Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Festivus Miracle!

Happy Festivus everyone!



From one of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld, not only does it have the Two Face, but Kramer's strike, and Kids in the Hall alum Kevin McDonald makes a guest appearance. He's not shown in the above clip, but trust me, he's there.

I'm about to go off and tempt fate by shopping 2 days before Christmas. Then tomorrow, after my brother picks me up at the airport, I may go shopping with him. But don't worry about us, us Flenkers are built to withstand crowds and frenzied masses. And to provide a beatdown if needed. I don't usually do the day after Thanksgiving shopping, but I'm experienced in the Christmas Eve shopping. So this will just be a walk in the (North)park (Mall).

This will probably be my last post for a while, maybe until the new year. I'm leaving early tomorrow morning for Iowa, and will most likely be making a whirlwind tour of friends and family. So you'll have to forgive me if I don't have enough time to blog. We'll see, though, I may crank one out in some free minutes. And also, sorry about not posting a song up yesterday. I woke up late, had to work all day, then didn't feel like writing one last night as I polished off a few beers. I hope you understand. To make up for it, I give you "A Very Flenker Christmas."

Tracklist:

Jolly Old St. Nick - various
Winter Wonderland - Winton Marsalis
Silver Bells - Bright Eyes
Skating - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Good King Wenceslas - various
We Three Kings - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Baby, It's Cold Outside - Sammy Davis, Jr. & Carmen McRae
I'll Be Home For Christmas - Frank Sinatra
A Mad Russian's Christmas - Trans Siberian Orchestra
Mele Kalikimaka - Reel Big Fish
The Christmas Waltz - Harry Connick, Jr.
Christmas is Coming - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Blue Christmas - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Midnight Clear - Trans Siberian Orchestra
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Bright Eyes
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) - Nat King Cole
O Holy Night - from Studio 60
Let it Snow - various

zip file

I would take the time to put song up individually, but I'm too lazy to do that right now. Check out Jad's blog, where he cares about his readers, and listed both the individual links, as well as the zipped file! This was one of my mixes that I sent out in the Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange, but I thought that it's appropriate to share with everyone!

I wish a Merry Christmas to all. I hope everyone has a wonderful celebration, safe travels, fun times, and an overall enjoyable and fulfilling next week, doing whatever you do to celebrate. Me? I see this as a time for family and friends to get together, and show appreciation for each other. So from me to everyone out there, all of your families and friends, happy holidays! I'll see you soon!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A few things I want to get to before the Christmas tune

I just got back from a midnight showing of Juno. I loved it! Of course I would, it's got Michael Cera and Jason Bateman, two of my favorites from "Arrested Development." Plus, it was written by a University of Iowa graduate, so it had a lot going for it before I even saw the opening credits.



Quick synopsis: it's the story of Juno McGuff, a 16 year-old girl that gets pregnant (insert Britney Spears' sister joke here! Nothing but witty, cutting-edge social commentary here at tPoL!), and decides to give her baby up for adoption. Hilarity, and touching moments, ensue.

I liked this movie, even if the theater was full of hipster kids! I liked it even if there was a girl crying and retelling the entire movie to her boyfriend as they walked out of the theater, about how great it was, how cute it was, etc. The soundtrack was great (2 songs by Belle & Sebastian included), the acting was well-done, and the story well-written. Go see it! Preferably not by yourself in a theater full of couples. That's just a kick in the old ball. Not the victory ball, the other one.

This gets 4.5 Flenker Thumbs Up. It would've gotten that extra half if I would have had anyone watch the movie with me. Maybe it'll get bumped up in a subsequent viewing, but this is still a solid score.













This seems as good a time as any to tell a kind of funny story, about going to a "couple" movie. I'm sure many of you are probably familiar with the movie Amelie, the French film that came out a few years ago. Well, I was really excited to see it, and talked Jimbo to go to it with me. We both liked it a lot, but noticed that we were the only pair that was just made up of two guys. I'm being totally serious here, I think everyone else in the theater that night was a part of a "boy-girl" couple. Though, to be fair, it was a great movie experience, here's a picture of us as we left the theater:

notice the glee in our faces. We were gleeful.



Another thing I'd like to mention quickly is that according to Thom Yorke in this article, Radiohead's In Rainbows did extremely well for the group. Awesome. I hope this has some influence over future releases, and shows the RIAA and record companies that the internet isn't evil.



Now, time for the Christmas song! I like the video thing, so I'm going to do that again. This time, I'm going with one of my favorites (these all are my favorites, who am I kidding?), with Mr. John Lennon and Ms. Yoko Ono


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pa-rump-a-pum-pum

I'm going to stick with the video theme for today's Christmas song, going back a few years



I remember seeing this on TV when I was younger, and knew who Bing Crosby was, but not that other guy. I didn't get out much, I just watched "White Christmas" over and over again. But I liked this a lot, I hope you do too!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas greetings from Motown

Today's Christmas song is another video, a very special and rousing rendition of "Jingle Bells."



Thanks 'Sheed!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Smiling's my favorite!

Today's Christmas song from Flenker comes in video form!



I saw almost this whole movie a few weeks ago while I was waiting to apply for a new social security card (lots of fun, waiting for over an hour just to turn in a form and get a copy made of my ID, which took all of 4 minutes, then I have to wait a couple more weeks for them to send me my little piece of paper), and forgotten how fun it was, and how much I liked the clip shown, maybe my favorite part of the whole movie. That and Zooey Deschanel. She's cute.

Check back tomorrow for another song, enjoy your day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Here we are, as in olden days

It was almost feeling fall-like around Texas the past few days, the lows overnight were below freezing, and the highs only into the lower 50's! Of course now it's going to warm back up and stay in the 70's for the next week, so Austin's streak of non-white Christmases will extend. Since records have been kept in 1926, there has never been a white Christmas here.

I will be having a some snow on my Christmas, though. I'll be heading back north to Iowa one week from today, and sticking around for a week. I'm really looking forward to it, to see family and friends, and to sleep on an actual bed. I've even almost got some Christmas shopping done! I'm having a couple issues, though. I've been looking in used book stores for a few books, obviously, but can't seem to find any that I want, at a price I'd want to pay. I mean, it's awesome to find a first edition copy of Vonnegut's God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, but if I'm at a discount book store, chances are I'm not wanting to spend $25 on a single book. Although, I was able to overhear some guy telling a girl the differences between Eastern and Western vampires, their eating habits, how they slept and hunted, and all sorts of stuff. That was pretty awesome. As well as informational! Then, at another store, I saw a kid carrying a handful of books by the author I was looking up, effectively cleaning out the store of his books. Thanks a lot jerkoff! I hope you get a paper cut.

Some shopping was accomplished, though. I won't list the gifts I've purchased on here, since I'm not sure who will or won't be reading between now and the unwrapping, but I'm pretty happy with how things are going so far. If I could only figure out what to get a 19 or 20 year-old girl, I'd be set. It was a while ago since I was that age, and when I was that age, I didn't talk to girls, so I don't remember, and probably never even knew what they liked back then, let alone these days. I'm sure I'll come up with something, even if it's a bottle of barbecue sauce, straight from Texas!

I'm going to try to do something this week, being the week before Christmas and all. I'll put up one of my favorite Christmas songs each day, since I love Christmas music (those of you in the Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange should be finding that out!). I've already had a couple up, first Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song," then "O Holy Night," as featured on Studio 60. The song I'm putting up today comes from the Midwest, Omaha specifically, from Conner Oberst and crew.

