A Slice of Fried Gold

Le Petite Escargot

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
So tonight is Wednesday, which of course means awesomeness if you have been paying attention to my blog. Today was definitely an exceptional Wednesday, which means exceptional awesomeness. First off, the day at work was solid and at lunch I had Benny's AND was allowed to get comics early by my good friends at Bosco's. Then I went back to work until 4ish, after which I went and saw Live Free or Die Hard at 4:15 and it was of course glorious and action packed. Immediately afterwards, I went to trivia to support my team...the Drunken Cowboys. As per usual, Colver and I were there, with Sam joining us as well. So we had 3 vs. a ton of different teams with a lot more, including our closest competitor which featured 6 cute girls and the next table over who were 3 guys, whom we only could assume were helping them. Not because they were girls, but because the guys kept routinely leaning over and whispering to them during questions.

It didn't matter that they were many and we were few. Tonight, we were on it, and we were destined for victory. Of course with a TINY bit of help from our waitress Chastity (our 4th teammate, who also gave me her number...yay!) but no less, we were trivia gods tonight. Sam, Colver, and I managed to win the first round, more or less take the third round, and got zero points in the second round (always has to be an off one). We needed the betting question in the third round to get it, and due to some help from Chastity and some clever listening skills from us, we got the answer to the question...which was "What keyboard symbol do french people refer to as le petite escargot?" The @ symbol. YES!

No less, it was enough to put us into the last question with us vs. ourselves. Tasha (the head Hooters girl if you will) comes over with her assortment of questions, and we decide Sam should pick because he's the least frequent at Trivia Night and kind of felt like our lucky charm because of how well we were doing. He reaches in, pulls out the question and it is labeled football questions! The question was "How tall is the field goal posts cross bar?" The options were 12 feet, 11 feet, 10 feet, and 9 feet. We immediately crossed off the odd numbers, and it was down to 12 and 10. Due to logical reasoning (Colver and I's ability to touch a crossbar) we chose 10. And we were right! $690 was ours! Can you really get a better evening than that? Tasty food, Live Free or Die Hard, comics, getting a great girls number (Irregardless Colver...irregardless!), and winning a ton of money in trivia? Needless to say, we're on cloud nine and this weekend we're going to live like fat cats. Hurrah Trivia!

Because you demanded it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Tonight, I spent the evening first hanging with Matt and then with my Dad and then my Dad, Matt, Brian, and Brian's Dad. It was a great evening, however, there are a couple things that must either be announced or revealed. First off, I made it up Flat Top today in 25:40. That's 4 minutes off my original time! Yes! Matt is still killing me (22:30...come on, be fair) but I'm doing very well and catching up. Now if I could just stop eating so much I might actually be getting somewhere to having the lean and mean torso I so desire. But that is neither here nor there.

Second off, while over at Brian's having a grand ol' time discussing old times, new times, and everything in between times, Matt heard about Brian's attempt at growing dreds. He of course asked if I still had pictures, and I of course said yes. Who am I to rob Matt of the ability to ridicule Brian for how ridiculous he looked? Without further ado, because you demanded it, Brian with dreds...

It's a Matisyahu Thursday!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007
Matisyahu Beat Boxing at Moose's Tooth

This past Thursday on summer solstice (always a good time regardless of what you do) I went to see Matisyahu at Moose's Tooth, a ridiculously delicious pizza joint here in Anchorage that also doubles as the world's largest hippie hangout and occasional concert venue. For those not in the know, Matisyahu is the world's favorite Hasidic Jew rapper/reggae artist. Yes he is bizarre sounding, but given that the only album of his I had was a live one, I knew I was in for at least a good sounding show, if not an exceptionally entertaining one visually. Of course once again, if a white rapper/reggae artist performing for hippies isn't entertaining visually, I don't know what is.

The evening began with me finding out Colver, my fellow concert attendee, would not be able to make the show because of what could be best described as either credit card malfunction or, to quote another friend, user error. There I was, deer in the headlights, entirely unsure as to whether or not I would go by myself because then I would be that guy hanging out at the concert by myself. And nobody wants to be that guy. $35 to get the ticket, I have to go right? So I did. Boy, was that a good decision. Before I went I went to a Mexican restaurant in the area and hung out with my buddy Sean at a radio remote and got my liquid courage on by having myself some chips and salsa and a nice strawberry margarita. Nothing says manly more than a fruity alcoholic beverage out of a big goofy glass. After the margarita, I was fully prepared to face my fate as "that guy."

I get to Moose's Tooth and find parking surprisingly easy to find, regardless of the fact there were 2,000 tickets sold and the openers had already been going for about 30 minutes. I did find the line to be epic-ly long however, which was bad, but good because I also found buddies Nathan and Jimmy waiting in it. Crisis averted! I will not be that guy! Not only was I not that guy, we got in and immediately went over to the beer tents and began the night double fisting IPA's. Delicious, and apparently this was all I needed to grease the wheels into me having an incredibly good night. First off, I'll get the actual concert out of the way. Seeing shows outside on a beautiful night is the only way to do it, and Matisyahu is a fantastic live performer. As I try to show with my video up at the top, he's amazing at beat boxing. The sound is a little wonky but I decided including a video is a must for this. Note how the faster he goes while beat boxing and the faster the lights go, the more my camera shakes from side to side. Was I having a seizure? That's my best guess, I must have blacked out. Anyways, I've never went to a concert where the actual performer was secondary to what was happening at the venue. That happened this time, and it wasn't his fault. Matisyahu, it's not you, it's me.

Matisyahu...it's not you I swear

So at the concert, I ran into a good amount of people I knew and met some really cool new people. Hanging with Jimmy and Nathan, I met such colorful characters as the legion of Norwegians who had just gotten back from summiting McKinley (In 9 days! Impressive!) who were in Anchorage just having a good time before going home, which apparently meant hitting on everything that moved and being effortlessly cool because they are from another country (they translate very well!). Of course, there actions were entirely logical when you realize that this was an outdoor concert for all ages on a gorgeous day, which means that every hot girl in Anchorage who hadn't been seen lately came out of their hiding spots to wear practically nothing and drink a lot. I'm going to go ahead and admit, that was not a negative. I also met an extremely cool girl named Jenn there, who not only bought me beer, but willingly came up to the front of the stage with me. I cannot even say how cool that is, as most people I have to essentially bribe to get them to go up front with me. She was so cool, I was motivated to ask her for her number and see if she wanted to hang out with me later. Yes the word later was used, implying on this day (Thursday) I would be going out to the bars afterwards. For future reference, the next day was hell on earth.

After the show, myself, Nathan, Jimmy, and Amy (who was also at the show) went downtown to meet Matt and Lloyd (of the Michael variety), who were already downtown polishing off beverages at Humpy's. That turned into a particularly crazy time, as much alcohol was consumed and because it was solstice everyone out at the bars is exceptionally crazy. I have to admit, going into the night, going by myself was weird and mildly scary. Great decision, it was an awesome, awesome time. That was the most motley crew I've ever hung out with, as I only hang out with Matt on a regular basis, but it turned out to be ridiculous fun. Plus, it's always nice to be out at the bars at 1 in the morning on a weekday and run into a coworker. It's even better when you run into about 10 of them! Yay us!

So after about an hour at Humpy's, we went down to Platinum Jaxx so I could go meet up with Jenn and do a little dancing. Here is another problem - when I seriously try to dance, I am terrible at it. When I do not try at all and just joke about it, I am amazing, if only for the fact that I don't care and it is just fun. I should always do that regardless of the situation. Given that I was trying to impress this girl, I should definitely not have tried to seriously dance. It turned out...well, let's call it poorly. I was actually so bad I left the dance floor to go hang out with my friends, purely out of shame. The good thing was, Jenn was awesome about it and she just continued on being a ridiculously good dancer (she can belly dance...yeah...that was nice) and having dance offs with the more talented folks out there.

