Something to chew on…

So now that I’m on, I figured I’d better start updating this thing more often, so I’ve made a promise to myself to try to update it with SOMETHING each day.  Figured it is also a quick and easy way to keep my writing skills honed.

Now onto something that I want to bitch about… I’m looking around at different people on MySpace, and I have two things to say. 

First of all, there’s some really weird/sketchy/scary people out there.  Man…  but I can deal with that – it takes all kinds to make the world go around, and as Michael Franti sings, "all the freaky people make the beauty in the world." ("Stay Human")

Secondly, I’m not sure if it is because there are a lot of "questionable" people on the site, or because everyone is lying about wanting to make friends, or if people are just flakes, but fer chrissake, if I  say that I think you’re interesting and think you’d be nice to get to know – have as a friend – then I freakin’ mean it.  If you’re a guy, it doesn’t mean I want to give it up your ass, and if you’re a woman, it doesn’t mean I’m trying to be lecherous.  I actually just might want to be friendly and be looking to find some interesting people to hang out with.  Give it a break and stop thinking so damn much of yourself already!!  If I send you a message, have the freakin’ courtesy to at least respond, even if to say F–k off!


BATMAN!!!  (that was supposed to be the old Batman theme… weak, I know, but believe me, you should appreciate it more than me singing it, that’s for damn sure)

So I went to see Batman with Kim (our third time hanging out, but I didn’t get lucky dammit… man, is she gonna kill me when she reads this…) this afternoon.  First of all, as far as I can remember, I think this is the first time I’ve ever been to a movie in the middle of the day.  I’ve always gone as part of an evening out.  Does that make me strange (or just stranger?)?

Anyway – the movie is really good.  Batman has always been my favorite superhero character because he was the most "human" – I’m the far from being a "fanboy" or anything, but I always thought it was a cool character.  What makes this movie so great is that it IS about the character Batman, and not just a big dumb blow-shit-up action flick.  I like good special effects as much as anyone else, but when they start to take over the movie – or are the point of the movie to begin with – I’m just not into that.  The movie does a great job connecting some big gaps in the Batman mythology, such as why bats, how the hell did he get so good at fighting and where did all these neat gadgets come from?  It makes for a really interesting and attention-keeping moving.

The closest thing I got to feeling like a giddy fanboy was when they showed him loading his utility belt.  That was pretty cool.  Great Batmobile too, though I have to admit, I don’t understand why he has to do a sit-up in order to fire the guns and make a jump.  Not getting that. 

One thing that I liked which hasn’t gotten a lot of play in the critic reviews is how legitimately scary some of the scenes are – not just the stuff with the bats, but when the Scarecrow is going around drugging people (he is the the most believable superhero villain in any movie ever, BTW), the resulting scenes are actually disconcerting and frightening, making you hope that the stuff they are spreading around doesn’t actually exist, or that you at least will never come in contact with it.

One question I do have about the main evil plot in the film revolves around the microwave emitting machine.  I don’t want to bring too much reality into a superhero flick, but since this was a very grounded one, I’ll do it anyway: if this machine emitted such high-powered microwaves that it vaporized all the water around it, shouldn’t have all the people near it gotten cooked as well?   Hell, if it is that powerful, they should have been exploding right along side the water mains.  That’s how microwaves work… put a glass of water in the microwave and it boils and evaporates.  Put a kitten in it and it gets cooked (just an example folks, don’t get angry).

Anyway – it was good, and I’ll probably buy it when it comes out DVD.  From Kim’s perspective, she just really liked seeing Christian Bale all muscled out, but was disappointed with the outfit.  She was apparently hoping for more spandex (I picked up on that from her constant "spandex" chanting during the costuming scenes).  She was also disappointed that the most she saw of Christian was a topless shot in his pajamas. (I just thought he made for a really good Batman)

Of course, that’s more than we get from Katie Holmes, who is her usual almost-disturbingly cute self.  I wonder if she as much of a sex vixen as all men everywhere hope she is?  She looks great in the film, running around in skirts with boots (as some of you know, that pretty much gets me every time).  One  very funny thing that happened in the movie as a totally gratuitous erect nipple shot – when Katie is being lifted off a table after being drugged, her right breast is visible and so is a very erect nipple, right in the middle of the screen – pretty tough to miss, and completely pointless, other than making people like me type about it on-line, I guess.   Must have been cold in the Batcave…

Very excited

This post is pretty much just to show  Kim that I’m not kidding about writing about her in my blog…

I’m very excited – I’m going to see Batman Begins tomorrow afternoon with Kim.  Been dying to see the movie, and it has been too long since she and I hung out together.  We definitely always have a good time – we both have twisted senses of humor, so it works out well 🙂

So take THAT Kimberly!

Eels – no, not the slimy, slippery kind

I’d like to give props out to another great new album I’ve been listening to…    Blinking Lights and Other Revelations by the eels.

I’ve been a fan ever since I heard the song "Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues" in the movie Road Trip (an underated very funny film in my opinion… too many people get scared off by Tom Green, who has only a minor part in the film, and is funny in all the scenes), a gorgeous song with a great, uplifting catchy chorus.

The Eels are an interesting group – they can be very dark and introspective with their lyrics, but then the next song will be the catchiest, happiest piece of pop music you’ve ever heard.  In my opinion, they are among the best songwriters out there (with most of the credit going to Mr. E, the lead singer) creating songs that are alternately touching and dance-able.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

The new album doesn’t dissapoint, with a lot of very soft and slow personal songs that are very intriguing, but a few upbeat numbers that really shine through.  "Hey Man (Now You’re Really Living)" is a fantastic song.  If it doesn’t brighten your mood, then you may want to check your pulse…  Get the album and check it out for yourself.

Whaddya Know!!

So a few posts ago I said that I had gotten onto the whole thing and complained about how it was yet ANOTHER place for me to worry about keeping up with people.  I signed up for it, and just kinda forgot it for almost two weeks… I checked it out last night and I had a bunch of people send me messages saying that they liked my profile, thought I sounded cool, wanted to get to know me, thought I was cute, whatever… pretty cool stuff. 

I’ll be sure to let you know what happens!

Nothing too insightful here

I just wanted to take a moment to say that I think that the new White Stripes album, Get Behind Me Satan is a great freakin’ album.  If you happened to have read the review of it in Entertainment Weekly, just ignore it.  I usually respect the opinion of the guys over at EW, but this time they were way off.  They essentially criticize it for being too varied and adventurous, which is exactly what makes it so good.

If you’re looking for an exact copy of past White Stripes albums, Get Behind Me Satan might be a disappointment… there’s not as much guitar.  However, if you got into the White Stripes for the same reasons I did – because you found the music interesting, entertaining and at times, challenging in a good way – then  you should like it as much as I do.

Oh, the places I’ve been…

Statemap_3I found this neat tool on World66, a Travel info site.  It allows you to create a map of states and countries you’ve visited.  You can find the tool here, and click to the left to see what states I’ve visited.  I’ve been to 21 states, which is 41%  of the states out there, not counting some that I’ve simply driven through.   I count "visited" as having actually experienced something there… had a meal, spent a night or two, visited friends, done something "local" etc.

How do these things get made?

So last night I watched The Day After Tomorrow and I’m pissed.  I want to know who’s going to give back the two hours of my f’ing life that I wasted watching this giant hunk of crap…  gawd, what a horrible movie. 

Too many plot lines… pick one and stick with it already!  Here’s what’s going on in the film: Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) struggles with being a bad father and a bad husband.  Lucy Hall’s (Sela Ward) attempt to save the little cancer kid, Peter.  Jack trying to rescue his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal).  Same trying to woo Laura, played by Emmy Rossum, with another prep school prick getting in the way, but then conceding to him OUT OF NO WHERE (who the fuck does THIS happen to?).  Laura cutting her leg and getting sick, and the resulting attempt to get antibiotics for her off a Russian ship.  The conflict between Jack and the U.S. Government.  Some weather scientists trapped in Scotland, with one of them with a wife and child he’s worried about… and on and on and on…

Oh… and by the way, this movie is actually about a new ice age coming over the earth.  Couldn’t you tell from the above? 

The best acting in the movie comes from Jake Gyllenhaal and the special effects in the movie.  The weather itself is technically the best character and I felt the most connection with it.  Lord knows that Quaid and Ward weren’t given shit in the terms of a script to work with.  The scene where Jack Hall announces his theory to the NOAA is one of the corniest scenes I’ve seen in a while.  If MST3K comes back in another 20 years, this film – and particularly that scene – is ripe for the picking. 

With all of that being said, the core idea of the movie – the "plot" if you will – is an interesting one.  Throw away the scientific probability of it all (funny how many sci-fi films require you to ignore the true nature of the the "sci" part isn’t, it?), and what you have is an intriguing concept: what happens if we have a cataclysmic shift in our environment (or anything else that leaves the entire northern hemisphere inhabitable… nuclear war, pollution, etc.) and everyone needs to move to the middle to southern parts of the world where most of the "third-world nations" are? Do we become part of the third world?  Do we modernize it?  Do they even let us in after all the debt that they owe us and all the times we’ve ignored their revolutions, civil wars, political coups, and genocides?  Or do they give us a big "F-U" and turn us away?  I think that is the most interesting part of this film – when the government decides to evacuate the southern part of the United States (a decision that made in the film in a totally ludicrously scene that makes it seem like they just decided to go to McDonald’s for lunch…), and Mexico closes its borders to the U.S. until they forgive all debts.

The geo-political impact of massive evacuations from developed countries into third world ones is a really interesting concept, but apparently one that none of the scriptwriters could possibly deal with.

As a result, the movie ends without any closure at all… I guess we are left to think that things will just be hunky-dory… 

In my opinion, more time should have been spent on showing the effects of the storm throughout the world and emphasizing the global effects of the change in climates.  This was something that the movie Independence Day did very well, showing landmarks from around the world getting attacked.  It’s a bit of cliche at this point, but it does help to make an impact.   The writers should have simply gotten rid of all the silly subplots and focused more on the struggle of scientists trying to communicate the impending changes, and how governments respond to them.  Then the whole geo-political impact could have come into play, and a story line of a family trying to escape the storm into safety of a third-world country and the impact on those countries of a massive immigration would have been a lot more captivating than this crap.  It could have still been a big summer blockbuster CGI-effect movie, but with a lot more depth and more interesting.

More of me online!

So now I’m on, to be found at:

Are there really that many people who give a shit about me and who I am?  Are there that many people out there with that much free time on their hands that they can cruise through online profiles all the time?   Christ, I can barely keep up with my "real world" friends and business connections, never mind all the online stuff.  I can be found on my own web site, here on this blog, on,,, and now   No one, including myself, needs to know this much about me… 

One of My Very Few Thoughts On Hip Hop

So since I’ve been home a lot more than I usually am – pretty much more than I have been since grade school – I’ve gotten the "opportunity" to watch more TV than I usually do. 

First of all, I just want to say that TV sucks as a general rule.  I am now convinced that if it wasn’t for the Simpsons, Family Guy, and Deadwood, there would be pretty much no reason for me to have a TV.

Secondly, I’ve been watching some music videos on MTV (they apparently do show them once in a while… ) and have noticed a few things about the current state of hip-hop music.

I honestly think that hip-hop and rap music is at the same stage that heavy metal and hard rock was back in the early 90’s.   When metal (I’ll just use that term for the entire hard rock/heavy metal genre) first started back in the very late 60’s and early 70’s, and really right through the 80’s, there was an air of legitimacy about the "badness" of the music.  These were guys who were really doing all the drugs, sex and drinking that they were singing about, as well as some of the "truly" evil stuff (i.e. Jimmy Page becoming an Alastair Crowley fanatic).   As the 80’s bands came in there was a sense of true youthful aggression in a lot of the music.  Even if they themselves hadn’t had their limbs blown off by war or worshiped at the house of Satan or whatever,  you sure as hell believed it to some extent when you listened to the songs.  They were legitimate expressions of youthful rage and anguish that a certain (somewhat small) group of people identified with very strongly.

As metal became more popular, the genre became more mainstream and pop-sounding.   It didn’t start right away – the tales that bands like Motley Crue related in songs like "Wild Side" or "Girls, Girls, Girls" were their actual lives.  However, other bands took up the themes of sex, drugs, drinking, and debauchery and started making lighthearted pop songs out of them.

Suddenly everyone was listening to this music that was previously the estate of leather-clad long-haired rebels.  "Unskinny Bop" by Poison was taking the place of "Angel of Death" by Slayer. 

Now I don’t want to say that there’s anything wrong with either – "Unskinny Bop" is a disturbingly catchy pop-metal tune, but it is about as far away from the true roots of heavy metal as you can get.  Maybe the fact that it is about sex in some manner and has some guitar licks… but otherwise, it is mainly a pop song, which is fine.  And it doesn’t make "Angel of Death" a better song because it is more "serious" – it is, however, closer to the dark roots of heavy metal.

As more and more bands took the pop-metal approach, the look and marketing of the bands were more important than the music itself.   It was about the hair, the makeup and clothes – and how big, how much, and how gaudy, each band could get them, respectively.   Metal became a mockery of itself, taking the black leather, long hair, and scary dark eye makeup and turning it into red latex pants, "poofy" hair, and mascara.

So how does this tie back to hip-hop, and more specifically, rap,  in its current state?   Well, rap and metal  have similar roots, philosophically (something that has been addressed by several critics over the years):  both stem from disenfranchised youth looking for a way to express their repression, anger and fear, while hopefully finding a way out of the situation that they felt trapped in.

For metal it was often teenagers in decaying mill towns with high unemployment and a stifling lack of opportunities, or cookie-cutter suburbs where individuality was punished.  For rap, it was black youth in inner cities trapped by unemployment, racism, and a lack of education and opportunities. 

For both groups, their situation stirred an enormous amount of anger and frustration in them and they found ways of expressing it.  Metal was loud, fast and/or plodding guitars, drums and bass; for rappers it was using existing records and turntables as well as the sounds they could make vocally and then creating rhymes about life on the streets.

This is the "root" of rap and hip-hop – oppressed youth culture trying to express itself.   This was reflected in the music of Public Enemy, NWA, etc.    What has happened to rap since then  is remarkably similar to what happened to metal in my view.  Look at a typical rap video today and here’s what you will see:

  • Girls in the skimpiest outfits possible; they would make Van Halen and Great White blush
  • Rappers in pimped out expensive cars
  • Drinking expensive drinks
  • Singing about money and girls

What happened to surviving in the streets?   Well, what happened is that rap has gone mainstream which has resulted in two things: first, the music and the lyrics need to be more listener friendly.  Secondly, the artists – god bless ’em – have money and they are now forced to sing about what they know. 

This has resulted in rap becoming about the image and the glamour, just as it did with metal.   Rappers used to dress in nondescript loose clothing; now they have their own designer labels.  They used to sing about making it home from high school alive walking through the streets; now it is about shakin’ booty.

Now, before anyone brings up the obvious, let me address two points.  First of all, this not meant to be racist – I’m not saying black people shouldn’t be given a chance to succeed.   If anything, if anyone from the rap and hip-hop industry reads this, they may want to view this as a warning to them that they are on the cusp of potentially losing it all.

Let’s face it, at one point, all those metal bands thought they were going to be around forever, but when the hell was the last time Slaughter sold out your local civic center?  People finally figure out that it is all superficial and that all the music and videos are looking and sounding alike.  "oooh… look…. another black woman with a nice ass shaking her butt while wearing a short skirt."  Haven’t seen that in the last two minutes on MTV…  It is like the obligatory "rock chick" in the classic metal videos of the 80’s and early 90’s.  Hate to break it to you guys, but it is the same thing, just a different outfit.

Secondly, yes, I know that both genres have always had their fun artists.   It isn’t like "Funky Cold Medina" was a great social commentary, and that’s cool.  If anything, it is the exception which proves the rule.

What I’m saying is that "Candyshop" by 50 Cent is a good, catchy song with a hell of an interesting video – I’m sure that there are at least as many 12 year old boys hitting puberty watching that video as there were when Great White put out "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."  But let’s face it – "Anti-Nigger Machine" this stuff ain’t!

Is there really a difference between Whitesnake’s video of "Here I Go Again" (BTW, I’m criticizing my own favorite power ballad from a hair metal band I love, so I’m definitely being fair about all of this) with a ridiculously hot-looking Tawny Kittaen sprawling across a Porsche and Jay-Z dueting with a ludicrously hot-looking Beyonce?

The counter-argument to this would be artists such as Eminem and 50 Cent who come across as "legitimate" rappers with their experiences on the streets.   I’m not going to get into a "truth or dare" with any of that, as I respect anyone who pulled themselves out of a bad situation, but let’s face it – rap has created a culture where even the legit guys end up becoming a bit of  a caricature, since the model has already been cast. 

Again, there’s not a real message in this – and there probably isn’t anyone of consequence enough to read this that it would matter if there was – but instead, it simply an observation.  I will be watching with great curiosity over the next few years to see what ends up being rap’s version of grunge which will eventually unseat the biggest names, sending it into a downward cycle but never fully disappearing, only to come back up several years later with a meaner, leaner, more updated sound, while the old-timers enjoy a revival.   

This is another parallel to metal – once Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the rest came along in the 90’s and killed off metal (pop, hair, glam, and otherwise), many of those bands disappeared (where the hell are the Bullet Boys) but now, several years later you have two major trends: first, you have the Poisons/LA Guns/Warrants/etc. of the world going out on double/triple/quadruple billed shows and selling out arenas.   But more impressively, metal went underground for a few years, learned its lessons, and came back heavier and more aggressive than ever in the form of bands like Korn, Tool, Coal Chamber, Soulfly, etc., with lyrics as dark, evil, and/or depressing as ever.  It became "serious" music again. 

I wonder if we will ever see rappers returning to the roots of rhyming about bullets, drug dealing and racial inequities again in another 5-10 years???