Turf Marking

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MMIII-MMVII
Warm Fuzzy Freudian Slippers, Ltd.
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FYI

Things you need to know:
  • Some posts, or the links they contain, are NSFW. This is your only warning.
  • This blog serves the cause of my freedom of speech, not yours. I wield censorship like a 10 year-old boy who just found his father's handgun.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE...

It's been a pain downloading all of that Chicago concert, but I've only got one more file left. It's so funny listening to how this band has evolved the way they play some of their songs over the years. The concert is chock-full of all those wierd funny synth effects that EVERYONE thought was so cool back then (Including YOU, if you listened to any music at all in the 80s - admit it!).

There should be a notice attached to this music under the copyright infringement note:
WARNING: This music could cause spontaneous flashbacks of scenes from Miami Vice.

I swear I can see that white Ferrari Testarosa zooming through the streets.

I know what you're asking. "Well, gee, Don, don't you like any music specifically targetted to your demographic? Hey, the Dave Matthews Band has a fiddle and a sax in it -- you like that, don't you? Or are you just too much of a pretentious, hipster, Wynton Marsalis purist jerk to just listen to music and enjoy it like the rest of us?"

The answer is yes, after college I got off my musical high horse and started finding the occassional pop-MTV-VH1-Top 40 song that I find interesting, regardless of musical quality or lack thereof.

Currently, that song is Big Yellow Taxi by the Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton. It's on Winamp at this moment.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go dig up Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

MORE WinMX EXPLOITS

I've got more than half of a 1987 Chicago concert at the Concord Pavillion. Man, I can't remember the last time they played a set of songs from a new album (Chicago 18 in this case). It's also funny hearing all these 80s synth effects that they (and every other band at the time) used.
ALWAYS KNEW I HAD IT IN ME

If I were a Dead Russian Composer, I would be Igor Stravinsky.

Known as a true son of the new 20th Century, my music started out melodic and folky but slowly got more dissonant and bizzare as I aged. I am a traveler and a neat freak, and very much hated those rotten eggs thrown at me after the premiere of "The Rite of Spring."

Who would you be? Dead Russian Composer Personality Test

MOVIE NIGHT

Unsatisfied with Hulk, I rented a flick which I just got around to watching tonight, The Transporter. As good as it is, I think I may take it off my wish list now. It was basically a hodge-podge of movies. Whether intentional on the director's part or not, I saw blatant references to Shaft, Enter the Dragon, Game of Death, and possibly a few others.

Good martial arts stuff thanks to Cory Yuen (the fight choreographer), but not enough, IMO.

That's it. Straightforward movie = straightforward ranting.

Monday, June 23, 2003

BAH! PUNY HUMANS!

Yes, I caught a showing of Hulk this afternoon. As a movie, it was ok. It was definitely Crouching Tiger-style filmmaking. What I mean is that once again Ang Lee tries to take characters and drama with some degree of depth and disguise it as something else, be it a kung fu movie or a comic book film. I think the problem was that it worked almost too well. I think that's why a lot of people have been slamming the movie. I could see why people would be disappointed if they were just expecting a "comic book flick." It was meant to be more than that. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was certainly no Enter the Dragon, but it wasn't meant to do that, either.

I don't feel like restraining myself like I did when I posted on Matrix: Reloaded, so I'm gonna try a trick I picked up on some anime website. This means I'm about to post some SPOILER INFORMATION. If you still wish to read, just drag your mouse in between the horizontal lines.


Hulk's biggest strength, along with all the Marvel Comics movies to come out in the past couple of years (yes, even Daredevil) is the high degree of faithfulness to history. As far as Hulk, we saw some tweaking as expected. But, we also saw the following:

David Banner (played by Nick Nolte), doing some classic TV things including masquerading as a janitor AND subjecting himself to gamma rays.

Some say Jack Nicholson was the perfect choice as The Joker in Batman, and Patrick Stewart was born to be Professor X. Well, Sam Elliot was perfect as General "Thunderbolt" Ross (even though I don't recall him being called Thunderbolt in the movie). I will say that this didn't make itself evident until the last 1/3 of the movie. Only then did you see the classic mix of fear, hate, respect and pity that the character had for the Hulk in the comics.

Ripped purple pants! Who the hell wears purple pants in this day and age that isn't a raver or a pimp? But, the comic book Hulk did, and so did the movie one. Heck, they even had stretchable purple briefs just like Hulk had for awhile in the mid-80s.

Going back to "David Banner" for a second. In a key scene, he subjected himself to the same conditions that created the Hulk to take advantage of the genetic modifications he passed on to his son. I'm not going to explain it further -- see the flick yourself. Suffice it to say that I knew he wasn't going to be another Hulk. But the way his skin changed, I was sure they were going to make him "The Abomination" (one of Hulk's arch-enemies in the comic). I was fooled -- he ended up being "The Absorbing Man."

