Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Ever get obsessed with an album? As in, you're into it so much that you listen to it compulsively, over and over again, until you're sick of it and it's out of your system, or you've at least gotten to the point where you're not so compulsive about it?

So, I heard about this band Wavves a while back. A San Diego surf/skate punk type of outfit, which is ordinarily not my kind of thing, but there were some other interesting details which made me decide to check them out. Literally. I borrowed their self-titled CD (actually their second release) from the public library here. And listened to it over and over again. Then bought a copy. And I still *cannot* stop listening to it, at random times when I know I should be listening to something else in order to expand the repertoire of musical artists I'm cognizant of.

Why? I don't know if I can explain, exactly. I'm not really a music critic, even if I put together Top 50 lists like one. It's not for the lyrics, which revolve around your typical California subjects like surfing, beaches, skateboarding, love, etc. It's not for the song titles: over half of the 14 songs have either "Goth" or "Demon" in the title (Goth Girls, Beach Goth, Weed Demon, etc). And I swear, most of the songs have some guy who sounds like someone's mentally-challenged cousin singing backing vocals in this doo wop-pseudo-Beach Boys type of manner. But ... overall it's this completely unabashed, take-it-or-leave-it, straight-ahead kind of driving punk pop, and it's just done brilliantly. The third song, "To the Dregs," is one of the catchiest songs you could ever hope to hear, and there's a couple other great ones later on. In between ... well, there's one song near the end that's just dissonant noise and wordless jabbering. But all the sudden, it segues into this Native American drum beat and lyrics about going to a chapel etc etc. And it works! It all works. You just have to listen to it, repeatedly.

Got no car
Got no money
I got nothin' nothin' nothin' not at all ...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the worst song of all time ...

... has gotta be "Mr. Roboto" by Styx! Remember that one? From like 1980. Guess they thought we'd all be living in some machine-dominated dystopia by now! Way to predict the future, Dennis DeYoung! "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto/Mata au hi made/Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto/Himitsu wo shiritai." Yeah, right. Give me a f*!&*ing break.

Take that, you J-horror sons-a-bitches ...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

firing on all cylinders

Kind of an ordinary day for me, for the most part. Not too much going on at work, then went for a jog, biked home, etc etc. And I was making dinner when I suddenly noticed something: there was stuff cooking on every burner. And it wasn't like I was making a feast or anything! At the lower left is red beans and rice, and just above it is chicken sausage to go with the beans & rice. At the lower right, obviously, is asparagus (from the farmers' market - boo yah!). And the stuff at the upper right? Fried cracker bits, to go on top of the asparagus.

That's it! I wasn't even that hungry. But somehow it turned into a 4-burner night. Damn ...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

big apple-bound

Well it's official, or as official as something with no established standards or protocols can get: I'm going to be spending the month of July in New York City. Brooklyn, to be more exact. Not for work or anything like that: I'll be finishing my medical training this month, and thought it would be kind of cool to spend some down time in NYC before getting caught up in a new job and whatnot. I grew up only a few hours up the interstate from New York and always enjoyed my family's little weekend trips down to the Statue of Liberty or a Broadway Show or the state Family Court Building every year or two, but I've never been there for an extended amount of time. I'm gonna learn this town! By the time I leave there, I will know Brooklyn.

New York, New York! The city so nice, they nicknamed it the Big Apple.

Monday, June 14, 2010

green revolution

I'm not gonna lie to you people: I eat a lot of yogurt. And over time, I've come to believe that I should refine my yogurt-eating ways. Which is why I got very excited recently when the good people at Stonyfield Farms announced a special offer: send in 4 lids from specially-marked containers of their yogurt, and get a free reusable yogurt cup.

Remember when you were a kid, and you sent in a bunch of cereal box tops to get some special little toy or doo-dad? Remember the anticipation of waiting for that thing to arrive in the mail? I'd actually forgotten about that, until I sent away for my reusable yogurt cup. And it was a long 6 weeks! But once the yogurt cup arrived, all the waiting was worth it. This is one solid little number.

Oh little yogurt cup, you and I are going to do so much good together! They say that one man, on his own, can't change the world. But I've never heard the same said about a man and his reusable yogurt cup. "You are what you eat." And I'd like to add, you're also what you eat out of. Yes, we're changing the world, one food container at a time ...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

little cyclone

Hey, have I mentioned lately that I'm just nuts about Neko Case? She's my cinnamon girl.

hijacked by the J-horror mafia

Many of you readers out there have probably become accustomed to the comments this blog has accumulated from the Land of the Rising Sun. In fact, to some of you, they've become a welcome feature at Mad City. And I probably should have just accepted this unexpected attention without a second thought, but one day I decided to follow a link and before I knew it, I discovered that my blog had been hijacked by the J-horror mafia.

At least, I think it's J-horror. I can't read kanji very well, but there's definitely a sinister air to these other blogs that reminds me of Ringu or The Grudge. And who else but the masterminds behind J-horror would bedevil a seemingly innocent man with a troubled past, living alone in a dark upstairs apartment? It doesn't matter whether you have a professional blog or a rinky-dink little operation through Blogspot: they will find you. And once they do, they will toy with you, until you either A) go insane or B) are forced to eat your own innards.

This has to be one of the humblest blogs in all the land. I have like 5 readers, tops. Who would think I'd be haunted by these forces from across the sea? It's twisted and diabolical and brilliant. Kind of like J-horror itself ...

Friday, June 4, 2010

one score years ago ...

Twenty years ago this month, a kid from Gloversville NY was handed a diploma at a little liberal arts school in western Mass. and sent out into the world. Truth be told, that kid was not quite ready to be heading out into the world, and it took him quite a while to "find himself." But at the big reunion this past week, the kid (now a man) was able to reflect on how far he's come since that time.

For one thing, he added another bachelor's degree and then a graduate degree to the sheepskin that that college had given him. For another thing, he's now got pubic hair. (Ha, just kidding! I had that goin' on even before I finished college.) And for other things ... well, a lot has happened. Because it's been 20 years, right?

But here's one thing that I discovered: the more things change, the more they stay the same. When I was at reunion, I still recognized just about everyone. There weren't too many people who I saw and said, "Hey, I don't know that person," and then found out that I really did know that person. Sure, there were a few more paunches and a few heads sporting grey hair, but the people generally acted the same. It's kind of amazing, actually: the more things change, the more they stay the same.