A Slice of Fried Gold

Why can't it always be the weekend?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

This weekend was pretty much stellar. Nearly everything about it was fantastic (some small things really bug me, but nothing is perfect) and I enjoyed the heck out of the whole thing. Sadly enough I am without one shred of photographic evidence even though I managed to have my camera the whole time. How does that happen?!

Anyways, instead of giving a very lengthy breakdown of everything that happened, I'll do a Cliff's Notes version with a bit more detail afterwards.

Top 10 reasons why this weekend ruled
  1. Claire d'Loon
  2. Rocking with Puma Town
  3. Better Letter
  4. Palmer Trip
  5. BBQ at Jason's
  6. BIG BEN!!!
  7. The Homie
  8. AK Wild
  9. Ryan Zimmerman's walk off blast
  10. The Crew

1. Amy and I are big fans of fancy dinners. There is something awesome about having a really nice dinner with a great friend, sharing a bottle of wine and having delicious food. We've typically went to Mixx Grill, but this time we decided to (oh god, pun alert...) mix it up and go to Claire d'Loon. The experience was exceptional as the strange little bistro that was Da Loon turned out to be excellent, in spite of the fact that there were literally no other patrons and that they played Kenny G. Our food was great, our waitress looked exactly like Naomi Watts, and it was a great time having dinner with Amy like always. A+ experience.

2. Due to Lacey leaving, our Rock Band experience has been nameless lately essentially as we had to abandon the Hey Hermano moniker. As Amy, Hannah, Jason, and I still wanted to play, we needed a new band name. Friday night, we had our first session as rock superstars Puma Town. It was amazing, as Princess Btown, Whammy Town, Blaze Town, and T-Rex Town all melted faces and we downloaded 6 new songs, the new Boston song pack and "El Scorcho" by Weezer. Puma Town rules.

3. Amy and I crafted our fourth exceptional cover letter as our fledgling business continues to grow. This one may have been our best one yet, and it was a grand and very rewarding time like it always is.

4. Late Saturday afternoon, Hannah, Kim, Amy, and I drove out to Palmer to get coffee. Yes. We drove three towns away to get coffee. And it was delicious, fun, and well worth the trip.

5. In a freak occurrence, I managed to be in Eagle River three consecutive days. My bubble is getting dangerously close to being burst at this point. Saturday evening Jason had a get together at his place as he had bought a new BBQ, and we grilled up burgers and steaks and had a great time drinking and being merry. BBQ season is making me very happy, and it's as early as it has ever been.

6. At the BBQ, I played old reliable drinking game Kings Cup for the first time since college. Due to an extreme lack of alcohol, we played a highly modified and far more fun version of the game, more based off interactivity and less off volume consumed. I highly recommend incorporating the rule called Big Ben as the new rule for the ten card. It involves standing up and forming a clock tower over your head with your arms. It's pretty amazing.

7. The Homestead Lounge is the bar in Eagle River. I'm sure it isn't the only bar there, but from my experience it might as well be. It was my second experience out there, and it was a great time again. Any night that features winning all four of my games of foosball, dancing the Cuban Shuffle, and a bizarre bald man that was utterly shocked by me washing my hands has to be considered a success.

8. Hannah, Jason, Colver, Lorna, and I attended the AK Wild's second home game today. The AK Wild is Alaska's second year Intense Football League team, and amazingly enough we won our second game this season in just four attempts (took us 11 attempts last year). It was a great time, being a far smoother experience than the first game this season and being more strangely entertaining as well (unintelligible referees + hilarious linesmen crew + mega wave = hilarious good time).

9. The Washington Nationals officially kicked off the season against the Atlanta Braves today (sorry Red Sox and A's, this felt like the real start to the season) in style, with Ryan Zimmerman launching a blast with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to win their season opener. Perfect way to start the season I say.

10. Last but not least, the Crew. I have to admit, it's been a while since I've had a full gang of people to hang out with at any time, but it feels great to have one again. The friends I've made through Amy are awesome, and this entire weekend was full of them. Hooray for the Crew! You make your country proud.

So yeah, it was a great weekend. This somehow still ended up being fairly long, and I casually omitted some things that went less well (the end of the Homie experience was not as good as the preceding hours...I'll leave it at that) but all in all, it was an awesome experience. Why can't it always be the weekend?

Y at Last

Friday, March 28, 2008

After a long, long, long wait, my Y the Last Man trades finally arrived today. I know, I know, this is another post about Y the Last Man. You'd think they would have stopped when the series ended, but of course not. If you've learned nothing about me, it's that I can go on and on about anything, and to me, most everything else is less interesting than Y the Last Man.

So the especially cool thing about these trades, as I already have bought the entire series in trade and have a lot of the individual issues as well, is that they each come with a special plate on the inside.

This plate, as you can see to the right, is a new piece of art that series artist and co-creator Pia Guerra designed specifically for this. These trades were part of a big event called "Y the Last Party," an event commemorating the release of the last issue and attended by keynote speaker Joss Whedon, Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, and a bunch of other top notch creators, plus the guests of honor - Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.

Back to the point, these special "Y the Last Party" plates are only attainable through this event, and all proceeds go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which helps down on their luck and aspiring comic creators get their start and dedicates its existence to fighting for creators rights. So not only did I get a great deal, picking up the trades of my dearly loved Y AND getting the autographs of my favorite creators AND getting an original piece of art starring my favorite characters (rollerskating no less), but I also helped a worthy cause. On a sadder note, I did not receive the autograph/art piece for books 2or 8, but I'm sure the CBLDF will hook me up shortly, so I'm not too worried.

Money well spent I say, and I'm ridiculously excited to finally get it. I've been waiting for three things for the past few months - this, my Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground vinyl album, and "commissions" I sent to get drawn by Mrs. Guerra herself. Two of the three (the former two) are here, still waiting on the commissions. Hopefully it arrives soon, but if it's anything like the first two, it will be worth the wait.

Oh Summer, how I cannot wait for you...

Best band picture ever

The prospects for this upcoming summer continue to improve and improve. What do we have on our plate now? Another big concert coming up to Alaska this summer for one, as Alternative/Country/Rock/Indie gods Wilco are coming up to play at Moose's Tooth's 12th anniversary show. Moose's Tooth's summer concert series continues to be an out and out success, and with Wilco they have pulled in someone with a ridiculous amount of critical credibility and commercial success. I like some of their material, have not delved deeply into their vast discography, but I've heard they are fantastic live and I am excited to see them.

The point is, hooray for good concerts in Alaska! Apparently even the people in the lower 48 know Alaska is WAY better in the summer.

Additionally, on a more personal (as I will share Wilco with many others) and long term note, I'm getting a Foosball table this weekend. I've been horribly, horribly addicted to playing it on weekends, spending quarter after quarter for hours and I decided it just makes good financial sense to get one. This will lead to realigning my apartment for the first time since moving in, so it's going to be really exciting. I can't wait!

A Guidebook to Surviving Alaska Winters

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Since moving back to Alaska, I've complained plenty about Alaskan winters. They're cold. They're endless. They're gloomy. They're depressing.

That's really all there is to it. I repeatedly say I'm the worst Alaskan ever. I suck at every winter sport, I don't like winter sports, I don't like the dark, and I don't like the cold. I don't really own gloves or a hat, don't own snow pants, and don't own snowboots either. In short, I am exactly who I thought I was...the world's worst Alaskan.

But lately, I've really started to love it. Of course, something strange has happened as Winter has seemingly ended early, with the dreary cold replaced with the warm, sunny days that have frequently welcomed Anchorage-ites on a day to day basis. Obviously that helps, as frankly, sunlight does a body good. I'm no scientist, but the Sun just makes me happy.

As I stated though, I am a terrible Alaskan, so having the sun out alone doesn't work for me if I have nothing to occupy my time. Thankfully lately I've had a number of creative tasks going that have brought me back to life and really taken up a lot of time. What are they?
  • Better Letter! Amy and I started a company named Better Letter (with the world's loosest definition of company behind it) in which we write and edit cover letters and resumes for our esteemed clients around the country. So far we've had four clients, all of which have not been paying clients, but it is a ton of fun and we are working on picking up clients - see our ads here and here on Craig's List, and we're working up some sweet, sweet flyers to plaster the UAA campus with.

  • The Frozen Rope! After starting this sports blog and not really doing anything with it for a few weeks, compadre Ryan Atkins and I have really kicked it up a notch, making it up to a total of 12 blogs so far! This weekend is going to be our biggest one yet, as we're going to post a back and forth breakdown between the two of us of each division in baseball. It's going to be top notch!

  • Random survey creation! A few years back, buddy Sobo and I created a chain email that was random beyond words, but extremely hilarious to us. It was a ton of fun, and we actually found it to be successful as a month or two down the line a friend of ours received it back. Cut to now, as Amy and I are creating our own survey, but specifically for a Myspace bulletin. Now I'm sure a lot of you have seen the same five dumb surveys everyone fills out. Ours isn't going to be like that at all, and will blow your mind when you see it. Or at least you'll laugh a bit, or approximately 50 times less than we will.
So yeah, want a good Alaskan winter? Here's a recipe.
  • Pray for the sun.
  • Stay busy.
  • Be creative.
This is why I'm on a diet of at least one haiku a day. They keep my brain happy and satisfy two of the three requirements for a good Alaskan winter.

O, I hate you cold.
Why must you always be here?
Yay! It's summertime!

Oh my god! Alaska has another good concert?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In what clearly must be a freak mistake, Alaska is having a good concert this summer. Well, it isn't that freakish, as there have been a number of good concerts up here since I came back to the Great White North, having seen Matisyahu, Cake, Cursive, and Bright Eyes on four seperate (awesome) occasions. However, it just feels that way because they are so much more inconsistent than they are down in the states.

Regardless, Minnesotan rockers Motion City Soundtrack will be appearing, one night only at Chilkoot Charlie's in Anchorage much to Amy's happiness (not because she wants to see them, but because I promised to no longer write haiku's if she was wrong). I'm very stoked because I've been a big fan of these guys for years (my radio show in college was named Moscow City Soundtrack after all), their last album was a fantastic return to form (third favorite from last year!), and I saw them a few years ago at school, and they pretty much rocked. I think they will fit the Koots atmosphere very well, and it's going to be a total blast. Just got my ticket, and I can't wait for July already.

Motion City Soundtrack!
Cannot wait to see you live!
You rule! Signed, David.

Who's got two thumbs and just got his tickets to Portland?

This guy.

The Year in Music to Date

Monday, March 24, 2008

There has been a bunch of great new music so far. Even better, I've been discovering a lot of music I missed from last year, such as Albert Hammond, Jr's solo debut Yours to Keep, Pinback's exemplary Autumn of the Seraphs, Ghostland Observatory's bizarrely genius Paparazzi Lightning, and White Rabbits' debut Fort Nightly. I definitely missed big time on all of them.

With that said, there are three albums this year that have stood out above the rest for me. Two I've raved about the bands already, with two self titled debuts coming out from Vampire Weekend and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground respectively (review for Kay Kay may be coming...depending on something I'm looking to put together). But the other album is a bit of a surprise that I like it so much, especially when I say it is on par with the other two.

On April 22nd, Tokyo Police Club is releasing their first full length album titled Elephant Shell, and of course it is out there for the grabs if you so choose. I checked it out, mainly to decide if I will buy it when it comes out and the answer is an emphatic "yes!"

The guys in Tokyo Police Club are all very young (definitely younger than yours truly) but their music is remarkably technically solid and scatterbrained simultaneously. They had only released a pair of EP's before this, neither of which in my opinion really gave the idea that they were capable of an album so cohesive and consistently fantastic. I liked their material, but it really took seeing them at Bumbershoot last September for me to really get them. Well, that and the release of this album.

Elephant Shell maintains the kinetic nature of their previous material but manages to tighten it up into something that resembles a whole album. Instead of being disconnected two minute burn outs of songs, they now have pop sensibilities and the sense of connection that really makes their sound not only palatable, but addictive. Before they had all the elements of a delicious post-punk extravaganza, with their spacey keyboards, the hand claps, the gang vocals, but they didn't have the experience to tie it all together. Now? The whole is finally greater than the sum of the parts.

Take a look at single "Your English is Good." This track is a perfect example - I could legitimately see this becoming the feel good hit of the summer, as it is so toe tappingly great with the shoutalong background vocals and the repetitively genius keyboard lines, I can't imagine anyone not asking "who is this?" by the end of it (which is an incredible 3 minutes and 11 seconds after the beginning, quite possibly a new record for the band). If any track is representative of the step they've taken, that track is.

Want something that is catchy, driving, and a little bit off the beaten path? Pick up Tokyo Police Club's debut Elephant Shell April 22nd. It's a great album, albeit not exactly the world's longest one, clocking in at slightly less than half an hour. Also, if they come near you check them out for sure. Not only do they totally rule live, but they are really nice guys who seem to really care about putting on a good show.

Do they have the right guy?

A little bit past my one year anniversary at my job, I will be getting the first promotion of my career. I will be going from Marketing Coordinator to Marketing Specialist at GCI up here in Anchorage, Alaska, which is (by my personal estimation) totally rad. This will be hitting on April 1st, so I'm pretty stoked by this happening and of course the pay increase that will accompany it. I already do quite a bit and am getting new work constantly, so I doubt the actual workflow will increase.

Nonetheless, not bad for a perpetual slacker in school who was pretty much shocked that he could get a job after college, let alone one that he'd actually succeed at and like.

Whys and Wherefores

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Something happened this weekend that makes me really think about what I'm doing and where I'm going. I'm 24, I graduated a little less than a year and a half ago, and I've been working a great job for the past year plus in Anchorage, AK. But I have a lot I'd like to do, and I'd prefer to do it all as a young person, rather than waiting until further in my life when I have too many tethers to go out and accomplish my goals (wife, kids, long standing job).

Don't get me wrong, I love my life right now. I love my friends, love my family, have a great time, stay out of trouble and stay very healthy. I'm good at my job and I really like it. I have no complaints.

But those things that I want to do weigh heavily on my mind. In the immortal words of Jake Gyllenhaal from Bubble Boy, "don't live life with regret, ese." I don't want to look back and say "well, I really wish I did that. and that. and that, that, that." Not that I'd ever speak in such mangled english, but you know, you get the picture. We'll see where the next while takes me, but changes could be on the horizon.

Not that I didn't originally have these plans, they just feel like they got a lot more possible and that I definitely should make them come true, one way or another.

Happy Easter Everyone

Have a great and safe Easter all, eat some ham with a side of irony and hang out with those you love.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

I don't really look like anyone. At least I don't think so. I look like me, and even in my best instances I highly doubt I have what you'd call "celebrity good looks." Unless that celebrity is some sort of fusion between Steve Buscemi and Chris Farley, and in that case I'd agree with the "celebrity good looks" part, but I may say you're being rather insulting. No less, from time to time, other people who apparently are not getting clear looks at me claim that I look like someone. Today was one of those days.

With that, I decided I was going to write a blog about the three people others have claimed that I look like. I've also provided photographic comparisons between myself and said celebrity, as proof that I either do not look like them (my idea) or on the odd chance that you'll say "hey, I kinda see that..." These three are ranked in reverse order, in terms of how similar we are in appearance.

3. Josh Groban vs. Myself

This is the inspiration for the story. Today at work, I was the only person in the office and the somewhat goofy Corporate Express guy came in to deliver things like he always does, except normally to a coworker. She was not in yet, so he had to deliver them to me. As I signed his sweet Corporate Express electronic signature pad, he looked at me intently. I looked up for a second, and then went back to signing.

Corp. Express guy: Anybody ever tell you that you sort of look like Josh Groban?

Me: Umm.

I shake my head and start grinning.

Me: Not so much.

Corp. Express guy: Hmm. Well you do. Kind of.

Me: Ummm...sweet?

Now Josh Groban is a lothario of music, with good looks and long hair. Me? None of those things. I don't really see it at all, but hey, I guess that's all up to that guy. At least one person on the planet now thinks I look like Josh Groban. I just wish it was some really cute girl who was a big fan of guys that they thought looked like Josh Groban.

2. Eric Forman (Topher Grace) vs. Myself

Now this one I can see a little bit, especially when I had sideburns and even bushier hair. My old coworker (commonly called "she who shall not be named" in my office due to her history of leaving the office with things that were not exactly "her" belongings per se) once said to me that I "really remind (her) of Eric Forman." I definitely see it a little bit, but Eric Forman better start packing on some fat. Specifically in his cheeks. I'm him if he had developed an incredible craving for Pepsi and Reese's at a young age, and then lost a bunch of weight.

Also known as, we still don't look that much alike, but on occasion, certain features amongst the two of us could line up somewhat well. Now if that isn't a qualified statement, I don't know what is.

1. Launchpad McQuack vs. Myself

I know what you're saying, so you all can stop right now.

I agree.

I look exactly like Launchpad McQuack from Ducktales. I don't remember the exact origins of this one, but it was either high school or college, and I know it was a girl. The conversation went like this.

Unknown girl: You know, you really remind me of someone.

Me: Oh yeah?

Unknown girl: Yeah. I can't quite put my finger on it.

Me: Is it...

Unknown girl: I know! Remember Launchpad from Ducktales? That's it!

Me: Oh...

Needless to say, a guy hearing from a girl that he reminds them of an animated duck that was quite often borderline retarded, or at best a complete idiot, well...that isn't exactly flattering. In fact, if that was a girl I was interested in, you can bet I realized immediately that my opportunity with her was a long shot at best.

Ignore the fact that Launchpad is a duck though and watch Ducktales some time. It will blow your mind, and you will come out saying "oh my god! that is David!" Not just in looks, but in personality as well. It's uncanny really. We really are brothers from another mother.

Can I get a hell yes?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sasquatch just got immeasurably better. The best band most no one has heard of and perpetual obsession of mine, also known as Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, has been added to the Sasquatch Music Festival. Excuse me as I go and hammer dance for five consecutive hours.

Having My Cake and Eating It Too

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Given my recent decision that I was going to go to the Sasquatch Music Festival, it seemingly automatically exempted me from attending the Emerald City Comicon. It was a tough decision, and one I was 50/50 on until Erik decided he'd go to Sasquatch. Then I simply had to go. Given that they were within weeks of each other and both required me flying, they appeared on the surface to be mutually exclusive events. Until a question popped into my head: Why? Why do they have to be mutually exclusive? Why can't I go to both?

So I looked into it, and there are a number of things working in this ideas favor. First off, the event is only Saturday and Sunday and only lasts from 10 am til 6 pm the first day and til 5 pm the second day. Second off, it is only $25 for tickets to both days. Thirdly, a flight down to Seattle is significantly cheaper than Portland, and I could pick one up for a great price right now. I wouldn't have to miss any work, I could leave after work on Friday and get back late Sunday night, and I know people in Seattle I could possibly stay with (hey friends!).

In theory, this is a great plan. Let's see how it works out. Of course, I'll break down why I want to go real quick by just listing off some of the amazing creators I'd get to meet, plus a couple special guests.
  • Adam Baldwin (Jayne from Firefly/Serenity)
  • Jamie Bamber (Apollo from Battlestar Galactica)
  • Ed Brubaker (writer of Captain America, Criminal, Iron Fist, and Daredevil)
  • Jim Cheung (flat out one of the best artists in the industry right now)
  • Dan Didio (Editor of DC, just so I could punch him in his stupid face)
  • Gabe and Tycho (Writer and Artist of webcomic supreme Penny Arcade)
  • Pia Guerra (Artist of Y the Last Man, also second favorite artist ever)
  • Robert Kirkman (Writer of The Walking Dead, Invincible, and Marvel Zombies)
  • Bryan Lee O'Malley (Writer/Artist of Scott Pilgrim - the coolest series in the world)
  • Eric Powell (Writer/Artist of The Goon)
  • Tim Sale (Artist of Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman: For All Seasons)
  • Bill Willingham (Writer of Fables - arguably the best book in print right now)
That doesn't include such luminaries as Bendis, JMS, Matt Wagner, Arthur Suydam, Greg Rucka (!!), Oeming, and Darick Robertson, and there are plenty more being added. My hope is my boy BKV is added to the fray, but I'm not holding out hope.

So yeah, who knows, maybe I'll have my cake and eat it too. One way or another audience, if you had any questions about what I am, this has to confirm it: I'm a pretty big dork. That's cool with me.

News and notes...

This isn't very typical for my blog, but I just was hit with a flurry of little news bits that I found interesting and wanted to share, plus a couple of other ones I'd heard recently.
  • Edgar Wright's upcoming adaptation of brilliant comic book Scott Pilgrim is about to get a kickstart. Michael Cera is in negotiations to star as the titular hero. Good choice so long as Cera somehow bolsters his normal behavior with massive amounts of self confidence.
  • Matt Pond PA have changed their name to The Dark Leaves after 8 studio albums, because, according to Matt Pond, "it's time to give everyone else I work with their due." Makes sense, but took ya long enough!

  • According to Slashfilm, the Boondock Saints sequel has finally been greenlit and the whole cast (minus Willem Dafoe) will be reprising their roles. Speaking of took ya long enough...

  • The cast of Battlestar Galactica will be on David Letterman tomorrow night doing the top 10. What's the top 10 for? "Top 10 Reasons to Watch the New Season of Battlestar Galactica." For once I will be tuning into Letterman, or at least recording it. For those that don't watch the show - listen to those people.

  • Speaking of Bstar Glac, long awaited prequel Caprica was finally greenlit and will be rushed into production this spring. As of right now, it's going to be a TV movie, but may end up being spun into a series similar to what Battlestar itself did.

  • They are finally making a Bone movie. Like for real this time. Not like last time when they wanted to make it with singing and dancing, but for real real. I swear. Probably.

  • Death Cab for Cutie's first single off of Narrow Stairs, "I Will Possess Your Heart," was released today on Amazon's MP3 downloader. It's eight and a half minutes long, there is no singing for the first four and a half, and it pretty much rules. Can't wait to see them at Sasquatch!

Sasquatch is go!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Erik is in. I'm in. Kim is contemplating.

The 2008 Sasquatch Music Festival is a go.

The lineup is already an A- lineup without the comedy tent announced or other artists yet to be revealed (big rumors: Vampire Weekend (please god, let them be announced), MGMT, the Fall of Troy, and the Helio Sequence), so I feel as if I would be making a big mistake to not go. Erik deciding to go clinches it. Kim possibly going is icing on an already delicious cake.

All I know is, the Festival being closed out by the Flaming Lips at the Gorge...man oh man. It's going to be something.

Only in Alaska

Today was a beautiful day in Anchorage. So delightful and warm (for AK, please do not brag about your seventy degree weather to me) that I took my bike out for the first time and took a nice ride, eventually ending up at Kaladi Brother's to read my book for a while. Still churning through Lamb by Christopher Moore, which has been a slow read not because of quality (it pretty much rules) but because I just suck at dedicating time to reading it. Of course on the way back, I passed a couple of Moose like they were wayward pets, saw a number of other typical Alaskan animals, etc. etc. Typical AK stuff.

When I pulled into my place though, I heard high pitched shrieks. No, my neighbors were not fighting. I looked up, and saw two Bald Eagles just chilling right above my place. Now I normally don't get really excited about this type of thing, but just seeing Bald Eagles hanging out in your back yard is one of the many cool features about Alaska. In fact, they are still hanging out outside of my place, holding court with the other birds who have come to visit (seen some Ravens, Magpies, and assorted other birds visiting with them), and watching over the Bald Eagle that my neighbors have been nursing to health.

It seemed to be a bit of an atypical and wonderful occurrence though, so I had to share it, with photographic evidence of course.

Also, those photos are evidence items 14.2 and 14.3 in my case against my current camera, which I am to replace soon. Have any suggestions on good cameras to get? Feel free to let me know.

The Weekend Edition

Given my incredible amounts of laziness every weekend (or the constant movement that is tied to my weekends anymore), I seem to have a pattern developed on my blog. Wait until Sunday, then either do a series of posts or write one megablog that covers the weekend as a whole. Today, I will do a mixture, with one megablog and one smaller post as that seems to make sense given the massive difference in the two topics.

Also, as a preface to this posting (and given the nature of previous posts) I wanted to say one thing before I got started.

Friends. Family members. My name is David, and I'm not an alcoholic. I swear! Regardless of my seemingly consistent weekend habits, I am absolutely not one, nor have any interest in ever being one. Want legitimate reasons?

