Known Johnson

September 28, 2004

DeepDiscountDVD update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 9:53 pm

For those keeping up on my first experience with DeepDiscountDVD (because I know this is just so exciting,) you’ll be interested to know that my order shipped last Wednesday.

An initial annoyance with DDDVD is that the DVD I ordered, King Crimson’s Neal And Jack And Me, was listed as In Stock when I searched for it. Only after I had committed to my order it somehow became backordered until 9/28. That’s pretty annoying, but luckily it only took a week for it to come back into stock (almost a full week ahead of schedule.) Now I’m curious to see how fast, or slow depending on your perspective, the “free shipping” is going to be this time.

September 27, 2004

21st Century Guide To King Crimson Volume 1 boxset details

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 10:51 pm

I can’t be the only person who’s been struggling to find some details on what this boxset contains, so I post it here to either inform those who care or bore the crap out of the rest of you. On initial inspection, the tracklisting shows two discs (discs 1 and 3) of studio material and two discs (discs 2 and 4) of live tracks. The problem with the live discs is that they appear to be of questionable necessity to King Crimson enthusiasts – many of them are pulled from either widely available official live releases or the somewhat more obscure, but no less official, Collector’s Club
(select “KCCC” for more info,) unfortunately. The box is pretty, however.

Found via the Amazon Japan site:

Disc 1
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man
2. I Talk to The Wind
3. Epitaph
4. Moonchild
5. The Court of The Crimson King
6. Peace – A Theme
7. Cat Food
8. Groon
9. Cadence and Cascade
10. In The Wake Of Poseidon (instrumental edit)
11. Ladies of the Road
12. The Sailor’s Tale (abridged)
13. Islands (instrumental edit)
14. Tuning Up
15. Bolero

Disc 2
1. The Court Of The Crimson King – Fillmore West 14 Dec. 1969
2. A Man, A City – Fillmore East 21 Nov. 1969
3. 21st Century Schizoid Man – Fillmore East 21 Nov. 1969
4. Get Thy Bearings – Chesterfield Jazz Club 7 Sept. 1969
5. Mars – Fillmore West 13 Dec. 1969
6. Pictures Of A City – Summit Studios, Denver 15 Dec. 1972
7. The Letters – Plymouth Guildhall 15 Dec. 1969
8. The Sailor’s Tale – Jacksonville 15 Dec. 1969
9. Groon – Willmington 11 Feb. 1972
10. 21st Century Schizoid Man (instrumental edit) – Willmington 11 Feb. 1972

Disc 3
1. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part I (abridged)
2. Book of Saturday
3. Easy Money
4. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part II
5. The Night Watch
6. The Great Deceiver
7. Fracture
8. Starless (abridged)
9. Red
10. Fallen Angel
11. One More Red Nightmare

Disc 4
1. Asbury Park – Asbury Park, NJ 28 June 1974
2. The Talking Drum – Pittsburgh, PA 29 April 1974
3. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part II – Asbury Park, NJ 28 June 1974
4. Lament -Asbury Park, NJ 28 June 1974
5. We’ll Let You Know – Glasgow 23 Oct 1973
6. Improv: Augsburg – Augsburg 27 March 1974
7. Exiles (abridged) – Asbury Park, NJ 28 June 1974
8. Easy Money – Asbury Park / Providence
9. Providence – Providence, RI 30 June 1974
10. Starless & Bible Black – Amsterdam 23 November 1973
11. 21st Century Schizoid Man – Providence, RI 30 June 1974
12. Trio – Amsterdam 23 November 1973

Welcome to the company

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:50 pm

When I wake up on weekday mornings for work, I’m tired, man, tired. I do my best to get my lunch ready, pack up whatever CDs I want for the day, eat some breakfast, and then get dressed. Of these tasks, the last one is probably the most important one to complete, and yet, somehow, numerous times I’ve walked out of the house, driven all the way to work, walked across the parking lot, up a flight of stairs and halfway through the building, into the breakroom where I find the soda machine is still jammed, back to my desk to write a note to leave on the soda machine, then out to the stairs where, as I look down to watch my step, I notice that, yes, sure enough, my zipper is down.

Giving the immediate area a quick, panicked surveyance, I will attempt a quick save if no one’s around. The moment I whip that zipper quickly up, the “vvviipppp” tears through the air. At this sound, I find there’s one woman sitting in the lobby of the building, who, due to my far too cursory glance I failed to notice, pops her head up from some papers in her lap.

