Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One man's shit is another man's fetish

hmm, that doesn't sound quite right. Maybe I should stick with the one man's trash is another man's treasure version of this adage. Regardless, I give this simple phrase to you, Mr. S in Vermont, yes you. There are a few special people strategically place around the globe who have the distinction of being my sounding boards. I send them little clips, demos and unfinished, unmastered versions of songs. I have a hard time keeping a lid on it, I guess, so I trust that these people will listen and do what I'm unable to do, keep it to myself.

Mr Sanford has been kind enough to take a hard listen to a few tracks from the new album. Recently I received a phone message from the illusive Vermont man whose next trip to NYC is long overdue. The voicemail appeared to be a followup to his previous email where he seemed to have taken a very strong liking to the song, Throw that box. However this time around I was informed that one Mr. S could not wrap his head around Mamma Don't Like No Chocolate. I know. It's not for everyone. In fact one person told me that the title alone might foster suspicions of racism when coupled with my last name, German and my pasty white skin.

Music is a marvelous and splendid little thing. There are songs of mine that I think are on the weaker side that others praise and fawn over. Then there are the songs that I think are genius and other people think are silly or just don't get. Sometimes a hammer is a necessary tool as a musician. Sometimes a feather will do just nicely. Sometimes people mistake a hammer for a feather and what was meant to be a gentle caress can send an innocent nipple to the emergency room. Sometimes it's not a feather or a hammer but rather candle wax or cookies and cream ice cream. Sometimes my words are only meant to be understood by a few people who are "in the know."

I feel blessed to have sounding boards. I can't please you all, but if I had more arms, I would try. I'll please you where I can and just have to accept that I may fall short of the mark at times. In the end I've just got to do what needs to be done to complete the tasks at hand whether they be songs or sinking into the carpet and talking to god, while deciding whether I am going to cry or laugh for the devil.

next up.....God in the telephone book.

Life is short

Tell the people who are dear to you how much they mean to you.
Show kindness to a stranger.
Believe in yourself and the impact you can have on others.
Follow your dreams.
Encourage the dreams of others.
Laugh so loud that people stare at you like you're crazy.
Dance awkwardly and unashamedly embrace your age and lack of hipness.
Ignore images in magazines and commercials. They have personal trainers, photoshop, and their only job is to be beautiful.
Accept your body. Nourish it.
Dance around your living room in your underwear while playing cheesy music
(that you'd never let your friends know you enjoy.)
Open your window during a thunderstorm and scream at the top of your lungs
feel the blood course through your chest and your veins.
Smile until your face creases.
Ignore the existence of Botox.
Don't worry too much about what others think.
Life is short.

Meth=Death (part 2)

See more Kristin Chenoweth videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Don't you just want to pinch his cheeks?

Ok, seriously, Aussie diver Matthew Mitcham is absolutely adorable.
On top of that, he is a shining example and role model for little gay boys
everywhere. Yes, You can be openly gay and win a gold medal in the olympics.


In case you haven't heard, these two dashing young men were
arrested in connection to a possible assassination attempt on presumptive democratic nominee, Barack Obaama. Meth really does equal death, and if you can't handle looking this lovely, then I highly suggest you stear clear of it.

These dear readers are the poster children for the Rant's anti-drug campaign.

Monday, August 25, 2008

She will crush you with her Vagina

Look what crawled out of the rift! (nerdy Torchwood reference)
Madonna kicked off her world tour in Cardiff Wales, and by the looks of these pictures, she will crush you with her killer vagina. Listen, I'm all for fitness and keeping the crusty old body toned and tight, but there is a point when it's too much.

Please dear queen of pop, back away from the thigh master and give those lady muscles a rest...and for the love of god, quit flashing your crotch. Yes, It's a lovely crotch for a 50 year old woman, but I don't even wanna see a 20 year old woman's crotch, let alone one that has been worked to the brink and back. Thank you and god save the queen.

Friday, August 22, 2008

S.O.B. (It's hard to let go sometimes)

I have to learn to let go.
I have such a hard time releasing people from my life
who have hurt me deeply.
I hold onto them.
I mostly forgive them but
hold onto this kernel of pain and resentment.
Why do I forgive them and why shouldn't I?

There are only a handful of people for whom I have written songs.
Recently following the passage of time, I suddenly felt compelled to
send one of these songs to the man who inspired it.
That song was S.O.B., The title track from my first album.

Though I know this is a hard song to swallow and didn't
necessarily expect a reaction (or at least not a good one).
I guess I really didn't consider the possibility
that he would be oblivious to the fact that the song was
written about him and his insane behavior.
I mean, what kind of monster leaves someone they supposedly care about
stranded in Arizona?

Sometimes people really blow me away.

Oh, and where the hell is my box set of Sex and the CIty?
remember? My payment for working at HBO for that event?

Harboring such things will cause a tumor to grow in my heart.
Some people are toxic and will slowly poison me.
Releasing these crazy destructive people will free up more time to spend with the wonderful caring people in my life.
I believe that all people are inherently good, but that doesn't mean that some of them aren't full of hatred and anger.
That doesn't mean that some of them are not capable of being monsters. I have to accept that I can't fix or embrace every broken person who collides with my life.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Photo by Carrie Thomas

Baby got banana leaves in her bag
she rolls up her sleeves as she gets in the cab
The road to the station is winding and long
as she pass the plantation they be singin' this song

it goes
na na na na na
when we gonna be free
everybody sing
na na na na na
when we gonna be freeee eeeee

The man puts on his suit
ties his leather shoes
picks up the paper
reads all the news
then the elevator takes him to the 31st floor
the people at their desks when he walks in the door

they sing
la la la la la
when we gonna be free
everybody sing
la la la la la
when we gonna be freeee eeeee

free free free free free free free
no more chains now
free free free free free free free
no more pain when you're
free free free free free free

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Torchwood to return for a third season

I'm so tickled my toes are pink. One of my favorite all time shows, Torchwood will be returning to the BBC for a third season.(tv guide) The finale of season two seemed very well, um... final. As much as I prefer that a show is not drawn out longer than need be, I can't deny that I'm giddy like a school girl to know that the show will indeed be returning on BBC America in the spring of 2009. Yay, Captain Jack is back.

To fill the void left by Torchwood post season two, K and I have been watching the new version of Doctor Who. Doctor who was originally a BBC series that was on the air for 20 some odd years. Russel T. Davies, the creator of Queer as Folk (the far superior original BBC version) reinvented doctor who for the BBC in 2005. Torchwood is a spin-off of this new version. In fact Torchwood is an anagram for Doctor Who. Oh you clever brits. What will you think of next? Though I do like Doctor Who a lot, I really really love Torchwood.

Here are two clips from Episode 1 of Season 2, just to get you in the mood.

The Olympics in retrospect
(from someone who didn't watch)

cartoon by Adam Zyglis for the Buffalo Daily News

Wrought with controversy, China was host to its first olympic games. I haven't written anything about this latest installment of the olympics mainly because I can honestly say that I've only watched maybe 30 minutes (if that) of olympic programming. There is something about the olympics that is steeped in nationalism in a way that I find a bit unsettling. Maybe it's because I am a child of the cold war, with memories of everything olympic being all about beating the Soviets in some symbolic pissing contest.

I have followed a few stories regarding China's preparations for the olympics, including relocating thousands of people from their homes to build facilities to house the olympics, removing dog and other "undesirable" items from restaurant menus, closing gay bars, covering up deaths, falsifying passports so underage olympians can compete in gymnastics, and of course replacing a young girl in the opening ceremony with a lipsyncing stand-in because the child was not cute enough.

Oh, congratulations Michael Phelps for winning everything and breaking every record, but why did they put you on the cover of sport's illustrated looking like you're wearing a halter top? You kind of look like you're about to belly dance at a Moroccan theme restaurant. I know those are medals. I get it, but couldn't they have been arranged in a way that looked less like the 7 year itch and more like the breakfast of champions?

Time to sound off.
Who should be the next crazy human rights violating communist country to host the olympics? Cuba?
Oh wait, we keep Cuba off limits so as to look like we don't torture people. That will never work.

Just a note: Yes, I know there are 4 days left until the closing ceremonies, but for me, those 30 minutes of random olympic viewing were all my pretty little head could take.

Here come the brides

Photos stolen without permission from People's website. Let's see if they hunt me down like a dog and shake me until the nickels fall out of my ripped pockets.

Here's sending a huge congratulations out to newlyweds Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi. De Rossi in case you don't know is quite possibly the most gorgeous celesbian ever to roam the planet. I adored her on Ally Mcbeal and most especially on Arrested Development. Ellen of course is hillarious and not too hard on the eyes at all.

Portia's dress is gorgeous and I don't think I've seen a happier couple in quite some time. I raise a glass to you ladies. Here's to breaking new ground and showing your flannel-clad saphic sisters how it's done.

Hip Hip

Monday, August 18, 2008

The clone gospel choir

On Saturday I indulged a studio wish list item by purchasing the Abbey Road refills for Propellerhead reason.
I mentioned these in an earlier post, if you recall. (scroll down if you don't)

I've been very fixated on the demo for Duct Tape and Superglue which is sort of morphing from demo to studio track bit by bit.

I played and recorded some mellotron samples. I then recorded backing vocals in 3 part harmony. The effect of the two together is this rather amazing gospel choir sound that gives me chills in a good way. It's like I cloned myself and took 9 versions off to choir practice....such fun.

When I started recording Sunrise, I approached originally from this place rooted in African Spiritual music but centered on the idea that perhaps technology can impose a sort of slavery and disconnection that on one level seems to advance society, but on another is setting us back in so many regards.

I took a break and stepped away from the album, coming back to realize that what I thought was done is missing a few songs.

right now the songs that I am focusing on are
-Duct Tape and Superglue
-God in the Telephone Book
-Chickens and Eggs (a re-recording of this track)

I know I promised an album for the summer, but I must be flexible and realize that I would rather have something with which I feel "right" and complete. I promise you that it will be worth the wait.

P(to the)USSY

As previously posted, we recently found ourselves proud parents of an Alley Cat, after she broke into our apartment and demanded to be fed. We named her Sheba and have devoted our lives to fanning her and fulfilling her every whim.
When she first came to us, she was underweight and a little worse for wear.

I am pleased to say that after a visit to the vet on Sunday, she has reached her ideal weight and her tests for feline diseases have all come back negative. Praise bejesus.

Isn't she a sexy beast?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dar Williams to drop new album

(from her website)
Dar Williams will release her first album of original material in over three years, PROMISED LAND, on September 9th. With clean, driving production by Brad Wood (Pete Yorn, Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins), the album features 12 songs that showcase Dar's signature wide range of stories and social themes on songs including "It's Alright," "The Easy Way," and "Buzzer." Dar also does a cover of "Midnight Radio" from the acclaimed rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as a cover of the Fountains of Wayne song "Troubled Times." Lending support on the album are such renowned artists as Suzanne Vega, Marshall Crenshaw, and Gary Louris (of the Jayhawks).

I have been a big fan of Dar Williams for over ten years now. She is a true storyteller, with some songs that I consider to be lyrically genius, capable of transporting me to another time and place. Her music has definitely been one of the many sonic places from where I have been given inspiration. Though I did not connect quite as well with her last album, I have high hopes for this one.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Inspiration To Us All

When suffering through a truly crappy day, I find comfort in this official 1974 White House photo of Betty Ford.

Maybe it is her perfectly coifed hair, the way the yellow of the flowers brings out the subtle golden highlights, so elegant and complementary of her burnt orange mod dress. Maybe it's her warm smile and perfectly plucked eyebrows.
Regardless of the reason, this photo can be an inspiration to us all.

Exploiting The Mentally Disabled

Last evening I was walking past Chelsea Clearview Cinema when I saw a large group of people gathered. It took a minute before it registered that I was standing in the middle of a protest for the recently released Ben Stiller film Tropic Thunder.

Apparently there has been a bit of controversy surrounding the film's portrayal of the mentally handicapped and usage of the R-Word. I can not speak for the film as I have not seen it. I can however speak for the protest, which I found a bit disturbing and exploitive towards the mentally handicapped in a way that I assume to be more jarring than what I would expect to see in the offending scenes from said film.

There were all these people in wheelchairs, many of whom did not look like they had any choice in the matter of the protest. They were not holding signs, but rather, signs had been taped to their chests. These people looked as though they had been wheeled to the theater by someone for the sake of exploiting their disability to protest a film.

Which is worse, the use of the offensive R-word or the exploitation of the disabled people in front of the cinema?
Without the perspective of having seen the movie, it's hard to say. I'd have to cross the picket line to do so, so I'm going to have to sit this one out.

This is words-we-can't-say week on the rant.
Let's review: The N word, The F word, and today's word-we-can't say of the day;the R-word

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Faggot Bitch

Photo by Carrie Thomas

Last night I was walking down the steps to the subway platform to try and catch the train. At the bottom of the steps, the woman in front of me slowed down abruptly, causing me to step on her flip flop. Her foot slipped out and touched the floor of platform. She began to yell.

"Goddammit, Goddammit"

I stopped, acknowledged her and apologized but she kept yelling. She seemed kind of crazy. I apologized again and said that it was an accident.
She was still yelling so I started to walk away.

She yelled as I walked away

"it wouldn'a happened if you hadn' been ridin' my muthafuckin ass, you faggot bitch."

I kept walking as though I did not hear her until there was enough distance between us that I felt there would be no confrontation.

Though it would not normally matter, it is important to note that this woman was african american. The reason I imbue importance upon her race is that her use of the F-word in my mind seems incongruous to a people who suffered years of persecution, segregation and degradation under lashful tongues armed with the N-word.

My mind began to flip the situation. Had I been wearing flip flops, experienced the same situation from her perspective and turned to weak-minded hate speech substitute, the N-Word for the F-Word coming from a white man, there would have been a riot/murder on the subway platform.

I know that the best thing in this situation was to walk away from crazy, low-class, feeble-minded hatred, but regardless I felt violated.

The words echoed through my head. I found myself taken back to a place where I was 13 years old and scared to walk down the hallway at school because I knew that I would be called a faggot. Almost every day it happened. Many days I cried. I did not cry yesterday, but I will say this. As much as I do not have the right to use the N-word, unless you are of the homosexual persuasion, you do not have the right to use the F-word. So, nameless trashy lady, I doubt that you will read this, but I address this do you.

Don't you call me a motherfuckin' faggot. You don't have the right to use that word unless you want to give motherfuckin' faggots the right to use your word and I don't think you do, so back it off. You need to deal with your anger and your hatred. It is brewing underneath the surface and having your fucking flip flop come off does not give you the right to spew your venom on me. I forgive you for your ignorance, your prejudice and your hatred. I hope that one day, you are able to rise above it and behave like an adult. If you are unable to pursue that point of enlightenment, I suggest that you either stay home or keep it to yourself. There is no room for it in my world.

What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture taken of our president at the olympic games in

You've gotta be kidding. ugh.
George Bush never ceased to amaze and embarrass us as a nation.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Sam Ash, a place where customer service goes to die. A.K.A. The Story behind the donkey or The Longest Blog Title Ever

As many of you know I have been building a studio for recording music in my apartment.
I must say that I've come a long way from the demos recorded on minidisc with a radio shack microphone and the sound of a broken smoke detector beeping in the background. K, btw is one of the only people allowed to listen to those recordings.
They reside in the vault, next to the skeletons on the top shelf of my closet.

Talk about B-sides. Lord help you all.

So, as I was saying... I'm building a studio and working on demos.
There is one piece of equipment that I have needed very badly for
sound consistency and quality sake. It is a preamp, in fact the same
one that was used on part of Sirens of Brooklyn and for all the tracks on Sunrise.

After much investigation and saving of money, I decided to suck it up and eat rice for a while as I have to finish this project. It is not a choice, but a necessity. I am being pulled toward my third album and I have to put these songs on the second album before I lose focus.

I stepped into Sam Ash on July 16th in hopes of buying the preamp. It's something they carry on their website but did not have in the store. The salesguy, named Robert, said he could special order it which would take 7-10 days. The guy who helped me ( I use the word help, very loosely and with a heavy smattering of sarcasm) was talking on his cellphone the entire time, further evidence that society is surely crumbling under our feet.

So, I put down a deposit equal to about half my monthly rent and trotted away from the store, eager to receive a call in 7-10 days telling me that the preamp had arrived at Sam Ash.

Day 13(the beginning of the end)

I decided to call my salesguy on day 13 because it's my lucky number and I was eager to get the preamp so that I could work on tracks.
After giving him my order number, i got an unsettling feeling when he began asking me questions like
What did you order? What's your name? What's a phone number where I can call you back. To clarify this was preceeded by awkward stuttering. He said he would call me back in a few minutes. He did not call me back.

Three hours later, I call the store. My sales guy abruptly tells me that there was a mistake with the ordering and my order will be in soon. I ask him what soon means. His answer:7 to 10 days.

I tell him that it's already been 13 days since he told me 7 to 10 days.
He proceeds to yell at me DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT A MISTAKE IS?
suddenly every tiny hair on the back of my neck stands at attention like a cat that is about to hiss.

I restrain myself and instead say that yes, I do understand what a mistake is, but I either need the order in the next couple of days or I need to cancel the order and get the preamp somewhere else. He starts yelling again.

i respond by saying that I'm not going to be yelled at and that I need to speak to his manager.

I explain to the manger what has happened. The manager, named Tony tells me that the order was processed incorrectly and the item was shipped to the wrong store. He tells me that he will call the company that manufactures the preamp and try to get it overnighted at no cost to me. He promises me that I will have the preamp before the end of the week. This is Tuesday, btw. On Thursday, I get a call that goes to voicemail. It is the salesperson, Robert. He leaves a message telling me that the preamp will be in the store tomorrow and that I can come in and get it then.

Day 16(aka an hour of my life is wasted)

I arrived at Sam Ash Friday evening to pick up the preamp, which my saleseguy since my salesguy went out of his way to leave me a message telling me would be in the store.

I arrive at the register with my receipt. I am told by the cashier that I have to pay the balance on the order. I hand the cashier an amount of money equal to two months rent. A woman runs to the back, presumably to retrieve my preamp. She returns and asks me who told me that the item was in the store. I reply that it was my salesperson and that if it's not in the store, we've got a real problem. My skin begins to burn and my blood begins to boil. The manager, tony who promised that it would be in at the end of the week starts going into this thing about how it's a special order and it's hard to tell when it will come in and I ask him why his salesperson told me to come into the store and get it. I tell the manager that I feel like I've been lied to. He argues and says I haven't been lied to. After being unable to get any sort of anwer as to when the item will come into the store, I tell the manager that I want my money back and that I will never shop at Sam Ash again. He says that he understands and they will take care of it. The cashier tries to cancel the order and refund the money. He says he can't do it, that the order is "locked". The manager, named Richard comes over and tries to cancel it and he can't. They tell me that they can't cancel the order or refund my money until the item arrives in the store. At this point, I have been at Sam Ash for an hour. I decide that to prevent me from losing a grip I need to walk away from the store. The manger Richard tells me that the item should come into the store either Saturday or Sunday but at the latest monday. I say ok, whatever and I leave.

I met with Rob Martin, the director of the last music video and Michael (AKA Chic, AKA one of the nurses in the video).
We discussed concepts for 3 possible music videos for the next album. I drank two martinis and ate nachos. It took way too long to shake the irritation of the Sam Ash experience. I decided to relax for the weekend and try not to think about the preamp. Afterall, there are starving children and much more pressing issues in the world than my need for a metal box to fulfill my artistic whims.

(To be continued)
.....and then Day 19

On Monday, I decided to call the store and speak to Tony, the manager who promised the preamp by week's end. I was informed that he had left for 10 days of vacation. That's just great for him. I'm sure he deserves it and I really hope he doesn't get sunburned or stung my jelly fish or trapped in a hotel resort elevator with an extraordinarily smelly man for 10 hours. I kid of course. I do not wish anyone at Sam Ash ill will. I just wish that they had treated me like a valued customer.

There is nothing worse than that feeling where you know that now you have to explain everything that has happened from the beginning to a new person, essentially bringing you back to square one. The lovely thing about Sam Ash is that apparently none of the managers communicate customer issues with one another nor does it seem that they really take responsibility for a customer's issue. They just take off for 10 days vacation and let the chips fall where they may.

So, I tried to speak to the closest thing to a manager who knew what was going on, the guy named Richard. Richard said he would look into the order for me, but kept telling me that he would call me back in 5 minutes or 15 minutes and would never call me back. So I would wait and hour or two hours and call him back, so as to not be an absolute psycho about the whole thing, but seriously. Why do people say they will call in 5 minutes then not call when they know someone is already an upset dissatisfied customer? Richard assured me that the preamp was being couriered from Long Island and would arrive "Today".
I asked if it was being couriered by donkey. He said, perhaps it was. He said he was taking personal responsibility and that when I came to pick up the merchandise, I would be credited at the register for my trouble.

Fast forward to day 20. I call the store 3 hours after they open to speak with Richard. I ask the guy who answers the phone, a gentleman by the name of Alexander, if he could check on my order. He tells me that my preamp has been shipped to a store in Florida. I ask for Richard. I am told that he is off for the day. I ask if there is another manager. I am handed over to the store manager, Bobby. I now have to explain everything again to a new manager. How awesome is that?So, to be fair, Bobby is apparently the only manager at the NYC Sam Ash who has any sort of customer service skills. He not only apologized for everything, but also managed to call me back when he said he would and within an hour of speaking with him, I was told that the preamp was in the store.

I went to pick up the preamp immediately, crossing my fingers on my way. When I got to the store, the cashier grabbed the box and started to put it in the bag, but then decided to ask the other cashier who had been there on Friday if it was indeed the right item. She said that it was then proceeded to tell me that it had arrived on Friday right after I left the store. I asked her why if it had arrived on Friday was it being couriered from Long Island on Monday. I then asked the cashier about the credit to my order, which Richard had promised. Of course, He had no knowledge of it. He said I'd have to speak with Richard, but Richard wasn't here. I internally said Fuck it, grabbed my merchandise and walked out of the store.

And this my dear readers is why, after years of spending way too much money at Sam Ash in New York, I will never shop there again. They have the absolute worst customer service I think I've ever encountered. It seems to be a growing trend that customers are no longer valued or treated like people. Sam Ash is the latest victim of this trend.

On a happier lighter note, I'll let you know my feelings about the preamp shortly? Was it worth it? haha. God, I hope so.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The donkey uncovered

Sometimes a joke is so inside that
you need a proctologist to dig to the bottom of it.

Many of you may have been scratching your pretty little heads, wondering what's up with this whole search for the donkey. I was waiting for the right time to tell you. Well, rather, I was waiting for the donkey to be found. Now that the donkey has found its way to New York, I will share with you my tale of whoa, but first I will make you wait.
(cue suspenseful music)

Coming soon.... The story behind the donkey.

This Just In: Confirmed Sighting of Donkey In Southern Florida

Our correspondent, Alexander, who is on the ground in Florida has just authenticated a claim of a confirmed donkey sighting in southern florida. This contradicts earlier reports of a donkey sighting on Long Island. We will keep you posted as this story develops.

Where is the donkey?? Long Island?

The last official statements from our carribean correspondant, Richard seems to point to the donkey's last known whereabouts as Long Island.
If you have any information that might lead to the recovery of the missing donkey,
please contact us immediately.

And now a word from our sponsor

Without shameless begging, independent musicians would surely starve.