Oct 262016
 

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I’m really excited guys, because my kid has agreed to be the next People Feature subject! If you’ve met him in person, chances are you like him more than you like me. It’s just the way things go and I have learned to accept it. I mean, I’d like him better than me, too!

He’s really into cats, Pokemon, watching stupid things on YouTube (it’s the thing of his generation, you guys), being right, knowing everything, busting shoes within two months, and MATH for some dumb reason.

Contrary to popular belief, Chooch is not my kid’s actual, birth certificate-printed name. We had already settled on the name Riley before he was born, but it was one of those strange things where you get a pet, and you name that pet, and then you call that pet a million other names. It was like that. I looked down at him when we were still in the hospital and blurted out, “Aw, my little Choochie Cabrera!” And he’s been Chooch ever since, even though he’s at that age where he is trying furiously to just be Riley.

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(Chooch rhymes with butch. People who have heard me say it out loud still insist on calling him CHOOOOOOCH and that’s just wrong. If you only knew how long I deliberated over the spelling.)

OK, now that you know his name origins, let’s ask him some questions! 10-year-olds are weird!

You love watching Friends reruns, so it’s a good thing they’re always on, constantly. What character on Friends do you relate to the most?

Ross, because he’s weird. I guess. I don’t know.

What would be your dream vacation and why. And would you take me?

Maybe Tokyo because it’s beautiful and big and it has the Nintendo headquarters and Pokémon stuff. And no, I would not take you.

Who are some of your neighborhood enemies?

Larry! Because he accuses me of stealing stuff. He once accused me of stealing his stupid paintball gun, yet when we were doing a photoshoot in the backyard, it was laying right on his bench!

Jackie the Witch.

Ruth.

What has been the BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE so far??

Getting [my cat] Drew. Not going to Disney World because I had to leave Drew.

Remember when you thought we were taking you to your new foster home when really we were going to pick out a kitten?

Yeah.

You’ve been a vegetarian since July. What made you want to go meatless?

Because veggie burgers have NO MURDER in it and why would I want to eat animal slaughter? Also, because a lot of my favorite singers are vegetarians/vegans such as: Christofer Drew (Never Shout Never) and Oli Sykes (Bring Me the Horizon).

What’s your favorite vegetarian meal?

Boca chicken patty because if it tastes like real chicken, why go back to eating actual chicken?

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If you could be a member of any TV family, which one would it be and why?

The Simpsons because their life is crazy and you never know what might happen. Actually can I change my answer? Why would I want to change my family? My family’s fine!

OH LAYING IT ON THICK! Bravo. Pretend like one of the lunch ladies is tired of listening to the radio and is ready to branch out. Give her 5 of your favorite bands to listen to:

  1. Pierce the Veil
  2. The Summer Set
  3. Emarosa
  4. Dance Gavin Dance
  5. Jule Vera. Had to throw that in. 

Speaking of lunch ladies, one of them hates you. Let’s talk about that!

She doesn’t really hate me….anymore. She doesn’t like me. She always says Are you sure you’re a vegetarian and I’m like “have I ate meat?!” Last year when my friend pushed me in the road & a teacher almost hit me, because she said she wasn’t go “fast at all” which she was, the lunch lady said YOU GOT [NAME WITHHELD] IN TROUBLE! since my friend is her FAVORITE and that’s it.

She probably says “yinz” and supports Trump. 

She does say yinz. That’s true.

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Describe your perfect day:

Drew invites me to her birthday party in Hawaii and she made a cake made out of Penelope fur.

Since I recently learned that you’re a haiku aficionado, write a haiku about Henry:

He didn’t let me

Get chips that were on sale for

2 for 5 at Kuhn’s.

If you were old enough to get a tattoo right now, what would it be?

Obviously like the one you have of Marcy, but with Drew. With a banner that says Peace and Love. Never Lose.

You’ve been going to shows since you were 6! What’s the best one you’ve been to so far? 

That Pierce the Veil Misadventures concert because their set was pretty cool and they played all of my favorite songs, and most of the other shows I’ve been to have been at crappy venues.

Draw a picture of HENRY being scared at a haunted house. 

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I love that Henry is almost always in some varying state of nudity in your depictions of him. Final question, and this is A BIG ONE: who do you love more, me or Henry?

You.

(YESSSSSS I WIN!!!!!!)

(There wasn’t much conviction in his answer but still….YESSSSS I WIN!!!!!!)

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Aug 312016
 

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Foxblood is: Chris Millward, Tom Beale, Aaron Beale, Stephen Powell, and Brett Powell.  Photo credit: unknowm.

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Foxblood is a metal band exploding with cinematic instrumentals, anthemic gang-chants, and soaring choruses. They have recently released two singles off their forth-coming album, and I’m stoked. I want everyone else to be stoked, too. Get stoked with me.

I first heard of this band in their previous incarnation, Glorified, because Chris used to work in the same department as me…just a million miles away in our Melbourne office! When I found out secondhand that he was in a band and proceeded to listen to everything I could find of theirs on YouTube, I was hooked. Not only was this my style of music, but it was fucking legit. So I sent him a fangirly email and have followed this band ever since, from Glorifed to Foxblood.

Brutally heavy breakdowns wrapped with brooding melodies and pulled tight and taut with a black bow of macabre lyricism (“Because love is the violence inside us all” resonates),  Foxblood is a hardcore present for your ears. It doesn’t matter what sorts of grandiose adjectives I string together, all you need to know  is that this band slays, and no matter what genre you want to cage them into, they’re going to blow the top right off of it.

There’s currently an Australian invasion happening Stateside, what with bands like Parkway Drive, Tonight Alive, and Hands Like Houses shaking things up and selling out shows, and I have my fingers crossed that Foxblood will soon be added to that list.

Chris was kind enough to take some time out and answer a few questions about the band, so please read up and get to know your new favorite band from Down Under!


1. On paper, it’s easy to say that Foxblood is just Glorified with a new name, but there’s no denying as a listener that this is an entirely new band, aesthetically and sound-wise. How did Foxblood come to be? 

It was born out of the notion that Glorified as an entity had run its course, as all things do. We ended up with a record that was unprecedented for all of us and we all felt as though Glorified would not do it justice under that particular moniker. It was also a writing process that I was involved in from the very start (coming into Glorified I replaced an old vocalist and I think that some of my creative influence took them in a different direction that what was expected). So I suppose it was a chance for all of us to put out a record as a blank slate, and Foxblood was able to be anything that we wanted, rather than pushing the whole “new sound” idea for Glorified, which by that point had been taken as far as we could, so here we are.

2. Splitting your time between the corporate world and the music industry has a very Clark Kent/Superman vibe to it. I just tried to imagine someone, anyone from our Pittsburgh office moonlighting in a metal band, and failed miserably! How do you describe your band to your co-workers?

We all work full-time in various professions, and it’s something I suppose we keep fairly separate in our respective lives because we all have careers outside of this project. I know that the pipedream is hoping your band makes it so that you never have to work a day again, but we are most certainly realists in that sense. Our jobs fund a polished product, and it’s something we are happy to do because there is genuine pride in what we’re doing as a musical entity. So as far as describing it goes – I usually just drop the word “rock” in there somewhere and tell them that if they look hard enough in the dark corners of YouTube they can see what makes me tick beyond the office. So unfortunately it’s quite a mundane superhero paradigm, but it keeps the gears turning somewhat.

3. What are the essentials you guys keep in your van/bus while touring? Would we find any Vegemite up in there? (SORRY, I HAD TO ASK!)

I’ll say on the record right now that every day I will eat a toasted cheese and Vegemite sandwich and have done so since I was very young, so if the shoe fits I figure that at least I can substantiate that stereotype just a little. In our van though? Usually we end up with a rising tide of empty water bottles because we buy them for no real reason at every stop, there’s usually beers on the go for the passengers so you’d see them a lot, and I carry a pharmacy with me full of stuff to fix any ailment from a headache through to explosive intestinal distress, so it’s quite a mixed bag really.

4. The masquerade girl and Devil appear in both of the videos that Foxblood has recently released, and it’s little details like this that set you apart artistically from many other bands. Was this something that you guys already had in mind while writing this record or did it just come together organically during the video process? Will we see them again in future videos?

I am all about the little details. And I think a goal for me at least was to create something that a listener could get a lot more out of than just listening to the song and watching the video. I think it’s important for there to be many layers to what you do creativity, and I think that someone can get as much or as little out of Foxblood’s narrative/music that they want. There is a lot going on in both the videos that you’d likely overlook on a first listen through, and I guess I’d encourage people who enjoy the music to look deeper into the way the videos are put together, it is all very deliberate and there is meaning in everything you hear and see.

5. What were some bands you listened to as a kid that helped shape you into the vocalist that you are today?

Everyone starts out by copying their favourite vocalists, as much as they’d not like to admit. For me I started when I was 15 because some guys I worked with were into metal and I’d just bought Tony Hawk’s Underground which had a great punk/metal soundtrack. So the first bands that pushed me down this road were Rise Against and Alkaline Trio, but I think I started out on “Let It Unfold You” by Senses Fail, where their singer has this disgustingly raw tone to his voice and so I just emulated that really, I never learnt any real proper technique, which kind of shows now that Foxblood has gone away from having certain sounding vocals at part x and y and just kind of tells a story and however it sounds is the way it comes out. So it was basically my inability to grasp the techniques that most vocalists use that paved the way to kind of experiment with my natural voice a little more to see what it could do.

6. Australia has been exporting some sick talent lately, particularly the type that hits that Warped Tour-scene sweet spot. What are some lesser-known local bands that us Americans should be adding to our play lists?

We’ve got it pretty good over here I won’t lie, but in truth I don’t actually listen to a whole lot of similar- genre (what you’d call “heavy” I suppose) bands (probably just me showing my age really). However, that said, I have been lucky enough to meet some incredibly talented and charismatic people though the course of being involved in music. Bands like Polaris, who have really exploded over here now (and rightfully so), as well as Young Lions (though neither of them are particularly “local”). In a way it’s a pity that they’ve all come so far, even our friends in Make Them Suffer and other bands in that tier now, it’s hard to call them ‘local’, but it is nice to see the rest of the world taking notice of these musicians, and it’s always good to see your friends succeeding on the world stage.

7. There’s something beautiful and haunting about heavy bands collaborating with female singers, a la Bring Me the Horizon and Lights. If Foxblood could work with any female vocalist, from any scene, who would be on your short list?

While I cannot speak on behalf of the others, a personal favourite of mine is Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches. Something I like doing is throwing curveballs to a listener, and so I think I’d someday like to work with a female vocalist in writing a duet, rather than a section of a song, so that they themselves contribute to the writing process, which I think would draw out the best from both parties. I think the concept of a guest-vocalist is trivialised somewhat in the sense that a section of a song is left blank and then filled in by the feature artist, which to me doesn’t do a lot of justice to collaborative potential and also the talents of the guest and the band themselves in having another layer to the piece. So to fully utilise that and come up with something special is most certainly something I’d like to do.

8. Now I’m officially crossing my fingers for a Foxblood/Lauren Mayberry collab! But now for the most important question of this whole damn thing: when can we expect the new album (and hopefully a US tour)?

I’m not 100% on what I can and can’t say here really, but there is a full-length record that has been a product of many years of our lives that will be coming out in the coming months, an exact date however I’m not sure. It’s called “The Devil, The Dark, and The Rain”, and yes, it directly relates to the characters in the video and the storylines that play out, both told and untold. It is all connected, all relative, and something we are very excited for people to hear and immerse themselves in. It is not far away. That I can promise. As far as touring goes, I think it’s just been jumping the mental hurdle of finally getting this record out, and what happens beyond that point I think is up to the listener. If travel and touring becomes a part of this, then I am sure we will be elated. At the moment, for me anyway, I’m just relieved to finally have music out there.

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Please, please, please give this band some of your time today. If you want to join me on Foxblood Album Release Watch, like them on Facebook for updates! To tide you over, their new single No Heroes is available for purchase on iTunes. If you need me, I’ll just be over here studying their music videos for more clues.

Aug 072016
 

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Holy shit, am I excited to share another one of my friends with everyone. I finally wore down my pal Octavia into agreeing to do one of these things and it was anything but a wasted effort. We met back in 2008/2009 on Etsy, of all places! So literally my very first impression of her was getting this well-thought out, flowery Etsy convo from her on my now-defunct photography shop, and thinking, “Who is this woodland creature and how can I trap her into a mason jar, I swear to god I promise to poke holes in the top.” It took many years, but we finally got to meet in person last summer, and again last spring, and it was magic each time!

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What I love about Octavia is that even just texting with her is like communicating with someone from another time. She is a fount of wisdom, well-spoken, an artist in every sense, and the personification of a first edition Hans Christian Anderson book. Her fiercely loyal friendship and nurturing personality is a true bastion in my life. I learn something new about her and from her on a daily basis – she keeps life fascinating and full of wonder! And she has cultivated this amazingly creative and whimsical (sorry if you hate that word, pretend like scrapbooking mommy bloggers haven’t ruined it) environment for her adorable daughter Tallulah, who is well on her way to growing into a brilliant, free-thinking, bad-assed mini-Octavia.

I could keep gushing until the end of time, but I’m going to just let the interview speak for itself before anyone starts puking in a boot. Also, I pictured Octavia sitting on a toadstool drinking absinthe from an antique Turkish tea cup while answering these questions….with a tuba by her side.

*****

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1. You know I’m over here chomping at the bit, so I’m going to just dive in with the most important question of this whole interview: tell us things about when you lived in Romania! What kinds of food did you eat? What was the FRUIT like?! Does your mother tongue ever come out during fits of road rage?

 My childhood in Romania was spent almost exclusively traveling the Carpathian Mountains in RVs. Usually we were up around Ukraine, but did move around a lot. We mostly stayed in smaller towns and the forest, and I was such an outside kid. I love the deep, dark woods that make it so easy to see where fairy tales were born. I’m actually pretty lucky I never poisoned myself because I used to gob down any berries I found on sight. Now I know they were wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and lingonberry. The food was super meat-heavy (mostly because my family kept farm pigs) which made being a kid vegetarian tough. My favorite was mamaliga, which is like a salty cheesy polenta topped with sour cream. Also there were lots of delicious bread and dough desserts.
 It’s pretty hilarious that you would ask about the road rage, because cussing in Romanian is a special art! There are an absurd amount of cuss words, most of them involve genitalia, and usually an entire sentence is made out of it. A classic: Dute-n pizda ma-tii! (Don’t ask)

2. Oh man, you may have just reignited my polenta craze of 2008 because mamaliga sounds like something that needs erotically dumped into my mouth immediately. I mean…next question! If I had to tell someone what my first impression was upon visiting your home for the first time, without hesitation I would say HOUSE OF MUSIC. You and your husband Dustin have quite the collection of instruments! Tell the good people what instruments you play and also about your BAND!

Dustin is the far and away the music maestro of the house. He’s played guitar for twenty years and can play almost any instrument. I play accordion and violin, which conveniently fill some gaps in Dusty’s repertoire. I can also play Sloop John B on ukulele (yeah, boi!).

Our band is The Junktown Jerky Vendors. The name comes from a magazine in one of my favorite video game series; FallOut. The songs we’re working on are all apocalypse and science fiction themed, and we try to write them as though we’re traveling minstrels in the wasteland. Some songs include “Time Travel Paradox,” “Tunnel Snakes Rule,” and “Wasteland Dog,” which may never get recorded because I wrote it with Garrison Keller’s voice in my head and now it will never sound right to me without him as the vocalist.

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3. In order to escape the reality of living in a world where Donald Trump is an official presidential candidate, you are given the opportunity to live inside a cartoon. What cartoon do you choose and why!? (I get hyper when I think of questions.)

Oh how I wish! Over The Garden Wall. It’s a short-run special series Cartoon Network aired over a magical week in 2013 (a week that also included my birthday! Does that mean it was a gift especially for me? Yes. Yes, it does). The art, atmosphere, voice acting, and music are so beautiful that it threatens to break my heart. Watching it was the first time I ever genuinely wished I could crawl inside a show and live there. It’s on Netflix (or Hulu? Now I can’t remember which), and I highly recommend queuing it up as soon as leaves start changing color. I’m so obsessed with it that I only allow myself to watch it September through November to avoid over-doing it and killing the magic.

Runners up: Gravity Falls, Adventure Time

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4. You made a great tour guide when we visited Savannah last year; what stands out the most to me is the panache with which you pointed out all of the bugs in the Bonaventure Cemetery. If you had to spend a full day with one bug as your side kick, what bug would it be and how would you two spend your day?

Definitely a Praying Mantis! They are the Kung fu masters of the insect world, and as such we would spend the day rescuing villages from bandit hordes, hunting monsters, and mastering dope poses at the tops of bamboo forests.
5. What was something you were “known for” in high school?
It really couldn’t be anything but soccer. No one really knew me, and I peace’d out of high school after 9th grade. I was crazy about soccer for most of my childhood, and got pretty damn good—I became starting forward just a month into the season—before breaking my knee in a way that I was never able to fully recover from. After that I couldn’t see the point in being there anymore, and tested out. Boo high school!

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6. Describe your personal style either using all made-up words, or in the vein of e.e.cummings:

i prefer glasses (i see more than
    and only
             and not always
        what it is they show me)
like shutters, bold
                                 distracting.
child of earth and Earth and soft cloths like

wind in leaves and growing loam, and clouds

                         drifting
                                    toward anachronisms       (what is on that tshirt?)
a braless boheme
who never does seem
to have grown up quite completely.
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7.  I’m sitting downtown on my lunch break thinking of questions for you just as this bro rolls up to a red light with Led Zeppelin’s “All My Love” blaring from his car like it was his fucking Red Light anthem, bitches. What would your “rolling up to the red light” anthem be?

Dig Up Her Bones by The Misfits. I can’t not punch the chorus out on the ceiling of the car when it plays!
“Red Light Anthem,” is such a cool phrase.

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8. Draw a picture of Henry reading your favorite book!

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9. OMG he needs to make this his Facebook profile picture, I’m dying! Speaking of Henry, here’s a guest question from him: “Do you ever listen to the Top Gun soundtrack to relive your days in THE SERVICE like I do?” Ok fine, real question–the part about you being in THE SERVICE is true. Can you regale us with a Service story?!

As a kid I totally had a Top Gun single .45 record with “Take My Breath Away,” on one side and “The Dangerzone,” on the other!

Every single person going into the military gets told by some well-meaning person to “not volunteer for anything.” They ask for volunteers a LOT in basic training. The first time our TI’s (drill sergeants) asked my flight (your particular group of around 50 people by dorm room) for a volunteer not a single soul spoke up. As seconds began stretching long I could see the TI’s starting to lose respect for us. With as shitty as they had already been to us, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if they actually hated us. So I volunteered. For everything. I’d raise my hand every time, before they could even finish saying what it was for, and I was literally the only one to ever do so.

One of the things I ended up volunteering for was chow-call. This poop-wrapped nightmare of a job involved marching into the chow hall before every meal, and up to the table full of officers who were coordinating everything to announce in perfect verbiage that your flight was ready to come in. Those officers acted like they hated their lives, their jobs, and us, and would eviscerate you for the slightest mistake in your marching, your verbiage, your uniform. You had to address everyone with “Sir/Ma’am, trainee ____ reports as ordered,” before you could say anything else. The ‘Shark Tank,’ as they were called, loved to all talk at you at once, so you’d go blue in the face trying to spit that shit out a hundred times to answer everyone. After they finally let you leave you had to lead your flight in and direct every single one of them to their seats before you had your own 30 seconds to choke as much food down as possible before you were getting screamed at to GTFO. It was really crappy, but the people in charge actually started being much nicer to me after a while. They’d tell a bunch of terrible shit at everyone, then follow it up with “except you, Clark.” It didn’t win me any friends in my flight, but I wasn’t there to make friends.

The ultimate pay-back for my shitty flight came when I volunteered for kitchen duty. For some reason we had all heard that it was a hot, extremely laborious job, and naturally mine was the only hand that went up. The TI even said to everyone, “Really? You’re going to just let Clark do this shit too?” Silence. She rolled her eyes and led me down to the kitchen where I discovered a magical fact none of us had known: there is no cook position in the Air Force. The kitchen was staffed by very well-fed civilian women who, day in and day out, watched us hapless recruits attempting to stuff entire veal cutlet and burritos into our throats while being read the riot act. Kitchen duty ended up being about 10 minutes of dishwashing and an hour and a half of being fed cakes and sandwiches by clucking mother hens.

There must have been a meeting while I was gone for that first kitchen duty, because when I got back to the dorm room the flight captain apologized on behalf of everyone and offered me a deal; if I kept doing kitchen duty I would no longer be put on the schedule to be awakened in the middle of the night for the hour-long rotating night guard position. It may have been terrible of me, but I excepted their offer without a word otherwise and became the only one in our flight who was well fed, well rested, and in good favor of all of the screaming maniac’s in charge of us.

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10. That story is amazing! Maybe it will inspire Henry to open up and share his own SERVICE tale but probably not. :( Now’s the time when you shut this bad boy down with a list of 5 songs that everyone MUST listen to today in your honor.
There are a lot of songs that wanted to make the list, but I tried to narrow them down to the five that paint the most accurate portrait of my interior landscape. Enjoy being me for a few moments, and then enjoy being able to stop!
    •  “Murder in the Red Barn” – Tom Waits: If I have to pick just one Tom Waits song, this is it.

  • “Postcards From Italy” – Beirut: One day I am going to OD on sentimentality.

  • “Dead Girl” – Acid Bath:  I am not what you would call a fan of Acid Bath. This is literally their only song I like, but this thing is…it’s special.

  • “So Come  Back, I Am Waiting” – Okkervil River: This is similar to Acid Bath in that I’m not really into OR, but this song is just so sensual and magnetic. I’m 100% certain the band meant it about drugs, but in my head I have an elaborate movie that plays about a young girl running away to the woods to learn dark magics from a legendary beast.

  • Scars of Time, opening song to the video game Chrono Cross: I challenge your soul not to feel alive while listening to this masterpiece.

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Ugh, whoever said all good things must come to an end was huffing Summer’s Eve—I wanted to ask her 87 more questions! I hope you enjoyed wading through the mind of my friend Octavia, and if you haven’t your fill, you can read more about her on her blog!

Jul 162016
 

2009 Oct 17 002

Guys, people laugh when I say that I made a lot of friends during my time on LiveJournal, but it’s TRUE and I have been lucky (and in some cases….unlucky) enough to have met quite a bit of them. Bill is one of the ones who falls into the “I’m Lucky” category. Bill is from Michigan, and the first time we met was in 2008 when he came to Pittsburgh for one of my game nights. He brought his then-girlfriend now-wife Jessi with him and the rest is AS THEY SAY, HISTORY. Those two have been integral players in our lives since then, coming to Chooch’s birthday parties, taking us on vacation to Tennessee with them, showing us the wonders of FRANKENMUTH. (I’m going to try to get Jessi up in here too for her own People Feature.)

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Here you can see Bill elbow-deep in his side-gig: balloon sword creator for children’s birthday parties. I just went through all of my Birthday Party albums in Flickr and in each one, there are pictures of Bill and Jessi with their sleeves rolled up, hanging decorations, icing cookies, blowing up balloons — these guys are gems and I’m crying right now because EMOTIONS.

Bill is one of the friendliest, most hilarious people I’ve ever met. His comedic timing is flawless; hates Guy Fieri; and he is always down to encourage and egg on any random obsessions I have, especially when the side effect is terrorizing Henry. Bill is also part-owner of a comic and game shop in Wayne, MI called Warriors 3 – he has literally built a career around having fun. That’s how fucking brilliant he is. And he loves Chooch so much that he arranged for GERARD WAY (My Chemical Romance) to give him a Twitter shout out on his 8th birthday:

Bill is also the kind of guy who will take one for the team and ask the weird waiter at Dollywood if he could take his picture when you’re too afraid to do it yourself. In other words: Bill is an A+ friend, would recommend, would hang out again and again and again. Get yourselves a Bill!

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1.Walk us through a typical day in the life of Bill: 

Most morning start with the sounds of Bob (my cat) waking me up outside the door, or Louise (my dog) barking to get in. Then I usually do all the requisite pet feedings and then take care of the morning constitutional and bathing rituals. From there either catch up on TV or head out to work at the store. Then I spend the day working and doing my thing there. From there, me and Jessi head home and mellow out and watch TV. Once Jessi heads off to bed, I usually pop on and play video games with Worm on his stream for a few hours, then hit the sackadoodle. Wednesdays are bum fight days where I randomly go to hobo camps and challenge their leaders to hand to hand combat. Plus Saturday is for tacos.

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2. You’re supposedly into bowling, I hear. Build your dream bowling league, anyone in the world, fictional, dead, alive:
Well, any bowler worth his salt knows you need the Dude and Walter. I would add Abraham Lincoln because I am an admirer and I feel like he would know how to tickle the lanes. Finally, I would want Bullseye, the Daredevil villain because he never misses and every game would be a 300. Maybe Chaka Khan.
3. If you and Jessi had met via Craigslist, what would your ad have said to lure her in?
When I was single in the early double 00s, I always used the headline “50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” on Yahoo Personals. It worked once, but it was a very bad experience. But then, because of that experience I met Jessi, so ………..
4. Chooch started calling you a “douche cup” a few years ago over a Lego dispute. Now it’s the year 2025 and you and Chooch are business partners, marketing a brand new game by the same name. Explain the rules to us:
I always imagined douche cup to be a party game. The judge has to make a semi-ordinary claim, like “I just got back from New York.” Then everybody else playing has to come up with a crazy way to one-up them like “Well I just got back from Geroge Wendt’s private sauna in Montana.”  The winner gets a point. After 5 points, you are the Douche Cup!
5. Guy Fieri is visiting your town of Wayne, MI and the mayor assigns you the responsibility of showing him around. Where do you take him?
The garbage dump, I imagine that’s where he gets all his recipe ideas and style from. Get some aloe for that sick burn on you Guy Fieri!
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6. Being one of the owners of Warriors 3 Comics & Games, you’re pretty much the President of Game Night. What are five of your all-time favorite games to bust out when you have friends over?
My first call is kind of an old hat these days, but Cards Against Humanity has been the source of some of the most laughs I’ve ever had. One of my fondest memories is of me and Chooch teaming up to bust heads with that game. My next current super favorite is Camel Up, a camel racing game by Z-Man games. You pretty much bet on a camel race that usually goes back and forth and is fun as hell. 7 Wonders from Asmodee Games is another favorite. You draft cards and try to build up victory points. It’s pretty groovy. Every Christmas when we throw our party, we always break out Charades. A true classic, but fun as hell when everybody is loose enough to act out whatever craziness the other team can come up with. Another is Clusterfight by some company whom I can’t recall the name of. You go around and play a “hero” to fight on your behalf, then once everybody picks a fighter (a myriad of fictional and historical figures), then everybody bets on who will win, then everybody gets to play an action card to influence the fight in the way of their choice. Yay.
7. You’re forced to hear the same song play every single time you flush the toilet, any toilet, and it was chosen by your mortal enemy which means it’s a song you hate. What song is it??
It’s gotta be “Far Behind” by Candlebox. I have no idea why I would divulge something like this to you, but there it is. Either that or any part of the Toby Keith discography.
8. I love knowing what people were like in high school. So tell us. (Also, knowing the answer to the above question totally had me sitting here with steepled fingers, doing that throaty giggle I do when I’m about to troll the fuck out of someone.)
Honestly, I was pretty plain and quiet. I wore bands shirts and was, “Hey, it’s that fat guy. Hi dude.” I had 0 self esteem and failed all of my courting attempts miserably. I had some great groups of friends, despite the fact I was an opinionated dickhole when it came to movies and music. I’m kind of surprised I still had any friends, yeah that bad. Otherwise I was a pretty dope guy I suppose.

