Feb 27, 2009

Politically correct

Most that know me personally understand that while I don't employ politically correct terms for the sake of it. In fact I love berating the Irish too much to be called a culturally sensitive person. I have to admit I do hate the fact that 'retarded' has became a not-so-nice word. I'm rather fond of it.

Since no one has been able to answer this for me in person I'll post this to the blogsphere. When exactly did it become offensive to use the term 'oriental'? I was overhearing a conversation between two people who kept using the work Asian to describe people they knew. As one would assume most of the time one calls a person Asian it means they're very progressive and probably recycle their own feces, but it got me to thinking. Asia covers quite a bunch of races, creeds, countries, etc. If someone who's just getting familiar with the English language and hears that term I would imagine they'd be confused.

My parents still use the word oriental. I reminded them once that it was not so polite to speak such politically incorrect words. When asked why I don't use Asian to refer to Russians, Indians, Pakistanis, etc I was at a loss. I really couldn't answer that better than anyone else who always gave me the shrug of the shoulders and just followed the leader or whatever language best suits the times.

Of course anyone up to date with progressive linguistics will understand that it's all polite and such to use words that the person being described would feel comfortable with. Most Native Americans don't like being called Indians, cause they're not, and it's never good to call an African American the 'n' word. I don't mind using the term Asian. Really I'll use whatever someone likes, unless I hate them (damn Irish), but I'm kind of curious what is wrong with describing the area or it's inhabitants part of the Orient? Has 'oriental' been used in a derogatory manner that I'm not aware of? Is it a double entrede? Was it's original meaning used to belittle? Is it just a simple progression of language and I'm reading to much into it?

"The one thing that you simply have to remember all the time that you are there, is that Hollywood is an oriental city. As long as you do that you might survive. If you try to equate it with anything else you'll perish." - Olivia De Havilland

Feb 26, 2009

Thursday Music

I never was a big Lynyrd Skynyrd fan growing up. Sure I liked maybe two songs from that group, but never gave them much of a listen. Much like the Steve Miller Band I had the one album that everyone else who showed a mild interest in them owned.

I had a friend back in the day that could be characterized as a redneck. Enjoying all things testosterone related he turned shooting soda cans into an art form. Yes my friend reveled in all things that violated most social norms and hanging with him was a treat at times. Not giving a damn at what anyone thought but the almighty him and I had great childhood memories consisting of the use of firearms, driving as if there was no tomorrow, and achieving great feats in mischief.

After activities we would take turns with the stereo. We had few similar tastes in music, but one thing we could agree on was a few Skynyrd songs. As time grew on we grew apart and I haven't heard from nor of him in years, but I miss him. His rough exterior and simpleton lifestyle was often off putting, but he was a good guy with values I'm sure even Miss Manners would approve.

So today in remembrance of an old friend I bring you Lynyrd Skynyrd:

"Oh, they didn't really put me down! But then again, maybe they did! (laughs) But not in a way that matters. Shit, I think Sweet Home Alabama is a great song. I've actually performed it live a couple of times myself." - Neil Young

Feb 25, 2009

Your favorite show sucks

You watch crap. Yes you do. I know it, you know it, the American people know it. Your consumption of mind numbing reality television and shows that have shown a sharp decline in quality (Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives) have ensured that programs that actually display some creativity and good writing be given the axe.

Due to low ratings NBC's Chuck may be one show that will no longer be with us. I can't understand how this may come to be. It's a very clever show with endearing characters, witty dialogue, and a concept that hasn't been done do death. Even the supporting cast is funny. Adam Baldwin is perfect in his role and.....

....okay you got me. Yes I'm so in love with Yvonne Strahovski that it's almost unhealthy. Since she's going to marry me it only makes sense that I fight the good fight and make sure she stays employed, cause she makes more money than me.

If there's one thing I've learned from sitcoms is that dopey dudes always end up with a hot wife so I'm banking on that. Hey they wouldn't include that in their scripts if it weren't true....or would they?

Seriously it is a better show than what you watch.

"The show pays attention to the mechanics of storytelling and doesn't just try to coast on the comedy. ... [Given] the level of attention paid to all those other things -- emotion, suspense, plotting, character -- Chuck ends up being one of the TV scene's greatest pleasures at the moment." - Maureen Ryan

Feb 24, 2009

Submit your resumes now!

The staff at Erik's Ramblings are currently screening for a female to keep Tad, aka Jiggaman, company on an intimate level. All qualified applicants may be submitted to a nude panel interview with judges to be determined based on applicant qualifications.

Non negotiable applicant requirements include:

Non-compromised Aryan background (documentation please)Applicants under the age of 42 only please
Applicant must consent to weight verification in the nude during panel interview, must weigh under 103.8 lbs - Any applicant between 110 and 180 lbs will be referred to Corey. Anyone who happens to weigh more than 180 lbs should seek the dating services of Pablo.
Dedication to providing excellent sexual services and/or further education thereof
Bronze medal equivalent or better abilities in cooking meatballs
All applicants must have enjoy a tasty corndog
Interested parties must appreciate the skills of Jack Bauer

Qualifications not required but preferred:

Flatulence judgment abilities and control
Tasteless tramp stamp
Naturally female genitalia
An understanding that the Jiggaman's one true love will always be Celine
A mastery at video games - Any female proficient at Tecmo Bowl may result in an earlier than usual proposal of marriage
An PHD like understanding of the cultural impact of the Simpsons

Females fitting the following criteria may not apply:

Any sexually transmitted disease that is not already carried by the Jiggaman

Understand that any and all qualifications listed above my change at any time. Candidate may fulfill all requirements, but still understand that courtship may not ensue. We can match make, but we cannot make people adore each other. All resumes may be submitted to the staff at Erik's Ramblings here. Upon review said applicant will be contacted for further screening. Good luck ladies!

"Gestures, in love, are incomparably more attractive, effective and valuable than words." - Francois Rabelais

Feb 23, 2009


"I never make your blog," he said. "My Craigslist post has made it all over the internet. I'm an internet sensation."

"You've got your 15 minutes," I replied. "I've never gotten that."

"Yeah," he replied. "But your blog made Time magazine."

"True," I said. "I think only four people read that though."

"It sucks, cause I'm being plagiarized. People are posting that Craigslist ad as their own. You need to put it on your blog."

"Okay. I'll set the record straight with my four readers."

My friend Tad, aka The Jiggaman (pic above), went on a date that did not end well. When I say it didn't hit the romantic note most would expect when the ritual of boy meets girl is over I mean it ended in ways that was a tragedy of almost biblical proportions. After the outing Tad tried to contact the girl many times, but to no avail. She wouldn't answer his requests to speak with her. Feeling desperate to see this woman again he decided to turn to what everyone uses to seek one out. He posted his request on Craigslist. Below is said ad:

"We met on Craigslist so I am hoping that this post finds you. I know that it could quite possibly be the most humiliating first date that you have ever been on, but I am willing to look past that.

I thought we had chemistry sitting at McMenamins sharing that basket of Cajun Tots while drinking the Terminator Stout. I really felt like there was a connection there. I found you to be intelligent and witty and looked forward to further conversation with you.

At some point in life, everyone has gambled on a fart and lost. It just happened to be on a first date in the passenger seat of my car. Please don’t feel bad. The package I sent you with Pepto the next day and the note that said “First dates are always a crap shoot. Call me” was meant to be funny, not offensive.

I have gambled on a fart and lost on multiple occasions. The first time I did it was very memorable. It happened when I was five and sitting on my uncle’s lap. I am lactose intolerant, but love cheese. I probably win 95% of the time, but I don’t think anyone wins 100% of the time. That’s why they call it “gambling”. I’m the last person to judge you for crapping your pants. In fact, I am impressed by your boldness. The timing on the other hand, could have been a tad bit better…like when you’re not sitting on a heated leather seat…

What I am trying to say is that if you want to go out again, I would be more than happy to take you someplace where we can get a meal that is high in fiber and less taxing on the digestive tract.

I await your call,Tad

P.S. - If you shat yourself on purpose to end the evening early…Touché…"

Indeed this post has circulated the internet faster than a case genital warts on a Saturday night in Capitol Hill. The post became so famous he even made the local news. (Scroll down till you see the bald, heavy set Asian guy kissing a pint of beer.)

Indeed this Craigslist post has been reposted and plagiarized to a great extent. Many are claiming authorship of said ad and this amuses and somewhat frustrates the Jiggaman. This fine crafted work of penmanship has been ripped off numerous times by those less clever. This will not do. I declare this day that the infamous work by my friend Tad will not be credited by those who are too lazy to put their wits to paper, or the internet in this case. The good fight will indeed be fought by the staff at Erik's Ramblings.

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you to report that after Tad finally made contact with the subject of his Craigslist ad that she declined to meet for a second date.

Stay tuned for the application to date Tad posted here on Erik's Ramblings. I know the suspense is killing you ladies.

"Two weeks ago, the woman finally contacted Keppler. She told him to “move on.” And he is—Keppler moved to Seattle last week in the hopes of finding a new job. But WW still salutes him—either for his ability to make up a damn funny Internet joke or his determination to pursue a whiff of true love, no matter how crappy the situation." - Kelly Clarke, Samantha Herman, Casey Jarman, John Minervini & James Pitkin of Willamette Week

Feb 20, 2009

Movies that are better than the books

"The book is always better than the movie."

I hear this quote all the friggin time. When I voice my opposition people look at me in shock as if I just ran into a mosque wearing a pork loin cloth. While it is true that a lot of the time films do not live up to the quality that is present in their source material (Beloved, Bonfire of the Vanities) there are many movies that exceed it. Below are just a few.

1. The Godfather - Puzo even admits his novel about a New York crime family is probably the most pulp he's ever written, but still it became his biggest success. Coppola took the runaway hit and created what is arguably known as one of the best pieces of American cinema ever.

2. Ben-Hur - The book is tedious and fails in many ways, but with the help of some gifted screen writers the story of a childhood friendship turned sour became one of the greatest blockbusters of all time.

