My Social Life

So last night I went on a date (in Grand Theft Auto IV, the video-game) and had a really great time (with a virtual avatar who doesn't exist in any real shape or form). We went bowling (as a mini-game) together at a place down by the beach (which was rendered graphically with very nice detail). Although she was good at the game (since she was controlled by a computer incapable of human emotion) I still ended up winning (because I spend all my time playing video-games instead of interacting with other humans). We took things pretty slow (Probably because Rockstar, the game's developer, got tons of flack for the "Hot Coffee" incident, also you need to level up) and I dropped her off at her house (after driving her car off of some killer jumps) but I have to admit, I still felt a tad disappointed (because all this experience did was make me more excited to go on a real date with a real girl that I can physically be around with and interact with without the added fear of losing points or being shot to death by a gang of Serbian loan-sharks) maybe even guilty (since I know, specifically who I'd rather be spending time with than by myself playing Grand Theft Auto IV). But when all was said and done, I think it was a good time for the both of us (apart from all the gratuitous violence and prostitutes).


A Breathtaking Work of Crap

So last night I had art class. We were supposed to be going over our giant self-portraits, but for the first half we had to do a quick colored pencil sketch of a live model.
I'm not really used to the pencils, so I instead decided to zoom in a bit on the drawing instead of just doing the whole figure, which I assumed was what we're supposed to do. So the whole time I was kind of anxious, especially when my art teacher started making the rounds.
Eventually she stood behind me as I nervously continued to work.
but then something miraculous happened.
The teacher came over to me, stood over my shoulder and said, "This is breathtaking."
Confused, and somewhat in shock, I replied "Thank you."
Completely serious, she said, "I want you to stand back and look at what you're doing."
So I did. And I admit, I thought it was nice.
It was then that my teacher gave me the best artistic advice I have ever heard.
"Now Don't Crap It Up."

And I was appropriately nervous again.

Things I Probably Shouldn't Write About...

but will anyway.

For example, yesterday morning I got a delicious sandwich from Starbucks that I saved until lunch. Problem was, by that time I wasn't really hungry at all so I only ate half of it. So I threw the second half into a flimsy container and went to my second strand of classes for the night.
So I'm sitting in my art class, drawing naked people, and all I'm thinking about is how great that sandwich is going to taste once I get home. Mmm, sweet sweet sandwich.
Eventually, classes end. I hop in the car, get to the house, open the van door and realize my predicament. I have several armfuls of art supplies, my bag, my giant self-portrait, and of course my sweet sweet sandwich. How am I supposed to carry all this?
Sure, now you're saying just make two trips.
Listen. i wanted to have my sandwich and eat it too. That's what MEN do.
So I shift the art supplies and books into one hand, and the rest into the other.
The problem then, I realized, was that I couldn't shut the door. Luckily, I remembered I had feet. So using my pinky, I opened the door handle and kicked the door shut.
In this process however, my precious sandwich popped out of it's flimsy container and slid onto the driveway, landing on it's side.
Naturally, I yelled out "crap!" and then awkwardly shimmied myself towards the ground to scoop it up again.

Once inside, I assessed the damage. There were bits of dirt on a corner of the bread and some additional bits on the turkey.
I considered it. And then experimented by tearing off all the obviously dirty pieces.
Then I questioned it again.
I am, afterall, a MAN. And in a situation such as this I know what the MANLY thing to do is.
But could I do it? Could I really eat a driveway tainted sandwich?
It looked oh so delicious.
Besides, Turkeys live on farms. Farms are dirty. Logically, eating a dirty sandwich is no problem.

So I took my chances and sinking my teeth into it's bready flesh, I captured a succulent bite.
Surprisingly, it wasn't at all bad. So I continued to feast. And it was good. Very good.

Until I felt a large piece of gravel in my mouth.

Then it was bad.
And I stopped my feast.


My Greatest Weakness

So I didn't realize Facebook was evaluating my strengths and weaknesses.
Today I got an e-mail saying this:


most outgoing
most entertaining


best listener

On the one hand, I am in fact an outgoing sexy entertainer. A combination of attributes I do consider strengths.
But I'm intrigued that "kindness" and "good listening" have been labeled as bad traits.
Is it really so bad to be a sexy and entertaining kind listener?
I don't think so. I don't think so at all. And I'll keep on listening in my kind way as I do a sexy dance all the way to the BANK. Yeah.

Besides, Last time I checked, kindness was a deadly force...


Speaking of covers...

