Monday, December 18, 2006

Best of 2006: Pt. 3-Music Albums

Everyone has their opinion and hopefully mine will be considered more intelligent than others when it comes to music. I've continued to be the music enthusiast throughout the year having purchased many an album. I've found it difficult over the past 5 years to narrow down my top year end albums to 10 albums, and therefore this year, I've decided to christen the birth of the 2006 Top 50 albums (in no particular order):

1. Jon Auer-Songs from the Year of Our Demise
2. Arctic Monkeys-Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
3. Girl Talk-The Night Ripper
4. Shack-The Corner of Miles and Gil
5. Orson-Bright Idea
6. Ron Sexsmith-Time Being
7. Sloan-Never Hear the End of It
8. Brother Kite-Waiting For the Time to be Right
9. Long Blondes-Someone to Drive You Home
10. Jarvis Cocker-Jarvis
11. Young Knives-Voices of Animals and Men
12. Sunset Rubdown-Shut Up, I am Dreaming
13. Peter Bjorn and John-Writer's Block
14. Elms-Chess Hotel
15. Gnarls Barkley-St. Elsewhere
16. Twilight Singers-Powder Burns
17. Vitalic-Ok Cowboy
18. Clearlake-Amber
19. Hot Chip-The Warning
20. The Office-Q&A
21. Zutons-Tired of Hanging Around
22. David Mead-Tangerine
23. Decemberists-The Crane Wife
24. Bruce Springsteen-We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
25. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness-Fear Is on Our Side
26. The Bees (US)-High Society
27. Raconteurs-Broken Boy Soldiers
28. Joseph Arthur-Nuclear Daydream
29. The Hold Steady-Boys and Girls in America
30. Belle & Sebastian-The Life Pursuit
31. Placebo-Meds
32. Yo La Tengo-I am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
33. TV on the Radio-Return to Cookie Mountain
34. Bob Dylan-Modern Times
35. Josh Ritter-The Animal Years
36. M. Ward-Post War
37. Sparklehorse-Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain
38. Oh No! Oh My!-Self titled
39. Apollo Up-Chariots of Fire
40. Futureheads-News and Tributes
41. Wolfmother-Self titled
42. The Rapture-Pieces of the People We Love
43. Gomez-How We Operate
44. Josh Rouse-Subtitulo
45. Bottle Rockets-Zoysia
46. Rhett Miller-The Believer
47. Snow Patrol-Eyes Open
48. Guillemots-Through the Window Pane
49. Drive By Truckers-A Blessing and a Curse
50. Lindsey Buckingham-Under the Skin

Currently Listening To:
Cansei De Ser Sexy
Released on: 7-11-06

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best of 2006-Television

With the invention of Tivo, my television viewing has definitely increased. I travel pretty regularly and with the addition of a child, it is almost required that I record my shows. Looking back at this year, I would have to say that the following are my favorite TV shows of 2006:

1. Entourage
2. The Shield
3. The Sopranos
4. Big Love
5. How I Met Your Mother
6. Heroes
7. Everwood
8. Robot Chicken
9. The Office
10. Scrubs
11. My Name is Earl

Currently Listening to:
Released on: 10-16-06

Monday, December 11, 2006

Best of 2006: Pt. 1-Music Reissues

When you are an avid music fan, you fall on one side or the other when it comes to year end 'Best of' lists: (a) you either hate them and don't like to attempt to categorize music from best to worst; or if you are like me, you look forward to what people consider to be the best albums of the year. Over the past few years, I've restrained my lists to only the top 25 or so albums, but this year I've decided to expand my horizon to include reissues, album disappointments, TV shows, movies, and of course, music albums. To start out my year end lists, let me start with my top music album reissues. I'm not going to attempt to list them in any certain order (so don't assume that #1 is really the best of the group.

1. Beach Boys-Pet Sounds
2. The Cure-Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
3. Depeche Mode-Violator
4. Depeche Mode-Songs of Faith and Devotion
5. Pavement-Wowee Zowee!
6. T. Rex-The Slider
7. T. Rex-Tanx
8. Jesus and Mary Chain-Pyschocandy
9. Jesus and Mary Chain-Darklands
10. Manic Street Preachers-Everything Must Go
11. Massive Attack-Collected
12. Gram Parson-The Complete Reprise Recordings
13. Pulp-Common People
14. Pulp-This is Hardcore
15. Johnny Cash-Live at San Quentin
16. REM-And I Feel Fine: Best of the IRS Years 1982-1987
17. The Cure: The Head on the Door
18. Go Betweens: That Striped Sunlight Sound

Well, I don't have time (and am not paid) to document my justification in numerous paragraphs as to why I selected the above reissues. They are just a list of albums I found important and worth mentioning this year. Let the one or two talkbackers discuss the list..haha.

