rokken with dokken

I confess. In junior high and high school I was a huge metalhead. I wasn't a stoner, but I was a metalhead. I would pretty much buy any cassette as long as the band had long hair and looked metal-ish. I mean anything. Some bands I remember buying that I doubt anyone else besides the band members themselves remember: Odin, Vyper, Tuff Luck, Reckless, Leatherwolf, Vain, Dirty Looks, Sea Hags, Helix, D'Molls, Dogs D'Amour, Tora! Tora!, and on and on.

Then there was the second tier, bands that were mildly popular, but deserved a bigger audience than they got. Y & T, Rough Cutt, and Black 'N' Blue are in this category.

Then there was the "A" list that everyone knew. Motley Crue. Ratt. Scorpions. Iron Maiden. And, of course, Dokken and Judas Priest.

The weird part about the whole 80's metal thing is that until Poison, Bon Jovi and Whitesnake made "metal" acceptable to cheerleaders, anything metal was considered evil. Even if you listened to something as unthreatening as Queensryche, your non-metal friends just referred to it as that "Kill your mom" music. Seriously. To the non-metal fan, every metal song, even the power ballads, apparently, was about killing your mom.

So before the Poison/Bon Jovi/Whitesnake awaking, the metal "scene", was pretty large, yet somehow not mainstream. Bands would fill up arenas, yet get no regular play on MTV (outside of Metal Shop/Headbanger's Ball) or the radio. Combine this with growing up culturally isolated in Lemoore and having to travel to Fresno for any concert, I kind of assumed that what our experience was unique.

But then, about ten years ago, my friend Avery gave me a copy of Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Although filmed in Maryland, it could have just as well been Fresno. Or anywhere. Anyone associated with metal concerts in the 80's knows all of the dudes in the film. They know the metal sluts. They recognize the Dokken / Priest split of many fans.

A snapshot into my teen years. And now it's available on the internets. Livin' after midnight, indeed.


seein' red

By nature, I'm a pretty mellow dude. When I blog, I may use "fuck", "motherfuckers", "bullshit", "what the fuck", etc a lot, but in person, I'm really laid back. I'm also not a violent person. But something happened last night that is making me question who I am.

Now, I've always made fun of "emo" kids (don't get me started on the history of emo and how it's been perverted to it's present day awfulness). We all make fun of emo kids. How can you not? But I mean, they're harmless. In a few years, they'll be ten times as embarrassed over wearing eyeliner and girlpants than I ever was for having a mullet. My normal reaction to emo nonsense is to just let time sort it all out.

But last night, a switch flipped. These two emo kids at the coffee joint were minding their own business, not being obnoxious or anything, and yet I had this overwhelming urge to walk over and just slam their heads together. First of all, I am waaaay too old to be giving a shit about youth culture. Secondly, I haven't been in an actual fight since sixth grade, so in all probability I can't fight at all (but there's always a small chance I am have natural, hidden Bruce Lee, so don't fuck with me), so why entertain any illusions of macho-ness at all? I'd probably get my ass handed to me by two frail kids wearing eyeliner and girlpants. Third, ugh what's with my inner jock meathead all of a sudden emerging?

I'm hoping this was a one time thing. Certainly not proud of it. So if you ever see a group of emo kids beating the shit out of a chubby 30-something year old dude, you'll know what happened.

By the way, I blame Spazz for instilling this in me.

Campaign For Emo Destruction

dropping your mic to sing on the floor
that never was or will be hardcore
put on a show for little petty page
phony tears instead of rage
pretend you're sensitive so you get laid
you're a wolf in thrift clothing, they're your prey
spock can't get women any other way



In the LA Times, Andrew Klavan welcomes David Mamet to the right wing:
Yes, he will find that a gathering of right-wingers is less welcoming to gay people than the left is, but he will also watch something astounding unfold. Unlike liberals, rightists, after a period of open discussion and thought, will actually admit when they're wrong and change their minds. This anti-gay prejudice will fall -- it's falling now.
So, bottom line, in the right wing mind set, it's better to be wrong and eventually change your mind than to be correct the whole time. It's better to oppose equal rights for blacks, women, gays, and eventually, maybe, kinda-sorta-but-not-really, come around than it is to have always known equal rights for all is a good thing which should be uncontroversial. That, to them, is having an open mind.