Remember that one I posted of the Pixes by Emily The Great the other day?
here it is again:


Well thanks to the internets I came across this vaguely related video of Ballet dancers doing their thing with "Where Is My Mind?"

It got me wondering how many Where Is My Mind Covers are there?

This one is by the Frames, featuring Glen Hansard! (the guy from Once)

This one by Yoav

Of course Placebo

An interesting rendition by the Blue Ribbon Glee Club

Finally, a version by John P. Strohm

I'm sure there are more.

New Song Saturday - COVER EDITION!

Just this morning I had a very special song dedicated to me.
It's called "Freek'n You" by Jodeci.
Ever heard of it?

Good. Prepare to have your mind blown.


Did you feel that? That's Jodeci, freek'n your mind! DAMN!

I thought it was only natural that I took the time this morning to make my own acoustic cover version.
The quality isn't great. (I felt self-conscious about yelling the word "Horny" and "Freak") but I think you can see where I'm going with it.

Freak'N You - Zack Newcott and the Chemical Cow (Jodeci Cover)

Here are the original lyrics. I took a couple creative liberties, such as refusing to sing "I want to freak you" eight times in a row. Also, the lyrics I printed up neglected the entire second page. So shamefully I didn't get to add the line "I wanna to freak you baby in every single way." Maybe next time, but let's face it, the song is already pretty long.

Freek'N You

I wanna freak you [ repeat X8 ]
Everytime I close my eyes
I wake up feelin' so horny
I can't get you outta my mind
Sexin' you be all I see
I would give anything
Just to make you understand me
I don't give a damn
about nothing else
Freek'n you is all I see

[ bridge: ]

Tonight, I need your body
Tonight, you got my time
Tonight you won't be sorry
Tonight, you got my mind
You got my mind, all I
wanna do is freak you

[ chorus: ]

What must I say
What must I do
To show how much
I think about freek'n you
What must I say
What must I do
To show how much
I think about freek'n you

Oooh, I could go on for days
But I couldn't go on for weeks
I can even play with another body
But it wouldn't last
'cause I'm a freak
Turned on by everything you say
I'm turned on by everything you do
And at night when I close my eyes
I only dream of freek'n you

Tonight, I need your body
[ Find more Lyrics at www.mp3lyrics.org/9QM ]
Tonight, you got my time
Tonight, you won't be sorry
Tonight you got my mind

What must I say
What must I do
To show how much
I think about freek'n you
What must I say
What must I do
To show how much
I think about freek'n you

Freek out
And freek me up and down
DeVante Swing
Freek out
And freek me up and down
Freek out and freek me up and down

Every freek'n night and
every freek'n day
I wanna freek you baby in
every freek'n way
Every freek'n day,
every freek'n night
I wanna freek you girl
Your body's so freek'n tight

Every freek'n night and
every freek'n day
I wanna freek you baby in
every freek'n way
Every freek'n day,
every freek'n night
I wanna freek you girl
Your body's so freek'n tight

What must I say
What must I do
To show how much
I think about freek'n you
What must I say
What must I do
To show how much
I think about freek'n you
What must I say
What must I do
To show how much I think
about freek'n you
I think about freek'n you
I wanna freek you
[ repeat until fade ]


The Mist - A Delayed Review

The Mist

Frank Darabont... what in the name of all that is holy were you thinking?
You too Stephen King. Don't give me that look. I know this was originally just a novella, but how could you? Do you not realize what you have created?

Yeah, the movie has a couple things really going for it. First, there are monsters. Specifically giant monsters. And they have completely surrounded a small town grocery store. So in concept, it's like War of the Worlds meets Dawn of the Dead.

But listen, The Mist is quite simply a terrible movie.

In fact there is little here to justify it for even existing. Very little.

As a character study, it's a mess. Pretty much all I've learned about the human condition is that small towns are filled with d-bags. And when I say d-bags, I mean douche-bags. Everyone hates everyone else, usually without a valid reason, and if there is a valid reason they won't listen or acknowledge it. When they do, it is often inexplicable. Characters at the very beginning immediately recognize the Mist as "death," once they hear someone outside scream, but minutes later they doubt any harmful threat even as they stare directly at a pool of blood under a severed tentacle claw.

Theologically, it's a confused and terribly awkward jumble of ideologies. Almost to the point that it's not worth mentioning. On the one hand it openly demonstrates the futility in saving those that will not listen to truth or reason. On the other, it condemns those that preach it. It seems to be an allegory against organized religion, but also a reaffirmation of slightly less organized, but more open minded religions. I really don't know where I'm going with this, but basically I'm saying I walked out of the Mist more confused than when I entered it.

