Archive for August, 2009

31st August
2009
written by Jeff

iPhone 3GSA lot has changed for me in the past two months. I’m living in a new house. I lost a cat (sadly). I paid off my debts. I ate a block of cheese in one sitting. I became a ninja. I fired a shotgun in your general direction.

But, of FAR greater importance than any of these – and much more important than my discovery that I am telepathic (I know what you are thinking and, no, it is NOT ok to do that with hamsters!) – is the two new additions to my family. Not pets. Not children (God help me). Not even more women for my harem.

No, it’s an iPhone and a MacBook Pro.

I’m an Apple guy (especially the granny smiths, nyuk nyuk) and, despite that, I had long resisted the move to the iPhone. Let’s just say I had a negative experience with a Blackberry. I would not recommend trying to eat one of those, fyi.

To complicate matters, my business partner and I were seemingly locked into a contract with T-Mobile even though he had no cell service at his house and I had virtually none in my new place. After much discussion and work by my business partner – thanks go to the folks in T-Mobile customer service as well – we wrangled our way out of the contract and I immediately went to an iPhone.

I have to tell you that it really has altered how I do things. Getting mail on my phone, using Twitter, sending messages are all significantly easier with this phone. Maybe even more importantly, the iPhone is the best cell phone I have ever owned by a very wide margin. It’s really not even close. It’s got a super loud earpiece, a completely intuitive interface and voicemail recorded directly on the phone.

The apps are a whole other ballgame. I can’t really even begin to describe just how many cool apps are available on this thing, but it’s mind boggling and completely awesome.

Many people told me it would change my life and, frankly, I didn’t believe them. But, after only a couple weeks with the phone, I’m a convert…to Buddhism and the iPhone. Namaste.

MacBook ProMy new MacBook Pro is really a business expense. My wonderful MacBook I bought in 2006 has been struggling of late and it was time for an upgrade. With the sale of the house, one of my planned purchases was a new laptop and a large monitor to use when I’m working in my office.

By going with the 13″ MacBook Pro, I saved money and got a more portable machine and, in this case, size doesn’t matter when you’ve got a big, thick, hard, 23″ monitor on your desk. Wait, you weren’t thinking about penises were you? Good LORD, you are nasty.

Anyway, the combo of the laptop, the monitor and a new Airport Express (mine was almost 6 years old), it’s like having a completely different experience, particularly on the web where everything is faster and easier to use.

In a way, it’s like Steve Jobs is living with me giving me mini keynote addresses every day, which is really stupid and I wish he would quit. I mean, come on, Steve! Do you really have to talk THAT much? I stopped listening like three days ago.

My point is that Apple rules and you drool and you know it’s totally the truth!

Post to Twitter Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

26th August
2009
written by Jeff

Well, it was bound to happen. UPDATE

According to the Press, Walter’s is moving, NOT closing. Good news for live music fans. It doesn’t save Washington Avenue, but it’s something. Thank you for all the comments here and on Broken Record. Keep the faith.

Craig Hlavaty from the Houston Press reported on Twitter that Walter’s on Washington will close down after Halloween and has promised more details tomorrow.

This should really come as no shock to anyone who has been watching the slow, painful demise of the Washington Avenue corridor. What was once a promising hot bed of live music venues has turned into a long stretch of douchtastic venues for Hummer-driving popped collar assholes.

Everyone needs a place to drink and act like a moron. It’s just a shame that this stretch of road has to suffer the fate once relegated to Richmond Avenue between 610 and Chimney Rock.

For those who are unaware, Washington Avenue has, over the years, been home to some of the city’s most important music venues. Here’s a partial list. Feel free to comment with others.

Rockefeller’s

One of the all-time great music venues in our city’s history, Rockefeller’s hosted a wealth of artists from Garth Brooks (early days) and Suzanne Vega to BB King, Tower of Power and Chick Corea. Built out of an old bank building, the unique two-story interior was often packed for multiple shows. When acts started looking for larger venues where they only needed to do one show (crowd size issues were sometimes a problem for the venue that would be an IDEAL size today), Rockefeller’s died.

What is there now? A wedding and corporate events venue

The Fabulous Satellite Lounge

One of my favorite all-time places to see bands in Houston, “the Satellite” as everyone referred to it was a big, open, loud room with a great sound system and plenty of killer bands to pack the place. In some ways, Satellite was the precursor to the Houston version of the Continental Club and hosted a lot of the same acts. I played MANY shows there in the mid-90’s and always had a good time.

What is there now? A salon

Club Hey Hey

Directly across the street from Rockefeller’s, Club Hey Hey was one of Houston’s preeminent blues bars for a number of years. On one particular night, BB King playing Rockefeller’s and Albert Collins (a native Houstonian) playing Hey Hey met in the middle of Washington for a jam session with the doors to both clubs wide open. Now, all we can expect is two drunk jerkoffs standing in the middle of the street having a text-off. Brilliant.

What is there now? Apartment complex

Rhythm Room

One of the more recent venues to die off (just a few years back), the Rhythm Room was one of those places that seemed like a perfect music venue. It was essentially a long hallway with a stage at the far end, pool tables and bar in the back. It had a great sound system, was built for easy load-in/out and had a backstage set up. It never seemed to gain ground on venues like the Engine Room (now dead as well) and the taxes on the property were probably too high, so they folded.

What is there now? An empty building still for lease.

Tones

A tiny blues club next to Walter’s, Tones worked under several names when Walter’s was still an ice house, but it was a great week night hang where you could hear some killer blues music.

What is there now? A small non-live music bar.

Cosmo’s

Cool little converted diner. I remember doing a bunch of gigs there and seeing some really cool musicians play there. The bar staff was always friendly and there was always good live music on the weekends and a jam night on Wednesday’s. Thanks for the help with remembering the name!

What is there now? The Porch Swing

The Vatican

In the mid-90’s, the Vatican was THE place to go see live alt bands. Such notables as Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails came through the venue that was once a pretty majestic church. It was a HUGE venue and a competitor for Numbers that just didn’t survive, most likely because the bills on a venue that size must have been brutal. It was at the far west end of Washington and I remember it fondly because their phone number was only 1 off from mine in those days and I regularly got wrong numbers meant for them. When someone wanted to know who was playing and didn’t listen when I told them it was a wrong number, I usually made up band names like the Cheesy Weasels and the Stinky Monkeys. You’re welcome.

What is there now? Office space

The Bon Ton Room/Fat Cats/Mary Jane’s

Last year, I was dating someone who said that her friends wanted to meet her at a new bar called the Pearl Bar, so we went. What I found made me ill (both of us, actually). What was once the Bon Ton Room, home to the earliest incarnations of the Arc Angels among others, and, ultimately, Mary Jane’s, was now a packed, hot bar filled with yuppies – and that was before the velvet rope went up. Since it’s opening, I’ve often hoped the hipsters at Walter’s across the street and the yuppies at Pearl Bar would meet in the middle of the street like some sort of modern day West Side Story and fight it out.

What is there now? Pearl Bar

Walter’s on Washington

Finally to Walter’s, a place I played both in its current form and when it was an ice house. Over the past few years it’s been a source of controversy with over zealous cops and annoying NIMBY neighbors and let’s be honest, it was never exactly an ideal music venue given its size and dimensions. But, it was pretty much the only live music venue in town that still had that ratty, run down, indie music vibe outside of Rudyard’s and maybe Numbers on a non-goth night. It was also the only venue that bid on cool indie shows here in Houston and losing it most definitely hurts.

What is there now? Who knows

Anyone old enough knows this process is sadly common in Houston. Even before my time, Market Square, a once thriving live music spot, turned into a bunch of bars for people who worked downtown. Party on the Plaza became country and cover band-centric. Richmond Avenue started out with live original music, but eventually de-evolved into Sam’s Boat and whatever remnants of the slimy coke-fest are still there.

Some of us even had high hopes for Main Street, but clearly we were mistaken.

Houston is simply not original music friendly. As a city, we don’t support live original music or demand that venues remain open. Washington Avenue, a quirky, ethnic street filled with tiny taco joints, funky warehouse lofts and pawn shops is slowly gentrifying into a plastic, vacant hell hole.

What’s worse is that, like all the other places before it, it will eventually be abandoned too. It’s not like Reign or Pearl Bar are going to be here in 20 years. When people find a cooler place to hang or when there are one too many drunken shootings along the gaudy, townhome-laden side streets, everyone will move on to some other area and infest it with the same crap that is now invading Washington Avenue.

RIP, Walter’s. You made it longer than the rest. Kudos.

Photo via Katharine Shilcutt

Post to Twitter Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

26th August
2009
written by Jeff

Vampire WangSince I’m back to blogging, it seems only (super)natural that I get back in the swing of things by talking about something stupid weird bizarre pretty much totally normal for me, in this case, a vampire dildo.

I know a lot of you ladies love you some Twilight what with the teenage angst, the heavy makeup and the eternal death motif, but do you really want a silicon vampire schlong this close to your “love-cave-between-my-legs?”

Probably not, but the description alone is worth checking it out.

JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN! Who doesn’t love those dark and mysterious vamps on the screen and in the books we all thumb through lustfully? That’s what we thought. For those of us who fantasize about being spellbound and tantalized by the forbidden comes The Vamp. We promise this vamp won’t be the only thing coming for you in the night.

Yes, just in time for Halloween because it’s not enough to get dressed up like a smelly pirate hooker, you also need to go home and screw yourself silly with a pink vampire wee wee. It’s the most white trashiest time of the year, apparently.

The Vamp is a realistic form dildo based appropriately on our Sire’s design but with a deathly pale flesh tone reminiscent of the new moon’s glow.

Oh sure, that’s “flesh tone” if you just disconnected it from My Little Pony. Just in case it’s been a while since you’ve seen one, the average male member is not hot pink and almost never shimmers with glitter. Maybe that one time in San Francisco, but that’s for another time.

And did anyone else find it funny how they capitalized “Sire” as if he’s a real person hovering over the computer of this PR person while she writes about a fake plastic wang? I guess she could be British and talking about Prince Charles, but that would be even creepier, so I’m going to forget I even considered that. You should too, unless you like that sort of thing. God, you’re so weird!

Don’t be surprised if this toy seduces you, its long sleek shaft and deliciously ridged head calling to you in the twilight. But don’t save this for just nocturnal escapades, try taking our Vamp out in the sunlight and watch him sparkle.

Nice reference to twilight without infringing on copyright. I can do it too!

“Count” your blessings, ladies. This thing will leave you so breathless, you’ll need Vlad the Inhaler (sold separately).

Which, by the way, would make a killer merchandising item for the Twilight crew. They could get some Primatene Mist, spray paint them black and sell them at Hot Topic! You’re welcome, Twilight producers!

But, back to the pink plastic missile of the un-dead. Do you really want a sex toy that sparkles in the sunlight? It’s not like you are taking it to the park to enjoy after a picnic of hot dogs, cucumbers, pickles and carrots…or maybe you are. You FREAK! I’m SO impressed. How YOU doin’?

Via Geekologie

Post to Twitter Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

25th August
2009
written by Jeff

cats_matrixAbsent, AWOL, astray, away, elsewhere, ghost, gone, hooky, missing, no-show, nobody home, removed, vanished…

That’s me!

What the hell is up freaks and freakettes. Did you miss me? That’s a stupid question. Of COURSE you missed me. I’m the cream in your coffee, the fun in your dysfunction, the jazz in your jazz hands! You know it’s true.

A more appropriate question is where the hell have I been? The short answer is: drunk or sleeping or watching tv or watching tv while drunk and sleeping. It makes no difference. The point is, I’ve been gone and I’ve missed you. I mean, look at your face. It’s so cute – except for your nose, which is bigger than I remember. Have you been getting nose injections again? I thought I warned you that would cause you to look sad and clown-like. You never listen. Sigh.

Seriously, look at this place since I left. It’s a MESS! When the cat’s away…what’s the rest of that saying, something about monkeys eating Cheetos?

Anyway, I’ve been wrangling (that’s a fancy southern word that means wrastlin’) with home repairs, movers, mortgage companies, real estate agents, websites, guitars (Cadillacs and hillbilly music), computers, iPhones, cats and your mom, who says “hi,” “tuck in your shirt” and “eat your vegetables.” She’s a demanding little thing. Oh, don’t I know it. Ho hooooo!

Ahem.

What I’m tryin’ to lay down for ya is that I’m re-dedicated to this crazy little thing called “blog.” You thought I was going to say “love,” didn’t you? Hey, I’m no plagiarizer. I’m a believer, yes, and I wanna dance with somebody (somebody who loves me), sure. True, it’s been a hard day’s night, but I guess that’s life! I can’t deny it!

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m both original and literate and that makes me awesome times four to the square root of pi, carry the one and…it’s science. You wouldn’t understand.

All I’m saying (besides give peace a chance) is see you around the blogfire. We can roast marshmallows, sing songs about Wil Wheaton and discuss the power of the dark side.

Post to Twitter Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon