Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Case of the Mondays: Tuesday Edition

That was a solid weekend!  Besides the Cubs being just a terrible, terrible baseball team- the rest of the weekend was fun. 

Friday:

I played music at my friends' wedding in Placerville.  Jenelle and Dustin had an extremely fun wedding with great food and a Chicago tribute band!  Pretty sweet stuff.  I played a little bit during the ceremony, then ran down to the reception site and played during the cocktail hour.  After that, I was free to hang out and mingle which was a lot of fun.  I'm proud to have been involved and congrats to Jenelle and Dustin!

Saturday:

Moving forward from the home buying debacle, we are rearranging our apartment to give us a fresh living space.  So far so good as we've been putting ancillary items in storage and utilizing the space more effectively.  I have to give Mrs. B. a lot of credit, she's quite the interior designer and it really hasn't broken the bank. 

Later in the day, we went to Katrina and John's for a quick snack, then it was off to Roseville for some roller skating.  Wait- what?!  That's right, roller skating.  In an event to recapture our youth, I purchased a Groupon that gave us entry, skate rental, pizza and soda.  Hilarious stuff.  Skating was ultimately fun, but unfortunately, none of the skates were great fits for our adult feet.  I know my ankles were a bit swollen the remainder of the weekend. 

After doing a kiddie activity, we had to redeem our adulthood by going to Thunder Valley Casino.  I had never been, but my impression was pretty much the same as any other California Indian Casino- not as good as anything in Nevada.  On par with the others, there was no real Craps, no sports betting, and no free drinks while gambling (all California laws- I'm sure they'd have it if those things were legal.)  Video Poker becomes the #1 game because I'm still not down with Blackjack or any of the other card table games. 

The gaming was ok.  I got down a decent amount and then got a 4 of a Kind to come back to almost even.  In the end, we drove back to Katrina and John's, had a few drinks and went to bed.  Good times. 

Sunday:

Sunday was fun because it involved sleeping in (we spent the night at K & J's) had an awesome breakfast, got to go swimming, John and I jammed on the guitars, then we BBQ'ed and watched baseball.  Solid day for sure.  Sure my fantasy baseball team is pathetic, but at least I could distract myself from that fact with fun activities. 

Monday:

Mrs. B. and I went to the gym at 9am on our Memorial Day.  After getting in a solid workout returned home to keep working on our apartment.  It's looking much better than before and it allows for more overall space than before.  Mrs. B. also called Comcast because our bill keeps going up while our internet connection has regressed to 1998 dial up.  They gave us 6 months of HBO which is nice because I plan on catching up on Game of Thrones. 

The weekend was fun and relaxing- just the way Memorial Day should be.  This coming weekend I have 3 shows in 2 days so I'm sure I'll have more interesting stories, but for now I'm content with the fact that my boring weekend was just what I needed to recoup some energy. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicago Bulls: The Season Ends With A Thud

The title sounds epic, but I truly don't have much fire power left to really give a full review of the Bulls' season.  I'm going to give a quick list of my biggest impressions of the baby Bulls' 2010-2011 run.

- Derrick Rose took his giant step forward into super-stardom.  The MVP of the league is only 22 years old.  He will only get better and better.

- I did NOT expect the Bulls to grab the #1 seed in the East.  Before the season, the 3 seed was the ceiling that I believed they could achieve.  They proved me wrong and exceeded expectations.  This is a huge positive step in the right direction.

- Taj Gibson will be a great player.  Not a #1 guy, but a great third piece on some team.  It would be too bad if the Bulls have to give him up...

- Speaking of which, now that the season is over for the Bulls, rumors of Dwight Howard being available need to be followed up on by the front office.  I know the Lakers could be the more likely destination, but word is that the Lake-Show won't give up young big man/stripper Andrew Bynum in exchange for Superman.  Good luck with all that, LA.  Come up with a competitive package Bulls, and get it done.

- Joakim Noah is a great defender, but his goofy offense allows defenses to sag in, crowd the lane and create problems for Derrick Rose.  Also, Noah did not pay attention to Kobe's commercial about not using homophobic slurs.  He could be trade bait as part of the package that gets D. Howard.

- Carlos Boozer is overpaid.  Sometimes I like his post moves, other times I'm annoying by his slow, overhead shooting form.  He should have spent a summer with my high school coach- his shot would've been much, much improved.

- Tom Thibodeau is a very good coach.  He definitely is the right guy in Chicago.  Unfortunately, he was actually out-coached by boy wonder, Eric Spoelstra in the Eastern Conference Finals.  I'm interested to watch the adjustments that Thibs will make next year.

