Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How To Predict If A Cumbia Album Will Be Fabulous

According to Joey Burns, who plays lead guitar on 'Cumbia Lupita' in the above clip, if a picture of an ass is on the cover of said cumbia cd and it clearly belongs to a very shapely woman, the album will be fantastic. After watching Tucson's newest mambo kings, Sergio Mendoza y Su Orkestra open for Calexico on Monday, I have to believe that this is the truth. I'm going to use this criteria in all future purchase assessments of cumbia cds -- foolproof!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Notes on the Season

From a recent entry in my commonplace book:

I just finished reading David Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed In Flames. The final chapter of the book details his attempt to stop smoking. He decides to accomplish this feat by taking a three month trip to Japan. While there, he encounters Engrish.

"On an apron picturing a dog asleep in a basket: 'I'm glad I caught you today. Enjoy Mama.'

On decorative paper bags a person might put a gift in: 'When I think about the life in my own way I need gentle conversations.'"

During this often trying time of year, I wish everyone gentle conversations in their own lives. Io, Saturnalia, y'all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Own Radio Station, Circa 1993

I have a time capsule box of cassettes in my garage, waiting patiently atop the deep fryer and the My Little Pony Dream House, hoping that I will soon rediscover them. At the moment, I don't have any way to listen to them, since the cassette player component of my stereo died some years ago. In all of my efforts to create a minimalist, monastic living space, I feel as though it would be prudent to give them away. And yet, I can't bring myself to dispose of them. Instead, I'm inviting you to have a brief look into the tupperware tomb containing the music I used to love, which practically defined a period of my life. It's going to be a great grungy stroll down high school memory lane. I'm as excited about it as you are! Shall we?

Suede - The Drowners:

What does the writing along that guy's spine mean? I feel as though I'm missing a hidden message in this video.

Screaming Trees - Julie Paradise

Sure, everyone remembers 'Nearly Lost You' from Singles, one of the best movies ever, but nobody has ever heard of this one. Except me, of course.

The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms

I can't believe I used to have a crush on Evan Dando. Sheesh.

Blind Melon - Change

I used to listen to this song in the middle of the night and just know that Shannon Hoon really understood me. Too bad he died of a heroin overdose.

Belly - Feed the Tree

I still have no idea what the heck this song is about. But I do know all of this and more.

Mary's Danish - Underwater

When they came to Tucson, I managed to somehow win tickets and con my mother into allowing me to go. Combat boots never looked as great as they did with my granny dress that night. I am actually about as cool now as I thought I was then. Which isn't saying much.

Rocket From The Crypt - French Guy

The best RFTC album ever is Paint as a Fragrance. I defy anyone to name a better one.

Primus - Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

I saw them play this, live, at Lollapalooza. Yeah. Remember that? I still have the t-shirt. It may be grunge style 7,000 sizes too large, but I still have it.

Ok, one more:

Paul Westerberg - Dyslexic Heart

This couldn't be a complete stroll without something from Singles. Which I have on VHS and DVD. Just in case I get a VCR again, you know, one day. They're coming back, I can feel it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rugby: So Much Better Than Football

The All-Blacks vs England Game: November 30, 2008

When someone mentions sports, my eyes tend to immediately glaze over and I start searching out the nearest exit. I have no interest in statistics, players, games, crazy fandom, (ok, I am, admittedly, intrigued by the odd breed of the Super Fan, but I digress) records, fantasy anything, and, worst of all, I hate sports bars. With a passion. All that noise. The chest banging grunting. The cheap beer and the chicken wings. Ugh. I would rather spend an afternoon in the dentist's chair than have to suffer through even fifteen minutes of sitting in a sports bar. This says a lot, since my dentist has gag-inducing smelly rubber gloves, the mere sight of which triggers a whole body production of bile and other nasty secretions. I hate the dentist. I have a cavity that I refuse to have filled, so much do I despise his gloves.

Two weekends ago, I was, in a moment of intoxication induced pliancy, convinced that I should not only agree to willingly go to a sports bar, but then sit there and watch a sporting event. For more than three minutes. And, oh, be excited about that. So much so that I should even wear something special for this event. It never takes much convincing from anyone to get me to dress up, so I agreed.

My defenses had been horrendously compromised due to my consumption of multiple bottles of beer combined with a painfully extended stomach full of jilebi. I couldn't refuse. All plans for the future sound like genius ideas when it happens around a roaring bonfire and I am blissfully sated through sugar and alcohol. Gah. It felt like a calculated set-up. I am nothing if not a woman of my word, however, which is how I found myself wearing a black shirt and driving to the World Sports Grille on Sunday afternoon.

I walked into this bar and began to wonder what it was, exactly, that I had agreed to do. There were hundreds of large screen televisions everywhere around which were situated groups of jersey wearing, semi-intoxicated lugheads. Men and women, screaming and yelling at these televisions, their faces greasy from fried food and their hands dripping with ranch dressing. A high pitched squealing whine began, right behind my left eyeball. My right eye started to twitch. I had serious doubts that I could survive the afternoon, let alone the next ten minutes. Mike, my kiwi buddy, jumped up and gave me a hug, 'Oh, this is going to be an awesome game! You'll be so glad you came!' I smiled, trying to ignore the drilling that was trying to escape out of my brain and through my eye. His wife winked at me.

We sat down in front of a giant screen television. The station was changed and the game was already underway. Mike was incredibly disappointed, telling us that we had missed the haka. I was also highly disappointed -- this had been one of the main reasons I had decided to attend! Luckily, several haka highlights were shown throughout the game.

The first few minutes of the game were rather uninteresting. I spent a lot of time quizzing the waiter on the beers that he had on tap and examining the menu. After the first points of the game were scored, however, I was hooked. Mils Muliaina grinned as he sailed across the goal line in a successful try, as though he had practiced his score smile in the mirror. I laughed -- seeing that was one hundred times inherently better than a touchdown victory dance! The game continued from there to be a bloodbath, with the All Blacks winning 32-6. WOO!

After paying the bill, Mike asked me what I thought of the game. 'I loved it! When is the next one? Can we watch it here?'

He smiled sadly at me,' That was the last game of the season. They won't play again until June.'

I'll just have to become a haka buff in the meantime, I guess.

New Zealand vs. Tonga:

New Zealand vs. South Africa:

Ireland seems to like to taunt the All Blacks. Most famously, they edge closer and closer to the All Blacks as they do their opening haka:

Just this year, Ireland's Munster team decided to attempt to preempt the All Blacks' haka by performing a truncated version of their own:

They didn't appear to be particularly intimidated. Or really, to even notice.

My favorite haka performance (though, admittedly, I've only been paying attention to rugby for a very short time) comes from the World Cup Game of New Zealand against France in 2007. France had Chabal on their team, a famous barbarian of a rugby player. Even me, with my limited knowledge and interest in sports, had heard of this guy. He is a living ghost of Gaul, playing rubgy instead of slaying Romans -- a modern day Vercingetorix!



It takes very little imagination to think of Chabal out on the battlefield, stealing babies:

In watching this haka, Chabal gives the All Blacks the fiery eyeball, but does seem mildly impressed with their showmanship.

It wasn't enough though -- France still won that game. As impressed as I am with the All Blacks, France will always be my team. Sheesh. I have a team? Can Sundays spent watching NASCAR be far behind?