March 31, 2011

I Like BIG BATS and I Cannot Lie.


Today is my 2nd favorite holiday of the year – MLB Opening Day!  There are many things that come along with baseball season that I love, other than the obvious.  One is the unbelievably delicious smell of the kosher hot dog stand at the ballpark.  Best.  Scent.  Ever.  If they bottled that shit, I’d be first in line to buy it.  Another is looking forward to just about every Sunday until Fall, which will be spent with friends, outside on someone's deck, BBQing, possibly recovering from Saturday night with a little hair of the dog, and listening to the game on the radio.  Yes, I said radio.  I’m crazy like that.  I usually go to at least 20 games per year, and it’s nice to have something different to do that is guaranteed to be enjoyable and I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to wear.  This is because I always wear my standard outfit:  one of my team jerseys and a baseball hat.  I literally always wear this combo at every game I attend.  It's what I do.  It’s who I am.  Doesn’t matter if I’m at home or away, on a date or with my homies – I’m representin’ (that’s it, though – no team earrings, socks, shoes, purse, etc. allowed.  That would be overkill.  And nothing with bling - no way, never).  I also enjoy (with definite exceptions) the various music I hear at the stadium throughout the game, as the sound system at our stadium kicks ass, especially when playing one of my all-time favorites that is rarely heard anymore, Pump Up the Volume by MARRS  (*fingers crossed they are still playing it in its usual time slot this season*).  Eating peanuts from the shell is also enjoyable this time of year, which is a strange phenomenon for me because it’s the only time one will ever find me eating peanuts straight up.  Along with this, I also enjoy the corny, predictable, immature wisecracks we all make randomly during the game about how big/delicious/salty our friend’s nuts are (same guy always brings ‘em, along with his AM/FM transistor radio, which is also a highlight). 

What baseball season brings that I don’t like?  Paying an insane $9 for beers at the ballpark.  Being at a game during the peak of summer when it’s still stifling hot at first pitch with 80% humidity that’s on the rise.  Worrying about my skin aging because of all the direct sunlight I can’t avoid during a day game.  Seeing spectators at the game who have way better seats than me but clearly aren’t interested based on their continual cell phone usage and the fact that they are perfectly primped to go clubbin’.  The sinks in the stadium bathrooms that only seem to provide freezing cold water at the beginning/end of the season, and scalding hot water from mid June until September.  Why, universe, do you always bring bad with the good?  Sigh.

Anywho, I’m prepared to deal with the minor annoyances because I’m ready for some goddamn baseball!  I’m ready to dust off the ol’ team jerseys (hats in use year-round, of course), buy myself a $9 beer and a $6 kosher dog with caramelized onions and sauerkraut, forget my woes, soak in the accompanying sights and sounds that bring forth so many fond memories of all sorts, and enjoy the first game of the season.  Did you hear me MLB?  I'm ready.  BRING.  IT.

March 27, 2011

I Ain't 'Fraid of No Ghost.

I went ghost hunting recently for the first time ever.  That’s what I’m calling it, but it was essentially just a tour of a big, creepy old place that since the early 1800’s has been a home, hotel, hospital, halfway house, post office, part of the Underground Railroad, and a brothel (of course).  Anyway, the place has a rich, dark history and is purportedly very haunted.  On nearly every tour people claim to have seen things, heard things, felt things, been forcefully pushed, and walked out with scratches. Leading up to this adventure my BFF and I were a bit intimidated, yet excited, that we might experience the same.  Since we got lost on our drive to the middle of nowhere because we were too busy performing a duet of the Ghostbusters theme, we were a bit late and hurriedly joined up as the group was heading into the house via the basement door.  While we toured as a group (there were 8 of us), the owner, who awesomely happened to look like Harold Ramis, took us to each area and room of the house telling stories along the way.  I was armed with a small flashlight/lantern combo thingy, as well as my camera, of course.  The basement was divided in half and on one side was a huge built-in stone fireplace.  There was a small, separate concrete room (about 10’x5’) behind the fireplace room, and just off that there was an even tinier room, maybe 5’x5’, which had a concrete slab built into the concrete floor that at one point in time slaves were supposedly chained to.  Seeing as we joined up last, my friend and I were at the back of the group as we entered that small offshoot room, at which point my flashlight proceeded to go out.  I had JUST replaced the batteries a few weeks before so this sparked my interest.  I fiddled around with it on the spot as I wondered if this was coincidence or not, but to no avail.  Others in the group seemed pleased that perhaps this was the first ghostly interaction of the evening.  After we all checked out the connecting Slave Room, we filed back out into the fireplace room, when BAM, my flashlight goes back on.  Hmm.  As we ventured up to the 2nd floor and eventually the attic, I became aware of how VERY RICKETY this place was.  On the upper floors I was afraid I’d fall right through the floorboards, which you could see through and in some areas had huge holes blocked off.  It was very dirty and there was stuff all over the place, including appropriately placed creepy things such as old dolls and an ancient piano, which I was really hoping would randomly start playing ragtime while we were there, but did not.  After the group tour everyone was to pair up or go with their respective groups to different rooms of the house, hang out quietly so as not to make any noise, and just see what happened.  We all chose our spots, and decided that in 30 minutes, we’d all switch so that we could try a few different areas.  My BFF and I decided to start with the basement.  Of course.  We started in the little offshoot room.  We checked around for bugs, sat down on a concrete slab, and set my little lantern on the floor.  Which proceeded to flicker.  Three times.  We looked at each other and just sat there kinda scared in total silence, waiting to be freaked out by something.  Then the moment was ruined, or in a way made better, by me asking if she had remembered to turn phone ringer off.  She responded, “Yeah, I don’t think the ghosts want to hear “Poison” by Bel Biv Devoe”.  Which caused us to immediately break out into a whisper of the chorus, “Never trust a big butt and a smile that girl is poisoooooooon..”, which then led to a laugh attack so hard I had tears streaming down my face and was shaking uncontrollably trying to hold it in, so as not to be that person on the tour.  We finally calmed down and my friend spoke to the spirits saying, “Talk to us slaves, tell us your stories”.  This caused me to quietly reminisce about how my mom used to sing “Old Man River” to me when I was a little kid.  She busted up so hard that I ended up doing the same, as I realized for the first time that it’s a little strange that my mom used to regularly sing me a song about African American hardship.  She had a great alto voice and sang it very well though, and I would beg her to do it to the point of annoyance.  Good times, but I digress.

Anyway, we finally managed to shut ourselves up once and for all and moved to the Slave Room, where we sat in total silence for the rest of our time downstairs.  Here’s a picture of it: 

Notice the chain added to the Slave Room for maximum effect.

Off and on during our time in there, we kept hearing a noise that sounded like it was coming from behind the open, empty cabinet that was in the corner against the back concrete wall of the house.  At times the sound moved around a bit, usually coming from behind the cabinet, but at one point it was just on the other side of the wall that separated the Slave Room from the offshoot room – where we had just been sitting 4 feet away and heard nothing.  I can’t accurately describe the sound, but it was somewhat of a scratching noise and despite our efforts we couldn’t pinpoint the sound nor explain what could be causing it.  It was a little freaky, but nothing bone-chilling-frightening like we were hoping for.  When it was time to switch rooms, we chose to go to the piano/family room and adjacent room on the main floor – a supposed hot spot for activity.  Here's the piano room:

Giant orb in front of the piano or dust reflection?  You make the call.

Unfortunately, nothing out of the ordinary went on the whole 30 minutes we were there.  The main excitement was when we heard, then saw, a couple on the tour come hauling ass down the main stairs, walk straight past us and out the back door.  My friend and I shot each other a look, then shrugged our shoulders thinking they weren’t getting any paranormal action either and decided to leave.  Come to find out from Harold Ramis after the tour that the woman claimed something shoved her while in the attic.  Shoved her forcefully from behind, right into the back of her boyfriend.  They freaked and left.  The only other excitement was right after that when a bad storm rolled in, bringing our ghost chasing experience to an end with appropriate claps of thunder and lightning illuminating the creepy house.  

I guess it’s just as well that nothing too terrifying happened in that house that might’ve left us with PTSD and a lifelong fear of the dark, although I can’t help but feel a tad disappointed.  At least I renewed my love for Bel Biv Devoe.  Which, I suppose, might be frightening to some.

March 20, 2011

Wanted: Cartoonish Man with Shifty Eyes and Unfortunate Hair.

I was browsing around online when I came across a crime story in the news that included this gem of a police sketch of the suspect:


What in the goddamn hell kind of police sketch is that?  I wouldn't be surprised if the bad guy ends up looking exactly like this, but....well....what in the goddamn hell?!?  Was this taken from a comic book?  It looks like a self-portrait art project of some high school kid who probably sits alone at lunch and has an arsenal of homemade weapons under his twin bed at home.  Perhaps Lurch from the Addams Family is the culprit.  Or is it Moe from the Stooges?  What’s up with the shifted eyes?  Is the public to assume that his eyes are permanently looking left?  That sure would make him easier to find, along with those stylish bangs of his.  Maybe the eye shift to the left is his “signature” look that he flashes as he pauses at the scene of his completed crime, just before he vanishes with a bag of money that has a big, black dollar sign on it.    

March 13, 2011

Mummies.



You can't see it, but the mummy on the far left has a big nipple ring.

I first heard of the band Here Come the Mummies about a year ago, but just recently got to see them live for the first time.  I wasn’t familiar with too much of their music, just a dozen or so songs and videos I caught online here and there.  But I knew enough to know that there was no way this show would disappoint.  You see, I’m a huge fan of Da Funk.  The funkier, the better.  I like a sick bass, a lot of wacka-wacka on the rhythm guitar, lots and lots of percussion, and a big, tight horn section.  I like a funk so dirty it puts an ugly look on yo face.  So, if you give me a good funk band that also happens to perform incognito dressed as mummies, I’m sold.

