Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Photo of the Day

I just saw this walking back from the drug store. There was a big work truck parked on the street by one of the many construction projects on the former busmall. One of the compartment doors was wide open with this lovely message:


Not sure if "Asshole" is the signature or part of the message...

Update on Kids Today

Usually I'm linking to the Willamette Week, but today I noticed that they have seconded my motion that the Lincoln High pranksters get awarded scholarships (see #1 under Winners). Or maybe it was just the most obvious joke.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where were you while we were getting high?

I'm trying to get Crustodio to go see Oasis with me in Seattle later this summer. The Manchester lads are doing a Canadian tour with one stop in the USA. Not sure what's up with that, but it seems like a good opportunity to catch a band that doesn't tour over here that often. As an added bonus, Ryan Adams is opening the show. I'm a fan of his stuff, too - though the quality of his music is wildly uneven. And of course, you have to take Oasis with a grain of salt. They have a brilliant pop wall of sound and Liam is a great vocalist - I love his Lennon meets Lydon delivery. On the other hand, they're a bunch of arrogant cocksuckers. Their "we're better than the Beatles" schtick got old real fast. And Noel is quite possibly the worst lyricist of the rock era (or the 4th, according to these guys). But, when they rev up that wall of sound and Liam leans into the mic, slurring and straining through a beautiful pop melody they have me hooked. Though no longer that big over here, Oasis have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and have had eight UK number one singles.

It's on a Tuesday night, but Marty and I are going to make a kamikaze run up I-5, spend the night and try to make it back to work by lunch. Crustodio - are you in?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kids today

You know, I didn't have much hope for the younger generation, from the media representation, they just seemed to be self-involved, entitled little creeps. Although time spent with Crustodio's offspring and his buddy in Mexico, proved to be the exact opposite. In any case, this prank is pretty impressive, and gave me a new-found respect for these young 'un's.

Someone sent out a fake letter to parents of Portland's Lincoln High students, encouraging them to serve booze at post-prom parties, and included 2 condoms per letter and asked them to encourage safe sex. Nice. And all done on official stationary. Great work, kids! I wish there was some kind of Smart-ass Scholarship that could be given out to the brains behind this one...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

You've been Mick-rolled

Mike Jones takes advantage of a reporter who is either incredibly gullible or hasn't yet figured out what jokes are. This article has the sort of clueless vibe of music writing from the early 60's. Thank God he didn't make a joking "the Clash are more popular than Jesus" reference...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A healthy work environment

No matter how busy we get here. No matter how quickly deadlines loom. One visit from Blue, my coworker's dog, makes it all better.

Named for his blue eyes, Blue is a sweet, lovable dog. He is, in no particular order, a world-class sniffer, licker, napper, chaser, eater, and farter.

Oh lord, those gas explosions. Worth it, though, when you first see that look on a client's face.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How do you like my new logo?

(Turn your head sideways.) Oops.

93%? That's an "A"!

"Around 17.4% of the pages on your website contain cussing. This is 93% MORE than other websites who took this test."

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

Fucking A!

Thanks, American Copywriter

Monday, April 21, 2008


After a little cleaning out of the Crustodio archives, I’ve come across some treasures.

Throughout my life, I’ve had a habit of picking up journals. I kid myself that I’ll fill them with all of my deep thoughts, creative ideas I get on-the-fly, poems and other bullshit.

Without fail, the first few pages show a weak attempt at capturing…something. Then the journal gets put away, at best being used for notes during a phone call.

So I grabbed a couple of VERY old journals to take to work. Maybe I’ll use ‘em there?

Instead, I’ve come across a few pages of history. A snippet of time some 20+ years ago when money was tight and bills were low.

Below you’ll find what I found in my journal: the scribbling of poor college boys trying to split the bills for a duplex in Fairborn, Ohio, circa 1985.

Paul: $12.81
Pete: $6.89
Tim: $9.85

Apparently I liked calling home more than they did.

DP&L (Dayton Power and Light)
Aug 22 + Sept 23

(written out long division, working out how to divide 59.57 by 3)

$19.86 each

My last electricity bill almost reached the $700 mark.

City of Fairborn
Sept. 26

(written out long division, working out how to divide 30.1 by 3. Yeah, you read that right. Shut up. We were theater majors.)

$10.04 each

Must have been for water and sewer. That could have been spent on pot instead. I don’t remember.

And we were so poor that our phone ended up being turned off. I will no longer call them “the good old days.”

Who am I kidding? They sure as shit were.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An attempt

Sitting backstage during tech rehearsal for the show. The theater has Wi-Fi, which is fucking awesome.

Can't guarantee anything, but I'll attempt to update during the rest of rehearsals and the run while I wait for entrances.

Let me just say that the set, lights, sound and everything tech-wise has exceeded my expectations. And I was expecting a lot.

Sure, it's a tiny theater. But these guys are good.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Yeah, I suck. Poor Pete has been carrying all the load again as I work on two big pitches and a slew of projects for work - AND I'm rehearsing a show. My first play in over a year. We open next week.

Thankfully, we're ahead of the game rehearsal-wise, and were able to cancel last night's "play practice", as my snarky friends like to call it.

How did I celebrate my one night off? By flying to Spokane of course! Like I said, two big pitches coming up. And my home office was more than happy to have me here a couple of days to work on it face-to-face with all of my colleagues.

The picture above is a true view of what the park looked like yesterday. Sunny. Beautiful. And only a block or two away from the office.

The picture below is the true perk of coming here. The Davenport is a wonderful hotel. And for some reason I was upgraded to a suite last night. Didn't really need two TVs, the fridge or two couches. But I did feel like a bigwig. At least for one night.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The magic's in the hole...

I've been going to Lucynda at Dirty Little Secret to get my hair cut for around 10 years. A couple of friends go to her as well - at one point, all the State Flowers were going to her. She does a great job and is always fun to chat with. It's amazing what she's done with my hairweave/dreadlocks/combover. She's involved in a new project called Chariots of Rubber, a heavy metal musical that takes place at a demolition derby. In a confluence of uber-coolness, the Chariots gang made a video commercial for Portland's much-beloved Voodoo Doughnut (located in the "crotch" of Portland). It's over the top and pretty awesome. I can't wait to go see the show...

A one-two punch

...and hopefully, a knockout blow. I haven't seen this on any "legitimate" U.S. news sites, but there are rumors that Al Gore and Jimmy Carter will team up to beseech Hillary to step down.

I've lost so much respect for the Clintons, even a first time viewing of The War Room didn't rekindle the flames of love in my heart. Their scorched earth policy is sickening. I really believe that Hillary is so mentally scarred from 15 + years of Republican abuse and character assassination that she is actually insane. Her mind has become twisted from all the hate and vitriol poured on her and Bill. It's very sad, really - the once-great Clintons have been thoroughly ruined by politics...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What if I was an English kitchen designer?

Well, I might look like this guy. Anyone else see the resemblance? (If I lost 30 lbs.?) I think it's kinda freaky, man... Though, I'm happy to not have the name Peacock, if you know what I mean.

The only other time I saw a doppleganger was during a 1985 viewing of Young Sherlock Holmes in a very altered state. Crustodio was there and can attest that I kept mumbling, "man, that guy really looks like me" for the entire 2 hours. Here's a picture and it is a striking resemblance to 1985 Pete:

(Not the chick or fat kid, smart guys)

Speaking of appearances, I lost one of my earrings. I started thinking about how, back in the day, there was this ridiculous theory that if you wore an earring in a certain ear, it meant you were gay. Well, according to the internets, it's right if you're gay and left if you're straight. My right one fell out, so I won't be faced with the test of whether or not I would have switched it to the left one to assert my straightness...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


If I didn't know better, I'd say Pete was writing for another blog.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Commuting Computing

Every morning before I leave my sleepy cul-de-sac in the suburbs, I check the traffic to get an idea of what lies ahead for my commute to the city.

Mostly, I use it to avoid stress. Meaning that if I see that traffic sucks, I'm a little more able to handle it emotionally. As Mr. Best would attest, I'm not the most chill of drivers. As much as I've tried to mellow out over the last few years, it's a rare commute when I don't mutter, "I fucking hate people" at least once or twice as I watch the fucktards out there making traffic worse with their lack of attention or sickeningly selfish moves.

The Internet has made it better. Not only can I prepare for an awful commute - I can avoid it entirely. I can work from home! No muss, no fuss. Up top there you'll see a glimpse of this morning's traffic on I-5 north of Seattle. Today I've decided to wait it out, work from home for a while, then cruise on in when the highway looks a little more free of fucktards.

Thank you Internet. My blood pressure is most appreciative.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Enjoy Old Joy

I watched Old Joy on Saturday, and I liked it, but found it very slow-moving. It seems to be a grower, though, since I've been thinking a lot about it since then. It stars Will Oldham of Palace/Bonnie Prince Billy fame, who actually is an accomplished actor, though better known for his recent appearance in a Kanye West video. It was shot in Portland, so it was fun recognizing different neighborhoods and street scenes. Basically a road trip movie, 2 old friends head out to camp and visit Bagby Hot Springs.

Oldham's character is a thoughtful and rootless slacker, while the other guy has a stressful job, a pregnant wife, drives a Volvo and listens to Air America - all very Portlandesque. Their attempt to reconnect is the core of the story. It's all very subtle, but engrossing. Nice review in the Times.

You maniacs! You blew it all up! Oh, damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!

Charlton Heston's death this weekend reminded me of the final scene in Planet of the Apes, which seems very apropos to this post.

I was somewhat relieved to read this article in the Times yesterday about the rise of a new type of Survivalism, which they say "is not just for survivalists anymore."

I've been talking about this with friends for the last 6 months. I got a lot of ribbing and I did feel like I was being paranoid, so I'm glad to see that other seemingly normal progressive types have the same idea.

It just hit me after seeing the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Between Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke", "Douglas Brinkley's The Great Deluge" and first-hand accounts from my friends who lived through it, I realized that total societal breakdown was possible, and in fact, had occurred. A good friend and a typical musician type of guy bought a shotgun to protect his home and girlfriend from roving gangs. He was afraid for his life. People, that shit WAS REAL. It actually happened here in America. Friends said, well, that's New Orleans, that type of thing wouldn't happen in Portland. I'm not so sure.

Then I read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and really started to freak out. I started talking about buying a gun and stocking the basement with supplies. Mrs. Best put her foot down on the whole firearms angle, and of course I realize how totally ludicrous it is for to me to talk about owning a gun. I'm not exactly a man's man type of guy. But, I did grow up with guns, my dad collected them. I never went hunting or anything, but I did have an air rifle that I used for target practice.

Is it really that absurd to think that society could break down at some point in the future? Between terrorism and dirty bombs, peak oil, global warming and starvation, natural disasters and another Republican presidency, anything is possible. I would like to be prepared. I was thinking, maybe if every time I went grocery shopping I bought a few extra cans of food or a gallon of water I could start a stockpile without really making a big deal of it.

I just realized that I am Legend is in my Netflix queue. Maybe I should cancel that one...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Carvin out some Rock

As I mentioned earlier, I'm back into rock mode with a new band, Los Estimulantes. 3 practices so far and I have to say it's pretty promising. Dave, Marty and I have pretty good band telepathy after playing in the State Flowers together and in some goofy side-projects like the English Muffins. Ben is a super-quick study on lead guitar, so it's been pretty easy to come up with some decent sounding music.

We've been jamming on different ideas that we come up with on the spot and I've been bringing in some old and new songs of mine. Ben showed us one of his songs last practice and it was a pretty fun groove. I'm still not sure what we'll sound like, but I identified what I'd like to shoot for. I've been thinking about some kind of mix between Cheap Trick and Pink Floyd. Weird, huh?

I guess what I want is to indulge my 2 favorite types of music: short, catchy, guitar-pop songs and long repetitive droney instrumental jams. I love those long noise/groove songs that Yo La Tengo does from time to time. Pink Floyd does that as well, but also has the trippy psychedelic sound effects and weird noise that I love so much - and played for 2 years in King Black Acid. And Ben is such a good guitarist that I think we'll actually be able to pull that off. But, what I tend to write best are short little pop ditties like Guided By Voices or the Kinks. And somehow I think mixing these 2 sort of opposite things together could be really cool. Or totally suck ass.

I'm really enjoying playing guitar again, after playing bass in the last few projects I was involved with. I think I'm a better bass player than guitarist, but I think I'm a pretty decent rhythm player. When I played that acoustic set in New Orleans last year, some serious rocker friends (who had never really seen me play guitar) told me that I was playing really good rhythm guitar - which kind of gave me some confidence.

I've never, ever been able to play good solos and I can't finger pick all that well, but I think I have a really good idea of dynamics and rhythm. I think my ability is like a 3 out of 10, but my understanding of how to make good music is like an 8. Which is kind of weird. I guess it comes down to this - if you have minimal ability, but good taste and intuition, you can really offer a lot to a band...

Will I ever learn to play a good guitar solo? Who knows. It's funny, because in the State Flowers, both Corrina and I played lead. And people would often think on our recordings that the other person was playing the solo. In other words, I play "like a girl". And Corrina plays like a huge mountain of a man. It's pretty funny - I was all plinky, plinky, and Corrina would just rip out these wild bendy leads, it was really great.

I sold a lot of gear over the last 10 years, including my 1977 Telecaster. Oh well, it was either that or get evicted. So when we started this new project, I didn't have an electric guitar. Or I didn't think I did. After perusing some sites and stores I realized that to get a halfway decent guitar would be at least 500 bucks, which just wasn't really in the cards. But then, I remembered the guitar I bought when I was in high school - my first electric guitar, purchased in 1980 or so. It was a Carvin and I bought it out of a catalog. It had fallen out of favor with me, because a Carvin was just so NOT rock. I was all into Fenders and Rickenbackers, there was no way I was going to play some cheesy guitar that metal guys and smooth jazz guys were into.

But, for the hell of it, I dug it out. And I have to say - I kinda liked the way it looked. It was all black, for one. And it didn't have any obvious dated design flaws like a pointy headstock. I took it to the always reliable12th Fret to get it cleaned up and back into shape, since I hadn't seriously played it in 20 years.

I remember I took it to the recording sessions for the State Flowers album 10 years ago (!), because I thought it might be fun to play it on the record. I showed it to Tony, our producer, and I said, "Hey, this is my first guitar. I thought it'd be cool to play it on like one song. What do you think?" He took one look at it and said, "No." And that was it. Classic Tony. We've become friends over the years, I really need to give him shit about that.

Well, I plugged that Carvin into my Fender Deluxe amp in our first practice 2 weeks ago and it sounded great. Really full and heavy-sounding. I think it sounds better than my old Tele, and it's easier to play. I'm glad I could resurrect the Carvin from it's early grave. My next task is to see what all those knobs do.

You can't download a codpiece from iTunes, now can you?

Very funny R.E.M. (one of the hardest band names to type, btw) interview on Colbert's show last night. He gets in a couple good digs. The look on Stipe's face is priceless when he's asked why he doesn't write more songs about girls:

A pretty rocking (for TV) version of their current single:

Bill from Ministry is a great drummer, but I still miss the original Bill. Maybe they should have rotating drummers. Why not give this guy a try?

Thanks to Stereogum and The Sizzler.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm torn

As you probably know, the Graffiti Tablers are huge Beatles fans. John and George are gone. I saw Paul in 1993 at the Superdome in New Orleans. And Ringo - well, Ringo is going to be in PDX this summer. So, hey - it might be nice to see an ex-Beatle while they still exist, but it's hard to get hard for his All-Starr band. Let's see - Colin Hay. Ok, I can roll with some old Men At Work, no problem. Business As Usual was part of the soundtrack to our freshman year of college, so that might even be enjoyable.

Then there's Billy Squier. I can't turn my nose up at Mr. Stroke Me, after all I still really enjoy his 1981 album, Don't Say No. I think that record was one of those magical moments where a mediocre artist produces something excellent due to various unknown reasons. Maybe it was using Mack, the guy who produced Queen's The Game a year earlier. I dunno, but it's still a good record to me. His other stuff - not so much.

But then the All-Starrs start getting a little rough around the edges: Hamish Stuart, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright & Gregg Bissonette (enough with the linking). Hamish was in the Average White Band which is not a recommendation. I've never like Edgar or Johnny Winter, but I guess I could sit through Frankenstein if I've got the right brother. For sheer cheesy bliss, I'd enjoy hearing Gary Wright play Dreamweaver, but that's about it. And Gregg Bissonette I actually had to Google, so that shows you how much I'm into seeing this guy. Who, by the way, IS A DRUMMER. Ringo, you are a drummer, a great drummer - why in God's name are you bringing along some cheesy studio musician to ruin all the songs by overplaying everything? I guess all those years playing with Steve Vai amd Joe Satriani have paid off for him. On the bright side, he did tour with Spinal Tap, so my opinion just rose 10%.

Anyhoo - will I be able to drag anyone to this Boomerfest? The Edgefield could be a nice place to see this type of show - depending on the food and drink.

P.S. I mentioned I was a Beatles fan, right? Well, I'm compelled to mention that Hamish Stuart was actually in McCartney's band when I saw the '93 tour. And Gary Wright played on several Harrison solo albums in the 70's and even co-wrote a tune with him. Tweedly deedly dee, I'm a fucking nerd.