Posted by Brandon |

This is easily my favorite moment from any Spelling Bee ever...

And he was the eventual winner. G-U-E-R-D-O-N, Guerdon FTW.

If you have no idea why anybody would ever be interested in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, you really have to go out and rent or Netflix the movie Spellbound. It's a 2002 documentary about eight competitors in the 1999 Spelling Bee and it's fascinating. It made me take a second look at everything about the Bee and I've been interested in it ever since.

Posted by Brandon |

My Final Wishes

When my grandpa died a couple months ago, I thought about bringing this motorized hula dancer that he loved to his memorial. Then I thought that what I should've done was hire him a real hula dancer to dance for him one last time. That would've been perfect. That would've been so random and so great.

It was on that day that I decided that what I want out of my memorial is a cavalcade of ridiculousness. I want to have a random circus of nonsense. To ensure that, I might have to have a secret plan devised years in advance. We'll see.

But one thing shouldn't be a secret, I want somebody to reenact this scene from The Big Lebwoski in it's entirety (edit: they can do it like a play at my memorial with fake ashes and they don't need to change the name)...

Oh, and I want to be stuffed wagging my finger and placed in the living room.


Rock Bottom of the Bowl Blues

Posted by Brandon |

Today I hit rock bottom.

Today I realized that a force in my life is taking it's toll on me, my body, my family, my bank account, my life. I can no longer live like this, I need to make a change. I need to fix this destructive force that has been controlling me for the last...what...31 years. I'm ready to admit it...

I have a substance abuse problem.

There, I said it.

I've known that I'd been indulging a little bit, but I guess I was the last person to really know about my full fledged problem. My wife has known for years and years about my problem and she's been trying to get me to recognize it but I've been too blind. But my eyes are open now and I have seen that it isn't all about me, me, me. I'm ready to admit it, I have a substance abuse problem.

My name is Brandon, and I'm a cerealaholic.

I was sitting on the couch playing with Addie and glanced into the kitchen where a box of Honey Bunches of Oats sat empty on the island. Printed across the top of the box were the words "Family" and "Size". Those words, written in big, bold, red letters spoke to me. They really hit me hard and deep in my soul.

Death? bought the box for me on Monday night. I finished a family size box of Honey Bunches of Oats, 18 servings worth, in three days. That's an average of six servings of cereal a day.

My name is Brandon, I'm a cerealaholic, and I need help.

I have another family size box of Honey Bunches of Oats in the pantry taunting me. I'm going to attempt to cut back my cereal consumption drastically with this box. Two servings a day, at the maximum. I need this box to last me nine days. That's a week and two days. That's Sunday of next week. I really don't know how I'm going to do it, I'm already thinking about that sweet bowl filled to the brim with oat-y goodness and cold, rich milk.

But if I can't control myself, I'm going to have to do something really, really drastic. I'm going to have to go cold turkey. No cereal for this cerealaholic. I cut soda out for Lent last year and I haven't bought a case since - we only buy 2 liters - so I think I can do it. I just don't want to have to take it to that extreme.

My name is Brandon, I'm a cerealaholic, I need help and I'm hungry.

Fight it Brandon, fight it. At least get through the first night of your new life.


Return of The Number Eight

Posted by Brandon |

I like to bring this post back every once in a while, especially when I have some new readers. I just like to fly my freak flag, find out who is on my side and potentially alienate some new friends. Years after I wrote it, I'm still proud.

A couple of months ago I noticed that I write the number eight differently than most people. Instead of one single continuous line in a loop-de-loop, I write mine with two separate circles...

So I have been asking everybody I know how they write the number eight and so far I have yet to find anyone who draws their eights the same way I do. In fact, I have had to put up with a ton of ridicule from my co-workers, friends, family and even my fiance since confessing my difference. My education and upbringing have been questioned on numerous accounts. My self-esteem has been torn in shreds due to my newly acquired minority status.

But today I come out and announce to the world, "I draw the number eight with two circles, and I'm damn proud!" Screw all of you for making me feel bad about myself because I am different than you. I am proud of my difference and will continue to flaunt it. I plan on writing the number eight like I do for the rest of my life no matter what happens.

Besides, I am right. You may have learned some fucked up way from your awful elementary teachers long ago but when you type the number eight, what does it look like?


They look like two circles on top of each other to me. I suppose you are going to tell me that you continue to write in perfect cursive like you learned in elementary school. Has anybody ever written a "Z" like they were taught in cursive after the sixth grade? No, they haven't...and you shouldn't continue to write an eight in that ridiculous manner anymore either.

But whatever, you can't help it if you were brainwashed at an early age. Was I the only one smart enough to recognize it?


Our Dumb World

Posted by Brandon |

If there are two things that I know about bathroom reading, these are them...

1. Bathroom reading shouldn't be depressing. It should be light, fun and interesting, but never depressing.
2. Anything put out by The Onion is excellent bathroom reading. Short, to the point, funny.

So then why have I been getting so depressed lately on the pooper?

For either Christmas or my birthday I received The Onion's Our Dumb World as a gift. Obviously somebody (my wife) knows my bathroom reading habits. What I don't think she or I could've imagined is just how soul-crushing and sad an atlas published by The Onion could be. Sure it's really funny, some of it is absolutely hysterical, but behind all the snarkiness and the jokes comes way too much truth.

What you can't get from a normal atlas that you get from Our Dumb World is a pretty clear idea of just how fucked up a good portion of our world is. Almost all of Africa is completely fucked, Asia isn't much better, the Middle East is right there with them and Europe and South America have their own problems. And the countries that aren't totally a mess have a lot to do with making the ones that are fucked the way they are or they sit on the toilet reading about it and do nothing.