But who cares, there are monsters...
Unrealistic and poorly executed monsters that seem to be mildly more retarded than the slow and dimwitted towns people they hunger for.
When the first tentacle beast shows up, it is laughably awful. Led up to by a series of exchanges summarized as:
"You shouldn't open that door."
"We're going to open that door."
"Wait. Don't. I'm fairly certain there's a monster behind that door."
"I'm going to open that door and you're going to damn well enjoy it."
"No, don't. I'm almost definitely certain there's a monster behind that door."
"How do you know there's a monster behind that door?"
"Because I saw it."
"I'm going to open that door."

The movie is basically two hours of this. Problem is, once they open that door, the thing on the other side is awkward and unconvincing.
I honestly don't think I've laughed much harder, especially after watching someone (in the midst of a giant locust attack) fail so miserably to light a broom on fire, get distracted, and proceed to light themselves on fire.
It's not supposed to be funny, but somehow, it just was. It really just was.

I wish the Mist was just like Slither, a film which charmingly fulfilled the horror genre with spectacle, humor, and genuinely great characters.

The problem here is that the Mist is based on a short story by Stephen King and written for the screen by Frank Darabont, who brought you the Green Mile and the Shawshank Redemption.
Unfortunately they both wanted this mess to mean something.

I had heard the ending to the Mist was, in the words of one reviewer, "f****d up." I admit, that was part of my reason for renting it.
So keep in mind I did audibly say, "No, they're not going to do that." Not in shock or excitement, but disgust at the cheap ending these guys were about to throw at me. Well they did. And I felt used.



Just watched Lost tonight.
Delicious, delicious, smoke monster.

And I also got Cloverfield... on DeeVeeDee!!!
It's officially inside my home. The best movie ever.

I'm really not sure what else to post here, so I'm going to post music.

Here is a simply amazing cover by one of my most favorite artists, Greg Laswell. This guy essentially wrote the soundtrack to my summer last year, and now that the summer is coming back after so very, very, long, it seems only appropriate he returns with the best version I've ever heard of Girls Just Want to Have Fun.


Here's a real cool remix of U2's ONE, with Groove Armada (who I've never heard of). And it works.

U2 vs. Groove Armada - DJ Riko

I spent some time after my California adventure listening to Grizzly Bear, and while I thought they were great, it just didn't seem to stick with me.
Maybe this remix with Jay-z from the kind folks at Team 9 & Stereogum changes things...

Jay-Z vs. Grizzly Bear - Team 9 & Stereogum

Okay, just forget everything I've typed so far. Here is my favorite cover.
It's of Where is My Mind (originally by the Pixies) this time by Emily The Great.

Where Is My Mind - Emily The Great


Errf Day

Yesterday was Earth Day.

I know this because Montgomery College gave me free pizza and doughnuts.
I was walking between classes when a random girl walked up to me with a neon-yellow carboard sign and told me. Naturally, I told her I didn't need any hand-outs from the government or anyone else, and then punched her in the face.
But thinking things over I decided I could use a free pizza slice and went to the auditorium anyways.

Part of me was worried I had to listen to a talk or buy a time-share. But surprisingly I was allowed to walk in one door, take pizza, and walk out the other.

So there you have it.


This is a picture of what I love sometimes

The best thing about Earth day is that everyone except astronauts can enjoy it.
It's like everyone gets to say, "screw you, smart people who get to ride rockets! I'll be living down here all my life and I get to have free pizza because of it!" Haha, suckers.

It's just a real shame Earth day hasn't been commercialized enough. I haven't recieved one greeting card congratulating me on living on Earth. Do people just think it's easy or something? I think we, and by we I mean I, deserve a day off because of this.

It's practically a religious holiday. Afterall, where did Jesus live? ON EARTH. Where did Martin Luther King fight the Red Coats? ON THIS PLANET. Where did the Astronauts land on the moon? ON EARTHS MOON.
Do I have to spell it out?!

And don't get me started on people who try to use Earth day to increase awareness for pollution. That's not Earth Day, you freaks, that's Nature Day, and it may or may not actually exist. And if it does exist I want to get free pizza on that day too.

So gather together, friends. Come together before your fireplaces this evening and read the story of Earth Day to your loved ones. For it only comes once a year I think.


Lavender Fields Forever

I was in French class tonight, and, once again, I found myself zoning out on this one particular image.

