Nov 032020
 

Side note: this has been sitting in my Drafts folder since 2007 so I’m just posting it as is.

I just read this post over on The Disney Blog. Like many things over the past 10 months, it’s reminded me of my family’s trip to Disneyland in March. We only spent a couple of hours in the Grand Californian, but it was one of the most relaxing times of the trip. Whit captures the feeling of being there as an adult. It’s time to finally post a recap of our trip before I forget it all.

Before last March, I’d visited Disneyland once with my family in the summer of 1987. I’d also visited Disneyworld in March of 1982 with my mother, sister, and another family from school. My dad sat that one out.

We stayed at the Disneyland hotel or “on property” to use the proper lingo in the Bonita tower. Staying at the Disneyland Hotel means that you have to walk through Downtown Disney to get to the park entrance. We had breakfast with the characters in Goofy’s Kitchen. We ate dinner at Hooke’s Point. Also ate at House of Blues the first day. Ate at Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Catal as well. In addition to having lunch at the Blue Bayou, Golden Horseshoe and Bengal Barbecue. We had brunch at Granville’s (which I think has since changed names to Steakhouse 55) on the last day with an excruciating van ride to the airport.

I was underwhelmed by Fantasmic and think we were just too wiped the night that we stayed for the parade and fireworks. The three-year-old balked at the Matterhorn and Snow White’s ride was too scary for her as well, but we got through it. I’m still partial to Space Mountain and Peter Pan, myself.

I think California Adventure gets a bad wrap. The food over there is certainly nothing of note. We ate lunch at the wharf / pier area one day and the only thing I remember was the microbrew stand where I was able to grab a welcome beer during all of the saccharin-y goodness. We did the princess dinner one night at Ariel’s Grotto, purely for my 3-year-old daughter. She loved it. The rest of us endured it. The two biggest thrill rides, in my opinion, are at California Adventure: Tower of Terror and California Screaming. I found the Redwood Creek challenge trail oddly relaxing. I was able to sit while my 7-year-old did the zip lines and treehouse. I was amazed that we got him on both Tower of Terror and California Screaming. He made repeat trips to the roller coaster, but once was enough for the Tower of Terror. The more recent movie tie-ins tend to fall short of the traditional rides. Monsters Inc. was impressive only for its set design and the Indiana Jones ride was also underwhelming. Unfortunately, the Haunted Mansion was closed while we were there, but at least we got to do Pirates of the Carribean before its revamp to coincide with the release of the movie. The Tiki Room was another pleasant respite from the heat and the crazy crowds. I agree wholeheartedly with Wil’s assessment during a visit the month before we went.

 Posted by on November 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm
Aug 052020
 

There was an article in the NY Times Magazine about Jon Stewart at the end of June to coincide with his new movie. I had starred the e-mail with it in Gmail to follow up and read it. I finally got around to doing that this morning. Great article if you’re a fan of his or watched The Daily Show. (Who remembers when Craig Kilborn hosted before him and did 5 Questions with a celebrity guest at the end?).

This was my favorite quote:

What is broken about Washington isn’t the bureaucracy. It’s legislators’ ability to address the issues inherent in any society — and the reason they can’t address them is that when you have a duopoly, there is no incentive to work together to create something better. Plus, you have one party whose premise is that government is bad and whose goal is to prove that, which makes them, in essence, a double agent. All these things coalesce to make problem-solving the antithesis of what we’ve created. We’re incentivized for more extreme candidates, for more extreme partisanship, for more conflict and permanent campaigning, for corporate interests to have more influence on the process, not less. The tax code isn’t complicated because poor people have demanded that it be that way.

 Posted by on August 5, 2020 at 11:13 am
Aug 302019
 

If you don’t already subscribe to Austin Kleon’s newsletter, you should. I first found him via a blog post for an Austin City Limits taping that I attended at the old studio. He almost always has at least one cool link or tidbit to share.

Today’s newsletter linked Stop Blaming ‘Jaws’ from Heather Havrilesky in 2013. I didn’t know that she wrote for NY Times Magazine. I recall liking several of her writings on Salon back in the early 2000s. The amusing part to me is that she pretty much wrote the script to 2018’s The Meg with that mock 2014 version of Jaws. I wonder if she’s asked for a cut of the royalties?

I’m not sure I completely agree with what she says in the article though. It’s true that the writing and directing in Jaws is far superior to any summer blockbuster (or most movies for that matter) made since. But that’s really true of the film industry in general. You can still say that Jaws caused the studios to chase the massive box office takes in the summer, maybe just not the subsequent decline in quality which probably happened for a number of reasons.

My go to example for this is Network. The writing and directing in that? So amazing. And it would never get made today. It’s on Netflix. If you’ve never seen it, you should go watch it right now.

 Posted by on August 30, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Mar 292018
 

I made a comment at work today after reviewing a pull request that someone had posted in Slack. It was fixing some forward slashes in routing URLs. So I asked:

Slash problems?

To which someone replied with a GIF of Slash from the November Rain video.

Which made me reply:

I actually saw the original GnR lineup a couple of times. Including a gig that they all agreed was one of their worst…and I have to agree. The show earlier that year with Aerosmith was better.

I had jumbled up the timeline a bit in my head, but I did see Guns N Roses three times. The Aerosmith show was July 1988 followed by the Texas Stadium show in September. It was definitely a rainy mess. The third time I saw them was with Matt Sorum and it was their ill fated 1991 tour as I mentioned with my ticket stub. I don’t have the ticket from the INXS show, but I do have the one from the Aerosmith gig.

 Posted by on March 29, 2018 at 5:57 pm
Jan 292018
 

I was a huge Metallica fan in the late 80s. Huge. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Master of Puppets changed my life (for better or for worse?).

I don’t remember why or how, but I bought the album in the Spring of 1986. For some reason, I recall buying the record on the same Saturday that my father and I went to see the Rangers play the Yankees in Arlington. If that memory is correct, it means I bought it on May 10, 1986. It was barely a month before they played the Bronco Bowl in Fort Worth. I remember the date of the show and I still have the ticket stub.

So when the deluxe remaster box set was released late last year, I decided it was worth it to get a copy. My enthusiasm for the box set caused me to go and get a copy of Back to the Front. The book had been in my wish list from the previous year, but I hadn’t purchased it. I have to say that it’s a pretty great book and I highly recommend it, especially if you were a fan around that time, but I do have one gripe with the book. It follows the chronology of the tour pretty well and includes a huge amount of detail. The quote about the show that I saw on June 3 at the Bronco Bowl is completely inaccurate.

Back to the Front - Inaccurate quote

Sorry, Tobias Strul. Ozzy didn’t play the Bronco Bowl. The June 3 show was a Metallica headline show. They played several headliner shows while the Ozzy tour took a break between the first and second US legs. The tour dates for the Ultimate Sin Tour prove this out. My guess is that he saw them at the Tarrant County Convention center a month earlier on May 10th. I remember seeing James in the concession area at the Bronco Bowl before the show which I thought was really cool. I was unfamiliar with the band’s earlier material, so when they closed with Whiplash as one of the last songs, I thought they were saying “Witness”. Not long after the show, I bought both Ride The Lightning and Kill Em All. I remember hearing the news of the death of Cliff on tour in Europe while listening to the late Saturday night metal show in KNON. I remember loving the Garage Days Re-Visited EP (and still do). Perhaps if there’s a re-print, they’ll fix it?

I did see Ozzy a few years later at Reunion Arena also corroborated by the tour dates in Wikipedia. I certainly would’ve remembered seeing him in a tiny venue like the Bronco Bowl.

 Posted by on January 29, 2018 at 8:33 pm
Jan 082017
 

I got Hardcore: Life of My Own as a gift over the holidays. Reading about the Lower East Side in the 80s is making me nostalgic for the two years that I spent down there in the mid 90s. Things had already started to clean up when I arrived but it was still a little sketchy. It was nowhere near as bad as in the 80s but it wasn’t the over-priced DisneyLand that most of Manhattan has become now.

In Googling around, I found a nice recap of the ghosts of NYC music venues on Buzzfeed. More for my own memory than anything else, but here’s what I remember about some of these places.

