Nov 6, 2020

PYMHM - Soda vs Pop vs Elections

This Post You Might Have Missed comes from a time that I can first recall the beginnings of the political division in this country.  It was the 2nd Bush election in 2004.  My whole take on it was that if all of these supposedly intelligent, free thinking, reasonable adults had lived and experienced the last four years, how could you in all good conscience vote for this guy again.   Sound familiar?   Thankfully, as I type this it's currently day 4 of election day and it looks like Biden may squeak this out.  Who's to say if the crybaby-in-chief will throw a tantrum when they announce he's lost though.   I always get reminded of maps like this one when the election results come out to show how divided we are on many other things.  Namely, what we call soft-drinks.  The "Coke" people never fail to make me laugh. 

You Wanna Pop. You Wanna...Shasta!

Aug. 1st 2006.

No this isn't the election results from the 2004 election. This is the Pop vs Soda vs Coke map. which is pretty close to the 2004 election map.


It seems telling to me that people say "coke" when ordering a 7Up  and  also voted for Bush. I'm from liberal California and I call it 'soda' and I voted for Kerry.   Pop people seem to go either way.  Pop is such a a fun word to say I have a hard time criticizing it.  But just so we're clear, it's soda.

Calling it soda or pop makes more sense because its from the older generic term Soda-Pop. Technically speaking though, soda, pop, coke, whatever... all came from the old soda fountains where they added flavored syrup to soda water. I don't know where the "pop" in soda pop came from.  Maybe it's from the popping bubbles.   Calling it all "Coke" seems strange to me.  Coke is a brand name and its just lazy to call a 7-Up or Rootbeer, or even a Pepsi "Coke". You could argue that it's a sort of regional proprietary eponym.   When  you call a tissue a"Kleenex"  for example. The issue here is that when you ask for a Kleenex no one asks you "what kind?"  

...In my original post I made some disparaging remarks about how Southerners were stupid which is why they called it Coke, and correlated that stupidity with voting for Bush.   While those comparisons are still apparent in the map, I've edited those comments out because I'm in my mid-40's and have a widened world view.  But the sentiment is still there just not the harsh generalizations I made before.  How the fuck can you call a Sprite a "coke" ?   How the fuck are all of these voters in the South still supporting Trump?  At this point tho it's become a national cult with members nationwide.  Please people, put down the Kool-Aid and just have a nice can of the Coke of your choice.  If you  want to see the original use the search box.  I'm not proud of the grammar and language I've used in the past.  

While we're on the topic of soda's, I found this Dr. Pepper clone site that lists all the fake Dr.Pepper generics and knock offs from various stores and companies over the years. Wouldn't You Like to Be a Pepper Too? some of the names are pretty funny and creative. like Dr. DYNAMITE!  (dang it looks like that site no longer exists try this Google Search 

Oct 5, 2020

Zeitgist - The Smashing Pumpkins Album I Like That Apparently Noone Else Likes

Being that I was a teenager in the grunge era I feel culturally obligated to like Smashing Pumpkins more than I do.  I’m mildly ashamed of this but most of their stuff is a bit mild for my music tastes.  Shit, most of the music that was popular in the 90’s seems like I should be into it but I was such a metal head back than I completely missed grunge and alternative.  Outside of Primus and maybe Rage Against The Machine I put my nose up at all the Nirvanases and Pearl Jamses.  Like most bands from that time Smashing Pumpkins had some genuine good songs that looking back with 40+ year old ears really was better than I gave it credit for.  While I can’t honestly say I’ve listened to all of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, what I’ve heard from it seemed like that double album effort was a fine work of art.  Apparently they’ve made several albums after this that I couldn’t name if there was a gun to my head.  I’m definitely no authority on this band so take this all as opinion based on limited info.  

The band broke up in around 2000 and out of the ashes 7 years later they emerge with a new album called Zeitgeist.   I think around this time I had a phone that could play MP3s and somehow got (pirated?)  a digital copy of this record when it came out and was really surprised at how raw and rocking it was.  I was blown away with the drumming and thought they got a new drummer because I don’t remember their drummer being so bad ass. I listened to this album hard for a few years after it came out and it’s still in the rotation.  I had gone back from time to time to listen to some of the older stuff and it didn’t really appeal to me.  Whenever I think of this band my first thoughts go to their old videos on MTV, then immediately to this album. 

Art by Shepard Fairey in all it's late 2000's glory

Zeitgeist just had a vibe.  I think they’ve put out a couple albums since then with different band members.  Remember when I tried to be the drummer for Smashing Pumpkins?  That would have been insane. But anyway, everything that comes out I give a listen and it’s always long winded experimental and boring.  Nothing like the octane fueled drum driven Zeitgeist.  Fast forward to today–  They just released a few new tracks off of some epic forthcoming double album and it all sucks.  Like majorly sucks.  It’s all electronic with Billy Corgan singing.  I mean, can you really even call this Smashing Pumpkins?   I hate when bands do this shit.  It’s like Coldplay who was a beautiful organic meat and potatoes rock band.  They got some success and the fucking music industry turds got in their heads and turned them into a Chris Martin solo project.  All the music is so overproduced and computer generated it’s like there’s no band at all.  I fucking hate it.  And this is the new Smashing Pumpkins shit they’ve released so far.  It’s all drum machines and keyboards with Billy singing.  It’s complete trash…which got me nostalgic for Zeitgeist so I fired up my streaming app, YoutubeMusic that also sucks complete ass which is another story… but kind of relevant because one of it’s many flaws is that many popular albums seem to be missing from the platform.  So then I Googled it and apparently Billy Corgan is a psychopath and removed a ton of their stuff from major streaming platforms a couple years ago because he said people didn’t like them.   WTF, Zeitgeist? Really? Fuck you Billy Corgan.   This album shreds!  Apparently this is why the milktoast Smashing Pumpkins fans didn’t like it.  They wanted boring, artsy drog.  My buddy Dave loves everything they do but I just can’t.  Sorry Dave.

I found the Wiki on this album and found out some interesting info which explains why I like it and makes me like it even more knowing more about it.   This was the first time Billy and drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin recorded together since the break up and they were the only original members to return for the reunion and decided to record the album with just the two of them.   One major thing that really hit home for me was that from the onset they insisted on recording live to tape, with no computers or click tracks.  This is pretty unheard of in contemporary music.  You have to realize that this was a big deal.  No one was then or has for that matter done a recording like this since around the mid 80's.  Likely because so many bands these days suck in real life and can't record without the help of editing and computers like they did in the 70's.  It was potentially time consuming, laborious and expensive.    This choice led to arguments with the label and made it hard finding a producer willing to record like this.  Eventually they ended up going with Roy Thomas Baker who goes back all the way to bands like Queen, The Cars and Motley Crue.  I think this, along with Chamberlin having a big hand in the production process made this record so bad ass.  I’m a drummer as you all know, and the drum-driven production is evident to me.  Having Terry Date of Deftones fame contributing in the production as well didn’t hurt in this regard. According to the Wiki it sounds like they didn’t fuck around either.  They went in, recorded all fucking day, every day straight for a week and it was finished.   They even mention Chamberlin nailing a 10 min song in one take and According to the main producer, "everything had sort of an on/off switch. So instead of having various degrees of volumes, we'd have the approach of, 'It's either on or it's not' .  Fuck yes.  Everything about this album just oozes with rock and roll and it’s no surprise why I like it so much.  

Some notable quotes from the Wiki page.
The album is among the heavier releases by Smashing Pumpkins. Corgan attributes this to his perception that "people wanted to hear some energy, that they didn't want us rolling over and crying in our milk".[20] He compared the mindset of the record to that of Gish, which was to make a statement "without trying to make the next The Wall."[20] Regarding the aggressive drumming on the album, Chamberlin observes that "the world is ready for something with some balls behind it”

The album divided the Pumpkins' fanbase. Corgan would later admit, "I know a lot of our fans are puzzled by Zeitgeist. I think they wanted this massive, grandiose work, but you don't just roll out of bed after seven years without a functioning band and go back to doing that".

I just might have to revisit some other albums and see what all the fuss is about.  Pumpkins nerds, knowing I love the album you love to hate, what are some songs/albums you recommend?

Sep 30, 2020

I Hereby Welcome Our Robot Overlords (again)

 I've written about AI in the past and pretty much said the harm or help it creates is entirely up to the humans.  I came across this fun website that lets you start a story and then a writing AI finishes it for you.   Here's a couple short stories I let it finish for me.  (Bold is what I started for it)

There was a bright light in the sky.  No one could make out what it was exactly.  They thought it was a star or a planet but it moved strangely. No sound accompanied it and the light seemed too bright to come from a point of light so there was speculation that it was an alien ship. It was not until the news broke a few days later that they were beaming down an AI. It said it was there to help take the all the bad into the world. With that it flew off.

When work was done for the day, Kate left. In a moment of clarity, she could have checked into a hotel and spent the night and then would settle down to work, taking on the AI all over again. A bit of thought was all that was needed. She can't always be working. Otherwise she will never get out of here, never make use of the wonders she has. The cost is too high.

She turned the corner. The alley came to an end where she was waiting. The trees were high and thick. The city was beautiful in the night. Home. Home, where she is safe, where she is warm.

The AI could die here. And with the AI, so will her hope.

Is the AI from this website writing a story about it's self?  Freaky.

Here's another one.
"Hello?" she whispered into the cold, dark room.  She waited for a response but it was silent.   A sense of relief came over her as she turned away but then, ever so softly she got a reply.

"Hello! Did you just call me?"

"Uhhhh... yes. I thought you might be there."

"I am! What is your name?"

"Um... I'm Alice."

"Oh, right! That's a good name - I'm Alfred." He replied.

Then the gentle man and his assistant began to talk. They discussed their plans and ideas and dreams. They laughed and smiled, and Alice was in love. She knew she could do this, after all. It was exactly what she wanted. She had always had a knack for solving problems, after all.

Ah, but it had been a while since her last task - all the more reason to start.

Odd.  Interesting name choice.  Here's one where I sort of gave it a nudge towards AI. 

No matter how many times he tried, Duncan could never finish a story.  Despite his first novel being a huge success, every time he sat at the typewriter nothing came to him.  Until one day he found help from an unlikely source.

Very early one morning, he was making the coffee when he received a delivery package. From within, he could see what looked like a computer - but a beautiful high-end desktop version, with a keyboard in the colour he had always dreamed of.

A pull of the power cord told him that it was fully charged, and after a quick glance at the settings he was on Windows 10. He pressed 'C' to begin his essay and -


He paused, waiting to see if the command had gone through, but he was hit by a sense of abhorrence. He could feel the warm, vapid look of the AI's programming taking hold of his head.

"What can I do for you, sir?"

He was startled at how calm the response was. "Is this thing really going to do my essays for me?"

"I am the AI assistant, sir. I would assume that would be the case, yes."


Nice work writer bot.  lol. crazy world we live in.  Please don't make us your batteries. 
Anyway, it's a fun time waster.

Sep 29, 2020

Shamless Band Promotion.

Remember my band Dead Drift?  Well, since live shows are pretty much done until the jack ass pieces of shit can get their heads out of Trump's asshole and acknowledge that there's actually a pandemic and people are dying and stop having weddings and house parties and wear a god damn mask when they're going places...and... well you get the idea..we hadn't seen each other, had band practice or played a show since like February.   We decided back in March that we could try to record the newest batch of songs we'd just written before the shutdown. So while keeping safe and socially distancing we used the equipment we happened to have at our houses when we got stuck inside.   We practice at Travis's but I had my drums stored at home at the time luckily.  So I set up in my garage and recorded using my old cellphone and my current one while listening back on another phone with headphones.  Benji sent me some tracks without drums I could play along too.  I mixed the audio files into one good track for each song using Audacity. (free audio software)   Travis did something similar but with my drum recordings added and then Benji.  Emailing sound files back and forth trying to get the mix how we liked.  It took a couple months but we finally had something we all thought was pretty good considering the way we did it.   None of us are really experienced engineers or recording professionals so we did the best we could.  

Benji came up with the album name and album art concept which is pretty appropriate.  I took all our ideas and Benji's original bottle concept art along with a ZOOM meeting spoof and this is the final product. 

I'm pretty proud of how it came out and that there's a couple of songs I wrote lyrics for that made it on here.  

And you can stream it on pretty much any of your favorite streaming platforms.  If you want to buy the record and support the band we recommend Bandcamp since we get almost 100% of the proceeds whereas we basically get nothing from major streaming apps. 

But you knew that right?  


Since we're not doing much else I had some time to put together a few music videos.  Check em out! Please subscribe to our official Youtube Channel if you like what you see.  I hope to post more videos and live stuff.

If you would like to purchase a physical CD please Direct Message and please follow us on Instagram @thedeaddrift or email 


Aug 19, 2020

The Tale of The USS Milwaukee and the Sub USS H3

I restore and research old local historical photos for my job sometimes and this is one of my favorite stories.  I'd heard of wreckage of an old ship that's visible at low tide on a beach near here and found out it was the USS Milwaukee but really didn't know much about why it was here or how it sank.  The entrance to the bay here is known historically to be dangerous and difficult to navigate so hearing about a wreck wasn't surprising.  I chalked the Milwaukee up to just another victim of Humboldt bay until I found an old photo of a submarine propped up on redwood logs on the beach.  When I did some digging I learned all about the Submarine USS H3 and how the USS Milwaukee got stuck here all those years ago.

The original H3 photo I found. 

USS Milwaukee sanded in the surf.  Rescue crew on the beach.

 Long story short, in 1916 the sub got stuck coming into the bay, the Navy asked for bids to saving it.  A huge company offered to tow it but wanted too much money, a local company had a very low bid to roll it on logs across the sand but the navy turned both down because one was too expensive and one was too crazy.  They brought in the Milwaukee to pull it out but it too got stuck.  They ended up letting the local company try and they succeeded.  The H3 was repaired and was decommissioned in 1930.  The Milwaukee of course is still stuck in the sand.

I was so smitten by what I had learned I wrote some lyrics for my band.  We were trying to turn it into a proper song but then Covid-19 hit and like most musicians we've sort of been on standby.   

Here's my song (poem?) 

"Old Milwaukee"

This is the tale of Old Milwaukee
It has maybe crossed your ears
It's not about the city, it's not about the beer.

Let me tell the story
About a stranded submarine.
And an old ship wreck's rusty bones
that you might have seen.

It all started with The Sub H3
She ran aground in 1916
Some had tried to tow her out
But she could not be freed

The Navy did ask for help so we stepped right up and others too.
While others simply cost too much they said our methods wouldn't do.

They said that we were crazy, they said it can't be done.
So they sent out old Milwaukee to tow that stranded sub.

Old Milwaukee sailed here then she ran aground
Right there off the jetty where the waves did pound and pound.

The storm came in and gave her quite a tear
And the mighty Old Milwaukee was now beyond repair.

With old Milwaukee down and out the navy now agreed, to let us locals have a try with our ropes and trees.

With Old Milwaukee in the sand
We rolled that sub right over land
On Redwood logs under skies of gray
We put that sub back in the bay.

We patched her up and said goodbye
The sky was clear, the tide was high
She sailed the coast like the years before
And she sailed for many more!

But what about Old Milwaukee?
Of mighty Cruiser class
Been stuck there for 100 years
and picked apart for scrap.

Old Milwaukee!
Sailed the Pacific blue
Till she tried to enter Humboldt bay
For a job she couldn't do!

 Since the place I work stopped doing regular jobs, we've started a weekly series in the local news magazine and I was happy to put together this page, featuring the photo of the H3 I'd found a couple years ago as the first one. Check out the NorthCoast Journal E-edition and see other installments of the History Ad Series.  (look on page 5)

Aug 17, 2020

PYMHM "Red Velvet Cake is a Fucking Lie"

 I was going through some old Noggins and this one caught my eye.  I think the great Red Velvet trend of a few years ago has passed but it's still important to note that this cake flavor is some bullshit based on capitalist greed and government corruption.  Enjoy this Post You Might Have Missed from the winter of 2017.  Way back when Trump's antics were still shocking to us and we could still hug people.


Red Velvet Cake is a Fucking Lie

I went most of my life without ever trying Red Velvet cake. It just wasn't a thing that existed in my life.  Maybe it's because of I grew up in Northern California and Red Velvet was more of a Southern U.S. thing.   Maybe because I was raised by forward-thinking parents and had intelligent friends.  Who knows? I'd never even heard of it before seeing the famous armadillo cake in Steel Magnolias.  Then some time in my 30's, out in the wilds of the world it was at some party I was at and I tried it. 

But  no one told me what it was supposed to taste like. 

Anyone who knows me well knows I have set up some seemingly arbitrary food rules for what I will eat. Such as:  If it smells like vinegar, don't eat it. If it's a creamy dairy food that isn't ice cream or whipped cream, stay away. Pickles are not supposed to be sweet.  For savory food I usually avoid red colored foods because they are basically ketchup or ketchup based.  It's a whole different ball-game for dessert foods. Most people will probably agree with me on this one... red dessert foods will taste like cherry, raspberry or strawberry.  That's pretty standard and has never steered me wrong other than with this stupid cake. 

When I ate Red Velvet cake for the first time, obviously I was expecting a rich, sweet, acidic berry flavor, which of course never came. I thought someone fucked up when they made it. Then it was explained to me that it wasn’t supposed to be fruit flavored.  What the fuck is it then?    I asked what flavor it was supposed to be because it just tasted like regular-ass cake to me.  No one could really tell me what flavor it was. Some said they thought it was chocolate but that's just stupid.  I know what chocolate cake tastes like, this was not that.  So it would seem that it’s just red for no fucking reason and has cream cheese frosting. What’s the big fucking deal? 

I did some digging on the internets and found that it dates back to the 1800's and was originally just a softer  more "velvet" texture cake because of the ingredients they used.   It didn't turn red until 1930's when congress was lobbied hard to pass a law that lowered regulations for food coloring.  And some dick-head food dye tycoon in Texas popularized it as a red cake just to sell more food dye. So it's red because of capitalism.   I
f some hipster tells you it's red because in the depression they didn't have many ingredients and had to use beets  to sweeten the cake batter they're full of shit. It was because some fuck-stick wanted to make more money.

It got popular again because of that shitty movie Steel Magnolias (Julia Roberts' character dies.  No Spoiler Alert that movie can eat shit)  for some reason now it's trendy-as-fuck.  They're making cupcakes, pop-tarts and god damn Oreos now.  Just add red dye to the normal shit and we can sell more units... Genius!!!  

Also I'm not alone.  The Joy of Cooking and James Beard think it sucks too.  

You don't like Red Velvet cake. You just like cake and you're supporting a dessert based on corruption and greed.  Be ashamed. 

A Lesson in Drive-Thru Etiquette: Covid-19 Edition

 Just went through the Jack In the Box drive thru and it's packed...again.  And everyone and their mother is out of work or school,  out and about, doing shit when they're supposed to be sheltering at home.  Meanwhile making the lines long everywhere I go.   I'd almost say just let people go back to work and pod with their fellow employees or classmates. At least we'd know where they were for eight hours of the day. You know,  when people were not taking family trips and going shopping or whatever every day.   I feel like it would be safer than this free vacation everyone seems to think they're on.

 So I pull into the drive-thru line and it's long but not as long as it's usually been so I decide to stick it out. As I pull in my car is halfway out of the drive thru but quickly the car two cars ahead of me zipps forward as if they didn't even stop to order.  I figured maybe I had just missed them ordering. No worry, better for me the line is moving up!  The lady in front of me is one of those; open-the-door-to-order types.  Maybe her window was busted.  I dunno, it just made the ordering process awkward and take longer.  Finally I get up there and order my shit but I can't pull forward to let the next person order because there's a guy... they guy who I thought didn't order sitting there with a car's length in front of him.   This is rule #1 in drive-thru etiquette.  Always pull forward.  Then, rightly so, someone behind me who needs to order honks and the guy looks back like "hoooz honkin?"  At this moment I was noticing him sitting there and started shaking my head in disapproval and when the person behind me honked he looked right at me.  He's all in a huff and has tattoos all over him like he just got out of jail.  So I'm like .. fucking great this guy is gonna come at me because of the honk.  He just sits there in an indignant defiance doesn't move looking back and mugging me the whole time.  He must have just sat there so long already that a car somewhere before him got their food and left because the voice from the order menu came on and asked if she could take my order. Then she said "Did I already take your order?"  because she probably realized that jerk is still sitting there blocking the now 5 or 6 cars behind me in the drive thru.  She then apologized because there was a big order they were still working on.  Drive Thru rule #2  don't make huge orders when using the drive-thru.   It fucks up the flow.  I'm not 100% sure if the dining room is open because of covid but in all possible instances if you're ordering food for hella people, go fucking inside.  So we got this large order and now this shit-stick standing his ground because someone threatened him with a car horn. 

Finally he moves up and there's one car in front of him paying. I see a disheveled older guy with a mask dangling off his face standing between the car and the pick up window, hands taking turns getting money from his wallet, pulling up his pants and readjusting his mask.  Now this might not be an official rule but standing completely out of the car  in a drive-thru goes somewhere in the honorable mentions along with opening your door to place your order.   Some covid procedural violations here as well. He must have had the big order because he finally scurries with three full bags and a drink holder around the back of the car to get into the passenger seat.  Jesus friggin Christ. 

Then our friend who refused to move earlier pulls to the window.  I was playing with my phone and not paying attention fully when I heard yelling so I look up.  It was the dick head now arguing with the cashier.  I'm thinking what the fuck now?  Is she giving him shit for holding up the line?  I turn down my music and listen.  I hear him yell "WHY CANT I JUST PLACE MY ORDER?"  Hahah... oh I get it now.  He was impatient and just blew through the order menu process of the drive thru.   Rule#3  always order from the menu unless specifically asked to pull forward and order at the window.   A violation of rule #3 would usually not be a problem if there was no one else in line but because of the large order and his stupid attempt at intimidating a honking person and throwing a fit like a child, he now gets informed that he did in fact violate at least two cardinal rules of drive-thu etiquette and he now was not going to get to have Jack In the Box today.  I could hear him yell again "I WAITED IN LINE FOR 10 GOD DAMN MINUTES! "   sorry sir, please exit the drive thru, thank you.   The lady in front of me only ordered like one thing and she was in and out.. then it was my turn.  My food was ready when I pulled up.  They were visibly frustrated but were very nice to me. 

I wish you could tip fast food workers.  Especially during this covid bullshit. 
 I hope that asshole gets robbed and his tires slashed and someone he loves tells him they don't love him any more.   This covid situation is making ordinary sane people lose their shit.. and making crazy people even fucking crazier.   I wish it would end but it's the people who are the most angry about the things that will end it that are causing it to last longer. 


Aug 13, 2020

The New Mexico Flying Disc Breakfast Conspiracy

I've been eating breakfast cereal, a couple of my signature recipe, home-made waffles or a McDonalds Sausage Egg McMuffin from the drive-thru for the last couple months but I made some scrambled eggs for the first time yesterday in a long time.  I ate one of my leftover waffles for desert the night before that.   It wasn't a big deal but the eggs thing has been on my mind as I might start making eggs again on a more regular basis.  This will be important later. 

For the past couple of days on my short drive to work I've noticed a car down the street from my house that's not usually there.  A house guest perhaps?  Normally this wouldn't be a big deal but because of the pandemic I worry about people spreading the germs.  We're not supposed to be having company over after all.  Especially guests from out of state which is why the New Mexico license plates on this car concerns me more than usual.  I really wish people wouldn't be traveling across the country right now.  This also will be important later.   

As I scroll through my Facebook feed, as one does, every so often there will be ads that are eerily related to things I've recently discussed or thought about or did.  I bought some Top Ramen for the first time in a really long time last week.  The next day I had it for lunch an add popped up for Top Ramen when I got back to work that same day.  I've never seen an ad for Top Ramen or any kind of instant ramen ever, and now suddenly I'm seeing it.  It's creepy and will be important in a second. 

Yesterday I decided to click the "hide ad" button for a Chik-Fil-A ad because, fuck that place. I don't need that kind of negativity chicken in my feed.  When you decide to hide an ad Facebook asks you to give a reason why you want to hide it.  It has choices like "irrelevant" "I already purchased" "repetitive" but one of them really threw me off.  One reason to hide an ad was  "Knows too much"   What the hell?  I'd say me buying and eating Top Ramen without ever openly discussing it and getting an ad for it the same day is definitely them "knowing too much"  Which leads me to the main topic of this article.  Today while scrolling I see an ad for Denny's restaurant.  Not just Denny's but a very specific Denny's.

