Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I'm a judgemental guy. I think most people are. Judgemental, I mean. I don't mean that most people are guys. That's ridiculous. I've gotten very side-tracked. I'm gonna start over.

I'm a judgemental guy. Certainly more so in my teen years than I am now. It's probably part of human nature. The smaller your world, the smaller your tolerance. So, when I was a kid in high school, I had very confined ideas about what kind of music was Good and what kind of music was Crap. Most of the music in the world fell into the Crap category while Progressive Rock was in the Good category (ridiculous, I know).

After high school, I've traveled a lot and I've met all kinds of people and I've listened to their music and the thing I've learned is that almost everything is actually in the Good category. For me to have dismissed entire genres in the past - frequently based upon nothing more than not liking someone who I knew was a fan of the band in question - is a conceit that I'm embarrassed to admit I once had.

And so it is that a week ago, my brother burns for me a compilation CD (he called it a mix tape. I ask if that meant we were now dating) of stuff by the band NOFX.

And god damn, it's good.

Tight harmonies, great chord changes, moving and inspiring lyrics. One of my main concerns with punk has been a general disappointment with the vocals. And I fully realize that being disappointed with the level of musicianship in a punk band means that I don't really get punk on a fundamental level. But, nevertheless, I've found the vocals of many punk bands I've heard to be the thing stopping me from being able to really enjoy the material. The Bouncing Souls, for example. I really dig the melodies. I just wish that Greg could sing them. And the Violent Femmes. ::shudder::

NOFX is not in that same category, though. Their vocals are great. Their drumming is great. Guitar and bass work is great. They're just really good musicians, despite whatever self-effacing quips to the contrary that they might make during their live shows.

Favorite lyrics so far are from the song "Idiots Are Taking Over":

darwin's rollin over in his coffin
the fittest are surviving much less often
now everything seems to be reversing, and it's worsening

someone flopped a steamer in the gene pool
now angry mob mentality's no longer the exception, it's the rule
and im startin to feel a lot like charlton heston

I guess this is just a really long-winded way of saying "Hey, Ry. Thanks for the CD." and that NOFX is totally worth checking out if you've never heard them before. It's good stuff. Find some of their stuff on iTunes. Or, you know, feel free to stop by my car if you want to hear my mix tape.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

bridging the Ry gap

I saw video this week of a new game called Fez that is still in development. You can see the video here.

Watch only the first 40 seconds or so, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that there was absolutely nothing new or interesting about Fez. You'd be sorely wrong, though, but you'd be forgiven.

You see, Fez is a 2D vertical paltformer game much like the class NES games Kid Icarus or Metroid, but with bright colors and simple character design that makes it look like a cheap Mario clone from 1988. However, the truth is that the game isn't 2D at all. It's a 3D game wherein changing the camera's perspective shifts the gameworld into new combinations of 2D elements.

Make any sense? Doubtful. But if you watch the video, you'll see what I mean. It's pretty freakin' sweet. As soon as I saw it, I thought that it might be the kind of game that could get my brother to dust off his thumbs and pick up a game again for the first time since the SNES. Once games went 3D, he lost interest. Maybe experiments like this can get him back into the fold.

oh, idiocy...

You create a very special brand of entertainment.

Today I'm driving into work when I spot another thing that I wish I could simply take a picture of with my eyes and upload to Flickr. At a stoplight, I realize that I'm sitting next to a graffitied bus stop ad.

The ad for New York Life Insurance, in its unaltered form, read:




Not exactly the catchiest ad I've ever seen, but whatever. What made it so special was the bigotted, xenophobic graffiti someone had scribbled between the real copy with a black felt marker that read:

in eglish
speak english

And no, that's not a typo. The bigot who wanted everyone to speak English had written "eglish." I wonder if anyone has statistics on graffiti literacy? I wonder where the US would place in the world rankings?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

maybe in the future

Of all of the things I wish for from the future - be it flying cars, chocolate cake vitamens, or shiny jumpsuits that blind us to our dystopian surroundings - perhaps the one that I think about the most is the ability to take snapshots merely with our own eyesight (or memories) and then download them to external media. I would do this all the freakin' time if I could.

Just yesterday I was driving into work while it was raining. Something about the angle of the sun, the position of the car in from of me, and my position to the two of them made it so that as it drove on the rain-slicked exit ramp in front of me, it was kicking up a chain of rainbows off of the mist from it's rear tires.

It was beautiful. And nothing I'd ever seen before. And nothing I ever expect to see again.

That is until Sony manages to install USB 4.0 into my brain and I can just download my brain directly to Flickr.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

who knew gardening was so badass?

A million years ago, when I was still regularly updating my blog, Amanda and I happened to stop by a hardware store. We were there to pick up some kind of fertilizer for roses, a gift for her mom who is really into horticulture. The questionable nature of giving someone a bag of crap as a gift aside, I found myself standing in the fertilizer aisle and completely amazed by how badass fertilizer actually is.

I tend to think of flowers in two ways. Either like this:

or like this:

Snooze. Not my thing. Apparently, though, I was dead wrong about how wild and crazy flowers can be. There I was in the fertilizer aisle when I realized I was staring down a shelf full of this stuff:


Bone meal? As in, plants are eating bones? I figured it had to be some kind of horticulture thing I didn't understand where "bone" actually means "cow poop." That was, until I saw the next shelf.


That's some badass cow-poop-in-a-bag, right there. I was feeling like I'd found the pinnacle of fertilizer here with these bags of vampiric demonweed food. Lucky for me, there was another shelf.


Dolomite lime? That shit will eff up your weeds. I don't know what "prilled" means, but it's probably a synonym for no-business, born-insecure muthafucka.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

reason number two billion why Amanda rules

Story time: I got a friend request on Facebook about three weeks ago that really freaked me out. It was from someone I went to high school with - but not just any old person from high school, mind you. Someone who had ruthlessly bullied me for about a year solid. I didn't know this guy before hand and then, just one day out of nowhere, he started to bully me. We had study hall together and he used to sit there and spend the entire study hall making fun of me - mostly calling me gay and running through every derrogetory slur under the sun that falls into that vein. This is someone that I have always regretted not telling off and sticking up for myself against. Someone that really got under my skin and has stuck with me for 15 years.

So, when I got a friend request from him, I found myself instantly furious about it all again. What kind of an idiot sends a friend request to someone they bullied? Is he looking to bully me again? Is he a complete fucktard and just doesn't remember that we weren't "friends" in high school? What the hell is this guy's problem?

I quickly came to see this as an opportunity to tell him off about all of the stupid shit he said back in the day, a second chance to stand up for myself, and bring closure to a painful memory from the past. I thought of exactly how I'd chew this guy out. Thought of all the most painful things I could say. And yet, that same "Ignore them and they'll go away" advice that my mom raised me with came back and stopped me from writing anything rash.

A day or two of internal debate went by before I told Amanda about it, told her how tormented I was by the guy back in high school and how tormented I was now that I desperately wanted to rip him a new one for sending me a friend request. She hugged me and then said "Don't write anything. You're an adult now. Don't create adult problems over a childhood issue."

This wasn't the answer I wanted. I was hoping more for "Eff yes! Tell that asshat where he can stick it!" And while I didn't particularly like the advice she gave me, I still took it and ended up not writing anything back to the guy.

That brings me to today when I was cleaning up the living room in anticipation of my brother's pending visit. I picked up some books, took them over to the book shelf, and saw my yearbook sitting there. I decided to open it up and look up this jerk's senior portrait just to refresh my memory of how much I can't stand his stupid face.

One problem. The guy who sent me the friend request isn't actually the guy who bullied me in high school. Somewhere over the intervening 15 years, I've swapped his name with the name of this other guy who I never really knew at all, and who sent me a friend request three weeks ago.

Oops. If not for Amanda, I would have written a scathing email to a guy who wouldn't have had any idea what the hell I was insanely ranting and raving about. So, I approved the friend request this morning and chalked this up as just another reason why I'm lame Amanda rules.

Monday, February 11, 2008

oh yeah ...

this thing.

Maybe I should dust this off.