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Things I Thought Oculus Rift Might Be Before Yesterday

- a surfboard company

- a Sharper Image type of place for Hobbit fans

- a character from Demolition Man

I’m still not sure what Facebook will do with virtual reality helmets, but it’s not like they spent my two billion dollars.

An Annotated History Of Never Realized Book Projects (2002-10)

This Music Leaves Stains is the first book I’ve had published but it is far from the first book I’ve tried to get published, or thought about trying to get published. Here now, an annotated history of never realized JG2 works.

Untitled Dead Kennedys Biography (2002) – Stalled during the research period thanks to several factors (college course load, punk rock politics, my debilitating lack of experience). I covered the nuts and bolts of this failure for Crawdaddy! in a feature called “Give Me Convenience, Give Me Death, Just Tell Me Your Real Damn Name.” The most interesting aspect may be that I put a letter in the mail addressed “East Bay Ray, San Francisco” and it actually reached the correct guy. Your tax dollars at work.

Star Wars Ruined My Life (2005) – Ten chapter essay collection covering the weirder aspects of Star Wars fandom, including my own struggles with George Lucas’s intergalactic money printing machine (#firstworldproblems). Hired a literary agent but no publisher on Earth was interested. I didn’t have a “built-in audience,” which meant my blog statistics were not impressive enough to warrant anything. This era was the beginning of “co-opt every popular thing from the Internet to stave print’s death!” I’m sure my medium talent was also an issue (I know the manuscript lacked punch/direction). I absolutely cannot remember why but for some reason I e-mailed Jay Mohr about this book; he sent a very encouraging reply peppered with some of his theories on Boba Fett, which justified my struggle.

Untitled Oral History Of My Middle School Experience (2005) – An interesting twist on the adolescent memoir (I think): interview a bunch of people I grew up with to see how their worldview around that time differed from mine, turning the whole thing into an oral history with several narrative tracks. My lit agent loved this idea and really ramped me up about it, but then Star Wars Ruined My Life didn’t go anywhere. Representation cut me loose and without a cheerleader I cooled on the concept. Compiled about a chapter and a half, though, and several people I hadn’t spoken to since 1994 taught me a lot about where we grew up and life in general.

Untitled Field Guide To Discontinued Soft Drinks (2007-08) – New Coke, Pepsi AM, OK, DnL…I thought the world needed a comprehensive encyclopedia of every soda that’s ever fallen off the figurative/literal map. Unfortunately, the stories behind these drinks are all more or less the same (they failed because they were bad and nobody bought them), and when it came down to pitching this book few people understood what exactly what I was talking about. “Oh, like a coffee table book with pictures of the sodas?” No, a field guide. Like for birds. Maybe this idea is terminally flawed.

Untitled “Gong Show” Episode Guide (2006) – An excuse to track down average weirdos and hear about their experiences on the greatest televised competition of all-time. I think I concluded too many former “Gong Show” contestants/employees would be dead, and I also worried about the book’s marketability. Chuck Barris was hot in ’06, but how long would that last?

Untitled “Simpsons” History (2009) – At the time a lot of rumors were swirling about “The Simpsons” finally coming to an end. That didn’t happen, but I abandoned this idea mainly because I heard Morgan Spurlock was making a “Simpsons” documentary. Had I known his end product would be some gimmicky forty-five minute nonsense instead of the in-depth feature length “Simpsons” doc we deserve maybe I wouldn’t have jumped ship.

My Life Is A Screenplay! (2010) – The high school teacher who semi-successfully sued 20th Century Fox for plagiarizing his Christmas comedy script read my post about Jingle All The Way being a cursed property and e-mailed me with an offer to co-write a book about his life. I had just started work on This Music Leaves Stains so I had to turn him down. There also didn’t seem to be much else in his life aside from “I sued a movie studio and won but then they took the money back.” Also, that title. Woof.

Naturally I reserve the right to resurrect any of these properties at a future juncture. You never know when Chuck Barris might be hot again.

Unsolicited Thoughts/Notes On GD’s Dookie Twenty Years Later

- the Green Day albums prior to Dookie are good but you listen to them and think, “Man, these guys need a budget”; this is that rare breed of punk (hyper melodic) that’s actually hindered by rawer sonic ethics

- the middle of “Burnout” rips off the middle of “Pictures of Lily” by the Who, but “Burnout” is faster, so…all forgiven?

- speaking of the Who, that rah rah ending of “Chump,” the bit that crashes into “Longview”…why were any of us surprised when Green Day became an arena band and started writing rock operas?

