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The Folk Implosion – One Part Lullaby
Mar 31st, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – The Folk Implosion – One Part Lullaby.

YouTube has changed their site, making it harder to tell if videos can be embedded or not, but luckily they didn’t make them un-embeddable altogether, which is what I was fearing.

Today wasn’t much easier of a day, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  In the form of 80 degree weather and a low-key weekend.

Will Eskridge recently posted a film he shot of Halo on Super 8 with some audio over-dubs on FaceBook.  He made the video years ago and I used to have a VHS copy of it, but lost it somewhere.  I’m going to see if he can upload it to the site and I will host it here.  It contains some good audio from all four of us talking about bands we used to like and some good quotes (such as Will saying “Here’s an idea! Will can’t write any songs because he plays the fucking drums”), and the Super 8 scenes are very nice.  I hope to have it viewable here soon!

Massive Attack – Man Next Door
Mar 30th, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – Man Next Door – Massive Attack.

Today has been a frustrating day of a 2-year old’s angst, work responsibilities that are boiling over, and a lack of sleep.  I hope to have something more positive to say tomorrow.

Duran Duran – Hold Back The Rain
Mar 29th, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – Duran Duran – Hold Back The Rain 12″ Re-Mix.

I added a plug-in last Friday that allows you to stream audio on this site.  All songs on the band pages should have a little blue arrow next to them that should start playback of the song instantly so you don’t have to download the song to hear it.  I have been meaning to do this for a while.  I tested it only on Firefox and IE.  It didn’t work on IE but I’m not going to worry about that since I never use it, and I’ll probably get a better plug-in later.  This one may be temporary.  It works great in Firefox.  I’ll try it in Chrome later today.  Let me know if it doesn’t work on your browser.  Now you have no excuse to not listen to the third take of “Is The Poor Lad Dead Yet?” by Mulligan Stump or all 30 versions of “Chain Smoking” by Osuna.

My brother surprised me by sending me a submission for today.  I find the blog posts from other people to be more entertaining than writing them myself, so feel free (anybody) to send me a submission and a story any time at schavez@gmail.com or lo-budge@lo-budge.com.

From Jaime Chavez:

This is a music video of “Hold Back the Rain” by new -wave synth -pop kings Duran Duran.   I thought these guys were really talented  when I was younger and recently listened to this track, which brought back fuzzy memories.  This is actually a remix of the popular song – I was surprised to see there was a video that went along with it. I was first exposed to this band by my sister Elena, whose bedroom was just across the hall from mine.  I suppose she was in the 8th grade, so I  was in the 6th grade at the time.  This means I was listening to Motley Crue and Ratt when I first heard Duran Duran blasting out of her record player – a device made entirely of plastic  that our parents probably bought at Montgomery Ward.  I think Duran Duran intrigued me so much because they had catchy melodies and utilized synthesizers heavily – this could very well have been my first exposure to “electronic music.”  The other reason I liked them was because anything is better than Krokus.  My entire music collection at the time consisted of about 8 vinyls released by some of the lower quality metal bands.  So you can imagine how desperate a person hungry for good music would be after cycling through my collection for a year.

I was never into lyrics and Duran Duran confirms why.  It was Elena that pointed out to me their lyrics make no sense.  We were listening to the album together when she pulled out the album sleeve, which surely contained this .  It is clear that unlike great singer/songwriters, Duran Duran created songs on the synthesizer and drum machine first, then they figured out where the guitars, the vocals, and lastly the lyrics would fit in.

But I didn’t care that they made no sense.   The sound was so amazing to me that, along with my first exposure to house music in Spain in 1985, I began a permanent shift away from heavy metal (introduced to me by Frank Chavez – who had a real music collection) to “new wave” (Elena) and then the entire indie universe (Sergio).  Anyway, the video is fascinating because it somehow crams every possible image that comes to mind about the 1980s into a 7 minute video.

James Brown – Night Train
Mar 26th, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – JAMES BROWN – NIGHT TRAIN (CLIP COMPLETO).

From Chris:

I saw this show on PBS a few nights ago. James Brown’s performance made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I can’t get over what an awesome performer he was and how crazy his feet move. This is a long clip, but it’s worth watching. The audience is going absolutely nuts. The small size of the youtube screen doesn’t totally do this performance justice, though. This performance was for the TAMI (Teenage Awards Music International) Show. The Stones followed James Brown’s performance and said it was a mistake to follow James Brown because they couldn’t top his performance.

DJ Shadow – Organ Donor
Mar 25th, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – DJ shadow Organ Donor.

I’ve decided that now that I am getting dangerously close to writing about jobs that are actually on my resume currently, I will just fill in a few temp jobs I held in San Francisco and Seattle and leave out my (rather standard and boring office-style) resume positions until some future date.

I held a lot of temp jobs in San Francisco before I got my first position at a financial institution doing technical support, thus starting my current computer career.  The longest stint was at Williams Sonoma near Fisherman’s Wharf.  My friend Spencer helped me get the job and was my immediate supervisor.  One of the most noteworthy aspects of that job was that I often had smoke breaks (a running theme in many of these jobs) at the same time as a gay man that worked next door at Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  We became friends as same-time smoke-breakers often do and he decided that, while respecting my sexual orientation, he would like for me to join him and his friends at some gay bars in the Castro so I could experience them with some insiders.  I jumped at the chance.   I remember having a few beers with him and his friends at Twin Peaks (which he called “Twin Chins” and other funny misnomers to highlight the older clientele it caters to) and having an enjoyable, if utterly normal, night out.  And then I blacked out.

Just kidding.  One of my other favorite temp job memories of San Francisco was working at Grosvenor Bus Lines for a few weeks.  My job was to file the HR paperwork for new bus drivers of dubious nationality.  I had to wear a tie every day in this hot and humid garage full of buses and mechanics and file paperwork all day long.  My co-worker was a hired employee who did this full time and lived in the Tenderloin.  I went to his apartment one day after work and it was a pretty filthy place.  We loaded a bowl or two and then he played me a bunch of songs he was working on (not recordings, but actually played his guitar and sang), and it was kind of hot and uncomfortable and I went home and luckily that job ended soon.

Perhaps the most interesting temp job I ever had was working for a Greco-American architect of strip malls in downtown Seattle.  His office was basically two large rooms plus a receptionist area.  The receptionist was the only full-time employee.  I was hired to do nothing but seriously shred paper for 8 hours a day.  8 hours a day!  You don’t know how slow time can go until you shred blueprints for 8 hours.  No internet.  No phone calls.  Just shredding.  It’s hell.

What finally made that job interesting was that he decided to see if I had any other skills besides shredding.  Yes sir, I sure do, I replied (by this time I had held two pretty high-stress financial IT positions, and was obviously a little down on my luck).  Once he found out I could type, he had me transcribe letters from a Dictaphone machine he used to record correspondence to other people.  Most of these were business letters, but a great many were to family members and friends.  Almost all of them ended with “I look forward to breaking bread with you in the near future” or some other mid-1800’s utterance, made all the more hilarious by his thick Greek accent.  This was followed by “Have a happy, prosperous, wonderful, fruitful, bountiful, joyous, rewarding, memorable holiday season” (it was near the holidays when I held this position).

With the success of my typing and shredding skills, I had one last task to perform for him before my contract was up (and this next job duty was definitely not in my temp contract):  One day the receptionist told me that I was to go across the street from the office to his actual penthouse so I could get the keys to his Mercedes SUV.  So I made my way to his penthouse, which required a key code to access the top level of the building using the elevator.  The doors opened into an all-marble and Greek columned suite unlike anything I had ever seen.  It was like being at a mini Acropolis.  He toured me around, gave me his keys, and told me to go across Lake Washington to Bellevue and procure his new hearing aids at a specialty shoppe.  It was nerve-wracking driving his car, especially since I had not owned a car in several years after moving to San Francisco, but I came through.

I hope to never temp again, but I will if I have to.  Most of the assignments are mindlessly boring, but sometimes you get lucky.

Thank you for humoring me in my memories of jobs past.

Beck – Novacane
Mar 24th, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – Novacane.