  1. Hangovers are the bane of my existence - I've never felt worse in my entire life than I did on Saturday at about, ohhhh....11:25 am.
  2. Drinking = Expensive. If I was to become an alcoholic, I'd need to get a job that pays more. A lot more.
  3. Alcohol (in my humble opinion) does not combine well with most foods. I am a man who loves his food, so 99 out of 100 times, milk will be chosen over the aforementioned booze.
  4. I may be addicted to milk. Due to the lack of negative thoughts towards that affliction, I felt as if I could share that. I hardly have room in my life for two addictions (For the sake of believability, I will omit the fact that I am also addicted to Tuna Melts and Comic Books).

Now that I've cleared that up, back to the breakdown of my sauce soaked weekend.


It was a long week at work. Long, long, long week. Every day started early, a few ended later than usual, and we had big time initiatives going for two products that I'm heavily involved with so the time I spent at work was even more action packed than usual. Needless to say, good ol' TGIF was heavily in play that day. Not only that, but I had two great things to look forward to.

First off, great friend and altogether awesome girl Joanne was in town visiting from Vegas, so that evening she, Colver, Lorna, Kim, and I went out to dinner at pizza joint of all pizza joints Moose's Tooth. Any event that involves going to Moose's Tooth pretty much rules anyways, they have the best pizza (in the world, not hyperbole), their beer is incredible, and the environment is the proper mix of hippies and loudness to make it an ideal Alaskan dining experience.

However, this was a truly exceptional one because everyone seemed to be in great moods and everything was pretty much perfect. The beer was delicious (Fairweather IPA for the win), Joanne and I shared a large pizza and even agreed to the halves to go with (all time fave White Pizza and occasional superstar Greek Gyro), and even the waiting experience was very solid - we had a pitcher to share while waiting, albeit for nearly 45 minutes. Seeing Joanne, as per usual, was extremely hilarious and a treat and a half. If only all of my friends could live up here in Alaska with me, I would pretty much be set, but if I could just get Joanne to live here it'd be that much better (think about it lady).

Afterwards, the second great thing to look forward to was on the plate. Amy, Kim, and I were going to go to a house party that my BFF and Amy's new coworker and friend Cate had invited us to, and I love house parties. I find them to be highly preferable to bars, so the thought of attending one after a long hard week had me totally jazzed. Plus, it was a St. Patty's Day themed party, which is great because it is my second favorite alcohol related holiday (behind superpower Halloween).

Before going to the party, I had a nice chat with transplanted Portlander Erik about going to Sasquatch, as I continue to see saw back and forth on what my big event for 2008 is going to be. I officially decided that if Erik goes, I will go to Sasquatch. No pressure Erik (you should go! you should go! you should go!). Even better? Kim showed up to my place while I was still chatting, and now she's even contemplating going. Hmmm, Sasquatch could be off the hook, to quote Buster from Arrested Development (this party has juice boxes?).

Shortly thereafter, Amy showed up and we departed for the aforementioned house party. Strangely enough, Amy had hyped this as a more "adult" themed house party, one with actual chatting and cocktails, as opposed to you know, keg stands and typical insanity. I don't really know how to describe what it really was, but I would definitely say it felt like a college house party, except it was at a really nice place rented (owned?) by very gracious hosts Mikey and Mariajose (I believe was her name...). Kim and Amy were not totally down, but stayed for an hour, after which I continued to party there. Why was that? My BFF Cate rocks, Rock Band was in full effect, and there were free drinks.

Also, the night definitely took a turn for the different after two events: Wrestlemania between Cate, myself, and the utterly surprised Mariajose (sorry about the knee to the face Cate!), and TV/Radio personality Dan Fagan showing up to party hardy with us youngsters. Myself and childhood baseball teammate Kyle goaded Cate into attempting to draw his attention with her feminine wiles while we looked on and snickered, but the savvy Fagan saw right through it and came back to chat with the completely shocked Kyle and I.

Apparently we were less sneaky than we had originally thought.

It definitely was strange to see Fagan there, but after a tiny bit of research I now know why: He was with his producer at the party, who must have brought him along. Regardless, definitely strange to be at a party with a guy who a) was likely twice our age and b) is a known personality in the Anchorage area.

After a bit, Cate and Kyle were leaving and Amy was at the Avenue, so I hitched a ride down with them so I could meet up with the crew. Amy, Hannah, Jason, and Nate were there playing Fooseball, and it was the standard grand time at the Avenue. Much fooseball and joshing around occurred, plus Amy's roommate Arianna (Friendo to some) and her entire crew showed up as well.

Of course, things got a bit heated again when Amy, apparently upset with me over the complete domination I laid upon her in a previous scuffle (or perhaps she was talking to me and I may not have been listening), decided to start pulling my hair. Myself, not being one to take that from anyone, grabbed on her far longer hair and began pulling with a considerable amount of might. Much posturing took place and the bar was closing so Amy of course made the announcement that we were going to "take this outside!"

Of course we then proceeded to wrestle on the ground outside the bar like idiots, laughing hysterically while trying to gain the upper hand perpetually to no real success. However, it was another chapter in our apparent desire to beat the crap out of each other, and another one in my "fighting with girls" legacy. It was definitely a fitting end to the night, which all in all was a very enjoyable one (although I will omit the later parts - quick paraphrasing of what my following paragraphs would be - "Amy! Don't eat those!" "Why don't you take it down a notch?" "Heyyyy Friendo." "Is this Melrose Place? Are we watching Melrose Place?").


As previously mentioned there is a huge negative to partying. Hangovers. It's your body telling you "that was a bad idea. Don't do that." For the under 21 crowd, I have this to say - apparently alcohol is essentially poisonous. Don't want to feel like death like I did early Saturday? Never get involved with it. It's too late for me, but there is hope for you yet. Regardless of all that, my sister was very amused by my highly precarious state, even making fun of me to her kids. Not that I didn't deserve it, but still, I was very pathetic until about 4 that afternoon, after a very lengthy nap and a particularly delicious burrito from Taco Del Mar.

That night, I was still pretty iffy from the drinking, but Colver and Lorna came over for some Super Smash Bros. Brawl action (as Colver pointed out, it is pretty much "the exact same game as Melee, except with more characters") which was entertaining, especially because Lorna's complete and utter lack of control over Yoshi in egg form. After a while of that, we headed over to Amy's for a small St. Patty's Day soiree (of course after a rather clandestine meeting with Kim outside of the New Sagaya City Market) with the promise of lime flavored Jello shots and drinking games perhaps on the agenda.

We get there, and already in attendance are Amy, Hannah, Jason (to the right with me...wearing crowns), and Jessie, and shortly thereafter Nate joined as well. After a little while of bsing and laughing, we moved on to the premier game of the evening: Spoonass. Spoonass is, to my knowledge, a game invented by that crew that is a combination of Spoons and Asshole (two other popular drinking games). Essentially the game is a flurry of rules, helmet wearing (as Amy models below), playing cards, and drinking. In short, it's extremely fun and fast paced. Also, apparently far too complex for Colver, who had zero grip on it in any way.

We continued to rip through round after round of the game, with more and more rules being added as we went along (personal favorites: saying "I'm a banana!" whenever you saw an ace, the "Woop!" rule for whenever you saw a face card, and having to drink anytime you say an S word - Amy says "So..." a lot, I say other S words constantly as well). It was extremely fun, but as the night continued, more and more people fell out of the game. Nate never played, Colver quit quickly after the complete and utter domination of his soul, Hannah dropped out due to previous night related illness, Jessie had to go home (sorry about ripping on St. Pauli Girl!), and Lorna was for real sick already.

Of course, this was all in preparation for going out anyways, so the away team for the evening was going to be myself, Amy, Jason, and Kim, or the four people remaining in the game. Before we left of course, we had to finish off the considerable in deliciousness Jello shots that Amy made. She made a batch of Tequila ones, and a batch of Vodka. At first (as seen to the left), we were attempting to consume them using straws. Mostly ineffective, although it did lead to horribly disgusting and hilarious sounds coming from Amy and Jason (I'm going to go with some sort of high pitched slurp, but I really cannot recreate it with text). This of course just led to us upping our technology used to consume it.

