I found an actual use for YouTube

29 05 2008

So, as the title may suggest, I’ve figured out what YouTube is actually good for: watching old music videos I never got to see while growing up. 

I grew up during the tail end of the Grunge era, and started listening to “my own” music around the time of Kurt Cobain’s death. I think I got into Nirvana just about the time Bradley Nowell of Sublime kicked off. I seem to have a thing about getting into bands during their twilight times. 

Anyway, now I’ve found a metric shit-ton of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains videos, and I couldn’t be happier. Instead of wasting my time watching a bunch of clips of tweens kicking the shit out of each other (oh, they’re on there, all right), I can now pore over videos of my favorite bands that I never got to see while growing up, by reason of being too poor to afford cable. 

Also, in those days, MTV was strictly a subscription channel in most areas of south Texas. Probably because of Beavis and Butthead. 

So, if you get the chance, head on over to YouTube and check out some Soundgarden. Or, if you’re a little hard-edged, check out Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box” or “Them Bones”. I guarantee your face will be thoroughly rocked.


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… The Attendant Stir!

6 05 2008

I have a thing about finding over-used phrases in popular fiction and turning them into things that they are not. For instance, the ubiquitous “feigned indifference” became my email address (although, I admit I like to invent a deeper meaning for it upon explanation.) So, when I realized that the phrase “attendant stir” appears in no fewer than five novels I own/haven’t yet unborrowed, I decided to do something about it.

I’m going to start an alt-rock indie band and call it The Attendant Stir. We’ll be awesome. I’ve even thought of a sweet gimmick: by word-of-mouth our awesomeness will spread through the state’s many thousands of indie scenesters, and they will flock, in their many thousands, to our shows. Once there, the band will not appear on stage, and the show is revealed to be–in its entirety–the crowd itself.


That’s some smart marketing.

On second thought, R.E.M. is much better than stomach cancer.

30 04 2008

I had a friend in high school who hated R.E.M. I don’t mean that he just kind of disliked them, or that maybe Michael Stipe pissed him off once at a gay club in Seattle; no, he outright despised R.E.M. I never understood why, since I’ve been a fan of theirs since I was a little kid. My dad was heavily into The Carpenters, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and R.E.M. I got into them by listening to his copy of the Monster album–you know, the most accessible one for a kid my age–and I immediately dug it.

My friend, who has since gone on to hate such varied acts as The Dandy Warhols (whom I like) and REO Speedwagon (whom I don’t, but really, he’s a little late to hate the Wagon), had compared them to having stomach cancer and eating a fistful of habanero peppers. Now, I can’t think of many things more painful than that, but R.E.M. isn’t even on the close-seconds list. Maybe an extended Rush listening session with Alex Lifeson sitting beside you describing gay bestiality porn while hitting you in the kidney with a reflex hammer is close to my friend’s comparison, but not really.

I picked up the latest R.E.M. greatest hits album for eight bucks the other night, and I haven’t stopped listening to it yet. It’s awesome, if a bit lacking, as most greatest hits albums tend to be. There are a few personal favorites I would rather have seen on the playlist, but for eight dollars, I’m not going to bitch too loudly. One thing, though: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) is not one of their best efforts. It’s good, and damned catchy, but God Almighty annoying after one or two listenings. Love Hurts is another I would feel better hearing less of, but even it’s not nearly as grating as (And I Feel Fine). Maybe it was the ubiquitous trailer to…what was that movie again? Dammit. Mid-Nineties, something about aliens, Randy Quaid dies in a plane crash…

Shit. Okay, never mind.

Independence Day! Oh thank God. That could have kept me up for a year thinking about the title to that damn movie. Anyway, if you’ll remember, that song was like the anthem for that movie, only it was played not at baseball games, but every thirty goddamned seconds for a year on every single channel available for human viewing. For me, that will ruin a good song every time.

As I said, the new R.E.M. greatest hits isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s worth it for the price. Why not pick it up and intentionally not listen to two or three of the tracks?

Alternately, you could buy it, crank up that song on repeat, and spend the rest of the night making alien-killing sounds while your neighbors’ kids hide under their beds.

So, in summation: R.E.M. is much better than having stomach cancer and eating a fistful of habanero peppers. Just take my word for it.


Okay, because I am a multi-layered cosmos of stupid, I need to clarify a few things about this post:

1) The album is called “The Best of REM: In Time, 1988-2003”.

2) “Love Hurts” is not on any REM album ever sold to anyone, ever. That’s by Nazareth. I’m sure you all knew that. “Everybody Hurts” is a much better song, with the added bonus of actually being an REM song.

3) That song is not on this album. I just assumed it was for some unknown reason.

4) That reason  is that I am painfully, crushingly, mind-bogglingly stupid.

An Update from Dairy Treat

9 03 2008

I’m sitting in the local greasy spoon, listening to these two odd guys bitching and moaning about Bellville. It strikes me that maybe they’re vagrants, or something, since they keep trying to fall asleep in the booths. However, they’ve paid for their food, which means they either have money, or are about to rob the shit out of this place. If that happens, well, let this be my last will and testament. I only have about five dollars in my pocket, but goddamned if these two asswipes are getting it.

Besides, I’ll be the first one to let them know why the grocery/gas station across the street should be robbed. Speaking of thieves… Jesus, do you know I spent six dollars on a gallon on milk there? Yeah, I would think that qualifies them for a good hard robbery. Assholes.

The Girlfriend just left, after having a greasy, gross lunch. She’s on her way home to Oysterfest, where she won’t be able to eat any oysters, since they’re all toxic along the gulf coast this season. I forget why exactly, but something having to do with the tides and chemical companies had rendered all of the Texas oysters poisonous.

