Friday, April 30, 2010

I wonder if she's single

norah jones is fantastic. thanks to matt sargent for introducing me to her in high school, while
my mind was fairly exclusively devoted to punk and classic rock. in fact, since matt introduced me to johnny cash and norah jones, they opened me up to country, oldies rock, jazz, and the blues. norah is something of a gateway drug. of course, since she conquered the jazz market, she has mastered country with her band the little willies, and she is now venturing into rock with her band, el madmo. she can pretty much do no wrong in my mind anyway. she has a pretty stellar musical heritage as well. she is the daughter of ravi shankar, the sitarist who influenced the beatles when they branched into eastern music a bit. he taught george harrison the sitar.
one of my most vivid memories is set to norah jones. the morning after our high school senior all nighter, matt was driving me home from denny's in his parent's prius, listening to her cd "come away with me". it was just as the sun was coming up, and the clouds were coming over the mountains in the east. it created a gorgeous sky, with subtle tones of grey and blue waking up as i was in that lucid state when you are deprived of sleep, but not really sleepy. matt and i weren't talking much, i don't think our minds were thinking in words anymore. there was no other time as high school ended that i recognized the transitive moment. it was an odd limbo, the beginning of our between age. i made a conscious effort to remember and relish that. it was a moment of sublime perfection, where nothing else mattered, and i was completely in the moment. i was that moment. i owned it all, drank it in. it was like a really good dr. pepper, on a hot afternoon. when it was finished, i didn't long for it to be back. it had quenched my thirst, and i was ready to get out and play some more.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Do it for the love, like Ray J

yesterday, as i ran along the beautiful provo river parkway, in the freezing cold and rain, it struck me that i have some level of insanity to be doing something like that. my hands were numb, my nose was running, and my knee and achilles tendon were aching, but i was happy. i was correct in thinking i was a little insane, because that is what love is. i think about running all the time. it makes me smile( someone once told me if i could show them someone smiling when they ran, they would run, to which i responded that they should come watch me run. i smile a lot). i can't wait till the next time i see her... er... i mean... go running. i spend all my money on it. i make time in my day for it. if i go without it for too long, i get depressed and anxious. after my knee surgery last year, i would wake up and lay in bed thinking about it. sounds a lot like love to me. i have even made a mix for it. i'll post it on of these days, i am quite proud of my running music. i am committed to a long term relationship here. i don't know who said it, but it has been said if you have to ask why we run, you'll never understand. same could be said about romance. i love running.

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your gift." - Steve Prefontaine, American Runner

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pop Rocks and Coke:the playlist

as i drove to the second of my soccer games today, i felt the need for some pump up music. i had been listening to the avett brothers, but they don't exactly have a pump up effect. i started off with some bad religion, and decided to make a playlist in the spectrum of punk-pop punk-pop rock-rock. i felt pretty awesome about my little trip into the music of my junior high days, so i though i'd share it with y'all.

bad religion - sorrow
nofx - murder the government
unwritten law - seein' red
blink 182(did you know they are back together?) - pathetic
thrice - all that's left
the ramones - sheena is a punk rocker
blink 182 - m&m's
coheed & cambria - a favor house atlantic
green day - she
jimmy eat world - big casino
the vandals - ape drape song
blink 182 - online songs
bad religion - american jesus
unwritten law - up all night
blink 182 - anthem
boxcar racer(these guys are back together too) - i feel so
coheed & cambria - the suffering
nofx - dinosaurs will die
pennywise - perfect people
alkaline trio - goodbye forever
the vandals - i have a date
jimmy eat world - pain
thrice - the artist in the ambulance
goldfinger - 99 red balloons
unwritten law - rest of my life
blink 182 - apple shampoo
the ramones - i wanna be sedated
the vandals - oi to the world

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's time to DOUBLE DOWN: the review

i finally tried out the new double down chicken "sandwich" tonight. i ordered the combo meal, with a root beer and the potato wedges. the root beer was as fantastic as always, and the potato wedges(which i had never had before) were incredible. they must have been fried in the same oil as the chicken, cuz they were the best potato wedges ever.
now for the sandwich. it turns out, there is such a thing as too much fried chicken at once. the cheese was an afterthought, although there were times it added an extra amount of goo/fat that was like a punch in the mouth. i never even tasted the bacon(that is what i am most disappointed about). the chicken was definitely tasty, juicy, and simply too much of it at a time. apparently, they had figured out chicken sandwiches a long time ago.
it also turns out that i was frighteningly accurate with my assumptions as to how i would feel afterwards. for about an hour after, i felt like i had an alien trying to burrow its way out of my stomach. i actually was worried i might throw up. now, i am not really a lightweight when it comes to eating. my sister once said that i have the gift of eating. nothing really destroys me like that, but this did.
all in all, i feel like i accomplished something here. in the name of science. or simple morbid curiosity.

Monday, April 19, 2010


the most common question i get about music is, "what kind of music do you like?" i find this question ridiculous, and i usually reply something like "good music." most people usually chuckle, and ask further what that means. it is difficult for me to describe, but i usually say something like "well, i can listen to jay-z, johann sebastian bach, and led zepplin on any given day, and everything in between." my biggest qualifications for music are originality and quality. you can be the most original person, but if the music lacks quality, i don't like it, and vice versa. it isn't an exact science, and i have my likes that aren't very good too, but it is a pretty good general rule.
the second most common question is, "do you like country?" i also find this question somewhat ridiculous, mostly for two reasons. the first is, i am never asked if i like rock, or pop, or some other larger genre. the second reason is that they generally mean the type of country that is played on the radio. so i usually say something like "i don't like pop country much, but i like classic country." the reactions i get from that is usually a puzzled disagreement, because it seems most country fans don't like what they call "the twangy stuff".
this seems to be a dichotomous statement to me, because the only thing that tends to separate pop country from the rest of pop and rock is the use of a slide guitar, some mandolin or violin, and a southern accent. those are the parts that give classic country its twangy quality. i am confused as to the classifications of almost all popular genres, because it seems the line between britney spears and reba mcintyre is blurring, or gone all together. i am not just talking about collaborative efforts between artists of differing genres, but the actual styles portrayed by the genre stalwarts. pop acts like miley cyrus jump between the genres at will, depending on which music channel they want to appear on that month. others, like taylor swift, pretty much stay within the pop realm and simply claim country to some degree( i didn't know acoustic guitars were all that was needed to be country). i can say the same about country and rock, or even pop and rock.
the fact is, these genres were originally designed around simple song structure differences between what made up rock, blues, country, pop, soul, gospel, and the rest. i am not opposed to artists being multi disciplined between different styles, i am mostly opposed to their genre signatures being applied to anything they want to sell as one thing or the other. in my opinion, this sort of cross genre bending hasn't been an issue since the styles were first being defined. once upon a time, johnny cash and elvis weren't called country and rock stars. roy orbison could play on a bill with hank williams, and there was no real protocol. popular music was just beginning, and the only real genres were gospel, blues, jazz, and country within popular music. i think that the golden age of country ended with garth brooks(who i love). his popular brand of rock country changed the game forever.
i love classic country. i find that the story telling ability of the original songsters was unparalleled. the edgy style of stars like johnny cash was far more shocking than current shock mongers like eminem(listen to songs like delia's gone or folsom prison blues, and suddenly killing your wife seems old hat). the banner for that style has really been carried on through what is called alt-country these days. bands like band of annuals, the shins, and the avett brothers have more of the soul of country than big & rich to me.
and that is why i get confused by genres. /endrant

