Friday, September 25, 2009


One of the many duties in toy collecting is to remember to store your figures so they won't get broken. One of my regular runs is to Kmart, as Wal-Mart and pretty much every other store stopped carrying the appropriately sized tackle boxes my figures crave. For the record, the model today was the Plano 3700.

I cleaned them out. I pretty much always buy what they have-- generally, 5 units or so-- but today they had 15, so... well, you know how it goes. Star Wars toys don't store themselves.

The guy in sporting goods-- there usually isn't one-- took a big interest when I started looking at the boxes and stacking them all. "So, you're a fisherman?" "Nope." He kept asking a lot of questions, which leads me to believe that he might have noticed that about once a month someone comes in and buys all of the tackle boxes.

The checker lady also seemed incredibly amused. Next time it's "THEY'RE FOR SEVERED HUMAN FINGERS, DO YOU MIND?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Really, Music Press?

There are few things you can be sure of when the name They Might Be Giants have news that hits the music press. One, it's a safe bet the word "quirky" will be employed. This was a law up until about 2000, now it seems to just happen on occasion.

The new new law is that if it's a kid's album, it's going to say something like this, which we just happened to take from Pop Matters review of Here Comes Science:

This is the kind of record that parents won’t get sick of their kids playing nonstop.

In the off chance a parent is reading this, I'd like to invite you to comment on that sentence-- variations of which appear in most if not all reviews of the TMBG kids' albums over the past few years.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Other People's Music

I am rarely asked to DJ anything, ever. Generally doing this is basically begging for me to make your life increasingly miserable as you complain about the music being played. As such, I was surprised to be asked to handle music duties for the Michael Metzger-Andrea Elberly wedding, and they picked the phat beats.

Playlist part 1
Playlist part 2

On the whole the entire shindig was great-- interestingly, as the night went on, a lot of people seemed to get a little too interested in the music. Sticking exclusively to the happy couple's playlist, it's interesting to see just how diverse a reaction you can get to the perception that you, as the DJ, may be going against the couple's wishes.

It was a lot of fun. If someone asks you to hold the mic and play songs, I suggest you give it a try. Being a wedding, audience-baiting was off the menu but I hope that there's a chance to do something like this again. And next time I'll bring my iPod so when someone who's had a few too many requests to hear something about Uranus, I and Man or Astro-Man will be prepared.

Michael, you're my oldest friend and I wish you and your special lady all the very best. Clearly, you've picked a good one. Andrea, take good care of my old buddy. I know you two are going to have a great life together, take care of him, walk him regularly, and turn him toward the light and water him daily.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Random Albums I May Never Get Sick Of

I find most music is like fruit. After a while it'll eventually spoil. Good music is like a Twinkie-- it lasts a good long time, and may someday spoil, but not likely to be soon. Here are some albums that, for me, have pretty much always worked as great late-night companions to be played through in their entirety. And yes I'm under 30, I just like the older stuff. If I'm up working late, this is what I end up listening to a lot.

Talking Heads' "More Songs About Buildings & Food"
I got this on LP many moons ago-- well, maybe like 2001 or something-- and played the heck out of it. Your trash is my treasure, and this is a really good album that wasn't represented by a collection I had. "I'm Not In Love" is getting a lot of play lately, but the whole thing is great to play all the way through.

Pulsars' "Pulsars"
Surprisingly good. If you kinda like They Might Be Giants but would stab someone in the eye before listening to "Flood" again, you might like this. I found this in a ten cent CD bin, and saw it in numerous discount and cut-out bins since. Basically it's a couple of guys singing about tunnels-- like actual tunnels, not a metaphor-- and really old Macs being turned into fish bowls. (This also makes the packaging.) I ripped nearly every CD I owned at my first job for my work PC and this one was far and away the most played. It's good, but apparently it's VERY good when played at the office.

Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies"
People will tell you this is not the group's best album. These people are wrong. It's not that it's astonishingly clever, it's just very enjoyable. Pretty much everything I thought about the band is nicely encapsulated by this disc, and it's nice and noisy in places too. Can you name a lot of albums with a dentist's drill? I can't.

Wall of Voodoo's "Dark Continent"
Or, "good luck finding this, sucker." I bought it on vinyl because the CD was a limited-release in the 1990s and was worth $120+. Then I got the CD... a CDR bootleg sold at a Ridgway concert. It's their first LP and it's actually fantastic if you like their other stuff. "Back in Flesh" is a great ode to not working, and while I'm not sure what "Crack the Bell" is about I do love it. If by some reason you stumble on this, you're 18-22, and you enjoyed the likes of They Might Be Giants at some point in your life, do yourself a favor and get this.

Weezer's "Pinkerton"
You can probably blame the rise of emo on this one but dang it's good. Since it didn't get much play, and sales are less-than-stellar by Weezer standards, it's one of those things that seems to get both less and more respect than it deserves. Anyone that didn't enjoy "El Scorcho" is a damned liar.

Spoozys' "Astro 99" EP
I enjoy the music of Spoozys. I love this EP. 5 songs, formerly Japan-only, I think it's on iTunes and a few other places now. "Surf Devolution" is one of the best instrumentals I've heard in a while, and "It's Only a Droid" may be the only surf-oriented song that features C-3PO's whines as lyrics. I daresay if you're also under 30 and can still be bowled over by music, this is worth picking up.

Andrew Jackson Jihad's "Candy Cigarettes and Cap Guns"
Angry, angry folk. Half of it can be downloaded from the band's site for free. It's essentially folk punk, which sounds crappy, but it isn't. There's a manic energy here that you find in early Polysics, minus the bleeps and Japanese-ness of it. According to iTunes I really, really love this album. I don't disagree. See also: "Issue Problems" album.

Blast Off Country Style, "In My Arms" EP, "Rainbow Mayonnaise Deluxe" album, "White Devil" 7-inch, "C'mon and Blast Off Country Style" compilation
I found them while digging for cheap Japanese imports in a bargain bin. Turns out they were a bunch of kids from Virginia. Very engaging, I daresay almost too cute for their own good. But it's one of those bands where I seek out side projects and the members' other work, so yeah, it's good.