Monday, April 30, 2007

World of Coca-Cola West

Many of you who have lived in or visited Atlanta have probably been forced to visit the World of Coca-Cola “museum.” You probably walked past the old ads, watched the total yawner historical videos, and tasted all those whacky international flavors (uhhm, Botswana). You may have even bought something in the gift shop.

But I don’t think anyone can say they lived there.

I, however, am living the dream right now.

See, I’m currently subletting what I like to call the “World of Coca-Cola West.” For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would have so much Coke stuff in his apartment, but somehow this guy does. Frikkin’ loads of it. E-ver-y-where.

But why?

Perhaps a dad who worked for Coke? Coke-branded stuff is cheaper than the non-branded stuff the rest of us were suckered into buying? The result of a cash-in of like a lifetime’s worth of Coke Rewards points? Maybe a guy who just really, really, really loves delicious, delicious Coca-Cola?

I can’t sleep for wondering what could it be. It’s frikkin’ everywhere. The shower curtain, bath mat, plates, glasses, coasters, art work, commemorative bottles, commemorative tins—you name it, it’s Coked-out, baby!

Behold the World of Coca-Cola West:











Nice, right? Even more impressive.

I feel like leaving a sixer of Pepsi in the fridge when I leave just to see what happens.

I’m gonna get the story behind all this when he gets back from Costa Rica, rest assured. I have to. It’s driving me crazy. It’s like being in Graceland without knowing whose house it is and you spend the whole time wondering “what’s with all the records and stuff? Did this guy play music or something?” Or perhaps like being at the Playboy mansion and thinking "this guy must really like chicks."

Frankly, I'm bamboozled.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Well if you ever plan to motor west....

...take the highway that's the best.

Well folks, I went and dug out the camera cord and so am finally posting the pics from the road trip I took out here two weeks ago. It was quite an experience.

First off, here is the route I took: Atlanta to Birmingham to Memphis and then I-40 across all the way to Barstow and then I-15 down to San Bernardino to I-10 and into town. Route 66, baby.

Starting off, I felt pretty good.

I was prepared.

I was told since I was operating a truck I had to stop at weigh stations in each state. Real truckin'!

Friday afternoon, I crossed the Mississippi outside Memphis.

Then the camera went away as I entered the massive storms that ended up drenching the Northeast that weekend. I slept in some town west of Little Rock. And then I entered Oklahoma the next morning to find these. Yeah. Since when did Oklahoma become so forward thinking?

Then I entered the home state and the clouds went away.

I barrelled on toward Amarillo.

The sky was huge.

I passed a leaning water tower.

And a massive cross. Like 100 feet tall. Only in Texas.

I stopped for more go juice. And I don't even like Mountain Dew.

I entered New Mexico sometime in the afternoon on Saturday.

Then the sun set somewhere past Albuquerque. Brilliantly.


I stopped in Gallup, NM for the night. Then, due to someone setting the hotel alarm clock an hour ahead, hit the road really early Sunday morning. It was brilliant. The Dead's "Playing in the band" came on. "Daybreak on the land."

I passed a train.

The road seemed to stretch on forever.

And then a little more.

As I got closer to Flagstaff, mountains came into view.

Flagstaff was really pretty.

And then the sign I'd been waiting for on the outskirts of Flagstaff.

And then I entered the Golden State.

And into the desert.

And road construction. But unlike a certain state from which I came, everyone read the signs and got into the right lane. No cheaters. I was amazed.

The truck almost got blown off the road outside Barstow. And then off in the distance like something from the, well ,movies, was the skyline.

And then, like it all never happpened, I parked the truck on Washington Blvd. And posed for the requisite pictures.


No idea how I made it all that way in only three days. Lots of music I guess.

It's good to be here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Whats going on?

Because I haven't said much this week, here are a few of my goings on while I'm settling in here in sunny LA:

• I was introduced to the riveting "24/7" on HBO last night which chronicles the run up to the De La Hoya vs. Mayweather fight coming up on 5/5.Incredibly interesting tv about two guys training for a fight. Two guys who make their living punching. Fantastic.

• I also caught the tail-end of the semi-riveting "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?" The contestant was a freak so that was a plus.

• Missing the sick line-up of this weekend's Coachella festival because homey's got to find a place to live. It's like every one of my favorite bands playing in the same place. The same place like two hours away. Sucky.

• Listening to the stellar KCRW (morning becomes eclectic!) and Indie 103.1. Thank god for good radio.

• Marveling at how friendly everyone is here. I mean seriously. It's kind of like how you always talk to people on ski lifts, boats or other places people are on vacation and really enjoying themselves. Because that's kind of how it feels here everyday.

• Going to the beach. Because it's right there.

• Eating lots of fruit and avacados. Just because.

• Waiting anxiously to see Arcade Fire at the Greek Theater in May.

• Drinking Fat Tire beer. Sure, I'll move on eventually but it is so good. And it's so great to be able to buy it down the street.

I'm gonna pick it up next week again, I promise. My head's just been scattered lately. And I'm gonna get my camera cord and post some pics.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What is this, advertising?

After what has essentially been three weeks off, I started the new gig today. And it was good. I'm a little rusty though but I think like the break between quarters, it's good to walk away now and then. I got an assignment, I met some poeple, I hung out a bit. It's good to ease into these things.

There's nothing like being the new guy, however. Especially when you and the other new hires are paraded around the building on a tour and then treated to hours of policies and procedures and benefits and life insurance/death/dismemberment talk. I hate that stuff. But thank god I get all that stuff.

Eventually, mercifully, I was shown to my new desk by the window overlooking some trees on the south side of the building. Trees bathed in gorgeous southern California sunshine.

The kind of place I can do some deadly good work. Hopefully.

Then tonight I "moved in" to the sublet apartment I'll call home for the next three weeks. And pray like crazy that a dope-ass pad opens up before then or I am up a certain body of water missing a vital tool. Sweet Jesus, let's hope this happens soon.

And I promise there'll be pics soon of the cross-country trip as soon as I remember to go dig for my connection cable in the storage unit. I'm sure it's buried in the back somewhere. Oh well. This is my life now.

Friday, April 20, 2007

And a little further out

Folks, you may not hear from me until Monday or so as the computer is gonna join the rest of my stuff in storage today. And I'm gonna do some couch hopping. But rest assured, things are going well. My apologies to everyone who has emailed me asking how it is and hasn't heard from me. I promise to get back to all of you soon.

I may go have a beach scream.

Word.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Life outside the comfort zone

As many times as I've done it and in as many cities, apartment hunting still blows. You'd think you'd become like a black-belt or something, but no. In fact, as I get older it gets harder 'cause I know what I'm looking for. Like exactly. Sadly, often my bank account doesn't always mesh up with my wants and desires. At any rate, it's a slow go and I may end up subletting a place for a month and storing my stuff while I continue looking. No sense rushing into a place just 'cause you feel like you have to, you know? It's no New York, thank god. But it's not as much of a cakewalk as I assumed it would be.

But if this whole thing has taught me one thing, it's this: I don't need much. I mean, really when you get down to it, I need like a few pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts (I only like maybe 8 of them anyway), a few shirts (same story as t-shirts), some shoes (flip-flops, really), and my computer—that thing's my life, my music and my stereo. And maybe my climbing gear/tent/packs, etc. Never know when you're gonna need that stuff. The rest of it is just stuff. I suppose I've always known that, it's just times like these when you're reminded clearly that you don't truly need half of what you think you do. But I'll admit I'm a bit lost without a home of my own. As much as I am pretty easy-going with everything else, I still get a little rudderless without a home. But it'll come.

Oh yeah, and last night we watched "The Pursuit of Happyness", the Will Smith feel-good flick from the holidays. I mean, I may be a genius and all but I'm pretty sure the lay-viewer could have picked up that this guy's life was anything but easy. But just to be safe the script apparently was gone over with a fine-tooth misery-enhancer to make sure any scene where something bad happened something else happened to make it worse.

He's fixing a bone density scanner in the stairwell of a homeless shelter in the middle of the night so as not to wake his son? Let's go ahead and burn out that lone light bulb!

He's got a massively important job interview in the morning? Let's not just get him arrested for parking tickets, let's get him picked up while he's painting and covered in paint so he has to go in to the interview in the worst possible condition!

He gets hit by a car while chasing down a thief? Let's inexplicably make him lose his shoe so he has to go back to the financial firm with just one shoe on!

The list goes on until it became almost comical at how bad his luck was. I wanted to feel happy for him at the end but by then I was just making jokes at the hilarity of the situation.

Could been better, that's all I'm saying. Perhaps a little less heavy-handed.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Landed

More to come for sure on this, but I made it to Los Angeles. Soon as I get better internet access I'll post a more thorough post.

I left Atlanta about noon on Friday (thanks to Justin helping me load the truck) and rolled into LA about 5 on Sunday afternoon. 2,164 miles in just under three days. Oh yeah, solo. Just me and tunes. Lots of tunes. I took pics, rocked out, endured those massive rainstorms, hung out with truckers, drank way too much caffiene, almost got blown off the road by wind gusts, stopped at weigh stations like a real trucker, thought sure my car (that was in tow) was gonna go at any minute, and I'm still kind of in shock that I guess I live here now. It feels good.

What's that? How's the weather today?

72 and sunny.

Always.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Goodbye, Atlanta

That's gonna do it folks. A bittersweet day at work and a night of packing and organization and like that, it's over. I'm anxious to hit the road and promise some sweet-ass pics and stuff from the trip. Three days of head clearing is just what I need. And thanks to everyone for everything the past two weeks—the sendoffs, the kind words and the support. And the playlist reccomendations, of course. I can't recall a time I've ever felt more love from the people around me. Ya'll are the best.

With that, the computer is going in the box. I'll see you on the other side.

And tallying in at a little over 600 songs, this is the playlist that will get me there. A little over 44 hours of music, it's more than enough. For you, dear readers, here it is in its entirity—alphabetical of course. I'll be hearing it random. And before everyone says "why'd he leave 'X' or "Y' out?", the rules were simple: the song had take me in my head to place I'd been before. I suppose there are a fair amount of road and leaving songs on there as well. But I've still got everything else in case I go crazy outside Tucumcari.

Enjoy.

Carmelita... Adam Duritz
A Certain Romance... Arctic Monkeys
Moon River... Audrey Hepburn
The Weight... The Band
The Great Salt Lake... Band of Horses
We Can Work It Out... The Beatles
I Should Have Known Better... The Beatles
Real Love... The Beatles
And Your Bird Can Sing... The Beatles
I Saw Her Standing There... The Beatles
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)...The Beatles
Jack-Ass... Beck
Lord Only Knows... Beck
Kate... Ben Folds
Landed... Ben Folds
Falling... Ben Kweller
Resignation Superman... Big Head Todd & The Monsters
The Leaving Song... Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Dinner With Ivan... Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Midnight Radio... Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Waterfall... Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Lovely Day... Bill Withers
At My Window Sad And Lonely... Billy Bragg & Wilco
The First Vietnamese War... The Black Angels
Bloodhounds On My Trail... The Black Angels
Gone... The Black Crowes
A Conspiracy... The Black Crowes
Wiser Time... The Black Crowes
Remedy... The Black Crowes
Thorn In My Pride The Black Crowes
Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye... The Black Crowes
Hotel Illness... The Black Crowes
My Morning Song... The Black Crowes
Salvation... Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Change... Blind Melon
No Rain... Blind Melon
Deserted... Blind Melon
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome when You Go... Bob Dylan
Tangled Up In Blue... Bob Dylan
Simple Twist Of Fate... Bob Dylan
Boots of Spanish Leather... Bob Dylan
Visions of Johanna... Bob Dylan
Hurricane... Bob Dylan
My Back Pages... Bob Dylan and Friends (40th Anniversary)
2002... Bob Schneider
Good things... BoDeans
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't... Brand New
Don't Let go... Brand New Heavies
Anenome... The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Nevertheless... The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Road To Joy... Bright Eyes
First Day of My Life... Bright Eyes
You Will. You? Will. You? Will... Bright Eyes
Goin' Against Your Mind... Built To Spill
Pepper... Butthole Surfers
Wonderwall... Cat Power
Calling Thermatico... Centro-Matic
Patience for the Ride... Centro-Matic
Triggers and Trash Heaps... Centro-Matic
My Hometown... Charlie Robison
The Card Cheat... The Clash
Train in Vain (Stand by Me)... The Clash
Hang Me Up to Dry... Cold War Kids
Overkill... Colin Hay
Round Here... Counting Crows
Omaha... Counting Crows
Rain King... Counting Crows
A Murder of One... Counting Crows
Daylight Fading... Counting Crows
A Long December... Counting Crows
Mrs. Potter's Lullaby... Counting Crows
All My Friends... Counting Crows
Colorblind... Counting Crows
Get off This... Cracker
Don't Dream It's Over... Crowded House
Then He Kissed Me... Crystals
Friday I'm In Love ... The Cure
Pictures Of You... The Cure
Disintegration... The Cure
Just Like Heaven... The Cure
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun... Cyndi Lauper
Boys Better... The Dandy Warhols
Seek Up – live at Red Rocks Dave Matthews Band
Two Step - "... Dave Matthews Band
Dancing Nancies – “ ... Dave Matthews Band
Modern Love... David Bowie
Queen Bitch... David Bowie
Starman... David Bowie
Miss America... David Byrne
The Great Intoxication ... David Byrne
Transatlanticism... Death Cab For Cutie
Never Let Me Down Again... Depeche Mode
Bell Bottom Blues... Derek & The Dominos
White Flag... Dido
Here With Me... Dido
Not Ready to Make Nice... Dixie Chicks
Boys of Summer... Don Henley
Sunset Grill... Don Henley
Queen Of The Highway... The Doors
Maggie M'Gill... The Doors
My Eyes Have Seen You... The Doors
Riders On The Storm... The Doors
Love Street... The Doors
The Crystal Ship... The Doors
The End ... The Doors
I Looked At You... The Doors
L.A. Woman ... The Doors
Women Without Whiskey... Drive By Truckers
Never Gonna Change... Drive By Truckers
Daylight... Drive-By Truckers
Wednesday... Drive-By Truckers
My Sweet Annette... Drive-By Truckers
Where the Devil Don't Stay... Drive-By Truckers
Lookout Mountain... Drive-By Truckers
Let There Be Rock... Drive-By Truckers
Take It Easy... The Eagles
Little Miss S. ... Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians
Miss Misery ... Elliot Smith
Daniel... Elton John
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road... Elton John
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting... Elton John
I want love ... Elton John
I'm still standing... Elton John
Rocket Man....Elton John
Levon...Elton John
Tiny Dancer...Elton John
Guess that's why they call it the blues... Elton John
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters... Elton John
While You Were Sleeping ... Elvis Perkins
Badge ... Eric Clapton
Blues Power... Eric Clapton
Santa Monica ... Everclear
The Birth And Death Of The Day ... Explosions In The Sky
Welcome, Ghosts... Explosions In The Sky
It's Natural To Be Afraid ... Explosions In The Sky
What Do You Go Home To?... Explosions In The Sky
Catastrophe And The Cure... Explosions In The Sky
So Long, Lonesome ... Explosions In The Sky
From West Texas ... Explosions In The Sky
Your Hand In Mine (W/Strings)... Explosions In The Sky
Our Last Days As Children... Explosions In The Sky
An Ugly Fact Of Life... Explosions In The Sky
Home ... Explosions In The Sky
Sonho Dourado... Explosions In The Sky
To West Texas... Explosions In The Sky
Your Hand In Mine (Goodbye)... Explosions In The Sky
Inside It All Feels The Same ... Explosions In The Sky
Do You Ever Feel Cursed... Explosions In The Sky
Lonely Train... Explosions In The Sky
Seagull... Explosions In The Sky
The Sky Above, The Field Below ... Explosions In The Sky
A Slow Dance Explosions In The Sky
First Breath After Coma... Explosions In the Sky
Your Hand in Mine... Explosions in the Sky
Ooh La La ... The Faces
This is how I feel ... Finley Quaye
Your love gets sweeter... Finley Quaye
Across the Universe... Fiona Apple
You Make Loving Fun... Fleetwood Mac
Second Hand News... Fleetwood Mac
The Chain ... Fleetwood Mac
Natural One... Folk Implosion
Summer Wind ... Frank Sinatra
All my exes live in Texas... George Strait
Fool hearted memory ... George Strait
Marina del Rey ... George Strait
Amarillo by morning... George Strait
By the Time I Get to Phoenix... Glen Campbell
Radar Love ... Golden Earring
Now It's On ... Grandaddy
China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider... Grateful Dead
Eyes Of The World ... Grateful Dead
Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad... Grateful Dead
Truckin' ... Grateful Dead
Casey Jones ... Grateful Dead
St. Stephen ... Grateful Dead
Jack Straw... Grateful Dead
Me & My Uncle ... Grateful Dead
Tennessee Jed ... Grateful Dead
Cumberland Blues ... Grateful Dead
Playing In The Band... Grateful Dead
Brown-Eyed Woman ... Grateful Dead
Jesus Of Suburbia ... Green Day
Patience ... Guns N' Roses
One in a Million ... Guns N' Roses
Not California... Hem
Seems To Me... James Gang
Jane Says... Jane's Addiction
Blue... Jayhawks
Last Goodbye... Jeff Buckley
You are what you love... Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
Rise Up With Fists!! ... Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
