Monday, February 28, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

That was a pretty great weekend.  I had fun times, shared a few laughs, and hurt myself multiple times.  Let's get to the action. 

Friday: As always, I had a GREAT time at the Boxing Donkey!  I played a number of the new songs I've been working on ("The Cave," "Galway Girl," "Death Valley Queen," etc.) all by request.  That is what I call well timed effort!  There were a number of fun groups who sang along and made great requests, so if you are reading this and were in one of those groups, then give yourself a pat on the back!  If you're reading this and are the guy that paid me $10 to play "Let Her Cry"- then an extra special thank you goes to you!  I wish my day job paid me $10 every 4 minutes. 

I'll be back at the Donkey (300 Lincoln in Roseville, CA) on Friday March 11.  I'll be playing 9:30pm - ???.  Normally I play until 12:30 or 12:45, but on Friday I played until 1:15am.  If you all want it, who am I to refuse?

Saturday: I went to work out in the morning and had pain in my left knee.  It's so frustrating getting old.  It's like my joints have new pains each and every day.  I ended up riding the bike for 20 minutes, and I HATE riding exercise bikes.  I hate them with a passion.  The last thing I need is my ass hurting after a worse work out than running.  It's the worst of both worlds. 

Later on, I went to my brother-in-law's birthday dinner.  It was pretty fun, though nothing too spectacular happened to report.  I am bummed that I got a call for a gig and wasn't able to help out because of the prior engagement, but in no way was I going to be a dick and bail on my family.  I do pride myself with being the kind of flexible musician that can help out in last minute situations, so keep it coming if you are a musician who needs a sub or a venue that needs last minute entertainment.  Much like the songs that are requested at my shows, if I can do it, I will!

After returning home pretty late, Mrs. B. and I popped in the "Social Network."  Interesting?  Yes.  Best Picture worthy?  Eh.  I don't think so.  It was about what I thought it would be which makes me happy that I didn't see it at the theater.   Best part of the movie?  Two things- 1) the soundtrack!  2) "What's better than a million dollars?... A billion dollars!"  Nice, JT. 

Sunday: I hurt the arch of my right foot doing laundry in the morning.  See what I mean?  My rickety body is falling apart!

I was unable to run on the treadmill later in the day because of my foot injury, but it ended up being a positive in the end.  Mrs. B. has been doing "Dance Party Xtreme" aerobic classes at the gym and is performing at the Sacramento Kings game on 3/9 (vs. the Magic.)  I'm excited to go and support her.  She's been to so many shows of mine and I'm pumped to see her perform.  Anyway, from my treadmill where I was walking rather than running, I was able to see her audition in the aerobics room.  She killed it.  I was (am) very proud of her!  She's doing a great job of going to classes all the time and learning new routines all the time.  It's inspiring (and probably does keep me on a regular workout schedule as I'm going with her most days.) 

Last, I watched a little bit of the Oscars.  I'm not a huge fan, in general.  Back when I worked at Tower Records in the early 2000s, I was much more into it.  I'd watch all the movies and care about the result (go Lord of the Rings!)  Now, I could care less.  Mrs. B. made a great comment during the show.  Talking about Colin Firth's acceptance speech for Best Actor:

"This speech is about as boring as I would expect the actual movie (The King's Speech) to be." 

Well said indeed. 

Hey!  At least Trent Reznor won an Oscar for Best Original Score!  That is awesome!  I have to stop blogging now... I think I hurt myself again (yeah, I'm old.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Saved By The Bell - Best Of

It's never a bad day to talk about one of my favorite shows of all time- Saved By The Bell.  The tales of Zack Morris' shenanigans are legendary.  Moments where Slater wears a unitard are scary.  And Screech was just plain odd.  So what are the best episodes?  With so many out there, it's hard to choose, but I'll do my best.  Let me know which ones I miss.

First off, just know that none of the episodes involving Miss Bliss make the cut.  Those are second rate episodes and weren't originally even called Saved By The Bell (it was called Good Morning Miss Bliss- lame.)  Milo was ok, I guess, but Max was a lame best friend and Nikki was even more stuck up than Jessie.  Just because Zack hilariously invested his class's money into potato stocks, doesn't make those first episodes good.  Let's get it on!

- "Jessie's Song" This episode is well known and stands as a classic within the series.  The girls form a girl group called Hot Sundae and Jessie uses caffeine pills to cope with the pressure.  I bet kids today would laugh at this episode while drinking three cans of NOS.  Check out this video remix:



- "The Fight" This is one of my personal favorites. Zack and Slater have eyes on the new girl and they sabotage each other throughout the whole episode. The crescendo occurs when the two of them throw down UFC style in the middle of the Bayside High hallway. Of course they make up in the end by fighting again and accidentally knocking Mr. Belding's toupée into a punch bowl. Sounds ridiculous, but it's not, ok!?



- "The Fabulous Belding Boys" - This episode introduces, quite possibly, the coolest guy to ever be on Saved By The Bell (yes, he trumps even Zack.) Mr. Belding's brother Rod knew how to take control of the classroom. The kids fell in love with him. He allowed them to rip up the difficult history exam. He promised to take them white water rafting. And like Kaiser Soze, he disappeared one day to run off with Inga the stewardess. Here's a documentary about this great man:



"Rockumentary" I recently mentioned this episode and it really is one of the great ones. Zack goes all "Inception" and has an entire episode happen completely in his (SPOILER ALERT) dream. He dreams up a situation that has his band, "Zack Attack," rise to pop stardom. Casey Kasem is in the entire episode along with their hot cougar manager, Mindy that takes an inappropriate interest in teenage Zack. Hey! It's Zack's dream, he can do what he wants!