On the one hand, it got me interested in my French book. On the other hand it proved to me how incompetent I am with French. (I realized this once I realized I couldn't understand the caption.)

Luckily for me, the internet had the answer.
It's a field of Lavender.

Here are more of them I found off Flickr.

I'm not sure what is so satisfying to me about images of lavender fields, but I want more.

Uuaah, yeah, that's the stuff. MOAR!

I think what I like about these images is that this how I imagine they make Koosh Balls.

Or what i think a field of purple hedgehogs would look like.


This train of thought only made me zone out more during my French class, and throughout the rest of the night. By that time I was a lost cause. Before I knew it, I ended up thinking about who I usually do and found myself lost in the haze of purple lavender so thick all I could see was the end of the semester.
Which surprisingly is really, really close.
I should study.

By the way, I had another "deep" thought occur to me while eating lunch again. It said:

A smart man can answer to anyone,
but it takes a wise man to ask the question.

It's probably all the Confucianism I had to study.



for not posting constantly. I just finished a six page paper and now want to pass-out.
The report was on Dream of the Red Chamber, a novel from 16th century China.
I know what you're saying out loud right now. "Zack. Come on man, just watch the movie."
I did.
It was this:

Tell me about it, it's like they're speaking a different language or something.
Also, one of those chicks is actually a dude, I think. After a while I can't tell. I don't want to tell. I just want it to be over.

So after talking it over, I took the initiative to instead write my paper on only "cool" Chinese things. Like ninjas, pandas, and the 1998 Disney film Mulan.
Which coincidentally also deals with Chinese men looking like women.

So I think I'm in good shape.

Can you believe Mulan came out ten years ago?


Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Review

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The first point any review will tell you about "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," is how much Jason Segel you'll be seeing. And they don't mean that in terms of revealing character, they mean that Jason Segel is literally naked, very naked, at the film's start. While within it's context it is hilarious (albeit a bit sophomoric) it manages to serve as an initial Rorschach test. From the start you'll either be laughing, or you won't. And if you aren't, then there really isn't a great deal left for you here. It's certainly not all naked jokes throughout, in fact there's a whole host of hilarious situations and characters, but the same naked and exposed sense of humor is at the films heart.

The latest film from director Nicholas Stoller and penned by Jason Segel, follows the character of Peter (Jason Segel) as he navigates his way out of a messy break-up with television star Sarah Marshall, only to corner himself between she and her new rock-god boyfriend at a Hawaiian resort. It's one big set-up after another, at times even predictably so, but the creative and downright charming characters thrown in make it spontaneous and fresh. There's the newly-wed Christian couple on their honeymoon, the highly educated Hawaiian bartender, and my personal favorite, Chuck, the mildly brain-damaged surfing instructor (played by Paul Rudd). Frankly, he steals the show. He reflects the island's laid-back nature by saying "Yeah I don't even wear a watch!" "That sounds really nice" Peter replies.
"Yeah, besides, my cell-phone tells me the time anyways, so you know..."
It's that kind of false perceptions that Forgetting Sarah Marshall latches onto and manages to expose with such a hilarious force.

So here's how to watch it. Try to go when the theater is packed, or at the very least with as many friends as possible. To be honest with you, a great majority of these gags are based upon reactions. It's not so much that it's funny, I don't think, it's that none of us really expect it to be so funny. With a crowd, you get a sense of comradery that tends to be so prevalent with Judd Apatow related works. Outside of that, it'll still be funny, just a different experience.

I feel bad that the film seems to underestimate the simplest and goodhearted moments these characters have to offer in lieu of the degrading situations. Take for example Peter's heartfelt explanation of how his cereal container reminds him of his ex-love, and how he can now have the "freshest" cereal thanks to her. Strangely, and hilariously, it's emotionally affecting.
I wanted more of that.

I liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Sure, I did feel a tad guilty afterwards, but I liked it. It has it's fair share of problems, including a lack of closure with a number of characters. But with the sheer number of characters in here, and the number of cameos and performances I can't even list, it's natural that some things get nudged aside. As Chuck puts it so eloquently, "When life gives you lemons, just say 'F*** the lemons,' and bail."
It's well worth the price of admission.


New Song Saturday - Everything or Nothing

This one's a tad more abstract, just me musing while playing the guitar. So no, sorry, no apocalyptic or robot uprising references this week. You could probably imagine something terrible happening in the background on your own.

Everything or Nothing - Zack Newcott and the Chemical Cow

Yeah, I don't really get it either. You're probably much better off listening to Ode to Ralph Wiggum again.