After finishing up my cognitive psych research project contract at UNM, and being about a year away from graduating with a BS in Psychology, and having gone through a big break-up with my first serious girlfriend, my friend Matt Garcia persuaded me to apply at the coffee shop he worked at on Central and Dartmouth, near UNM.  That location is now Brasserie La Provence, but you better click on that link quick before it becomes a new business.  That place has been at least four businesses in the years since I worked at Emack & Bolio’s.

Yes, it was an Emack & Bolio’s.  The Boston-originated chain that somehow had a presence in Albuquerque and Santa Fe for a while.  The two stores in New Mexico were owned by a dysfunctional married couple that also owned this crazy blue collar bar called The Werewolf somewhere on San Mateo (I think) that my band G Faithful played at a few times to a crowd of two (consisting of Matt and our other friend Brett Biedscheid, who tended bar at the Werewolf at the time).

Marty Crandall worked down the street at Bow Wow Records and would occasionally stop by.  Chris Chavez was in a Vespa squad of some sort that would meet at the coffee shop once a month.

Mostly, it was just Matt and I working evenings and weekend mornings and kind of doing whatever we wanted since the place was hardly ever busy.  Sure, we would get a rush every once in a while when Popejoy Hall at UNM had a show and the people who got turned away from Fred’s Bagels, the Double Rainbow and other better coffee shops decided to try us out rather than wait in those lines.  If only they knew how grumpy Matt and I would be to have to run across the street to buy generic ice cream and coffee at Walgreen’s when we ran out during these rushes (it didn’t happen often, but it DID happen, which always makes me laugh).  Sneaking back these contraband products into the kitchen and serving it up to the unsuspecting customers was kind of a thrill.

The back alley was trash-strewn and was where we took our numerous smoke breaks.  Saturday morning shifts consisted of baking german chocolate cakes, scones, muffins, and setting up the ice cream and juices.  Evenings didn’t involve baking but did consist of a lot of cleaning and side work.  We’d often get out around 11:00 PM and take all the tip money across the street (to Walgreen’s, of course) to buy beer and smokes and head over to Matt’s house to party with his roommates and listen to music all night.

We had a say in everybody who got hired, so you can imagine the power that went to our heads.  We weren’t hiring co-workers, we were attempting to hire girlfriends.  It usually worked out better for Matt than for me.  I was pretty much thinking about getting my degree and then moving to San Francisco as G Faithful broke up and Halo was born.

I remember when I got to San Francisco and tried to deposit my last check from this job at the bank there, and it bounced.  I called the owner and it took her a few weeks to secure the funds.  I think Matt had already moved on from that job by then, and then the whole operation closed up in New Mexico not much later.  I was in Boston last September and saw a proper Emack & Bolio’s but didn’t venture inside.  Although ours had a nice patio and I actually liked working there most of the time (mostly due to the other employees), I still didn’t want to get that sticky-to-your-elbows-from-scooping-ice-cream and leather-lungs-from-too-many-smoke-breaks feeling rushing back by setting foot in another one.

New Order – Regret (Fire Island Remix)
Mar 23rd, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – New Order – Regret Fire Island mix_.

I don’t think I have anything to add about the Montebello since Greg pretty much nailed it.  You can see proof of Random playing at the Montebello on the band page.

I worked at Auto Trader for a while longer than Greg.  In fact, for many weeks I was the only telemarketer in the Albuquerque office.  I actually looked forward to my three hour shift (5:30 to 8:30 PM every week day) on those alone nights so I could knock out my calls and then read or waste time or leave early.  I remember one episode on one of my alone nights in which the boss of the branch office (named Phil, of course, and who once told Greg and I that “a college degree guarantees mediocrity” as a reason to quit school and start your own Auto Trader-type business) left shorty after I arrived at work, as was usual procedure.  He was also going through a messy divorce, but it was extra tricky because he had started up a relationship with the receptionist while navigating his divorce.   He actually called the main bosses over in Phoenix, where he had moved to Albuquerque from to grow the branch office, to ask permission to have a relationship with a subordinate.  He was told “no” and spent many nights crying in his office (no joke – he would shut the door and bawl and pretend we couldn’t hear him), either because of his thwarted romance or his divorce, or both.  Anyway, usually when he left around 6:00 he was gone for the night and I was on my own.  I would call for about an hour, then I’d light up a smoke in the office and play Commander Keen on the receptionist’s non-internet-enabled PC.  Well, he came back one night and I was in mid-smoke and mid-jump on a particularly tricky stage of the game and did not notice him walk in the office.  He looked at me, said he had forgotten something in his office, grabbed it, and left.  He either did not notice the blatant goofing off and smoking, or was too depressed to deal with it.  I thought I would get fired and instead nothing happened at all.

