Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Carving, or "How I Ruined My Reputation."

Pumpkin fun. There, I said it. I can't truly stick up for it in a fight, but I'm definitely rooting for it to not have it's face pummeled in. And believe you me, it's semi-soft, hollowed out body is easily pummelable. A real fuckin' mess.

You see, carving pumpkins has a stigma surrounding it. Not unlike dying eggs during Easter or stockpiling Teen Titans DVDs (seasons 1 through 3) there's just something unbelievably childish about it. Not saying that it is childish, and that you're instantly deemed a vacant, dead-eyed child molester for partaking in the festivities, but c'mon, we all know it's reserved for the kiddies and, lucky for them, the parents of the kiddies. There's a fine line to carving pumpkins, too. You don't really wanna advertise it to all your friends, unless it's bordering the ironic, "look at how zany and Halloweeny I am!" gameplan, nor do you wanna attempt that gameplan when your friends simply can't fall for something like that. And if you dare throw caution to the wind and try to get others involved, it can magically warp into the most awkward disaster of the month.

"Hey, guys! Wanna carve pumpkins this weekend?"


"Alright then! It was a pleasure being friends with ya!"

It's like shoving Castle Greyskull under your bed, or cramming your Magneto helmet in the closet before a girl comes over. Gotta keep it on the downlow, ya know? So swallow your pride, close the curtains and carve the night away in creepy, monotonous silence. Besides, it's more Halloween that way!

But in all seriousness, once you hit a certain age, no one gives a fuck or can seriously claim to give a fuck. When everyone's living their adult lives and watching reruns of "Lost," no one's gonna want to or have time to bust your balls for slicing up a fruit to look like a face. Or is it a vegetable? Kinda like how a tomato is a fruit? I hate this blog already!

Let's carve some pumpkins!

My first attempt proved that I like my jack-o-lanterns to look as cliche as possible. Like something out of a movie set in a rural, middle-class neighborhood in October. Not too garish, not confusingly bland, just about in between offensively flashy and pure shit. I think it looks good. Solid.

My next attempt involved going comletely out on a limb, taking my skills in a whole new direction. I decided, instead of triangles for eyes, I'd go the circular route. Start shaping it into more of a bug-eyed looking thing, like a bright orange fly of death. At this point, I said to myself, "I'm going to make this one look like Vincent Price," ultimately, allowing me to make it look nothing like Vincent Price and everything kinda like Jack Skellington.

I really wanted to get a good photo of said pumpkin. I really did. But I dropped the ball and missed my opportunity, because, apparently, I got the worst pumpkins in the world 'cause they melted into the ground a day and a half later. But if you look closely, my second creation is on the left. Looking more like a deflated basketball with teeth. What a neat Halloween surprise!

So have fun, enjoy the Halloween season! It's a quick, easy way to blow off a little steam during the work week, like a relaxing, 30 mintue yoga session, if yoga allowed you to use knives.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. Forgive me, for I have sinned.

I know, I know. I'm not a fan of Starbucks, with it's overpriced coffee and it's massive, global domination, but sometimes you gotta break the rules. Sometimes the rules need a breakin' when you're in desperate need of a cup of joe, or about to have your bladder explode unless you find a bathroom quick. And those rules are especially made to be broken when that means you can guzzle down pumpkin flavored, sugary coffee juice! Plus, the Starbucks was conveniently located, and I really needed a new blog entry. Ha!

When I heard there was an exclusive, special, October-only coffee to be had, I nearly shit myself. Probably because I was drinking coffee at the time. Natural laxative, y'know? But that's besides the point.

Honestly, I'm still not sure if this is an exclusive, month long deal, but if it's anything like a McDonald's Shamrock Shake and all the joy it brings, I'm game.

Game on!

Apparently, the pumpkin-y flavor explosion comes in the form of a latte. I was really hoping that it was merely a pumpkin infused roast, but I'll fight back the tears and tread forward. Not saying I'm not into lattes, but they come too close to my rule of never drinking overtly, sugary coffee drinks. No, I have no idea if lattes are all that sugary, but yes, this is my way of choosing sides in the burgeoning coffee war. Do we really need our coffee to taste like cake? Does it need (with a generous helping of whip cream) to look like cake? I get it, it's some delicious shit, but it ain't coffee. It's a death bomb of pricey bullshit! It's evil! Revolt! Revolt, I say!

Naw, it's cool. Just keep the muffin batter liquid to a minimum, y'know?

Anyways, I headed over to the counter with one goal in mind: to drink highly caffeinated Halloween. Just suck in the pure essence of the holiday. I want ghosts to fly from my mouth, or a green, Halloween-themed slime to drip from my pores. That would be cool!

