Friday, June 29, 2007

35 on the Rail (a rambling mind)

Right now I have The Smiths- Louder than Bombs, Ryan Adams- Easy Tiger, and Pete Yorn- Music for the morning after in my cd player (on shuffle). Perfect music for a pensive Friday night. I've been sleepy and dilatory all day.

My 35 birthday is quickly approaching, and it has led me to ask myself the journalistic mantra: Who What When Where Why How?

The Who... I guess that's me. The What... another year past, another year approaches. Now until the end, The What is everything in between. The When... when I get it together, get strong, get it right. The Where... where ever I'm at there I am. The Why... because I love it, I hate it, because it's not how I thought it would be. It is all my fault. The How... the burning question that I have yet to answer.

Why are people lined up outside the Apple Store to buy a $600 piece of shit? I'm sorry, but I don't understand the appeal. Well, not for $600 anyway. I see the price of gas going up, foreclosures are at an all time high, people can't afford health care, food for their kids, etc... But hundreds of people are lined up to buy a $600 gadget that will be $400 next year, and $300 the year after that... and knock offs will be even cheaper.

Sometimes I wonder where all this money is coming from and how people are getting it. I assume that some people don't ever go out or have a social life, the trade off is that they have bigger and nicer "things". Hey, who am I too judge. I'll nickle and dime myself poor, eat myself into a coma, and will only have a cool collection of books and cd's to show for it.

It is so scary how life can just change at a moments notice. One minute your fine, the next minute everything has changed.

"These girls are better off in my head" - Ryan Adams

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


The new Ryan Adams album, Easy Tiger hit music stores today. After 3 or 4 spins it sounds as good as advertised. After reading some of the pre-release reviews, I expected it to be a cross between Gold and Heartbreaker. But so far, I'm thinking it's Jacksonville City Nights meets Gold.

The album is an easy listen and immediately accessible for casual fans. One has to wonder if every now and then Adams decides to throw us a bone as a reminder that he can sh*t out albums like this, so he can keep making albums like 29 and RocknRoll.

Adams is talented as all hell, and even albums like 29 are better than most of the crap out there. He has set the bar high for himself, we all know he has many great albums in him, but can he learn to trim the fat? Instead of releasing 3 albums a year, maybe he could release one great album a year, and a few months afterward he could tease us with a brilliant EP.

On most of the Ryan Adams chat boards I looked at today, the one constant is the song Halloweenhead. People seem to love it or hate. I like it! The album clocks in at just under 40 minutes. This is a very solid effort, and probably one of the year's best so far.

In other news, my birthday is quickly approaching. I'm not really excited, but I'm looking forward to some QT with RW and a good meal. We're planning to see Sicko on Sunday and it's suppose to be 100 degrees that day. I might melt.

I've gained 3 pounds. I thought you were suppose to lose weight in the summer...? I'm just a little slow at adjusting to this heat wave we've been having. I need to get my butt in gear!

My Top 5 Ryan Adams albums (excluding WhiskeyTown)

5. Easy Tiger
4. Cold Roses
3. Love is Hell (part 1)
2. Demolition
1. Heartbreaker

"I wanna show you what I have inside, but you know those parts of me died."
-Ryan Adams

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend at the Movies

A Mighty Heart (R) 100 minutes B-
Starring Dan Futterman, Angelina Jolie, Archie Panjabi, Irfan Khan, Denis O'Hare, Will Patton, and Gary Wilmes

This is a heavy and intense film. Good acting and good direction, but this film left me sad and melancholy. It was another reminder of the sad state of affairs this world is in. That being said, if you read between the lines this film does try to illuminate the "international, multi-ethnic campaign to free Daniel Pearl while breaking down barriers between the characters and bringing them together (William Arnold, Seattle Post)."

Ocean's Thirteen (PG-13) 122 minutes B-
Starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, Al Pacino, Don Cheadle, Shaobo Qin, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, and Carl Reiner

If it ain't broke don't fix it. This latest installment pretty much covers the same ground as the two previous films. These guys are still cool, the movie is still predictable, but it's still fun. The Ocean's franchise is like the NBA all star game or the NFL pro bowl. No one really takes it seriously and it features entertainment over substance, but on display is some of the best talent and biggest names in the business.

This film is an improvement over Ocean's Twelve, but not good enough to warrant an Ocean's Fourteen.

You Kill Me (R) 92 minutes B-
Starring Ben Kingsley, Téa Leoni, Luke Wilson, Philip Baker Hall, Dennis Farina, and Bill Pullman

This film seemed a little ridiculous at the very beginning. But it quickly builds momentum and turns into a nice little flick. With dark comedy, dry humor, and an offbeat vibe, I settled in and became absorbed by the lead character (Kingsley).

In a nutshell, the film is about a hitman on the decline because his drinking has made him unreliable and sloppy. After botching a big hit (he passed out), he is forced to leave NY/NJ for San Francisco to get help and sober up.

There he meets at hot girl and a cool dude, and with a little help from his friends he puts his life back together. But, once a killer always a killer...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Daylight for the Broncos & Rockies

It has been a fairly uneventful week. I was working on a couple posts that never materialized, including one about Duncan Sheik's 2002 album, Daylight. It has taken me 5 years to realize that Daylight isn't just a catchy pop album. My theory (in a nutshell) is that it is a concept album about a deteriorated relationship, the reevaluation of self, and the rebirth of a new beginning.

I finished reading Lyrics of A Rap Revolutionary by Chuck D, it's a must read for hardcore Public Enemy fans, Hip Hop historians and/or aficionados. I also bought the new Woody Allen collection of short stories, Mere Anarchy, Rufus Wainright's latest, Release the Stars, and Athlon's Football preview 2007.

In the football preview it predicts the Broncos to finish 2nd to the Chargers in the AFC West, and not make the playoffs for the second consecutive season. It also picks Dallas vs New England in the Superbowl.

After scanning Athlon's piece about the Broncos, it further magnified the realization that Jay Cutler holds the key to the Broncos season. On paper the Broncos look like a very strong team, assuming they can avoid key injuries and psychological pitfalls of a tragic offseason. But I wonder if Culter is really ready to lead this team to the promise land. He's had a hand full of starts and an entire offseason to absorb Shanahan's offense... hopefully that is good enough.

That preview was also a reminder of how awful the Raiders were last year. Andrew Walter threw 3 TD's and 13 Int's last season, while Aaron Brooks tossed a pathetic 3 TD's and 8 Int's. Talk about QB issues... Yeah, they drafted JaMarcus Russell but I expect there to be a 1 to 2 year learning curve.

I did have a nice visit with my niece and my brother when they came over on Saturday, and the Rockies game Saturday night was most enjoyable. The Rockies are playing well and I think they may have turned the corner. I'm not saying their going to win the NL West but they are finally showing signs of a competitive ball club.

"I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time."
- Charles Schulz

Monday, June 11, 2007

Joyce Carol Oates

Tonight I met legendary author Joyce Carol Oates at the Tattered Cover. As usual I had nothing witty, intelligent or funny to say... I'm sure she was unimpressed by my banter and my lame joke.

Nevertheless it was a good book signing, and it was fascinating to hear the stories behind the stories. Oates has an alluring quality about her that is both charming and mysterious. I'm glad I had this opportunity to meet one of the great American writers of our time.

"Confusion is always the most honest response." - Marty Indik

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Away from Her - Movie Review

Away from Her (NR) 110 minutes B
A mind is a terrible thing to waste

Starring Julie Christie, Michael Murphy, Gordon Pinsent, Olympia Dukakis, Kristen Thomson, Wendy Crewson, Alberta Watson, Thomas Hauff, and Katie Boland

Once in a while a film comes along that quietly explores the soul of a man without really expressing it in words. Away from Her is such a film. Adapted from a short story by Alice Munro, Away from Her is a mature and humanistic look at a 44 year marriage, and the inner workings of their unspoken hurt, love and regret. Directed by Canada native Sarah Polley, the film is remarkably evolved and pensively expressive. This being her first feature film, Polley shows tremendous poise. She is also aided by an Oscar worthy performance from fellow Canadian Gordon Pinset, and a piquant performance by the enduring and elegant Julie Christie. Olympia Dukakis delivers in a limited but substantial role, as does a relatively unknown actress named Kristen Thomson.

Dealing with the onset of Alzheimer's disease, Grant (Pinset) and Fiona (Christie) have taken up residency in Northern Ontario and have resigned to a life of reading and leisurely outdoor activities. On the surface their long time marriage seems unbreakable, but so often the case in many of our lives, secret emotions and desires have gone unresolved. For me, this film is a reminder of how bittersweet, fragile and powerful love can be.

Away from Her is a slow moving but rewarding film. When it comes to love, you never know how things will turn out... but you almost do.
In other news, another weekend has almost expired. Today was a better day than yesterday, and once again I've been in one of those "I need to make some changes" moods. It's a mindset that's a little depressing, a little uplifting, but mostly reoccurring. I've told myself that actions speak louder than words, so it's time to start doing and stop saying. Which reminds me of a song
by Michael Penn, he states that "it's much more subtle to be the silent type."

My mother told me a few days ago that she has to give herself an insulin shot everyday due to her diabetes. What happens if she forgets a day? I was talking to an old friend earlier this week who has lost particle vision in one eye and all of her teeth, thanks to diabetes. Tonight, as I talked with my mother, she reminded me that she has lost some of her teeth and her vision is occasionally blurry when her blood sugar is high. Diabetes is a dirty whore!

On a lighter note, the Sopranos last episode was good, but anti-climatic. Woody Allen's new book is out this week, it is called Mere Anarchy. Go out and buy it! It's going to be brilliant. Also out this week is the remastered deluxe edition of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation, a bona fide classic for those of you who don't know.

Paris Hilton... I don't care, but I think it's funny that people are so annoyed and are asking "why Paris Hilton is such a big news story?" HELLO! Have you ever watched television before! This is par for the course.

This is the last post I will ever write... oh I've changed my mind again, good night and thank you.

The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 1:00 A.M.
- Charles Pierce

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Perfect Blue Buildings

I'm listening to one of my all time favorite albums tonight, Counting Crows - August and Everything After. This album is brilliant and flawless. Listening to it makes me wanna pick up my guitar and get all introspective. I should start playing again, I don't know why I ever stopped...

I also got Chuck D's new book in the mail today, Lyrics of a Rap Revolutionary. I've already started reading it, and so far so great.

All of this is very inspiring.

"She can't stop shaking , I can't stop touching her" -Adam Duritz, Anna Begins

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Because we don't look like you

I haven't done much writing today so I thought I'd spew a few words before I crawl into bed and read for awhile.

Yesterday I made a rare appearance at the gym. I went around 6pm and the place was packed full of people. I had to alter my workout, but it didn't matter because everything on this body needs work. As I was sitting at the chest press machine, I noticed a big girl doing dumbbell flies in front of the mirror. She was caucasian, about 5'5, 200+ lbs, and definitely the minority among a crowd of skinny to midsized sweaty people.

She didn't appear to be there with anyone that I noticed, and she seemed very focus on her arm curls, dumbbell flies, or whatever she was doing. I wondered if she was nervous or felt uncomfortable. From my distant view she seemed fine. Watching her reminded me of all the times I have been the minority, or as my friend Brian says... "the terd in the punchbowl".

I thought about all the concerts I have been too where I was the only brown face (excluding security and staff), and all the awkward dinners and gatherings I've attended where I was the terd in the punchbowl. Some of those occasions were uncomfortable, but for the most part, as long as I'm with my friends it doesn't matter.

I like seeing big girls at the gym. For some women/men who are overweight, I would imagine that going to a crowded gym is not always comfortable. Hell, I'm 5'10 193 (lbs) and most of the time I don't feel comfortable at the gym. Those of you that know me, know that I love an underdog. That girl at the gym yesterday was an underdog... at least in my eyes.

I'm not saying just because she's fat, she has low self esteem or shouldn't be at the gym during peak hours. I'm saying that I know people that wouldn't have the confidence to be there when she was there... and more power to her! Just like I know some black folks that wouldn't go to a concert or certain social events if they knew they would be the only brown face in the crowd (and stand out like a terd in a punchbowl).

In other news, last night (after the gym) I attempted to duplicate Hooter's buffalo style shrimp. I even marinated the shrimp in Frank's Red Hot Sauce for 24 hours prior. Long story short, the shrimp were no where near as good as Hooters... but they were edible. Instead of deep frying them I tried a healthy alternative and oven fried (baked) them.

I also wanted to run a few potential band names and album titles by you guys. The following is a list of band names and/or album titles I've come up with over the years (I realize some of these stink).

The Onion Tears
The Rusted Handle
Penetration Park
Saddie's Hammer
Black boy standing at the edge of the world
New Mexico

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Knocked Up - Movie Review

Knocked Up (R) 129 minutes A
Starring Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and Martin Starr

If you liked the film The 40 Year Old Virgin, you will love Knocked Up. It is astounding and very impressive that Writer/Director Judd Apatow was able to follow up The 40 Year Old Virgin with an equally brilliant and equally funny- Knocked Up.

Ben (Seth Rogen) is an average, run-of-the-mill, underachieving pothead. As luck would have it, Ben hits the jackpot when he meets the beautiful, vulnerable and overachieving Alison (Katherine Heigl). Aided by lots of alcohol, the two end up indulging in a drunken night of passion. A night that results in pregnancy.

From the film's title, you probably figured out the premise even before reading this review, but that doesn't hinder the brilliance and the acumen of the story. The writing here is witty, well-balanced and hilarious, it makes me wonder how lesser, more formulaic comedies ever see the light of day. Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote, "ridiculous comedies can be fine, but the ones that matter creep up close to the truth. This one lives in it."

Ben and Alison aren't the only couple in turmoil in the film. Pete (the brilliant Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) have their own special set of problems as a married couple that have grown comfortably miserable and are on the verge of imploding. Pete and Debbie are just as entertaining as Ben and Alison, and the two parallel relationships are a perfect contrast.

Everything in this film blends together very well and despite being a little long for a romantic comedy, this film lives up to the hype! For a good laugh, go see this film. Run, don't walk to the theater!

*PS - Please feel free to respond to my blog. Anyone can respond!
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