Posted by Brandon |

Hey y'all. I've moved. You can find me over at down-with-pants.com now. Update!

I kind of promised that I’d write a review of the movie “The Kids Are All Right” on Twitter last week and though I don’t quite have the time to really write a polished, well thought out post about the film, let me quickly tell you why after watching the film and thinking about it for a few days, I have come to nearly loathe that movie.

I have one really simple problem with the movie: Other than the twist that the couple is a lesbian couple and their kids search out their sperm donor father, the film is nothing more than a boring melodrama about an upper middle class family. I don’t feel like any other new ground is broken. It could just as easily been a film with a regular couple whose adoptive kids find their biological father. I suppose that is the point it is trying to make: homosexual couples and their families are just like traditional families. And perhaps people need to see that. I don’t, I already know that, so the whole main point of the film is a retread to me.

What could’ve saved the movie for me was to have interesting, sympathetic characters that I would be interested in watching a basic melodrama about. And though I fear saying this will make some of you think of me as nothing but a woman hating masochist….the only character that I thought was likable, interesting or worth rooting for was Mark Ruffalo’s character (Paul) – the single, laid back, enjoying life, restaurateur sperm donor that their kids search out and bring into their lives.

Other than that, I thought that Julianne Moore’s character (Jules) was a big ball of boredom and psychobabble, Annette Benning’s character (Nic) a sad stereotype of an educated, career achieving doctor and the kids are just typical teenagers that aren’t interesting or remarkable in any way. I feel like the only reason we are supposed to like this family is because they are non-traditional and have been a reasonably successful family up to this point.

The only other characters I had any interest in otherwise were the Mexican gardener that gets fired and chewed out by Jules and the girl from the restaurant that Paul hooks up with early in the movie.

And what happens to the only character that I care about in any way shape or form? He learns the most, he changes the most and he loses the most. He loses the carefree innocence that he lived with, he loses the kids that he has come to care about despite just meeting them, he loses the woman that he becomes infatuated with, he loses…period. None of the other drama-seeking/creating characters lose anything. In fact they all grow by tearing down a guy that just agreed to meet his biological children when they randomly called him out of the blue.

At one point Nic screams at Paul “get your own family!” And though I think the film wants us to be like “Yeah! Get your own family!” All I wanted to scream at the screen was “your family chose him!”

Hell, even the gardener loses his job and the girl from the restaurant loses Paul to maturity all at the expense of this family’s supposed struggles and eventual growth.

I also don’t understand the message that the sexuality in this film is trying to convey. It starts with the sex scene between Nic and Julianne Moore’s character (Jules) in which they watch gay male porn and continues with Jules quick jump in the sack with Paul. Gays and lesbians are always trying to convince people that their lifestyle isn’t a choice and yet this lesbian couple watches dick to get off and Jules is lured from her longtime partner by just a hot guy and the “need to be appreciated”. And it simply dismisses these problems of sexuality by saying “sexuality is complicated” or “marriage is hard”.

While I acknowledge sexuality is complicated - I don’t believe that it is as cut-and-dry as heterosexuals only like people of the opposite sex and homosexuals only like people of the same sex – and that marriage is hard, I don’t think this movie does any kind of service to gay families in showing how unable to cope with the first signs of adversity that this comfortable upper middle class family has had.

I suppose the whole upper middle class drama is what I really object to in the long run with this movie. This just isn’t a genre of film that I enjoy. I hate movies about boring people feeling bored, alienated and looking for conflict and that’s exactly what this movie is.

Also, expectations complicated my enjoyment. I thought it was supposed to be more lighthearted, funny and heartwarming than it was. It wasn’t at all subtle, I never found it to be funny and because I didn’t care about anybody in the family, the resolution wasn’t heartwarming in the least bit for me.



Posted by Brandon |

It's been awhile, huh? Well it still might be a little while longer. We'll see. I'd like to blog again, I just don't spend much time on the computer anymore. But you can always find me over at Twitter - the killer of blogs - @DownWithPants and @SportLogoPundit.



