Monday, December 14, 2009

Thing I will do when I graduate, part six

Spy on the neighbors more.

Thing I will do when I graduate, part five

Finish reading

so I can start reading

or maybe

Also, it is about damn time I finish this:

Monday, December 07, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thing I will do when I graduate, part one

Watch Bill Murray Stripes because Ted told me to back in May, then followed up today. I want to stop disappointing him.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Can I graduate?

To answer your first question, this is the second time 3EB has been featured on You Know How I Do. I like them a lot more now than I did 16 months ago. I'm always 10 years behind. I have even taken a liking to going to Pandora and listening to a "Never Let You Go" station I created. If you ever liked The Box, this is Pandora station I would recommend.

Your second question is likely something along the lines of, Can you, man?
Yeah, probably.

(I will update you soon on my life of leaving my house at 5:30 a.m. and not coming back home until 7 or 8:00 p.m., and sometimes not until 1:00 a.m.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

My favorite band...

Yo La Tengo plays Salt Lake City this evening. I don't think I'll be going on account of it being at Urban Lounge (shows don't start until 10 or 11) and me having/getting to be at my internship at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. Grown man business. Thrice I have seen them, though, and they have disappointed not once. Even when they played the stupid Twighlight Nights (or whatever it is called) at the Gallivan Center, it was enjoyable.

The above songs are from Yo La Tengo's most recent album, Popular Songs. It's great. After 20+ years and 15-ish albums, they still throw out quality albums with some fresh tunes, always managing to do something a little bit different.

James, I hope you listen to these and learn, and like.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

?uestlove, Spin (June 2008)

"By 1996, '97, some hip-hop gatekeepers were like, 'Okay, we'll let you play some of our reindeer games.' And at that point, an underground hip-hop scene had formed, inspired by the Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito [radio] show at Columbia University. That's sort of when Rick Nichols said the only way that our music was really going to make sense was if it was contextualized and compared to something else -- we basically got to do some Moses/Noah-type shit. So we made this list of everybody in hip-hop we needed to associate ourselves with. We went to our A&R and said, 'Look, in order for us to work, we have to have a movement. This is more than just a single and the right song.' So we spent all of 1997 and all of 1998 building. That meant us going to Common saying, 'Yo, don't you wanna be on a real major, where they spend money on you?' And he's like, 'Oh yeah.' So our first priority was getting Common off [indie label] Relativity, bringing him over by any means -- that was number one. Then, [Geffen] signed Black Star, plus Mos Def and Talib Kweli separately. And D'Angelo and I had cemented our relationship, so it was starting to look like a movement. Then, the second wave of the alternative hip-hop thing arrived in 1999. A lot of it was the commercial backlash to Puffy, a lot of it was the promise of something new. Erykah Badu comes through, Jill Scott. Suddenly, we make sense."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adderall, my aim is true

Ah, July 26. It was ten years ago today that I landed in Canada -- one of the worst days of my life. I had just seen my family after 19 days away from them and I was now in a place that had side-wards traffic lights and big, circular bales of hay sitting on the medians of the highways. Thinking about it now, it was probably bales of weeds -- Edmonton's way of sprucing up. Anyway, I hated Edmonton for seeming so close to Utah but appearing so odd -- even though most things were similar. I hated my mission president, who suddenly became the authority figure in my life. Then, his wife told me that I needed to learn to clean out my shower with a squeegee. Yeah, a squeegee. Her tone was a bit off-putting, as well.

Over the next few months, all of that changed. It took some time, but I became a pretty good missionary. I loved my mission president, and developed a close relationship with him (aka A.P.). I came home eight years (and 15 days) ago motivated to make something of myself.

Now, my plan was to be good at school, but to kind of drag it out. I thought finishing college meant getting a career, and getting a career meant getting a boring life. But, the plan wasn't to be finishing up school as a 29-year-old. I was hoping to be done by about 26, or thereabouts. Folks who are 26 are old and boring anyway (to 21-year-old me), so I figured it'd be a great age to be finished.

My first class was a computer course. Fellow named Orgil or something taught it. He was a George McFly type, only a bit on the ornery side. Our first assigned homework was to read the first chapter of the book. A breeze, I thought to myself. Little did I know that chapters in textbooks are 48 pages long for some ridiculous reason. Still, I was going to give it the ol' College Try (literally, and I literally mean 'literally'). Twenty minutes in, I was two pages in, and I hadn't learned anything. It was frustrating. I tried a few more times, but to no avail. I strubbled, I mean 'struggled' in that class. I thought it might just be the adjustment to both being home and my first semester of college. By my third semester, though, I figured out that I probably had ADD.

I didn't do anything about it, though. There were a lot of reasons. I wanted to learn to control my mind. I didn't want to have excuses. I didn't want to be one of those people who think having a 'problem' makes them interesting. I didn't want to take a drug that in any way altered or controlled my brain. I thought that I just needed to work a little harder on focusing -- if that didn't work, then I'd see a doctor. But, I didn't know what doctor to see. Do normal doctors know how to deal with this? I also figured that this was one of those things that a lot of people went to the doctor thinking they had (as an excuse or a 'problem'), so the doctor would just brush me off or something. Also, I admit, that I was worried that I would end up NOT having ADD. Then what would I do? Did it mean I was stupid?

Anyway, I chipped away at school. I'd sign up for two or three classes and endure the ones I didn't fall behind in. Me and classes that talked bout ethos, pathos and logos lasted a month, tops. In a semester, two classes was the norm, three classes was a feat, one class was not an unheard of occurrence.

In 2005, I saw the error of my plan to take my time in school. I remember realizing this at this party at the house of these douchey acquaintances of some of my friends. They were done with school and doing what they wanted (even if those things they were doing were lame things). A graduate doesn't necessarily need a career, I learned. So, I decided to get a little more serious. And I did. My course load didn't increase, but my aim became more true.

In May 2008, my little sister graduated. That's when I got depressed. The best case scenario would have me graduating a year from that day(ended up not happening). I would be graduating at age 29. That seemed to old for someone who had been in school since 2001.

Fall semester 2008, I took two of my most difficult classes. They were they first classes I had taken that actually required the students to use the textbooks. There was no way to get by without them. I knew this about one of the classes, Mass Media Law, before it even started, so I was prepared. I worked harder than I ever had, and I struggled. I passed both, but it was torture. It was the first time in my life that I wondered if I was stupid.

Lisa (with whom I have this blog) talked me into getting tested for ADD. I hated feeling stupid, and I also figured that a married fellow needed to have all of his wits about him, so I finally went in two days before I got married.

Just as I had worried about, the doctor was skeptical. My family didn't have a (known) history of ADD, which I guess is crucial. She told me that ADD is something that doesn't just pop up, it starts affecting people when they are younger. I thought about it, and traced it back to when I was in elementary school. I just hadn't realized it until then. She still wasn't convinced. Then I mentioned two things: 1) I'm still in school and have been for eight years and 2) I spent four hours packing for my honeymoon and got practically nothing done.

That lit a fire. She pulled up two tests on her computer, and I ADD-aced them. The tests aren't really accurate assessments, but I was looking pretty severe. So, she prescribed Adderall.

I'm surprised how much things changed. Paying attention in class became possible with a little bit of effort. Studying a textbook became easy without much effort (most times). I was better at buckling down and getting my job done at work. As I mentioned, before Adderall, it took me hours to pack for vacations. A few weeks after I started on the drug, Bryton and I moved out of my old house in less than two hours. My eyes were also opened to how much I hated the way hipsters dressed. Seriously. I also was able to conclude that dudes who wear V-neck shirts are the new douchebags in the world.

Adderall is a controlled substance, though, so it isn't without its downside. Sometimes, like right now, I can't sleep. Occasionally, I am really sensitive about stupid things. Other times, I am moody. Oh, and I have a tendency to zone things out: If I am talking to somebody, or watching a show, and someone else comes and starts talking to me, I have noticed -- or they have -- that I am not at all paying attention. (I think I have improved this a lot in the last few months.)

But overall, Adderall is a pretty good drug. It doesn't automatically give me focus. I still have to work for it. After almost 29 years of my brain roaming if it wanted to, roaming around the world, it can be hard to reel it in. I need to do a lot more training of my new capacity to focus to I have less times where my mind goes nuts.

This is long, and I apologize. I've been meaning to write my little Ode to Adderall for about five months now. I knew it would end up being long, and therefore would take a lot of time to write, and that because of its length, hardly anybody would end up reading it. Oh, well. I needed to write this love letter so that Addy new my true feelings.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Ten years ago today, I went into the MTC (never to return).

Perhaps I need this show in me life

I took this clip from my old house(/play)mate Danny's blog (well, one of his blogs). I have been hearing buzz from folks I know about Eastbound and Down, but this is the first I've seen of it. Though it is only 20 seconds, it is 20 seconds of killing me.

It seems like Danny McBride at his greatest doing what he does greatest.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I think I'm losing my mind this time, this time I'm losing my mind

I don't want to distract from my last post, the one about my woman and I's new duo blog, but...

The Beastie Boys were on Jimmy Fallon a few nights ago, and while the interview was awkward at times the performance of "What'cha Want" with the Roots was incredible.

I've got a bit of a thing for MCA. I have since way before I even liked the Beastie Boys. Remember NBA Jam? Well, on Super Nintendo, there were secret codes that let you be the Beastie Boy of your choosing. MCA's face in early-90s video game technology looked the coolest, so I would choose him. Soon thereafter, I would hit three straight (sure) shots, and for a minute or so afterward, all of MCA's shots were accompanied by a flame trailing the ball. "He's on fire!" the video game announcer would say.

The Jimmy Fallon performance reminded me of the time when I realized the Beastie Boys were cool beyond the "Sabotage" video (and NBA Jam). It was when they were on Letterman in about 2004. Watch:

***But I didn't get any Beastie Boys albums until Lisa let me borrow all of hers except "Hello Nasty" because she doesn't like it.***

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remind me to spend some good time with you

In the last two months, I have done some stuff that I haven't mentioned or posted pictures of on here. I will rectify that in the next few weeks.

My woman and I have started a side project that will keep you occupied until then -- and beyond. Take note of the fancy layout. (take note and leave note about it)

Check us out here

Here's me checking out that blog from this blog. Click the above link to see what I'm seein'.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Let's make friends with the cool kids just this once, she says

My weekend, in review:
Friday was great, but it was like standing on the edge of a steep cliff -- the rest of the weekend was going to be a huge drop. When I got home from work on Friday, Lisa gave me my last birthday present, Say Hi (To Your Mom)'s latest album, 'Oohs & Aahs'. I meant to get this when it came out on March 2, but it wasn't in stock at Graywhale the two times I stopped there, and I never made my way over to Slowtrain to see if they had it. I've only stopped into Slowtrain once, so I shouldn't give the impression that I'm a frequent there. I'm on my first listen right now, so it is too early to judge the album, but I'll post some songs or something.

When my woman and I got home from a walk around Liberty, I thought my legs had seen their action for the weekend. Within 30 minutes, though, I was proven wrong, and my legs once again proved their worth. Lisa, I, Bryton and Chris walked to Desert Edge to eat food. I got a burger when I should have gotten nachos. The burger was nice, but not as good as the nachos.

Afterwards, Lisa ditched us, so we met up with Scotty at Century 16 for a viewing of Star Trek. After watching the G.I. Joe trailer, the lights turned in the theater turned on and a fellow who had an essence of being in charge asked for our attention, as if we really had a choice. He said that the projecter bulb was on the fritz, but that it would be ready to roll in 10 minutes. Less than 10 minutes later, the G.I. Joe preview started up again. I'm disappointed in what I am seeing. It looks like they made a crappy science/action movie with people who had the same name as characters in G.I. Joe.

After the preview, the lights one again went on, and they same authoritative fellow came out, and once again asked, politely, for our attention. It isn't the bulb, he told us, the problem is deeper than that. The 9:30 showing of Star Trek would not happen, but we could stick around for the 10:30 showing, which we did, and were treated to a third viewing of the G.I. Joe trailer. Luckily, Scotty bought us all drinks with caffiene to help us stay awake until 1 a.m. The movie was downright enjoyable.

The weekend was all downhill from there. I spent Saturday preparing a talk for sacrament meeting, with running some errands in between. Lisa and I both were assigned to speak. I was also supposed to prepare a lesson for Elder's Quorum, but my talk was about marriage and I didn't have enough experience to say much, therefore I stayed up all night on Saturday night trying to write my talk. I finished about 30 minutes before our talks were due. Saturday did have a bright spot, though. Jefelicious and Brookelicious were up from their beloved Utah County and wanted to eat a dinner together. We chose Ruth's Diner, and I selected to eat some kind of burger that was awesome.