Turns's pretty good. But anything tastes great covered in sugar, and assuming you're into something that excells into tasting like an extreme version of pumpkin. Like, if pumpkin tasted like eighteen pumpkins thrown into a blender and sprinkled with coffee grinds. I can't say I'd drink it all the time, but it does it's job in brightening my Samhain spirit, as well as my blood to caffeine ratio.

The only thing I'd recommend is that Starbucks jazzed up their cups a bit, to really drive it home. Getting a bit festive with their holiday drink wouldn't hurt, would it? Personally, I'd suggest, with every order, a tiny pumpkin atop it's lid. Simple, obviously themed accurately and the easiest, quickest thing I could find on my desk to take a picture of. Yeah, my desk is covered in mini-pumpkins. You got a problem with that?

Overall, it's good times. I actually couldn't finish drinking it, so when I was pouring the neglected, last few ounces down the drain, I noticed it's dark, powerfully orange hue. The drink is orange colored! I really wish I took a picture of it, but ah well, I'm sure you'll still love me as much as I love consuming basketball colored java.

S-bucks Pumpkin Spice Latte = B!

Now I gotta try Dunkin Donuts' version!

What I'm Reading -- Seriously, Total Blog Bonerkill.

Alright, let's make this one nice and quick. The title says it all, and if I try to drag it out even longer than I need to, I'll end up rambling on about squid salads or why I wanna live in a Poke-ball. Not necessarily to be trapped forever in a random pocket of space and time and used as a fighting slave, moreso to see what's in it, to see what's going on in there. Is it big? Got good feng shui? I really hope they have a garden with a nice patio.

First up on the reading list is, "Flesh," by Richard Laymon, about a parasite of sorts that enters a human body, allowing for a whole slew of surprises. Like...shooting you wife in the face! Or eating your friends! Absolutely fantastic so far, proving once again why I love Laymon so much. If this book is anything like his rest, soon enough, some dude will be running around, complete with solid boner and a machete headed straight for your skull. I shit you not. I swear it's a reoccuring theme with his writing. Killer!

Next is, "Wastelands," a short story collection about the end of world, the apocalypse and general, "holy fuck we're all gonna die" type situations. Haven't cracked it open yet, but I'm certain I'll enjoy this. There's probably nothing cooler than post apocalyptic partying, motorcyle death races, fire-dancing and jus tlooking like a bad-ass with a neon mohawk, strategically torn leather jacket a biker vest. Basically, I wanna be the Road Warrior. Yep.

Finally, there's Henry Rollins', "The First Five," a collection of his first batch of books. It's a bunch of essays, prose and interesting tidbits about loneliness, desolation, being on the road, dealing with assholes and being an asshole. I'm slowly chugging through it, and so far, it's been a good read. I like Henry Rollins, but you really can only read his earlier stuff in small chunks (I've don't think I've read anything he's written past '86, so I don't know if he starts lightening up later on) but it's really cool and well worth the mild bouts of bummed outedness.

Alright, I think that's about all I'm reading at the moment, or at least pretending to read to make my bookcase look full and bountiful. It's kind of a lost cause, though, to read so many things at once, given the fact that I can barely remember what I did a week ago, but that's how I roll.

Happy October reading!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Teenage Bottlerocket...NEW RECORD!

I ended up going to the record shop the other day, with no real interest in records. It was more of an excuse to use their air conditioning, or to brag that "I went to the record shop." Naw, it's not that cool. I just really wanna blog about Teenage Bottlerocket!

Truth be told, I was really aiming for the coffee shop, but there was a weird looking couple blocking the entrance that really killed my buzz. So, the next best thing for a socially awkward coffee drinker? The record store!

Among a few other impulse buys (The Sonics! Magazine!) I found Teenage Bottlerocket's newest record, "The Came From the Shadows."

I can't say that I'm the biggest fan, but there's no way that I'm the worst, but I still managed to have no idea that their third album was made, existed for a period of time and slipped under my radar for a couple of few weeks. It's a bit of a bummer to know I'm no longer on the cutting edge of new, rock and roll releases, but on the other hand, it's a fantastic surprise, like finding an unexpected treasure in your cereal, or having your food arrive at a restaraunt while you were taking a dump. Assuming that the food wasn't ordered or expected on any level, ya know. Hey, I'm trying to keep my analogies straight here. Gahh!

Anyway, their new album is really cool. For a back story on the band and for some kick-ass, blog filling banter, TBR are a punk rock and roll band from Wyoming. They play fast, they play catchy and they play fun. This is their 3rd album, full of jams about girls, feeling shitty and feeling shitty about girls while they shit. Yes, I am a fan!