There might have been no gamma bomb, but there were big, green mushroom clouds.

There was no Rick Jones, per se, but the one fact about Hulk's origin stayed the same: Banner gets nuked while trying to save someone.

It was the ultimate thrill to see the same basic template of all of Hulk's confrontations with the military in the comic books on the big screen, right down to the bending of tank turrets!

Finally, two words from the script: "Puny human!" said by guess who :).



Thus endeth the ranting.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

LATE NIGHT WITH WinMX

Current Music: Tenacious Boogie and The Last One by Howland, Laug, Morrison & Pinnick

Yes, that is Keith Howland, currently the guitarist for Chicago and Chris Pinnick, former lead guitarist for Chicago. It's just sad that music this good (along with The Howland-Imboden Project referenced a few entries back) will never see the light of day in a record store. Check out these tunes for some seriously frightening guitar chops.

It's just a cool concept, though, especially if you're familiar with Chicago's history with guitar players. Now, if only Dawayne Bailey and Donnie Dacus would cut some track together. Hell, even team up with Howland and Pinnick... I shudder to think.

Other Current Music: Chicago - Live by Request

Yes, the whole shebang, available online that I discovered just as I was about to go to bed at 1:30 AM. 14 mp3 files -- looks like MS Office will have to go! Just kidding. Man, it was a rough download with sources that flittered in and out. I was tired.

And before you gasp, "*Gasp* You illegally downloaded mp3s -- that makes you a thief and an all around b@$tard!" let me just say what I said after I downloaded the whole Stone of Sisyphus album. The second it's available for sale, I'll buy it, but until then, I'm enjoying the stuff now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

ROUND AND ROUND THEY GO

The way they switch around the schedule willy-nilly on Adult Swim is giving me a headache. They have now bumped Trigun in favor of REIGN: The Conqueror and put Lupin the 3rd in place of Cowboy Bebop. And, they started Lupin at the beginning of the 1971 series.

It took awhile to grow on me, but I think I'm beginning to understand the appeal of Rurouni Kenshin.
MY NEWLY ELECTED FAVORITE WORD
MONKEYPOX

Don't you love how that just rolls off the tongue?

Monday, June 16, 2003

For all those who asked, re: Pet Peeve #624...

PET PEEVE #1

People who leave a roll of toilet paper sitting on top of an empty toilet paper holder.
20 MINUTES INTO THE FUTURE

I love technology, but I've never felt the need to have the newest, latest thing out there. True story: My first computer was a 486 with Windows 3.1 on it. I didn't get Windows 95 for it until the day after Windows 98 is released. I've got a new computer since then -- still running Windows 98. I long for the speed of Windows 95. Heck, I didn't own a CD player or any CDs until about 1997.

I have yet to own a DVD player, but I'm itching to get one. I can't believe the stuff I'm rapidly adding to my Amazon.com wish list (see left). Complete episodes of almost all of my favorite shows -- I just added The Young Ones! I haven't seen them in years! It almost makes me sad the amount of videotape I used taping episodes of Doctor Who off of PBS as a kid.

Then again, I can't be doing all that bad if I've been posting stuff on a blog.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

You've seen the personality quizzes. You've read the deep introspection. You've heard the whining. You know what "Current Music" I'm playing.

Now, prepare for...

THE CD REVIEW

I guess we could go song by song through The Trouble With Being Myself, but I'm too tired. I'll just make these brief points in this preliminary review. As always, all opinions are subject to change.

THE GOOD:
This CD is everything a third album should be -- evidence of musical growth. I don't think there's a song on here that's just "I Try Redux." I always felt The Id, as good as it was, aimed to be a new and improved version of On How Life Is. Consequently, the music -- writing, arranging, the performing, the funk -- was laid on a little too thick for me.

The new album is definitely "retro-cool" at its finest. The songs and arrangements are so much more complex and mature. My favorite thing about Macy Gray's CDs is that they're such a group effort. It's not one person's vocals above a group of muted studio musicians. It's the same core funkiness taken in new directions. Not too far off so as to be a "concept album" -- you know the type. The one that every artist makes to explore new musical territory that no one except 2% of their fans understand, which makes their next album a quick return to the "same old crap" so that the record company can recoup their losses.

If those aren't good enough reasons to dig it: Beck co-writes a song and performs on it!

THE BAD:
My only complaint - no bonus track (at least not on mine). I'll probably need to listen to it about 5 more times before I find something to complain about.

THE UGLY:
I wouldn't change a thing on ANY of her albums. I just have one question -- Can she go through one CD without a song about her killing or threatening to kill someone?
I've committed murder and I think I got away
I've Committed Murder from On How Life Is

Give me all your lovin'
Or I will kill you
Give Me All Your Lovin' Or I Will Kill You from The Id

She gonna hurt you daddy never again,
She wasn't a friend,
So I killed her
My Fondest Childhood Memories from The Trouble With Being Myself


You thought I was joking, didn't you? Like I said, though, I wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

MY OWN PERSONALITY QUIZ

This is one by me, for me.
You found out today that June 10 was the international release date for Macy Gray's third album The Trouble with Being Myself. And, you found it out as you were about to shell out $22.99 at the Virgin Megastore for a copy of the CD and didn't think twice about it until you got to the cash register where you asked about the price and was told it was an Australian import. You bought the CD anyway. This makes you...
a) A really big fan of Macy Gray
b) The worst kind of Western materialist (I got the credit -- gimmie it now!)

Eh, who knows? I'll write more about the music when I'm finished listening to it -- I'm on my second run-through now.

Friday, June 13, 2003

KNOWLEDGE OF THE ARCANE

A few entries back, I posted a quote from the show NewsRadio. I always liked that show; it's probably the closest that American TV will ever come to something as smart and witty as The Kids in the Hall -- and that's only because it had Dave Foley in it.

I didn't know about one cool tidbit concerning the episode titles until I read epguide.com's NewsRadio Titles and Air Dates Guide.

Check out the titles to episodes 20-28 and 41.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

MISCELLANEA

ITEM ONE
For those who informed me about trouble with my blog archives, reposting them seems to have solved whatever problem they were having.

ITEM TWO
Why couldn't I find Macy Gray's new CD anywhere yesterday?!?!
THE SECRET ORIGIN OF THIS BLOG

Well, aside from voracious reading of Fran Lebowitz, Dennis Miller, and anyone else who'd make cutting remarks about the world around them, Bruce Campbell's (yes, the Army of Darkness guy) was the seed that was planted in my brain that eventually drove me to put my rantings in blog form. Hey, that sort of sounds like a B-movie plot, doesn't it?

The things you rediscover as you go web surfing through your Favorites list.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

PET PEEVE #624

Current Music: Inching Toward...? by The Howland Imboden Project

The blurb of this song reads:
This song from the upcoming release from The Howland Imboden Project features Robert Lamm and James Pankow from the band Chicago as well as drummer Tris Imboden and guitarist Keith Howland. The tune weaves latin, jazz, and rock together in a melodic vehicle for the soloists to improvise over.

This song completely kicks @$$, mostly because of the kick-@$$ musicians on the track. Now, this song features 1/2 of the band Chicago. It should follow that the band as a whole should be able to produce music of equal or greater quality.

But they don't. And, I don't buy any of that "Boo-hoo, we were pigeon-holed in the 80s as a ballad band" crap. Listen to a live show. They can make that "ballad band" stuff rock when they can be bothered to do so. So, why have they released strings of rehashed greatest hits and cover CDs for the past 10 years? The frequency of new songs they'd produce (often as the "bonus tracks" to these CDs) is as sporadic as the quality of the music.

Check out the (hard to find) solo efforts from different band members -- from the originals like Robert Lamm, the vets like Bill Champlin and Jason Scheff, and the newer members like Keith Howland and Tris Imboden -- everything just sounds SO much better. The writing, the vocals, and the instrumentals are of a caliber that, I say, hasn't been heard on a Chicago album for a good 20 years!

Inching Toward...? is a prime example. In it, there's a lengthy trombone solo by James Pankow. Pankow hasn't had a 'bone solo on this good on a Chicago album since Chicago VII. How long ago was that? A long time, since they're supposedly recording Chicago XXVII now.

Just ticks me off. I don't buy Chicago's reasons for why their music just isn't as good as it was in the 70s (You can find them if you do enough web-searching on the subject). I personally chalk it up to what they must be thinking which IMO has to be, "Hey, Chicago has paid our dues for nigh on 40 years now, so why put in the effort of making new music when we can play Saturday in the Park for the 5 billionth time at a show you still paid $30 to see, plus another $20 on a t-shirt?"

It wouldn't tick me off as much if they'd at least have the stones to come out and say that. At least that'd be honest, and I can enjoy their solo efforts without my metaphorical stomach churning.
ON A SAD NOTE

Once again, Adult Swim changes its rotation, and once again the show that gets the shaft is Lupin the 3rd. They could've at least let the new episodes run one more time. Eh, I'll give Kikaider a chance if for no other reason than it's followed by Inu Yasha and Trigun. I might like it -- who knows? The last time this happened, I was introduced to REIGN: The Conqueror.

