Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hump Day Mix

I walked in to my 1:00 pm class this afternoon, and much to my surprise, there were only six students in the class. The students who showed up let me know that the rest of the class was on MT (Membership Training, which is basically a three day trip sponsored by the major departments to get the incoming freshmen as drunk as humanly possible). Normally, one or two students will tell me the week before that no one will be in class (here in Korea, many of my classes are made up of students from one major). Needless to say I was rather surprised. On the upside, it made my normally very long Wednesday a couple of hours shorter. So here I sit, listening to tunes and waiting for my 6:40 pm class to start. Let's hear it for 5 hour breaks!

1. Fishbone - Party At Ground Zero
2. The Misfits - Astro Zombies
3. Blondie - I'm Gonna Love You Too
4. The Ramones - Rock'n'Roll High School
5. Megadeth - Five Magics
6. The Cure - Closedown
7. The Rainmakers - Big Fat Blonde
8. David Bowie - Try Some, Buy Some
9. The Toasters - Hard Band For Dead
10. R.E.M. - Get Up
11. Green Day - Give Me Novacaine
12. MU330 - Danska
13. The Grateful Dead - Sugar Magnolia
14. The Tribe - Payphone
15. Jethro Tull - Pan Dance
16. Bad Religion - My Poor Friend Me
17. R.E.M. - Bittersweet Me
18. The Breeders - S.O.S.
19. Dash Rip Rock - Leave Me Alone (With My Bottle)
20. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Buffalo Soldier
21. Hootie & The Blowfish - Only Wanna Be With You
22. Peter Gabriel - Slowburn
23. Billie Holiday - Some Other Spring
24. Bad Manners - Lip Up Fatty (Live)
25. Mick Ronson - You And Me
26. Blues Traveler - Love & Greed
27. Social Distortion - Don't Drag Me Down (Live)
28. The Country Gentlemen - Preaching Praying Singing
29. Primus - Camelback Cinema
30. Kings X - Summerland

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Buck Owens (left), Johnny Cash, and Roy Clark. Hee Haw, 1975

I'm a picking, and I'm a grinnin': Buck Owens 1929-2006

Buck Owens, country music superstar, died Saturday at the age of 76. It's very possible that I would never have listened to bluegrass or country music if it hadn't been for Buck Owens and Hee Haw, the long running hillbilly comedy show. I remember growing up watching Hee Haw while it was actually on TV, and then watching it again after it went into reruns. One of my favorite parts of the show was when Buck (guitar) and Roy Clark (banjo) did their monologues accompanied by Buck's, "I'm a pickin'!" and Roy's, "I'm a grinnin'!" Then the two would launch into some fired up bluegrass.

Later Buck. Have a good one.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Alright, I'm a non-repentant smoker, and I've had just about enough of these whiny, shit-for-brains, non-smokers. It's bad enough that you already can't smoke anywhere without having someone give you a dirty look, but when a company tries to set up a place solely for people who like to smoke and and the non-smokers cry about it, it's just too fuckin' much!

Why shouldn't R.J. Reynolds Tobacco be able to set up a store that sells premium cigarettes (or cheap ass cigarettes for that matter) and cigars and offers drinks and/or coffee to smokers in a city or state with a smoking ban? I mean, really. If non-smokers don't want to breathe secondhand smoke, which I can understand, fine. DON'T GO IN THE FUCKING TOBACCO LOUNGE!! It's like all these wannabe morality cops decrying violence and nudity on television, or profane language in music. If you don't like it, don't buy it, or change the goddamned channel.

From the Post article:

"We certainly expect them to try to put these in other cities with bans," said Annie Tegen, program manager for the group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. "This is just another slimy trick by Big Tobacco to circumvent the system. An $8 pack of cigarettes still exudes the same toxins as a $4 pack. For the people of Chicago, this is an equal opportunity killer."

Well Ms. Tegen. Bite Me!

People who would go to these kinds of places know the risks of smoking. Just because it's becoming more difficult to smoke in public places isn't going to get people to stop. All the more reason to allow for a place where people can enjoy a cigarette and a beer. Let us smokers have a respite from the constant harping and allow us to have a smoke in peace and quiet. Is that too much to ask? Sheesh.

Where the hell is Americans for Smokers' Rights?!?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The morning after...

First, I'd like to give a birthday shout to Jamey and Cam, ya dottering old coots!

Last night was St. Patrick's Day, and, as usual, all the folks were out for a night of alcoholic excess. For the CNU folks, it was the perfect storm: Friday, St. Paddy's Day, AND Payday! That simply spells trouble.

