Thursday, December 30, 2010

Advice for the new year.

This dusty old year will be over very soon and while we wait to usher in the new year, here's a little friendly advice.  Have you ever asked yourself (or others via the internet) any of the following questions?
  • Should I play a soprano, concert or tenor ukulele?
  • What key should I play this song in?
  • Is it okay to use a strap with my ukulele?
  • What color uke should i buy?
  • Can I use a pick or is forbidden?
  • Why is Aldrine so damn handsome?
  • Low G or high G?
  • What is the correct pronunciation of "ukulele"?
Well, it's quite simple.  Please take a moment to watch this video from my Oakland contemporaries Digital Underground, and you'll soon know the key to good living and the answer to all of life's many many questions.

When you're done grabbing them in the biscuits, have yourself a happy new year!  *loud drunken applause*

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Music For the Whole Family

It's easy this time of year to get caught up in all the commotion and forget about the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is really all about over-indulgence; eating too much, getting lots-o-shit, and drinking till you pass out with the ones you love (or, as in my case, family). And nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit like music. So here are some of my favorite Christmas tunes. I hope you find the true spirit of the season within these timeless I have.

Jon Lajoie has some great music including and early version of the Beatles classic Blackbird (thank Adelle for that one). But his holiday song Cold Blooded Christmas is on par with Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells and is fast becoming the best Christmas song ever recorded.

Red Peters has a great tune called You Aint Getting Sh*t For Christmas, to compliment his other classics such as Blow Me, and You Promised the Moon (But I prefer Uranus)

If you're looking for a contemporary twist on an old standard there's the John C. Reilly and Will Farrell remake of David Bowie and Bing Crosby's Little Drummer Boy. And for a last minute gift idea check out Dick In a Box by Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake

Weird Al is really hit and miss. Of course he has classics like Eat it and Amish Paradise, but for this time of year nothing beats Christmas as Ground Zero.

And finally Trey Parker and Matt Stone of course have some terrific holiday classics: Eric Cartman Sings Oh Holy Night is a great one..but my favorite from the boys is Mr Hanky The Christmas Poo. And for after the holidays, check out Kyle's Mom's a Bitch.

I hope these beautiful songs help put you in the Christmas spirit. Cheers, and Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well it's the end of another year here at UCB headquarters.  Most of the staff here have completed their year end reports (*ahem* Klevin) and they've been printed, bound and sent off to stakeholders far and wide.  It's time for celebrations all around. So whether you're celebrating the birth of baby Jesus, commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, or studying the Nguzu Saba, make sure you take time to stop and remember what the holidays are really all about: buying shit!

This is a good year for the gift of new music.  With such a musical goldmine to choose from like flashy tit-pop acts (Katy Perry), lesbianic second comings of Leif Garrett (Justin Bieber), shitty overproduced covers of songs you wish would just go away (Glee soundtrack), "country" artists (Taylor Swift), hey lookit me salmonella (Lady Gaga), and just plain dog crap (Black Eyed Peas), there is literally something for everybody.  So hit your record stores or wherever the hell kids buy music at these days and pump some money back into the music business so we can continue to enjoy the fruits of their collective labors.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advertising May Not be My Calling (lots-o-language in this one)

So... you've seen these Herpes commercials, right? The ones where there's a couple standing together; he's got his arm around her & they're in a park, I think... they look like they're selling LL Bean clothing but then she says something like "Being careful is important to me... because I have genital herpes." and she looks up at him with this goofy "Whooops!" kind of face... like she just said something waaay less important, like "I locked the keys in the car- huh huh! I'm a fucking idiot!" except it's herpes... which I tend to take pretty seriously. Keep a straight fucking face when you talk to me about herpes, okay? Especially when my arms around you. Bitch.

So then the guy says "And I don't" & smiles real confident like. The voice over begins "Talk to your doctor blah blah blah..." and maybe at this point they go off riding their bikes on a tree canopied trail, or they jump into a hammock all giddy like in slow motion.... I don't know, you get the idea.

But what SHOULD happen...

"Because I have genital herpes..."

"What?! You fucking skank!"; throws his arm off of her, pushes her away in complete disgust.

"Robert, I..." & she reaches for him...

"Don't fucking touch me, you whore! You herpes whore! Jesus..." and he starts pacing & rubbing his forehead... "I took you home to meet my parents! When were you planning on telling me this?!"

Or there are the solo herpes commercials... just some chick standing watering her garden or something... she looks up at the camera & begins her story... "Living with genital herpes means..."

Then some guy yells out "Whore!"

She looks back, flustered, and begins again... "Living with genital herpes..."

"Herpes whore!"

Looks over her shoulder "... means that..."


"Alright, ya know what? That is NOT funny... fuck this commercial.." hands over the camera lens...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Uke Buyer's Remorse?

I'm not sure about my new Ukulele. I ordered it back in November 2008, and was really excited when I finally got it in late January 2009. I'm hoping to get others opinions. (I don't normally name my ukes...but I call this one Barry)

It all started back in 2007. I was really sick of the uke I had, It sucked right from the start. And for seven years I had put up with it's lack of intonation, crappy construction, and piss-poor sound. (I originally named that one "George", but more often referred to it as "Dumb-ass" or "Tard-wad") I hated it. I hated everything about it. I had originally ordered one from Tennessee, but received "George" instead. Even though it was built in Texas I gave it a chance....I had a feeling it would suck-ass, and I was right. George was probably the worst presi...uh...ukulele ever built.

Finally in 2008 It was time to get a new one. The choice came down to one that had good pedigree; it was a name-brand uke, wide-bodied, strong and just a little "feminine". It was forceful, and experienced, and I liked it a lot. But just when I was going to pick that one, a new one was revealed, and I got really excited about it. Built in Hawaii, finished in Chicago it was tall and slender. It had darker wood than any uke I've had before it, some would say "black in color". It had a smooth sweet sound, that impressed everyone. If it had one construction flaw it was that it's tuners stuck out a little bit, but so what. It gave me hope. And I thought "yes I can" play the ukulele. I chose the new, darker one over the feminine one. (As a final option I was offered and old decrepit, crotchety, bitter veteran uke from Arizona, but it reminded me a lot of "Tard-wad" so yeah....fuck that) Anyway, the choice was easy. I went with Barry.

I was proud of my new black uke..and I had no first. Now it seems that it doesn't really have the "punch" that I had hoped. It's a little wimpy. No balls. Some times you need it to have a bad-ass uke, not just a smooth sounding one. I'm not really sure what to do about it. I guess I'll hang with it for now...hoping it gets better. But I am starting to wish I chose the feminine one.

What do you guys think?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ukulele Fashion Sense

We are all aware of how popular the ukulele has become recently. It seems that everyone plays them now (or wants to). But don't worry guys, it's just a fad. Things like this come into fashion all the time...and then die out just as quickly. Douche-bag hats (see previous post) are in now, but pork-pie hats were in once, ten gallon hats, derby's, panamas, boaters, fedoras, even truckers hats have been popular. Just think of styles like the mullet, bell-bottom jeans, hot pants, parachute pants, Nehru jackets, and baggy pants. Some styles come full circle...beards were really popular in the 60's, then mustaches in the 70's, then goatees in the 80' and 90's, then shaved heads, now beards are back. One thing you can count on is that popular styles will come and go....and years from now, everyone will make fun of today's styles. Just like we do about past styles.

But here's the best part. Somewhere along the line tattoos and body piercings became a fashion statement. And guess what Ms. 20-something hipster.....someday you will be Mrs. 40-something-slightly overweight soccer mom....only you'll have full sleeve tats, giant stretched out earlobes, and scars from all your face piercings! The only evidence of me with long hair, a mustache and bell-bottom jeans is a couple old photographs....but you'll be living that shit everyday...for the rest of your life. What seemed like a good style sense back in 2007, is now permanently stained on your body. Way to go.

So to all you guys jumping on the ukulele band wagon, wear your goofy hat, dress in period clothing, put the harp rack around your neck, strap some cymbals between your knees, stomp on a tambourine, stick a kazoo up your ass, go crazy, have fun with it. But seriously, don't get one tattooed on the side of your neck. It's a BAD idea.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Does this hat make me look like a tool?

Answer: Yes.

There is regular chatter in the "uke community" about hats. Specifically pork-pie, fedoras, trilbies and the like. I'm not sure why, but something about "quirky" hats appeals to the same types of folks that are attracted to the ukulele.

Sadly, there are very few people who can pull off a hat without looking like a douche-nozzle. Howling Hobbit, Craig Robertson, Aldrine G - these guys can rock a hat. It just works.

But here's the thing. Because guys like the ones I listed can pull it off - there are others who think "maybe I can get away with it..." If you find yourself asking this question, allow me to assist you and save us all some embarrassment. No. You can't rock a hat. You will look like a smacked-ass tool-bag, etc... - in short, a pretentious moron.

You see my friends, cool is self-evident. You can't make it happen. Unless you are already pretty cool, a quirky hat will only amplify your lame. For that matter - most everyone looks idiotic in a pretentious hat. It's very unlikely that the strength of your charisma will overcome that. Particularly because it's unlikely that you have any charisma to begin with.

I confess, I've been tempted to try a greek fisherman's cap, or maybe an old fashioned Springsteen-in-the-70's newsboy cap... I understand the urge. Trust me, it'll just be inconsiderate of those who don't want to hurt your feelings. Don't put them in that position.

Hope this saves you some time, and more importantly, saves me from having to tell you that you look like you are wearing a bad Yogi bear costume.