  • CBGB – I’m pretty sure it was still open when I lived there but there wasn’t really much happening at that point. I think the hardcore matinees had moved farther south. I remember going to at least one show at some other place down in Tribeca, maybe?
  • Electric Circus / Coney Island High – The former was clearly closed before I got there, but CIH was going strong. Again, I almost went to several shows there but actually never did. I walked that block all the time though and it was always very punk rock. There was at least one record store and then other stores selling leather and bondage stuff. That street was always busy on the weekends, especially Friday and Saturday night. I think there was a bar in that same grouping on the north side of the street and I remember going there a few times
  • Knitting Factory – I remember going to one show there. I dragged a couple of friends to an experimental jazz show with Charles Gayle. They thought I was from another planet for taking them to that show. Gayle was on one of the Rollins Band albums which is how I’d heard of him.
  • Limelight – The club kid thing was still going strong when I lived there. I thought about going in there once or twice since I used to walk past it all the time, but I was too scared of what I’d find in there. I wasn’t into the music or the drug scene.
  • Palladium – This place was pretty much dead when I lived in NYC, but still did host a few shows. I also used to walk past there fairly frequently. I knew it had hosted the early Club MTV episodes with Downtown Julie Brown (who you can hear on Sirius XM along with pretty much anyone else who was a VJ in the 80s).
  • Ritz – I went to a few shows at Webster Hall which is still in Ritz’s former location. I think they just hosted a Metallica fan club show there last year. It’s a nice mid to small-sized venue I worked with a girl who I also briefly dated whose college roommate lived across the street. I went to an after party for the premiere of Basketball Diaries here and watched Leonardo DiCaprio get really excited and run onto the dance floor for either NIN’s “Closer” or Beck’s “Loser”. I can’t remember which. It might’ve been both. I also passed that place on my way home quite a bit.
  • Academy – Searching for this place is actually what landed me on the Buzzfeed article. I remember seeing a show with the Beastie Boys that had Tibetan monks and Luscious Jackson as the openers. According to this stub on a Beastie Boys site, it was May 27th, 1994. I got in for free because the singer from the band that I was in at the time had also been a roadie for Luscious Jackson. I think I also saw a Fishbone show here. It was interesting because it’s pretty much right in Times Square.
  • Brownies – I’m pretty sure I saw Tad at Brownies along with a few other shows. It was getting some pretty good bands even in the mid-90s. I think Starfish from here in Austin played there right after I left and moved back to Austin.

Two more that aren’t on this list that I recall fondly:

  • Roseland – This historic ballroom was announced to be closing around the time the Buzzfeed post was made so it’s not surprising it’s not on the list. Looking at Google StreetView from this year, it’s now a hole in the ground. It’s just a block south of the Ed Sullivan Theater, famous for hosting the Late Show with David Letterman and now Stephen Colbert (I also went to an early Letterman taping there with Chris K. from graduate school). I saw an amazing show with Helmet there on the Betty tour. I also saw Faith No More on their tour supporting King for a Day.
  • Tramps – This was a place near Flatiron District if I recall correctly. I saw Sebadoh and Reverend Horton Heat here among a few others. I remember seeing Scott Ian from Anthrax in the audience at the Rev. show.

This guy also did a similar list to Buzzfeed’s and mentions Tramps along with a few that didn’t include my additions or Buzzfeed’s.

I probably should do one for Austin in the late 80s / early 90s.

 Posted by on January 8, 2017 at 1:23 pm
Jan 022017
 

I managed to watch quite a few things over the break, a few things in the theater and the rest either on DVD or streaming.

  • Rogue One – Alamo South Lamar – Better than Force Awakens
  • Moonlight – Alamo Ritz – It was good. Maybe not as good as the reviews made it out to be, but it was very good.
  • Caught up on Walking Dead – DVR – Half season closer made up for the two throw away episodes earlier in season seven. I’m still not really liking the Neegan casting, but again, that last episode made me rethink that position.
  • Continued Season 2 of The Killing – Netflix – This is a pretty good series. I’m invested enough to keep going. My daughter and I have been watching it.
  • Trainwreck – DVD rental from Vulcan – This one is worth watching. Colin Quinn and Dave Attell steal every scene they’re in
  • Sicario – DVD rental from Vulcan – Wow. This one was a downer. I liked it though. Benicio Del Toro is a bad ass.
  • Nothing Left Unsaid – spontaneous viewing on CNN – This one was really interesting. I didn’t know all of the details about Gloria Vanderbilt’s life and I had no idea that Anderson’s older brother, Carter, had committed suicide. Really well done.
 Posted by on January 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm
Aug 292014
 

I’ve been listening to Marc Maron on his WTF podcast for the past year or so. I forget where I saw it, but I got hooked with his interview with Dave Grohl at the beginning of 2013. He’s not particularly funny. He’s a great interviewer though. He’s less than ten years older than me, so he has a perspective that’s closer to my own age. I don’t know if it’s a combination of the podcast format and his ability to draw people out, but he’s gotten some really amazing conversations and interviews with a pretty wide ranging group of musicians, actors, and comedians. He recently re-released an interview with Robin Williams on the occasion of his death that was very revealing and intimate.

