Saturday, April 28, 2007

Who likes free music?

My friend Matt was the first person I heard insert snippets from The Simpsons on a mix. I thought it was a great way to add humor to a mixtape, therefore I bit his style and bit it hard. However, recently I've been using snippets from Aqua Teen Hunger Force and short segments of Chris Rock and David Cross stand-up routines. I've always wanted to make a mix that had a cool theme to it though. Before I made this compilation I knew I wanted to use a bunch of quotes from one movie and try to portray a story in about 5 or 6 tracks. I chose the Steve Martin movie "The Jerk" not only because it's a hilarious film, but I think Navin 's story is on some level familiar and the scenes I selected to pull for the mix correspond to recent events in my life, or things that have been on my mind. I would really like to give this mix to a lot of people and see what feedback I get on it. Therefore, if you want a copy drop me comment or tell me in person and I'll cook one up for you. Here is the track list with some comments.

The Songs:

"The Guidelines"-Aceyalone: This is not only Acey's theme music, but also probably one of the dopest tracks he ever touched and that's saying a lot.

"Pedestal"- Portishead: Beth's voice and the trip-hop instrumental makes this one of my favorite songs from this very missed group.

"Hand of Doom" - Black Sabbath: I was trying to figure out how to get metal on this mix. The solution was easy. Take my favorite song from my favorite metal band and there you have it. "You're having a good time baby, but that won't last....Your mind is full of're living too fast. Go out and enjoy yourself...Don't bottle it in. You need someone to help you...push the needle in."

"Smoke and Mirrors"- RJD2: I think a lot of people forgot about this song on Deadringer. That's too bad.

"Bradley Smith"- At The Drive-in: One of the most underrated punk bands of all time. Too bad Sparta and Mars Volta don't bake my beans the way ATDI did.

"Super Bad"- James Brown: "The way I like the way it is. I got mine...don't worry about his." Thanks for all the good work James.

"Blue Skies"- Ella Fitzgerald: Please Ella, don't hurt em.

"Blue Flowers (Prince Paul Remix)" - Dr. Octagon: Before there was Madvillian there was Kool Keith aka Dr. Octagon aka Black Elvis. If you are not going to make sense in your lyrics you might as well have a good beat.

"Spanish Bombs" - The Clash: I can't believe I never put this song on any other mixes. You should be well aware of the The Clash. If not, listen and regret your years of ignorance.

"Today"- Tom Scott: Pete Rock made it a hot sample, Tom Scott made it a hot song.

"Can't Wait" - Redman: Outside of Public Enemy, Redman was one of the first hip-hop artist I followed. Yes 95% of his subject matter is about marijuana, but at least he'll pass on the glass.

"Djobi Djoba" - The Gypsy Kings: First heard this song on an old ZERO skate video. Also heard it 1000 times when I was studying in Spain.

"Hoofprints in the Sand" - Sage Francis: Bar none the best emcee out there today. Three lps, each one better than the last. "Seriously I know that you pray when the chips are down. But act different when there's atheist around." Too close for comfort there Sage.

"God's Bathroom Floor"- Atmosphere: Old Slug = Good Slug.

"If you want me to stay" - Sly and the Family Stone: After last night, this song makes so much more sense. Leave it to life to teach you the lesson and music to tutor.

"Bad Dreams" - Lyrics Born: The blues can be very therapeutic. Lyrics Born is one of the most versatile emcees/musicians I have ever come across. Please check out the albums Laytrx and Later That Day.

"Wicked and Weird" - Buck 65: Baseball player turned Dj, turned emcee, turned producer, turned country artist. He may not be that exciting but he does all the aforementioned jobs extremely well.

"Pass the Plugs" - De La Soul: Couldn't think of a better way to end the mix. Take em back to a time when hip-hop was being done better than it is now. "Excuse me yall, while I fill my potholes."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Being desensitized was cooler when I was 12.

The movies that made me love horror as a kid...

The video game that damn near ruined it all. Seriously what the hell were they thinking?

Back when the only two sections of the video rental store I would go to were the video game and horror sections, I built up what I believed to be a noteworthy degree of tolerance for violence and death. However, nowadays I believe my past regiment of slasher films and super violent video games is serving to my detriment. Not in a Tipper Gore/ Dr. Phil video games are ruining our kids way, but in a "I'm too old to not care way". I became concerned when I started to glance over the daily death tolls in Iraq and I noticed that I would forget the number by the end of the day. Maybe because it's easier not to think about an atrocity across the globe, or maybe it's because I've been reading death tolls for the last year or so.

I was in the VCU Commons when I read about the mayhem that went down 3 hours away on the Virginia Tech campus. I was shocked to see the numbers (casualties and rounds fired), but I was even more shocked by the lack of impact. Perhaps scared is a better word than shock in this case. I've recently realized how desensitized I've become, which has been a real kick in the jaw. I don't want to wear my emotions on my sleeves by any means, but I'm coming dangerously close to shutting down a part of my brain that I might want to keep around. What is even more concerning is that I don't believe this ship can be turned around. The ability of not easily being shaken by violence or tragedy that I prided myself on earlier in life has nested and grown. Being numb is a double-edged sword. The good news is you can't feel anything. The bad news can't feel anything.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"He's up in heaven now..."

