30 December 2008

Buying Habits of Different Generations

Generation Gap

My project over the winter holiday is to write an article about the buying habits of the different generations (Gen X, Baby-Boomers, etc). By the way - a big THANKS to all of you who participated in the survey earlier this month and forwarded it to your friends. I had nearly 275 responses!

To be honest, I took this writing assignment because I think our company's fevered pursuit of the 25-and-under demo is misguided - but I need hard data to prove my theory.
The survey was critical to the success of the article or it would have been a focus group of one. I'll disclose some of the findings in a later post (I'm still digging through it all) but if you have any additional thoughts on this topic, I hope you'll consider posting a comment below.

The company's rationale is: the Gen Y / Millenials are the largest consumer group in modern history. Our company must pursue them or lose them. While I agree that companies should be catering to this demographic, I don't think it's the right demographic for my company.

Our sport is sustained by people who purchase equipment, take trips, etc. This means a significant financial investment - vacations that are upwards of $1,000 per person and a set of equipment that ranges from $800 - $1,800.

From 19-25 I didn't have this kind of money: I bartered movie passes to get free oil changes for godsakes. It wasn't until my late 20's that I had any disposable income to speak of - so if we're going to target younger people, shouldn't it be college grads with a few years work experience under their belts?

The counter argument is, "the college kid can talk his/her parents into footing the bill for the gear and vacations." I'm not sure that's realistic unless you have the parents' buy-in to begin with (in other words - someone in the family already participates in our sport). Personally I could never have talked Mom into forking over for something like this. Helping me out with a car was one thing - it allowed me to have a job. She would not have seen the value of scuba diving lessons.

So is it still all about the baby boomers? Are they the cash cow? I'm not really sure. I think about other things boomers like (golf, taking cruises) and I don't see them bringing the younger generation along on those activities. Maybe it would be the same for diving.

What about Generation X? Often derided as "pessimistic" and "too small of a population" by marketers - maybe it's time to give a crap about the slacker generation. Hey, we invented Facebook doesn't that count for something?

Lastly, I'm having a hard time assigning "crunk" to Gen X or the Digital Generation (aka Millenials). If you have a sec, please vote in my poll.

22 December 2008

Best of 2008 Mix

Here are my top musical discoveries of 2008. Not all these songs came out in 2008, but the majority of them did. If you are interested in this mix, I exported it to iTunes so you can buy it (see below).

  1. Sing Again CHRIS WALLA (check out the video featuring PDX)
  2. Killing Machine HOW I BECAME THE BOMB (great lyrics)
  3. This Is My Life FIREWATER (punk rock voice with world music)
  4. Lost In the Light THE HEAVENLY STATES (good driving song)
  5. Daydream Vacation (Boom Bip Remix) HEAD LIKE A KITE (dreamy electronica)
  6. Burnout Babies SYBRIS (gritty, chick-fronted rock)
  7. A Tribe Called Rocco TEAM GINA (lesbian rappers)
  8. Release SHE KEEPS BEES (if you like PJ Harvey)
  9. Gilt Complex SONS AND DAUGHTERS (catchy, no-holds barred pop-punk)
  10. Fuji MINUIT (if you wish Bjork would make another Post)
  11. The Rip PORTISHEAD (it's fucking Portishead, what more do you want?)
  12. Woman of Cain PALODINE (raw, frank lyrics)
  13. Hairy Candy TOBACCO (sunny, weird, electronic)
  14. Great DJ THE TING TINGS (catchy . . . maybe too catchy)
  15. Code Monkey JONATHAN COULTON (best lyrics of the year)
  16. Liz the Hot Receptionist JESUS H CHRIST & THE FOUR HORNSMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (cute song but the rest of the album is "eh")
  17. Old Old Fashioned FRIGHTENED RABBIT (Scottish. Cute).
  18. Once And Never Again THE LONG BLONDES (think British Sleater-Kinney)
  19. A & E GOLDFRAPP (beautiful like a summer's day)
  20. Kids MGMT (if you like Time to Pretend, you'll love Kids)
  21. I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You BLACK KIDS (that's right, dammit).

If you want to buy these songs, visit iTunes for the iMix of TheMadHapa's Best of 2008 . The only song I couldn't put in the iMix is, unfortunately, Goldfrapp's A&E.

If you're wondering, "Where's Vampire Weekend, MIA and Santogold are:

. . . they appeared on last year's mix. Thanks to my myriad savvy new music sources. You know who you are!

12 December 2008

iPod Poem

How to: write a poem with your iPod

Put your iPod or iTunes on shuffle. The first line of the first 20 songs is your poem, the first line of the 21st is the title.

Thanks to Will at Shark Fin Hat for this idea! For the list of songs I used, click "Read more."

One Evening as the Sun Went Down and the Jungle Fire was Burning

I've never cared for authority, never felt part of the majority.
By myself alone at home feelin' blue.
Eyes boring a way through me.
You've got a nerve to be askin' a favor

Right about now, what's up, we're gonna start this right. Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!

I had no choice but to hear you.
Might do you harm hangin around this farm.
Come in alone, you'll love to let go.
Won't you please let me go?

Mott the Hoople and the Game of Life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

My opinion could change today. I'm responsible anyway.
I give protection to people I don't like.
He shakes his dick rattle, spittle on his bib.
Chiquitita tell me what's wrong?

I have been listening such an ancient song.
Where do we go from here?
I think I'll go home and mull this over before I cram it down my throat
Now that it's time, now that the hour hand has landed at the end.
Hey Man, leave me alone.