I was entertained in every way imaginable by that, but probably not more entertained than the bachelorette party in the table next to ours was with Nathan. Bachelorette Parties are apparently ten times as crazy in reality as they are in the theoretical sense, as they were essentially taking every food imaginable (particularly whipped cream) and licking it off Nathan. It was amazingly funny, but I have no photographic evidence as given dark places my camera definitely does not shine in performance. A little bit after that, we decided to make our way out. I went to go bid Jenn a good evening, had a nice hug and what not and told her to call me, and made our way out to go back to my place and crash. So here we are, 2:30 in the morning and I have to be up at 6 for work. Oh boy. That sucked real, real bad. But you know what? It was worth every second. This is definitely one of those posts that won't sell the fun of the situation, but sometimes things just aren't done justice by words. This was most definitely one of those times. Of course, I left some of the more entertaining segments of the evening out because this a family blog and we don't want anyones virgin eyes/ears/minds poisoned. Yes Katie, I am watching out for you.

Also, for future reference, if someone says they are not drunk all night, always has empty drinks in front of them, and generally acts very strange all night, that apparently means they are ridiculously hammered. My poor carpet.

C-A-R P-E-N T-I-E-R-S...Carpentier's!

The crew at Carpentier's

So last night I went out for the second straight night (I am all out of wack chronologically, my blog is turning into a Quentin Tarantino movie), but this time for a more laid back chill sessions with the crew. The crew this evening included myself, Matt, Brian, Colver, Joe, Lorna, and Kim, and a rotating cast of characters including semi-hot plaid dress wearing bartender, the street fighting man, Phoenix (best name ever), ridiculously drunk Matt, Unknown Named Quarters Playing Gal, and the rest of the characters from the locale of the evening, which was the Carpentier's Lounge. This is a place that is WAY off the beaten path, a dive bar on the east side of town and one not yet polluted by those filthy college students who turn these bars from lovable dives into trendy kitsch bars.

No less, Matt and Joe had been trying to get us to go there for a bit because it is atypical and close to where Joe lives, plus it is famous (infamous?) for having food left out for patrons to eat, with anything being fair game...from clam chowder to chili to pizza. This sounded to hysterical not to check out, so of course I was in. Plus after the gigantically boisterous evening as the one I had the previous night (which you all have yet to hear about...patience is a virtue my readership) it sounded right up my alley. Turned out it wasn't as low key as I thought it would be, with there almost being a bar fight (the words "do you want to take this outside?" were actually said), a second pitcher being ordered near instantaneously of the arrival of our first one, semi-hot plaid dress wearing bartender dropping the C-word (the one that rhymes with bunt that no girl likes) extremely loudly much to everyones amusement, and us meeting a couple who were playing what was apparently the darts version of Kramer and Newman's game of Risk from Seinfeld. This was all within 15 minutes of our arrival. Gotta love the dives.

No less, once our full team was assembled, much drinking (right Kim?) took place, with shots and beers being in near constant turnaround. This led to tomfoolery with all kinds of bar games, starting with darts, moving onto a head to head game of horseshoes between Matt and I, and finally the greatest bar game of all time - quarters. This of course leads to a story. When we walked out to play horseshoes we were propositioned into a game that looked ridiculous by Phoenix and the Risk Darts couple, but we quickly brushed them off as we thought they were just drunk and tossing quarters at a wall. Somehow within 20 minutes, Matt and I had joined them and we began our experience with quarters. Many may know this game, but it is a simple game based off this premise: take a quarter, throw the quarter, who ever ends the closest to the wall is the winner and takes all of the quarters. I won my first round and was hooked immediately.

Now I generally do not have an addictive personality, unless we are referring to comics or TV shows (and sometimes people), but gambling is one thing I really could find myself getting hooked on. Papa needed a new pair of shoes, and quarters was going to carry me there. Within minutes of my first win I had been cleaned out and was borrowing from anyone who would listen. Brian relented and loaned me a dollar, and the rest was history. Let's say this sport was basketball...I was the Michael Jordan of it. I was a giant amongst men. I was making it rain out there, besides one time when the female part of the Risk Darts people managed to lodge her quarter into a crack directly next to the wall. I turned Brian's dollar into 8 dollars which bought us a fine pitcher of Coors (only the best!), and it turned into an hour to an hour and a half of sheer ridiculousness that was alternately the best drinking game ever and the best spectator sport ever, as every throw elicited cheers from our growing audience of participants (maxing out at probably 15 and drawing people from inside to watch us). Everyone was playing, and everyone was having a grand time. Too bad we cleaned out the people we were playing against, because we could have been playing still if they hadn't left.

After all the quarters shenanigans, we moved inside, took over a table and the jukebox and wound down the evening in our traditionally ridiculous fashion. This was another evening proving once again that any situation can be a good one, even when the what, the when, the where, and the how are uncertain, so long as the who is solid. Last night, our crew was rock solid and it was an amazing night. Gotta love the dive bars though.

The quarters playing posse...ignore the smoking of course....

Reversal of Fortune

First up, making up for lost time. I've been a busy little guy lately and I want to make sure I post everything, so I'm going to have three blog posts today.

The title of this post is in reference to a potential corner being turned. Admittedly, I've been on an ice cold streak with girls for a while now. However, recently things have been going differently. Seemingly I'm drawing far more interest from the fairer sex and I am not sure why. Could it be because I lost weight? My sunglasses make me devilishly handsome? The sun I've been exposed to has created a tan that is irresistible? No idea, all I know is based off Sam Law (or the Scientific Method of Sam) girls are way more interested in me than before. Sam Law (or SMS) is a simple concept based around the idea that if you smile at a girl and you get a smile back that there is a base level of interest in you, and that is when you go in to introduce yourself. Last summer, my response rate was pure crap. Now? All time high. See chart below for empirical data...



Absolutely incredible turn around on my part, and it is climbing on a day to day basis. It is all pretty scientific, I should include a legend or some sort of base explanation for the chart, but its very technical and I don't want to get into those kinds of details here. The grand point of this all is I met a very nice girl on Thursday at the Matisyahu concert. I very much enjoyed her, and I actually managed to get her phone number. Now here is the tough part...getting over my sucking at girl. I made a good start, now I just have to:

  • Take phone
  • Use phone to call girl
  • Ask out on date
  • Not bomb date
  • Profit?

For those that have met me, which is likely 100% of you, this is not as simple as you would generally think and you all likely know this. For the first time in a while though, I'm feeling pretty good about not messing it up. That's a pretty big deal in my book.

Bizarro World

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ever see that episode of Seinfeld...you know, the Bizarro Seinfeld? The one where Elaine gets the three new friends who are the exact opposite of Jerry, George, and Kramer in every way, while being exactly the same at the same time? Tonight was like that, except it was my life and the whole world was topsy turvy. Not a long post tonight, just a quick one, because this was too weird not to mention. Here are some examples of the strangeness...

  • Today in Anchorage it reached a high of about 85 degrees...or according to the infamous Sea Galley sign it was a 107. Tomorrow it will likely be raining. Alaska, you are weird.
  • In trivia tonight, not only did we have zero points after the first round, we also only got 1 of the first 7 questions right in the second round. Then it was down to just Colver and I, and we ended up getting 4 of the remaining 5 questions right and finishing 3rd for the round. Then the third round we missed the first four and called uncle...what is going on.
  • There was a line for the Dairy Queen drive thru that was about 30 cars long. Yes. Dairy Queen, famous for its incredibly mediocre food and ridiculously delicious Blizzards. Proof that anything new in Alaska will be an instant success. Has the world gone insane?
  • Jeff Weaver, he of the 12+ ERA for the Seattle Mariners, managed to throw a complete game shutout. I listened on the radio earlier this year as he lasted a third of an inning and gave up 6 earned runs. He's so bad, after this game, his ERA was still 8.56. I'm pretty sure the world is about to explode.
  • I managed to make it to my Softball game tonight, and we were playing the powerhouse team in our league. We were also 5-1 like them, but they had been decimating teams. We beat 27-2. Twenty-Seven to Two. They did poorly. We did well.
  • At 6:30 it was 82 degrees. 9:30 there was crazy lightning and rain was starting. I quit, I'm going home.

At one point in the night, when it was just Colver and I, I broached the subject of this being bizarro world. I proposed the idea that things were going so backwards that I should really hit on one of the Hooters girls, because given optimal conditions I'd still fail just because of who they are, and I'd doubly fail because I'd somehow slur my speech and probably inadvertently tackle said girl. The world was so backwards, I'd probably have come out as some sort of combination between Rico Suave, James Bond, and Leisure Suit Larry. In one moment of true clarity, I of course did not follow up on this brilliant idea, either because I wanted to save myself the embarassment or I decided I wanted to preserve this brilliantly backwards day. I'll stick it out and say it was the latter of the two.

Understanding Comics

Monday, June 18, 2007
Jon Weddleton (owner of Bosco's), Sky McCloud, Scott McCloud

Tonight at the Loussac Library, Scott McCloud (writer of Understanding Comics and Making Comics) made a presentation about comics and their relevance as an art form, and about how exactly comics are put together and where they are going in the future. It was a very amusing and informative evening, especially for an intense fan of comics such as myself. Of course, it was also interesting to me as more of an expansion of my mind of ways to see comics and the intention of certain things within them. For myself, it was enlightening, for others it may have even made the medium acceptable to perhaps delve into if they haven't given it a chance quite yet.

The evening began with Jon Weddleton, owner of local comic store Bosco's (essentially the only game in town REALLY when it comes to comics, cards, and other things that are ridiculously nerdy of that sort), speaking about the ascension of comic books from something people would read and discard back in the Golden and Silver Ages of the medium, to the spectator heavy era of the 90's that almost destroyed the industry, and to now, where the medium is featuring unbelievable growth in sales and in creativity. This is an industry that inspired the number one movie of the year, spawned last year's top book of the year according to Time Magazine, and has created numerous award winners, including early 90's Pulitzer Prize winner Maus. Most people are not aware of this, they just brush it off as child's play and something that does not have any real value. Weddleton really let people know that they are more relevant than they are given credit for, and even though he felt like a poser when speaking about them (as per usual), the man is as important as anyone in the entire state of Alaska when it comes to comics.

After that, Scott McCloud's daughter Sky took over and took us a through a ridiculously amusing presentation about their current road trip that is taking them across the country, called the Making Comics Fifty State Tour. It was remarkably entertaining, and her and her sister Winter (she of the Winterviews that are posted on McCloud's website) provided some of the most entertaining parts of the evening.

After that, she introduced her father Scott, who took us through a 700 slide presentation taking us through the history of himself, the industry, the different influences in comics today, and even showing us a few pages of one of his current favorites on the market today. He told the crowd about some very interesting and seemingly important comics that are made today, such as Persepolis, a story of life in Iran from the point of view of a little girl. This graphic novel is required reading at the United States Naval Academy. Impressive! His history was extremely interesting, and sometimes very entertaining. He told us of his father who was amazingly impressive himself. This is a man who was so handy that when going through the Army's physical examination managed to last three whole hours before they realized he was quite literally blind. I'm not sure if that is sad for the Army or very impressive for McCloud's father. Either way, it was a fun little story.

Another really interesting thing about him (at least to me) is that one of his best friends when he was younger, whom he met through his interest in Chess, was Kurt Busiek. For you folks out there who are uneducated in the world of comics, Kurt Busiek is an extremely well respected creator who wrote Marvels and is the creator and writer of the entirety of Astro City. He actually was good friends with him, and three people who eventually became children's book artists, so this place he was from apparently was the nexis of the universe in terms of artistic and writing talent. In fact, Busiek was the person who got him into comics and essentially was a very important person in the crafting of who McCloud is today.

There were a lot of interesting things in the presentation, but he's touring the country. Instead of reading me talk about this, go see him yourself when he comes near. He's really quite amazing and I think he could convert most any non-comic reader into really respecting what the medium has to offer. He is respectful of the past of the industry, while being a big time forward thinker and one of the biggest proponents of digital and web comics. As a traditionalist who believes that comics should eternally be printed, I disagree with him, but I understand his point and certainly respect it.

New Year's Resolutions: Mid-year Update

Sunday, June 17, 2007
This past Friday at work, we had our weekly meeting with the main folks in the Consumer side of the Marketing department. Normally, the grand poobah of our side of the company reads to us from a book and then takes the passage from the book into the rest of the meeting as sort of a guiding light for where we go. This week was no different, and this week was the tangibility of dreams and how you can raise the success rate of your goals. One of the ideas discussed was how writing them down affects the rate of achievement of these goals, and how sharing them improves this as well. This leads me into the sharing of my New Year's Resolutions and giving a kind of mid-year update on how I am doing, perhaps giving me insight into my focus as far as the rest of the year is concerned and maybe giving people that I know an idea of what they need to push me on so I stop screwing around and achieve things on my list. Accountability is key, and without that accountability, I may never get there. So without further adieu, here is my list of New Year's resolutions.

1. Read 10 Books
2. Make 3 new good friends
3. Develop the ability to do 20 consecutive pull ups, 5 one armed push ups, and run 5 miles in 35 minutes
4. Learn how to play a musical instrument
5. Reach all of my incentive levels at work
6. Go on my first self paid vacation
7. Maintain my current weight
8. Finish my second degree
9. Catch up on all of the games I haven't finished
10. Start trying to learn a new language. Spanish perhaps?
11. Learn to say the right thing...somehow. Help?
12. Get more resolutions

Some relatively easy, some extremely hard (New language? What is wrong with me and where did I get that idea?!), all with varying levels of success. Here is an update on where I am on each one.

1. Read 10 Books

So far this year, I've been pure crap at this. Sure, I can easily turn this one around if I just focused a bit of my comic/graphic novel/trade paperback/blog/sports column reading time on books, but given the amount of time I spend screwing off, I should be able to do better. This year, I read Sung in Blood by Glen Cook, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and Winkie by Clifford Chase. 3 books. 6 months. I am ridiculous. The sad thing too, is my book list at the beginning of the year was huge. It has gotten even larger, and I'm barely even making a dent. I'm half way through Bill Simmons column collection about the 2004 Boston Red Sox called Now I Can Die in Peace but I always get distracted by new columns, so I'm getting nowhere with that.

Diagnosis: Finished by comics early this week, time to knock out a book.

2. Make 3 new good friends

Now, given varying degrees of cheatingness, I could call this a success. Including work folks who I consider friends but do not actually hang out with outside of work, this is a success. However, let's not count that. I'm working on this, I swear, and I have two people who are somewhere between friend and acquaintance that I'd love to hang out with. We shall see. I also have one other person who I hang out with and talk with pretty much daily, and I'll count her. I'm going to call this one a moderate success with room for growth.

Diagnosis: Success, pending further definition of term "good friends."

3. Develop the ability to do 20 consecutive pull ups, 5 one armed push ups, and run 5 miles in 35 minutes

This one is going moderately well. Currently, depending on the grip, I can do either 10 pull ups (tight reverse grip) or 1 (forward grip out wide). I was going off the former originally when I made this goal, so I'm going to say half way there, but I'd prefer to be able to do 20 of the latter because it makes you look way more hardcore. I can currently do zero one armed push ups, however most of that has to do with form than actual strength. Has there ever been a more awkard looking thing to do or look at than a one armed push up? Except when Jack Palance is doing one while accepting an Oscar for City Slickers that is. Then you just look hardcore. Running is going well, even though I've been a huge slacker lately. The other night I ran 2.63 miles in 20 minutes flat. This prorates to 4.6 miles in 35 minutes, which I'm going to say is good and on track for the end of the year.

Diagnosis: Looking good, keep it up me!

4. Learn how to play a musical instrument

Does writing on a blog count as a musical instrument?

Diagnosis: Ugh.

5. Reach all of my incentive levels at work

Well the first quarter I hit. Second quarter so far, with a little bit less than 2 weeks, I have two Cell Days to get to if I want to hit my full incentive. It's going to go down to the nitty gritty, but I think I can do it.

Diagnosis: At the buzzer, but I think I'm going to make it.

6. Go on my first self paid vacation

Labor Day weekend, Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle. Woo! Now I'm going to call this a qualified success. I will pay for the vacation business, but I will be bumming a mileage ticket to get there, or at least that is the plan. So, the vacation BESIDES the ticket will be self funded. Needless to say, get ready Pacific Northwest, you will be seeing me in September!

Diagnosis: Success!!

7. Maintain my current weight

Beginning of year: 195. Currently: 190, with added muscle.

Diagnosis: Success, although Colver's Mom said that I was "withering away."

8. Finish my second degree

Wrapped up my LSU class with an A on my final. Crazy...get a new instructor in that class and receive A's for my last two grades. IMAGINE THAT! Call me a college graduate...x2.

Diagnosis: Hello Marketing Degree...meet Management and Human Resources degree!!!

9. Catch up on all of the games I haven't finished

I can hardly believe one of my resolutions is actually based around finishing video games. It is a very sad day when I have to motivate myself to complete video games. It's even sadder that this is the primary rival to "musical instrument" and "foreign language" for "resolution letdown of the year."

Diagnosis: Hey...I beat Guitar Hero 2 and Resistance: Fall of Man. There are only 24 hours in a day!

10. Start trying to learn a new language. Spanish perhaps?

Necesito conseguir de trabajo en ├ęste.

Diagnosis: Falta. Falta total. This section of the blog was brought to you by Babel Fish, website designed to satisfy all of your foreign language translation needs!

11. Learn to say the right thing...somehow. Help?

This little nugget stemmed from my friend Amanda commenting on my ability to always say the wrong thing in the wrong situation. This has changed in no way, as I continue to suck at this. Not only this, my other problem of NEVER saying the right thing in the right situation continues, as well of having cruel, cruel inhibitions that block myself from success in situations that I would REALLY like to succeed in, i.e. speaking to girls when I want them to be interested in me. Of course even if I do somehow get blindly lucky in this regard, I'll either mess it up or I will do nothing. C'est la vie!

Diagnosis: I suck at girl.

12. Get more resolutions

Now this one I could easily come around, so very soon I will have a follow up post replacing any resolutions I may have already succeeded on, and with each additional success I have I will replace that one with a new goal. See, it's always good to have goals. If you don't there is no where to look forward to, and no point to strive for. A person always needs things to reach for, or they will aimlessly wander through the abyss, never failing at anything but never really achieving anything either.

Diagnosis: In progress, as all things always should be. Progressing.

Dreams and Aspirations

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I love asking this question: "If you could be better at one thing, what would it be?" I love asking it because you always get some interesting answers, and to segway into my selfish ulterior motive, which is answering it myself. I love answering it, because I would give anything to be better at art/penciling. If I could do one thing for a living, I think it would have to be producing my own comic. I've slowly reduced it to "work in the comic industry" to match talent to aspirations, effectively living a phrase my coworker jokingly said the other day: "If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!" That is what I essentially did, but ultimately I know I would absolutely astonishingly love it to be able to produce a decent comic. I figure I have the chops to write one and the ideas from years upon years of reading to come up with a decent concept, but I draw like a semi-talented sixth grader. On an off day. A really off day. I never really thought I would have a chance to get any better, as I've been meaning to take art classes since I got back but I just haven't gotten to it because of a combination of laziness and the lack of desire to share my artwork with others.

That is, until now. Scott McCloud, who almost none of you are likely to know, created a book series all about the creation of comics and how to better conceptualize the process. The first book was called Understanding Comics, the second being Reinventing Comics, and the third was called Making Comics. He will be visiting the far greater Northwest in his Making Comics 50 State Tour, and he will be brought up here by my favorite comic store and former employer Bosco's. He will be doing a five hour class on Saturday that will be limited to 25 people, and then on Sunday he will be visiting and signing at Bosco's and lecturing at Loussac Library. I will likely miss the signing at Bosco's, but the other two I will be attending, and I am especially excited about taking the workshop.

Sure it will not make me any better at art, but this is an extremely positive first step in terms of being able to accomplish an actual dream. Being able to create actual narrative in comic form is a gigantic step in the right direction, and after finding out today I nearly jumped up and down out of excitement. No less, no golf for me this weekend as I had planned on, but I do get the chance to have an awesome time learning to do something I love better than I could before. I really cannot wait, and I continue to be surprised about how many cool things are coming up here. I just need to know where to look I guess. This class could lead to all kinds of things, such as classes at UAA in art or even just a smaller place like Blaine's Art Supplies. I don't really care, I'm just excited about the opportunity. See, they weren't lying. Learning IS fun and fundamental.


Scary Kids Scaring Kids and Alaska Concerts

Monday, June 11, 2007
Pouyan from Scary Kids Scaring Kids and I

Friday night I attended a concert at Club Oasis, a bar near where I work and one that not so long ago was the spot of where my truck was broken into. Obviously I was going in not too excited about leaving my car parked there during the show, but I was generally excited about seeing the band playing that evening. Scary Kids Scaring Kids are a previously screamo band who turned into a more basic heavy rock outfit, and did it well as their sound transferred over to the new genre pretty well, or at least from what I've heard. This would be a second time I'd seen them, as I had seen them down in Tempe, Arizona when I went and saw Gatsby's American Dream (and Circa Survive and Bear vs. Shark) at a small venue named Neckbeard's. They were good the first time, but I ditched out after only two songs because I had been at the venue for what felt like an eternity and wanted to get out of there.

No less, the ticket for the show said the concert started at 9 pm but I called to be sure and found out the band was supposed to start at 10 pm. Get there at 9:40 and sit down with a drink (which I got from the ridiculously hot bartendress, the quality of Club O's bartending staff is inexplicably disproportionate to the overall quality of the establishment) to chat on the phone for a bit before the show started. While I sat there chatting mindlessly away on the phone (sorry Katie!) I noticed the keyboardist (whose name was Pouyan and was very cool) from Scary Kids come out of his hidey hole to start playing Guitar Hero 2 right next to where I was sitting. I of course got off the phone and chatted with him about their music and his ability to be amazing at Guitar Hero even without sound or any ability at the real guitar. Nothing too useful, until he announced that the show was not starting until 11:30. I was already bored...now I had an extra hour and a half to wait before it started! Strike one against the show.

So I went over to my sisters for a while to waste some time, and I get back around 11:20 so I could catch the opener and see how they were. The band playing before was Scary Kids was called Dekcuf (read it backwards to understand the quality of the band) and they were...to put it in a word...bad. They were not good. They were without goodness. In fact, I actually went upstairs to avoid listening to them. Yet everyone there seemed to totally dig them. Anyways, they could not end fast enough, and after 15 minutes or so, Scary Kids were beginning their set. Overall, the band was quite rocking, I very much enjoyed them. They loved their audience, they interacted extremely well with the crowd, and Pouyan was pretty much hysterical. They put on a great show and I really hope other bands that come up here can bring similar energy, because if they do, we're going to be some very lucky concert goers.

Pouyan from SKSK and my friend Drea

Now here comes the bad. When I say "audience" and "crowd," I don't mean that in the traditional sense. I mean that in the "there are 15 people watching this band and it is sad" type of way. Maybe because it was a 21+ show, I'm not sure, but the audience was just sad. Plus, most of the people that were there watching came for apparently the explicit purpose of beating each other up in stupid ways and continuously kicking me in the ankle. Thanks team! I cannot stand audiences at Alaska concerts. You either have the ridiculous people at Cursive in February who refused to follow the seating chart and stood at the front right in my view (after making sure to get a beautiful ticket as soon as they went on sale), or you have the silly people from Colin Hay who yelled random jokes to be "funny" but were actually just annoying, or you have the children from the Local H show who just were ridiculous AND hilariously young, which of course makes me feel even older than I already felt. You can't win. There is always some part of the audience that kills me. Maybe it is a me getting older and crankier thing, and less of a Alaska concert sucking thing, but I don't remember being so annoyed at the concerts I went to down in the states.

Scary Kids Scaring Kids giving it the ol' college try up there

The point is, regardless of how cranky I am, if you are going to get bands to come up here routinely, you are going to have to support these concerts. If a mid-major band comes up here, support them so they can spread the word to other bands about how great Alaska is. Get positive buzz coming from the bands so we can get things a little bit better up here when it comes to music. Sure we have Matisyahu, Portugal. The Man, and the White Stripes coming up here, which is awesome, but we shouldn't freak out whenever there is anything half way respectable coming up here. If we just treated every good concert with the respect they deserved the rest would just fall in line. I know I sound overly annoyed about the state of these concerts, but I really do love them. I am the same person who when he found out that the Cold War Kids were opening for the White Stripes on their upcoming tour literally began jumping up and down for joy. Of course 20 minutes later I found out they were not going to be and spiraled into a deep depression...but that is neither here nor there. I just wish people would share the passion I feel for music when they go to shows, as it is one of the more powerfully creative mediums of entertainment in my opinion and should be shown respect. There I go being cranky and old sounding again!

I'm a very bad man

So as I foolishly announced in a previous post, I have a two day rule. Every two days I must post, whether it is something remotely interesting or sheerly a recap of foods I had eaten in the previous day that began with the letter Q. The sad thing was, I had plenty of things to write about! Yet I was very easily distracted, as it was by far the nicest day of the summer so far up here in the good ol' AK, with not a cloud in the sky and the sun pouring down. I came out of the weekend burnt and happy about it. About time! No less, this post will catch you all, my faithful readers, up to what happened this weekend as it was a very busy one! I may actually do a separate post for one of said happenings because it inspired a number of emotions in me and I would not mind delving into this event.

First off, I should announce this...regardless of the efforts of the fans of the show, Veronica Mars was officially cancelled today. Sad panda...hopefully Dawn Ostroff enjoys my letter and the Mars Bars I sent. I'm sure she will! Great effort by the fans, it was great to see a real grassroots campaign get going like that.

Second off, word to the wise. If you are incompetent at throwing a frisbee golf disc straight...avoid Kincaid's frisbee golf course like the plague. For those that have a lot of curve in your throws and routinely say a little prayer after the release, this is not the place for you. My hands, legs, face, arms, and soul learned all about that, as the bane of my existence that are devil's thorns scratched the living hell of me. Not only that, but even to people who have played it before (i.e. Colver) you can get lost on the course. Generally I have a rule of thumb stating that "if you need a map when playing a game, this is a game you should not be playing." Except with Scavenger Hunts. There are no rules to Scavenger Hunts, besides "have fun" and "just win, baby." I love Scavenger Hunts. No less, back on point, I think before going back to "hell" as I have so affectionately named Kincaid, I want to develop the ability to throw straight and get a map. Yay summer goals! The good news is, Colver and I both found discs after losing one each in the previous few weeks. Back to even I say.

Yesterday I went to the opening game of the season for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots (as well as going on a bike ride on the Coastal Trail...which was gorgeous...yesterday was a good day) and it was a good time, besides the good guys losing to the California Bears and apparently copying the Seattle Mariners's mascot. It is always pretty cool going to games in the Alaska Baseball League, as so many good major leaguers have come up here and played for a summer, like Mark McGwire when he weighed 150 pounds of muscle less and current young star Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That name just rolls off the tongue doesn't it? No less, the field is about two blocks from my place so I think I'm going to have to make myself a regular at games. They're inexpensive and worst case scenario you get to see some decent baseball and work on your tan. Can't go wrong there!

Not only did I get to watch baseball, tonight I had a softball game. It was great fun, as team GCI came out victorious over the Wrecking Crew 17-10. I didn't play the first two innings (I've been a bum and skipped two of the last three games) but I ended up playing the last three at one of my favorite positions...second base. I recorded a few outs and nearly turned two a number of times, and I went 2 for 2 with two doubles. So now on the season I'm 4 for 5 with 3 doubles and 2 rbi's. Not doing so bad. I'm feeling good now, I'm going to stop being a bum and not skip any more games. No less, my team is 4 and 1 now, and we're really on a roll. Can't wait for our next game on Monday!!

Lastly, before my next post of the evening that is, I have a couple of recommendations to make.

I purchased Circa Survive's new album On Letting Go on Friday, and I have to admit...it has me hooked. After seeing them in Tempe, Arizona a couple years back, I definitely respected them, but after listening to their new album a few times I really am starting to dig them recorded as well. They feature one of the best and most interesting lead singers in rock music today, as Anthony Green is pretty much a genius in his alternately scratchy and gorgeous delivery. The man can really belt it out, but in a non-traditional way. I wholeheartedly recommend this album, that is if you can keep an open mind. Except to you Sheri. They do not sound like the Wrens or Smoosh or anything else you like, so this recommendation goes out to everyone. But Sheri.

Besides the CD, I recommend Netflixing or renting the Sci-Fi channel original mini-series The Lost Room. It stars Peter Krause. I mean come on...of course it is going to be good. It's Casey McCall from Sports Night! He's pretty much the man! He also was on Six Feet Under, if you were into that sort of thing (I'm sure I would be into it...if I ever could get my hands on a copy...I need to talk to an HBO rep). No less, The Lost Room is a bizarre little show about a man who inadvertently gets a hotel room key that takes him into a room that may or may not really exist and that can take him anywhere instantly if he just thinks it. It has a very dense plot involving a lot of characters and some really interesting ideas and concepts. It definitely isn't your run of the mill TV mini-series (or god forbid, you run of the mill average Sci-Fi mini-series...they can make some real crap...yet they also made this and Battlestar Galactica...how does that happen), and should be caught by anyone that likes to go a little off the beaten path. No less, there are your recs, and we're now back on schedule. Stay tuned for your regularly scheduled postings!

Save Veronica Mars! Update!