He’s recorded 528 episodes so far. You can hear the last 40 or 50 episodes via the app. If you want anything earlier, you have to subscribe. I’m tempted, but haven’t done it yet. I’ll probably cave soon. There are a lot of people that I missed and would like to hear. Highlights for me have been interviews with Bob Newhart, Leonard Maltin, Billy Gibbons, Chris Cornell, Vince Vaughan, Shepherd Fairey, Ivan Reitman, Lewis Black, Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley Jr, Artie Lange, Will Ferrell, Johnny Knoxville, Josh Homme, Lou Barlow, Maynard James Keenan, Elijah Wood, Baratunde Thurston, and David Sedaris. Very few of the interviews are duds. If I’m interested in the person, it’s almost always worthwhile.

I saw Fun. last September at Austin City Limits and it just so happens that Maron interviewed Jack Antonoff, the guitarist from the band who name checked Beerland during the show. He seems like a really great guy and, once again, I have a whole new perspective because of Maron’s interviewing skills. I also stumbled across this post as I re-listened to Some Nights. I think it’s an interesting perspective.  I can’t stand autotune and Nate Ruess certainly doesn’t need it.

Anyway, definitely worth adding to your podcast repertoire and catching those subjects that interest you.

 Posted by on August 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm
Jun 212014
 

The Austin Chronicle is running a story this week about the 40th anniversary of the Hole in the Wall. The week of anniversary shows started this past Thursday and will continue through next weekend. It looks like I missed a great bill last night with Two Hoots & a Holler with Joe King Carrasco and LeRoi Brothers. The Wife and I were at the Tweedy ACL taping though, so that’s a tough call. I’ll have to try to make this Friday’s show with Pocket Fishrmen, Pong and Churchwood.

I may not have played in any well known bands, but I have quite a few Hole In the Wall memories of my own. I played there in the early 1990s with Daddy’s Drunk. The band started as a four piece but eventually dropped down to three with myself on drums, Casino El Camino (yes, that Casino El Camino) on bass and Billysteve Korpi from The Crackpipes and Churchwood on guitar and vocals. I attended more than my share of shows, seeing bands of friends like Death Valley. It’s where Joe Emery from Death Valley introduced me to Laika & The Cosmonauts. Daddy’s Drunk played election night in November 1992. I remember that we covered X’s “The New World” especially for the occasion. We used to go to the Flightpath on Duval near Casino’s place to wire up on caffeine before heading to the show.

When I returned to Austin in 1995 after a couple of years in NYC, I continued to see shows at Hole in the Wall. I sat in on drums for a rendition of Starfish’s “Kliff or Dave” with Jason and Ronna one night when the band’s future was uncertain. They were appearing as the F*ckAntones, a nod to Russell’s band, the F*ckEmos. I played there with the Bad Rackets a few times as well. This was all before the expansion to the stage in the back. We complained about the size of the stage at the front of the house, but it was always fun to look over my shoulder out the window to Guadalupe while drumming and see people stopping to listen. You used to be able to park in the alley between The Hole and the building to the south. We’d also walk up the road to Showdown, formerly Raul’s and now Local Pub for a change of pace and some extra space to play darts.

 Posted by on June 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm
Nov 262011
 

Several friends posted the link to the NY Times article yesterday on the upcoming release of the Fugazi Live Series. I went and dug up the shows that I’ve attended over the years. Only one of them is already available. I may check that one out before I download any of the others. I’ll almost certainly download the one at Irving Plaza , the only non-Austin show that I attended. I remember it being pretty amazing.

Here’s the ones that I went to over the years. I’ve got ticket stubs scanned for two of them along with pictures for one. Several of the Austin visits were for two nights. I don’t think I ever went to both nights. I was able to figure out which one I did via the ticket stub for the 1993 and 2002 shows. I’m not sure about the 1995 shows.