Lisa's talk on forgiveness was great, mine was okay. Lisa's wasn't just great because she passed out last time she was supposed to give a talk in church and swore she never would again, but because it had excellent content and a smooth delivery. I was so proud. I prepared my lesson during Sunday School, and it ended up going pretty great. We read two stories from the book, and the rest of the time we discussed. When class ended, I was so happy that the worst day of church of my life was over.

Last night, we watched Election. In the last three weeks have been filled with great movie-watching for me. In order of when I watched them, I have viewed the House Bunny, Empire Records (which I had seen before, but I liked it more than ever this time), Gone Baby Gone, Adventureland, Star Trek and Election. I thought about putting them in order of how much I enjoyed them, but there were too many close battles. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Adventureland would have been ranked number one, though. I'm trying to let some time pass before I make any bold declarations about this movie, but it is so awesome to me. Gone Baby Gone would have been number two. Question: is there anybody as good as Casey Affleck these days? Does anybody even come close? What he does in Gone Baby Gone and The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford have to be two of the best performances of the decade.

(I just remembered that I also watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I didn't really like it. The part with the Wave Speech was pretty cool, though)

Anyway, here's the best scene from Election. After how awesome this girl, Jessica Campbell, was in this and in Freaks and Geeks, it surprises me that she only has had six roles in her life, and none since 2002. Apparently, she is studying anthropology in California, but that doesn't seem like something a person would choose to do.

Also, since I stayed up all night on Saturday, Lisa thinks she can tell me when to go to bed. Last night, she drugged me. I'm being real.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A vote for Marsha is a vote for all that is good in the world

Marsha brought her talents out from under the bushel, as per usual, and designed a re-usable bag for the Design a Reusable Bag Contest at Smith's. Go and vote once a day so that she wins.

"It's #16061, Marsha E., SLC. It's a picture of clouds, unshnicked up." Marsh said.

I've done all the hard work for you by finding the page that her bag is on. At least, I hope this makes it easier. If not, go to square one, change the views per page to 50, make sure Smith's is selected, and sort by first name. Marsha's is on about page 23.

Don't even bother looking at the other entries. There's thousands of them, and they're all pornographic, and that's not how we want the children of the future to learn how to recycle.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Best Day of My Life, B.L.

5 May 2005

"Steve, shut the f__k up!"
On one hand, Chuck was totally justified to use such sharp words -- Steve should not be allowed to get away with this. On the other hand, though, you should never speak to a friend like that, your strong words being delivered with such sincerity.

I can't remember what Steve was singing, because I didn't even know at the time. Unlike him, my social circle for the last four months extended beyond my sister's kids, and my channel surfing reached higher than 7 and 11, or whatever channels PBS is on in the Washington D.C area. Even if I did know the words to silly kid's songs, I knew better than to sing them in a bathroom at an acoustic-enhanced high volume while dropping a deuce in the morning at a Lorraine, Ohio, Motel 6 while my jet-lagged friends were catching up on lost sleep in a time zone they were unaccustomed to. Especially Chuck. While Huggins and I arrived Tuesday night, Chuck's journey eastward was an all-night flight that didn't deliver him to us until Wednesday morning at about the exact time Huggins and I were waking up.

Wednesday didn't allow for a lot of rest time, either. We started by seeing the sights of the Nation's Capital, went to an Orioles game in Baltimore, and drove for hours until we ended up just outside of Cleveland.

"Chuck, be nice. Apologize to him," I said (nasally, if I remember correctly). Turns out, I'm big on friendliness when I am hardly awake. (Evidence has shown that I don't always have my wits about me when I am half-asleep)
It has been four years, but I remember Chuck mumbling some sort of apology or subtly showing some sort of remorse.

When I woke up an hour or so later, Steve was gone. I looked out the second floor hotel window, and his Toyota Corolla (silver) was gone. I was worried that Chuck's F-blast made him sad and he went on without us. In all the years I had known him, Steve was never ever the sensitive type, but maybe four months on the uptight east coast had made a hard man humble. Panic never set in, though, as I figured Steve would at least call, Chuck could apologize and Steve would come back. It would make things uncomfortable for the next four days, but at least we'd have a ride back to Utah.

Steve came back soon after we awoke and his feelings weren't at all hurt. I was happy to learn that the little guy still wasn't fragile. "I just went to Dunkin' Donuts and drove around by the lake," he said. I was as angry at him for not picking up doughnuts for the rest of us as Chuck was for him singing Schoolhouse Rock or whatever while we were sleeping. I communicated my anger much more maturely than Chuck -- through passive-aggressiveness, of course -- and we ended up going back to Dunkin' Donuts, where I discovered one of my mouth's favorite donuts of all-time. I can't remember all of the specifics, but it was glazed with a little bit of chocolate frosting and cream filling in the hole.

After devouring our doughnuts, we got back on the road and headed towards Detroit to see the Tigers play the Red Sox. Word on the street is things in Detroit are only getting worse, but it was weird to park in an area of almost-sky scrapers that were abandoned except for the squirrels running around in the windows.

Comerica Park (new Tiger Stadium) was as beautiful as the streets surrounding it were run-down. If not for the history and feel of Wrigley Field, Comerica would have been the best stadium we visited. The boringness of the game equaled the amount of beauty of the ballpark and the amount of barrenness of the nearby streets. Three things made the game worth it: 1) Getting the shirt to the right by filling out a credit card application on which I used Steve's address and phone number. 2) Teaming up with the fellows we hated who were sitting in the row behind us to make fun of a douchebag who showed up with a babe. ("He's as straight as a circle," were words that became the key one of them used to enter into the doors of Steve and I's hearts). 3) A fire breaking out in one of the tall buildings that were beyond the right field bleachers. The fire itself was interesting, but none of the local fans thinking it was a big deal made it hilarious. These three things and the incredible stadium were more than enough to make the Tigers-Red Sox game more than worth our time.

The rest of the day was ours, we just had to eventually end up in Chicago. Detroit is pretty close to Canada, so we decided to pay our neighbors to the north a visit. Problem is, we missed the exit ramp. We almost took a turn-off that would have taken us to an Indian Reservation. Huggins or Chuck wondered aloud, "Does that take us to Canada or an Indian Reservation?"
"I defy you to tell me the difference," I said. The crowd went wild, and the line would become my one good quip from the cross-country excursion.

So, Canada was a no-go. A few hours and an enormous traffic jam later, we found ourselves in Ann Arbor. We quickly found the University of Michigan's football field, aptly named The Big House. Due to construction on the bleachers, the entire stadium was lined with a fence. Huggins, Chuck and I climbed over the fences and entered the empty stadium, ignoring the signs that implied we weren't welcome on the premises. We ran down the stairs and onto the field, where we posed for pictures and played a few minutes of fake football. Three years and four months before Utah did it, we owned the Big House. In a text message to me today, Steve admitted that every time he sees Michigan play on television, he regrets not coming in with us.

Notre Dame was next on our hit list. It took awhile, but we ended up in South Bend, Indiana. ND's football stadium was locked up, so we couldn't repeat our Big House photo-ops, but we did spend a few hours walking around the stadium, seeing Touchdown Jesus, and pretending to be football recruits whenever students would walk by. "I could really see myself playing here," one of us would say in the midst of a passer-by.

The campus of Notre Dame is where Huggins' obsession with buildings looking like those in the movie "Skulls" got way out of control. It all started with a library in Washington D.C. and continued on with every single old building we saw. "That looks like that movie 'Skulls'," Huggins kept saying. (The next night, as we were going to sleep in Normal, Illinois, Huggins' fixation with 'Skulls' was brought up, and Chuck said, "At first, we blew it off, but then were were like, "What the hell?" -- maybe you either had to be there or completely exhausted, but we laughed for at least 20 straight minutes [probably even more] at this line. Literally -- and I mean "literally")

Our goal of finding a spot to eat on the campus of Notre Dame yielded nothing but a few short conversations with the Fighting Irish co-eds, so we headed back towards the highway, stopping at a Popeye's for some fried chicken and biscuits. We were the last customers allowed in the store, as they were closing the lobby for the night. After a few minutes of tension, a worker or one of us cracked a joke that everyone laughed at, and the rest of the wait was as pleasant as it can be for starving adventurers and workers who have to stay late to make a meal for those adventurers. Good will only goes so far, though, and they made us eat our food outside when it was done being cooked, er, fried.

