Ugly Day [U]
Nov 18th, 2012 by Dan

It’s funny, an All Songs episode about music in college reminded me of my tumultuous relationship with Ashley and made me want to write a post about break-up music that I had used in the past to help me process my emotions and my feelings…

Then I was broken up with later on that afternoon.

Look, I try to stay away from posts about my emotional state most of the time here, but I needed somewhere to talk about the irony of the situation and the suckiness I’m dealing with.

Now let’s all go listen to some Stars – “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” or something…

Save the Date Trailer [FB/ER]
Oct 19th, 2012 by Dan

I know what you’re thinking, “Today surely couldn’t feature two videos that have Alison Brie in them.”

Welp, you’re wrong! Here’s a trailer for a movie starring Alison Brie, Lizzy Caplan (another favorite of mine), Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, and Mark Webber. Looks dramatic, but good!

This Morning: A Play in One Act (U)
Aug 28th, 2012 by Dan

Dan: Why does this new shampoo apply like conditioner?

(Dan looks at the label)

Dan: Goddammit…

A-Bomb Day [U]
Aug 6th, 2012 by Dan

View Through the Memorial Cenotaph of the Peace Flame and the Peace Memorial

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial cenotaph and A-Bomb Dome.

Today marks one of the most terrible days in human history. On this day 67 years ago, an atomic bomb was used as a weapon for the first time. Estimates say 140,000 people were directly and indirectly killed by the bomb and thousands more were also killed in Nagasaki three days later. Every year I like to take a few minutes to reflect upon this tragedy and hope that we will one day have a future where the threat of nuclear weapons no longer looms above us all.

Double Fine Adventure Ep. 1 – A Perfect Storm for Adventure [GO/ER]
May 11th, 2012 by Dan

So you want to watch the Double Fine Adventure documentary, but you didn’t back the project? Apparently there’s another way to get involved! The URL is in the video! Enjoy the first episode for free! Throw your phone receivers to hang up!

The Death and Return of Superman As Told By Max Landis [ER]
Feb 6th, 2012 by Dan

Max Landis, son of director John Landis and a screenwriter in his own right, made this video about the time that DC Comics killed Superman. If you don’t like comics, you should still watch this because it’s awesome. On top of being fun to watch, it also features Mandy Moore, Elijah Wood, Simon Pegg, and many other famous people.

Watch it. I’m not kidding.

Auto-Tune the News (Songify the News?) [ER]
Jan 26th, 2012 by Dan

Complete with Joseph Gordon-Levitt cameo! I guess it’s called Songify the News now?

Chrono Trigger Endurance Run Ep. 41 [GO/ER]
Jan 23rd, 2012 by Dan

Will Ryan and Patrick figure out how to get the sun stone and get the rainbow sword? Will they enter the Black Omen today? Stop asking questions and find out!

September: Starstruck [Fukubukuro 2011]
Jan 12th, 2012 by Dan

The easiest way to blow my mind is to be artistically proficient. I’ve met very few actual professional artists, but that’s partly because the thought of talking to them just leaves me completely tongue-tied and nervous. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, since they’re people just like me, but the things they have the ability to do just seem like superpowers.

David can attest to a time that we went to Megacon when I was still in high school and I failed to meet Fred Gallagher because I was too shy and he’d left before I had the courage to try to say hello.

Determined to overcome that fear, I grabbed Min and we went down to Small Press Expo (SPX) to meet Anthony Clark of Nedroid, Jonathan Rosenberg of Scenes From a Multiverse, Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant, and Roger Langridge of Thor: The Mighty Avenger and Snarked. I was quite lucky to not really know where anyone was or what anyone looked like, so I was able to muster up the courage to talk to these guys while Min and I wandered and searched. The moment of truth arrived when we found the TopatoCo booth where Anthony Clark and Jonathan Rosenberg were stationed.

I tried to keep it cool as I asked about the procedure for sketches and books and posters, but I was just blown away by the fact that I was talking to Anthony Clark. This is the guy who draws the bizarre, but hilarious comics that have me rolling on the floor with laughter (*your response may be different than mine), but here I was complimenting his work and trying to shoot the shit without looking like a total freak.

The funny thing is, these guys, Anthony, Jonathan, and Roger, are all no different, really. They’re more famous than I’ll ever be, but, just to look at them, they looked totally normal (and kind of tired. It was the last day of the show) and they acted/responded in totally normal (and hilarious) ways.

I had a lot of fun chatting with those guys and getting their signatures. If there was any downside, it was that Roger Langridge’s handlers shooed him away from me mid-conversation to someone who was buying something. It makes business sense, but it was kind of an asshole thing to do. I had purchased issues of his work in my hands, so I was an indirect customer at one point.

In an ideal world I would be able to say that I’ve overcome my fears of talking to (very) minor celebrities, but I know that’s not the case. I know I’d act just as idiotic if I were to meet some rookie prospect or an actor or a musician. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out, but for now I’ve just gotta walk around and muster up courage to be able to do it.

PS: I didn’t see Kate Beaton anywhere. There’s a chance that I spoke to her, but didn’t realize it was her when I tried to buy her (sold out) book.

Small Press Expo (SPX) 2009: Nedroid's Anthony Clark

Anthony Clark signing (Photo courtesy Futuregirl_LeahRiley)

July: “Did You Get What You Wanted?” [Fukubukuro 2011]
Jan 10th, 2012 by Dan

Farewell, Rx Bandits.

We were introduced with The Resignation 2003 as a Christmas gift from my ex-girlfriend. I loved “Mastering the List” and I liked the album then, but I didn’t really LOVE RxB.

Love started in 2006 with …And The Battle Begun. So many great songs on that disc, but tops must always go to “Only for the Night”, which became (and remains) my favorite track.

In 2009 I explored your past with Halfway Between Here and There and Progress, enjoying the strides you’d made and how far you’d come. The seeds were always there and it all gelled with Mandala. Your crowning achievement of all that you wanted to do and all that you wanted to say and, despite my love for your horns, it was the end of that era. You’d grown up and so had I.

Eric was mentioning to me that he finds punk/ska to be young man’s music and I can understand that. Surface level anti-commercial and anti-establishment lyrics give way to more complicated thoughts about war, women, regret, loss. RxB’s songs had that arc. I mean, they may still hate the man, but it’s not in the same way that a punk kid just hates the man for being “fake”. RxB wants social change, but not anarchy, you know? It’s a fine line to toe.

Quick digression, both FIF and RxB were big on women’s rights and image issues and it makes me think that the ska scene tries to be friendlier to women (there were certainly a few women-led ones in the past), but I have no idea if that’s actually true. Any scene that’s big on moshing and all that can’t really be all that girl-friendly, can it? I may just have a biased view…

Anyway, RxB ran its farewell tour through DC in July and I knew I couldn’t miss it. I tried (in vain) to get someone to come with me, but despite being unable to muster any other concert goers other than myself, I went down to the 9:30 Club for the big show.

The only other Farewell Tour I’d been on was the fantastic Five Iron Frenzy Winners Never Quit tour (ED NOTE: FIF is actually a thing again! They got back together in Nov and they’ll be releasing an album in 2013!). That was such an emotional and awesome show. I almost cried at that show and I single-handedly credit it to proving to me that concerts can be mega-awesome. I knew I had to go to RxB’s.

It was a slightly different environment, for sure. I wasn’t 17 anymore and moshing wasn’t generally allowed at FIF concerts, but I’ve been to enough concerts that it wasn’t too jarring. Some of the jostling kept me from really focusing on the show, but it was still one of their most incredible gigs. I wish they’d brought back the horns for the last tour, but everyone was still on their A-game. Matt Embree and Steve Choi, in particular, were outstanding and showed why their direction defined the band post-Progress.

The highlight of the night was their show-ending “Only for the Night”. It was a meandering stunner. They start the song, flow into jams and other songs for another seven to ten minutes, and, when you’ve forgotten that this started with “Only for the Night”, they come bursting back into the song for its bombastic ending. It just felt so right and the entire venue was just blown away.

At the end of the night it was another goodbye. FIF was a farewell to high school. I went out of town to see them and it was a way to end the thread of music that had carried me through middle school and high school. RxB was the music I jammed to in undergrad and in that post-university limbo. It’s weird saying goodbye to a thing I love and a period of my life that I feel like I’ve moved past.

Thanks for the music, RxB. You guys were the best.

Rx Bandits at Ace of Spades - Sacramento

Peace, Matt Embree (Photo Courtesy Eric Lovato)

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