Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Half Hour Wasted Redux

In honor of the pending September 13 release of Volumes 4-7 of Palm Pictures' Directors Label video compilations (Volumes 1-3 of which are absolute must-owns, especially the Michel Gondry set), I am digging up an old favorite (of mine, if not yours): A Half Hour Wasted, Volume 6.

Back in the early days of satellite TV (well, early for me anyway), MTV2 called itself M2 and played nothing but music videos all day long. I watched M2 for hours on end, and every day I lament its untimely passing and transmutation into the unwatchable MTV clone MTV2 is today.

Once a week, at a randomly selected time, I'd watch M2 for exactly one half hour. I'd write about the videos I saw, grade them, and post them to Pat Angello's pre-blog blog, which he called I called my silly pastime "A Half Hour Wasted," because that pretty much described the endeavor perfectly.

When possible, I've included streaming links to the videos described. I don't control the format (and I'm truly sorry about the ads), I merely provide the links. Therefore, it'll be up to you to install Quicktime, RealAudio, or whatever it is you'll need to view the videos. In any case, they're a lot better viewed on a normal television than they are in a 2 x 2 window on your PC. Herewith, for your blogtacular dose of daily (or semi-daily, or whenever I get around to updating this thing) entertainment...

A Half Hour Wasted Volume 6
Total Time Wasted this year: 3 hours, 2 minutes
View date: October 12, 2000, Start Time: 5:50 p.m. Eastern, End Time: 6:24 p.m. Eastern

This time, when I turn on the TV, M2 is showing a Beck video, "Deadweight." Since I reviewed Beck first the last time around, I decide that I'm going to wait until the next full video before I start reviewing. I figure it's the right Christian thing to do.

Foo Fighters "Next Year" Director: Phil Harder
This is the video I get to review first today. And it's a good one. Here, the Foos are astronauts on their way to the moon. Using stock footage from the Saturn moonshots in the late '60's & early '70's, and Forrest Gump-ian special effects that incorporate the band members directly into the film, director Harder has made yet another cool video for a band that simply excels at making good videos (what other band would have the good sense to commission Devo's Jerry Casale to do a video?). In this one, we see Dave Grohl in a spacesuit. He's in the cabin of a spaceship with the rest of the band, just as the flight is beginning to lift off from the pad at Cape Canaveral. We see the rocket taking off from the familiar camera-fixed-to-the-launch-tower view. As the rocket passes the camera, the insignia on the side reads "FOO FIGHTERS" (instead of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA). That's just plain clever. At the end, in the video's funniest shot, the band's faces are inserted into footage of the Apollo astronauts as they are congratulated by Richard Nixon. Great stuff. Grade A-

U2 "Beautiful Day" Director: Jonas Ackerlund
This video is completely pointless, yet absolutely beautiful. Filmed in an airport in (I presume) Europe, it's really just a bunch of slow motion shots of the band walking around and playing their instruments in a visually striking setting. Eventually, they wind up on a makeshift stage playing on top of a bunch of haphazardly placed rugs, in the middle of an airport runway, while planes take off and land right over their heads. Even though this is totally fake (I know this because I saw "Pushing Tin," and I'm almost absolutely sure from having seen that movie that they would have been blown over if a plane had REALLY landed right over their heads), it's still pretty cool. And I love the nod to the old U2 video for "Gloria," in which the band is performing on a makeshift stage (complete with rugs and everything, or at least I think there were rugs and everything -- it was a long time ago when I last saw it) on a barge in a river somewhere in Europe. The best thing about this U2 video is that it's for the best U2 song these guys have recorded in years. I can't wait for the CD! Grade: B+

Queens of the Stone Age "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret" Director: John Pirozzi
Look. I've already reviewed this video once, and I believe I said even then that I was starting to get sick of it. And though I still like the song (that is, I find myself whistling along to the "whatever you do" chorus whenever I hear it), enough is enough. This is why I don't listen to the radio: the programmers are so sure they know what I like, they play the same crap over and over again until I absolutely hate it. It's a conspiracy. M2 isn't as bad as radio (and it isn't as bad as regular MTV), but they still piss me off just the same. So, to the M2 programmers, I beg you: Please give it a rest. Play something new. Grade: C-

