Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ten in 2010

I really hate when people say things like, "Wow, this year just flew by!" or "Where did the year go." Although, it actually feels like this year just came and went faster than a cat can lick its own ass.

This year started out much like any other, with not to many prospects on the horizon. The beginning of 2010 was a bit rough; I lost a close family member and my life just felt very adrift and empty. Come spring, I made some very important and difficult decisions for myself that I'm now certain will benefit me in the long run. The last few months have been incredibly busy for me. Honestly, at times I felt discouraged and overwhelmed but that was all momentarily. I have a wonderful support system. I also have so many great things to look forward to in the future.

This year I decided I need to do more things for myself and stop being consumed with adversity. I started this blog in the beginning of 2010 which was an accomplishment in itself. I am no Salinger, but I do enjoy writing and sharing ideas. I am very grateful to those of you who continue to read these posts. I hope I can continue to engage you with my tales. I have put together a wrap up of some of my favorite events of 2010. I look forward to twice as many events in 2011.

MONSTER SQUAD is one of my favorite childhood films. It made me feel like there were other kids out there that felt the same as I did and that we did belong somewhere. It was scary, funny, and endearing all at the same time. In January, The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz held a special screening of the film with cast and crew in attendance. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd get to meet Sean and Rudy, but I did. Everyone was so pleasant and kind. It was an amazing experience!

Gals Panic reunion
Back home Gals Panic were legends. They were one of the first bands I remember seeing when I started frequenting punk shows in middle school. I can't say I've heard anything like them since. They broke up nearly a decade ago but have played reunion shows a couple times since and I have seen every one. The show in March at Emos was extra special because I got to share it with my dear friend Jeremy who was also at those old shows so many years ago.

Megaphone PA Show
My friend Chad and I used to do a podcast a couple years ago called The Bitter Pad. We'd mostly interview scorned friends who had recently been dumped. As Chad has been coming up in the local comedy scene, he got the opportunity to host his own show with a live studio audience. He graciously asked me to be his co-host and I eagerly accepted. We've had a lot of fun doing the show. There's been some great musical, alcoholic, and comedic guests. Tune in on ustream if you can't make it out.

Fantasy Basketball
I never really understood the appeal of sporting events. I never even understood the rules in the first place. I caught a couple basketball games during the playoff games for last season. Thanks to Ross and Yogi who patiently explained the rules, I have now found a new interest in basketball. I also joined a Fantasy Basketball League with some friends and my team(The Fighting Pugs) is not doing too bad. Fantasy Sports are the equivalent of Dungeons & Dragons for jocks. The only difference is that you get to be a bit more creative with D & D. I've attempted to play D & D but found it too meticulous for me so I will just settle for the Fantasy version. Wish me luck in the playoffs!

Human Centipede
I'll admit I was a bit disappointed when I actually saw this masterpiece. It was hyped up to be something completely disturbing in the vain of Salo`. Since then, it has definitely grown on me as something much more comical. This film has taken on a life of its own. Just the other day I had a conversation about Human Centipede with the cashier at Chik-Fil-A when he recognized my t-shirt that has the medically accurate diagram on it. Now you can buy cat toys, bracelets, and Christmas ornaments of the same image. You know a film has made it when there's a porn parody of it. I can't wait for the sequel!

forgetters double 7"
As most of you know Jawbreaker is my favorite band and Blake Schwarzenbach is my favorite songwriter. I had the opportunity to see his new band forgetters play twice in 2009 during FunFunFun Fest. When this little treasure finally came in the mail, it was like Christmas. I have been waiting for new music from Blake since the last JTB album that came out in 2002. The songs do not disappoint and I am anxious to hear more from this outfit.


Texas Stars vs. San Antonio Rampage
I've always been a bit intrigued by hockey due to its violent nature. This winter I had the chance to attend a real hockey game in Cedar Park. Let me tell you, there's NOTHING like eating nachos, drinking beer, screaming obscenities, and watching grown men beat the shit out of each other on ice. Between the fights, the giant flying hamburger, and the bizarre dancing I had the best time and even got a free blanket. I hope to attend more games in the future.

Eli Roth
I admit, I have a little crush on the one and only Bear Jew. I think I enjoy his sense of humor and passion for horror more than the actual films he directs. I guess I relate to him in a sense. This summer, he was in town to host an advanced screening of THE LAST EXORCISM at The Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar. I didn't get to make that event, but I did go to the midnight screening of PIRANHA 3D which in hindsight was a far superior film than EXORCISM. As we had pre-drinks at The Highball, we just so happen to run into Eli. We exchanged pleasantries and I watched him roll a gutter ball while looking remarkably stylish in cargo shorts. The director for EXORCISM, Daniel Stamm actually fell asleep in the seat next to me during PIRANHA. The Alamo Drafthouse continues to make dreams come true and I could never have a better movie experience than I do at their theaters.

