Thursday, September 27, 2007

Girl You Know It's True

Last Friday night I braved the elements of torrential downpour, lightning and slick roads to eventually arrive at the El Rey theater in Los Angeles, California. A metal band named High on Fire, who claim Oakland, California as their home, was featured. High on Fire's music and album covers* contain themes surrounding medieval topics and songs with titles like "Cometh Down Hessian", "Brother in the Wind", "Cyclopian Scape" and so on.

Need I say more? Okay, I will.

The singer has a gravelly voice that's not quite as cookie-monster-ish as the Grindcore music, but it's in the same neighborhood. I'd seen a picture of the band somewhere before, so I had some idea as to what they might look like and perform like onstage.

I had imagined some longhaired bearded black-shirted with matching black-wristbanded singer/guitarist guy who shunned the whole rockstar thing so that he could concentrate on sounding like what a gargoyle might sound like as he plucked crushing thunderous riffage out of his axe (guitar), all the while staring out into the crowd and seeing only orcs and piles of dead where the fans should be. Man, was I wrong.

Instead, the signer/guitarist guy came out with no shirt on, sporting tattoos on sculpted muscles that you get from going to a modern gym, probably not from going back to the middle ages and carrying boulders to mountaintops. And he definitely embraced the rockstar thing with open arms: strutting, posing, and repeatedly pointing at the crowd for a quick second before banging his head to the beat.

But what did I care? The music sounded the same. They didn't start singing in falsetto and do the power-ballad guitar windmill dance. They didn't change the lyrics to be about chasing bimbos and guzzling beer. But I think I almost would've rather had GWAR appear onstage and finish the set by lip-synch. That would be more like what I had in mind.

And why is it like that? I can (and you can too) probably name more than a dozen bands whose look/performance doesn't match the look/performance in your head.

Arcade Fire: Didn't know the lead singer was a goofy giant who dances goofy and dwarfs the rest of the band

The Shins: Balding bearded emo-guy anyone?

Death Cab for Cutie: Not a cutie

Luckily for most of these bands, people listen to them more than they watch them. After all that, I went back to listening to High on Fire and the mental picture went back to where it was in the first place. Gargoyle with axe in front of piles of dead. Rock on.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

It Takes Two

A couple things I've noticed in conversations with people lately:

Cupcakes. Cupcakes. Cupcakes. I don't know where this whole rage came from, or who exactly wants 'em, but every time I turn around, somebody is shoving a cupcake in my face. Red Velvet ones, especially. Being a non-cake person, I'd just as soon go for the ice cream. But the ice cream renaissance is around the corner I guess.

Cell Phones. Cell Phones. Cell Phones. Not the iPhone, thank you. I'm referring to cell phone reception, specifically reception (or lack thereof) in your own home. Here's the deal: You notice that your cell reception sucks at home because you're at home a lot (unless your initials contain the letters A and C) therefore you notice that the reception sucks there. End of story.

Unless it's the cupcakes that are jamming cell phone reception at home. Which is entirely possible.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ghost in the Machine

We were on vacation last week. Which explains why there was nothing new in this space last week. Anyhoo, we had a great time for 10 days away from home. And when we came back our TV was on. We didn't leave the TV on when we left.

Before we took off for vacation, I was concerned that some of the people who live in the library parking lot across the street would break in and steal some of Judah's toys. Actually, I was more concerned with them stealing the toys that Lily and I have in the apartment. Namely the computer and related electronics like DVD players and iPods and such, as well as the jewelry collection I'm building for Lily.

So I made a note to go out and buy a few of those electrical timers that you put on lights so it looks like you're home even when you're not at home. But I procrastinated that part of my list away to oblivion, and I was forced to leave a couple lights on for the entire vacation.

Which leads us back to the whole TV on when we returned thing. Lily and I thought that our apartment manager Jolene (who appeared in LLMB 070507), who we asked to collect our mail while we were gone, might have come over to watch a little TV and forgot to turn it off.

Lily knocked on Jolene's door, and her new temp roomie Josie - a Bettie Page / Suicide-ish Girl with facial piercings and hair that never moves - answered it. She said Jolene was asleep, and Josie told us she'd thought we came home days ago because she heard the TV when she came in the other night.

We decided to check the apartment to see if anything was missing. Nothing was missing, so we went about our business of unpacking. 10 minutes later I heard a gentle rapping on our door. I looked through the peephole but it was dark and I couldn't see anything. I opened the door, and there was Jolene looking like a ghost because she had just applied a green facial mask. (Do people really feel comfortable enough with their neighbors to knock on their door looking like that?)

Jolene told us she hadn't come into our apartment, but she had seen the TV on through our window for the past few days and she thought we had returned days ago. She ventured guesses like maybe it was on a timer (nope), or maybe there was a power outage and the TV automatically turns back on (nope, no digital clocks were flashing and the TV doesn't do that), or perhaps Judah had hit a button before we left and set a timer to turn on days later (wow, the kid is amazingly freakin smart, but no).

The mystery is still a mystery. And the TV hasn't magically turned itself on since we've been back. But if I find any green facial mask goop anywhere in the apartment, I'll know what really happened.