At-Bat Music for Twits

Posted by Brandon |

A couple weeks ago, on baseball's opening day, The Current asked the question what at-bat music would you choose for Tiger Woods, Bob Ross, Amy Winehouse, Richard Dawkins and Sarah Palin. It got me to thinking what people would pick for themselves if they had the option.

So today I posted the question "what music would you choose for your at-bat music?" on Twitter. Here are the responses, which ended up being the perfect amount to fill out a lineup. Best way to do this is to hit play on the video and then in your head, or better yet, in your best PA announcer voice and at full lungs, announce the batter...

Leading off, centerfielder, #24, All That Comes With It Dan...

(We'll give Dan a break since he's from the UK and probably has never seen an at-bat)

Batting second, the second baseman, #35, HelloHaHaNarf...

Batting third, third baseman, #7, Why Naturally Laura...

(Now that's just sucking up to the music guy)

Batting cleanup, the first baseman, #10, Baseball Slant...

In the five hole, leftfielder, #3, Geek Giant...

(I'm not usually a fan of metal for at-bat songs, but this totally works)

Batting sixth and playing catcher, #55, LeSombre...

Batting seventh, rightfielder, lucky #13, Mighty Hunter...

In the eight spot, designated hitter, #7, Poppy Cede...

("Concrete jungle with free tomatoes!")

And batting ninth, the shortstop, #3, Cath68...

And on the mound, #99, right handed peeetcher, Down With Pants!...

So what would you pick for your at-bat music?


A DWP! Tradition: The Easter Ham Story

Posted by Brandon |

Two things on this Easter Sunday....I made Lent my bitch, again . Though it was much more difficult this year for some reason, probably because our ice tea maker was broken. Secondly, I give to you the Down With Pants! Easter tradition, The Easter Ham Story. Please to enjoy...

Ever wonder why everybody always eat ham on Easter? Well, I'm no biblical scholar, but here's how I understand the story goes...

When Jesus was resurrected he rose up from the tomb and found a big bunch of Jews hanging out, kicking it, having a picnic of bagels and lox and pastrami sandwiches and talking shit and high fiving about the crucifixtion a few days earlier.

Jesus, as you can imagine, was not pleased. In his deepest, darkest, foulest voice, he bellowed, "silly Jews, I am back. And guess what? We're eating pork, bitches!" And Jesus started flying through the air shooting whole hams from his hands like lightning bolts at all of the Jews. Seeing this, the depressed and downtrodden Christians joined in and picked up all of the hams that Jesus shot and started chasing the Jews around and throwing the hams at them.

When the very last Jew was either chased off or knocked out by Jesus and his Christian ham throwing posse, Jesus took all of the hams and prepared a gigantic feast and proclaimed, "from this day forward, Christians shall eat the meat of the dirty swine just to piss off the Jews!" And in honor of Jesus, his resurrection, and his freeing of the Christian world from Kosher dietary laws, Christians celebrate each Easter by eating ham just to rub it in the faces of the Jewish people.

And that, kids, is why everybody eats ham on Easter. It's also where the game of dodgeball was invented - Christian kids have been using that game to bully little Jewish kids for years - and it's also where the saying "when pigs fly" comes from, although the meaning of that saying got a little mixed up over the years.

But that's a whole nother biblical story that I'd love to share with you sometime very soon. Like I said, I'm no biblical scholar, but I'm pretty sure I know how that story goes too.


Cranes, Claws, Controversy

Posted by Brandon |

If you've been following me on Twitter the last few days, you know that I got my first freelance writing gig. On very short notice, my friend, who happens to be the editor of the startup weekly Emerald City Sports, asked me to cover a semi-secret sporting event happening right in my backyard, so I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know that it would be such a fascinating ride. What follows is the front page article that will hit newstands today throughout the Seattle area. Pick me up a copy, if you happen to see one. And thanks for all of your support!

“I am the greatest arcade claw player in the world!” An exhausted yet triumphant Joe Nguyen yelled after capturing the World Arcade Claw Organization’s championship on Wednesday night in downtown Olympia, Washington.

