Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Join the Nerd Herd


Thanks to my source of movie criticism, Keith Demko, I joined the Nerd Herd. Show your Chuck solidarity and make your own, too.

Given the amazingly awesome finale, I certainly hope Chuck makes it back for another season. I guess the outlook is unclear in the ole magic 8-ball, but with so little decent programming out there it'd be a shame to lose a great show like Chuck.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talking 'bout the P

Michele posted the definitive Swine Flu playlist at her blog This is a Thing.
1. Nine Inch Nails - March of the Pigs
2. Pink Floyd - Pigs (3 different ones)
3. Black Sabbath -War Pigs
4. Angry Samoans - I’m a Pig
5. Jane’s Addiction - Pigs in Zen
6. Coal Chamber - Pig
7. Queens of the Stone Age - Run Pig Run
8. The Smiths - Panic
9. Gas Huffer - Don’t Panic
10. Corrosion of Conformity - Pearls Before Swine
11. Slayer - Epidemic

I think the only one of these I have here at work is the Pink Floyd entry, and that's OK, but I sure wish I had Epidemic here because that's the best Slayer song in the history of ever.

Favorite Songs 2: D.R.I. - Suit and Tie Guy



I was a pretty big fan of D.R.I. in the mid-to-late 80s, but I will be one of the first to admit that some of their songs just seem to go on for way too long. Even though Manifest Destiny clocks in shorter than this song, it's a good example of what I'm talking about. It just seems to go on forever. Suit and Tie Guy just moves along at a much better clip. I think it's the chord progression. It's a satisfying song, musically.

Lyrically, there's not much original here. It's typical 80s-era rallying against the corporate world. But it's a fun tune. Good skate punk.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My heart's not in it

I'm reduced to posting You Tube clips because I have so little else to talk about. I actually have a plan to start generating some more fresh content, but I have little time right now and I'm spending more time at other people's blogs than my own. Which isn't really that bad a thing, but it'd be nice to have some conversations here in my own little neck of the innerwebs.

Anyway, I want to start one of my initiatives: Favorite Songs. Favorite bands can be restrictive or too general. There are bands where I like everything they do and there are bands where I only like a song or two, so I'm going to talk songs (and the bands that make them, too).

My pick for today is Bad Religion's Drunk Sincerity:



I don't understand the hate for Bad Religion. You seem to lose some punk cred if you admit to liking this band, and, I'll admit, they do go over the top quite often. Vocalist Greg Gaffin often tries too hard to show how smart he is and perhaps they're responsible for a lot of the trendy punk of the past few years, but there's some damn good music here. Drunk Sincerity in particular is a great example of Bad Religion at their best. I dig the 50s-style chord progressions and the harmonies. The live version posted here is more raw and in some ways preferable to the studio version.

Plus, the lyrics:
with steam, heat, and rhythm in the back seat of the car
and adolescent perspective projecting life's forecast to the stars
you heard love from the lips and you were rapt by the hips
and the promise was eternal but you couldn't see that far


At the very least it can leave you thinking.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Holy crap, an article that reported

There has been a lot of nuanced reporting yesterday and today about the tea parties across the nation. Well, Memphis' Commercial Appeal did a great job in covering the event:

The Memphis Tea Party, which actually included free sweet tea as well as speeches from local pundits, was one of more than 750 similar events that took place across the country.

The events, part of a grass-roots movement, were intended to protest the direction some feel the country is heading.

I am pleased with my local paper. The lack of editorializing is refreshing given what I've seen across the Web and on TV. There are a couple of holes in the story (how many people attended, how long did the event last?) but it was far more balanced than I expected.

The comments, however, are telling. It's obvious that no liberal understands what these protests were about. They seem to believe that it was all about individuals upset about having to pay taxes. None seem to understand that our problem is with how our public funds are being spent. I'm not sure that an intelligent conversation could be had in such a forum as a comment section to a news story; it certainly isn't happening on the CA Web site.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A meme, then nap

From Sheila who got it from sarahk.

1. What color is your toothbrush?
Yellow, blue and white. Not my first choice, but I guess I'm not overly picky about a toothbrush. After seeing how picky a three-year-old can be, it gives you a different perspective on things that matter.

2. Name one person who made you smile today.
Dennis

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Standing around waiting to give a briefing.

5. What is your favorite candy bar?
Toblerone, but I eat Snickers more often.

6. Have you ever been to a strip club?
Yes, it's been many years though.

7. What is the last thing you said aloud
Hmm. It's been a bit. Probably, "Thanks, corporal."

8. What is your favorite ice cream?
Most of the time, chocolate-chip cookie dough, but I'm becoming more of a fan of mint chocolate chip.

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?
Water

10, Do you like your wallet?
Yes. My kids "got me" a new one at Christmas. I am quite particular about what kind I like.

11, What was the last thing you ate?
Ham sandwich.

12, Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
Nope.

13, The last sporting event you watched?
Couldn't begin to tell you.