"The Game" This episode puts the gang on the Malibu Sands resort volleyball team. The get a ringer who is 7'4" and apparently has a brief romantic fling with Kelly (awesome!) The tall guy gets hurt and the gang has to come together to beat the rival club in volleyball so Zack can win Leon Carosi's 1966 Mustang. Sound ridiculous? Well it's not!

I really wanted a video of the high volleyball shot that is the climax of this episode, but I couldn't find one. Just watch the episode on TBS or something- it is well worth it!

There are so many great episodes that this list is by no means complete. Each episode has greatness. Do you like Johnny Dakota's drug use? How about Zack drunk driving and busting up Lisa's parents' car? Anything involving Tori? The gang waiting in line at the mall for concert tickets?  What about Professor Laskey in the college years dating 19 year old Kelly while he was 32 and her professor? Hawaiian Style? The Vegas wedding?

Take your pick, there really are some other great episodes of this classic show!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thank You Notes

You know the drill- I'm still stealing from Jimmy Fallon. I'm still making his idea worse.

Dear Blake Griffin,

Thank you for being awesome. Your missed dunks are more entertaining than Carmelo Anthony's made shots. Keep taking it strong to the hole!

Best,
Tony B.

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Dear Eye Dilation,

Thank you for making me look like Marilyn Manson and making me feel like my head will cave in. Good news though, my eyes haven't gotten any worse than they already are!

Sincerely,
Tony B.

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Dear Spring Training Games,

Thank you for getting here tomorrow! I need another season of Cubs' disappointment to get over the season of Bears' disappointment.

Bring it,
Tony B.

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Dear Legend of Zelda Ringtone,

Thank you for making me happy when my phone rings- even if it is a number I don't know or worse- a number I know and definitely don't want to pick up.

The winner is you,
Tony B.

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Dear Mexican Food,

Thank you for being so addicting and filling. I wish I could quit you- but alas, I cannot. You've weaseled your way into the heart of my stomach. I am weak to your spicy ways.

See you soon,
Tony B.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Songs I've Learned (Or Will Learn)

I don't have too much to talk about today.  Sure Carmelo Anthony is now a Knick (I could care less) and sure the Kings really are probably kind of sort of headed out of town (that'll be disappointing) so instead I'm recapping some of the new songs I've learned how to play.  Here is the list:

"Sara Smile" by Hall & Oates - One of my friend groups LOVES Hall & Oates.  They are always asking me to play songs by them.  Their love has rubbed off on me and now I fully enjoy learning new songs by this fantastic duo.  Their chord progressions are much more difficult than I originally thought they would be- they make it sound easy when it's not:



"Molly (Sixteen Candles)" by Sponge - My friend John suggested I learn this, and it took me a whole 14 minutes to get down. Still, it is a great song and fun for people to sing a long. I have to believe this song is referencing Molly Ringwald, right?:



"Little Black Backpack" by Stroke 9 - I know I mentioned this the other day, but this song is damn fun to play. I've now played it a couple times and people really get in to it and sing all the words. Now I have to figure out if I can get down to SF on April 15 to see their show!



"Lisztomania" by Phoenix - First off, this song was damn hard to learn. The lyrics are streaming and hard to get down. The chords are easy but chord arrangement is difficult. However, I wanted to learn some more modern songs to put in my collection, so this is the start of that. Great song:



"The Cave" by Mumford and Sons - Another great modern song that I'm in the process of learning. Can't wait to finish this one off:



So that's it. As always, leave suggestions. I'm still working on that Temple of the Dog suggestion, G$. It's a tough one acoustic.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Anaheim Kings... Maybe

As a Chicago sports fan living in Sacramento, I don't have much of a vested interest in how well the Northern California teams do year to year.  Will I cheer them on if they happen to be in a position of power or quality?  Sure, why not?  I cheered on the Sacramento Kings when they were trading blows with the early 2000s LA Lakers (the Kings got knocked out every time besides that uppercut Doug Christie landed on Rick Fox- that was fantastic!)  I cheered on the SF Giants last year in the playoffs and I'm sure I'd root for the A's or Warriors if they were ever good enough for me to care.  The only requirement is that if these local teams are going against one of my Chicago teams (Sharks vs. Blackhawks) then my courtesy goes out the window.

So the fine folks of Sacramento have freaked out because of THIS ARTICLE on ESPN.com.  Now, I agree it is scary, but I (and many other folks in Sacramento) knew about this possibility months ago.  Hell, you could argue that we knew about this possibility years ago.  Without a new arena in place, the financial viability of the Sacramento Kings was in danger.  Talk of a new arena has been at the forefront of conversations that would ultimately keep the Kings in the Capital of California.

I guess I can see it both ways.  In these hard economic times, why would we allocate more of our hard earned dollars to help build a new arena in Sacramento?  The team isn't good, though they have up-and-coming stars Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.  Sports isn't the be-all end-all, right?  And why should it be?

On the other hand, is it possible that a new arena (especially a downtown arena) would re-vitalize Sacramento and help bring in more money to the community?  That is definitely possible.  Restaurants in an arena area would theoretically thrive.  A new entertainment center could bring in jobs and new business opportunities.  Couple that with the fact that Sacramento's mayor is ex-NBA star Kevin Johnson, and one would think, How can this NOT happen?

The people of Sacramento have yet to be fully on board with paying for part of a new arena and time is running out:



At this point, the Maloofs have to do what they have to do to make sure their financial investment stays afloat.  The people of Sacramento can say that they won't be "held hostage" by a sports franchise, but if the city loses the Kings, we go back to being a city without a professional franchise.  We do have the fine AAA Baseball in the River Cats, but it is not the same.  There is something about having a NBA team that keeps our city relevant.  Without our team, it would feel like our city gets bumped down a peg on the scale of how much our city matters.  I know that seems harsh and possibly exaggerated (at least, to non-sports fans) but I think it is the truth. 

Assuming that the departure of the Kings would NOT create an opening for the Oakland A's to move on up to Sacramento, I don't see any positives in the Kings leaving.  Rational minds may decide to not help the Kings out and the Kings may leave, but I'm going to have to assume that if that happens, the City of Sacramento will more than likely regret losing the team they've loved for 26 years. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Case of the Mondays: President's Day

I'd like to honor all of our past Presidents by dedicating my hangover to them this morning. My weekend has been pretty awesome thus far, though.

The worst thing that happened was when I hurt my lower back.  I'm unsure if it was when I was benching at the gym or what, but my lower back hasn't felt this bad in a year.  Hopefully I can figure it out without more physical therapy, but I guess we'll see.

Since my back was all jacked up, I decided to play the original Legend of Zelda to pass some time.  I'm happy to report that I've passed the first four dungeons and the game is still quite awesome.  I read that it is the 25th anniversary of its release this year!  It's shocking to me that I was 4 or 5 when the game came out, but like I said, it has aged gracefully.

Sunday night I went to Katrina and John's where John and I started talking about the old NES and low and behold, John still has his old system.  We played the following games:

- Ice Hockey - John as the USA beat my Poland team.  I guess I should've taken all fat guys.
- RC Pro AM - This game is amazingly hard and addictive.  Still awesome.
- Contra - Yeah, we beat the entire game... of course it took almost 90 lives each to do it.
- Pro Wrestling - Watch out for Amazon Man- he'll bite your head off!

It was a fun weekend.  I can't believe I'm already the old man who believes that music and video games were much better "back in my day..." but BOTH WERE! 

Enjoy the day off- hopefully your place of employment recognizes the greatness of our former Presidents like Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bulls On Parade

As I was running my ass of on the treadmill last night, the gym was nice enough to have TNT on one of the TVs.  The Chicago Bulls faced off against the San Antonio Spurs and damn, was that an entertaining game or what?!  Derrick Rose is an absolute savage.  That is a fact.  There is no disputing it- he is the man! He is a closer and I'm damn glad he's on my team.

This morning, I figured that Chicago Sports Talk Radio would be abuzz with positive Bulls talk and I was not disappointed.  In fact, the show I was listening to introduced their segment by playing "Bulls On Parade" by Rage Against The Machine.  Perfect, right?!  I was impressed.



I started to think of other songs that might work for sports teams.  This idea is in its infancy, but let's see what other teams might have theme songs already created for them:

- "The Heat Is On" by Glenn Frey for the Miami Heat.  This song is cheesy and overly positive for the Heat (as I still hate them), but I can only imagine the look on Chris Bosh's face when they are introduced to this song in warm-ups.



- "Do You Believe In Magic?" by The Lovin' Spoonful - Well, the answer currently is "No" after their silly trades to acquire Hedo and Agent 0, but it feels like the people of Orlando would enjoy this:



- "High Enough" by Damn YANKEES - It's a stretch going with a band name rather than song title, but I'm sick of listening to "New York, New York" after Yankee games. Change it up and go with some hair band rock! C'mon young Steinbrenners- make your mark on the team!

Click Here To Listen

- "Cowboys From Hell" by Pantera - This is actually too good for the Cowboys.  They don't deserve such quality metal, but I would see Jerry Jones' reaction as his team is introduced to this.  Oh, and also, the Cowboys can really go to hell.



- And finally, if the Anaheim Ducks don't already use this, I'll be legitimately angry. A-woo-ooo!



I'm sure there are more so feel free to think of your own. Have a great weekend and stay out of trouble you hooligans!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thank You Notes

I borrow this idea from Jimmy Fallon and successfully make it worse.

Dear Miguel Cabrera,

Thank you for taking a swig of your bottle of Scotch while talking to police officers on the side of the road. Yes, they know who you are and will hit you with a baton. Have fun in the FL Prison League.

Sincerely,
Tony B.

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Dear G St Pub,

Thank you for all the memories and music experience you provided. Your place really allowed me to grow up as a musician.

Happy trails,
Tony B.

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Dear Van Exiting The Freeway,

Thank you for going out of your lane while turning to almost hit me. Then trying change lanes into me after that. Finally, thank you for tailgating me. People like you make me think we should walk everywhere from now on.

Good luck not killing yourself on the road,
Tony B.

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Dear LA Lakers,

Thank you for losing to both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Sacramento Kings this year.  It will make both cities very happy in the end when you flip the switch and win another championship for no good reason at all.  Sidenote: Gasol goes for 30 and 20 and you lose to the Cavs- just amazing. 

Where amazing happens,
Tony B.

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Dear Albert Pujols,

Thank you for deciding to go to free agency.  I'm sure I'll not thank you when the Cubs are saddled with the last 4 years of your 10 year deal, but it will be nice to stab Cardinals fans in the heart like an ornery vampire next year. 

See you next Spring,
Tony B.

PS: Vendors outside of Wrigley should probably stop selling "Pujols mows my lawn" t-shirts.  I mean, you do want him in Chicago, don't you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Web Link Wednesday

Writing five days a week is tough!  I try to be as consistent as possible, but just know that you aren't always going to get the quality you deserve.  On days like that, I'd prefer to dump some funny videos or web links on you.  Today is one of those days.  Here are some sites I like:

Lost Answers - If you miss LOST like I do, you might still think about the story from time to time.  This guy is "A Scientist" and he answers questions in a very rational, and often times sarcastic, way.  Spoiler alert, the answer to many of the Island's questions is "magic."

LOL Slater - I think G$ originally told me about this one.  As an avid fan of Saved By The Bell, this site can entertain me for hours on end.  I don't want it to ever end.  Current posts deal with the episode where Zack dreams up a full storyline about his band "Zack Attack" filled with a Casey Kasem narration! The site is sarcastic as all hell, and hilarious. 

Cracked.com - This is one of the most consistently funny websites around.  Their articles are interesting and funny.  They even hold the interest of a wider audience than I think they even intended (it's geared toward sci-fi geeks kind of, but is interesting for general folks.)  Check it out.

IGN.com - This is the site I go to for movie and TV news and reviews.  Their movie reviews pretty closely match-up to how I feel about most movies.  I'm sure they gave the "Scorpion King" 5 out of 5 stars. 

The King Of Limbs - Get excited... new Radiohead this Saturday!

That's all for today.  Enjoy the links and if you don't like the answers from the LOST guy, then ask me your LOST questions.  I bet I could put some stuff straight- or at least explain why it's just plain old "magic." 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tony's Top 10 Rap Songs From The '90s

In honor of Snoop Dogg coming to my place of employment yesterday, I figured I'd run through my Top 10 Rap songs of the 90s.  As always, this list is subjective, so if you disagree then make it known in the comments. 

A few disclaimers-

1) I'm about as white as they come.  Factor that in as you read.
2) My favorite types of music is 90s alternative rock and rock/pop in the vein of the Beatles- I do enjoy hip-hop from time to time, it's not my ultimate favorite.  Essentially, don't expect me to get into "deep tracks" or "b-sides" here.

Ok- let's roll.  PARENTAL ADVISORY, EXPLICIT LYRICS:

Honorable Mention) "Respect" by Tha Dogg Pound featuring Dr. Dre - If you like bassy beats (I do), you'll LOVE this one.  Call it what you want, just don't forget the G:



10) "Who I Am (What's My Name)" by Snoop Dogg - This song is sick! Many would say, "Tony, you so crazy about leaving 'Gin & Juice' off the list!" To which I say, I couldn't care less than Russell Brand cares about giving Katy Perry Hep C. This song is better and less played out.



9) "Going Back To Cali" by Notorious B.I.G. - What's not to like? A song about CA, by a guy from the East Coast with beef on the West Coast who also likes to eat beef (t-bone steak, cheese, eggs, and Welch's grape- to be specific.) Skip ahead in the video to 1:15 to get to the song:



8) "OPP" by Naughty By Nature - Another catchy beat and not-so-subtle sexual overtones make this song a must for the list:



7) "I Got Five On It" by the Luniz - Whether you are actually getting high or just being a young, dumb kid bumping this song in your dad's Mercury Sable, there is no denying that this song is a stone-cold lock for this list:



6) "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring LV - Using Stevie Wonder's beat to it's fullest potential (by gangsta rap standards, of course) Coolio crafts a song that really gets to the heart of the projects. And by projects, I actually mean making millions of dollars setting the scene for the movie "Dangerous Minds" then blowing it all on drugs and bad investments. Is it just me or is Michelle Pfeiffer hot in this video?



5) "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" by DMX - In the unlikely event that you ever needed me to participate in a gang shootout, I would require you to play this song on repeat in order to get me ready. Stop drop, shut 'em down open up shop!



4) "Guilty Conscience" by Eminem featuring Dr. Dre - This is one of the most creative rap songs ever written. I loved Eminem's first and second albums, and it was downhill from there (for me.) The back and forth between Eminem and Dr. Dre is amongst the best rap I've heard.



3) "Bow Down" by Westside Connection - If it's not obvious by now, I'm into rap songs will extremely bassy beats that hit hard. This song is the definition of a song that hits hard. I would listen to this on the way to basketball games in high school to get jacked for the game. Watch out though, this song will blow your speakers out!



2) "California Love" by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre - Dr. Dre is all over this list! I didn't pick one of his songs, but he's featured in so many damn good tunes. His solo stuff is great, but when having to make a Top Ten, you have to make tough calls. This song is an easy call, however. 2Pac even mentions two places I've lived in one line (SacTown, the Bay Area and back down!) I've never met anyone who doesn't like this jam. Skip to 1:40 to miss Chris Tucker in the cinematic masterpiece that is the "CA Love" music video:



1) "Regulators" by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg - I've really never met anyone who doesn't like this song either. I can't believe they sampled a Michael McDonald song and turned it into the sickest rap song of all time! Nate Dogg's smooth singing is a perfect compliment to Warren G's flow. Argue with this pick- oh, that's right- you can't!



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I hope you enjoyed this change of pace today. Make your picks in the comments and let me know what I missed. Would ya let me ride?...

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Today's post is going to be music-heavy.  Why you ask?  Well, because I played 3 shows in the 3 days this weekend.  I can feel the thumb blister on my right hand as I use the space bar while typing this very post!

Friday: 

Friday night I played a show with Automatic Rival and Ziva at the Naked Lounge in Sacramento.  I went on first and played a set of all original tunes.  The setlist went as follows:

Second Rate Song
What's Inside
What's The Past Got In Store?
Kids Playing Guns In The Street
50 Stories
You're Not Just Another Girl
Neon Sign
As You Wish
Astronomy
Saturday Boy
This Time Around

Ziva was running a little late as they were coming from San Francisco, so I filled a little more time with a couple cover tunes- "Plush" by STP and "Little Black Backpack" by Stroke 9.  Funny enough, Automatic Rival showed me later that I ruined their setlist (ruined is a over-exaggeration) because they were going to play "Plush."  The good news is they replaced it with "My Name Is Jonas" by Weezer which was awesome.  All is still right with the world.

I had a great time, enjoyed Ziva and Automatic Rival, and want to thank all of my friends who came out in support.  It was a fun show!  The best part was the 5 minute drive back to my apartment after the show!  Much better than a normal long commute!

Saturday:

Saturday night I played a 3.5 hour show at the Boxing Donkey in Roseville.  I hadn't played there in a bit, but it was fun to be back.  The crowd was rowdy before I even started which made for an interesting and fun night.  I tried out a few new cover tunes that went over pretty well and I was able to (for the most part) handle everyone's requests.  Well, besides the request for "Warpigs" which I'm not sure would even work acoustically, but overall I think most people were happy with the song selection.

I actually played "F*** Her Gently" by Tenacious D both Saturday and Sunday nights.  It was in honor of Valentine's Day, of course!  It's quite surprising how much people love that song!

I'll be back at the Donkey February 25th and March 11th.  Hope to see some familiar faces back there!

Sunday:

Much like the old days when Adam Donald and I would play every Sunday night at the G St Pub, we played one last Sunday night there.  The G St Pub is closing (for now, at least) and is scheduled to re-open in mid-May (under new ownership and it should be re-modeled.)  Anyway, Adam and I were given the chance to perform one last Sunday night there.

It really did feel like old times.  I remember playing every single week and really "cutting my teeth" on that stage.  My first ever acoustic solo performance was at an open mic there and it is the venue where I've played the most shows.  I even wrote a song loosely about the place called "Neon Sign" (track 3 on "This Time Around.")

I opened up with "Neon Sign."  Then I played "Saturday Boy" and "Second Rate Song."  After that, I went into the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind???" followed by a number of cover songs.  I had a blast playing on the stage one more time and seeing all the familiar/friendly faces at the Pub.  I'll miss it and remember all the great experiences I was able to have on that stage.

And that's it- Happy Valentine's Day to all!  Enjoy the day and know that regardless of how much sleep I've gotten over the weekend, I'm rejuvenated and ready to play more music!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shenanigans At The Pub

Yesterday I mentioned the recent story about Mark Sanchez dating (hooking up with?) a 17 year-old.  In the comments I said my minimum age of girls I went after in my single early 20s years was 21.  Well, being the rockstar that I was (yeah right, I was quite tame compared to other folks in the musician circuit, but ya know) I had some interesting experiences.  This next story was more or less approved by Mrs. B. because I'm not talking about me with other girls on the blog without her approval.  In fact, that seems like an awful idea.  This story is relevant to the Mark Sanchez story and also lets you all know how I came up with a line in my song "Saturday Boy."  Not to mention, it's mildly entertaining.

I think this happened in Spring of 2006 if I'm not mistaken.  I had not yet met Mrs. B. and I was playing shows regularly.  Each Sunday night, I played at the G St Pub with my friend Adam and we entertained the crowd with cover songs and originals.  I would play an opening set of about an hour, then Adam would take over for the rest of the night.  I should probably take one moment to recognize the G St Pub.  It is actually closing this Tuesday- which is unfortunate, but I hear it is coming back in a few months with new ownership and hopefully new (or no) carpet.  Great times there- It's really where I "cut my teeth" as a musician, and for that, I am grateful. 

Anyway, one Sunday night, I played a pretty solid set and there was a group of 6 girls dancing during the duration of it.  One of the girls kept yelling out her name (we'll call her "Jane Doe" as to not reveal anyone's true identity.)  She kept yelling her name quite clearly and saying it was her 21st birthday.  I wished her a happy birthday over the mic using her full name.  This made their group go nuts, as per usual with drunk girls who are celebrating a friend's date of birth.  It's always nice to have enthusiastic and/or drunk people listening and dancing during a set. 

I finished up the last song and got off stage.  I was approached by one of the girls in the group (not the girl who's birthday it was.)  She asked me, "Do you want a girlfriend or a wife?"*

*This is where I got the lyrics "I ain't asking for a girlfriend or a wife" in "Saturday Boy."  Track 7 on "This Time Around"- available on this blog and on iTunes!

I replied, "Uh, not really."  I was a single musician- not looking for anything serious.

She said, "How about just for tonight?"

Now I was intrigued.  Sunday nights were never really conducive for massive debauchery as I still had to work in the morning, but this scenario was getting a little bit better.  However, I wasn't that into the girl who was asking the question, but I heard her out.

"Do you want to make out with my friend?  It's her birthday."

I obviously knew this, as the girl was yelling at me while I was on stage.  I agreed and had a mini-make-out session in front of the 5 friends.  I think some of them took pictures, which I'm happy to say I've never seen.  They all cheered and that was pretty much the end of that.  The girls were pretty drunk and like I said, I was not one to take advantage of wasted girls or do anything too crazy on a regular basis.

The next morning I went into work.  My friend called me up and I relayed the story to him.  I told him the exact same story I just typed above and he asked, "Was the girl hot?"  I said, "Yeah, I think so... but I did have a bit to drink and it was pretty dark..."

This got me thinking... the girl kept yelling her full name at me, so I could probably see a picture of her on Facebook.  With my friend on the phone, I looked up "Jane Doe" on Facebook.  As expected, she was pretty hot.  Her profile was unprotected, so I could look further than just her profile pic.  I looked at a few more pics and confirmed that she was indeed good looking.  Crisis averted, right?  Well, then came one more piece of info I was not expecting...

Her profile said that she would graduate college in 2010.  At first, it looked weird, but I'm not sure my brain made the connection.  A second later I told my friend that she is in the class of 2010... and sure enough I checked her birthday and she was 18 fricken' years old!  That lying freshman!  I told all this to my friend and he responded with, "YES!  This makes the story WAY BETTER!!!"  He was laughing hysterically at me and I also had a nice little chuckle. 

Side-note: Happy Graduation "Jane Doe!"  Assuming you made it out in 4 years.  Good luck roughing it in the real world!

Friend was probably right about the story being funnier, but it's a good thing things didn't go any farther.  I know she was still "legal," but seriously, that is too young.  I was 25 at the time, and like I said, 21 was my minimum age.  She only tricked me because she also tricked the bouncer into letting her in. 

I'm under the impression that Mark Sanchez was not tricked into doing whatever he did with a 17 year old, but I can definitely see how something like this misunderstanding could happen.  I hope you enjoyed this Friday story and that it provided you insight into the life of a tame musician.  Have a great weekend and remember I'm playing shows tonight at the Naked Lounge in Sacramento and tomorrow at the Boxing Donkey in Roseville!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Catching Up

I'm sneaking a post in here.  My computer is still indeed dead, but I'm going to bring it to a place in the hopes of resurrecting it.  Let's get caught up:

- I went to my friend's brother's funeral yesterday.  I'm very glad I went to support him and his family.  It was good to see other folks I hadn't seen in awhile even though the circumstance was less than ideal.  It was a tough day, but the service was positive and I really enjoyed the words of remembrance my friend said at the church.  It was a great mix of seriousness, humor and emotion. 

- My love for the Scorpion King  will never die.  I know I've mentioned this on the blog before, but my group of friends that were at the funeral yesterday gave me more heat at the reception for "loving the Scorpion King" because I said it was entertaining back in 2001.  I admit I was a soft movie critic back then, and I'm now more likely to rip a movie I don't like.  The Scorpion King is a BAD movie, but as one of my friends said yesterday, "Tony, you might as well embrace it- we're going to mention this every time we get together in a large group."  He's right.  From this day forward, my favorite movie of all time is the Scorpion King- followed closely by Jurassic Park 3.  I can't believe The Rock didn't win an Oscar for his performance in SK- what a powerful actor that guy is!  

- Mark Sanchez dated/is dating?/hooked up with a 17 year old?  Yikes.  With his USC allegation and now this cropping up, we might have a pattern here.  I'm not sure if this is a function of QBs getting more out of hand or the media/public just being able to find out more information on guys.  I'm sure many athletes throughout history have done shady things, but the public didn't have access to finding things out as easily.  If Sanchez keeps winning, he'll be ok, but I do recommend he cools it with the young'uns.  Roman Polanski is a great director but there's a good reason he's not allowed in the US, if you know what I'm sayin'. 

- New Foo Fighters album was played live by the band- LISTEN HERE!  Still my pick for the Super Bowl halftime show- well, that and Damon Bruce's suggestion of Frisbee catching dogs.  Who could hate that? 

- Sorry about the lack of quality here.  It feels like personal and professional avalanches have fallen upon me, but when looking at everything, I don't have it that bad.  Going to a funeral really puts thing in perspective.  Daily stresses sometimes make us forget that, in general, our lives aren't that bad.  It also helped give me a kick in the pants to live with a bit more of a sense of urgency, which is helpful. 

Enjoy the day and I'll work on making up for this lack-luster week.  Pitchers and catchers report on Sunday... awwwww yeah!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No Post

My computer took a bath in water and is now broken. I'm going to have to get a new one soon, but for today, there is no post. It's too bad- I was going to be really funny (yeah right.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Case of the Mondays: Super Bowl Edition

As I've stated previously, I was less than excited about this game.  I'm sure if I were a Packer fan, I'd be pumped about the game.  But I doubt I'm alone in thinking that this was a pretty boring Super Bowl.  Had the Steelers even gotten one more first down during the last drive, it would have qualified as exciting.  As it stands now, the Packers had the lead the whole time and I just assumed they would win to infuriate me.  This was also true.  But let's talk about the game with a little bit more detail.

- Christina Aguilera forgets the words to "The Star Spangled Banner?"  And during the same week that Tosh.0 does a web redemption for someone who forgot the words to that very same song?  It's eerie, and I feel like Daniel Tosh is responsible.  Maybe he can get X-Tina to come on for a web redemption of her own. 

- The sound was not up all that loud where I was watching the Super Bowl, so I couldn't hear all that much of what Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were saying during their commentary.  This vastly improved my viewing experience.

- If I can play Denny Green for a moment- The Packers are who we thought they were!  The Packers are apparently unstoppable on opening drives.  I've seen them do this every game during the playoffs.  I'm not going to look it up to be sure, but I think they've scored on each of their first possessions during their playoff run.  Good defenses were able to adjust (Bears and Steelers for the most part) and the Falcons could not so they were blown out.  The Eagles are in the middle.  My guess is the key to beating the Packers is to get a stop on their first possession.  If you can get them to play from behind, you'd have a much better shot at beating them, but no team was able to do that.  I'm stating the obvious, aren't I?  Well, then let's move on to the next point.

- Super Bowl commercials are awful.  Companies seem to waste their millions of dollars on spots that aren't good.  The VW Darth Vader commercial was entertaining, but beyond that, I was unimpressed.  For those of you that liked the Budweiser rugged cowboy --> "Tiny Dancer" sing-a-long- just stop.  That commercial was awful.  I expect more from Budweiser.  That was awful.

- The Halftime Show... I don't know what to say about it.  It was pretty boring for me.  Also, whoever set the lights for the "V" on their "L-O-V-E" dance floor is not going to have a job for very long.  Did you notice the lighters were out on at least 3 dance floor squares?  I'm not sure there is a way to have a good Halftime Show.  Great artists seem to be minimized on such a big stage.  Average Pop artists are even worse.  I think G$ suggested the Foo Fighters a year or two ago, and I'd like to see what they could do on that type of stage.  Otherwise, the NFL powers that be may want to re-think how the Halftime Show is presented.  I think the format makes it impossible for an artist to really translate their talents to the known universe. 

- Aaron Rodgers destroys Brett Favre's legacy.  This could be the only redeemable quality of the Packers championship.  Brett Favre will always have his loyalist fans- that is a fact.  But quite a few Packer fans had jumped on the A-Rod bandwagon already, and anyone left on the fence is now firmly planted in Rodgers' camp.  It is wonderful watching Favre's legend crumble before our eyes.  He obviously was a great quarterback, but his diva-esque attitude has finally caught up with him.  If there is a Packer fan that agrees or disagrees with me, I'd love to hear from you.  Before you disagree with me, though, close your eyes and picture Favre in a Vikings jersey- then write to me.

- Big Ben wasn't clutch this time.  Hey, 10-3 in the playoffs with 2 rings is really, really good.  I'm not going to bash Roethlisberger, but he did have the chance to go down and win another Super Bowl, but was unable to get it done.  Why he didn't throw shorter to convert the 3rd and 5 at the end of the game, I'll never know.  And realistically, his 4th down pass was catchable.  It would have been a great play by Mike Wallace, but I guess his 60 Minutes had run out (get it?  Mike Wallace- 60 Minutes- eh eh?  No?  Awwww...)  The Packers were, in fact, the better team last night. 

- Ramifications for the future.  I'm very much looking forward to next year.  However, the Packers are going to be a scary opponent for years to come.  I also hate admitting that the freaking Detroit Lions are actually knocking on the door of being pretty good as well.  The NFC North is going to earn it's nickname of the Black and Blue division in the coming years. 

I hope you all had more fun watching the Super Bowl than I did.  It's tough to watch a rival win a championship, so I couldn't get into the game as much as other people probably did.  In the last decade, I've seen the White Sox win one, the Cardinals win one, the Bears get beat by the Colts, and the Packers win.  It's disgusting.  I'm putting all my eggs in the 2011 Cubs' basket*... let's do it boys! 

*This is written with hope and sarcasm all rolled into one.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bad News & The Super Bowl

It is with a heavy heart that I write today.  My friend EJ's brother, Lorenzo, passed away yesterday at the age of 24.  I don't have much to say other than I'm saddened and I'm keeping the Verceles family in my thoughts and prayers. 

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It's tough to go into a Super Bowl prediction after such a tragic announcement, so I'll make this brief. 

The Packers are favored at -2.5 and the Over/Under is 44.5.  I'm 100% bias and cannot bet on the Packers.  The Steelers (I think) are the better team and will win.  The defenses seem pretty good, but were shredded the last time these two teams played each other. 

I'm not betting on the game and to be honest, I barely want to watch because I don't care for either team.  My guess, though is:

Steelers 30
Packers 21

I'll take the Steelers and the Over. 

Have a great Super Bowl weekend, and throw the Verceles family some good vibes in this tough time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thank You Notes

Once again, I'm taking Jimmy Fallon's idea and making it worse.  Enjoy the results...

Dear Jay Cutler,

Thank you for not clearing things up about your injury.  All you need to do is have a 5-10 minute conversation with someone on camera and this likely blows over.  Or blows up even further.  Let's recap quickly:
1) You look like a wuss when coming out of the game because no one tells anyone what is wrong with you.  You then stand on the sideline and look physically ok (which may or may not be misleading.)
2) Many question your toughness, you get misty-eyed.
3) Brian Urlacher defends you.  I respect his defense.
4) You then TAKE THE STAIRS at a restaurant for your postgame meal.  C'mon man!
5) It comes out that you have a torn MCL.  This makes things a bit more understandable.
6) On 1/27, TMZ releases a video of you walking around in LA shopping with your girlfriend.  Again- c'mon man!
7) Today, it is known that you were given a painkilling shot at halftime, then went back in the game for a series against doctors' orders. 
In the end, if you want to pay me $100,000 a year (+travel expenses), I'll follow you around and make sure that don't do dumb stuff to hurt your image.  Seriously, I'll do this for you, the Bears, and Bear fans everywhere.  We'll get you a jazzy and make sure people realize that you actually are hurt- and if you're not, we're not going to fuel the fire of bad public perception.  Email me and let's get this started!

I'm serious,
Tony B.

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Dear Johnny Depp,

Thank you for making $20 million for acting in "The Tourist."  It helps me realize that even I might be able to trick someone into paying me a lot of money to do mediocre work.  What a great confidence boost!

Oh, and that last "Pirates" movie was pretty bad as well.

Loved you in other stuff,
Tony B.

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Dear White Stripes,

Thank you for announcing your break-up.  However, didn't you break up like 10 years ago?  I mean, you're a divorced couple in a band together- that doesn't seem like a recipe for a successful band.  Also, is the only loser in this Meg White?  I know Jack White is in other bands, but I've never actually heard anything else that Meg has done.  Good luck finding a new band that plays everything in 4/4 with only the most basic of beats. 

One and two and three and...
Tony B.

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Dear Fringe,

Thank you for moving to Friday nights.  I've actually been enjoying the time slot a bunch... but if you get canceled I will be raging mad.  You are pretty much the only good show on these days, so don't go the way of great shows before you (i.e. Carnivale- HBO, I'm still angry about that one.)

Keep it rolling,
Tony B.

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Dear Super Bowl,

Thank you for giving me a match-up that excites the general public, but could not be any less exciting for me personally.  I don't care for either team or their fanbases.  Seriously.  Do we really need another Steeler championship? No.  Do we need a Packer championship?  HELL NO.  I guess the only good thing about a Packer championship is that it would probably turn more Packer fans against Brett Favre- and that's always a good thing. 

Unexcited,
Tony B.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Complaint Section

This is going to quickly turn into "You Know What Really Grinds My Gears" by Peter Griffin, but today I'd like to talk about people that I've come across that truly bother me.  This will be an easy post to write because I feel like I run into people on a daily basis whose actions burrow into my consciousness like an over-active earwig.  I'd like to encourage everyone to write about bothersome characters in your own lives in the comments.  As Carl Weathers would say, "Here we go!"

Fat White Trash Guy At The Gym - The gym is definitely a place for me to get angry about other people and their actions.  If you recall, just last week I mentioned a kid wearing skinny jeans and a black t-shirt with an airbrushed picture of Jacob from Twilight working out.  Or how about the Steroid Guy that I've mentioned in the past.  Remember him?

Well, this new guy was a highly obese dude who grunted rather than actually speaking.  I was at a urinal peeing and I hear this guy from behind me grunting to someone as he walked into the bathroom, "Yeeeeeah, you gah dah do what you gah da doooo (long sigh.)"  It was like he was out of breath from talking and walking.  I'm trying to keep to myself but this guy is essentially making a scene of him going #1.  He takes a deep breath, an even longer grunting exhale and uses his forearm to brace himself against the bathroom wall.  As he starts peeing, he lets out an over-exaggerated, "Aaaaaaaaah, dat feels nice... Oooooh yeah, dat's it... time to work off dat hamburger..."  I broke out of their as fast as possible.  I didn't want him to capture me and put me in a skimpy bikini and chain me to his bedpost:



 



















Homeless Guy Who Lectures People After Getting Denied Change - If you've seen the South Park episode "Night Of The Living Homeless," you know that hobos can be like zombies looking for change to feed their various addictions.  Now, I know this is going to seem heartless on some level, but to read the rest we'll have to assume that I'm talking about the type of homeless person that isn't actually trying to better themselves, but is using people's change/charity to continue to be a drunk homeless person.  I'm sure there are exceptions to this scenario, but in my own experience I'm more likely to donate directly to a shelter or even a group that is trying to create better conditions in Africa than I am to giving a homeless person money directly. 

So I'm walking out of Safeway with Mrs. B. and a load of groceries, and I see a guy in my peripheral that is definitely going to ask us for money.  Not food.  Not something that will actually help him.  He wants money.  He wanders closer to my car and asks, "Can I have some money to help get me something to eat?"  Like I said, I physically have food in my possession and am loading it in my car, but he's looking for money, which again bothers me.  I say, "No," and he begins to get offended.

"A bunch of saints around here tonight," he replies with a venomous tone.

I'm not sure what to expect of a homeless guy, but if I applied for a job and the company said, "Sorry, you didn't get it."  Then I did an about-face and said something like, "Fine- I didn't want to work for your stupid company anyway."  I can't imagine they would regret not hiring me.  It's the same thing here.  I don't regret not giving this guy change because he was rude after the fact. 

I'm not sure why he felt like there would be saints running around the parking lot of of a Safeway in downtown Sacramento, but it goes to show me that he hangs out there expecting charity.  It's really hard for me to get into that.  Once again, I know some folks are put at a disadvantage early on in life and might have fallen on hard times, but it's hard for me to be an enabler to all hobos and continually give out change everyday (which I'm asked for change damn near everyday living in Sacramento.)  Enough of this rant- it makes me look heartless, which I don't think I am- maybe I'll sometime soon I'll write about the bum that my Mom gave change to 15 years ago that set me down this "heartless" (rational?) path...

Restaurant Servers That Use Nicknames For Their Customers - I know you think you sound cool and that customers just eat it up positively, but if you call me "Boss" during my meal, it will not please me and you will get tipped less.  There is one acceptable nickname and that is "Sir."  To be honest, I don't even like that.  Your job is to be helpful, accurate, and refill my table's drinks as fast as possible.  If the food is delayed (probably not your fault), communicate that sincerely and effectively and you have just won yourself a 20-25% tip!  Yay for you!

On the other hand, if you called my "Boss" (especially multiple times- overuse is the worst) during the meal, your tip has now been decreased.  I'm not sure there is a scenario where I wouldn't leave any tip, but I'll go down to 10% if you keep up those shenanigans.  My police officer friend says "Boss" is originally a prison term (maybe Clarkster can also shed light on that) so I really don't need some naive server thinking that is a cool thing to say.  Just don't do it.  "Chief" is not OK either.  As Dane Cook would say, "I'm not a Chief.  I'm not an Indian Chief.  I'm not a Kansas City Chief.  I'm not a Chef which can sometimes be confused with Chief on paper."   Nicknames are not appreciated because we're not friends- it comes off as patronizing "my good man."

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Ok.  Phew.  That was a load off my mind.  It might have been overly negative, but now I feel much better.  If you have your own examples or have comments on my complaints, leave them in the comments section.  Other than that, may your day be filled with enjoyable folks that don't make you angry or annoyed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ouch

In my line of work, canceled events are going to happen.  It's just a fact of the business.  It could be weather related when canceling an outdoor event or it could be something as simple as an artist getting sick. 

However, having two concerts cancel less than a week from each other is NOT an ideal situation for anyone.  My usual stance is to never talk about work on this blog, which is why I'm being pretty vague about it all, but just know that I'm going bonkers today.  It's hard to build momentum or buzz for our venues when artists cancel so close to each other.  It is a bad coincidence, but the public doesn't care much about that- they want their shows and they don't care what it takes to get them. 

Hey, I'm the first one to recognize that the flu can be debilitating.  I got it earlier this year and could move for two days.  Luckily, I didn't have shows of my own those days, otherwise I would have had to cancel.  For the record though, I actually have never canceled a performance of my own.  Shows my have been canceled due to weather or something on the venue side, but I personally have never canceled a show.  I'm sure I just put a super-jinx on myself right there, but oh well. 

My life isn't bad, and I don't need you to play any of the worlds' smallest violins for me. Just know as you go about your day, there is a good chance I'll be getting smart-ass emails from angry college students that are naive to the way the world works.  They don't care that I personally didn't give Mike Ness flu-ridden mouth-to-mouth- they only care about the fact that there is no show tonight.