Poem title: Big Rock Candy Mountain: Harry McClintock

This is my life: Firewater
Wonder, Wonder: Enino Morricone
This Fire: Franz Ferdinand
The Rat: The Walkmen
Culo: Pitbull / Sean Paul / Little John
Head Over Feet: Alanis Morrisette
Out on this Farm: Amy Ray
Come in Alone: My Bloody Valentine
Age of Consent: New Order
Man on the Moon: REM
On Fire: Sebadoh
Kojak: Minny Pops
Plump: Hole
Chiquitita: ABBA
In This City: Enon
The Bends: Radiohead
Ode to the Banana Kind: Tori Amos
Caring is Creepy: The Shins
Fairest of the Seasons: Nico
Suffragette City: David Bowie

If you liked this game try soundtrack to your life (using iPod).

09 December 2008

Chris Dan Owens Video Shine - He's Bringing 80's Back

This video . . . is really something. Apparently it’s some guy’s vanity project: some guy, who wishes he was a rock star in the 80’s. Click on the image below to play the video.

If the chicks in this music video had feathered hair, this would be a forgotten video gem from the 1980's – but it was made in 2008! You've got fair maidens, enchantresses, sword fighting, an ice palace, and alligator . . . at one point I thought for sure Robocop was going to ride in on a unicorn.


END OF POST (there is no "Read more . . .")

03 December 2008

Please take my survey

I'm writing an article about the buying habits of Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomers. Rather than pull the information out of my ass like I usually do, I decided to go empirical and shit.

The survey takes 10 minutes at most. If you have a sec to take my survey I'd really appreciate it. I need at least 200 responses to have a statistically valid survey.

If the link above doesn't work, please copy and paste this link into your browser:

Thanks again for your time. I'll be writing the article over Christmas break and it will be published in March 2009.

22 November 2008

What Were Your Favorite Books as a Kid?

Growing up in rainy Washington state meant I read a lot. I mean - A LOT. I remember reading over 150 books in one summer.

I think the Sweet Valley Twins books were an early favorite. Then I moved on to Sweet Valley High, and the Newbery Medal winners. From there it was on to Narnia, and The Black Cauldron series. I tried to get into Tolkien but burned out halfway through The Two Towers (dude, I'm not that much of a nerd).

Then I got into my apocalyptic / dystopia phase and delved into
  • On the Beach
  • 1984
  • We
  • Brave New World
  • Animal Farm
    . . . and tons of Arthur C Clarke

Then I moved on to lesbian classics such as:
  • Herland
  • The Well of Loneliness
  • Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
  • Love in Bloomsbury
    . . . and tons of Virgina Woolf

Why do I bring this up?

I signed up to donate children's books to a non-profit that shelters woman and children escaping physical abuse. Of all the donation options, books seemed to be the best option. The alternatives were:

Girls make-up kit, girls crafting kit, boys crafting kit (WTF?), boys army toys.

I know jack shit about those items, but books I can do. Then it occurred to me: the books I enjoyed are probably not appropriate for an OC kid.

So now I'm in a pickle. Should I just buy a complete set of Harry Potter and be done with it? I'd like to pick something beyond the obvious: something that will strike a chord with a young person. Any suggestions?

10 November 2008

A Tale of Two Concerts

Madonna Sticky Sweet Tour LA November 2008Madonna at Dodger Stadium

Have you ever waited twenty years for something? I have.

For twenty years I've waited to see Madonna. The first cassette I ever owned was True Blue. The first thing I ever saved up my allowance to buy was Like a Prayer. She never played a show in Portland and now, finally, I was able to catch her tour in Los Angeles.

Last Thursday, the long wait was finally over . . . after a two hour drive to LA and a third hour sitting on the 101 Freeway that is. Was it worth the wait? Hells yes!

The show was exactly what I hoped it would be. She did a mix of new songs and past hits (NME has the set list). New songs off of Ray of Light and Music she played pretty straightforward. Older songs like "Like a Prayer" were updated with heavier beats. madonna with guitarOthers had the beats stripped out entirely and she played them on an electric guitar.

What floored me was - Madonna actually sings her songs. Working for the radio station I saw Britney, Janet and others. In most cases, the songs sounded exactly the same live in concert as they did on CD. She even takes requests! Someone in the front had a sign that said "Dress You Up."

Right there, on the spot, she busted into "Dress You Up in My Love" acapella. It wasn't the best rendition, but it took serious balls.

Nope, the only fake thing that night was that blonde Betty Page hairpiece (see above).

I know it's predictable, but it's impossible to write about Madonna without mentioning her staying power. I mean, seriously. When I first fell in love with Madonna, her peers were Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Whitney Houston and Belinda Carlisle. Where are they now?

The other cool thing about the show was the fans. People came in their best Madonnawear. Sometimes that meant fishnets and a bustier, others wore short shorts and a glitter jacket . . . and it wasn't just women dressing up.

Van Morrison at the Hollywood Bowl
There weren't as many dress-alikes when I went to see Van Morrison two days later (although there were a few).

This was my second time seeing Van Morrison, and it was better than the first time (Gorge Ampitheater 2006ish). We were treated to a set of hits (St. Dominc's Preview, Gloria, Here Comes the Night) followed by a complete performance of Astral Weeks.

If you've seen Van before or read a review, you know two things:

#1 His voice sounds as clear and youthful as it did forty years ago.

#2 He never EVER performs Brown Eyed Girl

. . . but he did on Saturday night. I don't know if Van is un-retiring the song or what, but the crowd went bananas.

There was only one thing that kept the night from being completely perfect:

Typically, you can bring whatever you want to the Hollywood Bowl (food, wine, snacks, etc.). For Van Morrison, they changed the rules. No glass bottles and no alcohol allowed. I thought to myself:

Do they think people are going to riot? It's a Van Morrison show for godsakes. No one's going to amped up and chuck bottles on the stage during Wild Night.