Badly Drawn Boy "One Hour Around the Block" Director: Suzy Ewing
Well, just like that, right after I complain about having seen one video too many times, the M2 programming staff decides to play something I've never seen before. And it's a really cool video, too! It tells the story of a guy -- British, I'm guessing (by the way he's dressed, by his teeth -- he's in his early '20's and is still wearing braces -- and by the side of the road he's driving on), who picks up pretty girl for a date. She smiles, and we see that she's got braces, too. Another guy in a dopey hat is just driving his car around. Who is he? I dunno. I guess we'll find out later. The guy who picked up the girl flirts with her and laughs. She flirts and laughs right back. He stops the car, they get out. She takes off his glasses. Then, in a scene that looks almost exactly like the cover of the Chemical Brothers' Exit Planet Dust CD, they kiss. But since they both have braces, their mouths get locked together. What starts out as a sweet, romantic gesture turns vaguely menacing. Then, that other guy who was just driving around comes across the couple and picks them up. Then he drops them off, still attached by the teeth, at the hospital. In a neat little touch, after they get out of his car, he kisses his fingers and touches a picture of he and his girlfriend that is stuck to the dash. Bonus points for being directed by a woman. Grade: A-

Good Charlotte "Little Things" Director: Nigel Dick
This guy seems to only be able to make decent videos for Oasis. I say that because all the other ones he's done, including this one, suck. Just like most Marcos Siega videos (in fact, at first I thought this WAS a Marcos Siega video). The band, which looks like every other rock band that wants to be Blink 182, is inspiring "rebellion" in a high school somewhere. But if I were a high schooler watching this video, I'd be offended by the fact that I was being portrayed as a complete idiot, to say nothing of the fact that the song is a blatant -- and I mean BLATANT -- rip-off of Nirvana's smells Like Teen Spirit (the video for which, you might remember, is the *original* high school rebellion video). Junk. Grade: D

Eminem "My Name Is" Director: Dr. Dre/Phil Hartwell
According to the media, I'm supposed to be pissed off at Eminem. He's mean and nasty and he hates gay people (just like Dr. Laura, actually). But as I watch this video, I can't stop laughing. It's like vintage Weird Al Yankovich, but filthy. Em' appears in all sorts of different costumes as he raps lines like "I wonder which Spice Girl I'll impregnate," and "How you gonna breast feed me, mom, you ain't got no t**s." This is a perfect example of the principle I discussed earlier in the QOTSA review, except in reverse. I can't tell you how much I hated this song when it first came out. But since I haven't heard it in at least a year, I can finally appreciate how damn funny this guy is! Great stuff! Grade: B+

Madonna "Music" Director: Jonas Ackerlund
Madonna says that Ali G, the British comedian who plays the chauffeur driver in this video, is "brilliant." He's the best part about this video (except maybe for the song, which is admittedly pretty good for Madonna), but I still don't understand what Madonna sees in him. The rest of the video is a mess -- and Ackerlund is usually a reliable video director (see the U2 review). Here, we don't see a lot of Madonna, except when she's sitting down in the back of the limousine, or when she's sitting down at the stage in the strip club stuffing dollar bills into women?s, um, snatches. Could this be because she was extremely pregnant at the time this thing was filmed? I dunno. But it seems to me that the quality of a Madonna video is directly proportional to the amount of time we see her wiggling her body. And since the only time we see her "body" in this video is during an incredibly stupid cartoon interlude, this one just doesn't make the cut. Grade: D+

Bjork "Big Time Sensuality" Director: Stephane Sednaoui
Thank you thank you thank you, M2. The fact that you play videos like this one is the reason I waste a half hour (actually, a lot more than that) watching your channel every week. The premise is a simple one. Fix a camera to look down the length of a flatbed trailer, drive the trailer slowly through Manhattan, and put Bjork on the trailer to do what she does best, wiggling, dancing, flailing her arms, and accosting the camera. The end result just happens to be one of my all-time favorite videos -- one of the few videos that will ever get a grade of A+ from me. And that's not just because I have a crush on Bjork. Grade: A+

posted by Bill Purdy, 8:27 AM | link | 2 comments

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hot Sh*t!

The sauce.

You might not realize it right away, when it first hits your tongue. You taste citrus and smoke and maybe a hint of herb. It tastes good, real good, a lovely compliment to the morsel it accompanies.