Well, so long as you consider going from straws to a large wooden spoon a technological upgrade. In terms of volume, it was an incredibly good decision (as you can see from Jason's experience to the right), making the clearing out of all Jello go exponentially faster and the experience even more hilarious. It was definitely not us at our classiest, but it was pretty stellar in sheer entertainment value.

After we had completed our Jello destruction, the four of us headed downtown to the only place for twentysomethings looking to have a good time in Anchorage - the Avenue. As some of you may have noticed, I have been frequenting this bar a lot. If I'm going out lately, it's to the Avenue. And why not? It's charming with its dim lighting, many gaming tables (could really use Shuffleboard), couches, great drink prices, live music from time to time, and there is a makeshift dancefloor. It's pretty much the cats pajamas.

This night was no different, as we played a ton of fooseball, including the soul shattering devestation that the incredibly intoxicated Jason and I had to go through against a pair of Fooseball hustlers, who both kicked Amy off the table AND continued to talk smack to us throughout the rest of the night. That was different, as every person we'd played with before was very cool, but these guys were not so cool.

Princesses Kim and Amy at the Avenue

Other new Avenue experiences included the terror I went through as I departed the bathroom straight into a fight (a fight that was apparently completed in the alleys of Anchorage, congrats to those guys for sucking at life), Jason and I nearly killing ourselves by taking a shot of Jameson ("it's so smooth man! I promise!" Jason says...), and the Weirdo with the Beardo. That guy spent most of the evening attempting to hit on Amy and Kim, failing miserably, and then giving up to become a pioneer on the dancefloor. This is the man who invented the "take girl and put her under your shirt" move, which was something new to me. If you start seeing this out at the clubs, you now know where it came from. It's a pretty incredible move if you ask me.

After all of this, we departed into the Anchorage night, from which we went to the only place you really want to go at 3 am after leaving a bar - McDonalds. Amy, Kim, Jason, and I split two double cheeseburgers, two McChickens, two medium fries, two apple pies, and a ten piece chicken McNugget. When I say split, I mean literally that. There was fractional breakdown of sandwiches, significants amount of sharing, and loads of ridiculousness. All I know is that was the best McDonalds I've had ever, of course at 3 am after leaving the bars everything is the best thing you've ever eaten.

So that was that, another fine weekend of partying in Anchorage, Alaska. We had a lot of fun, we acted like responsible adults, and nobody got hurt (besides the alley brawlers from the Avenue I assume, and sadly enough Cate from my errant knee). Sounds like a grand time to me!

It's Alive!!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Beware world.

The fantastic installer from GCI came yesterday. It turns out with the rapid change in temperature the snow melted inside of some box, flooded our lines, and that was what was nuking my internet and TV. I have to admit, I was getting strangely used to not having internet at home, but clearly my affliction has taken anew.

Damn you internet. Damn you!!!

Slowly going the way of the Buffalo

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In 1997, Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson created a comic book series for DC called Transmetropolitan. It was the story of a journalist named Spider Jerusalem who had given up on the world and went to live in the woods like a crazy hermit person, until he ran out of money and had to go back to his life as a writer. After he returned, the world was like he remembered, except worse, and it was full of corruption and power hungry politicians. It was the story of Spider trying to take them out, and to effectively save the world, albeit through complete and utter anarchy.

Very good series, but it was also an extremely prescient series. Spider was a journalist who received all of his information from "feeds" that funneled huge amounts of information into him, he typed his stories directly into the feed (where all news and traditional print existed), and anything and everything you could ever want was on the net. The story never actually revealed when it took place (well, Spider said no one was really sure what year it was...at least we know that), but it might as well have been today.

This leads into today's topic: the death knell of print.

Today, I went to check the mail for my parents as I have been on a daily basis since they took their lengthy vacation from these here frosty lands of Alaska. As per usual, nothing I've been waiting for showed up, but excitingly enough, a new Entertainment Weekly had come out. I'm always excited for EW, but this week I noticed something.

Their "Exclusive!" first story was the "First Look" at Tropic Thunder, and to be more specific, the first look at how Robert Downey Jr. plays a black man in the movie (as seen below). Next couple pages in, they have the analysis about the rumored cast of the upcoming Justice League movie (don't even get me started), along with their picks of who would be better. Their Must List of things to love this week included "Garfield Minus Garfield," a website that recreates Garfield comics minus the titular character, making it a mostly one man show starring the criminally depressed Jon Arbuckle.

Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., and Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder

Of course there is this. And this. And this. The first link takes you to a website that released the "exclusive" shot of Tropic Thunder a full week before my EW arrived (which looks pretty much awesome I may add). The second discusses the Justice League choices (and even scoops on one other role) back on February 25th, more than two weeks ago. The third was the Garfield site hyped on Penny-Arcade on February 27th. All new stories from EW that were a week or older in Internet time.

These of course are just a few of the examples of the things that they were scooped by the internet, but when reading it I kept finding myself going back to Spider Jerusalem's future. Is this a path we're headed down? As most anyone who reads this likely knows, the feeds from Spider's future are in existence right now (feel free to subscribe to my RSS feed...kthx!). Web based news sites and opinion/news blogs are rocketing upwards in hits, while traditional print news continues to decline (a great example of this is the New York Times, whose website jumped 7.5 million viewers quarter to quarter last year but the newspaper continues to steadily decline, albeit at a less dramatic rate than other traditional newspapers). We can buy groceries, cars, organs, children, new hair, illegal substances, and life size cutouts of Han Solo with just the click of a button.

It's all happening.

Later on, while browsing the daily music news at frequent haunt Absolute Punk, I saw a story about how legendary rock magazine NME is now down to just 64,000 issues in circulation a month. It's weekly sales used to be at 300,000. Nowadays, NME maintains relevance by having an extremely popular website, using its branded name on tours, and having one of the most popular concerts yearly in the NME Awards, but it's still far down from its once lofty heights.

We aren't heading down the path towards Spider's futre. We are there.

Of course, every print magazine and newspaper could definitely take a play out of NME, New York Times, and EW's playbooks. They've all successfully shifted a lot of their focus over to the online world, heavily developing their presence online while maintaining the actual printed work as the flagship (figurehead may be a more accurate term).

EW especially has been successful at shifting their print space away from "news" to things they can win at, such as interviews and clever opinion pieces like this weeks fantastic "25 Wild Pop Culture Debates." Their news section continues to decrease in size, and they continue to expand into new templates of stories - it could be argued that the previously mentioned "Debates" section was their published representation of a forum discussion about such taboo subjects as "What's better? Star Wars or Star Trek?" These types of moves have been very successful and necessary for EW to remain relevant in the marketplace.

Other giants such as Marvel Comics have shifted their focus to the digital revolution, with Marvel recently releasing an intense online publishing initiative to buoy their flagging comic sales. As an example of how far comics have fallen - in 1991 X-Men #1 came out and sold over 1 million copies. Now? Top sellers in the industry hover around the 10,000 issues sold mark. Even though Spider-Man and X-Men movies in the past have been some of the biggest in the world, and this summer's Iron Man and Incredible Hulk look likely to recapture that glory, the industry is at an all time low in sales. Are Marvel's attempts to use the digital medium to get back to form likely feasible? Maybe, maybe not. Remains to be seen (although I know I did my job at contributing - 24 comics bought today - good lord).

So there are plenty of examples of big time publishers shifting away from print and moving towards online ventures out of sheer necessity. The question is, is print really going away, or will it always exist?

Certain things I believe will not be replaced in print, at least in the near future. Books, regardless of how much Amazon would like you to buy Kindle, will be around for a long time. People genuinely connect with books, they cherish favorite books, they fall asleep with them, they protect them from harm. There is some connection that books have with us as readers that other forms of print do not receive, a nostalgic assault they put on our senses. They're like old friends who never go away, so long as we treat them right (sort of like real old friends I suppose).

Really, the primary section of print that I believe will slowly disappear will be news based. Newspapers and magazines will begin being phased out in favor of electronic versions, and you'll see plenty of others simply go under. But the more creative print outlets will continue to survive, whatever Warren Ellis and his in-print embodiment Spider Jerusalem believe. The creative spirit deserves a more tangible representation than a visual recreation on a screen, and I believe it will continue to receive it at least throughout my lifetime.