This is not the sad realization that I need when I sit down to do my business. Ignorance is both bliss and a great way to keep you regular. Thank god a new issue of Baseball America came today. That will provide me with, what, a day or two of reading material and then it's back to jokes about genocide and disease.

Perhaps I should just remove it from the bathroom.


My Top 25 Favorite Albums - #1 to #10

Posted by Brandon |

Tonight I'm finishing off my top 25 favorite albums with the top 10. Somehow, in typical Down With Pants! fashion, my top 10 is actually 16 albums. Don't ask me how that works.

If you need to catch up, here's #21 to #25 and #11 to #20.

The Clash - London Calling - I don't totally and completely know why, but I found London Calling to be the best album to work to when I was packing boxes for Archie McPhee. I got more boxes packed during this album than any other. I could really go to town and part of it is because of how upbeat and dancey it is. But I found when packing boxes you need just a little touch of anger to keep you going and London Calling has just that. Poppy, angry, fun, rocking. The perfect mix to get me packing.

Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow - We were at Bumbershoot and Blackalicious had just played and all these people were leaving the venue they played raving about them. I had never heard of them so I picked up The Strangers guide and they raved, so I had to check them out. I ended up buying the CD without ever hearing even one song off of it at the Bumbermusic stand later that day and never regretted it. Gift of Gab is a master lyricist and Chief Xcel keeps the beat going strong all the way through. It's smart, it's fun, it's my favorite hip hop album. Their debut, NIA, is almost as good.

The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free - The individual songs on A Grand Don't Come For Free are very good, "Fit But You Know It" and "Blinded By The Lights" in particular, but when you put them all together they make a great album. It's basically a musical novel with a narrative, a plot and a resolution. The first time I heard it I didn't know it was one narrative until the last song. When the light went on, it was like a revelation and a wave of amazement washed over me.

Ben Folds Five - Self-Titled - When I was DJing in college, one of the songs that first really caught my attention was the strange, super caffeinated "Julianne" - "I met this girl she looked like Axl Rose, got drunk and took her home and we slept in our clothes, In the morning put my feet on the floor and thought, being awake never felt like this before." From that opening stanza that song just plows through like no other piano pop song that I had ever heard. I knew from the first time I head Julianne and all the other songs on Ben Fold Five that Ben Folds would be one of my favorite artists as long as he kept making music.

Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up On Me - Another Bumbershoot discovery from the same year as Blackalicious, I think. I had seen The King Solomon Burke on Conan O'Brian at one point but didn't know much about him so we went to his performance with no expectations. Being a preacher he is about as charasmatic as it gets and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand and he charmed the pants off of us. Don't Give Up On Me is the crowning achievement of his career. Solomon is an old soul singer with a silky, sexy, wise voice and he takes songs written by Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Nick Lowe and Bob Dylan and turns them into his own. All the songs are great, but "Don't Give Up On Me", "Diamond In Your Mind" and "Only A Dream" are absolutely amazing, beautiful classics.

Forgotten Favorite
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow - I can't believe I originally forgot Chutes Too Narrow. I can't bump anything out of the top five, so it's going to have to go at #5.5. I don't know if there is an album that makes me more happy to listen to than Chutes Too Narrow. From the first song, "Kissing The Lipless" to the last, "Those To Come", The Shins throw different infectious hook after different ifectious hook at you until you can't get them out of your head. Garden State was right, they will change your life perhaps just a little tiny bit.

Weezer - Pinkerton - Pinkerton reminds me of The Empire Strikes Back. Where Star Wars was loved because of how new and amazing it was, there was a slightness to it. The Empire, on the other hand, was Star Wars but darker, more brooding, more story than special effects, more twists, more turns. The hangers-on didn't really get Empire, much like they ignored Pinkerton. But the real fans know which movie and which album are the best. "The Good Life" is jokingly my theme song.

Presidents of the United States of America - Self-Titled - My favorite songs and albums are ones that sound like one thing on the surface, but if you dig deeper they are completely something else. The Presidents first album is one of the greatest examples of this. Virtually every single song sounds like syrupy, innocent pop but are chock full of sexual innuendo. When I was working for the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, there was this one old woman that came into the ballpark early and whenever I played "Peaches", she would bop along and really get into it. We were all convinced that she had no idea about the double meaning, she just really like peaches. This one's for you peaches loving senior citizen, this one's for you.

They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18 - It was hard to choose between Flood and Apollo 18. Compared to each other, minus a certain 21 songs, they are very, very close. But Flood doesn't have Fingertips, 21 different songs none longer than 28 seconds long and most just five or six seconds, that totally takes this album from great to the Top 5. Apollo 18 was their second album with a full band and I think it shows in a much more cohesive, flowing album. Flood is great and has better individual songs, but I don't think they were completely comfortable with the band yet and some of the songs suffer for it. This album completed that transformation and just works better as a whole.

Built To Spill - There's Nothing Wrong With Love - There was never any doubt in my mind what my #2 album would be. From track one, "In the Morning" all the way to the last song "Stab" it just flows perfectly giving you 12 perfect pop nuggets along the way. After "In the Morning" ends on comes track two, "Reasons" and I start to think that it might be my favorite song ever. Then "Reasons" finishes and "Big Dipper" starts and suddenly I have a new favorite song. And then you get to "Car" and "Fling" and "Twin Falls" and "Distopian Dream Girl" and by that time I'm as happy as can be but flustered and confused. Can I have six favorite songs all by the same artist? And There's Nothing Wrong With Love means so much to me. It just came along at the perfect time in my life.

