Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Just dial "hell," and I'll answer.


engage

Alright, here's the deal. Normally when I post something, there's a specific topic/story that I'm going to talk about, but this time it's different. I don't have anything definite to cover. However, I will tell you why "Elizabethtown" is the movie of the week.

Since my life revolves around music and movies (which is basically the predominant art form of today), I try to spend as much time listening and watching them (respectively) as I can. Hence, anytime no one is near me, regardless of what I'm doing, I'll make sure music is playing. Sometimes I'll just sit around and listen to music as well. That's how much I like it.

Because the existence of movies is the second reason why I am alive, I try to see every new movie that comes out that looks remotely good. I won't go and see things like "Wedding Crashers" or "Stealth" in a theater, but since I try to see a lot of movies, I get to see a lot of previews. I make lists afterwards of movies I'm going to see when they finally hit theaters, and I'll go to them, whether or not someone will come with me.

Since I usually can't procure a date for these things (plus anyone who would go to a movie with me anyway would probably be really disinterested in actually discussing it afterward) I usually go alone. In fact, I have a weekly thing I do. Every Sunday night, I'll go to the latest possible showing of the movie that I've chosen that week, then hit up the pool hall and see how many racks I can shoot in an hour. It's a great way to end your weekend, and it's really relaxing for me to be alone yet still be out and about. I like it.

This week's choice was "Elizabethtown." I knew I probably wasn't going to like it too much, but the previews made it look just a bit too charming to pass up. I like Orlando Bloom, and Kirsten Dunst (although her teeth are way too crooked for anyone to truly enjoy) has something going for her that I can't quite put my finger on. Judy Greer, although she's only been in movies that I am ashamed to admit that I've seen, kind of makes me want to sacrifice my firstborn son (provided I ever have one) just to spend a week with her in some beautiful European city.

Although I left the movie feeling quite good about the state of things in the world, it was entirely too melodramatic. Coming from the King Bee, that really means something, as I am the incarnation of melodrama. I freak out at the drop of a hat, it's totally the end of the world if I can't get my hair styled just right in the morning, and the slightest gust of wind will make me prostrate myself and desperately beg whatever god might be listening to off me right then and there.

Plus, Orlando Bloom was totally not true to his form. He delivered some lines more dryly than even the Mojave Desert would care for. In fact, I think I actually gagged at some points. His delivery was so off that his fusebox must have blown from the first day of filming. I feel as though the blame should rest on the shoulders of "director" (and I use the term loosely) Cameron Crowe, but come on. This is just ridiculous.

So, do I suggest you see it? No. Did I even like it? Not really. It's probably a 6 on a scale of 10. Why is it the movie of the week? Because it was the "Sunday Night Lonely King Bee Extravaganza" movie. No more, no less.

"Domino" is probably going to come next. So when we all realize how much worse that movie is than getting naked, rolling around in a pile of broken glass, then taking a dip in a nearby swimming pool filled entirely with lemonade, we won't claim I have terrible taste in movies. We'll all just claim that I waste my money on them.

In other news, the new Depeche Mode record, "Playing The Angel," came out yesterday. I strongly suggest you all buy it.

Finally, in the place of the "song of the week," I've placed a link to my "last.fm" profile. You can find out what you should be listening to by seeing what I listen to. It's that simple, really. After this week is over, I think I can safely say that Autolux should be number one on the list. Basically: LISTEN TO AUTOLUX. That is all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Tale of Two Concerts


swiss cheese for the robots

I've been to a couple concerts over the last week, and I must say that they are amazing. Since the original intent of this "blog" (which sounds like a dirty sex act, or my mind is just constantly "in the gutter," which is another phrase that sounds like a sex act) was to let everyone else know that their tastes in music suck, I thought I'd let you all know how awesome the concerts were that you missed.

Last week Tuesday, I skipped town to go see Autolux and Nine Inch Nails in St. Paul. (Some band played in between Nine Inch Nails and Autolux, but I can't remember who they are because they suck.) I can't remember the Autolux set list, but that's okay, and you'll find out why if you keep reading.

When I got there, it was still about 2 hours before the doors opened, so I decided to go to a bar and drink a few beers. The instant I walk in, I am greeted by 4 fans of "The Nine Inch Nails," as they said. I got liquored up with them, had a gay guy try to get me to give him his phone number, and decided to stumble over to the show.

Autolux kicked ass, but everyone didn't know who they were and basically were disinterested by them. You definitely need to be introduced to their recordings before you hear them live, since they are basically one of the noisiest bands in the history of bands.

I ignored the band in the middle and used that time to drink more alcohol on an empty stomach than anyone should be allowed to drink. If you're really wondering who this mystery middle band was, I'm pretty sure that their lead singer is Craig Kilbourn, so go look that up if you're really into finding things out.

Nine Inch Nails was very, very good. The whole show was on target, which is really surprising because the drummer who is with them now had been with them for less than a week at the time I had seen them. I was in the seats, but ran down to get my ass kicked in the middle of a bunch of people once "March of the Pigs" started up. It ruled. I was sweaty, drunk, and beaten down. Then I had to drive to my brother's apartment to die.

Here's the set list from the Nine Inch Nails show:

Pinion
Love Is Not Enough
You Know What You Are?
Terrible Lie
The Line Begins To Blur
March of the Pigs
The Frail
The Wretched
Closer
Burn
Gave up
Eraser
Right Where It Belongs
Beside You In Time
Wish
Sin
Only
Reptile
Suck
Hurt
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole


It was quite extensive, quite surprising, and quite amazing. If you know anything about anything, you'll see that the nice surprises are the inclusion of "Burn" and "Reptile." If you know something about one thing, you'll find it a little strange that there is really only one song off of the two-disc masterpiece that is The Fragile. All in all, it was worth the total 6 hours of driving and 60 dollars I had to shell out. If you weren't there, you're a failure.

Now, just two days ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Autolux headline a show. They played at a place called the M-Shop, which is pretty much the smallest place I've ever seen a band play, and definitely the smallest place any band has ever played after opening for someone as big as Nine Inch Nails.

Autolux's set list went like this:

23 Watt Apple Juice
Capital Kind of Strain
Plantlife
Robots in the Garden
Here Comes Everybody
Blanket
Sugarless
Sub-Zero Fun
Turnstile Blues
Reappearing


Again, if you know anything about anything, you'll know that "Turnstile Blues" and "Sugarless" are two of the best pop songs ever penned by anyone in the history of songs that have been penned. If you'd like to find out more about Autolux, you can go here.

I wish I could have talked to the band a little more after the show, but I have found out that they played "23 Watt Apple Juice" at the request of a couple of fans who had seen them the night previous. I was pretty upset about that; I would have suggested that they play "Future Perfect," but eh. I also found out that they are only going to play all ages shows from now on, which means that they are never going to be at the M-Shop again. That is quite a downer.

I know this entry wasn't funny like my other ones, but that's because you don't have a sense of humor.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Showdown at the OK Corral


howard would be proud

I know it's been a while, but that's because I'm lame and can't figure out how to write on a regular basis. However I've accumulated a couple of stories to tell, and I'll bless all my disciples with one of them right now.

Last Sunday night, I decided to head to my office so that I could work on some projects [read: classes] that I have going on right now. It was about 7pm, and I was in a fairly industrious mood, so I thought I could get a lot of crap [read: shit] done in the time I had left before I would retire [read: go to sleep].

There is a parking lot near the building in which my office is, but it's usually full on Sunday evenings because of some strange Jesus thing (freshman get together in the math building and play loud music to praise a carpenter who lived 2000 years ago). So, it was no surprise that there were no spots, and the pickup truck in front of me realized the same thing. We both decided to exit this lot, him turning left, me turning right. He had this strange "Sheriff of Nowheresville County" bumper sticker on the back of the truck, but I didn't think anything of it.

As he's deciding when he wants to turn left, I'm looking out for crossing traffic as well, so that I can find the optimal moment to exit. As soon as he sees no one coming for about 7 miles in either direction, he decides to pull out, so I turn my head and look for pedestrians. (The exit crosses a sidewalk, so you really have to keep your eyes out for pedstrians.)

I assume that he has gone, so I start to move forward as well, without turning my head forward yet. Well, as it turns out, he decided to stop in the middle of the road for some unknown reason, and by this time, I'm too close to him to stop. I slam on the brakes, but I also slam right into him. It was horrendous.

The only other accident I've been in in my life happened the same way, so I was naturally pretty upset, and I was going to chew the guy out for stopping in the middle of the road. That is, until he got out of his car.

He was wearing a police officer's uniform. That's right, he really was the sheriff of Nowheresville County.

He tells me to pull over to the side of the road so we can assess the damage. We both get out of our cars, and he pulls out his flashlight, holding it total cop style. He also unbuttons the clasp on his holster as well, so I'm a bit nervous. Here's how the conversation went:

Him: Well, what happened here?
Me: Yeah, I'm sorry about that. I totally thought you went, so I turned my head to look for pedestrians, and by the time I turned around, you had stopped in the middle of the road.
Him: Yeah, that's because my flashlight rolled off my lap down by the pedals, so I stopped to pick it up before I drove any further.
Me: Okay... [I take a deep drag off of my cigarette at this point. He buttons the clasp on the holster again. I sigh in relief.]
Him: Well, let's assess the damage.


We see that I've only scratched the bumper of his massive gas-guzzling affront to Mother Nature. However, my tank of a 1991 Buick Century stood no chance against such a behemoth. The front driver side headlight is smashed up. [Note to the reader: I had to drive to Minneapolis two days later. I absolutely needed a driveable vehicle.]

Him: I'd hate to bother some hard-working buddies of mine just to report this. If you're willing to just take the damage on the chin, we can just forget it.
Me: Is that legal?
Him: So long as I have your word that you're not going to say that I fled the scene of the accident or anything like that, yeah.
Me: Alright. You have it.


I know, I should have done something. This cop didn't want to admit that he was fucking around with his flashlight, and didn't want to get in trouble for that. However, it's my word against "The State," and not even the King Bee has a chance against that.

I drove to Car-X at 8am the next day to get my blinker fixed, since it didn't work anymore. I paid 16 dollars for a new lightbulb. Amazing.

More stories in the coming days, promise.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Smoke and mirrors - the aftermath; or "Let me break it down for you."


he's in favor of sin taxes

Once again, I have underestimated my ability to push people's buttons.

My editorial ended up getting published in the ISU paper. I got a couple of comments from professors here, who were able to see the contradiction between the two "reasons" given in the paper.

Two creatures at this university were having a hard time with logic.

One of these creatures, "Drew Miller," had this to say:

This guy is getting a degree in mathematics? Let me break it down for you.

He then proceeds to give me all sorts of statistics, only solidifying the truth that he totally missed the point. Furthermore, I already have a degree in mathematics, you failure. Learn how to exist.

The other creature, one "Randy Gebhardt," has taken it upon himself to crowd my email inbox with his tripe. He is a GSB member, and he didn't seem to be a fan of the fact that I was showing him how much he and his popularity contest winners fail at logic. Here are some awesome quotes from the emails he's sent me today. (By "awesome quotes," I clearly mean "terrible affronts to rational thought.")

Because you're a math major, I'll try to give you this in numbers.

Way to fail, Randy. I'm not a "math major." I have a degree already. Also, mathematicians rarely use numbers. You must be thinking about engineers.

And, I wasn't assuming that mathmeticians sit and crunch numbers all the time. I'm also an engineer, one forced to crunch numbers for all my classes.

Oh. Well, I'm not "also an engineer." What the hell?

This is our logic behind passing the resolution. Iowa has not raised the cigarette tax since 1991 and is currently ranked 42nd in the U.S.

So, the reason why you want to up the tax is because you haven't done it in 14 years? I haven't shit my pants in probably about 14 years, I guess I'm due.

I would encourage you to talk to one of your senators about what actually happened at the meeting before writing a commentary in the daily.

That's probably because you don't want to look like a complete failure in front of the entire student body. Sorry.

My only problem is that you are making assumptions about all of GSB based on a poorly written article in the daily.

I may be making assumptions about all of GSB based on a poorly written article in the daily, but thanks to GSB, now the Iowa Board of Regents will make assumptions about all of the ISU student body based on the 30 people who voted on this resolution last week. The latter is a bit more dangerous, methinks.

Some senators were more concerned about money but many were also mainly concerned for health.

Then let me break it down for you, Randy. Here is the reason what you should have said about your tax on cigarettes:

We are increasing the tax so as to reduce the amount of smokers somewhat, but to keep enough to increase the amount of revenue generated by this addictive habit. Therefore, we are going to allow a select group who can still afford to smoke to continue to slowly kill themselves, in the interest of generating revenue for the state.

Just admit it, you'll feel better. I promise. Cross my heart. Seriously.

Finally:

It does seem like you can't make money off of cigarettes if you keep increasing taxes when you look at it with just the variable of the tax.

Me fail English? That's unpossible!

Listen up, GSB: if you wanted to send your dogs after the mighty King Bee, you shouldn't have chosen this horrid excuse for a logician to battle wits with the unsurmountable force that is me and my invective. Is this the best you got?

Bring it on.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Smoke and mirrors


nissan _shift

It's no secret that the King Bee smokes. (Well, I guess it might be a secret to those of you [like 1 per eon perhaps] who have read this blog without actually seeing me in real life. But even in that case, I've written about smoking before, so if you still didn't know, you're completely daft.) Naturally, you can probably understand how I felt when I saw that there may be yet another sin tax imposed on this, my most favorite of pasttimes.

This isn't really what makes me so upset. Until smokers really feel like quitting, they are not going to. You could make every cigarette cost 10 dollars, and have it only legal to smoke them between 3am and 3:25am on the fifth Sunday of every month (if/when it occurs) on an ancient Indian burial ground. I would still be there, huddled around other fearful smokers as we braved the spirits that no doubt haunt said places.

What makes me so upset is the logic (or lack thereof) involved with these taxes.

So, when I saw that the Government of the Student Body at ISU voted to increase the tax (as a statement to the board of Regents that everyone at ISU is in favor of such a tax) I flipped out. Again, not because my sin sticks would cost more, but because of the logic involved. You can (and probably should if you want to understand the rest of this entry) read the article here.

If you read that, you'll find something terribly disturbing. So, I decided that the time had come for me to write an editorial and email it to the paper. Here's what the editorial said:

In response to another attempt to take care of those who are believed not to be able to take care of themselves, GSB has decided to let the Iowa Board of Regents know that raising the price of a pack of cigarettes $1 is a motion supported by the ISU student body. Naturally, this is just the next step in the war on tobacco, a war waged only because the war on (illegal) drugs was too hard to fight. However, this isn't exactly what I have a problem with; I have a different question entirely.

I'm really quite curious to know when exactly it was that GSB decided that logic is not to be allowed in the room when a debate is taking place.

On one hand, GSB believes that if cigarettes cost more, less people may pick up the expensive habit, and some smokers may even quit. Sounds great, considering we're all so aware of the health risks involved with smoking.

On the other hand, we find that that this resolution was passed for financial reasons as well. The tax increase is supposed to generate revenue, something everyone loves.

The contradiction here between these two "reasons" is so glaring that I have not seen intellectual curtains as thick as the ones GSB must have on the windows in their war room that block out the warm rays of logic and reason. Heaven forfend that one would be forced to actually have a logical reason to tax cigarettes.

You can't really generate revenue if people stop smoking, and you can't stop people from smoking if you plan on generating more revenue. We all understand that you're trying to "fight the good fight" and all that jazz, but please, think before you decide to tell a newspaper what your reasons are for endorsing a tax hike as large as this.

King Bee
Graduate Student
Mathematics


Actually, that's not exactly what it said, because I left out a verb (gasp) in that final clause in that final sentence, a mistake that puts me on par with the disgusting mildew that builds up on shower curtains. I fixed it here; if this thing actually gets published, we can see if they left it out as well, convincing me that the editors there are terrible human beings. I'll write a follow-up post should such a thing occur.

I'm still trying to figure out this "last.fm" shit, the thing that's going to be able to tell you what songs to be listening to. I'll keep you posted on that.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I think knowing who Khanate and Birdflesh are will make me better and cooler than everyone else.


respect; walk

All work and no play makes King a dull Bee. Hence, I decided to return for a jaunt into the netherworld known as the intarweb, and make fun of this terrible chump who claims to be a music snob.

In the terrible ISU paper a couple days ago, there was an article called "Confessions of a Music Elitist." Naturally, as you can expect, I had an instant affinity with the individual who had written this article. However, my dreams of finally having found my life partner were dashed when I found out that this guy isn't a music elitist (like me), he's an obscurist (like an idiot). I was crushed.

(It's kind of funny that I'm writing about this, because the rastafarian guys who live in my apartment complex just started grilling, and they just turned up some Bob Marley really loud. I digress.)

Early on in the article, he mentions things about High Fidelity, so instantly you think he's hip. You'd be wrong, since we find out soon afterwards that not only does he like to drink Miller Lite, he doesn't know the difference between good bands and horrid ones. He states:

I also have Radiohead, Led Zeppelin...in my collection.

He thinks that just because a band is popular, he must be uncool for liking them. This is the first sign of true failure, as anyone who has seen High Fidelity would know that Rob Gordon listens to pop, not "Czechoslovakian (sic) grindcore bands."

His failure is compounded in the ellipsis above. I inserted the ellipsis myself, so as to make it more dramatic when I revealed what that sentence really says:

I also have Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Dr. Dre and every Weezer album in my collection.

Here's a guy who thinks that he hasn't committed a grave crime against music by equating Weezer ownership with Led Zeppelin ownership. Furthermore, he throws Weezer in the same hopper as Radiohead! Weezer! That band that once heard a chord progression with more than three chords in it and exploded, remember? Jesus!

He then fully confirms his status as an affront to everyone who is a true elitist with the following collection of runes:

To this day, there are many occasions when I wholeheartedly embrace pop music. When I'm down on Welch Avenue throwing back a couple brews, the last thing I want to hear is some underground band - I want Lynyrd Skynyrd, Johnny Cash and Everclear. That's right, I said it - Everclear.

Lynyrd Skynyrd sucks. Everclear sucks. How dare you call yourself an elitist when you are actively trying to find opportunities to listen to Everclear? You actually like that song where we can "watch the world die?" They are so totally one of the worst one-hit wonder bands to grace (and I use the term loosely) the terrible music scene that was the mid to late 90s. Sure, you had some keepers (Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Autechre, Depeche Mode), but all of those bands had been around prior to that time period and were already popular. Very few new acts from that era are even relevant to the music scene anymore, and your insistance upon irrelevance does not brand you as an elitist.

It brands you as a complete idiot.

He also lets us know that "the reason [he] began to delve into the more obscure realms of music, particularly the heavy-metal genre, isn't because [he] think knowing who Khanate and Birdflesh are will make me better or cooler than anyone else. It's because [he's] always searching for something new to listen to." Well dude, sorry. I've never heard anything by "Birdflesh," but I can absolutely guarantee you that they are one of the most terrible bands on the face of this planet. How do I know? Because you have exhibited terrible taste in music, and your interest in grindcore makes me want to cut off my own fingers and shove them down my throat, then beat myself senseless with what is left of my hands.

Just reading this article makes me feel dirty. I need to go listen to massive amounts of Autolux, The Stone Roses and Ladytron (pop bands that don't suck, you terrible affront to culture) to get you off my mind.

As long as we're talking about music and about how much my opinions about music are better than everyone else's, you should know that I finally got amaroK installed in Linux to the point where it doesn't eat up all my resources all the time. The meaning of this? Soon we'll have an up to the minute accurate report as to what the last song was that I listened to on the Hive. (That's what my home box is called. I basically use it as a glorified jukebox; with about 500 albums on it.) Sound interesting? Stay tuned for that.

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