Oh, I Got A Calling Already

During our second week at out new ward I got a calling. Our records weren't even here and I got a calling. Welcome to "Not the West." I am second counselor in the Young Men's Presidency.

This means I am also the Deacons quorum adviser.

And Assistant Scoutmaster. Or shoud I say Assistant to the Scoutmaster? Do they make a patch for that?

Anyway, to celebrate, I threw this little graphic together from pages of an old Boy Scout manual I keep handy. There are some incredible illustrations in there as well as some very helpful advice on snakebites and the tying of knots. Is there anything more breathtaking than a properly tied sheet-shank? Wild stallions running free through the sagebrush, perhaps? A moonlit night on a pristine white beach? A Cuban sandwich with both pulled pork and ham on it? Other than those, not much. Oh, a unicorn, maybe?

I digress.

Hopefully I'll get around to posting some more illos one of these days. I'd love to rip off this blog, as it is mind-blowingly rad, but I'm nowhere near that cool. Instead you will get the usual nonsense about dinosaur parts and spaceships and bigfoots. In other words, "business as usual." Still you might be seeing some installments of random art here, now that I'll be creating and archiving for my own sanity more than anything.

Anyway, here's my scout piece:

I like how the type on the left sort of says "Don't panic. You are you." I just realized that. Huh. Weird. Or have I lost my mind? In any case I will lose it soon enough.[sigh] Deacons? Alright. I guess I'd better start brushing up on my fart jokes.


I Do So Love A Good Library

A well-stocked library is a thing of beauty, innit? The Lakewood library is pretty phenomenal. The Rexburg one was pathetic. The ones in Vegas were decent. Sort of hit-and-miss, but all in all, pretty good. See, I'm a library masseur. That's right - I give massages to libraries.

Wait. Hold on.

That's not the word I was looking for. What's the word where you are like all smart about something and you're sort of like a know-it-all but you're more classy than just a regular know-it-all and you like wear a smoking jacket and an ascot all the time? You smoke a pipe and know all this stuff about stuff and stuff? "Constipator?" "Contractor?" "Condensator?" Ah yes, a "connoisseur." That's what I am. I am a library connoisseur. That's me. Let me just slip on my smoking jacket and I'll tell you all about the Lakewood Library.

There, much better. Let me just light my pipe here and we'll get started.

I went to the Lakewood Public Library last week and got a library card. I've been really (and I do mean really) excited about this ever since I moved into this area back in April and happened to pass by the library on my way to Hollywood video to rent Battlestar Galactica season one DVDs.

Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what? I like that show. It has spaceships.

Anyway, so I got about 10 graphic novels (which is a grown-up way of saying "comic books," not a way of saying "dirty books," just so we're clear) and 25 CDs. I would have gotten more (believe me, I had a basket like the ones you get at the supermarket - like the Giant Eagle perhaps? - chock full of the things... you should see their CD section. I refer to it as "Valhalla." It is beautiful. Sort of like this only CDs and not a fiberglass buffalo.) but when I was getting my card the lady (I guess she should be referred to as a librarian, huh?) told me that the only restriction was you couldn't check out more that five DVDs at a time. "Frakkin' sweet," thought I. "I'll just load up my basket with some CDs." She was a liar. A lying librarian. A lying librarian named Linda Lemmon.

Not really.

Sorry, I got carried away with the alliteration. I'll try to contain myself next time, but I make no guarantees.

Now what was I talking about? Oh yeah, the CD limit at the library. There is a 25 CD limit at the library. I felt like a bit of a nerd when another librarian informed me that I could only get 25 of them at a time. So I winnowed the stack down (to about half... seriously, I have a problem. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, my friends.) and I will be going back sometime over the next couple of days to stock up again. I mean, they had the Dictators debut album, the Dictators Go Girl Crazy! there! Rock! I've been wanting to hear that album for years. Literally! Double rock!

Oh! And, to top it all off, I haven't even seen their fiction section as it's all boxed up because... wait for it... they're moving to a bigger, BETTER space over the next month or so. Triple rock! This summer's gonna rule, I can feel it.