They are truly warped.

my bracket

Based on questionable late night judgment.

Click to enlarge.

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san diego food tour '08: burger lounge


Burger Lounge is a sorta new burger joint right down the street from me in Kensington (apparently there's been one in La Jolla for awhile). Their whole spiel is that they serve "tallgrass" beef, which is supposedly healthier and more ethical than other types of beef.

At first I was turned off by Burger Lounge, partly because of the Whole Foods-ish appeals to organic living, and partly because of the Whole Foods-ish inflated prices. A burger will set you back $7, which isn't that bad. But $3 for fries? $2 for a soda? That was a bit of a letdown to a cheapskate like me.

So, of course, I just order the burger, no fries, and some water. And I felt a lot better, because my $7 bought me a very good burger. The bun is magnifico, with a slight bit of sweetness to it. My and my medium-rare burger was incredibly juicy. I order all my burgers sans lettuce (which adds crunch, but no flavor) and onions (which overpower a burger) so I can't comment on that. Judging the speed in which I wolfed it down, Burger Lounge gets a solid "A". Mmmmmm tasty.

(I have since tried the fries as well as the onion rings, and they are pretty good. They don't justify the price, though.)


friday rant

Not in a good mood today. I need to let off some steam.

Obama's Minister

Are you fucking kidding me? First he was a "secret Muslim", and now you don't like his Christian pastor? Make up your goddamned mind.

Obama gets raked over the coals because of some stupid shit his pastor said, yet McCain gets a free ride for seeking and getting the endorsement of John Hagee who has said some equally stupid shit? For instance:
"I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that."

"As millions of people anticipate the release of the latest Harry Potter book and film, we're reminded once again of Satan's ongoing attempt to deceive and destroy. The whole purpose of the Potter books is to desensitize readers and introduce them to the occult."

(referring to Catholicism)
"A Godless theology of hate that no one dared try to stop for a thousand years produced a harvest of hate."
Why does John McCain hate New Orleans, Catholics, and Harry Potter?

Now, I don't think McCain believes what Hagee believes, and I know Obama doesn't believe what his pastor says....so where's the fucking controversy? Seriously, all this bullshit makes me want an agnostic president more than ever.

Elliot Spitzer

Elliot Spitzer is a grade-A hypocrite, and he should resign in disgrace.

Oh, he did?

End of story for me. Let him and his wife deal with the fallout, it's none of my business. I mean I get the need for a couple of days of snickering and curiosity, but I certainly I don't need to psychoanalyze his wife's grief and I don't need to know everything about the call girl.

Y'allz a buncha perverts.

Also, I know this is not a new thought or anything, but it does make you wonder why it is illegal to get paid for something that it's completely legal to give away.

Geraldine Ferrero

She's an idiot. She may not be a racist, but what she said sure was. What the fuck country has she been living in where someone is "lucky" to be black? He wouldn't be where he is if he wasn't black? Let's take another look.

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Yeah, I can see how being black is a huge advantage.

George Bush

Here's what he said on Thursday to soldiers in Afghanistan:
"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said.
Oh the fucking balls on this guy! Most of us support the mission in Afghanistan. In fact, we might be a little farther along if not for the clusterfuck known as Iraq. So I get that you want to praise them. But to make it about YOU? Someone who chose NOT to fight in Vietnam? To suddenly lament that YOU can't fight now takes cajones grande. Or stupidity. I'm betting stupidity. Thousands of American soldiers are dead, George, apparently because you are a hopeless romantic. The sad part is that you actually believe this crap, you don't see the hypocrisy in it, and you probably sleep well at night. Asshole.

End rant. I feel much better now.


San Diego Food Tour 2008: Cotixan


It’s too much to ask one taco shop to excel in all taco shop related matters. Therefore I have created a division of labor, and based on my extensive research, will focus on what taco shop does what particular thing the best.

First up is the California Burrito. If you are unfamiliar with it, then you my friend, are missing out. A California Burrito contains carne asada, salsa fresca, cheese, guacamole, and potatoes (I usually add sour cream, cuz, um, I’m a fat ass who has a deathwish). It is this last ingredient that makes the California Burrito special. See, a large percentage of taco shops define potatoes as "french fries". Yup. You’re eating a burrito stuffed with french fries.

The best California Burrito I have ever had is at El Cotixan. Specifically, the Genesee El Cotixan, off Balboa Avenue. Other Cotixan’s are just okay, I have no idea why this location is so much better, but trust me it is. First of all, the use actual chopped potatoes rather than fires. The novelty of using fries is pretty awesome, but taste-wise, traditional potatoes work better. Second, the weirdly orange-ish hot sauce is awesome, second only to Trujillo’s tomatillo hot sauce (to be discussed at some point I’m sure). There are no weak points; the carne asada is excellent and plentiful, the salsa is great, and the tortilla is tender yet not moist. God I hate moist tortillas. That sounds bad. Moist tortilla. Naughty. Huh? What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah. Food. El Cotixan. Genesee Avenue. California Burrito. I should also note that the burrito is huge.

Make your own huge burrito/moist tortilla jokes.


the wire: final thoughts

So the not-best-show-in-TV-history has concluded. I thought overall the finale was very good, with a couple of minor flaws. My thoughts:
  • It's really a testament to the writers to find yourself (much like the Sopranos) liking and rooting for bad, bad people. I liked Stringer Bell, D'Angelo, Wallace, I loved Omar, I even liked Chris Partlow in a way (I didn't care for Avon, Snoop, or Prop Joe as much as some people), and now I find myself with a huge mancrush for Slim Charles. I'm so glad Slim Charles will be the one to destroy lives by controlling the Baltimore drug trade!
  • Seriously, though, Slim Charles. He quietly became the hero of the show to me. First, he respectfully refused to play ball with Marlo at the co-op meeting. Then, when Omar was bent on revenge and was after Prop Joe's people, he could have easily killed Slim. But he didn't, and in that scene, you could tell that Omar had a healthy amount of respect for Slim. And if you have Omar's respect, you have mine. And finally, by shutting the opportunistic Cheese up with a bullet to the head, he fulfilled the wishes of millions (thousands? hundreds?) of Wire fans. I actually vocally cheered when he did it.
  • Bubbles redemption: very cheesy, and totally worth it.
  • Marlo rebuking the high life and taking back Baltimore one corner at a time. Fucking great scene. The smile he has when he realizes he's been stabbed says everything.
  • Dukie, man, what the fuck? Why didn't you have Michael drop you off at Prezbo's that night? Prez could have taken you in like Bunny did to um, that one kid. YOU could have been winning debates. Now you're Bubbles circa seasons 1-4.
  • In general, I have always liked the gang/drug aspect of The Wire more than the po-lice angle, the docks angle, the schools angle, the politics angle, or the newspaper angle. Of course they all feed on each other to create the bleak picture of Baltimore, but almost all the memorable scenes involve the drug trade.
  • I think the closing montage was really tacky. It sort of felt like the end of Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" video, with a "where are they now?" approach. I mean it was alright for closures sake, but Daniels as an attorney in court made me groan. I didn't really need closure, I prefer Soprano's style ambiguity.
  • Herc is an asshole. Yes, he provided Marlo's cell number, but he also tipped Levy off to the illegal wiretap. In a way, Marlo is free because of Herc. I never like Herc.
  • I don't think people ever give Homicide: Life on the Streets enough credit. Many aspects of that show were lifted directly for The Wire (David Chase created both, so it's understandable), but I never see proper credit given in all the post-episode online dialogues.
Great show. Not the greatest ever, but up in the top five, easily. Sucks that it's gone. One of the dudes who participates in Slate's weekly Wire circle jerk listed his top 13 scenes. It's a good list. Here are six scenes I'll never forget.

  • The "fuck" scene.

  • Snoop buying a nailgun.

  • Slim Charles offing Cheese.

  • Bodie and Poot kill Wallace.

  • Carver's frustration after taking Randy to the group home.
[fuck, can't find a clip of this anywhere, and it's the scene that had the most impact on me]

  • Clay Davis on trial.

  • And speaking of Clay, honorable mention to the now legendary "Sheeeeeeeeiiitt".


bad stickers redux

I wrote a while back about how every time I go back to visit friends in Kings County, I am inevitably confronted with a hideously bad, WTF-inducing sticker on a car. For previous examples, click here.

Last time I was in Lemoore, I snagged a picture of this beauty:

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You read right. Somebody was actually looked at a sticker that said "Bitches Get To Steppin" and thought, "Yeah, that about sums it up perfectly. Ring me up!".

But I had always preferred to think of this as one of those Kings County things. One of those things, like raised trucks and Bad Boy Club shirts, that drove me away, yet give me the occasional dose of comic relief.

But then, a couple of weeks ago, parked outside my house, I saw this:

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"Only Little Boys Wear Bowties"? With a muscular human/bronco? Does this make sense to anyone? It didn't to me, so I googled it...apparently it's a dig Mustang/Ford owners make at Chevy owners. Whatever. That doesn't make it not retarded. It's still one of the dumbest things I've ever seen, and definitely Kings County-worthy.

Then, just last week, this bit of psuedo-patriotism in the Costco parking lot made me shake my head:

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"We Are Ready To Defend Freedom"? Are you really? 'Cause like David Cross said to Lee Greenwood, "Really? Well, here's your second chance ... pick up a gun and hop to it! Plane leaves from over there. ... What? Sorry, I couldn't hear you with all the flags flapping in my ears. What? What's that? Oh, you've got another gig in Branson?"


awkard moments

So, at the local coffee hole, I finally bought the requisite 10th drink enabling me to get my one free drink. Not wanting to look cheap, I figure I'll tip a buck (yes I'm a cheap bastard). But the barista is busy making my drink, so I wait until she comes back, I make my dollar visible, and say "I believe in the Costanza rule of tipping" and put the buck in the tip jar. I'm getting a confused look from her. So I try to explain, "you know, the Costanza rule - the tip doesn't really count unless you see it." Same confused look. "It's from Seinfeld, George tips when she isn't looking, so he reaches in the jar and tries to get his tip back, but of course the woman behind the counter thinks he's stealing the tips..." I get a courtesy smile. More of a pity smile, to be exact. She still has no clue what I'm talking about. So I awkwardly say, "It was funny," and I walk away. Bottom line is I have no game, and I'm quickly realizing my Seinfeld knowledge isn't exactly a "cool" characteristic. It's sort of like Dungeons and Dragons for sarcastic people, if that makes sense.

Can you believe I'm single?

mike conley, r.i.p

M.I.A. was one of the most overlooked, underrated bands of the early 80's U.S. punk scene. I was shocked and saddened to read this.
As the frontman for the Orange County hardcore punk band MIA, Michael Conley raged against war, racism and the isolation of modern life on stage alongside other legendary acts in the 1980s like the Dead Kennedys and Social Distortion.

“Life’s a mess, you gotta face it, if you’re not a millionaire it’s hard to make it, I’m a mess, that’s for sure,” Conley sang in one song....

Conley, a father of three, died in suburban Chicago Thursday after he was found suffering a major head wound in a motel parking lot near O’Hare International Airport. Cook County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating. Investigators are waiting for the results of toxicology tests after an autopsy was done. He was 48 years old.
This, combined with the recent passing of Lance Hahn of J Church, Sean Finnegan of Void, and many others over the past few years, has cast a dark cloud over the punk community. It is odd that I take these deaths of punk rockers so personally. I didn't know them, but it's sort of like they spoke (and continue to speak) for me. They said the things I was to uncreative to say. All my emotions and thoughts set to music. In a strange way, they are a part of who I am, and a part of thousands of others. I hope each and every one of them realized that at some point.

Rest in peace, Mike.

M.I.A - Small Man In A Big World
M.I.A. - Tell Me Why
M.I.A. New Left