21 December 2006

Top Albums

It occurs to me that I haven't posted anything in awhile. Things have been a bit hectic lately so thats the word on my side. So I thought I would post up my top album of 2006. This is mostly for my own purposes.

1)The Arctic Monkeys - Whatever people say I am that's what I'm not
2)Kasabian - Empire
3)Corinne Bailey Rae
4)Emily Haines - Knives Don't Have Your Back
5)Hard-Fi - Stars of CCTV
6)Morrissey - Ringleader of the tormentors
7)The Arctic Monkeys - Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys (it's an ep but I don't care)
8)The Streets - The Hardest Way to Make and Easy Living
9)Ali Farka Toure - Savane (I think I do this a real classic I just haven't been listening to it a lot lately, but this is the album her went out on and damn if it's not deserving)
10)Jarvis Cocker - Jarvis

I promise more updates in the new year, happy christmas to all.

20 November 2006

LA weekend and Marks Visit

So Mark arrived on Saturday afternoon and it was straight off to the zoo. Mark was a little beat from being out late so clubbing was a write off. We got through most of the zoo in under 4 hours. We headed to Fashion Valley to show him an outdoor mall. Lets face it outdoor malls are just cool. Unfortunately parking was a bloody nightmare because Bloomingdales had just opened so it took 30 minutes to find parking. Showed him the mall and picked up 's Christmas present. Then we dropped off Marks stuff at my place, picked up Mike and Jenn and headed for Fidels in Solana Beach for dinner. After dinner we hit Extrordinairy Desserts downtown and to my surprise I found that they had 'Diptyque' candles. Quiet night in mostly as Mark was exhausted.

Sunday morning Erin, Mark and I hit up IHOP for breakfast and then picked up Mike and Jenn for a day in Hollywood. We got into LA pretty easily and tripped of the La Brea tar pits and spent a bit of time there going over the actual tar pond and the museum. Interesting stuff actually even if Mark and I were able to find loads of historical inaccuracies. We then headed for Hollywood because at some point everyone has to see it. Hollywood is just disgusting there is nothing glamorous about the Hollywood strip, it's slimy and a bit off puting. If it can be avoided I would. We did the walk of fame and the Chinesse Theatre. I wanted to get a picture of myself with Cary Grants hand prints (he's a personal and fashion icon of mine). No luck that way with the place being too crowded. We grabbed a quick but disappointing bite at Wolfgang Pucks latest franchise 'Vert'. Vert pretty adequitly describes it, the whole bloody thing was a bit green. Then we made our way to the Chinesse Theatre to see the new Bond Film. More on the Bond film at some later post. After the move we did a quick spin around Sunset blvd and then back to SD by 12:30.

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Giant Land Sloth

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American Lion

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Mammoth

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More Mammoth

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Bison

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Camel

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Baby Mammoth

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'Commonest' really? Not in the Queens English it's not

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Mike and Jenn sans the Hollywood sign

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Bad Hollywood sign picture

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The courtyard at the Kodak Theatre

15 November 2006

Seattle in picture form from a camera phone

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Steve at casa del Steve

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Seattle skyline from Salty's

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more skyline

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Sculpture at Experience Music Project

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Vivienne Westwood Sex Seditionaries outfit (the best part of emp)

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Anthony Hopkins costume from Titus

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Red Dwarf portal opener from series 8

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The Croc

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Pike's Place Market

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original Starbucks

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best photo ever taken with cel cam

13 November 2006

the day I realised I like California ... or Dan visits Seattle for the weekend

Oh Seattle. It wasn’t that I didn’t like you it was just that you were too cold and rainy for my taste. At some point during the trip I started to refer to San Diego as home, perish the thought. Although I don’t know it may be fast becoming that. After speaking with mother the other night and complaining about the cold and rain she flatly said ‘you’re not coming back are you?’ My dear mother is a terribly perceptive woman.

It was good to see the boys even if I am seeing them again in two weeks, and it did remind me a lot of home. It was cold, raining, the trees were dropping their leaves etc etc. It also felt like Waterloo had somehow made its’ way to Redmond. It was like nothing had changed but we were all making a lot more money.

Friday was a quiet night in and some nerd games with Steve, Chris and Ian. I also introduced them to the wonderful world of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and all parties involved are now hooked. This is also how Chris got the nickname of Swarly.

Saturday was IHOP followed by two games of poker with the boys and two of their friends. I won both games and pretty easily at that. Turns out not playing for a few months is good for me. This all occurred to a steady backdrop of me leaving sales pitches to get Steve to move to San Diego. The logic is if we can get Steve, Ian and Chris won’t be far behind. Its funny how much more tolerable the world is when you have your friends around you. That night we went to Salty’s for dinner, and while I am not a big fan of shellfish the crab was amazing. We walked around the park a bit and had a cigar while just talking in general. The intention was to go to the Crocodile Café but by the time we would have got there it would have been packed.

I crashed at Chris’ place all weekend. The place itself is very nice and Chris has added his own touch to the place. However, the terms hotel and Spartan have both been used to describe his decorating style. Sorry Swarly I had to give you a hard time. As one would expect though old Swarls’ was a great host and his place was immaculate.

Sunday we played a little nerd games, Swarls and Ian went back to work and Steve and I headed downtown. It was too dark and rainy to do the Space Needle so we tried out the Experience Music Project\Sci-Fi Museum. Now let’s begin with the building itself. This was another Frank Gehry eyesore; it looks like a mess of melted crayons. It’s the sort of thing you know will look moronic in 10 years. The museum itself was an even great disappointment. There were a few neat exhibits like the evolution of the guitar and token showing on the birth of mcing and later hip hop. Otherwise it was attempts to make Seattle’s contribution to music seem more important than it was. To borrow and expropriate a phrase ‘Hendrix never meant shit to me.’ I personally never fell into that cult of his guitar genius, it’s not that I dislike him it’s just that I’m indifferent. This is mostly the same way I feel about grunge which was also well represented.

The Sci-Fi museum was a bit better but not much. I am not really a Sci-Fi fan and while I do enjoy say Red Dwarf and Dr. Who that is pretty much the sum total of my interest in the genre. There were some neat displays there as well, the best being on the comparative size of all the star ships from George Jetsons car to Star Trek and Star Wars and they even included the Red Dwarf and Starbug. They also had one of the cat’s costumes as well as the device that opened the parallel universe in series 8(wow that really sounds nerdy but Red Dwarf is a comedy). I was amazed at how much of it came from Paul Allen’s personal collection. I suppose that means he really is a geek at heart. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t anything on Dr. Who at all. I mean come on just one scarf or one Dalek, cut me some slack here.

We tried to get a late lunch/early supper at the Crocodile but no dice, it only opens for lunch. So I took a picture for Carly and left. The reason I wanted to go to the Croc was because it’s owned by Peter Bucks wife. Yep I’m that lame, I didn’t care that Nirvana played some uber secret gig there, that didn’t matter.

Decided in stead to do some very touristy things like Pikes Place Market, which was, well it’s a market not a lot should be expected by this. I also tried out the original Starbucks, which as far as tourist locations go was probably the most packed one I saw with in Seattle. It was pretty amazing to see and wonder how it ever became the power it is now.

On the whole Seattle is a fun town and I liked feeling like I was in a proper city again with a proper skyline and downtown core. I did really enjoy the sort of melancholy grays and rain that came along with Seattle as it is something I don’t get often around here.

The weather did leave something to be desired but what can you do. The only real snag was the 2 hour delay of my flight back to San Diego. I sat talking to a couple of girls who went to UCSD and managed to get a phone number out of the cute redheaded one amongst them. Granted getting in at 1:30 AM is no joy but I’ll live. Now to prepare for Mark’s visit on Saturday.

06 November 2006

Getting over being the music kid in high school or my review of killing yourself to live

There are a great many things that sound profound in childhood and early adolescence that you realize are absolutely worthless as you grow. Well, I’m not entirely certain everyone see’s these as worthless but at some point you should for the betterment of your mental development. There comes a point when being able to argue the finer merits of Pink Floyd’s ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ seem like an embarrassingly futile if not endlessly childish. This point I believe happens when you get to the age where beer pong is no longer an acceptable athletic pursuit. Sadly not all of us reach a mental state where we are able to see Morrissey lyrics for just that and not some sort of transcendental act of depression caused by the weight of his genius. This seems to be the fate that has befallen Chuck Klosterman and his piece ‘Killing Yourself to Live”.

The novel itself is a rough take on a cross country trip he takes on while writing a piece for Spin Magazine in which he visits the locations where musicians have met their demise. The book is part ‘On the Road Again’ and part ‘Hi-Fidelity’ and sadly it is the worst parts of both. The work itself is basically an autobiography/confessional in which he unburdens his soul about past loves and childhood experiences.

The book careens recklessly between genres with the sort of deep identity crisis that normally befalls a schizophrenic. It’s not sure whether to be a road trip novel, music criticism, passenger seat psychology text or autobiography. Unfortunately it is all and none at the same time. Klosterman speaks with the sort of cocky self assurance of a high school newspaper editor who has just discovered ‘The Velvet Underground’ and is dying to show off how much more advanced he is for knowing them than anyone else he knows. One such painful passage is where he ambles on for a few pages describing in agonizing detail how Radiohead predicted the attacks of September 11th with their album ‘Kid A’. He pores over each track and relates them to a time during the attacks. It is the sort of sentiment that one has when trying to pick up a girl in college by explaining the note for note nuances of ‘The Birth of The Cool’ but not the fodder of journalists past the age of 25.

The hardest part of the novel is that you genuinely feel bad for Klosterman who even though he is generally a feckless narcissist of the worst and most exploitive kind, you know he can do better than this. You get the feeling the shadow of Nick Hornby looms large over him and he can’t get out from under it. He even tries to cop his writing style and cadence to lesser degrees of success, which is unfortunate because there are times when he truly shines on his own. Sadly it all feels like you are reading someone who used to be a great writer in college but never gained the maturity and authenticity to develop into a great writer in adult life. The sad part is I fear he will never realize that this is the case and keep writing for high school students with punk rock pins on their used leather jackets.

03 November 2006

Griping about Alaska Air

So I am going to Seattle next weekend to celebrate my birthday with Chris, Steve and Ian. I originally booked my ticket for Thursday night taking the Friday off to get more time puttering around Seattle. This was minutes before I heard of and found out I would be attending an exclusive Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer acustic set in LA on the Thursday night. There is no way I am missing Noel Gallagher the day after my birthday playing to a small crowd.

So I chose Alaska Air because they were one of the only airlines with direct flights to Seattle from San Diego. San Diego has a tiny runway and can barely handle the load it has being well undersized for the amount of traffic it receives. Anyways the flight was originally pretty reasonable at $314 return. So today I went to change the reservation and boy did I learn a lesson.

Firstly I booked through Expedia so I knew they would charge a fee to change the flight and I also knew that Alaska Air would charge yet another most likely $50 fee to change that flight as well. These all turned out to be true. However, what I also learned is that Alaska Air has a very strange system of calculating how much you owe. So they my original purchase price of $315 and subtracted it from the new roundtrip price of $435 (not taking into account that I was not changing the return leg of my flight) so add an additional $120 bringing the cost of changing this flight up to $200 and the total cost of the flight now $515, which I don't need to tell you is more expensive than I would have paid if I booked today.

So after hearing this I decided to see if I could just get a one way out there for cheaper and take my return home. I knew I was only going to save about $50 at most but it was the principal of the thing. So turns out the other flight was cheaper but unfortunately Alaska Air would have cancelled my flight on the return should I have missed the first one.

This sort of thing enrages me. Where is the customer protection here for your average person? This ensures I will never fly Alaska Air again.

01 November 2006

Best Birthday present ever

So I just received confirmation that on Thursday November 9th I will be one of 50 people who get to witness Noel and Gem from Oasis play an acustic set at the el rey in LA. At this point it should be a well known fact that I am an Oasis fan, I grew up in the 90's with Gallagher as a last name. I have seen the band no less than 12 times, including a 4,000 person intimate show at the start of their 'Don't Believe the Truth' tour at the Koolhaus in Toronto. This will however be the smallest show I have ever seen them play it also helps that it's the day after my birthday. I haven't been this truly excited about a show in ages.