

I started my new middle school just over midway through my 8th grade year. I felt lonely for the first time when my mom drove away from the school parking lot. I had know idea. It was February and all I remember was how bright the sun was that day. It was crisp and clear, probably close to 70 degrees which is rare for the foothills in February. My first class was English. So awkward being the new guy. I actually felt chastised from the moment I walked in the door. A few people giggled. I walked with a limp because I shredded my knee skateboarding and had to have it drained just weeks before. The class was ready Johnny Tremaine and I think they were on the part where he burns his hand.

I remember hobbling after that to my second period class which was P.E. I checked in and was assigned to a group. But since I could not participate with my knee I had to sit on the bleachers. I remember a kid, some scrawny little creep, muscling past me because "I was the new guy". He kicked me in the leg as he was pushing past to take a seat on the bleachers. He shouted some explicitives at me and that's when I threw my first punch, approximately one hour, into my first day at the new school, right into his gut, knocking him right to his back. (Told you he was a scrawny kid)

Liam sings...

Look into the wall of my mind's eye
I think I know, but I don't know why
The questions are the answers you might need
Coming in a mess going out in style
I ain't good-looking but I'm someone's child
No-one can give me the air that's mine to breathe

This of course... was a mistake! I grabbed the attention of every student in the room at this point and it was dead silent. Instinct told me to get down on the ground, on my feet, especially with a bum knee. I had to show strength.

It was amazing how fast this almost artificial circle formed around me. Students, boys and girls, all gawking at me and the kid some 10 yards away from me now, catching his breathe. I remember the look on his face. The "You are so Dead!!" smirk that now formed was the eerie beginning of something that was changing my life forever. I was on defense for the rest of school years... I had no friends here at this school and this day was the start of something bigger than I could control.

Liam really sings it here...

I met my maker
I made him cry
And on my shoulder he asked me why
His people won't fly through the storm
I said "Listen up man, they don't even know you're born"

Out of nowhere, to this day comes the biggest 8th grader I have ever scene. He wasn't fat or really had any bulk, but he was already 6 feet tall. What was striking was that he wasn't lanky or disproportionate. He had a muscle shirt on. Had the whole, Matt Dillon from the Outsiders thing going on. He just stared. In a total defensive position, I stared back. Never once letting me eye off of him. Unless he was gonna talk to me, I still had somewhat of an advantage. I was more unknown to him as he was to me. I had a slim chance if this thing went down. He tried to make me flinch (which for some reason was the big joke at that school) but I just stared. The moment of truth was seconds away.

Liam sings the Chorus...

All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
Yeah, yeah

The silence was deafening. The two P.E. coaches were now realizing this thing was on but they had 75 students to get through and were not moving too fast to break this thing up before it got nasty. Who really was in charge, the coaches? The Dallas Winston look alike or me?

So I made the first move... Why not right.... right?

Liam sings another verse...

I don't really care for what you believe
So open up your fist or you won't receive
The thoughts and the words of every man you'll need
Get up off the floor and believe in life
No-one's ever gonna ever ask you twice
Get on the bus and bring it on home to me

I stuck out my hand for a shake. Like, "hey... this is intense... Um... we cool now?" My hand was briskly slapped away. I stuck it back out there just as fast. It was slapped away again and this time I stepped back and got some chuckles from the audience waiting for me to die. I stuck it out there again anyway and this time, he paused... then threw me to the floor. "OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" The crowd screamed. I picked myself up. His back now to me... I shouted "Hey!" And stuck my hand out hoping he would rescue me out of this humiliation with a shake. Nope... Nothing... Zilch... He was combing his dark brown hair...

All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
Yeah, yeah

The next day I was asked where I was from. Daly City... I said. Near San Francisco... I was called a faggot and a pussy and harassed for the next year... I guess you don't go to a country school and tell them where you are from. So many fights, bloody noses and bruises. Sometimes they beat my ass, but sometimes I beat the living hell out of them!!

One day, my freshman year high school, while I was in my English Class, I was being ridiculed by a few guys. I still was there fighting back, every word, standing up for myself. This deep voice from the back of the room yelled "Cool it, leave Steve alone now." The silence in the class of deafening. It was the big kid from 8th grade... bailing me out...

I guess a year was enough...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Store's Closing: The Death of an Old Friend

Where it all began

Kind of like one of those ol' sad, realize-you've-grown up moments. Tower Records is no more. The signs are posted up and down Broadway this afternoon. 30% off liquidation "Going Out of Business" sale. It's sad to see it's finally come to this. The dimension of that corner down the street on 16th and Broadway will change for ever. No Tower Records, no Tower Books, no Tower Video... and maybe if some developer wins the fight, no more Tower Theater (Art Deco home now to all the indie flicks) which means no more Tower Cafe and perhaps the only thing left standing across the street will be Tower Liquors and the H&C Burger Stand.

I got into rock music pretty seriously at around 17 years old. The first tape I think I can remember buying was EMF's first album. My collection grew from there. I got into Pink Floyd. Some REM. The whole Nirvana thing. U2... All that old new wave stuff from Flock of Seagulls through Depeche Mode and even into the Cure. By the time I entered college in 1992, I had a pretty damn good collection: All bought with my hard earned cash at Tower Records. I was always there on Tuesdays for the new music. Just to browse or to buy, it didn't matter those four years in college. There was always enough money for that 11.99 new cd.

Then there were the midnight releases at 12:AM early Tuesday. Standing in line to be the first one. When the Beatles released their first anthology series in 1995, I was there in Stockton. The first one in line at midnight. Got my photo on the front page of the Stockton Record the next day. Me, standing there in line being the first. Other midnight releases: Green Day's Insomniac, U2's Pop, REM's New Adventures in Hi-Fi (good shit by the way), Cake's 2nd album was released the same time as REM's Hi Fi so I got that too. In fact, I got those two at the Sunset Store in Hollywood. The property is being sold for $12 million!!! I think I got Weezer's second album, Pinkerton (best album of the 1990's) Good times... being first was it. I had to be the one telling my friends to get the new record.

I guess though, I indirectly helped kill the Tower brand. Back in 2000, Napster was it. I downloaded all I could. I mostly searched for covers and for that one song from some random band that you didn't want the rest of. I had thousands. Then the hard drive crashed. Probably out of my own guilt though. In 2000, I was in prog rock band. I was the lead guitarist in a three piece, called Perception. Maybe you heard of us? (No you didn't!!) I downloaded songs we wanted to cover or for ideas in our songwriting sessions. The other two members had their own tastes. Became a Dave Matthews fan out of it. The band was good for what it was. I'll lose my hearing 5 years sooner because of it. But losing those thousands of songs I illegally downloaded was a good thing. Illegal downloading is stealing, period. Just because it is there, doesn't mean you can take it. Hence why Tower is no longer around.

I grew up though. Sure I'd pop in every season for the new record. Like the new Pearl Jam or U2 album that showed up every couple of years. I wasn't seeking out new cutting edge bands like I did before I got married. There were no Samiam's or Jawbreaker's on the horizon that I had to seek out. No new Camper Van Beethovens or Crackers (virtually the same band...lol) to get others into. If I saw a new album I'd get it but it wasn't the same. I wasn't buying a 100 or so cd's year anymore. Maybe 25 tops, if that.

Now it's all about iTunes. For one, it was easier now to put the 1000 or so cd's I have onto one little iPod and buy stuff I needed to replenish, like when I went on the Metallica binge last week. Bought the new Killers this week. Jury still out.

I guess Tower is like an old friend that you sort of lost touch with. You don't call or see them very often for years. And then you read their obituary in the paper. And you are stunned into just remembering...

(Van Halen's Eruption cues up on iPod)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back From Where Ever

Fun week so far. I got to know the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport REAL well last night. Spent 5 1/2 hours sitting and waiting, then waiting some more.

You can only drink so much beer at the airport.

Something I just gotta say about planes and politics:

Why are there so many people handicapped or need "wheel chairs"? I truly do not mean to be so malicious with that statement but more of a thought. I mean you can go days with out so much as seeing someone with a cane. Sure you see the cars in the "blue spots" out in front of the local businesses and the people getting out of them but you really don't draw any attention to it... until you are trying to get off the plane.

