Monthly Archives: March 2011

So close…

muteboy posted a photo:

So close...

Taking down the ramp to the 80. Shame if they accidentally dropped a chunk on next door…

sarahb: bluishorange: punabot: Clips paper and holds your…




Clips paper and holds your beer bottles in place!


Hey, those are Matt Petty’s beers.

This again! Link fixed.

Greg Hawkes, Nerd Boyfriend

Greg Hawkes in full-on New Wave mode.

Nerd Boyfriend is all over the place at the moment. It’s a really nice and simple idea, with a decent amount of work behind it, and as a result the creator Roxana Altamirano is in big demand. Each post takes an old picture of a male icon of some kind (several actors, obviously, but also  architects, writers and puppeteers) and provide modern examples of the clothes they were wearing in the photo. Great for tips.

There’s a nice little interview with Nerd Boyfriend’s Roxana Altamirano here.

Today’s model is Greg Hawkes, who I had to look up, but who I am pleased to discover is/was the keyboard player with The Cars, one of my favorite bands. Their eponymous first album is often on rotation Chez Moi, especially my favorite song of theirs, Bye Bye Love. I particularly like the soaring arpeggiated keyboard solos, which I guess can be credited to Mr Hawkes. For that, I salute you.  Also for the blazer.

An Open Letter To Chris Onstad

It’s no secret I am a fan of the webcomic Achewood. There’s so much stuff there to enjoy, what with the character blogs in addition to the strip itself. I’ve written about it many times before, including considering how one character’s reaction to his impending marriage could influence my reaction to my own.

Updates have been a little thin on the ground recently, however, so when I saw that the comic’s creator, Chris Onstad, had posted this explanation on his blog, I was a teensie bit worried. I needn’t have been – it turns out that he’s very busy, needs to sit down, and will get back to it when he can. Also, what “it” is may change. I’m glad. I decided to send him an email, which I reproduce below.

Dear Mr Onstad Sir,
I wanted to just add to the no-doubt stifling torrent of support from the positive half of the decade’s worth of strangers. Achewood was, is, and will hopefully continue to be among the best comic strips out there. I feel qualified to say this, despite only reading a few. The characters, the stories, the language, and yes the art style are all appealing to me. Certainly, yours is the only one that I have bought merchandise from, at least. In fact, I am slightly embarrassed to realize that over the years I have bought or have been gifted several pieces of your high-quality memorabilia. It has always impressed me that you have been able to provide such a rich seam of “content” (curse that word and the conveyor belt it represents). It shames me and my family to say that I am not a Fanflow subscriber. I was once, a while back, but that credit card expired. I’m on it.
In the face of growing expectations and commitments, I can appreciate the need to withdraw and draw breath. I am reminded of the words of one of your characters, Pat Reynolds, who said he would update his blog “whenever in the fucking hell I feel like it, you slavering, puckered assholes!”. Words to live by, I’m inclined to think.
In short, whatever you feel like coming up with, your fans will appreciate, despite moaning about it in the associated fora. Thanks for it all.

Yours sincerely,
Matthew Petty,
(an English white guy with glasses)
San Francisco

Celebrate, Peasants

“I got married last year. Apart from my family and friends, no-one else gave a tuppenny shit. I felt this was perfectly reasonable.”I did not feel the need to label them ‘refuseniks’ or write lengthy newspaper articles asking why they don’t have souls.”

via The Daily Mash – Armed troops to ensure enjoyment of royal wedding.

It’s a little annoying that the wedding of Prince Charles’ only son and Weighty Katy (or whatever her nickname is, she looks within the normal BMI range to me) takes place so soon after my own wedding.

Cassie’s Dad has joked that if the two events had coincided, he may not have been able to make it to his daughter’s wedding, because it was likely he would be on the royal guest list.

It would be worse if I still lived in the UK, I guess. At least here when people ask about what I think of it, I get to explain that I am a Republican. This is usually greeted (at least in my peer group) by looks ranging from shock to bemusement, until I point out that I’m only a Republican in the UK sense, as opposed to a Monarchist. That is to say, I believe that the UK should be a complete democracy, with no hereditary head of state or sovereign.

There are lots of arguments for and against a UK monarchy, but my feeling that it comes down to a simple question of fairness. Should one family be allowed to run things (directly or indirectly) just through accident of birth? I know they have little power, but the structures set up around them ensure true democracy is impossible.

Not everyone responds to being told a Brit is a Republican the same way. At birthday drinks for toy collector and noted Anglophile Friend Brian last weekend at the Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood, I got talking to a couple who seemed nice until I told them I worked on the California HSR project – at which point they switched into TDE-believing “I run a business so deserve preferential treatment” libertarian “bike lanes get in the way of my car” mode, railing against the railway, and stating they were fiscal conservatives (meaning “tax breaks and spending cuts”) like that was supposed to impress me, to which I shrugged and moved away, wanting to enjoy the evening. Also in attendence was the Director of Cassie’s alma mater, the London Film School. Cassie tells me that he fell into debate with them, and really got heavily into the Marx with them. At one point he told them, “Of course, I’m a Republican”. One of them stood up and raised her hand for a high-five. He pointed out the differences between UK and US Republicanism, and I wish I’d been there at that moment to shake his hand. As it was I was enjoying a Boddingtons on West Sunset Boulevard.

Anyway. My wedding is first, and it’s the most important thing on my mind. After that, the most important thing will be my marriage.

Rational Irrationality: Battle of the Bike Lanes : The New Yorker

Rational Irrationality: Battle of the Bike Lanes : The New Yorker:

What a wanker this man appears to be.

Parts & Labor: Constant Future « Both Bars On


Parts & Labor: Constant Future « Both Bars On.

I’ve been listening to their old album Receivers a lot recently, and it looks like I should get their old stuff too – I had no idea they’ve been around so long.

I do like their version of the folky harmonies – it doesn’t sound too folksy, which would turn me off. Lyrics are often secondary to me anyway. Voices which blend into a wash of sound please me plenty.

Even the atmospherics on their website are good.

Satsuma with lunch

muteboy posted a photo:

Satsuma with lunch

Big Fat Whale – Free Speech Free-for-All


Big Fat Whale – Free Speech Free-for-All.

If You Have It, Then I Don’t Want It

(A customer walks over to the first aisle and taps each and every last CD case with his finger while saying either ‘mainstream’ or ‘sell-out’. He proceeds to do this with every single CD in the store, which takes him about 25 minutes. He then walks up to the counter.)

Customer: “What a bunch of mainstreamers you guys are! Don’t you have anything more obscure?”

Me: “We do have a pretty large indie section, which you seemed to have skimmed over.”

Customer: “You call those indie? I’ve heard of every single one of them. They’re all sell-outs.”

Me: “So, what is it that you’re looking for?”

Customer: “How the h*** should I know? If I’ve already heard of it, I wouldn’t buy it.”

via Not Always Right | Funny & Stupid Customer Quotes » Righteous Indie-nation.

Back when I worked at Woolworths, I spent most of my time on the “Record Bar”, which was the music department cashdesk. It didn’t look like a bar except there was no way of knowing who was next in line, which actually sounds pretty bar-like, come to think of it.

I would often have people come and ask me if we had a particular band or style of music. The thing to remember is that Woolworths wasn’t a cutting-edge music store, or a taste-making pioneer. There were two sections in the music selection: Chart, and Back Catalogue. Chart was stuff that was in the charts (or was predicted to be there very soon*), and Back Catalogue was stuff that presumably had been in the charts, but which had proven to be popular enough to warrant continuing to sell it. Never mind the Long Tail, this was the Beachy Head of supply curves. We didn’t have a section for imports, or special editions, or limited vinyl, or any niche stuff. Just what was selling now, or had proven to sell.

[*Predicting what was going to be in the charts soon sometimes gave rise to some interesting buying decisions (made by head office, we had no control over what we sold). Plodding, contrived techno yawn-fest Das Boot by U96, with it’s tedious reliance on a vocoder sample of the title, and some dodgy “orchestra hit” sound, was a huge hit across Europe in 1991, so someone believed it would have the same success in the UK. Boxes and boxes of the CD single were bought, and clogged the stockroom for weeks. We barely sold any.]

So every time some smirking indie kid came in and asked if we had the first EP from the latest long-named band to come out of Stourbridge, which had just been released today and got SOTW in NME, I had to simply say, “No”. I would have liked to add, “Of course not. This is fucking Woolworths. This is a chart shop. Even Andy’s Records doesn’t have it yet. You might try that place next to Pixies down the alley, opposite where Planet Clothing used to be, but I don’t think it exists yet. What exactly do you think you’ve proved by asking for that here (apart from the fact that you are a smug little turd)? The next time I see you, which will be Friday night at Esquire’s, I will spill my delicious pint of Harp over you.”

This happened a few times, as you can imagine. The other thing people liked to ask for was a niche genre which we obviously didn’t or wouldn’t have. You had to wonder about the faculties of some people though. This guy comes in and asks for ‘hardcore ragga’ (this being ’92-’93). Me being the consummate professional (and I don’t mean I had tuberculosis) I was polite and asked for more information, such as an example of an artist that might fall under that genre so we could find it on the shelves. His rolling-eyed answer was, “Bob Marley”.

Smug, condescending and wrong is no way to go through life, son.