I really like this record, but not as much as their first, but upon further listen, I'm positive that it's a bit better than the second. I'm thinking this because I'm absolutely sick of the second record. Actually, this new album seems like I dig it more than the first, though, 'cause it's all I've been listening to lately, but then again, I'm sick of everything else, and this is a fresh slab of music for my ear-balls. Goddamn, reviewing shit is a tough business!

Also, I really like the cover. If you know anyhting about the band, you know they've been using the same exact album cover design, but with a different title and general color scheme. But damn, I love that new color they've got going! They had me at hello...and at pea-puke green.

Also, you may wanna check out the guitarist/singer's former band, The Lillingtons. Not saying I like it more, but the dude sings about Russian espionage, aliens and one-armed men.

Yeah, I like it more. Ha!

Monday, October 12, 2009

WOLF HEAD RED EYES OF DEATH. Target, You Sly Sonnavabitch, You've Done it Again.

I'm never one to complain about over-the-top Halloweenization. I'm all for pure nuttiness when it comes to the holiday, I want it in my face and in my life for a month straight. I wanna be so sick of ghosts, ghouls and melted Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that I'll swear off Halloween for the rest of my life. Or at least for eleven months. Oh, fuck I'm a liar. I'll still be hardcore celebrating come November 1st, you know it and I know it. Rock and roll.

These days, I find myself judging a store's worth by the effort they put into their holiday cheeriness. I like to think that Halloween is still in favor with us consumer whore shoppers, and how a simple dashing of fake cobwebs can really spark a Halloween "I want every fake rat and skull head here" mood, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't seem to be on the decline. Where are the witch-y cut-outs for the drab, boring windows? No grinning, waving, Death animatronic outside of the store's entrace to greet you on your way in? It's not a life or death situation, but, ya know...I like Death. We all like Death. It's fucking Halloween, people!

So through my travels, I ended up at Target. Not really in a trick or treat mood, more of a "hey, I'm at Target already, let's just see what they have in store for H-ween" kinda motive. Target has always been pretty spectacular when it comes to the holiday, or at least for as long as I can remember, or really, care to remember. It seems while every other store around will throw a bunch of masks and gorilla suits in a corner with a proclamation of "HALLOWEEN SECTION YAY," Target will take initiative and create their own signs, imagery, ideas and...hell, their own Halloween brand. The exclusive junk you'll only find in the aisles of Target can seriously outweigh all lot of other stores' junk. Wal-Mart may try, but fuck Wal-Mart. At least I won't feel like a commie shopping in the Targ.

Basically, I found this:

Pretty Goddam magical, eh?

Between their shiny and squishy ghost pillows and bloody wall clingers, they've got a nice selection of statue busts, very Haunted Mansion style. I would have totally picked them all up (there were vampires and other neat shit) but somehow, after years of not giving a crap, I was sucked back into more Star Wars collecting. No reason EVER to own another Nien Nunb figure, but I bought it, and I kinda-sorta regret. Just sorta, though. I'll save it for another blog!

The eyes come with a neat little feature of glowing a spooky red, and assuming I put batteries in it, would totally work and look cool. Instead, I decided to take a photo of it's non-glowing, uninteresting peepers. Maybe you can squint your eyes and pretend they're glowing. Hey, better than nothin'!

Like I said, Target really does have a solid grasp on how to keep Halloween fun and silly, with quite a bit merch catering to us weirdos. They've never let me down too bad, and this year proves no different. I say yes to Target. I say yes, indeed! Amen!

Also, this can, conceivably, be the raddest centerpiece to anyone's living space. Throw it on your desk and you're a sophisticated horror enthusiast, slap it on a bookshelf and you look like a demented genius. Clearly, you can stack hats, sunglasses and or masks of human faces (ooo, very lycan of me!) but there's only one true way to take advantage of this thing. My personal favorite:

Botte opener! There's absolutely no way that this can, will or should work, but it's the thought that counts. Maybe Target can take note and surprise us all with a wolf head that doubles as a tool to get us all drunk. Maybe? Maybe.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


One of my favorite bands around is Hour of the Wolf from Prescott, Arizona. Everything they've done has nearly melted the skin right off my face, a feat I want happened to me over and over again, non-stop without pause. Yeah, it's pretty intense. And kind of creepy how I just worded that. Yup.

Alright, so they've got a new 10" record coming out, and I highly suggest you check it out. If you do enough scrounging around, you'll find a downloadable compilation of music, with a new jam straight off of the album, titled "Faith in Fiction," making you sweat and making you wet.

I'm definitely gonna pre-order the new stuff, but I might hold out to pre-order it a bit later. For an extra fee, you'll not only grab yourself the new record, but a vinyl, toy mummy. Yeah, this band rules.


Monday, October 5, 2009

The Obits -- My First Attempt at a Music "Review!"

I put "review" in italics 'cause I'd be lying if I said I knew how to review music. I can tell you how awesome a video game is when you shoot someone in the face causing their brains to explode, and how you should run out and get that game ASAP, but it seems a little weirder to explain why the color yellow is the best color ever, or why pumpkin spice candles are the greatest smelling candles on Earth. That's how I feel when it's comes to reviewing music, or hell, even movies or TV. How does what enters your ears and eyes and nose equate to what will enter another's? What gives you the power to tell people what's great and what's not? Who has that power? Who the hell says I even have a say in this kind of shit?

Well, to be honest with you, the above makes zero sense. A review is a review, your opinion or my opinion, and that's pretty much that. No real science or guidelines behind it, maybe throw in a few sweet adjectives, though, to make it seem legit. I really just needed a cool, semi-intelligent opening paragraph for this post, an idea I'm pretty sure will never surface again, so don't-worry-this-is-the-last-time. Either way, I still will admit I know nothing of writing music reviews, but I'm pretty sure that I just finished my opening blog icing on this delicious blog cake. Booyah!

Moving on, we've got a band called The Obits, with their record, "I Blame You."

This is Rick Froberg's new band, whom you might know from Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes. There's a bunch of other cool, indie rock royalty playing on the record, too, but I'm so full of shit if I say I knew who they were. I hear drums, though. So there's a drummer of sorts. I do know that much!

Froberg's back on vocals, and I'm into it. Like his previous bands, there's a lot of rock and roll guitars, surf-y guitars and really rad riffage. His style (vocals as well as guitar) seems so frenetic and frenzied, like a television on fire set to explode. It's a weird and wildy confusing comparison, but it sounded neat when I wrote it.

If you know any of his other bands, you can pretty much imagine what this sounds like. I haven't listened to it enough to start gushing just yet, but I dig it. I might say check out Hot Snakes first (I love Hot Snakes oh yes I do) for some of my favorite pure-rock, Froberg-Mania, but any of his musical journeys will do just fine in rattling your skull. This seems like a little laid back, mellower Hot Snakes, sorta something like what The Night Marchers are doing. Which is home to John Reis, the guitarist/vocalist of Rocket From the Crypt and guitar slinger in Hot Snakes (look up above, yo) So yeah, all these dudes are in all these same sounding yet awesome's kinda like one big rock and roll circle jerk of fun. Circle rock? Rock jerk? Yeah, that's it. A ROCK JERK!

Alright, so check it out.

Hey, reviewing music is fun! And easy!

Stay sleazy, my friends.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The "Rad Halloween Gift Package Sent to Calabrese" Blog -- Or, More Appropriately, "Telepathic Satanism Really DOES Work!"

So we got an amazing package in the mail the other day, giving us one more reason why being in a band rules!

I didn't take a photo of the pile of candy and other fun stuff included, mostly because I forgot, but I really just wanna blame it on being wowed and enthralled with this:

The main centerpiece is of this cat. Candy comes and goes (literally) but there will always remain a black kitty covered in toilet paper.

You squeeze its paw and it dances and gets nutty to "Who Let the Dogs Out?" That, in itself, doesn't quite grab me. I honestly never need to hear that song again, especially when it's sung in a high-pitched, cat voice. I really dig it 'cause it reminds me of something I'd see out of an eisode of Pokemon, which is a major plus. Okay, fine, it looks exactly like something out of Pokemon 'cause it looks exactly like the cat from Pokemon.

His name is Meowth. Please don't judge me.

Anyway, the little guy's got very anime looking qualities, ones that do nothing in helping me pull back from my descent into all things Japanese. I love Japan. I love everything about it. Well, not everything everything. You see, I'm not big into anime. I'm more into the idea of it. Hell, I'll gladly watch giant space robots fuck eachother with other space robots, or demons from Hell eat submarine sandwiches on the second Tuesday of every month, because when the Master Demon bites into that sub, someone will die. C'mon, you know that shit's weird. But I'm a hard sell when it comes to busting out a wad of cash for 462 episodes of something. Maybe I'll sleep on it. I'll give myself time before I come around.

I think it's the idea that giant Robotechs walk the streets of Japan and schoolgirls have secret, cult-like super powers that keeps me intrigued, mystified and bubbling with joy. Obviously, this is untrue beyond belief, but I like to think that these scenarios are playing out every day, and I, unfortunately, am missing out on the action.

A few years back, I found a video online of a Japanese TV show, where they play pranks on unsuspecting victims. This particular episode had a couple, obviously and blatantly fucking on a train full of people. The prank? They were fucking on a train full of people. I LOVE JAPAN!

Thanks, Kristen!