Monday, June 09, 2003

MUSIC OF THE DAY

DSL is getting to be a bad thing. I'm downloading way too much music that I really don't have the hard drive for. I intended to take a bit of time today to clean it out. And, I just downloaded more, though I may end up deleting most of it. It made for quite the interesting playlist:
Africa and Rosanna by Toto
Kaze wa Mirai ni Fuku, the end theme to the Trigun anime series.
When I See You by Macy Gray (CD comes out tomorrow, though I probably won't have time to get to a store until Wednesday or Thursday)
My Will, the end theme to the Inu Yasha anime series.
Valerie, by Steve Winwood. This one I'll keep -- for me, it has that "songs I grew up with" quality.
ALMOST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

Readeth thou the official Blackadder Quote Generator.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

THE LITERARY AGENDA

Last week, I flipped briefly though the next book I intend to purchase and read, Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters, by, you guessed it, Michael J. Nelson, former head writer/host for Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- though, I always missed Joel.

And, on a side note, I'm completely addicted to The Real Folk Blues by Mai Yamane & The Seatbelts. Do a Google search and download it. You won't be disappointed, even if you don't know jack about anime, Cowboy Bebop, jazz or blues.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

COUNTING DAYS AND PENNIES

Three more days to the new Macy Gray CD!

Friday, June 06, 2003

FREEDOM! (ALMOST)
Summertime and the livin' is easy

Summertime
by Heyward & Gershwin

Well, it's summertime, and I'm free from my primary job. Now, I get to subsist on my secondary job. But, provided I can scrape by, I've got my mornings free to do stuff like planning how to breakback into my social work, get my finances in order, and practice kung fu.
WISDOM OF THE AGES
DAVE
Have you ever heard the expression, "When life give you lemons, make lemonade"?

BILL
Have you ever heard the expression, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade and then toss it in the face of the person who gave you the lemons until they give you the oranges you asked for in the first place"?

from NewsRadio: Airport

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

FINALLY SOME GOOD MUSIC

I just completed a download of The Real Folk Blues by Mai Yamane & The Seatbelts. This song is the ending theme to Sessions 1 to 25 of the anime series Cowboy Bebop.
IDLE MUSINGS
These are the thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools.
  -George Carlin

And, you thought Matrix Essays went too far.

ITEM ONE
I'm really digging all these "new" episodes of Lupin the 3rd that I'm seeing. I just have a few questions...

First off, he's supposed to be the grandson of the (fictional) French thief Arsene Lupin. Now, in all the episodes I've seen so far, I don't have any reason to think he's of mixed heritage or anything, so, why is his gang all Japanese? You have Fujiko, Goemon (a samurai), and Daisuke Jigen. Jigen's supposed to be this "Chicago gunman." Hey, I can buy that, I guess. Lots of Japanese in Chicago (?).

I suppose it's the same sort of reasoning that always brings Doctor Who, even though he can travel anywhere in time and space, back to England. Or, how the key to the conquest of the universe in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers centers around first taking out Angel Grove.

ITEM TWO
24 will undoubtedly go down as one of my favorite TV shows of all time. I realize the difficulties they must've had trying to top the first season, but still. In the last "few hours" of the season, the main character is tortured, clinically dies, is revived, escapes and accomplishes his mission all in the span of about 3 hours.

ITEM THREE
Something I couldn't quite put my finger on always bugged me about Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. When it first came out, comedian Jon Stewart made a disturbing observation. When you boil it down, the plot is about two grown men in pirate shirts and pony tails taking a young boy away from his mother to whisk him off in some "great adventure."

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I CAVED

I'm now the proud (not) owner of The Very Best of Chris Botti. I feel so unclean. I truly felt like retching when I looked up the listing on Barnes and Noble's lookup thingy and saw that if I liked this artist, I'd also like Kenny G and Boney James. I hate Boney James even more than I hate Kenny G.

Thank God I had some Miles Davis CDs with me to listen to so I could cleanse myself. OK, OK, the CD wasn't all that bad. It was the thought that I'm now a mere two or three steps away from damnat... I mean, buying a Boney James CD that made me ill.

Monday, June 02, 2003

AN APPROPOS QUOTATION
Pardon me, I have nothing to say!
-George Carlin


Maybe I spent more on the last few posts than I thought I did.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

FIRST OF THE MONTH

No, I will not be getting any sort of check. Just a new month, and an old 1967 song lyric from the Spencer Davis Group to share with you.
Well, if I had my choice of matter I would rather be with cats
All engrossed in mental chatter showin' where our minds are at,
And relating to each other just how strong our will can be
In resisting all involvments with each groovy chick we see

I'm a Man
by S. Winwood and J. Miller
perf. by the Spencer Davis Group