The Charging Sky ... Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
London Homesick Blues... Jerry Jeff Walker
Crazy Love ... Jessie Baylin
Ghost Song ... Jim Morrison
Sitting in Limbo ... Jimmy Cliff
The Middle ... Jimmy Eat World
Feelin’ Alright ... Joe Cocker
Just Another Day John Cougar Mellencamp
Blood on the Scarecrow ... John Cougar Mellencamp
Rocky Mountain High... John Denver
Oh Yoko ... John Lennon
Waiting on the World to Change... John Mayer
Why Georgia? ... John Mayer
Hurts So Good ... John Mellencamp
Jack and Diane ... John Mellencamp
Crumblin' Down ... John Mellencamp
Pink Houses ... John Mellencamp
Authority Song ... John Mellencamp
Lonley Ol' Night ... John Mellencamp
Small Town ... John Mellencamp
Paper in Fire ... John Mellencamp
Cherry Bomb ... John Mellencamp
Check It Out ... John Mellencamp
Both Sides Now ... Joni Mitchell
All I want ... Joni Mitchell
California Joni Mitchell
Heartbeats ... José González
Faithfully ... Journey
Sam's Town ... The Killers
Enterlude ... The Killers
When You Were Young... The Killers
Read My Mind... The Killers
Exitlude... The Killers
Slow Night, So Long... Kings Of Leon
Taper Jean Girl... Kings Of Leon
Pistol of Fire... Kings Of Leon
Milk ... Kings Of Leon
The Bucket ... Kings Of Leon
On Call... Kings Of Leon
True Love Way... Kings Of Leon
Ragoo... Kings Of Leon
Fans .... Kings of Leon
Going To California ... Led Zeppelin
Tangerine ... Led Zeppelin
When The Levee Breaks... Led Zeppelin
I Gotta Get Drunk... The Little Willies
Tidalwave... Longwave
Sweet Little Thing... Lucero
Slow Dancing... Lucero
You're not from Texas... Lyle Lovett
How Fucking Romantic ... The Magnetic Fields
Can't You See? ...Marshall Tucker Band
Down Under ...Men at Work
Be Good Johnny... Men at Work
Who can it be now?... Men at Work
Dancing In The Starlight ... Mick Jagger
God Gave Me Everything Mick Jagger
Hide Away ... Mick Jagger
Don't Call Me Up... Mick Jagger
Evening Gown... Mick Jagger
Hang On To Me Tonight... Mick Jagger
Never Ending Math Equation... Modest Mouse
All Night Diner... Modest Mouse
The World At Large... Modest Mouse
Float On... Modest Mouse
Ocean Breathes Salty ... Modest Mouse
Dig Your Grave... Modest Mouse
Bury Me With It... Modest Mouse
Bukowski ... Modest Mouse
This Devil's Workday ... Modest Mouse
The View ... Modest Mouse
Satin In A Coffin ... Modest Mouse
Blame It On The Tetons... Modest Mouse
Heart Cooks Brain ... Modest Mouse
Cowboy Dan ... Modest Mouse
March Into the Sea ... Modest Mouse
Dashboard ... Modest Mouse
Fire It Up ... Modest Mouse
Florida ... Modest Mouse
Parting of the Sensory ... Modest Mouse
Missed the Boat... Modest Mouse
Little Motel ... Modest Mouse
Third Planet ... Modest Mouse
Gravity Rides Everything... Modest Mouse
Perfect Disguise ... Modest Mouse
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes... Modest Mouse
A Different City... Modest Mouse
The Cold Part... Modest Mouse
The Stars are Projectors ... Modest Mouse
Paper Thin Walls... Modest Mouse
I Came as a Rat ... Modest Mouse
Long Distance Drunk ... Modest Mouse
It's All Nice on Ice Alright ... Modest Mouse
Daydream Believer... Monkees
Everyday Is Like Sunday... Morrissey
Mannish Boy ... Muddy Waters
Starlight ... Muse
Inside of Love ... Nada Surf
Harvest Moon... Neil Young
Going Nowhere... Oasis
Rockin' Chair ... Oasis
Half The World Away... Oasis
I'm Free ... Oasis
Hide your love away ... Oasis
Don't Go Away - Noel ... Oasis
Busted Afternoon... Old 97's
Mama I'm coming home... Ozzy Osbourne
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes ...Paul Simon
You're The One... Paul Simon
Frontwards ... Pavement
The Killing Moon ... Pavement
Summer Babe ... Pavement
Trigger Cut ... Pavement
Once ... Pearl Jam
Evenflow ... Pearl Jam
Alive ... Pearl Jam
Why Go ... Pearl Jam
Black ... Pearl Jam
Oceans ... Pearl Jam
Porch ... Pearl Jam
Garden ... Pearl Jam
Release ... Pearl Jam
Rearviewmirror... Pearl Jam
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter.... Pearl Jam
Indifference ... Pearl Jam
Take Me Home ... Phil Collins
Message In A Bottle... Police
The Bed's Too Big Without You... Police
Walking on The Moon... Police
Every Breath You Take ... Police
Wrapped Around Your Finger... Police
Tea in the Sahara ... Police
So Lonely ... Police
Driven to Tears... Police
Canary in a Coalmine ... Police
Don't Stand So Close To Me... Police
Soldier Girl ... The Polyphonic Spree
Clark Gable... The Postal Service
Such Great Heights ... The Postal Service
Brand New Colony... The Postal Service
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight... The Postal Service
Back on the Chain Gang...The Pretenders
Purple Rain ... Prince And The Revolution
Feel Good Hit Of The Summer ... Queens Of The Stone Age
Go With The Flow ... Queens Of The Stone Age
The Great Beyond ... R.E.M.
All The Way To Reno ... R.E.M.
Imitation Of Life ... R.E.M.
How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us... R.E.M.
E-Bow The Letter ... R.E.M.
Leave ... R.E.M.
Be Mine R.E.M.
Killing in the Name... Rage Against the Machine
Guerilla Radio ... Rage Against The Machine
Blitzkrieg Bop... Ramones
I Love LA ... Randy Newman
Three More Days ... Ray LaMontagne
The Power Of Equality ... Red Hot Chili Peppers
I Could Have Lied... Red Hot Chili Peppers
Blood Sugar Sex Magik... Red Hot Chili Peppers
Under The Bridge ... Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sir Psycho Sexy ... Red Hot Chili Peppers
By The Way ... Red Hot Chili Peppers
Californication ... Red Hot Chili Peppers
Dani California... Red Hot Chili Peppers
Readymade ... Red Hot Chili Peppers
You'll Never Know ... The Redwalls
Come Around... Rhett Miller
Big Log ... Robert Plant
Stay With Me... Rod Stewart
Maggie May... Rod Stewart
Every Picture Tells A Story... Rod Stewart
The First Cut Is The Deepest... Rod Stewart
Someone Like You ... Rod Stewart
People Get Ready ... Rod Stewart & Jeff Beck
Route 66....The Rolling Stones
Sympathy For The Devil... The Rolling Stones
No Expectations ... The Rolling Stones
Dear Doctor... The Rolling Stones
Parachute Woman... The Rolling Stones
Jigsaw Puzzle... The Rolling Stones
Street Fighting Man ... The Rolling Stones
Prodigal Son... The Rolling Stones
Stray Cat Blues... The Rolling Stones
Factory Girl... The Rolling Stones
Salt Of The Earth... The Rolling Stones
Rocks Off ... The Rolling Stones
Tumbling Dice The Rolling Stones
Sweet Virginia... The Rolling Stones
Torn & Frayed ... The Rolling Stones
Sweet Black Angel... The Rolling Stones
Loving Cup... The Rolling Stones
Happy... The Rolling Stones
Angie ... The Rolling Stones
Starfucker... The Rolling Stones
You Can't Always Get What You Want... The Rolling Stones
Congratulations... The Rolling Stones
Little Red Rooster... The Rolling Stones
Play With Fire... The Rolling Stones
Satisfaction... The Rolling Stones
Get Off Of My Cloud ... The Rolling Stones
Gotta Get Away ... The Rolling Stones
Dandelion... The Rolling Stones
She's A Rainbow ... The Rolling Stones
2000 Light Years From Home... The Rolling Stones
Memo From Turner ... The Rolling Stones
Mixed Emotions... The Rolling Stones
Terrifying... The Rolling Stones
Sway ... The Rolling Stones
Wild Horses ... The Rolling Stones
Can't You Hear Me Knocking... The Rolling Stones
I Got the Blues The Rolling Stones
