human bug-light

hangin' with the aquaman and the snorks
It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those “the end is near” doomsday red bannered news headlines on Seems like ever since 9/11, even the smallest piece of news is huge-bold-white-font-red-banner worthy. I mean, even John Ritter dying made the red banner. I wonder what the criteria is for being red-bannered? Most of the time, it’s someone blowing someone else up over in that middle-eastern place where people are always blowing other people up. Occasionally, it’s to make sure I’m aware that some crazy movie star is leading the pack of distinguished porn actors and other Hollywood-types in the latest election.

I have become, much to CNN’s knuckle-cracking delight, a news junkie. So much so, that when the news Gods don’t bless me with the red banner for a few days, I notice the fact, and even write about it. I check like every hour, just to make sure that the human bug-light that is the red banner hasn’t appeared or changed.

I’d like to be in the room when they’re deciding what goes in the red banner. “Hey Mike, how many people died in that suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem again?” “Umm… lemme check the wire… it says here that two other people died.” “OK, we got three total people dead here, I’m thinkin’ we slap this headline in a huge ass white font, framed by an insane red banner, and slap it at the top of the page.” “OK, you want me to make that whole thing blink like once a second?” “Nah, let’s save that for something really big, like when the pope kicks it or something.” It’s sensationalism at it’s very best. Hopefully, the red banner will never leave. I would not know what to do. I will keep you, the faithful reader, updated – and as soon as there is a red banner headline again, you’ll hear it here first.

What else is going on? Well, Anthony and Ben and I took his new truck out for a test run the other night. We went out to this construction site that I hadn’t seen any kind of barricade on. We drove up some pretty dang step inclines, tilted the truck up on two wheels (it was too dark to see what degree we were at, he has a tilt-o-meter gauge). A couple times we started just spinning tires since the terrain was a lot of loose dirt and rock, but it was really fun. And, what’s even better – no cops came and arrested us. Next time, we’ll have to find a real 4×4 place where we’d not be breaking the law to drive. Anthony said we might take it up to Ruck-A-Chucky this weekend and try to ford the middle fork of the American. I want to go underwater so bad.

I totally haven’t been working on the “cast of characters” page. I need to finish a few writeups and add some images, and it’ll be done. For now, it’s in the perpetually-coming-soon category. Until later…

frank’s 6th day

if i was a bum...
Anthony’s new truck got here yesterday, he drove it back from New York in three days. Let me be the first to say that this truck is friggin’ awesome. Sooo sweet. You could live in it. As a house.

I’ve always had a fascination with areas that can be self-contained living environments. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had daydreams about living in small places, but having enough amenities to sustain me. I used to have a favorite one about a cave, and another about a bomb shelter. The idea of being in a small area that’s somehow protected from an attack (why, I have no idea) and that provides me with sustenance is an awesome one. I thinks that’s why I loved the movie Cast Away so much, and why I dig Thoreau’s Walden too. It’s where my love of camping comes from, where I get my love of the Hobbit-hole that Bilbo lived in, and also my frequent thoughts of “what if I fell down a well.” I guess it’s that aspect of solitude and self-sufficiency that really appeals to the hunter-gatherer in me.

Somehow, this tangent was coming back to the truck. I mean, fo rilla. This truck is insane. It has a GPS LCD screen, heated seats, an underwater-driving-enabling snorkel, CB radio, roof rack and spotlights, winch kit, tow kit, argh!! It’s rad to the bone!! It packs so much into such a small area, all this cool stuff encased in a body reminiscent of a small army-tank (ok, not really at all – but it’s that way in my head).

TiVo mentality has taken over my brain. During the day, I find myself wanting to pause, rewind, and very often fast forward various goings-on. Sometimes I wanna do those last 30min of sleep each morning in slow motion. Those are the best 30min of the whole night. People are talking to me, and I just shout out “rewind” like the TiVo in my brain is gonna be able to figure out what I mean.

In other news, the long promised “cast of characters” page is nearly done. I really want to add some pictures to it, so that will probably take a few days to get finished. Other than that, it’s pretty much ready to go.

It’s Frank’s 6th day in the army. I wonder what he’s doing right now?

I’m out.

on the boardwalk

hot hot humid
Yesterday was awesome. We had another mini-work party in the backyard, and the base course of the wall is now 75% done. By my calculations, the whole wall could be done by next weekend. Then once we’ve backfilled behind it, and spread any fill dirt – I can call the dirt dudes to come remove this huge pile… I can’t wait. I swear I’ll post pictures soon.

Last night was the Hot Hot Heat show. It was supposed to be at the Crest, but at the last minute they changed it to a little dive called the Boardwalk. The only good thing about the venue change is that the Boardwalk is literally like 5min from the house. The show doors opened at 8pm, so we grabbed some dinner at a great mexican place down the road from the club, and showed up around quarter to 9. We got there just in time for the 2nd opening act, the French Kicks. I was looking forward to hearing them play live, but didn’t expect them to sound as good as they did. The lead singer is really animated, and made the show fun to watch.