I was excited to see DEVO at FunFunFun Fest 2010. When they cancelled, I was still excited to see friends and just have a good time at the Fest. Once the news came out of Descendents filling in as a replacement, all hell broke loose. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd get to see them again. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was able to see them on the Everything Sucks tour and it was one of the best times of my life. I also said before that your Descendents friends are the ones you want to keep forever. Even though most of us have moved on to different places and we don't talk very much, I still remember the great times we had. Kevin, Victor, Jason B, Robbie, Christina, Carlos, and Eddie, you guys are always in my thoughts. Seeing The Descendents again made me feel like that 16yr old girl who didn't have a care in the world.

"These days the people I love are spread so far apart."

I think it's safe to say I'm not a Hanson fan. My friends Yogi & Nicole, on the other hand, celebrate their entire catalog(and not in an ironic way). Their first dance as a married couple was to a Hanson song. Somehow the fates called down and Hanson was scheduled to preform on Yogi's birthday so I begrudgingly agreed to attend. Now after frequenting SXSW and Warped Tour for several years, I figured I've seen MUCH worse musical acts than Hanson(Good Charlotte at La Zona Rosa comes to mind). Surprisingly, the performance was quit entertaining and engaging. I did have a considerable number of drinks so that might have helped. Frankly, Hanson was a lot better than most of the bullshit hipster bands I painstakingly watched at FunFunFun Fest(Best Coast I'm looking at you). It was just nice to see my friends actually stoked about something.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Most Loved

Since my Festivus grievances have been aired, I figured I'd also share some things I absolutely love. So without further adieu:

You know how some people are baby obsessed? Well I'm dog obsessed. I love all animals in general (except cats), but I especially love dogs of all shapes and sizes. Every time I see a cute dog, I have to stop and pet him/her. I even love movies with dogs(WORLD'S GREATEST DAD, HOTEL FOR DOGS, I LOVE YOU MAN). I really didn't like the film DUE DATE, but I just loved the French Bulldog that co-starred. My heart also sank a bit when RDJ spit in his face. I do have a dog of my own and he is the love of my life. I plan on adopting more pooches in the future. Pugs happen to be my favorite breed. A fellow Pug enthusiast once told me that if you see a Pug, it means good luck.

Pumpkin might be the most delicious treat of all time. This is the time of year that I begin hoarding all things pumpkin. You name it, I love it: tea, beer, pie, bread, shampoo, air freshener, pancakes, ice cream, soup, muffins, shakes, and even seeds. I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I will go to town on some pumpkin lattes. My friend Alexis once made me the most heavenly pumpkin cheesecake ever. I also welcome recipes with pumpkin, so if you have any, pass them along.

I wouldn't consider myself a fashionista; I'll leave that to all the hipster Austinites. I'm very frugal when it comes to buying clothes. I have managed to acquire some reasonably stylish clothing from places like Ross, Target, and Marshalls. However, I will spend some cheese on a nice hangbag. For me, the handbag makes the ensemble. On a recent shopping excursion, Kenny remarked, "I don't understand the handbag thing." At that moment, a woman yelled at me from across the make-up counter, "I love your purse!" A woman could be wearing sweatpants, but if she's carrying a nice, classy bag she is not to be taken lightly.

Most of you are aware of my Halloween obsession. My decorating process is beginning earlier and earlier as the years go on. This year, I started putting decorations up on Labor Day. I would probably start sooner if the stores carried seasonal items all the time. I only took down the last of the outside decorations a couple days ago. And yes, I do have stuff that stays up year round. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, hands down. I ALWAYS dress up, sometimes in multiple costumes. I love the smell in the air, the candy, the costumes, the TV specials, and most of all the movies. When I was a kid, I always helped my mother decorate. She had the same corny decorations each year. It was always laughing pumpkins, cutesy kitties, and smiling bats. She didn't want to scare the neighborhood children. Now that I have my own household, my whole goal is to scare the shit out of every and anyone including myself.

Taco Bueno
I'm not a big fan of Mexican food to begin with. Growing up in South Texas, you tend to eat more than your share of Mexican food, especially if that's the only thing your mother can cook. Some of you highbrow foodies might condemn me for this but I kind of enjoy Mexican fast food. Taco Bueno happens to be the cream of the crop. I have yet to find a bad selection at Bueno. I enjoy everything from the seasonal tamales to the potato burrito. The lime cilantro rice is to die for and the prices are very inexpensive. Even their smoothies are muy delicioso!

I love tea, hot and cold. In the summer time I brew a lot of sweet tea with my Mr. Tea machine. In the winter time, I consume a ridiculous amount of hot tea with extra soy milk & honey. I love all kinds of flavors (mostly black teas) but in the AM it's usually English Breakfast. I'm not an elitist tea drinker by any means. I've found some tasty flavors at anywhere from Big Lots to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Now there's a new store in the mall that exclusively sells tea. Could I have started a trend?

It doesn't get too cold in Texas during the winters but it is cold enough for me. I get bored wearing pants all the time so I gotta break it up a bit. That is why I have a bountiful of tights and leggings. I love all different colors and patterns. I happen to have a very short torso but really long legs and tights are great for that figure. They're perfect to wear with skirts/shorts and boots. Betsey Johnson and Forever 21 carry a decent array but some of the best pairs I've found came from the ghetto Dollar Store. Those last longer than the $5 pair I have from Target. Tights are also a fun way to add color to a mostly black wardrobe.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Most Hated

With Festivus rapidly approaching, I thought I'd get a head start on airing my grievances. Here are a few things I absolutely loathe. In no particular order:

LOL, epic, legit, FTW
I don't have a FaceBook account so unfortunately I have to miss out on so many mundane status updates. I do, however, have a twitter account so I read several compacted 140 character messages daily. Through twitter, I've learned how funny or incredibly boring my acquaintances are. I've also learned a lot about David Lynch, yet I'm more confused about him than ever before. These simple inane words happen to annoy me to no end. Now I'm no English major but I can think of a dozen more words that would be far more useful than these. My least favorite is FTW. Why would you wanna "Fuck The World?" It makes no sense. And "cheeseburgers FTW!" or "going to IKEA FTW!" makes even less sense. Epic and legit belong in the vocabulary of a 15yr old boy. Which means no one I associate with, has any business using either word.

James Cameron
Cameron is an arrogant asshole who deserves no recognition. He has become the new Michael Bay but way more douchey. I've never been a fan of his, but I have seen several of his movies and I think they're pretty mediocre. They are huge glitzy productions that merely conceal bad acting. I'll admit TERMINATOR 2 was entertaining, but it wasn't Oscar worthy. Nearly all of the filmmakers I admire have a very unique style that sets them apart from others. Cameron has no style whatsoever. All he has is a lot of money, some special effects, and an inflated ego. And for the record I have not see AVATAR, but I have seen FERNGULLY which is the same thing.

My problems with Glee may lie with the people who watch it more than the show itself. Being involved with theatre at one time has made me wary of people who spontaneously break out in song. It actually makes me cringe. Theatre people are some of the most self involved individuals I've ever come across. I also hate most contemporary pop music. Jane Lynch is becoming increasingly overexposed, she may be the new Jack Black. I feel like the people who watch this show are the ones who randomly quote Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss.

FourSquare, GoWalla, etc.
I'm referring to the mobile application that many people use to "check in." It's basically a way for people to mark their territories like dogs pissing on fire hydrants. I don't think people realize how irritating and hazardous it can become. Think about it: Bob & Sue just checked in at the football game. They will be gone for the next three hours which is plenty of time to rob their house. On the other had, 4SQ/GoWalla/whatever is like being in an abusive relationship when you have to tell your abuser where you are every minute of the day. By the way, if you become "the mayor" of your work place, you need to get back to work.

Los Angeles Lakers
Has anyone else ever seem such a collection of delinquents? I hate the Lakers, not because "they're champs," but because they're rapist, hoodlums, and most of all dirty players. The Lakers are like every villainous character wrapped into one team. Kobe Bryant is Lex Luthor, Gasol is Gargamel, and Ron Artest is Skeletor. Even their mascot is a villain, The Joker. By the way, anyone else notice that Pau Gasol resembles the buzzard from Looney Tunes?

Film Remakes
For an industry that was founded on creativity and art, Hollywood sure has dropped the ball with all these remakes. Instead of bastardizing someone else's vision, why not build your own? Most of the films that are now being remade work because of the language, setting, and period they were originally devised in. As good of reviews the LET THE RIGHT ONE IN remake received, I still refuse to watch it. What made this film beautiful was the language and the wonderfully dark backdrop of Sweden. The NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST remake was like someone stomping on my childhood. NIGHTMARE without Robert Englund is like Journey without Steve Perry. It just becomes a cheap facade. Other remakes I'm disappointed with include: GHOSTBUSTERS, HELLRAISER, FRIDAY THE 13TH, ARTHUR, BATTLE ROYALE, ,THE ORPHANAGE, TEEN WOLF, THE WARRIORS, THE CROW, and FRIGHT NIGHT. The list goes on but I will let you IMDB the rest. They're even remaking shitty movies like FOOTLOOSE and DROP DEAD FRED.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Family Matters

"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts." -Anonymous

Family is a funny thing. You can't live with them, can't live without them, but you still love them unconditionally. The first relationships we build are with family members, which sets the precedent for future relationships. Most people wince at the thought of holiday season, simply because of the painstaking events that ensue as a result of family gatherings.

I recently had the opportunity to spend the weekend with someone else's parents which can be a challenge. Your parents are your own and for the most part, you've become used to them by now. As for someone else's parents, things become more daunting because you're not quite sure how to react. I guess you just gotta take it with a grain of salt or like a Russ Meyer film. Here are some great quotes I overheard this past weekend. Names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

"Rusty, who are these girls? Are they hookers?" -Rusty's mom
(as she lurks his Facebook page)

"That place sucks." -Rusty
"Rusty, you're a grown-up now. We use different words." -Rusty's dad
"Sorry, that place blows." -Rusty

"Dad told me not to let you buy anything." -Rusty
"Rusty, no one has any control over me." -Rusty's mom the shopaholic

"If we would've brought our dogs, people would be crowding around us like celebrities. It happens all the time." -Rusty's dog obsessed mom

"Did you watch MAMA MIA?" -Rusty's mom

Personal Favorite:
"Rusty, you have time to go to the bar but you don't have time to call your mother."
(as posted on Rusty's Facebook wall by his mother)

I've come to realize everyone's family is a little embarrassing at times. That's what makes us appreciate our own independence, and appreciate the time we have with them. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season wherever you go and maybe you can share some of your own family quotes.

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family ... in another city." -George Burns

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guilty as Charged

The other day, a friend of mine asked me what my musical guilty pleasure is. With very little thought, I immediately replied NSYNC. Although, I don't necessarily believe in "guilty pleasures." I don't think you should be embarrassed of anything you choose to enjoy (except Jersey Shore). Obviously, like many teens I had several selections of music I did not want my friends to know I listened to. I was forced to hide my Billy Joel, NKOTB, Boys II Men, and Air Supply tapes in Black Flag or Misfits cases. Nowadays, I proudly proclaim my love for Bay City Rollers, Lionel Richie, Take That, Dashboard Confessional, and most of all The Outfield. I'm comfortable with my taste in music.

It's interesting how music usually comes full circle. Lots of long forgotten bands reform because there's still an audience for that genre and there's always someone discovering it for the first time. Honestly, I was listening to Journey and Hall & Oats long before it got cool to like them again, no thanks to The Sopranos and that Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie.

Lately, I've been reading a lot of books related to music. It made me realize that I don't really listen to much music after 1996 which is a little disheartening. There's just a few bands I've gotten into in the last decade; many are spin-offs of previous bands. I don't feel the need to be up to date with current trends on Pitchfork, but I am always open to new suggestions. Here's a few of my own "guilty pleasures."

Michael McDonald
Man, I sure do love soft rock! The songs are so catchy and light; you can't help but sing-along. Songs like this remind me of being a kid and driving around in my mom's burnt orange Maverick without a care in the world.

Take That
I will always have a little place in my cold black heart for boy bands. It's such a great formula that has worked through and through. It probably started with NKOTB (Joey was my fave). We couldn't really afford to go to big concerts like that back then and I was always jealous of the girls who came back with giant buttons and over sized t-shirts. When I got older, I had the opportunity to see NYSNC on the Pop Odyssey tour and it was such a blast; I felt like 10yr old Priscilla finally had redemption. Take That stands out among the boy banders because they have been probably the most successful and credible. They never got quit that big in the US, but in the UK they were huge even after Robbie left.

Gin Blossoms
This is a band I made fun of in the 90s. There was nothing goth or punk about them so they were definitely on my shit list. As I've gotten older, some of my tastes have changed (or at least become less judgemental). After listening to New Miserable Experience a couple times, I realize Gin Blossoms had some gems. I also have a soft spot for them as a result of watching EMPIRE RECORDS too many times. I've also rediscovered Soul Asylum; the 90s were an interesting time for music and Winona Ryder.

Rick Springfield
Rick holds a special place in the hearts of many women over the age of 40. So how you ask, did I come to be completely enamored by Rick. My mom used to watch this cheesy prime time drama in which Rick played a detective by night and a surfer by day. The show didn't last very long, but Rick's charisma left a lasting impression on me. I further investigated his catalog and discovered some rocking tunes. I also love how he used his dog for most of his album covers.

Dashboard Confessional
Also, a band I made fun of in 2001. I once saw Chris open for some random hardcore band. He had a guitar and a stool. At the time, it seemed like the lamest thing but in hindsight I realize that actually took a lot of guts. To go from being in a pseudo-hardcore band to playing cheesy love songs on an acoustic guitar is something to commend. So the cheesy love songs grew on me and I became a fan. And if you talk during the set, I will punch you in the face. Just ask Yogi & Nicole.

Who are your not so guilty pleasures?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Desert Island Films

What if you were stuck on a deserted island for an indefinite amount of time? What would be the five movies you would bring with you? CASTAWAY & THE BEACH are automatically eliminated for obvious reasons. It's a pretty difficult decision to make. When I asked my friends their thoughts, some answered TRUE ROMANCE, GOONIES, COMMANDO, THE SHINING, GODFATHER II, GRINDHOUSE, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, KILL BILL, PULP FICTION, and ZOMBIE. A decent array of quality films right? Also, let's not forget the whole issue of porn flicks. Without further adieu, here are my top five desert island films.

This is an obvious choice since it is my favorite movie of all time. I actually watch it 2-3 times a month. I watch it when I'm sad, sick, cleaning, and when I just need a good laugh. CADDYSHACK has one of the best ensemble casts ever that includes some of the funniest comedians of our time like Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and the incredible Bill Murray. I watched this movie for the first time as a kid with my dad. He was a big golfer and I was in love with the gopher. It's funny to think about the lightly vulgar jokes I didn't quit understand as a little girl. "Someone step on a duck?"

As a horror connoisseur, my choice from this genre would be very crucial. It would need to be something timeless, classic, intelligent, and truly frightening. THE EXORCIST embodies all these things. I've watched it a hundred times and could easily watch it a hundred more. Most recently, I was very excited to see THE LAST EXORCISM because I will pretty much watch anything that has Eli Roth's name attached to it. However, after watching it on opening day, I felt really let down. The film itself had great acting and directing but an ending that just fell short. It's impossible to make a movie about possession post EXORCIST; nothing will ever compare to such a masterpiece.

There are two types of nerds in this world: the ones who like STAR TREK and the ones who like STAR WARS. I like STAR WARS. I believe everything you need to know in life is in the Holy Trilogy. Everything a person would need to learn about love, friendship, family, survival, patience, loyalty, right & wrong, and respect is right in these films. EMPIRE just happens to be the best one. We get to see different landscapes, Luke gets stronger, the droids get funnier, Han & Leia get closer, and most of all, we meet Boba Fett.

David Lynch is one of the best directors of our time. I would have to bring one of his films. MULHOLLAND DR. is such a versatile film. It's sexy, funny, smart, visually appealing, and at times frightening. If I were stuck on an island, I would have plenty of time to find all the clues and finally solve the puzzle. Added bonus is that it stars one of my favorite actors, Justin Theroux.

ALMOST FAMOUS is a film I can watch over and over. It's a great story with with some awesome one liners and a great cast. Most importantly, it has an amazing soundtrack. Most films have a music budget of around $1.5 million, this budget was nearly $3.5 million. One of my favorite things about this film are the subtle cameos. Can you spot them all?

Honorable Mention
Being a big QT fan, it's extremely difficult to play favorites with his films. As an honorable mention, I would include BASTERDS because if I were on a deserted island, I would at least have an opportunity to learn several different languages. This film includes French, German, and Italian. It also has the handsome Bear Jew bashing heads with a baseball bat. How can you beat (pun intended) that?

Monday, October 11, 2010


So I've been thinking about cover songs a lot lately. Why you ask? Seems like everyone is doing them these days (more than usual). A friend of mine absolutely LOVES cover songs, more so than the originals in many cases. Odd right? Apparently many people share this sentiment, especially younger people. Now that I think about it, when I was a kid I had no idea most of the songs Tiffany sang were covers. How was I supposed to know it was a Beatles song? They weren't on MTV! And the only thing I knew about Paul McCartney was that he did that one song with Michael Jackson where they had blackface. I also read a recent poll that declared Celine Dion's cover of "You Shook Me All Night Long" the worst cover of ALL time. I might be able to come up with worse....maybe

Anyhow, here's a compilation of some of MY favorite covers.

Hole-Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac)
I know you're thinking this is a bold statement and it is, but hear me out. There's a generation of women who all at one point wanted to be Stevie Nicks; Courtney Love is one of these women. Except she's a little more obsessive about it almost as much as she wanted to be Nancy Spungen. Say what you will about Courtney (we can all agree she's a complete lunatic), but there's something about her that just enthralls people. She's an enigma that might never be explained. Is she a really good musician? Did Kurt/Billy really write those songs? How is she still alive? The world may never know, but I do like this song.

The Clash- I Fought The Law (Sonny Curtis)
What can I say about The Clash that hasn't already been said? Yeah, the Sex Pistols created punk (at least the attitude), but The Clash created the soundtrack. They always paid tribute to other genres of music that influenced their style, for example reggae. However, covering an old 50s tune by Buddy Holly's back-up band was something most people would have never thought of. The lyrics are so universal and makes you think about the problems in the world existing a lot longer than we ever thought.

The Pixies- Head On (Jesus & Mary Chain)
For the most part, I knew who The Pixies were when I was very young. They had already became relatively know in the early 90s. In middle school, I used to stay up on Sunday nights to listen to the local alternative program on the radio. I often recorded it on a cassette tape. One night I heard The Pixies play Head On and the DJ mentioned JAMC. So I did a little digging and discovered one of my all time favorite bands.