We let these people on the plane first. They get all the time. Being in the wheel chair is almost like first class because you get assistance from the stewardesses. You get your bags put away for it. Hell, you are even driven acrossed a vast airport like MSP in an electric cart. Usually, you get to sit in front of the plane as well.

Yet, when that plane lands, stops at the gate and the door opens, why is it now suddenly "your turn" to leave the plane "like everyone else", The handicapped get special treatment all the way through like I described, yet when there are 200 people behind them that just want to get off the plane, they stand up and try to stumble off the plane. Why? You boarded first, you don't have to deal with little kids and their swinging backpacks as they follow their parents to their seats. You don't have the guy at the limit with his carry on's. You know the big suitcase, the man purse AND the laptop case and sport coat, with the earbuds on stuffing his shit all the way down the aisle. (Yeah that'd be me sans the man purse) You don't have to deal with it handi-capable people! You got your special treatment because you are not like everyone else yet, when that seat belt light goes off... you join the rush. Hobbling off the plane to look for your wheel chair and someone to drive out of the airport no less, while we all suffer back with the cattle watching you negotiate the aisle.

And this my friends, is where a societal change, like recognition becomes an entitlement. It's all about me, I guess, that is, if you are in a wheel chair.

We can take it step further. There only one thing worse than the Republican Party. Their lying and cheating...fallacies. The President and his war on terror, Iran and North Korea. One thing worse than having someone like Mark Foley around. One thing worse than a Tom Delay and his little scandal. The one thing being:

The Democratic Party!!!

So against the things that protect us like wire-tapping, that when something like this whole Foley IM thing surfaces (conveniently in an election year, in October) that the whole wire tap thing is now "cool" and "new" and it was used to take down a seat in Congress they so desperately need. I mean, how do you catch Foley if not for some "eaves dropping" er uh, "wire tapping". And if they knew they had these goods on Foley and Hastert, why now? Don't get me wrong, Foley is a sick creep that should have never have had the power he got and hopefully goes to a jail. But aren't they just as guilty for waiting? I mean, there was a minor involved.

It's also so wrong now that there was an older man, "sexually involved" with a much younger, easily impressionable, DC intern but was "no big deal" when Clinton did it, from the Oval Office. Clinton was caught and lied to the grand jury about it. Yet, when Foley gets caught, he doesn't lie about it, he resigns and "becomes true to himself" by announcing he is gay. And where is the gay community out standing for this guy? Yeah, ok... he's creepy with his AIM messages towards high school kids. But dude... where are you on this one?

The Democrats are bad people. It's all a smoke screen. It's all a power grab. Don't buy into it!!
These people are not your friends!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Inner Logic

I had an interesting iPod experience on a plane the other day.

So, I am flying along and my iPod is on "shuffle". So 1 in 3000 songs are just coming on in random. Johnny Cash to Def Leopard to Janis Joplin to For Squirrels (of all things) and then to Bad Religion, one of my favorite punk bands. This song, "Inner Logic" popped up. For some reason I felt it inspiring (only in thought). Here are the words:

Inner Logic (Graffin)

automatons with business suits clinging black boxes,
sequestering the blueprints of daily life
contented, free of care, they rejoice in morning ritual
as they file like drone ant colonies to their office in the sky
I don't ask questions, don't promote demonstrations,
don't look for new consensus, don't stray from constitution
if I pierce the complexity I won't find salvation
just the bald and over truth
of the evil and deception
there is an inner logic,
and we're taught to stay far from it
it is simple and elegant,
but it's cruel and antithetic
and there's no effort to reveal it
graduated mentors stroll in marbled brick porticos
in sagacious dialog they despise their average ways
displaying pomp and discipline, they mold their institution
where they practice exclusion on the masses every day
decorated warriors drill harmless kids on pavement
simulating tyranny under red alert
protecting the opulent and staging moral standard
they expect redemption of character and self-growth
(no equality, no opportunity,
no tolerance for the progressive alternative . . .)

Deep Eh???