Monday, February 28, 2011

Some Questions Finally Answered

It must be because I am an educated man that I often get asked to settle bets. 'Lets ask Kevin, he will know". I'm a wealth of useless trivia. For example did you know that tsunamis travel at the speed of a jumbo jet? Or that the animal that kills the most humans every year is the mosquito? Or that Tokyo is largest city in the world? Or that KLM now flies five times a week to Rwanda?

And here's something else; did you know Lady Gaga is actually a dude? Now you do.

Everyone knows that the Beatles were the greatest rock band ever. It's a given. No question there. But did you know that Led Zeppelin is second and The Who is third? I bet you didn't. But its true. Oh, and worst band of all time? Journey, followed by Foreigner.

Another question I often get asked "What is the best Patrick Swayze movie ever?". This is a tricky one, but if you said Roadhouse or Point Break you would be wrong, its actually Red Dawn. Little known fact.

And speaking of movies... the best movies ever? Duh, The Big Lebowski, Mulholland Drive, and Super Troopers. Everyone should already know this.

Best television shows of all time? Easy - Seinfeld, The Andy Griffith Show, and Star Trek.

Best ethnic food? Mexican, Thai, Italian. Best fast food? Wendy's.

First man on the moon? Neil Armstrong. Winner of 8 Tour De France's? Lance Armstrong. Great Trumpeter? Louis Armstrong. Best child's toy? Stretch Armstrong.

Current biggest a-hole in the world? Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Any other questions you have, just let me know. I'm here to help.

Charlie Sheen can handle it....

So we all appreciate an adult beverage every now and then right?  Then there are those who can enjoy a little "puff puff" while listening to their old records, be they classic Skynyrd or the Osmond Family Anthology. Nothing wrong with that.

Can we all agree that crystal meth is just not a good idea? I mean it is possible to use even the most harshest of substances in moderation but some drugs are just not a good idea. I just saw a National Geographic document on crystal meth and it was about as freaky as one of those Scared Straight programs they used to show at school (with a little less rape threats and prison bitch bartering).

And then there's coked out Charlie Sheen. He's kind of the poster boy for functioning drug addicts in that he's been a hot mess in his private life but has been able to work for a long long time (i know, i know, until "now"). Perhaps it helps that he has plenty of money to support such a habit. A mansion is a pretty swell place to enjoy hookers, blow, and whatever ball-stepping, golden shower, IKEA furniture demolition fetishes he may be into. Good for him, I guess? I can think of worse ways to burn your money, model trains come to mind.

(Oh yeah, and yes, I agree that the crew of Two and a Half Men are getting a raw deal while Charlie Sheen gets his shit together but that's not the point of this post.)

So what about the recent fascination with energy drinks? I remember when Red Bull was one of the only energy drinks around. Sure, it tastes like sweetened pee (don't ask) but it helps you stay awake to study for that calculus exam or drive your Hyundai to Tijuana. I was never a big fan of Red Bull or it's lame douchebaggy cousin "Red Bull and Vodka", but I can see how it can be useful to some people who need it. But now, there are so many brands of energy drinks on the shelf including the infamous Four Loko, which I have never tried, although I can only imagine it being similar to smoking crack on the 72nd hour of your bender. With names like Rockstar, Monster, RELOAD (yes, all caps), Bawls, Shark Stimulation, Crunk, there is no shortage of not-so-cleverly named liquid crack beverages available in your local 7-11. One of my favorites that I've seen is MAD DOG Energy Lemonade. That gives me an image of little kids selling lemonade on their front lawn decked out in Ed Hardy t-shirts and kiddy 'roid rage.

Well at least we have the classy original, Red Bull. No need for monster trucks and pyrotechnics to sell that right? Until now...

"Drink Red Bull. You too can be an insane murderous tranny Zebra, Yee Haw!!!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Project For Corn

So Boozelele mentioned something about a project I was working on in the last post. However, I'm not exactly sure how he found out about it since the details have been tucked away in my diary this whole time. Well anyway, it's called the "Project For Corn" and I will be focusing on a few items of self improvement for this year. Call it a belated New Year's Resolution if you will.

  1. Writing, producing, directing and starring in a musical drama based on the early life of Kelly Clarkson as told through her older brother Jason.  (or maybe through her sister Alyssa, it's still undecided.  but either way, KC will shine!)

  2. Inventing the mid-C string that will end the debate over "low G" versus "high G" on ukuleles. This mid-C string will also be known as the "STFU string" and will be sold in two different colors, clear and off-clear.

  3. Becoming the guy at ukulele festivals that wears socks with flip flops. And not ninja socks with the split toe, but regular white tube socks, preferably with blue stripes to accentuate the calves.

  4. Improving my fingerpicking technique via aromatherapy.

  5. Developing a cure for gravity.

Wish me luck people!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bitches Got Talent

We have quite a creative bunch here. Every time you turn around one of our members is off on some new venture. I just wanted to pass on some info on what a few of us are up to. Some in our group are too shy, or too hesitant, or too modest to self promote (others well, not so much).

For anyone who doesn't know, Adelle has a NEW BLOG introducing readers to a new band or musician every day for the entire year - 365 artists in 365 days. This is a mamouth undertaking. Not only is she showcasing some great music, but it is filled with Adelle's charm and wit. Read it, follow it, live it.

Grumpy Coyote Tunes (or "Saucepan" as we fondly refer to him) has the BRING THE SONG project going. Check out this great resource and share in the song writing experience.

Little6ster has a new band called WAX, and if you haven't checked it out. You are missing out. This is some good shit. They recorded a new EP a couple months ago, and just had their first concert in Angers, France. Check her youtube page, myspace page, facebook page, etc. Pass her on, this deserves to be heard.

And lets not forget Baron, Russ, and Alan, they all continue to post great vids on youtube. I also know Russ is getting busy with a special new project of his own (I'll let him speak to that). And don't forget that Deach, Russ and others (DeG) were nominated for Undie awards...and while I personally think popularity contests under the guise of art/music awards are complete and utter bull-shit, I hope you guys win.

Please support all of these bitches in their new and oh-so-cool musical endeavours and contact each of them individually for additional info. And if I left out something cool someone is doing, or forgot's not intentional, it's only that I'm an idiot... and anyway, that's what the comments are bite me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

National Day of WTF?

I was sitting at my pseudo-desk at work today, slaving away (which essentially means staring blankly at my computer screen, pretending to be busy) when I came upon an article mentioning "Global Ukulele Day" on March 11th. Why had I never heard of that? Shouldn't this be a big deal in ukulele-land. You would think every uke player in the world would celebrate it as religiously as us Oregonians celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19th) and National Weed Day (April 20th - (of course)). Well after doing a little digging on the whole ukulele-day-thing it became apparent why it was not well known. There is already a National Play Your Ukulele Day on May 2nd, and some UU guys attempt to start a World Ukulele Day on Feb 2nd.

I am not big on holidays, especially silly holidays, but can't the ukulele community get together and pick one day that we can all agree on? Or change the focus or these other uke could be Tune Your Ukulele Day, or Buy a New Uke Day, or Make Fun of Ukulele Players Day, or Eat Spam And Play White Sandy Beaches Day, or....I'm sure you can think of better ones...

...Anyway the place I work only recognizes 9 holiday days a year. Luckily Feb. 20th brings Clam Chowder Day then on March 21st is National Wiener Day (not to be confused with National Penis Day which comes a week earlier March 15th). ....So I'm looking forward to a couple three-day weekends. Sweet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Stop Wasting Time

I know that we are all busy people what with all the blogs to post, forums to moderate, songs to write, dogs to wash, videos to make, porn to watch, and drinks to drink (did I leave anyone out?). It's getting to the point where there just isn't enough time in the day to accomplish all of these important tasks and still have time for non-essential things like jobs, and families, and showers.- So in order to improve efficiency, Ive been working on a system that will help reduce the time we waste watching and commenting on ukulele youtube videos. Also this system will help us with the age old question "what the hell do I put in this comment???" From now on, just type in the number that corresponds to the appropriate comment that you would like to leave. (or you can copy and paste from this should be able to do this and move on within 10 seconds of the video starting)....

1. Hey friend, great song! You are an excellent song writer/uke player. I love your originals and/or covers.
2. Keep 'em coming, haven't seen you in a while! Where have you been? I love your videos, you're always so creative.
3. The uke sounds great! You sure can play that thing. I love the solo and/or strumming pattern.
4. 5**** and Faved!
5. Great job! I listened to this song all the way through, and loved every second of it. Especially that cool thing you did at the end.
6. Get the audio file from this video at tubepull doht cohm.
7. Tabs plz.
8. Go kill yourself!

This is a work in process, if you have additional ideas, please share them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pants on Fire

I've never claimed to be a smart man. I may act holier-than-thou sometimes. But I'm no genius. I doubt I'll be asked to join MENSA any time soon. (or is it NAMBLA? doesn't matter, I'm probably not smart enough to get into either). I don't think I'm stupid per se, I think I am just ignorant. There are a lot of things I just don't know. Here is a perfect example. Apparently there is something called "lying through omission". This is where you keep a secret from someone. It doesn't really even have to be a secret, its just leaving a detail of your life out. I don't know if this applies to every relationship you have..I mean I don't think you have to tell every person you meet everything about yourself. Like say you meet someone at a Christmas party, you wouldn't say..."Hi Jim my name's Bob, I like monster trucks, oyster shooters and D.I.Y." "Nice to meet you Bob, I like corduroy, beagles and golden showers." But I think at some point in your more serious relationships, you are supposed to stop leaving stuff out. I know this applies to romantic relationships and probably familial relationships too.

I have two lives....and I'm pretty sure a couple of you do as well. I have my uke/youtube life, and my family/work life. I'm pretty open about playing the uke, although I find myself choking sometimes when I say the word 'ukulele'. "Kevin do you play any musical instruments?" "yeah....I play the uku...cough cough"..... "the what?..."the ukulele"....silence...."oh, like Tiny Tim"...."yeah, fuck you..." But my you-tube videos stay secret to most of the people in my daily life.

My sister recently came across my you-tube channel. She wasn't pissed off but she said "you don't have to hide things from me". I'm not hiding anything, its not like I'm a serial killer, or a super hero, I don't have sex with animals, and I've never been to Thailand. But we all have some secrets...I mean, right?

We'll since we are all good friends here...It's time we stop lying through I'll go first...

I like the movie An Officer and a Gentleman. I like the Jackson Five. I play online poker, read books about sailing, eat toaster waffles, and sometimes watch Nascar. I listen to talk-radio in the car (liberal), I'm not a fan of big-boobs, or strip clubs, I like to look at maps, and I like Brazilian jazz......oh, and I like beagles.

Your turn

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Oh Yahoo homepage.

I saw this photo on the Yahoo homepage today and had a thought.  Actually a few thoughts.
  1. You ever wonder who came up with the idea to measure rain by the inch?
  2. I think it's about time for my annual prostate exam.
  3. When you testify in a court of law, is it improper to stomp your feet and yell "AMEN"?
  4. I wonder if James Brown was as exuberant in his daily life as he was onstage.
  5. Are dog yawns contagious to humans?
  6. Sam Kinison sure was great, huh?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The many wonders of the music world

According to Wikipedia (which is also a good place to visit if you ever want to read a scene by scene breakdown of Hollywood blockbuster Ghostbusters), the NAMM Show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world.  With over 1300 exhibitors and 80,000+ attendees, this ginormous industry show is only rivaled  by MusikMesse in Germany (which I'm assuming has better beer, thus making it superior).

At the NAMM Show, people come from all over the country and world to view and test new products, make business deals with manufacturers and retailers, demo new recording and live performance gear, compare tramp stamps, and many other music related activities.  This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the show with a guest pass that I scored from Ohana Ukes through Ken Middleton (謝謝 Ken!).  The show was amazingly overwhelming with way too many shiny things to look at and touch (and i'm not talking about the glistening hot dogs on the heat rollers in the food concessions area although they were quite impressive. oh, and nacho cheese.). 

After being subjected to the sights and sounds of tens of thousands of people strumming guitars, banging on drums, ch-ch-checking microphones, I believe I have a better appreciation for the music industry and all of those involved.  I have that and this photo:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

That Guy...


I appreciate folks who comment on my videos - I really do. I'm still astonished that anyone watches my stuff at all. There is, however, a class of commenter that manages to get under my skin to the point of making me want to stomp bunnies.

It's not the classic hater. "You suck", "Learn to sing", and "Die in a fire", all entertain me more than the one word platitudes like "Great" or "Awesome" that we've all been guilty of. Inspiring emotion is fine with me - even if it's negative. No, I only judge the haters on the creative effort they put into the insult... the more creative, the more I appreciate it.

The "tabs plz" guys do piss me off a bit, as do the loyalist "that's not how you play that" fanfolk of whatever band I'm covering (the concept of 'interpretation' is lost on these clowns). But even they pale in comparison to my nemesis. The guy I like to think of as "You Could Do Better Guy". These guys post things like "Nice try, but I think your vocal was a little pitchy", or "You know, verse/chorus/verse really should be adhered to when possible", or "as a songwriter for many years, I think you should try to relate more to your audience", and my favorite "That would be an ok song - you might want to try it in F#, that will give it more depth." Yeah. Those are real. All different folks too.

On the surface, they seem to be fine creative criticism. Let me stress - I am NOT against creative and constructive criticism in any way. One of the reasons I post videos is so I can get feedback. I actually dislike the Youtube communities' general lack of real critique. But these guys are special. What pisses me off the most is that these almost seem interesting - but then once you read them you realize they are simply meaningless condescension. Patronizing bull-shit dressed up as music critique.

First off - these nozzles never have a single video posted. Ever. They also tend to favorite the worst kinds of pop drivel of various genres. Secondly, they follow a formulas - I think they have a handbook:

1) Misplaced or inappropriately applied jargon
Calling out my vocals is fair - but the word "pitchy" is a dead giveaway. You are an American Idol watcher, not a critic. Watching Randy Jackson does not make you better at judging.
Things like the "F#" comment above are classic too - Major key is major key Retardo Montalbon, popping off things like "F# gives it depth" only identifies you as a toolbag.

2) Make sure you talk about your credibility
This one kills me. "As a songwriter for years..." or "I'm a professional musician and..." First, they never have anything posted, so they are clearly full of crap. Secondly, this is the internet. Your claimed credentials only go as far as you are actually able to back them up with intelligent and credible discourse on the subject at hand. You claiming something, and then writing words that clearly indicate the opposite actually *hurts* your credibility in our little digital world here. Worry less about making claims and worry more about actually knowing what the fuck you are talking about.

3) When in doubt, condescend
The goal of these guys seems to be to make themselves seem superior. They almost always come in the form of giving some kind of advice, and/or encouraging you to "try harder".
I have news for these knuckleheads - I don't do this for you. I do it for me. Unless you actually care, and preferably have something to offer of real value - don't give me advice. It makes you look even sadder than I suspect you are. You can't possibly get respect on my channel this way. My friends and my ego will eat you and then poop you right back out... or worse; ignore you. We are connoisseurs of condescension.

Again, don't take this the wrong way - I *want* criticism. But I do wish these guys would just stop. To critique, you must first be familiar with the subject at hand. To offer advice, it's customary to actually have some to give. If you don't know what you are talking about, try "I don't like this" or even "you suck". Those are honest and clear and, while not particularly helpful, at least not bullshit.

Ok, enough of my little public service announcement. Hopefully this will help you identify these little balls of suck and file them in the appropriate "go away" bucket rather than wasting any time thinking about them. Back to your regularly scheduled bitches.