Saturday, December 18, 2010

Skool Boy Jim, Yeltsin, and Unicron

Skool Boy Jim, Yeltsin, and Unicron at Sam Bond’s Garage; December 17th, 2010

Unfortunately, like many acts at Sam Bond’s Garage, Skool Boy Jim’s sound check took about an hour.  Fortunately, when he was done, he rocked his socks off!  Literally; the man played with no shoes.  He also played guitar, drums, harmonica, and sang.  Also fortunate was my discovery of Oakshire’s Hibernator, which I had a couple of…and which I am completely devastated to discover is only a single batch brew and am now committed to consuming my body weight in Hibernator as frequently as possible until it runs out.  This one man band was accompanied by a percussionist who wore a washboard that could only be described as medieval war armor.  And as he played upon his chest and swayed his body back and forth in a rhythmical trance, I realized that more instruments should be played upon one’s own body.  Jim strategically and magically placed multi-colored Christmas lights in his kick drum which mirrored the feel good sounds this guy was producing, which also may have led to a complete shit show of a few drunk dancers for most of his set but I’m going to hand over that win to Meth.  Skool Boy Jim exudes the warmth of southern soul music and the pop of northeast bluegrass and jazz, and featured some oldies but goodies that most audiences can appreciate.  Listening to Jim’s cover of “Death Don’ have no Mercy” by Reverend Gary Davis, I pictured myself in a speakeasy somewhere drinking illegal alcohol and doing the Charleston.  This cover would also be well suited for the credits reel at the end of a Trueblood episode.

Up next was Yeltsin who had a two minute sound check which knocked my socks off and they were up and running in no time.  Tonight proved to be one of Yeltsin’s successful performances, showcasing their rock/ska energy and years of playing together with a seamless set.  The trio was completely in sync, though I was disappointed that the sound guy was not paying attention to the lack of vocals coming from both Dana and Chuck, which, when heard, carries a playful and harmonic vibe throughout each song.  Jake’s vocals were loud and clear and slightly Julian Casablancas, and his custom Guild spoke heavenly words during “Oceanic Nights.”  He lets his guitar strings hang out and his ever increasing talent gives him the right to do so.  On a different note, seeing Yeltsin always makes me feel that if a Yeltsin were a creature instead of a Russian President, it would be Jake and it would be directly related to the teddy bear creatures featured on Grateful Dead memorabilia and leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that I want to give Jake a gigantic bear hug.  Also in the same species: Ewoks, Leprechauns, and the members of ZZ Top.

And then there was Unicron.  Seeing the band members wander around the venue I was actually very excited to see what they had to offer.  Their name is original and two members featured animal headdresses; one of a white unicorn and one of a bear with a unicorn horn.  Topping the image off, the lead singer/Jonah Hill wore Blues Brothers regalia and if it were up to just looks I’d be a fan, even though he also left his front tooth at home, and apparently so did his brother?  (Who was in the audience.)  But it’s not.  They started off the show with some Merry (Fucking) Christmas sentiments and the lead guitarist with the bear head broke into an electric version of Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D” Trans-Siberian Orchestra style.  I was impressed and elated (I walked down the aisle to this song) until the bassist and frontman started yelling something with the word Fuck in it over and over, and we all know my sentiments for bands that are only familiar with the F-bomb.  Mixing Christmas and my wedding day with “let’s fuck” and “fuck you” makes even my heathen soul uneasy.  I had finally decided that the unicorned bassist might actually be decent at screamo when the lead singer shouted “if they don’t like it they can suck my balls” and I politely declined the offer and went home.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Single Bucket List

I recently finished Chelsea Handler’s “My Horizontal Life” and am trying to read her other books but Amazon is really taking their time.  Her one night stand short stories really got me thinking how funny it would be for me and my college girlfriends to compile our own stories together.  Actually who am I kidding?  Just mine and my bff Rachael’s stories; our other friends had the audacity to be a little more conservative with their bad decisions.  Now that we’re old and married it would be nice to reminisce on a few bad nights and plenty of bad relationships to appreciate where we came from.  But I just couldn’t get to jotting down any tales…writer’s block, I guess?

Then I recently got an eye exam at the mall and was introduced to the world’s sexiest optometrist.  The entire appointment would have gone much different if I was the single version of me, but we just stuck to pleasantries, which got me as far as he is from Arkansas, married to a chick he met in optometry school, is 31, and now lives with her folks in Sweet Home.  Ok so that doesn’t sound super sexy; you’re just going to have to take my word on this one.  After all was said and done (he went out of his way to give me a Lasik vs. PRK demonstration which I secretly tried to convince myself was flirtation and not just his job duties) I started questioning what I would have done if I was single.  Confessed Arkansas accents have always been my fave?  Recited my telephone number when he asked me to read the third line on an eye chart?  Told him I had an extra room at my house if he was looking to rent closer to work?

Hot doctors have always been a dream of mine, but I never had the opportunity to proposition one when I was younger and meeting Dr. Beefcake (what his female coworkers nicknamed him) really put into perspective some of the things you miss out on when you get married at 24.  Now don’t take me wrong, I wouldn’t give up being married to my amazing husband for anything.  All I have to do is remind myself of all the douche bags I dated pre-Mitch, dated being a generous term, and I immediately reconsider any such regrets.  We might call this my “If I ever end up single again Bucket List.”

1.      Have a fling with a doctor
And no, not just an “I got my Ph. D. after five Bachelors and two Masters because I’m petrified of finding a real grown up job” doctor, but a legitimate “I showed up for my pap smear and today’s my lucky day” doctor.  And notice my utilization of the word “fling.”  I am not the marry a doctor type of girl because I have always been adamant about making my own money and not marrying into it, and by adamant I mean that’s how all my relationships have turned out so I have convinced myself it is my goal rather than my luck.  And this fling would have to be based on my own or close friend’s discovery, not a blind date set up with your coworker’s husband’s boss’s doctor-friend.  A quick wham-bam- office rendezvous followed up by a date or two at an extremely expensive restaurant, and then off to find another gynecologist, preferably a female, and that should do the trick.

2.      Sleep with your teacher
Again, notice my choice of word for “your.”  It doesn’t count if you sleep with any ‘ole teacher.  (Hell, my husband’s one and it does not have the same effect that my Single Bucket List is looking for.)  The fact that this person has control over the outcome of your grade or passing of a class is the real motivation here.  And I should really change this rule to “Sleep with your college professor” because let’s be honest, it really wouldn’t be cool to sleep with your tenth grade History teacher because he’d then be that guy that would bang a 15 year old and now we’ve crossed a serious line.  I know of one person from college and one person from high school (again, ew, Mary Kay Letourneau/my art teacher at RHS) who have accomplished this feat.  Both of them were male students, so I feel as if the women in my life, including myself, have really dropped the ball on this one.  I did once have a GTF that had an obvious vendetta against me which, by the end of the term, slightly unveiled itself as a crush, maybe.  But I’m not so sure that counts…

3.      Hook up with your friend’s dad
This is one I always awkwardly joked about growing up, sometime around the MILF era.  I coined the term DILF, and have since had some very bizarre encounters with Dad’s, though have never slept with one, thus the reason it’s now on my Single Bucket List.  In high school I joked about the attractiveness of my friend Jared’s dad on numerous occasions which unfortunately led to the torture of my friend Jared’s soul that girls would rather get with his dad than him which then led to his confession of being a 16 year old porn addict.  I realized I’d got myself in too deep and dropped the DILF comments for awhile.  During my next resurgence of DILF mania my previous college roommate also thought it would be a neat idea to hook up with her friend’s dad, but even more unfortunate was that her sights were set on my dad and I, again, had to lay DILF low for awhile.  I will also mention that this previous friend is a hooker and I will not let go of the fact that she is an awful Mormon hooker until the day that I die even though I am, in fact, over the whole thing.  The third installment of DILF took place around age 22 when my close friend Lindsay’s dad came into town for some sort of function and we all went out for drinks after.  And by we all let me illustrate a more accurate picture: my friend’s dad, about 10 college alcoholics, and multiple rounds of tequila shots.  Apparently I was either in a brown-out or too embarrassed to log the memory in my upstairs database, but I creepily and/or inappropriately asked my friend’s dad what kind of drink he liked and proceeded to buy him his drink of choice.  I was merely trying to make him feel more comfortable as he was in every father’s most petrifying situation: realizing how regularly drunk and crazy your daughter really is and how much money you actually are spending on her to go to college/purchase five Tic-Tacs 4 out of 7 nights a week.  My father reached this milestone my first week at U of O when I met him at a football tailgater.  He, unlike most fathers, relished in the realization that he wasn’t actually losing a daughter but instead gaining a drinking buddy.  We still pretty much have that same relationship.  When Lindsay told me of my strange actions we all had a good laugh and dreamed of DILFs again and what it would really be like to hook up with a dad.  The laughing stopped when Lindsay also told the story to her mother who did not so much enjoy it.  I think at that point my DILF days were over when I had to apologize to wonderful Linda Day for being a Slutty McSlut and propositioning her husband with Tanqueray martinis.

I know I should probably have a more respectable Bucket List, like see Mount Rushmore and go scuba diving, but that kind of Bucket List doesn’t really fit my personality.  I honestly hope that I will never have a chance to take a crack at my Single Bucket List and considering mine and my husband’s family’s track records, his Indonesian genes are going to carry him at least 20 years longer than my diabetic, anxious, hot-headed, Swedish-American mutt ancestry.  I have long lived a mantra of “No Regrets” and I don’t regret any circumstances that I may not have partook in.  I predictably landed myself in enough outrageous situations that my more respectable friends lived vicariously through.  My Single Bucket List will just have to sit up on the shelf with everyone else’s Bucket Lists as I am perfectly content with my myriad of embarrassing stories and joyous/boring married life.

And those of you that really know me know that “settling down” has not even brought me close to maturity.  Can we talk about flashing Portland on New Years or my last mushroom trip?  So do not fret; there is more Brenda yet to come.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tom Heinl, Hot Drama, and The Underlings

Tom Heinl, Hot Drama, and The Underlings at Sam Bond’s Garage; December 3, 2010

Tom Heinl really is funnier the second time around.  If I wasn’t laughing the first time I saw him perform it’s because I didn’t want to miss a single word.  The best part of Heinl’s gig is that the audience giggles like schoolchildren in anticipation of their next favorite line, and then roars with laughter because his eye expressions and slight bodily descriptions pull the entire thing off seamlessly, again.  He has The Bob and Tom Show written all over him, and with ditties like “Glenwood Folk Can Survive” he will always be a hit with both Eugene and Springfield fan bases.  Best suited for audiences who don’t take their musical tastes too seriously and who know clever comedy when they hear it.

Hot Drama was next, and so was my first martini.  I opened my mind to appreciate the gender role reversals being played out – primarily trying to appreciate “Sassy’s” embracement of talking about sex onstage (usually more accepted public practices of men.)  But when she screamoed FUCK throughout most songs and in between all of them, the sexual enlightenment appeal began to wear off.  I finished my martini with a giant gulp when the Hot Drama groupies started shouting the only word the band seems to be familiar with into an extra mic.  This open invitation for sex with Hot Drama would have been liberating when I was 15 and it still wasn’t ok to talk about sex in front of large groups of people, only because not everyone was having sex yet.  When groupie “Joe” started banging on a cowbell, I got a fever.  The only prescription was more martinis.  Between shouts of “Con-dams” and “Who wants to fuck?” I noticed that the intros to most of Hot Drama’s songs I had heard before.  That’s because they were the intros to Blur’s “Song 2,” The Killer’s “Believe Me Natalie,” and Eugene band Black Delaney’s “Ordinary Men.”  I felt like I was on a bad trip and had boarded the wrong train – a train headed towards an S&M orgy at the Hot Drama after party.  In the end this was the wrong scene for Hot Drama, which was made clear when the only round of applause they received was after they desperately handcuffed Heinl onstage.  I may have been more “in the mood” at a roller derby venue or Castle Megastore.

The Underlings lucked out playing third on the bill.  The best marketing tactic for a band like this is to follow a horny girl band that inevitably made most men soft when raspily screaming/asking the crowd if they wanted to have sex tonight.  The Underling’s harmonized “whoa ohs” and predictable lyrics were a breath of fresh air, and reminded me that raunchy tongue-in-cheek band humor is best suited for groups like this with a Sam Bond’s audience.  Hot Drama is like Lisa Lampanelli: wonderfully hilarious in small doses; terrifying at night.