The nearly 24-hour long competition held at the Loft on Cherry Street capped off a year of scandal and change in the competitive arcade claw circuit. A year that started with the revelation of years of fraud, led to the dissolution of the world organizing body, the disappearance of its leader and finally ended with the first clean crane machine world championship in nearly ten years.

Endurance: “I Didn’t Think I Was THAT Good”

The WACO Championships kicked off on Tuesday night with the endurance test, 12 solid hours of arcade claw play, six hours longer than any other previous championship endurance test. Other than the 10 minute breaks that are given every three hours, the 65 competitors from around the world stand in one spot, hunched over, picking candy and stuffed animals out of a machine.

“This is the most demanding competition in the history of our sport,” said Commissioner Gregory Kporku, the underground arcade claw legend that founded WACO after the International Crane Machine Association was taken over and dissolved in April of 2009. “This will really separate the real champion competitors from the pretenders. It has already scared away most of them.”

The son of the Ghanan ambassador to China, Kporku is highly regarded in the arcade claw world. The markets of Beijing, where he spent his teenage years, are filled with claw machines. You can insert a coin and fish out anything from iPods to stuffed Hello Kitties to live animals. Though most claw machines are programmed to payout in advantage to the owners of the machine, Kporku would routinely pull winners nine times out of ten.

“I’d go in, spend a few dollars, pull out a couple high ticket electronics, sell them and make 200% profit. Then I’d use a few more dollars, pull out a few live lobsters or crabs and give them to a couple of the poorer vendors at the market. I did it quietly and secretly and only a couple people knew.”

But after about a year of losing more than they ever did before, the owners of the cranes discovered the source of their losses and put the clamp down.

“I couldn’t even enter the markets anymore; the security guards harassed me anytime I came near.”

As word of his prowess leaked out, Kporku was approached by a couple businessmen about entering the 2002 International Crane Machine Association’s Championship, coincidentally being held in Beijing. He easily won the championship dominating the three disciplines – endurance, speed and skill – but never felt right about the win.

“It was too easy, I knew I was good, but I didn’t think I was THAT good.”

Disillusioned, Kporku never returned to international competition, but his legend in the competitive arcade crane universe grew as YouTube videos would pop up of him emptying machines all around the world.

“Anywhere I went, I’d find a machine, we’d tape me cleaning it out and usually donating the prizes to the kids that inevitably would surround me while I was doing it. But I never knew that my star was rising because of the videos.”

When the endurance test ends at 8:00 AM, Wednesday morning, 42 of the 65 competitors remain standing. With one third of the players already knocked out, most with sore backs - crane machines are notoriously short – a three hour break is called to give the competitors a rest and to prepare the Loft at Cherry Street for the skills competition.

“It was a successful night,” boasts the Commissioner. “Now the fun begins. Now we’ll find out who is really skilled.”

Skills: “Young Kids, Beautiful Women and Underdogs from Impoverished Lives”

The skills competition begins at 11:00 AM. Two competitors don’t show back up to the Loft, their weary backs getting the best of them in their hotel rooms. The remaining 40 players will go, one-by-one in front of a panel of three judges.

Ten machines are setup with various sized and shaped prizes, randomly programmed with different claw grip strengths, all with different rules of play. Each competitor must pass each test to continue on in the competition. The pressure is enormous. One mistake and your championship run immediately comes to an end.

In the previous 10 years, the skills competition has closed out the championship and was rather subjective while the speed round usually came second, after the endurance test. Now, the competition is more like a tournament. Survivors of the endurance test move onto the skills test and survivors of the skills test move onto the speed round and the winner of the speed round is the champion.

In the 2009 ICMA Championships held in Puerto Vallarta, Melissa Kenworthy, a comely 20 year-old from Richmond, Indiana, who has since filmed two VH1 reality shows, was the only competitor left standing after the skills competition despite barely escaping the endurance test and coming in second to last in the speed round.

Kenworthy’s resounding victory was the boldest and most transparent fraud carried out in the history of the ICMA championships. Suspicions of foul play were already high after the 2008 competition in Bucharest when offshore gambling parlors reported a record amount of bets were placed on the eventual champion, Scott Hufnagel, a 12 year-old boy from Adelaide, Australia.

“Every champion this sport has had since 2001 have been completely unknown prior to winning,” said WACO commissioner Kporku. “And after the first few years, looking back at it, they all fit a marketable mold: young kids, beautiful women, underdogs from impoverished lives. With each year, it became obvious to the serious players that somebody, maybe even ICMA, was choosing the most marketable competitors and rigging the machines to give them the win.”

Most of the champions never knew they were chosen to be victors and walked away from the championship with only a small cash reward, a trophy and the requirement to represent ICMA on goodwill and marketing appearances.

However, starting with Hufnagel in 2008 and perhaps even the 2007 winner, Bobby Sanchez of Reynosa, Mexico, it appears that champions started to profit greatly from their wins. Shortly after his win, Hufnagel’s family moved from their 700 square foot, two bedroom apartment in a lower-middle class Adelaide neighborhood to a six bedroom, 4,500 square foot McMansion in a tony suburb while Sanchez is an international playboy, a far cry from his previous life working in a tortilleria.

Kenworthy confirmed suspicions when in June of 2009 she sued ICMA president John Koflanovich to retrieve what she claimed was promised to her: 25% of his offshore gambling wins on the competition, a modeling contract with the Ford Modeling Agency and a starring role in a Pussycat Dolls knockoff that he claimed he was producing for a Las Vegas casino. But Kenworthy claims that when Koflanovich’s romantic advances were rebuked, he became withdrawn, started sending her to humiliating marketing appearances and never paid her a cent.

Koflanovich hasn’t been seen since two days after Kenworthy filed her lawsuit. And though a few clues have emerged that he is still alive, his family fears the worst.

Back in Olympia, it is 4:30 PM and the skills competition has finally wrapped up. There were a few bumps along the way including some technical difficulties with the random grip strength machine that threaten to mar the results of the championship, but most of the competitors agree that this was a very fair test of their skills.

25 competitors remain. Knocked out in this round: 14 year-old Scott Hufnagel, a surprise last minute entry to the competition. He was unable to finish even the most basic of skills and left the Loft without comment.

Speed: “We Didn’t Care, It Was Exhilarating”

25 arcade claw machines line the room, all set with the exact same grip strength settings, all filled with identical stuffed animals, all set to allow two moves before dropping the claw. When the bell rings, all 25 competitors run to their machines with one simple goal: pick out the most stuffed animals in 60 minutes.

Amongst the crowd of hopefuls still in the running for the WACO championship are Kevin Mattingly – the first ICMA champion in 1999 and cofounder of the organization in 1997 with Koflanovich – and 2006 champion Joe Nguyen.

Kevin Mattingly met John Koflanovich in 1996 as a freshman at Bowling Green State University.

“We were fraternity brothers and roommates,” recalls Mattingly during a break from the competition. “I don’t know where it came from, but a crane machine turned up, tipped over in the middle of our room. Rather than get mad about this strange hazing, we picked it up, plugged it in and started playing.”

After a huge success with a 1997 Greek system tournament, Mattingly and Koflanovich jokingly founded the ICMA, produced a website in a computer science class and organized their first international tournament. Expecting a handful of friends from Ohio to come, it came as a huge surprise when 50 people from as far away as Norway came to play in the first ICMA championship held at the BGSU Student Union.

“We had no idea it would be a hit,” says Mattingly. “Our website ended up in an arcade claw message board that we didn’t even know existed and people got really excited. It was the first tournament of its kind. We had to totally rewrite the rules and get more machines. But we didn’t care, it was exhilarating.”

But the unexpected success put a strain on their relationship. After winning the first championship, Mattingly settled back into college life while Koflanovich left school to promote the ICMA internationally, convinced that he had hit upon an idea that would make him rich.

