Archive for July, 2004

No Sign of the Flathead Lake Monster

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

Current Listening: Bad Religion – “Hooray For Me” (Stranger Than Fiction)

When I slept with stony faces on the riverbank, / My angeldevil reveller shook me desperately in dying, / I don’t exactly want to apologize for anything, and now / We’re all mad and tangled in secret rooms with roman candles, / On an endless graveyard train

It’s been a while since an update. Oh, well.

So here are the photos from camping with Carrie. The weather was beautiful for the first half of the trip, but turned sour the last half. We got some swimming in, though, but did not get a chance to use the raft I brought. That’s okay, though, because we’re planning a rafting trip down the Bitterroot for the end of July.

The campsite was beautiful. There were only four spots, and when we got there all were available. A few people came and went, but they seemed to be only roadtrippers, stopping over for the night. There was a beach (albeit a rocky one), a boat launch and dock, flushing toilets, and… could it be??? Showers!!! There was, sadly, no campfire, so we had to cook our s’mores over the grille. We ate well, too. I brought these fajita Gardenburgers which were excellent, as well as hot dogs. We even got some Count Chocula™ cereal, which was dee-lish!

On Tuesday when the weather turned sour we went into Bigfork and did some shopping. There was one store there that apparently had a ‘4th of July Sale’ where everything was half off. Unfortunately, everything was triple what someone would rationally pay. So we theorize that the store always has a sale — the next one would be a ‘Dog Days of Summer Sale.’ We had some yummy ice cream, and spent the rest of the day inside the tent because it was rainy and generally crummy.

I couldn’t sleep very well because I kept worrying about bears. This is what spending four years camping in an RV will do to you. Obviously, we were not attacked by any bears.

The next day we went to Polson, and hung around town. I went to John’s music store, but it was strangely closed, with a sign saying it would re-open June 23. Uh-oh. We saw Spider-Man 2 (my second time) and ate at a Chinese place (which gave Carrie food poisoning and me gas).

The drive back was beautiful. I love that area.

Back From Camping

Thursday, July 8th, 2004

Current Listening: Armchair Martian – “Jessica’s Sucide” (Armchair Martian)

I might broadcast your dull eyes / Breathless like you, I’m despised / And understand I just can’t / Help but stand up to the old lies / This time she’ll do it / Too late my bus is leaving / But I don’t care what you have planned

Great fun, good weather (mostly), food poisoning, riding in an Ambulance’s wake. Expect fotos (or pix — either one works) and stories soon. But I’m still recovering from said food poisoning.

Here’s my arrangement of the National Anthem: National Anthem (1.1 MB)

Review: Spider-Man 2

Saturday, July 3rd, 2004

Current Listening: REM – “Drive” (Automatic For the People)

Smack, crack, bushwhacked. / Tie another one to the racks, baby. / Hey kids, rock and roll. / Nobody tells you where to go, baby. / What if I ride? What if you walk? / What if you rock around the clock?

The Good: More humor, more conflict, and Aunt May has a bigger role, too.

The Bad: Do you love me? Waaah. Sob. Sob. Kiss. Waaah.

The Ugly: Stan Lee’s cameo was barely recognizable — “Watch out!”

I’ve got a soft place in my heart for Spidey. While not professing to be an extreme fan, I have about sixty comic books, a few of them bought at comic book stores and maybe worth a little bit. So I couldn’t understand when some of my friends, including my girlfriend, said they didn’t really like the first movie. I chalked it up to naïvety — how could they know the greatest superhero in the world?

Then it occured to me that they didn’t have the comic books. They didn’t know about Spidey’s inner struggle. They couldn’t see that his world was as much the world of jobs, homework, and trouble with friends as it was the world of web-slinging.

Well now they can. Call me brash, but Spider-Man 2 makes the original Spider-Man flick look like Batman Forever. It’s bigger, swetter, more dramatic, and the villain is cooler.

That villain would be Otto Octavius, also known as Doctor Octopus. For those who say that a superhero is defined by his villains, Doc Ock is the perfect example. Alfred Molina does a great job playing the altruistic scientist-turned-raging-madman. In this Spider-Man universe (as opposed to the comic books), the arms take over the scientist, turning him into a bystander-killing, Spidey-hating machine. You can still see the struggle in his eyes, though, and at the end we see that Octopus is just as tortured as our favorite webslinger.

Spidey, by the way, has plenty to fret about. He’s losing jobs, his grades are slipping, and Mary Jane, though still interested, is moving on the bigger and better things — namely, J. Jonah Jameson’s astronaut son. A temporary loss of his power — and subsequent tumble from twenty stories up — convinces the webslinger to retire the webs. And thus we are exposed to the internal conflict of the movie — how much should a hero give up for the good of mankind?

But no hero can call it quits for good, can he?

This installment was much truer to the comic books than its predecessor. It even managed to capture the teenage angst of the early Spidey books. My only problem with this angst is that some of it was unnecessary. For example, Peter Parker has a money-hungry landlord with a teenage daughter who obviously has a thing for Pete. One scene, in which he eats chocolate cake with her after hanging up his webs, was extraneous baggage.

