30 July 2010

Something 4 The Weekend # 176

Our office move is nearing completion, although I hestitate to say that because it seems like every new day brings some new fresh hell with it. In actuality, today we completely cleared our old offices, and signed off on the closing contract with the owner of the building. This weekend we'll be at the new offices, where our IT guys will be working frantically to get the network and phone system fully in place while hired contractors will be loading everyone's offices with their hardware and personal effects.
As the #2 guy in the Operations Department, I've been spearheading the logistics of the move with my boss, which essentially means facilitating all our coworkers - answering questions, loaning out tools, getting them boxes and tape guns and whatever else they might need to pack up their offices for the move. It also means working with the moving company and other assorted contractors, and for me personally, it's meant taking care of address changes with all our vendors and partners within and without the company.
Having taken care of all of that over the course of the past few weeks, this week has been a hardcore concentration on getting our old 40,000 square foot building completely and utterly emptied out.
We've been at this location for the past decade. In 2000, there were approximately 250 employees. Today there are 109, thanks in large part to the tech-bubble bursting several years ago, and the old CEO and CFO essentially being incompetent and/or insane. Although we have half the manpower we did a decade ago, we still have all the supplies, furniture, etc we had back then. Combine that with a Facilities Manager who was a hardcore hoarder, and I cannot even begin to describe all the unused crap we've had to deal with. And by "deal with" I mean trash, recycle, or give to charity. I've spent approximately 30 of the last 48 hours lifting, lugging, and throwing into dumpsters or moving vans all manner of furniture, electronic gear, and anything else you can imagine a company possessing. I would estimate that we've thrown away about 10 tons of old, useless crap. As I've been saying for the past few weeks, "we're paying for the sins of other people", and what I mean is that we're now busting our humps because of the hoarding Facilities Manager (now terminated), who packed the basement and assorted unused rooms with literally tons of shit she was supposed to get rid of bit by bit over the years. This is a woman who I've caught red-handed removing items from the dumpsters that myself and others had thrown out. All this unused crap, coming back to haunt us.
As a middle-aged man, I cannot begin to describe the aches and pains I'm feeling right now.
I'm too old for this shit, and I cannot wait for the day, probably still two or three weeks away, when I can go back to flirting with K__ in Engineering, and taking care of my normal, everyday business.
Hotcha! Hank

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27 July 2010

Tuesday's Fortune: 27 July 2010

MEAL: 2 Vegetable Spring Rolls + 1 small order Pork Lo Mein = $6.65 + $1.35 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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24 July 2010

Something 4 The Weekend # 175

Dinosaur Jr.: Bug: "Yeah We Know" [mp3]

I came to the realization this past week that Isaac, my older cat, has gone deaf.

I had my suspicions that something wasn't right a couple of weeks ago, when Isaac stopped greeting me at the door when I came home after work, but I decided that he's a fifteen year old cat that had simply become bored with me, so to speak.

Then, about a week ago, I realized that his mewling had gotten louder. Not insanely loud, but noticeably louder. I was intrigued by this development, but certainly didn't chalk it up to anything significant, because in all other respects, he was behaving as he normally did.

On Wednesday night, I was pouring cat food into his dish, and realized he didn't come running at the sound as he always did, instead sitting non-chalantly on the back of the couch, staring absently at nothing (or the ghost) in the living room.

Long story short - Isaac has gone deaf sometime in the past 2-3 weeks, and while this is a fairly common occurrence for older cats, it still saddens me more than I thought it would or could.

Dinosaur Jr is his favorite band.

Hotcha! Hank

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22 July 2010

Maneuver The Melvins Sideways To Pancake Mountain

Oh my! Melvins visit Pancake Mountain, and all hell breaks loose - karaoke challenges are made and met, with kids, puppets and three rather large and scary men all singing "I Wanna Be Sedated". Then the band lays down a little of their own brand of Punk with "The Kicking Machine".


Hotcha! Hank

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20 July 2010

Tuesday's Fortune: 20 July 2010

MEAL: 1 Roast Pork Egg Roll + 1 small order Sweet & Sour Chicken = $5.65 + $1.35 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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18 July 2010

Things I Liked Last Week 071810

01: R.E.M.: The Athens Demos: "Life & How To Live It" [mp3] Once more for the record - Fables Of The Reconstruction is my favorite album by my all-time sentimental favorite band, R.E.M. Capitol Records has just reissued Fables in a very deluxe kind of way, although once you move beyond the poster and postcards, and the packaging in general, one is left with a remastered version of the original album, and a second disc of demos from the sessions for the album. These demo recordings probably only hold interest for a serious and longtime fan like me, especially of this particular album, and the quality and progress of the songs are all over the place, but that only helps to illustrate just how great the Fables album ended up being. Producer Joe Boyd does an excellent job fashioning the moodiest album in REM's catalog, and the album that has come to best represent the "classic" R.E.M. of their IRS Records years, at least for me.

02: Lego Architecture: Seattle Space Needle: We're quite literally right in the middle of moving our offices over to the other side of town, into a smaller, but fancier, building. Since I'm one of only 4 people in the Operations Department, I've been busting my ass for the past two weeks, and will be busting my ass for a couple more. I'm going to miss the old place - for the last ten years we've had a fantastic view of Lake Mendota, and now, for at least the next five years, we'll be able to see the West Beltline Highway. Which is almost beside the point except to say that I bought myself this Lego model for my new workspace. I can see a Starbucks from there. I've never been to Starbucks, though I've been to Seattle three times, and I've been to the top of the Space Needle twice. Fuck, the West Beltline might as well be Omaha or Jacksonville.

03: The Good Guys [Fox, Mondays 9/8c]: Colin Hanks plays Jack Bailey, a cop as straight as his name, and he plays the character well, or at least wears the hairdo well. But he doesn't wear that square, lacquered hair as well as Bradley Whitford wears his moustache, which is my way of saying this is Whitford's show, and so far, he's doing alright. He plays Dan Stark, an aging, seemingly washed-up detective who still manages to show the guts and tenacity that made him a golden boy once upon a time for the Dallas PD. Of course, Dan Stark is a fool unafraid to rush into stupid, often unavoidable danger, and this is why The Good Guys is an Action-Comedy. Dan Stark has a lot of balls and just enough brains to be dangerous, and so far, Bradley Whitford is making the character come alive, and really carrying the show. For his part, Hanks is doing a solid job as Stark's straight-laced partner, Bailey, who's function, obviously, is keeping Stark's bravado in check. As actors, Hanks and Whitford play this typical good cop/loose cannon buddy cop dynamic well. Add the lovely and radiant Jenny Wade as Liz Traynor, an assistant DA with a "complicated" romantic past with Jack Bailey, and well, a show like this pretty much writes itself. A loud, funny and action-packed show that's currently eating up an hour of my life these past few weeks. Will it last? Will Whitford continue to make Dan Stark a brash and bold character worth watching? Ach, who fucking knows?

04: Wu-Tang Pizza: This one is pretty self-explanatory, I think. Black olives rule everything around me and those jalepenos ain' nuttin' ta fuck wit'.

05: 66 Mailboxes: I took this picture somewhere in Marin County, California, circa 1996. (As always, click to enlarge) I've counted 66 mailboxes, and I know there are more.

Hotcha! Hank

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16 July 2010

Something 4 The Weekend # 174

Melvins: A Senile Animal: "A History Of Drunks" [mp3]

I've got a shit-ton of Melvins in my jukebox, and I could randomly pick just about any given song from any given album of theirs, and the chances are like 87% that it's gonna be an absolute ass-kicker. Sludge. Doom. Punk. Grunge. Hostile Ambient. Fucking Metal. Buzz and Co. (but especially Buzz) got so many tricks up their sleeves, it's hard to choose. Melvins have been cranking for 25+ years now, and dammit if they haven't crept up quite high on my list of favorite bands over the years. And dammit if their last few albums haven't been as good and strong and heavy and fun as any other album in their pocket.

A Senile Animal dates from 2006, and finds King Buzzo and Dale Crover combining forces with the two dudes from Seattle sludge beasts Big Business for a stronger and more versatile version of the band. Melvins are usually a trio (Buzz and Dale and a bassist to be named later) but as a quartet, the heaviness seems limitless. On "A History Of Drunks" they're remarkably light on their feet, so to speak, delivering a trim and complicated boogie of sorts, but still flexing the big beef. Anyways...Tell me these lyrics aren't brilliant and somehow touching in their own way...Go ahead and sing along!

"she helped remove the bullet from my leg
she took the blade, dug them out while I lay screaming
she showed me bloody things and held them in her hand
and said that these were her's and put them in her pocket
I begged her to shoot me in the head

she took my gun and shot my leg instead
the way she held my gun and looked at me with rage
told me that everything was okay and I survived
and now she stays with me, it's crazy but she's mine
she tells me I'm insane because she doesn't lie
she was a-killing me, she left me here to die
and all the ways that worries all right"

Melvins have always been killer, and they're currently killing it, and I see no reason why they won't continue to slay. In their own way, their quietly becoming legendary, an institution, an undeniable force in rock history. A band that looks (sounds) better and better in the rearview.

A band for the ages. In my world, anyways.

Hotcha! Hank

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14 July 2010

8 Flaggers

13 July 2010

Wrapped Sideways Around Your Finger

Three blokes and a thousand candles.

Godley & Creme prove that art doesn't have to be complicated.

Hotcha! Hank

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Maneuver Godley (and Creme) Sideways

Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were the arty half of 10cc, and when they left that band in the late 70's, they continued as a duo. This song, "Cry", was their biggest commercial success, a leftfield hit in 1985, thanks to this video, which got insanely heavy airplay on MTV. Of course, if you check out their discography, you'll find that Godley & Creme were responsible for about fifty or sixty music videos in the heyday of MTV, being perhaps the most significant music video directors of that decade.

I'd go so far as making this generalization - these two dudes, who you probably never heard of, are largely responsible for MTV's success in their first decade, and without them, the network may very well not exist today.

Hotcha! Hank

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Tuesday's Fortune: 13 July 2010

MEAL: 1 Boneless Fried Chicken with Mixed Vegetables = $8.55 + $1.45 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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12 July 2010

Harvey Pekar, RIP

American Splendor might just be the story of my life, the story of so many of our lives - of dreams deferred almost daily, of slogging through and fighting the good fight, of losing in life while watching assholes and idiots win, and our only recourse is hoping there's a God and heaven, because there's usually no reward, temporary or eternal, for us sad sacks in this life. No, all we got is our bitching and our sense of humor. I guess that's enough.

From one ugly, irascible Polish-American to another - rest in peace, Harvey Pekar - you were, and will remain, a giant in my own life. You made the mundane mythic, and that takes true genius. You were a god among men.

Hotcha! Hank

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09 July 2010

Something 4 The Weekend # 173

10cc: The Original Soundtrack: "I'm Not In Love" [mp3]

This song was all over the radio in the summer of 1975 as my family vacationed in Kentucky and Tennessee, so not only do I associate it with the season, but with camping and spelunking, because really, there wasn't much to do in that region of the country but visit caves, Mammoth Cave National Park being the crown jewel of the whole lot.

It was also the summer when my dad and I met a moonshiner at a gift shop somewhere in KY. We went back to his place, where he had an enormous still, distilling moonshine from corn mash. I remember pestering my dad to let me try the moonshine. He resisted for as long as he could, but a high-energy nine year old by can wear a man down, and so he finally relented. I nearly puked, I almost cried ("big boys don't cry") and I remember telling my dad I would never drink alcohol again as he and the moonshiner laughed their asses off.

Skip to my senior year in high school, and I was pretty much an alcoholic.

Ahh, memories. Ahh spelunking. Ahh, 10cc.

Hotcha! Hank

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07 July 2010


James Joyce's ULYSSES is the one book in my collection that I'm 100% certain I will never actually read all the way through...When I think about what little I know about this novel, I imagine WINONA RYDER as Molly Bloom. And in the winter months, when my beard is full-blown, I imagine myself Odysseus, trying to make my way home to my beloved Penelope, as played by my beloved Winona... I've read plenty of Joyce, but I'll never read this book, front to back. Maybe back to front, but that seems like more of a Finnegan's Wake maneuver.

This particular picture looks like some sort of Great Gatsby scene...Winona as Daisy Buchanan. I've read Fitzgerald's novel. It's okay. Fitzgerald lucked out with that novel, that's for sure - assuring himself a permanent place in American letters on the strength of one fairly mediocre novel. Whatever.
Now, supposedly Winona is a smart, literate person. She's read plenty of good and important books, supposedly, if we believe the interviews and bios, so I assume she's read Gatsby as well. I bet she's never read Ulysses, though she's probably read The Odyssey. Either way, she remains the dearest to my heart, atop the laminated list in my mind for the past two decades.
Hotcha! Hank

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06 July 2010

Tuesday's Fortune: 06 July 2010

MEAL: 1 Roast Pork Egg Roll + 1 small order Mongolian Beef = $5.65 + $1.35 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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