- the Green Day backlash (which occurred, what, between 1995-97?) was so intense I still feel residual guilt for ever owning an original cassette copy of this album (which is dumb, because you should just like what you like and love what you love and I’ve since owned far more dubious musical ventures, including a good portion of Leonard Nimoy’s discography)

- I’ve heard “Welcome to Paradise” so many times throughout my life (both voluntarily and involuntarily) that it no longer registers as anything except a sound that is occurring in the vicinity of my ears

- part of me wishes the entire album had the twangy tone of “Pulling Teeth” (seems a little richer)

- part of me wishes the only segment of “Basket Case” they had released was Billie’s vocal track

- people who accuse this album of being (too) juvenile have obviously never heard anything by the Queers or Screeching Weasel

- Dookie producer Rob Cavallo has worked on everything Green Day has done since 1994, including soundtrack stuff and live albums; that kind of job security is rare these days

- Dookie producer Rob Cavallo also worked on Kid Rock’s Rock n’ Roll Jesus, which makes me want to smash a fucking carp right into his face

- Dookie is fun and will always be the Rosetta Stone that made me decide to further investigate this punk rock stuff, but it stopped being my favorite Green Day album the second Insomniac dropped in ’96; they just sound like a stronger band on Insomniac, playing tighter, louder songs with way more frenzy and better melody…I don’t understand why people tend to dismiss that one sight out of hand (or w/e that nonsensical phrase is)

- the hidden song here is the aural equivalent of looking at Pauly Shore

Derisive Names You Can Use For The Super Bowl To Exhibit Your Non-Interest In Sports

The Stupid Bowl
The Pooper Bowl
The Snoopy Bowl
The Grouper Bowl
The Fruiter Bowl
The Cooter Bowl
Bowly Bowl Bowl
The Thing Game
The Super Toilet Bowl
Swan Lake With Hitting
The Ice Capades With No Ice But Hitting
The Oscars On A Field With No Awards But Hitting
That Dumb Shit That Isn’t The Pro Bowl
The Budweiser Frog Variety Hour (With Hitting)

DISCLAIMER: I myself would never use any of these terms as I have the utmost respect for millionaires who run around in tights screaming things like “pork belly option” and “Omaha!”

Unsolicited Thoughts/Notes On 30 For 30: The Price Of Gold

- sometimes you read stories about our armed forces blasting heavy metal at foreign dictators to ferret them out of fortified compounds but what they really need to use is the audio of Nancy Kerrigan reeling in pain during the aftermath of her 1994 attack; that unhinged wailing jostles the moorings of my soul

- Tonya Harding’s mom dressing like a nefarious super villain (mink stole and a parrot on her shoulder?) would be funny if she hadn’t been so terrible to her daughter in her youth

- whether or not you believe Harding was in on the pre-attack conspiracy I think we can all agree the men involved made the Sweathogs look like Rhodes Scholars

- if Harding masterminded the attack, what a shame she didn’t believe in her own talents (she had already bested Kerrigan once in a 1991 World Championship); if Harding had nothing to do with the attack, what a shame she couldn’t put her issues with Kerrigan aside and reach out immediately to say, “Hey, I’m sorry, I married this clown but I want to make sure we’re square before things go any further” (Harding tried to apologize much later during an Olympic practice but Kerrigan made her talk to the hand ’cause the face wasn’t listenin’)

- the person my heart goes out to most in all of this is Michelle Kwan; Kwan won her right to compete in the ’94 Olympics by placing second in the U.S. Championships, but the ice skating powers that be decided Kerrigan would have clinched that spot had she not been clubbed…so they gave Kerrigan Kwan’s spot and sent Kwan to Norway as a non-competing alternate, which is a supremely shitty thing to do to a thirteen year old, if you ask me

- shady character Shawn Eckhardt (Harding’s bodyguard, now deceased) sort of resembled William Hootkins, the actor who played shady character Max Eckhardt in the first Batman; Shawn later changed his name to Brian Griffith, which is so very close to the name of portly “Family Guy” character Brian Griffin (whom he also sort of resembled)

- Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly changed his name to Jeff Stone, which is boring as hell and robs us of our god-given right to enjoy the mirth that inherently surrounds “Gillooly”

- this documentary takes the high road, making no mention of the Tonya Harding sex tape or Harding’s “foxy” boxing bout against Paula Jones

JG2′s Top Ten Albums & Singles Of 2013 (Annotated Edition)

Here they be, the same exact lists I submitted to Village Voice for their 2013 Pazz & Jop poll, expanded with my useless piddling thoughts on each entry. You should still wade through Pazz & Jop when The Voice posts it, though, for my point breakdown (yes, they force us to assign our album selections a specific point grade, because life is one big knuckle-chewing exam).

I hereby dedicate this year’s best of balderdash to the late Bonnie Franklin (pictured above). We lost this small screen pioneer way too soon. Bonnie was Iggy to Roseanne’s J. Rotten; on top of that, she seemed like a real together person offscreen. Respect and rest in peace, Bon.

JG2′s TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2013

1. Ghostface Killah/Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die

I’m sure Robert Rodriguez is going to waste the next year of his life working on Machete Kills One More Time With Feeling but he really should be trying to adapt this taught, soulful comic book concept album for the silver screen. Not that he could actually improve upon Ghostface/Adrian’s grit-streaked narrative—I just want to see the phrase “BASED ON THE GHOSTFACE KILLAH ALBUM” blown up for IMAX 3-D.

2. Superchunk – I Hate Music

Speaking of movie trailer talk, James Greene, Jr. of Orlando Weekly gives Superchunk’s I Hate Music four stars, calling it “gorgeous [and] liberating…indie rock candy” and the “perfect soundtrack for any spontaneous new adventure.” Hope to see that printed on future editions of IHM.

3. Kanye West – Yeezus

In the words of R. Nixon, “Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a change? Do you want to get something off your chest or do you want to get something done?” Kanye’s never had an answer for these questions, which is why his music is so consistently electrifying. Is it also overblown and self-indulgent? Totes, but no more so than anything U2′s ever done—and Kanye cracks wise way better than Bono.

4. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels

This album pretends to hit you and then gives you two for flinching. Dirty, loose, threatening, thrilling…Run The Jewels is the playground bully you secretly want as your BFF. Sure as Pepperidge Farm remembers a bunch of corny Norman Rockwell shit, RTJ remembers when rap was a distilled menace, a simpler time when being from “the streets” carried no irony.

5. Bloodlights – Stand or Die

It’s hard rock, it’s pop, it’s a bruised apple of both genres boasting no worms but plenty of heaving hooks. Bloodlights are more cohesive here than on their last effort, 2010′s Simple Pleasures; the additional muscle is greatly appreciated when that middle eight kicks in toward the end of sour anthem “Time to Kill.”

6. The Stooges – Ready to Die

James Williamson returns to the fold after dog knows how long to produce, co-write, and play killer guitar on the most exciting thing Iggy Pop’s put his name on since 2001′s Beat ‘Em Up. Is it really the Stooges? Look, I know people who think Raw Power isn’t really the Stooges. All I know is Ready to Die is more crisp, sexy, and fun than it has any right to be, and I sure ain’t mad this fucker is now in the same lineage as Fun House.

7. GWAR – Battle Maximus

Never mind all the foam rubber, these guys can groove. Shades of classic era White Zombie color GWAR’s lucky thirteen studio release and I’ll be a maggot-sucking space zombie if “Madness At The Core Of Time” isn’t the best rock album opener of the year. My teeth are still clenched.

8. Future of the Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident

Feels like a band-aid slowly peeled from a very hair patch of flesh, or “How To Orgasm Through Rug Burn” starring your favorite sulphuric post punk misanthropes. Nobody puts a musical button on cynicism quite like Future of the Left. A pox on any who previously called for their disbandment.

9. Melt-Banana – Fetch

This furious and spastic platter is what people mean when they say “taste the colors.” And yet, Melt-Banana’s been at their brain-bending game of rock disintegration for so long it felt comforting when Fetch dropped. What a treat for us to get this synapse pounding!

10. The Lonely Island – The Wack Album

The Wack Album deflates the tag of “joke rap” by cushioning its yuks with some of the most invigorating, inventive beats of 2013. If I said “‘Saturday Night Live’ rap album” to you in 1991 you would have laughed for very different reasons. Be glad someone can bankroll this reality.

JG2′s TOP TEN SINGLES OF 2013

1. Babymetal – “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”

Metal grinding swirled with J-pop continues to be the aural equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. May these sweet children never stop.

2. Kanye West – “Bound 2″

Profane and anti-romance, yet still romantic. Honesty is the best policy (at least for Kanye).

3. Britney Spears – “Work Bitch”

No one parodies Britney more deftly than herself. I don’t want to spend any time debating whether that’s intentional or not, I just want to bathe in this glorious stupidity and let its subliminal messages amuse me.

4. The Adolescents – “Forever Summer”

It can be July in Orange County whenever/where ever you are, brah.

5. The Oath – “Black Rainbow”

The voice of Johanna Sadonis floats like a benevolent angel over the most turgid and spine-tingling of Sabbathy reinterpretations. Trad metal lives thanks to this Euro quartet. What are you wearing to the black mass?

6. GWAR – “Madness At The Core Of Time”

Sure, it’s cheese metal, but a fine gruyere. Listen to how that chorus bounces around like a tennis ball between two excited golden retrievers!

7. Sleigh Bells – “Bitter Rivals”

The frenemies anthem that needs to be in the next direct-to-vid Mean Girls sequel/reboot.

8. The Lonely Island – “Diaper Money”

Everything you could want in a club banger—throbbing bass, throbbing exuberance, and coffin jokes. “Wobblty wobblty drop / into my grave plot” gets my vote for lyrical couplet of the year.

9. Kid Cudi – “Unfuckwittable”

Denser than dark matter, a blurry bleary drug trip that doubles as an empowerment anthem. Kanye would have created this if he had more confidence.

10. Run The Jewels – “Banana Clipper”

“Surprise, bitch,” Ice Cube’s 1993 attitude said as it walked through the door. “I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me.”

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