3. The DaVinci Code - This is a case where both the novel and the film were horrible, but at least in the movie I didn't have to sit through Dan Brown's bastardization of the English language. While a huge success the book has set the bar extremely low.

4. The Ten Commandments - While most of the film is based on Josephus' writings, the Old Testament omits a large part of Moses' life in Egypt. It's because this that the screenwriters gave this epic rich characters which makes for great drama. Even though it can seem corny given nowadays standards Cecile B Demille's sweeping tale of the liberation of slaves from Pharaoh is one you can't take your eyes off of.

5. The Silence of the Lambs - The book was decent at best, but it's Hopkins amazing portrayal as Hannibal Lecter that makes this film that much more enjoyable.

6. The Hunt for Red October - Tom Clancy fans will disagree, but this movie was far better than the book could ever hope to be. I've never really enjoyed Clancy's writing anyways.

7. The Shinning - "Stephen King has a great imagination, but a sixth grade reading level." This quote from a guy I met at a party once would probably send Mattbear into a rage where he starts to stab everyone within arms reach with a glass shard, but I tend to agree. Granted I'm not too familiar with King's work having been largely unimpressed with most of what I read, but I so love this film much more than the book. I think a lot of Stephen King's writings has made far superior films such as 'Stand by Me', 'The Shawshank Redemption', and even the crapfest that is 'The Running Man'.

8. The Lord of the Rings trilogy - Granted I'm a fan of the books, but I can't sit through those stupid songs. Most readers I find agree. Plus the screenwriters wrote the females of the story far better than Tolkien ever could. With more flushed out characters, such as Faramir, the movie is a much more enjoyable experience than the books for me. Yes I'm one of the few that is happy Tom Bombadil was removed from the trilogy.

9. Shane - Yes the book was enjoyable, but never as tender nor as compelling as the film. Shane is a great western with themes that still hold timeless. With some amazing performances, most notably a young Jack Palance, this tale is one that still touches me.

10. Anything written by Ian Flemming - Flemming's pulp novelization of Bond is an easy read, but nowhere near as excited or interesting as displayed on screen by the likes of Sean Connery, who's the coolest guy ever. Even 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' is much more interesting and fun than the book.

"There are intriguing mysteries in Shane, puzzles and challenges, not least in the title character and the way he is played by Alan Ladd." - Roger Ebert

Feb 18, 2009

I'm not a bad person

"She's the Paris Hilton of politics," he said. "Oh and if you put that on your blog you gotta give me credit."

Corey was referring to the over exposed Sarah Palin, who's done nothing of worth since her loss in November. Still the media seems fixated on this woman and this displeases me and my friend. He looked at me and sighed.

"If only she weren't so hot."

Earlier that day I was watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He was doing a segment on Palin and how she showed up at some exclusive Washington D.C. dinner while skipping out on the Governor's retreat or something. He then went on for about five minutes talking about how he doesn't understand why anyone's reporting about her. During his usual MSNBC like gift of not being as funny as he thinks he is Olbermann went on about how useless she is while the graphics department kept looping video of the Alaskan Governor looking her best.

Of course Keith had on a guest to discuss just how worthless the former Vice Presidential candidate is and they made lame jokes back and forth about how neither can understand why they're talking about her.

It was quite possibly the most mind numbing piece of crap journalism I've seen in a long time. Look folks, I'm not a fan of Olbermann and that doesn't make me a bad person. From him ripping off a far better journalist's exit line to doing long disingenuous rants about topics he obviously neither cares for nor is that educated about his brand of entertainment disguised as edgy political analysis is beyond stupid. Sure his target is finding viewers who like sound byte information who can then take what they hear and appear at the office or at the next family gathering to spout off looking all brilliant. For that he does a great job.

Oh and guess who's the worst person in the world today. Go ahead I dare you.

Sure Palin may be the Paris Hilton of politics, but Keith is the Mad Magazine of journalism. Actually Mad is funnier.

Yesterday he had to prey upon Palin's daughter and her interview with Greta of Fox News fame. Sad really.

"Fox News is hated because they're elitists, and the worst winners television's ever seen." - Keith Olbermann

Feb 17, 2009

Wiwille is again a big winner

Yesterday I was granted an honor by the hot mom Jlee who nominated me for the Lemonade award. I was placed into a class that she describes as "guys (that) always make me laugh, even through tough times there is a joke at the ready".

Here goes:

The Lemonade Award is for sites, which show great attitude and/or gratitude!

Rules for the award:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs, which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Nominate your favorites and link to this post.

10 blogs! That's a lot. Here goes:

1. Starting Over at 24: An enjoyable read that's very personal as well as funny. It's a fascinating look into the life of one who's attempting to navigate the waters of the dating world. It's something I can relate to all too well.
2. Blog as You Are: Fellow roommate, coworker, friend, and Rockband bassist Pablo never fails to entertain with his gift of various languages and detailing his mid life crisis in verse.
3. whatigotsofar version 2.0: From north of the border comes WIGSF. A cynical look at the absurdity of human behaviors. Always funny.
4. Phoenix McPeek Photography: Some would claim I'm only adding this one cause she's hot, which is not a bad call, but as a former photographer I'm amazed at her skill. Envious would actually be a better term.
5. Life is Grand, Love is Real and Beauty is Everywhere!: Scott never fails to entertain with his gift of the English language and his addiction to modern music. Sometimes witty, but always insightful it's worth your time.
6. Memoirs of an oversized Canadian: Big Ben is fearless in his quest to broadcast his boob obsessed mind to the masses with opinions on everything. It's refreshing to see someone not hold back like that.
7. The Country Mouse Tales: The ever chipper Claire is an amazing scribe. Her gift is one that never ceases to amaze me.
8. Somethings Gotta Give: Miss Ash never disappoints with her bar stories, tales of volleyball, and observations about anything.
9. The Muzzy's Blog: My friend Alec has a command of information in his brain that is often times interesting regardless of how useful it may be. Still he's smarter than most and that makes for a good read.
10: The Inexcusable: Although it's updated far too infrequently the man that is known as Mattbear is a gifted writer with a great sense of sarcasm.

I'll end this post with a question to all readers, well at least the American ones. Yesterday was President's day and I was curious to know who's your favorite? I'm certain someone will say 'Obama man'.

"A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." - Theodore Roosevelt

Feb 15, 2009

Wiwille blows

I held it up in the air, gloriously posing for everyone who cared. People wowed a bit showing a bit of interest in my display. I was proud with a sense of awe marveling at how I could master the fine art of standing.

Earlier that evening I was at the bar sipping a martini. Tad texted me asking where I was. After some back and forth he stated everyone was waiting at the bowling lanes. I made my way to the lane, caught up with everyone, drank some more, bowled very badly, and was enjoying the birthday party.

After the games died down everyone made their way back to the lounge. Someone then pulled out a breathalyzer. This evening I was to be champion at something. Bowling was not my strong suit so I might as well delve into the skill that I know best and that is consuming alcohol.

I drank more. I blew into the device. It kept misreading my level of intoxication. This will not do. I must come away the winner. Yes folks I had a goal that evening and that was to see how high this machine could go. I kept drinking, kept blowing, more drinking, more blowing.

Finally after my liver cried out for me to stop I took the thing in hand and blew. I hold it watching the numbers register. I look at it as the digital display started going higher and higher. Finally it stopped at .15. It was my moment to shine. I had consumed enough alcohol and was well beyond the point of driving, possibly engaging in polite and civil discourse.

After my proud moment I was taken home. I stumbled into my place and nearly fell onto the glass table. After making the perilous trek into my bedroom I laid down. Room was spinning, stomach was churning, and all I wanted was to just fall asleep.

And then I thought of her.

"A real hangover is nothing to try out family remedies on. The only cure for a real hangover is death." - Robert Benchley

Feb 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is the day. Loved by those who will receive affection and hated by the lonely. Yes tomorrow is that bitter sweet Hallmark holiday. Valentine's Day is upon us.

For those of you that have someone in your life I say enjoy it. To the girls I hope you receive all the flowers and chocolates your heart will desire. For the guys I wish you all get steak and a BJ.

To the scorned and lonely I stress not to think about this corporate endorsed holiday and appreciate the people in your life who do love you. It's difficult yes, but most of us are very lucky and are quick to forget just how good we have it.

My Saturday will probably be spent nursing a hangover, just like every weekend really. I'll spend the day being grateful for all the loves in my life past and present. Considering my lifestyle I'm just glad all my organs function relatively well.

I said 'organ'.

The staff at Erik's Ramblings wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day.

"Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class." - Al Capone

Feb 12, 2009

Thursday Music (Dating edition)

While I think I posted about music enough times in yesterday's blurb I thought I'd do something different today. With Valentine's Day just around the corner I thought I'd bring you a story involving my dating life. While I normally don't get too personal on this blog I thought this tale will entertain. So sit back with your coffee, avoid your work, stop beating your children with random objects, and journey down the river of Wiwille's dating life.

For purposes of this post will call this girl Trina.

I was at a board game party in Seattle where I met Trina. I was paired up with her best friend for a game of Trivial Pursuit. Her friend and I were kicking all sorts of ass and declared ourselves champions of all useless information. Trina was unhappy about her loss so I got her a drink. She said she had a Wii and was proficient at Mario Kart. I explained to her that I would school her in that game as I'm the greatest player to ever live. She doubted my skills.

Oh it's on.

We walk to her place trash talking and placing bets on who would be the winner. Trina takes me into her apartment and starts making drinks while I sit on the couch. I heard some weird noises at the door so I decided to open it. A girl ends up falling at me feet and moving around in a barely conscious manner.

This is how I met Trina's roommate.

I pick the girl up as Trina led me to her room. I set her down on the bed. She mumbles that she needs to use the bathroom. Great.

Trina asked me to get her in there and she'll take care of the rest. I cradle her roommate and carry her down the hall. I was rewarded by her throwing up all over me. I place the girl on the bathroom floor and Tina brought me some clothes to wear.

So there I am in the kitchen wearing some college sweatshirt and sweatpants, clothes are in the laundry, Trina is taking care of her drunk roommate, and I'm thinking this couldn't get any worse. I was clearly wrong.