Around 10pm Hot Hot Heat took the stage. The place was packed, and despite what must have been twenty ceiling fans spinning away on high, it must have been 100° in there. The air was thick, and I’m pretty sure each breath I took was only about 10% oxygen and 90% carbon dioxide. Despite feeling like the depths of the Everglades, Hot Hot Heat rocked the place. Their set was great, the sound wasn’t bad at all for such a small venue, and the crowd was really into it. We bounced around and bobbed our heads until around 11pm, when they left the stage. Sounds like short set, but they don’t have such a huge catalog.

In other good news, the new Strokes album finally got leaked on Friday night, it was a month early but I thought we’d have it before that even. I listened to it yesterday while working out back, and in the car on the way to the show. My impression? It’s good! Not much of a departure from their debut effort, but that’s just fine by me. I’ll have to give it a few more listens before making a final judgment.

That’s it for now. More exciting stuff to come I swear. Time to hit the backyard.

hang my crank

needed something visually stimuating
Work on the “cast of characters” page is nearly done. I was set back a bit because I opened the file in Word to do a quick spell-check, and accidentally hit the “save” button… man, nothing can mangle clean HTML like MS Word can. Took my code and turned it into a jumbled mess of style statements and javascript. Owell, I rewrote it and am back on track. Look for the page soon.

Read on Pitchfork today that the Strokes posted a new single from their upcoming sophomore effort (stupid flash site prevents me from linking the tune here). I downloaded it and it sounds pretty good, I’m really looking forward to hearing the album. A lot of people as me where I find all the crazy music I listen to. I thought I’d pass on some good starter-sites so y’all can get learned up on indie. If you wanna learn by immersion, head over to the #1 internet radio station for indie – 3wk. They have a free indie stream, and a badass classic underground stream too (also free). Also, check out Pitchfork for all the latest news and underground rumblings. There, I gave away my secrets. Go forth and spread the indie to all the creatures of the world.

The other day we were building the wall, and I wanted to make sure we weren’t stacking bricks above the 3ft mark (the highest you can go without a permit). Steve said that if we wanted to be absolutely sure it was 3ft tall, he could stand on top and “hang my crank down” to check it. “Crank.” I thought that was hilarious. Know why? Because the ‘k’ sound is comedy gold. No, I’m for real. ‘K’ words are inherently funny. Donkey, monkey, crack, it’s a proven fact.

Did you guys know Fonzie can punch a car and make it work? He’s that cool.

I guess this isn’t even a real entry, but just some rambling. I have some stuff in the queue for the next entry, as I’m hoping to do an update on the backyard page to show the progress we’ve made. Until then, peace out.

no thanks, i’ll wait for the free one

lay up in the cut and retain some milk
I was thinking about Frank being at Fort Knox now, and how awesome it would be to be near all that bling. I mean, you can probably smell the bling as you’re driving up right? There must be some steel-reinforced cavern full of gold-brick-bling. Awesome. Bling bling, dubs, and Cristal – what else do you need in life? Wow, my brother is totally in the Army….

Yesterday I got a junk call from SBC (the phone company). The lady was telling me that they have a telemarketing-blocking system that you can subscribe to, of course the 1st three months were free as part of some introductory deal. The conversation went something like this:

Her: You wanna buy our anti-telemarketing thing? (paraphrased)
Me: You mean like the National Do Not Call list, right?
Her: Yes sir.
Me: Like the free National Do Not Call list, right?
Her: Yes sir.
Me: But yours costs money?
Her: Not for the 1st three months sir.
Me: So… you’re telemarketing me, selling a service that stops telemarketing?
Her: (awkward pause) Yes, I guess I am sir.
Me: Seems kinda self-defeating, doesn’t it?
Her: Our system blocks more calls than the National Do Not Call list sir.
Me: No thanks, I’ll wait for the free one.

What an odd conversation.

As music goes, I’m listening to the new Snow Patrol album, I don’t think it’s out in the US yet, but here’s a review of their old album. I grabbed it from absmi last night, and so far it sounds pretty good, a little predictable – but I am really jonesing for some new tunes. The more tracks I hear, the more I’m liking it.

This Saturday night is the Hot Hot Heat show at the Crest. Hurray for a show that’s 20min away and in a small venue. I think this one is gonna rock. If you’ve never heard of Hot Hot Heat, they are a rock outfit with a punkish tinge, and they remind me a bit of the Strokes. The lead singer sounds nearly identical, vocally, to the dude from Dexys Midnight Runners… you know, the band that sang that awesome 80’s one-hit-wonder “Come on Eileen.” Anyway, should be a good show.

Oh yeah, I got a new haircut. I have been “slicking” back my hair for nigh on 10 years now, so I decided it’s time to stop. Steve used my clippers to tighten up the do. Now I brush it forward, it’s awesome. I’m awesome. Chicks are all over me.

You guys read the internet, right? Check out Matrix Ping Pong (wait for it to load) and some Time Traveler spam.

overwhelmingly underwhelming

are we there yet?
Well, last night was the Radiohead show. Today’s entry is a late one for a couple reasons. First off, we didn’t get back home until 3am. Here’s the rundown:

The show was overwhelmingly… underwhelming. And it kills me to say that, believe me it does. This is the 3rd time I’ve seen Radiohead live, and each time they have impressed me. Musically, sonically, and with their stage presence and show – they are flawless. Sharaun and I had great seats for the Greek Theater show (my 1st Radiohead show), and it was amazing. However, the two times I’ve seen them at the Shoreline, we were so far back from the stage (in the general admission seats on the lawn) that the group looked like ants up on the stage.

