Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy In His Work

There's something about this song that I used to love years ago that really kind of resonates with me right now.

Tomorrow after brunch I need to swing by work and try to talk the scheduling manager into reworking my Saturday so that I can try and catch a little bit of Monsterfest during the afternoon before the lockdown later that night. Lee is doing a symposium on the Friday The 13th films and I told him I'd try and be there for it, and Caitlin has pretty much promised to kick my ass if I don't show this year, and since she will be dressed as a zombie I would hate my picture to be taken for the local paper being bent over with with some skinny undead chick's foot inserted sideways into my fat heinder for all to see. Won't someone please think of the children?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Somebody Up There Likes Me

I only have one Paul Newman story, and it isn't even mine. It happened to a woman I once knew, who told it to me the day after she got back from her very first trip to New York City.

Lisa was sitting at a lunch counter in a Manhattan deli when she spied a gentleman seated at a table on the other side of the room that bore a striking resemblance to the actor James Spader. Having never seen a real Hollywood celebrity before, Lisa nudged the woman sitting at the lunch counter to her left and said, "Excuse me, but... am I mistaken, or is that the James Spader sitting right over there?"

The woman looked towards the table and squinted and said, "Hmm, I think that could be James Spader, but I'm not completely certain. Let me ask my husband. Oh, Paul..." The woman taps the man sitting to her left at the lunch counter. "Is that James Spader sitting way over there?"

Lisa looks over to the woman's left and is shocked to discover that her husband is none other than Paul Newman. Lisa had been sitting next to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward the entire time.

Paul glances over to the table. "Yep, that's Jimmy." He gives him a little wave and then goes back to eating his sandwich.

The Beautiful Swindlers

So what are The Residents up to these days?

I admit I haven't really followed their career very keenly over the last several years, although I never turn down an opportunity to acquire anything from their repertoire that crosses my path. I bought their River Of Crimes CD when it came in used to work last year, and Randy gave me a burned copy of one of their concerts in exchange for some of the VHS stuff I have, like the fantastic The Mole Show (live in Holland 1983, and not included on Icky Flix), Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats, and The Eyes Scream: A History Of The Residents hosted by Penn Jillette. But I admit it's been awhile. As much as I've always liked the band, and at one point even adored them, they do tend to develop a sameyness to their sound in more recent years that makes you feel as if you've not only heard it all before, but can pretty much predict what each new project will sound like. And I hate admitting that, but it's often the trappings of such bands that have been around for as long as The Residents, and I am a firm believer that everyone, no matter how much of a genius they are, runs out of ideas sooner or later. And there is no shame in that whatsoever. How many times can you keep leaning on that synthesizer and growling in that same Les Claypoolian nasal tone -- and I know, it's not fair to compare. In fact years ago when Primus first came about I was convinced that Claypool was somehow affiliated with The Residents, with Claypool's similar lead vocals to that of The Residents, and his obvious love for the band, covering many of their songs, and I even remember Claypool wearing a Resident T-shirt in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. I asked a friend of mine, Kari, a girl I worked with at Music Man back in 1991 who was going to interview Les Claypool for a local music zine to ask him if he really was actually in The Residents. She later told me that he said "Nooo... but OH HOW I WISH I WAS!" Well that settled that, I reckon.

But I digress. It appears that The Bunny Boy is their latest project, as well as the name of the tour in which I'm going to see in New York in two weeks (heck, less than that, I think). Nineteen songs about... well, here's the first video episode and I'll let you decide. Nobody ever said The Residents didn't lack in the art of visual intrigue.
Another thing that's worthwhile, if you can find it. The Resident's Freakshow CD-ROM, which I imagine must be out of print these days, but is worth checking out and exploring if you ever run across it. A delightfully spooky interactive exploration of the behind-the scenes of a carnival freak show after dark -- although I still can't figure out how to get into the locked trailer full of moaning, creepy souls (or maybe I shouldn't!). Oh, and if you cut the carnival talker off the first time you see him when he invites you into the tent, he hesitates and then shouts "FUCK ZE KRAUTS!" at you and then walks away. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE SAYS THAT but it slays me every single time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Won't Jim Lehrer Wave Back At Me?