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's time to DOUBLE DOWN

once upon a time, the only time i could really feel like i had threatened my life with one order of food was when i would go to some sort of fair or fest. there, i could revel in the fried oreos, fried coke, fried twinkies, fried snickers, or just a plain old funnel cake (which is, of course, fried). once in a while, i could venture into the world of deadly fat on my own if i knew someone with a fryer. even when i went to a fast food place, i knew that despite the mysterious blend of meat they might pass as beef, or the supersized amount of fries they would add, i would only have a food induced nap as a consequence. even from such establishments as carl's jr or wendy's(the baconator?) that turn their nose up at even the hint of health, i was never in fear of my safety. then, kfc threw down the gauntlet with the double down:
this loosely named "sandwich" smashes bacon, cheese, and sauce in between two fried chicken breasts. technically, you can get the grilled version, but who is really going to do that? even though the bread of the bun would only add simple carbohydrate calories, the removal of the bun seems to be the final barrier to total food depravity. this brings into the mainstream that which had only been the domain of food sites like it is only a matter of time before another chain ups the ante with something even more unhealthy.
i can respect the total departure from even the lip service of health. places like mcdonalds trying to update their image with fancier atmosphere and a "healthier" menu smacks of fraud. it would be like arnold schwarzenegger trying to play a respectable politician, oh wait, forget that one. i will also probably get one soon enough. i might as well use my young metabolism while i can. i can't say that i am happy that there is one more step towards this country becoming totally obese. the fact is that kfc wouldn't sell it if there wasn't a market for it, so bucking the trend has to start with a fundamental shift in how we eat as families. until then, welcome to carnival food all year round.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The case of D-Will v Yatta, the game winners

the two greatest moments of the utah jazz's season have been sundiata gaines' three pointer to win the game against the cleveland cavaliers, and last night's game winning jump shot by deron williams against the oklahoma city thunder. both games left me totally keyed up after. so it got me thinking, which one was a greater moment? i know what my gut said, but i wanted to really break it down. so i will be judging both of them on several key criteria to really get this thing right. whichever one is the better in the majority of categories is the greatest jazz moment of the regular season( assuming that the jazz don't have a comparable moment in the final three games).

the player:
sundiata gaines is a rookie that was called up from the development league to fill the third string point guard role after the jazz traded eric maynor to the thunder. he had only had a couple of minutes total pro playing time prior to his being put in on his big play. he had never made a 3 pointer in his short pro career. he has only made 6 since, and i can remember each of them. so the fact that he made the big shot is made impressive by his being the least likely player on the team to take that shot. ok, maybe fesenko would have been less likely, but come on. and yes, that is a legitimate argument.

deron williams is only in his 4th year, which makes his accomplishments thus far incredible. he is one of the most dominant point guards in the league, with THE most wicked crossover in the game. he made the all star team for the first time this year, which was really over due. he is the hinge that the utah jazz pivot on. simply put d-will is the best thing to happen to the jazz since john stockton retired.

edge:d-will. while the surprising quality of gaines as the rookie is special, great players doing great things is what makes it great.

the opponent:
the cleveland cavaliers are the most dominant team in the nba this season. they have the most dominant player in lebron james. that's pretty much it.

the oklahoma city thunder have lebron's next rival after kobe bryant in kevin durant(i hate that he is in our division, so we are going to be seeing him 4 times a year for the foreseeable future). their young team is going to be a powerhouse for years to come. they are a little rough around the edges, but they can beat any team out there any given night.

edge:yatta. seeing both durant and lebron go off was amazing, but one team is a title contender now, while the other still has a bit to go.

the play:
yatta's play was really not a play. the jazz could have tied the game and sent it to overtime with a 2 point shot, but cavs shut down the pick and roll play. this left the jazz scrambling for anything, and the last/only option was gaines. he hit the shot falling down with a defender in his face. crazy. the buzzer sounded, the game was over. the moment was perfect.

d-will's play was actually a play. d-will curled around a screen set by boozer, the defense was slow rotating, and d-will popped up for a game winning 20 footer. perfect play, as the thunder were obviously expecting the ball to go to booz. the shot was clutch, especially since the long 2 is the least efficient statistical shot. d-will had missed a similar shot at the end of regulation. however, it wasn't quite the end of the game, there was 5 seconds left on the clock. this allowed the thunder to get the ball to durant for a last 3 point attempt. miles fouled him on the shot, but no call was made. this tainted the moment, but it doesn't change the fact that the jazz made the play.

edge:yatta. it was simply magical.

the importance:
the cavs game was against the cavs. it was a statement game against the top team. it was in the middle of the season though, so the actual importance of it was simply a win.

the thunder game was the 5th game left in the season. win this game, we end up in 2nd place in the western conference. lose, we are 5th. major implications for playoff seeding. it was also a statement game, as we were avoiding a sweep by a potential playoff opponent. of course, the next night we lost against houston, and ended up back in 5th anyway. that doesn't change the fact that it has major last minute implications in a very tight western conference race.

edge:d-will. major playoff implications against a division rival for the win.

sundiata was wearing throwback green. his shot was as he was falling down. he has way too many teeth in his smile. he looks like derek fisher, who looks like a ninja turtle. it was after kyle korver hit a behind the backboard shot to put them in that position. lebron.

d-will hit his career high with that shot(42 points). he was redeeming himself from his missed shot at the end of regulation. d-will carried the jazz the whole game. it was after his own three point shot put them in the position. the durantula (way better nickname than king james).

edge:d-will. it was really the whole game for deron. this shot, as amazing as it was, was only the exclamation point on one of the most powerful performances in his storied, short career. the fact that he won the game was as much the production of his first shot as his last. i was in awe, and totally justified in my love of deron williams. he is challenging john stockton as my favorite basketball player ever.

so d-will's shot is the greatest moment of the jazz season. but just so you don't forget, the greatest moment in jazz history was john stockton's game winning 3 to send the jazz to the nba finals. never forget:

Monday, April 5, 2010

I'm the old guy spraying kids with a hose

how in the world do ticket prices for shows get determined? there are several shows of note going on this week that if money were not an issue, i would be going to. the first is tonight. muse is playing at the e center with the silversun pickups. muse has been one of my top 5 favorite bands since high school. i can't think of another band that i have more emotional ties and experiences with. and i am going to be missing their show again. now, for a band as big as muse is, their tickets didn't seem to be unreasonably priced. they were about 30 to 40 bucks all told. the most i've ever spent on tickets was about $50 for blink 182, jimmy eat world, and green day back in 10th grade. that was one of the best concerts i've ever been too.. both of these shows are/were at the e center. this is a big stadium, and is conducive to big shows with lots of showmanship and special effects. muse is apparently busting out their 360 degree show for this one, and the silversun pickups are an incredible band as well. so it makes sense that this would be an expensive show. the more i talk about, the more i regret not going right now instead of writing this stupid blog. i have certainly spent more money on more ridiculous things.
my complaint doesn't center around muse though. tomorrow night, tegan and sara are playing at in the venue ( it will always be bricks to me) with steel train, and holly miranda. that sounds like a great show as well. here's the catch, it is also $35! apparently tegan and sara have a more devoted following than i assume. the next night, spoon, deerhunter, and micachu and the shapes are playing in the venue. their price: $30. i would think that if the group isn't a radio presence or some sort of industry icon status would be a little cheaper. say someone like eryka badu, mos def, or indie film darlings the swell season would fit the profile of someone not huge, but able to have higher prices. now, i would also expect them to be in a nicer venue to charge that sort of price. something like the depot, as opposed to a venue like in the venue, which doesn't even have a real roof. the sound has never been great there, and there are some really crappy places to stand. the depot is a much swankier place, and adds to the experience as opposed to detracting from. in the venue has it's place, but definitely not with shows that i would be paying 30 bones or more to get into. while i would believe that tegan and sara, and spoon, would put on a terrific show, i just can't imagine there being enough of a show in a place like that to justify that kind of price tag.
all that being said, i would go to all of these shows if i had the cash laying around. if they can charge that much for it and get away with it, more power to you. i'm just going to be the old grumpy guy complaining every time i have to buy a ticket over $10.
here's my favorite muse music video: