Monday, November 30, 2009

Are you afraid of wolves or something? I'm not afraid of them, I have a phobia of them.

Read these lyrics to the break out hit by Owl City, "Fireflies," and try and answer the question afterward.

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies lit up the world as I fell asleep
'Cause they'd fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You'd think me rude but I would just stand and stare

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
'Cause everything is never as it seems

'Cause I'd get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance
A foxtrot above my head
A sock hop beneath my bed
A disco ball is just hanging by a thread

When I fall asleep leave my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
'Cause I feel like such an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting sheep
(Please take me away from here)
When I'm far too tired to fall asleep

To ten million fireflies
I'm weird 'cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell
But I'll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
'Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar

(I fall asleep)
I'd like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams

Here's the $1,000,000 question. What the hell is that song about? Seriously. Is this guy an effeminate 7 year old? I only ask because I don't think those lyrics would come out of a well adjusted 20 something.


We had a fantastic holiday. Harper was somewhat of a demon on the trip to Tyler (which took 1 1/2 hours longer than it typically does because of traffic) but we realized the next day that it was probably because she was cutting her first tooth. She was an angel on the trip back, incidentally.

Thanksgiving was awesome because I'd really been missing my family and I got to see them and because our food kicked so much ass. I've only enjoyed Thanksgiving turkey twice in my life, counting this year, and both times its been fried turkey. This year was the absolute best, however, because this year Seth got a fried Cajun turkey from Dickie's BBQ and it was ridiculously delicious. I've got no time for smoked or roasted turkeys from now on. I'll eat a turkey leg at a theme park but other than that, keep those dry pieces of shit away from me.

We also got to stay at our friends, Ryan and Tori's awesome new house, which was a great time. Very comfortable and welcoming.

On Friday, Seth's family came back to Austin with us for the weekend. It was really great to get to spend actual quality time with them, especially my niece and nephew who are amazing little people. Unfortunately, my nephew had a fever on Sunday morning so they left a little earlier than we planned.

Leah and I spent the rest of the day cleaning and relaxing and a little later headed over to the studio for her to record her parts on a few songs for the EP. It sounds great but I think she always expects recording to be a little easier and less frustrating than it really is. But she's a trooper and she knocked it all out.

Oh, and we saw Fantastic Mr. Fox, which in my humble opinion is the best Wes Anderson movie since The Royal Tenenbaums (which is saying something because, in my humble opinion, The Royal Tenenbaums is the best movie ever made). I haven't laughed that hard at a movie in a while, and for the rest of the night I'd just think about the movie and belly laugh again. I loved it and cannot wait for that DVD to be buyable.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

With friends named "Boner" who needs enemies?

Do you remember Growing Pains? I loved Growing Pains. No one can deny that the show was largely carried by the talent and undeniable charm of one Kirk Cameron. Mike Seaver was the white Theo Huxtable.

That's why its so painful to watch Kirk Cameron's endeavors now. He and this Ray Comfort character have republished Darwin's Origin and are handing out their copies on college campuses all over the country on the 150 year anniversary of its publication. The problem is that they've added their own introduction trying the tired old (and baseless) strategy of connecting Evolution to eugenics and Hitler and, until they were called out on it, were publishing with 4 essential chapters suspiciously missing.

So I guess he was handing out these copies yesterday and a student decided to take him to task and as much as I hate myself for linking to TMZ, they're the ones with the video. Its a little hard to hear what Kirk says (headphones will help) but its pretty apparent that he doesn't know much about the Theory that he's so opposed to. They clearly think that if they can tarnish the name of Darwin, they're somehow striking a mighty blow against atheism. But no atheist (or any other non religious, critically minded person) believes Darwin to be a prophet or messiah or infallible at all. In fact, he got several things wrong and had ideas about genetics that would have made evolution impossible. But trying to somehow tie him to Hitler doesn't change the fact that he was right about a lot of things and made our understanding of biology today possible. He could've been a child molester, and while that would've certainly changed the way we celebrate him today, it wouldn't have made his ideas less brilliant or pioneering.

Science builds on ideas, like the girl in the video says, and our understanding of Evolution has grown tremendously since Origin was published. If you wanted to learn about Evolution, I don't think you'd even read Origin. Not for sheer understanding anyway. You'd want to read something that has the best and the most information possible so you'd probably read something written recently by a scientist who's currently working in the field.

I wonder what Alan Thicke thinks about Evolution...And by that I mean that I don't wonder what Alan Thicke thinks about Evolution. Not because I don't think he's smart, I'm sure he's a genius, I just mean he's an actor and not exactly a voice of authority on science. I'm not going to ask him to prescribe me medications either.

I still want to like Kirk Cameron even though the general internet consensus seems to be that he's a bit of a douche bag. I heard that even when he's acting he won't kiss any woman but his wife, and while some may think that trivial and stupid, I think its admirable. I'm also sure he loves his six kids and his friends and is probably a nice guy, he's just really, really wrong about Darwin and seems to be unreasonable about science. There are worse things a person can be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"If I were to make a Smurfs movie, I would make it dark" by Taylor Muse

If I were to make a Smurfs movie, I would make it an origin story, for starters. There are too many questions about the Smurfs that have gone unanswered for far too long, and I would fix that right up. Where do they live, for instance? Why does Gargamel hate them so? How does he know what Smurf tastes like since he never has any luck catching them? Here's an outline.

Gargamel is a normal, aspiring wizard in our world who lives with his loving wife and cat in medieval times. One day one of his spells opens a portal to another world...The world of the Smurfs. Garamel, his wife, and Azrael the cat venture through the portal to discover the forest where the Smurfs live. Pretty quickly Papa Smurf and the gang welcome them and they all become the best of friends. The family Gargamel are intrigued and amazed by their tiny blue friends.

One day Gargamel's wife and a party of Smurfs go out looking for Smurf-berries and, through a series of mishaps, end up trapped in a cave or some other isolating invention. They're trapped for days and on the brink of starvation when the Smurfs start dropping. The wife has no other choice but to eat the Smurfs or starve.

Finally, Grouchy Smurf leads a search party and rescues Mrs. Gargamel, however, Grouchy Smurf is forever scarred by what he sees when he finds her amongst the bones of his friends, the smell of Smurf meat still lingering on her breath. He is in a bad mood for the rest of his life. Only Grouchy, Papa Smurf, and Mrs. Gargamel know what really happened and a story is made up to explain the missing Smurfs to the rest of the gang. But little does everyone know that Smurf meat is among the most addictive substances in the universe, and soon Mrs. Gargamel is in the throws of withdrawal. Finally she snaps and in her fit of addiction picks off the lesser known Drifter Smurf while everyone else is at a party or something. However, Gargamel has sensed that something is wrong with his wife and followed her and witnessed what she does to Drifter Smurf. He doesn't know what to do so he confides in Papa Smurf. Papa Smurf assured Gargamel that everything will be OK, and that nobody will miss Drifter Smurf, and with the right counselling Mrs. Gargamel could be made whole once again. Gargamel feels better and leaves but as soon as he's out the door Papa Smurf calls Brainy in and tells him to gather all the Smurfs together.

Once they're all together, Papa Smurf explains the situation and tells about the legend of some other human who got a taste for Smurf and was almost the downfall of Smurf-kind. Papa Smurf assures everyone that there is only one thing to be done about Mrs. Gargamel, and that's to Smurf her out. Plans are made and carried out and in the middle of the night Mrs. Gargamel finds herself in a tiny blue nightmare and her life is over.

Gargamel may not be that bright but he's smart enough to figure out that the Smurfs killed his wife. He confronts the village engulfed in hysteria and though Papa Smurf tries to explain and calm him, his grief is too great and he swoops in and bites the head off of Kleptomaniac Smurf, giving himself an addiction to Smurf meat that is equally fueled by an unquenchable thirst for revenge. Chaos ensues that ends with many Smurfs falling to Gargamel's rage and the rest escaping into the Forrest to Smurf another day. Gargamel screams "I'LL HATE YOU FOREVER FOR THIS!! I'LL KILL YOU ALL IF ITS THE LAST THING I DO!!!"

And that's the end. Nobody steal my idea or I'll Smurf the shit out of you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

You really do have to be a pretty confident ninja to justify wearing white.

I figure that if everything goes according to plan, I've got another 50 or so years of life left. If I could go that entire time and never hear the word "Gosselin" again, that would be fantastic. My beautiful bride used to watch Jon and Kate before they became the spectacle that they are now and occasionally, I would witness bits and pieces of that abomination. I remember thinking/saying that Kate was the biggest bitch I'd ever seen and that Jon constantly looked run down and emasculated. The nation pitied him. All he had to do to keep looking like the victim was "nothing" but he would not be out-douched. Now we know way too much about how horrible two completely mediocre people (who's only known achievement is to breed somewhat irresponsibly) can be to one another.

How is it that Jay-Z and Beyonce, two of the most famous people in the world, manage to keep their private life private, yet two regular schmucks who's talent apparently lies with their tolerance for voyeurism can't somehow manage to return to a life of normalcy? So while I realize the hypocrisy in posting a blog about how I wish people would stop talking about the Gosselins, its no secret that those two are attention whores. So I know you read this, Jon and Kate Gosselin. So please, just go the hell away.

Anyway, I've recently bought comic books for the first time in a few years. I'm trying to finish out the GI Joe series that was going when I stopped collecting. I only have one issue left to find but I've gone ahead and read all the other ones and I realized something that I think I've known deep down all along...(and yes, I know no one's going to care about this)...but, to me at least, Storm Shadow really is way more badass than Snake Eyes. I know he's all mysterious with his mangled face and lack of functioning vocal chords, but who had the badass water tower hide out? Storm Shadow. Who almost single handedly (Stalker was there too) killed about 100 Night Creepers on the rooftops of New York(#107)? Storm Shadow. Who scaled the outside of Cobra tower without a rope and rescued Snake Eyes from the Baroness(#96)? Storm Shadow. Maybe I just love Storm Shadow and I'm not saying Snake Eyes isn't extremely badass but I just feel like everyone just takes it for granted that Snake Eyes is a better Ninja and they're equals at least.

Maybe one day I'll talk about religion again and get a lot of comments.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"If there's a god looking down below, I hope he sees all that he controls. And if he chooses not to intervene maybe its best that I don't succeed."

I'm going to let my friend, Jason, blog for me today. And by that, I mean that I'm feeling lazy as shit and his blog talks about me so I'm going to link it.

In this one he talks about the conversations that he and I have had, usually over wings at Waterloo Icehouse, about Jesus/faith/atheism/yadayadayada.

In this one he talks about why he likes my song "On Modern Men," and relates it to the first blog.

I love it when people talk about me and Jason's a really kind and smart guy. When you're done reading the blogs be sure to listen to his music and get your life enriched, as well.

I don't agree with everything he says (and I guess that's kind of the point), but most of my complaints with his post are semantics and not worth noting because I think I agree with the core of what he's saying. Enjoy.

Jason doesn't have a link on his new site to the Jets Under Fire site, and you can get way more of his music there (for free!!) so I thought I'd add it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why are you so bad at all the things that really matter in life?

Sometimes I'll find a record that is so good that, obviously, it should make the band instant superstars but it doesn't, and hardly anyone hears it or is ever aware of the band's existence. And then it makes me feel like, "If people don't care about this record, why the hell would they care about mine?" and I get just a little bit depressed.

All that to say that this Features record has really been hitting the spot lately and may possibly be my favorite record of the year. I know I've already talked about it before but you really should own it.

How about this: If you don't buy this record people will really start questioning your sexuality, patriotism, friendship, intelligence, and overall humanity. I guarantee it, asshole! Don't question it, accept it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In actuality, before the internet, very few of the best things in life were free.

My wife is beautiful, understanding, kind, and supportive. She's good for a laugh too. She's allowed me yet another night of recording and while I would much rather stay in with her and catch up on our TV shows, that EP isn't going to record itself. Now that I'm sure that the EP is going to be worthwhile, I'm wondering if we shouldn't be trying to rush it out in January and give it a little time for whatever press attention it may get. We'll see.

I'm really pumped about Thanksgiving next week. I've been missing my family and when we come back, my brother and his family are coming back with us to visit for the first time since we moved into our house. My sister-in-law, Kara, is going to shoot a wedding with Leah, and Seth and I and all our children will get some sweet hang time. We hope to show them a good time.

Have you ever noticed that in The Great Gatsby the only remotely likable character is Gatsby?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Call me "old fashioned" but I still think fire is magic.

These are damn near perfect. My wife and child are damn near perfect. Come on 5 o'clock.

Matt and I finished up all of the main vocals for the EP last night and its sounding incredibly badass. Not to toot my own horn too much but I'm excited about everyone hearing it.

If I had 3 wishes, they would go like this:
1. For myself and all my friends and family to have infinitely good health and live as long as we choose while aging as much as we choose.
2. To make a comfortable living with Quiet Company (Leah wouldn't have to work unless she wanted to, and I could just wake up and record all day and do 2 or 3 tours a year)
3. All the powers of Superman (not my favorite superhero but if you're going to wish for someone's powers, Big Blue is like winning the lottery).

I feel like that's reasonable. All you people wishing for world peace are suckers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

So, Mr. Diabetic, you like insulin? Well, did you know THAT INSULIN TREATMENT IS CANADIAN?!?!

We have returned safely to our home, with the realization that vacation will never be like it used to be again, or at least not for a long time. Travelling with an infant in tow is a vastly different experience than the travelling we've done previously. That's probably obvious to everyone, but I guess we were overly optimistic, since Harper is so good at home. But vacation means she's off her schedule, and she really likes that schedule, it really works for her. I feel like she was perpetually tired for 9 days and somehow even when she slept it wasn't the quality of sleep that she gets in her own bed and didn't rejuvenate her the way it should've.

I'm making it sound worse than it was. She was still really good a lot of the time but I'm just not used to her being so moody. American Harper is far superior to Canadian Harper.

Other than the insane stress that comes with flying with an infant and a resident alien with a misplaced green card, and driving in Toronto (with their incredibly short left turn arrows and badly spaced turning lanes that make every left turn a game of Russian Roulette), we had a good time. We got to spend a lot of time with family and Leah's sister, Elana, and her fiance, Ian, came in from London for the week as well. Ian's a scientist doing stem cell research, which to me is like being somewhat of a rock star.

Sometimes its hard to see the differences between Canada and the U.S. But one huge difference is the way our patriotism is expressed. Both countries are incredibly patriotic with flags waving everywhere so let me give you an example of what I mean. Not too long ago, someone here in my office was expressing his discontent with Obama because Obama apologizes for the U.S. around the world. I said how I thought that we should apologize when we'd done wrong and that there's nothing weak about humility and why didn't he think America should have to apologize? "Because we're America!" was his answer, and apparently that truth is self evident, to him anyway. In Canada, patriotism most often materializes itself in endearingly innocent proclamations. Things like: "IMAX is amazing! DID YOU KNOW ITS CANADIAN?!?"

Toronto is great, but alas, Austin, you are my truest love (as cities go, of course).

Toronto is by far the most multi-cultural city I've ever been to, more than NYC, more than San Francisco, more that Austin. We were staying in a really Russian area, so most of the people we encountered in the neighborhood sounded like Bond villains, but were friendly enough....I guess. Drivers in Toronto don't give "the Wave" which is a problem. That little gesture says so much. It can mean "thanks" or "I'm sorry" but when its not there its absence might as well mean "go to hell." Its just good manners, and I think I only saw one other driver give the wave the whole time we were there. And Canadians are usually so friendly.

The best perk of multi-culturalism is the food. They easily have 10 times the options that we have here when deciding what to have for dinner. But they also have Tim Horton's, which is an amazing restaurant that has perfected the apple fritter. I've been known to punish myself with an obscene amount of apple fritters when Tim Horton's is available. We also frequented Swiss Chalet and a few different Crepe places.

Another experience worth noting was when I got to sit in a room full of my Canadian family and listen to them all talk about how much they love their health care system, and though it isn't perfect, they would never, ever trade it for ours. And that's the extent of my political agenda for this post.

On our last night there, Leah and I went dancing with Ian and Elana and some friends of theirs at a club called Stone's Place, that plays all old Motown and early 60's rock and roll. I love watching Leah dance, she has a unique style that makes her joy infectious. The DJ was on his game and played ABC and then Signed, Sealed, Delivered back to back. We left on a high note, and the next day began our harrowing trip back to the colonies.

I was so happy to visit everyone in Canada but I hated to leave just when the recording was starting to really get going. All week, I was thinking of ideas for songs but there was nothing I could do with the ideas. I've been jonesing for the studio and missing my band brothers. I know we need a rehearsal this week for the show on Friday but I really, really hope that we get in a day of recording as well.

When we were in the Houston airport, somebody came up to me and said "Are you the lead singer of Quiet Company? I've been to like 5 of your shows." Totally made my day.

Next week is Thanksgiving and I'm really looking forward to seeing my family. I feel bad that they haven't gotten to spend more time with Harper but these past few months have been ridiculously busy and we're at least 3 1/2 hours away from everyone.

Elana & Ian gave me a copy of Richard Dawkins' new book, The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, which is an awesome gift that I will enjoy. It will probably be a while before I'm finished with it, as its one of those books that you have to actually put forth effort to absorb the content, and I'm still reading The Great Gatsby. Oh yeah, and I'm a slow-ass reader.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Mounties call to me...

Its my last day of work before we head to the north for family fun and relaxation. While I'm hoping the vacation is relaxing, preparing for it certainly isn't, especially with a baby in tow. We're going to get to the airport really early to give ourselves time to deal with problems, should they arise, so I'm sure it will be fine.

I'm re-reading The Great Gatsby. I read it in high school, and I enjoyed it, but being forced to read something always makes it at least 50% less enjoyable.

Tonight, we'll be packing and organizing, tidying the house, and hopefully getting to bed incredibly early. Tomorrow, long before the ass crack of dawn, we'll be waking up and headed to Canada. I doubt I'll be blogging while we're gone but I'll be back on the 15th so expect a big ol' Socialist, liberal, tirade on the 16th.

Until then, may all your bowels move smoothly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You really can make a weapon out of anything!! :-)

I think the funniest thing I've said so far today is "Joel Osteen's version of what Jesus would want or think is the equivalent of someone saying 'If Martin Luther King Jr. were here today, I'm sure he'd tell us all to kill whitey.'"

Got some recording done last night, more vocals and guitars and Jeff laid down drums for another song. Coming along, coming along. I can't wait to get all the horns, strings and extra singers on it. Its going to sound HUGE. I wish we had more pictures from the process but alas, "wish in one hand, shit in the other..."

Leah still isn't feeling well, so we've cancelled our plans for tonight so she can have more of a day to relax. I think she's just starting a cold so hopefully, she'll be feeling better before Friday when we head off to the great white north. I can't wait to get back to Toronto, its one of my favorite cities, I just hope Harper is cool on the plane. She probably will be.

Leah and I decided that, in our house, we would have a rule for dealing with inflamed emotions. The rule is "If its a big enough deal to be affected by, its a big enough deal to talk about. If its not a big enough deal to talk about, then its not a big enough deal to be affected by." We wanted to establish this rule early because eventually, Harper will be a teenage girl, and I think this rule will help deal with all of that...stuff. That being said, I'm wondering if I'm already in conflict with my wonderful rule. I have some old friends that, one way or another, have hurt my feelings but I've never said anything about it because I never get to see them, and when I do see them, I'm just glad to see them. Lately, I've been wondering if it would benefit anyone to call their attention to it, or not. I'm not actively angry at anyone, its just disappointing to feel like you must've cared about someone more than they cared about you.

I digress.

I haven't heard the new Weezer record yet, except for the first single, "I want you to". Not having heard it, I can't comment on its quality, but I think Pitchfork has Rivers Cuomo pegged. My hopes are not high for this once saviour-esque band to ever return to their former glory. But where Weezer and Star Wars are concerned, Cameron would say I'm like the abusive husband who says he loves his wife but runs her down all the time. Maybe so. Or maybe Rivers Cuomo should start taking himself more seriously, and George Lucas should realize that just because you can make an entire world with a computer doesn't mean that you should and also that you can't CGI good acting or directing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm so glad I got through high school before the term "Frienemies" was coined.

Halloween is such a weird holiday, when you think about it. Really, the whole culture of "fear as entertainment" is strange. Personally, I've never enjoyed the feeling of fear and anxiety, so movies like The Strangers or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are lost on me as a source of enjoyment. Oh well...takes all kinds, I suppose.

We had a great (and full) weekend. Saturday, we woke up early to prepare for family pictures with a really nice lady that Leah knows somehow, who happens to do really awesome child and family photography. After that, I went to Matt's where he and I spent several hours recording. At 4:30, I left to go home so we could get to our friends' house by 5:30 for dinner and trick or treating.

Sunday, Leah was supposed to go hiking but woke up with her throat feeling closed off and sore. So we rested and took it easy but around 12:30 I headed to Matt's to do some more recording. At 3:30, had to drop what we were doing and rush home for even more family pictures with Leah's friend Lindsay, which turned out pretty friggin' amazing.

Recording is going really well, now that we're actually dedicating time to it. As it turns out, Matt and I work really well together. All of us do, really, but no one else was really around this weekend. Both of Jeff's tracks so far have been really strong as well. There is such an obvious difference between an actual drummer's take and the take of someone who can play drums but rarely does, IE me.

Anyway, I'm actually becoming more excited about this EP than I expected to be. So, you know...That's a plus.