- I'm now cheering for the Mavs.  I really, really hate the Heat.

In the end, I'm more interested in NBA basketball than I have been in years.  Once the Bulls won 6 championships in the 90s, I never thought I would be able to enjoy basketball again.  How could I ever feel attached to a team when I already experienced the greatness of Jordan and Pippen?  Well, this Bulls team got me.  I was emotionally invested and their loss to the Heat hurts.  In a way, it's a good thing.  Not good that they lost, but good that my love for the Bulls has returned to distract me from the Cubs terrible season thus far.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and I'll see you back here next week!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thank You Notes

Unsure when I will stop being thankful, but soon we'll find a new Thursday schtick... for now- Jimmy Fallon's sketch is stolen again.  (PS: Don't forget to buy the Thank You Notes book on Amazon.com at 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern today.)

Dear Silverchair,

Thank you for breaking up.  I had no idea you were still together.  I like most of your material, but didn't feel like there was much of a chance of your playing the CA State Fair, which is probably the only place I'd go to see you these days. 

Wait 'til tomorrow,
Tony B.

---

Dear Dallas Mavericks,

Thank you for beating the OKC Thunder last night.  I promise I will cheer for you if the Heat beat the Bulls tonight (or in any of the next 3 potential games.)  This would be a complete role reversal from 2006 when I watched a finals game inside the ESPN Zone in Las Vegas and cheer for D. Wade and Shaq.  Any Heat sympathy has sailed this past summer.

Good luck,
Tony B.

---

Dear Barry Bonds,

Thank you for offering to pay for any college bills accrued by Bryan Stow's two children.  That is a sincerely nice gesture and really goes a long way during this horrible predicament the Stow family has gone through. 

Somebody wants to earn some good will to get into the Hall, eh,
Tony B.

---

Dear Mario Kart,

Thank you for being the most fun video game series ever.  Side note: Thank you Blue Shells for being the most frustrating and annoying weapon in any video game ever. 

"I'm the best!"
Tony B.

---

Dear Buster Posey,

There's no thank you here- just get better.  Holy crap you got lit up at the plate!  That was a bad collision.  Maybe... thank you SF Giants, in advance, for changing Posey's position in the field after he's better.  Ouch.

Get well soon,
Tony B.

---

Dear Hangover Part II,

Thank you for potentially being as good as the first one.  I know that is probably not possible, and that I will ultimately set expectations too high before going in to see it, but it does give me something to look forward to.

To the Wolfpack,
Tony B.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

90s Music: Radiohead

Radiohead started their rise to stardom in the 90s. With the release of under-rated "Pablo Honey," no one could have predicted where the band's natural evolution would have taken them. Today, we'll focus on my favorite 90s songs by Radiohead that I love. I'm not taking into account whether the songs were singles, hits, or even b-sides. Hopefully I can do this band justice.

"You" - The opening track on "Pablo Honey." Hello world, meet Johnny Greenwood and his dirty guitar licks. Just try to listen to this song and not rock out. The simple intro guitar riff breaks into solid alternative rock.



"Anyone Can Play Guitar" - "I wanna be, wanna be Jim Morrison!" Most people can relate to that. This is just another great example of what alternative rock should be. Hey, I love "Kid A" as much as the next guy, but there's nothing wrong with this type of straightforward rock.



"I Can't" - I still find myself warming up for shows, occasionally, by playing this opening riff. I know most people can relate to the lyrics when they get into a rut. The juxtaposition of the major key pop rock with the sad lyrics is what gives this song such a great balance.



"Just" - BEST VIDEO EVER. What did the guy whisper?! The world will never know.



"My Iron Lung" - At first listen I thought this song was relatively similar to "Creep," but when you listen a little more carefully, this song tops it in a number of ways. The guitar riff to start is clean yet complicated songwriting. The slick riff transitioning to the chorus is perfect rock. The chorus itself is dirty and I still don't know exactly what the meaning of the lyrics are, but it doesn't matter. Just rocks.



"Black Star" - Probably my favorite Radiohead song. Check out this acoustic version.



"Killer Cars" - Such a fantastic b-side. It's almost unreal this isn't on a regular LP, but it makes sense that Radiohead has more awesome songs than room on albums.



"Airbag" - When I got "OK Computer" in 1997, I had no idea what to expect. "Airbag" opened the album up and I knew it was going to be a great ride. The drum and bass working together in the middle of the song is so phenomenally impressive I can't even stand it.



"Paranoid Android" - This video is quite trippy as well. Not up to the "Just" level, but extremely... ummm... interesting? The song itself goes through movements, almost like a classical music piece, that meld together many different styles of music. It is a modern masterpiece.



I love Radiohead. It's obvious that "The Bends" is my favorite record by them, but all of their music is addictive. Call out some of your favorite Radiohead tunes from the 90s and as always, feel free to debate the merits of my list.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interleague Play

Everyone complains about Interleague Play during the MLB season. It seems like every sports website I view or sports radio show I listen to have their own opinion about why Interleague Play should just end. Here is how many of these arguments go:

[sarcastically] "We've got a great match-up between the Pirates and Blue Jays- of course everyone looks forward to that classic match-up!"

Ok, we get it. It's an unusual match-up with ZERO rivalry involved. But this is a TERRIBLE argument. Why, you ask? Because this very same argument works for regular match-ups as well. Watch-

[again, sarcastically] "We've got a great match-up between the Mariners and Royals- of course everyone looks forward to that classic match-up!"

See, you wouldn't care about that stupid game either. So what's the harm with having fresh games that don't happen all that often? What's wrong with having pitchers hit and not be able to run the bases? What's wrong with allowing natural Interleague rivalries develop (A's/Giants, Cubs/White Sox, Yankees/Mets, etc.)? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Oh, so baseball is supposed to ignore the inflated attendance numbers during AL vs. NL games? Yeah, I love when businesses go away from profit to adhere to tradition. It's that kind of backward thinking that drives our country into the ground. "It's always been like this, so we can never change!" That attitude never got us anywhere and it doesn't work in this situation either.

The next argument is unfair scheduling. For example, this year the Cardinals play the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rays from the AL East while the Brewers play the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. People will argue that this is unfair because the Yankees and Red Sox are much better than the Blue Jays. I say- who cares? These kinds of things happen in all sports. What if the schedule was made like this and the Yankees and Red Sox happened to have off years and it actually swung into the Brewers favor? This type of scheduling shenanigans happens in the NFL all the time. I believe if your team is good, they will beat whoever is on the schedule. If they are bad, they will lose. Even the Cubs managed to beat the Red Sox once, so it can be done, NL Central teams. Back in 2003, the Cubs beat the Yankees 2 of 3 at Wrigley and it was no coincidence that the '03 Cubs ended up in the playoffs. Beat teams on your schedule and stop whining.

I like Interleague Play. It keeps the schedule fresh and the rivalries I mentioned up top are typically very good (A's and Giants fans exhibited great rivalry this past weekend even though the Giants swept the A's- it just adds fuel to the fire.)

Feel free to disagree, but the fact remains, schedules may not be fair if one division happens to be weak one year versus the next. Imbalance is always going to happen and it's not Interleague Play's fault. Fan attendance, interest, and money does not lie. It's good for the game.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Case of the Mondays: Non-Apocalypse Edition

So the Rapture never happened, eh?  Surprising to say the least.  I'm only assuming that God has gotten caught up watching "The Killing" and He wants to know WHO KILLED ROSIE?!  After the show is over, watch out Earth- you might be expendable. 

Friday:

I played my first show in Danville at the Peasant & the Pear restaurant.  It was an interesting show.  Very slow off the start with an older woman telling me to continually to turn my volume down because she wanted to be able to hear the conversation at the table.  Besides yelling "FREE BIRD!" this might be the most bothersome request of a musician.  I get it, I'm not trying to blow anyone away at a restaurant or brewery, but I'm also hired to entertain.  They don't pay me money to turn off my PA and be as inconspicuous as possible.  Making hand motions at me with your back turned is even more patronizing.  In the end, they decided to move inside, but the younger woman in the party came up and told me I was doing a good job and that the older woman was "just old."  Agreed.

My friend Barrett came out and it was great to see him.  After the show, we packed up my stuff and went to another bar for a couple beers.  He had an app on his phone that controls the jukebox (it has to be a certain type and you have to purchase or gain credits.)  We kept choosing the "play it next" option which was probably confusing for the folks that had just put in $10 worth of Ke$ha or whatever they were playing.  How about you enjoy some "Rich Girl?"  We eventually put on "Pony" by Ginuwine which made the rest of the people go crazy again.  It was a fun time.

Saturday:

Mrs. B. and I spent a good portion of the day re-arranging our apartment.  Since we need to re-group before going on the house hunt again, we decided to freshen up the apartment.  It's amazing what you'll find when you move your large and heavy furniture.  We now have double the amount of cat toys because we found so many under the wardrobe.   It is unfortunate that our brand of wardrobe makes cat toys appear rather than transporting us to Narnia, but I digress. 

In the evening, we went to hang out with our friends Erik and Natalie who just bought a house in the Carmichael area.  I really like their house, I very much enjoy that they have a pool table, dinner was fantastic and they have a tiny little kitty named Roxie running around.  It was an overall fantastic time! 

Sunday:

Admittedly, Sunday was less productive than planned.  I did a few loads of laundry and we did get to the gym, but I wanted to do more work around the apartment.  However, I got caught up watching the Heads-Up Poker Challenge (Eric Seidel is good, all of Seidel's river cards were even better), then the Sharks game (yikes), then eventually watched the Bulls and Cubs (ouch and ouch.)  It was quite the depressing sports day, I'll tell you that. 

And last, for Joakim Noah- did you watch the Laker PSA on slurs?  C'mon man!  You're definitely going to get fined at least $100,000 for directing a derogatory slur at a fan.  As a reminder:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just In Case...

... the world ends tomorrow, I wanted to say that I appreciate all who have read my blog over the years.  I'm playing in Danville tonight at the Peasant & the Pear, so hopefully I'll see you there!

Go Bulls and have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thank You Notes

Politely borrowing Jimmy Fallon's sketch once again.  It may be time to find another sketch to steal next week- anyone in touch with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog?  He doesn't seem to be busy.

Dear Chicago Bulls,

Thank you in advance for having a better shooting percentage in Game 3 than you did in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  You can beat the Heat- it is possible- but you'll need a much better effort than last night.  No one wants to see LeBron win a title before Dan Gilbert, right?

Cue the Training Montage music,
Tony B.

---

Dear San Jose Sharks,

Thank you for wasting my time last night.  After the Bulls lost, I watched a portion of your Game 2 vs. Vancouver.  You let the ginger twins run rough shot all over you.  The most life you showed was when Patrick Marleau decided it would be a good idea to start a fight and then get his face beat in.  I hope you still have some life in you when you get back to the Shark Tank. 

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shark Attack,
Tony B.

---

Dear Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,

Thank you for this picture:

















Also, thank you for complaining about not having a statue yet.  The Lakers already informed you that a statue of you will be made at some point and that you are next in line.  Not Magic.  Not James Worthy.  Not Kobe.  Not Shaq.  Not Brian Shaw.  Not Wilt the Stilt.  Not Chick Hearn.  Not Jerry Buss.  You are next, mofo.  And now you're crying about the time line in which it will happen?  I'm no genius, but I'm guessing that statues mean less when the actual celebrities start asking for them in the public.  I mean, look at the cow that the "Golden Calf" was based on- it didn't work out that well in that instance, so it won't work well for you either.  (I heard that cow was a real egomaniac.)  If I were the Lakers, I would now base the statue on Kareem in the movie "Airplane!."  That would be hilarious!

Sincerely,
Tony B.

---

Dear Arnold Schwarzenegger,

Thank you for cheating on your wife multiple times, having a love child from 10 years ago, and now leaving her after your term as governor is over.  Now every two-bit hack comedian will be doing "Ahrnold" impressions for the next year.  I hear a kitty cat dies every time someone makes a "Sperminator" joke, so make sure you have plenty of shoe boxes and back yard burial space- it's about to get messy.

"I'll be back," [awful]
Tony B.

---

Dear Pirates of the Caribbean,

Thank you for making such an awful 3rd movie that there is no chance I'm even tempted to waste my hard-earned money on the 4th one.  I'm not sure exactly where this series went wrong, but I'm guessing that the answer is "after the first one."  I could keep writing and make this note very convoluted, but it would only be in the spirit of irony.  Instead, I will mercifully end it like you should have 2 movies ago.

Yo-ho,
Tony B.

---

Dear Toad the West Sprocket,

Thank you for finding your way onto my Pandora station today.  We all could use a bit more Toad in our lives. 

Something's Always Wrong,
Tony B. 

---

Enjoy your Thursday- Go Bulls!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

90s Music: Live

Here's a band that is under-appreciated by some, over-appreciated by others, and like Baby Bear's porridge- just right for others.  Live hit the jackpot with their sophomore album "Throwing Copper" and have etched themselves into the conversation when bringing up 90s bands.  Let's check out their tunes.

"Pain Lies On The Riverside" - A song from their debut album "Mental Jewelry," this song gets overlooked because it was never a true radio hit.  Check out the bass line at around 3:17 of the video- it is Flea-worthy.  Bottom line- the song rocks. Last note- take note of Ed Kowalczyk's hair in this video- he looks ready to take his high school senior picture!



"I Alone" - This list might be dominated by "Throwing Copper" tunes- and why shouldn't it be? The album is ridiculous. "I Alone" happens to be one of my favorite 90s tunes. I love the soft verse transitioning to loud chorus with a creeping bridge in the middle. Extremely well written song.



"Selling The Drama," "Lightning Crashes," and "All Over You" - These get included here. I know anyone reading will immediately think of these songs if I leave them out. They are all good, and yet, they still feel a tad overplayed when I hear any of them on the radio. Here's a live performance of "All Over You"- crowd participation at its finest:



"White, Discussion" - I think this song had a video made for it, but it was never a major hit. The ebb and flow of this song soars (much like "I Alone") so it's hard to not love this song. The sample right before the solo in the last minute of the song it perfectly placed.



"Iris" - Excellent use of the bass. If you gave me a choice between "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls or "Iris" by Live, I'll choose Live every time. It's a much better song.



"Lakini's Juice" - Live must have been out of their damn minds after the success of "Throwing Copper." This was their first single off their follow up record "Secret Samadhi" and it still blows me away. I don't know if the general public enjoyed it quite as much, and I doubt the record label was 100% on board releasing this as their first single, but damn this rocks. Kudos for having balls, Live.



"Freaks" - I have a feeling "Turn My Head" was the most successful single off of "Secret Samadhi," but I enjoy the darker rocking tracks a bit more. "Freaks" fits that bill and again, I can't believe they released this as a single.



What's that? You wanted me to mention "Dolphin's Cry?" Unfortunately, a baby dolphin just cried out in pain because of your request.

Currently, Live is broken up with Ed Kowalczyk being at odds with the rest of the band over song rights and things of that nature. It was good while it lasted- here's Live being a solid 90s rock band.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Family Guy Is Terrible

Is it just me, or has Family Guy been downright dreadful recently? I watched Sunday's episode and couldn't help but be infuriated. Thank you, Seth Macfarlane, for playing the entire "Dancing In The Street" video during the middle of the show. I'm sure it helped save on animation time. The hilarious thing is that they probably had to pay a boat-load of money to get rights for the video, so it is doubtful it saved money, just the physical time of animating an actual cartoon and/or writing actual jokes.

I've read sub-par reviews for the first few episodes of South Park this season, but I have to admit, South Park is much, much funnier than Family Guy. In fact, American Dad is much, much funnier than Family Guy. Cleveland Show is hit or miss for me.

So what's the problem? Is Seth Macfarlane spreading himself too thin by having 63 animated shows and hosting Comedy Central Roasts? I can't figure it out, but I'll tell you what I can figure out- that an hour long episode with Stewie and Brian trapped in a bank vault is not a funny premise and it was executed even worse.

This is not to say that I never, ever laugh during any episode. I'm sure there are chuckles here and there, but as a whole, the show seems to be lacking. Sure, South Park or The Simpsons will have their ups and downs during the years, but both shows stay consistently funny. I'm afraid Family Guy could be going the way of Bob's Burgers (never seen the show, just assuming it's not good.)

So what can they do? Well, for starters, let's make Stewie a badass again. We get it. He's overcompensating for his potential homosexuality. Just drop the soft stuff and get back to Stewie trying to kill Lois and dominate the world. "Victory is mine!"

In fact, bring all the characters back to their roots. Peter needs better shenanigans. Give a 12-pack of Pawtucket Patriot Ale and have him go to town. Feature Quagmire more. Let Brian fall in love with another dog or something- who knows? If I was a writer, I'd work for them and help them out. As it stands, I'm just a terrible blogger who is not finding recently Family Guy episodes funny. "You know what really grinds my gears..."

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

As some of you folks who also use Blogger might know, Blogger was not working on Friday, so that's why there was no post. I'm sure by the time it was working there was no way I was going to be able to get something up as I was running around getting set up for my band's gig at Raley Field. I'm getting ahead of myself...

Friday - Brewfest:

My band (going under the moniker of 50 Stories) played a sweet gig at Raley Field on Friday. It was for the River Cats' annual Brewfest event. Essentially, they set up a stage for us on the 1st base side of the concourse and we played almost all the tunes from "This Time Around." 40+ Brewers set up shop and gave out tasters to the 2,000+ people who attended. It was a blast.

Since I play a ridiculous amount of solo shows, it is SO nice to play my original material with the full band. We need to do it more often! It was so great to let loose and play electric guitar. I can't say enough great things about Dusty, Karl and Bart (bass, guitar, drums, respectively.) They did a great job and juggling all of our schedules to make it work was a chore in and of itself. So grateful that it worked out.

I really appreciate everyone who came out as well. I had many friends there as well as supportive strangers who were rocking out (I'm sure the beer had NOTHING to do with that!) All and all, I'd like to thank the River Cats for having us as we had a fantastic time.

