Saturday, April 13, 2002

The ghetto liquor store around the corner was out of Marlboros. How the fuck do you run out of Marlboros for god sake! I had to get Winstons which any good smoker'll tell ya ain't the same. I have to suck down half the cigarette in one drag to get the same buzz. The injustices I put up with, I tell ya...

I got a sixer of carribean Twist working and another six of PBR on deck, a hot microwaved mexican dinner in front of me, MeFi's running nice and quick in the other browser window. Winamp just kicked into "Road Runner" by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. And I managed to work the Zambonis into a MeTa thread legitamitely. Life is bliss.

Ooh winamp just started another Modern Lovers tune:

The girls would turn the color of an avocado/when he would drive down the street in his Eldorado/he wcould walk down your street and girls could not resist his stare/Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole

Been working on my MeFi Swap CD's all afternoon. I got the master burned. Now I just gotta write up liner notes, make the cover graphic and burn some copies and everything'll be peachy. Those on my list, prepare for some wild stuff. The only person whose Mefi identity I've been able to figure out is nedrichards over there in England, whom I shall forthwith put in the links table as he runs a pretty spiffy ol' site.

OK, back to work.

Lisa is a happy camper today. She went out to get the mail and I heard a resounding "Yes!!" from the next room. She's just gotten another poem published, this time in Seattle Review. She's also had stuff accepted by Cold Mountain Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.. Looks like my baby's hit the big time, although she says that the 3 acceptances make the fifty-odd rejection slips easier to swallow. If you wind up purchasing one of these esteemed journals her nom de plume is Leona Verrelle(which is also the name she was born with, long story not worth it).

We are such a renaissance couple.
I bought the new issue of Wired after work last night. It had a breif piece on the "Blogging Revolution"(how very cuting edge of them, I realize). Underneath there were little photo blurbs of a few of the more prominent bloggers. Among them was none other than good ol' Jessamyn from the 'Filter.

My first reaction was, "Cool, someone who hangs out in the same virtual space as me gettin' some props."
At the same time, it caused a little cognitive dissonance. I get the same feeling when I see fraying's or rcade's books on the shelves at the local Borders. I also got the same feeling when I interviewed for a job at a web company down in Florida and outside the building was a big sign with the site's logo and url.

It's like some voice in my mind was saying What are you doing out here? You belong inside the PC!

Now, before you call those nice young men in their clean white coats to come and take me away*, I do realize that the virtual communities on the net are made of real people and that the suburban housewife in front of me in line at the Stop & Shop may very well be an illustrious member of MeFi or some other online forum. Itmust be that people and things jumping back and forth between the concrete and virtual realms can screw with your perception, I guess. But with the Internet becoming less a novelty and more a fact of life every day, this'll probably happen more and more, so we better get used to it.


Friday, April 12, 2002

Random Band Reccomendations.
If you are have not heard the music of the Fastbacks or the Dropkick Murphys please do so post-haste or turn in your cool card immediately.

The Fastbacks have been together for over 20 years now and combine punk aggression and pop melodicism like no other band. The harmonies of bassist Lulu Gargiulo and guitarist Kim Warnick are charmingly off-kilter and rhythm guitarist Kurt Bloch is one of the best songwriters working today.The classic album Answer the Phone, Dummy is a great place to start. live mp3's available.

The Dropkick Murphys hail from South Boston and play unbelievably energetic Gaelic Punk Rock(featuring Bagpipes!). Their best tunes, "For Boston", "Irish Drinking Song",and "Riot Tonight" are as adrenalizing as a drunken night at a hockey game. If these guys don't make you wanna pogo around the house like a madman, take your pulse.

Adrian Tomine is one of the best storytellers working in any medium today. His drawling style is clean an unaffected and his stories just seem to effortlessly draw you in.And he's only 25 and just seems to get better and better. If you're one of those folks who thinks "comic book=guys in spandex fighting crime"*, Optic Nerve would be a good place to begin getting your mind changed.

*...not that there's anything wrong with that, I just spent 5 minutes oohing and ahhing the Spiderman trailer...Spiderman, Spiderman...does whatever a spider can...
Lately, I've noticed a troubling side effect of a career in retail. Whenever I'm out shopping somewhere, if the store's phones ring more than twice, I'll have an overwhelming urge to pick it and say, "This is Jon, how can I help you?", not to mention, if I see a messy display or shelf, I involuntary begin sprucing it up. Perhaps there's a syndrome in the works here; Compulsive Retail Disorder or something.

It does have positive side effects as well:generally I'm a good tipper and I go out of my way to cut servicepeople slack, cause I know how it is.[pats self on back] And whatever people may believe, 90% of 'em are giving it an honest effort.

While getting rid of some old e-mail I found this pic taken in 1995 at my 25th birthday party. Amazing what 7 years'll do to a man. I'll blog more when I get home.

Me, at about 3:00 this afternoon. It's a quiet day, and I thought you might like to see the face behind the genius. Note the smirk.
Nothing much happening at work today, so I'll regale you with a classic retail story.

One time I was ordering a system for this 40-something lady who came in with her husband. As I'm writing it up, I ask for her e-mail address.

Her eyes dart to her husband, then to me, and she sheepishly says:


Bastard that I am, I throw her a smoldering glance and say, "At last we meet.."

Damned if I didn't see a moment of panic flash across her face. What a world.

*not really but close enough.
I just stumbled upon regular pics, no pr0n, you filthy minded people). I've always had a thing for four-eyed gals, probably cause of the stereotypes about glasses and intelligence.

Anyways, this site is loaded with bespectacled cuties, but I think this little honey is my favorite.

Allright enough blogging for one day.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

As a child growing up in the late '70's Dr. Johnny Fever(above right) was my main role model. And what was not to admire, the man had a huge record collection, a cool radio show, and he exuded that '60's survivor cool(not to mention that undercurrent of romance with the lovely Bailey Quarters.
20 years later, I don't have the radio show, but I do have the huge record collection and share Mr. Fever's unshaven, bedraggled fashion sense so two outta three ain't bad.

Howard Hesseman, the actor who played Johnny Fever, also had a small part in the immortal Billy Jack, perhaps the ultimate '70's period piece. This film and its sequels featured Tom Laughlin(above left) as a karate-chopping Ex-Green Beret Native American Shaman. No, I am not kidding. This movie is worth seeing for the weird factor alone, plus the added bonus of the classic closing theme song by Coven. No joke, the Billy Jack flicks made millions back in the day.Looking at these artifacts now is a great reminder of what a weird decade the seventies actually was. Tom Laughlin seems to make his living these days giving Jungian Psychology Seminars. Oh, well.

*raises fist in air*

One Tin Soldier Rides Away.....

It's official. I have found the world's strangest(yet extremely tasty) snack food. Stopping at the Shell station on the way home I spied a bag of Zapp's Spicy Cajun Crawtators potato chips.

The name alone demanded that I buy a bag, of course. I am happy to report that they are excellent. Thick cut and crispy, with a lot of Cajun seasoning, and, yes, a distict seafoody undertaste, though I'll be damned if I can figure out where that comes from, as there's no "essence of crawfish" listed in the ingredients. But if you can find a bag, buy 'em. yum!
Is it just me or has the whole reality TV genre gotten out of control?

I think we'll have reached critical mass on this when we have a couple that meets on Blind Date, gets married on A Wedding Story, has a baby on Maternity Ward, and then breaks up on Divorce Court.

Depending on what kind of parents they were, the kid will wind up on either The Real World or America's Most Wanted.

It'll happen...just you wait.

From the Stupid Questions Department: I had a rich stoner/surfer type come into the store today and midway through th presentation, he asks, "So you use a computer?"

Let's see...I work in a computer store, but no sir, I don't actually use the infernal devices. I'm a Luddite, y'understand...I write with a quill pen by moonlight and only communicate via cave paintings and smoke signals.

Great Googly Moogly! I'll blog some more, but I need a cigarette.

Did some pre-coffee Google-fu to produce this comment over at MeFi.

What's even weirder is that I have that Marcia Strassman song on mp3.(sample here).

I scare myself sometimes.
Oh well, I promise to use my trivia powers for good and not evil.
I figured out how to do "Title" tags, today, and added them to some of the links in the table. "View Source" is a wonderful thing.

I'm learnin', I'm learnin....

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Firstly as someone who cares deeply about the availabilty of a wide variety of music and who is angered by the chilling effect that the DMCA(Digital Millenium Copyright Act) will have on great stations like KPIG, I urge all of you to visit to find out what you can do to keep the spirit of radio alive. It's either this or "All-Britney!All-The-Time!!" kids.

One of my dream occupations(should I ever leave the confines of retail) would be to have a job somewhere in rock and roll.

Over the years, I narrowed the field a bit. the ultimate would be running my own free-form radio statio. However confident I am in my ability to choose and broadcast good music, the narrowness of public tastes assures that the only place such a station would be profitable would be the internet and the DMCA seems to be putting the kibosh on that. Oh, well.

My backup plan is to work in A&R at Rhino Records. Some people may slag Rhino because they've become succesful, but the meticulous work and obvious enthusiasm behind box sets like Nuggets and Have a Nice Decade show that these guys are fans first, businessmen second. And that's not even mentioning all the great reissues they've done. They don't seem to be recruiting and they're based in Venice Beach, California which is about 3000 miles from where I sit.

But I have a plan.

I've though about using my PC, my Internet and writing skills and some help from some graphically inclined pals and cooking up some sort of home-brewed themed box-set, complete with liner notes(I write kick-ass liner notes) and snazzy photos and inserts and then FedEx-ing it to the company president's home in some kind of ballsy guerilla employment move. I think it could work. I'll keep you posted.

Too good not to blog. Thanks,StOne.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

As a special treat for VFTC's Tasmanian Fan Club, I did a little digging and uncovered what seems to be a fairly vibrant and diverse Tasmanian Rock scene.

Whalebone who formed at the University of Tasmania's School of Art, have a nice crunchy Pearl Jam/Chili Peppers type feel to them, and have a cute female bass player as a bonus.

The Pale Riders(any band named after an Eastwood flick has to have something going for it) have a suprisingly good feel for Sadly, they seem to have broken up.

My favorite Tassie band though, is Vodka Party who play a raucous lager-fueled combo of polka, funk and punk. These guys, I'll keep looking in on.

I have yet to find any '60's stuff from the 'Switzerland of the South' but I just know some buncha Tasmanian guys got together in the garage with his buds and took a whack at becoming the next Rolling Stones. The quest is on! BTW, all abovementioned bands have audio samples at their sites.

Last night I purchased a bag of Sour Gummi Worms on the way home. Unfortunately, I forgot about them and left them in the car overnight and since the weather got warm today, when I went to the car earlier I found a sealed bag of amazing multi-colored irridescent goo. Don't ask me how it tastes cos I'm not that brave.

About a month or so ago, I was watching a show on the Discovery Channel about outer space phenomena. They had footage of solar flares, black holes devouring stars, asteroids floating in space, truly jaw-dropping stuff. They also had interviews with scientist who did things like track planets in newly discovered solar systems and listen for alien transmissions at SETI. These scientists all seemed, strangely like regular joes and janes, more or less. I just wonder how you can spend your workday observing such mind-bogging cosmic occurences and then be able to go home and fret about the phone bill or the lawn. Working in scientific research must play hell with your perspective.


J.C. Herz(above), is the author of Surfing on the Internet and Joystick Nation, two incredibly authoritative, accessible and funny books on the two biggest phenomenons of the information age. And she's damn easy on the eyes, too. I'll bet she's a MeFite or at least a lurker as well. I hope that Woody Allen's idea for a "Girls of MENSA" calendar becomes a reality someday.

The proliferation of "voyeur" sites on the web has reminded me of an episode from about 12 years back.

I was living in Manhattan then, and in the building across the street from me, there was a woman who every week or so would go out on her fire escape in the buff, and just hang out for a while.

I'm not sure exactly what she was hoping to gain from the experience, but me and my freinds certainly enjoyed the show. My buddy Darin took to bringing binoculars whenever he came to visit. George, a guy who lived in my building, figured out which apartment she was in and sent her a dozen roses, with an anonymous note saying "Thanks." The shows kept going on for a while until she either got bored or moved away I guess. I haven't had any exhibitionist neighbors since, so I guess lightning dosen't always strike twice.:(

Man, I really seem to have naked people on the brain lately. What would Freud say?

Lisa was watching TV in the next room, and I just heard her yell 'AHHH!'
I walked in to see what was up, and she pointed at the TV, apparently Bush is visiting Bridgeport, today. There goes the neighborhood...

Actually, though we have our problems here, I love this grubby little town.(For those of you on the west coast, think Oakland...for those on the east, Newark...those in the UK, Birmingham). We have a mayor in legal trouble, but we also have minor league baseball, junior league ice hockey, great chili dogs, a couple excellent record stores and of course, the Zambonis.We're just so thankfully grimy and unpretntious here, that it keeps the hipsters, yuppies, and developers out. This is a good thing.

This concludes my hometown boosterism. We now return to your regularly scheduled weirdness...

Monday, April 08, 2002

One nice thing about growing a little older is that certain songs resonate much more deeply with me now. I was listening to Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue" the other day and it hit me like a ton of bricks. When I first started listening to Dylan in my teens, I'd hear that song and dig the wordplay and the music, but as far as the deeper meaning of the song went, I'd basically just nod my head sagely and say "He's talking about the '60's, maan."

Uh-huh. Now, as a grown man in his 30's with the usual gauntlet of people and experiences in the rear-view mirror, this verse hits very close to home:

So now I'm goin' back again,

I got to get to her somehow.

All the people we used to know

They're an illusion to me now.

Some are mathematicians

Some are carpenter's wives.

Don't know how it all got started,

I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.

But me, I'm still on the road

Headin' for another joint

We always did feel the same,

We just saw it from a different point of view,

Tangled up in blue.

Just reminds of me of when my world was a far different place than it is today. Sniff.

Ok, enough sentimentality. Speaking of music, the gas station down the street from the store plays a countinuous stream of really good oldies. I don't mean the typical stuff you've heard a million times, I mean the good stuff. Today it played "Mary Lou" by Ronnie Hawkins and "Mona" by Bo Diddley. I'm seen this phenomenon before. There was a joint called Cheeburger Cheeburger* down in Miami that would play stuff like Johnny Otis and Carla Thomas. Once, in grocery store, late at night, the overhead stream played "Alone Again Or" by Love(!). At first, I though some incredibly cool employee was pumping his record collection into the establishment's P.A., but when I asked the waitress at the burger place who was choosing the tunes, and she said it was all done through a sattellite feed. Someone out there is doing there best to make shopping and dining an excellent musical experience.

This, along with some other things has given me an idea for a novel. There'd be four central characters. First, a guy programming one of these sattellite feeds, who chooses music so well that people start going to the malls that get the feed, just to hear the tunes. Second, a guy hired by a strip joint as a chef to preserve their liquor liscence, who cooks food so delicious that people start hitting the place just to eat. Third character would be a girl hired to run the "Kid's Korner" of an airport bookstore who does such an amazing job that people begin driving their kids to the airport just for "Story Time." The "twist" is that earlier in their lives they all knew eachother, and after going through the usual late-twenties/early-thirties gamut of maturity, ambition, heartbreak and disillusionment they come to the places they are at above, ie:their true selves. The fourth character would be another(my instincts are telling me female) freind of the group who, not having had the final change in her life occur, serendiptitously discovers the other three.

It's sort of an ode to the redemptive power of going bonkers. I know it needs to be fleshed out, but I think it's got great potential. I just need to sit down and actually write it. Send me an email and tell me what you think of the idea, dear readers.

*This joint has great burgers as well. If you can eat their 21-ounce monster sized burger they put a Polaroid of you on the wall. Rest assured a snap of my mug is up there. :)

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Handy cocktail tip. Jack Daniel's and Dr. Pepper mix very well. Oooh, the colors....
Yeah, I'm blogging again. It's kind of a lazy sunday here, and I'm bored.
Yesterday, these two women who looked to be in their early 50's came into the store, looking to buy. I went into my shpeil and things went pretty well, even convivial to the point of winks and smiles. As I walked to the counter to get some paperwork, I heard one whisper to the other, "Yeah, he's cute."
Now, a good salesperson will use all the tools at his disposal, and most that I know are not above a little flirtation, if that's what it takes to break the ice. But, for some reason with me, it only seems to happen with women age 50 and up. Don't ask me why. Perhaps I should find a retirement community and become a gigolo.

Breaking news via Fark-apparently, they're gonna start selling Caramel M&M's. My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. Thank you, junk food gods.

Daylight Savings Time threw off me and Lisa's internal clocks, so we both found ourselves lying awake early. Apparently, after I went to bed last night, Lisa had stayed up and watched a nature show on PBS about sponges and sea anemones among other things. Apparently, the sea sponge is the primordial animal. Fascinating stuff, honestly but not what I need to to hear before I've had coffee.

I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a sponge out of the sink.
"Here's your Grandma," I said.
"That's a synthetic sponge," she answered.
"You can buy natural ones, though"
"I can but I won't," she told me, "I will not wash my back with the mother of all creation!"

I love her but I'm really glad she's going back to work soon.