Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Busy weekend over. Boring family stuff.

Let's see. Over the course of our early Memorial Day weekend I did the following in no particular order:
  • mow the lawn
  • see Cirque du Soleil
  • see Indiana Jones again
  • visit with my brother who has been working/living in Ireland for the past 8 months
  • see my parents who were in China for the past month
  • go to lunch with my parents
  • go to dinner with Marci w/o kids
  • get a haircut
  • play bass at church
  • drink soda
It was pretty eventful, I suppose. We started out Saturday with some long overdue haircuts. I went with a little more off everything as it'll grow back and it was a little shaggy anyway.

Later that day it was off to Cirque du Soleil, VIP style, baby! Marci got this hot little v-neck dress and it was o so yummy! We parked, got there a little later than we would've liked, but still got to hang out in the Tapis Rouge (VIP) tent. Unfortunately we missed some of the delicious snack foods they offered. Serves us right for being late.

Anyway, the show itself was pretty dang cool. We had trampolines, robots, tightrope walking, hula hoop juggling (my second favorite), little people attached to huge helium balloons, see-saws, and various other acts. My favorite was of a man and woman (ripped, of course), hanging from two 2" straps that dangled from the top of the tent. They did some amazing contortions and movements, etc, and would've made for a great finale. Instead, the finale consisted of a bunch of guys doing turns and flips on what amounted to a simple horizontal bar. A little anticlimactic, but still cool nonetheless.

After that, Marci and I headed over to I Love Sushi on Lake Bellevue for some much needed adult time and food. She ordered the sake sampler and I gave it a shot. Needless to say, it was pretty gross and for all you alcohol drinkers out there, I have no idea how you do it. And to boot, Marci basically drank the whole thing (three "finger" glasses of three types of sake) and was scooting along just fine. Makes me wonder what it'd take to get that woman drunk.

We went home and relieved my bro and s.i.l. from watching the kids. Haley was out and Riley was up all hyped up about spending the day with his aunt and uncle at the zoo. He wouldn't stop jibber-jabbering about it and ended up staying up way late (10 or so).

The following day we did the church thing. I played bass and it wasn't bad, considering we had no drummer. From there it was off to my parents' house to make sure things were in order as they were returning from a month long sojourn to China. Aside from a failed refrigerator and a dead mouse in the toilet (Year of the Rat, my dad said. "It's good luck!") the house survived, I suppose.

Later that afternoon, my brother Dung (it means East in Chinese), showed up. He's been working for Microsoft and for the past 8 months, he and his family have been living in Ireland, working abroad. He ended up having dinner with us, then joining Riley and I for some much deserved ice cream (story for another post), then hanging out at our house for a bit.

Shortly thereafter, my parents arrived from China and were picked up by Knight and Shannon. My folks were hungry and wanted dinner so Dung and I ended up meeting all of them at a local Chinese restaurant. It was cool to get the band together, so to speak. Fun to ask Dung about European living. Great to see my parents. Just fun to hang.

On Monday we ended up meeting my folks and Dung for lunch. Chinese again, of course. Then the parents wanted to take everyone shopping. Dung needed to pick up clothes for his wife and kids so he hit Sears and we all tagged along. Dad had me take him to Home Depot where he bought a new fridge. He then took us to ice cream. We had a grand time.

I rounded up the weekend by seeing Indiana Jones again. Sadly, it wasn't that great the second time around either.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I spent the past weekend preparing for the new movie by watching the first three Indy movies in order. I have seen Raiders at least 20 times, but it's still a treat after all these years. Temple of Doom was just as bad as I remembered it. There are so many things in that movie I dislike that it makes the few good parts of the movie hard to remember. And Crusade was much much better than I remember it being. It had been several years since I'd seen that and upon this last viewing, I found it quite enjoyable.

All these movies led up to last night. I went to the Crystal Skull midnight show and though I'm paying for it now (got to bed about 2:45am), I'm glad I went. Spoilers follow, so be forewarned!

Loved the callbacks. From the old school Paramount logo to the same musical theme when going to Indy's college after the intro action sequence, the Skull was filled with little touches like that. Evidently there was even a Young Indiana Jones callback that I heard, but didn't realize what it was at the time (Pancho Villa).

Indy/Harrison looked great. Sure, he's 20 years older, but ain't no one who can wear a hat like he can. He was a bit more jowly than I would like, but heck, he's 65!

I thought the intro sequence was so-so. I loved seeing Indy. I couldn't stand his sidekick Mac. I thought the whole scene with Indy in the "house" was strange. Seeing Indy in a regular environment was very bizarre.

My favorite parts were the diner/motorcycle scene and the first tomb raiding sequence. The feel of Indy being in his element was fun, especially with Mutt (who I really liked too) tagging along. The teacher/student relationship was pretty cool.

I wasn't too keen on Marion's eventual arrival, but as they were being transported in the truck prior to the jungle chase, I did like the chemistry and backstory between Indy and her. Finding out that they were engaged to be married until Indy skipped town was pretty cool.

The lamest part? Definitely the monkey scene. Swinging through vines? Seriously?

I thought the last third of the movie was pretty not so cool. The whole bit with the natives chasing the heroes down the pyramid looked cool, but what purpose did it really serve? The natives were scared of the skull, then cut down by the Russians. That's all?

I was also let down by the way they took care of Dr. Plenko, the main baddie. In Raiders, you had heads blowing up, faces melting, and the Ark kicking ass. In TOD, guys fell off cliffsides and were munched by crocodiles. Crusade had Donovan aging before our eyes, and then disintegrating into dust. What happens to the antagonist in Skull? She gains knowledge and then disappears. Or something like that. It was just anticlimactic to me and left me wondering if this was the best they could come up with.

Overall, I rank IJATKOTCS 3rd behind Raiders and Crusade, but before ToD. I think as I see it more (probably not until its eventual Blu-Ray release), I'll enjoy it more, but for now, it's a definite "go for the nostalgic factor" for me.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Midnight show

Tickets are purchased! After band tomorrow night from 9 to 11, it's off to the cinemas to catch a 11:55 showing of Indiana Jones IV!

So sweet!

Marci's Birthday

Marci's birthday was on Sunday. As is customary in American culture, any woman's birthday over 29 will forever and always be referred to as her 29th, so I guess it was Marci's 29th birthday again on Sunday.

We all had a good weekend just hanging around with each other. Saturday was amazing with the 90 degree weather. What did we do? Go to the mall, of course! Nice, cool and we determined that for Marci to fit in, she's got to slut it up a little. Show some cleavage. Wear shorter shorts. That kind of thing.

I mean, seriously! Not that I'm complaining, but some of the women at the mall looked like they belonged on the street somewhere, and I don't mean in the homeless capacity!

Anyway, Saturday was cool. The kids were good and we filled up the kiddie pool in the back yard. It was a little unsettling, however, to have such hot temps so early in the year. I like to ramp it up over the course of a few weeks, not a few days. As such, I was a whiny little bitch and just hot and sweaty all weekend.

On Marci's birthday we went to yet another mall, this time an outdoor one, to have lunch and use some gift cards she received. I ended up getting her and I tickets to see Cirque du Soleil this coming Saturday. That should be epic and I can't wait.

All in all, it was a fine weekend and I hope there are many more where those came from in the future.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Last Thursday at the Sunset

I played a show at the Sunset on Thursday and that went well, but could've went a lot better. I'd asked the Sportsmen to play with us, then put a feeler out at the Sunset. Michael, the booker, put us on a bill with Thee Sgt. Major III, who we've played with before, so all in all, it was a great bill. We were totally excited to play, then, the night before, I got an email from Chris saying he had a really bad sore throat and might have to cancel.

Eek!

Day of show, after some hand wringing, Chris decided to give it a go. He and Sean made the 40 mile trek from the City of Destiny. Though Ballard was hoppin' at 9 pm, the Sunset was a little deserted. As we got on stage, though, a few people made their way in. Chris was definitely feeling poorly, but we did the best we could. We ended up doing 5 of Sean's songs, and then one of Chris' at the end. It was weird to be up there and not be full strength, but, according to the throngs of adoring fans, we sounded pretty good. I felt really bad for Chris; I've never had to front a band, but I have felt bad when I haven't been able to perform my best (usually due to me stinking up the joint, not due to illness). Chris clearly felt bad but he did pretty well, considering the circumstances.

