Saturday, April 20, 2002

Just stopped by Mom's to get my birth certificate and among the bundle of personal papers I picked up was an old drivers liscence of mine circa 1988. The photo is a lovely shot of my 18-year-old self complete with a stylin' mullet. Rest assured as soon as I can get to working scanner, I will post the pic so the whole peanut gallery can mock me mercilessly.

Sadly, I seem to have lost my social security card. Thankfully, Mom has my birth certificate over at the folk's place, so I can get a new copy. But it's not like I need more bureacracy in my life, especially after my DMV woes. I think there's some beast in the basement of every goverment office that subsists on carbon paper, red tape and the occasional recalcitrant citizen. It amazes me how much paper I have to generate just to live.Not to mention that despite all the taxes we pay, everything still seems to involve a "small fee."AUUUGH!!

Don't mind me, I'm just feeling libertarian today.

On the plus side, the flock of geese that lives in the pond over at the mall, were hanging out in the back parking lot this afternoon. Watching them just seems to mellow me out a bit. I think it's because they just go about their business they same way they have for millenia, before humans were around, and the way they will be long after. They don't have to deal with bureaucrats or suffer existential angst over the meaning of it all, such bliss. On the downside, they don't have beer, chili dogs, rock and roll, the internet or cute girl geese in black hornrims and knit sweater jackets. Plus they eat bugs. So I guess it's a tradeoff. It would be kinda neat to crap on a windsheild once, though :)
From the "It's About Time" department comes Guess who's gonna be a regular here?!

In sadder news it appears that Layne Staley of Alice in Chains has died. It's still not 100% confirmed but it looks like it's him. Alice in Chains was a major part of the grunge era that was a important time in my life. So even though Staley to large degree brought this on himself, I'll still miss him.

Coming just after blogging about Mike Bloomfield makes it doubly clear:keep away from those needles, kids. There's nothing glamorous about dying this way.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Apropo of nothing, an adolescent family memory.

I remember one night, I must have been about 17 beacuse my little sister Emilie was around 2 and still in her high chair. My dad was away on business and my other sister must've been at a freinds, cause it was just the three of us.

It was a rainy nothing of a night so we were all just sitting around in the kitchen. We had a clock/radio in there back then and we had it tuned to WCBS-FM and Cousin Brucie was pumping out the tunes. My mother became nostalgic, telling me about hearing all these songs for the first time back as a young woman.Then "These Boots Are Made For Walkin' " came on.

"I love this song," I said.
"We used to dance to this song all the time me and my freinds.." Mom said.
"What kinda dances didja do?"

My mom,ordinarily your typical middle-class housewife(think Kitty from That '70's Show), got up and began strutting around our kitchen, swinging her hips and blowing pretend smoke off her finger-gun.

Emilie, sitting in her high chair, had been pounding her food-tray with laughter, but now she started imitating Mom's moves with her arms. For awhile we just sat around and laughed and enjoyed the tunes.

A nice night, all in all. Just felt like sharing.

I was googling around tonight and finally found a fairly comprehensive page on Michael Bloomfield. For the uninitiated Bloomfield was a kid growing up in the Chicago suburbs in the early 1960's who fell in love with blues music and played guitar with a stinging, emotional finesse. Along with a few buddies, he formed the legendary Paul Butterfield Blues Band probably the greatest American band of the early '60's blues revival.

Mike and the band which included the great Elvin Bishop as well, were the backing band at Bob Dylan's infamous first electric performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Bloomfield even played the searing solo on "Like A Rolling Stone" and pioneered the big-band-rock sound with the Electric Flag.

Through the 70's Mike kept busy with collaborations and solo work(I'm listening to his version of "Goin' Down Slow" as I type this). Any one of these accomplishments would grant him rock and roll immortality in my book.

Sadly, Michael Bloomfield passed away of a drug overdose in 1981 and it was several days before his body was found in his car on the streets of San Francisco.

Such a sad end for a man who contributed so much. If you want to more about this great musician, a new biography has just been released.

*raises beer glass*

Wish you were here, man...
I just got done taking care of my Department of Motor Vehicles chores today. I pulled into the emissions station and just as they were gonna do the test, the lady walked to my window and said, "You ain't got no gascap, we need that to do the test."

I must have left it on the car roof last time I tanked up. So I drove down to Auto Zone on North Ave. Every medium sized city has a strip given over to titty-bars, muffler shops and abandoned factories and in Bridgeport it's North Avenue(with the lovely addition of the very large City Jail), how absolutely scenic.

I walked into Auto Zone and grabbed my gascap and the guy behind the counter said, "You just came from Emissions, huh?"

"How'd you know?"

"Oh, we get 3 or 4 poor slobs like you a day, my man."

Lovely. Then it was off to take care of my registration and tags. The DMV office in Bridgeport is in the heart of what folks in LA like to call "the Hood." But, as tedious as it is, Motor Vehicles is actually a picture of diversity in action. It dosen't matter whether you're a SUV driving yuppie from Westport, a working stiff from the North End or a hard guy from the PT Barnum projects, sooner or later you have to drag your ass down to East Main Street and do this shit if you wanna drive.On a busy day like today, seeing all the various types waiting around, all with the same weary, resigned expression on their face, made for quite a sight.

After I was done there, I went over to the Duchess on Boston Avenue for a coupla well-deserved sausage-egg-and cheese sandwiches. When I got there some smelly old white guy, with a huge growth where his thumbnail shoulda been, was berating the countergirl in an absolute monotone, "You took my job." Whatever, pops, go get a nice tinfoil hat. The girl took the wise route and just nodded.

I just got home and realized that they forgot the cheese on my sandwiches. Oh well.

I love urban life. Really I do.

It's Baaaack and with it comes my infamous banana costume fetish. I need help.(via the 'Filter)

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Hi, I'm drunk and I'm blogging anyway.

My better half Lisa is a life-long classical musician, although she always dug rock and roll, she didn't know much about it. Naturally dating me, she got a crash course. Her first big show was the *reverent pause* Ramones at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.

2000 sweaty souls pogoing around like madmen and screaming "BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM I wanna be sedated" in unison. At one point some guy I had never met before grabbed me by the shoulders and we screamed "Beat on the Brat" into eachother's faces. By the end of the show, Lisa was shouting "JOEY!JOEY!" along with everyone else. The look on her face said "I get it now" basically.

This is not just music. This is a lifeline.

Tom Carson once said that the Ramones were for "the sort of people who were such hopeless losers that they couldn't even be convincing as outlaws;far from romanticizing that status, the Ramones glorified their own inadequacy."

As one of "those people", I gotta thank the Ramones and so many others for singing my song. Now, I got a sixer of Ballantine and "53rd and 3rd" crankin'. Whatever tommorow may bring tonight is sweet.

I've been watching VH-1's special on groupies and man, is it cool. I miss the days when rock and roll was raunchy and decadent instead of prim and PC.

Thankfully, it included a segment on the legendary Cynthia PlasterCaster a Chicago groupie who liked to take casts of rock star' you-know-whats. God the '60's and '70's must have been a great time to be a young man.

Cynthia, ya know bloggers are the rock stars of our time and if you're still active and all...

Oh well...

Plaster Caster/grab a hold of me me Faster...
I spent the day dealing with goverment bureaucracy down at the DMV, which I dont want to talk about so I'll blog about something else

Sticking with the attractiveness theme for a bit, awhile back I decided that the best way to classify someones attractiveness was not that "scale of one to ten" bullshit, but rather by the sound you made when you saw them, to wit:(all varying by taste of course)

UGH!=just plain ugly

EHH..=not repulsive, but so what

HMM..=pretty good, with a little work


and of course,

HUH?=what the hell?!

There you have it, nice compact and based on gut reaction. I myself probably fall under the "HMMM.." rubric as several women have told me that I "clean up well"*, meaning shave me, gimme a new haircut and buy me some new clothes and I'd be fine. Of course, if I did any of those things I wouldn't be me, so there ya go. But I like the rating system.

*opinions of 50+ year old women and gullible gay guys may differ...
Have you ever noticed that there are some people so attractive its like unnatural somehow? On top of that those same unnaturally attractive people seem to use almost scientific expertise in fashion and grooming?Most of these people seem to show up in fashion ads and rock videos
Frankly I find it a little unnerving.

I once had an idea for a story or novel based around the idea of a farm hidden out in the Oregon wilderness where scientists take only the most attractive people and breed them for the advertising industry. After they are bred, they are tought the finer points of makeup, mousse and moisturizer*.

They got the idea from a computer hacker who built a morphing program based on genetic algorithms, who is now under their thumb. He is now highly tormented about his creation. He is joined in his mission to expose "the farm" by a rap musician who discovers that there is something strange about the women dancers in his video.

I've been bandying this idea around for so long that whenever me and Lisa see an abnormally attractive person on TV, we'll look at eachother and say "She's from The Farm..."

*Moisturizers kind of a pet peeve with me. Every grooming product in the world boats about the fact that it contains moisturizers. Just how moist do we need to be people? If we got any moister we'd all become puddles.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I was looking out the front window and just saw an orange minivan all done up with Tang logos drive by and pull into the Red Lobster next door. Between that and the site I linked, are we in for a Tang revival? I hope so, it mixes well with vodka, and maybe it'll help the space program.

The latest print edition of the fantastic British music mag Mojo to hit the stands here in the states features an excellent piece of on the rise and fall of Elvis Presley. These days mere mention of Elvis name sparks either political tirades or bad jokes, which is a damn shame because the man at his best was a truly monumental figure.

I watched the '68 comeback special on TV recently and was blown away all over again. Col. Tom Parker had initially wanted to do an hour or so of Elvis in a tux singing hymns, but the Big E put his foot down and we got to see the old magic one last time. The sequences of Elvis and his original backup band sitting on stools playing stripped down versions of the original classics alone makes it worth the time.

When Elvis died, I was six years old and in Italy with my mom visiting my great-grandmother and my mom just said "Elvis died today." Even as young as I was, I knew what a big deal that was.

The Mojo article features sidebars with comments from modern stars about Presley. Even Chuck D from Public Enemy weighs in with some compliments, telling us that "Suspicious Minds" was his fave Presley tune, and calling Elvis a "bad-ass white boy."
That he was, Chuck, that he was.
About 10 years ago,I used to work at this place*. Whenever I tell anyone from outside the CT-NY area about it they don't believe me. It's basically a grocery store with an onsite dairy, a hot buffet, sushi bar and a petting zoo.

Yes, you read correctly a petting zoo. The zoo was maintained by an unfortunate gentleman who had to walk around all day in overalls and a straw hat. The store also features animatronic dairy products that sing, and a couple of costumed characterss, one of whom was a large yellow chicken. I'd occasionally see that guy in the breakroom, in costume minus the head sipping a coffee and smoking a butt, which was an unnerving sight, lemme tell you.

I worked in the onsite bakery, which meant I'd get up to watch Letterman with a cup of coffee and be at work for the 2AM to 10AM shift, make the fresh bread and rolls, then drive home and try to sleep. I was living with my folks back then and my bedroom had a skylight which I had to nail a Pink Floyd beach towel over to even attempt sleep. I also can make bread now but only for a party of 200. After about a year, I left to go work in a bookstore, but I am still recovering.

In other news the New England heat wave continues unabated. It's 91 freakin' degrees out.

*Yes their logo is a cow as well, it seems to be a theme in my life.

OK. After tonight's misadventures evreything seems to be back to normal, even the comments. Kudos and thanks to code-ninja eyeballkid for all the help.

Note to self: keep screwing around with template to a minnimum.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

It's 9:30 here and the temperature is still hovering around 70 degrees, in freakin' April. We don't have AC so I'm sitting here in my underwear sweating my ass of with a lot of ice cold Haffenreffer handy.

The next idiot who claims that global warming is a myth is invited to drive up to Connecticut so I can kick his ass. AS soon as I can rise from this pool of sweat, that is...

Sadly, the site is no longer being updated, but if your a fan of "What the hell were they thinking?" type of experiences you'll wanna take a gander at Peter Gilstrap's It Crawled From the Bins archive. This is a collection of some of the most ill-concieved recordings and cover art ever, complete with hilarious commentary this one and this one are two personal favorites.*

For more brain-jarring fun check out When LP's Roamed the Earth from David Greenberger(of Duplex Planet fame) and his pal Eddie Gorodetsky.

*WARNING:pulldown menu on "...from the Bins" is not working. Just use the back button to return to the index page.
First a bulletin from the What-the-Fuck Bureau:Last night I went image-googling for pictures of Woody Woodpecker and somehow Google vomited up this.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I'm probably one of a very small percentage of people in my age group and cultural background with absolutely no tattoo's or body peircings whatsoever. This is primarily because there's really no point any more. Ten years ago, doing some kind of body modification was a way to set yourself apart. These days the prom queen probably has a couple of tats and a nipple ring, so it's not exactly the few, the proud, the tattooed anymore.

The only image I'd consider inking on to my hide would be the picture of Buddy Bradley above. For the uninitiated, Buddy was the main character in Peter Bagge's late, great comic book Hate!, whis is to the 1990's what R. Crumb's work was to the '60's. Along with Kevin Smith, Tom Perrotta and Richard Linklater, Bagge is one of the few artists in any medium who has been able accurately capture the world I sprung from and inhabit.

Buddy was the protagonist in the Hate! books and I identified with him so strongly that freinds of mine used to call me "Buddy", I almost chose "buddybradley" as my MeFi username when I initially signed up as a matter of fact. So etching his pic on my bicep would be a fitting tribute, I suppose, but I'm still giving it some thought...

Well, lunch break's almost over, so I'm gonna have a smoke, I'll blog more tonight.

Monday, April 15, 2002

I've come to the conclusion that "Since You've Been Gone" is the "Louie Louie" of mullet-rock.
You know the song I'm talking about? sure ya do...that one that was playing the arcade while you watched guys in Members Only jackets get the high score on Zaxxon, that one.

Like most people I grew up hearing Rainbow's version. Featuring the hyper-testosteroned vocals of Graham Bonnett. I knew that Bonnett also recorded a nearly identical version of the song with his band of fellow stadium-rock warhorses Impelliteri. I thought about covered it, until recently on WinMX, I discovered a version by Head East. Remember them? The "Never Been Any Reason" guys? They add a sprightly keyboard riff to the festivities. And I've recently discovered that Zombies and Argent veteran Russ Ballard recorded a version as well, which I've yet to hear.

If there's a God above, some DJ in Detroit is working on a ambient jungle remix or an emo band in Wisconsin is cranking out a punk cover version to continue this noble lineage. Please, let it be so...
When I'm not making a pest of myself on the 'Filter or working on this little contribution to posterity, I usually spend my online time hunting for .mp3's and other peices of digital media. Through perseverance, happenstance, and judicious use of my search-fu, I've managed to hoover up all kinds of good stuff. However there are three files which still elude me.

The first one is the song "Pearls at Swine" by the Lovedolls. I first heard the song on a mix tape given to me by my freind Heather about 5 years, ago. The tune is a terrific peice of early '80's pop-punk with nice nasty lyrics and of course I have since lost the tape. These are the same Lovedolls featured in the movie Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, but the song is not on the soundtrack. I've scoured the web and the file-sharing networks and found one other Lovedolls tune, "Love Machine" but came up empty on "Pearls.."

The second is "Fish Stick Friday" by an outfit called Government Cheese. They were an '80's cowpunk outfit, out of Bowling Green, KY featuring a guy named Tommy Womack on rhythm guitar. Tommy wrote a book called Cheese Chronicles which is the best portrait of life in a low-level rock band I've ever read. It was so popular among rock and rollers that Jason & the Scorchers mention it from the stage on their live album* . "Fish Stick Friday" was their signature song and it's killing me to have never heard it.

The third is a snippet from a Woody Woodpecker cartoon, vintage sometime in the early '60s. In this particular 'toon Woody stuffs Gabby Gator into a pressure cooker which explodes and sends Gabby into orbit. Gabby passes a Sputnik-style sattelite with a dog inside, who upon seeing Gabby says in a Russian accent, "Alligator, Go Home!" That just cracks me up on so many levels. I would love to have that snippet in whatever audio or video form it's out there in.

Unfortunately, I have used all my Net Ninja tricks and still whiffed on these three files. If you've seen 'em or got any ideas, my fellow netheads, let me know.

*Also a phenomenal record by a phenomenal band.
During a lull at work, I tuned in some internet radio and this song came out of the speakers. Nice to know the Dept. of Brutal Truth is on the case.

*bangs head against counter*
Movies have action figures.Superheroes have action figures. So do rock stars, and even convienience store prophets.

So how about literary action figures, perhaps a 12 inch poseable Tom Joad or the action-packed fun of your own plastic replica of Holden Caulfield(red hunting hat sold separately). Although, come to think of it, Holden wouldn't involve much action, you could just put him in a sulking pose and leave him there I suppose.

I think it's a winner. I'd tell you to have your people call my people, but, alas, I have no people.

I really gotta pay better attention in the shower. I just realized I washed my hair with the liquid hand-soap and my body with the shampoo. It's that coconut-scented stuff too, so now I get walk through my day smelling like a big Pina Colada.

Also, I found Actionman via this post from lostbyanecho yesterday. The "Death to False Metal" article cheered my inner mullethead.
OK, the commenting system and the fonts are back and the permalinks have been added to the front page and the srchives as well. Nice tune-up.
Gotta shove off for work in a couple minutes. Todays Assistant Manager Dave's last day at work, I'll miss the bastard. Should be fun asking him to help with a issue or something, hell be like "I don't care! Yay!"

He's moving up to Maine to refurbish an old house. I visited Portland a few years back, What a terrific city, just boho enough to have good microbrews and record stores, blue-collar enough to be unpretentious and rowdy. My kinda place.

That made me think of how growing up in a small city or the suburbs is different from a big city. Here in CT there was no bohemian or funky area, just a loose county-wide network of people who kept showing up at various concerts and record stores enough to have their faces recognized.

Too bad the internet wasn't around when I was a teenager, certain conversations I've had online have been great for reminding me that I'm not the only person in the world who digs certain things. Back when I was 15 that would have been a godsend. Kids today can just start hittin' the keyboard to discover that they have compatriots in whatever and that's incredibly cool.

OK, gotta hit the shower, talk to y'all later.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

...and they're back to normal, thanks to the iconatrix again. As a special prize I'll link to the best filthy(but hilarious) lyrics I've heard in a while. No joke, this chick makes Eminem seem like Amy Grant. Plus she looks like Rob the EMT's girlfreind.

She's still not The Donnas, though. ;)
Thanks to the iconatrix, I now have this nifty-ass commenting system in place, so feel free to offer loveletters and abuse. On the downside, this seems to have enlarged the font size for some reason. I'll figure it out, bear with me.
Okay, I've figured it out. I'm not that smart, not that handsome and my life is tremendously mundane. In short, I'm mediocre.

But what an exquisite mediocrity! That's my new mission.

Jonmc-excellence in mediocrity.
WARNING:Existential Angst Ahead.

I'm at a very weird point in my life right now. I've realized that I should probably be doing something more fulfilling and contributing more to the world, but I'm not really quite sure how to go about it.

I'm also stymied by the fact that I'm know just enough to know what I dont know. For instance, I can look at a webpage and tell if it uses javascipt or css or whatever. I have visions of what a knock-em-dead site would look like and do. But I'm absolutely stymied and vexed on how to take my ideas to the point of execution and it's driving me nuts.

Now, I know what a lot of you are saying, "Read you Web Programming manuals, take a class, sharpen up your skills...we did it." Yeah, you did and I admire the shit out you for it, but frankly after a day at the counter, I'm too bushed and frustrated to do anything but nuke up dinner, crack a beer, and screw around online.

When I get compliments like this on the 'Filter, it gives me an enormous ego boost, but at the same time it makes me feel like I should be putting whatever my abilities are to use doing....I don't know what. Professional sooting-my-mouth-off? minister of music culture for hire?

I don't know if there's a market for any of those at the moment, but I know I want to do something fulfilling* someday.

Thanks for listening as I realize you all have your own problems.

*I hate new-agey type words like that, but I honestly couldn't think of a better one.

It's been a quiet sunday and the guys are playing Pocket Tanks. For some reason video games are kind of a take-it-or-leave-it affair with me. I mean, they're fun once in a while, but I can't see doing the marathon Everquest and Metal Gear sessions these guys do. This is kind of weird considering how much I love technology.

I also loved playing the old-school games when I was a kid back when they came out. But these mindbogglingly complicated new ones do nothing for me. Take me to an arcade and I'll head straight for one of the old-school favorites, or even weirder to a pinball machine or a pool table.

This sets me apart from my fellow webgeeks I suppose, but you can embrace the past and the future simultaneously. or something.
It's occurred to me lately that among straight men, at least, there are two main schools of thought regarding appreciation of the ladies. One group, probably the majority, sadly, likes having women around as eye-candy and for sex, but dosen't really like women per se, in fact they seem to dislike them from what I can see. By this I mean that they can't appreciate a woman for being smart or funny or even just as someone you can be buddy-buddy with. These men I'll never understand.

Just about every girlfreind I've ever had has been a pal who's blossomed into something more, which is why most of my exes are still my pals now. Far as I'm concerned being smart or a good pal only makes a woman hotter.

Put it to ya this way, my befuddled brethren-imagine your coolest guy pal, but complete with all the fun girl stuff that makes you giddy and gooshy as an added bonus. Dont know about you but that sounds cool to me.

SIDE NOTE: When I went out for a smoke earlier, I saw a kid who couldn't have been more than 13 wearing a Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt. That record just keeps getting rediscovered, which is great except that every person who discovers it thinks they're the first one.

Why is this tuber so happy?

Because it's Potato Weekend on the Food Channel.

Someone fetch my party hat.