Friday, April 24, 2009

So I made you this tape, I hope you like it

Before I start this essay, you need to go see Adventureland. It's the best movie I've seen in a long time. I liked it more than Slumdog Millionaire. Adventureland takes place in 1987, and at one point, the main character gives the girl he has a crush on a mix tape. I know I'm like, the millionth person to say this, but I really miss mix tapes. I miss making them, I miss giving them to people, I miss writing on the card inside with really small letters to fit every song on. I recently got a message from a girl who found some tapes I made her a long time ago. The first thing I did after reading her message was dig out the old tapes that I made for my wife, years before we even met. She was making a series of long drives at the time, and I wanted more than anything to make her some tapes. This gesture was meant to show that not only did I care about her, but more importantly that I had really cool taste. When she caught wind of this, my friend Teresa demanded that we start a Bridgewater State College mix tape club. We were the only two members, but we made a lot of mix tapes, so that was cool. I know that while they're not exactly the same, mix CDs have more or less replaced the mix tape. Less effort means they're not as impressive, but these are the times we live in. As a service to the Mousebed reader, here are some songs to put on the mix tape that you will be giving to your summer crush six short weeks from now. John Cabral, I'm doing you a favor. (Album titles in parentheses.)

Side A

The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner
Please do yourself a favor and start every mix tape with this song. It's a killer opener, and it gets the listener ready to drive down the various highways connecting their small Massachusetts town to the next. (Modern Lovers self titled)

Elvis Costello - High Fidelity
This song belongs on your mix tape so much that Nick Hornby wrote an entire book about a guy who makes mix tapes and called it High Fidelity. Another upbeat classic, this is a good sing-along song for road trips. (Get Happy!!!)

Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man - Tom the Model
Beth Gibbons, formerly of Portishead, carries this slower song with a powerful vocal performance. Every mix tape needs a torch song, and this is probably the best torch song that doesn't involve Dusty Springfield. (Out of Season)

Ben Folds Five - Stephen's Last Night in Town
The horns from the last song carry over into this track. So what if it's from the Ben Folds Five album that everybody bought? Nobody listened past the fourth song. (Whatever and Ever, Amen)

The Cardigans - Love Fool
No girl can resist this song. Everybody sings along, and it shows you have a fun side. It provides a decent buffer before the next song, which is kind of a bummer. (First Band on the Moon)

The Eels - Last Stop: This Town
This is an upbeat song, but it's about a dead person. A better choice than the Eels' biggest hit, Novocaine for the Soul, because it's easier to sing along with. Let's face it, most mix tapes are for driving, and you need to be able to sing on long trips. (Electro-Shock Blues)

David Bowie - Heroes
A song that everybody knows, and it's a powerful song to end your a-side with. Be sure to use the longer version from the Heroes album, it doesn't get its due. (Heroes)

Side B

Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun
*clapclap clapclap* Just as every tape needs to begin with Roadrunner, every b-side needs to begin with Blister in the Sun. It's another song that everybody can sing along to, even if they don't know the words. Another plus for this song is you don't really need to be a good singer to nail this song. (Violent Femmes self titled)

The Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored
Every mix tape needs a shoegazey-type song. Luckily, this song is deceptively fast-paced, so even though it's a bummer, it doesn't slow down the flow of the playlist. (Stone Roses self titled)

The Pixies - Hey
This song is kinda sexy, and it works really well in the context of this pretend tape that I'm putting together. This is for when you've pulled over to a rest stop to make out. (Dolittle)

The Velvet Underground - What Goes On
Another song for making out, this one is nice and long and has a hypnotic organ solo. It also holds the distinction of being the only song Lou Reed ever wrote that isn't about sucking a tranny's cock, heroin, or sucking a tranny's cock for heroin, so it won't ruin the mood. (The Velvet Underground self titled third album)

The Who - I Can See For Miles
Now that you're done making out, you need to hit the road again, and this is another great driving song. If you'd like you can substitute it for this version by Lord Sitar. (The Who Sell Out)

This slot is a little tricky. It's the second-to-last song on your mix tape, and the best thing to put here is something personal. Here are a few things to avoid: First, don't use any song about the girl being in love with another guy. As much as I love 96 Tears, it doesn't belong on this tape. Second, avoid using songs with the girl's name in the title, especially if it's Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town by Kenny Rogers. Finally, just don't use Young Girl by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, because that song is about fucking underage girls, and that's not exactly the best way to get in her pants. If all else fails, use Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (Fever to Tell)

Frank Black and the Catholics - If it Takes All Night
If there's a better way to end your mix tape, I'm not sure how. It's about driving all night, it's about going to see your lady and most importantly, it gets you ready to turn the tape back over and start all over again from Roadrunner. (Dog in the Sand)

There you have it, everybody. All you need now is a couple of stand-up routines to put between songs to pad out the time. A couple good ones include Mitch Hedberg's bit about Smokey the Bear and Smacky the Frog, Woody Allen's bit about the damaged pet store or Emo Philips' joke about the heretic. If this doesn't get you laid this summer, I don't know what will. Try booze, though. That seems to work.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We Podcast on Guard For Thee


As promised, we bring you this week's podcast during the same week in which we recorded it. This week's podcast is all about the Bruins and their domination of the Montreal Canadiens. If that doesn't interest you, then don't listen. There's nothing else to be had here. Well, except for this picture:

But yeah, that's mainly it. Here's a breakdown of everything that was discussed:
  • John congratulating Josh on his unwavering lifelong Bruin fandom
  • John explaining his decade-long sabbatical from the Boston Bruins
  • Lots and lots of laughing at the Canadiens for their performance
  • An explanation of how, in fact, Canadiens fans are the worst people alive
  • Josh trying to sell the casual hockey fan on the Wales Conference Division Final or whatever they're calling the next round these days.






Related and recommended YouTubage:






Come to think of it, check out that whole Hockey Canadiens site for all the sweet, sweet French language video schadenfrude you can handle. It's awesome.

Enjoy the podcast, everyone. We'll talk about normal things again next week. I think.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don't call me guy! I'm not your guy, buddy!

If you haven't already guessed, Josh, Aurora and I have all hit hideous ruts in our jobs this month that are sapping us of our will to live. And our will to blog. And our will to upload podcasts.

This week's craptacular podcast is already a week old. It came after procrastinating recording for two days, and procrastinating uploading/posting for several more. It didn't occur to either of us to talk about the Bruins, who are kicking Hab ass right now, we might add.

Here's what's in this one:

  • A taste of what Josh sounds like when he first wakes up
  • John dissecting the Oakland A's for much longer than you could possibly be interested
  • More confrontations at Arclight Cinemas
  • Dicky Barrett love
We'll be recording another podcast tomorrow night, and hopefully my sorry ass will get that posted much sooner.

Enjoy.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Poor Generation

One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold

Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers


I know I'm a little late in saying this, but happy sixth anniversary to the war in Iraq. They said it would never last, but you showed them. A little over six years ago, my high school orchestrated a student walk-out to protest the Bush administration and its international thuggery. I joined the Campus Greens organization for the sole purpose of helping put this walk-out together. Well, that and to get laid. Everything I did in high school was to get laid. Oh, and get out of class. I wanted to get out of class, too. In college I would combine my two loves and skip class to have sex. We were warned by the school staff that if we were to skip class to attend an anti-war rally, our actions would have dire consequences. Possibly ten days of suspension. I couldn't have been happier. This was back when I was a lot angrier about politics than I am now. To be fair, I had a lot to be angry about. The summer after I graduated high school, if you had asked me what the proudest moment of my life was to that point, I'd have said when I registered to vote under the Green Party. If you asked me now, I'd have to say the time I drank ten rum and cokes in three hours and managed not to die.

My friends and I put together signs, wrote some good, old-fashioned chants and made our way to the sidewalk in front of our school for the protest. There were about 45 of us standing out in the drizzling rain that morning, our arms linked and our voices loud. An hour later, we peacefully made our way back inside, greeted by applause from the more liberal members of our school staff. Believe it or not, there were a lot of super-lefty types teaching at my small high school in rural Massachusetts. We were led into the auditorium where a prepared statement was read to us by our principal, Pat Graves. This marks the first and only time I ever saw Pat Graves in my two years at Barnstable High. She congratulated us on being able to peacefully assemble and exercise our First Amendment rights. Our punishment was a one-day suspension, to be served the following Monday. The next day, our country went to war. I was an American citizen, and all I got was this lousy three-day weekend.

All my life I've been fascinated with counterculture. I read Naked Lunch when I was 13. I'm well versed in the works of the Beats. I had an Andy Warhol day planner in fifth grade. One time I even drew in one of my textbooks and didn't pay for a replacement. Deep down though, I know I'd be a horrible counterculturist. First of all, I'm terrified of hallucinogens. The real problem, though, is that I just don't have the energy for it. Being opposed to things takes a lot of fucking effort. I used to know a guy who broke up Klan rallies. He and his friends would find out ahead of time where the KKK was to meet, then they'd go in disguise and start beating people with baseball bats and brass knuckles. I'm just not that good at making plans. I'm going to the movies tonight with my wife and we don't even know what we're going to see. There's no way I could orchestrate an entire anti-whatever march.

I'm a month away from my 24th birthday, and I feel like my generation doesn't have a voice. Remember when generations had voices? Bob Dylan was the voice of a generation. I don't expect there to be another Dylan any time soon, but I wonder who will fill that void. Regardless of when punk died, it's very dead. There are no more punks. Where is the counterculture? There's no dearth of stuff to be opposed to, so where the fuck are the people who oppose it? I feel like there hasn't been anything of substance since grunge. Kurt Cobain is dead and Thurston Moore is old, so that leaves us with nothing still. I suppose the closest thing the entertainment world has right now to real, live revolution is Jon Stewart. The Daily Show has finally decided that it is mad as hell and it's not going to be taking it anymore. By now, everybody knows about Jon Stewart verbally shitting on MSNBC and exposing their hand in helping to create the events that shaped our shitty economy. I know people are angry, but they don't have a unifier. There's nobody to spearhead this anger. Is it just that people are too concerned about doing what's best for themselves to allow themselves to be led? The Internet has allowed too many people to become producers as opposed to appreciators. Is it that there's too much shit being thrown at the wall that it's impossible to see what has stuck?

The truly terrifying thought occurred to me this morning that the unifying voice of our generation could be our President. I have nothing against the President - I'd even have voted for him if I didn't vote for Nobody this year at the suggestion of former trip tent operator Wavy Gravy. I'm just concerned that too many people have decided that there's nothing they can do for themselves anymore and that the government is just going to have to suck it up and fix everything. Are we that lazy and narcissistic that we expect The Man to solve our individual problems? If so, what does that say about us? I can't believe we're just going to sit around and wait for the Deus Ex Machina in the form of a welfare check or a phantom stimulus package. I work a piece of shit job that pays me $8.75 an hour. You know how my wife and I are paying our bills? We're going to end up working six or seven days a week for the next five months. I mean, I work at a movie theater and she works at the library, so we're not exactly digging ditches, but it takes a physical toll.

Maybe my mom had it right after all. When I was five, we were on welfare. I asked her why she didn't get a job, so we could have more money. She told me that if she got a job, the government would stop sending her free money, so what's the point?

And the winner is...

If I do say so myself, this is the finest edition of Taking A Fifteen in quite some time. This is a monumental episode, since this podcast contains the announcement of the 2008 Octavio Dotel Closer of the Year Award winner! No spoilers, folks; you'll have to listen to find out who won. Tease!





Other things included in today's podcast:
  • Josh pissed
  • Josh re-meets Emo Phillips
  • Juvenile baseball chatter (expect much more of this in the future)
  • John fretting over the possibility of family elders listening to him talk about lesbian sex
  • Justifiably less alliteration than this list would lead you to believe
We also referenced a YouTube video during the podcast. When we reach that point, I recommend that you pause and watch this:


Finally, we have some more internets to promote this week. I've been "hired" to continue expanding my blogging empire at John Bell's The Last Wave By, a new baseball blog. Most of you don't know John, but he's got a great baseball mind and he's a tremendous writer -- much better than anyone who has ever written here.

And oh yeah, we found that creepy acting coach from last week's podcast on the internet. He has a website. Of course he does.

Friday, April 3, 2009

You's a Wimp, She's a Shrew

Of all the things that could be blamed for me failing out of college, I suppose the biggest problem was what I learned. Two things I got really good at in college were smoking cigarettes and fucking, but Bridgewater State didn't offer degrees in either of those fields. Before I failed out, I had fallen pretty hard for a girl named Alison. We spent a lot of time together, and one night she confided in me that things weren't exactly going well with her boyfriend, and that she was thinking of breaking up with him. She even went as far as inviting herself over to my dorm room for a night of sweet, girly booze.

I made the necessary preparations for her arrival. I bought two bottles of peach schnapps, some iced tea and made sure my roommate and his incredibly dumb girlfriend had a place to be that wasn't my room. (Side note: one night my roommate and his girlfriend sexiled me for five whole hours. After staying on the phone with Aurora as long as my phone battery would let me, smoking multiple cigarettes and walking around campus at what some would consider an unsafe hour, I finally decided to reclaim my half of the dorm room. They pretended not to be fucking, although when I was dozing off, I could hear her say “no, slower. Go in circles.” Fantastic.) I made sure to clean my half of the room before Alison was to arrive, and once she got there, our evening of romance began. We got pretty loaded on fruity girl drinks and played computer solitaire. It's much nicer than it sounds. At one point, we decided it would be funny if I were to lie down in the hallway and have her make a homicide victim outline of me using masking tape. We even almost made out. I felt like a lot of progress had been made.

She and I barely spoke for the rest of the semester, but I decided to blame that on finals, which I had decided was something I just wouldn't be a part of. A few weeks after finals were over, I got the letter in the mail saying I had officially failed out of college. Even though I didn't want to go to any more classes, it made me really sad that I would never again eat the shitty food at Tillinghast Hall or smoke pot on what was affectionately called The Rape Trail. I wouldn't get to smoke cigarettes with Julianne every day. Most importantly, I wouldn't be able to spend any more time with Alison. I managed to keep my mind off of my miserable love life by working three jobs that summer, leaving me no time to fuck around - either literally or otherwise - with women. I focused on smoking a lot of pot with my friend Nate and playing video games in my spare time. I had resigned myself to an Alisonless life.

The worst of it came when all of my friends went back to school and I was stuck living in my parents' house. Two of my jobs - the summer camp and the fake internship with the Cape League - were seasonal, so I was down to one regular job. I spent all of my free time smoking cigarettes and bumming around. One week, there was a carnival in town, and one of the carnies decided to hang around the mall where I worked. I gave him cigarettes in exchange for tales from his life as a drifter. His name, by the way, was Chaos. He wasn't sure what his real name was - it had been too long since anybody had used it. What a cool, cool guy.

About three weeks into the school year, I got a call from Alison out of nowhere. She tells me that all summer she's wanted to spend time with me, but all she did was work. That sounded pretty reasonable, I did the same thing. She wanted me to come visit her as soon as I could, which I gladly did. I managed to find an old friend who would let me crash in his dorm, on the off chance I didn't end up spending the night with Alison. We sat down at a restaurant and she immediately called somebody on her cell phone. She started telling her friend about this guy she had a date with, and how excited she was about it, which I thought was strange, seeing as she was on that very same date. Or so I thought. When she hung up the phone, she told me she had just met this awesome guy and she wanted to tell me all about him. I couldn't fucking believe this shit. She called me up from the Cape to tell me that she wanted to date somebody who wasn't me? When I told her that I came all that way just to see her because, you know, I figured we'd be fucking or something, she was taken by surprise. She always just thought I was a good friend. Apparently one of the privileges of being her good friend was feeling her up after drinking large amounts of peach schnapps. What's weirder is that night, we ended up going to a party where we got loaded and I felt her up on a couch in a basement.

I stumbled my way back to the dorms, tipsy and dejected. I got a hold of Julianne and asked if she was around. We had a few cigarettes and headed up to her dorm. We talked for a while, and I told her what happened earlier that night. I felt pretty guilty about the whole situation. I wasn't sure why - I mean, if anything I should have felt used. Julianne figured - and she was right, by the way - that the reason I felt so guilty was that I knew, deep down, that I didn't belong with Alison. Everybody who knew me knew one thing for certain - I needed to marry Aurora. I spoke with her for hours every night. I talked about her whenever the occasion arose. I had a girlfriend dump me because she was jealous of how much I liked Aurora more than her. To be fair, Vicky dumped me because she was jealous of how much I liked the following girls more than her: Aurora, Julianne, Ty, Rin, Alison, my roommate's cat, Phyllis, the nice lady who worked at the commuter cafeteria who always made me vegan meals and the calm woman who reads the options for my voicemail menu.

That night when I spoke to Aurora, I told her how much I loved her. I told her about the whole situation with Alison, even the part where I felt her up in the basement. I was pretty drunk. We started making plans for me to move to Los Angeles, which, much like a baby conceived during a night of misguided drunken passion, came to fruition about nine months later. Within a year of my move, I married Aurora. There were a lot of good reasons to leave Massachusetts - and there are just as many reasons to move back there eventually - but the one that really lit the fire under my ass was Alison. Thank you, you fire-crotched skank.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Taking A Fifteen 3.31

Hi, folks. John here. It's been rough out there in the podcasting world these last couple of weeks. Josh and I recorded a pretty damn entertaining one last week, but due to a Garage Band snafu, only five minutes of it was actually captured.

We actually recorded this one on Monday night, despite all kinds of connectivity problems on my end. I've been on the go ever since, and haven't had a chance to get this baby online until now. But at long last, here it is.


Finally, a couple of interweb notes. Friend of the Mousebed Kyle Cwynar is up and blogging his musical recommendations. We recommend his work, and not just because he put us in his Blogroll. We swear.

Also, this week's podcast is dedicated in the memory of SoundLantern.com, a woefully inept audio upload site memorable for once declaring us its top comedy podcast. It won't be the same without you, SoundLantern.

SoundLantern.com
Requiescat in pace
February 2009-March 2009

Adidas Story 8: Slowpoke Rodriguez and the Adidas Cavalcade of Stars!

Retail is the realm of the lazy, the useless, the pathetic, the listless and teenagers. Teenagers are usually most, if not all, of those four things. Adidas hired a lot of people who fit into all of those categories. Since I don't have a cohesive story to present this week, here's a clip show of shorter stories about some of my less than stellar coworkers.

---

The kid who had no hair: A few months after I started, adidas hired a kid with no eyebrows. It took everybody two whole weeks to notice, so good for him. He had alopecia, a condition that makes it impossible to grow hair. He hid this by wearing a wig, which he had convinced people was his real hair. I'm not sure how; it was styled exactly the same way every day. Once it was higher up his scalp than it ought to have been, which I thought was pretty funny. Also, I'm pretty sure he managed to steal a new article of clothing from the store every day, but I couldn't prove it. That was a little less funny.

---

Bradley: This kid was hired to work in the stockroom, and I couldn't have been happier. With Bradley around, nobody noticed how bad I was at my job. Bradley was so utterly and willfully incompetent. It was amazing. In his first eight hour shift, he talked for nine hours and did negative one hour of work. He spoke so much that shirts pulled themselves off of hangers, folded themselves and slipped back into the boxes from whence they came. He tried to impress everybody by bragging about the History of Rap Music class he claims to have taken at USC. By the way, nothing against rap music, but I can't imagine anything less than 50 years old needing an entire semester-long class devoted to it. You hear that, professors who teach classes about Star Wars? Eat my cock. By the way, did you know the Survey of American Jazz class at Bridgewater State doesn't cover anything by Frank Zappa? What a fucking joke. Anyhow, Bradley drew the ire of everybody in the stockroom because of his lack of effort, and was sent upstairs to the sales floor, where the gift of gab may have actually helped, if anything he ever said was interesting. He quit in less than a month, and left believing that nobody liked him because he was black. I don't know about anybody else, but I didn't like him because he told me that Kingdom Come was better than every other Jay Z album. What are they teaching in these History of Rap classes?

---

Slowpoke Rodriguez: One of the team leads, David, had a friend named Mario. Mario was a fat Mexican guy with a creep mustache. Mario used to work with David at his old job, and wanted to get a job at adidas so he could work with his buddy. David didn't want Mario working at adidas for fear that his personal life and his work life would not mix, which they did not. Mario told me about the women that David wanted to hook up with, which wouldn't have been a problem if he didn't have a wife and ugly baby at home. By the way, adidas people who are reading this, his baby is ugly. Period. I'm sick of arguing with you about this. Anyhow, in addition to selling out his buddy, Mario also liked talking. The problem with Mario was the way he talked. Remember Speedy Gonzales, the Fastest Mouse in aaaaaall of Mexico? Well, he had a cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez. Look him up on YouTube. That's how Mario spoke. He spoke like a cultural stereotype from the late 1950's. It was really tough listening to him talk, but it was usually pretty funny. Once, at an after-closing Norms meal, he asked my wife if she had ever eaten “apple pie, but with like, ice cream, man.” She said yes, that she had seen that once, while traveling.

---

Frankie: Frankie was hired right after [SPOILER ALERT] Alon got fired. He, like so many people who worked for adidas less than a month, was a bigger fan of standing around like a douchebag and talking than doing actual work. He apparently was friends with Katie, who worked in footwear, and when they met up in the stockroom, it was retarded magic. I felt less intelligent just being near them. Frankie also had that weird snakebite piercing that's so popular with the femme crowd these days. He also used to date Patty, which made for even more weirdness. This kid just reeked of weird. What a weirdo. He got fired for not showing up to an all-store meeting. His excuse was that he had a bruise on his leg. I went to exactly one all-store meeting in my career at adidas, and was never punished. