Feb 9, 2019

Night at The Palm Lounge

Met some friends at the Palm Lounge last night. For those of you who aren't familiar the Palm Lounge is the hotel bar for a local historic hotel called the Eureka Inn.  This hotel is in the middle of town and has been there for... well pretty much forever.  It's rumored to be haunted and was featured in a recent movie An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn.  It's weird as shit, you'll love it. This hotel definitely has a historic feel but for whatever reason a definite weird vibe too.  I'm not sure if it's because of the strange attempts at renovating over the years and the owners clearly cutting corners on things but it's a unique place to say the least.  There's a grand lobby, old elevator a cafe/restaurant that was closed for as long as we've lived here.  I've heard it's open now but no one I know has ever eaten there.  There's a proper grimy bar I've heard was called the Rathskeller downstairs that's also been closed for years. Rumored to reopen soon. Then there's the Palm Lounge.  This was the fancy get a cocktail in a nice suit and meet a girl to take back to your room spot.  It was where you'd see a jazz band play.  It was, well what it's called, not a bar but a lounge.  Since the Rathskeller closed the Palm has become another local dive bar spot. It's still decked out in it's late 60's - mid 80's decor complete with big leathery chairs and an upholstered ceiling.  It has a stage in the corner with a grand piano. Anyway,  It's usually the place to go where you don't want to see anyone else and just chill... because it's usually dead.  Except for on my birthday last year.

After a couple failed attempts at proper birthday plans we went there intentionally to basically bring a group and take over the place but there was some super strange burlesque costume show happening.  The place was packed. Some friends wanted a drink so we hung out for a minute and got to see part of the show. People were crowded around the center dance floor which was now a make-shift runway.  We couldn't go into the game room, which I'll tell you about in a minute, because it was the dressing room for the performers?... strippers?  I'm not sure.  The song Little Red Riding Hood by Sam The Sham &The Pharaohs starts playing and a full figured woman in a cartoon wolf costume comes out and starts doing an awkward striptease to this song... stripping ?  I dunno she was taking off a costume.. not sexy clothing... anyway inside of the costume she's wearing a topless red riding hood costume and holding an axe. Hacking her way out of the wolf costume while her big ol floppy titties were out and proud.  All the while the crowd of people who all seemed to know each other were cheering her on.  More power to em, this just wasn't my scene and it was my birthday and I just wanted to hang out with my friends.  We ended up taking our party back to our house. Whatever happy birthday to me.

We get there expecting a typical dead Friday night at the Palm and there's a bunch of old people and tall tables with white table cloths and a meat and cheese platter on a table in the back. The air was thick with the stench of old man cologne, aftershave and mom perfume.  The whole bar smelled like my 4th grade teacher.  The bartender said it was a Doctor's Meeting.  It seemed like one of those scenes in a movie about aliens that are secretly living among us where the aliens, who normally have no connection to each other would meet up, kick the staff out of the room, lock the doors and take off their human suits so they can relax,  be aliens and talk about the takeover of planet Earth for an hour or two.  Maybe I'm thinking of that movie The Witches... anyway it was kind of weird.  We get our drinks and head to the "game room" to play some pool.

This game room, located right off of the lounge has always fascinated me.  It used to be a grand restaurant called the Rib Room and seemed to be pretty hopping back in the day.  The Eureka Inn has really let itself go over the years and now the Rib Room is just a room accessible from the Palm Lounge bar. It has several large booths, the kind you'd eat a big steak, ribs and hella potatoes in. Last night all of the booths seats were removed. Just the bottom part you sit on exposing old wooden framing, carpeting from the 70's and 40 year old flotsam on the concrete subfloor.  Down the center of the room are 2 coin-operating pool tables and a air hockey table and a non functioning fireplace with a large hearth at the back of the room.   There's also a jukebox stocked with CDs that were clearly picked out in the early 00's.  This was the second time we had to plug it in ourselves to use it.

We play a game of pool and while Meg and Dave are playing a drunken and high energy game of air hockey Becky and I are chilling and this guy walks in with a pretty distinct look. Tall, hoodie, long black wavy hair in a ponytail, a dark colored beanie and a med-bushy beard. He puts some quarters in the pool table and while he's picking out his pool cue Becky and I hear another person come into the room behind us and we both kind of take note as he walks in.  It's a tall guy, long wavy black ponytail, hoodie, beard and a beanie.   We both kind of look at each other and text each other. I text "twinsies"  Becky texts "glitch in the matrix"  ... Like, dude that guy just walked in here twice.  We had a laugh and  hung out a while longer. Our friend Kayce joined us and then we decided to get dinner.

It was almost 9pm in Eureka so our options were limited. Ended up picking the famous Lost Coast Brewery which was open till 11 on Fridays ... we cruise over and it's dark.  Closed. We still haven't got an explanation on that one. We went home. Anyhoo.  Thanks for reading my pointless story. 

Feb 4, 2019

Vice; A Movie About Dick

I went to the movies again.  This time I saw the new comedy bio-pic Vice.  Interesting casting choices which lends more to it being a comedy .  It's a very serious subject matter but they do a good job of making it funny.  I mean, I kind of felt bad laughing at some of it because the subject matter really kick you in the nuts.  I felt the same way about Fahrenheit 11/9.  Funny, but serious and on-point as fuck. 

If you're the type of person who is interested in seeing a comedy about Dick Cheney then this movie is probably preaching to the choir. You know most of this story already because you're an astute scholar for facts and recent history.  You're someone who knows all about how Dick and Rumsfeld had a boner for Iraq since George Sr. and when 9-11 happened that's all they wanted to do.  You've read up on how they found flimsy intel that connected Iraq to Bin Laden and forced Powell to tell the U.N.about it and how they fooled most of congress to go along with invading Iraq. But you knew this.  There's some other insight into Cheney's past I didn't know before and other tidbits about his rise to power in D.C.  But you're already interested in seeing this so I'll not spoil it too much. 

I also recently saw On The Basis Of Sex which if you didnt know it was about a Supreme Court Justice let me save you from accidentally watching it with a tube of lotion and a box of tissues.  Yea it's not a porno you sicko.   It's about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's fight for women's rights and equality and her life & career leading up to her getting on the Supreme Court.   But there was one part in Vice (spoilery)  that relates to Ginsberg.  At one point a young Lynn Cheney lectures her dead-beat go-nowhere drunk of a husband about how he has to get his shit together because she can't.   If this country wasn't so discriminating against women back then Lynn, who was well educated, intelligent and very driven, could just go and be a successful woman without Dick.   She could have just ditched him and let him fade away into a drunken haze.  But she needed him to be successful because that's how shit was back then.  Because of that he went to D.C. and we got the Dick fucking Cheney we all know.

Anyway,  you'll see it eventually because you like to laugh at comedians making fun of asshole right-wing politicians that are ruining the country.  But if you are not someone who's cared about politics and stuff but like all those funny famous actors, you should see this because you'll learn some shit while you laugh and maybe you'll care and pay attention more around election time. 

Jan 29, 2019

Electronic Musicians Don't Actually Perform Live - Fight Me

I'm probably going to piss a lot of people off here but help me understand.  What the fuck is up with live electronic music?

I enjoy a lot of electronic music but I just don't understand electronic music that is being performed live.  I mean, you made this music out of samples of other music and sounds by turning knobs and pressing buttons on your computer, so it's basically just you and your laptop playing shit through big speakers?  How is this  "live performance" any different from someone playing it on their ipod through a PA system?  

Some of these “artists” are self described as DJ’s.  I guess that’s fine but what do DJ's do? Traditionally they play records other people made so people can dance to them.  Some have better taste and can read a crowd to play what they might be into more.  I get that. But at no point did a DJ ever think they were a musician… or do they now?  This is where I get confused/irritated.  At what point does a DJ become someone who makes music and at what point does that music that is mostly pre-recorded sounds become something that can be performed live?  They don't sing or play instruments, typically.  What do they do, physically/musically at a live concert that requires a human to be there doing it?  I mean what if I made an album in my bedroom with drum machines and guitar apps and said come see my band perform live and it was just me and an iPad plugged into a PA system?  That would not go over well.  That's what electronic music performed live seems like to me. 

killin' it
The only thing I can honestly think of that they physically do in a live setting is adjust the knobs to boost intensity on certain parts, control the lights and start and stop different sounds or repeat certain parts that the crowd is into and stuff like that.  But mostly that to me is not much more than a DJ picking/blending songs in a booth at the roller rink.   A lot of that I’m sure takes skill and dexterity but are you performing actual music live?  

Help me out here.  Other than you getting off on being sweaty, high, geeking out to loud thumping dance music and being able to brag, and name-drop on Instagram, what do you get from seeing this kind of thing live that you can’t get from just someone playing their CD? 

Bjork for example. Her music is very electronic and she still did a MTV Unplugged that blew me away.  100% acoustic instruments. Traditional and very non traditional instruments playing the electronic stuff from her record.  I’m not sure if she has a live band at shows usually but this was incredibly artistic to me. 

Anyway, fuck me I don’t get it I guess.  You're all fucking stupid and I hate you. 

Jan 26, 2019

My Band Did a Thing! 🎵

So this punk rock band I've been in for like 6 years, Dead Drift finally got off our butts and recorded some stuff.  We didn't want to spend any money so we used free recording software and started out by setting up our 3 crappy microphones to record my drums in Benji's attic where we used to practice.  Plugged the guitars into a computer and hit record.  Used the "good mic" for vocals and tracked and mixed it all using Garageband and mastered it with Audacity on a laptop.  It's not ideal but definitely a step up from the cover of Best Friend's Girl we did when we used the microphone that is built into the laptop.  I remember standing around the computer yelling into it to record vocals.  We've come a long way.  Still tho, we don't really know how to do a recording so we just kind of went for it and learned as we went along.  After about a year of back and forth, waiting and fucking around we finally got it all done.  It might just be because I've listened to it 1000 times in the last month trying to get the levels right but I think it turned out pretty fucking okay.  I doodled cartoon versions of us and slapped a logo on it for an album cover and put it on Bandcamp yesterday.  Our worldwide debut.  Give it a listen! 

We decided to sell it for "set your own price" so you can be a cheap bastard if you want but you also have the option to kick down a little to support us so we can like make shirts or buy a new microphone or something.  If you download the album as a whole album there's a secret bonus surprise!

Let me know what you think!

Dec 27, 2018

I Saw Aquaman and I Have Some Questions

I never had any interest in the DC universe yet still I begrudgingly went with some friends to see the new Aquaman movie.  I never saw the Justice League movie so I really didnt know much about this version of the character other than it was making some housewives cream in their mom-jeans.
Anyway,  for the most part it was action packed and entertaining but I had questions.  I mean, I know it's a movie and it's superheroes and were supposed to have a suspension of disbelief  but still some stuff had me wondering... 
How is Mera not literally Ariel from the little mermaid?  I mean she checks all the boxes. 

  • Red flowing hair 
  • Lives in the sea
  • Friends with animals
  • From a royal sea family
    • Beauty a villain would want to steal 

    While she eats a flower like a dummy who's never been out of the ocean her whole life my friend Rosie sitting next to me says "Classic Ariel"  lol 

    Right after they have a whole part about the sea people giving back all the trash and warships that pollute the oceans, Mera says "I have my ship hidden here"  ... in a discarded shipping container in a field of trash on the bottom of the ocean.  
    And they're pissed about the war ships but why are they basically a highly militarized society with crazy weapons and huge armies.  
    Where do they poop? 
    There's a huge underlining theme/message about pollution and that's why they want to wage war on the land people... but they have sprawling cities with technology and electricity and engines and shit.  How do they not have pollution too?  Why didnt they just share their carbon negative energy source to the land people 100 years ago?  
    Why cant the Wet Storm Troopers breathe air like Mera, Aquaman, his shitty brother, his mom and Green Goblin? 
    Does it bother anyone else that the actor that plays Aquaman's YOUNGER brother is 6 years older than Jason Mamoa who plays Aquaman. 
    When they're in a huge storm on the water and having a hard time driving their boat why doesn't Mera just calm the water the fuck down with her water powers?
    Why doesn't Mera just suck the water out of the water storm troopers suits? Better yet, they make a whole scene about her summoning the drop of sweat from his forehead for the magic machine but then never acknowledge the fact that she could use this power to suck the water out of anyone and just kill them. This is a really serious power to have, that she uses to make fish dance in a fountain.
    Why doesn't Aquaman just talk to the sea animals that the bad guys are using as transportation and tell them to turn around? 
    Why does everyone speak English?  (Except the Brine kingdom I think they had subtitles) 
    How did Manta hook up with the sea people?  How was he not shitting balls about what was basically an alien civilization with technology and shit?   Oh he's so mad at Aquaman he's willing to disregard that in order to get revenge.  And why did they trust him to not totally out their existence with the evidence of water-based plasma weapons they gave him?  Oh by the way too Manta, he has a human dad you can kill too if you really wanted to get even... An old man human dad who just bops around his lighthouse and occasionally goes to the bar.  Sweet manta suit tho bro. 
    The Trench was one of the kingdoms?  This would make me assume that they are a civilization with organized culture like the other kingdoms.  But they seem to just be savage wild animals.   I may have missed the part where they say they devolved.  
    I get it, most of the oceans have not been explored but how do you miss an energy signal like that and fucking bright ass lights, cars, traffic, tons of unknown huge sea creatures and basically whole multiple fucking civilizations?  
    I'm glad the horribly CG created Mer-People from the oddly named Fisherman Kingdom that they showed a bunch in the trailers was only in the movie for like 10 seconds.
    Oh yea!  I almost forgot about the Land of the Lost world with dinosaurs, beaches with tides, rivers, mountains, plants, ruins of human civilizations, sunlight, sky, air... in "the center of the earth"  What the actual fuck DC?
    Mom's hair is the only thing that aged on her.   Other than her dead botoxed upper lip Nicole Kidman is still pretty fucking hot.
    Also, all of this is taking place in the Atlantic Ocean, the smaller of the two large seas of the Earth.  Is this to say that there's not a thriving undersea world  of communities and ancient monarchies that inhabit the Pacific Ocean?  I mean, fuck it right why not?
    They had to put a fucking octopus playing drums in there.  I'm sure theres more but that was what did it for me. A fucking octopus?  What is this the Flintstones? 
    See you next time ...at the movies!  

    Dec 21, 2018

    For Lack of a Better Name

    I've been noticing a trend around the area that I live in where new businesses confuse a complete lack of creativity and laziness with being clever. Many of these places are good and I enjoy going to them but I'm getting really sick of the way they come up with business names. In particular, naming the business after the location or taking the location and combining it with the type of business to make a cute stupid name.

    When we moved here I got a sarcastic chuckle out of "511" because it's kind of cryptic enough and it's a bar. There was also a little wine room called "2 Doors Down" which was actually an extension of Brick & Fire that was literally two doors down from it. I'll give them a pass.

    My complain face.
    Places like Cafe Marina, Gill's By the Bay and Cafe Waterfront and shit like have always been here.  It's typical of a town near the water.  So, that is acceptable I guess since they' are next to the water.  Except Bayfront, that place is a fucking enigma.  It's next to the bay, which works for that name but they're not really a seafood place which you would expect from  a place with "Bay" in it's name.  There's aptly, but not really that creatively named "Jack's Seafood" just down the boardwalk from them. Guess what they specialize in?  Anyway,  unlike Jack's  Bayfront is,  get this,  Japanese Teppanyaki, sushi, Italian food and sandwiches.  WTF even are you?  

    There was a hull of an old Mexican restaurant I would drive by all the time and wonder what the hell was going on with that place. Everyone used to say it was a front for drug dealers which is completely possible in Humboldt county. Then a couple years ago there was some activity and we all got excited about a new burger joint. It finally opened and they called it "Sixth & E" which was fine. It wasn't clever tho, it just was. It was located on the corner of 6th and E st. We made jokes about not remembering where it was when people would ask us about it. One of the first things I noticed was that their logo sucked and menu was ugly and had a ton of spelling errors, but the food was and still is really good. We still go there all the time.

    About a year later came a new bar in a renovated historic space in Old Town. The location is famously remembered as the Schooner Bar and everyone was excited for it to re-open and then they did and called it "North of Fourth" ... North of Fourth? It rhymes I guess. They're really banking on the ability of people to know where North is while stumbling around Old Town at 11pm.

    The wonderful Gallagher's Irish pub and restaurant is located on a predominant corner entrance on the ground floor of a historic old hotel building on the corner of 2nd and C St . in Old Town which I always thought was just called The Eagle House. After being closed for a period of time for renovations and repairs it reopened as... You guessed it, "The Inn at 2nd & C"  No motherfuckers the main entrance to Gallagher's is on 2nd and C. To get inside the lobby of the Inn you have to go to the 1st st. parking lot entrance. And what the hell happened to the Eagle House? Apparently the whole building, including Gallagher's, the Inn and now a new swanky wine bar called Phatsy Cline's is actually the Eagle House.  Unless you are talking about the Irish restaurant, everyone calls it the Eagle House still, telling someone Inn at 2nd & C just confuses people. 
    "what Inn at where?" you know the hotel where Gallagher's is. "You mean the Eagle House?"  yes, some idiots spent all that time renovating it and gave zero thought into the name. "why didn't they just at least call it the Eagle House Inn or something?" I know right? 
    Another restaurant space I drive by all the time on the corner of 7th and E st that had been "coming soon" for like 3 years finally opened and to my surprise they didn't call it "7th & E" or "South of Sixth" or the "7th St. Bistro" or anything like that, they called it Dolce Bistro. Not the most original name but it is what it is and it sort of fit what they were trying to do. The business that was renovating it was owned by Mity Nice Bakery, who decided to call it FAT CAT which seemed to fit the space of a renovated old service station from the 40's... but alas it was sold to someone else before opening and we got Dolce Bistro.   I think part of me wanted it to succeed because they didn't call it "Eats on E". We went for dinner opening weekend and it was totally expensive and not that good.  I had planned to try breakfast or lunch there eventually but they closed down after about a month.   Oh well.  Maybe people just couldn't remember where it was located

    Another new place took over the spot on 5th and F in Eureka after another confusing place The Black Lightning Motorcycle Cafe finally closed after a few years. I could never tell if this was a repair shop, dealership or just a really over accessorized coffee shop with a very specific theme. Anyway, I hated the idea of a coffee shop with motorcycles parked inside of it so I was looking forward to seeing what the new place would be turned into. It's now a deli/cafe with a kitchen supply store inside of it. Ok, that's fine I'm excited about a new quality sandwich shop and deli, but meh on a kitchen store since I'm pretty sure I'll never need a $40 ladle. You could imagine my joy when they revealed they were calling it "Delish on 5th" Really? Motherfuck. – Not surprising I hear it's the same owner of Sixth & E. It was as if North of Fourth gave them the OK to use a stupid name again. I've heard that the Humboldt Soup Company has the same owners. Now, I'm totally fine with that name but I'm just not into soup as a meal. I got the pot pie once and it was bland and had no bottom crust. If it doesn't have bottom crust you really can't call it pie for all I'm concerned. They also inherited the Drive-Thru since it was originally a KFC but the last thing you want to eat while driving is fucking hot soup. I digress. In regards to the name I feel like they just couldn't figure out how to rhyme soup with Myrtle ave. Sometimes when places name themselves like "Humboldt Soup Company" I feel like they somehow should have like official permission to be THE official soup company of the county. They are not that.
    I just saw an article in my local news about a new brew pub opening in the next town over.  This news actually set me off and inspired this post.   After reading the article I had this conversation in my head.   "What is it?" "A pub with hella beer on tap and wood fired pizza" "Oh exactly like The Madrone that just opened in Eureka, where is it?" "In the old Arcata Creamery Building "Oh nice, they need stuff like that over there, what's it called?" "Oh, you're not going to like this" "come on how bad can it be?" "They're calling it The Pub in the Creamery" "For fuck's sake really? Piece of shits" I would have actually been fine with it being called "The Creamery" or even just "Cream" it's not outright saying it's a pub in the creamery, and at the same time sticking to the history of the building. I can respect that. But The Pub in the Creamery? lame.
    Look, I get that I should be cheering on any new businesses in my community.. and I do try to support them but as a person who's in the marketing business.... it's fucking annoying. It goes right along with not factoring in a graphic design budget and end up asking designer people you know for free work or... god forbid they get Adobe Creative Suite and do it themselves when they have no fucking business doing it. I'm on the verge of seriously considering the idea that businesses should need a permit from the city that requires a professional do your design work. For everyone's sake. We all have to look at that bullshit.

    With that being said.
    #SupportLocalBusinesses #EurekaRising

    Dec 17, 2018

    Noggin it at the Movies Again

    I saw two movies yesterday. One of them is new, one of them is old. They have nothing to do with each other. Here we go.

    Some friends wanted to see Roma.  It was by some director they knew of and it was all in spanish with subtitles and in black and white.  It's a Netflix movie.  I'd never seen a Netflix movie in the theater so when I saw the big Netflix logo on the screen and didn't hear the loud "CHUNNG KUNNNG"  sound I sort of involuntarily made the sound out loud and people laughed.  A kind of laugh that people make when they know they shouldn't laugh because they were all prepared to see a serious movie.  Sorry. 

    When people were telling me about this movie I fully expected to be bored and hate it but it was pretty riveting and never had a dull moment.  It was a glimpse for me, into a world I had no familiarity with,  Mexico  in 1970.  There isn't really a plot or story really.  It's sort of set up like a day in the life,  but it's over the course of about a year in the life of a maid and family that she works for.  The cinematography is something you'll notice right away.  From the opening credits on,   you really get sucked in.  You quickly start to care about the lives of the characters and their little world.  One of the things about the closeness to the people in the movie is that you start to fear the worst at every turn.  Movies tend to do that set up where you get really attached to a character and everything is going good...then they die or something really fucked up happens.  Not to say that this story is all cupcakes and rainbows, because that would be boring and this movie really wasn't.  It had moments of humor and some really, real life shit happening.     If you get a chance I recommend seeing it. 

    The other movie Meg found after searching "Christmas movies" on the HBO app. We watched it before we met friends to see Roma.   It was a totally cheese-ball rom-com Christmas movie from 2004 called Surviving Christmas.  It had pre-action hero Ben Affleck still trying to be lovable and funny.  It had Christina Applegate who was still riding out her rebranding as an adult woman and in true mid-2K's fashion we got the still-getting-typecast-as "Tony Soprano-like character" James Gandolfini.  (RIP) Rounding out the cast is Catherine O'Hara who was like a more gritty version of the mom she played in Home Alone. She's almost too good to be in this movie.  Anyway,  like Roma, I was fully expecting to hate this movie but it's absurd plot-line had me intrigued and it kept getting weirder and weirder. 

    Basic set up;  Ben Affleck is a successful movie industry hot shot named Drew who's got no where to go for Christmas.  We see him run through his rolodex in a montage and realize that he's just a douchey exec who has no real friends. 

    Basic premise; Douche bag rich hot shot exec goes to see his childhood home and ends up paying the dysfunctional family living there $250K to be his family and let him live there for Christmas.  Obviously, there's a christmas miracle and he stops being a douche and saves the family. 

    Christina Applegate shows up midway through his visit and this surprises him.  She's their adult daughter.  Of course, they fall in love at the end but at first he's angry because he never had a sister in real life.  He then hires a community theater actor to play his grandpa "Da Da"  to even things out.  Tony Soprano dad is naturally irritated by everything but goes along because of the money.   Every time Drew has some new childhood memory he wants to conjure up or when Tony Soprano gets pissed he just offers them more money and they reluctantly keep playing along.  It's so weird and stupid I was hooked. 

    They also have a teenage son who has a wonderfully 2004-era beige computer with a huge CRT monitor and a shitty 2004 internet connection in his bedroom, which he is using to jack off to porn through most of the movie..  Drew insists on sleeping in his room "my childhood bedroom" which forces the kid to eventually jerk it to magazines in the garage.  There's a pay off scene near the end involving the mom and grandpa which I've just now realized I overhyped way to much. 

    This movie sucks but I was kind of loving every minute of it.

    Dec 12, 2018

    Two More Dumb Real Life Stories

    More story time with uncle Kirk.  

    Who's Walking Who Here? 

    I have two Basset Hounds and they're heavy, low to the ground, and like to pull me to whatever scent they've caught on to.  Often you get the wise-cracking old man "Who's walking who here eh?"  It's not funny and never will be.  But this next story is probably the truest incarnation of this stupid cliche dad joke I've ever seen in person.  

    I was about to get to my turn going back to work but then I saw a large dog about a block and a half in front of me running pretty fast across the street.  My first thought was that it had gotten loose but then a second later I see an older, heavy set man running full speed after it. I continued straight towards the action to see if I could help.  When I got closer I saw that the dog was on a leash but it was pulling the shit out of the guy who could barely keep up.  He was doing all he could to not let go or fall on his face.  They both rapidly left my field of view.  Once I turned the corner I saw the man and dog walking normally.  I was curious as to why the dog had just been running like a bat out of hell then I saw two little dogs in a fenced yard on the corner they just passed. Poor guy almost ate shit getting pulled by that horse of a dog. 

    A Bad Tattoo Can't Be Fixed With Beans & Rice

    I had just came out of one of my favorite restaurants La Patria after some lovely Mexican dinner.  It's really good but it's in a kind of rough part of town.  It's on the corner of a busy intersection on the north end of town where the street turns into a freeway.  There's a gas station across the street and a bus stop that attracts some colorful characters. 

    I step out side and holding the door for my girlfriend, Meg and I see a youngish skinny woman with a dog on a leash. She's wearing a puffy jacket and a beanie on top of her long brown hair. She walks right off the sidewalk towards the entrance where I'm standing with the door open and in a sort of drug induced haze sort of pauses as if to wait for me to hold the door for her so she can go inside. Instead she mumbles and then asks me "are you.. . you... Are you open" I'm like "uhhh yea they are open" But I knew full well that she wasn't actually wanting to go into the restaurant because she was probably just a panhandler and she had a dog with her.  Then she raises her hand up to me.  She has her phone in her hand almost putting it in my face.  I was prepared for her to ask if I had spare change or say her phone was dead and needed to use mine.  Meg is taking to the waitress inside still so I close the door and I'm standing here and she keeps engaging with me. She raises her hand up to me more and starts showing me the shitty tattoo on the back of her hand. I notice that it's a skull face. Eyes, nose and the upper teeth but no actual outline and it sort of wraps around the outside to the top of the wrist. I'm sort of trapped between her and the entrance and I'm still not sure what she wants. Then she starts explaining how she got it at a party while she was 'hella drunk' and wants to get it finished or touched up. Ahh now I get it. She thinks that this is a tattoo shop and that I work here. She's asking if I can help her with her shitty, alcohol induced bad decision tattoo. I kinda laughed to myself with this realization and told her "Um, this is a Mexican restaurant" she almost fell into busy traffic when she stumbled backwards, squinting to get a better look at the businesses we were standing in front of. "oooooooooohhh this isn't the tattoo place?"  I informed her that there was a  tattoo shop just a couple blocks down.  This is when Meg came out finally. The chick asks "oh which way was it?" I pointed.  "oh ok thanks"  then her and her dog stumbled off down the street.

    Dec 6, 2018

    Three Dumb Real Life Stories

    Thing 1. 
    Thanks For Checking In!

    Illustration by Kirk Shelton
    I'm in the bathroom at work finishing up a number two and someone walks in and takes a spot at one of the urinals.  As I'm pulling up my pants I hear a loud boisterous voice echoing off the tile walls say "...You OK?  I'm just checking in"   Since I maybe was in there longer than maybe someone else with a better constitution my instant reaction was that he was talking to me.  Before he said anything else I buttoned my pants and opened the stall door to see a man pressing his midsection into the urinal with his legs slightly spread for balance.  He had one hand on the wall in front of him and the other holding his OtterBox clad cell phone.  I walk past him to the sink to start washing my hands and hear his voice again.  The next words I hear were "So did you clean it up good?  Did you scrape it all out?"   Now I'm trying not to laugh since I know he's not talking to me now but I really want to answer him truthfully.  "Yep, all clean!  Didn't have to scrape it out but thanks for checking in"  I didn't actually say this tho because he was on the phone and had his dick out.  I still think it's slightly weird talking to strangers while their dick is out.  Especially sarcastic jokes about poop in my butt.   I finished washing, giggling to myself as I walked out and told the first co-worker I saw about it.

    Thing 2.
    The Sheriff of Humboldt St.

    Illustration by Kirk Shelton
    I was driving to work yesterday morning and saw something interesting and sort of humorous.  I got to the end of my street and saw a skinny older fellow standing on the corner.  He had an old backpack and a floppy red ball cap. Dressed in newish looking jeans held up by a very worn leather belt tightened all the way up to what was probably an added belt hole with about 10" of excess belt hanging in front and a plaid flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up because it was too big for him.   His ears and pocked nose were also too big for his head.  As I pulled up to him at the corner he was focused on something coming down the street and he pursed his lips which made his jaw close to far because of a lack of teeth.  He aimed his pointed finger out at the cross street in front of us.  I look over and see that he's pointing at a young transient on a stolen BMX bike carrying a Hefty bag of aluminum cans over his shoulder.   The old man now has one eye closed looking down the barrel of his finger, he follows the guy on the bike with it as he rides passed.  Then jerks his hand back and up with an imaginary BANG!  In that instant I shared the same disdain towards the creep on the bike and congratulated him with a look.  We locked eyes for a second and with confidence and a sense of accomplishment he put his still pointed finger up to his mouth and blew.  Just like in the movies when someone blows the gun-smoke from the barrel.  In the same motion took a step back to reveal his imaginary gun belt, holstered his finger pistol,  turned his head in front of him and continued on his way proudly down the street.   I somehow feel like the streets are a bit safer now.

    Thing 3.
    He Wanted it Grilled

    I'm waiting for my burrito at the taco stand at 14th & Broadway and this guy starts talking to me.  He had a thick accent and seemed to be from somewhere around North Africa or the Middle East.  I couldn't help but notice his huge headset with a module on the earpiece with buttons and big microphone that wraps around like a pop-singer from the late-90's.  He says he's a trucker with a 75ft trailer.  I politely acknowledge this seemingly unnecessarily forthcoming information.  He then motions like he's sawing something with his hand pointed toward and parallel with the road we were on, which happened to be Broadway which is also Highway 101.  In broken english asks if this is 101.  I tell him that it is but with a hint of concern dancing gently on my brow since he had just told me that he's what I could only assume a professional truck driver and hauler of goods.  He says he's wondering if he'll be able to continue South on 101 to San Francisco with the length of truck he has.  He mentions to me that he came on 299 and that it was very bad.  Highway 299 is a very windy and narrow route that runs from the middle of California running from the East to the West coast which is where we are.   I'm now thinking to myself,  and I'm no expert but anyone who knows a little bit about this area would agree that if he came on 299 he should have no problem taking 101 the rest of the way.  It's basically the only major trucking route that runs the nearly 300 miles direct from San 
    Illustration by Kirk Shelton
    Francisco to here.    But just to be safe I said that he should check with CHP or some other kind of highway authority.  Again in my head thinking I dunno, maybe he should ask another so-called trucker that knows what the fuck they're doing.   Because like, isn't knowing where the major highways are and all about major trucking routes, kind of part of your fucking job? 

    Then his eyes got big as if he'd remembered something urgent and turned back towards the order window "excuse me! Hello!"  He got their attention. While crouched down so his head is at the height of the order window he starts making a hand gesture like his hands were an alligator mouth. "Can you make my burrito hot, you know, grilled..."  opening and closing like a panini machine. "You know grilled, hot."  I could neither hear nor see the woman inside the order window behind the mesh screen but I knew exactly the face she was making.  It was a combination of  "I don't speak english & I don't know what you mean" and "what the fuck? grilled? this is a damn taco trailer on the street we don't grill our burritos"  I
    t was pretty much the face I was making while watching him try to order a grilled burrito at a taco trailer.  Then he turned back around kind of shrugged his shoulders and put up his hands with a frustrated look on his face that was a combination of "They must not speak english" and  "Idiots! I went to a taco place that has grilled burritos just yesterday"  
    Usually I tend to trust a professional truck driver over most people out on the roads to know what they're doing out there but motherfucker didn't know he was actually ON highway 101.  Man learn to read a map.... Also this isn't a Taco Bell.   Be safe out there.

    That's it for the things.  Thanks for reading.  Talk to you again soon. 

    Nov 29, 2018

    The House That Jack Built (Director's Cut) - Noggin Review

    Hey I'm actually reviewing a movie that has just come out in theaters.  Hell the R-rated theater version isn't even out.  I'm like a real movie critic!  

