Friday, May 29, 2009

A Whirlwind Tour of Poor People's Back Yards

I remembered that line from an Onion article describing Amtrak travel right before I took my first Amtrak trip last Saturday. Sure enough, while we were in metro Kansas City and Saint Louis, that's what we saw, but in between we saw farms and the south bank of the Missouri River.
I once took Greyhound from Los Angeles to Kansas City, a trip which took two and a half days and practically doubled the number of bums I'd spoken to in my life. This trip was a step up from that, and actually, given the way air travel has become so pedestrian, it probably was no different from a plane ride.

At the Kansas City station (which, for the sake of originality, is called Union Station), I was in the ticket line behind a man who looked like a firefighter from a rural town (which is WAY different from the hunky urban firefighters you imagine) and a five-foot-tall, 200-pound woman who looked like a nurse (meaning she had a lesbian haircut, pocketless fake jeans, and a fanny pack). They were standing there doing nothing, waiting for the clerk to print their tickets. Next to the clerk was an automated ticket-printing kiosk. I could see it had a hand-written sign on the top, but from our angle I couldn't read it. I sent Crazy Jane over to read it, but it had some key words that she couldn't read, so her report was, "You can something if you something." So I said to her, "Do you want to take this paper over there and see if it will scan it?" And then the rural firefighter turned to me and said, in classic Midwestern faux-good humor, "Are you trying to cut in line?" Crazy Jane didn't want to take the paper over, so we stayed where we were. There were some Amish people waiting for a train and Crazy Jane said, "Those people dressed up like pioneers to ride the train." The nurse waddled over and tried to scan her paper, then reported that the machine was broken. Once she returned to the line, five people went over and used the machine. What was broken wasn't the kiosk, it was her ability to master technology that my five-year-old could use in his sleep!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weekend Plans

I wrote earlier in this space about how busy we are nearly every weekend this summer. Well, this coming weekend is one of the few that has nothing going. Or at least, it DID until I read this article. Change of plans, baby!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Salt Lake County Temple Districts

Okay, Utards, finish the job!

Here is a map of every stake center in Salt Lake County. Yellow is in the Salt Lake Temple District, red is in the Draper Utah Temple District, and blue is in the Jordan River Utah Temple District. According to my sources, there are 26 stakes in the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple District. So which stakes are they?

Subject, Verb. Repeat As Necessary.

I find some authors harder to read than others, because the way my brain works when I read. After the subject, I assume the first word that can be a verb is a verb. Many authors, though, have a style that doesn't fit this way of reading, forcing me to re-read sentences. (Bruce R. McConkie is a big one when it comes to this. I would be finished with his Messiah series if it weren't for the pain his writing style gives me.)

Today while reading Dare to Prepare by Ronald M. Shapiro, I read this sentence: "Not only do Ray and his department [end of subject, next comes verb] head [a verb meaning "to lead"] peers [the direct object] face [wait, what?]...." I thought he was going somewhere like this: "Not only do Ray and his department head peers into the next century, blah blah blah, jibber-jabber, jibber-jabber, clang clang clang." Then I had to start over and read: "Not only do Ray and his department head peers [end of subject, next comes verb] face the normal budgetary tug-of-war that define [sic] any such entity; they also are highly competitive achievers at the pinnacle of their game" (209).

Of course, the subject-verb disagreement might not have been too helpful with this sentence, either. The tug-of-war defines, not define. But my point is that the word "head" can be a noun or a verb, and some authors use words like that indiscriminately. "The model and designer drug people annoy me." The subject is "model and designer drug people," but it could just as easily be "model and designer," and they're drugging people. It's not until the sentence is nearly over that it becomes clear what's happening. Inserting the word "that" before "annoy" and the subject goes from poisoners to heroes. Or, possibly, if you're listening to a Missourian, insert the word "what" and the subject is dragging people: "The model and designer drug people what annoy me."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Missed Opportunities

A Catholic coworker of mine asked if we take the Eucharist every Sunday at church. While we were talking about it, he asked if I'd taken Communion during the times I'd been to Mass. I said I hadn't, because when they went through the four questions beforehand, I could only answer "Lord, I do believe" to the two about Jesus and God, not the two about the Catholic Church and the Pope. He asked if I'd gone up to get a blessing, and I said I hadn't because I hadn't known then that I could. He said, "You could have gotten a blessing!" and I said, "Man, who knows how successful I would have been in life if I'd done that." That was funny to us because I'm so obviously unsuccessful.