An interesting side note about this band is the fact that no one knows who they are.  They are based out of Nashville, and rumor has it that the band is made up of multiple Grammy winners, many of whom are presumably under other music contracts that would prevent them from doing a separate gig.  Hence, they hide their identity as mummies with mummy names.  My guess is that most of them are probably not names we'd know, although may have played with big-name bands.  I also wouldn't be surprised if several of them are established studio musicians, and that they rotate members of the band depending on who is available.  Mummy get-ups would allow for this to go on largely unnoticed.  Los Straitjackets had the same concept.  Come to think of it, they're from Nashville as well.  HMMMM...

The band absolutely did not disappoint.  They played for over 2 hours, and the fact that they were dressed as mummies never got old.  Much to my liking, they had one guy on the drum kit plus a percussionist.  Percussion happens to be my favorite genre of the instruments, and the more the better.  If I happen upon a drumline, percussion circle, or the like, I will stop whatever I’m doing, and dance like the Black girl in the urban high school marching band dance squad who was born with undeniable rhythm and has those pom-pom-looking things on her shoes.  Really, I will.  The show started on a perfect note for me, with the band marching in and around the venue playing their horns while a drumline kept the beat as they made their way to the stage.  The horn section was substantial and uber tight.  My god, I love a horn section.  A really good horn section is an orgasmic experience.  I was impressed to see/hear a baritone sax amongst them.  You don’t get that too often, and it added a richness and uniqueness to their sound.  The trumpet, however, is my all-time favorite horn.  The trumpet is really in-yo-face, which is exactly what I love about it.  Hey, trumpet mummy:  BRING.  IT.



One new thing I learned from this show is that Here Come the Mummies have a significant amount of sexual innuendos in their songs.  I’m no mummy expert, so this got me to wondering if there is some correlation between mummies and sex that I’m unaware of.  They have songs called Horizontal Mambo, Libido Knievel, Attack of the Wiener Man, etc.  There was a lot of mummy-gyrating going on throughout the show.  I would definitely consider this a funk band, but their music also incorporates a lot of ska and Latin sounds – two of my faves.  One song was borderline disco, also a special love of mine, and it was my favorite of the night. My only complaint is that there were some songs that started really funky and I’d get all excited about where they were going, only to hear them take on a pop-ish sound and direction.  Which is NOT where I want my funk to go.  Those songs weren’t bad, because they each had their funky, delicious highlights, but I found myself wanting to splice and edit those songs to get rid of the poppy, mainstreamish, nothing-special parts.  Other than that, I was a happy camper at this show and I got my funk on big and bad.  So many metal shows have been coming to town lately, so it was nice to get reacquainted with my good friend Da Funk.  Here's another peek into the show.  Check out the mummy dance moves.  Speaking of which, I was impressed by how many guys I saw dance throughout the show with reckless abandon. 


March 8, 2011

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler


Happy Mardi Gras!  Let the good times roll.  Watch those hurricane drinks though, or you might end up like Drunk Gumby.

March 7, 2011

Motorhead Concert Review.

It was awesome.  I rocked my face off.  It was the loudest show I've ever been to, and that's saying something seeing as I go to a lot of shows, many of which are very loud.  It was also extremly crowded and almost caused me to have a panic attack.

The End.

Here's a quick, crappy video I shot of Lemmy and the boys saying goodbye for the evening.  Crappy mainly because I'm a novice at compressing videos small enough to upload onto this here blog, hence, I had to pick a compression rate that causes the video to lose quality.



Here's another crappy video of them doing Ace of Spades.  Sorry for the wobbly camera work.  It was rough dodging all those devil horns in the air.  Not to mention this was taken several beers into the evening.




Who Would've Thought?

I hate to say “I told you so” but….

Wait a minute.  Let me be honest here for a moment.  I actually LOVE to say “I told you so”!  It feels pretty damn good.  Finally the word is out in mainstream media that the drilling in Arkansas just might be connected to the swarm of earthquakes there in recent months.  It doesn’t take an earthquake expert or a drilling expert to figure that one out.  Obviously.  Here's a blurb on it.

I will be interested to see if all this drilling and hydraulic fracturing becomes even bigger news, as the public deserves, or if it will "just happen" to quickly quiet down.  I will also be eager to hear what comes out of that EPA study that's due in 2012.  Will the government admit they might've been wrong and reverse their claim that fracking is "safe"?  All this damn drilling is messing with the equilibrium of our earth, and that, my friends, causes earthquakes.  Not to mention the hazards it's causing our environment and the people/animals in it.  Take this story, for example.  Here's another interesting article about fracking, courtesy of the NY Times. 

I really need to see the documentary Gasland.