In short, the clock is ticking, but we still haven't reached midnight. Well, in some time zones.

A House Possessed

Pictured: Myself (Left), My Place (Right)

As I mentioned in my last post, my internet and TV went out on Sunday. Monday all of my TV channels besides the HD ones came back (damn you cruel TV gods!), much to my glee. Apparently, this was all a tease. The eye of the storm if you will. They went back out Tuesday.

Currently not working in my apartment:
  • Internet
  • Cable (all channels - the box says 0 - that's it)
  • Washer (Supplies are running low)

On top of that, yesterday I came home with plans to get things accomplished. Clean my place, do the dishes, cook a nice dinner, maybe even go off and do some laundry so I can stop wearing clothes from years past (not a big deal for most, but when your old shirts are two full sizes bigger...well, you look funny).

First step for me was do the dishes and then make dinner. While waiting for dishes to finish so I could do another load, I decided to sit down and play some Smash Bros. (got it Monday, fairly entertaining, feels...same-y from the rest of the series), I started to smell smoke. Very odd, but considering I had nothing cooking I assumed my neighbors were having issues upstairs. A bit later, I saw smoke - far greater indicator.

I ran to the kitchen and quickly surveyed my surroundings. Nothing burning in sight, so I checked the dishwasher. I felt like I was William Baldwin and this was a scene from Backdraft - a huge plume of smoke smacked me in the face as I furiously waved my hands side to side and ran to every window in my house opening them. The culprit of the great dishwasher disaster of March 11th?

A Tupperware lid.

It had slipped to the bottom of the dishwasher, and the repeated wackings by the thingymabob at the bottom of the dishwasher (technical term, no big deal) had caused it to melt and emit the world's worst smoke/smell. Now besides the fact that I (and my apartment) now smelled like the world's worst burnt rubber, I was perfectly ok.

Well, fine besides the fact I am now convinced that my place is attempting to forcefully move me out. Internet and TV out (apparently the apartment's fault, according to Tech Support), washer constantly broken and making my carpet become wet, and a dishwasher that somehow starts fires. A month and a half until my year lease is up, and this bad boy is trying to make me move.

Either that or this is just a series of unfortunate events. Hmm...paranoid delusions or logic? Which one do I choose? All I know is, last night I made a choice. Option C: Drinking Margaritas. That's a far more fun and far less thought intensive choice.

March #9 (Power Out)

Monday, March 10, 2008

You know the old saying (or maybe it's a Joni Mitchell song), you don't know what you got 'til it's gone? Well, I really understand that now.

My internet and TV were out all of Sunday. Never have I realized how connection based my apartment was, but man, that place is nothing at all without those things, at least in terms of staying connected to the world in any facet. My apartment was essentially its own desert island (except instead of five things I got to choose, I had everything I own in terms of books and DVD's), and it was not so great.

Thankfully, I had a ton to do Sunday, and I was barely home, but man - that really sucked. Plus, it looks like it will not get resolved until Wednesday at the earliest. What does that mean for my blog? You're going to get megablogs like this until I have a steady internet connection. Yay! I had a great weekend though, with tons to do, so today's blog is going to be all about that. Expect tangents like crazy, and so many twists and turns you'll think you're reading an M. Night Shyamalan script. Ok, maybe not, but it should be somewhat entertaining.


Saturday morning I woke up at 10:50, feeling like death (went to First Friday the night before...much wine was consumed) and needing to be somewhere in 10 minutes. Surprisingly, I made it there in 22 minutes, just in time as Colver and Brian were pulling in at the exact same time. What were we doing?

Getting measurements for tuxes!

Sobo and Erik are getting married in July and September respectively, and we'll be partaking as groomsmen in said weddings, thus we needed to get our sizes measured for the ordering of our tuxes. Brian had thankfully brought a massive coffee for Colver and I to share, as we were both feeling...ahem...under the weather. It was alternately the most delicious and disgusting thing I've ever had, but it was exactly what we needed.

Well, that and the insanely bizarre woman who did our measurements, who thought I was crazy and a swimmer ("Huge neck!"), needed Brian as a translator, and thought Colver was very sarcastic (incredibly enough, it was me that was being that way). Her hilarity definitely woke me up, and prepared me for the next event of the day - There Will Be Blood.

It was of course spectacular as per usual, with Brian and I agreeing that it is in fact one of our favorite movies ever, and I decided, three months into the year, that it tied with Atonement as my favorite movie last year. Who knows what Colver thought, but I think he enjoyed it. This is the person whose Facebook page states under the movie sections "I like anything higher than 80% and lower than 25% on Rotten Tomatoes."

Tangent #1:

My nephew called that evening, as he and his friends apparently decided to see Blood instead of Semi-Pro for a birthday party event (I love Blood, but birthday party event? Not the right time), and he was wondering what the deal with me liking it so much was - it was "irrelevant" and the last scene was one of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes he'd ever seen. Now, I understand not liking it - it isn't the most likeable movie. Nearly every character is despicable, it's very long, and as Colver pointed out, conversations are awkward at best (intentionally stunted, I believe). Also, certain scenes could be considered unintentionally funny for sure (more on this in a bit).

Why do I think it's so great? Why do I think the term irrelevant is quite possibly the worst term ever used to describe it?

Relevant - Connected with or saying something important about what is being spoken about or discussed.

Under that definition, I think it is as relevant as anything I've seen in recent memory. Not only does it work as a brilliant character study, about how greed can destroy a person and create a monster, a modern day Frankenstein set in the Oil Rush time of the early 1900's, but it also works in a more metaphorical relevance. My nephew's friend was yelling in the background (albeit sarcastically) "down with corporate America!" about the movie. Correct young man, to a degree.

I think that within Blood, there lies a very interesting study of modern day business through the microcosm of the Oil Rush and Daniel Plainview. About how the lust for money makes us do monstrous things - sure it isn't always killing people, using small children to accomplish goals, or using and abusing entire towns, but it is embezzling from shareholders, it is sacrificing groups for the sake of the individual, and it is a complete lack of moral compass more often than not.

Of course, this all is expressed through a wondrously performed and shot film, one with one of the single greatest scores ever created, and one of the greatest characters ever seen on screen in Daniel Plainview.

It's a movie about greed and it's effect on people, and to me, it works perfectly both literally and metaphorically. The relevance of the film to me is undeniable. Both in terms of making us understand the insanity caused by the gold and oil rushes locked in America's past, and in giving us a metaphor for the way avarice affects those infected by it throughout the ages. I think it could be argued that the film has no greater relevance than in this era.

Back to the point of unintentional hilarity...I think this is a misunderstanding. I think Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis made the film with the intent of multiple angles to the same scene. Not literally on the angles, but I mean you can view scenes in entirely different ways. The first time I watched the film, I was enraptured by it, and never gave it a second thought as to it being anything besides deathly serious. The second time? Brian and I went in looking it as a pitch black comedy, and it was incredibly funny in a sick, sick way. I believe any perceived unintentional humor is actually inentional. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Of course, this is all one person's opinion, and that opposing view is of my nephew. I was incorrect in originally saying that he "just didn't get it." Just because I believe otherwise (even if it is in the extreme other direction) does not mean I am right and he is wrong. I do believe it takes a specific type of person to love Blood. I just happen to be one of them.

End tangent #1.

So after the viewing, I went off to visit with my sister and then join her for dinner at Thai Orchid. I tried a new dish there, going with a red curry that featured chicken, green peppers, jalopenos, and pineapple. Man. That was a delicious meal, and Thai Orchid strikes again. I think it is officially my favorite Thai restaurant in town, as it already has the best Pad Thai, but it also makes curry and fresh rolls like nobody's business.

One of my sister and I's primary discussions over dinner was whether I should attend the Emerald City Comic Con or the Sasquatch Festival as my big event for the year. My sis made a very good point: I go to plenty of concerts, last year I had my huge blowout at the Bumbershoot Festival (although it was incredible), and I haven't went to a comic con since I was little. Diversity is in fact not a wooden ship, so I should check out the ECCC. I liked her point, and that combined with the fact that my friend Sheri and her crew missed out on a premium camping spot at Sasquatch means I am likely to skip 'Quatch for the ECCC (or the San Diego Comic Con, if I feel very saucy).

Shortly thereafter, after our delicious dinner was completed, I was beginning to feel like death. I left my sister and went home for a classic 7 pm nap. I woke up at 8:30 and was joined by Jason, Amy, and Hannah shortly thereafter for a rock session. And boy, did we rock. We totally shredded until 2:30 am, even tossing in a delicious pizza in the midst (from Manhattan Pizza, the Anchorage Press' food rec of the week). I apparently now love Hawaiian pizza. Who knew? No less, the night was a total blasty blast, and it was fantastic having an out and out rockfest for the first time in a while.


I woke to a house with no TV and no internet. Sad panda, but ok considering the fact that I have a big day ahead of me.

First up? My first Fantasy Baseball draft of the year, and even better, my first ever live (as in sitting in a room with the rest of the league) baseball draft. The league was very similar to my previous football one, with it being compiled of Pat, John Yee, Rolston, Chuck, MJ, Sweet, and myself, plus new member Colver.

This being Colver's first baseball draft, there were some new experiences to be had. First off, the draft is HUGE (30 players per team, 8 teams), there is no running list of who is and isn't available (gotta keep tabs yourself), and baseball has some horrendously intense names. Personal favorite pronounciation error? Jason Isringhausen (Is-Ring-Hows-En) = Jason Irish Spring Hausen. I wish I was kidding.

The draft was very fun, if not overly lengthy. There were some intense lulls and tons of "is this guy available? is this guy available?" filled sections, but the banter was flowing between the league members and my draft went really well. How well? My starting pitching staff is studly (slightly gay sounding terms like that are perfectly acceptable when involved with Fantasy sports). I have the best hitter (A-Rod) and the best pitcher (Johan Santana). I have tons of upside (BJ Upton, Nick Markakis, Corey Hart) and tons of sure things (aforementioned A-Rod, Santana, Justin Verlander). My offense and pitching is incredibly balanced.

This may be my greatest Fantasy Baseball team ever, and I am unfathomably stoked about it.

Anchorage and Sleeping Lady from Flattop

After the draft (all 3.5 hours of it), Amy and I went up and hiked Flattop. Now before you think we're crazy for hiking Flattop in March, I want to make sure everyone is aware that this is a strange March in Alaska. It was nearly 50 degrees yesterday, and breakup is in full swing. Sure, when we got up there it was down to 35degrees, but a couple layers and gloves were more than enough to take care of that. Of course not bringing a hat and deciding a t-shirt and a thermal was plenty may have been a pinch on the crazy side, but what can I say...I'm a rebel.

It was an awesome time, and it was great seeing Amy's dog Myka get to go out and run free. She ran through the mountain "like a million singing children" as Amy said, and it was oh so joyous.

Amy with Myka on Blueberry Hill

Taking this hike made me think about how different Alaska really is than every where else I've been. Looking around from the top of the mountain, you just know that Alaska really is just more beautiful and diverse than other areas. You see a city, tall mountains, forests, blue sky, sunshine, snow, the ocean, everything. All from one view. Now I still have my issues with Alaska (eternal winters, long spells of darkness, THE COLD!), but things like that really take my breath away. Not to get too cheesy or anything.

Me sliding down the mountain...oh so gloriously

Speaking of cheesy, for some reason Amy and I decided that we wanted to get to the top of the mountain my climbing directly upwards, which required us to go up and angle of about 65 degress in about 6 feet of snow. Not to be Captain Obvious (you are wearing pants, by the way), but it was rather difficult. We managed to make it up to one rock formation, and that was our tippity top. We did take some wonderfully cheesy pictures, as you can see from Amy's shot (seriously, it felt that steep), and it did give us the ability to slide down incredibly fast (which was amazingly fun).

And cold. My pants, shirt, socks, shoes, hair, body were full of snow afterwards, as you can see below. Well, after that and the hurricane that managed to strike the mountain while we were up there. I don't know about Amy, but I was legitimately terrified as intense gusts of wind went on for 20 seconds straight, nailing us with incredible amounts of snow and ground fragments. It was so intense that we both dropped to our knees to hide from the wind, and Myka pretty much flipped out. I found myself screaming and laughing simultaneously, and must admit that a big part of me was thinking "this is awesome!" while another part was thinking "you're crazy! this is terrifying!"

No, I do not have multiple personalities.

After the sliding, Amy and I headed back down the mountain (much easier than the way up) and went off to chow down on some delicious gyros from the Greek Corner, and then to watch Lost (groovy as per usual). Sure, it was very chill weekend (literally on the hiking part), and one that was definitely more powered down than usual, but I loved it quite a bit.

Alaska, this weekend I was very pro-you. Keep it up, and we may be able to keep this relationship going for a while.

If my internet is up later, I'll post some more things (Vampire Weekend totally rocked the heezy this weekend on SNL, and I wanted to share), but I wanted to get this bad boy out there while I was in contact with the rest of the world for sure.

Harry Potter and the Melting of Faces

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Harry and the Potters - rocking it for Alaska

Harry and the Potters, wizard rock pioneers and possibly the biggest Hpot nerds ever, came to Anchorage this week to rock the Wilda Marston theater at the Loussac Library for two shows Friday night. Kim and I were in attendance for this sure to be interesting event, and were alternately excited (rock band that plays Harry Potter inspired music? gold mine) and a little weirded out (we thought we'd be the oldest people by far, besides parents) by it.

Kim had listened to them on Myspace and thought they were both funny and pretty rocking. I had a less positive opinion, as my limited experience was more on the "well, this is cute, but not that great" side. I did think their sound would translate well live, and from what I'd read they had a ton of presence on stage. As a connoisseur of stage presence, this had me excited. So how was it?

Harry and the Potters rocking out

It rocked.


Harry and the Potters are 28 and 20 year old brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge, or as they refer to themselves, Harry Potter and Harry Potter (or more amusingly, HP). The concept of the band is "what if Harry Potter from year 4 and year 7 met and formed a band?" Apparently the answer is that they would make incredibly clever and catchy 1 to 2 minute songs inspired by the life and times of "HP," and lay down extremely entertaining sets in front of library audiences nationwide. Because that is what they did.

They were quite possibly the most joyous performers I've ever seen, just giving it up to the gods of rock, and blasting songs about what they love the most - Harry Potter. Their set went chronologically, starting with year 1 (fighting cave trolls, coming to Hogwarts) and finishing with year 7 (Fenix Felicis!), and in a way, was the world's fastest cliffs notes for the series. The longest song was probably 3 minutes long, and some songs couldn't have been more than 30 seconds, and they mostly stayed in a punkish rock styling, although some took big departures (ballads occasionally, along with the bizarre and awesome rap party anthem "Phoenix Tears.")

Even more entertaining than their performances was the banter in between songs and their audience interactions - these guys never broke character, they perpetually displayed their
encyclopedic knowledge of the series, and they managed to get everyone in the audience involved with their singalongs and dance sequences. They were ridiculously personable guys, and the message they represented was just as awesome - reading is great and can capture the imagination as well as anything, and they use the power of rock to share that message.

One other thing in particular that I found to be great about their show. Every time I go to a show, bands always say ", you're the best audience we've ever had..." It's just a key choice in the band playbook, and one that is used a lot. The HP boys? They said it, and you believed it. It's not that it really was the best show ever, or anything of that sort, its just that they have so much fun, I think the best audience ever for them is the one they are currently playing to. They just have tons of fun, and appreciate everything they get back from the audience.

Well guys, we appreciate you too. From a guy who has seen a lot of bands go up on stage and show nothing, it was great to see a band go out and give everything they've got.

Go AK Wild!

Thursday, March 6, 2008
The AK Wild shortly after the last TD

Go Alaska Wild!
Better than Fairbanks, for sure.
Everyone else? Uh uh.

Tonight, the AK Wild (Anchorage's Intense Football League team - essentially Arena Football) kicked off their second season against the one team they definitely can beat, expansion team the Fairbanks Grizzlies (as in Fairbanks, Alaska). In attendance were myself, Brian, Colver, and Nick, as I had managed to capture free tickets from work, and good ones too. Was it a good game? Depends on who you ask.

Ask the AK Wild, hell yes! With 8 minutes left, when we decided to depart, the Wild were up 68 to 12 (!!). Far better than the season opener last year, when the only thing they had 68 of with eight minutes left were fumbles (sadly barely overexaggerating). At times, they resembled what could be a real football team, being very solid defensively and returning no less than three inteceptions for TD's and one kick for a TD.

Ask the Fairbanks Grizzlies, not so much. They have maybe the worst QB ever created. He telegraphs every pass, and when he doesn't, he saves time by simply throwing the ball directly at the opponent. When that isn't bad enough, their defense is picking up penalties on every snap. They are worse right now than the Wild were at the beginning of last year - and the Wild were terrible.

Ask old friend from Hooters Chastity, and I'd say for sure. As per usual the AK Wild cheerleaders were just as, if not more, entertaining than the actual team. Chastity has joined the squad now, and she totally rocked the house. Of course, I was sad to not see old favorite "Edgy" cheerleader this year, but you can't win them all.

Ask AK Wild mascot Striker, and you'd likely get a yawn, followed by a lackadaisacal high five, and then excitement if you were a small child. At one point he picked a small child out of the stands to spin said child around in his arms, but with much glee to go with it. I'm not going to go into detail, but Brian and I definitely noticed his attention to children, and his apathy towards everything else. Needless to say, our discussion definitely involved these words, and you choose to do what you want with them: little kid, van, candy, come here, huffy.

Striker is a sick puppy.

Now ask myself and my crew, and you'll get a resounding...mostly. IFL officials clearly need to make the games speed up a bit, because I left my seat, went to the bathroom (far side from me), came back, and 3 seconds had passed. The last minute of the first half lasted 30 minutes. I wish I was overexaggerating.

But besides that, did I mention the fact we put up 68 points? The Grizzlies made us look like the New England Patriots, if only they were the Washington Redskins. It was ridiculously entertaining to see how amazing they made us look and how truly terrible they were. It remains to be seen if we are good, or if we're just beating up on far inferior competition (to prove a point, we discussed whether or not 8 random men from the stands would do better against the Wild than the Grizzlies would...the answer was clearly not, but the question was asked).

Also, there were a lot of hijinks to be had, such as Brian and I going on and on quoting There Will Be Blood (needless to say, the Wild's cornerbacks were drinking the hell out of the Grizzlies QB's milkshake), Colver announcing that he thinks he could kick the football from one end zone, out the other side of the field and out of bounds (we - by that I mean I - mocked him relentlessly about this), and the weirdo's in the bathroom who were having urine battles. I will not go into detail about that, but I will say this - only at the Sullivan Arena.

Overall, I'd say the first AK Wild game of the season was a success, and I'm looking to attend some more throughout the season. Hopefully we don't play Bartlett High School's JV team next game.

As a fun little inclusion, to continue the love for the drinking of people's milkshakes, I'd like to share with everyone the "I Drink Your Milkshake" skit from SNL two weekends ago. It stars the truly awesome Bill Hader as Daniel Plainview, Daniel Day-Lewis' character from TWBB. It is an uncanny impersonation, and for people who have seen the movie, I'm guessing you will find it hilarious. For those that haven't? Probably less so...no less, enjoy!

Hype! (Or how Vampire Weekend learned to stop worrying and love to rock)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Vampire Weekend

Vampires love weekends.
Stay up late, sleep in, whatever.
They become people.

Thanks to Amy for my horrible affliction, my ridiculous obsession with these things called haiku's! Anyways, because I've been spouting them off every fifteen seconds for the past thirty minutes, it felt fitting to start my post with that (and I may even continue doing that, because they're so fun).

Back to the point, I know I'm really late to this party, but I finally caved and purchased Vampire Weekend's debut album (shockingly titled Vampire Weekend) after having it downloaded for a few weeks. After my unfathomably ahead of the curve and very cool Mom told me over and over to download it in December, I finally got around to it in February after the hype around the album became deafening.

I try not to give into hype too often because quite often, it isn't remotely earned and sometimes the music isn't even listenable, let alone buzzworthy. For every deserving artist like Sufjan Stevens or Interpol out there, there is a similar number of bands with undeserved hype behind them (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! I'm looking at you!). It isn't the bands fault...they don't create the hype (although some go out of their way to make it happen), but they do receive it when they hardly create what some would refer to as great music.

With Vampire Weekend though, simply put: the music is too good.

I had to buy into the hype.

The first hype band I really got behind were the Strokes when they released Is This It?, and Vampire Weekend's rapid ascension simultaneously on the Billboard Charts and within the eyes of the critical elite is eerily reminiscent of the Strokes very own experience.

Strangely enough, they tend to remind me of each other, not just in sound (obviously VW has a lot more of a reggae-ish feel, while the Strokes were the poster boys for the garage movement, but the central ideas are the same I feel), but in the fact that they both exhibit musical talent that translates well to eminently catchy and listenable music.

This is why I am in no way surprised that Vampire Weekend has found success, but also why I think that unlike some of their hype band contemporaries (I know this will be controversial, but Arcade Fire, I'm looking at you), they will find only more success on further ventures down the road. So long as they choose the right paths, and don't choose "growth" for the sake of growth, or just keeping the same sound to try to capture lightning in the bottle a second time. It's a tricky road, but I get the feeling these guys can handle it.

As for now, they have their hands full with what's clearly the best album so far this year (or last year to my Mom).

We need to learn more history!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Rory Stewart, Diplomat Extraordinaire

Rory Stewart, 34 year old wunderkind and diplomat extraordinaire, spoke at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium at UAA tonight. Kim and I attended this event, as it seemed like something that would be fairly interesting - this man has led an incredible life, and he's still very young. It was a very well attended event, and far more diverse in terms of age and gender than I'm used to at the Wendy Williamson (although that is in comparison to my times seeing Cursive and Bright Eyes there).

Stewart was a very intelligent and interesting speaker, and he dedicated about 40 minutes to talking about his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the remaining 20 to 30 minutes taking questions from the audience. What did we find out? Well, I've included Kim and I's notes from the experience, as I find them to be really entertaining. I won't go into great detail, but here are some fun little things we learned.
  • Diplomats are really diplomatic - Obviously they have to be, but speaking to an audience who had clearly come to hear him rip on the Coalition movements and actions in Iraq, he did not give them a single shred of what they wanted. Why?

  • Rory Stewart is an idealist - I thought this was the most interesting aspect about the man, and he was a remarkably interesting man. Right, wrong, whatever, Stewart believed that that what he and other Coalition forces (the oft spoken of "we" - Aid workers, soldiers, and diplomats) were doing something that was inherently right and ultimately beneficial, and I had a ton of respect for the guy for going out and saying that to an audience looking for a good ol' fashioned Bush burning.

  • Alaskans are obsessed with oil and are very angry! - I thought this one woman was going to run and punch him in the face after he did not give her the answer she was looking for in response to her question (Question: Where is Iraqi oil money going? Desired response: Bush's pocket. Actual response: Iraqi government).

  • Afghanistan loves heroin! - Afghanistan produces 92% (!!) of the world's heroin, yet receives a ridiculous sum in International Aid yearly. Gooooooo world! Encourage that heroin growth!

  • The job that the Coalition set out to do was not a bad one conceptually. It had a great plan, just one that was impossible to accomplish. Kind of incredible to hear someone admit to that.

  • When in doubt, use big words and talk longer - Stewart was "thrown on his back foot" a couple of times by questions (even admitting so once, as you can tell from the quote) but he has a sure fire way to make further questions go away - use gigantic and complex words frequently, and take forever to answer questions. People will give up and assume that he answered it well.

  • In his first four months as the Governor of Dhi Qar (a region in Iraq), 54 (!!) new political parties were created. - Stewart spoke often about how the variable that was most ignored in the Coalition's plan was the economic and political complexities that were entirely new to them when they arrived. I must ask though - how do you prepare for something as volatile as that?

Alright, that's enough factoids for the lot of you. I probably bored you to tears with this one, but I thought it was remarkably interesting and found that Stewart was a bit of a fresh thinker in a time of people only believing in absolutes. He recognized there were problems, but he identified that they were impossible problems and saluted the Coalition's attempts at solving them (even if they have been somewhat futile).

I say cheers to him for giving a wonderfully gray and two sided view on the situation in this black and white society we're in.