Part One and Part Two of Tuesday night's Audio Junk is up, divided as such since the feed went down at one point and Joe had to get it back up again, therefore two parts. All good, however. Lively up yourselves.

Just made some popcorn and I'm gonna go watch the debates. Let's see how lively this gets.


Sat 27: 3-cl
Mon 29: 3-cl
Tue 30: 10-6
Wed 1: 3-cl
Thur 2: 10-6
Sat 4: 9-5
Mon 6: 5-cl
Tue 7: 10-6
Wed 8: 10-5
Thur-Sat: OFF (NYC!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Maybe Partying Will Help

First 20 tracks on my iTunes this evening still sore from falling in the park today and breaking my digital camera.
1. "The Prophet's Song" - Queen
2. "Don't Let Go" - Wang Chung
3. "Autumn Is Your Last Chance" - Robyn Hitchcock
4. "Wendell Gee" - R.E.M.
5. "Kashmir" - Led Zeppelin
6. "Mr. You're On Fire Mr." - Liars
7. "Blitzkrieg Bop" - Ramones
8. "The Bimp (Mousetrapreplica)" - Captain Beefheart
9. "TraigoLa Salsa" - Willie Colon
10. "High And Dry" - Radiohead
11. "Season Cycle" - XTC
12. "Dope For Guns" - The Ruts
13. "Tiger Phone Card" - Dengue Fever
14. "2 Square" - 8 Eyed Spy
15. "Deep And Wide And Tall" - Aztec Camera
16. "Strange Fruit" - Siouxsie & The Banshees
17. "Crash And Burn Girl" - Robyn
18. "Time To Undress" - General Electrics
19. "From This Moment On" - Jimmy Somerville
20. "Expressway To Your Heart" - The Amen Corner

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Decorating With $10 Worth Of Sharpie

I could live here forever.

Is that a... a Rocky And Bullwinkle pinball machine?


Now that's where I'd be sleeping every night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Old Man In A Young Girl's World

It was shortly after seeing Ghost Town this afternoon at the local mall theaters when I was strolling the aisles of the mall FYE, while Joe searched for a copy of The Naked Spur to buy for my father's birthday tonight, that I just happened to look down and notice Diane Lane's fifteen-year-old sullen face hovering spectre-like over Ladies And Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains -- finally out on DVD as of the 16th of this month. And I didn't even see it come through my store! Ironically I spend a good portion of late last year and early this year trying to acquire a super rare P2P copy from BitTorrent from a nice young man who wanted to see my breasts asked for nothing in return and even compressed it onto a data disk for me. To which then I had another friend transfer that onto a DVD-R so that I could watch it on the DVD player. Months later, I finally had that elusive copy of a movie that had never seen its day on DVD (and hardly even on video, let alone in theaters) and now it's out on its original 1982 transfer including a rather dry commentary from director Lou Adler, and a much more interesting commentary by its two female stars Diane Lane and Laura Dern -- a sometimes funny and fascinating conversation between two middle-aged actresses looking back on themselves as naive little girls wedged into a film with real, raging, drinking, partying rock stars. I loved the detail in their recollections, from how one Sex Pistols' jacket smelled like an ashtray, to the way actress Christine Lahti held her cigarette like a microphone while singing off-key to "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". A must see. A must own. And thank you everyone for helping me out there in the first place.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Fri 26: 9-5
Sat 27: 3-cl
Mon 29: 3-cl
Tue 30: 10-6
Wed 1: 3-cl
Thur 2: 10-6
Sat 4: 9-5

Sunday, September 21, 2008

She Pays My Rent

The very first Audio Junk program "Shock And Awe" from September 9th is finally in the archives.
Tune in this Tuesday on CTI Radio at 8pm EST for more JUNK!

Friday, September 19, 2008

These Be Gesticulatin' Times

By the by, Joe's Audio Junk program from this past Tuesday is available to download. I had to work that night so even I haven't heard this week's show yet, so gimmee some feedback ya'll. These are my rekkids también, y'know!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Three Two One Contacts

Sometime back in the mid 90's I lived downstairs from this guy named Aaron who once claimed that he knew the guy who stole the eyeball head from the Resident member who now wears the black skull mask in the band. He told me that after a Residents gig in Washington D.C. a guy he knew, who was apparently a bit of a klepto, took him into the parking lot after the show, opening the hatch to the back of his car, and showed him the giant eyeball that he somehow purloined. Even though I can't recall how or why the one band member now wears a black skull mask, it still made for a funny story, as highly skeptical as I am over its authenticity. But my fascination and affection for The Residents goes back a bit of a ways, and I hope I can remember some of the timeline as I'm typing it all out. Starting, of course, with their obvious visual aspect.

It was right around the same time, early to mid 1980's, when MTV would show that one Residents' video with the occasional cryptic reference to their image without ever really mentioning who they were or basically, what their deal was other than being from San Francisco -- which I figured out when MTV was doing a contest right around the same time where the winner would go on a cruise around the city with other Frisco artists including Journey, Jefferson Starship, AND The Residents! (I would later learn that the band really hails from Shreveport, Louisiana and later defected to San Francisco, which they would then become integrated into that city's famous avant-garde scene)

Speaking of Jefferson Starship, it was also during the very same time that they were running ads for the cruise contest (which I really wanted to enter but I wasn't eighteen years old yet) when the channel was also heavily rotating their video to the song "Laying It On The Line" which, mysteriously, also featured The Residents in background scenes. Something that blew my friends' minds when I showed it to them years later, but only piqued my curiosity even more at the time.

I spent much of the late 80's and early 90's digging up anything Residents that I could find. In the form of vinyl, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening's book about the band (written in the 70's!), and whatever music magazine articles I could dredge up at the time. I managed to get most of their early output on record, quite a feat since their first album came out in 1972 (on their own label, Ralph Records), although vinyl was still slightly easier to come by back then, and not all of The Residents's works were out on CD -- in fact very little -- at that time. And I was hooked. Joe was hooked. Our friend Geena was hooked. And the three of us spent probably the majority of the year 1990 mining the music stores for anything by Ralph Records, automatically drawn to anything with four eyeballs in top hats. It was definitely a wacky era, and safe to say their exposure opened my mind to most anything avant-garde or slightly askew musically than even one listen to Trout Mask Replica did for me back in college. Yup, them's were some good times, by gum.

Our favorite album, still to this day, is their 1976 release Third Reich And Roll which famously featured an image of Dick Clark on the cover dressed as a Nazi. The album is little more than twisted fractures of old rock & roll classics, from "Rock Around The Clock", "Telstar", and even a German version of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag". Joe once said that the album reminds him of an imaginary story about a last man to survive a nuclear holocaust, who wanders the scorched earth trying to remember what music once sounded like with his brain half eaten by radiation. It's all I can think about any time I hear anything off this album.

This video for their version of "Land Of A Thousand Dances" is an example of the album's sound, and I love how rudimentary the production values are to where one of the band members runs out in front of the camera seconds after the video starts rolling, because he is obviously mounting and starting the camera first.

Collecting Residents music videos and concert tapes became another obsession for awhile. One of my keenest unearthings was a then extremely rare video of The Residents feature film Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?, which is footage taken from their fourteen-hour unfinished movie Vileness Fats, shot in black and white between the yeas 1972 and 1976. After dropping the project, bootleg copies of the footage that were stitched together without dialogue (they never got around to filming sound, other than the soundtrack and a few lines here and there) into some form of semi-cohesive plot circulated universities and sci-fi conventions, but was never releases in any official capacity. In fact I'm not sure if it still is unreleased to this day. I may have to research that eventually. I still have the rickety old thing on VHS.

A short clip from Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats, featuring Fats' mother, who used to make me cry just looking at her. I got this film back in late 1991, shortly after my own grandmother passed away from cancer, and this woman looks so frighteningly like her it almost hurt to look at the screen, even all the way down to the frames of her glasses. Except, of course, for the weird bulbous body and Dr. Caligari house and whatnot.

It was also around the time of 1991 that the band was going through its "Cube-E" period, where the group began to explore the history of American music in a three-part project that focused on country music (Hank Williams), blues-based "negro" influences (James Brown) and rock 'n roll (Elvis Presley). One of the most mind-warping moments I can still remember was tuning in to my favorite show Night Flight and catching a bizarre moment with Conway Twitty singing as the Residents in their "cubist" eyeball full-body costumes danced merrily behind him. For years I thought I had dreamed this, seeing as how I often used to watch Night Flight in a half-asleep, post-partied-out haze. God, I miss that show.

Anyway, my time is running up here and I have to dash off to buy a new pair of shoes. I'll blather on more about The Rez in a later post. But in the meantime, get a copy of Icky Flix on DVD if you still can. Lots of great Residents video footage, including other Ralph Record parallel universe Resident affiliates Renaldo And The Loaf. The Conway Twitty/Residents collaboration is actually an "Easter Egg" in the opening menu.


My head is burning. I've been a blubbering mess all week at work. I've done horrible things to my body today, and I'm paying the price for it right now.

I'm starting to feel like that "Mark Of Gideon" episode of Star Trek again. But don't worry, I won't do what I did last time I felt that way and vanish off the face of the earth. I just want something for my headache. And a job. I really, really want a new job.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Fri 19: 9-6:30
Sat 20: 9-4
Sun 21: 1-cl
Mon 22: 3-cl
Fri 26: 9-5
Sat 27: 3-cl

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Operation Little Vittles

First 20 tracks on my iTunes after an exhausting and stressful grand re-opening weekend at the store and looking forward to a relaxing, casual (and light!) brunch with the gang tomorrow...
1. "Do You Know How To Use This Weapon?" - Neil Young
2. "Kids In America" - The Muffs
3. "Buzz Fledderjohn" - Tom Waits
4. "The Letter" - The Nirvana Sitar & String Group
5. "Are You Mine?" - Sonny James
6. "What Is Love?" - Howard Jones
7. "Frank's Wild Years" - Tom Waits
8. "Bad News" - The Trashmen
9. "Moon River Cha Cha" - Henry Mancini
10. "#9 Dream" - John Lennon
11. "Do It (Til You're Satisfied)" - B.T. Express
12. "Shadow Dancing" - Andy Gibb
13. "Baby I'm For Real" - The Originals
14. "Cheap And Cheerful" - The Kills
15. "Delirium Aquarium" - The Mad Conductor
16. "The Darktown Flapper's Ball" - Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds
17. "Las Flores (unplugged)" - Cafe Tacuba
18. "Bonfire" - Lamb
19. "I'm A Beautiful Guy" - Frank Zappa
20. "The Other Side Of Town" - Curtis Mayfield

Saturday, September 13, 2008

These Things I Know To Be True

Six movies that I can watch over and over again and never get sick of, as well as discover something new every time. If you want me to stick around your house someday, I guarantee one of this pictures will have my butt planted in your seat for the next two hours without interruption. (well not literally your seat, but, well, you get it, sport)

The Apostle (1997)
I first caught this flick in the theaters when it came out, and at the time I remember liking it okay. But something about it ever since keeps drawing me back towards it, uncovering a new, intricate layer of Robert Duvall's perfectly flawed southern preacher who seeks to redeem his sinful past through a calling from God to build a church in a tiny rural Mississippi town, and as a result uniting the community in fellowship as well as spirituality. Wonderfully quiet, authentic roles by the likes of Farrah Fawcett, Miranda Richardson, June Carter Cash and Billy Bob Thornton -- but it's Duvall as the spirited Sonny Dewey that keeps me absolutely riveted. I pop this in the player about once a year -- twice, if it's been an especially uplifting year.

Metropolitan (1990)
Even though the acting is often stagy and the dialogue (although hilarious) is unrealistically contrived, Whit Stillman's Metropolitan, about a working-class New York teenager who infiltrates the world of upper-class debutante parties lures me in every single time with its constant barrage of witty, cerebral banter. I love Chris Eigeman as the snooty, sardonic preppy Nick and Taylor Nichols as the pedantic, jealous Charlie. And of course Carolyn Farina as the virtuous Audrey Rouget, a heroine straight out of one of her beloved Jane Austen novels (in fact much of the movie parallels Audrey's favorite Austen tome, Mansfield Park). Guaranteed to keep me hanging around if you dangle this one in front of me.