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9. Many years ago, you, Jessi and I tried to interview a bait shop owner with NO SUCCESS. What advice do you wish the seasoned fishing industry gossip columnists would have given us young, up-and-coming bait shop journalists on how to TACKLE the underbelly of worm dispensaries and get real answers to the hard questions?
First off, I wish they had told us to dress is camouflage head to toe. I feel like it would have made the former bait shop proprietor at ease to be in his native garb. Second, I think they would have told us to find a phone number and call ahead, but I disagree. How will you catch their nefarious deeds if you plan your prying eyes ahead of time. I think it helps to know your native fish, so you can have good icebreakers like, “How’s them halibut jumpin?” should halibut be native to your bait shop owner’s baitable body of water.
10. Write a short poem about your love for Hardee’s.
       The sweet smell of cinnamon and raisin
       Hark, are those fresh buttered biscuits tickling my nose?
       The sausage sizzles like a lion, heading for his next Christian meal
       There better not be a fucking Mega Bus in my way!
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And that’s my friend Bill! If you ever find yourself in the Detroit-ish area of Michigan, looking for a place to hang with cool people, I IMPLORE you to check out Bill’s shop, Warriors 3. I’m not a gamer or comic book-reader, but anytime I have visited, the sense of camaraderie is overwhelming. GEE I WONDER WHY.
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Jul 042016
 

 

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In an effort to give the Internet a break from my amateur music reviews (it’s been a long time since I was in college, but I don’t think they teach you to write OW MY HEART and OMG THE FEELS in journalism class), I decided to start featuring real life people on here to mix things up, give the blog a big ol’ squirt of Febreze.

And my guinea pig is my very great friend Kara! If you know me in real life, then you probably definitely know Kara. She’s a fixture at all of my lame themed parties and the first one that I text when there is some weird idea I have for a photoshoot or just need a Zenith fix. And if you don’t know me in real life but just through this blog, you still probably know who Kara is because she is one of my favorite people to slander on here!

Kara and I met in 2005 on that good old social media grandfather called MYSPACE and we’re living proof that sometimes people literally are just trying to make platonic, social connections with no ulterior motives. Whoever would have thought. She was Chooch’s first crush and is the best person to have at game night because she is NO NONSENSE when it comes to reading directions and keeping people on track. Kara is the first person who will be there waiting with a cupcake when you’re having a rough time of things and usually one of the last people to show up at parties but that’s OK because you know she will be there eventually!

OK, I know it’s the 4th of July but put down your Sparklers and PBR and learn some things about my friend Kara because you never know–YOU MIGHT BE NEXT.

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Let’s start with the most important question: What were you like in high school?

Oh gosh. Terrible!

I guess I was some sort of alterna-chick, or at least what that meant at the time. JNCOs , rainbow colored hair, and band t-shirts from Coal Chamber and Stabbing Westward *shudder* If you ask nicely, I could probably find you a picture.

I was also a marching band nerd. How those two happened together I will never understand, but I was in band from 8th=12th grade. Yet I still don’t have any sense of rhythm!

And last, I was also a bit of a mean girl. Our school was very small, so everybody knew everyone else and mostly got along, but I took pride in being a loudmouth that would make people cry.

I told you it was terrible.

You’re a contestant on a game show. How does the host announce you?
Speaking of game shows, remember when we wanted to be on Silent Library? I’m still salty we never did that.

On to the question though-

We’re lucky she didn’t’ flake out on us in an anxiety fueled stupor. She’s addicted to her phone, she’s a bit of a nut, and has forgotten what its like to talk to people over the age of 10 when its not work related. Heeeres Kara!

We would have been so hilariously terrible on Silent Library! OK, back to business: When you and I went to Phipp’s in 2007, I learned that you are scared of butterflies. DRAW ONE. It’s like…art therapy.

Ugh. Ok. I still don’t like how flappy and weird they are.

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If you were on MTV’s The Challenge, who would you try to buddy up to and why?

CT UMPH!

If it had to be a girl or someone I didn’t pick just because I wanted to bone them, I would go Sara. She’s smart, she’s good at the game, and she is pretty even keeled.

Think of your biggest pet peeve. Now write a haiku about it (don’t worry – you know I can’t count syllables):

Nobody wants to

Hear you chew cud like a cow

Shut your goddamn mouth!

You have two young boys but still get out and do things, like running marathons and going to weird museums with me. How did you avoid falling into that domestic bomb shelter after having kids?

Am I really the best person to ask this?

Real talk for a second, I am an anxiety ridden head case. Pretty much every second of the day I am anxious about what I have to do, trying to do stuff but failing because Im anxious about it, or feeling bad about being anxious about stuff. It doesn’t even have to be anything big or important. It’s a terrible negative feedback loop that I get stuck in pretty much constantly.

I run because it is cheaper than therapy. At least that is what they told me, but I have a closet full of running gear and a bunch of race registrations that might beg to differ. Running is a way to get out of the house, meet people in a somewhat controlled setting, and tires me out enough where I can kind of think straight. So I try not to miss that, and my family kind of pushes me out the door if I do because I get a little high strung.

I am pretty sure that you are the only one I do cool stuff with anymore. You are my coolest friend, so I guess it makes sense that I do the coolest stuff with you, but I don’t really get out all that much. I would like to, but refer back to that whole anxiety thing that makes it super easy to say no to things rather than get myself psyched up to do them.

If just one 80s jam had to announce your entrance into every room for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Oooh, toughy!

Probably Eddie Murphy – Party all the Time. How can you not smile when that jam comes on?!

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One of your friends (probably someone you met on MySpace—god, Kara!) is visiting Pittsburgh for the first time and you have one day to show them around. What are your local must-sees?

The Mattress Factory for sure! The coolest museum in town, and I get to show off my ‘hood a bit. I would probably also take them to the water stairs because it is a favorite place of mine. If we are sticking to the neighborhood then we would get burritos at El Burro. If they have small kids, then I feel like playing at Blue Slide Playground in Frick Park is a must do. They have one of those concrete slides built into the hill there, and you have to slide down using a piece of cardboard so much fun! Maybe Spak pizza to end it all? Most of my favorite things revolve around food!

Give us FIVE BANDS that you love, and then you’re free to go:

I’m like the anti-Erin in this department. I haven’t found a new band that I have really loved in many years. I just don’t get as into music as I used to, so finding new bands just doesn’t happen. Maybe you can start dragging my ass out to shows and I can change this? At any rate, my favorites are all old.

*This just totally jogged my memory that you sent me a recommendation awhile ago and I never listened. I need to do this!*

Superdrag: I don’t care if they haven’t made a record in awhile; they are my absolute favorite and probably will be forever.

Refused: The only band I travel around to see. Such a great energy at their shows.

Queens of the Stone Age: I don’t think I will ever get tired of any of their records.

Alkaline Trio: I know, I know. I stopped listening right around Good Mourning, but those older albums grab me right in my heart and take me right back to the best and worst times of my life. They will probably always own me.

Tom Petty: An oldy but goody. This man can do no wrong in my eyes. A lot of bands get really shitty if they stick around too long, but Hypnotic Eye was freaking amazing. 30+ years later and he still has it. Little Kara trivia here – The Traveling Wilburys Volume 3 was the first CD I ever owned.

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And now you know a little more about my awesome friend Kara! I’m going to remember what she said up there about dragging her ass to shows the next time some band is playing in a shady frat shack basement in Oakland!

Thanks for participating, Kara! I hope you have zero butterfly encounters today. <3