Sunday, June 29, 2008

RAY BRADBURY AT ACRES OF BOOKS

video
Sorry about the camera angle. I never used that function before. Now I know.

Famed author Ray Bradbury is known for lots of things, namely his books, which include Farenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. Locally, people know Bradbury as a proponent of Long Beach's Acres of Books, a world class destination soon to be hit by the city's figurative and literal wrecking ball. Bradbury ain't no spring chicken, so he called the store (and the media) to make what could be his final appearance.





I'm lucky enough to be on the good side of Acres of Books and jumped when manager Raun Yankovic called me with the news. Yes, it took four days for me to post this, but that's the beauty of this blog thingy - I can update whenever I want.

Bradbury talked for about fifteen minutes in the store's music room, which doubles as the open mic lounge. It was hot outside and even hotter inside that cramped space during the middle of the day. He couldn't hear well, sat in a wheelchair and took his time. Most of the questions asked were of the amateur kind ("Why are bookstores important?" "Are you sad to see this place go?") and made me glad I wasn't covering this. Shit, now that I read this, I guess I was, which means my question of what he reads now is probably pretty lame too. Damn.




He talked about diplomas not meaning a damn, how stupid it is for the greater Los Angeles area to lack quality bookstores, how places like Borders and Barnes & Noble have a place if done properly, the meaning of the French medallion around his neck and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember. But it was good, in a press conference sort of way. Most of the reporters seemed like an editor sent them there and I was disappointed that fewer fans didn't show up, but it was Wednesday at 1 p.m. Score one for the unemployed!

As you can see by my pictures, there were a lot of photographers. Most pissed me off. I mean, get your shot and get the fuck out of my way, but don't push two inches in front of me and stand there for a few minutes and expect me to move. We're in the business together, but come on people, show a little respect. I mean, look at my pictures below. They're just as good as anything the so-called pros produced from this event.

FREE11


Of course this is the only song to hit Youtube so far.


Scored some freebies to see 311 last night. No, you didn't read that wrong -- I went to a 311 show. Why would someone with such fine musical taste torture myself in these sorts of unnecessary ways you ask? Maybe because Snoop Dogg, the S-N-DOUBLEO-P opened up, that's why.

Smooth drive from Long Beach to Irvine. No traffic. Good sign. Roll into the parking lot and hitch a right for the cheap parking, which turned out to be FREE! Girlfriend then announces this show is called FREE11, hence the headline.

Roll through the largest sea of bros and their accompanying chicks I've ever seen. We ain't in Kansas or Long Beach. We sat in the car and smoked a bowl. I mean, it's Snoop, you know we're getting fucked up. Roll down the window and it reaks of puke. Look down. The open spot next to mine? Full of vomit. Roll the window back up.

Cops, bros and Orange County girls everywhere. Yes, some were incredibly gorgeous, but I can't deal with all that fake shit.

Eavesdropped on some converastion while waiting for my tickets. "Dude, I drank like eight beers earlier." No you didn't. No drank three. If you drank eight, you'd smell like it and be way more fucked up than your 22 year old ass is. Fucking bros, always streching the truth to make a party sound better than it is. Look bro, you're a lightweight. Deal with it.

Security feels me up and asks "That's just keys, wallet and a chain, right?" Sure, whatever you say. I mean, what if it wasn't? It sure woulda been easy to get a weapon in there.

Snoop starts as we make that long trek from the entrance, down through the ravine, past the vendors and into the arena. Oh snap! We got fourteenth row seats! Snoop literally is upside my head. And he's got a full band. That's right -- drummer, bassist, guitarist, percussionist, dj, and a guy who played keyboards and sax, not to mention tha Dogg Pound (Daz and Kurupt) and Soopafly. Pretty dope setup.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I wanted to see Snoop at Irvine Meadows (I refuse to call this place whatever company sponsors it now. Cell phones have nothing to do with live music. At least they shouldn't.) so I could spark a doobie while he was playing. I've probably inhaled a few pounds while bumping his shit. I've seen him twice before, but a third was needed.

Dressed in a long white shirt and baggy black warm-up pants, Snoop was on fire. It took me second to see it, but above his stage was a massive prop pot leaf. Nice. I figured he'd play a decent mix of old and new and he did. Personally, I know all his recent singles and don't mind them as much as I should (but that's cuz I'm a fanboy), but Doggystyle shit got everybody moving. Gf pulled the joint from her bra during I Love You Mary Jane and we puffed the hell out of that thing. It's nice to know in the heart of the lamest place in the world to see a show (Orange County, not the venue itself), a guy and his lady can still blaze some chronic outdoors to some Snoop Dogg.

Good and fucked up, I bounced, threw my hands in the air, waved them from side to side and yelled out all the backups (SIX IN THA MORNIN'!!!!!). Sometimes I get paid to be a critic, but this evening I found nothing wrong with tha Doggfather.

I thought I heard tha Shiznit while we were walking in. Oh well. He did his verses from "Deep Cover," "G Thang" (in which he said "Death Row is still the label that pays me" -- I haven't heard him say "Death Row" in that part for a long time)and "Bitch Please," along with a fully rocking version of "Pump Pump" that was the highlight of the show. He did "La Di Da Di," "What's My Name" and "Gin and Juice," along with that R. Kelly song, that Akon song, "Drop It Like It's Hot," "Sexual Eruption" and a few more newbies.

At some point I looked at the crowd in front of me and noticed how many people were recording the show. Welcome to live music circa 2008, huh? I'll try to find a link and post it here. I wanted to bring a camera, but forgot.

Highlights -- bringing out Warren G (dressed in khaki shorts for the cool Cali night) for his verse on "Ain't No Fun" and Everlast coming out to do "My Medicine" and OH SNAP! "Jump Around." That was pretty cool, even if I felt like I was at the biggest frat party of all time for those three minutes.

Snoop asked people to blaze the weed for "My Medicine" and shit, that's why we came, so we did. There was a dude three rows in front with a pipe. How do you get a pipe into a show?

I wish he woulda done "Gzas and Hustlas" as I think that's the dopest song of all time (seriously), but overall I had a great time, which I hardly ever say about seeing live shows these days. If it's a weed-friendly venue, go see Snoop. I'm hoping his own show (ie, not opening for 311) would mean a few more old songs and a longer set, but I guess that means I'll have to go see him to find out.

Last song and we split. Finally we see the black people. They're the ones leaving too. I told the gf: "See these people walking out? These are the cool people, the ones we want to be associated with." She agreed. Although we were the two palest people in the room, I think we fit in better with the 40 black people than the 40,000bro dudes.

Best part? We were in the car by 9:45 and there was no traffic on the way home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SOME ADVICE FOR THE WNBA

UPDATE: SHE DID IT AGAIN -- THIS TIME EVEN LESS CLEAN






As most of you probably know, oh wait, who am I kidding? Nobody follows the WNBA.

Ok, so the Los Angeles team is called the Sparks. They have this rookie named Candace Parker. From the little I've seen and what I've heard, she's pretty good. A few days ago she dunked in a game, which is only the second time that's happened in league history. The first was also by a Sparks player named Lisa Leslie.

This made national news, but really, who cares? It's not like it was that clean of a dunk and she just went straight up.

The WNBA has been showing these commercials with some of their "star" players where they say things like "girls can't play," "nothing exciting ever happens," "you couldn't pay me to watch," etc. The campaign is called "Expect Great Things" and wants people to view the league in a positive light. Well, anyone who knows me knows I'm no sexist, but let's face reality. The WNBA blows.

I love basketball and I love women even more, but the combination doesn't work. Why, you ask? Well, the problem is simple. They are playing a men's game. What the WNBA fails to realize is their version needs to be adapted to fit their players. For example, the league uses a smaller ball than the NBA. Makes sense, right? So why not apply that logic to more than just one aspect of the game.

For starters, you want to see more dunks? Lower the freakin' basket a foot. Men play on 10-foot rims, but there's no reason why the women should have to. Make the court smaller. Bring in the three-point and free-throw lines a foot or two. Do something. Anything.

Collegiate teams don't play the NBA rules. Why? Because their governing body knows two important things: 1. The players have different bodies than those in the NBA. Forcing them to play the same style creates for a worse game. 2. The NBA is the pinnacle of American basketball. Any other league that attempts to mirror the NBA will be viewed as lesser in comparison. Make your game different and people will watch.

Congrats Candace Parker. The closest I ever got was dunking a softball the summer between eighth and ninth grades. I doubt I can touch the rim anymore. But that's because I'm not a pro. The rules are different for people who aren't.

Monday, June 23, 2008

WHEN YOU'VE GOT FOUR, WHAT'S ONE MORE?

This homeless cat's been coming around for about a month. I noticed he was dirty and real skinny, so I started putting out some food and water. He's been real sneaky, coming up for food but running whenever I tried to get close. It's been my mission to touch this cat. I mean, I am feeding the damn thing after all.

Lately he's been warming up to me, hasn't given me what I wanted. Until an hour ago. I opened the door with a fresh plate of food and some ice cold water. He rushed me, but right when I thought I could pet him, he put his butt in my face. Not one to be had, I leaned over and touched him. He got scared and ran like he always does.

But it was a start.

I sat three feet away from where I dropped his dinner and watched him eat. After he was done, he started pacing in front of me. I knew I had him. Sitting on my porch, I leaned over and stuck out my fingers. AND HE CAME!!!!!!!!

I know enough about cats to know to start slow. I rubbed his butt for a few minutes, then moved to his head. He started purring like crazy and was loving it. I got up to go into the backyard and he followed me there and back to the porch. I stayed outside for twenty minutes playing with him. He's dirty as hell, but I made sure to get my hands way into his fur. Poor guy probably hasn't got much love in his life and I'm going to make sure he gets some.

I'd love to adopt him, but one of my cats hisses and bites and scratches me whenever he comes around. Is it wrong to want to build him a home in the backyard and keep him there?

I've been calling him Ghet, short for ghetto, ya know, cuz he's a homeless cat and all. It's probably not nice to call a person that, but he's a cat. He don't know.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

GO SEE THIS BAND AT THE PROSPECTOR

You don't call. You don't write. You don't leave comments. And you certainly don't email. Except someone from Texas whose been writing me about a band from Austin playing at the Prospector on June 24, which is in two days.

He's been contacting me and I've been flaking (sorry dude). But he sent me this link and I thought I'd pass it along in case anyone in Long Beach or SoCal is interested. I was just at the Prospector getting all kinds of drunk on Friday and it still rules there, so go. They're called the Boxing Lesson. I like boxing. And I like Texas, particularly Austin.

http://billboardpublicitywire.com/releases/theboxinglesson/darksideofthemoog/prweb1035684.htm

Saturday, June 21, 2008

TRADER JOE'S EGGPLANT WRAP

http://thedistrictweekly.com/print/food-drink/the-sides/sides-20/

DANCING MACHINE

Yes, bad German discos exist. Here's proof.

PS Don't get off a 14-hour flight and start drinking strong German beer. Unless you want to make a fool of yourself.
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PICS GALORE

I can now add photojournalist to my resume as I added a ton of pictures from my European vacation. Go back to the January and February posts and peep them.

SUMM SUMM SUMMERTIME

It's too damn hot to get anything done. I'm not convinced that humans have anything to do with global warming (they might, I'm just not convinced of that yet), but I believe it's happening. No way was it this hot when I was a kid.

It's 12:42 on a Saturday afternoon. I'm sweating inside my freakin' apartment. Too hot for coffee (although I am on my second cup). The windows are open, but it's no use. The heat was me beat.

The cats aren't much happier. They are staying low to the ground and wishing for the day all their fur falls out. I don't blame them.

Ah, but the night is a different story. The best feeling in the world is taking a walk during a warm Southern California evening. Starting at around 6 p.m., the weather is absolutely perfect. I say I'm not all that into the sun and fun of SoCal, but I'm wrong. I don't like heat. 6 p.m. and everything is fine on into the night.

Played a round of golf at 6 and damn that felt good. I needed it. Long stressful day of looking for more writing gigs. That part of my life sucks. But there's nothing a round of golf can't cure. Flip flops, wifebeater, cold beers, no one on the green. That's living.

Went drinking with a bunch of people last night. I put on some shoes and socks thinking I'd be the only jackass without them. I was wrong. I was the only jackass with them. Sometimes it's nice to leave fashion at home and just go out comfortably. Cut-off Dickies, wifebeater, see-through cotton shirt (it's see-through because I've had it for years, worn it a million times but won't throw it away because it feels too good).

Sang some karaoke. Hadn't done that in a while. Bust A Move and the world premiere of MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This. It's amazing how a person's memory can revert back to the fifth grade after a few drinks in them. Yes, there were a few sloppy parts, but I'm going to nail that one sooner than later. Assuming I get the karaoke bug again, which probably won't happen. I used to be a ham, now I'm whatever the opposite of a ham is. I'd rather watch than participate.

I can't judge my performance, but I can say it must have been good because some old dude bought me a beer. A few minutes later, the bartender left the bar to come track me down. She told me I was good and offered to buy me a beer, which I later cashed in. Are there professional karaoke singers? If so, maybe that's something I should look in to.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

THE FUTURE BEST SELLER

Writing a book is hard.

That's all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

LAKERS SEASON RIP

Well, that didn't go well for the Lakers. But hey, losing is an easier pill to swallow when you know it's coming...

There's always next year.

I am happy that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (Inglewood always up to no good) got rings, but that doesn't change the fact that I hate the Boston Celtics.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.

24 points. Usually that's enough to secure a game, even in the first half.

There goes the Lakers chances this season.

Goddamn I hate the Boston Celtics.

BUNGALOW MARCASSO

This place is around the corner from where I live. I like to walk over there and pretend I can afford some of the stuff they sell.

http://thedistrictweekly.com/print/commerce/dept-of-commerce/true-grit/

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WOW

I'm a diefrickinhard Lakers fan, but things are not looking good. Yes, they won last night, but it wasn't pretty. You think Garnett and Pierce are going to play that poorly again? No. Sure, Odom and Gasol decided to take the night off too, so maybe they can help get game four. But I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

UH OH

I told you. I fucking told you.

The goddamn Boston Celtics are ruining my life and the lives of millions of other Lakers fans. If LA doesn't win tonight, ah fuck it, I'm not even going to finish that thought.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

FANCY EATIN' AND TOUGH-GUY DRESSIN'

http://thedistrictweekly.com/print/food-drink/the-sides/sides-16/

http://thedistrictweekly.com/print/commerce/dept-of-commerce/take-a-little-trip/

Monday, June 2, 2008

BO KNOWS DYING


Ok, I know, the title is really rude and stupid. But I couldn't help myself.

Bo Diddley died today. He was 79. That's a bummer, but at least he lived a long life. I saw him at the Orange County Fair about ten years ago and it was a great show. He sat down for most of it, but it didn't matter. Not too many people, which was lame, but Diddley rock nonetheless.

So Bo, if there is an afterlife, I'll be seeing you again. If not, thanks for the great tunes.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

WITH THE GOOD COMES THE BAD


An incredibly busy week (one that isn't over) has prevented me from posting much. I could go into detail about my overload of work, but that's boring. Let's get to the real shit.

THE LAKERS ARE IN THE FINALS!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so over Kobe Bryant at the beginning of the season and thought he should have been traded. Call me crazy, but there's something about hearing guys my age who make millions upon millions of dollars for playing basketball complain that drives me a little crazy nuts. Hey Kobe, let's switch places for a month. You can have my dilapidated apartment and watch as the hundred-dollar checks coming rollin' in and I'll bang your smoking hot wife in your mansion while ordering five star meals three times a day. Ok, so maybe I'm a bit jealous...

But alas, KB24 wasn't traded and I can continue to root for him. Until he cries again. I don't think Lakers fans will ever see the day Kobe's not a whiny little bitch.

So yeah, I'm happy. Way happy. But nothing lasts forever.

The Lakers are playing the Boston Celtics. I hate the goddamn fucking Boston Celtics. In fact, I don't really hate anything in this world except for the Boston fucking Celtics. Didja hear that team chanting "Beat LA" after they eliminated Detroit? Ugh. It pisses me off.

Why?

Because the Lakers are my team and for the duration of my 28 years, they've been the dominant franchise in the NBA. But history is not on our side. The Lakers have defeated Boston twice. The Celtics have defeated the Lakers eight times.

Of all the teams to meet, we had to get the goddamn motherfucking Celtics. I want to believe my Lakers can beat that three-man team, but I'm not so sure. There is nothing, I mean nothing, worse than the thought of the Lakers getting all the way to Finals only to lose to Boston. None of us can predict the future, but if the Lakers are going to lose, they should have done us all a favor and lost to San Antonio. That I can take. Boston? That's another story.

I'm getting anger goosebumps just typing this. Fuck you Boston. I was in your city once for all of three hours. Most of it was at a train station. It was January and fucking freezing. Your architecture looked neat and the few people I spoke to were nice, but your team can go fuck itself.

Please, oh please...let's not lose to the Boston Celtics.