The Blood Bank was not nearly as fun of a telemarketing job.  Although I felt better about the work we were doing, the dank basement dwelling and the Saturday morning hours often required to work made it a real drudgery at times.   I too was glad to leave that position for my first academic position, which was being the conductor of experiments for a cognitive psychology research lab at UNM.  I got the job through some Hispanics-only program, and it paid well and actually opened my eyes to the strange world of publish-or-perish that contributed more to my decision to not pursue a Master’s Degree in Psychology than any other factor.  The hypothesis of the experiment was that people who see images of things, such as animals, will be able to make faster decisions about physical attributes of them than people who instead see words for the same animals.  I ran a tachistoscope to show picture or text pairs of animals and ask subjects questions such as “Which of these is bigger?” and measure the reaction time and accuracy of the subject’s response as they clicked left or right buttons to answer my questions, based on which side they felt the correct answer to be.

It was a lot of meetings, hours and hours of running subjects in the experiment, setting up the machine and scheduling people, and statistics.  But at the end of the day, who gives a shit that seeing a picture of a lion’s face and a picture of a mouse and deciding which one is bigger takes less time than seeing the words “lion” and “mouse” and making the same decision?  Especially as this information is fairly obvious (if you read words about animals, you probably need to form a picture of them to make a comparison, whereas with the pictures you are already at that stage), and there were many MANY experiments that already showed this to be true but not EXACTLY the way in which we were doing it.  It’s not that doing research is boring (far from it), it’s that slightly tweaking somebody else’s experiment so you can “prove” something similar over and over just to get published seemed so inane and boring that I was very happy to have had the experience of doing the project but was not excited to pursue this type of scientific research professionally.

So I went and worked at an ice cream/coffee shop next.

JFA- Baja
Mar 22nd, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – JFA- BAJA.

I’m so happy that someone posted this song – my favorite JFA song, which also reminds me of many of the times Greg and Chris wrote about last week.

I will write a much longer post tomorrow with my filled-in details of Greg’s versions of our jobs (which were hilarious and very accurate), as well as my next job after Greg and I parted professional (but not necessarily musical or locale) ways.

My teeth are doing OK.  Getting your wisdom teeth ripped out of your head is no walk in the park, but let me say that I am living proof that you can pretty much get back to normal at age 34 within a few days of the surgical procedure.  (Normal = bowling (and winning 2 out of 3 games tonight!), drinking beer, smoking occasionally, etc.)

And Health Care passed.  I am ecstatic about that.  Facebook has been too annoying to log into recently to read the status updates of any of my far-flung conservative connections, but I’d like them to know that this very thing they are complaining so much about will one day probably help them out, even if they can’t put a fucking sentence together to save their lives.

Big Drill Car – Take Away
Mar 19th, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – Big Drill Car – Take Away.

From Chris:

All of Greg’s postings from our formative years reminded me of this song–“Take Away” by Big Drill Car. We all went to go see this band perform at the University of New Mexico’s (GO LOBOS!!!!!!!) SUB Ballroom sometime around 91/92. I don’t know which one of us was aware of this southern California pop-punk band, but it was a very fun show. Chip bought the cassette and Greg and Marty bought Big Drill Car XL Hane’s beefy T’s that hung like ponchos on their teenage frames. This song was on heavy rotation during our skate sessions for the entire summer. I can definitely attest to it increasing our skate performance on Chip’s quarter pipe by at least 10%.

U2 – Lemon
Mar 18th, 2010 by lo-budge

YouTube – U2 : Lemon 1993 (Album Version – 6.59) HQ.

From Greg:

Episode 3: The Blood Bank

Following a most refreshing and eye-opening overseas jaunt, I arrived back on US soil jobless and getting broker by the day.  I held off finding new employment as long as possible, but eventually had to bite the bullet and get another job (those car payments weren’t going to pay for themselves).  As I had shown so much promise in the phone sales industry, naturally I wanted to keep a good thing going and rock the cradle and headset once again.  Sergio’s older sister (from Chavez paper route lineage) had been working at United Blood Services down on University and Indian School for a spell and suggested Sergio and I apply for a telephone services position (I remember during the interview that they specifically stressed this was not a telemarketing job, but rather a kindly telephone service to gently remind past blood donors that it was time to give again).

Sergio and I were snatched up along with a fresh batch of greenhorn telephone operators and proceeded to take the grand tour of the facility.  A couple of rotund and eternally cranky phlebotomist gave us the rounds.  Take blood here, sort blood there, O-pause goes there, A-pause over there, watch it shake and wiggle on the auto-wigglers in the cold room, and finally let’s check out the bone marrow room.  Wait … what?  Bone marrow?  I’m not one to get fidgety about bodily fluids and vast quantities of blood, but bone marrow is crossing the line.  They explained the harvesting procedure in grave detail, which requires sticking a 7 gauge needle through a bone (typically a femur or hip bone) and sucking out the internal goodness.  (Note: bone marrow is, and I believe still remains, one of the key ingredients in jell-o.  Think about that the next time you’re knocking back a vodka spiked green jell-o shot on St Patty’s Day.  Luck-o the Irish to ye!)  At any rate, I was feeling a bit iffy, but looked over at Sergio and this guy was as green as the jell-o shot you just consumed.  He was getting swervy and his knees were wiggling as much as the blood packs.  Time to move on though, we’ve got phone calls to make.

The gig was virtually identical to our Auto Trader days, just replace car adds with past blood donors, and the dot-matrix printed data sheets were the same.  I did enjoy making the calls and relished hearing on the other line while holding for someone, “Honey, the vampires are calling again!”.  Typical nightly targets were to nail down at least 4, count ’em, 4 donations to happen within the following week.  To us silk-tongued males, this was a cinch.  But to the rest of the crew that could barley finish a complete sentence, this was the most vexing task they had ever been instructed to perform.  And the scene there was the most grab-bag cross section ABQ had to offer.  Mexican grandmothers still wanting to take part in the workforce, borderline retarded she-males hell bent on chatting up any and every blood donor.  But not even about anything related to blood donations or the gracious help they were providing to their community.  Just shooting the shit.  There was one very mysterious person who’s name was always uttered in a hush of reverence.  I didn’t see this person until I was maybe 2 months into the job.  Legend had it that he could make his nightly target in 7 phone calls, he was that good.  So one eve this vision in pre-med turquoise scrubs rode in on a late-autumn zephyr, banged out 5 calls, and all of them pledged to donate within the next week.  As brisk as he flew in, he was off into the night with only the rustle of autumn leaves in his wake.

The creme de la creme though was this kindof cyber-hacker, pseudo militia man-boy with a permanent prepubescent moustache.  I think he made about 2 calls a night, but bummed about 10 cigarettes a night.  He was quite the character and was working no less than seven pending lawsuits against various cola and snack food companies he was not at liberty to discuss.

This job lasted the better part of a year, and throughout this time my car was broken into and all my cassette tapes stolen (that’s a lot of Cure tapes folks), and towed (twice).  The only fringe benefit was the complimentary watered down post-blood donation punch and a snack cake.  This was to be mine and Sergio’s last time clocking in together as our employment paths would diverge the following summer.  I attempted to hold down two jobs simultaneously while taking a crap ton of physics and math classes, but eventually something had to give.  The pay rate at my other job was far superior to the minimum wage check I was cashing at the blood bank, I was getting more interested in my studies, and I wanted to spend as much free time with my girlfriend as possible.  It was an easy job to jettison, and I was thrilled to finally not be a phone jockey anymore!

Cheers to my man Sergio for giving me this opportunity to take you all on a walk down memory lane and here’s to a speedy recovery from his dental sedation surgery.

Over and Out.
-GG

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