Social Distortion- Under My Thumb (Rolling Stones)
In high school, most of my influences were punk bands. I had no idea who was influencing them, nor did I really care. To me The Rolling Stones were a bunch of old dudes. I had this image of Mick Jagger in the worst Miami Vice suit dancing around with David Bowie in that god awful video that shall remain nameless. Once I really listened to the lyrics of this song, I realized how compelling and bold it was. I eventually went back into The Stones' catalog and discovered some of the sexiest songs I have ever heard in my life.

New Order- Ceremony (Joy Division)
Yes, I know it's essentially the same band. Are you really the same band after your lead singer suddenly hangs himself? I feel like this was the song that New Order really had a chance to put the past behind them and move into a new direction. They're famous for not doing interviews and have never talked openly about Ian Curtis' suicide. I don't think they really need to, just listen to Ceremony.

Honorable Mention
Johnny Cash- Hurt (Nine Inch Nails)
This is a pretty intense song, only heightened by the haunting video. It's even harder to watch now that Johnny & June Cash are both dead. Makes you wonder what Johnny would be covering now if he were still around.

I know Kenny would insist on including Placebo's cover of Boys Don't Cry (The Cure) in this list and I would, but it's technically not released on anything. We'll just continue to swoon over two of our favorite guys singing one great song together in this video.

What are your favorite cover songs?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All time scariest!

Some of you that know me are familiar with my affinity for horror films. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn't engrossed in the latest horror film. My obsession began when I was a child, as hobby I shared with my father. At an early age my father always told me I should never be afraid of anything. He assured me that ghosts & goblins were fiction and the real monsters were politicians. On the weekends, he and I would hit the local video store and seek out the most shocking, craziest, and disturbing video box we could find. The two of us would stay up 'til midnight watching movies and eating popcorn & candy. It was thrilling to know that we were kind of breaking the rules. I was well aware (even at the age of 7) that I should not be watching HELLRAISER II. We watched many classics as well, including: CARRIE, THE EXORCIST, FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN, ROSEMARY'S BABY, etc.

I continue the tradition my father and I started. These days I enjoy early 80s American slasher flicks, Asian horror (specifically Japanese & Korean), late 80s/early 90s Italian horror, and current extreme French horror films. However, for the most part I will give nearly anything a try. I feel it's safe to say I am not easily startled. I've seen films that could be considered torture porn (and I don't mean HOSTEL) as well as films that were banned in 30 different countries. I've watched everything from TRACES OF DEATH to IRREVERSIBLE and anything in between. Some of it was amazing and some was complete shit.

Knowing my fixation, I'm often asked what the scariest film is. In most lists I see, THE EXORCIST is often at the top. Don't get me wrong, it is a truly frightening piece of art, but for me it's not the scariest. I was far more fearful of the constant guilt I felt as a Catholic than I was ever fearful of possession. I think the most disturbing film I have ever seen is undoubtedly WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE. I recently noticed that a special screening of it was taking place at The Alamo. The sheer thought of witnessing it on the big screen sent chills up my spine.

For those unfamiliar, here is a synopsis from www.imdb.com:
"Two aging film actresses live as virtual recluses in an old Hollywood mansion. Jane Hudson, a successful child star, cares for her crippled sister Blanche, who's career in later years eclipsed that of Jane. Now the two live together, their relationship affected by simmering subconscious thoughts of mutual envy, hate and revenge."

Now just picture these two over-the-top characters portrayed by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, two women who inflicted much terror in their own personal lives. Joan Crawford was synonymous with wire hangers and Bette Davis was capable of killing a man with the scrunch of her famous brows. It's also well known that these two women had a feud similar to Burr vs. Hamilton. What would possess these two heavyweights to make a film together? What else....money! Both aging actresses were no longer in their prime and realized they needed to capitalize on whatever they had left. The really frightening aspect of the film is that so much of it mirrored reality! The careers, the competition, the senility were all so real. My unease for this film also stems from an aversion to elderly people. I've seen WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE less than a handful of times because it gives me such anxiety, especially the rat scene. The psychologically twisted plot is completely mind bending. I cautiously recommend you viewing it at least once! So....what's your scariest film?

Friday, July 2, 2010

lost loves

People have such a strange relationship with food. So many of us relate a particular food to a certain event in our lives. And in most cases, it's usually happy times. Why is that? I often feel grief-stricken when something I really enjoy is discontinued. It's like closing the door on a specific point in my life. How many of you feel a little somber when you realize the McRib is gone, even though you know it will eventually be back? Who else misses Choco Tacos, Crunch Tators, or Puddin Pops? Here are my top 5 ALL TIME favorite and dearly missed food/beverage items:

5. Mr. Pibb
Now I'm talking about ORIGINAL Mr. Pibb, NOT Pibb Xtra! Some will argue that Pibb Xtra is the same as Original Pibb but they are mistaken. The way it burned your throat after that first sip has yet to be replicated. I remember drinking copious amounts of Mr. Pibb every time we went to Six Flags AstroWorld. Nothing quenched your thirst quite like it! I will still drink Pibb Xtra as a paltry substitute for the original, it's just not the same.

4. Crystal Clear Pepsi
Am I the only person who actually enjoyed Crystal Pepsi? I've never been a fan of Pepsi in general. To me, it tastes really flat and medicinal. It was so refreshing when Crystal Pepsi came out! There was a crisp, clean taste that I haven't found in any other soft drink. I can only compare it to Sprite, but better. Not many people remember the taste. They only remember the Van Halen song and the SNL gravy skit.

3. Morning Star Mini Corn Dogs
I've never really eaten pork, but I do love a tasty dog. Veggie dogs have been a staple in my diet since I can remember. Morning Star used to make these delicious bite size corn dogs that were straight from heaven. I could eat a whole box of them! I once had a Winona Ryder costume party and served these tasty treats as appetizers. They were such a hit and no one could tell they were not pork. I took it very hard when Morning Star discontinued the minis, but I took it even harder when they recently discontinued the regular dogs. What am I supposed to do? Oh, I'm well aware of Smart Dogs, but Smart Dogs taste like rubber! If I weren't so attached to their bacon, I would completely boycott Morning Star altogether for their rash decisions. Fortunately, I still have a savior in Hot Dog King. Anyone interested in enjoying the BEST veggie dog of all time can find it at a trailer on Red River between 7Th & 8Th St. They don't call him the Hot Dog King of Chicago for nothing!

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pies
Hostess made these pies when The Secret of The Ooze came out. They were similar to the cherry, apple, and chocolate gas station pies we're all familiar with. Only these pies were green! They had a green crust and the filling was a vanilla flavored green pudding. Essentially, the pies looked like something the girl from The Exorcist barfed up, but they were so delectable. The pies also came with a collectible sticker of various scenes in the film. I recall being envied by many kids because everyday I'd open my Ninja Turtle lunchbox to find a glorious pie inside. Just so you know, there's an online petition to bring these beloved pies back!

1. Sparks
It's hard to recall what life was like before Sparks. To sum it up in one word, I'd say "boring." Some of the best/worst decisions I've made in my life were the result of Sparks. We really had a good run together. Just when I thought SXSW couldn't get more ridiculously out of hand, then came Sparks. What a genius idea to combine caffeine and alcohol! And what an even better decision to combine that with vodka & cranberry juice to create the almighty Sparkle Berry (courtesy of Mike Sanchez former Emos bartender). Having an orange tongue was like a badge of honor. Wicked Celtics even wrote a love song to this amazing beverage. I can only compare the Sparkle Berry to drinking unicorns blood while sitting on a cloud inebriated. Why would something so enjoyable be ripped from our clutches? Oh, because asshole parents thought it appealed to kids. The only group of people Sparks appealed to or targeted were hipsters and lushes. Now supposedly, it's been revamped but it's not the same. It's like taking your girlfriend back after she's banged the whole football team. The era of Sparks will live on in infamy. I guess all good things must come to an end.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Can't sleep, clown will eat me

I recently did a project on phobias, specifically coulrophobia. Coulrophobia is the abnormal fear of clowns. I thought I'd share a few things I learned about this condition.

Those unfamiliar with phobias should know that they are defined by an irrational fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. Some sufferers will experience a tightness of breath, sweating, nausea, shaking, or trouble speaking. They are often caused by a traumatic event or genetic predisposition. Ten million americans suffer from phobias and women are twice as affected than men. Some treatments for phobias consist of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, flooding, and medication.

Coulrophobia is one of the most common phobias around. I happen to suffer from it as well. The first time I went to the circus was around the age 7 with my father. I never liked people touching me as a kid. I was always taught never to make eye contact, speak, or touch strangers. Within minutes of settling into my seat, some strange clown marches over to me and begins to pinch my chubby cheeks. My initial response is to kick him as hard as I can. Let me tell you there's nothing scarier than an angry clown who's just been kicked in the shin. Well, I never went back to the circus and I never trusted clowns again.

So what is it about clowns that is so scary? When you think about it, it's impossible to gauge a clown's true intentions. The painted on smiles make it hard to differentiate if the clown is friendly and happy or evil and menacing. The exaggerated features can be very unsettling especially for a child. It kind of all goes back to the fear of the unknown.

Of course later in life, my fear was heightened by movies like IT and KILLER CLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE. Let's not forget Pogo the clown aka John Wayne Gacy or Crazy Joe Davola from Seinfeld. I was always convinced that Bozo and Cookie were secretly child molesters. And have you ever been to Circus Circus in Las Vegas? That place is like a bad acid trip!

Many celebrities also have a fear of clowns. Daniel Radcliffe aka Harry Potter has openly talked about his fear of clowns. Johnny Depp has mentioned having nightmares as a child about evil clowns leering at him. P Diddy has a "no clown" policy in his tour contract.

My fear has subsided a bit as I've gotten older. I still cringe at the thought of the circus however. It's strange how one little experience in our childhood can affect the rest of our lives. What are you afraid of?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Sandwich Story

I've been repeating this unbelievable tale so much, I figured I'd post it here as well in case you missed it. This is a tale of society's principals(or there lack of) and the degree people will go to for something they want. The story pertains to a friend from work who I will refer to as "Frances."

Frances is a portly middle aged woman who almost always has an upbeat attitude. I wouldn't consider her religious, but worldly spiritual if that makes sense. I respect and applaud her optimistic outlook on life. One day I see her walk in with an enraged look of disgust on her face. I immediately knew something was awry. When I inquire what was the matter, she replies, "that asshole at 7-11 pissed me the fuck off." She begins to reveal the sordid details of her encounter that morning.

Frances stopped at a local convenient store to purchase a particular sandwich she had grown fond of. At the very moment she reaches for the sandwich, a man grasps for it as well. They continue to both clench the sandwich anticipating the other will let go. In a moment of frustration, Frances crushes the sandwich in hopes the man will relent. No words are ever exchanged in the confrontation but it's clear the man will not back down. Squished or not, he is determined to get the sandwich! Frances finally complies and loosens her grip. The triumphant man arrogantly retorts, "I'm sure you'll find something else to eat!" That smart ass remark sent Frances into a fit of rage! She immediately hikes up her skirt with no panties underneath and replies, "EAT THIS BITCH!" She then ran out of the store in defeat.

Side note:
Frances was admitted to the emergency room two days later due to a Sebaceous Cysts on her labia. Which means she had a clogged gland on her nether region that began to swell and needed to be cut open to release fluid. Apparently, this is a common procedure that is akin to popping a zit.

Not only was Frances in an agitated mood from the discomfort in her body, but she flashed an unsuspecting man her swollen vagina over a 7-11 sandwich.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top Five Directors

I guess I could consider myself a bit of a film buff. People always ask me what are my favorite movies of all time. It's such a tough decision. The movie I watch most often is CADDYSHACK. It's probably the funniest movie I've ever seen and if you disagree I will arm wrestle you! I love so many different genres, it's just so hard to pick a handful of films so I'm gonna give you my favorite directors. These are the directors who's commentaries I will listen to repeatedly and obsessively. I'd do almost anything to be in one of their films. I will watch pretty much anything they put out even without knowing anything about it. So without further adieu:

Jim Jarmusch
Hands down, Jarmusch is the king of cool. His style seems so effortless. He's like the Thurston Moore of film. My personal favorite is COFFEE AND CIGARETTES.I love the episode of Bored to Death he was in. Jarmusch can even make Roberto Benigni seem cool.

David Lynch
David Lynch has managed to create a genre unto himself. You don't really know what to expect when you get into a Lynch film. You do know it will be weird, confusing, sexy, and captivating. I sat in a crowded theatre on opening night for over three hours watching INLAND EMPIRE and I still have no clue what I witnessed. I never get tired of watching Twin Peaks, but I have to say my favorite Lynch film is WILD AT HEART. I'm an Elvis girl.

Cameron Crowe
I know you're thinking WTF, but hear me out. Crowe is an amazing storyteller and the voice of a generation filled with angst. He relates to young people in a way Gus Van Sant wishes he could. He was originally a music journalist so his soundtracks always kick ass. ALMOST FAMOUS is my favorite but I do have a soft spot for SAY ANYTHING. What can I say? The estrogen in me makes me predisposed to Lloyd Dobler.

Takashi Miike
Miike has single handedly changed the face of horror. Only he can fuse humor and violence into a mind blowing work of art. He often cites horror greats like Hooper and Carpenter as influences. However, no current filmmaker compares to his breathtaking style. My favorite is AUDITION, not for the faint of heart.

Quentin Tarantino
"When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, no, I went to films." -QT
I have this crazy idea that if I ever met QT, we would become best friends. I have nothing but respect for someone so passionate about film. His style feels so enjoyable and mesmerizing. And it's all done without crazy special effects or $400 million. QT is like the Scorsese of our time. A lot of people criticized him for "ripping off" various Asian and Italian directors and I don't believe it for a minute. He's only paying tribute to those amazing directors and introducing a whole new generation to Fulci or Park Chan-Wook. What can I say? He's an Elvis man.