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 ( 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!


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.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Stolen from H

I'm stealing this video from H, only because it's hilarious, it's made me laugh out loud every time I've watched it, and really, I'm having trouble coming up with stuff on my own at the moment.

I sometimes wish the Royals had someone like Bert Blyleven. But, Denny Matthews is a joy to listen to on the radio, one of the best in the business.

I guess now is as good a time as any to delve into the playoffs. Unfortunately, Bill's dream match up of Cubs vs. Yankees is already out, as both teams have been eliminated, as have the Angels and Dodgers. I'm hoping for an Indians/Rockies Series, mainly because I hate the Red Sox, and have a soft spot for the Rockies. I went to a Rockies game their first year in existence, 1993, when I was in San Francisco (Rockies won 5-1, I believe). I have a cousin that lives in Denver, her apartment is right next to Coors Field, a beautiful stadium. But then I also have family in Arizona, who love the Diamondbacks. But I have yet to see them play in person, so I'll stick with Colorado. Plus, the Rockies have been white hot lately, winning something like 18 out of their last 19 games, regular season and post-season included. Matt Holiday is a freaking stallion and MVP candidate (and carried my fantasy baseball team to the championship round, which will discussed in another post), Kaz Matsui has turned into a monster once October came around (I saw him play for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Rockies' AAA team, a season ago, and caught a foul ball he hit), and besides having a name that's fun to say, Troy Tulowitzki is not only a Rookie of the Year candidate, but he turned an unassisted triple play (only the 13th such play ever), and then about two weeks later, was putout on a triple play. Wacky! (Maybe the Rockies are becoming my favorite NL team!)

So there you have it, my pick for the World Series Champion. Which means, now that I've typed it out, they don't really stand a chance. I just have that effect on teams.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Final Season

A few hours ago, I went to the free screening of The Final Season that a local theater was having. I have been looking forward to seeing this movie for a while, ever since filming started in Cedar Rapids. I mean, a baseball movie in Iowa? Sounds like a winning combination.

Now, you have to understand while you're reading this that I have a big bias towards this movie right off the bat. I love baseball, and have a soft spot in my heart for Iowa, so I knew going into it that there would be a pretty good chance that I would enjoy this movie. And although it falls short of me saying that I loved it, it's a great story, it's got some good-looking baseball scenes, with good acting (especially for a cast made up of a number of locals). Some of the facts weren't 100% accurate, some names were changed, but it stays surprisingly true to the original story upon which it was based. The writing could have been a little better, some of the characters could have been a little more well-developed, but overall, I enjoyed it, it made me want to play catch, and made me a little homesick. Four Flenker Thumbs Up!

I'll be back with a real, non-movie reviewing post soon. There have just been a lot of good movies that I've been seeing, and I figured that without lots of little pictures of me giving a goofy "thumbs up" pose, my loving readers would not know which movies to see!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

King of Kong

The Alamo Drafthouse was showing King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, so I was not about to miss a documentary about arcade games, especially if beer and fried foods were involved.

This was my first trip to the Drafthouse, a theater that has a full menu that is served throughout the duration of the movie, including beer. I ordered myself a locally brewed brown ale and some jalepeno poppers, and made myself comfortable. The previews before the movie were for video game related movies like Tron, The Last Starfighter, and The Wizard, as well as commercials for old Atari games, and a clip from the live action Mario Brothers show. It was like a trip through my childhood.

The movie itself was excellent, documenting the trials and tribulations of attempting to break the Donkey Kong world record score, and the lifestyle of those involved.

On a personal note, there were a lot of scenes that were filmed in Iowa, specifically Fairfield and Ottumwa, towns that I used to drive through about every other week, and locations that I recognized from driving past. So that was neat. (Walter, the guy in the referee outfit lives in Fairfield, as does the guy wearing the Doom shirt.)

Even if you don't have that personal tie-in, or didn't spend all of your quarters at an arcade, this is still a great movie that will entertain, maybe my 2nd-favorite documentary, behind Wordplay. If you get the chance, see it! This gets four-and-a-half Flenker Thumbs Up!

In the coming week, there will probably be at least two more movies that I'm very excited to be seeing. First up is The Final Season, another movie filmed in Iowa, about the Norway High School baseball team. It opens on Friday the 12th, but there is going to be a free screening of it here on Tuesday!! Then, on the 12th, Wes Anderson's newest film, The Darjeeling Limited, is released. The Drafthouse will be getting that one as well, and will be having a special menu of Indian food. I will not be missing that!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm a rice pudding guy, myself

Friday night I caught a late showing of the movie I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, a movie in which Jeff Garland (he plays Larry David's agent on Curb Your Enthusiasm) not only starred, but he wrote and directed as well. It was kind of funny, earlier in the day Bill had sent me a link to this trailer:

and then later in the day, I was flipping through the newspaper, and saw that it was showing at a theater in town! How lucky could I be? It was a late show, so I didn't have to deal with traffic, I parked in a ramp, but got my ticket validated for 3 hours, so free parking! It was turning out to be a good night. And the movie didn't disappoint.

The cast is great, including Sarah Silverman, Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson himself), Amy Sedaris, Bonnie Hunt, Dakota Fanning's younger sister Elle, and Phyllis from The Office. The movie takes place in Chicago, where James (Garland) is a down-on-his-luck actor, living with his mom, lacking a love life, just basically struggling at everything. But I guess if you watched the trailer, you already knew that information.

One thing that I was surprised with was the length - this movie lasted just over an hour, although it felt longer. Not in a bad way, I enjoyed it the whole time. I was just amazed that I was getting out of the theater with a little less than 2 hours left of free parking time. I don't really know if I'd want the movie to be longer, it could be one of those situations where if something is added, it could detract from the experience. I guess a better ending would've been nice, but the ending that it has isn't terrible. It fits, but feels kind of cheap. Not enough to make me dislike the movie, though. The movie fit my mood almost perfectly, and left me feeling really good about my choice to see it. That's why I'm giving this movie 4 Flenker Thumbs Up, in spite of the its title ending in a proposition.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's a fact!

You know you're in Texas when the grocery store has more brands of barbecue sauce than toothpaste.