Friday, June 8, 2007
Due to the amazing power of the Internet and the obsessive power of television fans, the show Jericho was saved after online petitions garnered over 100,000 signatures and fans sent in 20 tons worth of nuts (this is in response to a quote from the show's finale in which a character said "Nuts!" when asked to surrender, implying the opposing force could go to hell, as was said originally in the Battle of Bastogne in WWII by Brigadier General McCaulife of the Allied Forces). No less, Jericho was picked up for seven more episodes midseason. Not a lot by any means, but enough to possibly garner it future survival and far better than full out cancellation.

With that said, Veronica Mars fans have redoubled their efforts due to the hope taken from happened with the other show. Once again, I am encouraging anyone and everyone that may or may not watch the show to sign a petition again (got a fresh one today!) and if you are a fan of the show (yes, I am looking at you Sheri) send in some Mars Bars. Yes, sounds weird, but hey, it worked for Jericho. Here is a link to the petition, a link to an article about the fans efforts, a link to a store that sells Mars Bars on the cheap (if you use the promotional code Veronica that is, we're everywhere!), and a link to that stores' blog right here on Blogspot. Get on it people! Sign the petition! Save Ronnie Mars!

Also, apparently the best way to get anything done is to actually write the CW, as there is some sort of mathematical equation networks use that says "1 letter equals 100 viewers," or so I read. So for those that are feeling extra saucy, here is the address to write into. Be nice as well, because the lady you are writing to is supposedly a huge fan of the show as well.

Dawn Ostroff
President of Entertainment
The CW Network 4000 Warner Boulevard, Bldg 168
Burbank, CA 91522-0002

Choices, choices

Thursday, June 7, 2007
So I've officially decided sometime between now and Labor Day, I will be going down to the Pacific Northwest (be that Seattle, Portland, George...whatever) to come down and visit and go see a show or three. Now right now, I have a few choices as to when I come down and who I go see (not people, bands/shows/what not). I of course am going to lay out the choices and people can give opinions as they will, but I think worst case scenario this will help me map out what exactly will be at each show and will help me figure out exactly which I should go to.

First up:

Saturday and Sunday, July 27th and 28th
Cost: $15
Location: Area around Pike's Place/Neumo's in Seattle
Primary artists playing: Spoon (!), Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground (!), Silversun Pickups, Viva Voce, the Blood Brothers, Against Me!, Aesop Rock, Mirah
At least 29 others with more to be announced

Second up:
Saturday, August 25th
Cost: $45
Location: The Gorge in George, Washington
Primary artists playing: Modest Mouse, Incubus, The Presidents of the United States of America, Nada Surf, the Thermals, The Heavenly States, Arthur & Yu, Back Door Slam

Last up:
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, September 1st through 3rd
Cost: Either $75 (3 day pass) or $195 (3 day pass with guaranteed access to main stage shows amongst other things), leaning towards the latter one
Location: Downtown Seattle, Seattle Center area
Primary artists to see: The Shins (!), Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (!), Wu-Tang Clan (!), Panic! at the Disco, Pete Yorn, Kings of Leon, Andrew Bird, Anberlin, Gym Class Heroes, the Damnwells, Lupe Fiasco, the Frames, DeVotchka, Mae
Tons and tons of musicians not included, not included also are the Film Festival, the comedians (including Janeane Garofalo, Fred Armisen, and Eugen Mirman), arts shows, great food, etc. Plus, still a bunch of artists not added yet.

So there they are...each have their plusses, each have their minuses, and I need to choose quickly. The plan is to use a mileage ticket to get there and back, and to get using 20,000 miles you have to order the ticket early. Thus the timeframe to go to Capitol Hill is pretty tight right now. So here are the extra things to consider...
  • The positives are that it works the best in my schedule because it is long from now and happens on a weekend where I have a paid day off on Labor Day. I also know a group of people that are already going, plus another friend who may go as well. The primary negatives are that the artists I most want to see (the Shins, Pete Yorn) I've already seen and I've heard Bumbershoot itself is an absolute mess. High likelihood of burn out as well, plus most expensive.
  • Capitol Hill Block Party has the two bands I want to see most of all: Spoon and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground. It is also the cheapest (or most affordable as us Marketeers say). Besides those two bands though, pickings are slim and it has a high likelihood of being an average concert, especially with Spoon's reputation of meing mediocre live.
  • Download Festival has bar none the best venue and the highest likelihood of not missing any bands that I'd like to see. Also, it is one day and out, so I likely wouldn't get burnt out or go into a music overload coma for a month afterwards because of it. Strangely enough, with the biggest bands of any of the bills, this one has the bands I least want to see. I'd be down with the bands, but I'm not impassioned about seeing any of them.

With all that said, my early rankings go: Bumbershoot in the lead, followed by Capitol Hill, and then Download. Bumbershoot has the highest likelihood of a true "experience" while Capitol has the highest likelihood of being the most mediocre, but also could be amazing because the amount of bands I don't even know. To quote Bill Simmons, it has nuclear upside. I mean come on...it's nuclear. No less, opinions? I'd sure appreciate them.

Wednesday is the best day of the week

Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I know this contrasts greatly with my previous post discussing how much I love the weekend (which I do assuredly), Wednesday is consistently my favorite day of the week. Oh Wednesday, let me count the reasons for why I love you.
  • Wednesdays feel as if they are the perfect equilibrium between the beginning of the week and the end of the week, which I suppose makes sense because they are in fact the middle, however they always seem to go by faster and overall be better days.
  • During TV season, it is the home of Lost (or was as next year it's going to be on Tuesdays).
  • Wednesday IS new comic day. That is a glorious reason, and I love my new comics. For a super duper nerd like myself, that makes it an "A" day already. However, due to the fluctuation in the release schedule, even with my passion for it, it is not my favorite Wednesday happening.
  • The best and most consistent reason - Trivia Night.

Most every week, my team and myself go play Trivia at Hooters. Now you're probably going say, "Hooters? Trivia? Something there doesn't fit together." Sure, inherently you'd think they do not make sense together, but after being asked to play by a group of six friends the very first time, I've been addicted. Every bar/restaurant should have trivia. As a lifelong purveyor of useless knowledge, it only makes sense. But at the same time, in the middle of a long hard week of work, what is better than kicking back with some friends and just having a good time? Absolutely nothing, and that is the entire truth of the matter.

For the past year and a half plus, we've had an eclectic group of trivia players, all forming into one overarching team name: Drunken Cowboys. This is ironical that I am one of the most consistent team members, considering quite often I am not drunken while playing (well...sometimes), and I hate country music. This makes the whole team name very strange for me, but you know, you don't mess with tradition. No less, it is a blast, and even though we've only won once ($245!! Yes!) we keep on going just because its fun and its a great thrill of competition. Plus, you meet cool people and its a great way of doing something different, as no two experiences are ever the same. I am an unabashed fan of trivia night.

Tonight was no different. We had our traditional core of Colver and myself, with the addition of Matt and Michael (Lloyd? Mike? What to call him?). Anyways, so we had a four man strong team, which is a great start. Plus, we were on fire, getting the first 8 questions right. Here is the layout for those who are not familiar with Trivia Night (which is likely all of you). Each round (there are 3) goes like this...first through fifth questions worth ten points, sixth question is double points, seventh through eleventh worth ten, last question you bet off of how many points you have going into it. Each question (besides #6 and #12) you can put down two answers, and the second answer is worth five points. Going into the last question of the first round, we were at 105 points, down 5 from the leaders...the dreaded Rub. This team is full of experienced players...aka they each have 20 to 30 years on us. Seeing that they wagered, we did something that was horribly out of character for us. We bet. We NEVER...EVER...bet on the last question. All or nothing, that may as well be our motto. However, this time it was smart, as we got it wrong and only lost 15 points, staying in mathematical contention after the first round. For those wondering, the question was "what are the three most populous cities in South America?" and the answers were "Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires." We put the latter two, but instead of Sao Paulo, we had Santiago. Sad panda.

No less, we continued to do well but ultimately lost. Colver got deep into the Matrix (aka he was wearing my sunglasses and was being ridiculous), Matt and him got intensely into discussing Commando and the relation of Arnold's name in it to Colver's current status (his name was John Matrix), and Lloyd and I started blowing obvious questions. We are both huge Beastie Boys fans, and we got this question wrong - "What is the name of the record label the Beastie Boys started?" CROWN ROYAL! CROWN ROYAL! Yet we both got it wrong. I subjected my Mom to a good 6 to 8 years of listening to MCA, Mike D, and Adrock, and it was all for naught. How does this happen? No less, there is some good news...the team that won (that wasn't Rub) ended up getting the absolutely final question wrong, meaning the money carries over to next week. That means next week is going to be $500+!!! Alright, now that is something I can get behind.

So that's a play by play on tonights Trivia, which went poorly but was still oh so worth it. I paid $13, had an amazing time for over two and a half hours, got to hang out with great friends, and continue developing my reservoir of useless knowledge. Anyways, I shall leave this post with a team picture, featuring the Drunken Cowboys and our eternal extra team member - the one, the only, Alex.

The Drunken Cowboys plus Alex...left to right...me, Lloyd, Alex, Matt, Colver

Recommendations for the Summer

Monday, June 4, 2007
As it is officially summertime, meaning we have crossed into the month of June, I figured I would drop a few recommendations for those folks who remotely care to see that. I mean come on, who doesn't want to see my recommendations? They're coming from me, that's how you know they're good.
Books

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows

It's Harry Potter for one. It's the last Harry Potter ever for two. I may start weeping just talking about it. As a book I originally would only read if properly bargained and bribed beforehand, it is pretty amazing that I turned out to be as big of a fan as I am. I call myself an Hpothead. I went to Prisoner of Azkaban's opening night showing dressed as Harry. I am going to the Midnight release of this book. Yep...I'm a pretty big fan. Essentially, here is the deal. If you don't read the book, we're not friends anymore. Even you folks out there who may or may not read this blog and do not know me, you count to. This relationship is over if you do not read this book. That settled? Good. Here's a brief idea of what it is about. Teen Wizards Harry, Ron, and Hermione head off to destroy Horcruxes (thingamajigs that contain bits of Lord Voldemort's soul) in a desperate attempt to finally kill the very bad man known as Voldemort. Success? We shall see.

Comics

Y the Last Man

Like Harry Potter, Y the Last Man is rapidly approaching its climax. Issue 56 recently passed us by, leaving us with a mere 4 issues to wrap up the tale of the world's last man...or the man that was once known as our last one, as he sired a child who is now the...other last man. For those not in the know, and you should be as this book is pretty much genius from cover to back, Y is the story of a man named Yorick Brown, who along with his pet Capuchin monkey named Ampersand (as in this - &), are the last survivors of something that killed off all of the men across the world, leaving a chaotic world featuring all the women and this one man. It is a story of trying to find the truth behind what happened, Yorick trying to find his lost love, and the mysterious Agent 355 and Yorick's developing relationship. It is about life, and the people who fill out that life and how they make sure it continues. The book is the brain child of the best writer in the world (suck that literature!) Brian K. Vaughan and artist extraordinaire Pia Guerra, and is required reading for pretty much anyone that has a mind. It is one of the best things the medium of comic books has ever offered, and requires more readers, especially now that it is ending. With the ending set for some time in September (I believe), this is more of a general recommendation, but a recommendation no less. Even if you are inherently resistant towards the medium, remember this. I would never lead you astray. Well...most of the time.

Movies

Ratatouille

What a shocker. Pixar making another amazing movie. I can hardly believe it. What am I going to recommend next, "Activity of the Summer: Breathing." Of course Ratatouille is going to be amazing. It is made by Pixar, who has never made a bad movie, just 5 amazing ones and two decent to good ones. It is directed by Brad Bird, who outside of Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter is pretty much the greatest thing in animation. The man directed the Iron Giant and the Incredibles! What more does the man need to do to earn everyones faith?! It also has a great and classically off the wall cast in true Pixar tradition, featuring comedian Patton Oswalt as the lead and my boy Will Arnett (Gob from Arrested Development) in a smaller role. Count me in. I can't wait.

Music

The Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder

This is the most ridiculously bizarre album of the year. I don't even know how to describe it. It is two CD's long, alternating between full songs and weird little minute long tracks, of just pure pop goodness and driving guitars and synth and vocal effects. It sounds like Electric Light Orchestra's Mr. Blue Sky extended into album length and updated to more fit the sound of now. It was released in February to very little fanfare, but boy is it catchy and fun. If you're willing to try something a little new (which is the summer spirit, I mean come on) put these guys in your CD player and roll down the windows and have a good time. You may be disappointed, but I don't think you will be.

TV/Video Games

It's summer time. I gave you enough to distract you for a while. If you must, watch the 4400 and play some Halo 3 Beta...well play that for like 6 more days. Once that is over, brush off your old copy of Warcraft 3 and play it with me on rainy days. But besides that, go out and enjoy the sun. Go hiking, go fishing, go play some Frisbee Golf. Go have a beer on the deck of your favorite bar. Pretty much whatever, even if it is just suntanning at your place while reading Harry Potter and Y the Last Man while listening to The Apples in Stereo, get out there and enjoy your summer! There's plenty of time to be cold in the other 9 months (especially for us Alaskans), just get out there and enjoy it while it is there. Two last recommendations...try random things like Renaissance Faire's (went to one this past weekend and it was a great time) and do not play World of Warcraft. That is the devil's game, and do not submit to its loving embrace. Otherwise you'll turn into this little kid that I met at the Renaissance Faire this past weekend...and nobody wants to be like that. Well. Besides that kid. He seemed pretty down with it.

Due to Popular Demand...

Yes...My Mom is cleaning me in the sink

Are you not entertained?! It was requested by two people in my comments, so it must be posted. After my crash coming down Flat Top, my Mom insisted I get cleaned up before I went anywhere, which apparently meant it was time to jump in the sink and get cleaned like Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Any parallels between that movie and my life I can bring I fully embrace, but this is mildly embarassing. I have no shame.

The "Race"

Sunday, June 3, 2007
Matt 1, Myself 0

Today Matt and I decided to trek up Flat Top for his second and my first time of the summer. Not only that, but we were going to run up the fearsome mountain. I told him that I hiked Flat Top nearly every day last summer (true story) and I should be able to keep up with him, because I am in way better shape than I was last summer (also true story). He believed me, but oh boy, he should not have. It was a race, and it was on. Our goal was a sub 30 minute trip to the peak. I thought it would be a cake walk.

Now here are a few points of interest I should note about last summers repeated hikes of Flat Top. One, I was only going to the Saddle. The Saddle is the area below the peak that is the "easy" part to get to, and is immediately followed by the jagged rock and steep incline section. Two, there are two routes to the Saddle. One is to the right. That is the way I went last summer, and the way most people go. For the first time, we went to the left. Now the reason for that is that technically it is shorter, or so Matt reasoned to me before the journey began. Point in fact, it is shorter. But it is also far steeper. So I went in expecting a decently tough hike and it transformed into a pretty darn ridiculously tiring one. Third, I never ran the trail before. Last summer I was walk/jogging the trail, and I was getting to the Saddle in about 35 minutes. Oi. These miscalculations were easily forseeable, yet entirely missed by yours truly. Ignorance is bliss, and I live in felicity. We started the hike and for a minute or so, I thought, "man, we are going to kill this time." Then, I got tired. This is what I get for being lazy in the last month and only doing intermittent cardio. This wasn't going to be a race, this was going to be a massacre.

All in all, I didn't do poorly. Matt is a finely tuned climbing machine. He's obviously part Mountain Goat, part Kenyan, as you can see below. I should have known better than to think I could defeat such a freak of nature. He'd intermittently turn around to taunt me with yells of "DAVID!" and such things, but I carried forth. I finished far stronger than I started, once I began to pace myself and took off the windblocking pseudo-sweater I was wearing to keep myself warm. Note to self...next time I go physically exert myself when it is mid to high 50's out, I do not need to wear extra layers to "keep myself warm." All it did was make me pant like a dog when it is 120 out. Matt finished his ascent in a stellar 23 minutes and 30 seconds. Myself? 29 minutes and 53 seconds! Woo! Sub 30, I am a success! We took some time at the peak so I could compose myself (I was extremely sweaty. My sweat was sweating.) and Matt could take some pictures for friends and family back in Georgia, and then we began our trek down.

Now this was going to be fun. The best part about Flat Top is the run down, as you just bomb down the path at top speed desperately trying not to fall over like an idiot. Now see, given any situation where a person could do something ridiculous and look like an idiot, I will do whatever it takes to look ridiculous. So as Matt and I reached the highly populated and still very snowy Saddle, Matt continued his rapid descent and gracefully slid across the snow, still standing on his feet like a champ. I of course decided that I would also like to look impressive and tried to do the same thing. It was the same thing, minus the grace and the staying on my feet part. I went down hard, and I went down fast. So now, not only was I covered with mud all over the left side of my lower body, but I had a bunch of people staring at me in disbelief as I became "that guy who ate it at the Saddle" for later stories about their trip up Flat Top. I got up quickly and laughed it off, and continued on my way. We killed it going down, running quickly down the stairs and the rest of the mountain, passing everyone who we met going up to begin with. Only when we reached the bottom did I realize that my leg was cut up and bleeding. I took it like a champ though, and am eagerly anticipating the next run up. It was a great topper to the weekend, getting some killer exercise and having a great time while doing it. The moral of the story is, go out and enjoy the outdoors. If you want something fun to do that is free and is great exercise, go on a hike. I'd recommend Flat Top, but mind the snow and the falling clumsy people. And if someone that looks like my buddy Matt challenges you to a race, SAY NO!

The Weeks End

Saturday, June 2, 2007
Mattimeo, Scotty G, and Myself at Humpy's

I love weekends. Everyone does of course, but I really, really love weekends. Nothing makes me happier than the feeling of getting off work on a Friday and knowing it's going to be a good weekend. Yesterday was no exception. I got off work, went and picked up my comics (sweet, sweet comics), and rolled back to my place to meet up with Matt. Matt came over and tempted me with Taco King, the delicious "great food made fast" Mexican restaurant that is far and away Anchorage's second best of its variety. That's right, it is the second best, behind Benny's Taco Wagon. Mmmmm Benny's. No less, great start to the evening, having a stellar meal. We followed that up with going to see Knocked Up, Judd Apatow's new comedy starring the genius that is Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. It was extremely funny and often touching, an overall very good movie, but it wasn't the "best comedy in 20 years" like some critics are saying. So far, so good on the evening. Three great things already, and the night has barely even begun!

Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. (Judging...always judging) and myself

After the movie, I received a call from a friend who was wondering if we were going to go out for the evening, which of course we were, so I informed her that we were going to be headed out after a little while to come downtown. I got off the phone and quickly lit up the Bat-signal, as my posse and myself quickly assembled at my place for the kick off to the evening. Two delicious and large Vodka Crans later, I was ready to roll, as were everyone else. We decided to lead off the evening at Humpy's, as that was the place our friend already was at.

Lorna and Sam enjoying a brew

Now Humpy's is a beguiling place. Whenever you think of Humpy's, you always think, "that's a very nice bar," but when you really sit down and think of it, you can never really come up with a really awesome time you had there. My second fantastic time ever at Humpy's was last night. This leads into a theory I came up with about the bar, and I am convinced it is a very sound one. Anyone that has ever been to Humpy's knows the layout, but for those who haven't been, it has a huge bar, a mini-stage with a dancefloor in front of it, and then a ton of tables and booths for sitting. That's pretty much it. If you aren't sitting and you aren't dancing, you generally are standing around like an idiot. But last night, we got a table and had an amazing time. So here is the theory - if you have a table, Humpy's is amazing. If you don't, it is pretty lame. It is nearly impossible to get a table there too, so this tends to be a problem. Which is why I've had a lot of fun there twice ever.

Everyone was in a very festive mood, I bought some drinks, Matt bought some drinks, Colver did, Sam did, Joe did, everyone was buying drinks! Plus, it was our friend Amy's (Pictured to the left with Scott Gomez) birthday, and we adopted her into our ragtag group after her friends bailed on her. On top of that, NHL star Scott Gomez was at the bar, and we had a grand time pestering him to take pictures with us, as you can see.

We stayed there at Humpy's for a good while, staying in our area drinking and reminiscing and chatting and having a generally very good time. That's the funny thing about going out to the bars. When you tell the story about the night, there is no way you can really convey how much fun you had. Everyone that was there knows because they were there, but to explain to anyone else it is pretty much a lost cause. Which is why I am dedicating this post to it. Back to the regularly scheduled post. A little after 1, we decided to move on to the next bar, and we headed over to Bernie's Bungalow. Bernie's is an awesome bar. A very strange one, but an awesome one no less. It is commonly known as a gay bar, but for a gay bar it quite often has a lot of hot girls in it. It has a very nice inside bar area, but what makes it really shine is the outside area that is only open during the summer. It's just a giant outside area with tons of sitting room and is simply the one place in a downtown bar you can go to really stretch out and relax. It is absolutely incomparable, there is no remotely similar bar in the whole of Anchorage. Colver and Sam are the two in the photo above.

Matt and myself again

The evening continued on with pool and more drinks, until I was distracted by some older women I met when I went to the bathroom. I don't want to go into detail about what I announced, as to save some face, but let's just say the words "cougar" and "hunting" were used in some fashion by yours truly. Oh dear, the things alcohol makes you do. Anyways, so the thing that I ended up finding the most interesting about the women was that one claimed to be Bev Doolittle, which was really amusing and interesting to me for two reasons; she's my Mom's favorite artist, and I could not stop thinking "Why in god's name is Bev Doolittle talking to me?" Turns out Bev Doolittle is 60 and looks nothing like this woman, as you can see in my photographic proof, but at the time her deception was absolutely riveting to me and I drank in her words with much attention paid. I had to think later though, I wonder how many people "Bev" tried her charade on before she found someone that was actually impressed with it. After discussing with my friends about Doolittle and realizing I was the only person who knew who she was, I decided officially that this number had to be at least a thousand. Give or take nothing.

The real deal, Bev Doolittle

Myself, "Bev", and sketchball guy in the pic who may or may not be her husband...

Sadly, "Bev" and her "publicist" ended up departing, leaving my friends and myself to our devices to head home and end the night. Sam, Amy, Matt, and I went back to my place, made some popcorn, had some chips and salsa, and passed out into the terrible slumber only recently intoxicated people can really sleep. The day was June 1st, and it was a truly great kickoff to what I hope will be an awesome summer. I'll drink to that.