November 4, 2006

The Daily Irrelevant is a blog that I happened upon a few years ago while searching the internet for a picture (pre-Google Images). I've found many interesting posts on this blog, from political adds to technology news. Here are a few interesting ads that he's pulled together. Enjoy:

Click on the picture to view it full size. It's worth it.

Sand Art

I got a call from my mother today while I was at the rec. She left an interesting message on my voice mail. It went something along the lines of "Hi it's Mom. I was just calling to remind you there are people here that love you. Bye." Now, it wasn't that brief, but you get the idea. I guess maybe I should call home more...

But that wasn't what I was going to talk about. I was thinking about what my mother thought when I didn't call home for a few weeks. I mean, back when we were kids the only places I could go were my dad's house, my friend's houses, or school. When I got older I would walk to the next neighborhood over that had a few gas stations and a grocery store. OR I would ride my bike farther to rent a movie/video game. In all reality, I couldn't really get away. I couldn't go far. And since I didn't get my license until after I graduated (weird I know) I really didn't have a good form of transportation. Even in college all I had was a bus or my own two feet. But now that I've over 18 (and now over 21) I can go more places. I can't rent a car yet, but I can get a hotel room, buy a plane ticket or call a cab. I also have a car now, and my friends have them too. Back in high school we talked about taking road trips, but it never panned out. Now, my friends go on them all the time. Over spring break last year, four of my friends took a trip from Iowa to Denver to Las Vegas to San Fransisco through Salt Lake and back to Iowa. It took them 7 days, and they met some friends who flew to Vegas for a few days. I wish I could have gone, but I didn't have the money and I wanted to go home for a few days.

But what keeps me from doing that every weekend? For all she knows, I could actually be in Vegas right now, skipping classes and gambling my tuition money away. I wonder if my mother thinks that I do things like that. Or maybe she thinks that I'm going out to the bars every weekend, getting drunk and sleeping with countless numbers of women. Well, we all know someone like me doesn't (and pretty much can't) do that. She knows that I drink, or at least by alcohol, since she feels the need to open some of my mail, including my bank statements. I just wonder how real it is to her that I could one day call her from another continent, without telling her I was leaving the US. Back when I was dating Linsey I would make a few trips down to Iowa on the weekends. It was a nine hour drive, so I had to actually plan it, but I never really checked my plans with my parents. I just made sure they all knew I was going. Actually, the first time I went down to Iowa it was a spur of the moment and I didn't tell my mother. I just told my dad/step mom and left for my five day journey. This winter I was planning for a trip to Colorado, but that few through. I guess I drove to Des Moines to see Ludo last summer, but that doesn't count since I drive to and from Iowa multiples times a year anyway.

Ok, now I'm rambling and it's late. I'm giving up on this post and going to bed.

My Blogging has reached an all time low.
I hope no one reads this.

November 3, 2006

Fort Minor

Anyone heard of Linkin Park? Multiple side projects have come out of that band, and Fort Minor is one of them. As Mike Shinoda's brain child, the band has done well. The first single off The Rising Tied, Where'd You Go featuring Holly Brook, has done well on the pop charts. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on MTV's TRL (I'm not linking to that crap). Oh yeah, and it received a MTV Video Music Award for the best ringtone of 2006. What an honor!

I love the newest series of Mac/PC commercials entitled Get A Mac. Justin Long and John Hodgeman are perfect for the roles of Mac and PC. Here's one of the newest, and I believe my favorite. Also, check out Hodgeman's blog.

The Mountain Goats

This little band is a duo of acoustic guitars and joyful lyrics about depressing thoughts. And at least one of them is from here in Ames! Purevolume has them labeled under the Acoustic/World/Indie genres, but I would also add folk to that. I'm not a huge fan of all of their music, but the songs that I do like are absolutely amazing. My two favorites are No Children and Old College Try. I'm going to post the No Children lyrics, because they are some of my favorite lyrics I have ever read. When you read the lyrics, you realize how depressing the lyrics are. But I heard the song first, and it took me a little while to realize how bad they are because the way it is sung is so joyous. It's the contrast between the dark lyrics and the happy vocals that attracted me so much to it. Enjoy them, and check out the links below.

