Monday, October 27, 2008

I Met A Famous Person(s)

Finally, it has happened. I had a conversation with a famous person. In fact, he was lost and I was able to help him get back en route. So, who is this famous person? Erm...well...I'm not really sure. Let me explain.

I was leaving Starbucks when an middle-aged black man flags me down.

Unidentified Famous Person: "Excuse me, do you know this area?"
Me: "Well, I'm pretty new, but I know this area. What are you looking for?"
UFP: "I'm looking for Fair Oaks Ave (pulls out Blackberry with a Map on screen)
Me: "Ok, I know exactly where that is. Go to this light, take a left, hop on the 210 and it should be a few exits down."
UFP: "Thank you!"
Me: "No Problem."

UFP walks off, but before getting in his vehicle, turns toward me again and calls out, "Hey do you like football?"

I am a little caught off guard, and say, "Yea, I like it."

The man walks over to me again and holds out his right hand as if he wants some dap. I chuckle and begin to oblige, when I notice something glistening. The UFP wasn't offering dap at all, but rather showing me a piece of jewelry. On his right pinky was a huge right, with the words "Oakland Raiders...National Champions." It was surrounded by diamonds and probably cost more than my car. He asked me, "What does that say? What does it say?"
"Uh, national champions?"
"That's right!! Whooooo!"
He then walked off and got in his car as I just stood there like, "What just happened?"

Unfortunately, I did not get his name. But a quick Google search shows that the Raiders were the league champs in 1967, 1976, 1980, and 1983. I have a feeling this guy was on either the '80 or '83 team. He was also rocking a USC sweater vest. So, if there are any black men who went to USC and then won a championship with the Raiders in 1980 or 1983, they could possibly be my new friend.

Oh, and you know the fat kid with red hair from the sandlot and the big green? He came in Starbucks the other day. I called out his drink, "I got a Venti Vanilla Latte for a washup." No one laughed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lucky Boy Burritos

OK, so I would like to introduce you all to one of my favorite things about LA: Lucky Boy Burritos. It's a little place over in Pasadena where you walk up to the counter outside and give your order to a middle-aged man who rapidly completes the transaction and is already working on the next one before you can say "thanks" and get your change back in your pocket.

The most famous burrito there is the breakfast burrito. Packed with eggs, hash browns, cheese, and your choice of bacon, sausage, chorizo, or other meats, the breakfast burrito is a grease lover's dream.

These things are HUGE. For real, you can easily just eat half and save the other half for later. But in my own opinion, greasy food just tastes best when you finish everything on your place then lay down for an hour. Ahhhh....

The Lucky Boy Burrito is a symbol of unhealthy people giving it to the man: in this case, the man is a health-obsessed LA. It is somewhat of a haven for me, and I can't wait to take anyone who may come and visit there. You will not be disappointed.

I have attached some pictures below of the breakfast burrito. This is exactly one half of a full burrito. My index finger is there for scaling purposes only.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Face Kick

I cried today. I literally laughed so hard at my friend Nick Burns' pictures that my eyes got a little wet and I had to blink a lot and stare at the ceiling to make it go away.

These pictures are just so good, they must be shared with you. They are from his blog, which you can check out in the links to the right. I will post a little excerpt for you


One last thing. For the last few months we have been honing our skills at the ‘Action Shot.’ I think we have finally perfected the technique. I’d like to call this series “Face Kick: Paris”


Face Kick Under Eiffel Tower

Face Kick: Louve (notice guy in background, priceless)

Arc de Face Kick

Face Kick at Night

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Stage Outfit

I found the perfect stage outfit.

Check it out.

May the force be with you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Relativism, or the dangers of entitlement

Tonight I went to a demonstration of SONAR 8, which is the recording software I use. The latest version just came out and is really great. After the session, I was talking with some other guys about recording and the software, when one fella tells me that he is not going to buy version 8.

"See, the last one I bought was version 6. But I have version 7, but the mute buttons are all f***ed up. If you delete once section it deletes the whole clip. And they didn't even f***ing fix it in 8. F*** it, I'm not gonna buy that until they fix it."

So this guy illegally downloaded version 7, then claims he will not buy version 8 because the software bugs from version 7 have not been addressed in version 8. I thought to myself, "How incredible. This guy is pissed about something he stole not working correctly, then claiming he won't support the company because they didn't fix it. He wasn't even supporting them in the first place because he stole their flagship product."

I wish that I could say I am immune to software piracy. That would not be true. I downloaded a two-week trial of a drum program for a Nine PM album. The album went past two weeks, and I downloaded the full program to finish the album, which we actually never finished. And I downloaded Photoshop one time, but that was silly because I do not know how to use Photoshop. And then I let a friend install it. But she has a lisp because of her lip ring, so I feel bad for her.

Anyways, what I am saying is that this guy's ridiculous sense of entitlement to "a working program" that he stole and the relativistic view on the whole ordeal was provoking for me. And I am going to go through my computer and wipe out all of those programs so I can not be hypocritical blogger. And for those of you interested in recording, let this blow your mind:

SONAR V-Studio

Monday, October 13, 2008

Definitely Want To Check This Out

Hey friends, so I have some things I'm pretty excited about and wanted to share them with you.

First off, I am finally getting paid to produce! That's right, I met a cool guy and great singer songwriter up here, and we are going to be working on putting together some songs for him. I pretty excited about that, I will put up some samples when we actually start recording.

Next, I did a little bit of graphic designing on my page. I made that nice little header image you see at the top thanks to some inspiration from my graphic mentor, Nick Burns.

Finally, I am putting together a solo debut album. I have about 6 - 7 songs that I have been playing around with for a few months (and some even years) and I am going to use this opportunity of ample free time to finish writing them and record them. This is really exciting for me, and I am hoping to have the album done and ready to sale by the time I visit NC for Christmas. So those of you who would like a copy, go ahead and sell some of that stock and get yourself a few bucks.

I have put together a little video below with some clips of the music and recording process of the first tune, "Sympathy."

NOTE: YouTube audio quality is crap on this, and for some reason it summed it in mono. I promise better things await you on the CD version...

PS - I thought I would include a list of upcoming blog titles to perhaps whet your appetite for the coming weeks...

1) "Lucky Boy Burritos," or "Delicious Grease Bombs," or "How The South Invaded LA."

2) Jesus and Men Like Trees

3) Train Wrecks = Breasts

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Birth Certificates and other thoughts

Lots of stuff going on over here in Cali. Unfortunately is mostly in my head at this point, but when things start to take form I will update you. But for now, four things.

1) Birth Certificates are weird. What is their purpose..

"Hi, I'm here to apply for a job."
"OK, I need your Driver's license, your social, and your birth certificate."
"Oh, uh, okay. Here they are."
"Where is the certificate?"
"What do you mean, I'm confused..."
"Your birth certificate. How will I know you were born?"
"You know, the piece of paper saying you were born?"
"No no, I know. Yea, I know. It's just that, well, I mean that's dumb. Of course I was born. I'm right here."
"No, you see, I need the paper."
"Yea, but you don't need the paper. Here I am, born and everything."
"But your not really born yet."
"Whatever, this is dumb. I'm leaving."

NOTE: That was not born out of personal experience looking for a job...

2) Nural
I met a cool guy the other day "in a band." Half of LA is in a band, so it's not that impressive. Until I asked what band. His name is Charley and he plays guitar in Nural. And they are actually pretty freakin' good. He was telling me stores about playing Halo with the guys from UnderOath and Emory on the Warped Tour. Awesome

3) Re-re-re-Remix!!
I met Timbaland the other day. He asked me to remix the smash hit "Apologize." So I did, with a little help from my friend Tha Goose.

4) October 7

October 7 would have been Jason's 23rd birthday. (For those unfamiliar with Jason Ray, I invite you to read this). Anyhoo, I wanted to post another "good times" story with ol' Ray ray. So I will, and I have a special surprise at the end...get pumped.

The setting: The 118 Band Room
The situation: Last minute Nine PM practice before Ray Ray had to go.

Jason: Alright, one more song and I gotta roll.
Erik: Yea, me too
Nick: Let's go through "The Distance"
J: Ok, let's do it.

NARRATOR: "The Distance," a popular song by Cake, begins with vocals. A bassline soon follows, after which the drums and guitar come in. The vocal is as follows: "Reluctantly crouched at the starting line. Engines pumping and thumping in time...

J: Reluctantly crouched at the...

(Everyone stares at Chad, who just hit the snare drum early on purpose to be funny. Or a jerk. Depends on your perspective.)

J: *Clears throat* Reluctantly crouch...

*CRACK. 3 seconds of awkward silence*

J: You done?
Chad: Haha, yea. I'm done.

J: Reluctant...


J: Dammit Chad, I swear...
E: C'mon dude, stop being such a jackass!
N: *Shakes head in disapproval

C: Haha, ok, ok, I'm done. Promise
J: Rel...


J: THAT'S IT, I'M DONE!! *Yanks out mic cord and storms off*
E: Damn it Chad. *Rips out bass cable and walks out*
N: Hmm, yep. *Rips out guitar cable, turns out lights as he leaves*
C: *Laughing* Guys, c'mon. I'm sorry. I'm SORRY! I'm done, I promise. Yooo!

Yep, and that's that. And we always sucked at that song.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. I found a little sound byte of Ray talking. We had the digital tapes rolling while Jason was warming up one day, and we caught him "singing along" to My Ordinary, as well as some other strange vocal exercises. I made it into a video with some of my favorites pictures of Ray Ray.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Witty Title Here

So I'm really overwhelmed right now. I feel as if I am "not good enough" in every area of my life at the present moment. I have spent the past week going to different functions around the community and at church to try and meet people. It has gone well as far as meeting people, but meeting people does not equal making friends. Maybe down the road, but right now I am beginning to realize how incredibly lonely big cities can be.

I have also spent the week trying to get a job. I have applied to audio tech places, architect offices, entertainment groups, and coffee shops. I did get a job at Starbucks, which I am somewhat excited about, but it is a bit disappointing to be turned down in so many other places.

Along with the job hunt, I have been trying to figure out where to live and with whom. And how in the world I am going to pay for the first month's rent and a ridiculous security deposit.

I went to a concert this past weekend, and it was just painfully obvious how much work I have ahead of me to be even close to a professional performer. It takes a lot more than just jumping on a stage with your friends and playing for a room full of your friends. Professional groups are tight, they don't miss a beat. And they have great gear. I have a real nice guitar, but a subpar amp. I record stuff on a great laptop, but have a lil dinky mixer for my sound card and a wal-mart boombox for my speakers. Lately I have been around with people with really, really nice stuff. Amps that cost more than the resale value of The Lex. Dudes with two or three professional synth-keyboards. Sparkly blue DW kits with nice shiny Paiste cymbals. I just feel out of place with my lil' 50-watt modeling amp.

Perhaps I'm just overly sentimental tonight. I know that it's really not all that bad. I mean, adjustment time is to be expected when moving to a city where you know nobody, which was a choice I made. And there plenty of clowns out there with Marshall stacks that can barely play some Nirvana songs and a slowed-down version of the "Sweet Child O' Mine" intro guitar lick. And all my friends back home have been really encouraging and done well on keeping in touch with me, and I have met some cool people here as well that I probably will get close to. And I still have 4 1/2 books of Harry Potter bliss to discover. But for some reason I just felt a little down tonight about the current circumstances, and decided to blog it to the world. Normally I am against such seemingly meaningless and pity-party-ish things of this nature. And maybe tomorrow morning I will wake up, chide myself for posting this, and then delete it.

Oh, also today I played ultimate frisbee for about 2 1/2 hours. It was crazy. And it was all guys I didn't know so I couldn't slack like I normally do in anything athletic. Afterwards, I got a Subway sub and felt good about my healthy Sunday. Then I drank a whole 2 liter of Mountain Dew. Dumb.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Harry Potter


Over the course of the last few weeks, I have fallen in love with Harry Potter. It's just fantastic. I watched the first movie while packing up my things in NC, which was the first encounter I had with HP. I was hooked. I watched the second movie the next night, and watched the entire series within a few days of being in CA.

For those who don't know, there are 7 books. As of now, there are 5 movies, with the other three (they are splitting book 7 into 2 films) coming out over the next few years. However, I could not simply wait this long to see what happens to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Draco (ugh), Hagrid, etc.

So, I am in the process of going through the books. I read books 1 and 2, then skipped to 6. I had only begun 6 when I was chided for my impatience by a friend and have thus started book 3.

My heart aches to tell of this next part. I was searching the web the other day and ended up on a site with random / funny t-shirts. I found one that had lots of stuff written on it. One line said, "Tyler Durden isn't real." I quickly realized this shirt "gave away" the endings to lots of popular books/movies/etc. I recognized most of them and gave a little laugh, until my eyes read this:

"Snape kills Dumbledore."

Say it ain't so. Albus Dumbledore, the beloved and wise headmaster of Hogwarts School Of Wizardy, betrayed by the evil-yet-for-some-reason-I-believe-he-is-ok-in-the-end Professor of Potions Severin Snape. I was crushed. I told this to my host family, who are also HP fans. They tried to comfort me, but it was of no use. But all is not lost; I found out Dumbledore dies in book 6, so I will still have lots of surprise in 7.