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."


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


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


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!