July 30, 2009

The Many Faces Of Rachael Ray

One of my new favorite games is to randomly hit PAUSE on my DVR while I'm watching bad Food Network programming (hey, I have to find some way of enduring that nonsense.) The results proved amusing enough for an entire post.

Today's target is Rachael Ray. An easy mark admittedly, but sometimes you don't screw with the classics

Now mind you, this all came from one episode!

July 15, 2009

How To Score A Woman (And A Ride) In Utah

Apparently, there's a woman here in Salt Lake City who put up a classified ad on KSL advertising the sale of her body, morals, and dignity along with her 1992 Jeep Wrangler. The ad reads as follows:

Free '92 Jeep Wrangler...
Midvale, UT 84047 - Jul 1, 2009
...with proposal and wedding ring.

That's right! Act now on this one-time offer. All you have to do is date and marry me and you can be the proud owner of a 1992 Jeep Wrangler (along with a 1970 woman). Jeep has a lift, safari top for the summer/hard top for the winter, rear locker, 33" tires and (new this year) an 8000 lb winch.

Not only do you get the Jeep, but you get me. And boys, I don't come stock. I am FULLY LOADED! My add-ons include: a great sense of humor, an affection for "garage nights" (that means working on stuff in the garage), an amazing work ethic, temple-worthiness, an appreciation for sports, the ability to live well within my means, logical reasoning skills, a "work hard so you can play hard" mentality, and I'm great with kids, too!

Terms and Conditions:
1. Marriage must last a minimum of 5 years.

2. Jeep cannot feel neglected - trips to Moab required - but it's a package deal. You take the Jeep, you take me!

3. Honda 400EX included in lifetime package.

4. Honeymoon required.

Contact me at wedding.jeep@hotmail.com

Men only, please. I am ALL woman!

Only in my fucking state does this sort of shit happen.

July 9, 2009

Concessions To Age

Believe it or not, I just had my first concession to age.

As I've said and somewhat firmly believe, I am not old. 30 is still an age filled with great vitality, and not the end of the line. I acknowledge that, but it's also a turning point. One where the consequences of how you live start to make themselves apparent. Wild nights of hedonism and sex-crazed madness now leave you feeling a little sore in the morning, hangovers carry a little more weight, the back makes more noises when you stand up. And while you may not be on the verge of falling to pieces, your body makes a point of letting you know where your limits currently are.

With my freakish lifestyle, such things have not been uncommon. Aches and pains have occurred so often, that percocet is starting to feel like an old friend to me. And it's nothing I ever shy away from, after all pain is supposed to build character right? And even if that character comes in the form of me being a whiny bitch, I suppose it's better than nothing.

But while at Guitar Center, burning a wee bit of time on overpriced instruments, I noticed my first true concession to age. It all started with a Classic series '72 telecaster. An instrument that I found positively disgusting in my youth, but somehow more attractive in my maturity. The thing sounded good too, and I was making some pretty pleasant, enjoyable noise. After a few minutes of playing, I noticed how easily I was jumping across the fretboard, hitting notes and bending strings. It was no-strain easy going music, and I wasn't investing a lot of time thinking about how hard to hit the string or how much force I'd need to pull off the next lick. It was all perfectly fluid.

At first, I attributed this ease of play to the instrument's hefty price tag. The thing did ring in at 900 bucks, the price of a moderate budget scooter. And you'd figure that things would play a little easier for that kind of money. But, it was more than that. Clearly, the instrument had a bit more finesse than anything I played at home, but my gear was perfectly functional. There was no reason I couldn't have a moderately close experience to what I was having here.

And then it hit me, it wasn't the instrument.......it was the strings. You see, this guitar was equipped with gauge .oo9 strings, and that is what made all the difference.

For those of you who don't speak musician, allow me to elaborate: Guitar strings are gauged by thickness, ranging from .008 to about .013. The number refers to the high E string (the thin one at the bottom) and all the other strings follow suit at an equal thickness for proper tuning.

Now, I have been an avid user of gauge .010 strings for years. There was that period when I was about 17 where I moved up into .011's, but that was mostly because of testosterone, and the extensive amount of tendinitis I have in my hands is strong testament to the fact that I am not designed to play strings that thick. So it's been .010's, for most of my musical career. And it's been that way so long, that I don't even bother to peruse the selection at my local music shop. I know the brand I like, the gauge I like, and the price I'm willing to pay. I walk up to the case, make my selection and walk out the door, simple as that.

So, I never stopped to notice that I was having difficulty playing guitar at home. Things had been the same way for so long, that I didn't even consider that a change might be necessary. That was, until I got my hands on that damned telecaster. And it's become clear as day to me now, I just don't have the strength anymore to push the thick stuff.

Now, many have tried to humor me by telling me that it's not the effects of age. "You've just got a lighter touch, that's all" they've said, trying hard not to make me sound pitiful. But, we all know the truth, my hands have changed. And asking them to work the way they used to when I was younger just won't float. And to be honest, I'm quite okay with that. I've got very little to prove on this front anymore. I certainly don't need to showboat with brighter guitars, louder amps, and bigger strings. I'm just here to play. Make a little joyful noise, and enjoy the process, that's what it's all about.

Still, it annoys me that there are things I can't do anymore. I'm just hoping the next little concession that comes up won't be for a long long time.

July 6, 2009

Megan Fox Gets It, Michael Bay Doesn't

Much to my dismay and general irritation, the second Transformers movie has laid waste to the box office this week. The tag team of Bay and Lebeouf have managed to molest segments of my childhood yet again.....at least I can only assume since I have successfully fought the forces that want me to actually watch this nonsense.

But that's not what this post is about. I'm not here to complain yet again about how Mr. Mullet and the Pimple managed to suck even more money out of something pitiful, I think everyone's pretty comfortable with where I stand on the matter. What I did decide to speak on briefly, was Megan Fox.

Here's someone that was utterly forgettable in the last movie, and fulfilled her role of female interest/damsel-in-distress with reasonable expectation. Not mind-blowing great, but not absolutely dreadful either. However, I am apparently a minority in my gender, as most of the male population of the world has gone positively apeshit over her. Articles of her everywhere, photos on iPhones, and a bunch of lonely men talking about "gettin' wit' her." No matter where you looked, there she was, and for me it had gotten to the point where I was getting pretty annoyed with it.

Surprisingly, my opinion has changed a bit. Over the last couple months, I've stumbled across a few articles of her responding to questions ranging from comparisons to Angelina Jolie to her acting abilities, and in all those interviews she proved her self to be a very capable smart-ass.....my kind of people.

Recently she made this particular statement, which I consider pretty damn brilliant:

"I mean, I can't shit on this movie because it did give me a career and open all these doors for me. But I don't want to blow smoke up people's ass. People are well aware that this is not a movie about acting."

Holy shit, she gets it! She is intelligent enough to comprehend that a movie entitled "Transformers" would probably be primarily focused on big fucking robots! This tickles me greatly, since the other dipshit who stars in this clearly didn't get the memo.

And apparently, neither did the guy who made this movie.

You know, I would have been totally cool if Michael Bay had just owned up to his creation. Admit to the world that he made a movie that was designed to do nothing more than occupy a couple hours of time in a very entertaining and popcorn-munching fashion. I would have had respected the guy if he had just said "Yeah, I made a goofy movie just to have fun with." But he didn't say that, no he responded with this bullshit.

"Nick Cage wasn't a big actor when I cast him, nor was Ben Affleck before I put him in 'Armageddon.' Shia LaBeouf wasn't a big movie star before he did 'Transformers' -- and then he exploded. Not to mention Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, from 'Bad Boys.' Nobody in the world knew about Megan Fox until I found her and put her in Transformers," I like to think that I've had some luck in building actors' careers with my films."

Sooooo.....apparently what you're saying is, your ability to hire a good casting director is what makes you an awesome director? Because I was under the impression that your job was to create a visually appealing movie that actually makes sense. But hey, maybe you don't have casting people, maybe you do everything by hand, I'll play along.

Let's go through your list. Nick Cage wasn't a big actor when you cast him you say? Do you mean the same Nick Cage who won a fucking academy award a year before starring in your dreck? Is that the same guy? How about that Ben Affleck fellow you mentioned? Didn't he also get an academy award? And coincidentally enough, one year before starring in a movie you made? Because if these are the same guys, you're basically saying you're able to hire guys who were recently received accolades for being talented, and that's not anything to write home about.

My personal favorites on this list are Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Umm.....Michael? These guys had television shows before being in your movies. Which sort of means they were already well known before you involved.

In fact, it seems that everyone was off to a pretty good start before you started hiring them, which compels me to leave this small, miniscule tidbit of knowledge with your Mr. Bay, should you read this:

Ahem.....Michael? Hiring popular actors and putting big explodeys around them DOES NOT MAKE YOU FUCKING BRILLIANT!!!!!! It may be a successful formula for getting people into theaters but it does not "make" anyone's career. In fact, before you Nick Cage was a pretty decent dramatic actor. You had to go and give him the notion that he could cut it as an action star. You should be pretty ashamed of yourself.

As for Megan, she's found a minor fan in me. She's cynical, blunt, and doesn't take herself too seriously. I can dig on that. And, starring as a killer zombie thing in some campy horror film doesn't hurt your appeal. Rock on sister.

July 1, 2009

Michael Jackson R.I.P

I fee like I should say something about Michael Jackson. I'm sure everyone knows about his passing last week, and there is a ton of commentary already out here on the interweb covering everything from bad jokes to discussions on whether or not his children are in fact biologically tied to Mr. MJ. I'm certainly not about to fuel any fires, or try to start a pissing contest between one faction or another. I just wanted to say my little piece about the man.

It may surprise many (and others not so much) that I was quite a big fan of Michael in my formative years. My mom was a big fan, and as such MJ was an artist played often in the Montoya home. In fact, he was probably one of the artists along with Phil Collin who got me on the path to being a musician (Quit your giggling! I had to start somewhere didn't I?) I'm even reasonably unashamed to admit that for a while there, I was looking forward to one day attaining enough fame that I might join the man on stage (granted, this was before the reports of child molestation started to hit the fan, but it was still a goal.) In time, I went my own way and kind of forgot those things, but the man's work has always had a special place in my heart. There are days I still remember sitting with a walkman, listening to Dangerous over and over again until the cassette finally snapped.

And when I heard the sad news, I found myself strangely indifferent.

Don't get me wrong, I feel great sympathy for his children (biological or otherwise) and for his family. Losing a loved one is never easy, and I understand the pain they must be going through. I've wished a lot of evil things to many a celebrity, but never the big end. And I wouldn't want it in this case either. So, I know there are some very sad and hurting people out there for whom Michael was a big part of their lives, and my condolences go out to them.

But, clearly me an Michael Jackson were never tight. And my feelings come from nothing more than being a fan of his work. And that's where I feel it's strange to be so indifferent about it. When Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker passed on, I was crushed. Even when Dimebag Darrell met his unfortunate end, despite not being a big fan of his music, I was pretty bummed. And I felt this way because I knew there would be no more magic. There wouldn't be one more inspired song or well played lick. It was over, and any creation that one could possibly make would be left with the rest of us.

Not so with Michael. While he did generate a huge catalog of amazing music (and yes it was amazing, even you cynics must agree) those were his glory days. And they were very much behind him. He wasn't revolutionizing anything anymore, and despite the fact that he did put out a decent amount of tunage between now and Dangerous, none of it was amazing. In fact, most of it was utterly forgettable.

And it probably didn't help matters that he was also becoming a talk of great gossip around this time. Child abuse, molestation charges, and more off-the-cuff weirdness than usual. The music was lax, so who and what he was became of much greater interest in the world. And sadly, who and what he was, was pretty strange. I'm not blasting the guy for it, frankly most people who revolutionize the arts tend to be some weird bastards, Michael just happened to be a bit more bizarre than most. More than most of us could stand.

At the time of his death, people talked more about what a bad father he was and how you should keep him away from kids more than any music he created. And while he spoke of comeback tours, it's doubtful any of them would have won us back.

And this, my friends is the sad thing: In order to be remembered as a legendary artist, and truly appreciated for his work, the only thing he could do was die. No new album would've done it, no world tour, his life needed to end for his legacy to be appreciated. I'm not sure what that says about him, but it says something pretty damned dark about us.

So, while I regret the pain his dear friends and family must be feeling at this time, I am at least glad that he is getting his dues as an artist. It's all people can talk about, is what an important singer/songwriter he was, and how much of an impact his work had on us all. People will, as people often do, let all that nasty business about his personal life slide under the rug. And in that way, what has happened was truly for the best.

So, rest in peace Michael Jackson. We never got to tour together, but I appreciate the small contribution you made into making me the fella I am today. May your legend continue to be remembered for artistry and dance, and may everything else fall by the wayside.

That is all.