Monday, February 23, 2009

Silly Magazine

Silly Magazine
Originally uploaded by alpharat
I already know why...

Now it's just a matter of securing the necessary funds.

Seriously, this is not my idea of hard-hitting journalism.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tonight, we'll be singing Drunken Lullabies...

Flogging Molly is tonight!

I look forward to when Flogging Molly comes to town, and tonight it's going to be extra special. It seems that a whole bunch of us (some of us good Catholics, even) have acquired tickets without a coordinated effort and will be meeting up to hoist a pint or 15.

Now I`m aimin' for heaven
But probably wind up down in hell
Where upon this alter I will hang my guilt ridden head
But it`s time I`ll take before I begin
Three sheets to the wind, Three sheets to the wind
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We`re the rebels of the sacred heart

In a way, it almost seems like a sign that spring is on its way. It was a cold, windy, slippery drive to work today, but tonight, friends who've been scarce all winter have decided to shrug off the blanket of hibernation to go into the city for a celebration.

We'll be dancing, singing, drinking... and really is there much more to life? Ok, maybe there is, but tonight there isn't. Tonight, when I am shouting along to "Drunken Lullabies," "Salty Dog" or Rebels of the Sacred Heart" with a pint in my hand and my arms around my friends, soaked in sweat and beer, well that's all that's going to matter.

I'm getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.

Every year, Flogging Molly does a tour called the Green 17 Tour, which culminates on St. Patrick's Day, and every year, Detroit is one of the stops. (We're fortunate because the fiddle player is a native, and she and the singer lived here for a bit, although now they're living in Ireland.

Seriously, this show could not come at a better time, after a recurrence of cold was managing to drag my mood downward again.

Indeed, tonight sparks off what will be a festivity-packed, multi-ethnic weekend which will, by its end, have managed to include Irish music, a German beerhall, Spanish cuisine, a Broadway Musical and an Oscar Party. Look at me! Who's all cultured and shit?

And we're down to just hours away from it all...

Can you tell I'm a little excited?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not a bad view. Not at all...

Not a bad view
Originally uploaded by alpharat
This is what I stare at all day when I'm working at my desk. It's really not a bad deal, because it's rather conducive to creative thought.

Then again, sometimes it's a bit too conducive for daydreaming.

I wouldn't trade it though, and I've had much worse. The absolute worst was the duck pond.

Once, at an old job, I was promised a view of a pond with ducks. After the new workspace was set up, they made a mistake. Not only would I have had to crane my neck to see the duck pond, but the cube wall climbed so high it obscured any window view.

Keep in mind that was the same job where, after making cutbacks and letting a ton of people go, they put in a pool table. The pool table was right outside the president's office, and nobody was allowed to use it, because they should be working. So this pool table was just a testament to how poorly run the company was, a beacon that proclaimed "look what the recovered salaries of your fallen comrades has brought us. Look, but don't touch."

Most depressing pool table ever.

I'll take this view, though. I like it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Making up a song about Coraline... and Nanerpus

We saw Coraline this weekend…

This was an absolutely incredible movie. Neil Gaiman is a genius and I can’t wait to see what he does with the film adaptation of The Graveyard Book (which just won a Newberry Award, by the way)!

On its surface, Coraline is a story about a little girl who feels neglected by her parents, who are in the middle of a big work project. She finds a little door in the wall that takes her to another place, populated by “Other Mother” and “Other Father,” who pay attention to her, give her what she wants and cook better.

I won’t give any surprises away, but aside from the film’s scary parts, there are a bunch of other themes going on, that are thinly veiled and tap into a kid’s primal fears. Essentially, it’s a fear that your parents may disappear. And also, there was a feeling that I got when a child doesn’t quite understand the case when Mom and Dad are broke.

The movie was complex and beautiful and I loved it. Plus, we saw it in the most amazing 3D I’ve experienced. That just sweetened the deal.

Plus, Coraline’s family was from Pontiac, and they have a snow globe of the bear statues at the Detroit Zoo. If you went to the Detroit Zoo as a child, odds are you had your picture taken there.

The whole fam damily

Apparently the phones are ringing off the hook at the Zoo with people asking for those globes, which the Zoo has never actually produced. If they know what they’re doing, though, they’ll get with some company in China and do it fast before the buzz dies down.

Also, one more thing:

I heart Nanerpus.

Denny’s failed with this ad, because all I cared about with this ad was about how awesome Nanerpus was, and how Denny’s wrecked a perfectly good commercial with their part about their crappy food.

If there is any justice, a fifty-foot Nanerpus will rise from the depths and crush the restaurant chain once and for all, just Grand Slam them into oblivion. Then maybe, Nanerpus can finish his song in peace.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pills, peas and a box of soup

Aside from the financial output of it, I love grocery shopping. I love going to the grocery store, certain ones anyway - those ones that offer what people in the industry call a good user experience.

At one time, I raved about Westborn, but that one has fallen by the wayside because their deli workers are mean and get meaner if you want more than one thing from the meat or deli counter and we've picked up produce that only lasted a few days from there, and even some that was revealed to be moldy when we got it home.

Plus, the last time we went (we still pop in there for produce, simply because it's convenient) they were out of jalapenos. Seriously, what the eff? What store runs out of something like jalapenos?

Really, the main reason I liked it was because the coffee smelled good in there.

One store that I am madly in love with is Trader Joe's. Seriously, I heart this place.

This guy made a commercial that sums up the way I feel about TJ's perfectly.

I hope the folks at TJ's give him a job for it.

Speaking of jobs...

Kwame just got a job in Texas yesterday. With Compuware.

This sickens me.

Compuware is a Detroit-based company that has, over the past few years, faced layoffs and cutbacks due to the failing economy. On Tuesday, they even announced the reduction of another 250 jobs in the Detroit office.

Apparently, they're doing well enough to hire the man who helped wreck Detroit, though.

While they are the sort of company that the average consumer doesn't use, I will be going out of my way to not have anything to do with them, and to let others know that I am not impressed by their choice at all. I can't see anyplace on a corporate roster where a thug like Kwame would even fit in, and have little respect for a company that feels otherwise.


The other night we went to a pretty people bar for a friend's birthday.

Pretty people bars are the sort of places I don't tend to go to. The reasons are, I think, obvious, so I won't go into it.

That being said, pretty people bars deserve a place in the world, because they give those people a place to go so I don't have to encounter them, except on the rare occasion that I end up at one of these places.

At any rate, this is the conversation I heard in the men's room, between a Russian guy and another guy. All of these people at the pretty people bar are quite interchangeable, mind you, and the only characteristic that distinguishes Russian guy from anyone else in there was his accent, so he's got that going for him, which is nice:

Russian guy: You go to next bar with us?

Other guy: No, man I have to work tomorrow.

Russian guy: You work where?

Other guy: Costco.

Russian guy: You doctor?

Other guy: No, a pharmacist.

Russian guy: Good. You get us Viagra?

True story, folks.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Good people and bad, they're all moving on...

I was just talking to Mike down in Texas. He was expressing displeasure at Michigan's new trend to send our undesirable materials down there. You see, Detroit's "beloved" former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, now out of the slammer, has taken up residence in Dallas.

The man who helped wreck the city financially has been ordered to pay the city $1 million in restitution and has no job, yet managed to leave the jail with an entourage of bodyguards in SUVs and fly to Dallas on a private jet.

I have a feeling the city shouldn't hold its breath waiting for that money.

Kilpatrick joins Ted Nugent, another Michigan export, in Texas, but I doubt they hang out together that much.

I got some sad news this morning. Lux Interior, the lead singer of the Cramps, died yesterday. He was 62.

I saw them in 2003, and this guy was ageless.

His death marks the one celebrity death that has bothered me the most since Joe Strummer I think.

Man, it's a sign when all of the punk idols start dying from old age, innit?

I wrote my full thoughts on it here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

News Flash - It's still too cold outside

Music for the moment: Danzig – “Devil’s Plaything” (Explanation to follow)

Wow, could it be? Another post wherein I bitch about the cold? Yep.

Seriously, this winter has been a particularly brutal one. The snow continues to pile up, and it just hurts to be outside.

We had a beautiful reprieve last Sunday, when, out of the blue, the weather rocketed to the balmy 40-degree neighborhood. It was so nice that we went grocery shopping, extending the trip to four stores in order to: A. get the best bargains, and B. maximize the time spent driving around in the nice weather.

Of course, the bottom dropped out on the mercury again, with a wind chill of 15 below today, but this weekend is promising a few 40-degree days again, so we can thaw out a little more.

Medical attention... Evil medical attention

On Saturday night, I had an odd dream. I dreamt that I went to go stay at a mental hospital for a while. I’m not sure why, only that it was a self admission, because the staff kept saying that I could leave whenever I wanted.

It was a nice place, where I stayed in a little room that was tastefully furnished, and they let TFN come stay there with me, too. It was an important part of my treatment.

Here’s the most integral part of the dream, though. Danzig was my therapist (although he insisted I call him “Dr. Danzig”). And you know what? He was really cool.

So cool that, even though the staff kept telling me I was free to leave anytime I wanted, my reply would be, “Why would I want to leave? Dr. Danzig is a really cool guy.”

Oh, also he dressed just like in the video (black pants, no shirt, inverted cross), but with a white labcoat.

More Pork

Another aspect of Saturday involved making a marinade for the rest of that giant pork loin that the mean butcher made us take. I only bring it up again because the recipe was awesome, and after marinating for two days, we made the loin on Monday night.

This piece of pork is in contention for being one of the best things to have ever come out of our tiny little kitchen. Seriously.


Now for a nice segue to a discussion of a disturbing news story. In one of the abandoned buildings downtown, a man was found frozen to death. Unfortunately, that's not all that uncommon for winter in Detroit, so that wouldn't generate extensive coverage normally.

This story was more odd, though.

The man was found encased in ice, after having fallen into water more than a month ago. The only indication that there was a man in there was that his feet were sticking out of the ice.

And he lay there, ignored, despite the fact that homeless people lived near him and scrappers walked past him, for over a month, until some "explorers" found him and made an anonymous phone call.

What causes us to become so self-absorbed that other people don't get the simple courtesy of a 911 call when they die?

The full story is here.

Free Music Chaser

I assume you now could use a bit of light-heartedness. If you, like me, think that The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust is one of music’s crowning moments, then go here and download this free Bowie remix album. Seriously, it’s good, and I’ve been loving it all morning.