"Fuck you, Van! Where's Michelle N'degeocello?"

I digress . . .

So we get inside and, since everyone had to chuck their booze at the gate, there's a huge line at the beer and wine stand. I high-tail it to the "market" and discover the red wine section is completely cleaned out. The cupboards are bare except for six bottles of Gallo - at $22 a pop. Never in my life did I imagine I'd feel fortunate to pay $22 - for Gallo Merlot.

Then I thought: Oh my God. I think I've just qualified for an entry on that White Whine blog.

Anyway, once I got some overpriced Gallo in me I felt much better. Then I slipped Into the Mystic.

23 October 2008

Sweet, Hilarious Failure - Failblog.org

Damn. I wish I'd thought of this . . .

It's a whole blog of things that have Failed in one way or another.

Here's my favorite:

For more time-sucking goodness, visit Failblog.org

21 October 2008

I Want This Car- BMW GINA

It's no '95 Mirage, but it's pretty damn cool. I love that the car has skin and eyelids. In the video you can see it "blink" and also change shape to achieve better aerodynamics.

Read more about GINA.

07 October 2008

2008 Snarky Election Goodness

Here's a quick round-up of my favorite bits of snarky goodness to come out of election season thus far. - Enjoy!

Favorite Info Graphic:

Favorite Video
(the Tina Fey-Palin stuff is a close runner-up)

Favorite eMail Forward:

Dear Red States…

We’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own country, and
we’re taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren’t aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon,Washington,
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We
believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially
to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.
We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot
Spitzer. You get Ken Lay.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.
We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You
get Alabama.
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states
pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the
Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a
bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and
anti-war, and we’re going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at
once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have
kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no
purpose, and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their
children’s caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and
hope that the WMDs turn up, but we’re not willing to spend our
resources in Bush’s Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent
of the country’s fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple
and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95 percent of
America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners)
90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most
of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and
condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale,
Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88
percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care
costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the
tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern
Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh,
Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was
actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred
unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say
that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved
in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy b*****ds believe you are people
with higher morals then we lefties.

By the way, we’re taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt
weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out,
Blue States

26 September 2008

Tagged by Paula

Tagged by Paula

I haven't done one of these "you've been tagged" things before, but hey - why not? Karen, mAc, Dinah, Carmel, if you read this and want to jump in - go for it!

1.How many songs are on your iPod?
3842 - there would be more, but I only have a 20 GB.

2. What music would you want played at your funeral?
Kristen Hersh's Gazebo Tree.

3.What magazines do you have subscriptions to?
BUST, Women's Health, Paste, Fast Company, Wired and Esquire.

4. What is your favorite scent?
New electronics right out of the box. Yeah, that's weird. I know.

5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it?
Travel, travel, travel, baby. That amount of dough would surely last until I croak. Of course there's really only one way to find out . . .

6. What is your theme song?
Six Different Ways - The Cure

7. Do you trust easily?
I assume people want to do the right thing. Real trust takes time.

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
I think before I act - but I don't think before I speak. Oops!

9.Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
The shit head kids up stairs that start body-slamming each other at 7 AM every morning.

10. Do you have a good body-image?
Yep. I think it's because I don't watch TV or read bullshit women's magazines like Cosmo.

11. Is being tagged fun?
Gets me off the hook for coming up with a clever blog post!

12. How do you spend your social networking (Facebook, etc.) time?
I'm still waiting for Friendster to make a comeback! Just kidding. To be honest I haven't jumped on Facebook because I'm concerned about my personal life and professional life overlapping.

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
English muffins with fake bacon, cucumber and spicy mustard.

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Paula is, has, and always will be a very cool chick. I don't know why she lives in Vancouver, WA!

15. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
Old Dirty Bastard's Baby I Got Your Money.

16.What’s your favorite item of clothing?
It used to be shoes, but now I'd have to say coats. Which is weird if you think about it because you don't need a coat in Southern California... yet I own more coats now than I ever did living in the NW.

17. Do you think Rice Crispies are yummy?
Yes, but I don't want to clean the pan. I hear Fruti Pebbles treats are also good - "like getting punched in the face with a lemon."

18. What would you do if you see saw $100 lying on the ground?
To be honest - I'd put it towards Megan's condo fund.

19. What items could you not go without during the day?
Water, air, sleep... also, coffee.

20. What should you be doing right now?
Studying for my Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor class (no really).


The gal who sits next to me has a teenage daughter. She recently received an email regarding the homecoming dance. I think it speaks for itself . . .


To: Trabuco Hills High School Students and Parents
From: Trabuco Hills Administration
Date: September 12, 2009
Subject: Homecoming Disco Dance

Friday, Sept. 19 is the Disco Dance in the gym from 9:30-11:30 p.m. for TH students only! Disco attire is a must; however, dress code does apply. Starting next Monday, Sept. 15 pay for the dance and save big during lunch. Cost will be $5 with ASB Card and $10 without . . . Reminders! You need to have a current ID Card when you pay and also at the dance. Make sure you leave your valuables at home. There is no storage at the dance. Also, you will be searched before entering the dance.

NO FREAK DANCING! Freaking includes riding legs, bending over, feet off the ground or front to back dancing. There must be visible separation between partners during fast dancing.

CONSEQUENCE: Removal from dance, parents contacted and NO HOMECOMING DANCE for you!

05 September 2008

I'm "Racing" For the Cure

I'm Racing For the Cure . . . and by that I mean I'll be walking in a giant herd of people on a Sunday morning saying to myself, "damn it's early," and "when's breakfast?"

In all seriousness, breast cancer is something that has touched all of our lives. If you have a couple bucks to throw at my donation page, it would be appreciated.

The event is at the end of this month (Sunday September 28th). Here is the URL for my donation page: http://www.ockomen.org/race/megand

She Who Shall Not Be Messed With

For S's and G's I decided to take an Israeli self-defense class. It's called Krav Maga and it was developed by the Israeli Army.

It's different from traditional martial arts in that all the moves are based on instinctual reactions. For example - if someone runs at you from the side, your natural reaction wouldn't be to issue a roundhouse kick to the head. You'd probably throw your arms up to block. Krav Maga teaches you how to block effectively and issue a counter attack at the same time.

Also, Krav Maga assumes that a street fight lasts less than a minute. They train you to defend, and escape. Here's a video that gives a general introduction to Krav Maga. There's also a pretty good Krav Maga explanation on wikipedia.

Watch more Krav Maga videos on youtube.

09 August 2008

Tesla Coils Playing Super-Mario Brothers Theme

Q: You've just inherited two Tesla coils from your crazy uncle. What do you do with them?

A: Wire the Teslas to a computer and play music from 1980's video games of course.

BEHOLD! The Super Mario Brothers theme performed with Tesla coils.

According to Amazon.com's music blog, the individual musical tones are created by the Tesla coil. In other words, there isn't a person playing the music on a keyboard in the background.

I have just crapped myself.

05 August 2008

When I Grow Up

camel cigarettesThe slew of high-school reunions this summer caused me to ponder my future. I'm not talking about my career or family. Hell no.

I'm talking long term. I'm talking old-ness.

Before I begin, it's important to note: the genesis of this plan took place in the late 1990's. Max and I had our first apartment and life was good. No one made us clean our rooms, we had friends who'd buy us beer, and we got Coffee Time's leftover food every day.

Max and I knew, at some point, the dream would end. There would be an ambiguous, soft middle to the dark, crusty cookie of our past and future.

So we made a plan.

Step One: Find a Suitable Hovel
Max and I plan to be roommates again one day. But let's face it - we're gonna be old. We can't live in another fourth-floor apartment with a dodgy elevator. The second time around we're getting a house. Ideally, the house will sit on a corner lot and have a wrap-around porch.

rascal scooterMax and I will sit on the veranda smoking Camel Straights and drinking bathtub gin. Max will knit* long, twisted creations - not made with a human-wearer in mind. Me, I'm going to learn how to put curses on people and look after the gin.

* Max has already taken up knitting in preparation.

If children should dare approach the house, we'll throw rocks at them. Max will threaten to call their social workers. Once they're gone, I'll draw obscene pictures on the sidewalk in chalk.

Step Two: Have Adventures
Later, we'll go to the grocery store. I'll get there via rascal scooter. I don't plan to use it for mobility so much as mischief.

On the base of the scooter will be a heating element. Protruding from the heating element, mounted to the side of the scooter, will be a fireplace poker. I will use this poker to defend against my "enemies."

fireplace pokerOnce at the store I plan to steal as much as possible. Forget Letters to my Younger Self. I won't have time for reflecting - when I'm shoplifting! Besides, how else will a couple of old drunk ladies get food and gin makin's.

Step Three: Don't Get Caught
If, by chance, someone catches me, my first move is to play the sympathy card. I'm a forgetful old lady. I didn't realize what I was doing.

If they don't buy it, my next move is to make for the lightbulb aisle. Once there, I'll start unpacking bulbs and smashing them. The sound alone should clear a path to the exit.

If all else fails, and I end up in Safeway jail (or whatever), Max will tell them that I'm [insert Asian celebrity name here], former star of film and television. You'd have to be a real jerk to call the cops on Connie Chung, just trying to quietly live out her twilight years.

24 July 2008

The Hapa Project

It's been a few months since I had any hapa-related content, but I've found something good to make up for the long wait. Turns out this guy, Kip Fulbeck, made a book about hapas. Each page is a different mixed-race person and their answer to "who are you?" It's called The Hapa Project.

The guy is on a book tour and he's going to be in Del Mar later in August. Here are the details:

August 19th, 2008
Artist Talk & Book Signing - 7:00 PM
The Book Works, Del Mar, CA

UPDATE: this appearance has been cancelled due to illness.

Here's some interesting hapa trivia for you:
  • Interracial marriages were illegal until 1967.
  • The US Census conducted in 2000 was the first census where people could identify themselves as more than one race.*
  • When the census was tallied - 1.6 million people reported being half-asian.

* Let me tell ya, most forms out there have yet to catch up. If I'm lucky, there's a box for "Other."

07 July 2008

Can we get rid of voicemail? Please?

I hate using a phone. Actually, what I really hate is voicemail.

I hate voicemail more than FOX "News" but slightly less than hitting my knee on a coffee table. Lifehacker recently had an article, Should Voicemail Die? My answer is yes please!

The phone is so inefficient compared to email. It's the digital age! Let people manage their workflow without interruption!

Okay, okay, I suppose there's an argument to be made for keeping the phone around for urgent matters. Still, voicemail is a horrific time bandit. It's three times the work of checking an email and once you access the damn thing all you get is, "hey, call me."

People, people. When did answering machines become common, the early 1980's? We've been at this for 20 years.

Say it with me: Leave your name, number and why you're calling at the tone.

Why can't remember these three simple things? I've gone to the trouble of dialing my voicemail, entering my access code and pressing one. I've fulfilled my end of the deal. For what "this is Dave, call me." Where I work, there are three Daves. In my customer base, there are nine Daves. Which Dave is it? Why are there so many Daves?

Anyway, the point is: email and text messaging are so much more efficient. With one click you find out what the person wants.* Don't believe me? Try writing down how many minutes you spend fussing with your voicemail everyday. Those are minutes you're never going to get back.

Voicemail is passe. It's time to send it the way of the mimeograph. Who's with me?

* Well, most of the time. Besides, if they're a bad emailer you can always punish them by signing them up for Pun-of-the-Day or something like that.

06 July 2008

LSD + Beverly Hills Chihuahua Trailer = instant death

I just got back from seeing both WALL-E and one of the most horrifying trailers ever created. It caused me to have a scientific epiphany:

LSD + Beverly Hills Chihuahua Trailer = instant death

It loses something in the youtube translation and I know you want to see this POS in all its glory. Have a gander at the high-res trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahuha.

END OF POST (there is no "Read more . . .")

25 June 2008

OC versus LA

Do you ever get annoyed when people say, "Oh, you're from Portland? I went to Seattle once, it was really nice."

GAH! Seattle and Portland are not the same place! Get a map, people.

That's how I feel when people ask me how I like living in Los Angeles. Sorry, guys, I really need to get this off my chest. I do not live in Los Angeles - and I've created a map to illustrate this fact.

The first marker (A) shows Los Angeles. The second marker (B) shows where I live. Marker C is San Diego. I live 60 miles south of LA, okay?

map of portland to monmouthI live as far from LA is Olympia is from Seattle. When I drive up there it's the same as driving from Portland to Monmouth.

More importantly, there are significant differences between LA people and Orange County people. You may be thinking, "yeah, but it's still Southern California."

I challenge you to tell someone from Long Island, NY they have a lot in common with someone from Newark, NJ. See what I'm saying?

Check it out:

LA People: try to act smart
OC People: take pride in being oblivious

LA People: think they're better than you
OC People: there are other people besides me?

LA: Cougars
OC: Golddiggers

LA: calculated decisions to move up the corporate ladder
OC: we invented "no-brainer"

Friends reading this in LA:
I'm painting in broad strokes here of course none of the above applies to you, just as none of the OC stuff applies to me. Besides - we're all imports anyway.

My last visit to LA was a trip - and I mean "trip" in both the actual and the slang definition. I tried to approach dinner in Santa Monica as though I were doing a piece for National Geographic:

Here's the Jr. Entertainment Lawyer who may one day sprout her wings - venturing away from the corporate nest to open her own firm. Here's the host of a home improvement show on a third-tier cable network. Look how she spreads her plumage for the male populace. Sadly, she is nearing the end of her useful life. In a few short years, she will be ostracized . . . or eaten.

. . . you get the idea.

I was happy to make the drive back to Orange County where no one really gives a shit what I do or who I work for.

I can't believe I just wrote that.

12 June 2008

Soundtrack to the Movie of Your Life

Here's the proposition:

Create the soundtrack of your life.

Set your iPod to random shuffle and fill in the blanks below as each song comes up. No cheating!

This is what my iPod spit out:

Opening Credits - Glory: LIZ PHAIR
Waking up - Moscas in La Cama: SHAKIRA
Falling in love - A Gentleman, An Automobile: SYBRIS
Fight song - Ramble On: LED ZEPPELIN
Break up song - White Suckers: KRISTEN HERSH
Making Up - Bug Rain: LOOPER
Life's Okay - She Walks on Me: HOLE
Mental Breakdown - Leopard of Honor: DESTROYER
Driving - When I Was a Painter: THE BREEDERS
Flashbacks - Found A Job: TALKING HEADS
Happy Dance - Motownphilly: BOYZ 2 MEN
Regret - Low Red Moon - BELLY
Final Battle - oh! : SLEATER-KINNEY
Death Scene - What Did Your Last Servant Die Of? : THE WEDDING PRESENT
Final Credits - Don't Cry: GUNS N' ROSES

All in all there were a couple of freaky coincidences and a couple of embarrassing ones. Guess I can't hide from my parachute-panted past. Here's a blank list if you want to try it for yourself:

Opening Credits:
Waking up:
Falling in love:
Fight song:
Break up song:
Making Up:
Life's Okay:
Mental Breakdown:
Happy Dance:
Final Battle:
Death Scene:
Final Credits:

04 June 2008

My Top 5 Vice Presidential Running Mate Nominees

I doubt Barack Obama is a loyal reader of Behind the Orange Curtain - but just in case: here are my top five suggestions for the democratic vice-presidential nominee:

#1 R. Lee Ermey - Staff Sergeant USMC (retired)

R Lee ErmeyAdvantages: the most entertaining vice-presidential debate in history.
Disadvantages: if the Congressman from Arizona does not wipe that shit-eating grin off his face, Ermey will gouge the Congressman's eyes out and skull fuck him.

#2 Al Gore - The Bridesmaid

Al GoreAdvantages: 8 years experience, Nobel Peace Prize winner, harbinger of all that is earth-destroying (global warming, Manbearpig, etc).

Drawbacks: where were those superhero powers when he did work on Capitol Hill? Is the Washington Monument made of kryptonite?

#3 John Cusack - The Unconventional Hero

John CusackAdvantages: historical precedent for his candidacy, will secure the votes of music geeks and every red-blooded American woman.

Disadvantages: no political experience, starring role in Must Like Dogs suggests Cusack's standard of ethics may depend on size of paycheck.

#4 Oprah - America's Best Friend

Oprah for vice-presidentAdvantages: already an Obama supporter, wealthiest woman in showbiz, promotes reading, founded school in Africa, initiated Child Protection Act (see Oprah's Bill)
Disadvantages: government bureaucracy would only lessen her ability to make the world a better place.

#5 My Mom

Advantages: would not tolerate any backtalk from the president, Congress, or anyone else for that matter, unstoppable, "because I said so," platform, passes for Mexican in South Dakota.
Disadvantages: wouldn't move to Washington DC, easily persuaded by lobbyists with Japanese food.

Like this post? Go vote for me on digg!

28 May 2008

Does Gold-Digging Count as a Workout?

So, I'm at the gym the other day and this grandpa-looking guy clambers onto the elliptical next to me. He picks the neighboring machine even though there are 15 empty ones in the row: CREE-PY. Luckily, I am prepared for such situations.

Back in my Tri-Met bus riding days, I learned that headphones + magazine creates the most effective weirdo shield. By occupying both your eyes and ears, most people can be effectively ignored. Unfortunately, sweaty grandpa isn't getting the hint.

He says to me, "I see you're reading an article about new cars. I just bought a new car."

Guys, I was reading Sport Diver magazine. There was no article about new cars.

It gets better:

"I just bought a new car. It's an Infiniti. . ."

An Infiniti? Gramps, you have to do better than that. This is South Orange County. We've got more Infinitis than we have trees. To impress a gold digging wench, you better drive a Lotus or Maserati.

After I got through my feelings of disgust I thought to myself, "this whole gold-digger thing is a two-way street." What kind of woman does a man expect to get with a pick-up line like that? There may be chicks who only date guys for their money, but there are guys who use only their money to pick up chicks.

I relayed this story to my mom. She asked, "well what kind of pick-up line would work for you?" This is subject to change, but:

"Would you like some mac and cheese? I'll do the dishes," is a great place to start. "I have eight million frequent flyer miles" would make a pretty good closer.

20 May 2008

Graphjam - The Funniest Website I've Seen in Months

Today I killed an hour of valuable work time looking at charts like the one pasted below. Thanks Graphjam!

Here's another one:

funny graphs

funny graphs

Mo Money Mo Problems

Okay, you get the idea.

You know what's even better? This site is part of the LOL Cats / I Can Has Cheesburger. Those guys are geniuses.

18 May 2008

Too much freedom

There's a comedian (Chris Rock?) who does a bit called "Too Much Freedom." The gist is: Americans have wealth and resources most countries could only dream of . . . and we use this bounty to create innane products like scented tires.

You heard me.

scented tiresScented Tires, "deliver an alluring aroma tire that replaces the normal “black rubber” smell with heat-resistant oils in the scent of lavender, and in later versions, neroli (orange) or jasmine."

Just imagine that you're an impoverished farmer in South America or a Thai sex-worker. Someone tells you the Americans are making scented tires. One of two things would cross your mind:

#1 Wow, America really is the promise land.
#2 Idiots.

caffeinated sunflower seedsThis one is pretty harmless, but still totally absurd: caffeinated sunflower seeds.

When you want to get amp'ed on caffeine, but take your time getting there - crack open a bag of caffeinated sunflower seeds. As you individually shell and consume each seed, you'll (at some point) be ready for action.

Here's one for all you aid workers in Africa: we've invented anti-microbial office paper.

". . . laboratory studies reportedly show a 99-percent reduction of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and K. pneumoniae compared to unshielded sheets."

Are you still using unshielded sheets? Jesus, how can you sleep at night!?!

I don't care what country you live in, this product is infuriating. First off, wouldn't the scientists' time be better spent working on a cure for, I don't know, cancer? Second, aren't we working towards a paperless office? Third, this whole anti-germ thing is totally out of control. The paper came to market last January and now there's a pen to go with it.

Here's the one that bothers me the most:

plastic cutlery that looks like silverware flatwareThey've created plastic cutlery that looks like real silverware. Guess how much it costs? $30! For $30 you could buy a set of actual silverware.

I saw this at Target (in Portland!) a few months ago and I almost threw up in the aisle. It's just too much - too much freedom.

27 April 2008

Ladies Rock Camp 2008 (I've Got the Magic Stix)

Late last year, my friend Jean emailed me about Ladies Rock Camp. Did I want to go? HELLS YES!

Ladies Rock Camp Is:
Three days
Fifty amazing women
Ten bands
One song each

Prior to camp you sign up for something to learn/perform (vocals, bass, guitar, keys or drums). You get basic lessons, form a band, and at the end of the weekend - perform one original song.

I've always wanted to play drums, but my playing experience has been limited to my steering wheel. Jean signed up for vocals as did my friend Karen. I was impressed by their bravery.

Camp begins at lunchtime. After some introductions we moved into band selection.

Different musical genres such as Country, Indie, Metal, Funk, and Rock were posted on the walls. What's the difference between Indie and Rock? I said,

"Rock is about scoring chicks. Indie is about when chicks ignore you."

They told us to stand under a genre that we'd be interested in playing. I stood under Punk / Metal. I figured a Metal song would be the easiest to write and the most fun to play. Unfortunately, the only person with me under Punk/Metal was another drummer. Then it came time to switch. I stayed put because, well, the next funnest thing to play after Metal would be punk, right? Also there was no Goth / New Wave sign.

Ladies Rock Camp Punk / Metal sign
When the milling around stopped, it was still just me and the other drummer under the sign again.

Eventually I was adopted by some other leftovers. Our final band consisted of: two architects, a Canadian chick who works at a bookstore, and a 54-year-old jackhammer operator from Connecticut. Our name: Carbon Arc.

Ladies Rock Camp Drum practice roomNext it was on to instrument instruction. My instructor was STS from The Haggard.* I learned a basic rock beat and one fill. In just fifteen minute me and this lady from Tennessee were tearing it up. It was amazing how quickly we were able to learn.

* I used to see them play but I never got up the guts to mention it to her. Similarly I couldn't find the courage to say "whassup" to Beth Ditto who showed up for karaoke on the second night.

After a 90-minute lesson, I got back together with Carbon Arc for song writing time. Yikes!

Ladies Rock Camp is a benefit for Girls Rock Camp. At the end of the weekend, each band plays one song at a showcase/ benefit concert. The song must be 100% original, but there's a song writing workshop where they give you lots of ideas.

When brainstorming ideas for a song, we were all over the map. It was fun, but daunting. Should it rhyme? Should it be danceable? Can you say "Jesus" without people thinking you're a Christian Rock Band?

Someone suggested a revenge song and I mentioned how much I hate littering. It kind of went from there . . .

After breakfast we had more instrument instruction. First we learned a funk beat (which I stink at). Then STS showed us ways to change up the basic rock beat to sound different /punctuate a transition. I could have gone on smashing the drums all damn day, but it was off to do more song writing - final lyrics were due at the end of the day.

The night before our lead singer wrote some poetically abstract lyrics based on our ideas about littering. The band loved what she'd done. With her David Byrne-style of delivery things came together perfectly. We jammed until exhaustion set in.

The last item of business for the day was a dry-run on the camp stage. We did okay, and it was fun to see what the other bands were working on. One of our neighbor bands had an amazing song called "Fake It 'Til You Make It," and it made me a little anxious. Their song was so catchy and fun. I worried that our song was too heavy. Also, their drummer was totally amazing. I swear she had an invisible third arm. I reminded myself that a band called "Carbon Arc" was destined to write something totally heavy and brutal and I felt a lot better.

After that we all had pizza and drank beer and watched karaoke.

Did I tell you I have a rock name? You may now address me as "Pants."

The other members of Carbon Arc are:
Wavelength (vocals)
Mr B. (lead guitar)
Yoda (rhythm guitar)
and Krull (bass)

Our final morning consisted of: band photos, hair and make-up (optional) and more practicing. Camp staffers coached us on stage presence and getting the audience amped. As a drummer, my points of focus would be dramatic smashing and yelling.

The show was at Satyricon and I was really happy so many people showed up! A lot of the ladies were really nervous, but the way I looked at it was: we've all done more difficult things that were a lot less fun. Maybe I would have felt differently if I wasn't behind a drum kit.

Our band played first, which was cool. As soon as I got on stage I realized that my fly was down. so there you have it: I earned my stage name. We played the song at least as well as our best practice run (phew). All that remained was to enjoy the nine other amazing bands.

Seriously, that's not hyperbole. It's pretty fucking astounding what inexperienced strangers come up with. It reminded me that we're all capable of working together and collaborating, but sometimes we choose not to. For whatever reason (environment, stress, insecurity) we opt to dismiss instead of encourage and ignore instead of support.

Maybe rock camp works because we all start out on a level playing field. At our first band meeting I said, "Hi, I'm Megan and I just learned the drums two hours ago." Our whole band was non-musicians, but we managed to write a rock song. How did that happen?

Well, I don't want to get too philosophical since this post is long already. I do want to say that if you've ever thought about learning to play an instrument or wished that Girls Rock Camp was around when you were a kid - I WILL SEE YOU AT LADIES ROCK CAMP 2009!

Official band photos

Our showcase songs will be available on iTunes. If you want to hear the star student of our drum group, check out "Fake it 'Til You Make It."

Here's a youtube link to "Step Into Your Power," this was one of the great songs to come out of camp. The drummer and I were in class together.

24 April 2008

Muxtape: Songs from My College Desk Drawer

I made a Muxtape.
It's called "Songs from My College Desk Drawer."
Pretty self-explanatory.

All the usual suspects are there: Sleater-Kinney, Throwing Muses, PJ Harvey, Portishead, Bjork, The Cure Talking Heads, etc. It started out as a mix CD I made for Halstead and my friend Cary. When the challenge arose to create a Muxtape I thought, "why the hell not?"

22 April 2008

Would You Sell Beer to This Person?

So . . . I got glasses.

They're mainly for driving. I have poor depth perception which is not-so-great when the speed limit on surface streets is 50 mph. Anyway, point is: I don't need to wear them all the time, but I'm considering it . . .

I'm really hoping the glasses will make me look older. I'm tired of getting carded for R-rated movies, dammit. Why is it that Asians don't age until they're, like, 70? I'll go through my whole life looking like a teenager and then one day, it's all over. I'll wake up two feet shorter, shriveled with grey hair.

Don't even start with me about how one day I'm going to be grateful that I look super-young. Those days are too far off and cannot outnumber the days where I get discriminated against because people think I'm barely out of college.

I'm not making this up!

Everyone thinks I'm right out of college and a total N00b. Yesterday, one of my co-workers suggested I do a presentation for a local dive club to "gain public speaking experience." Jesus tap-dancing Christ I've been doing that kind of thing for almost ten years now. The guy who said it to me is really cool and meant what he said in the nicest possible way - but you see what I mean?

When I used to do events, the guests would always tell my boss, "your daughter is so fun to be around!" This pissed off my boss because she's only 40. Also, I'm not fun. I am angry and scary.

14 April 2008

Drag Queen Tupperware Parties

retro tupperwareNever in my life did I imagine that at age 28 I'd be planning a Tupperware party. First off I never imagined I'd cook anything much less need a place to store my leftovers. But when the opportunity arose to have a drag queen come to my work and peddle her fantastic plastic wares, well, I'd be crazy to turn it down, right?

Truth be told I actually went to a Tupperware party in Huntington Beach a few years back. It was hosted by Kay Sedia and honey it was Fab-U-Luz. I got me a set of collapsable containers. I put my soup in there and, when it's gone, I scrunch the container down to save space in my bike bag.

collapsable tupperwareI've considered taking one with me when I go out to eat. When flattened it's no thicker than a book and it fits easily in my bag. I dunno. I just have to get up the guts to do it. There's no reason not to other than the geekiness factor. They never give you a recyclable container around here and it's really depressing. Sometimes they even use styrofoam.

Mom's tupperwareAnyway, point being - Tupperware has come a long way in the last twenty years. Though I still have fond memories of toting delicious picnic fare around in Mom's Tupperware. Although, I think it was more about keeping the rain out than keeping the flavor in. Who wants water-y tuna salad?

But I digress... the point of this post is that I have a dilemma.

kay sedilaI feel loyal to Kay Sedila - she's the gal who I saw in Huntington. She has a tupperware song, spicy delivery and a hilarious, X-rated schtick.

For example: Kay would present us with a sippy cup. Instead of explaining how it's designed to be toddler-proof, she tells us, "Now ju can throw your margarita at you boyfriend and it no spill!"

She also assigns a member of the audience to do periodic "chi chi checks." This is important because it's very non-fabuluz if one of Kay's chi chi's starts to sag. At the end, of course, it's revealed that her chi chi's are actually more fabuluz tupperware.

I suspect that Kay is the original Tupperware drag queen, but I'm not 100% sure. In the last few years, a new hostess has appeared on the scene - Dixie Longate.
It's the perennial question - should I go with the sure thing or roll the dice on a new drag queen?

dixie longateDixie Longate has a much better online presence. I'm not sure if it's because she's better / more popular or if it's because she has a proper marketing team.

Where Kay is a sassy Latina, Dixie is the X-rated housewife from hell. Is this a better fit for the Orange County crowd? I don't know . . .


05 April 2008

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rental Cars

Meet Pooky.

Pooky is my new friend in Portland. Pooky is so much more than a rental car. Pooky will help me stick it to The Man.

Since I moved away, I've spent more than $2,800 renting cars in Portland. That's really messed up. What's worse is, those are just the rental fees. I probably spent $250 on gas.

I thought the only alternative to renting a car would be buying a POS car and finding a place for it to live. Still, once you figure in insurance and licensing, it's kind of a wash. Then I found Pooky.

Pooky is a Zipcar.

When I'm in town next month, I'm going to find Pooky, wave my magic fob in front of him, and off we'll go. It will cost me $27 to hang out with Pooky for the afternoon - much better than the $40 the rental car companies wanted. Plus, Pooky comes with free gas.

Unfortunately, Pooky can't help me when I'm in town for a week (Zipcar's long term rates are $66/day), but for a short-term rental this is perfect.

Zipcar used to be Flexcar or they merged or something like that. They gave me a referal link so if you sign up for Zipcar via my blog, you'll receive $25 in free driving credit.

Here are some of the cities that have Zipcar:

Northwest: Seattle, Portland, Vancouver BC
Northern California (San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Stanford)
Southern California (Santa Barbara, LA, Irvine, San Diego, Claremont)
Southwest: Phoenix, Albuquerque
... there are other cities east of the rockies (including Zipcar NYC).

Most of the rental cars are eco-friendly. They gave me a list of 30 cars and half of them were hybrids (Prius or Civic Hybrid). The other options included Scions (xA and xD), a Subaru Impreza and a Mini Cooper. Each car has a name (Algernon the xA, Impreza Ivanka, xD Dave, etc.), my car's name is Pooky.

Hooray, Pooky.

02 April 2008

Psycho Safeway & Downtown Portland Like It Used to Be

The Psycho Safeway downtown Portland Oregon
Mom recently sent me an article entitled: In Praise of Psycho Safeway." It ran in The Oregonian a couple of weeks ago.

The article reminded me of a Portland that once was. I'm not sure if it's gone forever or if it just relocated.

If you could make the internet real, that's what downtown Portland was like in the 1990's. It had something for everyone - especially if you were into obscure shit.

In just one afternoon you could:
Stephanie from Church of Elvis
* Marry a total stranger (Church of Elvis)

* Buy a rare Cure import (Ozone Records)

* Try on a vintage 1970's disco jumpsuit with 1950's roller skates (Big Bang Warehouse)

* Learn how to make explosives from a zine (Powell's)

* See bum's fighting (near the old Weinhardt's brewery)

* Sell your old crap for cash (Powell's, various record and clothing stores)

* Get alcohol under age (Hamburger Mary's)

* Have your credit cards stolen (the bus mall)

* Talk to a crazy guy who thinks yogurt cups are the key to eternal life (Psycho Safeway)

* Meet a future reality TV star (Pioneer Courthouse Square - true story)

When you think about it, the internet still has some catching up to do compared to downtown Portland in 1994. You still can't order cheese fries from a transvestite (The Roxy) or put your friends in a shopping cart and push them around a statue of Abe Lincoln (the park blocks).

Church of Elvis Where's The Art guyThe other thing that troubles me is that downtown just isn't scary anymore. I don't mean dangerous-scary, I mean intimidating-scary. The first time I went to Ozone records. I had no idea if I was even in the right place. All I remember is a big black door. You had to have guts just to walk in there.

It was the same with Big Bang Warehouse. We got directions from some older kids: "In the middle of the block there's this black staircase leading up. That's where it is." Sounds easy. . . until you get to the staircase. There's no sign indicating there's a clothing store upstairs, and the stairway is black on black. It took balls to be a downtown kid back then.

I suppose it's possible kids just go to other parts of town now. Maybe I'll overhear some kid talk about how they were afraid to go to explore "NoPo," but I think we're a kinder gentler Portland now.

Also, half of what made Portland so gritty back then was all the homeless and section 8 people wandering the streets. Now that they've closed down / demolished The St. Francis and the four or five other buildings like it, most of the people who made downtown so colorful have been shuffled off to the suburbs. Maybe Psycho Safeway lives again somewhere . . . out in Hillsboro.

Now that's a scary thought.