Today I learned of another failure in my life: I'm not included on the Wikipedia list of "People from Pennsylvania." Maybe that phony-baloney blessing was all I needed to make the list.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Your Wish Is My Et Cetera

Reader feedback is usually discouraged here with the threat of summary beatings. I'll write what I want and you'll read it in fear! However, this plan might be why readership tends to be low, sort of like how that video in "The Ring" wasn't getting a lot of viewers. So I've had a suggestion to make my list of read books into links for my reviews, and since that would mean I'd have to write reviews for every book on the list, and that would give me something to do at work, I've decided to comply.

Behold, the first link in the book list to your right. (Unless you're viewing this page while looking upside-down over a laptop; then it's on your left.) I've even started a new blog to handle the reviews, Hardcore Literature. Enjoy the revolution while it smacks you in the face!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Marriage News

A few months ago, I changed my "about me" section of this blog to a quote from The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. A couple weeks ago, my wife noticed and gave me hell for it. So I present to you some news items I would comment on if I had an Option 1 blog. Since I don't, they are here with no commentary.

MSNBC: Dull days wreck a marriage faster than fighting

Wall Street Journal: From patriarch to patsy

Daily Express: Why fathers feel left out

Now, I guess there are two reactions I can foresee:

  1. "Oh, A Random Stranger's marriage is on the rocks!"
  2. "A man's complaints are not worth taking seriously."

And my reactions to these reactions are as follows:

  1. You're a dick. And probably from Utah, or someplace just as insulated and gossipy. And probably never married, so you think that, when you find the person you're "supposed" to marry (hint: there is no such person), you will never again have a single problem. While I agree that a spouse is supposed to be your best friend, and I'll admit that I think mine is (whether she reciprocates or has one of those third-grade best-friend-triangles going on, I don't know), the fact remains that, aside from my children, nobody can bug the crap out of me as easily as she can. (And there's really no need to check with her to see if the same is true about me; it's a given.)
  2. You're a woman. As such, you think you can ignore anything a man says, because what does he know, anyway? We used to get free subscriptions to "Parents" and "Parenting" magazines, both of which are piles of crap, but "Parenting" much more so. Neither is about being a parent; both are about being a mother. The articles they had by men were written for women, and were along the lines of "here's why you can trust your husband to take care of your kids." On Parents.com you can find articles entitled "Why you should love your husband, faults and all," and "Is your husband a lazy parent?" When you need a magazine to tell you that you should love your husband, you've watched so much "Lifetime" and read so much chick-lit that you're beyond hope. Is it any wonder that men feel like they're financially supporting a single-mom and her kids who sometimes, to say thanks, let him come over for dinner?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bored As Hell But Not Throwin' Up/Halfway Home and My Pager's Still Blowin' Up

Okay, so that's not a direct quote of Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day." More like a liberal paraphrase. And I don't even own a pager. I own a weak-ass phone that can't even take pictures. Sunday at Commencement the chancellor told everyone, "Take out your phones." So I got out my phone. Then he said, "Now take your picture." And my phone had to do the Walk of Shame back into my pocket. I wanted to work the word "surreptitiously" into that last sentence, but I'm too bored to figure out how I'd do it. Maybe it can be like a stage direction. (incredulously) It could work like that! (When I'm told to read something incredulously, my meta-framework imagines the voice of John Travolta's character from "Saturday Night Fever" saying, "Come on, Stephanie, I can walk you!")

During one of my high school summers I did everything with MTV on. (This was back when MTV played music videos. (It's not too late to tell your parenthesis-loving friends about this blog!)) The reason was that my friends and I were enamored with a particular video and YouTube hadn't been invented yet. Anyway, as a result I saw Ice Cube's video about a million times that summer. My friends and I loved the idea of a "good day" being the result of: 1. the absence of pork from the breakfast table, 2. winning a game of dominoes, 3. a Lakers victory, 4. a late-night burger run, and 5. not having to use your AK-47. Ice Cube understands that it's the little things in life that make the difference. It's very Zen-like, all except the part about owning an AK-47.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Right Back Where I Started

After graduating yesterday, today I'm...sitting in the school library, actually. I finished my last paper pretty late, so its defense is this afternoon. As soon as I finish that I'm...not quite done with my undergraduate work yet, since I have to take a math class at George Mason and transfer it back here to finish my minor. So really, the only thing that changed yesterday was the tan on my face, which has a line across my forehead from wearing a mortarboard in the sun all day.