Currently listening to:
The Brother Kite
Waiting for the Time to be Right
Released on: 9-12-06

Monday, December 04, 2006

5 Stupid Things that People Won't Shut Up About

1. Britney Spears wearing no panties: I mean come on people, do either she or K-Fed really have a whole lot when it comes to smarts. If you were hot like her, without that dumbass black boy wannabe (btw, I still find it funny that record companies would give this guy a record contract..the guy sold 6,000 copies of his debut album..I hope I don't get that gag gift), and not being a responsible parent, wouldn't you be out and about at the nightspots of NYC and Vegas showing off your cooter too? This girl is making a big case for sole custody of her children. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a half smart judge who would award the poor kids to some responsible adults??? I'd say Britney's family, but I'm having a hard time believing they did a great job with Miss Pink Taco.

2. Barack Obama: So, this Senator from Illinois..who really no one knows much about strolls on Oprah, kisses her ass, writes a book, and decides that running for the Democratic nomination is a good career goal? I'm not giving this guy much hope for the nomination, but hell, anyone is better than Hillary.

3. The BCS Title Game: Yes, it's Ohio St. vs. Florida. I'm still trying to understand why people don't realize that the SEC is the most difficult conference in the country. I'm a TN fan, hate Florida football with a passion, but am pulling for the SEC to win this game. Do you think that the voters also realized that no one in the South, West, or East would watch the Ohio St. vs. Michigan game on TV. The NCAA isn't the NFL, but they gotta make some money too. I also think we would be thinking that Michigan vs. Ohio St. would be a waste if Ohio St. beat them again.

4. Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii: I read today where a kid was shot dead today for trying to steal a Playstation 3. Wow, is it really that awesome that I want to die for it? People, these consoles will be out in stores after Christmas, there aren't tons of games out for them yet..let's get a reality check. I'd like one too, but waiting in line for a week in the freezing cold to get a's starting to sound like a new Star Wars film was opening up. Shouldn't these boys be interested in actually getting girlfriends, looking at porn, or something constructive..geez. By the way, where do young kids get the 600-800 bucks to buy the Playstation 3? Might be a good time to be a person in need of an organ donation..

5. Netflix putting movie theaters out of business: There was a news article on the frontpage of Yahoo about this today. With the advances in technology, home theater systems, plasma TV prices dropping...I kinda like the idea of staying home. Like I wanna go to a theater to listen to people talk, sit in scrunched chairs, listen to cell phones going off, having a kid kick you in the back of the head....I like sitting at home with a pause button, clean bathroom, couch/pillow, cheap food and drinks. Oh, and for 5.99 a month for endless kinda makes going to the theater to see one movie for 10 bucks..sound kinda nice.

Currently listening to:
Bloc Party
A Weekend in the City
Released: in 2007

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Broken Business Model

About a month or two ago, I finally got a new cell phone. To start off this blog post, I have to get up on my soapbox and spout venom at the cell phone providers. Why the hell do you sell phones that barely can make it a year and then require that a person sign a 2 year agreement? It blows my mind. Before I got the new phone, my other Motorola was falling apart...terrible battery life, bad reception, dropped calls....most people can understand the frustration I'm vocalizing. I did all this research to find a highly rated phone, but of course, the highly rated phones are the ones that are not on sale. It was either the choice of a lower priced Razr, or a $350 Samsung that had high ratings. With a new child, I broke down and got the Razr with my $100 towards a new phone. I can't complain too much about the functionality about the Razr...most anyone will admit that the phone is cool to look at..and it is nice to throw it in your pocket. Though the phone is nice to look at, Verizon has decided to totally screw up the phone by putting on its own operating system..this whole V-Cast bullshit. Verizon has locked down the phone to where if you want to do anything cool, then you have to buy the outrageous least in my mind. I was hoping that I could upload some of my own mp3's, but Verizon tells me to bend over. In order to upload or play any mp3 on your phone, you have to buy a song from their library...for like $3 a song....give me a freaking break, I can go out to Best Buy or Target and buy the whole freaking album for the cost of 3 songs. Do I look like an idiot? I just don't see the legitmicy of this business model. I guess people are crazy enough to buy individual songs for that amount, but don't people realize that you can go to Apple and get the song for 99 cents? I guess young people are more ignorant that I thought. I also don't understand why Verizon locks down the phone so that I can't do anything fun. Didn't I buy the phone from you bastards (I'm starting to think that I'm renting it), don't I pay you 60-70 bucks a month for this service? Oh well, I guess that I'm just frustrated, and maybe I really am getting older. I just would hope that Verizon would re-think their business strategy...heck, I'm starting to see Cingulair commercials where they advertise that you can upload your songs for nothing...and you don't have to purchase the songs from them. Oh well, it's not like my opinion really counts.

Currently listening to:
The Long Blondes
Someone to Drive You Home
Released on: 11-6-06

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Teenage Fanclub

I always say how quickly that time flies. About this time last year, I went to Europe to do some work. I worked out of Amsterdam. The culture over there is obviously very different...people smoking all types of substances, sex stores on every corner, and women offering up all kinds of sex for a price. While I was over there, I noticed that one of my favorite bands was playing at the Heineken Music Hall. Most music enthusiasts are familiar with the band Teenage Fanclub. They have been around since the late 80's and have put out many excellent albums. While at the concert, I tested out my new digital camera and came up with a few of the following pics:

Currently listening to:
My Chemical Romance
The Black Parade
Released on: 10-24-06

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stupidity Incarnate

Like most Americans I was blown away by the comments that spilled out of the mouth of John Kerry yesterday. To quote him, he said..“You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” Having friends who have served admirably in Iraq over the past few years, I'm just amazed that this guy could be so stupid to say something like this. Well, I guess I should take that back...Kerry isn't the sharpest tool in the shed and I think this proven true back in 2004. Kerry has flipped and flopped more times than a fish out of water when it has come to his support of the war in Iraq. He first votes for the war and for funding of the war, and then after the election, he goes about saying that he shouldn't have voted for the ware. Come on you embassal, you either vote yes or can't just change your mind after you've already gone on record for supporting the war. Over the past few months, there has been alot of talk about Kerry running in 2008 for President. I think his slip of the tongue yesterday pretty much cemented the fact that he ain't gonna even be a blip on the radar. To end my rant, I have to wonder if Kerry was truly sorry for his statement. The media today mentioned that Kerry 'apologized for his statement.' If you read his statement (which he released to the Internet and didn't publicly admit), any 'educated' person could see that he is dancing around the issue and never really apologized. He tries to say that his statement was a 'botched joke.' There was nothing that sounded like a joke about his statement. Strike 3 Mr. Dumbass...and your out. Apparently the education that Mr. Kerry obtained at institutions of higher education didn't seem to guide him in the right direction.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Grand Canyon

About 2 weeks ago my wife and I went out to Las Vegas for a few days. This one of the first trips that we've been able to take by ourselves since our son was born back in May. I had to sit through meetings all day Thurs. and Friday, but I was excited that I got to visit the Grand Canyon. My mother and father also came out to Vegas for the first time ever. My father and I took a helicopter flight over Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, it was amazing. I have pulled together some of the better pics from our trip. Enjoy.

Currently Listening To:
The Hold Steady
Boys and Girls in America
Released on: 10-3-06

Sunday, October 15, 2006

RIP..Tower Records

This past week another nail was put in the coffin of the independent music store. After 40 plus years in the music business, Tower Records filed for bankruptcy. I’ve been following the news around this situation for several months now. Tower has been unable to compete with the low prices that are offered by Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and online companies such as Amazon and Though I have always enjoyed going to Tower Records over the years, I have found myself choosing to put off a purchase because of the ridiculous prices that are labeled on the discs. Do I really want to buy a Go Betweens album for 19.99 when I can get on and get the same album for 11.99? Give me a break…I like the independent music store, but I don’t like them to the tune of an extra 8 bucks (an extra 8 bucks at Best Buy will almost buy me another album). Tower has attempted to discount their albums here and there, but normally the discounted price is still higher than Best Buy. I really hate to see the independent music store move toward the grave considering that I spent part of my undergrad years working at such as store. I was educated in a manner I could never have received if I worked at Best Buy or Circuit City. If I worked at those stores, I’d be listening to Papa Roach, Celine Dion, or Britney Spears now. With the death of Tower Records, I question where independent music retail chains will be standing in 5 years. I have a feeling that some stores will remain open, but that they will continue to have to charge high prices. I know that there is a dedicated group of followers who will pay a few extra bucks to buy albums at an independent store, but I think this will eventually die out. Most avid music buyers don’t have tons of disposable income and would rather get more albums at Best Buy than one album at an independent store. Only time will tell, but I think quantity and low prices will win out over the small stores. This is a sad week in my life. There will come a time when I reminisce to my son about small music stores and he will look at me funny and either go to or ask me to drop him by Best Buy. A moment of silence for was fun while it lasted.

Currently Listenining to:
The Young Knives
Voices of Animals and Men
Released on: 8-21-06

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oprah is Bored

I was listening to the radio this morning (switching between Rock 103 and 98.1 The Max) when I came across Drake and Zeke. They used to be on Rock 103 several years ago and I’ve always liked their crass humor. Lately I’ve loved how they have been ragging Oprah and her supposed lover Gayle. This morning they were talking about how ridiculous some of the recent Oprah shows have been since this new season started. According to Drake, yesterday Oprah had a popular Doctor on (Dr. Z) and they were discussing crap, poo, shit…however you want to refer to it. Dr. Z was talking about what the color and shape of your excrement..what it meant and whether it showed you were healthy. According to Dr. Z, if your poo is brown and in the shape of an S or a comma, then you are having healthy bowl movements. Dr. Z also mentioned that there is such a thing as white poo (strange I know). Apparently this is the result of some nutrient or excess bile…either way, it’s really strange. Well, as you can now see, Oprah has been reduced to talking about shit on the TV..not that she hasn’t done that countless years now.

