Sunday, September 30, 2007

One Step Closer

I received a memo from Encore Talent Agency asking me to set up an audition with them. I'll be setting up for hopefully later in October due to my schedule, but, I'm glad at least now my goal of obtaining representation is within arm's length! Good times!

Currently listening :
Echoes Silence Patience & Grace
By Foo Fighters
Release date: 25 September, 2007

Wii, It Was Fun!

Well, the party and the celebration is over and I feel bit hung over. For a guy who doesn't drink, that must mean I exerted myself a bit for my birfday. I did.

We were supposed to have gone to Carnivale last night, but I was informed at a rather late persiod that they had trumped anything going on that night with a private party, thus, the place was closed and we would need to find another place. Uhm, ok. So, I woke up early yesterday and searched for a place to feed people. I decided on Graziano's up in Niles, IL (a 15 minute trip from my house but when I describe it as NILES, IL, it sounds a lot more ominous and far away ). The food was great and the people were better. I definitely have left overs from the joint and I went in hungry like a wolf. Good times!

The Wii festivities were awesome. Although I have Paper Mario and Call of Duty 3, we decided to play bowling, tennis, and golf form the Wii Play pack the whole night. So that went on for like 4 hours. Everybody there got into it at some point and even the older folks were like "Damn, I gotta get me one of these Wiis." I felt it was a success to have folks wanting my gaming system. That's exactly how I felt when I played my nephew's Wii and he's like 7 or 8.

Overall, it was a great birfday. Thank you all who came out and celebrated with me in mind, body, and/or spirit. The gifts were all great and I'm stoked to have such great people in my life!

Currently listening :
I’d Like a Virgin
By Richard Cheese
Release date: 05 December, 2006

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Passion of the Enticed

For those of you who know me, I am opinionated on a lot of subjects and will let you know what I'm thinking along with whatever judgments I've made. As I grow older, I have been working on making no assumptions, keeping an open mind when different viewpoints are presented, and seeing personal situations for what they are vs. what they appear to be. While I work on these things, I think it's given people the impression that I have a laissez faire attitude. Oh my was that proven wrong on this.

I got on the phone with a friend of mine and she mentioned that she was watching the Bears game. I already have my thoughts on the Bears, but I hadn't had a chance to share them with her. She also mentioned they were playing the Dallas Cowboys - a team I enjoy watching lose more than the Bears on any given Sunday. As the conversation went on, I harped on how Bears fans can't live beyond 1986 a la Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite can't live beyond '82. If the 2008 Bears went 16-0, had stats that were superior to those of the 1986 Bears, fans would continue to say "Yeah...but they weren't the '86 Bears..." and discredit a bit the accomplishments of the newest teams. Her rebuttal to it was "Well, I was 10 or 11 years old when they won and ... it was unbelievable." I was like, "But yeah, it was 21 years ago!" She then personally attacked me by saying "That's because you don't have passion for anything in your life."

Oh, that got me fired up. Once again, I default to the dictionary definition of passion:

Main Entry: pas·sion
Pronunciation: 'pa-sh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin passion-, passio suffering, being acted upon, from Latin pati to suffer -- more at PATIENT
1 often capitalized a : the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death b : an oratorio based on a gospel narrative of the Passion
2 obsolete : SUFFERING
3 : the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces
4 a (1) : EMOTION passion is greed> (2) plural : the emotions as distinguished from reason b : intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction c : an outbreak of anger
5 a : ardent affection : LOVE b : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept c : sexual desire d : an object of desire or deep interest

I'm willing to venture to say definitions 4a,b & 5a,b, and d were the ones she was referencing. I feel there are plenty of facets of my life that would fit the definition. Music is one of them. I've grown up with music my whole life and have developed a knack for playing it, singing it, and acting with it.

I told her about that part of my life and told her I could arguable say there are bands that can out-do the Beatles from a historical perspective (for the sake of argument, let's say Led Zepplin in the 70's vs. Beatles in the '60s although I am not a fan). She lost her top when I said that! "How can you say that?! You know there wouldn't be anybody else without the Beatles, " shes said. I concur with her. Yes, I respect the Beatles for what they did for music, film, and video. I know that almost every band that has come since the Beatles owes a part of their success to the Beatles since they were the pioneers of self-written, self-produced rock n' roll music where artistry primarily ruled what was written. However, I think there are bands/artists that outgrew that mold and did the same things just in a better way (Prince, Michael Jackson, Oasis, U2 to name a few). I also feel Jimmy Hendrix is over-rated. She then replied, "I have much more respect for the guy that built the first car with no blueprints, no real help...pioneering his way through it than the guy who just took an existing design and copied it and declared it's a new car." My response to that is that if that were true, why buy a new car? I am sure you would pick a 2008 Nissan Murano over a 1908 Ford Model T as your daily mode of transportation. I also say why even drive with that line of thinking? If that were that case we should have more respect for the guy that first learned how to walk than Wilbur Wright because you have to learn how to walk first before you can fly? C'mon. Precedence in this case doesn't justify supremacy. Uh come the pitchforks .

I know I am causing calls of blasphemy and heresy here. However, these are my own opinions and I hold true to them. The reason why we get passionate about things like football and music and badminton is because there is a personal investment we put into them. I argue that the personal investment is what we're really talking about when we're cheering for "our" team or band.