Bright Eyes - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

Enjoy it, and check back for tomorrow's song!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

WHY? videos. Why not?

Here's a couple of videos from a band that's becoming one of my favorites, WHY?. I've talked about them a few times on here, but have never put up any of their videos. It's kind of funny, neither of these videos were made by the band, they were both made by fans, and the band has sort of adopted them as the "official" video for each song.

First up is "Dumb Hummer," with a really fun video:



Next it's one of my Vital Flenker Tracks, "Gemini (Birthday Song)." I love this song, and this video fits it so well, it's incredibly well done. It almost makes me want to cry.



Enjoy! I'll be back Monday with a post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quocky

I would like to point out a new link over there on the right, one of my good friends Charczuk has started a blog. He's started off in the best way possible, by putting up a picture of me. Sure, he's in it to, I guess. He's barely even started, but already his blog looks cooler than mine. What a jerk. Anyways, check it out. He should have some good stuff to say, even if he's a Patriots fan.

Monday, December 10, 2007

1 post, 4 parts, all fun!

Good news: those involved with the Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange will be getting something from me very soon. Well, soon after tomorrow, when I get the packages in the mail. You all better like it, I spent way too much time on it, as well as too much money. But, it's a small price to pay to delight everyone, you're all worth it! Plus, I really like the way things have turned out, and I had a lot of fun doing it.

I've been impressed with the mixes I've gotten so far! Derek, Marin, feisty, and KP have all sent theirs out, and they've all been very, very solid mixes. I think all of them have had at least one song on them that I considered using, but any doubling has been averted.

* * *

The weather took a turn for the colder yesterday, and will last until about, oh, tomorrow. It was near 80 yesterday, then a cold front came through, and the temperature dropped by about 30-25 degrees. This happened literally in the course of an hour, of course the hour while I was sitting on the outside patio of a restaurant, enjoying some enchiladas, in a t-shirt and sandals. Pants, too. (I'm still looking for an establishment that will let me frequent them without trousers. Believe me, you'll know it when/if I find it.) I thought the logical choice would be to continue sitting outside as long as I could, so in order to prolong the meal, I ordered what I thought was a slice of tres leches cake. What was brought to the table, however, was best described as a slab of tres leches cake, seriously about the size of my face. I think they did it on purpose, to rub in the fact that I was eating there alone. Well I showed them, and ate the whole damn thing. After my tears of loneliness subsided, I paid the bill, and went back inside, stopping by the bar quickly to see what the scores of any football games going on were. As luck would have it, I was just in time for the very end of the Cowboys game, and stuck my head in just as they were scoring the game-winning touchdown with only seconds left in the game. I don't know if many of you know this, but the citizens of Texas like the Cowboys, a lot. I don't like them especially, so I turned and started for the door. As soon as I took my first step, the bartender, apparently in a stupor from such an ending announced that there would be free shots for everyone. I'm not really sure exactly how it happened, but before he had finished his sentence, I found myself perched atop a stool at the bar. Weird, huh?

* * *

I'm pretty sure people who see me in a grocery store think I'm losing it. I don't know how many times I've caught myself talking to myself, trying to figure out what I do and don't need to buy. Like earlier this evening, I discussed with myself, aloud, if I needed to buy cookie dough (yes - macadamia nut with white chocolate chips), make tacos and lasagna this week (yes and yes), buy frozen pizzas (no), and get a bottle of Mexican Coke (yes). I would also have conversations with other people I would see in the same aisle, only both parts would be played by yours truly. And for some reason, I would always use a goofy voice, not just for the other characters, but for my own voice as well. I think I need a hobby or something. Or at least a friend or two.

* * *

In this post, I mention that The Christmas Song, as done by Nat King Cole, is one of the best Christmas songs, ever. Well, here's another contender for the title.

O Holy Night - from Studio 60


(Again, this claim only relates to this particular version.) I first heard this recording last year, on the Christmas episode of the unfortunately now canceled show Studio 60. The lead trumpet is played by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, of New Orleans. In fact, the group performing the song is made up entirely of musicians who are survivors of Hurricane Katrina, in one of the more moving (at least to me) moments in network TV history. I loved this song from the moment that I heard it, and the back story made it mean so much more. Basically, on the episode, there were a group of musicians from New Orleans in LA, looking for jobs so they could send money home for Christmas. The guys running the SNL-like show on the show (how meta!) wanted to help out, but since these musicians didn't have SAG cards, they couldn't put them on their show, or something like that. Anyways, the regular band members call in "sick," allowing these guys to get on and what not. I did a terrible job of paraphrasing everything, sorry. Here's a little better synopsis, from this site:

Andrews plays a displaced New Orleans trumpet player subbing for a member of the house band on the show-within-the-show. When a producer discovers that Andrews' character is working because L.A.-based musicians have been surreptitiously calling in sick so that relocated New Orleans musicians can earn some extra cash near the holidays, he cuts a sketch and replaces it with a performance of "O Holy Night" by a band of the trumpet player's hometown peers.

The episode-concluding sequence, in which the band performs in front of projected photos of post-Katrina flooding and snapshots of recovery, struck an appropriately emotional chord with many fans.

It was a feel-good moment, one that really reverberated for me. So do yourself a favor. Check out this song. It's nearly perfect. And, if you have the means, do something to help out in New Orleans. I know it's been a few years now since the tragedy, but there's still a lot to be done. I have some things planned myself, but I'll get into that at another time. For now, enjoy the music!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Yep, seems about right.

Today started off innocuously enough, I was able to sleep in, then lounge around a little while before I had a job interview. I made it there on time, missed the turn the first time but had enough time to loop around and find the place. I was looking like the money, wearing a decent button-down shirt and tie, some slacks and nice shoes. The interview was fine, just the preliminary stage of their hiring process. I'm not sure it's a job that I want, but it would be a start. And who knows, I may not get hired anyways, so whatever.

Anyways, I turned in a couple applications, changing from the shirt and tie to a sweater over the shirt, sans tie. A little more casual, if you will. This fits in later.

I decided to stop by a bookstore, both to turn in an application (because I think working in a bookstore would be amazing), and to buy a new crossword puzzle book. After the transaction, I headed to my car, making plans to stop and get some sushi, kind of enjoying the dapper look I was sporting. Then, much to my chagrin, I realized that my keys were not in my pocket. They were sitting on the passenger's seat. I called everyone that I knew in Austin, and when she didn't answer (get it? I only have one friend here! Ha!), I started walking. Luckily, this place is only about 2 miles from my apartment, so it wasn't too bad. And also, it was a beautiful day, around 77 degrees. Stupidly, I left my sweater on for most of the walk, not realizing that I could take it off and carry it with me. I guess I was too engrossed with my Jamba Juice that I got to cool myself off (with the energy boost, of course) and the copy of The Onion that I had picked up. When a couple drops of sweat hit the paper, I wiped my brow with the sleeve of my sweater, the one I was still wearing, not connecting the two at all.

I made it back to the apartment, got a spare key from the office and got my spare car keys that I miraculously remembered to bring with me to Austin, and made it to the bus stop with perfect timing to catch a ride to the Arboretum, where my car was parked. Why didn't I take the bus to the apartment in the first place? I'm pretty sure it would've taken about the same amount of time, since the bus would have to make almost an entire loop before getting back to my apartment, it just seemed really inefficient to me. Plus, the exercise was nice.

So, this just adds to the past month I've been having: with my bank screwing up one check deposit - not once, but twice; working at a job that I don't really like, not being able to find a job that I do like, having computer issues, and just being in a generally grumpy mood.

As stupid as it sounds, I think the weather is having an adverse effect on me, it's too nice. I see the weather back home getting snowy, and I miss it. I want big flakes of snow to fall here. I want the ice storms. I miss them. And ever since I've gotten here, Austin has had unseasonably warm temperatures. When I first got here, everyone was saying that it was such a mild summer, it never reached 100 degrees. But then, there have been record highs each month that I've been here. And I can't find it now, but I thought that I heard the average temperature for each of the past 3 months (September, October, and November) have all been record highs. Guess when I moved? Yep, early September. I bring the hotness. On the news, they always say how a "huge cold front" is going to be coming through, then the temperatures drop to the mid-60's. Which is almost perfect for me, but people here freak out. Or it misses us entirely. (we have another "front" coming through this weekend) I know all three of my readers, who all happen to be extremely, extremely far north of me, are cursing my audacity to be pissed about warm weather. H has many times, each time that I bitch to her about it being too warm here, when she's wearing gloves while she's inside her office, working.

Wow. Sorry, I didn't mean to make this a diatribe on the weather. But be sure to tune in next week when I bitch about how the Dr Pepper here tastes too good.

Quick edit/addition:

I almost forgot the best part to the whole story!! While I was walking home to get the spare set of keys, I got a call from a place to which I had applied earlier in the week! I explained that she had caught me "out on a walk," but talked with her a little while. It was for an elementary music "permanent sub" position (I think covering maternity leave), which would've been fun. By the time I had gotten home, I had already received an email from her, saying that she had found someone else with more experience. I thought I should throw this in, just to add to the mood.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jose Gonzalez, cont'd

Here's a photo and a couple of videos from last Thursday's concert. As usual around these parts, the videos were "borrowed" from others on youtube. The photo from my friend Becky's camera. It gives you a good idea of the setup, and of the douche's head that was in the way. I took this while sticking my arm in the air, to get a good shot. And the dude's head is still in the way! You see that head, near the middle of the photo? Yeah, trying looking around that for a whole concert.



And here are a few videos. The first one has pretty decent sound, but doesn't have the whole song:

Jose Gonzalez - Down the Line

This second has about a song-and-a-half, but gets kind of loud and distorted at parts, totally not indicative of the actual sound:

Jose Gonzalez - How Low

And I have to come clean. Before, I wasn't a huge fan of his. I mean, I liked his songs fine, but wouldn't really consider him to be one of my favorites. I think it's because of the multiple vocal tracks he uses on the albums. But all of the performances I'd seen, from Conan and what not, have been pretty good, so I was convinced to check out the show. And I'm really glad I did. He puts on a great show. While there wasn't a ton of interaction with the crowd, just a few words between songs here and there, it never felt like he was being cold or indifferent towards us. He was just a dude playing his guitar, keeping the show moving along at a nice pace. If you're a fan of his music in the slightest, catch him in concert if you have the chance. You won't be disappointed. I promise!

Friday, November 30, 2007

This is what happens when I feel passionately about something

Jose Gonzalez was in town last night (Thursday), at The Parish Room. I had never been to that venue before, but I'll definitely be going back. The sound was excellent, the room was a nice size, larger without losing intimacy, which worked incredibly well for the show last night.

Gonzalez played a great set, not too long, not too short, about half the songs totally solo, the other half with a "percussion section," which was made up of a girl that shook something and maybe played keyboards, and a dude that played the congas and occasionally a woodblock. I actually like him better in live performances, by far over the studio work. I like hearing just his voice, not a multi-layered effect on it. And his voice was pretty amazing last night, as was his guitar playing. The lighting was good, and the general vibe during the whole show was great. I'd write a glowing review of it, but while I was at the show, I got to thinking about things. Like, the reason that I'm not exactly sure if the girl was playing a keyboard was that there was some 6'4" dude was standing in the very front, right in front of her. Standing straight up. In the very front row. WTF? Come on! Don't do that. Which got me thinking, this is the perfect time to unfurl:

Flenker's 10 Simple Rules for Going to a Show!!!!
(small venue edition)