    I was at first, indifferent about this movie.  I’m not a big follower of film makers or get excited in particular if someone like the Cohen Brothers come out with a new movie.  I’m also not a real big fan of hardcore gore films.  They intrigue me, and if I see them I watch them like I’d watch a magician, constantly wondering how the trick was created.  How did they make it look so convincing?…or not.  So when I’d heard Lars Von Trier was doing this one-night-only directors cut of a new film I could really not care any less.  But some friends of mine decided it was an event to experience and we got tickets.  I also hadn’t seen any of the trailers or read any of the lead up marketing up until the day-of and was seeing words like “people walked out” “disgusted”  “serial killer”  and “gorefest”and became curiously concerned about what I had gotten myself into. So expecting the worst I went in open minded and prepared myself to see some horrible shit.  

    * * * * * * *Spoilers Ahoy!* * * * * * *

    The movie as you may have already read chronicles a series of randomly selected “incidents” or killings from his long catalogue of murders, as told by Jack (Matt Dillon) in the dark to an unseen voice, Virgil,  his guide to what one at this point can only assume to be Hell.   The movie weaves in and out of  his memory of these incidents and Jack and Virgil’s back-and-forths narrating with relevant depictions of art, scenes from wildlife films and cartoon clips.  

    One trait that’s unique about Jack that’s apparent early in the film is that he has OCD. In one of the killings we get to see Jack keep having to go back and make sure he cleaned up. Even to the point of almost getting caught.  It’s pretty comical. Comedy is pretty constant throughout this movie despite it’s subject matter.  But what isn’t as prevalent as I’d thought was graphic depictions of gore.  There was no real hardcore scary nightmare fuel like I had expected.  It was pretty run-of-the-mill gory horror if you ask me.   There was one scene in particular (blacked out below) which the MPAA probably had the biggest issue with.  This is probably where people in Cannes turned on Von Trier and walked out.  But it’s not gory at all.  It’s just… really fucked up.  But Jack has issues.  As we learn through his conversation with Virgil.  

    Extra spoilery:(highlight text to read)  He takes a mom and her two young boys whom he’s befriended on an outing to a hunting tower to teach the boys how to shoot targets. He then is shooting the boys from a hunting tower as if they were a family of deer.  With some pretty graphic rifle blasts.  He sets up the kids at a picnic with the mom who’s still alive and makes her feed her dead son pie.  Then gives her a running start then shoots her from the tower.  He later does some DIY taxidermy on one of the boys to make him look happy.  It’s kinda gnarly looking. 

    Virgil, his guide to hell has admittedly “heard it all” but Jack insists that he must tell his story.  Almost a bragging confession from a sociopath who lacks any kind of empathy and feels justified in his actions.  Jack and Virgil go back and forth whether art is nature or as Virgil argues that art requires love, which Jack can’t feel or understand. There was probably a lot more deeper analysis to this aspect of the movie which I kind of zoned out on because I kept expecting the pay-off gore scenes that I was promised.  

    Right up to the very end when they finally get to Hell I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the gnarly payoff of the orgy of blood,  dismemberment and pain. But it never came.  Jack, the ego-maniac even, once given an opportunity decides to try to escape from Hell, unsuccessfully.   And then it ends.  No whizzing chainsaws, no cannibals, no screaming torsos.   So on that level I was pretty underwhelmed but overall it was an entertaining movie with good characters and a humorous portrayal of an imperfect Obsessive Compulsive ego maniac killer with some psychological  and philosophical narrative intertwined.  Jack's OCD takes a back seat to his ego and confidence as he kills more. Getting more brazen and caring less about hiding his acts. Even taking a body back to the crime scene to get better photographs of her because his original photos were not to his liking.  

    There’s also a house Jack is building.  He never finishes because it’s never right, because of his obsessions for perfection.  Again there’s probably some kind of parallel meaning to this but I came for blood, not  a house.  Well, there was a pretty gnarly house near the end but you’ll have to see the movie for that.  or highlight the text   Virgil asks him about his house when they meet and Jack is kind of upset with himself he didn't ever finish.  Virgil tells him to choose a different material or something like that and Jack starts constructing a house in the walk-in freezer they're in out of Jacks collection of frozen dead bodies. So there was that. 

         Non Spoilery TLDR    

    It was fun and entertaining, funny a lot of the time but it wasn’t nearly the gore-fest that was advertised.  Definitely some brutal violence in scenes but it wasnt non-stop killing.  There was a lot of down-time.  There was though some rough subject matter in one of the “incidents” which is most likely what pissed off the MPAA and upset viewers at Cannes.  But a horrible gore-fest?  not even. 

    Honestly after sitting through the nearly 3 hour long unrated director’s cut I was wondering how the movie will play out as an R rated film. If they cut out the very few mildly extreme scenes what the hell are you left with?