Saturday:

Playing multiple sets (6pm-10pm) at a baseball field does take its toll on the body. Upon waking up, I was short on breath because my lungs had been taking in substantial amounts of dust while singing the night before. I made an effort to sleep in as long as possible so my body could heal. In the early afternoon, it was off to Katrina and John's to celebrate John's birthday.

We went with K&J to their hometown of Stockton for a birthday meal at Dante's. This place was legit. Some of the best pizza I've had in awhile. I would highly recommend it to anyone who happens to find themselves in Stockton.

When we were leaving the restaurant, John and I saw a guy in the parking lot doing wheelies and almost losing control of his motorcycle. Concerned about getting hit with a projectile cycle, we stepped behind building pillars and complained about the guy being an idiot. Then we heard a mild crash and realized the guy had dumped his bike. Serves that guy right! A group of his dumb friends gathered around him, some video taping, so we just left the scene. Nothing to see there. I did search for it on YouTube, but with no luck.

Sunday:

I'm only talking about the Bulls game here. In fact, I'm not sure I even need to talk about the game as much as I just want to post this video:



What's that? You liked the other one better? Ok, here's that one:



Unreal. The Bulls really took control of Game 1 in the second half. I hope this continues. I'm sure the Heat will make some adjustments, but Game 1 was quite encouraging for Bulls fans. Especially after struggling a bit against the Pacers and Hawks.

---

I'm not going to lie, the pain of losing our opportunity to buy a home (and not just any home, the exact home we wanted) is still seething within both Mrs. B. and me. However, this opens up the future with possibilities. It's a scary and exciting time. I'm sure you'll get updates on our life progress right here. Until then, enjoy your Monday.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thank You Notes

Jimmy Fallon's idea made far worse.  In fact, he just released a book that I'll promote HERE.  Hey, I've been taking his idea on a weekly basis, I might as well promote his product to make up for it. 

Dear Real World,

Thank you for crushing my hopes and dreams.  Mrs. B. and I had to bail on home buying because of BOTH of our jobs being insecure.  Working in the same department (not in the same office, though) has its advantages (carpool, can eat lunch together) and it has its disadvantages (economic set backs affects both of us at the same time.)  Obviously, nothing is certain yet, but we can't responsibly buy a home at the moment.  Fun fact: losing a house this way feels remarkably like breaking up with someone- very similar heartbreak. 

Bummed,
Tony B.

---

Dear Cubs,

Thank you for playing so well yesterday.  Stringing together hits and beating the pants off the Cardinals was one way to make me feel better. 

Keep it going,
Tony B.

---

Dear Jack Daniels,

Thank you for being the other way I was able to feel better yesterday.

Jack sure loves that wheat thresher,
Tony B.

---

Dear Raley Field,

Thank you for letting my band play at Brewfest tomorrow!  It's going to be great!  Get your tickets HERE!

Can't wait to rock and drink tiny tasters of beer,
Tony B.

---

Dear Short Posts,

Thank you for saving me time, but also for making me look lazy.  And by "making me look" I mean "proving that I am." 

Hey-O!
Tony B.

---

I'll keep this blog train moving, just trying to put the pieces together and get focused.  If anyone needs a musician for hire or possibly a getaway driver for a bank job- then let me know.  As long as we don't have to wear stupid clown masks like in "The Dark Knight" and I don't get shot like the dude from "Point Break," I could be game. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

90s Music: Toadies

This post could be short and sweet.  Toadies are a underrated band.  Now, I agree that their mainstream hit "Possum Kingdom" could be overrated, but it is a fantastic song nonetheless.  You know it and love it:



But how about some other tunes? For example-

"Tyler" - Did you even know this had an official video? No, you didn't. I know this because I didn't know until I searched on YouTube. This song is like a dirtier Weezer tune. Great hook, but very alternative.



"I Come From The Water" - Sick blues riff used for rock purposes. Want a piece of this song in acoustic form? Sure you do!



"Backslider" - I'm unsure why these guys were never bigger. These songs show a very strong base for them to develop. I know they are still together, but they are cursed as one-hit wonders. It's unfortunate.



"I Burn" - When I saw these guys live in the 90s, this song blew me away live.



Great band that deserves more credit. Enjoy rockin' out to these tunes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WWZMD?

These have been some pretty stressful times.  In fact, I'm almost to the point of throwing in the towel on this daily blog posts, but I'm going to try to persevere (almost to post #700!).  I'm also going to break my #1 rule here at "Second Rate Blog" and I'm going to talk about my day job.  I have to do this to fully represent the predicament the Mrs. and I are in. 

- We put a bid on our ideal house.  It is a wonderful opportunity in a great neighborhood at a fair price.  I can absolutely see Mrs. B. and I raising our family there.  After searching a bit, this is definitely the one for us.  I have the "earnest money deposit" check in my pocket as I type this.  We're potentially less than a day away from an executed contract. 

- To look good for the lenders, I have delayed job searching.  I enjoy my job, but it is time to focus moving up in the world.  I plan to look for career opportunities sooner rather than later.

- Friday, an article was publicly released talking about Campus departments losing State funding.  My department was hit hard.  Mrs. B. also works in the same department.  We have "all our eggs in one basket" so to speak. 

- Nothing is certain just yet about the status of our jobs, but this scares the crap out of us. 

Of course, why do I mention all of this?  Well, one thing you can do to help is tell all your friends to buy my album with their iTunes gift cards that are going to waste from the holidays (I'm just assuming you've personally purchased the record.)  Besides that, I need some sort of scheme that will allow us to purchase the house and feel secure that does not include illegal drug trade.  For such a plan, I have to go to one of my childhood role models- Zack Morris.  How would he get the money needed?

1) Bet money on your friend to win a chess match.  Zack once bet $300 on Screech to beat Valley's Russian exchange student in the chess championship.  Of course, the bet was null and void after Zack kidnapped the Russian only to dress up like him and pretend to lose. 

2) Work at the Malibu Sands Beach Club.  This seems like an ideal job for me.  Unfortunately, the commute to SoCal would be awful.  Zack made money by working, but also by betting on his team to win a volleyball match and an ATV race.  Very lucrative returns. 

3) Invest in potato stock.  Back in the early years (with Miss Bliss), Zack took his class's stock market money (invested as part of a class lesson) and invested all of it on margin in potatoes.  They made a quick buck- that is, until the potato market tanked.  Who saw that coming?

4) Buddy Bands - Zack's business plan was solid, at least until he alienated his friends.  Buddy Bands were all the rage at Bayside.  Just remember to NEVER let Mr. Belding get a hold of one.  It will be like when your parents start up a Facebook profile.  You stop feeling like it's that cool of a website. 

5) Girls of Bayside Calendar - Photographing teenage girls at a pool without their consent- what could go wrong?!  Zack made a bundle for the newly re-modeled Bayside bookstore.  I recommend finding willing participants though or else your operation will get shut down faster than "Girls Gone Wild." 

6) Start a band and have Casey Kasem host a rockumentary.  This might be the best option for me.  The problem with this entire scenario is that it happened in Zack's mind.  He never actually left his friends to go solo and date his 35 year old manager.  He never actually dressed like Vanilla Ice of the early 90s.  I don't want to get lost in my own dream "Inception" style. 

7) Find oil.  This would be quite lucrative, but can I really live with Becky the Duck dying after an oil spill.  I think not. 

8) Use subliminal advertising.  Zack used this to attempt to win Kelly's heart rather than make money, but I think it would be effective.  Well- at least until your customers crossed up your message and attempted to rip you apart limb by limb. 

So these are my new plans for how to make a quick buck.  I'd like to thank Zack Morris for having the entrepreneurial spirit of a champion and influencing me to think up such great money making schemes.  I don't know what the future holds, but one way or another we'll be alright.  If I had to bet on someone, it isn't going to be Screech winning a chess match, it's going to be me.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

It's time for the usual weekend re-cap.  What did the weekend have in store for me?  Adventure?  Excitement?  Tony B. craves not these things...

Friday:

I played another triumphant gig at the Boxing Donkey in Roseville.  In fact, when I walked in, there weren't too many people in the house.  However, as the night got going, the place filled up a bit more and it was a fun night.  The guy who yells "Freebird" was back again, so I had the bartenders put me on suicide watch.  At one point, he could sense that I loathed him with every fiber of my being, so he said, "What can I do to bury the hatchet?  How can I get you play the song?" 

To which I replied, "Burying the hatchet is easy.  You can just not yell for the song anymore and we're cool.  Getting me to play the song is easy as well.  Just play me a lot of money, and I'll work it out." 

He looked surprised.  "You mean you wouldn't just do it for the art of playing the song?  You're doing this for the money?" 

"Um- yes.  I would play it for a substantial amount of money." 

And that seemed to end things.  He might love "Freebird," but not enough to pay for it.  Once he quieted his mouth about that song, he seemed to actually enjoy the other songs I was playing.  It's amazing what happens when a person is able to stop focusing on one request that I'm clearly not going to play and listen to the rest of the set.  It's actually... what's the word?  Enjoyable. 

Overall, it was a fun night (as usual) at the Donkey.  They continue to treat me in a top-notch fashion and I continue to love playing there and recommend their establishment to the highest degree. 

Saturday:

Mrs. B. and I woke up early and went to Bodypump at the gym.  It dominated me.  It's pretty much a weight-lifting class that hits all the muscle groups in an aerobic fashion.  Mostly women attend, but it's nice to have a coach/teacher at the front leading the way.  I'm always sore after doing this class and this time was no exception. 

After returning home, I got a call from Pyramid that they were going to cancel my show that evening.  It tends to get quite cold on the patio if the weather is cool during the day- so they were assuming most people wouldn't want to listen to live music in the cold.  This was a bummer.  It used to not really matter, besides losing out on a fun evening, when a place would cancel a show.  Now that Mrs. B. and I are on the verge of closing on a home, it's like a punch in the gut.  I totally understand their thinking, but now I have money to make that really truly matters (and isn't just going to a gambling bankroll!) 

With a free evening and the whole world in front of me, I decided to learn a few tunes.  "Long Day" by Matchbox 20, "In The Meantime" by Spacehog (it's acoustic and sounds pretty decent), "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele, and "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak.  Apparently, I can be productive when given some free time. 

We also watched "Fringe."  Wow.  That was one hell of a season finale.  It is a bit concerning though.  With a cliffhanger of that sort, they must come back next year with a STRONG explanation.  If not, they risk ruining the entire show.  I'm hopeful that the ending was for the better.  I'll maybe talk about the plot details later, but I'm spoiling anything at the moment in case there are people reading who aren't up to date. 

After being productive in the afternoon.  Mrs. B. and I put on "Piranha 3D" from Netflix.  To their credit, the makes of this movie knew exactly what they were making.  They wanted to make a bloody gore-fest that shows boobs from time to time.  That being said, this movie was beyond awful.  I laughed when Jerry O'Connell got his penis bit off and that was about it.  I would not waste my time with this flick if you haven't seen it yet. 

Sunday:

I watched most of the Bulls game and really don't want to talk about it much.  The Bulls squandered an opportunity.  The Hawks are playing much better than expected.  I still think the Bulls will win the series, but yikes.  We need more of Friday's Bulls rather than Sunday's Bulls.  If nothing else, I have faith in Derrick Rose. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there.  My Mom is visiting her Mom in Chicago, so I wasn't able to see her on Mother's Day, but I'm sure she's having a good time out there.

That's pretty much it.  Back to the grind of the work week...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back In My Day...

... music was much better than it is today.  Yep.  I've become that guy.  But am I wrong?  No, I'm not.

The other day, "Zero" by Smashing Pumpkins came on the radio.  I hadn't heard the song in awhile, so when it hit my ears it was like a refreshing jungle oasis in the middle the desert.  I began thinking, "Nobody puts out songs this good today.  Sure, some of the music is great, but it can't compare to 90s alternative rock.  It just can't."

This thought was backed up 1000% by me changing the station at the conclusion of "Zero," and accidentally coming across a Nickelback song.

So which is it?  Are rock songs from the 1990s that much better than today's music OR does everyone feel that the music that came out during their developmental years is the cream of the crop?  What say you?

















My mind can't even handle the debate.  I really think each decade/generation has valuable music, but that for rock music, the 1960s and 1990s are ridiculously hard to beat.  Hell, even bands like Pearl Jam or Stone Temple Pilots are still putting out music today that cannot compete with their catalog of the 1990s. 

Please weigh in- is music actually worse today than it was in the 90s or am I just bias because my birth year is so awesome?  I'll create a few example battles to start the debate, and I'll try to pick all songs that I like/love from the 90s and from more current years:

Green Day "Welcome To Paradise" vs. Green Day "21 Guns"

Blur "Song 2" vs. Coldplay "Violet Hill"

Stone Temple Pilots "Vasoline" vs. Foo Fighters "Rope"

Red Hot Chili Peppers "Give It Away" vs. Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc."

Nirvana "In Bloom" vs. Muse "Uprising"

Radiohead "Just" vs. Cage The Elephant "Shake Me Down"

Oasis "Champagne Supernova" vs. Death Cab For Cutie "Soul Meets Body"

Toadies "Possum Kingdom" vs. White Stripes "Seven Nation Army"

This could probably go on all day.  Which songs win?  Does this small sample size tell us anything?  I'm not sure, but it is interesting to think about.

The 90s really did rule for rock music- but maybe some of today's music can compete.  What do you think?