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Unsolicited Southern Fried Notes & Musings On Athens

- this past weekend marked my first excursion to Athens, Georgia, home of R.E.M. and the B-52s and Jeff Daniels for the first six weeks of his life; it’s not the type of town I expected to have multiple Zaxby’s, but in fact they do (Zaxby’s was actually founded in nearby Statesboro, which helps to explain the proliferation)

- Athens is also not the type of town I expected to lack gazebos, and as you can see from the photo above at least one was very easy to find in the four-to-six block radius I traversed

- I visited the homeland of Stipe for a wedding; ’twas a lovely affair on all counts (yes, they played some R.E.M. during the reception per some local statute I’m sure)

- the day after the wedding a couple friends and I attempted to visit the grave of B-52s guitarist Ricky Wilson, but the Oconee Hill Cemetery office was closed and there were no maps tucked away by the door so we didn’t find jack; this is just further evidence all graveyards should be alphabetized or arranged by birth/death year

- the Last Resort serves up a pretty good cup of joe, and I hear the black bean soup is awesome

- in general Athens offers pretty hilly terrain, so keep that in mind when you look at a map and decide, “Oh, the Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t too far away from this hotel, I’ll just walk there for a treat in long pants and what feels like a thin sweatshirt in this eighty degree weather”

- the guy at Weaver D’s really does say “automatic!” all the time

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

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