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers, Abbey Road, Let It Be: Naked - Do I really need to say anything about The Beatles? Ok, just a little bit. I had to cheat, I didn't want the whole list to be Beatles albums. All of the music that I listen to - and all pop music in general - is built on a foundation of The Beatles. They influenced me more than any other artist ever has and I wasn't even close to alive by the time they broke up. I think every Beatles album is great from Please Please Me to Let It Be (though if you notice, I used the Naked version of Let It Be released a few years ago. Far superior to the original) but these six are the ones that really stand out for me. My favorite is either Rubber Soul or Abbey Road but I have a hard time choosing.


What Made Brandon Cry Today #1

Posted by Brandon |

Today in her Snackie Sunday post, Hilly asked what movies or TV shows made you cry. Oh boy, I could go on and on and on. It's embarrassing, or cute, depending on your perspective, just how often I tear up.

So because of this weird mixture of shame and pride that drives this urge to share, today I introduce a new feature on Down With Pants! What Made Brandon Cry Today...

1. The Deadliest Catch - It was a segment about a crew that abandoned ship, tied themselves together and tried to survive in a storm. I think it was the captain and his wife ended up together and after a Coast Guard helicopter passed over them and didn't see them, his wife gave up and passed away and he had to cut her loose. He survived but it turns out the boat didn't sink and if they would've stayed put, they all would've lived. Ugh. Wife dying, everybody could've been saved, grown man crying? That's a recipe for me disaster for me.

2. The Simpsons - This is all the fault of the new daddy hormones raging in me. It was the episode where The Flanderses get custody of Bart, Lisa and Maggie and in the end, they try to baptize them. When Maggie sees Marge and reaches out to her and Marge picks her up and spins, my eyes got nice and watery. I've seen that episode probably 20-30 times and this was the first time I've teared up. Again, I blame being a new dad for this one.

Stay tuned...later this week I'll show you my vagina.

Posted by Brandon |

Achievers Everywhere

Face it folks, there are Achievers everywhere.

The other day I found a note on my car. In our neighborhood where I have to park on the street, if you find a note on your car typically it isn't good news. Either your car has been sideswiped and left for dead, the friendly local car prowlers cataloged what they stole from you, or you didn't pull far enough forward for stripper mommy's Escalade to fit behind you.

But to my great surprise and delight, the note I found wasn't scary or bitchy, my car was still in one piece and nothing was missing. Instead it absolutely made my day, my week, and maybe my month...

It's a strange, almost forgotten quote from the movie. These are Achievers of a very high grade.

In case you are wondering why anybody would leave such a cryptic note on my car, this should answer your question...

I'm telling you, there are Achievers everywhere achieving anyway.


Our New Edmonds Home?

Posted by Brandon |

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders tonight.

In less than six weeks, we'll be leaving our Southern California home for the last three years and hightailing it back up to the Seattle area - Edmonds to be exact. We have been stressing big time about finding a place to live up there because we didn't know how we'd do it. Neither of us can make a trip up to there between now and when we move so we are relying on the internet and our parents. We have a lot of wants and needs for the place and we want to keep the price low so we can save to buy in the very near future, so our options are a little limited. The internets were sparse, the places in our price range didn't have some of our needs and places with our needs didn't have the right price.

But we found one listing on Craigslist that sounded perfect, so my mom-in-law went to check it out today and sure enough, it is almost perfect. It has all of our needs, most of our wants, has a good price and best of all, it's only a block to the great Edmonds City Park, a block from a really cool supermarket, a block from some restaurants and bars, it's less than half a mile from the really cute downtown core of Edmonds and all of the restaurants, shops, movie theater, bars that it offers, it's less than 3/4 of a mile to the Amtrak station so my non-freeway driving mom would have a really easy time getting here and we could walk down to the station, hop the train to the King Street Station in Seattle and walk to Safeco Field and the Mariners game. How awesome would that be?

I've always wanted to live in the urban core of a city, even if it's some small suburban town like Edmonds. I want to be able to walk everywhere, I want to be a regular at the coffee shop, I want to have a neighborhood pub, I want to walk to dinner, I want to be able to pop into the store if we forgot an ingredient (like tonight, I didn't know we needed bacon for what we were making), I want to maybe work in downtown Edmonds and walk to work everyday. It's just a little thing that I want, even if it's just for one year while we save for our own place and it looks like we may have found that on the very first place that we had anybody take a look at in person. Stress begone.

There's one other listing that looks great as well and we're going to have her check it out this weekend as a backup just in case somehow this doesn't work out, but boy do we ever hope we can get this place. We should, we're ideal candidates and we had one of our biggest boosters - our PR lady if you will, maybe even our Apostle Peter - talking us up to the landlord. Besides, who wouldn't want to rent to a doctor, her stay at home husband and a super cute little baby girl?


My Top 25 Favorite Albums - #11 to #20

Posted by Brandon |

Continuing on with my top 25 favorite albums, plus one extra that I realized that I forgot. I'm sure there are a couple others that I forgot that deserve recognition as well. And really, #20 to #11 could be shuffled up into any order and I'd be fine with it...

P.S...To those of you reading in a reader, I know it looks terrible. It's looks fine and is easier to read if you click over to the post.

Forgotten Favorite
Sir Mix-A-Lot - SWASS - If you grew up in the Seattle area in the early '90's, you surely know and love the ultimate Seattle anthem, "Posse On Broadway". I really don't think there's a better song out there about Seattle and I'm a big sucker for any song that refers to Dick's as "the place where the cool hangout, the swass like to play and the rich flaunt clout." That song alone would be enough, but SWASS also rocks "Buttermilk Biscuits", "Rippin", "SWASS" and the world's only song about Bremerton, "Bremelo". Classics all of them. Mix-A-Lot isn't just "Baby Got Back"

Beck - Midnite Vultures - Odelay could easily be here instead of Midnite Vultures but I actually think I listen to this album more often than Odelay. All of the songs are a blast, it's Beck at his most fun and most ridiculous. I think he was trying to be the bastard son of Prince with this album and surprisingly it worked in a way. I especially love "Debra" for it's random mention of Zankou Chicken.

Beastie Boys - Check Your Head - I love the Beastie Boys, they are one of my top five favorite bands. However, only Paul's Boutique and Check Your Head are albums that I listen to straight through so that's why one of my favorite bands is so far down the list. Check Your Head is probably their most stylistically diverse album and at first listen can seem very chaotic. But every song ends up working in conjunction with the previous or the next and makes for a very cohesive work amidst the chaos. In many ways, that's what I look for in an album.

Killers - Hot Fuss - I resisted The Killers for quite some time when Hot Fuss was released. I had convinced myself that they were nothing but a poser rock band that was all style and no substance. But then I saw the video for "Mr. Brightside" and developed a man crush on Brandon Flowers. Then I heard "All These Things I've Done" which quickly became one of my favorite songs and suddenly, I owned the album, knew all the words and I sang every song at the top of my lungs while I drove to work.

Green Day - Warning - This album was overlooked by many simply because it didn't have a good radio single. "Warning" is a great song, but it doesn't have a solid radio hook that could attract the masses. All the songs deal with complex issues of growing into full-on adulthood and the optimism and pessimism that goes along with that growth. I think that this album hit home with me because it was that same growth that I myself was experiencing at the time. Your mid-20's are a weird time. You feel very young, but are expected to start being an adult ready or not. Green Day and I were at the same place in our lives at the same time and I still feel a strong connection with this album even if I didn't really have much love for Green Day has before or after this album (I hate American Idiot).

Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News - Good News was Modest Mouse's biggest hit with "Float On" reaching a level that I could never have imagined them hitting after seeing them drunk and drugged struggle through a KGRG benefit concert shortly after their debut album was released. To see how far they had come and to see Isaac Brock write music so personally optimistic was a welcome relief after the beautiful but sometimes troubling The Moon & Antarctica. The optimism of a lot of Good News' songs is what makes it stand over Modest Mouse's other albums, despite my love for them. It's also their most edited and cohesive album, it all flows together fairly seamlessly.

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison - I'll never forget the first time I heard the song "Folsom Prison Blues". I was driving on the Southern Tier Expressway in New York on my way from school in Bowling Green to see Death? in Ithaca. It was late at night and I was scanning the radio trying to find something to listen to. I came across one of those little radio stations in the middle of nowhere that play whatever they want (that sadly are almost gone) and they were playing a bunch of old country songs. "Folsom Prison Blues" came on and rocked my world. The next song he played was "A Boy Named Sue" and my Johnny obsession was born. When you're on a lonely highway at night, Johnny Cash can really speak to you. Anyway, At Folsom Prison was the first of his albums I bought and I've slowly been adding to it ever since (he has a lot of music).

Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy - The Eels have become one of my favorite bands because of how their music is so beautiful and dreamy but often hides much more serious, sometimes pessimistic, sometimes dark lyrics. I don't know why, but those are often my favorite types of songs - poppy and happy sounding with a touch of darkness underneath. No album on this list better mixes happy and dark better than Daisies of the Galaxy. It's got beautiful, dreamy melodies and soaring arrangements that perfectly compliment the fragile emotions of E's lyrics.

They Might Be Giants - Flood - "Birdhouse In Your Soul", a song that can put me instantly into a good mood, is almost enough on it's own to make Flood one of my favorite albums. They could just repeat that song 15 times and it would make the top 25. But then there's "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", "Twisting", "Minimum Wage", "Particle Man" and...well, I could keep going. They're all good. Flood only is this low because of another TMBG album later.

Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs - Death? says I'm cheating since this is three albums. Fine. I'll just pick Volume 1, the best of the three. 23 love songs that are all completely different in musical styles and sentiment and the album is like nothing else anybody has ever released. Not all are totally successful but with an undertaking as wide ranging as this, that's no surprise. Favorites for me are "Absolutely Cuckoo", "Chicken With It's Head Cut Off", "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits", "The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side," and "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing".

Hot Hot Heat - Elevator - Elevator is forty minutes of fun, dancey, clever pop songs that I sometimes have a hard time believing are a product of the Pacific Northwest - Victoria, BC to be exact. It's so unlike anything that ever came out of the area. Just pure, unadulterated fun. I'm listening to "You Owe Me An IOU" as I type this and I'm fighting the urge to sing along at the top of my lungs like I would if I were in the car. My voice might be horse afterwards but I can't help myself, I'll sing every last song at full voice and look like a complete dork to all the stone faced Californians.


My Top 25 Favorite Albums - #21 to #25

Posted by Brandon |

Martymankins over at Banal Leakage did his favorite 25 albums a couple weeks ago (here and here) and ever since then I've been mulling it over. After going through my CD's, I think I've come up with my top 25. It was a tough call for me and ranking them was even harder. I think that on some days I would put my #25 album at #2 and my #4 album in the teens. And eliminating some albums was very hard. In fact, as you will see later, I had to cheat a little bit.

Today I give you #21 to #25 plus a couple bonus soundtracks that I love that could break the top 25 at some point in the future. Keep in mind, these are my favorite albums, not necessarily the albums that I think are the best. There really is a big difference.