We finally made it to Chicago where we spent another action-packed, joke-filled day, that would have been at the top of most Americans' Best Day Of The Year list, but for us it was merely a come-down from the greatness we experienced the day before. Four years has caused me to forget a lot of the jokes that made the day as great as it was, but I'm fairly certain that I remembered and shared the best of them. Trust me, this day was incredible.

We all later found love, and some have created kids, but at that point, and a few months or years (depending on which one of us is being referenced), Cinco de Mayo 2005 was probably the best day of our lives, and it all started with Chuck telling Steve to shut the f__k up, which to this day is still the best F-word moment of my life.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My heart is smitten and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread.

Lisa is great at planning weddings.

Here's some photos from our photographer, Allison Cox.

Here's some propers from somebody. (Gratitudes to Krista for hipping me to this)

My woman is so great at a lot of things. I don't mean to make this sound like a Facebook update, but I love her and like being married to her.

(4/28) UPDATE: Here is some more propers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Your child is Destiny?

A fellow at worked criticized naming children after values, like Destiny, and it reminded of a story from my mission. Then, over the weekend, bad kid names were once again brought up, and Chasity was mentioned. It was then that I knew that this story needed to be told.

I had just entered a new area and we were teaching this girl who lived in a trailer (as a large portion of the town of Slave Lake did and likely still does). It was the first time I had met her. Her name was Chastity and we were giving her a brief review of what she had been taught the time before, the Law of Chastity. I was young, and was trying to impress my new companion or her or maybe just myself by mentioning things like, “this is your law, Chastity”.

Finally, after like three references, she condescendingly said, “It’s Chasity.”

I didn’t quite get it, and said, “I’m sorry, did I accidentally call you ‘Charity’ or something? Because sometimes I get the two names mixed up.”

I’m so dumb.

“No, my name is ‘Chasity,’” she said.

“Oh, so I got it right?” I said. Dumb.


“” I quickly glanced at my companion, who was just looking at her. “So...I don’t get it,” was all I could think of to respond with.

“It’s Chasity, not Chastity,” she said.

“Um...those both sound the same. Can you spell it?” or I spelled it first -- with a ‘t’ after the ‘s’ and before the ‘i’, of course -- I can’t remember exactly.

Her face joined her voice in irritation. “C-H-A-S-I-T-Y.”

I paused to consider it, and it took me a few seconds to figure it out.
“Oh...Ohhhh...Chassssity.” I really held out the ‘s’ sound. “I apologize,” I said. I followed it up with, “Honest mistake, though, eh?” or some other phrase like that that essentially offered forgiveness to myself.

My companion finally stepped in and said, “Is there a time we can come back?”

She wouldn’t commit to a date, though, and we never saw her again.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Eggstremely eggsellent gift eggschange

Because we are going to be out of town next weekend, and since we both had each others' gifts, Lisa and I decided to celebrate Easter last night after I got home from the Priesthood Sesh.

What's in the suitcase?


The answer:

It's Backgammon. Lisa bought her brother a nice board for Christmas, and he and I spent a few hours a day in Walla Walla over the holidays acquaiting ourselves with this ancient game of strategy. Since then, I have wanted one something fierce. Lisa scoured the antique stores of Salt Lake to find one. I went with her on one such outing, and it is no easy task. Antique stores are messy, unorganized, and weird. In a strange way, I mean all of those descriptions as a compliment, but I also mostly don't. I can't wait to put this thing to use and I'm pretty excited to start using phrases like: inner board, outer board, bar point and bear off.

Finally, and hopefully this works, my film debut. Written, produced, directed, special effects by me. I put this in Lisa's basket:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

1. The Roots - Rising Down

When I first started this 'project' -- which is exactly what it has become -- three months ago, I mentioned that I initially couldn't think of many albums that I had that came out in 2008. There was one album, though, that immediately came to my mind: "Rising Down" by The Roots.

I'd be so full of cred if I could honestly say that I had been anticipating this album for a long time, and that I had been thirsting for new Roots music since the release of "Game Theory" in 2006. Truth is, though, a song from this album is what convinced me to start a friendship with ?uestlove and Black Thought. I had heard a little bit of them, mostly just clips on VH1 specials about hip-hop, and didn't quite 'get it'. So, they play their own beats and have a drummer with a nice hairdo. Good for them.

A few months before Rising Down was released, a friend of mine connected me to a video of 'Get Busy' on Youtube, and I was hooked. I must have watched it five or six times in a row. I immediately confessed my sins and asked him how to start my repentence process. I was directed towards "Things Fall Apart", and before long, I was born again. I had accepted The Roots as my hip-hop savior. I now had faith, and purchasing Rising Down only a few days after it fell showed that I also had the works (hip-hop without Roots is dead).

Besides ?uestlove's drumming, one of the great things about a Roots album is the frequent presence of three of the world's best: Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Common. Their appearances often overshadow that The Roots have one of the best rappers alive in Black Thought. ?uestlove being the face of The Roots and Mos Def, Kweli and Common (along with others like Wale and Dice Raw) lending their voices unfortunately pushes Black Thought to the background. He has to be the most underrated rapper on earth. Just watch the clip on the blog below this one of The Roots and Public Enemy performing 'Bring The Noise', and you'll see that he deserves as much proper respect as any other rapper.

'Get Busy' is my favorite track, but 'I Can't Help It' provides my favorite verse of the album. I believe it is spat by the unfortunately-named rapper, Porn, who makes a few solid contributions to "Rising Down". His verse in 'I Can't Help It' goes:

I never said I'm ready to die, but I accept it
Never said I'm ready for war, but I'm protected
I don't even know when it's comin', but I expect it
Lost all semblance of hope, so now I'm left with
Nervous conditions, addictions, in addition
to vixens that mixed in with the wrong crowd
My life is on a flight that's goin' down
My mother had an abortion for the wrong child
With the time I felt love, that's gone now
Been replaced by purple rains and some storm clouds
Misery love misery
So why make friends? Let's make some enemies
And now I got a habit that wasn't meant for me
Now I'm in a marriage that wasn't meant to be
One more reason to change identity
The cars, the crime, K's, penalties

I first fell for this verse early in the morning on my birthday last year as I was driving to meet up with Lisa. I had to keep rewinding it and replaying just this part. It is so incredible. But don't take my word for it....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Noise: brought

Public Enemy with The Roots on Jimmy Fallon:

My woman text messaged me about it and said, "It's almost too much awesomeness on one stage."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gary Shuffield

Sometimes a fellow needs to put his Pod on shuffle to be reminded to be thankful for what he's got, and that there's more to life than The Mr. T Experience and Chixdiggit.
Here's how it went (band/song):

1) Jurassic 5 - Action Satisfaction
2) Old 97's - Color Of A Lonely Heart Is Blue
3) Old 97's - Murder (Or A Heart Attack)
4) Okkervil River - Last Love Song For Now
5) The Ramones - No Go
6) Alkaline Trio - Emma
7) Run-D.M.C. - Peter Piper
8) Billy Joel - The Longest Time
9) Pavement - Chesley's Little Wrists
10) Parasites - Never Giving Up On You
11) !!! - The King's Weed
12) I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business - The Kindler Burns
13) The Ramones - Pinhead
14) Caribou - Sundialing
15) Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2. Say Hi - The Wishes and the Glitch

Alright, let's finish this. I bet these are so annoying to everyone besides me.

Two questions an intellect might ask:
1) Say Hi? Never heard of them. I've heard of Say Hi To Your Mom, what gives?
2) Hey, wait a second, didn't this technically come out in 2007?

Answers, from another intellect:
1) Same band, my friend. Say Hi To Your Mom decided to shorten their name in hopes of sounds less lame, I guess. While I will admit that the name was initially a turn off (listening to the beautiful tunes will change anybody's mind), I think they were too far in with the "to your mom" part to change it, so I still call them Say Hi To Your Mom.
2) No. Technically, it came out in 2008, but it was available through the bands website in October of 2007. I guess, really, it depends on your definition of "technically" in regard to when the album "came out". Was it when it was available, or when it "dropped". I'm going with when it dropped.

Have you heard Say Hi To Your Mom yet? I know many have, but I worry that many more have not. They are one of two bands that I want to see play every time they come to Salt Lake City (Yo La Tengo is the other), which is saying a lot as I am not in love with live music. It takes a lot of coolness to get me to go once, let alone numerous times. There's plenty of opportunities to see Say Hi To Your Mom in the SLC too, as they(/he, as Eric Ellbogen is the only consistent member) have made Kilby Court a regular stop on their tours. It seems like every fall and spring brings a visit. Say Hi To Your Mom is probably the only band who, when their set ends, I think to myself, "You know, I could have taken in two more songs." They have mastered the skill of leaving a man wanting more.

Kilby Court might not be big enough soon, and my worries about those who haven't heard Say Hi To Your Mom might be deterred as they have joined Barsuk records instead of releasing albums on their own label. In fact, their first Barsuk album, 'Oohs and Aahs' came out just last week.

On to 'The Wishes and the Glitch". It is great. Really great. Even as it is perhaps my least favorite Say Hi To Your Mom album (excluding the thus far un-heard the new release), it is still awesome. It starts with the song that might be meant to announce their move from New Jersey to Seattle, "Northwestern Girls," which, along with "Oboes Bleat And Triangles Tink", is one of the bands greatest tracks in existence. The album also features other wonderful pieces of tune like, "Back Before We Were Brittle", "Zero to Love", "Magic Beans And Truth Machines", and the best song ever written about Pac-Man, "Bluetime". From start to finish, "The Wishes and the Glitch" is a masterpiece. But don't take my word for it.....

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Adventure Day 2/28

On Friday, as I was about to leave work, Bryton sent me a text message asking if I was interested in going on an adventure the next day (which was yesterday [Saturday]). With my last Adventure Day being such a great success, I would be a fool to decline the offer. We didn't know where to go, but Scotty has been talking about Price a lot lately, so we decided to head down the deadly Highway 6 towards the mining town. Oddly enough, we never really made it to Price, but we got close. Close enough.

It is not meet that men should adventure without food in their stomachs, so we left my house and went to Burger King. Often, a fast food establishment will make a person wait for their food, like so:

Highway 6 has a reputation as a bit of a bad road. Some folks are attracted to bad roads, and our threesome was no different. We know that a bad road can't be changed, but they can also be survived if a person knows how to do it. The most important technique is to find some tough-looking people -- preferably on motorcycles -- and follow them into the danger. It didn't take us long to find these folks:

In their wake, we saw this:

Once the danger was passed, we pulled over at the first historical marker that we came to. Turns out, back in 1987, this stretch that we felt safe on was loaded with danger.

That's not all, either. In 1924, an infamous mine disaster happened nearby. The evolution of time has brought about a devolution of danger. Thank you, technology. Now, one can enjoy the beauty like that found in the following two photos without constantly having to look over their back.

Across the dangerous highway was coal -- "black fuel", to some. Scotty crossed. I crossed. B, though, couldn't stop thinking about the danger of Highway 6. He was scared, and contemplated not crossing.

But, in the spirit of adventure, he faced his fears and bolted across the asphault killer.

We were so proud. On to the search for coal.

Thanks, Scotty.

Want to see a rotting town? Go to Helper. These were the two good things. Sorry, Helper, I'm not trying to start a feud or anything, I just hated being within your limits.

On our way outta Helper, we stopped to use the restroom (how many Helper gas stations does one need stop at to find a restroom? Two, at least), and found and paid for these treasures:

They disappointed. Part of me wonders if we had purchased them in a different town, the treats would have been the gold they touted themselves to be.
Some adventure, so far, right? We weren't even started yet. We ended up in Wellington, at the mouth of Nine Mile Canyon. Don't let the name fool you, this canyon is actually 40 miles long. Not only that, the road through the canyon wasn't asphault. It was dirt. And you thought Highway 6 was trouble. Motorcycles don't go on dirt roads. Navigated this canyon would be in our own hands.
Should we? We all asked? Yeah, we all replied.
Besides provisions, we needed two things: a game face

(Bryton looks like a hardened criminal here. Good job, Bryton)

and some information:

What did we get ourselves into?

Things don't last in Nine Mile Canyon.

The road:

A lot of people have written their names or tried to be an artist on the walls of Nine Mile Canyon.

The sights:

Bryton's car should be celebrated for driving us through the wretched terrain. Bryton said his car can rest later, it's going where we go.

Scotty said that if he can look in it, his arm can go in it.

Four hours later, we exited the canyon

Game face off, survivor face on:

The journey wasn't quite over, though. We had to go through oil-land first.

This included a stop what we thought was a historical marker, but it was just an information site about the animals that used to live in the dry land and those that still did. For instance, prairie dogs that are either violent or amorous:

About 38 miles later, we made it to the main highway, and it couldn't have come a minute too soon. We drove into the night, victors and heroes.