Sam Raimi did a great job directing, and even managed to throw in some of his trademarks — namely, Bruce Campbell and a scene with Doc Ock’s living metallic arms that could have been straight out of Evil Dead. Raimi always manages to make humor and action work well together, and this film was no exception. Laughs came during the height of the action and were intersperced with the drama, lightening what otherwise might have been a heavy-handed movie. I wish Spidey had some acidic one-liners for Doc Ock and the other criminals he battles (a comic book trademark), though.

My only other quibble with the film was its ending. I don’t want to give it away, so let’s just say that it had some closure (yet we all know there will be at least two more sequels), but also left us hanging and me worried that the next villain would be Harry Osbourne as the Green Goblin. Sure, the comic book fans might like that, but moviegoers would have to sit through another movie of the Green Goblin’s crappy costume.

And I’d like to see Spidey fly off the handle at some villain and really wail on him. You know? He got some punches thrown at Doc Ock, but I wanna see Spidey kick the crap outta somebody. The villains get to do it to him, but turnabout is fair play, right?

Your Punk Rock Friends

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

Current Listening: Swingin’ Udders — “Next in Line” (Fat Music Vol. 3: Physical Fatness)
freedom’s the only thing you need but the truth is something few understand and an unwelcome reality now it’s dark and black and sad and gone you express and repress the thing gone wrong

I just got an e-mail about my article on the Nerds With Instruments website, Dave’s Ten Punk Tips. This letter was of course filled with hatred because they thought I ‘didn’t get it.’ If the person had actually read the essay, he might have found that I was being sarcastic. So far, I’ve gotten about 15 hate-mails, and 1 message from someone who ‘got it.’

So, being the punk expert I am, I have decided to create a guide to punk rockers. As always, send comments to nirvanasongs @!

The Old-School Punker

hardcoahicuh imbelisus

The epitome of punk rock. No job, no respect for authority, can barely speak without drooling over everything. These guys hate everything. Unemployment, employment, the government, anarchy, everything. The only discernable skills they have are the ability to sneer for hours on end. They only go to shows to say how terrible punk rock has become. They don’t own any records released after 1985. If a band signs to a label that most people have never heard of (i.e., Epitaph, Fat Wreck Chords, Hopeless), then they immediately hate the band, even if they were its bigger fan before.

The Hot Topic Punk

gothicus lame

Covered in tattoos, piercings, and eye shadow, these punks live a twisted, troubled life. Mainly from the ass-whoopings they receive at the hands of the Old-School Punkers. These punks have a lot in common with typical goths, except that their self-hatred is only feigned. See, some goth found out a long time ago that girls with low self-esteem and scars on their wrists would sleep with him if he acted depressed and deep, too. Now, goths really feel that way, but the Hot Topic Punk only feels that way when he sleeps with one of the said goth girls and finds out that he got some new, interesting, collectible venereal disease.

Whereas Goths are generally sincere, this species really couldn’t give a damn. They listen to AFI, in an effort to look cool. When asked why they like that type of music, they generally reply, ‘because it’s so deep.’

The Skinhead

docmartenicus humongicus

Never weighing less than 300 pounds (all muscle), these punks are the behemoths of their class. Contrary to popular belief, not all skinheads are white power idiots – most of them are just idiots. They bray on and on about being working class, despite the fact that the bands they listen to generally stay in four-star hotels and only interact with the working class when they want a Big Mac. These guys don’t consider a mosh pit to be cool unless bones are breaking and blood is flowing.

The Emo Brat

cryingabouteverything withtheirstupidglassesola

This species orginated when the thin, whiny kids who used to hang out with the jocks realized they couldn’t get any because they did not run around like big idiots and try to ‘score’ with big, muscular men. So they decided that they would become introverts and cry about everything.

Whereas the Hot Topic Punk at least is willing to pierce himself to get laid, the Emo Brat only puts on stupid, thick-framed emo glasses. Their haircuts, moussed and sometimes spike, are vestiges of their jock heritage. They spend most of their time on weblogs, writing about how their (often) imaginary girlfriend just dumped them and writing stupid, stupid poetry about it. They like to wear workshirts too and bray about how they’re ‘so totally individual’, despite the fact that every one of them listens to Thursday, Thrice, and other such bands with stupid names.

These punks often keep journals about their suffering, and whine about never getting jobs, despite the fact that they refuse to work a day in their lives. Most are in college, and try to justify their bad grades with excuses ‘depression.’ But they’re not fooling anybody.

High School Punks

punkrockus knowitallis

The worst of the lot. These kids are whiny, know-it-alls, and trendy as hell. Their lyrics are sophomoric, trite, and often about girls. They play shows with their screaming high school friends and record demos with money that their mommies and daddies gave them. They often get expensive guitars and Marshall stacks as birthday presents, and if not they can afford to buy them because they don’t have real expenses, like rent/car payments.

Fortunately, this is a short-lived species. After about two years, they realize how stupid and idealistic they were, and either give up music for real work or turn into a crusty Old-School Punk.

Remember, nobody is as punk as me, nobody.

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