Friday, May 28, 2010

Rocking For The Weekend: The Muppets

Okay, so this isn't technically "rocking". But it's Memorial Day Weekend! And who better to help us observe this holiday than my favorite Muppet, that glowering patriot, Sam the Eagle. Please join Sam and the rest of the Muppets in a rousing rendition of "Stars And Stripes Forever", and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fun With Camera Phones: Loss Prevention

I wonder if they had this problem when they were making Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rocking For The Weekend: Boston

Thank God for Rocking For The Weekend. If it weren't for this feature, WWW might conceivably go a month without a post. (Pause for hopeful sighs.) For better or for worse, today you get a post. And what performer is good enough to break a two-week dry spell you ask? Boston!

Boston was one of my favorite bands in high school, and they remain a fond favorite today. I was digging through some old CDs this week and came upon Boston's skimpy discography. If you like good-time rock and roll with thundering guitar, hand claps, soaring harmonies, and the occasional massive pipe organ, you like Boston. And I defy you not to like "Feelin' Satisfied", an exuberant ode to live concerts. There's so much joy in this song that it's perfect for Friday. Enjoy!

Some interesting Boston trivia:

* Founder and guitarist Tom Scholz holds an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT and worked at Polaroid on the team that developed the Polaroid Instant Camera. Then he decided to rock.

* Scholz also invented and marketed the Rockman, a popular analog guitar effects unit designed to produce the Boston guitar sound. It was embraced by Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Neal Schon (Journey), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), and Steve Clark and Phil Collen (Def Leppard).

* Boston's self-titled debut album, released in 1976, sold 17 million copies and was the biggest selling debut album in history until it was surpassed by Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction in 1988.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rocking For The Weekend: Soul Asylum

It's Friday again already. Yet at the same time, this week has constantly reminded me of W.C. Fields' famous (if unstubstantiated) quote regarding my hometown. "Philadelphia, wonderful town. I spent a week there one night." This week cannot end soon enough.

To help us all get there just a little quicker, here is Soul Asylum's "Somebody To Shove". I heard lead singer Dave Pirner guesting on another song this week and immediately had the urge to listen to this song again. For the youngsters out there, Soul Asylum was one of the endless parade of 90s bands that were vaguely influenced by grunge but mostly just made forgettable guitar rock. You may (or more likely may not) remember such examples as the Gin Blossoms, Better Than Ezra, Collective Soul and Counting Crows.1

Anyway, much like a thousand monkeys banging away at a thousand typewriters will eventually write "Hamlet", I firmly believe every band that achieves a modicum of success has at least one truly great song.2 And this is Soul Asylum's truly great song. I think it's about inertia and sometimes needing a kick in the ass to jolt you out of apathy. But I have been known to get song meanings completely wrong. Mostly I just like it because it rocks. Enjoy!

1. I know that Counting Crows don't exactly fit this category. But I can't resist any opportunity to take a shot at them for sucking so hard.

2. Yes, even Counting Crows. See "Mr. Jones".

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yes, We Have No Hot Water

Gather 'round, my readers, and I will tell you a tale! A tale of incompetence, broken promises, chicanery and unpleasant odors!

Several times during the month of April, my apartment building was without hot water. At least three times I had to go to work with an unsatisfying cold shower. When this happened, I simply washed my hair, face, pits and undercarriage to avoid freezing my nuts off. Apparently (and much to my dismay) the resistance to extreme temperatures forged by years of 8am outdoor swim practices had forsaken me. After several complaints (including one by me) the management finally responded in the form of this letter given to all tenants:

I suppose $200 is a nice gesture. But long does it take to purchase and install a water heater? And what kind of new hot water heater would require a permit that takes more than a week to secure? We're not installing a hot tub time machine here. (Although that would rule.) About a week and a half after the previous letter, the following was posted in the building elevator:

TWO FULL DAYS to install a hot water heater? This means I'm assured of at least one more arctic shower on Wednesday morning. At this point, I'm becoming curious to see this monstrosity. Upon further reflection, I decided that if the management hired people with the skill level of the usual "handyman" or "plumber" sent to make repairs to my apartment, then it would take the same number of men to install this water heater as it took to erect the Great Pyramids. Honestly. I have a metal transition over the line where my kitchen tile meets my carpet, and after nearly three years they STILL can't secure it tightly.

So Tuesday morning comes, and cognizant of the 8am deadline, I get into the shower just before 7:30am. After I'm thoroughly wet but not yet soapy (I'll give the ladies a moment here to imagine me getting soapy in the shower. La la la. We all good? Okay, let's move on.) the water turns ice fucking cold. A half hour early. I used my anger to quickly wash before the heat on my skin totally dissipated and on the way to work I decided that the letter posted in the elevator needed to be tightened up just a bit:

Of course, this meant that I'd have cold showers on TWO consecutive days. Simply unacceptable. Not, however, as unacceptable as what I saw in the elevator upon my return home on Tuesday night:

THREE days to install the hot water heater? THREE mornings with no hot shower? That's not just unacceptable, it's comical. Screw the people in Darfur. I want Sally Struthers and Bono here with barrels of hot water ASAP! And fancy soaps! The kind that smell like grandma's perfume!

Even as beloved a personage as myself cannot arrive at work with three days of stank on me. A solution needed to be found. And lo, it was. As it happens, I live two blocks away from a 24 Hour Fitness location. Gyms have showers. Hot showers. And they frequently offer free trials. A quick visit to the 24 Hour Fitness website confirmed that I could secure a free 7-day pass. Thursday morning I hustled over to the gym and sincerely expressed my interest in a new and healthier lifestyle. I dutifully endured the 30 minute tour/hardcore sales pitch and said that I would certainly think about it. Trainer Kristen shook my hand and told me to enjoy the gym and speak to her on the way out about my experience. I made an immediate beeline for the showers. I quickly undressed, anticipating this shower more than about half of the Christmas mornings in my lifetime. I hit the stall, cranked the dial toward "hot", and reveled in the...ICE COLD water. NO. NO, GODDAMMIT. NOT HERE TOO!

After about two minutes of filthy language and frantic gesticulation, I realized that the "hot" and "cold" ends of the shower dial were incorrectly marked. "Cold" was "hot". Soon, hot steaming water, sweeter than milk and honey, flowed over my stinky skin. The feeling of relief was like that of an orgasm or a massive crap. After twenty thoroughly satisfying minutes, I dressed and snuck past Trainer Kristen to make my escape.

The hot water in the building indeed came back on Thursday night. Ingenuity had seen me through these dark hours. And I will be reminded of my experience for years to come, when a representative from 24 Hour Fitness calls every 8 hours until the Sun's explosion into a supernova reduces the Earth to a cinder.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The G-Chat Diaries, Vol. 12

In a departure from previous installments of The G-Chat Diaries, I have redacted several statements from Chatter X to preserve the tattered remains of his/her reputation. If you would like to be featured in a future installment, just hit up WWW via the Plugoo chat application over there on the right!

Chatter X
: I'm talking to you from an unsecured wireless that bad? Can people see this?

WWW: No it just means there's no password for the network.

Chatter X: I'm totally stealing someone's internet.

Chatter X: So they can't see what I'm doing?

WWW: Nope.

Chatter X: Unless they're some kind of brilliant hacker?

WWW: And also, if they cared.

Chatter X: Off to the porn sites! If my identity is stolen and my [Naughty!] are published somewhere, I'm killing you.

WWW: I'm okay with that.

Chatter X: Not afraid of death, eh?

WWW: We both know you're too lazy to travel 3,000 miles to kill anyone.

Chatter X: That's true.

Chatter X: Although, while I was there I could try to swing by that whatever festival to see [Shitty band Chatter X loves]. I get all the festivals confused.

Chatter X: It's not Bonnaroo.

Chatter X: Uhhh. [Expletive].

Chatter X: I hate when information falls out of my head.

WWW: Coachella?

Chatter X: YES

Chatter X: They're headlining Coachella this year.

WWW: Really?

Chatter X: Yes.

WWW: Was Jesus Jones unavailable?

Chatter X: [Shitty band Chatter X loves] is huge, what are you talking about?

WWW: Huge? Hmm. Moderately. Besides, I just don't like them at all. Despite the presence of [Chatter X’s stalkee].

Chatter X: Well, you're stupid.

Chatter X: That's my only retort.

WWW: It's an old reliable one.


WWW: I like pool!

Chatter X: I know, I was quoting Jeff Winger. Oh, how I wish full frontal was allowed on NBC.

Chatter X: I'm very curious to [Trust me, you're better not knowing] what Joel McHale is packing.

WWW: I should interject here, in case this ever becomes a Chatter X post, that we are speaking about an episode of the delightful NBC comedy Community, starring Joel McHale as wisecracking ex-lawyer turned community college student Jeff Winger.

Chatter X: That's true. You know, I have this theory that they sort of named Joel's character after Bill Murray's in Stripes.

Chatter X: John Winger / Jeff Winger. They're both charming, wisecracking smartasses.

WWW: Hmm. Not Kip Winger?

Chatter X: Nah, not enough hair (chest and head) for that. And he never pirouettes.

Chatter X: It can't be Debra Winger, because Joel's voice isn't deep enough.

WWW: I think we've exhausted pop culture Wingers.