Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I Know This Is Old, But ...

It sure does suck to be Agatha Christie. This site thinks you're a dude, girl!

I did one where I got Jon Stewart as the top match, but he was only like 52%.

Go see which homely celebrities YOU look like!
that one guy you know, 9:39 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My New Favorite Band

It was way back in the Glory Days of the Internet. 1999-2000. Word about Napster was just getting out, and a young Casey Schreiner sat in his dorm on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston - overwhelmed by an unparalleled access to new music, new friends with new musical tastes, and the pure magic and joy that only a dedicated T3 Ethernet connection can bring.

This was when I discovered, as well as the archival properties of the Amazon Wish List. In my downtime, I'd browse the 'similar artists' sections of bands I knew, read up on the site's preferred albums, and add them to the vast basement of the List. On December 20th, 2000, I added Lambchop's "Nixon" to the list. I don't even remember why, or how I navigated to them from my then-current crop of new wave and jangle-pop psychadelia bands. Maybe it was from Andrew Bird, who I'd started getting into by then...

No matter.

Due to some extremely varied reviews from the Amazon crowd, and me not yet really knowing or understanding what "alt-country" was, I didn't buy it. Plus, the tinny Amazon RealPlayer samples sounded muddled and weird to me.

Fast-forward to 2006. I've graduated college, moved to the other side of the country, and - thanks to my good friend Christinia - picked up the alt-country craze well after it had ceased being fashionable to do so. And finally - finally - I pick up the Lambchop CD "How I Quit Smoking," after David Byrne covered the song "The Man Who Loved Beer" on his latest disc.

And I instantly fell in love. And kicked myself for not buying this stuff sooner.

My first thought was that the band is not - in the traditional sense of the word - alt-country at all. The self-described "Nashville's most fucked-up country band" is more of a nebulous, ever-changing pocket symphony. There are the pedal-steels and gentle twang of country, yes, but there's also a lush string section, jazzy guitar solos, soulful horns, funky bass lines, and just about every other type of musical style and instrument thrown into a mix that's not only surprisingly quiet and fragile, but also works amazingly well.

And under this complex musical backdrop, singer and principal songwriter Kurt Wagner part sings, part speaks, and part grumbles supremely poetic lyric portraits of life's most movingly mundane moments.

It's awesome. And unlike anything I'd ever heard before.

So I started scrambling to pick up everything I could, and have not yet been disappointed. Their new album "Damaged" is great, trading the spontaneity and range of their two-disc set "Aw, C'Mon / No, You C'Mon" for a set of ten hushed, beautiful ruminations. And I found out they're on tour. I've already got my tickets to see 'em in L.A. (with M. Ward opening!) and I honestly can't wait.

But since words didn't get me to listen to Lambchop, and since their sound is so unusual, I managed to dig up the only two videos of theirs on YouTube. Give 'em a listen. It's well worth the time.

"Is A Woman"

"Up With People"
that one guy you know, 9:06 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 0 comments |

Why I Love Samantha Bee

This is one of the funniest fucking things I have ever seen.


that one guy you know, 10:05 AM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mount Lowe Redux

Way back in May (seems so, so long ago ...) I drove to Altadena to hike up the Sam Merrill Trail and old Mount Lowe Railroad. Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate how long the trail would be, or how hot the weather would get (oh, novice hiking!), and couldn't make it up to the actual Mount Lowe summit. I vowed one day to return and stand on top of the mountain that had bested me before.

Armed with this vengeance - as well as a new drive to get listed on the Sierra Club's Hundred Peaks and Lower Peaks Chapters - I drove back into the Angeles National Forest today.

This time, I decided to tackle the peak from the north, as it would both cut six miles off the hike and offer more chances for shade on the mountains' north slopes. I started off on the same steep trail I used to get to Mount Disappointment and San Gabriel Peak, a few weeks ago. Except this time, there weren't any clouds coming up all over the place, so I could actually see further than 50 feet in front of me.

This was most apparent when I reached the lower summit of Mount Disappointment, and could actually see past the ridgeline to the city below:

It certainly gives the mountain's name another meaning.

On the way up to Mount Lowe, I passed this old metal sign leading to the summit, placed there by the original promoters of the Mount Lowe / Echo Mountain Resorts. The paint had long faded, and the metal rusted beyond recognition, but the tree had also taken the unusual tactic of growing its trunk around the sign. I love it when nature gets weird like that.

When I got to the top, I had the summit and its great views all to myself. It was sunny, but not too hot. A light breeze was blowing and - most importantly - it was completely silent.

... Which was odd, since from where I was sitting, I could clearly see cars on the 210 freeway. My camera lens doesn't do haze very well, but I could make out a great deal of the L.A. basin - from Palos Verdes to the Santa Monica Mountains and San Fernando Valley ... but still, I could hear nothing. It was like watching the city on mute.

I sat on a stone outcropping, ate my modest hiking-style lunch, breathed in deep the fresh, cedar-tinged air and watched as Angelenos drove about below me, oblivious.

And then, of course, I was snapped out of it when I turned around to see this:

Fucking people. Seriously. A protein supplement powder bin?

I packed up what I could fit in my backpack, and took it all out with me, stopping along the way to pick up the various other pieces of litter I'd missed on the way in. Large numbers of Spanish bookmarks and lottery sheets. I'll be sure to bring a garbage bag next time.

Fucking. People.

As always, more pics up on Flickr, with some nice clear-sky vistas and views from the Markham Saddle trail.

Oh, and I'm now 5 peaks down on the Hundred Peaks, and another 5 on the Lower Peaks. On my way!


that one guy you know, 5:42 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I Am Hurting Right Now

But not because of the usual crippling emotional issues.


It's because, after 25 years of fearing them, loathing them, and dismissing them, I finally got around to that New Year's Resolution and joined a gym.

And by 'joined,' I mean that I'm currently in a two-week free trial membership. No commitment, they say. Honest.

My buddy Luis has kindly offered to show me the ropes of this activity, which is both strange and new to me. It's been pretty good so far, except for the soreness. Oh, the soreness. After the first day of 'working out' on Tuesday, I was a bit sore, but nothing too bad. Come Wednesday morning, however, when I couldn't lift my arm to turn off my alarm clock - that was a different story.

Still, I soldiered on - with only mild complaints and moderate doses of Advil.

Thursday I went back for more, and today, there is not a single part of my body above my waist that doesn't hurt when I try to do something normal - like making my bed, or washing my hair, or turning to my left. Or right, for that matter. I even had to hold my guitar away from my body this afternoon.

I was supposed to go again today, but decided to skip it so I'd be able to - I don't know, walk - when I go hiking tomorrow.

And despite all this, I do find myself semi-enjoying it. At the very least, I feel like I'm getting healthier. And it's also something else to do after work that's not sitting on my ass and playing Civilization 4 until 2 in the morning.

Also, it's fun rejecting the increasingly desperate sales pitches I have to sit through every time I try to leave.
that one guy you know, 5:08 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nonstop to Tokyo

So I just found out today that I'll be traveling to Tokyo with a small core of Attack of the Show people for our week-long special from Japan.

While I am semi-familiar with Japanese culture and history, I have never been before.

Thus, I am assuming that everywhere I go will look like this:


that one guy you know, 10:47 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 4 comments |

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Office Jesus in Las Vegas

Here are the three Office Jesus skits I produced for our Vegas special. As always, there's a very loose storyline that goes through the three.

Let me know if y'all like this embedded video format, or if you prefer the old-school link to the video player. You get a bigger image that way, but this way, you don't ever have to leave my blog - which I know it pains you to do.


Office Jesus in Vegas I

Office Jesus in Vegas II

Office Jesus in Vegas III

that one guy you know, 11:29 AM | | | | | | | | | | link | 2 comments |

Monday, August 21, 2006

Airplane Poetry

A little while back, when I was flying home from Connecticut, I found a few pieces of yellow, lined paper in the seat pocket - you know, the one where they put the SkyMall catalog and safety cards?

I opened up the papers to find that someone had left some writing on them. And, as I have no respect for other people's privacy, I read it, and was immediately intrigued. Here is the complete text. It paints quite the picture:

"You will see the "Long Term" benefits

start thinking in terms of long term

Remaining balance of car?

Get a Tune Up next door
oil change, tires, etc. &
Drive it into the ground!

No wife, no kids, no debt. No credit card.
No car insurance. No car payment.

This is something I need you to do.

I know it's a tough thing to (unintelligible) now,

When you have $ use it!

One less monthly bill

After it's paid, you can (unintellible)
do whatever you want!"

I wonder who wrote this. What was going on in his life? Did he just get divorced? Slowly working his way out of debt? Or was this part of a full life-orienting 180 degree turn? What would posess him to write a letter to himself on the airplane, and why would he leave it there? Was this important to him, or was he just writing down mantras to drill thoughts into his head?

More importantly, what kinds of messages should I start leaving for people on airplanes?


that one guy you know, 1:16 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bear Canyon

In order to fully expunge the stench of Las Vegas from my soul, I trekked back to the Angeles National Forest today for a bit of boulder scrambling and hopping along the Arroyo Seco through Bear Canyon.

On this hike, Will volunteered to drive, and carted along his dog Dingo and his friend Glen, along with virgin hikers from work - Luis and Kevin.

We passed through the crowded trail near the Switzer's Campground, as dirty and graffitied as ever. But when we veered off into Bear Canyon, it felt like we had the entire canyon to ourselves. The river was still very low, which made it easy for us to get across the boulders ... but there was still enough to keep the cascades and pools full. And there were a lot of 'em.

We must have passed at least a half dozen of these secluded pools - usually, the stream would trickle down some smaller pools through the bedrock, and end up in a deep, clear pool cut into the stone through years of erosion. They all looked inviting. All's I'm sayin' is, if you're looking for a free place to swim in ice cold water, Bear Canyon is your place.

After a while, we stopped for some packed lunches and turned back toward Switzer Falls. We were planning on looping around to Oakwilde Camp, but it was much too hot to hike in that low an elevation above the canyon treeline. So instead we stopped at one of those nice swimmin' holes for a bit for some relaxing, some shoeless rock jumping, and the kind of wake-you-up feeling that only a splash of icy mountain stream water can deliver.

On the way out, we climbed past the now-crowded Switzer Falls on a hunch that we'd be able to hook back up with the trailhead further upstream. Turns out, we were wrong. But we did get to see even more secluded forest and river, and we ended up at a very peaceful water-filled canyon.

If the water weren't 40 degrees, it'd be easy to just float around in this pool all day. Still, it's now marked on my map for a quick return trip when solitude calls.

For me, hiking with a dog will always at least double my enjoyment of the hike. Will's dog was pretty much running vertically up and down the canyon walls, and clearly having the time of her life doing it.

Dogs are great.

And I think our new hikers were digging the trail life, too. It's good excercise, fresh air, a recharge from urban life and - in my opinion - the best and easiest way to open someone up to being aware of their environment. It's impossible not to care about the wilderness after you've seen how beautiful it is.

As always, more pics on Flickr.


that one guy you know, 7:02 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 0 comments |

Friday, August 18, 2006

Break In!

So while I was in Vegas, my apartment got all broken-in to.

We didn't think anything was stolen, since my computer and all my CDs and DVDs were in order.

I found out today, when I was going to get it ready for a trip, that my new CamelBak was the one item that was stolen, along with the items packed inside: a crank-up flashlight, a hiking trails book, a first aid kit, and my Swiss Army Knife.

I'm glad the thieves were able to find only the items that I enjoy the most, and to manage to swipe a rather high percentage of gifts from family and friends in the process.

Although you'll never read this message, it's for you:

Fuck you.
that one guy you know, 9:24 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 3 comments |

Monday, August 14, 2006

Back from Vegas

I just got back home from Las Vegas.

For those of you not up to date on my Casey Schreiner - Las Vegas relationship, I hate Las Vegas. It's the temperature of Tuscon, the traffic of L.A., and the tourists of Orlando - all in one cramped, polluted sprawl.

So, when I flew in to Vegas for work and spotted this pamphlet, prominently displayed in the airport terminal, I figured it was appropriate:

That said, I did have a small bit of fun. A large portion of it was from dressing up in the Office Jesus costume and taking it out into the city. It was the first time I'd really brought that character outside of the G4 offices, and people's reactions were great. On the strip, people either reacted in a huge way, or not at all - and both were amusing.

On one end of the extreme, I could literally stand right next to people playing slot machines and they wouldn't even bat an eye. On the other end, a group of Groomsmen asked me to be in their wedding portrait. So, you never know, really.

Most of the rest of the weekend was spent working with talent on additional skits and bumps and hanging out with the web team (who are going to have some pretty awesome content from this Vegas expedition). We hit up the Imperial Palace karaoke bar for some drunken caterwauling. In honor of his new upcoming solo album, I chose to rock out with a mediocre karaoke version of Lindsey Buckingham's Fleetwood Mac song "Second Hand News." Several people enjoyed it, although it wasn't nearly as good as my rendition of DEVO's "Girl U Want" a few weeks ago.

I also tried some Irish whiskey for the first time. Bushmills Blackbush, I believe. Interesting, I'd say. Not at all what I expected it to taste like, based on the descriptions I was given. I'll have to make a second pass at some point in the future, but for now I think I'll stick to what I likes.

No gambling for me, though. No sir. Otherwise, how was I going to finish David McCullough's "1776"? Reading a book on the Revolutionary War while in Las Vegas? I did mention I hate that city, right?

I've only got a few bits in this week of shows - the opening wedding bit, some fancy shots of the hosts rockin' out in a fancy yellow car, and the afforementioned Office Jesus bits. I'm shooting and cutting some more tomorrow, and I think you'll dig 'em.

See if I can hide my oncoming sinus infection with some flashy editing.


that one guy you know, 8:08 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why I Love Our Internet Group

A little while back, Wal-Mart introduced a MySpace rip-off social networking / shopping site for teens.

Our web team signed up for the site and entered a video contest. Kids had to create their own videos, showing how cool the site was, and how easy it was to use.

This is the video they entered.

They did not win.


that one guy you know, 9:00 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 2 comments |

Japanese Nintendo Wii Ad

The family's gone, and I'm still recovering. I had a great time with them, touring the coasts of Southern California ... and just in time for me to not quite recuperate, I'm heading off to Las Vegas - my least favorite city ever - to produce some segments for Attack of the Show's Vegas week.

I'll have more updates later, but for now, please enjoy this fake Japanese ad for the Nintendo Wii. As one forum kid said, "that scared me and it didn't make sense."

Rock on.

that one guy you know, 8:17 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We Are The Web

So my family's in town this week, so I probably won't be updating that much.

But here's a little something to tide you over. And it's a good cause, too:


that one guy you know, 10:05 AM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |