Pages

Thursday, December 31, 2009

So Long....uh, Decade and Goals For 2010.























I'm not sure what we call this past decade. The Ought's? That's my favorite. The Oh's? The Oh Oh's? I guess it doesn't matter. The decade is over, and while it had its share of ups (getting married, moving to Chicago, meeting my current set of friends) it also had its share of downs (getting diabetes, eight years of Bush, watching my wife almost die of a mysterious blood ailment). I always try to be a forward thinking individual, and with that in mind I bid these past ten years adieu while looking forward to 2010.

Goals For 2010

1) Write Twelve Short Stories. This averages out to one per month, and with a minimal amount of effort should be easy enough to attain. I want to keep these between 1,000 and 10,000 words, though a short story can double that. Notice I said nothing about publishing these stories. I will write them for myself, and will only share them with Angie. If I am particularly proud of one I may share it with close friends and family, but only if they are nice enough to me.

2) Cut Back on the Social Networking.
These past two years or so my Twitter and Facebook habit has gotten out of hand. A good chunk of my free time was spent checking Tweets, and updating statuses. Even my not-so-free time (like when Angie is talking to me) was spent on this nonsense. This doesn't mean I am quitting entirely, just cutting back, and hopefully keeping updates a little more meaningful. For example, I'll tweet to let everyone know this post is up. :)

3) Devote More Time To The Blog.
I've decided to make writing my habit, and this is going to be part of it. I think it is a more healthy pursuit than my aforementioned habit, and goes along nicely with my junk food addiction. I don't have a set number of posts for the year, so I'll let the reader decide if I've met this goal of "more" or not.

That's it. That's the list. Pretty simple, I think, and not once did the phrase "lose weight," rear its ugly head. I suppose my first post of 2011 will be to review these goals, and set new ones. In the meantime, I have a little work to do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Decade In Music

I read that Billboard named Nickelback the band of the decade. This is tells us several things about the state of mainstream music, and none of them are good. This has been the worst decade for music by far, but there have been a few bright spots. Here are my top three bands of the decade:

3) System of A Down - Yes, a mainstream band, but still a good one. They actually started out in the 90s, but really hit their stride in 2001 with the album Toxicity. Follow ups Steal This Album, Mezmerize, and Hypnotize showed them tweaking their sound and separating themselves from the other nu-metal groups that were so prevalent at the start of the 2000s.



2) AFI
- I remember buying my first AFI album. I went into Atomic Records the day after I graduated high school, and bought the album Answer That And Stay Fashionable because the cover was a parody of the movie Reservoir Dogs. I've been a fan ever since. Their sound has gone from pop punk, to a Misfit clone, to their own unique style which now has them on the fringe of mainstream success.



1) Bad Religion
- This band is the same age as me, and they only get better and better. When The Process Of Belief came out I swore up and down it was their best album. Then I said the same thing about Empire Strikes First, and most recently about New Maps Of Hell. What more can you say about the greatest punk rock band of all time, and how do I pick one song to use as an example? I chose this one because I agree with the sentiment.



Just kidding. Here it is:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Focus- Hocus Pocus (live '73)

So the Beatles break up, and three years later this is what passes for music? The unfortunate thing about this is that the drummer, bassist, and guitarist actually have some talent. I'm not sure how they got saddled with this "singer." His facial expressions make the video, and that "whistle solo" at the end is absurd.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's Always Sunny

Took a stab at making my own trailer for It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.











Haw

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beatles Rock Band


























Those who know me won't be surprised that I recently purchased The Beatles Rock Band for the Playstation 3, and they will be even less surprised to read my glowing review below:

The Beatles Rock Band was released on September 9th, coinciding with the CD remastered versions the band's albums (yeah, mine are on back order). The game bundle comes with a microphone, guitar, and drum set. I purchased an additional guitar separately, a replica of the exact guitar John Lennon used when he played Beatles Rock Band.

I've never actually played a Rock Band or Guitar Hero game before so after familiarizing myself in Quick Play Mode I went straight for Story Mode which follows a linear progression of The Beatles history from the early days in the Cavern Club to the rooftop concert during the Let It Be sessions. However, there are some subtle differences. I'm sure, for instance, that during their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show the batteries to the real Beatles controller didn't die causing the band to pause in the middle of I Wanna Hold Your Hand while I plugged it in. I also doubt my cat Bella jumped on any of the Beatles' back during the concert.

Not sure how Ed would've handled that latter one as it brought the whole show to a standstill.

The curtain goes down, Ed comes out, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles' cat jumped on Ringo's back and even now is being pursued with vigor by our hard working men and women back stage."

I don't know. I guess The Beatles could have collectively owned a cat.

The visual backgrounds during the songs are impressive. The animations capture the mannerisms and stage habits of the band perfectly, and the psychedelic back drops during the studio sessions are incredible. I am the Walrus is one the weirdest, freakiest fucking things you will ever see in a video game. As the game loads in between songs you can hear previously unreleased "studio chatter" between the band members. This leads to the games biggest flaw; Angie hitting the continue button before I can hear everything that is said.

Overall, if you are a fan of The Beatles or this style of game I think you'll want to check this title out. I don't see it converting any non fans, but I don't fault the game or music for that. Those people are retarded.

I give it 4.5 moptops out of 5.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Way Of The Andy Episode Four - Two Crude Dudes


What happens when two people who have never recorded a podcast together do just that? Well, they talk about vidja games past and present. It's The Way of the Andy Episode Four.

Click here to download the episode.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Spoiler Free Review of True Blood - Season One



To fully enjoy True Blood I had to accept what it was not. True Blood is not Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels. The main plot of the first book and the first season of the show were essentially the same, but there were differences. Secondary characters were more involved in the show, and given richer and more complex stories, but the main difference between the book and the show is the mood. I always felt the Sookie books had a kind of lighthearted touch to them, even when dealing with dark subject matter. True Blood discards that lightheartedness in favor of a Southern Goth style of horror more macabre and perverse than anything from the novels. I think the changes work well for television.

In the main, True Blood is worth watching. It mixes equal parts erotica, tragedy, fantasy, and throws in some dark humor for good measure. There’s not one bad actor or actress on the show. They all handle their parts competently, and Stephen Moyer as the vampire Bill Compton is excellent. The overall pacing of the season is uneven as the first four episodes drag in spots, but they still manage to keep you interested. Once you hit episode five things really start to get crazy.

Final Grade: A- out of 10.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who Would Do This?


My friend Nicki sent me this pic over the weekend. I'm sure she had a good reason. I think this is a motivational poster waiting to happen, but I'll be damned if I can think of a caption.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some Things



In a previous post I mentioned I had downloaded all the free mp3s from Amazon.com's mp3 store, and as a service to you, Dear Reader, would listen to all 742 songs and sort the good to the crap. Mission Accomplished, my friends. I can honestly tell you they are all crap. Especially the songs by Dan Zanes.

I ate at Kiku's on Friday night with Angie and some friends. The manager brought over a printout from a blog that contained a review of the restaurant. One of my friends mentioned this blog, and the manager quickly laid down this ultimatum: Blog about my restaurant or I'll charge you triple price the next time you come in. Yeah, there's no doubt I'll be going again, and I don't have that much money so here you go; I am blogging about Kiku's.

I just recently spent the best $35 I spent all year on Punch Out for the Nintendo Wii. It's a remake of the classic, best known as Mike Tyson's Punch Out, which debuted on the original Nintendo Entertainment System twenty-two years ago. Everything that made the original great is present on the modern update. The larger than life opponents, the "tells," and the innocent racism are present. The animation is amazing, and above all the game is simply fun to play. Highly reccomended.

EDIT: Okay so some of the songs are decent, but nothing worth writing about. If you want to check out any of the now 854 songs for yourself the link is as follows: http://www.amazon.com/Free-Songs-Music/b?ie=UTF8&node=334897011

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Message to Cats

Dear Cats

When I say to move, it means to go someplace else, not switch positions with each other so there are still two of you in the way.

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note that placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The hallway was not designed by NASCAR and is therefore not a racetrack.

Beating me to the end is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help either,as I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will resort to sleeping on the sofa to ensure your comfort. Look at videos of cats sleeping. They can actually curl up into a ball. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. Please note that sticking tails and tongues out to maximize space used is nothing but sarcasm.

My compact discs are not miniature Frisbees.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom.

If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, meeow, try to turn the knob, or to get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. When I exit this room, I will come out the same door I entered.

In addition, I have been using bathrooms for years. Feline attendance has never been necessary.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other cat's litter tray. I cannot stress this enough. It would be such a simple change for you.

In return for your following these simple rules, I have posted the following message on our front door.

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, s/he is an adopted child who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

5. Dogs and cats are better than kids. They eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about buying the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and if they get pregnant, you can sell the results.

From www.siliconhell.com


Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Future


This is just a quick post to let you know that a real update will eventually make its way to this blog. I've been a bit lazy as of late (translation: my entire life), but I do have some ideas in mind. I downloaded all the free mp3s from Amazon.com, and am currently separating the good stuff from the crap. Once that's done I will report to you the results. The process is taking a little longer than anticipated because, well, every song is crap. I also have The Way Of The Andy Episode Three planned. My guest will be media mogul Matthew Ryan. I may also try my hand at movie and book reviews.

Before I can do any of that I have to go on vacation so I'm leaving you with this video featuring nature's most noble animal.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sir Nicolas


Just a quick picture I took of Nic with my phone.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Way Of The Andy Episode Two - Andy to Andy


In the this episode I am joined by The Other Andy and we confront the complexities of being an Andy in a world that has moved on.

Download the show or subscribe to the RSS Feed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Seriously?

Here's video of Rep John Shimkus letting us all know we need not worry about climate change because in the end it's all up to god. I wish that made me feel better.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Go Now!!!

If you haven't already, pick up a copy of the latest Sangamon Star, or check it out on their website. It features a Shorty by yours truly.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Way Of The Andy - Episode One

As most of you know I have been co-hosting a podcast under various names for close to five years. It's an enjoyable hobby, and I can't see myself stopping anytime soon. In fact, I enjoy it so much I have decided to take on hosting my own "solo" podcast. I use the quotation marks because I will have a variety of co-hosts joining me on each episode so I guess it's not technically a solo effort.

The format for the new show (I haven't settled on a name) is going to be a little bit different from The Ironic Divide. First, I plan on keeping this one relatively short - somewhere in the five to ten minute range. Second, there will only be one subject per show. Angie joins me to discuss recent comments made by Pope Benedict for this one.

Feedback, suggestions, and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Download the episode or subscribe to the RSS Feed.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Grave Memorial



Today I took advantage of the nice weather to do something I haven't done in almost ten years. I went to Oak Ridge Cemetery to visit my friend, Michael, who passed away in 1998 after being struck by a car.

As I stood by his gravestone I noticed how well kept it appeared in comparison to the others nearby. I know Mike has several siblings and both his parents are still alive to maintain his resting place. I guess whoever survived these others have either passed themselves, or moved away or just moved on.

This was when I noticed the other graves seemed to be closer together than I remembered. Does Oak Ridge exhume its residents and move them into ossuaries or catacombs? Do all cemeteries do this? Did this mean I was actually standing over empty ground, and not my friend's remains? If so, than it's more important than I realized to maintain your loved one's headstones. I'd always thought of them as a kind of place marker, and taking care of them a form of therapy for the grieving, but when you understand they can be the last tangible link to a loved one they invoke much more pain and significance. A life reduced to remembrance in the form of an engraved stone, and as I saw with some of Mike's neglected neighbors the world moves on and eventually forgets.

Gorgeous day today.

And now, because I like to keep things light, please enjoy this:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

An Open Letter


The following is an open letter to the weirdo church group I got stuck behind at lunch yesterday:

Dear Christians,

I use to be content to let you be. I use to think it was fine to let you go on believing the things you read in the bible, even though it would be like me thinking all those Dragonlance books I read in high school and college were real. After all, it's a free country. Right? We have the right to embrace religion, a religion, or no religion. But yesterday you crossed a line. No, not just A line THE line. You came recklessly close to ruining my lunch hour, and that is not something I can easily forgive.

Let's examine your wanton behavior. The first few minutes I was in line you were immersed in a competition to see who could name the books of the New Testament in order the fastest. First off, who gives a shit? Do you make it into Super Heaven if you have the stupid books memorized? Does Jesus say, "Sure you may have had premarital sex, lied through your teeth, and been an all around hypocrite all your life like most of my followers, BUT you sure know the names of the books in the New Testament so here's the keys to the executive bathroom. Oh, and FYI, you might wanna let it air out for about five minutes after Moses has been in there." Now normally I don't care if you are engaged in this type of tomfoolery. You're young. Enjoy it. But here's the thing: NONE OF YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WANTED TO ORDER. You could have been studying the menu while we waited in line instead of fucking around!!! That's what I was trying to do, but I couldn't concentrate for all your inane chatter. You got any fucking idea about, hey, it's fucking distracting having somebody reciting bible lessons in the middle of my fucking lunch hour? Give me a fucking answer! What don't you get about it? So by the time you got up to the front of the line I had to listen to "Umm....what comes on the BMT?...Can I get that as a meal for under six dollars? I only have six dollars....What about a turkey sub?" And that might have been okay if just one of you did it, but it was all seven of you!

I noticed that two of you ordered a six inch chicken teriyaki. I noticed because I had decided on a footlong chicken teriyaki, but when I ordered they only had enough teriyaki chicken for a six inch. I had to get half chicken teriyaki, half roasted chicken breast fillet. It's not the same! Then when my sub came out of the toaster I had to wait even longer because you were off looking at chips instead of telling the Sandwich Artists what you wanted on your subs. Seriously? It's the second time that you didn't give a shit about what is going on in front of you, all right? I'm trying to fucking order a meal here, and I am going "Why the fuck are those christians walking there? What are they doing there?" Do you understand my mind is not on lunch if you're doing that?

Christians, I'm fucking serious. You're nice people. You're nice people, but that don't fucking cut it when you're bullshitting and fucking around at lunch like that. Seriously, you and me, we're fucking done professionally.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fast Results

So it's been a week since I experimented with the seventy-two hour juice fast, and I am sure you are all flaming...with curiosity about the results. I'll keep this short. I lasted forty-nine hours, which is about five times longer than I expected. I felt fatigued and fog-brained, had a horrible headache, and my blood sugar actually increased. Overall, I think I would prefer to keep the toxins in my system.

That is all. Now let us never speak of this again.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Keeping Myself Occupied

In a mostly futile attempt to keep my mind off food I've undertaken a few projects over the last few hours. In order:

- A forty minute nap. I didn't see this one coming. It just kinda happened.

- Read the first few stories in fragile things. Neil Gaiman is the most rewarding author during the reread there is.

- Scrubbed the kitchen floor. On hands and knees and everything.

- Took the remaining sugar cubes out of the box and counted them. Thirty-seven. Get this, though, when I put them back in the count only came out to thirty-five.


As I approach hour nineteen I feel a little bit better, but, man, is my mind muddled.

In Which I Feel Hungry And Sorry For Myself



When Angie was sixteen a nearly fatal combination of gull stones and pancreatitis landed her in the hospital for nearly four months. For three of these months she was fed intravenously and was allowed only occasional sips of ice water to moisten her throat. She tells me the hunger never truly departs, but it does subside to a dull roar. I asked her how long before she reached a point where she was able to ignore the hunger for maybe a few hours at a time. The answer was about three weeks.

I am a little over fourteen hours into my fast, and am experiencing my first true hunger pangs. Until now I have done a decent job ignoring my stomachs pleas for food. Sure, I was tempted while I watched The Other Andy attempt to eat those four giant pancakes (above) at Charlie Parker's, but the hunger wasn't as strong then. Now my stomach is no longer making polite requests, it is issuing demands. Its incessant nagging is interfering with my thought process.

And there is more. I have a horrible headache, and feel fatigued. Literature I have read online assures me these are symptoms of my body ridding itself of al those pesky toxins. Great. Not only are my internal organs harassing me with their cries for food; I also have to go through some type withdraw?

Oh well, only fifty-eight hours to go....

A Brief Word On Cranberry Juice

It looks like the hardest part of this whole fast is not going to be avoiding food, but forcing myself to down eight glasses of this cran juice over the course of the day. How do I put this delicately...It tastes like a mixture of antelope piss and elephant shit. The recipe is a concoction of water, unsweetened cranberry juice, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, orange juice, lemon juice, and Steiva which is an all-natural sweetener that costs six friggin' dollars for a box. I guess the Steiva helps fight back the bitterness of the cranberry juice, but it's kinda like sprinkling sugar on a dog turd. This is going to be a lot harder than I imagined.

Friday, January 16, 2009

And So It Begins

As I write this the clock strikes midnight, the witching hour, dead of night. Most of you are probably in bed or, this being the weekend, passed out or well on your way to said state. But not I. There will be little sleep for me over the next seventy-two hours for I have embarked on a perilous journey from whence I may never return...(insert dramatic music here)

Actually I will return. In point of fact I probably won't even complete this journey. As of, oh a minute and a half ago, I am on a seventy-two hour juice fast!

That's right for the next three days (or however long I last) I shall subsist on naught but water and a homemade cranberry juice. A minimum of sixty-four ounces of each.

Andy, this is stupid. Why would you do something as stupid as this, Stupid?

A good question. And you are right: this is stupid. Fasting is stupid, and fruitless (That was a pun, or play on words. I don't know if you noiticed)! There are a lot of people out there who believe the occasional fast is good for the body. They say when your body isn't busy digesting all the food you eat it can focus its energy on cleansing your body of all the toxins you absorb through processed foods, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, milk from secretly radiated cows, and so on. Apparently if you just give your body a chance to "detox" you will feel loads better.

I am not one of these people. I don't believe in detoxing, or colon cleansing, or any of that garbage. I certainly don't think depriving yourself of food for an extended duration will make you feel any better. I figure there's only one way to know for sure, and that's to just try it out for myself. I doubt I make it the entire seventy-two hours. Anyone who knows me knows how fond I am of food. But I will go as long as I can.

I plan to blog my experience throughout the whole process. I've neglected this page and writing in general over the last couple months, and this is a good way to get back into the swing of things. I'll also include some additional updates on Twitter which you can follow here. You don't have to have a twitter account to read the updates, but after seeing how awesome it is you will probably sign up. Unless you're a jerk.

I polished off a hearty meal around fifteen minutes ago so the hunger shouldn't kick in until breakfast time. In the meantime I have some cran juice to prepare.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Ironic Divide Episode One

















Our new podcast has finally arrived! We think you'll really like it.

In this episode:

- Introducing Andy & Bryan
- Bad Acting Theater: Chaos Wars
- Quick Things
- 2008 Year in Review
- New website coming soon

Intro music: "Too Drunk to Fuck" by: Dead Kennedys
Ending music: "This World" by: Supreme Beings of Leisure

Download the episode here.