March 21, 2007

Creature Comforts

I'm lame, (read: SLAMMED) this week, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be entertained. Check out (this year they got something like a cool $11 million in VC - which ain't bad as a Web 2.0 company) for more videos of all categories. Me? I'm partial to the claymation animals. Oh, and musical parodies of Facebook:

March 15, 2007

The March Mega Mix

Okay, it's been a really long day, so let's just get to it, huh? (Links have been included, because y'all piss and moan when they're not. Please, visit and listen. There's some good shit this month.)

Here we go...

1.Neezie Pleaze Saw him last night at Chop Suey and got one of the first copies of his first album a couple months ago from a guy who helped him put it out. Let me just say that if his climbing status on the college charts and Vitamin D's opinion mean anything, he's going somewhere. A talented lyricist with a style his own (and distinctively NOT the bling-wearing, chain swinging, repetitive shit with some hook about rims you've heard eighteen times before from a dozen different, ultimately forgettable, rappers). If I have to draw parallels, I'd say perhaps there's a touch of Prince Paul or Pharcyde in him -- and a completely diggable hip-hop-alt style. This guy's one to watch. Clipse was the opener and D. Black opened after Neezie, but he was the smartest part of the show for sure. The crowd was lame, but this guy was on and I'll bet he'll remain so. I'll keep you posted. (Email me and I'll send you a track, or just buy the damn cd already).

2. Amy Winehouse.
This girl can blow, and she uses her voice to tweak amazing old styles into modern badass stuff -- calls often back on the 40s and 50s styles of jazz and gospel -- and she doesn't give a damn what you think. "Rehab" gets a lot of play right now, at least on our radio here, but "Back to Black" is arguably a better track. Her first album, Frank, is great, too -- and jazzier.

3. Gym Class Heroes. I can't help it. I first saw them 6 months ago at a local event I attended with a couple friends on a whim, just to get out of the house. The sound quality at the event sucked, so I hardly noticed them. Then I got tickets to a private event hosted by Jones Soda Co. and Gibson Guitars in the Gibson Seattle showroom in a week or two PLUS tickets to their larger public show later that night (what can I say? I know people!), and so started listening to them in preparation for the show. (You can't just go to a show without knowing a bands songs at least a little, you know?) Now I'm hooked. They're fun, and blend a couple genres, and are great to run to. I refuse to apologize.

4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I first discovered them years ago, but recently a song came up on my iTunes and I promptly put it on repeat. Just download an album, turn it up, pretend to smoke a bowl, get in touch with your inner rocker hippie, and rock the fuck out, man. (By the way, great news: they'll be at the Showbox the week of my birthday, so I'm pretty much there, front row, with fourteen friends. Okay, I don't have that many friends, but I'm there, at least.)

5. Gary Jules.

Not only did he do one of the most haunting covers of the (awesome) song "Mad World" ever done (in my humble opinion) for Donnie Darko (a film I've seen possibly 73.5 times), he has this voice that's so human its almost heartbreaking and his own material is just... lovely. Like a long drive or a nap on a Sunday afternoon. It's perfectly imperfect, and I dig that. I have no idea why he hasn't been signed yet, but I do predict that one of his songs will be on a Grey's Anatomy soundtrack at some point, which will blow him up (see: The Fray), which will make me happy (though I'll loudly proclaim that I told you so).

March 08, 2007

Things that make me go "WAHOO!"

1. I'm going on--GASP!--vacation!!

I'll be in sunny Palm Springs in one short month for a grand total of six days. Originally I was going to be away on a work trip during this week on the whole other side of the country, where it's cold and people are angsty and clammy and it's not yet summertime. Then I snapped the fuck out of it and realized that I could, instead, get out of the work trip by pawning it off on somebody else for once, and go where there are palm trees and I can be in a swimsuit by a pool with a gorgeous tan and a fabulous book and a couple close friends and cocktails being delivered to me every 28 minutes by a tall bronzed californian man who calls me "miss" (because I insist he does it every time I tip him) and clearly works out.

2. Holly O'Reilly and Rachek Harrington at the Triple Door. It's my mom's birthday on the 20th, and so I'm taking her to the show, where we'll sip cocktails, have a little dessert, hear some great music and enjoy being two happy women out on the town. Also, on April 22nd, Rufus Wainwright is coming, and I have a ticket, though now they're all sold out. Neener neener neener. I win. And I'm really looking forward to seeing him live.

3. Mochi. This shit is... well... the shit. If you haven't had it, it is going to sound incredibly weird, but go with me for a minute: it's a tiny scoop of ice cream wrapped in a thin rice dough and powdered with powdered sugar, then frozen. And it's seriously the best thing ever. Ice cream is hands down my favorite naughty food, but Mochi takes the naughtiness to a whole new level: now I can eat the naughty food with my hands. Tittilating, isn't it? But be warned: because mochi is already weird on its own, do not attempt to eat it in weird flavors. If strawberry and chocolate are the delight equivalent of a really really good sneeze or maybe a surprise party, green tea and peanut butter are like getting sneezed on, or being hit unexpectedly by a party bus. Very, shockingly bad.

4. Bang Bang Shrimp at the Bonefish Grill. I recently discovered they also have these little buggers at other restarunts, in particular Quinn's Steak, Seafood and Raw bar in Miami (though they call these "Bam! Bam! Shrimp", there, which is weird). These crispy little shrimp appetizers are like heaven. The good news, too, is that Bonefish is a chain (an overpriced chain by the same people who do the Outback Steakhouse). But their happy hours are great and these shrimp are worth looking up the nearest Bonefish for.

5. It was 71 degrees our here the other day. I firmly stand by my position that Seattle is simply the most beautiful place in the country, particularly in the spring and summer months. Everywhere you look, there's either bright green trees and grass (thank you, rain) or bright blue ocean and lakes against which the Seattle and Bellevue cityscapes are set like reflective metal mirages. Plus, people here are (prepare yourself for some sweeping generalizations, now) generally healthy, well-educated, and a little mysterious without seeming sociopathic, which, when combined with the trappings of summer (more live music, less clothes, more dogs on leashes, people on boats, barbeques, and outside patios/beaches/parks with many people on them holding coolers/buckets/frosty mugs of beer) is a recipe for four to six months of some of the most incredible joy imaginable for those in the 18-35 age range.

(I exclude those under 18 for legal reasons and those over 35 because I am just arrogant enough to believe I will always be "young" and therefore needn't worry about those in the old, older, and oldest age groups, unless I am helping an old lady across the street because I recently went to church or flipping off a swerving geriatric in a tank-like Buick who shouldn't still have his/her license).

And it's all so close I can almost taste/smell/see/feel it.

March 05, 2007

Airport, "gay", and a weekend away

"Can we please get a drink before we get on the plane?" L beseeched.

"Um," I responded, in the middle of rifling through my carry-on for my contact solution -- a container of liquid definitely exceeding the allowed 4 oz which I'd almost certainly get confiscated in security, "Is there an alternative?"

It was Friday night, and L and I were in the airport, flying out for a weekend jaunt to another state to see a friend. L was ahead of me in the security line, loudly complaining about the sweatiness of her bare feet in her heels and how gross it was going to be to have to remove them and walk barefoot through the metal detector. I laughed and hoisted my bags onto the conveyor behind her.

"Oh, shit!" she wailed, causing me to look up from where I stood intently trying to remove my fourteen metal bracelets with one hand. "Was I supposed to keep my boarding pass out?"

As her bag dissappeared into the conveyor and with it her ID and boarding pass (which you were, in fact, supposed to hang on to as you passed through the metal detector), she flailed frantically, at one point almost reaching into the X ray machine to retrieve it before thinking better of it when I screeched "Don't! Radiation!" and passing through the detector without it.

It was all downhill from there. Ten minutes later, we were in an airport bar just outside our gate having two tall, cold beers and laughing when a very old man with only a few good teeth sat down next to us.

"Well, if it aint the girl with the sweaty feet," he drawled. He had apparently been in our security line. "How about if I buy you two a drink?"

We couldn't possibly, of course. But we did. A minute later, we were being talked into a shot of tequila each.

The moment the shots were down, a gentleman sitting to the left of us at the bar slid over a chair. Great, I thought, bearing down for an awkward come-on directed at L, who was sitting closest to our new friend. But then he opened his mouth.

"So girls," he lisped, "How is it you are having so much fun and you're not even on the plane yet?"

Instantly Brian was our new gay best friend ever. Not only did he save us from the strange toothless man, he was hilarious and thought we were about the most fun ever. We chitchatted about where we were going (we were going to the same place! on the same plane! let's have another round!) and what we'd do there, and whether wide-leg jeans were really coming back in style or not, and all in all we were really quite well behaved. Until...

"Seriously?" L said, incredulous to something Brian had ranted about. "That is so gay." (as in "lame" or "ridiculous").

For a moment, you could have heard fairy dust hit Brian's light brown suede loafers. I cringed and covered my ears, waiting for the tyrade and avoiding all eye contact. L froze the moment the word fell out of her mouth, wide-eyed. In her effort to be PC (a feat in itself, given our standard irreverence and the fact that we were now on probably our 30th ounce of beer and 3rd ounce of tequila, each), she had accidentally said the one word she was trying very very hard to not say. Gay.

And then: "Let's not use that word, dear... what do you say?"

Brian was an angel. And poor L had never been more thankful for the understanding of a gay man. In celebration of his coolness, another round.

By the time we got on the plane, we were-- "Tipsy?" Brian asked.

"More like blitzed," L replied.

The three of us sat together on the plane, talking relationships, mostly. Brian determined that my last relationship was "gay", while he and L exchanged tips on... well, nevermind. But I imagine for all around us it was a terribly interesting plane ride, to say the least.

The rest of the night included these highlights:

- Once at our friend's house, us girls continued the celebration, during which L fell face-first into a pile of full garbage bags in the garage, a position from which she struggled to recover but couldn't for some time, much to the amusement of myself and K, who flopped around on the ground laughing so hard we cried
- I was jumped, tied up and silly-stringed
- A quesadilla was, at one point, slid under a bathroom door

One key portion of the weekend which I failed to mention was that I had just come down with The Cold -- you know, the one that has taken most of the people around you out at least once this winter? Yeah. So during all these festivities, I sounded like one of Marge Simpson's sisters with a speech impediment thanks to the stuffy nose and sore throat. Delightful. Needless to say, Saturday was a little rough, but we managed to fit in lunch, some shopping, a comedy show, a lovely meal, and another night out on the town, where, after hopping myself up on decongestants and bud light, I saw my first mechanical bull (no, I did not ride said bull, being neither a cowgirl nor a hoochie mama).

Saturday night's other highlights included:

- Watching the apparently common phenomenon of two girls riding one mechanical bull at once, thinking this was both a) attractive and b) safe of which it turned out to be neither, of course.
- My girlfriend K chipping her tooth on a beer bottle after doing an ill-advised group toast at closing time, after which we called her "Lloyd", "Chippy" and "Snaggle"
- Cramming 7 people into a 5-seater van taxi, and being somewhat surprised when halfway through the ride, the driver decided he hated our guts and turned up his CD of Korean pop music (it's exactly as bad as it sounds) so we could no longer communicate with each other or hear ourselves think

The trip home was much like the trip away, if you replace the alcohol with huge cups of icewater. We rode back with Brian - a friendly and flamboyant coincidence - and again the contact solution was in the carryon, only this time they didn't catch it (about which I was very relieved, as the carryon was now also crammed with dirty underwear and socks and other random stuff, but also freaked out by, because, well, what if I were a terrorist?).

All in all, it was a good weekend, with good friends and one new gay best friend ever. And today, I'm paying for it big-time. I've got the sense that if I blow my nose once more, it will trigger a deadly pressure-explosion in my brain, but I just can't resist. Wish me luck...

Good night.

March 02, 2007

Me and TV

My relationship with TV has been a little weird since my childhood. I was raised by a mom who had a few basic rules around our house, like most kids. And, like most kids, my little brother and I didn't really mess with them, because these were the hard core basics.

The thing, though, is that in most households these might include things like "Go to church every Sunday" or "No premarital sex" or "No raising your voice to your mother". But traditional rules weren't so much our mother's style. She was a badass with a wide hippie streak. Sex, foul language, religion and debauchery weren't so much her concern. What she DID concern herself with were such classics as "No soda in the house -- or anywhere near the property", "Lunchables might be 'cool', but if we didn't grow or kill it ourselves, it's not going in your sack lunch" and "No more than 30 minutes of television daily" and, worst of all: "Absolutely no cable TV".

These rules outraged my brother and I. Sure, we didn't have to go to church and we could dissappear into the woods from sunrise to sunset on a Saturday like a couple banchees and not get in trouble, but with all the wisdom of 7 and 12 year olds, we felt socially crippled.

Of course, we were crafty, and devised a sophisticated plan to beat the system: Every weekend, we tromped through the woods (yes, literally) to our neighbor's house.

The neighbors had two kids exactly our ages, and their parents kicked major ass. There, they had a television in every room, including the kitchen, they ate off wonderful things called "T.V. trays", they had four or five different tins in their pantry full of different varieties of junk food, and they almost neverhad to talk to each other or go outside, preferring instead to sit in front of cable television.

We were in heaven.

I knew it was wrong, even back then, but I just. couldn't. help. it. My brother and I spent hours of our precious youth on the floor in their living room, gorging ourselves on all the crap my mom wouldn't let near our house and stuffing our minds with garbage, from M.C. Hammer videos to Singled Out and The Simpsons. But we didn't passively watch -- we were, like, in the lean-forward position, the whole time. Picture a chubby kid with a candy bar when he sees his bully older brother approaching to snatch the treat away. You know how he suddenly starts cramming the thing in his mouth, trying to swallow it before it could be taken from him? That was us. We were transfixed, and my mom would've been pissed.

Reminders of those days remain with me, though now what really gets me are documentaries and infomercials. For a while there, when my hippie ways were still in their nascence, I banned T.V. from my home, recognizing my tendencies to fixate on the contraption and believing it would help keep me from spacing out, when I had time to do so. Later, I decided this wasn't financially prudent, as it caused me to have to go to theatres to watch movies, when with a TV you get basic channels and can use a DVD player to watch as many documentaries (and/or episodes of Sex and the City) as you like. And, when I find myself home alone, just me and the TV, I do.

To wit: I watched EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of Alone in the Wilderness when it aired on PBS, because the person I lived with at the time loved it. That's right, I skipped reading or socializing or excersizing and instead watched a very old man make a doorknob with his bare hands, with such riveting commentary as "Today, I built a doorknob. It took me fourteen hours with this here chisle and wood file." followed by, well, nearly fourteen hours of an ancient man whaling on a chunk of wood.


Last night, I found myself completely sucked into a documentary on morbidly obese people.

Have you seen this? It's the one with the two guys -- one's in Mexico and the other the US -- and they both tip the scales at something like a thousand pounds, but they're medical miracles. Their hearts are normal, their blood pressure, organs, everything is just ticking away in there, while these guys can't even get out of bed, much less their house.

Instead, they watch jazzercize videos from the 80s in bed and sorta wiggle along to the music. And run internet businesses. One of them sells designer jeans on Ebay to pay rent.

This was, of course, really sad. Also, a little hard to watch, with moments of complete hilarity. (I'm sorry, YOU try not to laugh at a 1000 lb man gleefully doing arm circles, naked in bed, to Madonna's "Holiday". It's priceless, people.)

And a couple weeks ago, I decided that what my kitchen really needed was a Magic Bullet, but before I could purchase the miracle salsa/sorbet/peanut butter maker, my friend snatched the phone out of my hand and clicked off the television, sucking me back into reality.

(Now if I could just figure out what to do with this juicer, food dehydrater and Bowflex System...)