Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fear the Monkey... Wear the Monkey...

You may not be aware of this, but everyone's favorite blog commenter Stray Thoughts, is a very talented graphic designer.

As well as being one of this year's recruits for Team Angry Monkey, he is the originator of its logo, and in fact the logo is what spawned the team.

Through the wonders of Cafe Press, he has launched an official team store. No matter how the members of Team Angry Monkey may feel about this, the store is open to anyone who may want to purchase some team apparel. This includes you, Jamoker, even though you are a roadie.

Check out the store here.

ST has also been working on some updates to the insignia that Team Angry Monkey will be sporting this year. The Flaming Hot Rod Bunnies will soon be synonymous with the Angry Monkey!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Girls Gone Wild! Metro Detroit Edition

Every year, for the past eight now, we throw a big BBQ on the Sunday of Memorial Day. Some years it's been hot and sunny. More often it's been cool and occasionally rainy. Either way, the party has been our official start of summer. This year it fell into the hot and sunny category. It was so hot we got a kiddy pool for people to put their feet in.

Every year, for the past eight now, we really look forward to this party. There are a bunch of people that we only get to see a few times a year. This is one of those occasions.

I snapped a few photos at the beginning of the 'Q, but I was manning the grills (that's right, plural! I don't mess around!) and feeding the masses. We had about 40 people over the course of the day. Some years have hit 100, but the hot weather kept more than a few people at home.

A lot of, and I mean A LOT OF, drunken antics and stunts have happened at these BBQs over the years. The last time we had a kiddy pool, many people, myself included, met a late-night fate that involved involuntarily entering the pool's watery depths. Nobody involuntarily entered the pool this year. I think we're all growing up (I also think that the age of cellphones and iPods has changed this, you don't want to toss someone in a pool when they probably have a few hundred dolla's worth of electronics in their pockets).

The party wasn't necessarily tame; many beers were consumed, and I sat on the deck talking with friends until 5 in the am. It's just that we talk now, rather then pulling stunts, I think.

We're past the year where we played "flameball" (let's just say that it was a game we invented that involved sparklers, a soccer ball, and a tray full of gasoline. The rules were basic and easy to understand, and it took a year for the grass to grow back), we moved on to discussing stuff. We still talk about music and art, but we've added home improvements, careers and families to the range of stuff we can talk about.

And at what point did it stop being a job and we started talking careers? I actually talked shop at the party. I never used to do that.

It doesn't mean stuff didn't happen. I try not to be too racy on this site, but there was one incident this year that was a bit Girls Gone Wild. I'm talking about one young lady in attendance who felt that it was a good idea at the time to strip down for a topless swim, even though there were cameras in evidence, and everyone knows that public nudity finds its way to the Internet.

I like having the little ones around the parties. They're fun. This is new, the kids. We're reaching the point where they're starting to pop up at these events.

Baby B has chubby feet. Her mom assures this is normal, and that the bottoms of her feet will have slimmed down by the time she needs to walk on them.

I think it's official. Summer has come to Detroit.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What about Boobstock?

Mike designed the flyer. We wanted to call it Breast Fest '06, but we were vetoed.

More Photos Of Rock

Nicole has been taking some awesome photos at shows for me, and the size they end up on the site don't do them justice, so I wanted to share a few.

The first three are from Mamapalooza Detroit.

Kathy Valentine. She used to be in the Go-Go's. I got to drink a beer with her. She is way awesome!

The Detroit Women were an R&B group with eight! singers.

The Mydols with a few friends on stage.

This is a photo from the Briefs show at the Magic Stick. Punk Rock!

A Day With The Little Ones

I've been a little lax on posting lately, but I wanted to put some photos up.

My niece and goddaughter had her First Communion a few weeks ago, and I got to spend the day with all of the little ones.

She's a very good sport about posing for photots. You wouldn't guess that a bird had just pooped on her dress and she was desperate to change her clothes when I took this.

Another one of my nieces. Blonde hair and blue eyes. All of them. Their dad needs to be getting a shotgun pretty soon.

Baby No Name is getting very big now.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Fine Art Of Letting Yourself Go

We've has some big parties over the years. Parties that generated a lot of empties.

I've also put off taking back bottles for a few months before, and let them stack up in my basement.

I think our record bottle return was in the neighborhood of $30. That's about 300 empty bottles and cans for my readers outside of Michigan and its 10-cent bottle deposit. Most of these were from a BBQ that had about 75 people attend. Not that high of a number when you think about the per person ratio.

Apparently, 300 bottles is nothing. In Utah, this guy drank 24 cans of beer a day for eight years. And he never got rid of the empties.

When somebody finally looked in on his townhouse apartment, the cans were piled high, waste-deep throughout the apartment. There were approximately 70,000 cans ($7,000 in returnables if this had been Michigan).

The worst thing about it is that it was all Coors Light. This actually makes it less surprising to me. Hell, maybe Coors should hire the guy to be their spokesman (Unfortunately for Coors, the guy has since stopped drinking and cleaned the place up).

How could you live like that? I've let my house get messy (quite often, actually). I've let laundry pile up in the hallway. Hell, I even have a couple dirty pans in the sink right now and my lawn is quite long from all the rain, but to just let it go like that?

At some point, say a few weeks into it, is there a point of no return where you say, "Screw it." And just let it go from there? At some point do you just get used to it and accept it? At some point, is it actually OK with you?

I don't know, but I think I'm gonna mow lawn first thing tomorrow morning.

The Land of The Scots. And the Scotch.

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet, but my birthday is coming up. We're going to Scotland! I know European travel for birthdays seems to be a trend in my household, but seriously it's not (although I wouldn't mind that).

It's pure coincidence that this trip happens to fall on my birthday. We're traveling to Scotland to attend the wedding of Mike and Paprika. The castle in the photo is where we're staying. It's called Stonefield Castle. I've never stayed in a castle before, but I am really looking forward to it.

I'm looking forward to Scooby-Doo-style chases in and out of bedroom doors as we all run from a creep ghost that turns out to be the owner of the haunted amusement park/jewel thief who "would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids." I think that's a requirement for a castle stay.

I'm also looking forward to being warmly, pleasantly drunk on Scotch.

I love it when my friends get married. Nicole and I were the first out of our gang to tie the knot, so I feel a big sense of "Welcome to the club" when my friends decide to take that step.

There's just something amazing about it. It's different somehow, it changes you somehow. There is a level of commitment you have with someone, then an engagement does take it to the next level, but the morning after the wedding, when you wake up an realize you're married? Nothing like it. It's a sense of permanence. Security.

It's nice.

So at any rate, that's where I'll be in a few weeks. I'll put the mail on hold, so if you're sending me cash in observance of the magical occurrence that was my birth, feel free to do so (personal checks, money orders or well-concealed cash), and it will be delivered upon my return.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Today's Cooking Lesson, AKA You wanna know where you can shove this can of beer?

I like cooking, and I like to think I'm decent at it. I do alright in the kitchen (Nicole is the real gourmet there), but the grill is where I excel.

Last week, Mike and Paprika came over for dinner, and Nicole had a cold, so I made it all by myself! We had roast chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, potato salad, and biscuits. Granted, the sides were all deli, and the biscuits were Pilsbury dough, but it's the chicken I'm most proud of.

I made a Beer Can Chicken.

If you've never had one, there is nothing as tender and juicy as a beer can chicken on the the grill. And it's really easy, too. The concept is simple; take a chicken, shove an open beer can up its bum, and the beer will steam the bird from the inside out.

So first you shove the can in his bum and stand him up. I have a fancy rack that my friend gave me, but you can improvise. Then I put a rub on the bird. I use Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning, which incidentally I got as a gift from the same friend who gave me the rack. I also shove an onion in the neckhole to keep the steam in.

Next I put him waaaay down in the grill surrounded by hot coals (but not too many). I put him on a pie pan to prevent a grease fire and keep him off the grate. You can use tinfoil. Cover the grill up tight, and throw a few more coals in about every half hour.

After about an hour and a half, the bird looks like this. As long as you weren't using too many coals, the skin will be crispy but not burnt.

The only sad part is that you must now throw out the beer, so make sure this isn't your last one before you sit down for dinner!

Bon appetit!

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Subhumans Live - AKA A Blogged Thank-You Note

A really cool part about the new gig is that I get to go to a lot of cool shows. Writing about something like a concert is odd, simply because you are taking an aural and visual experience and translating it to the literary.

Really, it's hard to capture the experience of a concert unless you have a really good photographer working with you. I do.

It's even harder to capture the feeling of a raucous punk concert unless your photographer is willing to wade into the pit and force her way to the front of the stage. My photographer is.

It also helps at a punk show if your photographer has someone who's willing to get her back, and isn't afraid to shove or punch someone much bigger than her. This is where Paprika comes in.

This post is not to promote my site so much, but to say thanks to both Nicole and Paprika. You guys do tons for me, especially when it comes to shooting shows. You do so much for me that I am willing to take the occasional mouthful of beer to the face.

Constantly getting older...

I've fallen a bit behind on my blogging here, due to my duties on my new site. That being said, Eric, the lead singer of helvetica, is moving to Chicago, and he made me promise to keep this thing up. So, where should we begin?

Since writermom was perusing my flickr photos, she asked about this guy:

This is my nephew. He went to his Senior Prom last week.

When Nicole and I started dating back in college,this kid was like three or four. He was a cute kid, too; I don't what went wrong there.

For years, Nicole and I have been to cool aunt and uncle, for his birthday, we'd take him to the Warped Tour. We would expose him to all of the great music we could, and do other "cool aunt and uncle things" like letting him drink four Mountain Dews at our house before taking him home, taking him to the drive in until 2 am.

Now he's getting ready to go to college. I hope we did enough that some of the coolness rubbed off. A little bit at least.

The last boy on the right has been friends with my nephew forever. I remember stuffing him the trunk of Nicole's sister's car. They still have the car in question - he wouldn't fit in the trunk now if I tried.