  1. You make a better door than a widow - If you're 6'2" and above, it's ok to stand near the front. If you want to, go right ahead! But if you're in the very front, at least make some sort of effort to minimize your stature and the amount of vision blocking from less vertically gifted concert goers. Stand off to the side, maybe, or bend down, or, you could be really kind and let some shorter people in front of you. You don't have to let some 6' dude in front of you, because fuck him, he can see around you. But if there's a girl or guy that's kind of short, I'm sure you'd make their day to not have to have their noses stuck firmly near your armpits. It's just a common courtesy, man.
  2. Don't be That couple - I've been to concerts with a girlfriend (yes, I've had a girlfriend! A couple actually! You may only need to use one hand to count them, but they're there, I promise! KP can back me up on this one.), it's a common thing to do, concerts are fun! It's totally ok to hold hands or give a quick peck on the cheeks, or maybe even real kiss! But do not, under any circumstances, let your mouth open. No tongue action. No one, I repeat no one wants to see that anywhere, let alone in a concert with hundreds of sweaty people around you, most likely a high number of them perpetually single guys (at least at the concerts I'm going to. Sad bastards abound). Especially if your girlfriend looks like Tori Spelling plus 60 pounds, give or take, and if you look kind of like you belong in that family that grows hair all over their face. And take off your stupid fucking hat. (sorry, I've been wanting to say that since the show) Also guys, don't stand in front of your girl. That's just tacky. Unless she's more than 5 inches taller than you. In which case, ummm, good for you?
  3. Leave the fedora to Indiana Jones - This applies to not only fedoras, but any other wide-brimmed hat, unless it's appropriate (I'm sure there's some "You might be a redneck" joke here, but I'm above that). Not only does it block the vision of the people behind you, there's also a good chance that you look like a tool. And, it'll contain body heat, so you'll get warmer in an already hot environment. Plus, if you have to comb the hair on your face and are clinging onto your tubby girlfriend, you're gong to need all the help you can get to keep your body temperature at a life-sustaining level. Leave your hat in the car, wear it to the bars with your hipster friends so they can reassure you how awesome you look. (really, I'm just bitter that this dude had a cool hat and had the ability to grow facial hair, two things I could never pull off.)
  4. The floor is not for empties - I know, the empty bottle is heavy, it's cramping your style, and you can't comfortably hold more than two bottles at a time. You don't have to. Find a table or use a trashcan to dispose of your bottle. Don't set it on the floor. Because it will invariable be kicked, and roll around, and hit my foot. Then I'll be paranoid that I'm going to step on it and break it, so I'll have to run the risk of bending down in a crowded area to pick it up. Not good times.
  5. No smoking - I know it's, like, awesome to get stoned and stuff. Whatever. Especially in a smaller, inside venue, don't be rockin' the ganj (do kids still say that? have they ever said that?). I honestly hate the smell of it, and get a headache. You can wait another 20 minutes, or go outside or something. Just don't do it in the middle of a crowded floor. Same with cigarettes. In a crowded place, someone is getting ashed on, and someone else is getting smoke in the face.
  6. When I'm in the pit - At some concerts, mosh pits happen, there's no avoiding them. A ska concerts, skanking will occur. It's natural. Just go with it. Don't assume it's your responsibility to protect your girlfriend by unnecessarily throwing 'bows at nearby moshers. Moshing should be confined to a specific area, so just avoid it if you have a problem with it. And moshers: don't go out of your way to shit-stomp people that have no inclinations on being shit-stomped. Really, you shouldn't be shit-stomping at a concert. You don't need to fuck up shit, no matter what Reel Big Fish tells you.
  7. Surf's down - It's not really that cool to body surf. Sorry to break it to you this way. It's one thing if you need to, if you're getting overheated or can't take the crowd, let people know around you, and they'll pass you back (this actually happened to me once, without me knowing. I somehow got way too overheated and blacked out for a minute. The next thing I knew I was being passed backwards. Definitely a weird set of events). And guys, if there's a girl crowd surfing, don't grab her ass or boobs. Not cool.
  8. Sing it proud - If you know the words, it's ok to sing along. Sometimes even asked of you by performers (see: Ben Folds Live, on the songs Army and Not the Same. It's something that he's done every time I've seen him). One of the coolest experiences I've had was seeing Thursday, with the crowd singing the back-up vocals on some songs when the lead singer Geoff wasn't able to (he did all of the vocals, I think and there were some multi-layered parts that he obviously wasn't able to do live). If you don't know the words, though, please, please do not try to sing along.
  9. Move! - It's ok to dance, it's ok to feel the beat, and it's ok to move with it. Do it naturally. If you're like me and have absolutely zero dancing ability, that's OK! Bobbing your head is fine, bouncing in place it a good start, and just letting yourself go is the best. I've come to learn, it doesn't matter. You're having fun, go with it! It shows the performers that you're enjoying what they're doing for you. Of course, if you're seeing a band like Kind of Like Spitting or Low or Mojave 3, it's not really appropriate to be frantically jerking your body around. But you can close your eyes, let the music envelope you, nod your head, enjoy it, take it all in.
  10. And this is by far the most important rule for me - SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!! - You paid $15 or $5 or $30 for a ticket or cover to get into the club and hear a band play, not to have a conversation with your friend about what you're going to do tomorrow. More importantly, everyone else around you paid that same amount to hear the band play, and not to try to hear them over your shouting about how you don't really like wheat bread but feel like you should be eating more of it anyways. NO ONE CARES. Show the band some respect, listen to what they're doing. This is much more than just a show to them. It's their livelihood. It's their life. They've invested so much into practicing and touring and pouring their hearts into their songs, the least you could do is shut the hell up for an hour and really appreciate it. Nothing bothers me more than to hear the din of conversations going on in between songs, unless I can hear it during songs. Show some fucking respect. If you have to say something, do it as quietly as possible, to as few people as possible. Turn your ringer on silent. And don't have text message conversations. One is ok, if done inconspicuously. But don't send 5 or 6 messages back and forth with someone about how you hate your boyfriend that is AT THE SHOW WITH YOU and how you are thinking of breaking up with him, especially if you're standing right next to me and the light from your phone is annoying as shit while I'm trying to watch Loney, Dear (true story, ask H!).
There you have it. It may sound like a lot, but really, following the rules will lead to such a great experience. And it's all basically common sense stuff, just use your heads, people! I'm sorry if you break the rules and don't think it's a big deal. It is. I mean, it's on my blog and everything.

There's only been one concert that I can remember where all of the rules were followed by everyone: when Jeff Tweedy played in the Iowa Memorial Union on February 19th, 2006. It's been the show to which I compare other shows. There was such a good crowd, they were quiet and listening, with such positive energy, that, as Mr. Tweedy stated, "it feels like everyone in the room is working towards the same goal." It may be the best show I've ever been to. It'll definitely be very hard to top. (I do have a, uh, how you say, bootleg of it, if anyone is interested. . .)

So what are some rules that everyone else has? Of course, there are different circumstances. If the band playing is some crappy frat band, who cares. Or a tribute band. They're on the low end of the totem pole, barely qualifying as "bands." Then there's the opposite end, the arena shows, where everyone not on the floor is seated and eats $7 popcorn while the Red Hot Chili Peppers "thrash." (I have seen them in concert too. . . That was actually the show during which I blacked out! I'm not sure if it was from the heat or from what was coming out of the speakers) And festivals are something completely different altogether. But I'm talking about shows at places like First Ave in Minneapolis, or Emo's here in Austin, or 9:30 Club in DC, or the Metro in Chicago, or Zaphod's in Ottawa (probably the bar with my favorite name ever), or Gabe's/the Picador in Iowa City.

And yes, if it hasn't been painfully obvious for a while now, I am a music elitist. That's who I am. And these are my rules.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The newest girl I have a crush on but will never meet!

You may not recognize the name, but I'm sure almost everyone recognizes the song, by Ingrid Michaelson.



It was between this video from Carson Daly's show or the actual video for the song. I went with this one, because the other video not only has some other dude kissing her, but also clowns. The Flenker digs neither. (Though if it were more than 13 seconds of Carson Daly, it would've been a tough choice.) In spite of the fact that the song is used in an Old Navy commercial, I really like it. It's a nice little ditty. And her other songs are pretty solid, too. Plus, from what I've read, she's releasing everything on her own, without the help of a record label, which is admirable. Though I'm not sure if she'll be able to do that for much longer, with as much publicity she's been getting. And she's pretty cute. A cute musical girl (in addition to singing she plays guitar and piano) will be my downfall.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stuffed like a . . . well, you know

I hope everyone had a great past few days, I know I did! My Thanksgiving was very filling, and spent with some good company. But, there were tinges of homesickness, when I was on the phone with everyone at my mom's place (mom, uncle, aunt, grandpa, sister, mom, brother, step-dad, mom - in that order), they had already broken out the wine (it was 1 in the afternoon, what can I say, my family knows how to celebrate!) and I think they were feeling it a little. My mom made me promise that I'd never be away for another holiday, that she had too much food and I needed to eat some of it. Then she made a rule that none of her children could ever move away from her again. I'm not sure if I'm grandfathered in under that one yet, I'm still checking. And a comment was made about me moving closer to home when grandchildren are on the way, so I thought for a minute that she had forgotten that she was talking with me. Any of her grandchildren coming from this Flenker are (hopefully) a ways off. A long ways off. I'm pretty sure you have to have another interested party to do that, so a long, long ways off.

I didn't quite feel like Thanksgiving, though, partially because it's my first away from home, but mainly because I had no mashed potatoes, and no pumpkin pie. I will give my hosts credit, though. They're Italian, so this isn't exactly their gig. And they had other extremely delicious food, and plenty of wine. I felt I needed to do my part for my family, and did some catching up. I'm pretty sure some text messages were sent to H at the height of my celebrating. And for the first time, I had chestnuts that were roasted on an open fire. Since this is the subject of my favorite Christmas song ever, I thought it was a travesty for it to have taken so long for me to experience this tradition. They were excellent. I'm not even joking. Big Texas and I were even sent home with leftovers, which are already gone. It was a nice diversion from beans and rice while it lasted.