Sister Morphine... The Rolling Stones
Dead Flowers ... The Rolling Stones
Moonlight Mile ... The Rolling Stones
Like A Rolling Stone... The Rolling Stones
Cocksucker Blues ... The Rolling Stones
Blue Turns to Grey ... The Rolling Stones
I am waiting ... The Rolling Stones
Have Mercy ... The Rolling Stones
California ... Rufus Wainright
Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk... Rufus Wainwright
The Trees... Rush
A Kiss Before I Go ... Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
The End... Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
My Heart Is Broken... Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
It's Nothing To Me... The Sadies
Friendly Fire ... Sean Lennon
Spectacle... Sean Lennon
Headlights... Sean Lennon
Would I Be The One ... Sean Lennon
One By One All Day... The Shins
Weird Divide ... The Shins
New Slang ... The Shins
Gone for Good ... The Shins
Sleeping Lessons... The Shins
Split Needles... The Shins
The Comeback... Shout Out Louds
Little Lover's So Polite... Silversun Pickups
Lazy Eye... Silversun Pickups
Rusted Wheel... Silversun Pickups
Three Seed... Silversun Pickups
Common Reactor... Silversun Pickups
Mrs. Robinson ... Simon and Garfunkel
The Boxer ... Simon and Garfunkel
Perfect... Smashing Pumpkins
Bullet With Butterfly Wings... Smashing Pumpkins
Drown ... Smashing Pumpkins
1979 ... Smashing Pumpkins
Runaway Train ... Soul Asylum
Big Nose ... Soulhat
Psychological Bone ... Soulhat
Preacher Man... Soulhat
Bonecrusher ... Soulhat
Prayin' for Rain... Soulhat
Stranger Things... Soulhat
Alone ... Soulhat
Things Aren't Like That Anymore... Soulhat
Here ... Soulhat
My Mathematical Mind ... Spoon
The Delicate Place... Spoon
Something To Look Forward To Spoon
Deacon Blues ... Steely Dan
Hey Nineteen... Steely Dan
Do It Again... Steely Dan
Peg... Steely Dan
Rikki Don't Lose That Number... Steely Dan
Reelin' In The Years... Steely Dan
Jo Jo's Jacket... Stephen Malkmus
Church On White... Stephen Malkmus
The Hook... Stephen Malkmus
Pink India... Stephen Malkmus
Vague Space... Stephen Malkmus
Jenny & The Ess-Dog... Stephen Malkmus
Deado... Stephen Malkmus
Ramp Of Death... Stephen Malkmus
Dakota... Stereophonics
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Love Struck Baby... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Pride And Joy... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Texas Flood... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Tell Me... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Testify... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Rude Mood... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Mary Had A Little Lamb... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Dirty Pool... Stevie Ray Vaughan
I'm Cryin'... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Lenny... Stevie Ray Vaughan
The Sky is Crying... Stevie Ray Vaughan
Fill Her Up... Sting
All This Time... Sting
Mad About You... Sting
Why Should I Cry For You... Sting
Saint Agnes And The Burning... Train Sting
Love is the Seventh Wave... Sting
Badfish ... Sublime
Come On! Feel The Illinoise!... Sufjan Stevens
Chicago ... Sufjan Stevens
Wild Horses... The Sundays
The Logical Song... Supertramp
Give a Little Bit... Supertramp
Once In A Lifetime... Talking Heads
This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)... Talking Heads
Everybody Wants To Rule The World... Tears for Fears
Punkrocker (Feat Iggy Pop) ... Teddybears
Swingin' Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Learning To Fly... Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
King's Highway... Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Into The Great Wide Open... Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Pressure Drop ... Toots & The Maytals
Beach Song ... True Romance Sndtrk.
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses... U2
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)... U2
Beautiful Day ... U2
Walk On... U2
Kite... U2
In a Little While... U2
Miracle Drug ... U2
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own...U2
City Of Blinding Lights ... U2
Where The Streets Have No Name ... U2
With Or Without You... U2
Bullet The Blue Sky ... U2
Running To Stand Still ... U2
Red Hill Mining Town... U2
In God's Country ... U2
Trip Through Your Wires... U2
One Tree Hill ... U2
Exit ... U2
Hawkmoon 269... U2
Love Rescue Me... U2
When Love Comes To Town... U2
Heartland ... U2
Electrical Storm ... U2
A Sort Of Homecoming... U2
Bad... U2
Dreaming with tears in my eyes ... U2
Ground beneath her feet ... U2
New Madrid ... Uncle Tupelo
And It Stoned Me... Van Morrison
Crazy Love... Van Morrison
Caravan... Van Morrison
Into the Mystic... Van Morrison
Come Running... Van Morrison
These Dreams of You... Van Morrison
Brand New Day... Van Morrison
Starting A New Life... Van Morrison
Tupelo Honey... Van Morrison
Lucky Man... The Verve
Louisiana... The Walkmen
Beverly Hills... Weezer
Hash Pipe... Weezer
El Scorcho... Weezer
My Name Is Jonas ... Weezer
Undone (The Sweater Song)... Weezer
Surf Wax America... Weezer
In The Garage... Weezer
Only In Dreams... Weezer
Buddy Holly ... Weezer
Say It Ain't So... Weezer
The Ballad Of Carol Lynn... Whiskeytown
Don't Wanna Know Why... Whiskeytown
Jacksonville Skyline... Whiskeytown
Reasons To Lie... Whiskeytown
Under Your Breath... Whiskeytown
What The Devil Wanted... Whiskeytown
My Hometown ... Whiskeytown
Easy Hearts ... Whiskeytown
Inn Town... Whiskeytown
Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight ... Whiskeytown
Everything I Do... Whiskeytown
Houses On The Hill... Whiskeytown
Dancing With The Women At The Bar... Whiskeytown
Waiting To Derail... Whiskeytown
Avenues... Whiskeytown
Losering... Whiskeytown
Ain't Life Grand... Widespread Panic
L.A.... Widespread Panic
Jack ... Widespread Panic
Pleas ... Widespread Panic
Hatfield... Widespread Panic
Wondering... Widespread Panic
Papa's Home ... Widespread Panic
Diner... Widespread Panic
Pickin' Up The Pieces... Widespread Panic
Travelin' Light... Widespread Panic
Walkin' (For Your Love)... Widespread Panic
C. Brown... Widespread Panic
Either Way ... Wilco
What Light... Wilco
Airline To Heaven... Wilco & Billy Bragg
My Flying Saucer... Wilco & Billy Bragg
Remember The Mountain Bed... Wilco & Billy Bragg
Luckenbach, TX ... Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings
Railroad Lady ... Willie Nelson
Heartaches Of A Fool... Willie Nelson
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain... Willie Nelson
Whiskey River... Willie Nelson
Good Hearted Woman... Willie Nelson
Georgia On My Mind ... Willie Nelson
If You've Got The Money... Willie Nelson
Look What Thoughts Will Do... Willie Nelson
Uncloudy Day... Willie Nelson
Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up… Willie Nelson
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys... Willie Nelson
Help Me Make It Through The Night ... Willie Nelson
I'd Have To Be Crazy ... Willie Nelson
Faded Love ... Willie Nelson
On The Road Again... Willie Nelson
If You Could Touch Her At All... Willie Nelson
Till I Gain Control Again... Willie Nelson
Stay A Little Longer... Willie Nelson
Maps... Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Gimme All Your Lovin' ... ZZ Top
Got Me Under Pressure ... ZZ Top