There’s no mistaking the sound of a zipper, and I can only imagine the thoughts going through her head as she saw me descending the stairs, hand on crotch, the zipper’s resounding zing still hanging in the air. My only hope is that she’s simply visiting, or here for an interview for a job she will not get, and is not a new employee whose first encounter with the company is the pervert who likes to take it out on the stairs.

UPDATE: As luck would have it, I saw her again later in the day – she’s a new employee. I’m just going to pretend I don’t know why she glanced quickly away when I recognized her.

September 24, 2004

Mitch Hedberg and Stephen Lynch: Sept. 23, 2004, Celebrity Theater, Phoenix, AZ

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 10:11 pm

Celebrity Theater’s “in the round” setting provided an unusual setting for a pairing of comedy performances last night, and the slowly spinning stage providing material for everyone involved. After an amusing, if a tad long set by music-comedian Stephen Lynch, whose song-based humor often resembled that of Jack Black’s Tenacious D (if less metal-based,) and hilarious emcee duties handled by previously unknown to me comedian Al Madrigal, expectations were high for the big draw, Mitch Hedberg. Expectations, it turns out, were about to be let down.

Hedberg, for those who don’t know him, has made a name for himself based more on his addled delivery of odd observations. The observations, in and of themselves, are not so laugh-out-loud funny, the humor is almost entirely in the stunted, slow-paced delivery and his constant over-explanation. A classic bit goes “My apartment is infested with koala bears. It was the cutest infestation ever. When I turn on the light, they scatter, but I do not want them to. Don’t run away. I want to hold you . . . and feed you a leaf.” It’s not so funny to read it – but to hear it, it’s hilarious, and his own half-laughter following his jokes may technically be bad “comedy form” but he seems so amused at what comes out of his mouth you can’t help but laugh along with him.

Hedberg toook to the stage clutching two red cups, the kind of red cups everyone knows are usually filled with the hard stuff, setting them down on a stool in the center of the stage. Starting into his routine, it was clear something was wrong. I figured he must have had a little too much of something backstage, and his continued and frequent sampling from the two cups only added to the problem. As time wore on, things got worse. Much worse.

After a short while, he began stumbling about the stage, stupefied, mumbling, delivering punchlines before the body of the joke, laughing for no reason, and at several points throughout the show, simply laid down in the center of the stage. Dangling the microphone over his mouth, he would giggle and sigh, commenting regularly that he couldn’t remember his jokes. The audience egged him on, cheering, clapping, and laughing, tossing suggested bits into the air that he would half-heartedly attempt, then give up in more giggles. At several points I was certain he was on the verge of passing out as the microphone slipped out of his hand to clonk on the stage or on his face, but giggles would emerge again. When he did manage to stand, he approached an older woman at the side of the stage who encourage him to have a seat with her. The security guards approached to ward her off, but Hedberg stumbled off the stage to take a seat, and the woman proceeded to fetishize him, rubbing his hair, touching his clothes, and eventually the two engaged in a sickening makeout session that had the audience groaning and yelling.

Back on stage, Hedberg collapsed to the floor again in a completely incoherent mess. For an achingly long time he simply laughed, attempting to talk and slipping right back into laughter. Commenting that he liked drugs, especiallyXanax, but he was happy with anything, several small pills found their way to the stage, at least one of which he swallowed after mumbling “What is this?” He sat back down on the stage and became the picture of a drunken, washed up loser. Seats quickly began emptying, entire rows vacant, and at one point a man approached the stage with a card. Stumbling to him to retrieve the card, Hedberg read the contents aloud. “‘Jesus loves you.’ Not tonight, man, not after tonight.”

Mumbling that the Celebrity Theater owner was going to be mad in light of a previous incoherent Tempe Improv show, he questioned his performance, lamenting it, repeatedly mumbling that he wanted to “end strong” – Stephen Lynch had started strong, he stated, and Lynch ended strong, and he wanted to not disappoint the fans. He was wrong on all counts, unfortunately. At best he could only end as weakly as he began, but even with shouted lines of bits from audience members he was unable to complete most of his jokes. Upon tossing off a well-worn bit, he simply threw his hands in the air in mock victory, and Al Madrigal jumped in to save the show’s end.

This is Hedberg’s peak. He will never again be as popular as he is right now, and he’s simply throwing it away on drug abuse that he puts on display for his fans. There was next to nothing humorous about his performance – if anything, most people stayed to see if he would make it through his entire act, or, like gawking at a gory accident, stayed to see the slowly unfolding disaster. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we unwittingly paid for.