I miss my damned girlfriend.

I’ve gotten used to these weekends where she’s with me, just wiling away the time until Monday morning. Then, fucking Spring Break comes along and she has to jet on home, because apparently you can’t stay in the dorm room you’ve already paid for. Whatever, she needs to see her family. I’m just bitching because I can’t go this time, for the simple reason that I’m a poor bitch with too much shit to do. I hate being a responsible adult.

More country music being piped in from… somewhere. “Two of a kind, workin’ on a full house.” Garth Brooks if I’m not mistaken. You’ve got to love the idea behind that, though. Imagine how many people were singing that song when it was popular. Old women, little kids, preachers, teachers, and every other kind of American staple; every last one of them singing to the best of their abilities. And, every last one of them singing about fucking.

Well, that’s it for now. More later, as I figure out what I’m doing today.

The filth in country music, and why I’m beginning to hate my job

3 03 2008

At the risk of earning the ire of yet another insane C&W fan, I have to send out a word of congratulations to whoever wrote the following lyrics:

“Why don’t you stay? I’m down on my knees. I’m so tired of bein’ lonely, wanna give you what you need.”

Now, it may just be that I’m incredibly immature, but that little sampling of lyrics just smacks of desperately offered fellatio. It makes the singer sound like a woman in the last extremity, who has been broken down so much by the weight of her solitude that she has finally chosen to put her absent lover’s genitalia in her mouth, provided that he come back to her.

I’ve had girlfriends like this, actually.

Whatever the actual point of the song, I like my interpretation better. Not only does it speak of a pronounced increase in oral sex awareness, but it also gives me ammunition to use the next time someone complains about sexuality in rock and roll. Not only that, but it instructs young girls everywhere that, in order to keep their men, they might have to blow them.

About the job: I am getting intensely bored with my job. Not “bored” in the Office Space sense, or even in the Fight Club sense. No, I’m getting bored with my job in the “Christ, there is nothing left to DO here” sense. Things have slowed to a crawl at my company, so much so that I can call in whenever for no good reason, and no one gives a shit. I don’t like working for people who won’t fire me.

On top of all of that, I’m going to be moving soon. San Marcos is over seventy miles away, and I just don’t see commuting back and forth five days a week to a job that really isn’t very fun. Add this to the fact that I might be getting married* soon, and you’ll see why I kind of don’t care about my job anymore. 

That’s about all that’s new in my world today. Oh, that, and my girlfriend convinced me to shave my stomach. Don’t ask.

*More on this later, as the story develops.

In which I express my extreme distaste for stupid lyrics.

26 02 2008

Living in Texas, I grew up listening to Country & Western music. At one point, Garth Brooks was my model for all this was cool and awesome in the world. That was over fifteen years ago, with at least one hardcore punk rock phase in between now and then, so my views have somewhat changed.

For a few years, I made fun of anything even remotely involved with country music. I was fond of calling it “music to bang your sister to”, and other colorful phrases usually involving incest or bestiality, or some combination of the two. I still have a tendency to make fun of country music, but now it’s not alone, and the reasons are different.

As a writer–specifically, as a poet–I hate idiotic lyrics. Clumsy rhythms and metres, insipid cheese in word choice, and lazy rhyming schemes are the bane of my muscial existence. My opinion, as far as rhyming is concerned, is if you can’t rhyme a word, don’t slant-rhyme it, for the love of God. That’s cheap and unnecessary, not to mention stupid. And if you can’t squeeze a certain word in to fit with the rhythm of a verse, pick a different word. There are a bunch to choose from, and many of them are pretty good.

But those are just pet peeves, more or less. The thing that really gets me, that makes me sad to speak and understand the English language, is that faux-poetic simile that pops up in the sappiest of country ballads. I get it that the people singing the songs probably didn’t write them, but it’s not so damned hard to recognize something that’s just so… Well, silly.

Here’s an example, from a song by a person whose name I don’t know, and the title of which I’ve forgotten:

“…Tryin’ to make somebody care for you, the way I do, is like tryin’ to catch the rain.

Did you get that last part? “...tryin’ to catch the rain.” At first, it seems like it means something. Like maybe it means that catching the rain is difficult, or takes a lot of energy, or something. But, if you think about it for a second, it might occur to you that catching the rain is about as difficult as knowing how to operate one of these:

The answer to country music's most pressing question.







 Maybe I’m just being mean and unfair. That’s certainly realistic. On the other hand, maybe when you compare trying to love someone with being about as difficult as something a turkey can do with its tiny little face, you’re just being lazy. Really, if rain is easy enough to catch that a turkey can drown itself by looking up at the sky, maybe it’s about time to learn how to cup your hands when it rains.

I don’t willingly listen to most country music, just so we’re clear. I don’t suffer through it just so I can make fun of it later on. It gets piped into the department where I work, and I have to hear it for about five hours a day, not counting the two-hour polka show before lunch, and the one-hour 80s rock program later in the afternoon. I hear the Safety Dance, about four times a day, along with a ridiculous amount of Duran Duran. That’s a whole other article, though.


The Girlfriend just reminded me of a song with lyrics even worse than the one above. It’s called “Stealing Cinderella”, and the end of the chorus goes like this:

In her eyes I’m Prince Charming, but to him I’m just some fella, ridin’ in, and stealin’ Cinderella.

That single line contains two of the irritating features I mentioned–the clumsy rhyme, and the stupid metaphor. I don’t know what the guy is trying to imply here, but apparently the girl’s father doesn’t like him because he’s stealing their indentured servant.