Once - There are probably soundtracks that I listen to more than these two bonus soundtracks, but none featuring original music. Once is one of my favorite albums period and it only doesn't appear in the top 25 because it's only been out for a little while. It's such a beautifully written and performed album that even without the movie it might be one of my favorites. Although without the movie, I probably would've never listened to this album and never been exposed to Glen Hansard and Market Irglova.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - Box of Cox - Right now the only way the entire 30+ songs from the movie are available is through iTunes and if you are going to buy the Walk Hard soundtrack, you have to go big. The movie itself wasn't great, but the music was. It's a parody/comedy album, yes, but a lot of the songs are very sincere and very well written and could easily, accidentally pass as real songs. Like "Let's Duet". That could easily be a real country song. I love how he means well in each song but just doesn't quite get the point, like "Mr. President", "Billy Don't Be a Hero" and my personal favorite, "Mulatto". Mulatto!

Weezer - Blue Album - Right in the middle of all things grunge (actually, more like near the end, but I was a little slow) - a genre I liked but never really identified with - came Weezer. Nerd rock is exactly what I was looking for at the time, my ears were never quite the same. This would actually be much higher up if it weren't for the fact that another Weezer album appears later and I was kind of trying not to double up on bands.

Elvis Costello - This Year's Model - I have a hard time believing that I missed out on Elvis Costello until only recently. His music, at least his early music, is exactly what I like. Intelligent, poppy, a little punky and This Year's Model is packed full with a good portion of his best. "This Year's Model", "Pump It Up", "Little Triggers", the underrated "Lip Service" and of course "Radio, Radio". I'm so confused as to which version that I actually own since there are at least five different versions that have been released. Oh well, they're all good.

Mos Def - Black On Both Sides - I always relate this album to Harlingen, Texas. Seriously, Mos Def reminds me of a crummy little border Texas town. But that's because we listened to Black On Both Sides almost nonstop all summer long. A great mix of poppy songs, furious political statements, a little punk rock all done with great intelligence and amazing flow, creativity and humor. Great from start to finish.

Reverend Horton Heat - Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em - I love the swaggering hellfire psychobilly that is The Reverend. It's fast, it's furious and it's a ton of fun from start to finish. Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em was the Reverend's first and it's release on Sub Pop and it's inclusion with a lot of that period's grunge was a very striking contrast. "Eat Steak", "Marijuana" and "Psychobilly Freakout" are classics anthems.

A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm - A Tribe Called Quest was the first hip-hop album that I really connected with on a level other than just being pop music. I liked other rappers and rap groups before this album, but it was very superficial and more along the trying to keep up with what the cool kids were listening to. I first picked up this album after hearing "Left My Wallet In El Segundo" and was then exposed to "Push It Along", "Bonita Applebaum", and "Can I Kick It" and my reasons to listen to rap were never the same.


While I'm Hating

Posted by Brandon |

While I'm ranting about my hatred of the fucking Eagles, I might as well tell you about my hatred of two other classic rock bands.

1. The Doors - I went through a phase where I was really trying to get into classic rock and one of the bands that I tried to like was The Doors. I blame my wanting to like The Doors on both the comparisons people made between Jim Morrison and Eddie Vedder (I loved Pearl Jam at the time) and the Oliver Stone movie.

At some point, I gave up. Even though I thought I should like them if I really was into rock, I just couldn't do it. I started to unabashedly hate The Doors and I still hate them today. I hate Jim Morrison's stupid lounge singer voice and I hate all the keyboard and I hate their whole drugged out persona and I hate that their idiot fans defaced Pere Lachaise Cemetery where Morrison is buried and I hate...well...everything about them.

God I hate The Doors.

2. Led Zeppelin - I never even attempted to like Led Zeppelin. I always knew that I hated them. And I know exactly why it is - Jimmy Page's Robert Plant's voice. Oh god it grates on my nerves unlike any other singer. And I can't take their bluesy stuff, it just pisses me off. There is one song in particular, and I don't even know what it's called, that makes me want to smash a radio every time it comes on. I used to have to listen to the classic rock station in Ventura and they played it at least once, maybe twice a day. I eventually had to leave the room and go to the bathroom or find something else to do when it came on or else I would've, sooner or later, jammed a handful of pencils in my ears.

My hatred of Led Zeppelin doesn't run as deep as my hate for the fucking Eagles or The Doors, I can at least understand why someone would like Led Zeppelin.


Lebowski Friday - The Fucking Eagles

Posted by Brandon |

"I hate the fucking Eagles, man."

That one line alone is almost enough to totally endear The Dude and The Big Lebowski to the staggering amount of those of us that hate the fucking Eagles but, since the fucking Eagles are a strangely revered, almost untouchable band, were unable to say "I hate the fucking Eagles, man." It was so nice to have someone finally say it somewhere that it empowered all of us fucking Eagles haters.

I hate the fucking Eagles, man.

I hate "Take It Easy". I hate "Witchy Woman". I hate "Desperado". I hate "Hotel California". They are, to me, the most overrated band ever. They are a shitty country band, they are a shitty rock band, they are a shitty, shitty band.

I hate that when I was in high school and the fucking Eagles reunited for Hell Freezes Over, I felt compelled to like them because they were shoved down our throats and I was in a very vulnerable, trying to love the classic rock, trying to fit in position. I even had the damn unplugged album at one point. I still don't know why.

And if my cabbie were listening to the fucking Eagles, it would even be worth getting kicked out of a cab in the middle of Los Angeles if he wouldn't turn it off. That's how much I hate the fucking Eagles.

They blow and I hate them and I'm grateful for The Dude and The Big Lebowski for finally speaking up and giving a voice to those of us that hate the fucking Eagles.

Speaking of The Fucking Eagles, they are a pretty kick ass Tacoma, WA band that headlined Lebowski Fest in Seattle a couple years ago, for obvious reasons.


Two States Down, 48 To Go

Posted by Brandon |

If you haven't heard the good news yet, the Supreme Court of California today overturned the ban on gay marriage. Yea! The sanctity of our marriage has finally been, well, sanctified now that many of our friends have the same rights as we do.

Death? and I were talking about this at lunch and she said "twenty years from now we'll look back and this and be amazed that it was ever an issue".

Personally, I don't think that will be the case. I think that gay marriage and other homosexual equal rights issues are going to be cyclical for years and years to come. I think that because so many Christians are (wrongly) feeling victimized these days, they will occasionally strike back and continue to strike back against these "moral" issues.

Gradually, slowly, things will improve, but I think it's going to take a long while and we'll never see homophobia as a taboo as much as racism is. It's going to be this slow burn, kind of like gender equality still is.

What do you think? Will we look back at this debate in twenty years and laugh? Will gay marriage end up sweeping the nation? Will man/goat love be next if it does?


My Life Spotting the D-List - *UPDATE*

Posted by Brandon |

Larry Hankin: University of Southern California Campus - We went to see our friend's screening of his excellent short film 1-900-DRINKING-BUDDY at the USC film school tonight. Three other short films were shown as part of the screening and the first film, Nebraska, featured character actor Larry Hankin, probably best known for his role as Tom Pepper, the actor Seinfeld hired to play Kramer in "The Pilot". So it shouldn't have surprised me to see him grabbing a bite to eat and a drink at the reception out front of the Eileen Norris Cinema Theater. As a huge Seinfeld fan, I was very excited to see Tom Pepper in person. Nevermind that he was only in one episode, he's still a star to me.


Past super exciting D-Listers spotted...

Brian Posehn: Disneyland - Perhaps the last place on Earth I would ever expect to see comedian Brian Posehn is the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland. But sure enough and without a doubt, there he was walking away from Critter Country on Friday afternoon. Maybe he was on the Winnie The Pooh ride, which is a dream come true for stoners of all ages. I would have loved to be on the same boat as him in It's a Small World. I'm sure his dry, sarcastic wit would make that ride palatable.

Brian Bosworth: LAX Airport - My first celebrity sighting came while standing in line at LAX. I was flying home to Seattle after a weekend of apartment hunting down here and he was standing in front of me in the Alaska Airlines check-in line talking very loudly and forcefully to someone about a real estate deal. It was a great thrill for a long-time Seattle Seahawks fan, even if he was a huge bust. I couldn't be happier that my first celebrity sighting was of the star of Stone Cold and One Tough Bastard.

David Spade: The Avalon Hollywood - David Spade is even shorter than you would ever imagine. We saw him chatting with some friends in the parking lot next to The Avalon Hollywood following a Dan Band show about a year ago. We weren't sure if he was leaving from the show or if he was just showing up for something else. Nonetheless, he was there, on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, a place that we read that we would never, ever see celebrities. It's too touristy.

Mike Farrell: Ca Del Sole Italian Restaurant - We went to this restaurant expecting laid back Italian food. Wrong. It was uppity and fancy, but the food was pretty darn good. Anyway, Mike Farrell of M*A*S*H came into the restaurant with a large group of people. I always loved M*A*S*H and Captain BJ Hunnicut so I recognized him immediately even without his mustache. After reading about all the liberal activism he has undertaken over the past 25 years, I am now an even bigger fan. And I like to think that he was as put off by the snootiness of the waitstaff as we were.

Wilson Cruz: Hollywood & Highland Center - I first spotted Wilson Cruz of My So Called Life and Tick...Tick...Boom! (an amazing play we saw him in earlier this year) fame while another fan was chatting him up late Saturday evening at Hollywood & Highland. I was impressed because he genuinely looked like he was happy to have a fan stop and talk to him. I got Death? all confused because I said that he played Angel in the movie Rent when, in fact, that's Wilson Jermaine Heredia. I always thought it was Cruz that played that part in the movie and when we saw Rent on Broadway. It's easy to understand my confusion, Cruz has played Angel before and both guys look very similar and they're both named Wilson. Oh well, I was still excited see Wilson Cruz. I told you you'd never guess.


You Dropped Something!

Posted by Brandon |

On my way home from the mall today there was a woman walking a few feet up ahead of me. As she passed by one of the trees that line the sidewalk, she gave a casual little toss of something into one of the planter boxes. Noticing this, as I passed by the tree I bent down to see what it was. No surprise there, it was a wadded up receipt. So I picked it up, and yelled at her "Hey! You dropped something!" To which she turned her head around at me a little bit, and just kept on walking.

That's right bitch, I caught you littering!

So for the next almost two blocks, I kept yelling "Excuse me, ma'am, you dropped your receipt..." and so on. Her pace quickened, and since I had Addie in a stroller, I couldn't scream the obscenities that I wanted to or run up to her and smash it all up in her face, so I just had to let it go.

Ahhhh...I caught the fucking cunt littering and she didn't even get punished!

Willful and wanton littering is something that I just can't abide. I don't know how people do it. All my life I was raised not to litter. In school, on TV, at home, everywhere, you were told that littering is something you don't do. I never litter, at least on purpose. I suppose I've done it on accident once in a while. I thought that it was something that we had gotten past as a society.

So when I see people drop a receipt in a planter box, open up their car door and put their soda bottle down on the the street, let trash go flying out of the backs of their pickup trucks on the freeway...etc. etc. - it pisses me off so much. Finding a garbage can is not that fucking hard. Putting the receipt in your pocket and throwing it away at home isn't going to kill you.

So to all you litterers out there, especially you you nasty bitch walking home from the mall that wouldn't even acknowledge that I caught your dumb ass littering, just fuck the fuck off already. Ok? Thanks.


WTF Is That?

Posted by Brandon |

Anybody care to guess what the hell this picture that I found on my cell phone is? I know, but then again I took the picture, do you?

