Sunday, December 27, 2009

From 1999 on, big changes were made on the music industry...

Like most music journals and magazines, I thought I'd share my memories about the ever-changing music industry. I've been in love with buying, collecting and listening to music all my life. There's been lots of memories of me trying to build my CD collection while dodging portable music players and at the same time, building my vast mp3 collection on my computer.

My mind is drifting back to 1999. I was a senior in high school, working at the same place I work today. Fears of y2k bug were on the rise, as well as anti-teen pop was in the air. Portable CD players were still cool to have around, and not many people had a cellular phone. (If they did, it would be banned from school...haha) DVDs were becoming the new crack, and bringing up stupid, random pop-culture obscure stuff was considered 'uncool'. The Bill Gates kind of 'nerd' was still in the minority. I hope this kind-of creates a picture of my vision from back then.

I had a cool 3-disc changer in my room at that time, but I would later sell it in a yard sale because it would stop working. My CD collection was enormous, as I would buy the latest hits and past stuff at my local Slackers store. I wasn't into video games or into buying movies at that time.

In mid-2000, my bro-in-law Kyle introduced me to this new Internet phenomenon, Napster. He couldn't wait to download it to my family's computer. I, along with many others, were immediately hooked into downloading songs for free. It was threatened to be shut down a few times before it permanently shut down two years later. Then we turned to iMesh and WinMX. I later bit the bullet and tried iTunes, which I liked. Today, I use eMusic as well as a website called Sometimes I use Audacity software to copy music off of Youtube for obscure songs I can't find anywhere.

It was tough to follow standards as music industry analysts saw as a slow poison to record labels and the musicians. NSync's 'No Strings Attached' is still the top-selling disc of this decade, with the Beatles' '1' closely following. Analysts definitely saw something wrong in 2002 when The Beatles compilation was the top-selling CD of 2001. On top of that, blank CDs outsold physical music CDs. Record labels wanted answers immediately to respond to this crisis. Internet outlets (not just iTunes) but Myspace, Facebook and even Youtube gave fans something to offer. Not all labels conformed, as pointed out in a previous blog, when Warner Music Group refused to have their work on Youtube and Hulu videos.

As for the portable CD player, it quickly went into hiding as the iPod took over. Younger people as in 12-18 year olds fell in love with their parents pasttime, vinyl records. The good news for vinyl lovers like me were that more artists were reissuing their CD-only material on vinyl. Rejoice! Guitar Hero and Rock Band were great for reviving classic rock hits, introducing them to a new generation. Radio, a different field, also began suffering in the 2000s, but is still alive and well. Satellite radio tried to break through, but still has yet to gain positive recognition.

I remember reading a Rolling Stone article about how the music industry has suffered, and one critic pointed out that the biggest mistake was that the so-called major record labels should have joined forces with Morpheus and Napster, instead of suing them. Remember, think Hulu. TV networks didn't like people posting clips and episodes of their shows online, so they decided to partner up with Youtube and other sites so they could get their slice of the pie. But who knows.

I'm glad to see that music is still alive today and on a positive note, several big-name bands have gotten back together throughout this decade. On a positive and negative note, touring has becoming bigger than ever. The negative thing about it is that's pretty much the only way a musician can make 'real money'. Some big name artists like Elton John have turned away at releasing albums, but luckily they still tour. Radiohead challenged the industry two years ago when they released their In Rainbows album for any price. To some people it was arrogant, but it gave people hope that it would bring music executives attention to what's happening.

So, here's to a new calendar decade. Live long, prosper, and rock and roll!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

great movies of 2009

It's no secret that I've gotten back into watching movies again, since I left college 2 years ago. With Redbox and some Internet sites I have been able to catch up on films that I've definitely missed out on in the past. This year, I tried to keep up with the all the current movies. There's a lot I haven't seen, especially at the theater. I've been trying to save money from going there, since they will be out on dvd three months later. (Anyone else besides me remember those times where we would see a movie at the show and we would have to wait at least five months until it comes out on tape? lol)

What were my favorites of this year? 'Avatar' was AWESOME (in one word! Review below...), and Star Trek was great, too. I didn't actually see it until a month ago, and I fell in love with it. I'm not a Trekkie, and never have been either. But somehow JJ Abrams made the new ST franchise into a watchable movie for all-movie lovers. I wasn't even that enthused about it until everybody I know said it was good. The way I've always pictured Star Trek was all the main characters in the cockpit, staring into space and pointing to Klingons. You won't find any of that in the new movie, as there is non-stop action from start to finish.

Of some of the comedies of 2009 that I rented this year, 'I Love You Man' is my favorite. The main character reminds me of me sometimes. I do have close 'guy friends'. But as soon after I propose to my fiancee I would not know the first person to break the news to, besides my parents(!). There were several good things about the movie, and did I mention that Rush was in it too? Rock on! The only complaint about this movie is that it gave birth to stupid terminoligies like 'bro-mance'......

Last night, I watched 'Avatar' in 3-D. I walked away from the theater blown away. Once again, James Cameron has proved everyone wrong. Here's how I explain myself: remember before Titanic came out, it was over-hyped and it had publicity about its budget and all? Remember when it got delayed from Summer '07 to Winter of that year? And when everyone (so-called professional movie critics) predicted the movie would be a flop? Well, as of this writing, Titanic is still the #1 box office movie of all-time, and several people were blown away from its historical content and story, as well as its amazing (but expensive) sfx.

Fast forward ten years later. James Cameron announces his newest project (since Dark Angel and Titanic), called 'Avatar'. There were blue smurf-like figures in the pictures. The public was scratching their heads at this one, and then it was announced that more than 250 million was spent for this movie. And remember, times are different today because of our rotting economy. There was even a joke list email going around stating 'things that could have been spent with James Cameron's $250 million instead of Avatar'. But last week, Avatar got plenty of amazing reviews and it seems that things were looking great for the veteran director.

To me, it was a very powerful movie. I won't give away any spoilers, but I will say that some of the ways it was 'powerful' came from the main character, Jake Sully. It's all about for 'standing up for what you believe in while being considered a traitor' and you can definitely tell while watching the film about Cameron's 'pro-green, anti-war statements'. The fighting scenes in the movie reminded me of a lot of war movies in the past, and a lot of the creatures on planet Pandora reminded me of those from Jurassic Park. The only complaint about this movie is that it shines a stereotype among the Marine Corps with their so-called cocky and 'go get'em' image. Sigourney Weaver does an excellent performance as veteran scientist Grace, as well as Zoe Saldana as the Na'vi member's heroine. If you get the chance, watch this in 3-D. Trust me, it will be worth your extra 3 dollars.

Tell me what your favorite movies are of this year. I hope by New Years I will put what I think are the greatest movies from 2000-09.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

my top 10 songs of 2009

Alright, this is something I do every year on my Myspace blog, but I figure I'll go ahead and list it on here as well. As most of you may know, I do try to keep on the current music trends and songs. After all, as a self-proclaimed musicologist and dj, I gotta keep up! After hearing the Black Eye Peas say over and over tonight's gonna be a good night or hearing Lady Gaga's same-old 2 songs over and over (and they both sounded the same), it wasn't easy listening. Luckily I was able to find 10 songs that I never managed to get sick of. Check it out:

1. 'Empire State of Mind'-Jay Z and Alicia Keys. Great jam from the current master of hiphop.
2. 'Notion'-Kings of Leon. Okay, so I'm cheating (it came out last year), but still a good jam from my favorite current band
3. 'Know Your Enemy'-Green Day. Most of Green Day's songs sound the same, but this one actually rocks.
4. 'Check My Brain'-Alice in Chains. Great comeback song. Their Layne Staley days are definitely behind them, for now....
5. 'Dont Trust Me'-3oh3
6. 'Good Girls Go Bad'-Cobra Starship. I've never been a fan of emo or pop-punk, but something weird happened. It seemed that the above 2 bands actually mixed a little 'glam rock' in their music. Not only these songs were catchy, it actually shows that as long as you gotta catchy riff or line, you can make it happen. And on top of that, these 2 bands actually showed a little personality compared to FOB and all the others
7. 'Day and Night'-Kid Cudi. Great club song; never gets old
8. 'Rehab'-Rihanna. For some reason, I now get all the divas confused.
9. 'Hotel Room Service'-Pitbull. This one's another great jam, turn this baby UP!!!
and lastly...
10. 'No You Girls'-Franz Ferdinand. Like Green Day, these guys from Europe have their own recycled sound, but actually sounding good! Keep up the good work gang!

And there you have it. Next up: my top 50 songs of this decade

Thursday, December 17, 2009

just family stuff

It's not often I write about my family on here, but only because there's really not much to talk about. Sometimes there's things that go on between my mom's side of the family, such as my mom and her mother not getting along most of the time. I usually don't like to talk about my problems on here since I know you have problems of your own. And if you don't you're lying! Okay, what I am saying is everyone has their share at most times. I thought I'd write an update on how my grandmothers are doing. They are not doing so good health-wise, but the good news is its nothing deathbed-like. Just a lot of major changes underway.

My Grandma Young (maternal) just had skin cancer surgery and she is fully recovering right now. She had the work done two days ago (my mom's 63rd birthday) but as of now, she's pretty much on her feet. Needless to say, it wasn't really much of a great day for my mom since she had to be at her assistance most of the time. At 84, my grandma still gets around, but sadly she doesn't get active in activities. She's not even in the mood to get out for Christmas. We would go over to her house, but she's embarrassed about how messy her house has been getting. But I know I'll catch up with her soon.

Meanwhile, my Grandma Voigt fell recently at her apartment. Unfortunately it wasn't the first time it has happened this year but she is trying to get back on her feet. This is the part where it may get depressing. She'll walk again, but my dad fears that she'll continue to trip herself again judging by how she was walking around her hospital room. I visited her at Highland Hospital (or now called St. Josephs) last week and she was glad to see me. She will turn 92 on December 31. My dad and uncle obviously decided not to renew her drivers license. Dad even made the comment that she may end up in a nursing home soon if she doesn't take care of herself. Its a common thing to know that as you age, you get less hungry and sometimes people refuse to eat. That has been the way it was with my grandma, even though she walks to McDonalds in Highland (its just down the street). On top of that, her memory is becoming more short-term. Nothing like Alzheimers, if you know what I mean. She does keep up well on news since she reads the Post Dispatch all the time, as well as tabloids. She does repeat things over and over. I'm just happy she knows who I am still. It is also common to know that as someone loses their memory, they can still tell great stories from 'back in the day' going back to 50 or even 75 years ago. On a brighter note, my Grandma Voigt had a burn removed on her leg. My dad said that 60+ years ago, she burned her leg from a sun lamp.

So, that's an update. I will definitely bear with my parents as well as my uncle as they go through this tough transitional phase. They will definitely be taking turns doing the taxi service, as well as running errands. I even volunteered to help out. So, wish us all luck!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009 was a year for concerts/shows

At the beginning of this year, I promised myself that I would go to several concerts so I can enjoy myself and experience the greatness of the music and the performer. After all, I'm a lifelong fan of the greatest of all entertainment! I claim to have a very diverse taste, with some exceptions here and there (I can tell you in a future blog that I don't care too much for a lot of current stuff people my age call 'cool'), but I wanted to witness what I can before anything happens to me, or the artist or band. So as long as I can afford it, and take off work at the right time, then it was my time to fulfill. Life is too short. Party hard, if not even that!

If you've read a lot of my blogs throughout this year, you probably already know that I've attended a handful of shows. I got the chance to see rock legends Elton John and Billy Joel (together), Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Elvis Costello, among many others. I've even taken the chance to see current and future legends as well. In an earlier blog, I wrote about artists performing 'full-length albums' in concert. This year, I got to see four classic albums performed live. In this order, I saw Aerosmith perform their 1975 album Toys In The Attic. In August, I watched Motley Crue perform 1989's Dr. Feelgood as part of their 20th anniversary for the album. It was cool hearing Vince Neil saying 'Okay, that was the end of Side One. And now, on to Side Two....'. In October I witnessed They Might Be Giants performing one of my favorite albums, Flood. All the songs were not in order, but it was still cool. Later that month, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band performed the album that put them on the map, Born To Run.

But some weird things have happened throughout the year, associating with those acts. Aerosmith, for one. Today it is in question if the group will be together. As a lifelong fan of Aerosmith (since fifth-grade), I know they have had a long history together, going through one breakup which turned out for the best as they entered a second successful chapter in their career during the late 80s. My friend Liz (who is also a huge fan) once had a conversation that groups like Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones will never break up, unless death occurs or if something bad happens to a main member, like Mick Jagger or Joe Perry. When I saw Aerosmith back in mid-June, it was their first stop on the tour as they proudly started in St. Louis. I remember the rain delay as well as Perry and Steven Tyler singing the hits together on stage, often leaning against one another. Then a month later, Steve Tyler fell off a stage in South Dakota and that was it for the tour. Last month, it was reported in the media that Tyler hadn't 'spoke with any of the band members as well as his longtime songwriting/musical partner Joe Perry, in months'. There were several drama reports as Aerosmith band members went back and forth at each other, often denying 'a breakup'. According to Wikipedia, since that time Perry and Tyler have performed together a couple times on occasion. So who knows. I really don't want to see a breakup to one of the greatest American bands of all time, or someone taking Steven Tyler's place for that matter. Also, with Bruce Springsteen, I was quite shocked to hear that the next day (after I attended their St. Louis show) that they had to cancel their Kansas City show at the last minute because of a sudden death of one of Springsteen's family members. While I did felt bad for Springsteen, I considered myself very lucky to catch the show at good timing.

Last night, I went to Harrah's St. Louis to see Straight No Chaser. They are an acapella group (ten guys) who found success two years ago with their comical version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', which combined some humorous elements as well as a rendition of Toto's 'Africa'. The group found fame thanks to Youtube when a video of them performing the song in 1998 gained over 8 million views. Atlantic Records president got hold of what was going on and signed the group to a five-album deal. It was their first ever stop in the St. Louis area, and I was proud to be at the sold-out show. They said they will be performing a sold-out event at Madison Square Garden in NY tonight, and on Christmas Day they will be on the Today show. It was an amazing opportunity to meet the group after the show as all 10 members autographed my CD. I simply stated to all members that what they did was awesome and very creative, as well as impressive. It was my first concert that did not rely on instruments of any sort, although a harmonica was sometimes used to start a song. All it took was the power of voice, and all ten of the members were on the same page the whole time. Not one person was singled out as it was always a group effort. I think these guys will be around for a long time. The only challenge I believe would be distancing themselves as 'a holiday act'.

So, for 2010 and on, I will keep the promise on attending shows at the right time. I do hope to make it to a festival show down the road, meaning Coachella or Bonnaroo, or maybe the Memphis Blues festival. I'm already thinking about Rock Fest in Kansas City.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A decade in fallen sports heroes

Gosh, it's been forever since I blogged on here but this is usually the time of year when everybody's busy. I try to juggle it all with work, keeping tabs with people, shopping and keeping up on things. Like me, you're probably sick of hearing and reading about Tiger Woods. So he's had several affairs (10 at last count?) and he may have been drinking before the car crash. By the time the 2000-09 decade is over, we have another sports hero who has taken a dramatic turn.

I admit this has been a bad calendar decade for sports all in itself. Yeah I know, we've had our own St. Louis Cardinals win the Series ('06!), plus 2 baseball teams who hadnt won a world series for 3/4s of a century win their first World Series in a long time. But whats mostly been dominating the news this decade is the steroids scandals, basketball players gone bad and demanding too much, and of course, greed when it comes to the sports players. As Jack Buck once put it, 'This is their way of getting even with the owners'. Probably the biggest blow came to O.J. Simpson as he was found guilty for that hotel room incident last year. I remember reading an op-ed column about it (don't remember author) called 'A True Fallen Hero'. He talked about in the 1970s where O.J. Simpson dominated pre-teen boys walls and people from all races looked up to him. O.J. Simpson was a person who could do it all: be a football hero, an actor, and a celebrity pitchman. Of course, all that changed in 1994 when he accused of murdering his ex-wife and her lover. But despite of the acquittal, there was still a lot of speculation. The final nail in the coffin came last year as we saw the 'real side' of O.J. Simpson.

Its hard to find a sports hero. And by the way, this has gone on for a long time as far as controversy. In the 1930s, Babe Ruth was one of a kind out on the field but outside the game he was a 'boozing womanizer' that fans quickly forgave. I don't think it was such a big deal back then what they did in their outside life. But society is different today as public figures, no matter who they are (politicians, actors, sports figures), have to deal with gossip all the time. After all, that's what we get for being in 'The Information Age'.

It's looking like my pick for 'Athlete of the Decade' is Lance Armstrong. I'll get to more on that in a future blog. Before the year and month is over, I want to post a few lists of the best of 2009 as well as the best of 2000-09. Be on the lookout!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

you know Obama's doing something wrong when.....

...a 95-year old WWII veteran complains about the less-than-a-year old Obama administration. I got this off Snopes and I just had to share this. It's not everyday you hear about someone with a 95 y.o. brain and bones who can straight up tell it like it is and courageously write a letter to his Congressmen and the President. And yes, Harold Estes (author of this piece) is a real person and it was indeed written by him.


November 20, 2009

Dear President Obama,
My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.
I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a "rest home" located on the western end of Pearl Harbor allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.
One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.
So here goes.
I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.
I can't figure out what country you are the president of. You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:
" We're no longer a Christian nation"
" America is arrogant" - (Your wife even announced to the world,"America is mean-spirited. " Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.)
I'd say shame on the both of you but I don't think you like America nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.
After 9/11 you said," America hasn't lived up to her ideals."
Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British ? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War ? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers,husbands,and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around because we stand for freedom.
I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.
Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man. Shape up and start acting like an American.If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue .You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.
And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don't want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts who was putting up a fight ? You don't mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don't want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.
One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.
You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president. You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now. And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.
Harold B. Estes

McAlpin , FL

Sunday, November 29, 2009

stl radio is a-changin' (again)

So if you haven't heard in the last month, there have been major things going on in St. Louis radio. First I'll start with the obvious. Assuming you live in the StL area and you regularly surf the dial (like me, although I usually leave it on talk radio), you have noticed that 2 stations are playing Christmas/holiday music. It has been that way since November 1. 100.3 (once known as The Beat) and KEZK 102.5 have been playing that stuff 24/7. It is unlistenable to some, especially this early in the holiday season. To me, I think the more appropriate time to start playing Christmas music is right after Thanksgiving. I did hear that 100.3 did three days of playing non-stop Halloween and scary music before switching to glide.

This leaves all the people (including myself) who are hungry for radio jobs questioning: so what's next for 100.3? Will it becoming a new kind of black-oriented station? Or a new format? How about another randomizer format? Whatever it is, I hope they are looking for some great airstaff. Time to start pumping out resumes again.

And speaking of airstaff, after 7 years of being at Emmis, JC Corcoran gets shown the door. He (along with KSHE mainstay) John Ulett did the K-hits morning show during the week. This was reportedly his 25th year in St.L radio. What a good way to celebrate, huh? A lot of people were wondering why this all happened, and apparently according to the Post-Dispatch, Corcoran was a victim of new technology. I'm not really sure what it is, but apparently in the last few years Arbitron ratings (the way they have been doing them and recording results) has changed. Now, people can do 'diaries' (similar to blogs?) and the ratings system keeps track at what their most listened-to shows are. A lot of syndicated morning shows made the list, and only a couple local did. JC Corcoran's was ranked very low. This left Emmis with no choice but to can him, despite of the great sponsors and awards the show has got.

Katy Kruze will no longer be heard on Emmis stations either. This comes quite as a shock as I remember working with her while an Emmis intern. She was an icon, and its safe to say she was the most dominant and active female person at Emmis. It seems like just a couple weeks ago when I heard her show 'Katy's 80s' on KSHE. Another guy, 'Carl the Intern' is no longer there either.

So, that's my update. I really wish they'd bring back the long defunct site:

grazin' on the sidewalks

Everyone have a good Thanksgiving? Mine was decent, as I got to spend it with my Grandma Young and cousins who I never see. So it was good to catch up with them, although a bit awkward since they're too good to show up at family functions. But it was good to eat my grandma's rolls and noodles for the first time in a long, long time. I had to work later that night, since my employer decided to stay open on Thanksgiving. Did it pay off? Not on our part. We were so over on labor and low on sales, throughout the day. In fact, I swung by about 3 in the afternoon and there was like four employees sitting at the counter. So, maybe this experiment failed.

As I got to work at 9:45 that night, I was a bit surprised to see at least ten people standing right in front of Target. At Kohls, there were already several cars parked. I just thought to myself, is this going to be a long night? And it was. Dining room wasn't that busy, but I had a feeling drive-thru was going to be slammed with pre-shoppers. I must have sold at least more hot chocolate and hot tea more than the last five years combined. No joke. It was mostly picky people who were so crabby more than ever (was it the cold?) but I knew that these people were just straight-up losers. I know it sounds harsh, but I just don't see how anyone can sit in the cold for more than five hours just to save $50 or $100 on anything. It can be benefitting. This guy at work told me that one of his friends sold his place in line for $300. That gave me a good idea for next year lol. I know what I would do with $300!

The hottest spots to be at 3 in the morning were Old Navy (which was the first to open), Kohls (4am), Best Buy, Target and Walmart (all open at 5am). I watched how Targets line rapidly expanded. By 4am they were lined up past Sears Hardware. In other words, there was probably more than 120 people in line. I just kept thinking, what a bunch of sheep. By 6am, the restaurant I work at was getting packed as shoppers were already coming in. It was probably our busiest day of the year, as servers reported at least $175 in tips that day. I later went to Best Buy after work (7am) and I was able to get a Sony BluRay player (for $120) which came with Beetlejuice. I also got three more BluRays, and I got the Full House: Complete Series on DVD box set for an amazing low price. So I did my part on shopping.

Sorry if I offended those who regularly get in line on Black Friday, but it just makes me wonder how much of a follower a person can be. Okay, follower is not the word, but an obsessed bargain hunter. I love bargains, but I just can't believe people go out of their way for things that go down in value. I love buying electronics, but I prefer to choose carefully because I know something better will replace what I buy. Like this laptop that I bought a year ago, it may be useless in two years.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

tis' the season for some great Christmas/holiday tunes

NOTE: I first published this on 12/1/2006 on my Myspace blog. I decided to repost this for my eHow/Blogger readers. Checkitout.

Alright, one of my favorite times of the year-Christmas! What I like most about it (I don't even care about the presents anymore...) is the spirit, the love, and the music. Hell, I even like the food!

Every year, I pull out all the great Christmas music we all grew up with. I usually make CDs for my workplace bc now I have this reputation as the dj there. Which I don't mind, of course. As much as I hate to say this, but holiday music sounds a lot better from dead people, or people who are now deceased. Bing Crosby. Karen Carpenter. Nat King Cole. John Lennon. There are also a few exceptions on the deceased one. There are tunes that we love to hear each year that we expect to get sick of, but for some reason we never do and we look forward to hearing them after Thanksgiving. So I came up with my personal Top 25 of my favorite holiday tunes. I'm positive that most of you are familiar with all of these versions. These are not ranked in any order.

1. "A Holly Jolly Christmas"-Burl Ives

2. "Merry Xmas (War Is Over)"-John Lennon & the kids. This is a song you can't touch. I've heard this redone by a few and any revision to this song sucks.

3. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"-Nat King Cole. There are actually 4 different versions of this song put out, but I like the earliest of all of them.

4. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"-Andy Williams

5. "Sleigh Ride"-TLC, this is one of the hipper versions of this song, and they add a verse on this one.

6. "Little Saint Nick"-Beach Boys

7. "Christmas Wrapping"-Waitresses. One of the few great 80s New Wave holiday songs

8. "Feliz Navidad"-Jose Feliciano

9. "Jingle Bell Rock"-Bobby Helms. How can you not like this song (or version)? Hall & Oates actually did a great version as well.

10. "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"-Brenda Lee. Another song that we never get sick of. It's the classicness of this song.

11. "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"- Elmo and Patsy. Another classic.

12. "Wonderful Christmastime"-Paul McCartney. Sounds like it was written in two minutes, but hey you gotta admit its PAUL MCCARTNEY! The music sounds good, too.

13. "Do They Know It's Christmas"-Band Aid. The song that sparked the charity revolution. All Brits united as one. I don't recommend the updated 2004 version of this song.

14. "My Favorite Things"-Diana Ross & the Supremes

15. "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You"-Billy Squier. An unlikely Holiday classic, but it's actually better to hear when you're in a bar-type atmosphere.

16. "White Christmas"-Bing Crosby. Of course.

17. "The Chipmunk Song"-Chipmunks

18. "Baby It's Cold Outside"-Royal Crown Revue. I've heard many great pairings for this song, but this one stands out mostly.

19. "Blue Christmas"-Elvis Presley

20. "Winter Wonderland"-Eurythmics

21. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"-?

22. "Christmas at Ground Zero"-Weird Al Yankovic. I'm a huge Weird Al fan, and so it's likely I would include this Phil Spector parody on this list.

23. "Jingle Bell Rock"-Wayne Newton. Wait, what's a goofball like him doing on this list, you ask? This version of JBR comes to a close second. Give it a listen.

24. "Little Drummer Boy"-Dandy Warhols. A modern song, but for some reason no other version of this song turns me on.

25. "The Hanukkah Song"-Adam Sandler. Okay, so I'm not Jewish or anything. But worth putting on here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The power of power


The Declaration of Independence: 1 page long

The Constitution: 4 pages long

The Emancipation Proclamation: 5 pages long

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 8 pages long

19th Amendment to the Constitution: 1 page

Social Security Act of 1935: 64 pages long

Nancy Pelosi's House version of health-care bill: nearly 2,000 pages

Harry Reid's Senate version of health-care bill: 2,074 pages

The Communist Manifesto: scouds of pages in 15 volumes

Okay, so I hope by now I'm making my point. I agree with CNN's Jack Cafferty that the Health care bill from Congress is not about health care, its more about power. Sure, I think most hospitals need to be straightened out. I'm not even sure if there's anything about that in the bill(s). Maybe on page 120? or something. I don't know. The more details, the more power. That's just the way I see it.

Blu-Ray blues

It's almost been a year since I purchased my first ever laptop. I remember waking up suddenly on Black Friday (because of my odd sleep schedule) and I went to Best Buy and stood in the cold line for an hour. I didn't have anything in mind to buy, just hoping to get a good deal, here and there. When BB associates were passing out flyers for laptops under $800, I decided to take advantage of this deal and boy did I! I wasn't all that happy about the Blu-Ray player that came with the Sony Vaio, but as long as the same drive played DVDs and CDs, all is well.

In the last 12 months, I've vastly developed my Blu-Ray collection. While in the process, I have been getting rid of my DVDs, little by little. I'm even going as far as donating most to my local library in Glen Carbon. I still have all of my TV seasons, while I don't see much of a future for them on BluRay. I still have 'the very few' favorite movies on DVD, such as 'Almost Famous' and 'Titanic' (in a big collector's edition). I've now got over 30 movies on Blu-Ray. To many, that doesn't sound like enough. Or to those who don't own a Blu-Ray player or PS3, that's too many. I used to have a little over 50 DVDs, combined with movies, music videos, TV seasons and SNL compilations.

For the first few months I've had my laptop, I've been debating with myself and other people about the future of movie formats. For DVD lovers, this is going to be bad news. For anyone who's 'in' with the next wave, Blu-Rays are looking like the next thing. Especially with the HD revolution. The main reason I got rid of most of my DVDs is because, one, I didn't find the time to watch most of the movies. Two, they were taking up too much shelf space. Three, I hated the way most of them looked on the shelf. What I mean is DVD packaging differs big-time on most titles. Some DVDs are not in their usual cases. I'm sure I explained this pretty well. What I like about Blu-Ray is the packaging is mostly the same with the 'blue case stripe' on the top and bottom. And they're all the same size, with a few exceptions.

I'm not entirely positive that Blu-Ray is the upcoming hot trend for movie or video-buying. Two years ago, I quit buying DVDs because movies were easy to download illegally off the web and I remember having a conversation with one of my professors at SIUE about the digital future. He said that '10 years from now...everything will be on hard-drive. There will be no such thing as taking them off the shelf'. A friend of mine even told me that there was a discussion and debate in his IC class about us watching movies by simply plugging in a flash-drive. According to wikipedia, Ghostbusters became the first movie available on a flash drive (last year). I don't know if any other movies have followed. I've gotten maybe 15 movies from the web (yeah, I'll admit it) but I can't say they're in the best condition. I'm also very supportive to Hollywood, as I want them to keep making good movies. So I'll go out and buy if I want the best quality and sound of movies.

The only negative thing about Blu-Ray is the cost. Yeah I know, some catalog titles are cheap. That is true. But if a new movie comes out, it can be priced from $25 or higher. The only other thing is that not all films are released on Blu-Ray. Most film/entertainment companies are doing their part by putting their classic titles on the still-new format. I've even gotten a kick out of the Digibook style, where classics like 'Dr. Strangelove' and 'shawshank Redemption' have been packaged like a book. I've gotten titles as cheap for $5, most notably the movie 'Waiting' (a future cult-classic, btw!). And now, some TV seasons are now being released on BluRay. All four (or 5?) seasons of Weeds are available on BluRay. Fox is even going to put out the Simpsons' 20th season (most recent) on Blu-Ray, while skipping ahead on the slow-running DVD series. So there's lots to look forward to.

If you're a Blu-Ray fan like me, I suggest you go to There's plenty to look around. Lists of Blu-Ray releases (current, new and upcoming) and they keep an eye out what's coming ahead. They even have professional reviews on almost every Blu-Ray movie (or whatever) to come out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

nice place to live? Okay!

I've been wanting to write this blog the last 2 months and I've finally got down to it. Back in September, Money Magazine rated the town I live in, Glen Carbon, Illinois, one of the 'Top 100 Best Places to Live in America'. It was ranked #93. Sure, it was low, but it beat out tens of thousands of villages, towns and cities, so I'm still patting it on the back :).

I have been thinking about why it made the list. I'm not arguing, but I kind of wonder what makes the village perfect, in a way. Actually not perfect, even though we have a couple bad areas. Sources say we are the fastest growing Metro East community in the outside St. Louis area. That's a huge compliment, if you compare us with Waterloo, St. Clair and Madison county towns. And with Edwardsville just next door, its a perfect team. Edwardsville itself is growing, in huge part because of SIUE and we've turned ourselves into Fairview Heights. If only we don't go the same road as Fairview, meaning turning ourselves into a ghetto area despite having numerous places to shop. I remember the population of Glen Carbon being only 5,200 and now its tripled its size in the last few years.

There are a number of reasons that I believe have helped contribute our reputation.
--One, we are open to religion. I'm not religious, but I think its a good thing to help spiritualize the community. In most areas as you're entering Glen Carbon, you'll find signs that say 'Glen Carbon welcomes you....attend the church of your choice'. There are lots of churches in GC.
--Two, we are very senior-friendly. When I was interning at the city of Florissant a couple years back, the StL suburb was very reputable in having dozens of activities available to people of all ages, buit mostly seniors. You always gotta make them feel welcome everywhere you go. GC has a lot of retirement homes and centers plus they do their part in preserving GC's rich heritage, which I'll get into at the end.
--Three, education. Glen Carbon is part of Edwardsville's District 7, which is a huge plus. Under the leadership of Dr. Ed Hightower, the district has vastly expanded, with several schools in all the small parts. Like him or not, he continues to make education a huge priority in central Madison County. District 7 has been named one of the top 100 school districts in 2 publications. We have 2 middle schools and an enormous high school (opened in '97). If socialized schools aren't for you, there's several private schools in the area to serve people as well.
--Four, we offer several things to do during the day. We have several parks and did I trails? Glen Carbon takes claims as one of the first few towns to adapt bike trails from old railroads. Miner's Park is always a great getaway for kids, as well as the parks behind City Hall and the old Fire Station. Several jogging and bike trails are paved around GC and Edwardsville. They always say that a place without parks or outdoor 'hangout' areas, its a bad area.

Again, I'm not saying Glen Carbon is perfect. We've been through our share of struggles. Remember all the TIFs? And not a lot of people are comfortable with the growth. We also almost got a Super Walmart. But thanks to a lot of voices against it, the company decided not to put it there. We will be the only place in Madison County that doesn't have a Super Wally. (Granite City and Godfrey will soon get one, while Wood River, Highland and Collinsville have one) Glen Carbon is trying to look old-fashioned, which is alright by most means. History always comes into play. Whenever people tell me there is no difference between Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, I always bring up the mining history of Glen Carbon that helped develop the village. Edwardsville itself has a rich history, being the home of three past Illinois governors, including its namesake, Ninian Edwards.

So here's to Glen Carbon!

new documentary ideas

I've been wanting to get a great HD camcorder for a while, and unfortunately I haven't really saved up for one. I still don't know which is the best out there, and I know that every year they change, feature-wise, so it doesn't matter on timing.

For a while now, I've been wanting to do a follow-up to my short project that I did 2 1/2 years ago for school. Not necessarily a sequel, but a more updated short documentary on the still-growing online social networking trend. As most of us know, so much has changed since the Spring of '07, and its almost 2010. Here's a look:

-Facebook has definitely expanded bigtime. Their experiment from being a college/h.s. student only site to an all ages site has paid off well. I even know an 80-year old lady that regularly uses FB.

-Myspace. I've already pointed out several times in this blog that there is a slow poison that's turning people away from this site, which was once known as 'the granddaddy of them all'

-Twitter. Unfortunately not everyone I know personally uses Twitter, but its good to keep tabs with people's microblogs, depending on who you follow. It has also given way to the new saying, "50 years ago, people did what they could to find the news. Today, the news finds YOU'. As of now, there is a celebrity trend on Twitter. Some of you may disagree with me on this one.

-Going back to Facebook, there have been numerous changes, besides the audience. When I did the short doc in early '07, there were no 'applications' and not many people were comfortable with the 'news feed'. There were no fan pages back then, or Farmtown, or Mafia Wars. There were even no 'Friend Suggestions' or 'People You May Know' links. There were even no 'Like' or hell, even no status comments back then either. Perhaps in early 2010 we'll finally see a 'dislike' button? Maybe. It would be fun to point out so many of these changes.

-Youtube. While its not really a socialnet site, people have been utilizing it to promote themselves bigtime.

Next year, or when I hopefully get my camcorder, I would like to do another short documentary project just for fun. This will be in the same format as my previous one. I want there to be a mixture of interviews, debates, and of course, what people would consider it, my deadpan style of humor. This is just a thought for now, and I hope this will help me regain my confidence in video editing and making.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Springsteen was born to run

Alright, another concert review. On Sunday (10/25) I went to see Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band at Scottrade. It was one of the greatest shows I've ever been to, in short. I'm not sure where to start on this one. For a guy who has been around the block for a hefty long time (the early 70s), he's still got the energy to please everyone who takes the time to go out and see him. Bruce has always been known for 'standing up for the little guy' as anyone can tell by his lyrics and political views. Up until Sunday, I have never seen a 60-year old guy crowd-surf. He invited so many people to join him on stage (mostly women) and I was amazed that he had the whole crowd sing the verses (not him) to 'Hungry Heart' and 'Born To Run'.

That being said, I still think he is one of the most overrated rockers in history, mainly because of the so-called professional critics of magazines like Time, Newsweek, and oh yeah, Rolling Stone. I do think people give him too much credit for his part on rock and roll, but I do have to give him props on staying alive during the short disco and new-wave era. Rolling Stone has given just about every one of his albums a four or five-star rating. Hey, more power to him. He's sold a lot of albums, but there are still a handful of acts that have outsold him despite critics. The main reason I did see 'The Boss' was I heard that he was known to put on a great performance in concert, and that was why I spent all the money to go see him in person. And of course, I got what I paid for, which was awesome.

He did the whole 'Born To Run' album live as well as most of his early stuff. I thought it was very ironic that he only did one song from his signature album 'Born In the USA'. That song of course was 'Dancing in the Dark' where he had a few ladies join him on stage. I was also amazed that he was able to impromptu covers while taking requests from people who sat close to the stage.

So what's next for shows this year? (Anthony, are you listening? j/k) I hope to see Charlie Daniels in December. He's putting on a show at the Family Arena. I would love to go out and see the legend perform while he still can. Especially if I read his blogs at

gobble this!

Time for another update. I've been without Internet access for two days (may my 2wire modem rest in pieces) but hopefully next week they'll send me a new one. I don't know how many times I can carry my laptop to places but oh well. Wah wah. Now I'm trying to figure out what I did before the web came. Oh yeah, television.

I thought I'd write about the current controversy at my workplace. (note: I'm not going to say my employer since most of you do know where I work and in case some jackass googles this and reports me) This year our CEO announced a month ago that we will be open on Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas. It's made 98% of everyone at my work frustrated and including yours truly, very mad. I try to look at it both ways. Since I've worked there in '98, the only two days we were closed was Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know times are meant to change, but still. I know we are in a recession, and I can't really comment on how bankrupt or money-hungry my employer is, but this is just asking too much for everyone who works for the company. This just seems like an act of desperation and just a simple way of making a dollar just by asking the employees on all rings of the ladder to sacrifice their traditions. I know that a lot of places are still open on turkey day, such as Denny's and a lot of non-chain family restaurants around me that have Thanksgiving dinner specials. I even have a friend that works at the Cracker Barrel in Troy and he says that every year they are packed on Thanksgiving. So I'm speculating, because of these growing trends, now WE have to jump on the bandwagon. In the words of Rush Limbaugh, I hope this experiment fails. Since the restaurant I work at has a menu that doesn't replace a turkey or special type of dinner, I don't really see business happening.

There has been a lot of shakeups at the top of the ladder at my employers'. A lot of people despise our CEO (and the one before him) because of their nationality. It is believed they are both from the Middle East. And of course, I hear ethnic slurs about them all the time, but I don't care where they're from as long as they know the tools of how to keep the company balanced. As I've written before, there have been a lot of uncomfortable changes and most of them were based on their decisions. So needless to say, the whole Thanksgiving thing is the latest. A lot of people are even questioning that if they were indeed from outside the US, they would not take Thanksgiving seriously. Some people see turkey day as a religious holiday, while I see it as a spiritual and patriotic holiday. Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is not about eating, but giving thanks to what you have and counting your blessings.

I know that not everyone has the same Thanksgiving traditions, and I know that not everyone has a loving family or group to go to, but its a day besides Christmas that we should all devote to other people, especially family. In the last three years, everyone in my family has been going to my sisters place in Metropolis (about 3 hours away from me) and spending the whole day there. This year will probably either be a solo meal with myself or maybe going to my grandma's. It's still in question. Everyone who works with me is being forced to work that day. I can see why, only because the management is trying to be fair. Going back to what I said about being busy at Cracker Barrel, its not just lonely people or couples that come in on Thanksgiving. Its multigenerational families that are too lazy to cook at home. Instead of devoting hours (or days) in preparing a special meal, they take the easy route of going out to a restaurant. So in other words, I'm also kind of blaming society for not being traditional anymore. But that's just me.

Thanks for letting me rant on this one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

exclusive blog

At last, finally an exclusive blog here on blogger! Sorry I have been slow at posting blogs this month. It just seems that October has been a very busy month. I'm not sure why when it comes to looking back, but its shocking to know the month's almost over. I know that I haven't been posting hardly any blogs on Myspace lately...since, as mentioned in the previous post, that more people are turning away from the once-mega popular social networking site.

I think its because I've looked into a lot of opportunities in the last two months. No real jobs, but just some stuff that is new to look into. I was approached at Pop's night club last month about an opportunity to edit some guy's planned reality show. We talked about it for a bit, and we were both excited about it. But since then we have only texted each other maybe 3 times. Who knows. For my long-delayed real estate education, I recently got to chat with an old high school classmate of mine (whom I haven't talked to or seen in years, only to have him find me on Facebook) who is really big on investing in real estate. We chat for almost an hour about his previous experiences and in fact, he just recently closed out on a trailer park down in Texas. Overall, the conversation was well worth it since he provided his own input on today's world of investing and with a little advice as well.

I've also been hanging out with my grade-school bf, Josh, who's living in downtown Alton (which is a bad area despite being near a police station). I've been helping him fix computers, and in return, he hooked me up with Windows 7 (he's a Microsoft distributor) on both my laptop and my desktop PC. Windows 7 (which I got 2 1/2 wks before it came out!) is almost exactly the same as Vista, but with no errors by any means. In other words, it runs very smoothly. Plus, I seemed to notice that they definitely revamped Microsoft Paint. Just a random thing ;)

Josh also introduced me to these blog sites that actually pay people over time for writing articles. I wasn't familiar with eHow or Helium until he showed me around. As some of you may know, I love writing, to a certain extent. I wasn't very good at writing in high school or early college only because I didn't like being told what to write about. Not to sound too negative, but if I can't write it in editorial-style, then that's the part that isn't fun anymore. I've already written two articles for eHow, which so far have gained 20 views. I know its better than nothing. Josh, on the other hand, has so far made $8 and in a few years he will have great passive income. For some reason, I'm just not motivated at the moment to write for these sites. Could it be the change in scenery?

Probably the other reason October has been a very busy month is because I've been working crazy hours at Steak 'n Shake. It's like one day I'm working 10am to 5pm, then the next day from 10pm to 6am. Then the next day I would work the dinner rush shift. My sleep schedule would be crazy. I've also been trying to hook up with a girl there, but there are a few things that stand in the way. One, she's 18. I normally don't have a problem with age, although my limit is 20. But with me being 28, there's places I can't take her since most are age-restricted. Two, we work together. After I got in trouble 3 years ago at work, I pledged to myself I would never 'hook up' with anyone at work. Three, she doesn't come from a stable home. I know women aren't supposed to be perfect, but the saying always goes, you can't win 'em all! But she's got the girl next door look and she's very level-headed, and at age 18, she's very mature. Its just that she lives in her own apartment (since age 15) because her parents are crazy, literally. There is a story that goes with it, but I'll stop right there. I do hope to help her out. She's better than what she thinks she is, and I want to be that person who shows her that.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

current events and things

For the first time in a while, I've been slow at posting stuff on here. I can't believe that I've already put 50 blogs on here so far in 2009! Since Myspace is slowly self-destructing, you can probably see why. So much has gone on in the world so I think I'll add my two cents to certain topics.

--The Cardinals. They played a great season, not including postseason. Redbird fans had plenty to celebrate all summer while going to Baseball City and enjoying a game. (I actually went to a game in early September) Everyone knows about the big loss we suffered this weekend. As Bernie Miklasz of the Post Dispatch put it, 'The Cardinals go out with a whimper...'. I couldn't agree more. I can't play better baseball, but those players are getting nice salaries for a reason and they're lucky to be on a team with the greatest loyal fans. As I bid a congratulations to Joe Torre's Dodgers, I must admit it did not go well all three games. As I was watching most of the players (mostly outfielders), I couldn't help but notice we gave up. Sure, we got NL Central Division title. But you gotta go as far as you can. And on top of that we won more games against the Dodgers more than lost. Sure, most of it was during Manny Ramirez's suspension. Speaking of which, every time I saw his cocky face and attitude, I couldn't help but use my middle finger at the TV each time. As for the future of Pujols, Holliday and LaRussa, who knows. I know the Cards GM is trying to keep them on the team, but LaRussa's future may be bleak with the Cards. There's always next year, as they say. Despite of all this, St. Louis baseball had one thing to celebrate this year: the hosting of the All Star Game. And the new I-64 will be named after Jack Buck. Now that's a winner.

--The Rams. I don't follow pro football, so it would be wrong for me to criticize. I'm just sick of hearing about their embarrassing losing streak, that's all. I admit I'm a fairweather fan at times. So throw in your opinions here. I just can't believe at the start of this decade, the Rams were unstoppable Super Bowl champs, and from there it all went south. Now at the close of this decade, we've become the laughingstock. It just shows that what goes up must come down.

--Obama's Nobel Prize. I'm torn on this one, as this has gotten mixed reactions. I can't take away the fact that Obama helped unite this nation during our struggles (well, most of the time!). And he became the first African-American President after years of racial struggles in this country. But 60 million people didn't vote for him because he was black. They thought he had all the answers to help fix our economy and change our world view. I know I've said a lot of things about me disagreeing with Obama's ideas and solutions, as I won't get into. I'm saving all of that for later. Going back to the Nobel Prize win, I know he didn't personally apply for it and he didn't ask for it. Obama himself was shocked and humbled at this win. He may not think he'd deserving. But if I were offered it, I'd take it. Yes, I still think its very odd to put him in a class with Lech Walesa and Nelson Mandela, as they've gone through so much to earn this award. Some people believe the Nobel Peace Prize is just an item, and it doesn't matter anymore, since people like Yasir Arafat, and later on, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, have also won the Peace Prize.

That's all for now, but I'm sure I got plenty of topics that I forgot to write about.

I'll close with this question: Since '06, I've built a small following here on Myspace writing blogs and its always been fun posting stuff on here. But as said earlier, as more people are turning away from Myspace, it's been getting less fun. I know I still have readers and all, and I thank you all! I was considering at one point putting new blogs on Facebook. What's stopping me is this: I don't personally like how Facebook advertises the heck out of what I put on Facebook. I'll try to explain this more. Here on Myspace, people have the choice of going to my profile and reading my blogs (and at times, subscribing). On Myspace, there is no newsfeed, unless you've 'subscribed' to a particular friend. I like this more than how Facebook does it, which is automatically putting everything I do on a newsfeed so everyone can see it. I don't like to be overexposed that much, as I know it can alienate someone. Yes, I'm proud of what I do. But too much is too much. I'm not sure if there's ways I can control that, but maybe I'll try it later on. I'm also not sure if there are ways to subscribe to Facebook blogs. Also on a side note, I don't like how Facebook calls them 'Notes'. I have a Blogger account, but most of the time I feel like I'm talking to myself on there.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

kiss and tell

Aw, come on now, you gotta be kidding me?!!! Actually in terms of KISS, I'm talking about the band. Last Tuesday, as I was going through my tweets, I couldn't believe my eyes. Kiss has finally been looked at by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee and was one of the 12 nominees. This is a surprise because Kiss has been eligible for induction since '99 (10 yrs) and all this time Kiss fans and band members have dissed the Hall for excluding them.

For those of you who have been reading my blogs for a long time, you'll know that I follow on RRHOF activity. In fact, I was once a member for a year, but I dropped it. I still haven't made it to the museum. But as a self-proclaimed historian and music enthusiast, I do care about who deserves the recognition for the RRHOF. The RRHOF has been around for 25 years (the museum opened in '95) and every year they would induct 10-12 bands and/or solo acts. However, in the last few years, that number has been wittled down to 5 inductees. There have been over 200 groups and musicians inducted, which seems like a lot. But again, however, in the last ten years this has generated controversy as several rock fans and critics have noticed several music legends have been turned away and overlooked. In fact, I once wrote a blog about this. According to the RRHOF's website, eligibility for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes this criteria:

Leaders in the music industry joined together in 1983 to establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. One of the Foundation’s many functions is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.
Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.

So, needless to say, again, this has been very controversial. I can say that every band and artist that is currently in the Hall of Fame is deserving (ok, maybe not Percy Sledge or the Sex Pistols, but oh well....). Going back to Kiss, there has been a long-standing feud with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons vs. the journalists of Rolling Stone and Creem magazine. One of the Hall's nominating committee members, Dave Marsh (former Rolling Stone writer and co-founder of Creem magazine) once made the comment: 'Kiss is not a great band, Kiss was never a great band, and Kiss will never be a great band...and I have done more than my share of keeping them off the ballot'.
So its no wonder that Paul Stanley was very bitter about the RRHOF:

The beauty of America is that you can basically start any kind of private club you want to. This one happens to be called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's a very impressive name for a club but it's an illusion. It's the creation of a group of industry people and critics who decide who they deem as qualified to be in their little admiration society. It's their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it's not the people's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Have you ever voted? I know I haven't. That's why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, besides having people who very much belong in there, have an abundance of people who most people will scratch their head and not even have a clue who they are. I don't have anything against anybody who's been inducted, but more than a couple of them are a joke. A band or musician's impact is measured by how they change and influence society and other musicians. That and how many albums and concert tickets they sell should be what gets them into the Hall of Fame. As far as I'm concerned it's a private club with a misleading name. It's a sham.

As far as Kiss fans, they can care less whether or not they are in the Hall. Or do they? Who knows. I can see both ways why they haven't been considered an influential rock band. It's easy to say they are one of the biggest 'cult bands'. And I can't take away the fact they are great entertainers and they put on dazzling performances. I have never been to a show of theirs, but TV has shown me. The music is another story. I do like four of their songs, but most of their 'other stuff' is unlistenable because of their lack of singing talents. And most of their songs sound the same. But personality and charisma is always a key, and they got it. And the record sales and soldout shows prove it. So congratulations to Kiss and I hope they get selected for induction in January. And if they pull a Sex Pistols stunt, it can create great publicity for them.

Other nominees include Darlene Love, Donna Summer, Jimmy Cliff, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Stooges, the Chantels, Genesis, the Hollies, LL Cool J, Laura Nyro and Abba. There's no doubt in my mind that the Chili Peppers will get in this year, as this is their first year of eligibility. Controversy is surrounding LL Cool J as he is the fourth rap/hiphop act to be nominated, as other pioneering rap acts have been overlooked.

random observations with a side of guacamole

(This blog was published on Myspace on 9/15/09)

It's been awhile since I've blogged about my workplace, so I thought I'd pump something out here. Yes, I still work midnights at good ole SnS, while trying to create a new life. Whatever pays the bills, right? I know there's a lot of bad things going on no matter where you work when it comes to people at the top not thinking about what the people on the bottom rungs of the ladder feel like. As for me, I try to make my job more enjoyable by simply catching on to what society and people do as far as eating out goes.

In the last few months the latest controversy at SnS has been the new drive-thru times rule. For the majority of the day, each shift must close out with an average 2 minutes, 15 seconds drive-thru window waiting time. It's hard for me to explain this, but if you have worked at other fast-food places you'll know what I'm talking about. We (including all the general managers) know that a place like SnS have never been known for speedy fast service. We were never meant to be a typical fastfood joint like McD's and Burger King. My theory on this is that our CEO (who recently resigned) came to the conclusion where SnS just can't compete with sit-down places like Applebees, Ruby Tuesdays, Red Robin, etc. anymore, so now we're trying to be too different from anyone.

On my shift (from 10pm to 6am), pretty much the goal is at least under 3 minutes. It's still quite a challenge, but sometimes I do succeed. But in the last 2 months I've started to notice something. From Sunday to Thursday and sometimes on the weekends, drive-thru gets more customers than dining room on midnights. We all think its because people are just too cheap to tip, but there's other theories as well. In my opinion, drive-thrus were made to serve people who wanted something quick and fast. Examples include combo meals, a shake, or just an order of fries and a drink. If I'm going to take my family out to eat, I'll take them inside and make ourselves at home. But unfortunately, I've noticed that people are ordering big meals for other people in drive thru, like $20-$30 tickets. And with me and 2 people its hard to keep the times down. And even worse, people act like fools by asking for their food done in a certain way (which I don't have a problem with) but they get mad bigtime if I miss a step. Then they act like spoiled brats and start asking for condiments on the side at the window after I bring them their food. To me, this is not a common thing in drive-thru. What else is not common is that I spot people (without common sense) munching away at their food for 2-3 minutes (at the window) after they receive their food. It's my job to ask if I forgot anything, but they always say, 'Oh no, we're just eating....'. Then I have to politely ask them to leave. I call it 'picnicking' when it comes to people just chillin and eating at the DT window. When I go to Hardees and/or Taco Bell I don't sit there and eat away. Why would I want to spend more time at the window when I'm in my car and I don't have to? When it comes to being picky and snooty, I'm nothing like that. Sure, every now and then I go to Jack in the Box and get 2 tacos for 99 cents without the sauce. But just certain things like how much the bread is toasted or fries not 'burned to a crisp' is just getting out of hand. Last night, I had two guys eating 2 big meals I served them through the drive-thru and they sat in the parking lot for a long time. Hmmmm. Then like 20 minutes later they come in and say, 'Mannn. These fries taste like greasy sh*t. Lemme get new ones...'. There's also times where people can just be rude when they order while I try to say things with a smiling face.

So, I thought I'd get this one off my chest. It is my job to make sure people get their food and they leave SnS happy and well-served. But please, don't be a jerk. After all, I make your food. Watch the movie 'Waiting'. You may think I'm a piece of sh*t, but I am a hard-working honest person like you. Or maybe you're a spoiled rotten person who thinks Barack Obama/Nancy Pelosi are the saviors, and you probably sit around and get stoned watching Family Guy. I don't know. But I'll stop right there.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I know you're all sick of hearing about Kanye's outburst that happened last night at the VMA's, but as a music enthusiast/historian, I'd like to share my two cents. And yes, I know there's more important things to talk about, like the upcoming health-care thing and protests (I hope to finally write a blog about it soon). But first, let's have a moment of silence for Patrick Swayze. Me and him go way back when I idolized him in 'Dirty Dancing' back in the late 80s. He was as smooth and suave as he can be up until the end of his life. He was also one of the very few Hollywoodies that devoted much time to his family while maintaining a career. He's now literally a ghost, and may he rest in peace.

I was hanging out at the radio station when the Awards happened, so I actually didn't watch it and I didn't know 'till this morning. But the first thing I saw as I opened my Yahoo start page, was that picture of Kanye with big headlines, with a stunned Taylor Swift. I had to see what was going on. After reading and watching it, I had to analyze everything. Why? Who? What caused him to do this? Is he on drugs or is he just an attention whore?

I think Kanye West and Taylor Swift are both talented musicians. Taylor is a good role model for her demographics group and she was one of those who worked her way from the anchor to get where she is. She's doing very fine for a Country musician on an independent label. Kanye is a great producer, and sometimes a good rapper (some of it is unlistenable like Twista's 'Slow Jams'). The 'Graduation' CD was a good listen over and over. But the big difference between the two personalities is not just the different side of the musical streets they're on. Without Jay-Z, there would be no career for Kanye. As mentioned above, Taylor started at the bottom and worked hard to get to where she is. And for her to show courage on stage while Kanye is ranting away, that makes me give her extra points.

And yes, I know that this is not the first time Kanye had shown public outrageous behavior. I know the music world will probably give him another free pass, or who knows. I believe in free speech. But free speech has a hefty cost, and to me there is a difference between saying things at the right place, right time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

remembering '94, part deux

As I was cleaning and going through old stuff today, I found some of my old journals that I used to keep during my junior high and high school days. They totally brought back a lot of memories since I wrote a lot of details about classmates, teachers, student life, etc.

It also came to my attention that 15 years ago this month I entered the 7th grade, or junior high school. It was quite a challenging time for me, and for everyone in that age range. So much has changed since back then. Edwardsville had one junior high school (7th and 8th grade). Today, E'ville has 2 'middle schools' that have 6th-8th graders. And we have a new high school, even though it opened in '97. As for a lot of people, it took a lot of adjusting to being around so many people. While I was pretty much a loser in my post-7th grade years, I still gotta remember some of those were the best days.

I'll never forget my first day of 7th grade. It was after Labor Day (we normally start the 2nd to last week of August but that year we had a long teachers' strike), and I remember meeting all of my teachers that day. Mr. Freymuth was my first teacher, and he was awesome. Freymuth had reminded everyone he taught in that same room for over 30 years. He even reminded me that he had 2 of my older sisters. It wasn't until gym class that it got scary. It would be our first time to change clothes in front of everyone in a locker room for me, but not until the next week. As Mr. Zupanci was giving us a tour of the locker room, he stood there pointing at the bathroom stall and urinal.

'If you gotta take a shit, there's a crapper over there....'

The whole room just busted up laughing.

'...and don't be shitting on those walls. Or you'll hafta clean it up..'.

It was the first time I ever heard a teacher of mine swear, and I'm sure it was the case for everyone else. That's probably why I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

So, just thought I'd share a little more school memories on here. More to come, maybe?

Beatlemania strikes again!

Most of us know that today is 9/9/9 or in Beatles terms: number 9, number 9, number 9....

You've heard it advertised everywhere. The Beatles have now put their name on a video game franchise. I'm not a fan of video games, but I do hope that the Beatles Rock Band Edition will extend their influential lives on this generation. While Paul and Ringo are still around, it will give them a chance to see what it was really like to be in a 'real band'. And with them also releasing their re-mastered catalog of titles on 09/09/09, its very fitting. (By the way, according to most sources, this will be the last day we will experience a single-digit date altogether. It won't happen until January 1, 2101.)

I've had at least 3 Facebook friends ask on their statuses what their favorite Beatles songs are. So I thought I'd share my favorite Beatles songs for the first time, along with why I like them. These are mostly the songs I never grow tired of. Following are my 'bottom 5' or my 'least favorite' Beatles songs. Since the White Album is my favorite Beatles lp, I did not include any of the songs that are off it.

These are not ranked in any order.

1. 'She's a Woman'. Gotta love this early tune. It combines the New Orleans and skiffle grooves.

2. 'Eleanor Rigby'. Me and this song go way back. I memorized the lyrics to this song for a poetry assignment in the 7th grade. Needless to say, I won great points with my English teacher....

3. 'Across The Universe'. I admit I never heard the 'real' version, but as for now, Phil Spector's version stands beautiful in my mind...

4. 'Day Tripper'. One of the best guitar hooks in a Beatles song. Also see down below for best 'covers'

5. 'And I Love Her'. Very smooth, slow paced romantic song, sung very well by Paul

6. 'Nowhere Man'. Very random song, which happens to be catchy. It was also the first Beatles song that was not about love and relationships.

7. 'Hello Goodbye' My favorite #1 hit from the Beatles.

8. 'This Boy' My favorite straight-up vocal song by the Beatles, which was done pre-1964, most notably on the Ed Sullivan show.

9. 'Getting Better'. Tied with 'Good Morning' as my favorite Sgt. Pepper's song, its always a good reminder that things do tend to get better all the time

10. 'Things We Said Today'. It just sounds different from a lot of their '65-'66 work. But awesome song.

My bottom 5:

1. 'Free As A Bird'
2. 'Real Love'
It's just not the same without the Fab Four in the studio all at once. Sure, it was the case in their later years, but at least they sounded like they came from that time. But these two songs (which John Lennon recorded on a tape recorder) just sound oh-so-bland and even Paul's voice doesn't help. The Beatles music belongs from 1970 to before.

3. 'Hey Jude'. Sorry, I just think the song is too long, too overplayed. I know that the song was intended to be about Julian Lennon adjusting to his parents divorce, but still...

4. 'Twist and Shout'. Its just that the song is too weak. I do admit, however, the song only sounded good in the movie 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' with everyone dancing to it. But in general, no.

5. 'I'm Only Sleeping'. Just an annoying song.

Cool Beatles covers:

1. 'Day Tripper'-Jimi Hendrix Experience. This is found on his 'BBC Sessions' album. It's a rocking good version that sounds as great as the original.

2. 'Got To Get You Into My Life'-Earth, Wind & Fire. As performed by them in the disaster movie 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band', Maurice White and the gang give the song a fresh new R&B life.

3. 'Come Together'-Aerosmith. Another song off the 'Sgt. Pepper's movie soundtrack', Steven Tyler actually pulls it off well in this cover.

4. 'With a Little Help From My Friends'-Joe Cocker. We all know this as the theme to the Wonder Years, but the whole song (including guitar solos by Jimmy Page) is just phenomenal.

5. 'Helter Skelter'-U2. Bono gives this song a fresh edge to this.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

not cool

This blogs pretty much about me and my vacation that I'm on....but I thought I'd go rant on here too. Last week Ted Kennedy (longtime senator from MA) passed away. They say if I can't say anything nice I won't say anything at all. But I can't take away that he was involved with cases and laws that changed America in a positive way. It's just that I saw him as a complete hypocrite who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth who just drank heavily and was probably a womanizer. And the whole Kennedy tragedy? Big deal. There's numerous families around that have went through tragedy, although I do know there's a big difference between public and private.

And then there's DJ AM. Hmmm. Where to start on this one? I knew that he was a so-called 'celebrity DJ' who was once part of Crazy Town, and he survived a fiery plane crash along with Travis Barker. I've seen him on a couple awards shows spinning records. I'm sorry to say that he was in a profession where he was lucky and he should have been enjoying the ride. Though I do know it takes a little talent to DJ and spin records, pretty much anyone can do what he did. Call me a hater, call me another jealous guy, but I have no respect for a man who didn't live life the way it's supposed to be. I'll explain myself. The dude survived a fiery plane crash (that killed 4) and yet the former drug addict went back to doing drugs! He was given a second chance at life, for crying out loud and he didn't live it to the fullest. Sure, he probably felt like he didn't deserve it, but who knows. I actually read his twitter (I know, creepy...) which had some tweets right before he died. In most of his tweets, he seemed happy and okay. In fact, in one of his last tweets he wrote, "I get to throw the first pitch at the NY Mets game today. Tell me, how many DJs ever get that opportunity....". So maybe he knew he was lucky, I'll never know.

The main reason my blog is titled, 'Not Cool' is because now, of DJ AM's death, the concert I was going to attend tomorrow night has been postponed. I was going to attend the Weezer and Blink 182 show tomorrow night at Verizon, but it was cancelled bc the band wanted to let Travis mourn the loss of his 'dear friend'. The Cleveland show was also postponed too. I didn't really like Blink 182, but I do respect them since they were one of the bands that 'got there first' because of the genre they helped invent 'pop-punk'. I was going mostly to see Weezer, and bc people from work were going. So what to do on a Thursday night? Hmmm.

Anyhoo, I'm going to be out of town this weekend (Hutchinson, Kansas) with my sister Jenny's family to visit a sick great-aunt. She's had lung cancer for a year now, and she's hanging in there. It will be different seeing her since before she had the illness. Hopefully some happy moments here and there. It won't be a vacation, but a change in scenery for once this year.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

plotting the lines

Last week I dreamt that was I was watching a movie. Then my alarm clock went off and I realized it was all a dream. I was very touched by this movie that was going on in my head, yet I didn't know where it all came from. So I wrote everything down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget. I usually forget my weird dreams as soon as I wake up.

So, I came up with a screenplay. And like I said, it will be very touching. I definitely think I can make a great film out of this. Which is why I'm considering investing in script-writing software soon. I know its not cheap, but it will be worth it. I was able to use FinalDraft at SIUE, but at my Florissant internship I used something better. I am almost finished with the overview, as well as character analysis.

What's it going to be about? It will be a chick flick, but I guarantee a lot of men will like it too because it exposes some things that they don't understand about women. No, I don't claim to be an expert. This is going by 100 percent of my observations. It will be a huge cast, mostly female. The female characters will be based on the ladies that have turned me down over the years because of (how I feel) the wrong reasons. In other words, I feel they have judged me for something they did not see inside me. All characters will be different, too. Oh yeah, and the ending will have a twist.

I do believe in this upcoming project, and I will work in the fullest. I'll stick to the saying 'Anything that's personal will sell'.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


As some of you may know I've been trying to watch a lot of movies and catch up on movie culture. And I've been keeping track of every one that I watch just to wonder how many movies an average person like myself can handle. 2 years ago I wrote a blog about how my list was at 200. My goal by the end of August was to get that number to 300. Well, it finally increased, in large part since I got out of school a year and a half ago. When I was in college, I didn't watch a lot of movies bc I felt I wasn't being productive. The only bad thing was I lost my touch and I was left out in conversations. But that's all changed now :)

What was the 300th movie that I watched? None other than 300. I know the movie is over two years old, but I've heard nothing but positive reviews about it. I'm trying to be very diverse in my movie-watching. I don't care how controversial, violent, or soft the movie is. I want to build a broad perspective on several themed movies. I wanted to test by what calendar decade of movies I watched the most:

1910s: 1
1920s: 1
1930s: 6
1940s: 1
1950s: 5
1960s: 12
1970s: 22
1980s: 63
1990s: 89
2000s: 101
(...and yes that number adds up to 300)

I thought it was very interesting that the most movies I watched came from the current decade...which is about to come to an end. I think its because of so many movies coming out and easier access to things these days. You may wonder why I watched more movies from the '30s than the 1910s, 1920s and 1940s combined. I believe that during that time it was Hollywood's Golden Age (with the help of TCM, and my mom's Shirley Temple movies). By the way, that lone film I saw from the 1940s was 'Casablanca'. I hope those numbers increase soon. My goal is to watch most of the Academy winners and watch all Top 100 AFI films.

Oldest movie I've seen: 'The Cheat' came out in 1915. Obviously a silent, it was one hour and six minutes long, but still qualifies as a movie

Newest movie I've seen: 'I Love You Man'. Sorry, I don't go to the movies as much anymore. It almost costs me $15 for crying out loud! On top of that, it comes out on Redbox three months later

If you wanna see my list, here's the link:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

attack of the nickelback

I know on my facebook status that I stated 'I didn't care too much for boy bands like Nickelback'. It's partly true. I like maybe a few of their songs every now and then. But I was very surprised last week when I heard the show was sold out (Nickelback along with Papa Roach, Saving Abel and someone else will be playing at Verizon tonight in St. L) because I found out from a manager at work, who was trying to do the $5 Subway thing. I know that they won't be the only band there, but I'm thinking maybe people are trying to get one last blast at Verizon before summer's over.

Like I said, I do like Nickelback a little bit and they did help put rock music back on the map and they have their own style. So why do I make fun of this band so much (along with everybody else)? I think its because I believe they are the poster children of today's corporate rock. What do I mean by that? As defined by my 40-something year old friend Darrell (who also defines Nickelback as a 'boy band'), it's pretty much music that is picked out by a fat guy in a suit and tie. As long as they have the tough guy looks and the guitar, it'll sell records. Or if they got a catchy name, it'll sell big. If it sounds the same as any other current rock band, they can care less. And then there's also the radio part. One of my favorite lyrical lines from Reel Big Fish: 'Radio plays what they want you to hear...tell me its cool I just don't believe it'. If its got the same hooks and sound like most of the bands have sounded like in the last 15 years, radio will play it. If it sounds the same as their previous song, they can care less. Ex: 'Someday' sounds like it could be the sequel to 'How You Remind Me'. I'm sure a little payola comes into play too.

I'm not saying people shouldn't like Nickelback, especially if singer Chad Kroeger has powerful vocals. And as mentioned, they have a little bit original sound. Some may argue with me there. But I respect them. And for a rock band to have 6 Top 10 Hot 100 hits this decade is kinda impressive. But, since we started playing music at Steak 'n Shake, I pretty much have to hear Nickelback every stinking night since we have to have it set to the Top 40/Pop satellite station. And I will admit whenever I hear the opening lines 'Never made it as a wiseman...', I quickly turn the radio dial in the car. But if they do get in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before their fellow Canadians, Rush, I will rebel. Big Time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Internet studies

It's what I get for subscribing (or 'following' in Twitter terms) to Tony Robbins' tweets. But he's a big inspirational guy who builds drive on people. {If you don't know who he is, he's the author of several bestselling books, most notably Unlimited Power, and he was in the movie Shallow Hal} He put out a couple links that of course got my attention. They're about how fast the Internet has become a part of our lives. I'll go ahead and share this one that I found very interesting. It's pretty much a fast-paced powerpoint presentation with stats set to music. I'm not saying I believe most of the results, as I know some were made up on the spot. But its pretty much for someone who wants to be an entrepreneur. I'd still give it few minutes of your time:
The other link was about an interesting web observation: it seems that ladies go for men who are, well, taken. When I was in a relationship years back, I was aware that a couple girls started liking me. So, this doesn't really surprise me. But I am surprised that, according to their studies, that men already in a tight romantic relationship make the women swoon. It might as well just say it takes more than just being yourself to impress the women. I believe, not just from personal experience, that this is because a lot of ladies feel easily creeped out these days. Maybe its the technology? Or they still fear online-dating sites? Or single guys like me try too hard (sorry, this relates to a conversation I had a club recently with a bunch of guys looking to dance with women)?
Here's the link to anyone who's interested:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

crue fest chronicles

Alright, here it is the anticipated blog of the week....psych! But I thought I'd write about my times at one of the most blooming rock concert festivals. Overall, it was awesome. Some of the bands I have previously seen-including Motley Crue. But it was well worth it. In fact, I took advantage of the Subway $5 deal, which cost me $16 in the end (included parking) plus at the venue I upgraded my seat for $10. Which made it $26. But oddly enough I guess, I spent almost as much on alcohol there as I did with my seat. But that's Verizon for you.

This was pretty much the day I like out of most of the year...which was pretty much enjoying the outdoor heat and listening and being loyal to most of the bands. I've become more open recently to the newer ones on the side stage. One major one to note: is Cavo, an up-and-coming band from StL! I was very naive at the fact that their current single 'Champagne' is at #2 on the Billboard Rock chart and in the top 10 on the Alternative chart. That same day (Tuesday) their major-label debut CD came out. Oh, by the way, we (WLCA 89.9) are not even playing it. I was scratching my head at this one too. I must admit its a very cool song and maybe it will help me get back to listening to current rock music. They did a great performance on the side stage. I wasn't crazy about Shram, though.

Then I caught Theory of a Deadman's performance on the mainstage. I was proud to see those guys get a huge viewing audience. I wasn't ever a fan of their music, but after meeting Tyler and the boys I'm glad they are getting a lot of attention. The same goes for Rev Theory, who I caught next at the side stage. I'm not sure if every band says this, but they did say that St. Louis was their greatest fanbase. I'm glad I got to catch them again and I hope they come around to StL soon. Afterwards, I got to catch up with Matt and a couple of the band members (BTW, Anthony (or Blaze), Matt wanted me to tell you hello).

I got to see Godsmack for the first time, and boy I was impressed by the way they got the crowd going. I didn't even realize I knew the words to most of their songs! These guys have come a long way from being just an Alice in Chains tribute band. They've had several #1 albums and a dozen hits since the start of this decade. Then Motley Crue hit the stage and did the whole 'Dr. Feelgood' LP in its entirety. Vince Neil informed us on every track, even saying "if you guys got the vinyl version, this is the end of side one...". But it was a cool performance. I was also satisfied that there was more Nikki Sixx and less Tommy Lee. I remember the last time I saw the Crue (4 yrs back) that Tommy Lee did a 20-minute drum solo on a stage hanging from the ceiling.

So, it was probably my last concert of the summer. But definitely not this year. I'm still considering Farm Aid, which will be in October. I think it will be the one where I get more bang for my buck. I'm also trying to squeeze in Six Flags into my busy schedule, but it's not likely happening :...(

Sunday, August 9, 2009

M.I.A. (or why I will not be found at my high school reunion)

Greetings, all! I just got word that my high school class will be having their 10-year reunion in exactly a year from now (8/14/2010). For some reason, it doesn't make me feel old. But I still can't believe its been 9 years since we all came together!

But unfortunately, unless I get a sudden change of heart, by no means I plan to go to the reunion. The following paragraphs are pretty much about me ranting, and it may sound depressing. I'm not trying to get anyone's sympathy. In other words, you'll hear a very personal side of me. So if you're interested, read on.

It's just that, I wasn't that close to my high school classmates. I did have a few friends plus a number of people I was cool with. But I didn't hang around with that many people outside of class. That all didn't take place until my college days. Needless to say, my college days I'll treasure 5X more than my h.s. days. I wasn't in any clique. I doubt if anyone will agree with me on this one, but to me it just seemed that my class was divided in two classes: the losers and the popular preps. I could define those in many ways, but it may offend some people. Many cliques weren't that accepting. So when I was at EHS, I couldn't wait to get out. I just wasn't feeling it.

Later in years, I have mended my ties with several classmates (thanks to the Internet), and one of my best friends happens to be Jeff Putnick (who I usually hang out with). Jeff pretty much shares the same opinion as me as far as the reunion. In high school, he was popular and at one point was elected to the homecoming court. But now he feels far behind in life and all his friends are gone. (By the way, Jeff refuses to be on these socialnet sites) I'm glad to say that some of my peers and I re-clicked here on Myspace and Facebook. Some have even taken the time to get to know me more.

Despite of my lack of interest in going, I do like to keep track on my peers from high school. I'm interested in what they're doing. I would be proud to know that they are doing stuff they love, whether its being a millionaire or raising a family already. I'm mostly shocked that some of my classmates married each other, while some got married early (no offense to some out there!). I do know of the 520+ people I graduated with, at least four are deceased (since graduation). If anyone really wants to know about me, I'll just tell 'em that I'm currently working on my personal and career change, which is true.

So, in other words, I've moved on from my high school days and peers. I am glad to say I get along good with most of them more than I have before, but there's still the majority of people that didn't care too much about me (therefore I didn't care about them at all). My grandfather once said, 'High school days are supposed to be the best days of your life'. But I must disagree. High school has always meant to be hell for most of us, as we learn to better ourselves afterwards.

Thanks for reading!

50 bands that I've seen....

{NOTE: I posted this on Facebook earlier today. Apologies if you weren't tagged! I do like the FB feature where you can tag certain people on 'notes', but I hate having to think of people to tag. So you're welcome to do the same :)}

OK, here are the rules. Test your memory and your love of live music by listing 50 artists or bands (or as many as you can remember) you've seen in concert. List the first 50 acts that come into your head. An act you saw at a festival and opening acts count, but only if you can't think of 50 other artists. Oh, and list the first concert you ever saw (you can remember that, can’t you)?

01. James Taylor (my first concert)
02. 3 Doors Down
03. Violent Femmes
04. Chuck Berry
05. Queens of the Stone Age
06. Aerosmith
07. Nine Inch Nails
08. They Might Be Giants
09. The Finn Brothers
10. Pet Shop Boys
11. Rush
12. Crosby, Stills & Nash
13. Steve Ewing (of the Urge)
14. Camper Van Beethoven
15. The English Beat
16. The Alarm
17. Gin Blossoms
18. Elvis Costello
19. Cyndi Lauper
20. Weird Al Yankovic
21. David Byrne (of Talking Heads)
22. Joan Jett
23. The Living End
24. Slayer
25. Sheryl Crow
26. Slipknot
27. Rob Zombie
28. System Of a Down
29. Incubus
30. The Distillers
31. Audioslave
32. Disturbed
33. Rev Theory
34. Theory of a Deadman
35. Hinder
36. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
37. Jane's Addiction
38. Shinedown
39. Filter
40. P.O.D.
41. INXS
42. The Fixx
43. Judas Priest
44. Black Sabbath
45. Local H
46. Chris Daughtry
47. The Electric Six
48. Elton John
49. Billy Joel
50. Motley Crue

...I know there's still a few I forgot, especially festival bands. In 3 days I will be able to add at least three more :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is Myspace, like, dead or something?

...or am I tripping on something? Unfortunately I have noticed that this socialnet site is becoming more of a cyber ghost town. There's two different views on that. 1) People who have simply deleted their profile and crossed over to facebook and/or 2) People who have a Myspace page and have left it idle for a while.

I'll give you an example. There's a guy who was on here all the time two years ago, but I just visited his Myspace page and he hasn't logged in since last October. I know he's still alive, because he updates his FB and his twitter daily. I don't know what this means, but apparently FB is becoming the king. I also have noticed that its the same old people sending out bulletins (remember those? lol). I'm not saying its bad, but I just never imagined the day where bulletins 5 days old would still show up on the 10-panel bulletin board. I don't really care how big my 'friends' list is anymore, since so many people have either a) deleted me or b) removed their profile.

If you look on my page, at the very top (after my blog links) I wrote a note back in April stating that I don't check Myspace very often as much as I used to. But I do like to see what's going on with my fellow peers and I like to see if anyone has commented and if anyone has sent me any requests. And anyone is still welcome too. I still write blogs on here as long as I still have my readers. I thank everyone of you who takes the time to read and/or comment on these. This is pretty much my way of telling you my updated thoughts and happenings and such. And yes, I read every comment! I don't update my profile page or settings and html that much, unless something major has happened.

While I'm at it, I guess I'll go ahead and share my social networking history. Back in March '05, I first joined Facebook. If anyone remembers, that was back when it was only a year old and it was exclusive to college students. Needless to say, I felt special. People thought FB was going to hell when high school students were allowed on there, and eventually the entire public. A few months after I joined FB, I was introduced to Myspace from my fellow radio students who couldn't get on FB. I fell more into the Myspace craze for the longest time (about 3 years?) but its now strange to say that Facebook has become my social networking home as I spend more time on there than on here. I think its because just about everyone I know from all ages is on there. One of my best friends, Josh, just signed on to Myspace about a month ago after years of refusing to go on these socialnet sites (although at one point he was on To me, he's a late bloomer. This leads to my next and last topic of this blog:

I'll go ahead and share my two cents about why Myspace is becoming, well, a ghost town (at least in my view). Several of us know that Myspace has been very slow to respond to spam, phishing and of course, those friend requests we get from women who wear lingerie and spread for us. I've only had that happen on Facebook once, but it hasn't happened in a long time. I know that has turned a lot of people away. To me, I usually ignore these kind of things, and I can definitely understand why people get tired of seeing spam and too much weird advertising.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, I've always liked to see the race between Myspace and Facebook on how many features they put on here. It seems today that Facebook is way ahead of the game as Myspace desparately imitates such features as the annoying 'People You May Know' and 'Mafia' and 'Music'. And speaking of music, one of my friends recently cut his ties with Myspace, because according to him, his favorite bands quit updating their material. I can see where that can be a big turnoff, too.

I remember reading a couple months ago when Tom Anderson stepped down as CEO of Myspace, giving it to someone else after Facebook finally took the lead as the #1 socialnet site. We all should have seen this one coming. Overall, please don't get the wrong idea. I'm not knocking Myspace. I think its still a great useful site to keep up with your pals and acquaintances. I just felt like speaking my mind on here, that's all. I've found a different home. Let me know your thoughts.