Monthly Archives: July 2007

Countdown to “the event of the summer”


Osvog Vikings

Originally uploaded by guffman32.
Well, folks the Jason – Emily union is right around the proverbial corner so I figured we would kick off the festivities by discussing what hijinx will ensue next week. Here’s my top 10 list of the most shocking predictions for Big Sky. I open the forum for your comments and predictions.

10. In an emergency INXS calls Osvog on Friday to stand in as the lead singer for their Indian reservation whirlwind tour of 2007. Although flattered, he declines thinking of the strain life on the road will put on a new marriage.

9. Dunning actually looks like all his organs are functioning normally.

8. Tooth finally admits that he is Luke and Leiah’s father/Kronan decides to just order a “well” drink

7. Chuch actually does not bitch about something for an entire 23 minutes. (Of couse this will be when he is busy fighting for his life rafting)

6. Jeff aka the scab replacment groomsmen falls off raft and is rescued by a park ranger who claims to have rescued George Bush Jr.. He mentions he thought the President would be in better shape.

5. Kent’s plan of driving from Salt Lake actually turns out to make sense and he fails to break a chair or appliance during his entire stay at theĀ  lodge.

4. Mitch refuses to have lunch with one of Emily’s gorgeous early 20’s cousins instead insisting to go on an all dude hike/drum banging session in the mountains.

3. Bluto not “ryan” makes a guest appearance.

2. Fenimore uses only 2 hair product in his hair instead of the usual 3 not including the leave in conditioner. He also decides to just “clean up the kitchen later.”

1. Wendy decides to “sit this song out”.

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When Good Things Happen to Good People

Admittedly, the tone of this blog is often sarcastic or snarky in nature. Well, then again look who’s writing it! I first developed this tone or stance early in life as a self-defense mechanism. Hopefully one day, a brave therapist will eventually navigate deep into my psyche and the healing will begin. It would be fair to say I adhere to the theory that comedy is just life plus time. However, even somebody as cynical as myself can see the brighter side of life and realize that although a multitude of things in this world deserve consistent ridicule and deconstruction, there are also many things in life are great…dare I say fantastic even! I tend to try to depress myself on occasion because then I get paranoid about the future which then motivates me to work harder and learn more. Sick….yes, however it will have to work as a band aid until I can afford that analyst/therapist or as Tobias Funke would state “an analrapist.” The other day I almost allowed myself to slip into one of my patented pathetic, self pity moods when I realized that life is good… damn good in fact! What were my beacons of inspiration? I know it sounds sappy but I thought of my friends. Mostly about what badasses they all are and about all of the great things happening in their lives and how we will all get to share and laugh about it together. The first example of this is the fact that in little over a week Jason Osvog and Emily Kuhnmuench will be married in Big Sky, Montana. I will cease to state anything more on this tremendous couple as I have to save the good stuff for the best man speech.

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The other occurrence that bolstered my belief in humanity was that “the tooth’ aka “the Polack bear” aka BDM aka Chris Ybstremski aka Chris Ballinger got engaged to his Polish muse, Kathryn, a fellow medical student. I admire the Tooth (I will always call him the tooth, even if he performs brain surgery in future years) because he has one of the best hearts I know, can kick amazingly high in the air, is beginning to resemble Telly Savalas from “Kojak” and also because he followed his dream and passion. When the Tooth told me the arduous path he had to undertake to become a doctor, I was the first to scoff and tell him he was being foolhardy. I told him to take the easy way out and get a cushy job in the pharmaceutical industry where he would be making a good salary in a few years and be on a more stable career path. The Tooth was steadfast in his desire to become a physician however, and even moved back home to his parents house in Houston to take courses that would improve his chance of getting into medical school. I truly do admire this because many times in the past I think I have been guilty of taking the “easy” way out because of my own fear of failure. Well, of course the tooth did not fail as he is now in his second year of medical school and met his fiancee as a result of his relentless dedication. So here’s to the Tooth for proving me wrong and never giving up on his dream. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer big dumb mammal. I still won’t let him within 100 miles of treating a family member due to the fact he has the personal hygeine of a vagrant during Jazz fest but the Polack Bear has done good, very good indeed. (I just reread this and I think that I may be going through menopause). Oh, well I can always look to Bea Arthur for inspiration.


Loss for Words

Sometimes things do not require an explanation or as Nigel Tufnel eloquently stated in Spinal Tap, “the authorities thought it best left unsovled.” Panda found this gem below. Feel free to chime in how this video makes you feel. Personally, I am still in a state of shock, joy,disillusionment, etc.

Ryan Adams is Better than me

The average person, myself included tends to have an inflated sense of value or worth. I am sure that my estimation of my intelligence, wit, and other attributes is probably a good 15-20% than the actual reality. However, occasionally even somebody with a substantial ego, who resides in their own little universe where they will always be the alpha planet must realize when they are simply outmatched or bested. Last night, I went to go see Ryan Adams play in what could only be described as a “charming” theater in Beverly Hills. The crowd was a little more animated than the standard “cooler than thou” audience these types of shows tends to attract. On another note, this might have been the best looking crowd I have seen at a show since an “Air” show in Downtown LA in 2001 where I am to this day convinced I was by far the ugliest person in the entire room.

I digress however, Ryan Adams was nothing short of “quacktastic”, as my friend Miggy and fellow Adams aficionado would say. I guess he is no longer boozing/ pill popping and it reflects in the renewed vigor of his voice. The lighting for the show was a perfect backdrop and the Cardinals may be the smoothest, tightest backup band around right now. It’s safe to say that once he came on stage every boyfriend in the audience ceased to exist to their girlfriend. Kathleen was gushing such effusive praise throughout that I thought I might have been transported to the “NKOTB – Hangin’ Tough” tour. I can’t blame her though as the cunning bastard played an incredible set, while making witty pop culture references to Glenn Danzig, Barbara Gordon from the Batman comic book, and then announcing to the crowd that he was on “Lady Patrol”. Well played sir, well played. He transitioned seamlessly between rock, alt-country, blues and then would kill the audience with his wit. Son of a bitch! I figured he must be hilarious because he dated the outrageously funny Parker Posey and I had seen him live a couple of times so I knew he was a great performer however, the man is simply at the height of his powers right now. BTW, if anybody can find a link to the letter that Adams wrote to Pitchfork Media a couple years back please ping me with it. It is brilliant! Yep, Ryan Adams is better at just about everything than me except fantasy football, and I’m just fine with it. Below are two testaments to his brilliance. Jesus, who sounds like the Joey McIntyre fan now…. Shoutout to Kolby and Amanda for getting us those vodka sodas in that terrible bar line that resembled a craps table. Below is his latest video.

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That Barack Obama gets a lot of tail….

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I am a huge proponent of Chris Anderson’s Long Tail heory to such an extent that my co-workers roll their eyes at my constant utterance of the phrase. The long tail contends that businesses with distribution power can sell a greater volume of items at small volumes than of popular items at large volumes. It is the methodology that is the driving force behind such companies as Netflix, Ebay, iTunes and Google Adwords. It also serves as a social theory in that our tastes are becoming much more diverse and niche in nature. For example, the highest rated TV show today has about a third of the audience as in the 70s and 80’s. This is not because people are watching less TV, but rather than watching a uninspired sitcom on network TV, I now maintain the ability to watch an episode of “Flight of the Conchords” on HBO followed by “The Bronx is Burning” on ESPN. BTW, I’m already hooked on the latter. Who can resist John Tuturro aka “The Jesus” from The Big Lebowski playing Billy Martin ( I accidentally typed in Ricky Martin at first…think about him managing the Yanks) and the constantly sweating Oliver Plath doing the worst George Steinbrenner possible. Regarding “Conchords”, would a show featuring two indie rock kiwis living in Williamsburg playing synthesizers ever engender an loyal audience during the days of “Dallas”?

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So what in tarnation does this have to do with the smoothest brother to hit the scene since Billy Dee or a young Eric LaSalle in “Coming to America”? A great deal actually. While attempting to sweat off the extra 15 pounds of lard on my frame I happened across an article in Time called, “Obama’s Viral Marketing Plan”. It appears that Obama has been utilizing a “long tail” strategy in his fund raising activities. Traditionally, a great deal of campaign funds are garnered in huge chunks of money from captains of industry. Bush Jr. set records by relying on corporate bigwigs who would be responsible for pulling in amounts upwards of $200,000 for which they would receive a Condaleeza Rice bobblehead and a commemorative plate of the moment when Dick Cheney found out he had sired a lesbian. Dubyas strategy falls right in line with the conventional 80/20 rule however, Barack’s strategy is right out of the long tail playbook. For instance, he maintains over 9500 volunteers which include diverse folk such as school teachers, factory workers and housewives. These volunteers have committed to hosting individual fund raising web pages for the smooth talking Democrat. In fact, more than half of 10 million of Obama’s second quarter contributions were made online and 90% of them were in increments of $100 or less. That is pure long tail working its magic, contradictory of the increasingly outdated pareto principle. I do not really fancy myself to be the political type and those I have encountered with political ambitions tended to be amongst the most disingenuous and shiftiest people I have ever encountered. However, if Obama’s fund raising strategy is indicative of the fresh approach he will bring to the Oval Office, I believe he is worth a very close second look. Perhaps, the almost diametrically opposed strategies of the Bush and Obama camps is a metaphor for something larger; one welcoming and open while the other is fueled by its exclusivity and secrecy. Actually, screw them all, I’m voting for Al Sharpton based strictly on his hair.

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Why I love LA or at least like it…

Yesterday, I was in LA for the Decemberist concert at the Hollywod Bowl and was reminded why La La land,while annoying and overbearing to many, never fails to be entertaining and completely amusing.

4:35 pm – Met up with Andy at Whole Foods in West Hollywood to discuss a couple of ideas to improve our respective blogs. I think they were at least 30 soap opera actors in the store at all times. It’s the only grocery store where more than 50% of the cashiers could be on the verge of landing a pilot or have a script in development. Andy got excited when he got to snap a pic of an Olsen twin wearing what seems to be the carcass of an ostrich and boxer briefs. After our meeting I made a decision to do more cardio at the gym.

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6:15 pm – Had dinner with Kathleen at Cha Cha Cha. Great tapas and mojitos. Our waitress looked like she was straight out of the L Word. Kathleen thought she looked like a participant in America’s Next Top Model. The one they make cut their hair which inevitably causes a nervous breakdown and the world’s most annoying human aka Tyra Bank’s telling us about her confronting her fear of dolphins.

7:30 – Almost get into an altercation with a scalper who accused me of trying to steal his “leads” because I had two extra tics I needed to unload. Then he tried to broker a deal with me. I ended up selling to his leads. Felt kind of guilty at first, but then decided that capitalism was at work. The scalper looked like Bushwick Bill. I remind myself to never work his corner against out of respect for the man that brought us “My Minds Playing Tricks on Me” and “Damn it feels good to be a Gangsta”.

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8:15 pm Band of Horses performs first. They are pretty good live, sort of like a Shins/My Morning Jacket sound. I don’t rave about many things however, I could enjoy myself at the Hollywood Bowl even if subjected to the horror of a Carlos Mencia/Dane Cook double bill. The place is nothing short of fantastic in the summer. Andrew Byrd comes on next and I am impressed. He switches between playing the violin, guitar and whistling. This dude has more talent in his clavicle than I have in my entire body. I kind of want to punch him. The Decemberist come on next and their sound blends perfectly with the LA Philharmonic. I thought the Arcade Fire were dramatic, but these guys are hardcore thespians. The type that sat at the end lunch table in the high school cafeteria and always seemed to be laughing and having more fun than anybody else while in school. I am pretty sure the organist teaches high school music in her spare time. (Actually Kathleen said that) Their artistic flair annoys these two guys sitting in front of us to the extent their immediately get up and leave. I loved these guys “Alice in Chains” retro look. I am pretty sure Eric Stolz would play the guy on the left in a TV movie. The best part was that they shared a bucket of popcorn the entire time.

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11:oo pm – As we speedwalk in a desperate attempt to beat traffic, we see a brother and sister duo covering “Dark Side of the Moon” on the sidewalk complete with flashing lights and synthesized electronic audio enhancements. They are awesome and can’t be a day over 15. I think the dude is dressed like some sort of wizard. It puts a smile on my face. I give them a buck for their efforts.

11:20 pm – Hollywood and Highland is a nightmare. I can’t believe tourist get tricked into coming here and they end up taking pictures of Lorenzo Lamas’ star on the Walk of Fame. This deserves its own column. I truly think this area might be hell on earth.

12:00 pm – Listen to Ryan Adam’s new album Easy Tiger on the way home. (see below) It’s good, sort of “dad rock”, but good. Ryan Adams gets a lot of flack but anybody that dated Parker Posey is cool in my book. Man that kid in the wizard outfit was cool……

Taking it to the Streets

Given that it is approximately 10:00 pm PST on Friday night and I am laying contentedly in bed blogging, it is obvious that I lack the necessary street cred to tell others what is “cool” at the moment. However, even an anti-social dork such as myself knows that Gregg Gillis aka “Girl Talk” and Montreal are cooler than a polar bear’s toenails. Yes, I admit I found this on Pitchfork Media, but hey I’m pushing 30 and need to depend on resources like this as a crutch nowadays. For those of you who don’t know, Girl Talk has received increasing press over the past couple years for his ability to mash up a diverse range of artists from Biggie to Elton John. Additionally, congress has even used him as an example as how copyright laws will be established given that he sampled 66 artists without permission on his last album. Is it a new creation or blatant use of another artist’s material? Many DJs have pulled these mashup stunts before however, what separates this particular individual is the frenzied party atmosphere of his live show. It’s like indie kids feel they can dance without fear to hip-hop when this dude is playing his set. ” Look that dude’s even skinnier and paler than I am, and he’s playing the music! Now I can pretend I’m in Making the Band 4 without fear of ridicule!” Actually, Gillis does not even use the 1’s and 2’s instead preferring to bang away at his Mac. Recently, Girl Talk performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, where he was armed with a mobile contraption armed with wifi capability that allowed him to take his act from the tent to the alleys and sidewalks aided by screaming Canucks and an alarming amount of glow stick/necklace contraptions. Below is the video. While he does throw a hell of a party and I highly suggest his mix cds to liven any dance floor or keep the blood flowing at the gym, I find it amusing how the concept of a white face on mostly black music makes it suddenly acceptable for hipsters who usually watch shows with arms folded and a nonchalant gaze to all of a sudden become an MC Hammer backup dancer. Also below is a vintage Hammer. If that dude staged a reunion should I would be there in a heartbeat. It at least must be better than the police debacle.