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Back where it all began

This afternoon I gave away the pair of jeans I wore on September 11 along with some other things to the Salvation Army. I know, it's weird, but these things stick with you. But it did get me thinking about four years ago this spring when I left NYC.

I took a cab early one morning from my apartment out to LaGuardia to pick up the mini-van that would be my ride from NYC home to Austin. For whatever reason, it ended up being the cheapest way to get me and my things out of there. And it had a CD player.

That was also the day we went to war. I was on the southbound E train the night before as the 8 o’clock "deadline" rolled around. I distinctly remember everyone just kind of looking at each other like “we’ll never be the same after this.” At least it felt like that.

I met Jay and some folks somewhere in the Village a few minutes later and I remember we drank alot, my umbrella shredded itself in the rain, and then I said goodbye. To him. To everyone else. And to my city.

The next morning, I loaded up the van and headed out the Lincoln Tunnel. And across the Hudson. I drove south on the NJ Turnpike until I crossed the Delaware River. And then into Delaware I crossed the inlet waters of Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore. I crossed the Potomac and our nation’s Capital. I drove west through craggy West Virginia and into the lush hillsides of Virginia. I remember it rained and then later cleared up, the sun was coming off the western hills as it set. It was beautiful. I drove south until I was exhausted and spent the night in Knoxville. I did the same thing the next day and the next day until I was home in Austin. It's always been fascinating to me to see this country so many of us talk about but don't ever really see. To put faces with towns, to put pictures of towns with their names, and to remember what this is all about.

I was 29 years old at the time and completely clueless, no idea what I was going home to do.

I just knew that chapter of my life was closed and I had to get on with the next part. It was, as they say, an adventure. And it has been. The most rewarding adventure I've ever undertaken.

I suppose I knew even before I went to New York that I wanted to go west. I wanted to go in the late 90's (all my friends were living the stock-option life in SF!) but, alas, work took me to NYC. But I'd spent alot of my childhood in the west. I'd seen its mountains and its deserts and its national parks from the backseat of our vairous cars and on foot on its trails and it always kinda felt like home somehow.

I'd never give up the time I spent in New York, of course. And while I may not have realized it at the time, it changed something in me. Something for the better. And something that still powers me.

In the spring of 2003 before I left NYC, I had been so taken by Spike Lee’s “25th Hour” I had gone to see it like twice in the theater. Good thing about having no job—plenty of time to go see movies. The reason I think is there's a dream sequence at the end where Bryan Cox delivers a soliloquy in voiceover (along with cavalry drums and the haunting score of the film )as he and Edward Norton’s character escape from the city to the west that, for my money, is one of the better moments ever committed to film. And it was kind of the way I felt at the time. I wanted out. I can’t find a clip of it to save my life and wouldn’t know where to start pulling it from my dvd, but here is the gist of it:

“We'll drive. Keep driving. Head out to the middle of nowhere, take that road as far as it takes us. You've never been west of Philly, have ya? This is a beautiful country, Monty, it's beautiful out there, like a different world. Mountains, hills, cows, farms, and white churches. I drove out west with your mother one time, before you was born. Brooklyn to the Pacific in three days. Just enough money for gas, sandwiches, and coffee, but we made it. Every man, woman, and child alive should see the desert one time before they die. Nothin' at all for miles around. Nothin' but sand and rocks and cactus and blue sky. Not a soul in sight. No sirens. No car alarms. Nobody honkin' at ya. No madmen cursin' or pissin' in the streets. You find the silence out there, you find the peace. You can find God. You're a New Yorker, that won't ever change. You got New York in your bones. Spend the rest of your life out west but you're still a New Yorker.”

During that last line they cut back to a few of those makeshift, post-9/11 signs that were all over the city, one of which simply read:

And that's how I still feel. Even as I head west.

Thankfully, I'm also Texan by birth.

TCB

During a morning of “holy crap, I’ve got a lot of errands to run” errands, I had a delightful if far too brief visit with Tania and Claire this morning during a farewell visit to the Portfolio Center.

Photo credit: Dave Werner

We agreed I’d probably see them again real soon when I come back to speak about my massive success as the king of advertising. Maybe rent out the Georgia Dome for that one. We also talked about how many west coast alums there are and perhaps we should all start our own shop, founded solely on the basis of creating mind-boggling-cool-ass work. Either way.

Tania and I reminisced a bit about the day back in August, 2003, when I came in to visit with her about the school after she had been out shooting the book cover for her book. I know I’ve told her this but if not, Tania, you were the factor that swayed me to come to PC. I figure the world is full of enough ads, what it needs more of is good writing. And I knew I could learn that from you. Thank you so much. And thanks for being such a good motivator in terms of getting off my ass and to Atlanta rather than waiting for the next quarter. And I’m glad I went through with the folks I did. I wouldn’t have made it without them.

When I talked about what a lame duck I’ve become this week at work in terms of no one is giving me anything to work on anymore, Tania said I was like Kramer from that Seinfeld episode where he “works” at that company even though he doesn’t work there. That’s pretty much true. Except, of course, I’m not a closet racist.

Now that “my baby takes the morning train…” song from that episode is stuck in my head.

On a totally unrelated note, why are the waiting rooms of oil change places always so dirty? I mean, one would think the whole oil changing part would stay in the garage but I find myself not even wanting to sit down because everything feels like it’s coated in greasy oil. Gross.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A little something for Dixie

On Thanksgiving night in 1976, The Band decided that rather than simply stop touring they would invite some of their friends (among them Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and Clapton) to send it out with a bang. So they staged a little concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco and got a guy to shoot the whole thing and make a movie out of it—a guy named Martin Scorcese. The result was the gem of a movie called “The Last Waltz.” It’s widely considered by many to be one of the finest concerts ever, right behind Hendrix at Monterrey Pop, of course.

I’ve always thought Neil Young’s “Helpless” was positively fantastic but when Levon Helm belts out the tortured “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down”well I mean, wow. I don’t think the other guys on stage could believe it. Here’s a guy from deep in the swamps of Louisiana, surrounded by a bunch of Canadians, belting out one of the greatest southern songs ever written, let alone performed. On top of that, the band (and The Band) were breaking up and this was it for them, the last time they would ever make music together. You just don’t get those moments too often. And certinly not captured on film. I also love how they dressed the stage in kind of a torn and frayed, dilapidated Gone with the Wind-style, as if the shutters were all cracking and peeling, their joints ready to give way. Much like The Band was that night.

Enjoy it.

And check out Scorcese watching the proceedings in full beard over Levon’s left shoulder.

Na-na-nana-nana-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-nanna-na-na.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Pff, are you kidding? I can chew that! Here, watch me me bite some off.

Yeah, this little playlist project has taken on a life of its own. But it's been good. Even if it is cutting into more important things like, oh I don't know, packing.