Now, of course, I'm in the Christmas mood. I even think I saw a few flurries this morning! So, I'll leave you with Mr. Nat King Cole, and The Christmas Song. (His is the best version of this song, there's no discussion. And, one of the best Christmas songs of all-time. This is something that I will eventually get to.)


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

GBMCDE - A look back

Today in Austin, TX, we had a temperature drop of a little more than 40 degrees. We set a record high today at 89, while currently it is 48, and dropping. Finally, it's feeling like fall. I dig it.

Anyways, a few days ago, I posted the mix that I sent out for the initial Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange, and promised to at least mention the mixes that others had sent out. This is that post!

Now mind you, these aren't in any particular order, I'm not going to show preference to one over the other. I'm extremely pleased with how it went, all of the mixes were solid, and all got some good playing time in the car, while I was messing around on the internet, or just hanging around my place.

Lucy made it easy to decide when to listen to her particular mix. For starters, she went all out and made a different mix for each person. Most impressive! The one she created for me was titled "Rainy Day," and had "a mellow compilation to accompany the soggy days we know and love." It served its purpose well, with songs from Imogen Heap, The Shins, Joni Mitchell, Natalie Merchant, The Flaming Lips, and more. Definitely a fine CD to throw on during those precipitation-filled days.

Going with a theme on the other side of the emotional spectrum was Marin's offering, "Keep a smile on -or- Face the surmounting frustration of a traffic jam." The songs that Marin assembled fit the theme perfectly, starting the day (and CD) with an upbeat ditty from Melanie Horsnell (starting off with the line "Every mornin' I get dressed for work"), one of my favorite songs from the GBMCDE comes a couple of songs later with Forever Thursdays' "How Can it Be", then a few wistful tunes from Regina Spektor and Loney, Dear, mounting angst from Of Montreal and Bright Eyes, and ultimately ending up with David Bowie's "Queen Bitch." Need I say more?

Continuing my theme (I've decided I'm listing these in geographical order, starting with Lucy in Georgia and heading north. Marin's in DC, which leads us to. . .) Krazee Eyez Killa, from Chicago, comes up next with a great mix, one with a cartoon guy holding his heart, saying "It's nothing special" (I loved that). Any time someone can go from Jars of Clay to Cypress Hill to Snoop Dogg to Dashboard Confessional with Michael Stipe to Ghostface Killah to Willie Nelson and end up at Pearl Jam (with sprinklings of his fellow Chicagoan Jeff Tweedy thrown in the mix) is impressive, even more so when the CD flows this well. KEK, you are my caucasian.

H gave us a mix spanning three decades of rock and roll, "The Essential H," starting with Bob Dylan in 1962, hitting the essentials of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, two of Eric Clapton's groups (Cream and Derek and the Dominoes), her favorite song ever, then stopping in '78 for a while before ending up in 1991 with Pearl Jam. (Interestingly enough, KEK's and H's mixes each ended with Pearl Jam!)

And last, but only because he hails from the Great White North, is " Three Pints Mixtape Vol. 1: Music For Your Mom," put together by Jad. This collection of "mostly Inoffensive Music That You Can Safely Share With Your Mother" is listed in its entirety here, so check it out. I listened to this with my mom, and she gives it her approval. This mix contains another song that could be in contention for my favorite song of the exchange, with Julie Doiron's "I Left Town." (Don't let it fool you like it did me, I thought there was a kitty cat in my apartment the first 3 or 4 times I listened to it. Just wait for it, you'll see what I mean.)

There you have it! This second round of the Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange should be even better, if you can believe that to be possible! There's a few more people involved, so everyone will be getting even more tunes! I've even received one already, from Derek, one of my new Canadian friends! So be checking your mailboxes, and get to burning! I know of at least one more heading your way as we speak! Not mine. My envelopes will be going out in the next week. once the cover art is finished, and the track listings are finalized.

For my friends in the US, I wish you a safe and very happy (and filling) Thanksgiving holiday! For my Canadian friends, I wish you a safe and very happy (and fulfilling) Thursday! And here's to everyone , hoping that you'll celebrate Buy Nothing day!

This will actually be my first Thanksgiving away from home, but fear not! Big Texas and I have graciously been invited to the home of one of his coworkers, and with this turn of the weather, if I close my eyes, I may just think I'm back in Iowa!

Monday, November 19, 2007

No Country for Old Men

Earlier today, Big Texas and I went to a matinee of the latest movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men. And you know what? I would've paid full price to see it. (Coming from me, that's saying something!)

Now, I'm a fan of other movies by the Coen brothers (Fargo, Blood Simple, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou, etc.), so I had an idea going into it that I'd like it. I had read a few reviews, and listened to Marin rave about it, so I started to get a little nervous that it would be hyped up too much, and that would skew my opinion. This was not the case, though.

I'm not going to go into the plot here. I've tried typing something down, just to get the basic idea across, but I felt like I couldn't do a good job at it. The trailer should give you gist of it.



I loved this movie. I think I loved everything about this movie. The sights, the sounds, the feelings. The actors were perfectly cast (the only exception may be that I did find it a little distracting to see Stephen Root in a more "serious" part), and did incredible jobs with their roles. From what I've gathered, the Coen brothers did a good job of keeping the script true to the novel from which it was adapted. It was violent and bloody and graphic, but not unnecessarily so. There was humor throughout, dark as it may have been (one peeve of mine was that the audience in the theater laughed at times that I thought were inappropriate, and then were silent when I was laughing. I obviously understood the movie more and therefore was smarter than everyone there.). This was also 2 of the most intense hours I've ever spent in a movie theater. I honestly would not be surprised to see this film nominated for multiple Academy Awards. And Anton Chigurh (played brilliantly by Javier Bardem) is one of, if not the, best villain, ever.


This definitely had a "Western" feel to it, which I appreciated. It mostly takes place and was filmed in Texas (though sadly, not in Austin), and all of the actors (who required one) had a great southern accent, even the Scottish Kelly Macdonald (another slightly distracting part was trying to figure out why I recognized her, then remembering that I saw her naked in Trainspotting. Yes, that actually wen through my head).

I feel like I cannot say enough about No Country for Old Men, but at the same time I don't want it to fall into the trap of being too hyped up for you out there. I don't want the three of you reading my blog to get such high hopes that can never be met, but at the same time I want to convey my feelings towards the movie. I'd have to think about the movies that I've seen recently, but off the top of my head, I can't think of a better movie from 2007. That's why it receives a whopping 6 Flenker Thumbs Up. Yes, it gets an extra thumb for being just an all-around bad ass movie. So go check it out, friendo.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A revisited quote of the day

I was looking through some of my old posts, as I am wont to do, and came across one of my favorites here. I thought it fit for my mood sometimes, so I'd repost it, just for fun. And because I haven't gone through and re-listened to the mixes from last time, so until then, this will have to tide you over.

Friday Recipe Korner: A spoonful of whiskey for every burden you shouldered in the name of getting the fuck by this week
Here's to some whiskey and gin, for getting the fuck by this week. Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

If only I were in Pennsylvania. . .

I noticed on Project Jenny, Project Jan's myspace that they're playing with a band called Vampire Weekend tomorrow. Since I'm always looking for some new music, I decided to check them out, and they're not bad. Not bad at all. They have kind of a "retro" sound, maybe similar to the Beach Boys, with a modern influence mixed in. These guys are gonna be big, I can feel it! Check them out, give 'em a listen. I may include a song of theirs on my mix cd, you never know. . .

Monday, November 12, 2007

To the Beat of Rock and Roll (Alright!)

The second Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange is underway, emails have been sent and people are sitting by their mailboxes, waiting for it to fill with wondrous tunes from faraway lands, like Canada. So, like my Canadian brethren Jad has done (ok, exactly as he did it, so sue me!), I figured now is a good time to reflect on the last time around, starting with my own mix: To The Beat of Rock and Roll.

Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of my sweet-ass cover art to show everyone, but just know that it was indeed sweet-ass. And, I'm not sure how many of the participants realized or found this, but each one had a different interior to the "booklet." Will I do something similar this time around? Who knows?! Here's a tracklist, along with links you can click on and listen (courtesy of some space provided by the good people at Three Pints).

1. Panda Bear - Comfy in Nautica
2. Figurines - Race You
3. Of Montreal - Lysergic Bliss (Daytrotter Sessions)
4. Apples in Stereo - Sunndal Song
5. Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
6. Mono Puff - Devil Went Down to Newport
7. WHY? - Gemini (Birthday Song)
8. Blackstar - Definition
9. Menomena - Muscle n' Flo
10. Rock Plaza Central - Our Past like Lighthouses
11. The Eels - Fresh Feeling
12. Built to Spill - Car
13. Now It's Overhead - Turn and Go
14. The Mountain Goats - Somebody Else's Parking Lot in Santa Fe
15. M Doughty - Train to Chicago
16. Love - Alone Again Or
17. Uncle Tupelo - Acuff Rose
18. Cub Country - O Great Telephone
19. Belle & Sebastian - If She Loves me (live from KEXP)
20. Iron & Wine - The Trapeze Swinger
21. The Weakerthans - My Favourite Chords

So there you have it! You say you want the whole thing in a .zip file? Alright! Here you go!

I felt like it was a pretty good selections of some of my favorite songs, some tracks from the lighter side of Flenker. Some of the tunes, like Alone Again Or and My Favourite Chords, have special meaning to me, so I included them. (Part of understanding the Flenker and the Flenker's past is all tied up in these songs, yes, it involves a girl, but that's not a topic I'll get into right now. Right now it's about the music!)

I'm going to try to go through everyone's mixes from last time around, but not put up links to the songs, because it's kind of a pain in the ass to do. I may do a few mixes in each post. We'll see how ambitious I'm feeling. Lately, ambition has been near all-time lows. Hence the lack in posts. But I've got a feeling that may soon change. So for now, enjoy some tunes!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I LOVE ICE CREAM

I am not stretching the truth with this statement in the slightest: Texas has some of the best ice cream I've ever eaten in my life. I guess it makes sense that a place that has a temperature in the mid-80's in the second weekend of November would have such a cool, tasty treat. With Blue Bell Ice cream, I'm in frozen dessert heaven.

Blue Bell's website says that their's is the "best ice cream in the country," and I don't doubt that for a second. It kind of pains me to say this, but I think it may be better than Whitey's. At least when purchased at the store. Every flavor I've had from them has just been phenomenal. This include chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies & cream, anniversary cake, chocolate brownie overload (which had walnuts, whipped cream, and brownie chunks in chocolate ice cream. Usually I'm not a huge fan of the ice cream with the brownies already in it, but these were perfect), pecan praline, and hot fudge sundae. Yes, I've eaten a lot of it in the month-and-a-half that I've been down here. There's only been about a week when we haven't had a half-gallon in our freezer. Right now we have 2. I could be in the worst mood ever, eat a bowl of Blue Bell, and instantly have a smile on my face. This ice cream could cause world peace. And I totally believe that.

In summation, this ice cream fucking rocks. When you come to visit me (and I expect everyone reading this to visit), I will buy us a half-gallon, and we will share it, and you will know true happiness.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

ARG! I've been tagged

Well a couple of days ago, the lovely Heather from Slightly Dramatic tagged me! (not to be confused with my Heather from As the Coffee Brews, which is finally being updated again. I'm pretty sure she will have something to say tomorrow. I promise) Here are the basic rules:

A). Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog...
B). Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself...
C). Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs...
D). Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
**You get it?? --- You got it?? --- [GOOD] --- So here goes:*

1. Believe it or not, I never tasted a drop of alcohol until my 23rd birthday. Not for any particular reason, I just never wanted to. I blame my friend Travis for ruining me. Apparently that night I called him and also blamed society for making me drunk. That damn society.

1b. OK, so that first one was sort of a lie. I did ingest some alcohol in high school, but not the normal, fun kind. For about a week, a friend of mine and I thought we'd be cool if we DRANK Listerine. Not for the alcohol or anything, but mainly because it told us not to, and we thought we'd be tough for doing it. Instead, we were just really, really stupid. And I know if I didn't list this here, KP would call me on it.

2. The most-prized items of sports memorabilia in my collection are (in no particular order): a personalized Roger Craig autographed 5X7 photo saying "To Chris, Be Good," (he's from Davenport, IA, and my uncle knew him and his mom, I've met him a couple times), an autographed Willie Mays baseball card, and a Buck O'Neil autographed baseball.

3. I have a strong desire to someday live in Boise, Idaho.

4. One of (if not THE) earliest memory that I have is from when I was about 3-years-old, being on the beach in Oregon, and getting knocked over by a wave. I can remember crying "The ocean got me!" to my mom, and seeing lots of gulls.

5. My favorite actress of all-time is probably Audrey Hepburn. There was a while there when I had a HUGE crush on her. It was kind of weird.

6. The reason I started playing the saxophone was Lisa Simpson.

7. The first movie that I can remember seeing was a showing of The Jungle Book at a drive-in movie theater. Be jealous.

now, for people that I myself will tag. . .

Of course H is there
As is Lucy
And WhiskeyMarie
Next is Christina
Then Nicole
Errr. . . and anyone else that wants to. I just needed to get my ladies out there first (I feel like some sort of blog pimp now.)

***

Also! Last chance to tell me you're interested in the Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange! I'll be sending out an email soon with more details, so if you want to join in, let me know!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shed a tear for the baseball season

There's still time for people to join up in the Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange: Round 2! Leave a comment or email me if interested. And if anyone else out there with a blog wants to promote the exchange, feel free! I'll probably give it another week or so, then I'll contact everyone who responded.

Anyways, I've been in a little funk lately. I don't know why exactly. . . Things on the job front are coming along, I've had a few interviews, one offer, and a couple more prospects. So this time next week, at the latest, I will have a job. The weather has been damn near perfect, in the 70's with little to no wind, no clouds, just sunny, beautiful days to enjoy. I've been sitting outside and reading, but, unfortunately, I don't really have any destination to which I can walk. Unless I wanted to go to Joe's Crab Shack (which I will sometime, I've never been to one, but it can wait, I'm sure). I've made some friends, been hanging out with a couple of people, so that's going well. But there's still some sort of nagging feeling that just won't go away, not quite an unhappiness, but not exactly a contented feeling. I think I have a case of the blahs. Maybe it's from sleeping on an air mattress. I think that'll do it. I'm looking forward to going home for Christmas, mostly because I'll be able to sleep on a bed.