At first I thought this must just be a mistake or that maybe Denny's is randomly blasting out ads for random locations.  Then I started to remember my actions of the last couple of days and how it may be relevant to this ad.  The events I detailed above started coming back to me and I wondered.  'No?  Could it be?'   My best logical conclusion is that all of these events combined must have been telepathically sent to the Facebook advertising servers. Obviously,  the algorithm's artificial intelligence had somehow deduced that I needed to see advertisments for the Signature Slams at a very specific Denny's restaurant at 1317 Riverside Drive in Espanola, New Mexico.

Here's where it gets weird.  While typing this I went back to look at Facebook and now there's an ad beckoning me to come and "EXPLORE"  a new Disc Golf course in Aztek New Mexico.  Is there a deeper meaning to this?  Is is some kind of sign?   I don't give a shit about disc golf but pancakes kind of look like a Frizbee right?  a flying,   a flying saucer!   This is all too huge to ignore.  Should I quit my job and take a road trip to complete this mystical circle of fate the universe has bestowed upon me?   The truth is out there. It very well could be somewhere between Aztek and Espanola New Mexico and it's runny yolk is begging to be sopped up with the underdone toast of curiosity.

Aug 3, 2020

The New Normal: A short story by Kirk S. Noggins

I accidentally took out a movie theater gift card instead of my Costco card from my wallet last night and got a really low sinking feeling.

I had a vision of a small child in front of a tent fashioned from torn tarps,  cardboard with faint logos and various salvaged materials.  She is a girl of about nine or ten years old with short hair wearing a bulky sweater with holes in it that revealed layers of dirty clothing underneath and a crude respirator mask. She's standing around a burning pile of trash with a few other children of varying ages.  There's also a much older man with dirty white hair under a floppy knit cap.  He has wire rimmed glasses which are repaired with tape and a paper clip.  He's sporting a tattered cloth scarf which was wrapped around his neck mouth and nose. The child looks up and asks "Grandpa, can you tell us the story about the  movie theaters?" The old man clears his throat with a few small coughs, adjusts his scarf and replies "Well, child, there were places where people would go and sit shoulder to shoulder in a small room watching a movie on a big screen the size of house..." Before he could finish his sentence there was an audible gasp from the children standing near by to keep warm. "and no one was scared to get sick grandpa?" Then moisture welled up in the old man's eyes. He coughed again.  A single tear fell down his cheek paving a weaving, clean path on through the soot and dirt on his wrinkled skin. He pulled up his make-shift mask to wipe his tear.  Adjusted it again, and for a moment remembered what it was like before the "new normal" began.  He muttered under his breath "all they had to do was follow simple guidelines...just wear a mask"   Then visibly upset now, slightly louder "All they had to do was wear a damn mask!" The excitement put him into a brief coughing fit.   The children, startled, all turned their heads towards the old man.  The child inquired "Who didn't wear a mask grandpa?"  The old man then heard the sound of synchronized, booted footsteps in the mud approaching.  "quiet children" the grandpa whispered as the Trumpguard patrol officers approached.  The old man huddled the children in his arms and watched the guardsmen carefully as they passed hoping they hadn't heard him talking of people not wanting to wear masks, and movie theaters.  The old man's grip on the children loosened once the officers were gone.  A sense of relief came over him. The children sensed this even thought they didn't fully understand.   One of the younger children looked up to the old man, pulled down his surplus respirator mask and verbalized as best he could  "what  a... moo vee?   The old man quickly peeked out into the road and made sure the men were gone while he gently moved the child's mask back into place.  He then put the child on his knee and in between wheezing coughs, constantly adjusting his face scarf, the old man proceeded to explain movies to the children of 2042 by trash fire light.

Jun 24, 2020

To Boldly Go... Star Trek Enterprise Review

I was raised on Star Trek and watched most of the 80's Star Trek movies as a kid with my family in the theaters.    I watched the original series but it was a little too dated for me as a kid.   I was all over The Next Generation but Deep Space Nine and Voyager are kind of a teen-age blur.   When they rebooted the movies recently I was excited again.  New Kirk, new Spock!  Let's go!  Now it's Quarantimes and CBS All Access had a free month deal.  I have publicly expressed my disdain for every damn channel having exclusive streaming platforms in the past.  I mean like, I pay for TV already, now CBS want's to be fucking Netflix?  So now that I've accepted my fate as a hypocrite,  I could finally watch Discovery and Picard.  It's been a couple months and the free trial has ended so I guess I have CBS All Access now.    I was boycotting Discovery on principal but it's a pandemic and who's got time to bitch.  Bring me the streaming content!   I'm even paying for AppleTV now like a fucking dick head.   I already  binged Picard.  Loved it!   I just finished both seasons of Discovery.  Loved it!   Then I was looking through the shows and found a Star Trek series I never gave much thought to when it was originally on.   Star Trek Enterprise.  I fully thought this came out in like 2009 or 10.  When it started I kept thinking that it looked like a 90's TV show. And then the theme song played.   So painful.  Why are they using late 90's power ballad music for a Star Trek show?  And the collage of American flight historical images blending into bad CGI of modern space flight was so folksy and Live Laugh Love I wanted to puke in chalk paint.  WTF is going on?  Watch at your own risk... 

Then I looked it up and the internet says this came out in 2001.   Woah.  I had no idea it was that old.  Kinda explains a lot but nothing can explain why a Star Trek series is bucking the tradition of a timeless orchestral theme.   At least the dumb Firefly theme song fits the cheesy folksy "Western in space" vibe they were going for.  This is Star Trek dammit!  Despite the 90's production and horrible intro, I pressed on.  I'm 7 episodes in and I'll say its tickling that Star Trek nerve but I have some issues.

First of all, not that they could know this in 2001 but... it takes place in 2156 or something. If they knew the backwards ass shit happening in 2020 they might rethink  the rate of our scientific progress.  I really doubt that in 100 years things will be that advanced.  But if what Chief Engineer, Charles "Trip" Tucker III says about humans overcoming hunger and war, then maybe there's hope.  Here's to hoping. 

In the second or third episode there's this dumb sub plot about a slug that the translator of the ship (not a biologist by the way)  took as a specimen from some new-to-them planet they visited.  It's all lethargic and they don't know how to treat it. The doctor keeps suggesting to feed it to his bat.  I thought this was a science vessel?   Anyway at the end of the episode they find another random planet that has the same atmosphere as the slug planet and set it free with happy ending music.  "there ya go little sluggo, you'll love it here"  But these "scientists" at no point considered the fact that  they just introduced an invasive species on a random planet they spent zero minutes studying beyond whether the atmosphere was compatible with the slug.  Now you have this one slug with no way to reproduce.  And if it was some asexual being that doesn't need a mate then, you're looking at a slug invasion in a world where it has no natural predator.  Or it does have a predator and it just gets wiped out right away.  Maybe I'm overthinking this but it just seemed really reckless, hasty and not very scientific. 

Doctor, translator, captain, engineer (which seems to mean, works on the engine) security, Vulcan science officer, navigator. 

Speaking of not scientific, hasty and reckless. Early into the series you learn that the captain has a pet dog with him. A fucking dog. On a star ship meant to "visit strange new worlds and seek out new life" they let you bring fucking dogs?  A dog that one can only presume based on the fact that the only scenes you see him in he is locked in the captains tiny private quarters.   Where does he pee? Does he go for walks? Is there a  doggy day care on the Enterprise? 

"there ya go boy, go piss on plants and shit
we've never seen or studied before".
A few episodes later they find a planet that, on paper seems exactly like Earth only there's no intelligent life.   So they get in the shuttle craft and zip down there to study the flora and fauna.  You know, scientifically.   So what's the first thing that pops out of the shuttle when they land?   His fucking dog!!!    So the one time you see the dog outside of the Captain's room is on a foreign planet they've never been to before.    Maaan who's fucking writing this show?

Maybe it was the intent of the show all along being that it's early on in Earth's warp capable era but it's annoying how dumb the Earthlings are portrayed.  Another thing that is bugging me is that it seems like when they say Earth in this show it actually means America because as far as I can tell there are no foreigners on the ship except for the Vulcan Science Officer and the Doctor who's a Denobulan.  Everyone else seems very American. Even the original series had a more diverse crew even by Earth standards. 

Come for the Sci-Fi, stay for the Vulcan tittays.

Despite this shit I'm gonna keep watching.  It's still Star Trek after all.  I'm surprised that I still haven't seen a "live long and prosper" hand gesture yet.  On the last episode I watched  I finally got a Vulcan neck pinch.  There's still three more seasons.  I'm hoping it gets better.  I doubt they'll change the theme song tho.   Woof, it's bad. 

Jun 22, 2020

The L in BLM

Marvia Gray, 68 yrs old, and son Derek. 
I just read a story
about a black man who bought a 65” TV at Sam’s Club, that didn’t fit in his car so they agreed to hold it there so he could come back with a bigger car to get it later.  I’ve worked at a hardware store for years and I know this happens ALL THE TIME with large items.   It’s not uncommon to put things aside for someone to come back later.    When he came back and an employee who wasn’t privy to the situation saw him in the parking lot with the TV and for some reason reported it and a cop who must have just been there already.  The cop followed him to the car and accused him as well despite being told that he had bought it.  The man went home with the TV but he and his mother felt like they should just return it and get their money back to avoid any more harassment.   When they came back to the store, despite other employees recognizing him, and telling the officer, and the other employee that he in fact did purchase it, the cop still persisted and called for back up.   As one would, the man got offended and argued his case.  Things get out of hand and became physical.  The man’s mother even tried to plead his case for him but was also physically assaulted by the now 3 other cops that showed up. Both sustained injuries and humiliation in front of a busy store full of people.  All for a guy who was trying to load a TV he had purchased.  No matter how well-off and law abiding and upstanding citizenly you are, if you're black, there's always that chance some asshole will think you're doing something illegal and a cop ready to back them up.  This shit doesn't happen to well-off law abiding white people.

In a cellphone video you can hear a bystander say something like  “just stay down, do what they say” 

This is always a reaction to cases like this.  People will chime in with stuff like  "just do what the cops say and you wont be hurt (or shot, or killed)" . The problem with that is most of the time when your skin isn't white; while no matter how completely innocent you are or how easily proven or obvious your innocence is doing what they say can have a less than desirable outcome.  You're doing the right thing and DON'T give into your natural urges to resist someone accusing you and trying to restrain you physically for something you didn't do, you'll get arrested anyway.  But you're thinking maybe it's just some handcuffs and humiliation, maybe a trip to the station where they ask you your side of the story and they apologize and let you go.  But that's not what happens.  Despite the cops knowing they're  wrong, they'll tell you just do what they say and everything will be fine.  So you do.  And a drive to the station turns into a night in jail.  You done everything right, you're innocent and you know they know it, but you can't afford bail and end up waiting days, weeks, months, possibly years for your case to be heard in court.  All while the DA, judge sometimes even your own lawyer tries to convince you to just take a plea deal saying you did it so you can reduce your sentence. You persist and finally 5 years later after being an exemplary inmate staying out of trouble while living with actual convicted criminals the Judge sees your file and says "yea, they have no case, you're free to go" Oh and by the way that cop that falsely accused  you and beat you up has been promoted twice and despite being wrong and fucking your life over, get ZERO discipline for it.   But, you're free to go.  Try not to commit suicide like many do after shit like this happens to them.  This shit happens.  It's real.  It's documented.  It happens a lot actually. 

I'm not saying black people should resist arrest, but I understand why someone who knows the cards are stacked against them would.  It's not handcuffs they're resisting, it's a system of unjust racist policy that's sewn into the fabric of this dumb-ass country. The game is rigged. That's what Black Lives Matter means.  Black lives matter doesn't just mean "cops stop shooting black people"  It means stop looking twice when a black person walks in a room. It means don't call the cops because black people are having a bbq.  It means not passing over a resume because someone's name 'sounds black'.    It's every black person's whole  life, from birth, being tagged as less-than by a society that for the most part doesn't even know they benefit from generations of this kind of discrimination. There's no way as a white guy who's done nothing to earn it, but has benefited from it that I'll actually ever know how it feels to be black. That's why we all need to acknowledge that this discrimination exists even if you don't see it. Even if you're not racist, and your town's not racist, and you do work in your community to help people of color, you've got to understand why the L in BLM is more that just a person's name on a protest sign. When you finally get it, then you can make other’s understand and so on, and so on.   When we all do, one day in the future all lives can actually matter equally. 

Sorry, shit got all serious.  Serious times call for serious Noggins.

Jun 12, 2020

History Repeating (Mrs. America review)

Meg had the news on last night and Trump was bumming me out. As he usually does.  They said that Trump gassing innocent peaceful protesters so he could do a photo op at a church was "last week" ….  last week?  Jesus so much shit has been happening on a daily basis I feel like that was a month ago. 

So we put on Hulu.. We finished the last few episodes of the show Mrs. America and now I feel exactly the same way again. Just with disco playing in the background. Holy shit it's all right there man.  In the wake of Nixon getting very publicly busted and despite a huge swath of morons still supporting him there was an impressive progressive movement in the 70's, Carter put solar panels on the White House, then it was completely crushed by a bitter and frightened conservative party that used the fringe religious right to get more support and let it backfire into the Reagan shit show of the 80's.  Just like now none of those fucks care about values or religion.  The almighty dollar is their god. Then we had brief reprieve in the "gay 90's" then literally all the same white men from the Reagan years prop up another puppet conservative to push their agenda.   A little break with Obama. Which REALLY pissed off the racists ... cue "hey racists, you really have no reason to support me, and I'm such a narcissist that being racist would require me to think about someone other than myself, but hey what if I said something like "mexicans are rapists" on TV sound good? Oh hey also religious conservatives, I’m a lying adulterer rapist living a life of sin forever but hey what if I said “I will overturn Roe v Wade” into  microphone?  Oh hey old school fiscal conservatives, I’ve never run a successful business but I am friends with all the rich people who you wish you could be… so??   Yea? cool make me president?   That’s all it takes for a bunch of shallow assholes to vote for someone so completely opposite of their beliefs  and wrong for the country. 

This is a big part of how we got where we are now. Fuck, watch that show. I was too young to know what was going on, and since it was wasn’t taught in my history class... hell it was barely even history at that point... I really didn’t know how similar it was and frankly surprised that more grown people who were around then (Ok Boomer) don't see history repeating and aren’t screaming about it.  For some reason in my ignorance of history I thought this show was going to be about a conservative woman fighting against women’s rights finally see’s why the women’s lib movement was important because she’s constantly getting fucked over by the men around her and the very politicians she’s propping up… but no, this cunt Schlafly despite actually getting fucked over by her male counterparts in politics  because of her vagina remained a die-hard shithead literally until she died in 2016. Her last book that came out the day after she died was “The Conservative Case For Trump”  way to go you piece of shit… At least your dead. 



May 28, 2020

New Monopoly

Monopoly was originally called The Landlord’s Game and was  “invented in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie as a way to demonstrate the system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.  She based the game on the economic principles of Georgism, a system proposed by Henry George, with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants.” -Wikipedia   It was then stolen by a game maker who fucked Magie over and turned it into the stupid kid’s game we all know now and has lost it's original message.

I have never liked this game and learning it’s roots just solidified my hatred.   Actually a lot of people hate it and get mad when they play it but that's how it was supposed to be.  You were supposed to get mad at a system designed to fuck over normal people. The more I live as an adult and learn about how the injustices and corruption and greed has skewed things for most Americans I thought the game Monopoly could use an update to rekindle that original message Elizabeth Magie  was trying to convey.

Just loosely spit-balling, my rough idea goes something like this.  

The game set up is the same at first but before the cash is distributed, each player rolls a set of dice and whoever gets the highest number is now the beneficiary of being "Born into Wealth" and gets 3 times the amount everyone else gets and a full color set of properties to begin the game with.  Which color property is determined by dice rolls.  Each time this player passes go they collect not $200 but a $1,000 allowance from the family estate. Each dice roll counts an extra 3 spaces but if the space they land on passes a desirable available property they can simply pay $500 to move their game token up to 3 spaces forward or backward to help them end up on the space they wanted. This player is also automatically exempt from paying any taxes in the game.

The Luxury Tax space does not exist in this version of the game.  This space will be replaced with "Recession".  Player with the most money in their bank will get a "bailout" and collects $500.  All other players collect no money next time they pass GO.  Because the economy isn't doing well.  

If a player owns all Railroads they can increase the rent on those spaces up to double the normal rent. Additionally, if they own the Railroads they can expand the railroad onto up to 3 adjacent spaces for a percentage of the purchase cost of those properties (owned or not) Owner of the property can still collect their normal rent from other players but will also  have to pay an environmental impact fee to the banker for having a railroad operating on their property. Fee is a percentage of rent and to be paid every time a player lands on that property.

A new card is added to the Chance deck “Pay off a Senator” if you get this card and have $20,000 in your bank you can use it to pay off a Senator and get a law passed that clears you of any crimes and allows you a permanent Get Out Of Jail Free card. If you do not have $20,000 in your bank, you can offer to sell this card for $1000 to someone who does. In addition there will be new Chance and Community Chest cards as well as updates to existing cards that benefit the wealthy and punish the poor.

There is a new twist on Hotels.  Once a player has added a Hotel to each of the properties in a color set. For an additional fee they can then expand the hotel chain onto adjacent properties throughout the entire board (owned by them or not) Hotel cost increases the farther away the hotel is from the original property. The player must land on the original property owned by that player to expand the hotel chain. Owners of the properties with hotels not owned by them will get a small percentage of the Hotel fee  in addition to the rent fee they are owed when another player lands there.  Hotel owner keeps the remainder of the hotel fee.  The hotel tokens will come in different colors. One for each player to keep track of the hotel chains.

I forgot to mention, also at the beginning of the game the player with the lowest amount on the die gets half of the normal amount of money for being "Born Poor" . Passing GO gets you only $100 salary and taxes are increased by 1/2.  You are exempt from the Get out of Jail Free card.  If you land on the Free Parking space and have less than half of the original player amount it is deemed suspicious and you are sent to jail.   If you end up in Jail you’re there for the rest of the game unless you own all colors of a property.  You can mortgage these properties and get our of jail.  If there are Houses or Hotels (owned by you) on those properties you can offer to sell them to another player for 1/2 of the rent amount of that property.  Hotels owned by another player remain as assets of the hotel owner.  If no one owns the property the smaller percentage of the hotel fee goes to the banker while the hotel owner keeps the remainder. 

If at the beginning of the game you roll an even number, highest roll or lowest roll you are now considered a female for the game.  Female players whom have not benefited from being "Born Into Wealth? or been "Born Poor" will only collect $175 salary when passing GO.  To buy property she must wait an additional turn, stay on that space and not roll dice.  If another player lands on the property they intend to buy while waiting her additional turn can buy the property... but, if the player is male he can buy it at the listed price.  If the player is female she must roll dice with the female player waiting her extra turn.  Highest roll wins and can buy the property.  If the player who rolls the highest dice at the beginning of the game is female, benefits are reduced by 10%.  If the lowest die roller is female, she will only collect $75 salary for passing GO.  She can roll the dice upon passing GO.  If she rolls doubles she "has a baby" and can now collect $175 for passing GO for the rest of the game. If she does not roll doubles she collects nothing on that turn for passing GO.  All other female rules apply.  If you pull the "Pay off a Senator" card and don't have $20,000 you "Get Sexually Assaulted" and roll a die to determine the number of times you can get out of jail free.  

If you rolled an even number and do not want to be female, you can keep your original rank and roll again but if you roll even a second time you must play as Female.  If you roll doubles  this time you identify as LGBTQ and cannot play, as this game fears what it does not understand. 

Normal rules apply for remaining players.  Taking into account the new rules for Railroads, Hotels,  income inequality and gender.

Sound unfair? Welcome to real American life.

Disclaimer: I wanted to include race and immigrant status into this but I was getting pretty complicated already.  I also wanted to do more with the utilities but I think you get it and understand the point being made.  I'm not actually making a game.

Apr 21, 2020

The Greatest Breakfast Cereal I Couldnt Remember The Name Of

When I was a kid there was a breakfast cereal that I have fond memories of.   I have been seeking this particular brand of cereal out most of my adult life.  It would have been in the early to mid 80's and when I was a kid and it was a rare  occasion that my little brother and I got to have sugary breakfast cereals so I remember the few times we actually somehow convinced our mom to buy it.  I remember vividly one time begging for Cookie Crisp, finally getting it and being horribly disappointed with it.  Chocolate Chip cookies in milk it definitely was not.  I don't know what I was expecting tho, like, a box full of actual bite size cookies disguised as fortified breakfast cereal?  Maybe that was the whole point of the marketing but how that lying piece of shit cereal is still around and this one I cant remember isn't,  is a crime.  This particular cereal I must not have been excited to get which is probably why I don't remember the name but I still reminisce about that flavor and how delicious it was.

I found a page on reddit called "Help Me Find"  and gave them the best description I could for my long lost cereal. 

I mentioned that it was from the early 80's and that the flavor was similar to Cap'n Crunch but it definitely wasn't.  Just about every time I get Cap'n Crunch I think about this cereal and try to remember what it was.

The flavor was more like a pancake with syrup and butter on it than the sugary sweet corn flavor of the Cap'n.  It definitely didn't destroy your mouth either.  I remember the shape was square with round corners and concave on both sides. Kind of like the Halls cough drop shape but smaller. The cereal pieces were yellowish-brown.  The box was also yellow and had a character like a cowboy or something on it.  Maybe an old West desert theme. It could have been a generic or store brand.  It also could have been associated with a cartoon that no longer exists. Not sure if they were doing generic or cartoon tie-in's back then but its very likely this cereal no longer exists.  I would just like to know what it was and see a photo of the box once. It was so good I still remember loving that flavor profile... I just can't remember ever even knowing the name of the cereal.

 Well just a few hours later after one obligatory "Sugar Smacks?" response I got my answer!  Despite Sugar Smacks being puffed rice, any time I mention this mystery cereal someone will suggest it.  So, it's not Smacks.  The answer I had been searching for (not really that hard) over 30 years was none other than Waffleos!   The person who figured it out even provided a link to a page with all kinds of info about it.  Oh man, instantly I was taken back to my childhood kitchen table.

 Here's a screenshot of some of the details.  Waffelo Bill!  haha.

Dang it came out in 1979?  I was like two years old. There's no way I could remember something like that at that age.  I know for sure I was in the house I lived in from two years old until I moved out in the 90's.  My brother was born in 79 and I do remember them bringing him home from the hospital.  Shit how cognizant are you at two?  So like 1980 or so?

It had an obscure cereal name that really hasn't stood the test of time.  That and me being a fucking toddler, no wonder I couldn't remember the name of it.  Although I will say, a waffle cereal is right in my wheelhouse as most of you know how much I love waffles.   Must have started at a very early age.

I feel like there has been  more recent variations of different cereals that tried to do some kind of maple or pancake theme but nothing like this.   I'm happy to have finally solved this mystery but also sad that I'll never be able to eat it again.   Now I also regret ever sending away for that belt buckle.

Now why don't you take a trip down this rabbit hole...

Apr 18, 2020

Very Unofficial Scattergories Expansion Pack

Who's played Scattergories 1000 times and wishes there were more cards? 
Say no more! Introducing Kirk's Stupid Scattergories VERY UNOFFICIAL expansion pack. I've been adding list items to these randomly for the last year or so. I finally completed List 8 so I figured I was finished. 

Print, cut, enjoy.  

Probably not family safe.

I am aware that I do not have permission to use the Scattergories name or logo.  Lists are NOT associated with Scattergories or Scrabble Inc.  

More Inspired Inspiration

Inspiration comes from everywhere they say.  A while back  I stumbled upon a website that's basically a collection of letters, notes and photos that people find in the trash or on the ground and send in.  A few of the letters caught my attention and I turned them into lyrics.  I hope they turn into songs at one point.  I'm really enjoying this new creative outlet.  And remember these are written for a punk band so it's not going to be and long epic sagas.  Here's the ones I did before. Inspired Inspiration Original Post

I just found some inspiration again on a letter that caught my eye. 

New Mother's Day

It's New Mother's Day Celebrated now on
October 15, 1998

The day I found out about all your lies
That you were working with the enemy
And how you're wanted by the FBI

I wrote you a letter.
Happy New Mother's Day
Dear Mom, I hate you!
Now If you would just go away!

I was eating English Muffins
When I learned the truth
That you were working with the Russians

I wrote you a letter.
Happy New Mother's Day
I'm 8 years old and I hate you!
Now if you would just go away!

It's October 15 2008
I miss you mom
I can't believe they took you away.
I'll remember you every Mother's Day.

Apr 15, 2020

Top 20 Influential Albums. Yes, 20.

I keep getting nominated to post 5, 10, 20 influential album covers on Facebook.  I've done this at least twice already and at least once without being nominated.  So I decided to consolidate and put it all here for you if you're interested in this type of thing.  It's The Quarantimes so you know you have time to read it.

Huey Lewis & The News: Sports
The first album I can remember listening to over and over. It was my dad's but it never left my stupid little portable tape player.
 It was also the first time I was really cognizant of what an actual rock & roll band was.  The idea that different dudes played  different instruments playing together and writing songs.  My dad recorded some live concert off HBO onto a VHS tape that we watched over and over.  I remember the kick ass horn section they had and it made me  want to play the saxophone after watching it.   I don't want to play saxophone anymore but  I guess you could say that the heart of rock & roll is still beating inside of me.  I ended up becoming a drummer. 

Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo
What other suburban white kid wasn’t smitten by break dancing in 1984?  C’mon man. I had pants with too many pockets and everything! What a complete nerd I was.  Anyway, I convinced my parents to buy me this record.  I’m not 100% sure it was actually this record but it was similar with I’m sure many of the same songs.  I remember playing it on the turntable of my parents gigantic Hi-Fi system in the living room with speakers that were as big as a mini-fridge trying to awkwardly emulate the dance moves from the movie.  I sucked but there was something I really liked about the rawness and not-give-a-fuckedness of it all.  I guess I knew there was something special about it but I just didn’t understand it.

Weird Al: Dare To Be Stupid 
Around the same time I was getting over my Break Dance phase, Eat It was tearing up the charts.  Weird Al was a new sensation and little kid me couldn’t get enough.  My friend had In-3D which featured Eat It but when I finally got around to having my own copy,  it was Dare To Be Stupid I chose.  The follow up to In-3D,  this one featured the hit Madonna spoof Like a Surgeon and the classic Yoda but I always liked the title track which was a DEVO style parody.    It also had a Huey Lewis parody!   I knew that album back and forth.  I think this also helped unlock my sense of humor like nothing before.  Like Spaceballs that came out around then and I also liked, It was mature but in a way a kid could enjoy. 

RUN DMC: Raising Hell
This album was probably the first album that I sought out on my own and listened to non stop.  I traded my mini Casio keyboard for it to a friend in like 4th grade.  I learned every word even if I really didnt understand it fully.  Imagine a chubby little white kid with a fake Walkman  rambling off words to "Proud To Be Black" in the back of his parents van on family trips. That was me.  Something about the raw style and bold uniqueness to the music drew me in.  A theme in my tastes that would continue as I got older and still today. RUN DMC and those early rappers were pioneers and there's always a place for pioneers in my collection. This album represents all the rap I was into that Raising Hell opened me up to. All the summer afternoons watching YoMTV Raps. Listening to The Beastie Boys, NWA, De La Soul, Too Short etc.

 Beastie Boys: Licensed To Ill
While I was listening to RUN DMC everyone else was getting hyped on Beastie Boys and I would scoff,  "that's not REAL rap"  ...even as a dumb 5th grader I had standards.  I eventually caved.  At this time skateboarding and all the wild untamed world that came with it had entered my life.  Even tho I didn’t fully understand it, I knew I liked it.  I saw a skateboard in a  Beastie Boys video and the heavy guitar vibe mixed with the very NY hip hop aesthetic I liked in RUN DMC pulled a slightly more mature me in.  I remember my friend found a “new” Beastie Boys album at the flea market and we were very disappointed and figured it must be fake because it was from the flea market.  Turns out it was Paul’s Boutique.  Obviously we and the world were just not ready for it yet.   License To Ill still has a place in my collection.

Quiet Riot: Metal Health
Around the time I was discovering the skateboard culture I was hanging out with these kids down the street.  Two brothers who also skateboarded.  Often I would stay late at their house listening to records on their record player.  Bob Seger, KISS and this one.  Something about the production values and the catchiness of the songs on this album drew me in.  They had this dumb plastic toy guitar with no strings we would use to lip-synch and do air guitar on.  It was totally stupid but we were kids.   It’s cheesy as fuck but quintessential 80’s pop-metal that wasn’t  totally pretentious yet. Anyway this album really resonated with me and maybe even moved me closer to being a metal head.

Metallica: ...And Justice For All 
Skipping ahead a few years skateboarding was less important and this mega beast found it’s way into my psyche. I’m not sure exactly how but by 7th grade I was wearing Metallica and Anthrax t-shirts to school.  I don’t know what bands I’d first heard but this one stands out as a milestone for me.  Even back then tho my tastes were eclectic.  The first music I ever purchased with my own money was the cassette single for One and the single for De La Soul’s Me Myself and I.   This was also  around the same time some friends of mine all got guitars.  I had drum sticks that a babysitter’s boyfriend gave me and I’d bang on a bucket to jam with them.   I remember sitting in front of a mirror while the One video was playing trying to emulate what Lars was doing.    The first time I actually played a real drum set like a year later people we’re surprised I knew what I was doing.  The rest, as they say is history.

Anthrax: State Of Euphoria
Obviously I’ve already mentioned Metallica.  Eventually I became a little thrash kid listening to bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Testament. But this album along with their 'I Am The Man' EP really showed me that a heavy band with serious music could have a lighter side that didn't take everything so seriously all the time.  I Am The Man was actually a Metal/Rap song, which was sort of unheard of for the time.   It showed that you could have a sense of humor in heavy music. And I the video for Antisocial they just look like they’re having a good time.  Despite the playfulness, these guys, like other thrash bands of the time had some very poiniant lyrics about heavy subjects.   I think I learned a lot more about the world from these bands than I did in school.   Anyway Anthrax will always be one of my favorite bands.

Faith No More: The Real Thing 
This one came out of nowhere for me. Just some normal summer afternoon watching MTV and this video comes on... It wasn't quite heavy metal but it was. It wasn't rap, but sort of. It was kind of funky like Red Hot Chilly Peppers but it was different. It was Epic. I was just 100% hooked. I went out and got the album right away and the tape didn’t leave my stereo for months.  Sitting in my room studying every lyric. It was just so cool. The real thing.   All the while sort of keeping it a secret from my metal head friends.   It subconsciously prepared me for a lot of music I would listen to and play later on. Huge inspiration for me.  I initially didn’t like their follow up Angel Dust because I thought it was too mainstream. It took a few years for it to grow on me and it’s actually my favorite album by them now.  The Real Thing really had an effect on me even tho I don’t like it as much now.

Primus: Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
This is a fun one. When I was face deep in being a metal head I would see Primus' Frizzle Fry album displayed predominately at my local East Bay record store and when I would ask my metal head friends if they’d  heard this band they all would scoff and dismiss it. After all, it wasn't blaring thrash metal. So I never listened to it. Then down the road I end up seeing the Jerry Was a Race Car Driver video played during Headbangers Ball on MTV and was amazed. Immediately I went and got Sailing The Seas of Cheese and never let those boneheads tell me what to like again. This album had the humor and lightheartedness I liked in Anthrax but also had elements I liked from Faith No More.   This time the push to more diverse music was a very conscious one.   It moved me to listen to all kinds of other music.  Jazz, Funk, bands like King Crimson and more soul music from the 70s. It really pulled my heavy metal head out of the sand and opened my eyes as a music lover and a drummer. Tim Alexander's drumming became the cornerstone of my drumming style at the time.

Rage Against The Machine
One summer day in the early 90s our local rock radio station KVHS was having a live broadcast at The Warehouse Record Store. They were giving away stickers and cassette singles and stuff. I got two really big tapes that day. Quicksand album Slip and Rage Against the Machine single for Bullet in the Head.  This album came along at a perfect time for me and once again, like others from this list, it changed how I listened to music and how I played it.   Side note, don’t think I tossed that Quicksand tape out…  I loved it, and it gave me a unique feeling I’d never had listening to music before.  I was 15 and wasn’t really ready for it. None my friends understood why I liked it.  Not until 10 years later did I even hear of anyone else knowing who that band was and discovering they had a whole, much deserved following.  It's still a regular in my music rotation and it never gets old.  It just wasnt as impactful musically for me as the others on this list.  I should probably mention here that you will not see any grunge bands on this list.  Despite me trying to be more diverse and have a more open mind musically I still refused to give any of the emerging grunge and alternative bands a chance.  They were basically what was popular and what all the normals were listening to.  A decision I would later regret as I discovered many of these bands later on were actually pretty good. 

Cannibal Corpse: Butchered At Birth 
While I was getting more adventurous with my musical tastes around this time, branching out into jazz, funk and new wave fusion,  I was also getting more diverse within the genre of heavy metal.  My heavy music tastes expanded from just thrash metal to straight up death metal.  Some of Slayer’s stuff was pretty dark, and by now I’d gotten into Sepultura and some other, faster and darker bands on the fringes of what could be considered Thrash but when I heard this album it changed my whole perspective of how truly brutal heavy music could be. From here I discovered a whole universe of bands like Death, Obituary, Brutal Truth, Morbid Angel, Suffocation and so on. Even to this day a big part of my musical tastes is aggressive, fast, confusing music with blast beats and guttural vocals.  I really wanted to put Death's Human album here because it really stuck with me more but I feel like I wouldn't have ever known about it if not for hearing Butchered At Birth first.

Dead Kennedys: Plastic Surgery Disaster
I knew about punk music and had heard it indirectly through skateboarding culture but never really got into it. Other than DRI I never payed much attention to punk rock.  This tape ended up in my possession somehow in the early 90s, I think it belonged to either Jeff or some random older punk dude that we hung out with one time. I knew the logo of this band from ads in the back of Thrasher magazine and from the Slayer guitarists guitar but never really listened to them. I gave it a few listens to appease the person who gave it to me but I just didn’t care at the time.  A few years later further into my experimental phase I found it again and gave it another go.  Now with more mature ears and mind, something just resonated with me. The energy, combined with Jello’s lyrics pulled me in.  It was like the old thrash songs about politics and social issues but more in your face.  I kept thinking to myself 'THIS came out in fucking 1982?'  It was in 1994 and still is now relevant as ever.   For some reason other DK albums just never connected like this one.  Around this time I played with my punk band UMF in high school I was introduced to a lot of stuff.  Minor Threat in particular which could have easily been on this list.   Now I'm in a punk band and have listened to a ton of stuff but I keep coming back to Plastic Surgery Disaster and Minor Threat as my go-to punk music.

Deftones: Adrenaline
This band was off my radar for way too long. I had heard the name mentioned around but thought it was “The Def Tones” and that they were a Ska band. I had just grown out of my Ska phase so I never payed attention. I had heard of Korn but they weren't really on my radar yet either. Then one day a friend of a friend was showing off his new car stereo and was blasting this album.  It was so heavy… And chaotic, yet masterfully crafted, groovy and melodic. Slight hip hop tinge but not in the way Faith No More or Rage was. I knew instantly that this was something special and new. I asked what band it was and to my surprise he said Deftones.  I had been so foolish!   From that moment on Deftones would be one of my favorite all time bands. The more I got into it I started to take apart the drumming.  It ended up being the biggest influence on my playing from that point on. Around this time my band Fingertight was being formed and those guys got me into bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit that were also big influences in that band. Our first songs sounded like heavy Primus mixed with Korn and Deftones.  Then an album that would change everything for my band came out.  More about that next.  

Incubus: S.C.I.E.N.C.E. 
When I say I like this band people are surprised because they aren't familiar with this record. Everyone is familiar with the melodic pop-rock drivel they’ve put out since, but this album was so unique and fresh. It had a funky upbeat style but a gritty edge and a DJ, that for the first time in a rock band was more than just sound effects. It was a legitimate instrument in the bands overall sound. This album was prog-rock, rap rock, funk and nu-metal all blended together in a really interesting way.  It really changed the direction of how my band at the time would approach music. It inspired more melodic writing rather than the rhythm driven percussive style we started out doing. I really wanted to continue loving this band but like I said before they went stupid and mainstream with ballad hit after hit into a void of hollow dumb music that I hate.

Aphex Twin: Come To Daddy
OK so, I’m not nor ever have been a really big fan of electronic music.  And I don't even know if this was an actual album but somehow, somewhere  I heard this track. Probably the video came on some obscure MTV show late at night.  I don’t know but it got me interested in the style of Drum & Bass or Jungle music.  I don’t know shit about it other than I dig the heavy beats contrasting more droned out melodies underneath it.  It’s a really cool idea to me musically and immediately introduced it into songwriting for Fingertight around that time.  I still appreciate  the idea of this music but really can’t just sit and listen to it nor could I name off artists who create it.  I will tho say it is definitely an influence to my drumming and song creation and I’m pretty sure this song started it all.

System Of A Down 
So many bands came out around this time that were trying to copy the sound of the pioneers of Rap-Rock and Nu-Metal it just got sad and basically the whole genre became a parody of itself.   When this album came out it really surprised me.  It had all the things, groove, heavy guitars, aggressive lyrics but it had this wildness to it.   Serg’s vocal style was like nothing I’d heard before. Closest comparison was Jello Biafra from Dead Kennedy’s but this was a whole different thing.  The music was so spastic and unique.  Yet again giving my band another influence to pull from as we evolved with the music of the day.  Slipknot came out shortly after this and kind of blew me away as it was like nothing before but didn’t really influence me like System Of A Down did.  Slipknot was a breath of fresh air for metal but ended up kind of starting a whole new sub-genre of cheesy Mall-Metal that I never really got into.  Nothing like System Of A Down has really come along which solidifies this album as one of my top 20 influential albums.

Glassjaw: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence /
At The Drive In: Relationship Of Command

Two bands hit the scene around the same time shortly after this that upped the fucking ante big time.  Glassjaw’s Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence and At The Drive In’s Relationship of Command.   The pure aggression and crazy vocal delivery from Glassjaw shook my core.  It had elements of some East Coast hardcore bands I’d heard but it was so out of control.  I immediately brought played it for my band mates.  We didn’t know what was happening but we loved it.  At the same time At The Drive In shows up and it’s got a more controlled, off time kind of feel.  But with crazy vocal delivery with lyrics that seemed either random or too intelligent for anyone to understand.  Both bands had that groove to it that hearkened all the way back to bands I’ve listed like Faith No More and Deftones but did something completely new and unique with it.  I’m not even sure which band should get this spot so I’m going to have them share it.  Even tho they are really different bands they represent the same innovation and  musical reboot  for me at the time. 

Queens Of The Stone Age:  Songs For The Deaf
An engineer who was working on my band’s album in 2002 or so wouldn't shut up about this band.  I think he was from the same area as them and gave us some CD’s to listen to.  A couple older Queens Of The Stone Age albums and some Kyuss.  I was like OK, yea, its’ kinda like stoney Soundgarden.  It’s not bad, I can see why he liked it but it’s not really hitting for me.  Then right around that same time this album came out and MTV was playing the video for No One Knows or whatever the first single was.  I instantly liked it and was surprised to see it was that boring stoner band that Miles made me listen to.  I immediately went and got the record and was blown away.  The drumming was incredible and found out shortly after that it was non other than Dave Grohl who I hadn’t heard of from anything but Foo Fighters back on drums.  Despite not really liking the Foo, this album started my ongoing love affair for Grohl, the rock n roll advocate and drummer… Not the Foo Fighters front man.   Anyway a few years later I’m in a new band that’s a little bit more rock & roll than my other bands were, I found myself ripping off Dave’s drum style from this album left and right.  Huge, inspiration for me still.  And this album still shreds.  Other Queens’ albums after this not so much. 

Mastodon: Leviathan
I was cruising the Tower Records by my office on my lunch break thumbing through CD’s and stopped on this album.  I’d never heard of the band and knew nothing about them but the name “Mastodon”  and the album art just kind of made me decide that I needed to buy it.  I took it back to work and put it in my computer and was more than pleasantly surprised.  It was heavy, it was slightly proggy but it had a laid back vibe that felt new to me.  It was in the same vein as Queens but totally not.  It kind of reminded me of some of the thrash from the late 80’s but chilled out.  The drums were really up front in the song writing too which  I always appreciate.  There wasn’t much else like it at the time that I was aware of other than The Bronx which I found from an out of left field  recommendation from the morning radio DJ I listened to.   A couple years later I plugged Mastodon into Pandora and it spit out Red Fang and High On Fire which I love now.  Those bands turned me onto Doomriders, Young Widows and Whores and a ton of what I guess you would call Stoner Metal.  I love all that shit now.  And don’t tell my current punk band but I’m slowing introducing elements of in our newer songs. 

 All of these may not be my favorite album by said artist, some are but they hit me in the feels at the right time in my life and put me on a new path in one way or another. I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me.  If you have never heard of any of these I encourage you to look them up in you streaming app of choice and check em out.  They changed my life.