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?
Buttered. Used to love cheese, but I'm getting to the point where less is more.

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to?
J-mom.

16. Ever go camping?
A lot. We went quite often when I was growing up. Went a couple of times in my adult life, a few times in by virtue of wearing battle jammies and an extended, seven-month stay in Bagram.

17, Do you take vitamins daily?
Nah. I probably should.

18, Do you go to church every Sunday?
No.

19, Do you have a tan?
No. We'll see what the summer brings.

20,Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?
I prefer pizza, but I like Chinese a lot.

21, Do you drink your soda with a straw?
Sure, at restaurants and such. I like to keep straws in the house for kids and will find myself using them occasionally.

22, What did your last text message say?
Um ... "Have fun! Love you!"

23, What are you doing tomorrow?
Leaving on a jet plane.

25, Look to your left, what do you see?
An orange couch with an odd print. Look:



26, What color is your watch?
Brown and green.

27, What do you think of when you hear Australia?
I'm kind of equally assaulted by images of great barren landscapes and the Great Barrier Reef. No one image clearly comes to mind. It's all at once.

29, Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Drive through 99.999999% of the time.

30. What is your favorite number?
42 of course.

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone?
J-mom

32. Any plans today?
Napping. Working on a paper. Developing some questions for interviews about the SecNav Retiree Council.

33. How many states have you lived in?
Excluding those I was in less than 6 months, I'll say 10.

34. Biggest annoyance right now?
My procrastination.

35, Last song listened to?
Some blues tune playing in the lobby of the hotel.

36.Can you say the alphabet backwards?
If I thought about it really hard ... I'll go ahead and say no. Too addicted to that damn alphabet song.

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house?
I wish. I'd love to be able to do that for my wife.

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
I became addicted to sandals when I lived on Okinawa. I also like my Sketchers running shoes.

39. Are you jealous of anyone?
Not really. I've made my choices in life and I've been pretty lucky in the outcome of those choices. I feel blessed, honestly.

40. Is anyone jealous of you?
I don't know.

41. Do you love anyone?
Absolutely.

42. Do any of your friends have children?
Sheila said: "Okay, is this meme directed at tweens? Most of my friends have kids." I concur.

43. What do you usually do during the day?
I sit in a cubicle (which the Navy calls a puka) and answer a lot of phone calls.

44, Do you hate anyone that you know right now?
Nah. I mean, if you asked me at another point in time, or if I saw something on the news, I might say, "Man, yeah, I hate so and so," but the truth is I don't hate the person, I hate the action or situation. I'm sure a person is capable of earning hate, but no one's really been that mean to me or mine.

45. Do you use the word ‘hello’ daily?
Yes, in addition to "Hi," "Hey," "What's up?" and "Ha ha! You fell down!"

46. What color is your car?
White

47. Do you like cats?
Yes, but Daughter Number One has asthma and it's probably not a good idea to own one.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now
My wife and kids; been missing them a lot this trip.

49, Have you ever been to Six Flags?
Nope.

50. How did you get your worst scar?
I have a three or four-inch scar on my spine at the S4-5 level. I had two back surgeries last year.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's always good to know that you don't have a discernable accent

At least, I don't think I do.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland
 

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
 
Boston
 
The South
 
The Northeast
 
The Inland North
 
Philadelphia
 
North Central
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


It's getting there, though.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Video Friday: Discovering new bands

So, I was lamenting how hard it was to discover new bands and apparently I just haven't been listening to the right radio station. There's a local station that's public-funded/volunteer DJ-based and they have a Memphis sounds show. Today (they just started their biweekly begathon today) they were talking about a lot of different stuff and they played the following band VivaL'AmericanDeathRayMusic!, a Memphis band that is just amazing.



Hope to find out more about them.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Interview with a Cullen

A little while ago, Kate at Maiden Aunt posted a question and answer session where another blogger asked her some questions and she posted her Q&A on her blog. She has since asked me some questions.

If you would like to be interviewed, just ask me and I'll shoot you some questions.

Here are my Q&As:

1. What's the one main reason you started your blog? I didn’t really get into blogs until about 2005, but I spent some time on message boards. After following a couple of posters to their blogs, I discovered It Comes in Pints? and Sheila’s site. I was a serial commenter on a lot og blogs and after guest blogging at Wunderkraut for a week, I decided to start my own. I guess I felt it was nice to be part of a community joined by nothing but people’s desires to read and write with one another. A huge pen pal community, I guess.
 
2. What, in your opinion, makes a good blog--makes you want to follow it? That’s kind of hard. I don’t think it has much to do with what they write about. There are great bloggers who write about the minutia of life and there are those who write about sewing. I would say, to some extent, it doesn’t even matter how well the person writes. That is, there are great bloggers out there who aren’t the best grammarians. It has a lot to do with how the person expresses themselves. I believe that blogging is, or can be, a written medium that lends itself to expressing one’s self in one’s own voice. Not everyone does this, of course, but you do get more a sense of the personality of the person writing the blog than you do when you’re reading a book. At least you do when you’re reading a good blog.
 
3. A little about your peeps--complete this sentence: "Some things I love about my family are..."

Their support. It’s amazing to have people around you who want nothing but for you to succeed. Even if you change your mind about something, they just want you to do good.

Their sense of humor. I come from a long line of smart asses and I’m doing my best to raise them. My son, at 3, is better at making me laugh than almost anyone else I know. His innate sense of humor is amazing. But everyone knows how to be funny.

Their inquisitiveness. I’m focusing on my kids here, but even my wife loves learning.

4. Frequently, negative comments are made about homeschooling, often as the result of ignorance--what do you think people don't know about it that makes them frown on it? I think the biggest thing is that we’ve all been indoctrinated in our educational system’s dogma. Most of us grew up with a traditional 8-to-3 school day and we think, “Hey, if it was good enough for me … .” Also, there are a lot of homeschoolers who are at the extreme of beliefs who can give your average homeschooler a bad name.

I took convincing. It took a while for me to come to the belief that homeschooling was a viable alternative to traditional schooling. The biggest change happens when you come to realize that homeschooling is more about disappointment with your schools and a belief in your kid’s ability to learn.
 
5. Now for music: Which five albums would you pick to be your Desert Island Discs? I would cheat. I would take five CDs full of as many MP3s I could pack from my collection. It would be heavy on Dream Theater, Ramones, Pink Floyd, Clutch, Danzig, a mix of ‘80s and ‘90s-era rock and some classical music.
 
6. Because you have a preference for rock/metal, do you find it easier or harder (or no difference) to find/enjoy the kind of music you like, where you live? As far as the radio is concerned, this is the largest area in which I’ve lived as an adult. I find the radio stations here to be OK. A much better variety than some of the smaller towns where I’ve lived. However, they still play a lot more popular stuff than I listen to.

Outside of that, I think I have as much access to the music I want to listen to as anyone else with internet access.

The big problem is finding new music. When you’re a kid, hanging out with your friends, new bands and new music just filters to you. Lacking that, you kind of have to go outside of your comfort zone to find new bands. You sure as hell don’t find them on the radio.

Last note, there is supposed to be a robust live music scene here, but I think I’m too old and too domesticated to really become a part of it. I keep looking for lists of live shows and when I see the names of the bands (most local, or just out of the garage) I start thinking, “Do I really want to go see them?”
 
7. The really fun question: You've been given a $10,000 shopping spree at a music shop (like Guitar Center).  How will you spend it? That’s another difficult question question. The big debate here is do I spend the money and get two or three really good instruments, or do I buy several mid-grade instruments?

I would probably try and get as much for my money as possible. I'd probably get an economy drum set, a mid-grade 5-string Ibanez bass (or comparable), an upper-mid-grade, full-size keyboard – we’re up to about four or five ground now – two or three different kinds of mid-grade guitars (Telecaster style, Stratocaster style, and a semi-hollow body), some microphones and stands, a mixing board with a digital output.

That might be pushing $10K, but with some eBay shopping, I could do it.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Kwesty Yon

I posed this question in the comments at Ricki's but I'm going to go ahead and pose it here as well:

Let's say you are doing quick shopping and you want to use the express lane. Does the 20 items or less mean:

1. 20 individual items, or
2. 20 different kinds of items?

That is, say I have 15 different kinds of things and also have 10 boxes of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese. Does that mean I have 25 items or do I have 16 since the cashier (at some places) can ring up multiples as one item?

I know where I stand on this, I'm interested to know where other people stand.

There is no longer Life on Mars

So, my favorite TV series in a long time, Life on Mars, ended last night to little fanfare. Fortunately, they were allowed to really end the series and tie up all loose ends. For those who have yet to see it and care (though, according to Neilson, that's almost no one outside of J-Mom and me) I won't ruin the ending. I will say that having not seen the BBC original, and staying far away from online disucussions of the show, it was a bit of a surprise ending. I didn't see it coming, but it was more of an "Oh, that's neat" kind of ending than anything. It retreads oft tred ground, and with a lot of hokey references, but it's a stellar homage to the past fiction it ripped off.

In a way, it's probably best that the show ended after a season (though not quite a full one). Had it kept going on with no discernable end in sight, it would have had to keep piling up mysteries while answering some in lackluster fashion - like LOST has been forced to do (though this season has made up for a lot). This way, the story was able to keep its chief story and not veer away, then end it succinctly. It played like the best mini, er, maxi series.

Now I can go find the original and do a comparison. Now I can track down the BBC sequel. But I can still lament the end of a great TV show.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I'm tired of these mike foxtrot snakes in this mike foxtrot robot!

In what can only be described as the greatest thing ever drawn, today's Dr. McNinja page has the good doctor being attacked by a Mayan-inspired culture's, ancient, snake-filled, kung-fu robot.

If you like comics and aren't reading The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, I'm afraid the only cure for the amount of suck you have is probably decapitation.