Currently listening to:
Pernice Bros.
Live a Little
Released on: 10-3-06

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rolling Stone: Fade Out Part 1

Having been an avid music fan for at least 15 years now, I've noticed how the music magazine Rolling Stone has become more and more insignificant over the years. When you read about the music scene in the 60's and 70's, you hear of bands admitting that a review in Rolling Stone could either make or break the band. The magazine was really 'that' powerful. Rolling Stone's focus during that time was strictly on the music scene and on discovering new bands. If we fast forward to Rolling Stone today, it appears that current pop culture and the whole teen beat has taken hold of the magazine. Over the past few years, all you seem to see is cover stories on insignificant artists (insignificant=the artists likely don't write their music, sell massive amounts of albums, and are popular on the radio) such as Justin Timberlake, Christina Aquilera, P-Diddy, and emo bands such as Fall Out Boy. You rarely see Rolling Stone attempt to champion new bands except maybe once or twice a year (and most of the time, these bands are well known to the indie music public). Rolling Stone has also reduced their album review section to the last few pages of the magazine. Reviews are not very detailed and are limited to a paragraph or less. One or two albums are highlighted and are given a page of review (most of the albums highlighted are by well known, established artists).

I'm also amazed at how political Rolling Stone has become. Though I will admit, in the past the magazine was focused on the Vietnam conflict and what the artists thought about it. Lennon and Yoko were featured on many covers protesting the Vietnam conflict, but the focus on the magazine was still heavily music focused. Today, Rolling Stone always dedicates about a quarter of the magazine to bashing the Bush administration and attempting to champion unpopular topics such as gay/lesbian rights, the legalization of a variety of dangerous drugs, and attempting to put Christianity in a negative light. They invite controversial celebs such as JFK Jr., liberal university professors, and Hollywood types to write articles that champion the unpopular topics listed above.

The objectivity of the music reviewers also appears to have been easily influenced over the years. You can almost put your money on the fact that the senior staff reviewers will give albums by high profile senior artists (such as Dylan, Springsteen, Rolling Stones, Green Day, etc) glowing reviews (4 to 5 stars). You can also be sure that if a band is extremely political (e.g. Neil Young) that the review staff will champion the album. When you read the reviews, it's interesting to see that the reviewers typically get on their own soap boxes to express their own political/social views...while totally ignoring the merits or non-merits of the musician's album.
I know that some people may not agree with my analysis of the state of Rolling Stone magazine, but it's obvious that the quality of the magazine has declined over the past two decades. If you want a quality music magazine that embodies the music centered focus and quality that Rolling Stone strove for in the 60's/70's, I would suggest that you turn your attention to the British magazine called Mojo.

Currently listening to:
Different Class
Released: 10-30-95

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fear for Our Future

Let me start this post by saying..I'm not sure if my bitching should be blamed on the divorce that affected a family across the street from me or if stupidity just runs rampant in the young adult population. About a year ago, a guy that lives across from me got in trouble with his wife when she found out that he was posting nude pics of her on the internet. This fact (and I'm sure other factors) led to a nasty divorce. For a period of a month, I would come home at night and there would be a group of cop cars at the house of this couple. There would be public fights in the driveway and even the instance where this guy tried to get in the car with his estranged wife and she drug him across the street. Needless to say, the whole situation was both entertaining, immature, and just plain ridiculous. It was like I got to watch a soap opera at least once a week. Watching 2 adults act like children was just plain sad. I guess not all divorces end in a ammicable way.

Moving along to the point of my post...the 2 older children of this couple were obviously affected by all of this drama. One child became the stereotypical goth, skateboard freak. He would walk around the neighborhood looking like he either lost his puppy, wanted to put a magnifying glass on an ant colony, or just plain hated life. I guess I can't really judge a teenager's reaction to his parents' divorce, but it just seemed so by the book(an after school special). Eventually this kid moved out of the goth phase and followed his older brother into another stereotypical 'white boy wishing he were black'/'Fast and Furious' suped-up car phase. I still don't know why young adults think that driving around 'pimped-up' wife beater cars with big stereo systems is so 'awesomely' cool. These 2 idiots now walk around their house (which hasn't had a mowed lawn all summer) with baggy shorts and the typical wife beater tank tops (oh yeah, with the white baseball cap, tipped to the side, along with a straight bill). They think its so impressive to pull into a neighborhood (filled with tons of very young kids) revving their engines, skidding out, and bumping heavy bass rap music. This whole white boy rapper phase is so prevalent across the Southern US. Eminem may be a great rapper, but seriously, I wish I could shoot him for influencing a mass population of weak minded teenagers to become even more dumb. These 2 guys have absolutely no respect for our neighborhood and the fact that many pregnant women reside within it. I don't understand how they could think it was cool to rev their cars (with blaring music) into a neighborhood at 10 or 11 at night while children are trying to sleep. It's taken about all of me not to walk over to these guys and place a stick of dynamite in their cars. These guys can try to blame their current ways of life on the divorce, but can we blame their stupidity on the divorce too? Guess some people are just so easily influenced by pop culture....stupid pop culture.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Learning Experience

Last week was a learning experience for my wife and I. My wife really wanted to take a vacation to the beach since the baby is now here and since she didn't get to go to Cancun with me back in March (because she was too far along in the pregnancy). Last week we packed up the car and made our way towards Orange Beach. I think we were smoking something ripe to think that this whole trip would go well with a 3 month old child. We started the trip off right by splitting the first half the drive in half and stopping in Jackson, MS on the first day. The first segment of the trip went fairly son was happy most of the way until about 30 min til Jackson..when he starting getting hungry and fussy. We then got up the next day and learned that 4-5 hrs drives are not made for babies. The baby didn't like to sit in the carseat for that long.

Well, when we finally made it to the beach, my wife and I learned that just because you are several hundred feet from the beach..that doesn't mean you actually get to visit the beach. The daily process of feeding the baby and then him falling asleep before we made it down to the beach seemed to happen regularly. I believe we maybe got to spend about 45 minutes total at the beach for the 3-4 days we were there. The restaurants were good, but I don't think we made it outside the condo for very long. Once we made our way home, we had the final nail get slammed into the coffin. We drove the 7-8 hr. trip back to Memphis in one day. The baby did not take too kindly to this drive. I'm thinking that next year we'll just fly to Cancun. A 2.5 hr. flight sounds a whole lot better than an 8 hr. drive with a screaming child. Oh well, here are a few pics:

Currently listening to:

Bob Dylan
Modern Times
Released on: 8-29-06

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Two Month Vacation officially looks like its been about 2 months since I've last posted to this blog. As I've said multiple times, I'm not really too concerned considering no one but me (and maybe Jon) actually read it. It's funny that in this time span Jon has been alot more productive in blogging (heck, he even created a new blog site..which looks very nice I must say).

As I sit here tonight, I'm watching Jay Leno and Conan. As most everyone knows, Conan is a much better comedian than Leno...I still try to figure out Leno's appeal. As I watch the end of Leno, I was amazed at just how pitiful the performance from Outkast was. I have to say that most all of the many reviews that I've read thus far have really panned the new album. I haven't been in a big rush to listen to it..especially after hearing the track that was performed tonight. As a random observation, rappers just don't make very good live performers. Rappers and many R&B stars rely heavily on studio production tricks. These tricks don't translate very well to the stage. The rappers try to free-style while a drum machine track plays in the background. It just doesn't do much for me. The lack of rap production in the live presentation is like U2 without Bono singing...or like an infertile Kevin Federline. I know this is a random observation, but I doubt many people with half a brain would disagree.

Let me move on to my final topic of the night. I have been amazed over the past few weeks about how little fanfare the re-re-re-re-release of the Original Star Wars trilogy has garnered. If you are not aware, George Lucas releases a new suped up version of Star Wars every year or two. About a year ago, Lucas finally caved to pressure and released the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD. The problem with this release from last year was that it was the Special Edition that was released in the mid 90's (before Phantom Menace). As most Star Wars enthusiasts remember, Lucas made alot of changes (so did anyone decide whether Han or Greedo shot first?). The new versions that were released this Tuesday are the original editions that most older fanboys grew up on (watching on the VHS player). I'm having a really hard time justifying buying these original editions of the Star Wars trilogy. I doubt my son will want to sit down with me and compare the two versions of the film...heck..I don't even have time to worry with this. When it all comes down to it, this is another ploy by Lucas to make a few more millions/billions. In another year or two, Lucas will decide to release another version of these films in 3D, in black or white, with Chewbacca having sex with 3CPO, or Luke and Leia having an incestuous love child (during Star Wars or early Empire). I know alot of these possibilities are crazy, but I'd put money on Lucas trying to do at least one of them.

Oh well, it's late..I'm talking jibberish. Good night world.

Currently listening to:

TV on the Radio
Return to Cookie Mountain
Released on: 9/12/06

Friday, July 14, 2006

That Nostalgic Feeling

Over the past few weeks, I've experienced a feeling of nostalgia like no other. I know that this is a broad statement, but let me try to explain. Last week I came across 2 movie trailers that bring me back to my childhood. The first trailer that was released was for the third sequel in the Spiderman series. Check it out at This trailer makes me extremely excited because it revolves around a villain (Venom) that I grew up with in junior high/high school. Though the back story in the movie is not going to follow the comics (Spiderman brings the alien symbiote back from another planet after the Secret Wars series, wears the black and white symbiote for a long time, and then decides that it is trying to manipulate his mind...gets rid of it in a bell tower (because it is sensitive to high pitched sound)...the symbiote hooks up with Eddie Brock..who become Venom). Though none of us right now know for sure what the story will be around Venom in the movie, all that has been leaked has said that it won't follow the comics..which stinks. I'm massively excited about this new movie..and the trailer is one of the best things I've seen in a long time.

Though the Spiderman trailer is great, I have to admit that the teaser trailer for the Transformers movie (due out next summer too) is very imaginative. Check it out at We don't get to see an actual picture of either an Autobot or Decepticon, but you get to see the shadow of one of them...which is great considering the lead up to the the appearance of the shadow. I won't spoil the trailer, but I have to say that it really psyches me up to see the movie.

Another element of nostalgia was delivered to me on Monday of this week in the mail. I got an invitation to my 10 yr. high school reunion (scheduled for Aug. 26). Though I have to say that I'm not overly excited about the reunion, it will be nice to see some of the people. My class was so small that we were pretty close knit..guess a class size of around 30 will do that to you. I'll show up at the reunion to show off my wife and my new child...wonder how many people will be married, divorced, and college graduates. Maybe I'll be surprised considering alot of my class wanted to jump the gun and get married right after high school graduation..more power to definitely wasn't my cup of tea then.