Then the heat. It hits you like a train whistle, a sort of gustatory Doppler effect that grows and grows and ultimately bowls you over, changing in pitch and intensity over the course of ten seconds or so. Another minute later, your palate is on its way to recovery. Your tongue still tingles. Your brow is beaded with sweat. You feel strangely tired. But you also have a craving to repeat the process. Thus, another spoonful of the sauce on another bite of food.

You are addicted.

The perfect pepper sauce works exactly like I just described. It combines wonderful piquant flavor with a roaring heat that knocks you on your ass and leaves you clamoring for more. In my quest to find the perfect pepper sauce, I have tried dozens of commercial preparations and any number of homemade concoctions. Some were very flavorful, but lacked the heat I wanted. Others were hotter than sin, but tasted thin if at all.

So I took it upon myself to develop the perfect pepper sauce. The Bitter Buffalo Century Sauce is the result of my endeavors. I am sharing it with you because I have a young son who needs to learn one of life’s most important lessons: sharing is good.

That doesn’t mean you can have it entirely for free. Leave a comment if you make the Century Sauce yourself. Let me know what you think. And should you choose to make a batch of your own and decide to publish the recipe (in print or on the web), I’d appreciate it if you’d tell everyone you found it here. And if you decide to produce it commercially, please give me a call first. It’s my recipe after all, and if you make money off of it, then I should make some, too. Sharing, remember, is good.

Here’s how it’s made:

Start with 100 habanero peppers (that’s where the name “Century Sauce” comes from, duh). If you’re unsure where to get them, wait until next spring and pick up five or six seedlings from a nursery for a buck apiece, then stick them in well drained ground with good morning light. Water them and feed them, and with any luck by mid-August you’ll have an amazing bounty of habaneros with which you can do anything you want (of course, you’ll have to wait until next summer if you choose this method). Or, you can hit your local grocery store and buy them in bulk. Mine is currently selling them for $9 a pound. A hundred peppers weighs (by my estimate) about a pound an a half. You’ll still need to count them.

I got lucky this year because my father-in-law planted a bunch of habs as a border plant in his garden. They produced prodigiously. I used hundreds of them to perfect my Bitter Buffalo Century Sauce.

In case you are unfamiliar with habaneros, here’s a quick overview: they are just about the hottest pepper you can get. The unit of measurement used to describe the heat of a pepper is called a Scoville Unit, which basically measures the level of a compound called capsicum (which is what makes a pepper hot) in a pepper. A jalapeno, which you’ve probably eaten pickled and slathered on your nachos at a ball game many a time, is somewhere between 2,500 and 8,000 SCU (and if it’s pickled it’s probably on the lower end of this spectrum). You probably think of jalapenos as pretty hot, but they are nothing compared to habaneros. Habaneros measure between 100,000 and 350,000 SCU (that’s between twelve and 140 times as hot). Habaneros are also distinctly flavorful, with an intensely fruity flavor that belies the heat contained within.

And I’m telling you to use 100 of them in this sauce. Sounds crazy, I know, but you won’t think I’m crazy once you try it.
Now would be a good time to remind you that these peppers are dangerous. Therefore, WEAR GLOVES WHENEVER YOU ARE HANDLING THEM. I cannot stress this enough. You can get disposable latex gloves cheap at the drugstore. Wear them at all times. Believe me, you’ll want them. Pepper juice on your knuckles will cause an uncomfortable burning sensation in your fingers that can last for ten hours or more. You cannot wash it off once it’s on your skin. Worse, you cannot rub your eyes or touch any sensitive part of your body with fingers that have touched pepper juice. I am warning you now: be very careful.

OK. I’ve satisfied any insurance requirements now. Back to the recipe.

Now, aside from canning the stuff, you are pretty much done. Can the Century Sauce just as you would any vegetable: use mason jars and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The Century Sauce is a "high acid: food (that's a canning term, evidently), so all you really need to do is drop the filled jars in boiling water for five minutes to ensure a good, sterile seal. Let the jars cool for 12 hours and you’re done.

The Bitter Buffalo Century Sauce is easy to make, super tasty, and incredibly hot. It is, in my opinion, the perfect pepper sauce. Make some, and give a jar or two to your favorite chilihead for the holidays. They’d thank you if only their tongue weren’t so swollen.

posted by Bill Purdy, 12:28 PM | link | 3 comments

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Keep It Cool, Kid...

I bought a six-pack of Pittsburgh's Iron City Beer in aluminum bottles over the weekend, and tasted the first one last night. Could this be an example of packaging influencing my sense of taste?

The Iron City version of the aluminum bottle looks a bit like a munitions casing, sleek and steely and dangerous -- the perfect image for a beer from Pittsburgh. The beer feels light in the hand, though, since I'm so used to beer in twice-as-heavy glass bottles. The aluminum bottles are much stiffer than cans -- crushing them afterwards is a chore for only those most manly among us. And these babies aren't twist-off, either. Gotta have a churchkey to get at the sweet nectar inside.

I've always thought Iron City had a "blue collar" taste -- i.e., malty and sharp, with a slight burnt flavor (similar to Yuengling Premium Beer, a rather harsh tasting regional brew not to be confused with the widely distributed and much tastier Yeungling Lager). But whatever I had last night was much more like a maltier Yeungling Lager -- clean and almost fruity, with a light hop finish. Very very nice.

According to Iron City, the bottle chills the contents more quickly and keeps them cooler, longer. I'm sure it also serves to revive a tired old brand, too.

The aluminum beer bottle will almost certainly not be a novelty for much longer. Still, so long as Iron City continues to taste better coming from it, it has a home in my fridge.

posted by Bill Purdy, 11:41 AM | link | 3 comments

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It's Showtime!

With Entourage and Reno 911! winding down their seasons, and The Comeback (which isn't exactly a comedy, but which I have grown to like quite a bit over the course of its season), I am in the market for a new half hour comedy I can DVR and watch whenever I have a half hour to kill. Discounting the broadcast networks (which generally don't know funny unless its either animated or on the verge of being cancelled [i.e., two or three episodes into the season and on its second or third night of the week]), I'm left with, uh let's see... not much new on Comedy Central and, um, nothing new on HBO either (but isn't Curb Your Enthusiasm starting up again soon, all six brand new episodes?). So I took a chance this week on the new Showtime series, Weeds.

And I am absolutely happy I did.

Weeds is the third surprisingly good Showtime series in a row (the first and second were, in order, Dead Like Me, and Huff) I've enjoyed, after years of half-assed efforts to out-HBO HBO. The premise seems simple enough (forgive me, I missed the first couple episodes, so my synopsis might have a few holes): Mary Louise Parker plays a jaded California suburbanite mother of two boys whose husband passes away unexpectedly. In order to make ends meet, she turns to her husband's pot dealer (I'm shaky on that one, too, and could be completely wrong about that), who sets her up with his wholesalers, an upstart black family in "tha hood." She then starts dealing pot to seemingly everyone in the neighborhood except the neighborhood bitch (played marvelously by Elizabeth Perkins) and her kids -- none of whom are seemingly aware of her new vocation.

The premise regularly stretches believability (how is it Perkins' character can know everybody's dirtiest little secret, but doesn't know Parker's character [whose oldest son is dating Perkins' oldest daughter] is dealing pot to her own husband?), but I'm not sure that really matters. Instead, it provides a structured environment for the writers to do a surprisingly nuanced job of looking at the way today's society socializes, gossips, parents, and copes with loss. It helps considerably that, aside from an odd tendency to appear as if she's staring down at the middle of the chest of anyone to whom she's talking, Parker absolutely nails her character. Watch two episodes, as I did, and you'll feel as if you know this woman. Which, if you think about it long enough, you probably already do.

That is, if you even have Showtime. Only you can fix that problem.

(Oh, and I also want to point out that the opening credit sequence for Weeds, which cleverly depicts suburban ubiquity in the visually punny style of Michel Gondry against the grating neo-folkie "Little Boxes," by Malvina Reynolds, is the single best title sequence I have seen in years. If there's an Emmy category for that sort of thing, Weeds should be a lock.)

posted by Bill Purdy, 12:23 PM | link | 4 comments

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's NEVER Too Late to Join the Bitter Buffalo CD Club!

Pat dropped his instant classic "Make The Girls SCREAM" CD last week, so maybe it's a bit too late to get your copy of that one (though it probably wouldn't hurt to ask him real nice like; that's entirely up to you). But three more installments are coming from me, MGSoden and PurdyGirl in the next couple months and you will receive a copy of each FOR FREE so long as you agree to cut a CD of your own for each of us (including Pat, of course). Oh, and you have to write a bit about each track, too. Couldn't be much simpler than that.