I decided I should post lyrics now too. so here they are:

I draw these lines
around her face
like surface maps
from outer space

Everything is different
Everything's the same

Every heart has been spoke for
Every girl has been stolen before
"Love and War" is just a frame

Everything is different
Everything's the same
Everything is broken
but nothing remains unchanged

I plot my points
and I make a line
From me to you
There's only time

Everything is different
Everything's the same
Everything is broken
but nothing remains unchanged


The Bank Job - Review


View Trailer
The Bank Job

Jason Statham has rarely left me dissappointed. Whether he's deflecting rockets with trashcan lids in The Transporter, or loudly cursing his way through a heist in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or even doing all sorts of unspeakable acts in Crank, I am never left wanting more. Usually I'm not entirely certain that's a good thing, but in these cases at the very least I'm satisfied. So when I heard he was in The Bank Job, I knew exactly what to expect, and that included all kinds of entertaining tastelessness.

But the Bank Job suprised me.

True, Jason Statham is exactly the same in this role as any other film released during his career. But is that a bad thing? In the context of a film I could literally watch this guy rob, kill, or have sex with anything. Preferably at the same time. Which he probably already did in Crank. I'm happy to see him again. So although The Bank Job doesn't make you feel AS dirty as some of the film's previously mentioned. It's still rife with foul language and nudity. What I'm saying here is, it's not a family flick.

But man is it fun.

Fullfilling the stereotypical heist film profile, the story begins with a series of confusing and probably unnecessary flashbacks (the first couple minutes or so I missed while throwing quarters into a meter). We're introduced to Terry Leather (Statham) and his bumbling buddies as their car dealership is hustled and threatened by a number of annoyed "investors." They need money. Their friend Martine (Saffron Burrows) is in need of something else, and so proposes a plan to rob the Baker Street Bank in London. Unknowingly, they become pawns of the MI5, enemies of crooked cops, and a threat to some seriously twisted underground club-owners.
The fun is seeing it all come together. What begins as the predictable "Bank Job" instead turns into a lesson on negotiation and sacrifice. It's a crooks tutorial on how to have your cake and eat it too. If you manage to look past some of the now cliched plot devices, you'll find yourself incredibly immersed in charming characters, great performances, and excellent writing.

And, supposedly, (with an extra emphasis on "SUPPOSEDLY") it's a true story.

Now, even if that happens to be marginally verified, it's still a well told story nonetheless. It's a story I could easily imagine being told by someone personally involved and extrapolated beyond reasonable mention. It's a story that definitely had me clenching my fists and hoping turns out good in the end.
So yes, it's a good story. And you should watch it.


En Francais

Today I went to the Montomery College cafeteria to grab a sandwich, a bad idea in retrospect but a delicious one at the time. I went up to the front, placed my order and then stood back for what seemed like a long time while the guy did his thing.
While waiting I ran into my African American friend that I mentioned earlier. It was a happy surprise, considering he had switched classes and I fully expected never to see him ever again.
As you probably already understand, I can be generally awkward. When I'm hungry, this awkwardness doubles, perhaps triples. And after being in class all morning, that awkwardness simply explodes through the roof.
So after the intial greeting he asked me what other classes I was taking.
Thinking about what I had next I said, "French."
This got him excited, because as I could tell from his accent, he knew French intimately.
"How long have you been taking it?" He asked.
I tried to do some quick math in my head. I had taken a summer French course before, this was my second semester, so technically my second year. "I'm in 102, so about two years."
"Comment allez-vous?" He asked.
This question caught me off guard. I wasn't really expecting a French question, and the amount of time it took me to register he wasn't speaking English anymore essentially demonstrated on my behalf that I didn't know what was going on. In my head I said, Ca-va, but outloud I said what I usually say which is "I'm sorry, I don't know."
"WHAT?!" He replied. "Comment t'appelle tu?"
"Uh, Zack." I REALLY wasn't up for this. I just wanted a sandwich.
He nodded. "Qu'avez-vous commandé?"
What the frick, I thought. This wasn't going to end. My mental translator was running but only came up with "insert more food" which was in English and served me no use in this conversation.
"I don't know dude." I replied.
"Man," he said shaking his head. "This is basic stuff and you don't know this?! You have taken French for two years and you cannot answer these simple questions! How is this possible?! I came to this country and had to speak fluently, you have taken classes and cannot speak a thing! You are a slacker man! You need to get to work!"
The man effectively put me in my place. He effectively demonstrated to me that I am terrible at French and at being a human being, which is the equivelant of beating the dead horse, shooting it, and then using the dead horse corpse to beat another horse to death.
And while it provided a minimal amount of reinforcement to my earlier plans of studying today, it also came with the added bonus of making me want to look in the mirror and curse myself for such a miserable existence.
But boy did that sandwich taste good.


The Great Debate: Fuji Vs. Gala

History is but the composte we heap upon the names of the forgotten...

I'm not sure entirely what that means, but I thought of it while eating lunch today and thought it sounded epic.
And what better way to start off an epic debate but with a faguely related epic sounding quote from myself?
Correct. There is no better way.

The age old proverb tells us, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." And while science has proven this to be undeniably true in every aspect, still the world is rife with disease. AIDS, for example. To think we could spare so much grief and tragedy just by indulging in a delicious red (or green if you're feeling kinky) apple a day.
Why? I ask. Why do we not continue our treatment when the medicine is LITERALLY growing on the tree's?!
The answer is simple. It is because we tire of the taste of these scrumptious fruits. If we are in any way going to save ourselves, nay, the world, then we will have to settle for only the best of the best apples. Only the elite in regards to taste, color, size, and ability to weather the elements of melted caramel or sugary toppings.
Granny Smith, some say. The FOOLS! We're not talking about your MOMMA'S apples! We're talking about the BEST! We're talking about the forbidden fruit, the one undeniably delicious treat that NATURALLY hangs from the branches and NATURALLY gets plucked after it has NATURALLY been genetically altered and cultivated by the Tohoku Research Station in Japan!
Yes, my fellow colleagues, I speak of the Fuji apple.
Now this apple has come under some degree of fire from advocates of it's bastard cousin, the Gala apple.
Now it is time that I defended it's honor.
You Gala followers, your skin is as thin as the apple you cling to! Your flesh is as soft and spongey as that which lurks around your apples core! Go ahead, bite into the bland insides of your chosen fruit, see what it bares you! I hope its mash-potato like essence sooths your gums, you old bags!
You will never feel the delightful crispness, the fullness, and thick healthy red skin that the Fuji apple is reknown for. You may never bask in it's sweetness and satisfying texture.
But there is still time. You can change your ways and turn to the goodness that is Fuji.

I also hear GoRalls Genet is pretty good. Golden Delicious too.
Maybe just forego all this and eat a carrot instead.
I hear they're good for your eyes.


New Song Saturday - Bombshell

One thing I've been doing lately is a lot of Call of Duty 4.
If you've never played it, please do.
There's a lot of great things about video-games these days. Specifically the realism. For example, Bioshock gave players the ability to really become involved in what felt like a living and breathing city. Assassins Creed realistically re-created sprawling ancient civilizations. But what Call of Duty 4 provides is far better than all of those.
It lets you experience a nuclear blast from the perspective of a victim within the blast.
And as disturbing or distasteful as that sounds, it is AWESOME.
It's basically the best scenes from Terminator 2:

Except you get to play it, and feel your rumbling heart as it slowly fades away in excruciating agony.
In fact, it's pretty much exactly what my roommates and I have dreamed about for years.

So this week I wrote a little ditty about it.

Bombshell - Zack Newcott and the Chemical Cow


The Sugarloaf Mountain Expedition

I'm taking a meteorology class.
I know what you're thinking, and NO. We don't get to study these:

cool meteors

No, in meteorology we study these:

lame weather patterns

So today for class I got to wake up and drive out to a special place called Sugarloaf Mountain in Germantown Maryland for our semester field trip.
Again, I know what you're thinking.
When I say "Sugarloaf" you think THIS:

Lord knows I did.
In reality Sugarloaf mountain is THIS:

Photo I didn't take

Yeah, lame, I know. It isn't made out of ONE candy cane. And that house way off in the distance? Yeah, it's NOT made of gingerbread. It's a barn owned by an old lonely man.

I arrived in my silver minivan at the bottom of the mountain where I was greeted by a group of other students in their own cars. None of us knew where, exactly, on a mountain, we were supposed to meet. So in our confusion we asked the elderly teacher's aide (who was having a quaint picnic on the grass) if he could point us in the right direction.
Apparently he misunderstood, because he pointed us precisely in the wrong direction. In fact, in the opposite direction we were meant to be going.
Consequentially, we found ourselves driving through a couple farms, up a dirt path, in circles, around the mountain, until we all arrived at a water pumping station in the middle of a grassy knoll.
We backtracked, and eventually the old man called the professor and pointed us in the right direction.
The rest of the trip was pretty standard. Walking around, taking wind, pressure, and humidity measurements, and walking around some more. They had some fancy-pants contraptions for us to use, but it didn't take much to tell us it was hot and humid.
To be honest, I wish I had just joined the old guy with his picnic.
Live and learn.


A Blog Post

My mother was kind enough to inform me that my parents do, in fact, read my blog. Not quite sure what to make of that. Especially when she informs me I should cease the use of words including but not limited to:
and just plain old "douche."

It's a real shame because it happens to be one of my most favorite words.

I mean how else could I describe film-majors, people who live in Bethesda, and Jane Austin? Am I now forced to relegate myself to abbreviating it to just "D-bag" from now on? Does that not mean the same thing?


On a related note, I need someone elses opinion. If you don't know already, Death Cab For Cutie has released some new singles, the most popular of which is "I Will Possess Your Heart." I actually heard an edited version get some radio play, and I don't know what to think. It's good, but I'm not quite sure what to make of the (what i consider to be) long, drawn-out, instrumental introduction.
Here it is.

I Will Possess Your Heart (Full Album Version) - Death Cab For Cutie

Don't get me wrong. I do like it. But part of me is worried this may be the beginning of what most bands indulge in when they realize that people will listen to their albums no matter what some tracks sound like. It happens to all the greats. The Beatles. Radiohead. Let's face it, they're brilliant, but some "songs" are basically the musical equivelant of fingernails scraped across a chalkboard and then smashed with a hammer.
But hey, what am I saying here? We'll probably all get the album anyway.

This live track I definitely approve of.

Cath - Live Acoustic


Dinosaurs and Radio

My buddies Micah and Robert have their very own radio show at Biola University called the Birdy and Ferdy Show.
It's excellent.
So excellent in fact that I decided they should get a phone call from a certain John Hammond.
This is a recording of their very special St. Patrick's Day Episode.

The Birdy and Ferdy Show - Episode 4

I make a brief appearance roughly a quarter into it.

"Spare No Expense"


Of Pigs and Business Cards. Aka, the Best Things I've Ever Seen... (today)

I apologize for not posting much this weekend. I've found myself to be a bit sick, and posting songs or reviews with the sniffles just doesn't feel the same.

The good news is that I've found what I consider easily one of the best video's in existence. This is it.
So without further adeu, I want you to watch this, in it's entirety, and then tell me exactly what the eff is going on.

No. I have no idea.
Apparently it's a video used to teach proper business card ettiquette in Japan.
It's a real shame because I've been crushing business cards and then staring at my business associates with an expression mixed with anger and sheer bliss, for years.

Perhaps what I like most about this video is how the background is clearly green screen, a somewhat surreal and inexplicable fact when taken into account how hard it could be to find a bland brick wall to film against.

I've missed lots of the strange happenings in Japan. Including this new exciting gameshow involving a "sticky wall of tape," a pit filled with flour, and a group of three or four people at the bottom mocking the participants.

Or this, a game where participants cover themselves in a strange oily substance, then water slide onto a giant gameboard where they have to grab onto a small round handhold.

The best part? Take a look about fifty seconds into that. Yeah, the host appears to be a mentally disturbed man, dressed as a woman. It's just the little cherry the Japanese have managed to place upon the top of the greatest pieces of entertainment available.

This comes to a story I've been meaning to share, but simply haven't.
One of my favorite things about Japan are their toys. Specifically this one. (which someone has been kind enough to mix footage of with Terminator 2)

Some people call it a stress pig. Which makes sense because it smells strange, is painted badly, and is clearly filled with an unidentifiable liquid. It stresses me out just looking at it, which is brilliant because I want to unleash that stress on the pig itself. So what we have here is a neverending cycle of smashing pigs.
It's brilliant.

So, wanting to share my bliss, I stuffed a smashing pig in an envelope (covered in a layer of bubble tape) and sent it to a lovely lady. In my haste I briefly considered how a smashing pig would manage a cross-country journey, but then thought if it managed to get here from the land of the rising sun, it could certainly manage to get to California in one piece.

Well, I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. Especially when my plans literally burst inside the package, probably ruining several other letters and causing a major collapse within the post office infrastructure.
No, the pig didn't make it. And the lovely lady had to retrieve a pig-juice soaked envelope from the University post office.
What lessons have I learned from this? Always have a backup pig. The Japanese are only as crazy as I am. And always crush business cards while giving them the crazy eye.
Lesson learned.


Artsy Fartsy

Here's some drawings I've made in my figure drawing class.
As you can tell, I've made my teacher angry by forgetting to add backgrounds.
And by getting most of it wrong.

Usually, to get ourselves ready for the long drawings we do a couple short five minute charcoal ones.

To be completely honest, I actually tend to like those ones better.
They can be pretty abstract, but a lot more expressive.

These are actually supposed to be throwaways, done on newsprint paper.

I don't know what it is about them but I feel like they sometimes turn out better than the detailed ones.

This last one is my favorite.


What I've been listening to lately

I've been listening a lot lately, just not in classes, church, or at home.
This is what it's been to.
Most of it is live versions of Clem Snide.

Like this beautiful one called Joan Jett of Arc.

Joan Jett of Arc - Eef Barzelay (live 1)

Ooh! Here's another version of that one with a little bit of drums hanging out in the back.

Joan Jett of Arc - Clem Snide (live 2)

And I have to admit, though I didn't quite love Across the Universe, the soundtrack is pretty awesome. Or at least this track is.

Happiness is a Warm Gun - Across the Universe

One album I've been listening non-stop to is The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. Seriously, it's a great album.
Here's a live performance version of his song Temptation of Adam, unfortunately a tad low quality.

The Temptation of Adam - Josh Ritter

Other than that there's been a good amount of Neutral Milk Hotel goings on.

Holland 1945 - Neutral Milk Hotel

In An Airplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel

And this last one is my favorite. I've been listening to it a lot. Another one from Eef Barzelay:

Weird - Eef Barzelay


How I Celebrated April Fools Day

I woke up again in D.C.
It was the least funny prank I've ever experienced, and somehow also the most cruel. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse I ended up back at school for eleven hours where I was lucky enough to remember I had a French quiz I didn't study for.
After that I had the good fortune of picking my parents up at the airport, and this is where my great April Fool's Day adventure begins.

There are two airports in and around the D.C. area. One is National Airport, the other is Dulles. For those of you who don't know, Dulles International is easily one of the worst places in the world. It's huge, inconvenient, and far away. So when I heard my parents were arriving back into town through National I took it as a blessing. After sweeping up all the burnt remains of my crazy party weekend underneath the rugs of the house, I hopped in the car and headed downtown to pick them up.
The geography of D.C. is an interesting one. National Airport is conveniently located across the Potomac River, which separates the Rosslyn section of Arlington from that of Georgetown. There are a number of bridges that cross it, however the most prominent and useful is the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
It's also the only bridge in D.C. I can name, and the only one I know for certain can get me to the airport.
So when I drove up to the Key Bridge at eleven o'clock last night and saw a bunch of trucks like this blocking my path:

With people who I assume were doing this:

I thought, "Great. My parents are stuck at the airport and now the city is under attack by freaking zombies."
So I had to turn off onto an onramp that lead me into the heart of the city. Thinking maybe there was a second turn off for the bridge, I double backed the other way through Georgetown and found that the other side was also closed off by more Hazmat trucks and police cars.
Basically at that point I had no idea what I was going to do. So after calling my brother Nick, I followed the river past the Kennedy center and managed to get across the Potomac by way of West 66 which lead me to the other side of the Key bridge. My next problem was finding my way to the airport from there. Luckily for me, there was a nice little sign with an airplane on it to direct me. Unfortunately for me, that sign was right after the exit I missed and I ended up taking the 66 East back across the river into the heart of D.C. again.

D.C. manages to be a physical representation of all douche-bagginess this world has to offer. It's a knot of frustration constructed by a historical lineage of douche-bags determined to make existence worse for anyone in it. An example of this would be how someone out there thought it would be a good idea to place all the exit signs in the city AFTER the exits instead of a little bit before it. It's like a nice little joke.
"Oh you THOUGHT this was the right way, but guess where this road is taking you now?! IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION! Isn't that hilarious?! What's that? You wanted the airport? Well I think you should see the Lincoln Memorial instead! Nope, you can't turn around now, 'cause there's no U-turns for another three miles!"
Eff you D.C.
Eff. You.
So yeah, I got to see the memorials, the cemetary, and eventually the airport where I was given the pleasure of welcoming my parents back to this god-forsaken wasteland. I was tempted. I considered walking out of that car, into that terminal and booking a flight home to sweet sweet California. But I couldn't. Just a little over a month left, I can take it.
And the reason for all this trouble?


Yeah. A bucket. A bucket with nothing in it. Or a pail. They don't even know which one it was.

But I know someone who does.