I've decided on a Halloween costume! It may be a little too late, a lot of people went out and hit the town in their costumes this past weekend, but I think the biggest night will be Wednesday. And I'm not really planning on going out and getting wild that night, but I may meet up with some friends just to people watch. And, if I hand out candy, it'd be fun to be in costume. I won't say here what I'll be yet, you'll have to wait for the pictures. . . I'll just say I picked up my main components today, a suit (from Goodwill) and some hairspray. Stay tuned.

I suppose I should mention something about the World Series. . . I was able to watch (most of) every game, keeping my streak of catching at least one inning of every Series game for as far back as I remember. I'm disappointed that the Rockies lost, more so that they were swept. Plus, I didn't want to see the Red Sox win again. The good news is that everyone in the country gets a free taco from Taco Bell. (Whether or not that is actually good news is debatable. I'm pretty sure that the "meat" they use is also used as an anti-tank weapon. But hey, from 2pm-5pm on the 30th, you can get one free taco! If you think I'm not going to eat one, you don't know me very well.) Then there was the not-so-subtle commercial for Taco Bell, in the Red Sox's dugout.



Why in the hell would Royce Clayton be miked-up? Was he being payed by Taco Bell to go around and talk to all the players about the deal? And why would he tell Ellsbury that he had to steal a base, and then he conveniently did in the next game. . . I'm sure there's some sort of conspiracy here, and I'll get to the bottom of it.

There are also some people upset at Alex Rodriguez for announcing that he'll opt out of his contract with the Yankees during the World Series, but I really don't blame him. I blame his jerkass of an agent Scott Boras. Boras is a major contributing factor to the problems in Major League Baseball. I can't blame a player for taking a $30 million a year deal. I'd do it in a second. It's a business, after all. But I think that agents like Boras are driving the salaries up. The other side of the problem is that the owners are willing to pay the price. It should make for an interesting off-season, though. Especially with the Mitchell Report looming. . . (for those who may not know, that is the report that supposedly names a huge number of players implicated for using steroids or HGH. Honestly, I don't think it will do too much. Sure, it'll be huge in the beginning, but by the time the season rolls around, it will have died down. It'll be interesting, though, to see how people react. I can't wait for all of the people who have publicly slammed Barry Bonds to try to backtrack and defend their favorite player. Or to see if people think that the World Series titles won by the Red Sox should have an asterisk next to them if someone like David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez appears on the list. Or the Cardinals with Pujols.)

Man, I just thought of something. My 3 least-favorite teams have all won the last 4 World Series - Red Sox (twice), Cardinals, and the White Sox. damn

Well, that's enough of a rant from me! I should be heading to bed anyways. Of course, I don't know if I'll be able to sleep, I may be too excited about getting that taco!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Round 2 - Fight!

It's time for the return of the Great Blogger Mix CD Exchange!!! For those of you who did it last go-round, I hope you all can do it again! Those of you who are newer around here, here's the gist of it:

Make a comment on here or send me an email (flenker@gmail.com) letting me know that you're interested. After a week or two, or when we get a decent number of responses, I'll get everything collected, sorted out, etc. While this is going on, you plan your mixes. Put anything you want on it, anything at all! Don't worry about pleasing people, don't worry if it's a song that everyone knows, don't worry if it's a song you wrote yourself! Make something that you like! It could be based on a theme (we had some very good ones last time), or it could be an assortment of tunes from your collection that you think everyone should be listening to every day. You could even go all out and make a different mix for each person (like the lovely Lucy did last time!). It's totally up to you! The idea is that you send a mix to everyone, and everyone will send you a mix, leaving each person with lots of new music to explore!

The GBMCDE went over pretty well last time, spanning the Midwest, to the East Coast, down South, and even Canada! I'm hoping this one will be even better! First off, there was one person who didn't send out last time. Luckily for everyone, I now live with that person, so he'll send out not only a mix for this time, but a 2nd one for his past indiscretion. I'll make him. Plus, since we live together, you won't have to send one to me and him, we can share.

So, don't be shy! This is a chance to share your favorite bands, songs, albums, even artwork! We had some very excellent cover art the last time. Post a comment, email, hit me up on facebook, find some way to let me know you want in on the fun! You don't have to have a blog to participate, so don't let that stop you. Right now, this is open for everyone! (Now if there's an overwhelming response, I'll figure something out. I don't know if people want to be mailing 20 mixes out. But if it reaches that point, I have some other options. Otherwise, I think this worked pretty well last time. And if anyone feels up to making some sort of neat image or something that I could use for this, I'll throw in a special treat with their mix when it goes out!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Soup's on! (the latest Flenker Photo Story)

The weather finally took a trip down the thermometer here in Texas! Instead of approaching the 90's as we had been over the weekend, Monday it barely got into the 60's! Today it was a little warmer, but windy as hell. I would venture to say that if it weren't for the wind, today would have been a perfect day, weather-wise. Although, I must admit, I did love the almost chilly weather we had Monday. It was hilarious to see what people where wearing here. I donned my trusty brown jacket (featured in a few photos here, as well as off to the right, in that little picture up there) and jeans. Other people looked like they were preparing to go on an expedition with Sir Robert Shackleton. ([yay for Antarctic explorer references! Though to be fair, he is my favorite explorer of Antarctica. Way better than Robert Scott.) Any time I can wear my jacket, I'm happy. Some people call it a "track jacket." I call it an attractive jacket. (Damn, I was hoping that'd work better. Maybe if I said it aloud. nope. not any better. Now Big Texas will wonder why I'm talking to myself.)

Since the weather had gotten colder, I thought it would be the perfect time to try out a new recipe, from a brand-new recipe book Marin sent me from New Orleans! And while this wasn't a very Cajun-style recipe, it was damn delicious, and great for a cool day. Since no one could sample it, I figured I'd do the next best thing: take a bunch of pictures of me preparing it, then post them to my blog! So, without further ado, here is the latest photo story, Flenker-touille.

The star of the show, Marty "nobody calls me a" Chicken! (yes, I named the chicken. And I may have made voices for my different ingredients, including a homophobic can of corn named Rodney, and Steven the onion.)

I chop a mean garlic

Steven never stood a chance. (yes, I know the garlic is un-chopped here. An editor has been fired for this continuity error.)

Steven's remains are unceremoniously tossed into the pit

This looks like an artistic shot, but really, I'm just looking for something to add to the soup. And yes, I occasionally wear a hat while I cook.

And a Miller Lite shirt. At least I found the pepper grinder.

Marty is feeling like he's had better days. He doesn't even know the half of it. . .

Oh no! He shouldn't have been snooping around, trying to find out what happened to Steven. And he was only 2 days away from retiring!

The final resting place.

Dished up

That's right

I was pleased with how the soup turned out. As you can tell by the final picture. Not bad for my first effort, and it leaves me with LOTS left over for the rest of the week. Awesome! And in case you missed the other photo stories, you can find the first one here, and the second one here!

One last thing, be sure to check back in the next day or so. It will be the return of a couple of Big Ideas. . .

Friday, October 19, 2007

There's a ska band on my street

Ok, so this is the second time I'm writing this post, since my computer crashed and blogger apparently didn't do any of it's automatic saving that it usually does. I'm a little peeved right now, but the show must go on, I guess.

Anyways, a few weeks ago, I had said something about writing another post about ska music (ok, so it was almost two months ago, and I promised it in the next week, but those have been a busy two months). This is that post.

In the halcyon days of 2000-2002, I was in my first go-round at college, but heading home almost every other weekend to practice with my band. A ska band known as hyrule (we got the name from a video game - "The Legend of Zelda").



I played the saxophone in the group, which usually consisted of 6 members. Though occasionally there were as many as 7 or 8 people, and once as few as 4. I thought we were pretty okay for what we were, I mean, we played with a lot of national groups, like Against All Authority, MU330, The Honor System, The Wunder Years, and N.I.L.8 (who even had a sticker visible in the movie High Fidelity!). We usually had a good number of kids at our shows, whether they were at the Old YMCA in Muscatine or Gabe's Oasis in Iowa City. But most of all, we had fun.

Our trombone player set state high school records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season, our trumpet player wore an old school Nintendo controller as a belt in his homecoming court speech (in which he won and became king), our bassist who tried coke at least once, our drummer who was about 3 years younger than most everyone else in the band, I was 2-3 years older than the others, and our guitar player who had a huge Pez dispenser collection, which he hid around his room during practices. I wish I had more pictures to share, but I've been through 2 motherboards and 3 or 4 hard drives since those days, so most of what I had on my computer is gone. I have a ton of pictures in hard copy, but I don't have the patience, or a scanner to put them on my computer again.

Something that has survived, however is our "CD," cleverly called (demo). (It was never really meant as a demo, we didn't send it to any labels or anything, as we finished it about a week or two before our last show.) So for the first time in 5 years, here is the hyrule CD, available online! (Thanks to Jad for giving me a space to upload the songs!)

1. anthropogenic tradition is no excuse for obstinate folly
2. the hold up
3. well well well
4. keep walking
5. try
6. winter months
7. maple

My personal favorites are 1, 3, and 4 (sorry KP, no slowfuse, we should have recorded that one just for you).

The band broke up in the summer of '02, since most of the members were going off to school in different places (or, in our bassist's case, the Navy for about 2 weeks before being kicked out). Andy, our guitarist/singer, still has a band; he's a member of Raccoo-oo-oon (although they're on a temporary hiatus while he's out in LA for a few months, they're going to Spain sometime soon to play some huge festival, and I am incredibly jealous.). I'll never forget the band, though, because of the fun that was had, and the songs that we did record. And also, because of the tattoo that I got that tied in with my love for the Zelda video game series (I'm a dork, so what?) as well as the time spent in the band.



Just a quick story about another band I was in, this one during high school. KP and I, along with our friend Grant, joined up with some other guys in a band called Tredd-Safe (or maybe it was Tread-Safe, I don't remember. . .). At first it was to do a cover of Less Than Jake's "My Own Flag," but then we kept playing with them and added horn parts to some of their older songs. As far as we know, we were the first ska band in Muscatine to have a horn section. Not that it's that impressive of a thing, I'm pretty sure hyrule was the last ska band in Muscatine to have a horn section, but still kind of neat, I guess. I think the "scene" was thriving at that point, and I think it's all but dead now. It's too bad, it was really fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And now, for your viewing pleasures, Charles!

As I mentioned in my last post, there was a "chubby white dude" doing a killer dance during Fujiya & Miyagi. Well, it just so happens that he stumbled across here, his name is Charles, and he has quite the collection of dancing videos on his site, Glitter Parade! So that's a new link on my sidebar here. Check it out often, and suggest a song for him! If you're reading this Charles, may I suggest dancing to Of Montreal - "A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger." That would make my day!

Anyways, here's a clip of him in action! This is Fujiya & Miyagi's "Photocopier." Enjoy!

PJ,PJ, F&M, OMG!!

Just got back from the Project Jenny, Project Jan and Fujiya & Miyagi show with my socks barely intact. It was great. PJ,PJ put on such an energy-filled set, lead singer Jeremy Haines was all over the place, and the results were well worth the effort. The duo had a projector set up, displaying videos to accompany the music, changing images at a pace as upbeat as the tunes. These guys put on one of the best shows I've seen. I know I probably say that about every other band that I see, but I really mean it. I'm extremely glad Jad had reviewed their album a few weeks ago. That man knows his music!

The headlining band, Fujiya & Mitagi, were pretty incredible, I gotta say. They were a lot more tuned-down than PJ,PJ, but it didn't take anything away from the atmosphere. The trio launched into song after song, staying tight the whole time, playing some great music. The highlight, however, had to be when a member from the crowd jumped on stage during one of their songs (I wish I was more familiar with their tunes, so I could give you a name, it was the one that has the lyric "I've got a slow, slow metabolism," if that helps) and stood around behind the band for a second, then went into this epic dance. He definitely had some mad moves for a tubby white dude (best part of the dance - the guy pointing to his belly when the aforementioned lyric about metabolism was said).

Both of these bands would be worth seeing on their own, the fact that they played together was almost too much for me to handle. Worth every bit of the $12 I paid, and then some.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What is this? Is this actual content??

First, let me say I hate looking for airfare. (more like air un-fare, amiright??? thanks, I'll be by myself at the bar all night.) I'm trying to get home for Christmas, but not currently having a job is making it difficult. Luckily, both of my parents have graciously offered to help out, so it will be a very Flenker Christmas in Iowa.

Speaking of jobs, I had an interview last week, and have something else lined up soon, so hopefully one (or both) will come to fruition, and I'll actually have some sort of income to spend frivolously. (is there any other way??)

With no job, and basically no friends in town, it sometimes makes me feel very isolated and antsy (example: on my "Things Chris Needs to do List" for today there is 1) go to the post office, then 2) watch Heroes tonight. And the baseball game. exciting. And the post office might not happen, since that would require putting pants on). It's been a while since I've made friends with people other than co-workers or friends of friends. And since Big Texas was hoping that I would help introduce him to new people, I've got an uphill battle going on. My first few missions have been failures, but I've got another coming up tomorrow: the Project Jenny, Project Jan and Fujiya & Miyagi show. I will do my darndest to meet at least one person there.

I have met a couple of people at the Iowa Alumni Club game watches, so that's nice, but have yet to do anything with any of them. (Maybe tonight I will call to see if people would like to hang out. I think that's how it's said. Oooh, that could interfere with my Heroes watching, so maybe not tonight.) Note to networks airing games from Iowa City: you don't have to show cornfields and hogs and rusted-out trucks sitting on a farm every time you're in Iowa City. You could show actual scenes from downtown, or the Old Capitol Building, or university buildings or something. I mean, we were a shot of a jug band in overalls, sitting on a porch, away from looking like Missouri. And no one wants that.

It's amazing how the Iowa Hawkeyes football team winning a game can change my mood so drastically. I was downright giddy after their win this past weekend. Which is kind of sad, to be excited about a win over the annual whipping boy of the Big Ten - Illinois. But something needed to happen, because I was basically inconsolable for the 3 weeks before. (The Hawks hadn't won since I moved down here, and their only two wins were games that I attended. I was taking the blame, I felt like I was jinxing the team, letting everyone down. These things rattle around in my head. Yes, I'm nearly 27 and college-educated. Thankfully I realized that wearing my Fred Russell jersey during the game is good luck. I also discovered the proper position in which to sit to make the team play better. And if I have to eat the same, kinda gross hamburger that I ate last week, so be it. Disaster averted.)