Finally, I have to end my nostalgia trip with a 2 thumbs up review for the New Super Mario Bros. Nintendo DS game. Nintendo decided to go back to the look of the old games I grew up on (side scrolling, block breaking fun). I've seen some people complain about Nintendo not pushing the envelope (considering the Xbox 360), but I say screw them. This game is so addictively fun. Makes me harken back to the middle school/junior high days of sitting on my rump in front of a TV with blood shot eyes...banging the red A and B buttons. The game is worth the money..have fun with it.

Currently listening to:
The Futureheads
News and Tributes
Released on:6-13-06

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What a Shame

I was looking at the website for the newspaper from my hometown today. It mentioned that the movie theater that I grew up going to is being torn down to make room for a parking lot ( ). The theater has been abandoned for well over 6 years because more advanced movie theaters were built in town. The theater owners didn't have the money or the desire to update with the technology and modern times...which is kinda sad. I remember going to see the Indiana Jones movies, Ghostbuster movies, my first date movie (Forrest Gump when I was a freshman in high school), the Matrix movies, and numerous crap movies that I can't remember. I know that in the big scheme of things that this theater is just another building, but to alot of people my age, it is a landmark. So many memories of popcorn, syrupy drinks, sticky floors, make out sessions, long nights standing in line, and booming theater's a place of memories. It's just a shame that nothing was done with the theater...guess I can take my child by a parking lot in the near future and point to him and say...'Yeah, Dad saw lots of movies here when he was growing up.' I'm sure he'll look at me with a strange look, think I'm crazy, and turn on the dvd player in the minivan. Oh well, I guess it's all about the memories.

Currently listening to:
The Legends
Public Radio
Released: 6-13-06

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

False Advertising

You know that you are a man when you begin to watch advertising (some aimed at ladies) and think..that's utter bullshit. I was reminded many times this past weekend when I was shown the new KY Sensual Mist commerical. The lady is talking to her friend on the phone and she says the words 'a warm sensual feeling,' and then the guy looks up there thinking...'wow, my wife/girlfriend wants to have sex...and heck, she bought something to help us out.' As any guy will attest, this commercial is utter bullshit. First of all, (a) how many men need to be told by their wives/girlfriends that it's time to have sex..aren't we the ones hounding them all the time; (b) how many women are actually in the mood to have sex regularly...and seriously, how many women are walking around Target/Wal-Mart and thinking..'wow, I need to buy that KY sensual mist stuff because I'm really in the mood to have sex'; and (c) why does a woman as hot at the girl in the commercial need to tell her guy to have sex with her...the guy must be completely stupid or queer. I know that my statements listed here were not considered by the likely all female/dike/queer advertising group of people who put together the commercial.

Next up, a commercial that was obviously meant for men. The recent new batch of Klondike ice cream commercials are hilarious and likely aimed toward men. Within the commercial, a
guy is talking to his girlfriend/wife...and a hot chick walks by them..the guy doesn't look at her..he focuses on his wife's see a screen saying..this guy deserves a klondike bar...then you see him eating it next to a proud looking wife/girlfriend. This commercial is so true and funny to boot. Maybe as nice as I've been helping out with the baby..that I'll get a Klondike bar sometime soon.

Finally...on behalf of all Americans, can we please have the irritating Ford commercial with Mr. American Idol Taylor Hicks removed from TV, radio, and all other advertising mediums right away. Seriously, what kind of talent does this guy really have? I'm totally aware of the large audience of American Idol and now I'm completely aware of what little musical taste the US public has. Seriously, can't you find something better to watch on Tues. and Wednesday nights? Let me think...Tues have Scrubs, the Shield, Gilmore Girls...shows with actual good writing and talent. I guess the test audience for American Idol involved a bunch of lab monkeys that were so dumbed down that they forgot how to throw poop. Yep, sounds like the American Idol audience.

Currently listening to:
The Bottle Rockets
Released on: 6-20-06

Friday, June 30, 2006

A Proud Father

There are certain events in the life of a father that make you feel extremely proud. Since my child is only a month old now, I know that my moments of pride are few and far between. My son has yet to talk, walk, or eat solid foods, but he sure can flirt with the ladies. My wife was craving a hamburger on Wed. night of this week and asked to go eat at Hooters. Of course being the man that I am, I didn't argue and packed the car. I snuck my digital camera in my pocket as I walked out the door. My wife was not very thrilled with the thought of me taking a picture of the baby with the Hooters waitresses, but eventually grew a sense of humor. I told her that we will use this picture in 20 plus years at the rehearsal dinner when he gets married. He'll hate me for it, but he'll hopefully get a good laugh like we did. I have attached some pics below. If you look at one of the pics, it looks like he's waving a high five.

Looking at those pictures above..all I can say is that he's made me proud for one of the first times in his life. Brings a tear to the eye.

Currently listening to:
The Twilight Singers
Powder Burns
Released on: 5-16-06

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Critic's Darlings

I got ahold of the new album from Thom Yorke (Radiohead frontman) called 'The Eraser' the other day. The album doesn't come out until July 11. I liked the album, but alas, I feel sometimes like this guy is stuck in a musical rut. The album is a collection of electronic songs that harkens back to Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, etc. I used to be a large Radiohead fan and still believe that The Bends and Ok Computer are two of the best albums of the 1990's, but isn't it time for he and his group to progress. I love how the band have mentioned about going back to the sound of the Bends for the new album, but they said that with Hail to the Thief and we all know that it was no Bends. Of course the critics will definitely argue with me. I'm betting my money that the critics will throw praise upon the solo album from Thom Yorke..he could light a fart and they would rave about how inventive and powerfully moving that fart was. I'm guilty of being a critic and regularly reading album reviews each day, but it burns me when I see certain groups getting critical praise based more on their name than on the quality of the album. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few groups that are the critic's darlings, irregardless of the album's quality, inventiveness, etc. Let me know your opinion on this list:

1. Radiohead
2. Bob Dylan
3. Pearl Jam
4. Tool
5. Tupac
6. Flaming Lips
7. Green Day
8. Paul McCartney
9. Prince
10. The Rolling Stones
11. Wilco

Of course, all of the artists/groups above have one helluva a resume and continue to sell records, but over the course of a career, you're gonna have some less than superior albums. This topic could be argued forever and a day, but I just wish critics would apply some of the criticism they show to less well known artists to some of the better known artists out there. That's my 2 cents worth...and I'm sure it's not worth much.

Currently listening to:
David Mead
Released on: 5-16-06

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Looking Back

Never in my life have weeks gone by as fast as they have the past 3 weeks. Since the birth of the baby my days have been like a blur. I was very fortunate that my company gave me 2 weeks paternity leave to assist my wife. She is absolutely exhausted from having to nurse the baby every 2-3 hours. He is like clockwork..he'll start to cry either from hunger or from a dirty diaper. I guess I don't blame him. It's been special watching the bond between my wife and the baby. I can easily say that I've never seen my wife love something as much as him. The way that she talks to him and holds him is very special. It's amazing how emotions are brought out with the birth of a child. I'm not one to cry, but I will honestly say that when my wife gave birth and they brought Jamie out, the waterworks started. I will say that all the work, sleepless nights with my wife being uncomfortable, and the current dirty diapers are totally worth it. I also have to say that I have all the respect in the world for my wife after seeing her give birth. The doctors induced her at 8 am on May 31 and she didn't actually give birth until 9:25 pm at night. She pushed for 3 hours straight until the doctors decided to assist with the forceps. I can only look in wonder at my wife and child. This is the ultimate miracle...there's nothing like it.

Currently listening to:
Hot Chip
The Warning
Released on: 6-13-06

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fatherhood (Good) Out of Town Work (Bad)

Well, it's been about two and a half weeks since my last post. Of course, I think with the new baby, all can be forgiven. This event in my life is certainly one of the biggest and amazing things that I've ever experienced. It's amazing to see the baby and marvel at how that 8 lb baby fit in my wife's stomach. Over the past week I've gotten to see a developing personality within Jamie. I love to sit him on my knees while he is awake and just have him look at me. His big blue eyes are just looking at me and his hands are waving in the air while his legs kick at my stomach. The look in his face is so innocent...all I can hope is to be man enough to lead him in the right direction in his upcoming life. I want so much for him to be happy, to get a great education, and to make something of himself. It's amazing to think of all the events that are laid out before him to experience and discover.

Well, I know that I'm being sentimental, but it's hard not to be. My life will absolutely never be the same again. As I've discussed in previous posts, my company is not the most family friendly. The only positive side to my company is that they gave me 2 weeks of paternity leave to help with the baby. Most companies do not give men any time I can't complain about this great opportunity. Of course this time off was too be good to be true. My company just knew how to screw me over upon my return from the leave. The day I returned from my leave, I get a phone call and am informed that I will have to go out of town next week. It really pisses me off because I had the understanding that I would be in town for at least the first few months in order to help out my wife. My company acted like they cared about my needs, but in the long run, they didn't really give too much of a shit. So I'll be out of town next week in the middle of the delta of Mississippi. My child isn't even 3 weeks old and I'm being forced to go out of town. I hope this little screw up on their part doesn't continue to occur. They did this to me when I got married 2 years ago. They sent me out of town for the first 9 weeks of being took my wife breaking down for them to actually schedule me for in town jobs. Don't know what my future with this company will look like over the next year. Oh well, enough bitching.

Since it's been awhile since I've offered up music picks, here is a list of albums that I've really been digging over the past few months:

Sonic Youth- 'Rather Ripped'
The Go Betweens- 'Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express'
Jon Auer-'Songs from the Year of our Demise'
The Elms-'The Chess Hotel'
Hot Chip- 'The Warning'
The Futureheads-'News & Tributes'
Gomez-'How We Operate'
Sunshine Rubdown-'Shut Up I am Dreaming'
Kelley Stoltz-'Below the Branches'
Primal Scream-'Riot City Blues'

Well, I'm off to check on my wife and the new baby. Maybe it won't be another 2 plus weeks before I post again, but no promises.

Currently listening to:
The Spinto Band
Nice and Nicely Done
Released: 6-7-05

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Nothing Like It in the World

Well, my father once told me that there is nothing like having a's the best feeling in the world. All I can say is that once again, he is totally correct. On May 31st, at 9:25 p.m., my wife Betsy gave birth to baby boy. James Caldwell Allison weighed 8 lbs and was 22 inches long. Betsy and I are planning to call him Jamie for short. Well, I'm exhausted. I'll be back later to dictate all the details. Until then, enjoy some of the pics from last night.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another Chapter in Life

When I look back at my life thus far, I can definitely define certain chapters...such as Chp 1-Childhood, Chp 2-Teenage Years/Getting Driving License/Becoming Interested in Girls; Chp 3-College; Chp 4-Dating the Soon to Be Wife; Chp 5: Getting the First Job; Chp 6: Marriage. It appears that Chapter 7 will begin officially tomorrow..entitled Fatherhood. This will likely be the longest Chapter in the book of my life. As most everyone knows, my wife and I have not chosen to discover the sex of the baby. Either way it goes, it will be a blessing. Needless to say, today I am very nervous and apprehensive. Probably not nearly as much as my wife. She has been sleeping less and less because the baby has gotten so large that it keeps her up..making trips to the bathroom every hour. We have been cleaning the house, organizing lots of things (or as my wife says...Nesting), and charging all the batteries for the various cameras, Ipods, etc. Betsy's parents drove up this afternoon to help her take her mind off all the events of tomorrow. We will likely go out to dinner tonight and Betsy will have her last good meal for a few days. It's not like she gets to enjoy the food for very long considering that the doctor has instructed her to take an Enema tonight in order to clear her out. With her stomach messing up like it has lately, it's almost as though she doesn't need the enema. Tomorrow morning we have to be at the hospital at 7:15 a.m. and they plan to induce at 7:30 a.m. I hope and pray that the baby comes quickly and we are not still waiting for it to arrive at 8 p.m. As of right now, we have narrowed the name of the baby down to a few of both sexes. If the baby is a girl, we're thinking of either Jessica Caldwell Allison, Grace Caldwell Allison, or Elizabeth Caldwell Allison. If it is a boy, we've pretty much decided on James Caldwell Allison. I'm sure that you can see the consistency with the middle name of Caldwell. This was my grandfather's last name (on my mother's side). My grandfather had only daughters and I wanted to give this name to the baby in order to carry on the name for future generations.

Well, I'm off to dinner with the folks. Hopefully I will have pics of the new baby when I post next. What a new and exciting Chapter is about to be written. I'm sure my blog posts will be more exciting and humorous with a little child in my life. This chapter is where all the meat of my life story begins.

Currently listening to:
The Slider (Remastered 2-disc set)
Released on: 7-16-02

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Rush to the Finish

My wife was given the unfortunate news last Tuesday (5/23/06) about the pregnancy (dont' get worried...there's nothing wrong with the baby). Betsy was told that she was going to have to wait another week to have the baby. The doctor continues to play this cruel joke with my wife getting her hopes up that he will either induce with each upcoming visit or will decide to perform a C-Section. We went into Tuesday's appointment expecting the doctor to perform a c-section considering that the baby had measured 8 lbs 9 oz during the previous week's visit. On Tuesday, my wife had another ultrasound and we found out that the baby only weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. This weight did not reach the cut-off point for a C-Section (which is 9 lbs 3 oz.) and the doctor told her to hold out another week to give the baby more time to develop its lungs. This was not the news my wife wanted to hear. She had come expecting to be told to go to the hospital that afternoon to deliver the baby. Needless to say, Betsy was about in tears in the examination room and appeared to want to do something unpleasant to the doctor. The doctor appeared to slip out the room quickly while I told him that I would blame him if she attempted to kill me over the next week. Luckily the doctor did inform us that if the baby did not appear within the next week then he would definitely induce during the week of May 29. Betsy made an appointment the afternoon after she left the office and we are currently scheduled to be at the hospital on Wed. morning (5/31) at 7:15 am.

Well, today is Saturday (5/27) and Betsy has not had the baby yet. She has done everything she can think of to bring the baby forth into the world (including walking on the treadmill, walking at the mall, eating, sex..heck, you name it..we've probably tried it). Betsy's hormones are definitely getting worse as the due draws near. I was trying to help out around the house today (washing clothes, vacuuming, dishes, etc) and she about wanted to kill me for no reason. She told me sternly to get out of the house and go to the gym so that she didn't say something mean or attempt to take my life. I took the hint and got out of dodge. She has chilled out as the night has progressed. She's getting tired of being cooped up in the house and can't sleep well or eat what she wants without having horrible bouts of indigestion. We should buy stock in Maalox after all we've bought during the term of the pregnancy. I think we're gonna drive to my parents' house tomorrow and sit by the pool. Maybe this change of scenery and some socialization will help things. Just keep your fingers crossed that either the baby comes soon or my wife has the strength to make it to Wed. morning.

Currently listening to:
Jon Auer
Songs from the Year of Our Demise
Released on: 5-2-06