I've since dug out some gems from the Monkees, Widespread, Edie Brickell, Glenn Campbell, Rush, Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell.

It hasn't even gotten weird yet.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

This is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about


About a week ago I hatched the plan to put together the mother of all playlists for my little jaunt from Atlanta to Los Angeles. According to Google maps (the only way to go, btw) it's a little over 2181 miles, or one day and 8 hours of drive time. My computer tells me it's got over 12 days worth of music so all I have to do is sort out which of those 5000 some-odd songs I want to hear over the three days I'll be motoring.

Sounds easy, right?

Well, I've literally lost sleep over it the last few days. How do I cut it up? One mother of a playlist, all in order? One mother of a playlist just on shuffle? Broken up by region? By state? By varying geography? Jeezers.

Then tonight I had a breakthrough. I was skimming through some old cd's I'd never imported and there, as I sat surrounded by boxes of a lifetime of stuff, it hit me: make this is a musical retrospective of your life. This isn't a playlist, this is three days of reflection on everything you've ever listened to, all out on the open road. This is way more than some little collection of tunes to drive by, this is a chance to put it on shuffle and see where life takes me—and where it has taken me.

So many people I've talked to over the past week or so see 2000 miles of driving alone as a bad thing (monotonous, perhaps) but honestly, I love it. I got another post coming later this week about another long haul I did but for now I'll just say sometimes being alone with one's thoughts can be quite something. I'm sure somewhere in Arizona I'll be ready to hang myself from the sun visor but until then I know it will be one of the best experiences of my life.

I might even post up the list once it's finished so ya'll can see it but I tell ya this, it's gonna be all over the place. Already there's the Dead, the Stones, George Strait, Soul Hat, Rod Stewart with Jeff Beck, Jimmy Cliff, Simon and Garfunkel, the Pretenders, PJ Harvey, Men at Work, Blind Melon....it goes on.

And it will rock.

And a Happy Easter to all of ya'll. Hope you found the golden egg.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The things I will miss about Atlanta


As promised:

• Inman Park and their whacky festivals and parades and costumes and lovely people. Best in the city, far and away.

• The trees. All of them. The first thing I fell in love with here and the image I’ll take with me when I go.

• The Dogwood Festival. A festival to celebrate flowering trees in early spring. How fantastic. This year it starts 4/13. The day I’m leaving town.

• Piedmont Park. Another Olmsted masterwork, I’ve always loved jogging in it, throwing Frisbees in it, playing with dogs in it, picnicking in it, watching kites fly over it, and drinking in its corner at the wonderful Park Tavern. Especially when it’s rained and they pour dollar beers.

• Little Five Points. The stores, the bars, the restaurants, and all the freaks.

• The Variety Playhouse. Such a pleasant venue for seeing a show and where I saw so many good ones, among the better ones: Spoon, Centro-Matic/Drive-By Truckers, and one of the best I’ve ever seen in my life, the Arcade Fire.

• East Atlanta and the Earl. God bless the Earl. Front and back.

• The Local. The best bar in Atlanta for having a beer with friends and listening to good tunes. Such a cool, mellow crowd.

• Fontaine’s. It feels like your somewhere else. The beach. New Orleans. Rockport, TX. Somewhere other than here. And while I may be alone in this, I always loved the lighting fixtures.

• The Righteous Room and their jukebox. Best in the city. And a great tucked away spot for a drink.

• The Krog Street underpass. It scares even me in the daytime. And I love it for that reason alone.

• Carroll Street. I don’t know who stole that little street from Europe but thanks to whoever it was.

• Jalisco’s. The only restaurant to make this list. It’s the best Tex-Mex I’ve ever had outside of Austin. And that, friends, is one hell of a bold-ass statement for me to make. But it’s fast, it’s cheap and it’s spicy. It’s all about the salsa, ya know?


6 more days. Tickity-tockity.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Things I won’t miss about the ATL

Tomorrow I'm gonna post a truly inspring list of the things I will miss about Atlanta. It will make you proud to call this place home. But today let’s start with the things I most certainly won’t miss:

• Un-timed traffic lights. Nothing is more awesome than sitting at a red light while staring at a green light a couple hundred feet away knowing it’s gonna change when yours does. So modern! As if this city doesn't have bad enough traffic, you found a way to make it worse.

• The intersection of three interstate highways right smack-dab in the middle of the downtown of the largest city in the southeast. I’m pretty sure if you tossed out that plan in a first semester civil engineering class you’d find yourself an ex-first semester civil engineering student pretty quickly. Yeah, not exactly the smartest thing to do. Design is, in fact, everything.

• The fact that when heading north I-85 (east bound) exits to the left (west) while I-75 (east bound) exits to the right (east). It makes no sense whatsoever and almost every morning causes people to violently swerve across the median to correct their path. Clearly, people with very important jobs as well. I mean, are you willing to die to get to work? Me either.

• The fac that the southbound exit to I-75 off of I-85 happens to be exit #85 and is simply labeled as "85". Yeah, the bad luck continues for Atlanta's roadways.

• The lack of a left turn lane on undeniably the city’s most heavily congested surface road, Peachtree. Guess everyone was too caught up in Olympic fever to think, “hey, while we’re widening it we should prolly put in a left turn lane.” Olympic fever, catch it!

• Those “W” stickers. Ok, fine. You won. Twice. You got what you want: he’s thoroughly wrecked our country, we’ll spend the rest of our young lives trying to fix it, and the world pretty much hates us. You’re proud of that. We get it already. Wait, what’s that? You’ve upgraded to the “still the president” sticker? Well not of me, he’s not. He never was. Bye, bye red state.

• Those awesome “Support our troops” ribbons on like every tank and personnel carrier on the road. Know what would really help? Not driving that goddamn Excursion or Denali or Armada or Sequoia or other massive car that I guess you need for some reason. But it’s alright, honey, go get yourself another Starbucks before you pick up the kids. You bought the magnet, you’ve done your part.

• The fat, sad chick who lives above me. And her sad dog that she never walks because (as far as I can tell) I don’t think she’s physically able to do much walking herself. So the poor little guy is forced to have massive bursts of energy in the apartment. It’s awesome when you’re, oh I don’t know, let’s say reading or watching a movie or eating or sitting quietly or pretty much doing anything. Good riiddance there.

• Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Someday, someone will have to explain to me the appeal of the “mega-terminal.” I mean, why do we all have to go through the same massive security line to the same massive terminal served by those ridiculous trains if we’re not all flying the same airline? Oh right, because we are all flying the same airline. We don’t really have a choice. Nice one, Atlanta.

• Frat guys, their little bowl haircuts, and their Croakies around their necks—day and night. You guys realize you all look exactly the same, right? Just checking. ‘Cause you do.

• My “ghetto Publix.” Corner of North and Piedmont. Not that I go there that often but it’s around the corner and I can walk there, so I do happen by it from time to time. But if there is a worse store in the world with less competent employees and worse morale, I haven’t been to it. And yeah, that includes the Food Emporium on 51st and Second Ave. The realization that I’ll never have to go there again so long as I live is beginning to set in. And it is pretty darn sweet.

• The crackheads of Pine Street. I won’t miss the flagrant dealing and smoking of crack right beneath the cops’ noses (last I checked it’s illegal), their absent stares as I drive past, the hyper-aggressive panhandling and, more than anything, the immense sorrow of seeing so many lives wasted in a city so focused on revival and with such a vibrant black community. I won’t miss any of that.

• The methheads strung up and down and out on Ponce. Hard to feel as sorry for people who think drain cleaner and Sudafed is a good way to get high. Oh yeah, by the way, methheads, they’re looking for you. That’s just what I heard. Shhh, listen. Hear them? Yeah. You’d better go hide. Back in the woods from which you came.

7 more days. Tickity-tockity.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wax on

Prior to the show last night, I stumbled across some channel that was airing “the Karate Kid.” Yeah, I know. I totally got sucked into the first half hour or so with just one thought on my mind: let’s hope my arrival in Los Angeles goes smoother than poor Daniel-san’s.

I was talking the weekend before last when I was out there about my impressions of California as a kid were (like a lot of us) totally shaped by movies like “Karate Kid” and “Pump up the Volume” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Grease” and every other 80’s teen movie, which were almost always set in the valley.

Thankfully, I’m not moving to the valley. In my mind, it will always be a place full of motorcycle gangs and T-birds and karate tournaments and viaduct racing and parents urging their kids to "give it chance, you'll fit in."

In fact, my impression of California high schools in general were that they were these really rough places where outsiders were routinely ganged up on by the Johnny’s of the world, usually at those outdoor cafeterias which apparently every school out there has. And for some reason Christian Slater is still in school at all of them.

Then there’s usually a beach party, some car/motorcycle action, maybe a big dance, definitely some fights, a Pat Benatar song or two, and of course a girl whose heart is made of gold who, despite the fact that the guy is a total outsider, falls in love with him. EVen though his mom's beat up station wagon has to get a rolling start and he lives in a total dump apartment. But hey, it's the movies.

Of course, Texas high schools had all that stuff too. It was just different and usually centered around football games, football practices, “cove” parties (parties held in those empty cul de sacs of neighborhoods that had not yet been built), pickup trucks, the back of the high school parking lot, country music (blah!), and wannabe cowboys/meatheads-in-training and the girls with hearts of gold who fall for them. And, of course, later they realize their mistake and end up falling for guys like me.

But I'll tell you this, whatever happens next week, I’m definitely gonna find myself a good sensei at a good dojo and brush up on my karate skills.

And then I’m gonna sweep the leg.

No mercy.

Jesus’ Son


Last night Joel, Justin and I went to see Sean Lennon at Smith’s Olde Bar. I had heard good things about his new “Friendly Fire” album but not until seeing him did I realize how good the guy really is. And that he plays a mean electric guitar. Really mean. Gotta admit, I kinda pegged him as a strummer. More than anything, it’s so relieving to see a star’s kid be sane and in a place where he’s found his own voice (a stellar one at that) and making music free from the massive shadow of his father.

I’m ashamed to say I never really got into “Into the Sun” or any of his Cibo Matto stuff (holy Japanese-y!) but from everything I’ve read it hasn’t been until now that he’s kind of hit it. "Spectacle" is my new favorite song.

The weirdest thing about seeing him last night was the weird feeling that in a sense I’ve known him my whole life. He was born about a year after me and, given he’s John Lennon’s son, I kinda watched him grow up. And like I said, he couldn’t have been more cool and likeable.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pff, the last time I watch it. I know that much


Oh yeah, spoiler alert: I’m getting ready to tear this film a new one so don’t read this if it’s in your queue.

As embarrassed now as I am to have sat through the whole thing, last night I watched the positively dreadful “The Last Kiss.” Wow. Not sure what I was thinking. And I was in a stellar mood when I saw it.

Where to even start with what was wrong with this little number?

First off, the movie is all over the place with like 5 stories going on and they all suck. You got a quick opening of Zach Braff and his pregnant girlfriend in his car (Prius, he’s an architect, blah, blah, other clichés to come) and it’s quickly established he’s not happy. Then we go to a wedding scene where we stay for like 20 minutes. Why? So we can see more stock-looking footage of “wedding reception on sunny day by body of water?” Snoozer.

Then we follow the somber Zach Braff as he goes off to talk to a 20 year-old coed (he’s 29 in the film and dealing with being almost 30. Ooo, terrifying! ) while avoiding his pregnant girlfriend. Kind of a dick move already, right? Then he takes it up a notch. He goes and finds her at her college one afternoon and accepts an invitation to a frat party with her. WTF? Then because they’re exchanging such crap dialogue (I’ve spoken better dialogue on the fly), he almost misses his girlfriend’s sonogram. Awesome!

At this point I’m wondering who in the hell I’m supposed to be for ‘cause pretty much everyone on screen is getting under my skin at this point. I should also note there’s some weak-ass side-stories involving the “sad guy” who can’t let his ex-girlfriend go, the “wild guy” who meets a girl at the wedding and proceeds to have non-stop sex with her, and the “responsible guy” who has a wife and kids but, of course, wants out because it’s hard. Boring. Liked it better when it was called "every other movie ever made."

Anyhoo, Zach Braff’s character ends up lying to his girlfriend about where he is, kissing the 20-year old girl at the frat party and of course then the shit hits the fan. They argue, he gets kicked out of the house and (I guess to make us really empathize with him as being such a nice guy who we should spend the rest of the movie hoping she gets back with) he goes back to 20-year old’s dorm room to sleep with her!!! Are you kidding me? What a guy! Pregnancy or no, this guy sucks. Kick him to the curb, girl!

So we’re like 45 minutes in and I hate the lead character. That’s a problem, I would think.

The movie bumbles on through more fights and melodrama and some guys inexplicably taking an RV to South America and other fluff until finally Zach Braff’s character sleeps on his girlfirend’s porch for a few nights (along with the requisite rain and sacrilegious use of Coldplay’s “Warning Sign”) until finally she takes him back. Whoopity do! Didn’t see that coming.

What a stinker. Maybe the worst movie I’ve seen since “Meet Joe Black.” That, friends, is probably the worst of the worst. Jeezers, it still gives me the shudders to think about it. That's almost three hours I'll never get back.

These kinds of movies should be mandatory viewing during first semester of every film school under "How not to make a movie 101."