Monthly Mix: July 2002

July’s edition of the monthly mix has been completed and is ready for your listening pleasure. Aside from listening to the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album quite a bit, which I think may be the best album that they have released in years, the debut album from Candidate is gorgeous. I’m not sure when it comes out domestically, but it’s well worth the import cost. The new Shivaree album is also a recent favorite. Hell, just download the music and buy the albums. You’ll thank me later.

Migrainus Peculiarus

I went blind twice today. I was in front of my computer when it started to go the first time. It always starts off with a blind spot. Just a tiny area of my vision that gets distorted by the flashing rainbow lights. It looks like glitter. To anyone that doesn’t know what this is like, it’s very similar to being partially blinded by a reflection of the sun. A sun spot, some people call it. Sometimes I mistake those for the beginning of my blindness, but the test is to shut my eyes for a moment and if the light is dancing, then the process has commenced.

There’s a ritual that I must follow very carefully to avoid bumping into things and getting sick:

1) Eat something. Anything. This serves to protect my stomach for what I am about to ingest.

2) Ingest two Excedrin Migraine tablets. Each tablet contains 250mg Acetaminophen (Tylenol), 250mg Aspirin and 65mg caffeine. Caffeine is the key and also the curse because it doesn’t help with the next step at all.

3) Fall asleep. Falling asleep usually isn’t a problem, but this time was a little different. I had to take the dog on a quick walk before my hibernation, while the blindness was setting in, so she wouldn’t wake me up to go out. This raised my heart rate. Couple that with the fact that caffeine also raises my heart rate and you’ll understand why it was a little difficult to go to sleep.

I was in and out of sleep over the next two hours. At one point, after my vision was nearly completely impaired by the wall of glittery lights, which I also experience with my eyes closed, it just went away. I was suddenly staring at blackness again. This is usually the time when the migraine sets in, but it didn’t. I opened my eyes, just to make sure. I could see and my head wasn’t pounding. Weird.

Okay, I thought, I’ll give it a few minutes and then it’s sure to set in. I closed my eyes again, disparately trying to relax and fall asleep to avoid the inevitable pain I was about to experience. A few minutes pass and I started feeling a little pain in the back of my head, but it certainly was no headache. I opened my eyes again. My vision was blurry from my eyes being shut and then I noticed something. Glittery lights, again! I immediately started to panic. In all of the years that I have had migraines, I have never gone blind twice. There’s always been a pattern. It was like clockwork. My heart rate jumped as the possibilities ran through my head:

1) I hope a neighbor is home to take me to the hospital, because I may need to go soon.

2) What if my head explodes?

3) What if this is actually an aneurism?

4) I would rather have a migraine.

I focus on relaxation. I closed my eyes and stared as the dancing lights took over the blackness. I slipped into a light sleep. It was probably around 7:30pm.

I woke up to darkness. The sun had set and the clock said 10:04pm. My head hurt. It was the migraine hangover that I’m accustomed to. Laughing hurts, sneezing is worse and coughing could be the death of me. Bending over, causing blood to rush to my head, is excruciating. Avoiding all of the above is a must for the next 24 hours. My stomach was empty and I felt like I’d been on speed. I kept clenching my jaw. The caffeine. I slowly got out of bed and headed for the kitchen. It was time for dinner.

Friday Five – Blogging

1) How long have you had a weblog? I’ve had one, in some form or another, since 1997. That was the year that I discovered iVisit and wanted to work for them. I started keeping an online journal that probably got more traffic than the official site. It was the job that brought me to L.A. where I started keeping more personal stuff online via my free EarthLink space. That never got much traffic. Almost a year ago today, I registered bradbarrish.com, which started out as a place for my music reviews, photography and a rant or two every once in a while. In late May of this year, I launched jeansandatshirt.com, which picks up where bradbarrish.com left off and is now a collaborative effort with other contributors to the site.

2) What was your first post about? I don’t remember my very first post and don’t have a record of it anywhere.

3) How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one? The names that I can remember are Ego, Addict, Inertia and Idiom. All of those were pretty short-lived. I find that I am never satisfied with much of anything and my sites are in a constant state of change. Refer to question 1 for the rest.

4) What CMS (content management system) do you use? Movable Type is my CMS of choice. I started out using Blogger, but Movable Type had way more whistles and bells and the GUI was a lot more easy on the eyes. Besides, Ben and Mena Trott are awesome people and despite their large installed user base, are always willing to answer emails and help out. The community surrounding Movable Type is also a really great group of people.

5) Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place? I read both, but prefer it all in one certain location. Why go to two different sections, when it could be all in on place. Duh.

Readying The Next Album

Ever wonder what it’s like when AC/DC gets together to talk about the next album?

Angus: Okay, moving along. Brian, you’re shared only one idea.

Brian: Well, I wanted to give the other guys a chance, to cultivate diversity of opinion.

Angus: Certainly, but we’re on a schedule.

Brian: All right. “Depth Charge,” “Rocket Launcher,” “Smell of Love,” and “Eat My Fist.”

Cliff: I’d say we have an album, gentlemen. I move that we accept this slate of titles for our next album.

Brian: I second the motion.

Malcolm: All in favor?

All: Aye.

[NOTE: Exerpted without any permission whatsoever. If the link doesn’t work, try the McSweeney’s Archives.]

Progress

You’ll notice that I’ve made a few layout changes to the site. I’m making some room for some new sections, including a photo gallery and a decor section with wallpaper that you can use on your desktop. The new sections will appear soon. Feel free to leave comments about the new look.

Thank you to Kristine at Blogstyles.com for her assistance with the new three-column layout of the site.

Friday Five – Habitation & Travel

1) Where were you born? Kansas City, MO. I only lived in Kansas City for a year before we moved to the quiet suburbs of Overland Park, KS. Overland Park provided my childhood friends and I with many sprawling backyards and trees to hide behind.

2) If you still live there, where would you rather move to? If you don’t live there, do you want to move back? Why or why not? I don’t live there anymore. I’ve been out of the confines of Overland Park since I left to go to college in Lawrence, KS. I don’t picture myself ever living in Kansas again, though it might be fun to have a house in Lawrence, which is a small college town with more charm and character per square mile than Los Angeles has in fifty square miles (or more). Don’t get me wrong, I love LA. Two words pretty much sum up why I wouldn’t move back: weather and ocean. While I miss the severe weather of Kansas, like thunderstorms and tornados, that’s just one of the reasons for visits.

3) Where in the world do you feel the safest? I feel safest in Lawrence, KS. The locals are some of the most neighborly and kind people you will ever meet. There are active neighborhood associations, people watch out for one another and you can feel safe leaving your door unlocked. A close second would be in a tent in the mountains.

4) Do you feel you are well-traveled? I feel fairly well-travelled. I’ve been to probably seventy percent of the U.S.,including spending time in the mountains of Alaska. It always strikes me a little odd that people don’t get more excited about some of the beautiful places that exist in the U.S. I’ve also travelled to England, France, Poland, Israel and Egypt.

5) Where is the most interesting place you’ve been? I can take this one literally or figuratively, but either way I don’t have a definite answer, so I’m just going to choose one of the many interesting places I’ve been, Alaska. I spent four weeks backpacking 150 miles through the southern Talkeetna mountain range. The range begins near Denali (Mount McKinley – tallest mountain in North America). I was with 20 other people, including a medic and two highly-trained mountaineers. The trip was through an organization called National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). I am one of the few people that will ever get to see the parts of Alaska I saw, simply because no one goes into the remote areas that we passed through. There was no sign of human existence. It was probably the most physically and psychologically challenging time of my life. In addition to getting a crash course in outdoor education and survival, I received quite an education about myself as well.

Neighbor Problems: Part 1

The Cunts live just above me. At first there was only one Cunt, and that wasn’t her name to begin with. When she had a problem with her stereo, I fixed it for her. She flirted with me and made a fuss over my dog. Apparently it was all just a front to her psychopathic ways.

One evening, a couple of years ago, my former girlfriend and I were at my apartment planning for some quiet time alone. All of the sudden the ceiling starts thumping with bass, vibrating everything in my apartment. I might not have questioned it if I had ever heard such racket coming from upstairs, but I hadn’t. I directed a puzzled look at my girlfriend, squinting an eye and turning up the left side of my lip in disgust. I’m immediately annoyed.

“What the fuck is that?”

“It sounds like your neighbor is playing loud techno music or something.”

“She never listens to techno music, and if she does, I’ve never heard it. She forty-something years old!”

I climbed up on my sofa and pounded on the ceiling. She pounded her heal into the floor.

“She’s mocking me! What the fuck?!”

“Brad, just calm down. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Oh, but it is! I hooked those speakers up and not only is she playing music at a totally inconsiderate volume, but she just pounded her foot back at me and the music is still thumping. If you were playing music really loud and your neighbor pounded on your floor from below, what would you do?”

“Well, I would probably turn my music down.”

“Exactly.”

I head for the door.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to ask her to turn her music down.”

“Be nice.”

I march out of the front door, down the steps, across the lawn, up the driveway, up the stairs and knock on her door. She comes to the door as if there is absolutely nothing wrong.

“Hi.”

“Do you think you could turn your music down? My girlfriend and I are trying to enjoy a quiet evening at home tonight.”

“No,” she says with ‘fuck you’ subliminally inserted for maximum effectiveness.

I roll my eyes. “Why not?”

“Your dog was barking at 2 o’clock in the morning and it woke me up.”

“I’m sorry. She’s usually only does that when she’s being protective. Now, can you please just turn your music down?”

“No. I have people over, it’s Friday night and we’re hangin’ out.”

I look inside for company, but she seems to be the only one. Besides, there’s no way that they could possibly be conversing, even if she did have people in her apartment.

I pause and look her square in the eyes. “You’re a fucking cunt.”

I immediately turn around and walk back down the stairs. I step off the last stair and she yells down. “Well…you’re a bastard,” to which I let out a hearty laugh as she slams the door.

I walk back in to my apartment with a grin on my face.

“What happened?”

“I called her a fucking cunt to her face.”

“Brad!!”

“Well, she wouldn’t turn her music down and was being a bitch about the whole thing. I started off playing nice, but she wouldn’t play along.”

About ten minutes pass and the music gets turned off. I hear a bunch of footsteps in her apartment and a few minutes later she is walking with a few people to a car parked in front of the building.

The evening marked the beginning of a war.

The UFB Video Shoot: Day 3

I arrived on the set around 11:30am, which was again, at ACCD. Smoke was billowing out of the doors to the set. This could only mean one thing…ROCK BOX SHOTS! In an attempt to ham things up to a proper UFB level, a fog machine, concert lighting and a raised platform (the rock box) were all used for the first sequence.

First up was Nick, who admittedly was a much better morning person than the rest. Bill was yelling for Nick to move more on the platform, but he would soon find out for himself that jumping up and down and doing rock kicks were dangerous manuevers. After a few practices, Bill was ready to go. Cue smoke…cue sound…and…ACTION! Indeed, action ensued. Despite all dangers, Bill made sweet love to the camera like only Kip Winger could possibly do. If it sounds funny, it was. Rock faces, rock poses and rock kicks galore. Eric’s performance was a bit more tame. The sequence was shot from above his drum kit and there’s only so many things a drummer can do with a big camera hovering over him. The camera rotated around Eric and it turned out looking fantastic.

After taking a break for a while, extras were once again employed for a shot of them sitting with inflatable instruments staring at a white light projection on the wall. In editing, propaganda style footage will be dropped in. The rock soldiers have nearly completed their training. There was just one last thing, but not before one of the greatest sequences of the entire shoot (next to the rock box shots, of course). Eric entertained while the crew set up the next shot.

A wine glass was set up on a stool while the band stood behind it with safety goggles around their eyes. Off to the side was one of the extras with an air rifle. Bill sang, or rather lip synced, to the song with amazing comic intensity. After a failed attempt to shatter the glass with his voice, he made another attempt, this time even more expression and might. The air rifle fires off a few shots, shatters the glass and the scene is a success.

The camera did some shots of the broken glass with the extras staring at it in complete disbelief just before it was time to film the final sequence. In the scene, which was filmed in a hallway of ACCD, the UFB guys lead the rock soldiers on a sabotage mission at a record company. Armed with speakers and cables and dressed like burglars, they scurry down the hallway. It didn’t go very smoothly, at first.

It was decided that the fog machine was needed for the shot and within a few seconds of the hall filling up with fog, the fire alarms were tripped and we had to evacuate. It was pretty funny, actually. The portly security guard came over, sweat beads dripping down his forehead. This was his big chance to prove himself, but there was nothing to prove and the crew cleared out the fog before he arrived. The excuse was that one of the gels melted and ended up smoking. Everyone went back in to finish the scene, I got a few last shots, said good-bye to Liz and the UFB guys and was on my way.

I gotta say that the experience was awesome. I had such a great time shooting photos on the set. I got about 400 shots over the course of the filming. Liz was an amazingly professional director. I wasn’t expecting the large production, but she pulled it off looking like a seasoned veteran. The UFB guys were equally impressed with everything and seemed to have a great time throughout the process. Thanks again to Liz for asking me to shoot.

The UFB Video Shoot: Day 2

The second day was shot on location at a house in North Hollywood, CA and at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. The first part of the day, for which I was not present, was also shot at ACCD. I joined up with the crew at the house, where they shot a parody of a couple of scenes from “Fight Club.” In one scene Nick is pulling all of the wanna-be “rock soldiers” in through a window of the house. In another scene, Eric turns the lawn sprinkler on some of the wanna-be soldiers as they stand, chests out, taking all the abuse he’s dishing out. In the final scene, Bill comes out of the house to find one of the wanna-be soldiers standing in his front yard as he gets the morning paper. Bill throws the paper at him and then tosses his morning coffee in his face. Yes, the coffee was real, though not hot.

A lot of the extras from Wednesday’s shoot were back for more. The band was in good spirits, though a bit tired from playing shows the last two nights. According to Eric, Friday’s show ended with him hanging out at The Rainbow Room, next to The Roxy Theater, where they had played. A little liquid courage aided him in sharing a blunt with B-Real (Cypress Hill) and hanging with Judd Nelson. Eric further explained that he was hoping to run into members of White Snake, but he was more than satisfied with his Hollywood experience.

We left the house and drove to ACCD to film a scene in one of the bathrooms. In it, a confused and frustrated guy is shown questioning his rockdom in front of the mirror. It sounds dirtier than it was. He’s was wearing an Creed t-shirt, which was altered to say Freed, so as not to offend (of course). In a fit of disgust with himself, the guy removes his shirt only to have Bill kick open the stall door behind him and hand him an Ultimate Fakebook rock soldier shirt. Thank the good lord that he didn’t have to walk around with the Freed tee. Once again, this just helped to establish that Ultimate Fakebook are out to not only rock you, but give you a hearty laugh as well.

The evening ended after this scene was shot and we met back the next morning at ACCD for the final day of shooting. Even though the filming has not been sequential, the plot of the video is developing nicely, and best of all it’s a fucking riot.

The Friday Five – My Own

Since the real Friday Five is not being published this week, I figured I would make one up. Feel free to leave you own answers.

1) What is the latest and greatest album you have been listening to? That’s a touch one. I would have to say it’s a tie between My Vitriol – Finelines and Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf. Both of these albums provide the essential rock that my mind and body require at this time.

2) What’s the last CD you downloaded in its entirety? Oasis – Heathen Chemistry. Come and get me Liam.

3) What’s in your wallet? I don’t really carry a wallet. I keep my PDA (a Sony Clie NR70) in a case that barely holds my ID, a couple of credit cards and my KCRW Fringe Benefits card. I’m notorious for not carrying cash, but when I do, it’s in my front pocket.

4) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would most definitely change my current state of employment, which is lack thereof. It’s great that I can go to bed at 3 or 4am and wake up whenever my internal alarm goes off, but I’m not making any money doing that.

5) When was the last time you had a good cry? Kind of personal, but the last time was when I watched the John Lennon documentary, “Imagine.” I cried at the end when they were showing all of the footage of people gathered in New York after John was murdered. I have a vague memory of seeing the news about it and I think my parents were sad about it as well. Things like that inevitably get you thinking about what the person would be doing if they had not died.