September 23, 2004

What not to do

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 7:48 pm

Via this Blogcritics post about the nature of Weblogs and life, I read this post about why friends don’t read blogs and finally stumbled upon these ridiculous “rules” of blogging. And it just chafes me.

Apparently, my site is the perfect example of what not to do. And I’m damn proud of it. Those of you whose sites are all about the news, politics, and tech, good for you, you should be so very proud – you’ve followed rule #2 to a tee, which is “don’t blog about yourself.” However, you won’t find me among your stats – I have absolutely zero interest in reading your most likely misguided, slanted rants about the state of the world today, especially the world’s most boring topic, politics. What I am interested in reading about is people (“who need people”.) And why wouldn’t anyone? I really don’t get the fascination with reading more about the day’s topics. Crap, man, I do this to get away from all that serious junk out there. Your fellow humans have many more interesting stories to tell than what makes the news.

Most of all, it’s just annoying that someone thinks there needs to be rules, sarcastic or not, about what a blog should be “about.” Who cares? If you don’t like it, you move on to another site. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I know there are others out there who do actually want to read about people’s lives. It may mean a smaller number of hits per day, but really, who really cares? If you’re doing this for fame, you need to find a new route to fame because it ain’t gonna happen here.

Question of the day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 7:31 pm

Are dogs jealous of people and their toilets, that we have some predesignated spot to relieve ourselves and don’t have to walk around the yard in circles all scrunched up, stopping here and there and then moving on because, nope, that’s just not the right spot to take a dump?

LiveBonnaroo.com offering live downloads

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 7:25 pm

Heads up for live music lovers who missed out on the intriguing lineup at this year’s Bonnaroo Festival (June 11-13): LiveBonnaroo is offering downloads of a bunch of the shows from the festival, available in crappy mp3 or as lovely lossless FLAC files. Prices vary depending on the length of the set, as some shows are maddeningly only offered as “EPs” instead of the full show (why?!) but generally seem to be between about $7 and $17 (Damien Rice’s show is a four-song, 25 minute EP at $7, and the mostly-reunited-original-lineup Praxis’ three-disc offering is $17.) Sound quality, going by the mp3 samples available, is spectacular. This is a much better way of serving the fans with music from the festival than those crappy one-song-per-band compilations usually made available. Umphrey’s McGee fans get the best deal – a whopping FIVE DISC concert for about $20 for the FLAC files. Wish I was into them, but the sound samples offered me nothing appealing.

Who’s on offer?

6/11/2004 Dave Matthews & Friends
6/11/2004 String Cheese Incident
6/11/2004 Yonder Mountain String Band
6/11/2004 Calexico
6/11/2004 North Mississippi Allstars Hill Country Review
6/11/2004 Umphrey’s McGee
6/11/2004 Chris Robinson & The New Earth Mud
6/11/2004 Praxis
6/11/2004 The Black Keys
6/11/2004 JoJo & His Mojo Mardi Gras Band
6/11/2004 Mike Doughty
6/12/2004 Galactic
6/12/2004 My Morning Jacket
6/12/2004 Del McCoury
6/12/2004 The Dead
6/12/2004 Kings of Leon
6/12/2004 Primus
6/12/2004 Doc Watson
6/12/2004 Rachael Yamagata
6/12/2004 Jazz Mandolin Project
6/12/2004 Damien Rice
6/13/2004 Soulive
6/13/2004 moe.
6/13/2004 Burning Spear
6/13/2004 Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos
6/13/2004 Guster
6/13/2004 Barbara Cue feat. Todd Nance of Widespread Panic

I would keep checking back – a notable absence is Ween – as the site mentions that more shows will become available as artists give their approval.

Personally speaking, I’ll definitely be getting the Praxis set – three discs of the classic Praxis lineup (Bill Laswell takes over for Bootsy on bass) and I may wind up getting the Dave Matthews set as well. As much as I dislike what the Dave Matthews BAND has done in the past couple of studio albums, I really enjoy Matthews’ solo album Some Devil. A live set of that material would be welcome.

September 21, 2004

Price wars on Star Wars

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 7:08 pm

As was to be expected, everyone and anyone who can carry the Star Wars Trilogy set is and a price war is heating up today. First all the online retailers listed it as a sale price of around $44.99. Then this weekend the ads in the Sunday paper were ambiguous for most stores, showing something like “Lowest Price” instead of an actual number, but CompUSA, of all places, trumped them all by stating in their ad that they would have the set for what seemed like an astounding $39.99. And then last night I happened upon a post on a forum somewhere, maybe the Ween forum, where someone claimed they knew that Fry’s would be selling the set for $36.99 – 9/21 only. This was then confirmed by a post I found in one of the Steve Hoffman forums (he’s like the sound engineer – if an album had a particularly lucid, beautiful sound, this guy was likely behind it.) So off I went to Fry’s at lunch today, with Best Buy as my backup (I would pricematch the CompUSA price with the ad, since I have no idea where a CompUSA would be around work.)

Fry’s Electronics looked like it does at Christmas – the front half of the parking lot was full, teeming with activity, cars darting around the aisles looking for spots. Inside it was even more hectic, with an unusual amount of activity in the video section, which was not to be expected. There, in the center of the CD/DVD section was one lone stand with shiny silver/black (widescreen) and gold/black (fullscreen – for suckers only) boxes, of which the widescreen boxes kept disappearing. An employee stood guard there next to a crate from which she filled the rack. Above each row was a little sign that officiated the claims I’d seen on the internet – $36.99, today only. I grabbed a box (silver/black – widescreen, of course,) inspected it for damage I would regret having settled for, and headed off to the registers. I looked back a couple times and saw the employee had given up stocking and was just handing the boxes to anyone who approached the rack.

The line was, as I said before, like it is at Christmas. I estimated there must have been about 100 people in line, 90 of which had the box in hand, and about 75 who, like me, had only the Trilogy set in hand. I saw not a single copy of the gold box – people are finally figuring out why widescreen is good, it appears. In usual Fry’s fashion, the seemingly endless row of registers was manned with about eight people, all of whom moved at as leisurely a pace as they felt like. Hey, the job pays the same whether they rush or not, right? The line moved fairly quick, and about 20 minutes after I walked in I was leaving with my precious cargo in hand.

So what’s it look like? The box is nicely printed with some tasteful embossing. Matte black and silver ink represent key elements of the series – Darth Vader’s helmet looms menacingly on the one side, and a simplified, but classy replica of the original Star Wars poster on the other. A second box pulls out of the outer box with minimal, but again, very classy color artwork. Inside of this is a nice surprise – I expected to see a big digipak flipbox like Alien Quadrilogy came in (and which is slowly falling apart!) but instead find four DVD cases, each with the appropriate artwork. It’s nice to know I can put the box portion safely away and keep the cases out for easy access. Inside each case is a cool artist’s rendering of highlights of each film, upon which the chapters are listed. Each film also contains commentary by George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt, Dennis Murren, and, on The Empire Strikes Back, director Irvin Kershner. The only disc that contains an actual booklet is Bonus Material, which explains a little bit about the contents of the four-hours worth of material on disc.

Now I just have to find time to sit down and reabsorb these classics – even these versions, altered by Lucas, are still some of the highest points cinema could hit in the 20th century. They may not be exactly what we saw in theaters in the 70s and 80s, but they’re still going to stand the test of time like few other films.

September 20, 2004

Told you so

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:28 am

Ha! How many times have I begged you all to watch Arrested Development? If you were a regular reader of unproducitivity.com, that was quite a few times. Now I get vindication: “Arrested Development wins Best Comedy Emmy.” And Best Direction. And Best Writing. And Best Casting. And Best Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series. (Alright, fine, I didn’t know those last two were even categoies.) I’m still a little chafed that Jeffrey Tambor, the father of the family in the show, didn’t win best supporting actor, but you can’t win them all.

Don’t be a loser this season – watch this friggin’ show! When the DVD comes out October 19, BUY IT.

September 19, 2004

First ever

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:49 pm

I don’t get it. I can’t count how many commercials I’ve seen lately for the new Pontiac G6, but everytime I see one the main emphasis of the commercial is that it’s the “first ever G6.” First ever . . . so what? Any new car is the “first ever.” A year ago I bought Toyota’s “first ever” Matrix, but they didn’t make a big deal out of it. Frankly, I’d be a little worried if the big push for the car was not how great, fast, comfortable, or nice it is, but that it’s just the “first ever” to go under that name.

This post? Yep, you guessed it. “First ever” to go under the name “first ever” on my site. Well, wow, now that I’ve done it, it does feel a bit special. Tingly, almost.

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