If you're interested, post a comment or send me an email.

posted by Bill Purdy, 11:10 AM | link | 1 comments

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I'm a Caniac, a CAN-I-AC on the floor...

I am, as of this very moment, the proud holder of season tickets to a National Hockey League team – in this case, the Carolina Hurricanes. That’s right, I am officially a Caniac.

Never heard of Caniacs? You’re not alone, even if you live right here in the Carolinas. The Carolina Hurricanes franchise, which relocated to the Carolinas from the perplexingly still-rabid hockey hotbed of Hartford CT back in 1996, enjoys the second-or third- poorest fan-support in the league, averaging just over 12,000 fans per game in the season prior to the lockout. This, despite an improbable appearance in the Stanley Cup finals versus the loathsome (and much, much better) Detroit Red Wings just three seasons ago AND an exceptionally high level of coverage from local media.

But for some reason, the folks calling for league-wide contraction usually leave Carolina off the list of franchises they feel should be removed from the league. I think it’s because the team is making money, despite low attendance. That, and Raleigh enjoys the highest degree of loyalty from players of all the new-south teams. Guys that come here to play often continue to live here even after they leave to play for other teams. They maintain a high profile in the community, working with kids at the numerous (for a southern city, anyway) ice sheets that are scattered about town. Bates Battaglia, for instance, owns and operates a bar near downtown Raleigh. He actually works behind the bar. In what other NHL city can you go to a bar and expect to rub shoulders with a real NHL player (albeit one who's currently not signed), one who will actually talk to you and sign your coaster and treat you like a normal person? It happens every day here in Raleigh.

I also think team ownership understands the kids who go to games with their parents today (you can be sure Logan will go to his share of games over the next few years) will become the die-hard fans of tomorrow. Kids here – many of whom are the children of relocated yankee hockey fans to begin with – love hockey. Youth hockey programs here are bursting with participants (one team played in the Pee Wee national finals for their age group last winter – the best showing by a southern team ever) and these kids love their hometown Carolina Hurricanes. They go to the games with their parents now, but in ten to fifteen years they'll have the disposable income to become season ticket holders themselves. The Hurricanes see this trend developing and have the patience to let the new fans develop organically.

The Canes are also extremely fortunate to play in the RBC Center, which was constructed for NC State basketball, but which turns out to have the sightlines and comfort level of a world-class hockey arena. I love going to games there, and just couldn’t turn down a 24-game season ticket package for two seats in the lower bowl, in the corner on the Canes offensive end, seats 1 and 2 so it’s easy to get to the bathroom, for $42 apiece. That’s more expensive than the $17 (with a student ID) I paid for similar seats back when the Canes were playing in Greensboro (which they did for two years while the RBC Center was being constructed), but still a bargain compared to what folks are paying in other NHL cities.

Because of the East vs. West scheduling protocol that was imposed by the league a few years ago to “build regional rivalries” (but which was really more about reducing travel expenses), I won’t get a chance to see my beloved Colorado Avalanche this year. I’m OK with that. I get to see some exciting up and coming talent instead. And with the parity forced by the new salary cap, the Canes should be no less competitive than any other team in the league. This is going to be a great year for hockey fans. I’m psyched to be a part of it.

posted by Bill Purdy, 8:38 AM | link | 4 comments

Monday, August 15, 2005

Monday Extras

Three little mini-bloggies for a Monday:

posted by Bill Purdy, 2:19 PM | link | 8 comments

Friday, August 12, 2005

Rainforest Cafe

I am a contractor for one of the world's largest technology companies, right? One of it's flagship properties is right here in Durham, NC - Research Triangle Park (RTP), to be exact.

Flagship, my arse. My team was just moved from the client site to RTP. Our project's space at RTP isn't the Ritz in the first place - we are on the second floor of a modified factory and warehouse. Since they weren't really expecting our team (we traditionally work at the client site), we've been put in this tiny office.

The first thing they can't do for our team is get 3 network connections running in the same room, so we're still nomads in the warehouse, scattered about. Now, as I'm the only one on the team with connectivity in our designated office, this loverly environment, I'm sitting in an indoor rainforest! It rains in here every day! For real! Condensation collects on the AC vents and drips onto the floor, the desks, whatever. It's so humid, papers I left sitting on my desk over night are damp the next morning. So, I sit in here every day now, and drip dry on the way home. I'm determined to find some tropical plants to bring in - maybe a nice giant fern. And a soundtrack of birds and rainforest sounds to make the atmosphere complete.

The second thing my employer can't apparently manage is getting the air conditioning set for the building. In some halls it's freezing, in others, it's tepid. This is so extreme, someone on our project has actually posted a web page of the temperature fluctuations in some areas.

Ahhhh... free time at work; such bliss.

Anyway, I LOVE my tropical office. I'll post photos of the flora in here soon.

posted by purdygirl, 10:25 AM | link | 1 comments

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Yeah! CYHS Yeah!

Frustrated by my inability to get my hands on Pitchfork darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's debut CD (PFM gave it a 9.0, which puts it in the Top Five new releases for 2005), I finally clicked on the Buy It From Insound link and placed an order with these online indie purveyors of indie sound.

And I am well impressed.

My initial order was discounted 25% as part of a summertime promotion (that ends Labor Day, so get crackin'), which offset the cost of shipping as well as the entire cost of the Caribou Tour CD. Nice. And they've since offered to discount my next order 10%.

Prices aren't too bad to begin with, especially if you factor into the "hard to find" aspect of much of their inventory (the CYHSY was particularly irritating, as it's received much coverage but is to date self-released -- you won't find it anywhere else). And shipping is slightly pricey, so you'll want to order more titles less frequently.

As for CYHSY... well, I am perfectly pleased with my purchase. I hear snippets of Radiohead, Talking Heads, Broken Social Scene, and at least a dozen other indie bands I've liked since 1995 in it. But I won't be able to provide a more comprehensive review until I've heard it a few more times.

One thing I know for sure: it's a keeper.

posted by Bill Purdy, 10:56 AM | link | 0 comments

Monday, August 08, 2005

Adulthood Confirmed

I've decided that I am indeed a confirmed adult. If having a job, a mortgage and two kids didn't do it the highlight of this weekend did. We took delivery of our new dishwasher.

We bought a Sears Kenmore Elite refrigerator a few months ago to replace the one that was dying. I tell you that to tell you that our selection set was fairly narrow as we wanted the appliances to match. Our 'fridge has stainless steel doors therefore the dishwasher needs to have one as well - CHUNK selection set narrows (and the corresponding price goes up). We also wanted to have a dishwasher with hidden controls to keep curious fingers from turning it on or stopping a load in progress - CHUNK selection set further narrows. As to the price well, let's just say that of our posessions the dishwasher is the only thing that would make it on MTV Cribs - Bling, Bling indeed.

So, a Sears Kenmore Elite it is. I did some research and it rated very well from a quietness perspective (very important as the one it replaces sounded like it was about to launch itself right out of the kitchen and into orbit - ggggGGGGRRRRRrrrr, RRRRrrrrr, WHOOSH, WHOOSH), an energy usage perspective and how good a job it does actually cleaning the contents. So, off we went to Sears. Along with the cost of the machine itself we also paid for delivery and installation and a 5-year comprehensive warranty to cover any problems experienced as a result of the kids' apparent interest in all things both expensive and mechanical. All that and the post-tax income from my performance bonus pretty much vanished. Oh well, at least I can talk on the phone in the kitchen now...

Another confirming symptom of adulthood is that I actually get a kick out of reading Owner's Manuals. Used to be that in my youthful Devil-May-Care days they were optional and to be consulted in the event of an emergency. Of course, that is if I could find where I "filed" the darned thing in the first place (generally in the silverware drawner under two C-cell batteries, a collection of rubber bands, the random screw or two and a key to something long-ago forgotten). I've come to appreciate the value of Owner's Manuals. You learn about all sorts of interesting stuff like the overflow valve that shuts the machine off if there is a clog. I also learned that it has a built-in garbage disposal to crunch through any large pieces of food left on plates or pots and pans (no more rotting food stink wafting out). Cool. Adjustable and removable top shelf so I can wash oversized platters? Yep. Timed delay if I want it to run after I have gone to bed? Check. High pressure wash to clean baking pans? Got it. Now if I can just keep the kids from putting Matchbox cars and stuffed animals in it we will be just fine... Hey, wait, a hidden handle and latch system so they CAN'T open it. Got that too. Excellent!

posted by MGSoden, 11:39 AM | link | 4 comments

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Pat Angello - Make the Girls SCREAM!

OK, so I'm first in the CD club thingie. I completed this weekend and will send out as soon as I have Soden's address...

And now comes the time where I try to rationalize my selections, eh? I’ll try to be brief! As you can probably tell, the theme is my favorite women vocalists.

1) No Wow – The Kills. OK, I blame the Bills. Yep, Purdy and Cross are directly responsible for getting me into this band, and I love them for it! This is a natural selection for a first track, and it needs to be cranked. Enjoy it as it builds.
2) Boys in Town – Divinyls. I’ve always loved this song. Sure it’s old, and this was the first single to get them recognized, but it’s so much better than anything else they ever did.
3) Spring Fever – Matson Jones. This is a local CO band that I find very interesting. I love the strings and the vocals. It took me forever to decide on just one song as I love the entire CD!
4) Black Transmission – The Januaries. I found this through my subscription to CMJ. I loved the single so much; I had to get the entire disc. This was a gem buried on the CD, and her vocals are just sexy!
5) Spoon – Brenda Kahn. This was a promo single I got while managing CompactDiscovery (one word to annoy Bill). I’ve put it on many compilations I’ve made because it’s so much fun! And short too!
6) Mental Hopscotch – Missing Persons. Far and away the best single they ever did! I was overjoyed when they won the legal battle over it (it was out of print for a while) and finally added it to a greatest hits compilation. Both the drums and vocals are phenomenal!
7) Mind Over Matter – Sahara Hotnights. They opened for the Hives in CO and I just loved them. Again, I had trouble selecting just one track, but this opening guitar riff was very memorable from the show. How can you go wrong with four Swedish women?
8) Bright Yellow Gun – Throwing Muses. Kristin Hersh has the most interesting voice I’ve ever heard. Selecting between her solo stuff and this band was difficult, but everything she does is awesome!
9) World on Fire – Jane Wiedlin. The former Go-Go put this single out in the late 80’s and the video was so hot! I love the track, and her ability to turn her cute and shy act into sexy is startling.
10) Valentine – Picasso Trigger. This is one of my all-time favorite punk CDs. I love the way this girl screams and the music is all fun and down-your-throat like this tune.
11) Imagine Freedom – Zuba. I actually saw this band at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver. She looks like a porn star in go-go boots with a HUGE gap in her teeth. This song was used in King Pin during the climactic bowling tournament scene.
12) Wilderness – Sleater-Kinney. Again, I’m blaming the Bills for this one. This is from their new CD and I selected it because of the Jimi Hendrix moment half way through.
13) All Hail Me – Veruca Salt. My favorite VS tune. I love the screaming and the creepy overtones.
14) Black Tongue – Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s. I had only heard their single from this CD, and it didn’t do anything for me. Then the Bills stuck it in my face and the rest of the CD is completely different. Love her “uh-huh’s” on this song!
15) Just Too Easy – Romeo Void. Sure, everyone has heard Never Say Never, but they had so many other good songs! This was another tough choice for me.
16) Should Have Seen The Moon – Sun-60. Bringing it down a bit here, but her voice is so freaking incredible on this song. They have other good tunes that are shorter and more upbeat, but this really shows off what she can do.
17) No Good, No More – Eleni Mandell. Another CMJ artist I had to buy. I think this is what the Violent Femmes would be like with a female vocalist. Love the jazz influences.
18) Mono – Courtney Love. I had to do it. I find her vocals incredible, even though she screams a lot. I think that’s what I like – the way she screams in tune.
19) 50-Foot Queenie – PJ Harvey. I had to put PJ on here. This is one of those songs I put on “repeat” in the car and scream along to over and over again!
20) Birthday Cake – Cibo Matto. Probably the most obnoxious girl tune I could find. So why wouldn’t I share it with you? It just cracks me up every time!
21) The The Empty – Le Tigre. Purdy introduced me to this band, and this seemed like the perfect final track for this compilation. Can you understand a thing she says???


Pat Angello

posted by Pat Angello, 9:58 AM | link | 9 comments

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I've fallen and I can't get it up!

Okay, it's not what you think but it's pretty damn close.

Picture this... It's 11:00 PM and my wife an I are home in the middle of a spectacular thunderstorm on our screened in back porch. We had really bright lightning with cracks of thunder right behind the light. This storm must have been right on top of us.

The next thing you know... we are trying to hide the monkey because it seemed like the thing to do. We are going at it on the chaise lounge, and there is a big crack (of thunder). It scares the crap out of me (not literally). My foot slips and I come crashing down on top of her and on top of my precious. I'm screaming in pain and she is laughing at me.

Needless to say, that was the bitter end of the encounter and I went limping into the house to take a shower.

I have since thrown the lounge off the porch. Maybe next time I'll be a little luckier. Maybe I'll try the glider.

Married people shouldn't be too adventurous when it comes to nookie. Keep it simply and no one is going to get hurt.

I think that if she becomes pregnant we will call the baby “Sparky”.

posted by Dancin' Dave, 9:10 PM | link | 2 comments

The Name Game

Chuck Klosterman wrote in the latest issue of SPIN that bands with the word “wolf” in their names have been proliferating lately (see Wolf Parade, Wolf Eyes, and [Klosterman argues] Animal Collective [which he says is close enough]). His argument that the word “wolf” is fashionably cool right now is sort of weak, but it got me thinking about band names. Specifically, about which band names work for me, and which do not. Perhaps it’s best if I demonstrate by example.

I like the name Bloc Party. It’s punny without being stupid (Crystal Method, on the other hand, is punny and stupid. Cool band, though.). And I like the name Youth Group, which for some reason strikes me as amusingly ironic.

Kings of Leon is a bad name for a good band. Kings of Convenience is an even worse name. King Biscuit Time is both nonsensical and derivative – bad name. In fact, King Crimson may be the only group name with the word “king” in it whose name I like. That, and maybe Joe “King” Carrasco and the Crowns (but then again, Joe King’s not been heard from ‘round these parts for a long, long time).

Franz Ferdinand is a great band with a dumb name. It just plain looks bad – historical significance aside. Plus, it's a guy's name – no different than naming your band, say Dennis Hopper, or Oral Roberts. What were they thinking? Kaiser Chiefs is another band with a name that alludes to real life (in this case, a South African soccer team). Unfortunately, I always read it as Kaiser Chefs and can’t stop thinking of the delicious sandwich creations they might make.

The Flaming Lips is a horrible band name made great by the band’s perseverance and endurance. Same can be said for Foo Fighters, I suppose, except I might use the word “good” instead of “great.”

Matson Jones is a great band with a name that seemed bad to me at first, but which is growing on me as I get more and more into them. Same can be said about another Denver band, Dressy Bessy. In both cases, I came around to the band name after I listened to their music (which is not so uncommon an occurence, I think).

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a completely nonsensical and thoroughly stupid name that I would consider utterly crummy if they didn’t change the position of the ! now and again. As it is, I kinda like it.

Lightning Bolt and Mastodon are great band names because they are both so evocative of the bands’ sounds. Velvet Revolver is an abolutely tragic name for precisely the opposite reason: I can’t think of anything less threatening. Led Zeppelin is the only band that was able to pull off the overtly ironic band name thing. Nobody else should even try.

Mogwai is a name for a band that sounds nothing like a gremlin from a movie. Still… good name. Head of Femur is the kind of name that seems like an anagram of the lead singer’s name. It’s not a good band name.

Smashing Pumpkins is a good band name. Zwan is most definitely a bad band name.

Here is a random sampling of a few more band names I like:

Here are some band names I do not like (even though, in most cases, I like the bands themselves):

The discussion is open. Post your thoughts on this important topic.

posted by Bill Purdy, 1:07 PM | link | 7 comments

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fun with Office Torture

Why, oh why, must people make noise other than typing while IMing?!? I share an office with someone, who for some reason, feels the need to giggle, comment, and look around as if checking to see if I'm paying attention while she's IMing someone else. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.

The annoyance level on this is similar to people who chew gum so you can hear it from over 4 feet away.

Her faulty logic assumes I care anything for her chat activities, which I don't except that the noise stop. 8 hours every day I'm in a little room while the chatting (silent and not so silent) occurs. I can only think (flattering myself, of course) she cares what I think enough to see if I'm paying attention and/or reacting with interest to her. That angle is sort of nice for the ego.

However, for those of us that love IM as a form of communication, a test of our verbal conversation abilities, and sometimes a covert mode, it's a buzz kill.

posted by purdygirl, 7:47 AM | link | 3 comments