“He got rich alright, and I made a fair share of money,” said Mattingly. “But with each passing year, the people that he brought in got shadier and shadier until I had enough and became the most silent of silent partners. I kept my ownership share, but didn’t collect any money or have anything to do with the ICMA until after the 2009 tournament.”

When Koflanovich disappeared following Melissa Kenworthy’s lawsuit, Mattingly went straight to work researching the business and discovered that every championship since 2001 had been tainted, rigged by either international gamblers or by Koflanovich himself.

Immediately he distributed the ICMA’s assets over to the players that he felt had been cheated and then dissolved the organization. A month later he formed the WACO as a member owned co-op and hired Gregory Kporku, the passionate former champion, internet sensation and arcade claw hero who was eager to change the culture of a sport that he helped tarnish.

“I could tell when I met him that he was embarrassed and pretty pissed off that he had been taken advantage of,” said Mattingly, “and he wanted to do something about it. He wanted to have clean, pure competitions. He was a perfect fit for commissioner.”

Joe Nguyen also had an axe to grind with Koflanovich. Nguyen shocked everybody when he won the championship in 2006. Most shocked were the international gamblers that Koflanovich conspired with to rig the games in favor of Adela Diaz, the holy trinity of ICMA champions – 14 years-old, supermodel beauty, from an impossibly impoverished upbringing in Guatemala.

“I was just better than her,” says Oxnard, California native Nguyen. “Even handicapped, even with rigged machines, I beat her.”

But Nguyen paid a price for his victory. Koflanovich spread rumors among ICMA members that Nguyen himself had cheated. He then let loose his co-conspirators and they shook Nguyen down for cash, periodically roughed him up and generally made his life a living nightmare for the next year after winning the championship.

“Winning in 2006 turned out to be the worst thing that could happen.”

Apparently, Nguyen’s victory drove Koflanovich to take total control of who won and how they won. The next three year’s competitions weren’t even close and participation in the event by serious players dwindled. When Kenworthy won in 2009, nobody was surprised.

“As soon as she walked in the room, I said ‘there’s our winner’,” recalls Mike Cannon, a five time ICMA championship participant and WACO championship finalist.

“This year is totally different. Everybody has a chance, anybody could win. It’s exciting to finally feel that way.”

With five minutes remaining in the speed round, the competition is close. Kevin Mattingly – competing in his first competition since 2000 – leads with 95 animals picked. Joe Nguyen is in second with 93 and Marianne Beaman is third with 90. Mattingly glances up at the scoreboard and you can literally see him tense up. He misses his next four attempts while Nguyen gets three out of four.

With a 96-95 lead, Nguyen settles into a rhythm and doesn’t miss another attempt finishing with 104 animals picked in 60 minutes. Mattingly only manages to pick three in the final five minutes and finishes in second with 98.

Minutes later, watching commissioner Kporku on stage, awash with confetti, hand over the WACO championship trophy and an oversized check in the amount of $500 – all the prize money that could be afforded this year - to Nguyen, Mattingly beams with pride.

“Sure I came in second. I kind of choked down the stretch. But it doesn’t matter. We have our rightful champion. We have our clean championships. We have our sport back in order. This is all I could ask for.”


Hard Hail, Hard Win, Hard Nipples

Posted by Brandon |

Last night we played soccer in what can only be described as the wettest of conditions.

For the first 15 minutes, it hailed heavily. Little razor blades of ice fell from the sky punishing any exposed skin. My ears felt like they were being stuck with pins, my hands went completely numb, I was afraid to head the ball because I thought my head would explode like an ice sculpture dropped on the floor upon impact.

The hail finally let up, but the inch of standing water on one side of the field – the side I spent most of my night on – sucked in your foot with every step. I nearly lost my shoe to the mud on several occasions. I took numerous faces full of kicked water. Once, I put my entire foot on a ball kicking it extremely hard only to have it stay in the exact spot that I left it while I went running by.

It was absolutely miserable. Even the game that we played in 9 degree weather in December wasn’t that miserable. By the end of the game everybody on the field looked like a drowned rat. It passed the point of comedy – I actually enjoy playing in adverse weather conditions, it at least can be comical – to being a dangerous slog.

Making it even more miserable was that we didn’t have a referee and we played an overly testosterone fueled team of rugby players. There were numerous collisions, overtly overaggressive plays, a pair of incidental handballs that had people so mad that it easily could’ve escalated past arguing. It was a game that needed a referee.

But the league that we pay good money to play in can’t seem to get referees to do their games. Our captain, a referee himself, said that we’ll be lucky to have a ref for one or two games this season. Great.

The good news to come out of the game is we won, 2-1. Considering they had six guy subs to our one and appeared to be a more skilled team, it was a surprising outcome.

I played OK, I’m still struggling to do some soccer basics, like kicking the ball. I had an opportunity at what should’ve been an easy goal. All I had to do was not kick the ball right at the goalie and I’d have had just my second goal of my short soccer career. Well, I didn’t kick the ball at the goalie, but I also didn’t kick it at the goal. Somehow I barely got a foot on it and it went across the goal and into the corner. What’s funny is that normally I’d agonize over missing that goal for days, but I was so distracted by being so wet and so cold that until typing this paragraph, I hadn’t even thought about it.

So let’s get to the Too Much Information part of this post: My nipples seriously hurt. It is 7:00 AM and we are now going on 12 hours of permanent, painful tittie hard-on. Seriously, they’ve been rock hard since the game and they hurt like a motherfucker. I don’t know what to do to get them not to hurt. I guess I’ll just have to wait it out. I’m sure it’ll go away pretty soon.

Anyway, now that I’ve put that image in your head….enjoy your day! Hopefully my rock hard nipples won’t haunt you too much.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Butterflies and Basketballs

Posted by Brandon |

It’s 6:15 AM, I’m sitting here at work (I know, I should be working) in my unwashed Washington Huskies jersey that I’ve been wearing for every game for the past two weeks – you don’t wash that luck out during a steak – and I am seriously excited, nervous and very restless about tonight’s game, a mere 10 hours away.

The day has already gotten off to a bit of an auspicious beginning. I was about five minutes late for work – missing my morning meeting that starts promptly at 5:59 AM even though our shift starts at 6:00 AM – because I couldn’t find my wallet anywhere. Luckily, it occurred to me that I was laying on the ground in Addie’s room when she went to bed, so I snuck in and there it was, on her floor, and I did it without waking her up. The problem is, the game tips off before I get off at 4:30, so I was hoping to leave early but asking to leave early after being late isn’t the best idea. Oh well, I don’t care, I’m still leaving early to get myself in front of a TV.

I was thinking about telling you about the most depressed I’ve ever been in my life, which is totally Washington Huskies/college basketball related. However, trying to keep it positive today, I’ll tell you about when my real love for Washington Huskies basketball began.

It was 2004 and things looked very bleak and typical for the Huskies, another disappointing season going into the books. But after a big loss to Oregon State that dropped them to 0-5 in Pac-10 play, Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Will Conroy, Curtis Allen, Bobby Jones and Mike Jensen went on a tear winning 11-of-13 games leading up to a season finale against undefeated and #1 ranked Stanford. The whole city was abuzz about Huskies basketball and you just got this feeling that the Stanford game was going to be something really special to attend.

I HAD to go to the game, but so did everybody else in the Seattle area. The game was completely sold out and I did not have a ticket but I figured I might be able to get one outside of Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the game. So I headed down to the arena an hour and a half before game time with $40 in my pocket - the most I was able to spend – hoping to score a ticket..

Unfortunately, when I got there, it became clear that I wasn’t the only one without a ticket hoping to get into the game. There were tons of people standing around with one finger in the air unwilling to pay the $150 price that scalpers were trying to get for their tickets. With about 20 minutes left before tip-off, I gave up trying to find a ticket and instead hightailed it back to the car to get myself to a bar to watch the game on TV, but I figured that while I was walking back to the car, I might as well keep that finger in the air and keep pitching for a ticket. About 20 feet from the car, I hear from behind me, “hey man, you need a ticket? My friend decided not to come and I have an extra.” And he gave it to me for face value, though I think I gave him an extra five dollars and I may have bought him a soda at halftime.

And the game WAS something special. The Huskies took it to Stanford the entire game and drilled the Cardinal 75-62. The euphoria in the building was something that I don’t think can ever be replicated. I’ve never been in a building that was that full of positive energy. It was absolutely amazing. It was a celebration of everything that happened during their magical run that season and it was a celebration in anticipation of what was ahead. The team was young, the team was fun, the team was really talented. Everybody in that building knew that the next few years were going to be awesome to watch and I think everybody was reveling in it during that Stanford drubbing.

And things have never been the same. Basketball is now the school’s major sport and with the Supersonics departure for Oklahoma, the Huskies are Seattle’s #1 basketball team. The expectations are Sweet Sixteens or better instead of being euphoric about an 18-10 finish.

That’s why this season was disappointing until they rallied to win the Pac-10 Tournament and then knocked off #6 seed Marquette and #3 New Mexico in the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament. And now that’s why I sit here in a dirty jersey, butterflies in my stomach, trying to pass the time away before today’s 4:27 tip time hoping that my Dawgs can tear up some Mountaineers.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


The Current

Posted by Brandon |

I have a new favorite radio station, though admittedly, there isn’t much competition because I didn’t really have a favorite to begin with.

While I have always liked the idea of Seattle’s non-commercial indie icon KEXP and former Oxford, Ohio’s terrestrial radio now Cincinnati/Austin’s online only WOXY, neither station really satisfies me. KEXP is just too easy listening. They play way too much really quiet, wussie indie music, boring alt-country and ambient electronic music. Despite its revered hipster status here in the Seattle area, it has become a really sleepy, boring radio station. I can listen for a whole hour and not hear one song that I really enjoy and it will probably make me slip into a deep music induced sleep. WOXY isn’t as boring, but they play a lot of music that is less accessible, less polished – but not in a good way. Don’t ask me to explain, I can’t, it just doesn’t work for me.

While searching around for some good kid’s music – the kindie genre is one that I’ve become really interested in and am thinking about doing a radio show/podcast – I found Minnesota Public Radio’s HD and internet channel Wonderground Radio. It’s a station that has a nice little mix of music that is kid friendly - some good adult indie music mixed with kid’s artists. The only problem is that it’s completely automated and seems to repeat quite often. But Wonderground Radio led me to the station that it is an offshoot of, The Current – my new favorite radio station.

The Current is basically the same format as both KEXP and WOXY but what it does really well is keep things pretty upbeat. In direct comparison to KEXP, The Current plays most of the same artists, but where KEXP plays a lot of the softer, slower songs off of an artist’s album, The Current plays the faster, poppier, more radio friendly songs. Now instead of not liking a single song over an hour I’m bopping along to virtually an entire hour of music by practically the same artists. Sure they play some softer, slower tracks, but it’s usually the exception instead of the rule. It’s just so much more of a satisfying and exciting listening experience for me. It’s almost exactly what I’ve been looking for in a radio station for a really long time.

Anyway, you can find MPR’s The Current at 89.3 FM in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, on the web at thecurrent.org or if you have an iPhone, you can listen on the MPR app.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone



Posted by Brandon |

A couple weeks ago, my work computer went completely tits up because of a virus and I had to call in our building’s IT professional to unbork my computer. While I admit that I had been surfing the internet a little too much, I wasn’t looking at anything more damning than Deadspin or even (gasp) Slate.com. So when the IT lady gave me kind of a stern warning about “certain” websites and that she’d clean it up this one time, I was a little bit confused but didn’t really think too much about it - in fact, I just shrugged and chuckled about it. I just figured she was warning me about Twitter or Facebook.

So when I needed to track a package for work the following week and found that my internet still wasn’t working – I have taken to using my iPhone for any personal surfing needs – I called the IT lady again. She couldn’t figure out what was wrong so she contacted another IT person that wasn’t in our building. She didn’t have his number, so she sent an email from my account to have him call her at my extension. A little while later, I was looking to see if I had sent an another email and ran across her email that she sent. What follows is that email and the series of mortifying emails that followed…


From: Brandon
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 11:36 AM
To: Jeff
Subject: hey call me it (IT lady)

Hey im at that porn virus computer. Iv done everything but its still there call 1360xxxxxxx

From: Brandon
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 1:12 PM
To: (IT lady)
Subject: FW: hey call me it (IT lady)

(IT lady),

I hope you don’t think I was looking at porn on my computer, that wasn’t the case. Worst website I visited on a regular basis was Twitter or sometimes Deadspin – a sports blog. Mainly it was online radio and newspapers.


From: (IT Lady)
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 1:35 PM
To: Brandon
Subject: RE: hey call me it (IT lady)

Well yeah, actually I did. When I first was cleaning up that virus all it kept doing was popping up this one porn site. I had to actually log off because it keep popping up well hummm lets say pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!. That’s why I first asked you was there anyone else that uses your machine? And when I said, there are “certain” sites that give viruses more than others. And when I talked to you the second time. I said “just so we were clear I would clean it up this time. But I cant do it again” what did you think I was talking about? There was quite of few sites in the history that were quite damaging. Like I said I would clean it that time. If your worried about what I said to Jeff in that email. don’t worry about it. we talked about it and decided that was (if you will) that was 1

(IT Lady)

From: Brandon
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 2:06 PM
To: (IT lady)
Subject: RE: hey call me it (IT lady)

That’s crazy because I definitely never went to any porn sites, swear to god. I know that might be hard to believe considering that you found damaging sites in history and I probably can’t convince you, but you have to take me at my word. I may have a web surfing problem, but I’m not stupid enough to look at porn at work. I was just thinking that I wasn’t supposed to be using Facebook or Twitter or whatever…serious time wasters that management usually is not fond of people using.

Now you have me wondering if anybody else does use my computer. We do have a night crew. Since I have a strike one on me, I’m telling you now that I’m not using my internet for anything but the intranet, UPS.com, Conway Freight, Yellow Freight and maybe a few other totally work related sites. If porn sites end up in my history or I get another porn related virus, I don’t want to be blamed because it wasn’t me.

Totally mortified,

From: (IT lady)
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 2:30 PM
To: Brandon
Subject: RE: hey call me it (IT lady)

Do you lock your computer up when you leave? Lock up as in hitting control / alt / delete / lock computer? You remember when I asked you if anyone else uses your computer? Ya know, I thought to my self, WOW he handled him self quite well. I was completely impressed how you just said OK. If fact I was telling some friends of mine, (outside of work) how well you carried your self considering you got caught for watching porn at work.

From: Brandon
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 3:32 PM
To: (IT lady)
Subject: RE: hey call me it (IT lady)

GAH! You must’ve thought I was a sociopath or something. That doesn’t make me feel better, it makes me feel like I came off as CRAZY. If I would’ve got caught watching porn, I think I would’ve just walked out of the building and never come back. Just thinking that you think I was watching porn makes me want to walk out the building and never come back.

Anyway, I almost always log off of my profile or even turn off the computer when I leave, so I don’t know what the deal is. I’ll try locking it down from here on out.

Still totally and completely mortified,

From: (IT lady)
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 3:35 PM
To: Brandon
Subject: RE: hey call me it (IT lady)

No no I didn’t mean to make you feel worse. Gezzz I was just saying you handled your self very professional. That all. Its no biggy really. I didn’t tell anyone. Just jeff and he didn’t tell anyone. Its all good.


Well, thank god it’s “all good”. If I would’ve been fired for looking at porn when I wasn’t actually looking at porn, that would’ve been a hard one to swallow. And though it is “all good”, I have a hard time facing the IT lady that found porn all over my computer and now assumes that I am a guy that just sat back here jerking it all day who then shows no remorse or concern when caught red handed.

On a related note: thank god for the iPhone....

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