Next up was the Sportsmen and they proceeded to hand us our collective lunches, though what we had must have been contagious. Ryan busted a string, so he went to guitar 2. Shortly thereafter, Wesley busted a string and, that was it. No more guitars. But, after a short delay, Wesley strung up Ryan's guitar 1 and the show continued without a hitch. Once again, a stellar set by the YS.

TSMIII followed and they KILLED. They've got a killer band, with Jim Sangster on twelve (12!!) string bass, Mike Musberger on drums, and Kurt Bloch on guitar. Fronting the guys were Leslie Beattie and Bill (don't know his last name) and all together, they had so much charisma, energy and attitude that it blew me away.

Leslie used to front a little jangle-pop band named Cantona that I'd played with before. They didn't do a whole lot for me (think the Sundays), but TSMIII? She was GREAT. Pair her up with Bill and they just owned the small stage at the Sunset. With Kurt hopping around and the entire band's interplay with each other, it was fantastic. These guys are a true rock band and they are not to be missed. With any luck, we'll be playing with them again soon.

Next up: recording!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Last night at the Rendezvous

In a few words, it was a Love In.

In a lot more words, well, keep reading.

I showed up at 8:30 or so, about 20 minutes after I actually arrived. Thanks Horrible Belltown Parking! No big deal, though, as the only people there were other band members. All of the Sportsmen were there. Nick and Heather Riffbroker, too. Sean showed up a little later, and, of course, as the night went on, a lot more people did as well.

For those that don't know, the Rendezvous is a little club in Belltown. It's set up in an interesting fashion. When you walk in the main entrance, there's the bar to the right. Straight ahead is a seating area and kitchen. In between the bar and the seating area, again, to the right, is a foyer of sorts, where people pay to get in the theater, which is adjacent to the foyer. You open a door (Step Up!) and there's the Jewelbox Theater. It's a room shaped like a shoebox, with a tiny stage on one end. Apparently in the 20s or something, they used to show movies there. For many years after that, it apparently was a less than savory place. These days, it's not so bad. If you get a bunch of friends in the room, it's a lot of fun.

So that's the main part of the Rendezvous. However, there is also an upstairs, where you can rent it out for a hipster-style party (it is in Belltown, after all!), and there is a downstairs, called the Grotto, where, apparently, you can also rent out for a CD release party, as was done last night.

The Young Sportsmen were kind enough to ask us to play their CD release party. They also asked the Riffbrokers, the Doll Test, the I Love Myselfs, the Small Change and Rusty Willoughby to play. 7 bands, one low price.

Anyway it was a big ol' love in. It was great! The Grotto felt a little like a Mexican restaurant, only minus the food and decorations. They had a little riser on one side of the room and people stood/sat on the other side.

Rusty was supposed to kick of the festivities with a few songs, but he was a no-show, so Doll Test took the stage. They did four songs, and the song that stuck out to me that they also played in March at the Skylark was a song about Scott's "future self". Don't know the exact title, but that was my favorite song of the entire night.

The I Love Myselfs took the stage next, and they added Ryan from the YS as a rhythm guitarist. We had the pleasure of playing with them and the DT in March and they were great again. Eric is totally fun to watch as a frontman. In his sport coat. So smooth.

We played next and it went a lot better than our last gig at the Swiss. We did Are You Ready, Get Up, I Don't Believe In You and Misery. I played through an Ampeg and was all ready to go with my new black bass, but when I disengaged my tuner, I got nothing. I unplugged everything and was finally saved by Ryan, who said there was a mute button on the amp. Doh! In the interest of time, I simply plugged the bass in and went dry (sans effects). It went as well as it could have, but I sure would've loved the fullness of my pedals on my sound. Oy!

The Riffbrokers, the Small Change, and of course, the YS closed out the night. All three bands played just great tunes. Greg practically tore off his pinky getting crazy with his Tele. The YS played a Metallica song (Whiplash. Quite impressive). Those guys are so tight it's clinical! Members from other bands were getting on stage, singing, playing percussion, generally just having a fabulous time. (Note to self: learn some of the other bands' songs. Sing backup with them, even if it's not necessary!)

One day I may make a family tree of the Unsmashable bands. Let's see. Off the top of my head, Ryan played with every band except Doll Test and us. Nick Riffbroker played in Doll Test, the Riffbrokers and the Small Change. Eric O. played with his band, the ILMs and played bass in Doll Test. Jason played bass in the Riffbrokers and drums for ILMs. Heather played bass in ILMs and Riffbrokers. Scott 5 played with DT and the Small Change. I think. I'm starting to lose track.

Anyway, we are not one of the Unsmashables, but we are, kind of unofficially. We're like the black sheep. Our tunes are heavier and we don't have the indie pop background, but they love us and we love them.

I got a chance to hear Chris' tunes that he wants to put on the upcoming CD and I gotta say, I'm pretty stoked. They're rockin' and they'll be a lot of fun to play live. Now if he'd only get me a copy of that disk!

Next up: the Sunset with the Sportsmen and Thee Sgt. Major III.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Quickie Update

I have been on a huge Oasis kick lately. In fact, you might say I'm obsessed with them. In fact, I got a phone call yesterday and it was the 90s and they want their music back. I'm debating whether or not to buy tickets for their show in August.

I got my new bass yesterday. It's black on black and it looks pretty boss. The neck is all wacked out though, so I'll take it to Mike Lull to have a look at it today.

I've searched all the local papers and ads for mentions of our big show (actually, the Sportsmens' big show) tomorrow and there's nothing. But I also saw that for next Thursday's show at the Sunset, the PI put a little check mark next to the listing, meaning "We recommend". I think that may be the first time we've been on a recommended show (though it's probably for the YS and TSMIII).

Believe it or not, I'm still exercising. Last week I only did once and felt like a turd. This week, I've done it twice (as is my norm, though I really need to up it) and felt pretty good.

Indiana Jones in 2 weeks!!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New pointless poll ------>

Vote now and have your voice heard!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Major bummer

I was all excited for a pre-late-night snack of cereal. I poured out a bowl of Cheerios. I got out a spoon. My book was on the table. I went to the fridge for milk.

No milk.

No problem. We have been getting deliveries from the milkman for the past year or so. He comes every Thursday and replenishes us. So I go to our downstairs fridge to get a carton of milk.

No milk.

But we have 3 soy milks and an orange juice.

/cries

Saturday, May 03, 2008

May is exciting for many reasons

This is gonna be a fun month. We're going to have better weather (hopefully). We're having some great gigs. We're celebrating a birthday (Marci's), and Mother's Day (also Marci). Rush is coming to town (I'm not going this time) and...

AND...

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL COMES OUT MAY 22 AND...

I

CANNOT

WAIT!!!!

Check out the new trailer (with trademark punch sounds, a little campiness, and a lot of VINTAGE INDY ACTION!) at the official website: Indiana Jones Is My Hero.

The sad thing with IJ4 is all the merchandising tie-ins. I've seen M&Ms, of all things, as well as the obligatory video games and toys (Lego Indiana Jones will be great!). We were at the mall today and there were some cool IJ shirts at Gap Kids, of all places. Little Riley sized shirts with images from Temple of Doom, as well as the IJ logo. They were cool, but not for $22.50.

Oh yeah! I bought a bass on Ebay the other day. I've been checking out the G&L SB-2 Tributes, which are the non-American versions of the bass I got last summer. The Tribbys are, for the money, really superb basses. The trouble is, there are only two colors: red and black. The red comes with a white pearloid pick guard. The black has a black p/g.

I had my eye on a red one that was used. It was listed at $375 and I thought I'd pull the trigger on that, as the new Tributes go for $449 or so. As I looked more, I saw that there's a dealer in MA that sells the black and red ones for $449 shipped. Then, after further investigation, I saw that they were $449 shipped with a Buy It Now or Best Offer tag. I saw that someone had offered him $315 for the $449 bass and he accepted it.

Trouble was, it was for the black one I coveted. I wasn't too interested in the red one. But, apparently, this guy in MA has a ton of them because the next day, there was another black one for sale. I offered him $315 and a few hours later, it was mine.

It's gonna look something like this and I should have it next Friday!