If you read Timequake you should get the title of this post.

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 1922 -2007

As I talked on the phone this morning I fell down a set of stairs. Falling down stairs is one of my biggest daily fears, I usually take my time going up and down steps as to avoid looking like the town fool as I tumble, gathering bruises and lessons on the way down. When I realized that I wasn't seriously injured I just started to giggle to myself. Was is the fact that I had discovered the perfect way to end a phone call? Was it the fact that I screamed "Holy Shit Fuck!" when I began to fall? I have no idea, but my first reaction was to laugh.

I've laughed when I've screwed up.

I've laughed when someone has tried to fight me.

I laugh by myself in a car on a lonely road trip.

I've laughed at my misfortune, but more often at the expense of others.

Hell I've even laughed out loud at a funeral.

I've never laughed at Carrot Top or Carlos Mencia, but thats a different post all together.

Vonnegut was the first person who ever made me laugh out loud through use of the printed word. The more of his work I read the more I understood how humor is a not only a decent defense mechanism, but also a very versatile tool. A tool capable of tackling everyday issues like relationships and family as well as issues of war and religion. It has been my weapon of choice for some time now and will be until I turn into fertilizer. I smile and laugh a lot and I love to make others do the same.

When Elizabeth called to tell me Kurt Vonnegut had died last night, I involuntarily smiled. It sucks to lose an idol when you have so few, but there is nothing to cry about. All I can do is say "Thanks Mr. Vonnegut" or maybe "Ting-a-ling" would be more appropriate.

"If you protest. If you think that death is a terrible thing, then you have not understood what I have said. You see, it's time for you to go home... to your wives and children. It's time for me to be dead for a little while... and then live again." - Billy Pilgrim from the novel Slaughterhouse Five.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Though I maintain my unbridled contempt for Richmond, there are a few things I'm going to miss when this city loosens its grip. I'll miss swiping "free samples" from Elwood Thompson's health food store. I'll miss the odd wandering smell of raw sewage and stagnation the city emits. The state of absolute worthlessness that a trip to Panda Veg (Panda Garden) delivers will be sorely missed. Finally I will miss the annual event known as Cycle Slaughterama. On a weekend that had something for everyone. The mass public had the Monument 10k, The artsy crowd had the French Film Festival. VCU had Strut and to a lesser extent...much lesser extent MoonPie Madness. There had to be an event for those kids with one pant leg up. To put it briefly Slaughterama is a convention of sorts. Except this convention is filled with the several Richmond area bike gangs, cycle enthusiast, innocent bystanders, beer, dirt, filth and the occasional aroma of the Dre Day. This is more than a youthful hootinanny of drunken debachery...okay maybe not. But you can't deny Slaughterama's attention to creativity. From the Mad Max outfits, to the custom bikes to the events themselves. This is an orgy of fun, imagination and sheer apathy for one's well being that can only be rivaled by Atlanta's Freaknik (If you don't get that one, check Wikipedia).

In an attempt to introduce the three of you that read my blog to Slaughterrama, here is a quick pictorial of the hour or so I was able to attend.

Opening Ceremony: Music and Beer, a tried and true method to getting a party stared. PBR might as well be the unofficial sponsor of Slaughterama. I enjoy the Pabst, but that boombox bike makes me laugh every time I see it. RIP Radio Raheem.

The Horde: Slaughterama is held at the concrete pavilion on Belle Isle. The rocks, nails and glass and other opportunities for tetanus make it a perfect venue for an event where open wounds are encouraged.

I Had That When I Was Seven: Brad D. aka Coolhand Zoidberg gets somewhat wicked on a tri-scooter. Though impractical in all other situations, this contraption is essential if you want to tear an ACL.

Orange County can't hold a candle to Richmond: The level of creativity goes up year to year. Last year it seemed to be more about the Double-Highs, this year I saw a lot more fork extensions. Even saw a surfboard bike which made me understand just how this all isn't a fad in the city. You may say their talent is being wasted, but I'd say "Dude...we're all wasted...(hiccup)".

Flatland Tailwhip: Seeing more and more BMX in the city. If I could go as fast as I could on a track/road bike I would have one.

Going for 2: It took awhile but, someone finally go two complete flips on the BMX roller bike. Last year the first thing I saw was a girl get thrown from the bike during the Chariot Races and open up her head something serious. This year I saw a guy on this bike roll directly into a crowd of people. Though bewildered, I'll never be disappointed with this event.

Six-Pack Tandem Race: This was the first official event of the gala, and unfortunately the only one I saw this year (Damn you MoonPie Madness!). Though the game is designed to have participants on tandem bikes (one bike, two people) trying to down the most six-packs in 5 minutes, it quickly turned into a riot of bikes and beer. The referees weren't paid off, they simply didn't exist.

Friendly Faces: I ended up going by myself, which isn't a problem. All it took was one quick circle around the outer loop of spectators to find a familiar face. Even saw James River himself coming while I was going. I'm still not sure if Ben or I have the world's biggest head, but he has the biggest knee trophy for certain.