While I'm posting cell phone pictures...

Mmm...Korean food - a big stone bowl full of rice and beef and egg and veggies and hot sauce. Now that's a good Mother's Day dinner. And if you ask me, I've bumped up from novice chopsticks handler to expert after this meal.


Lebowski Friday - Action Figures!

Posted by Brandon |

These are awesome! I have to have them. Walter comes with Donny's Folger's can and a dog. Not just any dog either, it's a fucking show dog with fucking papers. Don't worry though, he's not gonna take your fucking turn, Dude.

These are available all over the place, including here.


By Grabthar's Hammer

Posted by Brandon |

The week before Death? went into the hospital to have Addie, we got the movie Galaxy Quest in the mail from Netflix. In the excitement and the shuffle, it went missing. We searched high and low all over the house but we couldn't find it anywhere. A couple months ago, we gave up. We figured we'd either find it when we moved out in July or we accidentally threw it away and it was gone forever.

But today I found it, right in the place that I originally figured it must be. That figures, right? I don't know how we ever missed it, it was right there, hardly hidden at all. Somebody must be fucking with us. Stupid movie stealing goblins.

Anyway, Galaxy Quest was well worth the wait. It was a movie that looked so stupid when it came out and I totally dismissed it as another silly Tim Allen vehicle, but it turned out to be great. That's about as fun a movie as I've seen in a long time.

And what a killer cast. I'm not usually a big fan of Tim Allen, but he was really good and Sigourney Weaver was good as well. But the rest of the cast is what makes it so great. Alan Rickman? Sam Rockwell? Tony Shalhoub? Enrico Colantoni? Justin Long? A line or two from Rainn Wilson and even Corbin Bleu of High School Musical fame plays young Tommy.

I highly recommend Galaxy Quest for those of you that haven't seen it, but I have this feeling that I'm one of the few since I'm pretty sure it was bloggers that convinced me that it wasn't a stupid movie. But if you dismissed it like I did, you should definitely add it to your Netflix queue especially now that they finally have it back and in their rotation.

The nerve of some people keeping their movies for months and months and months!


100 Things About Me - #21 to #30 - Pizza!

Posted by Brandon |

21. I was thinking the other day that I don't blog nearly enough about pizza. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pizza. It's easily my favorite food. To quote Mike Birbiglia, "I love pizza so much, I would marry pizza, but it would just be an elaborate ploy to eat her whole family at the reception." Seriously, I should really be known as the blogger that loves pizza much like Dustin is known for his love of tater tots.

So, since pizza is such a big part of my life, I can easily devote ten of my 100 Things About Me to it. Heck, I might have to go ten more tomorrow.

22. I think that even shitty pizza is superior to most every other food. Case in point - I had Sbarro for lunch today.

23. The first three years of college I worked for the greatest pizza place in both pizza and creative name - The Pizza Place. If I wouldn't have moved to Texas to work in baseball, I would probably be running and more than likely own The Pizza Place right now. The place went tits up while me and my buddy were gone and there was nobody to save it. So sad.

24. My dream is to one day bring The Pizza Place back, and I'm not the only one. Everybody I talk to that worked there wants to bring it back. For now, though, and probably forever, I don't want to invest and risk my own capital into a restaurant. I need an investor, anybody know anybody that loves pizza and has some extra cash lying around?

25. While at Bowling Green, I worked for two more pizza places. The first one was Campus Pollyeyes, I worked for two days and hated it so much that I didn't show up for my third day. All I did for hours upon hours was make these awesome stuffed breadsticks. They're delicious and I still make them at home and if I ever open a pizza place I will steal the idea for my restaurant, but they were miserable to make and I was working until 3:00 AM on school nights. That didn't work for me.

26. My second job at BG was delivering pizza for Myle's Pizza. I liked it, it was fun, but I only lasted about a month. They wouldn't give me a weekend off to visit Death? at her college in Ithaca, New York so I arranged my own replacement. They didn't like that and I never came back. I also delivered pizza for Brewery City in Lacey, Washington.

27. Favorite pizza toppings: The Bon's Favorite - Canadian bacon, pepperoni, pineapple, sausage and cashews. Too bad most pizza places don't offer cashews, they are amazing on pizza.

28. Favorite pizza places other than The Pizza Place: Me-n-Ed's in Camarillo, Boccali's in Ojai, Myle's in Bowling Green, and this Chicago style place in Chicago. Sadly, I don't know the name of it or where it was other than it was a little storefront place in a residential neighborhood in somewhere around Wrigleyville.

29. My pizza restaurant would be a little quirky. One feature would be the Wheel O' Pizza. For $5 you would get a large pizza but you would have to eat whatever pizza the Wheel O' Pizza landed on. Some combos would be amazing, some would be kind of gross. Don't know if anybody would ever do it, but it would be fun to have at the counter nonetheless.

30. As someone that thinks they make good pizza, when I have trouble stretching, tossing or rolling dough at home, it really, really pisses me off. Some of my biggest tantrums, cooking or otherwise, have come because I fucked up the dough.


Quiet Riot Redux

Posted by Brandon |

This is another retread of a previous post, but I've been reading all of these TequilaCon recaps and have read a lot about extroverts and introverts and whatnot and it just reminded me of this I, Anonymous.

Now, I'm not saying anything about any of you or how I would act at TequilaCon - I'm definitely going next year and will be as social as possible - it just reminded me of it. Don't read any more than that into it...

I've been wanting to get this on my blog for a while now. It appeared in the Stranger's feature I, Anonymous a couple of years ago and it's been hanging around my room. It's about time us shy people stand up for ourselves! I might not be as angry as this writer, but I know where he's coming from.

"A tip for all you annoying, sunshiny extroverts who seem to think shyness is a form of mental retardation. My personality is not a goddamn handicap that I need to overcome. Leave me in peace and quit acting like it's your personal mission to take us shy people on like we're some kind of 'project'. Operation 'Bring You Out Of Your Shell.' Not only is it arrogant and maddening that you assume we want to be like you, but hey, you know what - I really don't want your hugs either. And it's not because I can't bring myself to 'open up' and 'get comfortable.' It's because I think you are full of bullshit and have deluded ideas about socializing. I don't want help! I like my personality. And I like the fact that I don't fucking chitchat or try to make new friends, like some kind of dog sniffing every bitch ass that walks by. I'm not a charity case. You are a freak. Stop trying to fix me and please just let me enjoy the melancholic alienation that I've come to so glamorize." - Anonymous


100 Things About Me - #1 to #20

Posted by Brandon |

This week I'm going to continue the 100 things about me that I started way back in 2005. I got 20 things into it and never kept going, that's par for the course for this blog.

Since it's been so damn long, here are the first 20 things about me with updates to reflect all that has happened in the last three years.

1. I love sports. Sometimes that means I can sound a little bit like a meathead.

2. I hate meatheads.

3. I can be hypocritical at times.

4. I believe in and love capitalism.

5. I believe in and love socialism (please see #3).

6. I have had a grand total of 3 girlfriends in my lifetime. The first was named Holly in middle school. That lasted about a month. The second was named Shannon my junior year of high school. That lasted about three months. The third is Death? and we have been together for almost 10 years. I plan on never having a fourth girlfriend. (update: we are now married and I haven't had any other girlfriends.)

7. Some people (mainly guys) may think that having had only two other girlfriends before getting married is weird or even sad. Not me. I believe that everybody has someone that is their perfect match and that I happened to get lucky and find mine nice and early saving me from all the girlfriend horror stories I have heard from friends.

8. I love (update: loved) the Gilmore Girls (I think this proves that I'm not really a meathead).

9. I hate onions passionately.

10. Ok, my passionate hatred of onions has subsided a bit. I've recently realized that some onions are pretty good. But for the most part I still hate them. Especially red ones and especially raw.

11. I went to college for six years at two different schools and somehow managed to not earn a degree. I think that was harder work than actually graduating.

12. I have moved to two different cities without ever seeing either of them first hand. I moved to Bowling Green, Ohio for college and Harlingen, Texas for a job. I will be moving to Ventura, California and I may not get to see that city before heading down there. However, I think Ventura will turn out much better than BG or Harlingen. (update: I did see Ventura before moving here and it has been so much better than BG or Harlingen. And I forgot about Richmond, Indiana. I hadn't seen that shithole either.)

13. When I get drunk I start confessing to people about things. Usually what I confess is totally harmless on it's own but I sound so guilty about what I'm saying that it turns into a much bigger deal than it should have been.

14. I'm awful about keeping in touch with people, even really close friends.

15. I don't particularly care to talk on the phone. I prefer email or in person. This contributes to me not keeping in touch with friends. A lot of my friends are not in Seattle and almost all of them don't use email or the internet often.

16. I don't consider myself racist or classist or anything like that. However, I hate trash of all kinds. White, black, yellow, purple. Rich or poor. Trashy people come in all races, shapes and sizes, and I don't particularly like any of them.

17. I played rugby at Bowling Green for a couple of months. It was really, really hard so I used a bunch of excuses to stop playing. They were pretty good excuses that were true, but if I would have worked harder I could have continued playing.

18. My favorite color as a child: Yellow

19. My favorite color as an adult: Navy Blue - proof positive that I am getting old.

20. I gained a few unwanted nicknames in college: The Gadfly (I had an opinion on everything, usually different than the guys I lived with), Boss Hog (they said I always managed to have the largest girl in the club hit on me), The Big Suck (I never did understand this one, I don't think it was complimentary) and one I gave myself, Big Pimp El (my rap name, read it fast if you can't figure it out).


Uh Oh, We Might Have a Problem

Posted by Brandon |

Today I took Addie to her first baseball game, an afternoon contest at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles between UCLA and Arizona State.

You should know by now that I love baseball. Baseball is a big part of my life and will always be, especially if I can get back into working in the game when I move back to Washington. Even if I don't, when we move to Edmonds, we'll be sandwiched between the Seattle Mariners and the Everett Aquasox so we'll probably be at a ballgame quite often.

Point is, Addie better get used to it. Today she scared me because she definitely did not enjoy her first baseball game. She was fussy and cranky the whole time and never really settled down enough to let me pay attention or let me tell her about the game. In fact, I finally gave up and we left after the sixth inning. I haven't left a sporting event early in, well, almost never. And of course, as soon as we left and got on the road, she fell right to sleep and slept for the next couple hours.

Ok, I know that the baseball wasn't what made her upset today, it was probably a combination of a lot of different things that all add up to she's only three months old. Perhaps it was a little bit early for her first baseball game and since she's still so little, I shouldn't have expected much more out of her.

But still, what if she doesn't like baseball? What the heck am I going to do? it's going to be a tough time in the Down With Pants! household if baseball isn't part of the scene.

Eh, she's going to be a daddy's girl, I can already tell. She's going to like just about anything that I like. I have a feeling we'll be going to ballgames all the time.

About the picture above: Don't we look hard together? And how much do we look alike? And yes, I need a shave.


Lebowski Friday

Posted by Brandon |

I did this a couple years ago and I'm not totally sure why I stopped. So today I bring back Lebowski Friday with my favorite edited-for-TV dub ever...

"See what happens Larry when you find a stranger in the alps?!"

Watch for more Lebowski videos, artwork, essays, links, etc. each and every Friday.