Ah, libraries. I loves 'em. Now where'd I put that ascot?


The Short Long Weekend

Oh three-day weekend, why must you leave so soon? It seems like just as we're really starting to, you know, connect, you take off. Are you afraid of commitment? Is that it? Or is it me? It's me, isn't it? I can change. I'll start dressing differently, change my hair, watch more PBS. Whatever I need to do to make it work between us, I'll do it. Just please, please come back, baby. Please?

Anyway, so the big weekend was fun. We went out to Legacy Village (pronounced: "Ritzy Shopping Center That's Like Forever Far Away") to get our computer fixed at the Apple store out there, as it wasn't powering on after a brownout late last week (which is why Candace was all, "I'm Back!" and then didn't post for three days). And here's where I drop some knowledge on you: if your Mac isn't working and you're taking it into the Apple store for repair, make sure you have an appointment at the Genius Bar! This is important. It is also something that you're not told up front, so if you just drive across town with your family, getting unbelievably lost a number of times along the way and everybody's screaming ata everybody else and you show up at the Apple store expecting to drop your computer off or whatever, this. will. not. happen. It is a fantasy conditioned in your mind by Best Buy. You must have an appointment.

So, yeah. We got there and I tried to just drop off my Mac and had to make another appointment to meet with a Genius (Hey, do you think the other employees give them a hard time? Like when they break the fax machine they're ll "Way to go Genius! Duh!") Monday morning because the next available appointment was three hours from then and, dang dude, I gotta take my pretty lady (and our little baby) out for dinner, yo.

So yeah, we went out for our anniversary. Seven years! Time really does fly when you're having fun. I took my fine-lookin lady out to Melt, where everybody has a lot of tattoos and they cover the gigantic sandwiches with prodigious amounts of cheese. Oh yes.

Anyway, so we ate and drove around greater Cleveland, laughing and whatnot. We also saw some muskrats who looked like they might get all romantic and stuff but instead just fought. We ended our date as we end all of our dates: at the grocery store. Also, I dropped the sitter off at home. Yes, I am an old person. I need to just deal with it, I guess.

By the way, the local grocery chain around here is called... wait for it... Giant Eagle. Is that not downright hilarious? All I can think of is that scene in Nacho Libre where they're flapping their arms and cawing. You know, the one that goes somethign like this:

Anyway, now that I've made you watch a man with undies on his head flap his arms like an eagle, I guess this is as good of a time as any to say that I love my lady. I just thought I'd state that publicly. She is pretty and funny and creative and nice and supportive and pretty. She is, as we say where I come from, da bomb. And yes, staying this way forever sounds good to me.


We Watched the Lost Season Finale...

Best. Dang. Television. Show. Ever.



"I No B*stard! I Bruce Lee!"

I was skimming the Onion (which, I feel it fair to warn you, is incredibly hit-and-miss) this morning while waiting for my computer to open a file (which it's still working on) and stumbled on this little nugget:

Why Was I Not Informed About Bruce Lee?

The Onion

Why Was I Not Informed About Bruce Lee?

I am going to try to remain calm and keep in mind that you purport to be decent, rational people. As my parents and peers, you supposedly have my...

Click it. You will laugh.


Record Party!

So I got a ton of music from my brother as well as dowloading a ton of stuff as well, so I thought I'd flag up some of the stuff I've been picking through.

Bloc Party A Weekend In The City: Mmmmm. This album's really not that good at all. Their debut was so terse, it's a shame to see someone lose it so quickly. There's some moments here and there, but it's gone a bit too concept-album-y/narrative-y for its own good.

Andrew Bird Armchair Apocrypha: Good stuff. Moody, solid. Also, this dude has some whistling skillz.

More Woody Guthrie than any sane person needs, but I ain't no sane person, now am I?

Kings Of Leon Because of the Times: Good stuff. A little Pixixe-ish, but is that a bad thing?

Gruff Rhys Candylion: Wow. I love this album. Maybe better than the last Super Furry Animals album?