And not much has changed in the big picture, either. Four years ago I was working full-time at my crap job and not going to school. As soon as I finish this defense this afternoon, I get to spend the summer...working full-time at my crap job and not going to school. Wait! I know something that's different! Four years ago I was the new guy that everyone liked because nobody knew him. Now that I've been at my crap job for so long, all my coworkers have gotten to know me, and now they all hate me. So I've got that going for me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pathetic

What's more pathetic, that Justin had to try to get his friends to read my blog because I was starved for readers, or that it didn't work?

Trick question, ladies! The answer is C, all of the above!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today's Guest Celebrity Blogger: Me

Here's how I pass the time at work: I read any Wikipedia article I can think of. That's how I found out professional wrestler Bill Goldberg shares my birthday. That's also how I found out the city of Menifee, California incorporated last year. Today I decided to read about Rosie O'Donnell, and that's how I found out Wikipedia has a category for "American Bloggers." And that I'm not on their list. (I checked under both my first AND last initials. Trust me, I'm not there.)

If you people were more active in your adoration of my blog, I'd be on that damn list! All you have to do is tell three friends, every day, that my blog is the funniest blog you've ever read. (And they need to be different friends every day. And you can't count them if they've ever told this to you.)

That's right, I'm asking you to lie. What can I say? This list is really important to me. (But not important enough to just edit the Wikipedia page and add myself. That would be hack.) If you're one of those people who has a moral aversion to lying, then at least you can honestly say, "I've never read a blog that makes heavier use of the parenthesis." And if your friends are parentheses nuts, that might be enough to get me on that list. Then you can ask me to guest blog on your blog to boost your readership and I can say, "I don't know; I'm not really into using my publicity like that," and you can say, "I helped you when you wanted to get on that list," and I can say, "That was so long ago, and anyway I was going to make the list anyway," and you can say, "You just said 'anyway' twice," and I can say, "The fact that you're counting my 'anyway's tells me that you're no longer a genuine friend," and you can say, "You've changed, man," and I can say, "Security, will you show my friend out, please?" and you can say, "I was just leaving, anyway," and I can say, "Now look who thinks it's cool to use the word 'anyway'?" as I motion the guards to remove you and you can say, "I'm leaving on my own," and I can say, "But you'll leave much faster if Bruno and Ruben throw you out," and Bruno can say, "My name is Derek; you fired Bruno last week," and I can say, "Bruno, don't contradict me! You're fired! Ruben, throw Bruno out," and Ruben can say, "Ruben was, like, eight guards ago. I'm Paul," and I can say, "I don't have time for this. I'm shooting my cameo in the new Jay-Z video today," and my assistant can say, "Actually, Jay-Z's people called to cancel because you are, quote, so last week, unquote," and I can say, "Bruno, Ruben, bring my friend back in and say I've decided to do the guest blogging thing."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Movie Poster Crapulence

I hate movie posters. Nearly all of them have at least one of these three faults:

  1. A drawing of a photograph instead of a photograph
  2. Needless Photoshopping
  3. Mismatched names and faces

Let's look at some movie posters and see what I mean.

Night at the Museum 2: Son of Nine Wasted Dollars

Now, the rocket blasting off and crap like that probably had to be digitally drawn in, but the line-up of the movie's stars didn't need to be drawn. Maybe having a photo right next to a drawing would highlight the contrast. But in the movie those are photos of the actors right next to drawings of Sassy Abe Lincoln.

I Love You, Formulaic Teen Comedy

Both of these actors were under contractual obligation to the studio, presumably at the same time. Why, then, couldn't they be made to pose for a picture together? Instead they took some individual shots of each and Photoshopped them together, really for no reason at all.

I Love You, Product Placement

Again, I understand the need for a Photoshop when you want lava in the shot and the actor has a no-lava-unless-tastefully-done clause in his contract, but when two dudes are going to stand next to each other and look at the same magazine, why don't they they actually stand next to each other and look at the same magazine? Another example of needless Photoshopping follows.

I Love You, Movie Title Format

This needless Photoshop (again, all three actors could appear together at the same time; this isn't an Eddie Murphy movie) introduces the next problem: names not matching up with faces. Billing order is some intricate matter of precedence, but placement on the poster is a matter of Photoshopper's whim. So you get mismatches like this:

Who's the dame? She made the movie poster, but she doesn't get a name. This problem is closely related to the reverse: eight names on the poster and only three faces. It's like the photographer and the copy editor are never allowed to meet, but are forced to communicate through personal ads in Variety. This is how they keep things exciting in Hollywood, since the production schedule is set for the rest of time (one PG-13 comedy for 10-year-old boys, one for 15-year-old girls, and one for parents, one R comedy for 15-year-old boys, one for 30-year-old boys, one action movie, one drama, one tear-jerker, and one family film where a washed-up actor plays a dad who always finds himself in zany, slapstick hijinks (which is the only kind of -jinks Hollywood tolerates)).

Lastly, I give you the most egregious movie poster since Corky Romano.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

What a train wreck of a poster. First we have the needless Photoshop with the unbelievable lighting, then we have the name/face mashup, whence only Cynthia Nixon escapes unscathed. Lastly, for a movie about supposedly fashionable ladies, only Nixon and Kristin Davis (the two of whom would still be beautiful covered in rancid coleslaw) are presentable. Kim Cattrall has a rectangular prism of a body with unflattering bangs and the face of a teenaged male gymnast, while Sarah Jessica Parker has donned a Hefty bag that has been hand-colored by some blind Make-A-Wish winner.

If there was justice in the world, this poster's creator would be bussing tables at the Denny's on Topanga Canyon Blvd. (the second-worst Denny's in the world, after that of Provo, UT). But because Hollywood is Hollywood, he probably got a three-picture deal out of it with an option for his own production company.

Broken Jukebox

Since waking up Sunday morning at 10, here's been my schedule:

Awake - 33 hours

Asleep - 11 hours

Awake - 31 hours and counting

As a result, here are the songs that are on a constant loop in my head:

  • "Mother Lover" by Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg
  • "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al Yankovic
  • "Business Time" by Flight of the Conchords
  • "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga [Seriously?! I've heard that song, like, half of one time! I even had to look up the name of the singer.]
  • "Barbie World" by Aqua
  • "Lose Yourself" by Eminem [Again, I don't even know the song, aside from when he says, "These [redacted] food stamps won't buy diapers."]

Evidently my brain is having a bit of a dance party. I even listened to a bunch of music last night, by Rivers Cuomo, Modest Mouse, NOFX, and Bruce Springsteen to try to forget these songs, but all that did was add The Boss's "Adam Raised a Cain" to the rotation for a little bit. Maybe the CD will change when I sleep again, in nine hours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Temple District Maps

I’ve documented in this space just how boring my job is. Sometimes to distract from the monotony I make personal maps. (I just finished working on maps for my kids to follow on our summer vacation.) Now I’m working on temple district maps, showing which stakes go to which temples.

The church website doesn’t put up the temple district lists until the temple is actually open. The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple is about to open, and the stakes in the district have been notified because they are participating in a cultural celebration (Utah culture: ground beef in Jell-O and gossiping), but I cannot find a list of these stakes. All I can find is the blog of a cultural night participant who says there are 26 stakes in the district.

I figure I’ve got some Mormon readers, and those Mormon readers probably know at least ONE person in the southwest corner of Salt Lake Valley, and so my Mormon readers might be able to secure a list for me of what those 26 mystery stakes are called. Come on, Mormon readers, don’t let me down.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Making Movies More Entertaining

If it wasn't for our great imaginations, my wife and I would have a lot more complaints about the crap being turned out by Hollywood studios. However, "Spiderman 2" became quite engaging when I spent the entire movie trying to convince my wife that the guy who played Dr. Octopus (Albert Molina) was the guy who played Mark on "Mad About You" (Richard Kind). Last night we watched "Yes Man" and spiced things up by identifying the actor who played the friend with the motivational speaker literature as the actor who played Wayne Jarvis on "Arrested Development" ("I'm legally obligated to tell you there is no candy in this room").

Part of the way through the movie I paused it and said something about how the Australian guy looked like Austin Powers. Persephone said, "Norman's Australian? I thought he was English." I said, "He doesn't sound English." So we looked him up and he turned out to be a New Zealanderarianite. (What do they call themselves? I mean, besides Kiwi?)

How do you distinguish between an Australian and a New Zealanderarianite? According to this website, there's a way, but you've got to trick him into saying specific things like, "The cat sat on the mat" and "fish and chips." Since the guy playing Norman didn't say either of those in the movie, I feel I should get partial credit for guessing Australian. (Besides, aren't all New Zealanderarianites really just Australians, like how all Canadians are really just snooty Americans with no tans?)

This local news clip sounds as much Australian as "Strictly Ballroom." When I read Jack Russell: Dog Detective to my kids I get into the Australian accent by remembering the line, "I want to dance my own steps!" and if I ever had to read a New Zealanderarianite book to them, I'd do the same. The good news for me, though, is I don't think New Zealanderarianites write books. They make funny music and movies, though, just not books. I think it's because they're all mostly illiterate, right?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Breakfast Explosion

I went to breakfast with my class this morning. I ordered an egg sandwich, which is supposedly the best item on the menu. The waitress asked how I wanted my eggs. I asked, "What do you recommend?" She said, "I like them over medium." I said I'll go with that. Two of my students got their sandwich eggs over easy.

Our sandwiches came and I took my first bite. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a stream of egg yolk shoot out of the sandwich up my right arm. Luckily I had rolled up my sleeves this morning, but some of it still reached the shoulder of the shirt. I washed off my forearm in the restroom, and one of my students had a travel "Shout" wipe for the shirt. As it is now, you can barely see one spot if you know where to look.

But still! THAT was "over medium"?! The two over easy sandwiches did not behave that way! I ate the rest of that sandwich half with a knife and fork. When I picked up the second half to try to eat like a sandwich again, everyone else at the table shied away, like I was working with plutonium.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Serious Problems

It seems like there are two reasons to have a blog:

  1. To be able to write about things anonymously, like a big online therapy journal for getting stuff off your chest. If you were following this reason, no one would know your identity and you could write things like, "My siblings don't know how much I hate them" or "Not a day goes by that I don't long for a divorce" and not have to worry about your siblings or your spouse finding out.
  2. To be a replacement for personal contact with the people you'd like to think are your friends. If you were following this reason, you would not call or write to your friends in person to tell them about repainting the back fence; you'd just write a blog post about it and then tell yourself that your friendship is just as strong as it was before.

The problem is you can't do both. Option 1 requires anonymity and Option 2 requires disclosing your blog address to every friend and family member you have. This is why I wanted to start another blog, one with serious anonymity (instead of the fake anonymity I have here), but then I felt like I couldn't keep a blog a secret from my wife because what if it turned out to be how I met some lady I had an affair with, so then there goes Option 1 because I can never write anything like, "Man, my wife's been bugging me lately."

(I know everyone's going to be, like, "How horrible that he could ever feel that way!" But we've been married for eight years, and that's long enough that we can be honest and say sometimes she bugs me. I don't pretend she doesn't feel the same way. In fact, I'm reasonably certain that, at any given moment, she could be within 30 minutes of walking out and I would have to admit it wasn't a total surprise. I know I've got it coming. It's like a variation of the supposed Middle-Eastern proverb, "Beat your wife every day; even if you don't know why, she does." She could leave me at any moment and, even if she didn't know why, I would.)

So Option 1 is off the books for me, although Option 2 becomes Option 1 if none of my friends or family ever actually READ my blog, which often seems to be the case. But you never know when one of them is going to get a wild hair and click on over to A Random Stranger, so you can't plan on it. (Plus, every blogger's sense of vanity won't allow him to count on having an audience of zero. In all of our minds, we have loyal followers on every continent and half of our followers are so in love with us that they're experiencing relationship difficulties (and that goes double for the dudes).)

Well, all of this sucks, because today I want to write about something that will make you all uncomfortable and make our next face-to-face meeting awkward: my brain. More to the point, I'd write about the broken nature of my brain, and the way that God holds me responsible for the things my broken brain thinks and makes me do, even though He's the one who gave me my broken brain. God and I have a complicated relationship, and if I were being honest I'd say, if I end up making it to Heaven, there's a chance the first thing I'd do when I met Him would be to punch Him in the eye. (It's a good thing I don't have to worry about making it to heaven! (Don't you wish you'd stopped reading about two paragraphs ago? Like I said, awkward!))

Since this isn't an Option 1 blog, though, I'm not going to be that honest, and I'll say things like, "Yea, God! You're the best!"

For a long time I tried to pretend I didn't have serious brain issues. I figured I knew about them, but I could keep other people from knowing about them. In my bishop's interview before filing my mission papers I lied about having a healthy brain, and we see how that turned out. But again, I'd be on the hook for not being a missionary, even though the thing that would keep me out would be the brain I didn't pick. Like I said, right in His eye.

Lately, though, I've decided it's too difficult to ignore my brain issues. The good news is I don't have any serious friends, so it's not like anyone would notice if I changed my lifestyle to counteract my brain problems. My wife would notice, but she already knows about my brain (and that's a big reason she's constantly 30-minutes away from pulling out a suitcase). I could change anything I needed to and no one would notice.

Specifically, I'm thinking I might need to stop being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. My brain gives them entirely too much influence over my life, and that's not a good thing to give to a team that hasn't had a winning season since 1992. (And 1992 doesn't even count as a good year because of the devastating way they lost the pennant.) Days are good days when the Pirates win and bad days when the Pirates lose. It doesn't matter what else has happened. A Pirates victory can make up for the most miserable of days, but a Pirates loss can negate an otherwise great day.

This became obvious to me when the Pirates spent the last week going from 11-7 to 12-14, being shut out three times in the process. The Steelers don't have this influence on me. I follow the team but their regular-season losses don't really bother me, and their playoff losses only get to me for a day or so. The Penguins have more of an influence on me. I was upset about last year's Stanley Cup Finals for probably a week. But really, when it comes right down to it, I've been upset about Barry Bonds's inability to throw out Sid Bream for 16 and a half years.

I said to Persephone the other night, when the Pirates took a 3-1 lead late and lost the game 7-4, "I wonder if I need to stop being a Pirates fan." She can sort of relate, being a young Red Sox fan in 1986, but two years later the Red Sox won the American League East again. Nothing helps you forget failure like success. The Pirates haven't had any success since the most monumental of failures. (Besides, Persephone spent the 1990s being a Braves fan. Why did I marry this woman? (That's the type of question for an Option 1 blog.))

I don't know what I'm going to do. I can decide to not pay attention to baseball, but I can't stop being a Pirates fan. Even if I don't follow this season, I'll know in October that they've set the record for most consecutive losing seasons by a North American sports franchise, and I'll know that there's no reason to believe they won't add to that mark next season. There's nothing to look forward to in Pirates baseball, so all I can do is look back.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Concerts

Since my wife wrote about it on her blog, I figured I'd make mention of the concerts I've been to.

  1. Social Distortion, 1991

    My first concert, I bought two tickets because I was only 13 and would have to have my brother go with me. A girl at my junior high found out I was going and gave me $20 to buy a shirt for her. I thought that was a little strange, since the point of wearing a concert t-shirt is to let people know which shows you've seen live. Then when we'd accidentally wear our shirts to school on the same day, she'd give me attitude, even though I was the one who actually went to the show. It was at the Palladium in Hollywood, which seemed like it had once been a roller rink.

  2. Guns 'n' Roses/Metallica, 1992

    My brother was into Guns 'n' Roses, so when they went on a massive summer tour with Metallica, he wanted to buy four tickets for him and his friends. The shows sold out, though, so they added two dates at the Los Angeles Coliseum, a massive stadium that can seat 100,000 before counting the fans on the field. Some of his friends backed out, though, so I got to buy a ticket from him. We still ended up with an extra ticket, though, so he tried selling it outside the stadium until an undercover cop told him he'd have to be across the street or go to jail. As for the show, James Hetfield had been burned by a pyrotechnics display in Montreal earlier in the tour, so he had his arm in a sling and someone else was playing guitar. Then when Guns 'n' Roses came out, Axl Rose was all pissy about there being empty seats and us not being loud enough of a crowd, so he sat down and threatened to end the show unless we were more appreciative. By the end of the show I didn't like either band as much as I did before, but I still bought the shirt, so everyone would know where I'd been.

  3. The Scorpions, 1994

    My brother was a Scorpions fan, too, so when they came to Los Angeles he bought two tickets and asked me if I wanted to go. It was at the Forum. I don't remember much about the show. I guess the Scorpions played. I wasn't a big fan, myself.

  4. They Might Be Giants, 1992 and 1996, I believe

    I think I saw them twice, once with my brother and once with some friends of mine. Both times were at the Ventura Theater. They were a good band to see live and the Ventura Theater is a fun place to see shows. One of the Johns made a joke about "the guitar solos that helps our songs be two minutes long."

  5. Phooey, 1994-1996

    This was a local band we saw every few months. Sometimes it would be at house parties, sometimes at an old car dealership in Ventura, and once or twice at the Ventura Theater. The drummer was in my high school German class. They were one of those bands that you like because you are young, they are obscure, and you've hung out with them at coffee shops.

  6. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, 1995 and 1996

    This band is from Ventura, so they'd play the Ventura Theater about once a month, it seemed. Towards the end of high school we saw them twice. Then they were in the movie "Swingers" and got pretty famous. According to their Wikipedia page, they've even played a Super Bowl halftime show. One of the times we saw them my friend bought their CD from the merchandise table in the lobby. I borrowed it when I drove to Utah to visit Persephone at school, and when I crashed my truck on the way back home, I lost my friend's CD in the desert. He was pretty angry about that, because by then they were famous and this early, self-produced CD was more desirable.

  7. Rev. Horton Heat, 1996

    We saw him at some club in Santa Barbara. The first two bands played pretty long sets, and then the Reverend came out and played seemingly every song he knew. About halfway through I was exhausted and went to sit in the back with a friend. The place was still incredibly hot, though, and we ended up listening to the rest of the set while we sat on my trunk in the parking lot. Because the show took so long, we were all in danger of being in trouble for being out late, so I drove home as fast as I could. It turns out the 1993 Plymouth Acclaim has a speedometer that shows 120 MPH, but it can't really get above 116. We made the drive in 19 minutes (typically a 45-minute drive).

  8. Frank Black, 1996

    We saw this show at the Whisky in West Hollywood. It was a great place to see a show, being super crowded with a tiny stage. My friends would reach up and strum Frank Black's guitar during the show, that's how close we were. One of my friends touched Frank's stomach and then turned to us a yelled, "I touched his fat!" I think Frank heard that and was mad about it.

  9. Kansas, 1997

    My first summer as a missionary, I was in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Across the street from our apartment was a riverfront park where the city had a festival. It was a great place to get invites if you weren't concerned about having those invites be effective (and by this time, I'd learned that no invites were effective, so I just got easy ones where they were available). So we'd mingle in the crowd, get a bunch of invites, then go home and report our awesome numbers. Kansas played one of those evenings. My companion had never heard of them before and immediately loved their music. He wanted to buy their CDs and mail them home. (At this point, I was still a good missionary and didn't listen to CDs, but his plan sounded stupid to me.)

  10. Ted Nugent, 1998

    My second summer as a missionary I was past the point of trying to be good. Ted Nugent was coming to the county fair and we went, in our proselyting clothes so we could get the clergy discount. At the end of the show, he hung his guitar on one side of the stage, went to the other side, brought out a bow and arrow, lit the arrow on fire, and shot his guitar with it. Ted is the consummate showman.

  11. Weezer, 2001

    It worked out well when we got married that Persephone and I were both Weezer fans. The summer after we got married they released their first album in years. Since Persephone's friends in Utah are also Weezer fans, we decided we'd meet them in Las Vegas and see the Weezer show there. It was fun, but a little weird when the two single girls slept in the one bed and us newlyweds in the other bed.

  12. The B-52s, 2004

    We took our kids to the county fair and it turned out the B-52s were playing. Crazy Jane was just beginning to like music, so we took her over to watch for a little bit. I think we watched two songs.

  13. The Get-Up Kids, 2009

    I wrote a few weeks ago about this show.

  14. The Killers, 2009

    I'll write about this show in the next little bit.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Professional Feedback

Two professors have commented on my last post, and both said it was okay to go out to breakfast with my class next week. That means it would be unprofessional of me NOT to go. Now how do you guys feel about promising an A to whomever picks up my tab?