Friday, September 28, 2007

A Letter to All the Lonely Numbers

Dear all you marked single, swinger, cod, or skirt,

After about 3 solid months in the ones column (but really, if you break it down it's been a little longer), I finally came to this little revelation today, and I'd like to pass it along to anyone who wants to agree or disagree with it. This might be common knowledge that I'm just discovering, so please excuse my naivety, as I'm fairly new to this whole confidence game.

Many things happened over the last month and a half which have brought me to this idea of mine. Definitely the most prominent was/are the antics of a little fucking douchebag creep giving out single servings of "hickeys" to ex-girlfriends...but let's not dwell on that nonsense, because like my mugging a couple months ago, the happenings have ended up helping, not hurting.

Okay, okay, enough prologue, let's get to the point. The dance floor (by dance floor I mean singles scene, but dance floor sounds cooler) is a peculiar and sexy temptress. On one hand, you've got to suck up your belly, pride, and confidence all at once and initiate conversation with a person you don't even know. First impressions are a cold hard bitch, so the first step ain't the easiest by a long shot. But then once you do get past the inaugural "hello," it's time to start getting sized up. You start juggling, and this person you introduced yourself to is seeing just what kinds of objects you can keep in the air. "Okay, he can handle tennis balls, so let's try throwing a pirate sword into the mix." "Okay, he handled the pirate sword with some dry wit and then casual touched my shoulder, so let's throw a live porcupine in the air and see how he handles that." And that's the way the dance begins. Every. Single. Time.

So by now, either you've dropped a few items and ran off stage, or you've kept everything in the air and basically said "Listen, I'm obviously an amazing performer, so let's get casual, okay?" You buy them a drink. You get into it. And here's the next roadblock. My friend, who is not me but has the same mother as me and is not my sister, thinks a nice girl is going to be turned off by his personality, once he reveals the real brother deep down. And to that I say horse puckey! My main argument comes in here: if you think they're going to judge you for who you are, why don't you just fire right back and judge them for who they are not.
Example: I am now quite comfortable going out on a Saturday night wearing a t-shirt, jeans, my shit hot air force ones, and maybe a little scruff on my face. And when I'm out and I've knocked out the first two steps on the dance floor, I'm going to highlight the fact that I frequently enjoy comic books, I watch dangerously high doses of TV, have an intense obsession with food, or will kiss Deric on the face if it gets a laugh. And I don't care who laughs, as long as somebody does. And if she has a problem with anything you happen to mention about yourself, you're the not one with a problem. Why doesn't she like comic books? Because they're nerdy? Nope. Certain comics are awesome. I'm not at the comic store every Wednesday picking up the new X-Men or what-have-you, but I do enjoy an issue of Scud, the Goon, or the latest Doug TenNapel every now and again. Or how about TV? I'm a huge fan of the show Angel. Why? Because it's a great fucking show, end of explanation. What does she read? What does she watch? Is she funny, or just good looking? Because looks ain't looks without a sense of humor. And in my book, looks don't exist without a sense of humor.

So instead of "categories" of people -- "frat boys" "wallflowers" "geeks" "dweebs" "motorheads" "assholes" "dickheads" "sluts" "prudes" "waifs" "cockblockers" "annoying friends" -- let's start implementing "individualities." Yes, this is sort of "everybody is a unique snowflake," but not really. Because you will meet people who are similar. Who are unoriginal. Who are dull, boring, rude, smug, shitty. But how does that shittiness bounce off of you? Maybe you're a little shitty yourself. There is no ideal candidate for your ballot. It's politics, but right now, everybody should get 1% of the vote. If you even vote at all. Everyone's in the race, and your vote can go in any direction, because there's plenty of time until the polls open.

I've battled self-esteem issues pretty much nonstop since the 8th grade. (What's up 'injury to my happy place'?) Didn't get laid in high school. Always wore other people's nicer clothes when I went out during college. Spent 5 years with a girl who, at the end, told me she was no longer physically attracted to me, but wanted to stay together because she loved me (I'm sorry, was that more an insult or compliment. Maybe it was an implement. A knife to my brain, heart, and crotch at the same time.) So the whole confidence racket has been a tough one for me to break into. But I think I'm there, thanks in no small part to Deric's lucky red shoes, but also to the fact that I'm going to be me, and if you don't like me, you can fuck right off. The Hauzes are awesome. Some say we're cursed...but maybe it's our own fault for growing up with a black cat. Fucking Phoebe, always doing something to fuck us over. But seriously, there is no curse, and there is no raised bar that you have to meet. It's the dance floor and people are dancing.

You are you and you need to be you. "She won't like me because I'm an asshole." So go out and find an asshole who will give it right back to you. "I'm not attractive." No you're not, you're just not comfortable in your shoes. Get more comfortable shoes. "I've got no game." There is no game. I tried to get game once, and I was told I didn't have it. So instead, I started acting like myself. And surprise, it's working. "I'm too fucked up for someone to be able to handle me." Yeah, that's probably right. But they're fucked up too. Don't you realize that yet? Everybody is fucked up. There are wars fought everyday over what mythical ghost people think everyone should believe in. Shows like Arrested Development and Firefly get cancelled, while shows like According to Jim and Two and a Half Men are now in syndication, their creators now very rich. Family members are estranged. Soulmates don't end up together. Verizon is always going to find a way to fuck you out of money. Hickeys are annoying whether they are on your neck or inside your ex-girlfriend. Fallout Boy is going to continue to exist. Things are fucked up everywhere. What makes you think people aren't the same? People is where fuckups come from. It's a vicious cause & effect world. You want to lock yourself in your room for a month, but then how are you going to pay rent? Shit's tough, so man up.

Fuck the Secret. Fuck the Game. Fuck any rules about the dance floor you've been told. Confidence is you. And I'm not going to write a book about it. In fact, this blog's a little too long, and if you're still reading, then do this: put on the comfortable shoes and get the fuck out there. Because it's a great fucking time. And even if things don't go in the optimum direction, you'll still have food and TV waiting for you at the end of the day, and two out of three ain't bad.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Big Sur, later that day...

I've never really traveled. Never been out of the country. Don't really vacation. I've been to Key West three times, that's the big one so far. I've been to New Orleans. Detroit. LA. Maine. Let's see...Ohio. The great IL. Wisconsin.

All stink in comparison to Big Sur/Monterey, California. I'm here for work, and work means driving up and down Rt. 1 all day. It's amazing.
I'm not one to take pictures of myself. And I'm not one to be impressed by nature. But today both happened. Big Sur might just be the most breathtaking thing mine eyes have ever seen. I didn't really need another reason to move out to CA, but this sure didn't hurt.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Big Sur

After a blur of a weekend (but from what I remember it was a nice blur), I've made my way out west for the week, finding myself in Big Sur today. Figures this crazy week would be the same week as most of the new TV premieres. Still managed to catch Chuck for the 2nd time last night. But I missed HIMYM. Stinks. Bless iTunes, though.

Hopefully I'll be able to find the time later today or tomorrow to jot down something somewhat amusing. But for now, nod your head to Phantom Planet and pretend the OC never'll help you enjoy the song a little more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Be. Here. Now. A Retrospective.

So, this entry comes as a response to the AV Club’s snobby, elitist, douchebag article that equated 1997 as the new 1967, listing a bunch of records I would never own, and apparently have no taste because of that fact. Hey, AV Club writers, we’ve already got a Pitchfork, get a new slant. Meanwhile, it got me thinking to that glorious year of 1997, and a record rich in taste. The taste of awesome…sprinkled with some cocaine.

Be Here Now came out in 1997, in so honor of its 10 year anniversary, I’m teaming up with the biggest Oasis fan this side of the pond, the one and only Michael P. Collins, for a little give and take, track by heavily-overdubbed track, of Oasis’ love letter to, um, something I’m sure, but who really can remember when you do all that coke. (Mike's responses are in italics)

D’you Know What I Mean? (7:44)-
Aces, just aces. Start with countless guitar overdubs (a running theme on this record), some backwards effects, maybe a little helicopter, some wah-wah, and just groove on it. We’re singing about Manchester, lads, so obviously we don’t need to get to the second verse until well into the third minute. Also, the tried and true Em-G-D-A (capo 2nd) is in effect here, as it was on previous hits.

I remember hearing this track for the first time on the radio and thinking “wow, that’s a long intro.” That is, until I heard the album version, which tacked on an additional 45 seconds of a car racing down the road—right into that long intro. What was that about? It’s easy to blame the cocaine for such excess (and rightly so). But think about this: three years before the band had no record deal. Fast forward that time and they’re the biggest band in the world, making one of the most anticipated records in years. So, if someone (Noel) announces, “eh ar’ let’s hav a fookin’ car on the album”, you nod yer head, and put yer money where yer mouth is.

But back to the track. Like Brett, I agree: this track is ace. I like how Noel sounds like he’s saying “fuck”. But it’s backwards so he isn’t. Who ever said Oasis wasn’t clever? Liam sounds pissed off on this one. Nice. I still think it’s a annoying that the chords ARE THE EXACT SAME used in “Wonderwall”. Also, Noel, lazy as he is, sticks two Beatles song titles in the lyrics—back to back. “The Fool on the Hill and I Feel Fine”. Genius? You decide.

My Big Mouth (5:02)-
When I bought this CD on the day it came out, I took it up to my room, slapped on a pair of headphones, and let the music do the talking. It worked for track 1. I’m not going to lie…about five seconds into this track, I skipped to track 3. I’m not the biggest My Big Mouth fan. I’ll let Michael weigh in on this one a little further.

I have to disagree. From day one (August 26, 1997-its on the album cover trainspotters!!) to the present, I have loved this song. Liam’s vocal is killer and the pre-chorus is the best Noel’s has ever written. I read somewhere that there are 33 rhythm guitar tracks on this track. Bonehead plays one of them. By the way, after the track ends, you’ve been listening to this record for 12:46 seconds. It’s a long ride.

Magic Pie (7:19)-
Now let’s remember its 1997, and I don’t know jack shit about music. Sure, I owned a bass (a beautiful one that I still rip it up on), and I could pluck a tune, but I was still learning my way around a song. So when I first heard Magic Pie…I was blown the fuck away. Sure, he’s singing about a magic pie, whatever the fuck that is, but the chord progression, the mood, the feedback, the Noel…it all worked. And it only took about five or six years to realize that this song is shit. Glorious, glorious shit. I love it.

Yeh, I never really liked this, notwithstanding the fact a friendship was started because of a discussion regarding this track (a firm handshake to Brett). The hit hat is too loud in the mix, which is saying a lot for Be Here Now. They put Stay Young here and they could have shifted another 500,000 copies and notched another half-star in a review or two.

Stand By Me (5:56)-
This was my favorite when I first heard the album. Liam snarls his ways through this one (I bet it was one take, I’d bet the farm) and Noel riffs his ways over everything. Verses, chorus, outro’s. EVERYTHING! In all seriousness, the string arrangement is class—an over looked fact. Oasis has always done strings tastefully.

Good tune. I don’t have any real emotional connection to this song, but if I remember correctly my brother loves it. This song, in title only, was also a huge hit for Ben E. King, but I’m sure Noel doesn’t give a shite.

I Hope, I Think, I Know (4:22)-
Not counting the All Around the World reprise, this is the shortest song on the record. I hadn’t listened to this one in a long time until now…and it still kicks ass.

This is the “Hey Now” of the record. Best line: “You’ll never forget my name”. Noel was too lazy (high) to write a second verse, so the first one is repeated twice—except the pronouns are different the second time around. Was that a game time decision. Me thinks, yes.

The Girl in the Dirty Shirt (5:47)-
This one falls in the Magic Pie category of me going absolutely apeshit when I first heard it. Who’s the girl in the dirty shirt? I dunno, but she inspired a cracking tune. That outro still gets me, with the slick keys in the background, and Noel’s high harmony (does he ever do a harmony that isn’t a high harmony?). Tops.

Agreed. Again, the pre-chorus is the best part. Noel was writing great pre-chorus’ then. For the record, the Girl in the Dirty Shirt was Noel’s first wife. Guess things weren’t going to well when the best thing he could say about his misses is that she wears a dirty shirt. They divorced in 2000. Love fades in and fades out doesn’t it………

Fade In-Out (6:52)-
…..what a segue way. This tune is awful and sounds like bad Bon Jovi (“Dead or Alive”). How long do we get to listen to the band hold on the D sus2 chord before Liam instructs to “get on the rollercoaster”? Too long. Next.

This one, like My Big Mouth, was a song I normally skipped over in 1997. Actually, 10 years later, I think I still skip over this one. But that’s Johnny Depp on the slide!

Don’t Go Away (4:48)-
Ballad. Single. Great. I used to think the lyric was “…cos I need more time, just to make these rhymes…” which I thought was bollocks. But it’s “…cos I need more time, just to make things right…” which makes a lot more sense. I was 16 and wet behind the ears.

Ah, that’s better. The best song on the album. Liam’s best vocal ever. And again, a class French horn arrangement. And I love how Noel removed his index finger off the last C chord. Listen for it in the left speaker. One more thing, there are sleigh bells on this track. Did anyone ever notice that?!

Be Here Now (5:13)-
Title track. “Your shit jokes remind me of Digsy’s.” Good whistle. I don’t really have much else to say about this one. Because…

“Flash your pan at the song that I’m singing. Touchdown bass, living on the run. Make no sweat of the hole that you’re digging”………

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

All Around the World (9:20!!!!)-
Cingular is now the new AT&T. Thank god, because now this song is immortal, which is how I felt when I first heard it. This is another one of my brother’s favorites. I mean, the song’s almost 10 minutes long. And there’s a reprise at the end of the record. Oasis! Oasis! Oasis!

Way too long. But a great track. Great horn arrangement too. I have Cingular, too. Any self respecting Oasis fan would.

It’s Gettin’ Better (Man!) (6:59)-
This is a great song. A truly great lost Oasis classic, with some decent lyrics for once. And how about the middle bit?! As close to a jam as Oasis would ever get. I would love to know how many times Noel and Liam sing “we’re getting better man”, at the end. 35 times, maybe?!
This one I always lump together with the title track. I don’t know why they always remind me of one another, they just do. Did this song need to be 7 minutes? Short answer: yes.

All Around the World (Reprise) (2:08)-
No Beatles influence here. Come on, what a fitting end to the biggest record of 1997. For the record, the only two tracks to make me and Mike’s Oasis Supermix where D’You Know What I Mean and All Around the World, but listening to it now, I wish we would have put the reprise on there too, as the last track.

Oasis never leaves you wanting more, do they? At least not here. The tune ends with the shutting of a door. The closing of an era perhaps? Maybe. I’d like to think it was the man driving the car at the beginning of “D’ya know what I mean?.” He arrived home. Exhausted. Listening to Be Here Now will do that. I bet he was thinking “Where is the bass?”

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

It's okay, I'm a doctor

How is this thing not called "Doctor Wood Splitter?" You've gone out of your way to put the "DR" in front of your product name, why not spend the extra time to make that DR mean latin....

The doctor will see you now

You've got the infomercial that hooked me...why would you let me down like that? Oh right, probably because you're spending your time making infomercials.

And I'm spending my time editing video that are basically infomercials.

Fuck it, I've got a music video to plan. And a demo reel to edit.

San Francisco says hello, see you on Thursday New York. I never thought a place existed outside of New York that had more crazy people per square block. Then I came to SF. A woman tried to punch me yesterday. For no reason. Well, surely she had her own reasons, but none that would've made sense to me. Wait...would? Wood? Dr. Wood Splitter? I probably wood have needed him yesterday if that punch wood've landed.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

In Search of the Perfect Karaoke Song...

Last night found me in another karaoke bar, but this one topped the others. This one, in the vicinity of St. Marks, was a fine Japanese establishment that actually had private rooms, like the one in Lost in Translation. (Naturally, I've never been to Japan, so I can only make a pop culture reference, as usual.)

We didn't get a private room, because the main bar area got pretty crazy as the night wore on, and I spent the night, aside from getting pretty hammered off Sapporo and Sake (ah, Sake, its like getting drunk on boiled Rice Krispies), trying to figure out the perfect song to sing along to. Now, this is an ongoing struggle for me. Sure, you've got your easy crowd-pleasers: Elton John, U2, Oasis, even Billy Joel or some 80's throwback. But I'm constantly trying to up my game. Maybe some Kenny Loggins? Maybe some Elvis? Or even the Kenny Rogers classic "What Condition My Condition Was In."

The key to good karaoke is not to sing a song you personally love, or a song you think people will recognize, because it's not about that. It's about getting that vibe going in the room as you belt it out. People don't need to know the words, they're on the screen. People don't need to like the song, because you'll do that for them. You have to croon. You have to sing to the ladies. So you gotta pick a song that's going to do that. The main example is The Cable Guy:

I mean, Jefferson Airplane...just a classic choice. Judd Apatow once again, ladies and gentlemen.

So what did I do? I didn't toe the line, I just sang a sure hit. Oasis...Don't Look Back in Anger...again. I crooned. I sang to some ladies. And I found a pocket of folks in the corner who sang along every word with me. It wasn't my best performance (that would be the time a couple years ago when I sang Elton John's Your Song and had a girl asking to go home with me afterwards...nice), but it was still pretty solid. Sigh.

It's have so many Japanese cocktails and you grow impatient. The song selection books are huge, and how are you supposed to wade through all those thousands of songs to find the right one for the right moment for the right crowd? So I think I'll start carrying a "karaoke grocery list" with me, for just these cases. But that's going to be a process. But the next time I'm faced with a karaoke will be legendary.

And not like this poor bastard: