Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Download Grant Goforth - Vx Ad

I wrote and read this ad for my radio production class. Just a test to see if the hosting software works. Anyone recognize the song?

Albums I could not live without

Inspired by Christina; Here's my list of Albums I simply always need to have on hand. This is a pretty different type of music list, as I discovered while brainstorming. It's steeped in nostalgia and growing increasingly archaic as the single grows to reign over our musical sensibilities.

I mean, I could make a list 1,000 entries long of songs I couldn't live without, but albums have to have near perfect structure.

The wording of the list is rather hyperbolic, too. I couldn't bring myself to list any bands that I've been into recently because I'm not sure yet whether or not I could live without them. So sorry Thermals, Kings of Leon, Mae Shi, Los Campesinos, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Yelle. It's too soon.


Weezer Blue album. Christina put 'Pinkerton' which is the shit too (although I don't think it's under-rated, I think it's under-recognized), but Blue will always rule my heart.

Green Day Dookie. The best album a 7th grader could ask for and it really translates strongly nowadays. This album sparked so f-ing many imitators.

Smashing Pumpkins Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness. Angst-a-riffic.

Dead Prez Let's Get Free. Really solid stuff that gets your blood all aboil.

David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. I grew up on the greatest hits but this album flows soooooo smoothly and it's got Moonage Daydream, obviously.

The Coup Steal This Album. My first hip hop disc (of any substance). Really brilliant. One time I followed Boots Riley for 10 minutes through a house party just so I could nervously shake his hand and tell him how he changed my life. What a dork.

David Lindley El Rayo X. When I was about 10 I asked my dad for "good skateboarding music" for my walkman. I guess he was right because this is one of my favorites.

The Jam All Mod Cons/Greatest hits. Again, reared on the greatest hits (I think that was all that was available on CD in the states). But I'd pick AMCs for my album.

Tom Waits Closing Time/Bone Machine/Orphans/Mule Variations. Too hard to choose one.

Beach Boys Pet Sounds. Christina got me hooked on "Heroes and Villains". The rest is history.

Fatlip The Loneliest Punk. Oh, don't get me started. "What's Up Fatlip" is simply the best song ever written.

Sleater-Kinney Dig Me Out. These babes rule.

Paul Simon Graceland. Another early love for me that is astonishingly replayable. Especially on a hot drive out to the river.

Queens of the Stone Age Songs for the Deaf. This classic reeks of LA to me. In a good way. Sort of.

Sparks Angst In My Pants. Minor days. Props to Jamie, whose mixtape introduced me to this prolific duo. I know this is poppy but I have no shame about loving pop (Gwen Stefani almost made the list).

Gogol Bordello Super Taranta! rocknroll!

Monday, February 23, 2009

And The Winner Is....

Meagan "Mego" Gonzaga! (the crowd goes apeshit!)

Congratulations Meagan! You correctly guessed 15 of the 25 categories, effectively blowing the competition out of the water.

Most impressive. You also got 6 of 7 of the so-called major awards, only missing Lead Actor.

Your prize will be in the mail soon!

Games that I rocked as a kid

Many purists bemoan modern games as being too easy. Sometimes they're right, but most game companies have added difficulty settings so that each game has a varying degree of difficulty, depending on how expert you are.

Not so with old games, where the punishing difficulty level would send you enraged or crying to the solace of a comforting teddy (or blanket or whatever you sissies used).

The above picture is a perfect example. It's from Crystal Caves, one of many Apogee games from the era that defined scrolling shooters for PC's. If you study the picture you can see a multitude of actions occurring. You must shoot the bad guys, but never let a bullet hit the air machine or else you die immediately. These air machines are conveniently place every 6 pixels, or so. You have keys, switches, eggs, elevators and enemies coming at you with a jumping mechanism that requires no error.

I can't believe the patience that I had as such a young kid playing these games. The difficulty was heightened by the lack of saving your games, meaning frequent deaths would result in playing the entire level over again. Even though my coordination has developed since those days, I don't think I could bring myself to play these again. The frustration would kill me.

Apogee Games I rocked (wow, a lot actually):

Crystal Caves

Secret Agent Man

Cosmo's Cosmic Adventures

And, to be discussed further in the future, Wolfenstein 3D

Breaking the Internet

Rachael mentioned breaking the internet in a cavalier way earlier, but I can tell you it's a very real; threat to our nation. Especially if you're a net addict. I know you are.

Please watch this. And stay informed people!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Games that I rocked as a kid

Oh man, Rasket struck gold with that post. It also reminds me of the Games Of Our Lives feature on AVClub, though I'm not sure they really do that any more.

Anyway, this is for all the kids whose parents wouldn't allow console games. We had to get our kicks on computer games and I still believe it was the golden age of PC gaming (Mac too, if there exists a golden age of mac gaming).

Adventure games ruled and best of the era was LOOM. You can torrent it still and it's truly amazing. the depth of the story and the feel of the world and its guilds seriously influenced my world outlook. It was a little hard for me at the age I was playing; I remember my Dad had to help a lot because the mechanic for casting spells was by matching notes and playing on a musical clef. Tricky shit for an 8-year-old. Definitely a spark in my gaming life.

Friday, February 20, 2009

California Filming Locations Part 1

I realize that Chronicle piece I linked earlier was a travel article, but I felt like the scope of it was kind of strange. In L.A. they mention specific hotels but the only specific city in Humboldt they mention is Ferndale, which has been filmed in multiple times. I'll kick off my own list now with travel-ability considered.

Owens Valley: Tons of westerns filmed here from the 20's to the 70's from most major cowboy serial stars. Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, were basically permanent residents. The Alabama Hills (pictured) rank with monument valley in iconic western locations. The Owens Valley is super gorgeous with the Sierra Nevadas to the west and the Inyo Mountains to the east. Its proximity to L.A. and rugged terrain made it a popular go-to location for Hollywood. Bogey's movie "High Sierra" was filmed in Lone Pine (located under Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.) .


Fight, love, live was the inspiration for the name of this historical mansion located in Woodside (1/2 hour south of San Francisco). Warren Beatty filmed "Heaven Can Wait" there. It was Michael Douglas' house in "The Game". It also served as the establishing shot for "Dynasty". Yeah, that's right, the Carrington Mansion. Although only the pilot was actually filmed there. Its most important contribution to cinema: The Wedding Planner.

Coming up in part 2: Humboldt!

Harmonica Blues

Here's some more old time footage collected into one convenient package for your viewing pleasure:

Good stuff on here especially Sonny Terry, the world's greatest harmonica player. Yeah, I went there.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Humboldt shout-out.

Not a particularly exciting article ('5 California places where movies were made' might be the worst headline I've ever read) but HumCo ranks. (Also, "holy crap they shoot movies in L.A.?")

Humboldt's prominence might be growing with Mary Cruse as our new film commissioner.

We shall see.

I'll try to make a better list in the future...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

repealing previous Beyonce hate

Damn, 'Single Ladies' is good-ass song.

Wheelie Songs

Here's my mixtube - wheels theme, no motors allowed:

1. Roger Miller

2. Lupe Fiasco

3. Queen

4. Murs

5. Melanie


Bones Brigade, why the hell not?


Some inevitable internet weirdness, lysergic homage style.


Monday, February 16, 2009


What's the difference between a well dressed man on a bicycle and a shabbily dressed man on a tricycle?


(with credit to Matt Frost).

Pogues Night

Apparently Shane Mac's making an appearance at the logger bar in Blue Lake St. Paddys day!

Okay, not really, but this does look like fun. And if you can't make it drink a pint in honor!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Maybe people don't care. But there is a very real contest and if you want to win some schwag (sp.) you should, nay, must, visit here and spend 5 minutes guessing which crappy movies are going to win tin action figures this year! Its the post entitled Contest! Prizes! conveniently linked here.


Check out local photo phenom (and vx associate) Shoegazer's flickr stuff. He and his wife have a show up in the Jacoby Storehouse which is worth visiting if you're in the area. Terrific!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Burn To Shine

Just listened to a new song by Portland savants the Thermals... Listen to it here. Good stuff and if you haven't heard there previous album "the Body the Blood the Machine" it is quite fun.

In fact they're featured in Burn to Shine Portland. Rachael recently posted a clip of Sleater-Kinney from the same video. If you can find Burn To Shine on DVD it is worth watching. The Portland edition is possibly my favorite music DVD ever...

Remember this song?

I've been playing a lot of Rock Band, and they seem to favor modern one-hit-wonders and obscure songs by big classic bands. It's a bit weird, and I can't quite figure how they choose songs but it's fun. So there.

Basically it reminded me of this song, which you will remember if you were in high school in the 90's.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Joke

A man begins to frequent a small bar in Arcata, each time ordering three martinis at once. He builds a rapport with the regulars and is seen nearly every day. After a month of visits, the bartender finally asks, "So... why do you order three drinks up front?"

"Well," replied the man, "I was always close with my two brothers, but one's moved to Ireland and the other to Australia. We decided, in the spirit of fraternity, that each time we had a drink we'd have one for each of our brothers."

The bartender found this inspiring and the tradition carried on for several years, until one day the patron came into the bar and ordered two martinis. His heart sinking, the bartender asked "Oh I'm so sorry, has something happened to one of your brothers?"

"No, no," said the man. "I've just decided to quit drinking."

I must have some booze. I demand to have some booze.

Withnail & I was a glaring omission on my seen movie list that I finally indulged this week. I can see why it's such a druggie classic as it spawned a multitude of imitators in the 90's and 00's with its joint rolling scene alone. Apatow and co. obviously watched this one, as did Danny Boyle and the folks behind Harold & Kumar.

Withnail maintains relevance because it is much grittier than the aforementioned films (excluding Trainspotting, maybe). The drugs are not glorified, nor are they vilified. There are no silly woozy-wavy POV shots of getting high. The viewer is thrust into a real world situation with as much humor as pathos and grim dystopia. Richard E. Grant plays the best drunk I have ever ever seen. He's believable and hilarious. It was amusing to discover that he's a teetotaler.

The writing is super and exactly what I love about Brit humor. Quick, needle-sharp and totally hilarious. It absolutely invites repeat viewings and I can easily see why fans have watched it dozens of times. It's highly quotable (see post title)- the imdb "quotes page" is the longest I've yet to see.

In a strange way, this film reminded me of a period in my life when Ramsey and I would get into trouble. We were never into drugs like this movie, but our fix was seeking fulfillment and we got along in a love/hate, admiration/frustration way, much like Withnail and Marwood. The ending felt especially prescient of my life, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who felt so personally impressed by this film.

Graham Linehan

I found Graham Linehan's blog and it's surprisingly political. Pretty funny all in all, but would you expect any less from one of Britain's funniest TV writers. If you don't know who he is do yourself a favor and track down some of the best sitcoms of all time:

Father Ted

Black Books

The IT Crowd

I can't really praise these enough.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Mae Shi

These guys will get big fast. And soon. In fact they already are. I saw them last night at the Green House. If you like fast fast pop then you'll like them. Watch the video. They kind of remind me of Los Campesinos, but less orchestral. Good stuff and the live show was both magnanimous and intimate. They brought a parachute!

I have some pics on my flickr account here. And Rachael wrote them up here.

Wow. Just wow. Searching for the Mae Shi video link led me to this gem which must be heard. If you haven't heard all of the hoopla you might want to see this before you watch. This is priceless in its own right, especially if you turn it up so you can hear the reactions of the non-Bales.

Brother was pretty cool too. We didn't see them but we heard them from the stairwell and the drummer was pretty amazing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Yep, that about says it all. Jokes are going to become a regular feature, so please feel free to share your own.


I was perusing one of our local film critic's blogs today and this is what he had to say.

Being a former movie theatre employee, I can comfirm that he nailed it right on the head. And I'm jealous he ranted about it before I thought of it. I guess it doesn't affect me directly anymore.

I have heard both of those excuses before ("I paid so much for it" and "hey, they have to do something at their jobs, right?") and they are both crocks of shit. Do you throw your tray and trash on the floor after you eat your McDonalds? Do you pour the last of your backwash beer on the floor and toss the pint glass over your shoulder in the Alibi?

We would find half eaten bags of heavily buttered popcorn literally dumped all over the floor. Even leaving it upright would have been too kind of a gesture.

Nowhere do you make such a seemingly intentional mess (well, maybe the ballpark now that I think about it). And at every restaurant you pay a lot more than you normally would for a meal or drink.

The worst part is the blanket acceptance of this attitude towards the service industry (who, by the way, are actual living, thinking humans).

At the 2007 Academy Awards (see, it comes full circle back to an Oscars rant) Jerry Seinfeld performed a simultaneously yawn-inducing and rage-affecting bit (listen to it here). This uncanny feat was a drawn out joke which heard JS state that since he had pays 5 dollars for popcorn, he can do whatever the fuck he wants with it.

This privileged, cavalier, carelessness is just one example of the attitudin' that America really needs to be losin'.

Side note: I guess Jerry also got some flak for his dismissal of documentaries as a worthy subject.


A crazy little thing called reporting

Speaking of crack, here's an uplifting little piece. I'm not a conspiracy theory type of guy, this is just one of those unacceptable exceptions (see Armenian genocide) .

What the fuck? I understand being embarrassed about mistakes we've made.

But we're supposed to learn and make amends. Are you ready?

life is fresh crack is whack