The Essex Green Cannibal Sea: A lot more poppy than I expected. An eMusic reviewer refered to it as the album the New Pornographers wanted to make. Kudos to Jesse for flagging this one up a looong time ago.

Silversun Pickups Carnavas: Dismissed as 90-revivalists, but hey, I think Gish and Siamese Dream are the bee's knees, so I guess I'm their target audience.

Bright Eyes Cassadaga: Probably his best album. That said, I still can't stand the guy. Sorry. I tried, I really did. If ever there was an album to hook me, this'd be it, but it just doesn't do it.

Destroyer Destroyer's Rubies: Not great, but not bad. Bowie-esque power pop from a part-time New Pornographer.

Jesse Malin Glitter In The Gutter: Speaking of had it and lost it, this album's just... not good. If you're constantly referred to as a second-rate Springsteen, don't duet with the Boss. It's like Liev Schriber acting against Dustin Hoffman. It just makes you look anemic. Plus, Mr. Malin, no more piano ballads, please.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen The Good, The Bad & The Queen: Kind of boring, actually.

Cursive Happy Hollow: I really can't figure out if I like Cursive. I'm leaning toward "Don't Like 'Em," but I just don't know.

!!! Myth Takes: The singing and lyrics really kill whatever this band has going for it.

The Arcade Fire Neon Bible: It always takes me a while to get to a comfortable point with an Arcade Fire album. It's good, but nothing I didn't expect. It's big, anthemic and beautiful. Typical Arcade Fire fare.

Apples In Stereo New Magnetic Wonder: If you like the Apples, you'll like this album. I do, so... I do, but they're not reinventing the wheel or anything here.

Tom Waits Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, & Bastards: All hyperbole aside, this is one of the best albums I've heard in years. I [heart] Tom Waits, the gravel-voiced genius.

Sondre Lerche Phantom Punch: Sondre, thank you for making the power pop album I've been waiting to hear from you since I first heard "Two-Way Monologue" on Subterranean. Well done, my Norwegian friend. Well done.

The Killers Sam's Town: Meh.

Robert Pollard Silverfihsh Trivia EP: After the tight little pop album that is Normal Happiness, Bob gets all progish. Not the worst thing he's put out, but a little boring.

Wilco Sky Blue Sky: Here's where I lose all my indie-cool points and say that this is my favorite Wilco album since Summer Teeth. Sure Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born are interesting pieces, but they're so... cold. At least the second half of YHF and half of Ghost, too.Sky Blue Sky is laid back, easy and beautiful. What more do you want?

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Some Loud Thunder: In which everybody's Latest Indie Darling stumbles and trips on its own obtuseness. A little disappointing.

Django Reinhardt The Very Best Of Django Reinhardt: This dude could play a guitar.

Bruce Springsteen We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions: A pretty decent Tom Waits album. Seriously, hold this up next to Orphans and you've got Liev Schriber and Dustin Hoffman again.

Modest Mouse We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank: Finally, a Modest mouse album I can say I like without any qualifying statements.

Dolorean You Can't Win: Folky sad sack music; oh, how I love thee.

Albert Hammond Jr. Yours To Keep: In which the guitarist from the Strokes makes an album that sounds like a little more laid-back version of the Strokes with E from Eels (not actually, but Hammond sounds like E) as the singer. Not bad, but it's basically a Strokes album with a suntan, let's be honest.

Anyway, so there it is... 25 albums reviewed in the space of one blog post. That's gotta be some kind of record.


I figured this fit with yesterday's post, so...


All Hail Broadband! (or) Rush & the Carney Rock Pantheon

So I got the internet hooked up. Do you love the internet? I freaking love the internet. So, what do you think was the first thing I did upon reestablishing my connection to the world-wide web of information that connects us all like the Force?

I downloaded "Tom Sawyer," by Canadian prog-rockers Rush. You know. These guys:

How did I live without this song in my iTunes library? It's like saying you've never seen the color green. Or that you've never seen an episode of The Simpsons. (Seriously, Patti? [shivers]) Or that you hate freedom. Just... weird.