The night was cursed from the getgo. We were running late getting to the venue, but actually ended up making it with time to spare. We took the new Ion, which made a great 1st foray into concertgoing. The 2.5hr trip to Mountain View, where the show was, was OK – although during dinner at In-N-Out Sharaun asked if “Mountain Dew” was close to San Jose. She swears she said “Mountain View,” but Ben I and I both distinctly heard different.

Unfortunately, arriving with time to spare didn’t do that much good. About a block away from the venue, we encountered what is possibly the worst parking situation of any venue I’ve ever been to. We were stuck in traffic just to get into the parking lot for something like 40 minutes. When we finally got in, we had about a mile hike to the amphitheater (really, not exaggerating). About halfway there, Sharaun saw the lights go down, and we heard the rumblings of “2+2=5.” By the time we actually got inside the venue, the band was midway through the 3rd song. That put me off right from the start, I think it’s the only time I’ve ever been late to a show.

The place was filled to capacity. We walked in and took up a spot near the very back of the lawn section, which is already miles above the actual seated sections below. The venue has two huge jumbo screens, which are nice since they allow you to see a little bit of what’s going on on the stage. Seeing a huge stadium show like that is such a far removed experience from the normal concert environment Ben and I have grown accustomed to. I mean, we’ve been seriously spoiled by small venues like the Fillmore, the Great American Music Hall, and the Capital Garage. It’s just too impersonal, being at the back of a crowd of ~20,000.

Ben said it perfectly last night, somewhere near the 2nd ecnore he turned to me and said: “Man, they sounded great, they looked great, and it seems like they’re having a really good time. I wish I could have been there.” Yeah. We coulda got a similar experience watching the show on TV with the volume cranked. Dave’s bottom line: Radiohead sounded and looked great, but I wish we coulda been a lot closer.

Here are a few of Ben’s snaps from the show, click on ’em for larger versions:

sharaun and dave after finally arriving at the show. you can see how pissed i am that it’s already the 4th song.

ben musta used the super-zoom, because this image makes it look like our ionosphere seats weren’t that bad… they were.

here you can see the ~20k fans, notice we are at the very back of the milling masses…. woohoo.

As an unintended side effect of the concert, I decided to take a vacation day today – partly because I was dead tired from getting back so late, and partly because there was so much work I had to catch up on around the house. So I woke up at 7am, sent an e-mail saying I was taking the day off, and proceeded to get back in bed and sleep till 11. It was awesome. Refreshed, I joined Ben and Anthony for lunch, then came home and mowed the lawn, edged, fertilized, weeded, and built a new rock/dirt sifter (yeah, the old one bit the dust; it was a flawed design). Later, Steve and Ragan (formerly referred to here as “the Mooneys”) came over, and we added another two courses of stone to the retaining wall. It’s finally coming together.

In other news, my mom called to tell me that the Army pulled a last minute switch on my bro, and he’s now doing basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Not that it makes that much of a difference, but I at least thought it might be cooler there. Who knows.

And, another interesting tidbit. Sharaun has the kids of two of the California gubernatorial recall election candidates at her school. McClintock’s kid is actually in her class, and Bustamonte’s kid possibly will be next session. Funnily enough, she said the candidates kids are actually like best buds. I thought that was interesting.

That’s it for now. Time to hit the sack.

dinosaurs roaming the earth

...dinosaurs roaming the earth...
I’m so pumped. We’re going to see Radiohead tonight at the Shoreline Amphitheater. This will be the third time I’ve seen them, and each time has been outstanding. The first time I saw them, Sharaun and I drove all the way to LA and caught them at the Greek Theater, that was an amazing show (I think Sharaun was most excited because Brad Pitt was in the audience). The last time I saw them was also at the Shoreline. Both the Shoreline and the Greek Theater are these amazing amphitheater style outdoor venues, and it was so awesome to listen to and watch live Radiohead while looking up at the stars. If you can’t tell, I hold Radiohead up to be the musical torch-bearers of this generation. I think no other band is as talented at this moment, an no one is near as relevant or dynamic. Anyway, hopefully the show will live up to my expectations. You can read about the last time I saw Radiohead at the Shoreline (about halfway down the page). I’ll be taking pencil and paper again tonight to jot notes and setlist.

Yesterday was supposed to be “mow the lawn and build another rock sifter” day… but it ended up being “fall asleep on the couch after dinner and wakeup at 8pm” day. Not a bad trade, but not quite as productive either. Won’t get a thing done tonight either, with the show and all. I guess I’ll just have to hit the jungle-lawn tomorrow after work.

I’m off. Look for an update tomorrow on the show. It’s gonna be a late night tonight, the Shoreline is like 2.5hrs away, and I don’t expect Radiohead to even get on stage until 9ish….