Her words caused such a reaction in me that I second guessed myself for a quick second. However, I know that it was a reaction to what I was saying and I was coming off as disrespectful to how she felt about the Bears. So for that, I do apologize to her and other Bears fans out there. You can feel the way you do about the Bears and it's just as valid as how I feel about how you feel about the Bears. Just don't say I'm inpassionate!

Currently listening :
Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants
By They Might Be Giants
Release date: 17 September, 2002

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It’s SlideShow Hell! Pictures from Washington DC!

Hi Folks:

I have like 5 blogs all in my head right now that need to be written. I thought I would post up some pictures here first then blog later. Sorry for the multiple slideshows but Photobucket is a little limiting .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

That Was A Great Show, Eh?!

This was the view of downtown Toronto from Island Park where the Virgin Festival was held (no, it wasn't a pagan party for those who never get laid ). I spent the entire weekend there and had a blast!

Whatchoo Won?!!!
Back in Chicago on the first day, Jill and I were running late due to last minute packing/preparation. We showed up a the airport with 40 minutes before our flight left. The United agent couldn't guarantee we would catch our flight and printed us passes for standby status on the next flight out. The plane was at the very end of O'Hare's Terminal C wing and we could catch them if we hurried. So, we rushed to get into line to be wanded down and screened.

Here's where the fun starts. It's roughly 6:20 AM and we're trying to get to our gate when we come up to the screening area. The workers there clearly did not want to be there. Imagine a bunch of women who look like Regina King smacking their gum, talking quite loudly about their personal lives with scornful frowns, and completely going through the motions of their job. They take a look at our passes and then look at us. Out of nowhere she says in a deadpan, almost monotone robot voice, "You have been randomly selected for a security screening. Please step to the side." Randomly?! RANDOMLY?!! If things in my life were as random as they appeared to be at this moment I would've won the lottery not once not twice but thrice! At this point I know we've missed our flight for sure. They wanded us down with as much vigor as a Britney Spears VMA performance, rummaged through our bags a little, then let us go (yes, they let us go - not allowed us to proceed). I bit my tongue the whole time because I knew that if I said something they'd call SWAT to beat me down and we'd be delayed even more while being featured on Fox News as "Belligerent Passengers Detained at Chicago's O'Hare Airport". We got to the gate before our departure time but the plane had already backed off the walkway. DAMN! We flew standby on the next flight and even got better seats than our original flight.

The point of this anecdote is to iterate my call for firing every person with no concept of customer service. Let me be absolutely clear on my position. If you work in a field requiring customer interaction, e.g., a screener at the airport or a clerk at the counter of fast food restaurant, and feel that you do not deserve to put up with people's sh*t in your job, you're sadly and gravely mistaken. You chose to take the job and the pay scale includes dealing with customers and ensuring (yes, ensuring) that they are satisfied with the products and service you promote. If you do not like it, quit! Refrain from taking out the frustrations with your life or situation on the those people you service! With that said, you got get respect to give respect. If a customer is being unruly or difficult, and after all pleasantries have been exhausted to make them happy, there is a professional level of "letting them have it" that can be exercised. However, take it on a case-by-case basis.

Anyway, after getting to Toronto, we slept about 14 hours the fist night. We had to rest

Waiting For The Riot
On Day 2 we headed out to the island for the show. We got on the ferry along with 200-300 other people and go there around 1 PM. We putsed around for a while. We checked out a few of the side stage bands, food and drink that was being sold everywhere (some by tickets and some with funny money called Canadian dollars ), and eventually found the main stage. After collecting a bunch of free iTunes cards (that can only be used in Canada. DOH! ), we sat around and watched a couple of bands rawk out. Here we are chillin' with mythical creatures of the day:

The Killers took the stage and Jill and I made our migration towards the pit to position ourselves for the Pumpkins. I don't really dig the band's music but I found their show to be entertaining. I can see how people like them and why they're harlots of the latest MTV generation. However, they are not The Smashing Pumpkins .

Despite Of My Age I Can Hang With The Young In The Cage...
After a long 60 minute wait in sweltering heat of a sea of people pushing and bobbing to get the best position for the Pumpkins, we saw SP take stage. The average age of the people in the pit where we were at was around 18-21. I, as usual, got into my zen of waiting to fawk one of them up if they get in front of me without asking nicely. Luckily, it didn't really happen. The crowd was nicer than previous Pumpkin crowds I've been in (must be those darn Canadians! ).

Most the crowd didn't know the material as well as I felt they should've . They played really well and busted out some stuff I felt was unexpected such as By Starlight and To Sheila. I also heard Hummer, my favorite song off of Siamese Dream, for the first time live and was pleasantly bobbing around. The new songs were fun to rawk out to as well. Here's us in the middle of the set:

Getting (Voted) Off The Island
After the show, it took us 2 hours to get off the island via ferry. Being brown I probably could've swam the mile in at least 15 minutes . Luckily our hotel was right next to the dock, thus, getting to the hotel wasn't a big deal. I vote next year that they have at least 40 ferries to get people off the island.

Overall, this was a great trip. I am really happy I got to get away from daily life and hang with the wifey to see my favorite band in the world!
Currently listening :
One by One
By Foo Fighters
Release date: 22 October, 2002

Note: This was originally posted with comments on MySpace at: