Thursday, July 30, 2009

Into the time warp with: THE MUTT HUT




I'll make this quick, because it's almost Saturday night and I've got stuff to do!

As you may know, I am absolutely fascinated by timeless places. The types of places that have been around for decades without remodeling or keeping pace with modern times. The MUTT HUT in San Leandro is just such a place. It has been selling hot dogs near East 14th St and Washington Blvd for decades without a single re-model, paint job or change to their business model. It is a funky little place with outside benches that has been slangin' dogs the same way forever.

Other places like this include Val's Burgers in Hayward, Fenton's Ice Creamery in Oakland and that old, brick McDonald's on Thornton Ave in Fremont.

Here's a toast to old-school places that refuse to go all Twitter with their way of doing business! May you find your own local time warp and reminisce about the days before texting, mp3s and mindless blog chatter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watchmen Exhibit @ SF Cartoon Art Museum

And now for some happier news in the land of O-dogg:


I got to see a WATCHMEN exhibit at the SF Cartoon Art Museum. It was SO sick! Not only was there original pencil sketches, thumbnails, pin ups and inks from artist Dave Gibbons ... there were TONS of movie props and full size costume exhibits. There were three mannequins sporting the official costumes of Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre.


The props were amazing: the heroes' weapons, framed newspapers, medals of honor, books, Kovac's "The End is Nigh" sign and the infamous Tijuana Bible featuring Sally Jupiter. There was cool concept art for the movie and posters/paintings that were featured or supposed to be featured in the open credits of the film. I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot, but man was it sweet. Glad I caught it in time before the exhibit leaves town.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Where are they now? Jake Lloyd - aka. young Anakin Skywalker from Episode 1



TEN YEARS LATER.

Poor kid. I do have some sympathy for him - the maturity-level of the script, dialogue and direction were not up to par in The Phantom Menace. Especially when you contrast Episode 1 with like, The Empire Strikes Back or Revenge of the Sith.

Anyway, I've been reflecting a lot on my life in 10-year increments and this seems to fit my nostalgic mood of late. Ten years ago I was fresh out of college, living in Texas for a short time as I tried to launch my TV News career as a sports reporter. In the summer of 1999, Star Wars Episode 1 mania was in full swing and I was full on into it, just like all of the other hardcore fans.

I feel like I finally grew into manhood that year I was in Texas. I was on my own for the first time, much like when young Anakin left his mom to become a Jedi, and I was struggling to figure out who I was going to be for the rest of my life. A decade later, after many Star-Wars-like adventures, I think I finally have it figured out! And yet, as I write this blog, I look down and I am wearing the very same Darth Maul t-shirt I bought way back in 1999, when Star Wars came back to theatres with a vengeance.

Some things never change ... wonder where I'll be in 2019 ... perhaps blogging about Star Wars and wearing a 20-year-old Darth Maul t-shirt?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Here I come again, Battlestar Galactica



I never thought I'd be interested in owning Battlestar Galactica on DVD. But now that they are offering the entire series on BluRay disc, with over 70 hours of extras and some unrated special episodes ... I am very tempted to revisit this saga.

The perfect quality of BluRay and widescreen viewing will be so huge compared to those first few seasons I watched on standard definition before SciFi broadcasted in HD. That alone would be worth it. It's a pretty safe bet I'll be diving in head first again.

BSG for frakkin' ever!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Get well, MCA - I hope the Beasties come back stronger than ever

Beastie Boy MCA (Adam Yauch) has cancer in or near his throat, forcing the b-boys to cancel their concerts and delaying the release of their newest album, The Hot Sauce Committee. I am bummed that I won't get to see them at the Outside Lands Music Festival in S.F. next month, but hey, it's not a matter of life and death. Much love to MCA and I hope he heals quickly.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LESSONS LEARNED: Want what you have, nothing more


It's funny how a few deep breaths can change your whole disposition and outlook on life. I recently decided to take some time to calm down and level-set after stressing out over some huge challenges I will face over the next 60-90 days.

I took my determined [child] out for a doughnut and chocolate milk. We sat there on the bench outside of the [grocery store] and just ... sat there. [The child] ate and enjoyed. I just ... enjoyed the perfect blue sky, warm weather and soft breeze. It was so rare an occasion ... I was doing nothing, and enjoying it.

I was relaxed and I harkened back to some recent lessons I'd learned in a book called "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra. I kept telling myself "I want nothing more than what I have right here, right now, in this moment." In those moments I didn't think about promotions, and money, mortgages and new cars. I simply was.

One of the many tenants in Chopra's book is about the prisons of suffering we all build for ourselves based on past experiences and belief systems that hold us in a virtual vice grip. The book recommends to simply take life as it comes and react moment to moment, rather than rely on pre-programmed responses and reactions. It's tough to do, believe me. Sustaining peace 24/7 is a state of grace only God can achieve ... not even our crusty friend Yoda can maintain a permanent level of serenity.

So, I was tested in my moment of temporary serenity. I went home and discovered that I'd left my wallet at the grocery store, probably on that bench. The first reaction was panic and self blame for allowing myself to get too relaxed and distracted.

Then I remembered Chopra's lesson about not allowing things to define us - things like i.d. devices and crutches like driver's licenses, corporate security badges, credit cards, cash and all other things found in a wallet.

I tried to calm down, but I've lost my wallet before and it sucks. I've lost my credit card like 4 or 5 times in the last 9 months and that has sucked too. Although I was racing to get back to that parking lot and that bench, I tried to slow myself down on the inside.

As if controlled by karma and good vibes from my calmness earlier in the day, a magical scene unfolded in front of me as if in slow motion: the store manager at the grocery store walked right at me, wallet in hand, and before I could finish my sentence about "did anyone turn in a ..." he handed me my wallet, smiled and kept walking.

99 times out of 100, that doesn't happen to me. Why did it happen this time? Me thinks it was the power of the mind and allowing life to come to me. 'Nuff said.

NO ONE SLEEPS WHEN I'M AWAKE


Our good friends, The Sounds, also performed this on Letterman. Metric is scheduled to appear on Letterman this Friday as well, as I think they taped their performance yesterday. Lookin' forward to it, true believers.

LYRICS

I've seen people losing all of their faith
before they knew what they were looking for
I swore I'd never ever do it again
till this day

Words are all I have to give to you
you never seem to see it my way
Standing in the shadows I hear
people say

I've got confessions to make
listen up
no one sleeps when I'm awake

The dreams I dream
the song I sing for you
they're coming from my heart
is my message getting through?
You know it hurts so bad
just like i knew that it would
but I'd do it again
do it again if I could
do it again if I could.

I don't think you know what it's like
you should be careful what you're wishing for
and try to set your ego aside
you will find
a false piece of mind
you fall behind
and everybody's getting tired of you
standing in the shadows i hear
people say

I've got confessions to make
listen up
no one sleeps when i'm awake

The dreams I dream
the song I sing for you
and they're coming from my heart
is my message getting through?
You know it hurts so bad
just like i knew that it would
but I'd do it again
do it again if I could

Hey heeey heeey
i want you to know (know know know...)
hey hey heeeeeeeeeeeeey heeeeeeey

Cause the dreams that i dream
and the songs that i sing
when I lost myself and a different meaning
Shot down and post, imagine although it's
hundreds of dreams
Taking place around you

It hurts so bad
just like I knew that it would
but I'd do it again, I'd do it again if i could.
but I'd do it again, I'd do it again if I could.

I'd do it again
I'd do it again
I'd do it again
I'd do it again if I could!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Beasties and [me]: S.F. Concert locked down

Oh yes, gots my tix for the Beastie Boys @ Golden Gate Park for the Outside Lands Music Festival at the tail end of summer. It is going to rock the bacon!

Last time I saw them was at the Oakland Coliseum Arena way back in like, 1999 or 2000. I can't wait to see my boys doing their thing live. Hopefully they will bust out everything from Licencse to Ill all the way up to their unreleased Hot Sauce Committee.

Two things are for sure, 1) this show will be anything but weak sauce and 2) my love affair with these three [religious ethnic group] rappers continues.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Metric: GIMME SYMPATHY



I can't believe this song, as well as 'Sick Muse' and 'Help I'm Alive,' all came off the same album. Enjoy:

Get hot, get too close to the flame
Wild, open space
Talk like an open book
Sign me up
Got no time to take a picture
I'll remember someday all the chances we took
We're so close to something better left unknown
We're so close to something better left unknown

I can feel it in my bones
Gimme sympathy
After all of this is gone
Who'd you rather be?
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Oh, seriously
You're gonna make mistakes, you're young
Come on, baby, play me a song
Like, "Here Comes the Sun"
Come on, baby, play me a song
Like, "Here Comes the Sun"


Don't go, stay with the all-unknown
Stay away from the hooks
All the chances we took
We're so close to something better left unknown
We're so close to something better left unknown

I can feel it in my bones
Gimme sympathy
After all of this is gone
Who'd you rather be?
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Oh, seriously
You're gonna make mistakes, you're young
Come on, baby, play me a song
Like, "Here Comes the Sun"

Gimme sympathy
After all of this is gone
Who'd you rather be?
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Oh, seriously
You're gonna make mistakes, you're young
Come on, baby, play me a song
Like, "Here Comes the Sun"
Come on, baby, play me a song
Like, "Here Comes the Sun"
Come on, baby, play me a song
Like, "Here Comes the Sun"
Come on, baby, play me a song
Like, "Here Comes the Sun"

Be My Lover ... or Beat My Lover?



Wow, this song is a lot more violent than I thought it was. Ouch:

This night calls for another man's death
Imagining things I'm a paranoid mess
Breaking down in a place like heaven
Got a call for a drinking lesson
Need some time to wake up
Time to clear your mind
Time before you erupt
Need someone before you screw up

Oh mother please let me know
I'm calling home from way up the road
I need my pride by my side
I need my pride by my side

I know you wanna to beat my lover
I know you wanna beat, beat my lover
you've nowhere to go
Now you're bleeding through every door

Symbolic gesture for a card in your hand
Shake it up with the cake in the sand
I want more money than a bank can hold
And all the things I've already sold
Need some time to wake up
Time to clear your mind
Time before you erupt
Need someone before you screw up

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Captain America says: Happy 4th of July

Does anyone care? Does anyone care that it's Al Davis' and George Steinbrenner's birthdays today - probably not? Will anyone actually eat hot dogs and apple pies today? Will anyone tip a 40 oz beer to the fallen soldiers in the Middle East? Does anyone agree that Obama needs to grow a pair and put Iran and North Korea in their places? Does anyone miss the America of generations past, where borders, language and culture were more clearly defined and embraced?

Does anyone need an excuse to drink a cold one today? If so, think about the price paid for the freedom to drink that cold one - the price paid by the founding fathers and by the vets of WWII and the Gulf Wars.

God bless, true believers ... wherever or whoever you are.

Here comes the sun ...


Metric keeps banging out the hits with "Gimme Sympathy."

Anyway, this Web site says it all, I LOVE METRIC.COM. Enjoy, true believer. Better yet, get out and buy the newest album, Fantasies, available in stores or at the aforementioned Web site, which offers exclusive bonus tracks, downloads and art. Killer.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Imperial Death Star sighted over streets of San Francisco

Death Star Over San Francisco

This ... is ... awesome. [Me] likes very much.

I ... give ... up ...

Snoop Dogg says it best (with a minor edit from [me]): Too much drama in the L-B-C, it's kinda hard being O-D-O-DOUBLE G!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Captain America: REBORN #1 is off-the-charts good

Wow. I am still reeling from the sit-in-my-car-and-read-a-comic-book-during-lunchtime exercise I just finished. Normally, I wait till I get home at night, or even a few days before I read new comics. Not today. Reborn #1 waits for no man, the O-dogg included.

Let's just say the last two-plus years of writer Ed Brubaker's boring, drawn-out conspiracy theory storylines on the flagship 'Captain America' title have finally paid off. I give credit to the story jumping off the pages of Reborn #1 to artist Brian Hitch, who draws the most beautiful, photo-realistic art you will ever find in a comic book.

I could go on and on, but I'll summarize my enthusiasm for Reborn #1 like this: the appeal of Captain America has always been that he is a man out of time. He's a WWII legend that gets frozen in time, frozen in ice, for decades, and awakens in modern times to a new world he doesn't understand and a cynical world that doesn't understand him and his 1940s values. The more recent incarnations of Captain America have him waking up around the year 2000 - after almost 60 years of inanimation. So, in the current storyline, Brubaker hatches a plot twist that is the literal inverse, the absolute mirror image of the classic man-out-of-time plot device. If you understand what that means, sorry to spoil it for you - if you don't, then do not Google the word "reciprocal."

Reborn is frakkin' brilliant and it finally has me intellectually aroused and ready to embrace anything that brings Cap back from the dead. I am so ready for a re-birth and life after two years of yearning. 'Nuff said.


Virtual [me] on Xbox Live


This is my avatar on Xbox Live. [Insert gamer tag here] sure is handsome, isn't he?

Well, I must say I like this virtual [me] better than the 'Mii' avatar I have on the Wii, which was deleted by my [relative] and re-created with less-than-desirable results.

Virtual [me] is on his way to the Super Bowl with the [favorite Oakland football team] in Madden 09; saved the galaxy in Halo 3; is fighting corporate oppression of the future in Perfect Dark Zero; kicking arse with a lightsaber in The Force Unleashed and crushing baddies with his shield as [favorite patriotic superhero] in Marvel Ultimate Alliance.

Wow, when I put it that way, my virtual life sounds soooooooooo exciting ...