Anyway, so there's been these commercials because, apparently, Rush is touring in support of their new album. Because the members of Rush are still, for the most part, alive and, for some inexplicable reason, feel the need to make new music for an predominantly invisible fanbase. Seriously, who's going to buy the new Rush album? Besides guys who work at gas stations. Anyway, different post entirely.

Of course, they play "Tom Sawyer," during the commercial because, come on, name me three other Rush songs. See, can't do it. Maybe "Limelight," but only if you worked construction for any amount of time in your life and were thereby exposed to altogether too much classic rock radio. In which case, I feel your pain. After those two songs, though... nothing. Because Rush is, in all honesty, pretty bad music. It's prog-metal. It's scientifically engineered for band nerds with acne.

There, I said it.

Anyway, so Candace and I have had multiple conversations in the past about this particular song. Personally, we think it's brilliant in the same way that I (maybe Candace... I don't know) think that Andrew WK's "Party Hard," is brilliant - it's bad/good. Like the Pacifier starring everybody's favorite quasi-intelligible thespian - Vincent van Diesel. Actually, maybe that's a bad example. I just caught a chunk of that movie the other night and it just might be bad/bad. But it made me laugh. And not at the stuff that was "supposed" to be funny. Lauren Graham, what were you thinking?

Anyway, long story short: "Tom Sawyer," is so cheesy it's mind-shatteringly awesome.

Candace says it reminds her of carney's at the state fair, which I think is the best description of that song ever: it's carny music. One whiff of it and the vision of a dirty, smelly, tattooed, three-toothed, one-eyed, six-fingered, half-drunk operator of a dilapidated Tilt-A-Whirl in central Oklahoma immediately springs to mind. Close your eyes and hum it. See?

So, I downloaded it. And it rocks. But I suddenly want to operate a Ferris wheel. Is that strange?

So, my question to you, dear reader, is this: what other songs should reside in the Carney Rock Pantheon? Leave your comments below.


Obey the Rules

The following announcements are provided as a public service by Big Red Robot, Inc.: "Where Your Health Is Our #1 Concern. Well, #2 concern. Our #1 concern is that dinosaurs will be brought back to life and eat us all. That's what keeps us up at night. But you, you're a close second. We're really concerned about you, too. We are also concerned about Martian invasions, robot revolts and missing the season finale of Lost. But you're definitely on the list. Because we care. Like, a lot.":

It's for your health!


This Video Is Crazy Insane And Makes You Feel Oh So Good

Veer linked to this video sometime last week and it's been sitting in my posts as a draft for a while now. Check it:

The artist is Herman Düne, or as I like to refer to him, "the Israeli Jonathan Richman." The song is "I Wish That I Could See You Again." The album is GIANT! which is a great title. I must now purchase it. Because I don't have nearly enough music.


Five Minute Film Review

We rented Music & Lyrics last night. If ever a film cried out "Rental!" truly this is it. It's just this side of completely stupid to warrant the $3.79 it cost us.

It's exactly what you'd expect and not a smidgen more. Hugh Grant is in full-on smarm/charm mode, Drew Barrymore's milking the "Aren't I oh-so cute and quirky?" cow until its dry, dying and finally dead and Brad Garrett gets more screen time than Campbell Scott. Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that last one out. All in all, it's servicable, but not going to cure cancer or anything.

Grant's a bit of a guilty pleasure, as I'd rank About A Boy as one of my favorite-er films, but I thought he was far more interesting (and reprehensible, which he does very well) in the underrated farce American Dreamz. (That film's worth it alone for Willem Dafoe as Dick Cheney. But that's another post entirely. Seriously, I think it's pretty hilarious, and, given our Commander-In-Chief's recent appearance on American Idol, oddly prescient.) Barrymore's goofy and inoffensive, but, as is the case in a lot of these chick-flicks, the chemistry between the two leads is just plain nonexistent. It just sort of appears sometime in the middle of the second act because it has to. Because this is a lowest-common-denominator chick flick. It's a rule of the genre. If it were trying to be an honest, realistic film, Grant's character would be far too shallow for any kind of a serious relationship, especially since Barrymore's character is portrayed as obviously mentally unstable. Seriously, she's a cartoon character. But again, it's part of the genre. In rom-coms as in action movies, "real," people don't exist, just broad archetypes. So, I guess it's alright, just not as interesting as it could be.

...And here's where I armchair filmake. If it were my film, they'd never hook up physically. It'd be a platonic love story, where their intimacy comes from the creation of songs. That's more realistic and more interesting, two things this film steers very clear of. And, rightly so, I guess.

There's a couple other hiccups, namely a Christina Aguilera-type pop star who (for some unfathomable reason) feels the desire to ally herself with a washed up 80's sensation. For her character to work, she has to be a lot more ridiculous, bordering on farcical, character. Instead she's portrayed as a beatific angel who just happens to grind with dancers dressed as Buddhist monks onstage. If you're going broad and archetypal, she'd work better as a lot more eccentric than just being generically spiritual.

Also, did I mention that Brad Garrett gets more screen time than Campbell Scott? Because he does.

Anyway, so that's Music & Lyrics. If your ladyfriend want to see it, well, at least it's not the Wedding Date. Geez, that movie's atrocious.


I Am Sorry If You Think I Am No Longer Alive

I assure you that I am, in fact, living. It's just that I have no internet at home (okay, so a little bit of internet from someone's stray wi-fi signal, but only when the wind's right) and work keeps me busy. I just thought I should check in before I start getting bouquets of flower and letters of condolences (to soon be followed by "Well, I always thought you could have done a lot better," comments) sent to my wife.

We finally got our phone hooked up today and have to wait 10 days until they can figure out if we have DSL in our area. Because I am not going back to dial-up. Never.

Anyway, we're all here and happy and healthy. Our entire life is half-unpacked, but in time we will settle that. Hopefully.

In the mean time, think about this: is there anybody, anywhere cooler than Doctor Doom? (Besides M.O.D.O.K., obviously. M.O.D.O.K. trumps all)? I mean, really, look at this guy totally owning the Silver Surfer (or, as I like to refer to him, That Freaking Chrome Hippie):

There Is Nothing That Makes Me Smile More Than This Clip

I've had this clip sitting in my drafts section for a while. May as well publish it. Why? Because it freaking rules the Multiverse:

The Batusi. Sweet sassafrass, that is some classic stuff. My nerdiness was cemented when, sitting in the theatre watching Pulp Fiction all those years ago (I was a senior in high school, just to date myself), I knew, immediately, the name of the dance the Uma and His Royal Sweathog-iness, the Travola, were alluding to in their swanky dance-off. Ah, Sir Adam West, when will the world be ready for your genius?


I Double Dog Dare You To Try Getting This Tune Unstuck From Yr Brain

Peter, Björn & John, "Young Folks," from their pretty dang good (it's not perfect, but it's good) LP, Writer's Block.

Sadie kept making me replay this one night. Fun, right?


I Am Here/Here I Am

I am in Cleveland. I live here now. I no longer live in Idaho. I now live in Cleveland. I have to keep telling myself this because it's weird to finally be here like, for reals. My girls are coming out tomorrow night. I am excited. Like, tons of excited. Like, a metric buttload of excitement I have inside of me.

That sounded grosser than it should have.

Also, I live in Cleveland. As in, Cleveland, Ohio. That Cleveland. And it's cool. Anyway, so that's me.

Freaking U-Haul...

Do yourself a favor, if you're going to move yourself, rent from someone, anyone else besides U-Haul.

I spent three days this last week in a truck that broke down not once, but twice, and when I had to contact U-Haul, they were no help whatsoever. Seriously, they must go out of their way to hire people who have suffered severe head trauma because I felt like I was taking crazy pills when I spoke with them. And now I have to get the run around while I try to get some sort of refund for them renting out crappy equipment. It's not worth it. Just say "No," folks. Seriously, save yourself the headache.