Santa Claus was packed to the rafters with green-clad revelers well into the early hours. There was Irish Stew made by Kiwi Glenn and Robin which was excellent, free Jello shots, made by me (Jello, two cups of water, and two liters of soju!! Potent just doesn't describe them, hee hee), and a host of drink specials. Good music, goofy dancing, loud singing, pool playing, and drinking in abundance were the rules of the day (I do have a vague recollection of washing dishes at one point). I unfortunately forgot to bring my camera, so there is no incriminating evidence (maybe this is a good thing). Needless to say, I'm feeling a tad fuzzy today, and I'm dreading the trip down to Santa's later to pay my tab, which may hurt more than my hangover. All in all, it was a fun night.

In other news, the second week of the semester is over, and it's getting a little easier. My body and brain are adjusting to the 5 am wake up - more or less, anyway - and my classes are beginning to gel. Still, everyone is working a ton of hours, and last night's excess was, I think, partly a product of the need to blow off some serious steam. Back to the grind on Monday.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Skins get Lloyd, looking at Randel-El.

The Redskins went right to work addressing some of the glaring needs for the team as free agency opened up this weekend. The Skins signed WR Brandon Lloyd, the one shining light on an incredibly bad 49ers team, to fill the number 2 spot opposite Santana Moss. On paper (and the Skins always look good in March), this seems to be a great fit. Lloyd has a nose for the ball and is known for his ability to make spectacular catches. He also has the speed to take some of the pressure off Moss and open up the downfield game. If the Skins can pull Antawaan Randel-El as well, we'll be sitting pretty as Randel-El is not only a good possession receiver, but also a highlight reel kick returner. And after that very pretty option pass in the Superbowl, you gotta wonder what else he can bring to the table.

Since The Danny has got the jet, the limos, and his checkbook out and ready, it seems very possible that all the needs on offense, defense, and special teams will be met post haste. For all the Danny bashing that goes on, you gotta love an owner who views money as no object when it comes to getting players. Here's hopin'.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

One down, fourteen to go.

Well, the first full week of the semester is over. As per usual, it was hectic, exhausting, and I caught a cold. Right on time. You could set your watch by my spring colds. Because the institute is two teachers short, this semester is going to be busier than normal. I'm already working 9 hours a week overtime, and three more hours will be added next week. The pressure would be eased somewhat if one of the teachers working with us, a useless lump whom I'll call by his office nickname "Twitch", would step up to the plate and help out a bit.

The immediate problem stems from the fact that the two teachers hired to replace the ones leaving, quit before working a single day. One of them decided to quit a day before the semester started leaving the CLEC office staff scrambling to cover the classes. While there certainly was a great deal of bitching about the extra hours everyone was going to have to work, the majority of the teachers recognized the problem and took the overtime in stride (the amount of money to be made working bunches of overtime usually calming other worries). All except for Twitch (Twitch is the guy, if you read the post from last fall, who felt so much pressure working thirteen hours a week, came down with hysterical blindness and couldn't teach for three days). First, he complained that he had to work on Mondays. Then he weaseled out of a two-day-a-week night class by pawning it off on another teacher. Finally, with absolutely no other teachers available to work the final class that needed to be covered, he flat out refused to take the class. I'm not sure whether or not the institute had to cancel the class, with its corresponding loss of revenue, or not, but it showed his true colors.

Everyone in the office is working between 35 and 40 hours a week (this is A LOT for a university gig in Korea). Twitch is working 23 hours and still complaining that he's working too much. He's been smart enough not to complain about his schedule within my hearing because if he does, he's going to get an earful he won't soon forget. I'm already finding it difficult to keep a civil tongue when I see him in the office. Hopefully, if I ignore him long enough, he'll just go away. It's pretty much guaranteed that, if he actually makes it through this semester, will not be re-hired for next year.

Anyway, enough of that.

It's Saturday morning. It seems to be shaping up into a pretty gloomy day. The light outside is the same now at 9 am as it was at 6:30 when it first started getting light. It's cloudy and smells like rain. I didn't go out last night because of my cold, so I woke up around 6 am this morning. Granted, I do feel better this morning than I have in the past couple of days, so I actually might get some school work done (ha, yeah, right). However, I think the day is going to revolve mostly around books, music, and World of Warcraft; maybe a little Kart Rider thrown in to shake things up.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wow! A full year of verbal diarrhea!

It's official folks. This blog is one year old. Over the past year of witless rambling, I have learned such invaluable life skills as how to post photos on the web and link newspaper articles to my blog (this last I actually learned only a week or so ago).

It's been fun having this blog. I still occasionally rummage through past posts and muse over some of the deliriously mundane shit that has happened in this past year. You can rest assured that the frivolity will continue.

Friday, March 03, 2006

I guess I'll have to hear it first.

I'm having a little trouble getting my head around this one. Having been a HUGE Queen fan for about as long as I can remember as well as a big fan of Bad Company, it's difficult imagining what a combination of the two would actually sound like.

I mean, really. How do you possibly replace Freddie Mercury as a front man? I have to admit that Paul Rodgers certainly has more rock credibility than the two other possible contenders mentioned (George Michael - aaaack! and Robbie Williams). However, the only thing Mercury and Rodgers have in common as singers is the fact that they both have distinctive, immediately recognizable singing styles and voices. I can see Rodgers doing a fine job on anthemic tunes like We Will Rock You or We Are The Champions, but...umm...well...I just can't picture Killer Queen sung with a gravelly, blues baritone. Given that the band is going to play a combination of Queen, Bad Company, and Free songs on tour, I imagine the boys have given this particular problem some thought.

Like I said, I guess I'll have to hear it first. I have an open mind. :-D

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Musical Salvation

Most of you who know me and my obsession with music will understand why this article from the Washington Post would have struck a nerve.

I use iTunes on my computer but have never looked at or used the iMix feature. Most, if not all, of the playlists I post here are the products of my own listening style. I have very eclectic music tastes and seriously enjoy the randomness of the "shuffle" feature available on most media players. There's just something appealing about Tom Petty followed by Slayer followed by Miles Davis followed by Black Sabbath.

What this article points out, however, is the curative power of music (as well as giving a well deserved rigid didget to corporate radio and the record industry). Music is a powerful force. It can be a vehicle of cultural change as with the protest music of the 60s, punk in the late 70s, and rap in the 80s. More importantly - and I'm obviously not alone in this opinion - music can save your life.

The majority of the songs that make up the soundtrack of my life revolve around friendship, love, tragedy, and, at times, the simple absurdity or joy of living. The most important songs, the ones that really get me, are the songs that have helped me through particularly difficult periods in my life. Songs like Johnny Clegg's "The Crossing", Alice in Chains "Down in a Hole", or Concrete Blonde's "Tomorrow, Wendy" were not only vital to my mental stability at the time I discovered them, but they are still relevant today.

There is truth to the age old adage, "Music soothes the savage beast"; that 800 lb gorilla we all like to call life.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Last Day Of Freedom Mix

Today is the last day of my vacation. Tomorrow the new semester starts (albeit slowly, I have to teach only one class). It's gearing up to be a hectic semester. The two teachers who were hired to replace the ones leaving both quit leaving the school two teachers short and the existing staff buried in extra classes. I'm up to 36 hours a week, while others have even more. It's certainly going to be a lot of work, but I look forward to the 1.5 million in overtime pay which comes pretty close to doubling my monthly salary. What's a little extra work, eh?

On to the music:

1. Pantera - Killers
2. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Some Things
3. Lynyrd Skynyrd - What's Your Name
4. The Seldom Scene - So You Lied
5. Doc Watson/Earl Scruggs/Ricky Skaggs - What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul
6. Frank Zappa - I'm A Beautiful Guy
7. Funkadelic - You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks
8. New York Ska Jazz Ensemble - Haitian Fight Song
9. Bad Religion - Part IV (The Index Fossil)
10. The Misfits - Hatebreeders
11. Tangerine Dream - Slave To The Gods
12. Dinosaur Jr - Over Your Shoulder
13. Dave Matthews Band - Christmas Song
14. Eric Clapton - Blues Before Sunrise
15. Dead Kennedys - Terminal Preppie
16. David Gilmour - Coming Back To Life
17. Little Feat - In A Town Like This
18. Johnny Cash - Sam Hall
19. Van Halen - Dancing In The Streets
20. Johnnie Lee Wills & His Boys - Milk Cow Blues
21. Southern Culture On The Skids - I Learned To Dance In Mississippi
22. The Cure - Waiting
23. Nine Inch Nails - Sin
24. Thin Lizzy - Ray-gun
25. Indigo Girls - This Train Revised
26. Alice In Chains - Killer Is Me (Unplugged)
27. Neil Young - The Great Divide
28. Dance Hall Crashers - We Owe (Live)
29. The Ramones - Pinhead
30. Danny Gatton - Homage To Charlie Christian