November 2, 2006

Second Hand Songs

Today, cover songs are fairly common in music. But fifty years ago, it was a different story. Back then, what was known as "black music" was the popular genre. But record companies, and the older generation didn't feel that black musicians should rule the pop charts. So they took a black song, and re-recorded it using a white musician. If a song started to climb the charts, it was released under a white artist. The new recording would sell millions and the old black recording would be forgotten. Of course, that was before copy write laws became as strict as they are now. What they called a "remake" back then, we call a cover today.

Today, the cover song is something very different. It is still a copy of a well known song, but it not longer holds a racist purpose. Many covers are a sign of respect towards the original artist. Many artists play covers at their concerts, but every once in a while you will see a cover on an album, or even entire cover albums. Recently I heard of a series of albums called Punk Goes ___. The Punk Goes Nineties album, it's an entire album of covers of nineties songs by today's punk artists. Some of the songs are good, but they all have a punk feel to them. I think that is my favorite part of cover songs; getting to hear them in a different context or musical genre. Some bands are so big that they have their own cover, or tribute, bands. The Tripping Billies are a tribute band for The Dave Matthews Band, and the Beatles have American English as well as others. Some bands likeMe First and the Gimme Gimmes only play pop-punk covers.

I know I've mentioned before that one of my favorite songs is Wonderwall by Oasis. I on my iPod I have around 14 different versions of the same song (2 techno, 2 acopella, 1 jazz, and many solo artists). And I'm still missing even more that have been recorded. Some of them are good, and some are horrible. I have to say that my favorite cover is of the song Baba O'Riley by the Who. The cover is by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and was used in the movie Slackers. Another good one was the Queen song Under Pressure (with David Bowie) by My Chemical Romance and The Used.

Lastly I want to point out a cool website Second Hand Songs. This website is a "cover songs database". Just type in an artist or song and it will tell you who have covered that song. It's not perfect, but I believe it gives you the chance to add songs if you feel so inclined.

November 1, 2006

Kid Galahad

I heard this strange song on an IndieFeed podcast today. Check it out in the player on the right sidebar. It's called Makes Me Smile by Kid Galahad. According to this site they disappeared in October of 2005, and haven't been seen since. I really can't tell if it's a stunt or not. Their song was featured in the indie movie Happily Even After. It won a few indie type awards. Check them out.

I like to think that most of the people I associate with are pretty open minded. They don't discriminate, they don't feel joy from hurting people, and they help each other out (at least when it really matters). They are a pretty cool bunch, and I am proud to call them friends. But the rest of America I don't necessarily enjoy being around. I don't like people who assume they are right, or people who are opposed to change. I don't like people who vote without a full understanding of the candidate for whom they are voting. Ignorance drives me nuts, and so does people who think they aren't. I know I am ignorant about certain things. I know that when I talk to Gym about photography, I don't know what I am talking about. I am very glad that Josh puts up with me when we watch football, because I still ask a lot of questions. Yes, I am a male that doesn't understand all of the inner-workings of football. But does it really matter if I know the difference between a nickel and a dime lineup? I can still enjoy the game.

OK, I'm off topic (I'm really good at that). Like I was saying, my friends are great. But even some of my greatest friends still do things that bother me. The one thing that bothers me the most is the use of the word "gay". In high school people would always use it in a bad way, much like the way most people use the word "stupid". for example:

"That car is gay".
"Man, my professor gave me an F. That's so gay."
"Divo, quit being gay".
That drives me nuts. In my high school, if you were gay you didn't tell anyone. If someone knew you were gay, you would basically be shunned from everything cool. Those popular assholes ran the school with the fear of "not being accepted" as their weapon of choice (but that's a completely different rant). But back then being called gay, or some reference to homosexuality, was the worst put down you could receive. I'm almost 100% sure that I've never said that something was gay and meant it, unless it was in reference to a person who actually was gay. And I would never use it as a put down. I've seen someone witness a rather flamboyant man and then ask about him. Upon hearing that he was in fact a homosexual they were instantly calmed about him, like it wasn't OK for him to act gay unless he is gay. I can totally understand that stereotypes come from certain defining characteristics, but they shouldn't define how someone is supposed to act. If I want to say that my guy friend has a nice ass, I should be able to say it without people looking at me funny or bringing it up later. Why is being gay so bad? Are some of us still stuck in the high school mentality that it is a bad thing? So what if someone is gay, does that make them less of a person? And why must we use the word in a bad way all of the time? My twin brother is mentally handicapped. He is also one of my favorite people. I have learned a lot from him, yet he has never tried to teach me anything. So if you say something is "retarded" in my house you will get in big trouble. I only did it once, a year or two ago, and I knew I was in trouble before it came out. I couldn't think of a word and it slipped out. But how is that different from saying something is gay? I've found that saying something is retarded is more socially acceptable, yet I find it to be the same idea.

I know a few of my friends that still use the word gay as a derogatory term. John and I like to point out to them how silly it sounds.
Unnamed Friend: "I don't like that car. It's so gay looking."
John: "So you are saying that car likes to have sex with other male cars?"
This usually gets some confused faces. Most of the time they stop saying it. But I still hear it all the time. I've gotten Josh to say that something is "homosexually inspired", but he still uses it in a negative way half the time. And when it isn't, it is a reference to the stereotype of homosexual men. Most people will tell you that stereotypes are a bad thing, yet they use them all the time. I know I am guilty. But that doesn't mean it's OK.

One thing I love to do is talk to others about 'gay people'. Most of the time, if they are willing to argue with me, it's because they feel strongly against the gay community. But as soon as I mention that I have a gay older brother, they are more unsure of what they are saying. To them it's OK to argue with a straight man about how gay people are bad, but not with a gay man. And the fact that I have a gay brother puts me somewhere in between. They know that I personally wont feel discriminated against, but they also know that you don't mess with family. Seriously, I find this hilarious. The other part is that my brother very rarely acts like the token gay man. He doesn't have a lisp, he doesn't dress fancy and he doesn't shave his whole body. If you met him, you would probably think he was straight. Yet when he went to the same high school as me, no one knew he was gay. Hell, I didn't even know until my step-mom said so. But I don't think less of my brother for not tell anyone, because I wouldn't want to deal with those students either. They were brought up that way, and they will probably stay that way. Why? Because people aren't smart enough to question what they think.

While I'm on the topic, I'm glad that I had the upbringing I had. Yes, I went to one of the most white-bread high schools in Minnesota. Yes, some of the people I went to school with were racist and afraid of any minority. But I never felt that. It certainly helped that there was very little confrontation (I think my class was 3% non-white). When I was younger, my step-mom owned a few apartment buildings in North Minneapolis, that bad part of the city. It's the place where gang shootings poor housing run amok. I spent time down there helping her out. Yes, I did feel a little scared some times and I should have. But for the most part, I didn't feel like I was going to get shot. I think now I would feel more uneasy, but I'm glad I had that chance to visit. It helped me get away from the whites of my home town. So when I got to college I met a kid on my floor named Nimit. If you know me, you know that Nimit is one of my best friends here at ISU and I will be living with him next semester (again). I remember when I met him, I honestly had no clue what ethnicity he was. I not proud to say it, but I didn't have that type of upbringing. But I am glad I met Nimit because I was able to start fresh on the Indian culture (and he's a great guy). I didn't have any stereotypes to go by. In fact, it wasn't until my junior year of college that I found out that one of the stereotypes of African-Americans is that they steal stuff (I had some wonderful roommates). I still don't understand that one. So now that I am out of high school, I have many more friends that are non-white. I even have a friend that is Asian, but I have no idea which country they would be from. Honestly, I don't care. I take the person for who they are, and they are very much a white person in an Asian body. Strange but true. My roommate will be the first to tell you that he is "white-washed". Am I going to think less of him for not knowing his native culture? No. He was born and raised in America, so he is American to me. But nationality shouldn't matter either. So I will change that statement. He is my friend, and that is all that matters.

I like to think that I can (for the most part) look beyond race, gender and sexual orientation. I'm not saying I am perfect, as Emilia has pointed out many times, but I certainly hope that I am better than average. I don't want anyone to censor themselves around me, but I do want them to think about what they are saying. Find the beauty in everything and show it off. Don't drag things/people down. I hope that in my lifetime the lines blur and people become more accepting of everything. Not just race and gender, but of other people and how they act. I want my friends to question my comments about dress clothes. I like to dress up and look good. Who doesn't? But as soon as I make a comment about how you shouldn't wear black with brown, they call me Divo (a male Diva). It's about the same as being called gay, at least in my mind. What the hell is wrong with wanting to look good?! Seriously, when I look good, I feel more confident. It's the same reason why you put on jeans this morning instead of sweatpants. Yet when I want to feel good about how I look, I because a semi-homosexual man, in the eyes of my peers. You can question my sexuality if you want, I have no qualms about that, but don't resort to name calling. If I am confident enough in my sexuality to wear pink, then applaud me for it. Don't call me gay. That's just ignorant.

So I say let the straight men worry about how they look. It's alright if a gay man is hairy, or an attractive woman is smart. Men seem to think it's cool is their girlfriend watches football with them, yet their guy friend can't enjoy Sex in the City. Forget that. Give your guy friend your favorite kind of socks for his birthday. Tell your friend that he looks good. It will boost his self esteem. Ignore these "boundaries" that we have put up. It will make the world a better place.

October 31, 2006

Doug Little Quartet

My senior year of high school I was the drummer in the jazz band at my high school. I guess Doug Little is a friend of our band director. So for our first practice the DLQ came to play for us. Then we got to play with them a little. They talked about feeling the music. Things like playing in 12 measure phrases. They had us guess when 12 measures was, without counting. It was harder than you would think. But everyone of them had it ingrained into their brains. They ended up coming back so we could perform for them at the end of the year. I'm proud to say their drummer saw an improvement in me (I stink at jazz). After that I bought their album. I've seen them in concert twice now.

The thing that I liked the most about the band was the drummer. He was really good. He played a lot of irregular rhythms that would throw off an amateur musician really quickly. He also played in Doc Martens... So check out this jazz quartet from Minneapolis, even if you don't like jazz. I didn't either, until I heard Doug Little play.


Since today is Halloween, I found one more pumpkin picture to post. College had a pumpkin carving contest, the results are in. Many many of the pumpkin pictures of the site involve some sort of sexual act, but the winner was a carving of Stephen Colbert. Special thanks to the Colbert Report, College Humor, and a special Virginia Tech student!

The Article | College Humor | Colbert Nation
The ghosts are coming

The White Iron Band

I got a CD of these guys from my oder step-brother, Sven. Yep, I come from a family with names like Sven, Nels, Neil, and Winfield. My twin and I got off easy with Andrew and Adam. Oh yeah, I have a twin. Anyway, this band frequents a lot of the bars in western suburbs of Minneapolis. I've never seen them live, but Sven has offered to take me out a few times. I guess you can describe them as hillbilly country-rock. I'm not a huge fan of that style of music, but I feel the need to cover local bands and independent bands. It's my service to the musical community. :)

The WIB Website Bio:

The White Iron Band is Good Timin', Foot Stompin', Honky Tonkin', Good Ol' American music with a familiar groove, but has a definite unique flavor. The band's roots extend from the Iron Range and the North woods of Minnesota to the neon downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and their varied experiences are reflected in their music. The White Iron Band distinctive style comes from a mix of commanding lead vocals, beautiful harmonies, bad ass guitar, pedal steel licks, double keyboards,melodic fiddle, and a driving rhythm section. These guys never fail to get people out of their seats and dancing all night.

I found these two videos on YouTube (with some help from my friend Aaron). They are both videos of self-proclaimed "urban ninjas". The first guy is really good at the flips and kicks; real ninja stuff. The second guy is really good at climbing random walls. Personally, I like the first guy. What do you think?


October 30, 2006

I had a dream the other day. The strange things is that I think I've had the same dream before. It was eerily similar. Same place, same feel, same mood, different girl. I'm not sure what to think about that. The dreams were obviously different, in the sense that in each one the girl acted like she would in real life, but there is still an obvious theme. Both time the women is someone that I love, and each time the dream takes place in the dining room of my mom's house. I find it interesting that the dream take place in one of the rooms that I spend little time in, when I am home. I guess it does make sense that it is there, since I have lived in three different places in three years here in Ames. And of course, my dreams usually take place in a place that if totally made up, or a place that I feel very comfortable in. My grandparent's house, or my house are two that I've seen over the years. I've also noticed that most of the dreams that I remember, in the past few years, are about women that I like/love. I guess that just adds my feeling that maybe I'm just searching for a home. Not just a place of my own, that I feel is truly mine, but a comfortable frame of mind. I've always felt as though I'm a guest in my parent's houses. They are great, but when I go back for breaks I find myself trying to split my time evenly between them. Sometimes I just spend day after day at one house, just because it is easier that way. But then I realize it, and I feel bad that I'm not visiting the other house.

Maybe that is why it was so incredibly hard for me when I lost my last girlfriend. In many of the songs I write, I mention Home. In high school I learned that a famous poet often wrote poetry with out punctuation, and that she capitalized the first letter of words that didn't mean what they said. Sometimes I throw that into my lyrics. When I use the word home I tend to mean Home, or the feeling of being at home. In one of my favorite songs I wrote the line "It's true that you are always my Home". Obviously that could mean many things, but I meant it to mean that I always felt at home when I was with whoever I was writing about.

Someday I will find that place where I feel at home. Until then, I plan on bouncing around, dreaming of a "place" that I have yet to find.

October 29, 2006

USB craziness

Ok, I've mentioned my friend's website Cybernet News before. I try and check it every day, since he updates a few times a day. Here's a link to an article about USB drives. There are so many different types out there, and some of them are crazy! Check them out. Of course, they missed my favorite. Guitars are cool, stupid nerds. Maybe Ryan will branch out some day...

Here are some more -> Solid Alliance

The Gaia Corporation

Yep, here is another band that I know little about. I really just want to watch Dirty Jobs/Shaun of the Dead, so I'm choosing things that are easy or quick to write about.

So the Gaia Corporation is a harder rock band that I discovered this summer when I got ten free songs from iTunes. Of course, I did what everyone would do with such a , download every cover of my favorite song. I now have around versions of Wonderwall (the original is by Oasis). According to Wikipedia, I still have more to go.

Anyway, one of the songs that I picked up was by the Gaia Corporation. I really think is it amazing, but I am also a sucker for the song Wonderwall. Check it out at the Purevolume link below. Oh, and let me know if you get the rest of their music before me. I wanna now if it's any good. :)

Justin King

I honestly know very very little about this guy. But I did see his video of a song called Larrivee, and I think it's amazing. He plays the guitar with both hands, ten fingers actually. This video is amazing. Enjoy!

Justin's Website | Wikipedia
miss you sarah

Shaun of the Dead

"A romantic comedy, with zombies."

If you like zombie movies, this is the movie for you. It's a spoof on the "Of the Dead" series. It's about Shaun, who is a British man working in a dead end job. His girlfriend decides that if they stay together she will be stuck in a rut for the rest of her life. If that wasn't bad enough, Zombies are invading. Of course, Shaun went out and got drunk with his best friend, and doesn't notice anything. No amount of TV bulletins, police sirens or shuffling, half-dead zombies can make him aware of reality. Eventually, Shaun realizes what is going on takes action to save his friends and family. But Shaun isn't a bright guy and he makes some mistakes. Subtle hilarity ensues.

It's a strange humor, and a little creepy. I enjoyed it though. So check it out!

Movie Website | DVD website | Wikipedia
zombies were here...

Rocky Horror Picture Show is on VH1 tonight. Of course, they are playing it at midnight, just before Halloween. Man, that takes me back. Back to times that were much simpler. A bunch of us watched that movie after a friend's grad party. It was a great night. It was the one night of the year when I felt like every girl thought I was cool. Every girl wanted to sit next to me (or on me) while we watched the movie, and I got to stay up late with one of the girls I had liked for years. I know that isn't much now, but back then that was huge. I remember not sleeping that night, and totally day dreaming about it later (long story). I guess I just get nostalgic sometimes. That was a good time though. I would have done so many things different, but only because I know better now. I certainly wouldn't have lost Jill, but I think that would have totally changed who I am, and I like who I am. I know one things I would have done better, and that is...