The door flies open and in walks the best friend from the party. She crying and yells for Trina then sees me standing there in her clothes. She stops her sobbing and stares at me blankly. I suddenly realize what I sight I must've been and try to explain as best I could.

"No..no...it's uhh," I stammer. "There was puke...her roommate...I got these on...uhh...."

Trina appears and explains the situation. I go and gather the roommate from the bathroom and place her back on the bed. She was so bad off I thought calling an ambulance, but no one else agreed that would be a good idea.

The best friend was upset cause her boyfriend, who wasn't at the party, sent her a naughty text message. Problem was it was intended for someone else. Poor thing. After some conversation she makes her leave.

Oh and Trina kicked my ass at Mario Kart. It was embarrassing.

Although the night was pretty much a disaster she insisted that she would indeed like to see me again. I take her out to dinner and we're having a good time until some really handsome guy walks up to our table with his girlfriend. He introduces himself and says hi to Trina. We chat for a few and then he makes his way to his table.

Trina tells me that's her ex-boyfriend. Looking a little down we scarfed down our dinner and decided to get out of there. There was a bookstore across the street and Trina and I were killing time in there before our movie started. We were having fun going through books and laughing in the humor section, till her ex, along with his current gal, decided it would be a great idea to appear.

He walks up to us and decides to engage in small talk. The tension in the air was thick as I considered making him bleed, but Trina grabbed my hand and told him we were late for our Friday threesome.

When I heard that line I almost proposed marriage.

She drug me out of there as me and the ex stared each other down. Her and I decided to skip the movie and we got drinks where she explained that the guy cheated on her with his current girlfriend. Still the ex kept calling her begging Trina to take her back. It got so bad she was considering a restraining order.

Given all this she still wanted to see me again. I decided I would give it a go. Her ex still made things hard as having a phone conversation with her was a chore. He would call her over and over again as she kept sending him to voice mail.

I took Trina out again, but she had a spill and sprained her ankle so fierce I took her to the hospital fearing it may be broken. After a few hours there I took her home and assumed the role as nursemaid for the weekend. I was wondering if we would have any time together that wouldn't end in disaster.

The following Tuesday Trina IMs me in the morning stating she's running out of food. Since she couldn't drive I tell her I'd be by after the gym and pick up some groceries for her. Still I felt bad that she doesn't have anything to eat so that morning I make my way to her favorite deli. I pick up some food and drive to her place. Her roommate was just leaving for work and let me in the building, but not before she placed her hand on mine and declared me the sweetest guy I ever met. I thanked her, but found the interaction to be a bit strange.

I knock on Trina's door. The door swings open and I find myself standing there looking at her ex. It looked like he just stepped out of the shower. I see Trina there sitting on her couch with a horrified look on her face. We all looked at each other in silence. I finally threw the bag of food in the room.

"I brought you something," I told her and then immediately walked away.

I made my way back to the office. She IMd me numerous times and I explained that I didn't want to discuss this while I was at work and we would talk later. She ignored that and kept declaring how sorry she was and wanted to discuss it. I blocked her.

Trina then sent me so many text messages my inbox was full.

I just ignored all of them. I let a week go by as she insisted on calling and/or texting every day. Finally I pick up the phone and decided to talk to her. She was crying, explaining that she IMd me cause she felt terrible and wanted to talk, and basically preyed upon my sympathies to get me to come over later that day. Trina explained that she doesn't want to get back together with her ex and still wants to see me. I tell her I'd rather have my cock shoved in a paper shredder.

I wished her well and finally ended the conversation. She still texts me about once a week with messages saying she hopes I'm ok and asking for forgiveness. I don't respond.

As I told her I would have no problems with her having Romanesque orgies. We weren't exclusive and she could see whoever she wants. The fact that it was him though bothered me to no end. If it was someone else I'd still continue to see her, but seeing her ex standing there on a Tuesday morning changed everything. Yeah Trina's smoking hot and very cool, but I'm too old for this nonsense. I graduated high school years ago.

It may have been reckless to surprise her like that, but I thought it would be a nice thing to do. I would've never guessed I'd run into him, or anyone for that matter, on a weekday morning, but I guess I'll be more careful next time. Then again I'm really glad I encountered that. I feel like I dodged a bullet Matrix style.

So today for you good folks I bring you a song, a silly tune sure, but it's rather appropriate:

"Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion." - Scott Adams

Feb 11, 2009

Scott's quiz

Scott, author of Life is Grand, Love is Real and Beauty is Everywhere!, has created a music quiz for all in blogger land to answer. A long one for sure, but one that I found most interesting. Fancying himself a music buff I'm sure his answers can and will be far more interesting than mine, but still this should be fun to write.

1) What's a piece of music, any genre, any year, and form, (i.e 45, album, MP3, etc), that you often return to. Something that continually resonates throughout your life, and seems to gain greater impact as you grow older. How often do you find yourself seeking this piece?

Tough question, but the genre I often revert to all through my life would have to be big band. Starting as a youngster I enjoyed the sounds that accompanied old Looney Tunes. After playing with an AM radio that I made with an electronic lab I found a station that played nothing but tunes by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and George Gershwin. The music was pleasant as well as exciting. As I grew older I continued listening to it and when swing became all the rage in the late 90s many record companies started distributing more of this old sound. With age creeping towards my inevitable death due to liver failure I find myself often romanticising my youth. Listening to big band takes me back to memories of my grandfather smoking his cigar in his chair, my dear friend Kevin (RIP), and a girl I once loved.

2) Is there a specific story that relates to this?

One weekend a few friends and I were drinking heavily at a party. I awoke at 5:30 am to my friend Jeff telling me that the bars were now open and we must go and drink more. Stumbling to a neighborhood dive we entered the place and found ourselves the only customer's sans an older couple. The place stunk of cigarettes and death, but we ordered our beers and made merry.

The place had a jukebox and I decided to liven up the morning with some tunes. It had a complication CD of big band swing and I decided that would be appropriate. Dave, who is an excellent dancer, asked the older woman to step onto the floor with him. She danced as he led her around the floor and kept up pretty well. Her face was beaming with delight as Dave showed excellent prowess.

Karin and I sat with her husband and made small talk. He told us he's never seen his wife smile so much in years. For that short time she was having the time of her life. After the song was over Dave, ever the gentleman, thanked her, gave her a slight bow, and walked her back to the table. She sat with a giddy look, almost on the verge of blushing. She put her hand on her husbands knee as he put his arm around her. They just glowed.

The couple looked like they've done some hard living. This neighborhood bar was their escape from the strenuous work they've toiled for decades. Most early morning for them were probably mundane as the years went on, but for that moment they were the happiest couple on the Earth. It's a memory I hope to never forget.

3) Was there a piece of music, despite the fact that you may have "outgrown" it now that at one time changed your life? How about something you feel you'll never outgrow?

I can't really say a piece of music has changed my life. Literature maybe, but not music. I suppose it could. People have those moments set to songs who claim to help them fall in love, inspire them to do something great, or kill their parents in a Satanic ritual. Can't say that's happened to me yet.

4) Could a piece of music that you found in common with a stranger bond you for life? Is there a story behind that?

I suppose it could, especially if the two are musicians. There's only one moment I can recall now that might qualify. I was working at a movie theatre and was scheduled to watch the doorman's podium with a girl I found to be rather attractive. We chatted it up as we were cleaning one auditorium and I commented how I enjoyed the classical music accompanying the end credits. She stated she was a huge fan herself. I asked her out, we dated for a while, then broke up. After years of not speaking, mostly due to the fact I was a terrible boyfriend, we reconnected through the power of them there intertubes and instantly I thought of that piece. She was surprised I remembered it and we still remain friends.

5) Is there a favorite artist that you had that you gave up on only to have him or her redeem themselves?

I guess the best answer for this would be Metallica. Most artists I gave up on never quite redeemed themselves in my book, but after the often referred to Black album I found everything they created since disappointing. Then came the S&M CD which I found not only creative, but it mixed metal and classical which are two of my favorite genres. Sadly the band hit a slump and I'm waiting to enjoy another one by them again.

6) Has music ever got you through some really tough times? How?

I've never had what one would call a rough life so not really. Sure I've had moments of personal drama, depression, loss of loved ones, but since I'm a pampered American who knows nothing of real pain I have to say no.

That being said I guess one song that always brightens me up when I feel low has to be 'As Time Goes By'.

7) Can music change the world or is that naive wishful thinking?

Music, as any art, can indeed inspire change so I would have to say yes; however indirect an influence it may be. As much of a romantic as I can be I would like to think of David playing to Saul and as a result forever changing the landscape of Palestine and ensuring the survival of a race of people it may be just a story.

8) Is Rock and Roll dead?

Hard to say. I don't keep up with modern music enough to say it's truly dead, but there are enough people who still keep listening to keep the genre's heart pulsing, albeit at a slow rate. I guess it would also depend on what your definition of Rock and Roll is.

9) What's the song you wish played at you wedding? How about your funeral?

The wedding is a tough one to answer as it would depend on who I'm marrying. My funeral though I would like someone to play Hallelujah.

10) What's the greatest live show you ever saw? In what year? Why? How old were you then? Did you attend with friends? Were you a skeptic going in?Did you enter a huge fan? How about the most disappointing show? Why?

Quite possibly the greatest live show I've seen was Lenny Kravitz. I took my friend Amy to see him for her birthday. I wasn't interested in going really, but he put on an amazing show. The guy really knew how to work an audience. In the middle of his set he split opened his hand and told us he was going to bandage it up. Most rock stars would've ran off stage whimpering only to never return, but the rest of the band played on, he wrapped up his hand, and finished the set including an encore for us. While I'm not a big fan of his music he was one of the greatest performers I've yet to see.

Most disappointing show I've gone to was a Ministry concert years ago. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't that good.

11) Has your feelings about recorded or live music changed over the years?


12) Do you listen to radio? How do you listen to music?

Amazingly enough I do listen to the radio. Mostly I tune in for news, but sometimes I try to keep up with growing music trends. I mostly listen to music at work or through a computer.

13) Has the amount of time you listen to music changed over the years? To what extent?

With the advent of personal listening devices going digital and sitting in front of a computer all day at work I would have to say the amount of music I consume on a daily basis has more than doubled.

14) In these tough economic stressful times do you gravitate towards a different kind of music, i.e happy, nostalgic, the blues, then you did say, 4 years ago?

I don't actually. My tastes and listening habits remain the same.

15) You're stuck on a desert isle, you've got a mix Cd with 10 songs you're stuck with until your dying day, (or at leas until you're rescued) what are those 10 songs and why?

Picking the list below is a tough one. I try to pick songs that of course will entertain as well as remind me of home.

Back in Black
Seek and Destroy
Haocyn & On and On
On My Own
As Time Goes By
Raphsody in Blue
Moonlight Serenade

"A lot of people can't stand touring but to me it's like breathing. I do it because I'm driven to do it." - Bob Dylan

Feb 10, 2009

Wiwille is a big winner

WIGSF has awarded me the prestigious Premio Dardos. I wasn't sure what it entailed, but after the power of Goog....err...Live Search I found the following description:

"With the Premio Dardos is to recognize the values that each blogger uses to transmit cultural values, ethical, literary, personal, etc.. that, in short, demonstrate their creativity through the thought that is alive and remains intact from their letters, between his words. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for a job that adds value to the Web."

The good WIGSF has granted me the award based on my "skillful film reviews and alcohol fueled debauchery." I'd like to thank the good Canadian for his kind words and the honor of being recognized by such a skillful blogger. This is truly a great day for the staff at Erik's Ramblings and tonight we'll be toasting a beer, or thirty seven, to our highly literate and always entertaining ally to the north. For this we are truly humbled.

As per requested I must pass this award on to bloggers that we feel are deserving. After much debate filled with booze and rounds of staff members dueling with wrapping paper rolls we've all come to a consensus on who this award should go to. And the winner is...

.....Big Ben of Memoirs of an Oversized Canadian

Always an entertaining read this large Canuck runs the gamut of topics and offends any and all with reckless abandon. While we here at Erik's Ramblings nurse our hangovers and pool bail money we take time to salute the greatness that only our baseball loving writer can bring. Cheers to you and your muse.

"He knows I’m the bomb, I’m the kingshit. He’s willing to bow down to my übergreatness. If there are any of you left out there who don’t accept my übergreatness, then you can kiss my fat, hairy ass." - WIGSF

Feb 9, 2009

Movies you need to see (Documentary edition)

Documentaries are a rough sell for a lot of people. Although most can be more fiction than fact audiences aren't warm to the idea of watching films that may reveal too much concerning real life. It's kind of surprising considering reality TV is such an enormous hit, but there's a difference between the cruel world of Simon Cowell and the stories that most filmmakers tell.

Even when films choose to tackle a subject matter many are in agreement with it still can make for a dull couple of hours. An example is the cornucopia of mediocre to just plain awful Bush bashing films that spawned in the wake of Fahrenheit 9/11.

At the risk of interesting no one I bring you today some films that are fascinating as well as entertaining.

1. Brother's Keeper: Directed by the same filmmakers that brought you the compelling Paradise Lost and the revealing Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, this tells the tale of Dilbert Ward, a hermit farmer who lives in upstate New York. With a low IQ and a lifestyle that can be described as odd at best, Dilbert signs a confession admitting to the murder of his ill brother. After his bail is set Dilbert evolves from being a small town outcast to national figure of sorts in this captivating mystery. This film challenges the audiences' stereotypes and is one of the most engrossing stories I've ever seen.

2. Capturing the Friedmans: In quiet suburban New York a middle class family is torn apart after accusations of pedophile rape befalls a father and his youngest son. One of the elder boys documents the trial and the family's falling apart via video. Along comes a filmmaker and compiles all the footage, giving interviews to all the players involved, and giving the audience a journey through the lives of loved ones being shattered by a horrendous crime. Often times hard to watch this movie is a must see.

3. King of Kong: If documentaries had their own 'Rocky' this would be it. King of Kong is the tale of Steve Weibie, an unassuming family man who decides to try and get beat the world record score for Donkey Kong, one of the hardest arcade games ever created. The current record holder, Billy Mitchell, is a god in the video game world and he will never let you forget it. A compelling tale of David and Goliath this film is a hilarious as well as touching as any sports film you'll ever see. I'm still amazed that a movie about coin op video games captured my attention so.

4. Street Fight: Following the 2002 mayor race in Newark this film chronicles the campaign of Cory Booker, an idealist attempting to unseat the established Sharpe James. As you would probably expect the race was filled with all sorts of dirty tricks, ugly discourse, and possibly illegal tactics. For any fan, armchair or otherwise, of the process of elections this is a must see.

5. Why We Fight: The film starts with Eisenhower's exit speech regarding the state of the military industrial complex and then takes us into the world of war profiteering. Insightful and revealing, this movie shows us the real power behind national conflicts, the cash flow amongst manufacturers, politicians, and ordinary laborers. Haunting in it's portrayal I highly recommend it.

6. Pop and Me: A father and son embark on a world wide trek documenting their relationship. In it they interview other fathers and sons where they discuss their stories of love, heartache, and the often complicated nature of masculinity vs tenderness. It's a remarkable film and one that actually jerked tears from your author.

7. Baraka: Not so much a documentary as it's not really telling a conventional story nor is it a travelogue, but Baraka sets the scenery of the world in ways that I find it difficult to explain. With striking imagery and music the viewer is set upon an incredible journey of culture, life, and nature. It's quite possibly one of the most breathtaking films I've ever seen. You can read my full review here.

"A discomforting, almost surreal study of a rural murder case, which offers fascinating insights about both family and community dynamics." - Emanuel Levy on Brother's Keeper

Feb 5, 2009

Thursday Music

When music video started hitting the scene music changed forever. No longer were listeners associating music to their own interpretation of the lyrics. Since then directors have more of a say in how people listen to music than the actual songwriters, which is kind of pathetic.

Everyone has their favorite videos though and while I'm not a big fan I don't hate them. I watched my share of MTV. Many times did I rock out to Headbanger's Ball.

No everyone has a memory associated with Alphaville's 'Forever Young'. Usually it's on the dance floor of a gymnasium or how that 20 something guy who kept hanging around your high school tried to convince you that he loved you, but few I know have ever seen the music video to this.

I watched it for the first time not to long ago. I kind of wish I hadn't. Creepy:

"If music be the food of love, play on." - William Shakespeare

Feb 4, 2009

Wiwille is spiritual

Last night my roommate and I were hanging out in Capitol Hill having some coffee. After we were done Pablo thought it would be a great idea to enter a new age store. He didn't explain why.

We enter this tiny shop and instantly I see items that you would expect in a store of this nature. Many displays of incense, candles, statues of the holy Buddha, and books dedicated to all things spiritual. While Pablo chatted up the woman about flavors of incense I browsed the books and tarot cards section. I came across a Lord of the Rings Tarot deck and card game.

Okay that has my attention.

I picked it up off the shelf and started reading the description on the back. The clerk, dressed in earth tones befitting stereotypes, asked me if I read. I told her yes wondering if I somehow look illiterate. Soon after I realized she meant if I dealt out the tarot cards. Her and Pablo started discussing the values of tarot and of course she was offering the stores services for a reading.

There was once a time where I did do a Tarot card reading with my friend Corey years ago. I had a roommate, Shannon, who was very much into telling people about themselves through the use of the ancient art of Tarot. She was a psychic of sorts and would tell me about my spirit guide. According to her he was Scottish and he helped me solve simple daily tasks. He was a nice guy apparently, but I guess he wanted more attention from me. I should've called I guess.

Anyways late one evening Corey was over and Shannon had a beginners guide to Tarot laying about. Him and I decided we were going to give it a go.

Corey goes first. He reads the instructions and starts dealing the cards based on numerical values according to my birthday, the current day, my age, etc. After much confusion he finally finished and looked at the guide.

"It says here," Corey said. "That you really like people and you have a strong desire for them to like you."

"Uhhh...," I stammered. "I think we messed up somewhere."

"Yes," Corey replied. "I whole heartedly agree."

We tried again. This time I was doing the reading. Him and I argued over the instructions and the math involved. Corey insisted that if the cards don't tell us he's going to be rich than the whole thing's a sham. We finally ended our night of psychic readings agreeing that we had no business telling fortunes.

The clerk rung up Pablo's incense and he chatted her up while I looked at candles. She reminded us again about a Tarot reading going on later and that her staff was the best. We thanked her, but I couldn't help but laugh to myself about my attempt at dealing the cards.

People wonder why I'm a skeptic.

"Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died." - Steven Wright

Feb 3, 2009

Not exactly at my best

The amps are tuned. The stage is set. The audience is primed with pre-funked 20 somethings ready to be rocked by me. I tune my axe, the club's lights dim, and I'm ready to be worshiped at the altar of music.

Okay I'm not a musician. Yes I was playing Rockband 2 last night.

I was opening up songs on the game alternating between the drums and the guitar. I noticed myself becoming somewhat decent at the instruments and decided to make the game more interesting. Instead of doing the normal strums and drumming I thought it would be a good idea to add a little Wiwille flavor to the video game.

Yes I was rockin. I was twirling the sticks, banging them together during brief interludes, and singing along with the songs. On the guitar I would rock out moving my body with the beat, headbanging, and pretending that I was indeed part of a real show. It was glorious as I was belting out tunes from The Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Dylan, Paramore, and Motorhead. In my unstable mind I was a rock god and no one could tell me any different.

That is until I realized the curtains were open. Not only were my antics in full view of the passerbys of my apartment complex and my neighbor from upstairs did not just glance in at a grown man playing video games, but she thought she was entitled to a free show. I stop, we both stare at each other, she giggled, and walked away. Bitch didn't even pay a cover.

Of course she has to be hot which led to further humiliation and less chance of a date. You would think from previous experience that I would know better than to leave a window open while pretending to be rockstar.

"People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent." - Bob Dylan