Crumb (1994)
Something about this movie makes me want to draw. I know, Captain Obvious, much? But seeing as how little inspire me these days, it speaks volumes for a movie that will make me want to pick up my pen from the first moment of the picture, when famed underground cartoonist Robert Crumb explains how he can't function without a pen in his hand, moving it over a blank sheet of paper. Funny at times, the real tragedy of the Crumb story is Robert's brother Charles, an extremely gifted artist in his youth, whose descent into depression and insanity is truly harrowing. But it's the art, and the process of creating art, that captivates me each and every time. I never once thought to take random pictures of telephone poles and city blocks for artistic reference. It's amazing how much of all of that you tune out in everyday life, to where when you need to draw it, you can't even recall it to memory.

Ghost World (2001)
Directed and co-written by Crumb director (and close Crumb friend) Terry Zwigoff and based on Daniel Clowes graphic novel of the same name, this was another film I caught in the theaters and enjoyed well enough as it unfolded, but grew to appreciate more and more with each repeated viewing. I was able to accept and enjoy the changes made to the original story (although Steve Buscemi's character, as wonderfully as he played it, is still such an blatant Zwigoff Mary Sue it's almost embarrassing) as they kept to the spirit and feel of the story, about two teenage girls (Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson) during the summer after high school graduation, best friends since childhood, rebelling against the stifling tedium of their boring small town, and gradually transitioning into the adults that they will potentially become, all the while inhabiting that grey, disorienting "ghost world" state between adolescence and maturity. Fast becoming one of my regular annual rotation flicks, and probably the next one I watch really soon (I've been carrying around the comic a lot more these days, which is a good indication).

Persuasion (1995)
I remember seeing this at the Naro when it first came out, and how difficult it was to understand, with the quiet, breathy dialogue and the audience tittering over every sentence ("What did they just say?"). But through the magic of video (and volume control) this gorgeously nuanced film, made originally for BBC television before being distributed to worldwide theaters, is a gem for repeat viewings, and gives you something new to discover with each whispery word and phrase. Based on Jane Austen's final novel, twenty-seven year old spinster Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) is awkwardly reunited with her former suitor, the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth (Ciarán Hinds), whom she was persuaded to break up with back when she was nineteen years old. Still as much in love with him as ever, the volumes spoken between the two characters, the things unsaid, and the things that they wish they could say, just with their eyes alone could fill pages of dialogue that would have this girl repair to her fainting couch. I can never, ever get tired of this movie. And happily, I just got Joe into this one this year as well.

The Age Of Innocence (1993)
Based on the novel by Edith Wharton, Martin Scorsese recreates the world of 19th century New York City high society with a study in detail that is nothing short of breathtaking. The decor almost threatens to upstage the story itself, about a man named Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) torn between two worlds, as represented by the two women that he loves. One is pretty, yet conventional, like his existence in New York. One is exotic and unconventional, like the European world in which she was raised, the world in which Newland would love to explore. Yet for all its conventional blandness, Newland's life as a New York lawyer is something he still holds in high regard. He is divided by both his love for tradition and his desire to break from it, and at some point he must make a choice between these two worlds, for fear that they may dangerously collide. A movie that's very special to me. In fact screw Ghost World, I think I might go settle back with this one right now. (fye: Metropolitan's Carolyn Farina also plays Newland's sister in this picture)

Friday, September 12, 2008


Sat 13: 12-8
Mon 15: 4-cl
Tue 5-cl
Wed 17: 9-5
Fri 19: 9-6:30
Sat 20: 9-4

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pulling The Plug

Joe starts his own music internet radio program "Audio Junk" tomorrow night, Tuesday the 9th on CTI Radio at 8:00 pm EST to 11:00pm, I think. But yeah, check it out if you can. It's all music this time -- no wrestling! I swear! LOL!

Legs To Make Us Longer

Color me going to New York City in October. It's been in the works for weeks to go see a show up there and hang out for one night with a friend of mine, but I was working on the funds and then after losing my full time job, well, I was really worried that the plans might all fall through after all. But I decided to say screw it. Buy the tickets now, before my money situation gets any worse, use up the one vacation day my job is allowing me to have this year before I move on to something permanent, and just enjoy myself. I've been wanting to see this band ever since I first heard of them, back around when I was thirteen or fourteen and saw their videos on MTV. And later, when I began purchasing their albums and films.

And the band?

I mean, what else needs to be said?

I shall write more about The Residents later, when I don't have a million little errands to run this morning. But for now here is the very first time that I ever heard or saw of the group, back around the pre-Michael Jackson & Madonna summer of 1983 or so when MTV was desperate for anything to add to their rotation. Their minimalist (even more so than the original!) rendition of a James Brown classic...

Gotta go to the bank, buy some salads for dinner, and go print out my plane ticket confirmation. Hey, I'm EXCITED! And I'm kinda liking this feeling.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Sun 7: 2-cl
Wed 10: 10-5
Thur 11: 8-4
Fri 12: 12-8
Sat 13: 12-8

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Vigilant, Bold... Ridiculous

Being comic book day gets bumped to Thursday for Labor Day shipment, seemed like as good a day as any to camp out at Trilogy and wait for what I was hoping to see on the shelf -- Love And Rockets: New Stories No. 1 which Amazon says isn't out yet but Trilogy says on their web site was coming out today. There are few things I'll wait around for on street date day, and I'll be waiting by the door like a child at Barnes & Noble hunkering down for that last Harry Potter novel -- and me dressed like Penny Century in one of her homemade wannabe superhero costumes (tits aside, it's hardly likely I'd ever be mistaken for her). Alas, me in my shorts and my Screeching Weasel T-shirt got awful tired of listening to the guys sloooooowly counting each and every new title before putting them up on the shelf (or letting us eager beaver customers root through the delivery boxes) and meandered off to Home Depot (or as Joe likes to call them Home Despot) and bought a new toilet seat for the upstairs bathroom, seeing as how I'm durn sick 'n tired of my butt wiggling around on that one loose bolt. And I got to look at all the nifty tools. I have always loved tools. I just wish I knew what to do with them. Not very mechanically inclined, yet drawn to the aesthetics of these cool, heavy instruments in my hands, my knowledge of tools is reduced to little more than "Wow, that's a real boss-lookin' wrench! I wonder what it's used for?" Okay maybe I'm not that bad but it gives you fair warning that I shouldn't be the one you call to come over and help install you brand spankin' new toilet seat for you. Ahh, homeownership. (haven't I sighed that one before?)

And I slaughtered some more time moseying around a local thrift store, which I haven't done in quite some time, rabid thrifter that I once was before I put a cap on buying any more vintage toys. Nothing about buying secondhand books (although that cap shoulda been in place years ago) and as I was perusing the paperback spines I was amazed to see what truly horrible tastes the average citizen has in literature these days. Honestly, who keeps Danielle Steele in business enough to have almost an entire rack dedicated to her works? Then again I have no room to be uppity, since my cousin was V.C. Andrews -- yes, I would like to emphasize was, because she's been dead for over twenty years. Aaaaaand yet miraculously, she seems to put out a new book every year. Actually it might be some dude writing under her name now, I don't now and haven't kept up. But I have read her books, back when I was a kid, up to when she passed away, so I guess I'm as much as an enabler as anybody else. At least I'm keeping it all in the family!

FINALLY, back at the ole comic book shack, Gerry took pity on my pitifully devoted ass and let me plow through the delivery boxes to uproot... (squee) Love And Rockets: New Stories No. 1! Having been oddly concerned that nothing new had come out by Los Bros. Hernandez since I reviewed their anniversary issue almost a year ago it's a wonder and a relief to be able to finally see what the hermanos have been up to since last fall. A few wonderfully written and illustrated surrealistic shorts from Gilbert, including a story written
by other brother contributor Mario. And Jaime brings La Locas back with Maggie and one of my new favorite characters Angel, along with secret superhero neighbor Alarma and a few intrepid ladies from the series past that come together to try and capture the always daffy Penny Century, who has finally achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a true superhero. But the always-on-the-cusp-of-insanity Penny is finally out of her mind, and her powers make her nearly unstoppable. Angel and Alarma have a great dynamic with each other, and as always drawn with a certain man's relish for the more, ah, corpulent female form. And this woman here who adores it as well. If anything could have cheered me up from this week, getting this in my greedy mitts sooner than expected has very few other contenders at this moment (although there are some others!)

And I was pretty sure that Dave Sim's Glamourpuss #2 would have been sold out a few weeks ago when it was released, but I haven't had time to hit up Trilogy for it until today. And I already have issue #1 so I kind of have a feeling that this issue will be more of the same -- Sim pretty much thinking out loud as he studies the great photorealist cartoonist legend Alex Raymond and applying his intricate style to satirizing the women's fashion industry, with hilarious little asides "written" by our hero Glamourpuss (and at times
her evil twin sister, Skanko), attempting the occasional deep thought while posing in her Prada frock with matching silk shoes, worrying her Chanel handbag with her well-manicured fingers while gazing up at the afternoon sun in her Michael Kors sunglasses. Fantastically rendered, all of it, and makes me appreciate photorealism in a way that I never had before. Shows how much I was a child of the 70's, dominated by Neal Adams-styled exaggerated realism-based art (everything from Conan The Barbarian to Howard The Duck) and being more influenced by that style than anything that came before it. It's been an intriguing pleasure to explore comic history with Sim's distinct take of humor breaking up the pedagogy.

Speaking of other (now former) Aardvark-Vanaheim publications, it's been an unforgivable crime on my part to have never owned any Flaming Carrot. I remember S. had several issues years ago and I used to read hers constantly, but never actually got around to buying some for myself. What the hey. The situation was rectified immediately picking up Volume 6 of Bob Burden's wacky, utterly hilarious surrealistic superhero series (Burden was also the creator of
The Mystery Men, which was later made into a film starring Ben Stiller). Flaming Carrot doesn't have any real superpowers. He wears a carrot for a mask with a flame at the crown, shoots a baloney bazooka, and wears rubber flippers on his feet, in case he ever has to swim. Maaaan, this comic brings me back. Back when I lived in Ghent and and walked to Skinnie's every week or so to see Jeff (when he was still alive, natch) and check out what he brought into the store as far as comix were concerned. He always seemed to keep some Flaming Carrot in stock, and yet when it came to plopping down my cash for an issue of that or whatever punk 7" came in with the same shipment I usually knew where my priorities lie. But things change. Luckily, the Flaming Carrot never does.

And I suppose I should also mention picking up the latest ish of season eight of Buffy The Vampire Slayer #18, part three of the "Time Of Your Life" episode where Willow revisits her snake-lady lover, Dawn still appears to be a centaur, Xander's still working on not being the Zeppo of the gang, and Buffy is still in the far-flung future where she runs into Fray, the one and only slayer left in future Manhattan ("Haddyn") as well as another spin-off series of Joss Whedon's Buffyverse. Buffy seems to have been brought into this future dystopia by a "madwoman", which appears to be Willow once again all eviled-out and apparently lookin' pretty good for being a couple centuries old. But until Buffy discovers this for herself, we get

to see her maneuvering wily floating space cars as well as the language, a form of shorthand slang where vampires are known as "lurks", and the Haddyn hoards are run by Fray's own beloved twin brother, who was turned into a lurk himself but still retains all of Fray's slayer memories and past knowledge. It's been a pretty fun episode so far, although the art this time is a little too freaky-funhouse distorted at times, which seems to be the trend in over the last several episodes. The episode is making me think about getting the Fray comic book, which I've held back on for some awhile, not really feeling I had the time to dedicate to another whole series. Technically and financially I probably still don't. But if I get a new job in the next few weeks we'll see how all that changes.
Tomorrow's my brother's birthday. Guess I need to find some old newspaper to wrap his Nightmare Before Christmas DVD that I got for him.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Shiftless When Idle

It's finally official. Our former individualist identity inherent in our name was removed last week...

...and the Borg-like assimilation into the corporate hive mind was made complete.

Yep, that's right. I'm puttin' it out there. Not saying their name, but yes, these are the mofo's that have given me the anal ramming this past week. Because at this point I kinda don't care who knows it, as I have stopped giving a hoot about anything that goes on within the politics of this company. Yes, I am as bitter as I sound. It's all about my customers now. Until I find my new career path, the people who walk through the door will get my love, the way it has always been. The company, however, will be lucky I give them a raised eyebrow over their predicament. Business is business, I know, and this happens to people all over the country. I know how these things work. But it doesn't mean that they are going to get the 110% effort that I once made to put into their bottom line anymore. In just over the last few years I have developed an intense allergic reaction to being taken advantage of, and maybe I lack the finesse to wield my own integrity like most learn at an early age, it's still better late than never to acquire a new skill. Angry men might mellow with age, but mellow women just get angrier. And they are going to see how angry I can get.
So what am I doing now? Here is a snip from a email I just wrote to a friend of mine this afternoon:
"I've felt terrible for the last few days, but I'm trying not to be so crushed and try to be optimistic about it. Thing is, even if I go regain my full time position back, I no longer feel like I trust the company to not take it away from me on a whim again. I've lost my trust, and as a result, my love and devotion to the company as well. It feels like a sort of mental divorce. I know that sounds dramatic but I can't think of any other description to liken this to.

As much as I want another music job, I think in this point in the game all I really want in my life is stability -- both financial as well as the kind that comes with peace of mind, knowing that your job will always be there in the morning. The music retail industry isn't one of those secure type of careers right now. My friend told me that the local Guitar Center might be hiring, but a part of me feels that maybe I should just go apply to Geico like Joe did, where I can make double digits an hour, get great benefits, be treated well by the company, and know that it's going to be sticking around for awhile and hopefully not go all Enron on their employees (well here's to hoping). It's not exactly romantic work, but I really am far more seduced by the idea of security in my life than keeping at this for another decade of my life, especially since I'll be 40 in 6 months."
Oh, I did want to mention the new Mix & Burn station we had installed in our store that are finally up and running. They allowed us to burn ourselves one free CD to get a feel of what to do, and since I didn't have time to make a mix disk I burned an entire album off the company's library and watched as it printed out the album cover art
as well as track listing for the back, and on the disk itself. If I had made a mix disk or just burned a single track ($3.99 for one song, $1-something for each additional song) it would have printed out this sort of generic cover of a hip Asian girl listening to music on her headphones while the title of the disk is typed out evenly over her head. This album cost probably $12-something, I think, which is less than it retails in our store, so I guess that's something. But it was kind of cool when I was able to burn Al Jarreau's Live In London for a customer because it was out of stock, we couldn't order it for him, and he really wanted a copy of that right away. And he was quite pleased with it. I guess that really is something.

I asked the store manager if we were a test market for this idea. "No, there are about 70 stores that already have it." he explained. I asked him if it was catching on and doing well. "Uhh... no, not really." he revealed. Well, that's just marvelous. I suppose this is what the industry has succumbed to. Encouraging folks to waste their gas money driving out to the record store to burn music that they can probably do on their own home computer for considerably less on iTunes. And wait until our iPod docking station gets up and under way. Shouldn't it stand to reason that if you have an MP3 player, you already have a computer?
Then again this is the thinking of a girl who still calls the place where she works a "record store" out of habit.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Soak It In The Sun 'N Make A Groovy Lemon Pie, Baaaaaby!

First 20 tracks on my iPod this evening thinking about the crab omelets at Hell's Kitchen, where the spectre of Jimi Hendrix as Willy Wonka hovers above the buffet tables, silently judging us all...

1. "Ginza Strip" - The Executives
2. "Modern Beat" - The Cold
3. "Theme From "A Summer Place" - Percy Faith Orchestra
4. "Manic Monday" - The Bangles
5. "Zombie" - The Cranberries
6. "Great Expectations" - New Model Army
7. "Everlong" - Foo Fighters
8. "America, Fuck Yeah" - Team America
9. "You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks" - Funkadelic
10. "Aberinkula" - The Mars Volta
11. "Hard Workin' Man" - Pat & The Blenders
12. "Disappointed" - Public Image LTD.
13. "Nem Um Talvez (Take 17)" - Miles Davis
14. "Helicopter" - XTC
15. "Underground" - Hollowbodies
16. "America" - Neil Diamond
17. "D.M.S.R." - Prince
18. "Young At Heart" - Tom Waits
19. "My Sentimental Melody" - The Magnetic Fields
20. "Take It Easy, Baby" - Pinetop Perkins