Monday, July 27, 2009

So Goodbye For a While, I'm Off to Explore, Yeah I'm Goin' North

Inky and I are getting ready to take a very long ride with her mom to the great frozen north east. My family all settled up there in the summer of '03 and I have found it a lovely place to spend some time in the summer. As for the winter... I'll pass, but I am looking forward to spending a little time at this lake. My aunt has a house there, and it is a very peaceful little spot.

I could use a little peace these days, as I do battle with the unemployment bureaucracy. To say that the last few weeks were stressful on me would be an understatement, so I'm just hoping for a brief respite before I turn my attention back to getting my UC benefits and searching for the next soul crushing job that will slowly rob me of my very self. My, greaziness, if you will. Plus, it's Lobsterfest up there, so we've got that going for us.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Now That's Just Going Too Far!

Don't get me wrong, I love porn. A lot. I celebrate everything involved with seeing people I don't know naked and/or getting it on. But even I have limits. I do ask that all involved are doing so willingly and of their own free will. I'm not a fan of the intrusive voyeur porn that you can find in just about every corner of the web.

Last week one such video was everywhere you looked on line. I'm speaking, of course, of the "peephole cam" video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews innocently curling her hair and checking out her own booty while nude. I may never know why a person would just stand in the middle of their hotel room naked, but I defend their right to do so without having to worry about covering the peephole with duct tape. Maybe she air dries. Maybe her clothes were being pressed. Or, just maybe, she really enjoys looking at her own naked body, which with the state of the modern American woman's body image, would be a miracle. Whatever the reason, she has the right to assume that she has privacy in her hotel room. Or by the pool. Or on a mall escalator. Or orbiting the sun at a distance of 800 million kilometers.

Such is the crass and intrusive nature of today's media that not even Jupiter was safe in a moment of unexpected exposure. The eyes of nerds, dorks and dweebs all over the world are fixed on Jupiter's "gash" this week and I think it's sick. The headline in the Sydney Morning Herald read: "Hubble Snaps Close-Up of Jupiter's Big Gash". Was "big" really necessary? Maybe Jupiter isn't as cool with how it looks as Erin Andrews is and might feel really hurt by referring to it's gash as big. What's next, commenting on the size of my anus?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adventures in Unemployment: On The Road

There's only so much sitting around mopeing you can do when you're out of work. So to keep me sane while I do battle with the Department of Labor & Industry and search for a new job I've planned some distractions. One such diversion is to get the hell out of the house and feel alive again, all while spending very little money. This week XL took a few days off work and we did what any red blooded American man does in the summer: watch baseball, eat wings and drink beer.

We left York first thing in the morning on Wednesday and headed west toward the Steel City. It's amazing how the Pennsylvania Turnpike can make a 3 1/2 hour trip feel like the Odyssey, but we made damn good time. Along the way we saw a pig in the road, which, surprisingly was a first for both of us.

Once we got to Pittsburgh we struggled for a while to find a parking spot for the rare 12:35 middle of the week start time. But, eventually we did find a spot and we made our way to PNC Park, which is one of the two or three best ballparks in the country. There's just something about the backdrop of the Clemente Bridge and all of Downtown Pittsburgh across the Allegheny River that makes watching a game there so wonderful. Plus: there are a ton of great amenities to be had.

A few innings into the game XL and I made our way to one of the many fantastic eateries in the park, called Quaker Steak & Lube. Their specialty is wings and that was what we were there for. So we ordered the half bucket and a few sodas and found a table to eat them at. What followed was an act of eating so ferocious that it could have been slipped into one of those nature videos of lions eating an impala. I'm not totally sure, but I think XL unhinged his jaw at one point and just ate a whole wing, bone and all. The bucket had 29 wings in it (yeah, I counted the bones) and this is what it looked like before the frenzy commenced:
Here I am digging in:
and here's XL enjoying his:
This was all that was left when we were done with them:
We got the medium heat wings, and they had just the right amount of spice on them. It was enough to make my nose run at one point but not so much that all you tasted was heat. Plus they were fried to perfection, with an amazing crispy texture but not burnt. Quite simply, it was heaven and we were stuffed, or so we thought.

We decided to walk down the big circular walk way in left field and along the way we saw the "Southwest Flight Deck" party area, which looked empty. So we snuck in to take in the game from the seats right under the big scoreboard in the outfield. About an inning and 3 home runs later, a lady came over and said we could help ourselves to some food. As it turned out there was a group event in the area that day The hostess told us that most of the people didn't show, and she didn't want the food to go to waste. XL and I have never ignored a lady in distress, so we decided to help out and eat a second lunch. After fried chicken, cornbread and a salad with blue cheese and peaches (which was surprisingly awesome) we realized we wouldn't be making a post game visit to Pittsburgh's finest sandwich shop: Primanti Bros.

In the end, we enjoyed a high scoring National League game, and spent much of the day bullshitting with one another. Just the thing I needed in the midst of my unemployment. In a few days Inky and I will be hitting the road to go see my family in Maine, which should also help to lift my spirits a bit.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Minor Variations

Today it was the minors, tomorrow it will be the majors. In an effort to have some fun on a shoestring budget, XL has taken some time off and joined me in the Keystone State for some baseball. Tonight we went to Harrisburg to see one of the Orioles top prospects take on the local boys. Brian Matusz was the Bird's top pick in '08, and he's already made it to AA. XL and I like to peep the future of our team while they are still down on the farm, and we did so last year with a few other highly touted youngsters: Chris Tillman and Matt Weiters.

Matusz had just as good an outing for us as the other boys did last year. He went 7 innings and allowed just one run on 4 hits with one walk and 4 k's. The only run came on a monster homer off the bat of former big leaguer and Oriole Freddie Bynum. With any luck Matusz will be more John Maine than Hayden Penn, who were both highly rated prospects in the O's system who I drove to Harrisburg to see. Maine went on to be very effective... for the Mets, and Penn is now bagging groceries somewhere. Only time will tell.

Next stop: PNC Park and then Primanti Brothers!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Adventures in Unemployment: Getting on Each Other's Nerves

I'm a few weeks into my employment interregnum and it's going about as I would have expected. For every thing that is great about not being at work, there is something that is awesome about it. For instance, I don't have to put on the suit and tie every day and go push paper, but, I am also not getting paid. While I have all sorts of free time to pursue things that actually interest me, I don't have any health insurance to cover me if I fall while hiking. Also, the time away means I get to spend more time than ever with Inky, but on the downside, I am also spending more time than ever with Inky.

It's not that I don't love my bride of these past 10 years, because I do, more than anything. And she's pretty fond of me too, but we are spending A LOT of time together. I'm not what you would call a grown man. I make a lot of stupid jokes, I talk incessantly and I randomly start singing a song with new, made up lyrics. In short: I'm a ton of fun to be around for a few hours a night or for a weekend. Let's just say that Inky has been a saint over these last few weeks.

I mean it when I say we would be having a great time with one another all day, every day if we didn't have to deal with some of the stresses I listed above. We spent every waking second together in Oz last year and it all went as smooth as Bruno's chest. But, when you start thinking about how much you are spending for food, let alone car repairs things can get a little hairy... like Borat's chest.

Luckily for me, Inky can find the humor in just about anything, and that's what keeps us going strong. Take for instance what happened late last night. I went to bed before her, as she had some work to take care of. While laying in bed I felt the unmistakable rumble that meant I also had something to take care of. So I went to the bathroom to do my business, but in the spirit of being a good husband, I thought I should neutralize the evidence. So, I lit a match (Gary and Wyatt would have been so proud of me) to take care of the offending odor.

I found out this morning that Inky did pick up an odor, just not the one I was worried about. Late in the night she smelled smoke and sulfur and was worried that there was a fire up stairs. She climbed the steps and searched out the source of the smell, only to find a burnt match floating in the toilet. I wasn't there, but I'm sure she rolled her eyes, a gesture that I'm sure she'll be repeating many more times in the weeks/months that I am looking for my next gig.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Greazy Tony: A Self Portrait

No, I haven't taken up painting in the few weeks that I've been out of work. I've been spending that time doing other things that I will be profiling weekly in my upcoming "Adventures in Unemployment" series. I actually painted this masterpiece-of-shit in my junior year Art Appreciation class. XL and I took the class together, just as we did with Music Appreciation the year before, and let's just say we didn't learn to appreciate either art or music thanks to our 6 credits.

Along with studying the classics, and learning some "how to" basics of painting, we were forced to do a self portrait. I went with the green and brown skin to play up my dego heritage, which I guess makes sense. But I'm still not sure why my neck is black and my eyes are yellow and red and who even knows what the hell is going on with my hair. When I presented it to the teacher I chalked it up to artistic licence and got an A. A result that led me to realize that just about all artists are totally full of shit, which may have been the only thing I learned in that class. You've got to love the course requirements at a liberal arts school.

Forgetting about the fact that I'm not an eighth of the artist that my brother is, and that the class was a waist of my time and money, I still like this picture. It has been on display in our "red room" for years now. Maybe it's because it is one of the only things I have ever drawn/painted that is recognizable as what it is supposed to be. Or, perhaps, it could be because it reminds me of all the fun I had in college with Inky, XL and all our friends.

In the end, I don't know what it is that I like about it. I guess in a way, it is just like most of the rest of the "art" in the world in that most people can't really say what it is that makes them like it. When do I get a grant or a patron?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Song Spotlight: Ice Cream Freeze (Let's Chill) by Hannah Montana

First and foremost, forgive me. Second and most importantly: are you fucking kidding me? The fact that this chick is rich goes against all that is good and right about this country. If the founding fathers were alive today they would use one of their buckled shoes to beat Miley/Hannah to within an inch of her lives. Just on principal alone. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Inky and I saw a commercial for a Hannah Montana CD on cable the other night, and this song was the third one mentioned on the line-up. In baseball parlance, the #3 hitter is a big deal, so I was wondering if this was a one of her bigger songs or more of a throwaway. So I turned to the internets, and found that this smoldering pile of armadillo turds is a pretty big hit for Miley/Hannah. Then I puked bile and bled from the ears for about three minutes and thirteen seconds before sitting down to do this post.

This song offends me on just about every level a person can be offended. I've got to be honest: if I was confronted with the choice to forever silence either a radical hate group OR Miley/Hannah, I'd really have to take some time before I made my choice. I know what you are going to say: but Greazy, this is meant for children, and they really love it. Yeah, well they also love Lunchables and Pokemon and both of those things are pure evil too.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say that I'd rather find out that my child was a burgeoning satan worshiper than a Miley/Hannah fan. At least satan worship requires a modicum of individual thought and inspires a better wardrobe. I guess it's a good thing Inky and I have decided to skip the whole procreation game huh? I know parenting is hard, and in a moment of weakness it can just be easier to turn the tube on and distract them. But for the love of god, please turn to something with a micron of thought, creativity and the ability to inspire your child. Not the fucking Ice Cream Freeze.

In the end, this song is every size, shape and shade of awful, and I felt it needed to have the light of truth shined upon it. Not that my two cents matter much when stacked against the millions of bucks this homely, untalented tart has raked in. They say genius skips a generation, well, I guess mediocre is a dominant gene, judging by this family. I wish I could go back in time to February of '92 so I could achy-break Billy Ray's ballsack in order to prevent this crap from ever happening.

I'm really quite bitter. I'm going to go cool off, but you can enjoy the lyrics to this poor excuse for a song. I had to listen to every Ramones song I own to feel clean again.

All right
Here we go
Follow me now
Come on
Hit it...

Everybody do your dance
Aint nothing better than an all night jam
Are you ready for a little something new tonight
I got a brand new step than that you are gonna like

C’mon boys
Gotta do like I do just follow my lead
Everybody let’s chill
Do the ice cream freeze
Strike your pose
Can you do the milkshake
Shake it, shake it down low
Do the snow cone slide, left to right
Put your hand in the air
We can party all night

Do the ice cream freeze
Strike your pose
Can you do the milk shake
Shake it shake it down low
Do the snow cone slide, left to right
Put your hands in the air
We can party all night

Shake it, shake it
Shake it, shake it
Shake it down low
Then do the ice cream freeze

All kind of stepping make you feel good
make you feel real good
Tripple step, butterfly, sugar foot
But, I’m comin with a new thing what you need?
That’s right
Now everybody wanna do the ice cream freeze
Woo who

Did I hear someone say party?
We’re just getting started
Wanna take it from the top
Well you know I will
Now everybody let’s chill
Lights camera, action, freeze
Everybody let’s go

(Chorus with more dance instructions followed by)

Go Crazy
Everybody let’s chill

p.s. I can't believe her half-brother is the lead singer of Metro Station!

p.p.s I do, however, think it's awesome that Inky logged onto her YouTube account on my MSN profile. Now that I've searched for this song on her profile, the site has added Miley related crap to her "you might be interested in" list along with Rove, Aussie Rules and German soap operas.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Say it Loud...

There are some words, phrases and sayings in the English language that seem harmless to most people. But those same words in the hands of a twisted mind like, oh, let's say... mine, become utterly hilarious. For instance, when most people hear a basketball announcer say that a player "is positioning himself to get deeper penetration" they know that he is talking about a guard trying to dribble into the paint. That's not the first thing I think of, however. My mind goes where it wants, and it cares nothing about your intentions. If it wants to hear dirty and juvenile, it will.

So when my beloved Geelong Cats travel up to Brisbane to take on the Lions this weekend, Inky and I will be forced to make joke after joke about some of the Lion's names. First and foremost is Jed Adcock, a small defender who plays a physical style of... oh who am I kidding! The guys name is Adcock. Like a step in a recipe: ... bring to a simmer, then add cock. Inky and I have been joking for years about his name along with a host of other genital related names in the AFL. We think you could form a whole team made up soley of names that, when heard with a twisted ear, sound like penis. Johncock, Laycock, Dick, Ball, Swallow, Cox and a host of Johnsons all draw laughs when ever we watch the footy. What do you want me to say? I'm sorry that I'm not sorry. Okay? I'm not going to apologize... I'm a cocksman.

Penis sounding names are great and all, but the reason I wrote this post was not for Jed Adcock. Instead I'd like to introduce you to two thirds of the Lions midfield. They are: Simon Black, Luke Power, Daniel Rich and Albert Proud. These are their actual names, and on their own there's nothing funny here. But when you hear an announcer say Black, Power or Black and Proud it's easy to make jokes. And we do!

Plus, when all listed together: Black, Rich, Proud and Power, the first thing that pops into my head is: Oprah! See, I told you I had a twisted mind.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Here it is, a Groove Slightly Transformed, Just a Little Break From The Norm

Seat Girls HD from Sn Films on Vimeo.

It was almost six months ago that I first blogged about the Seat Girls, and their ability to warm up my cold, cold winter with nothing more than a few shakes of their rumps. But now it is summer, the natural habitat of beach volleyball and this weekend the action was on the sands of Coney Island. The AVP tour hit Brooklyn and there were many a hard body to be seen, just blocks away from the place where a guy ate 68 hot dogs this weekend. While Misty May and Kerri Walsh were not on hand, Dianne DeNochea and Carrie Dodd were and they won the woman's final.

As I was watching it, I began to think about the Seat Girls, so I took to the net. And what did I find? A new updated version of the girls... in HD. Yeah, that'll do.

Friday, July 03, 2009

TGWOOfY Top Songs of 2009, So Far

I sill love music as much as I always have, but I've been burned in the past and I've learned my lesson. So, I don't buy whole CD's nearly as much as I used to. Not only don't I feel like I should be spending too much green on frivolous items right now, but I've learned that there just aren't that many great records anymore. So, I still pick up a bunch of records (probably more than most people, but far fewer than some others) but I do the majority of my music consuming on a single by single basis. So it is that I have a top 50 list with 49 different acts on it to show for my music enjoyment over the last 6 months.

The list features 26 tracks by female acts and 23 by guys with one duet. While the US is home to the most acts on the list, with 23, more than half the list comes from around the world. Australia represents 13 spots with England holding down 7 more. Glasgow Scotland has three spots on the list with two from Camera Obscura and one from label-mates The 1990's. The last 4 spots are split between Sweden and Norway with 2 each.

My incessant list making will be back at the end of the year with the best songs and records of 2009 as well as the best songs of the 00's, and the bands/artists of the decade. Till then, enjoy my madness:

50) Band of Skulls - I know What I Am
49) Butterfly Boucher - Gun for a Tongue
48) Alela Diane - Dry Grass and Shadows
47) Emmy the Great - We Almost Had a Baby
46) Company of Thieves - Pressure
45) Kate Voegele - Manhattan From the Sky
44) Heartless Bastards - The Mountain
43) Green Day - Before the Lobotomy
42) Peter Bjorn and John - Nothing to Worry About
41) Kati O'Toole - Drove All Night

40) Paige Wood - Carmelite
39) Kate Havnevik - Show Me Love
38) Conor Oberst - Roosevelt Room
37) She & Him - Lotta Love (Cover)
36) Girl in a Coma - Empty Promise
35) Jarvis Cocker - I Never Said I Was Deep
34) Little Birdy - Summarize
33) Jenny Owen Youngs - Here is a Heart
32) Howling Bells - Cities Burning Down
31) Mike Dunn - Princeton

30) The Church - Lunar
29) The Fabulous Miss Wendy - I Like Boys
28) Camera Obscura - The Sweetest Thing
27) Metric - Gimme Sympathy
26) Tara Simmons - Domino
25) M. Ward - Rave On
24) Wild Light - California On My Mind
23) Ida Maria - I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked
22) Art Brut - DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes
21) Cage the Elephant - Ain't No Rest for the Wicked

20) Silversun Pickups - Panic Switch
19) The Decemberists - The Rake's Song
18) Jill Sobule - San Francisco
17) The Boxer Rebellion - Evacuate
16) 1990's - Kickstrasse
15) British India - I Said I'm Sorry
14) Augie March - Pennywistle
13) Lily Allen - Fuck You
12) Indigo Girls - Sugar Tongue
11) Missy Higgins - More Than This (Cover)

10) The Duke Spirit - My Sunken Treasure
9) The Living End - Raise the Alarm
8) A Camp - Stronger than Jesus
7) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Hysteric
6) Flying Foxes - Lost in a Low Cloud
5) Ben Lee - I Love Pop Music
4) Neko Case - Magpie to the Morning
3) Youth Group - All This Will Pass
2) Camera Obscura - Honey in the Sun
1) The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

TGWOOfY Best Records of '09: Half Way Edition

As hard as it may be to believe, the year is half over. For many reasons, I've spent less money on records this year than I even did last year, which was a down year for me. But that wont stop me from buying singles, and going out and getting the LPs that I am really interested in, and so I'm all set to do my "Best of '09: Half Way" lists. A few of the Aussie acts on the list put their records out in Australia in 2008, but they came out after Inky and I had visited. They were released in the US in '09, and as such, are included on my '09 lists.

Today I feature my 10 favorite records of '09 so far; a list that includes 4 each from Australia and America and 2 from Scotland. Tomorrow I will launch my top 25 favorite songs of the year so far. Enjoy:

10) Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
9) Jill Sobule - California Years
8) The Living End - White Noise
7) Ben Lee - The Rebirth of Venus
6) Metric - Fantasies
5) Augie March - Watch Me Disappear
4) 1990's - Kicks
3) Youth Group - The Night is Ours
2) Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
1) Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career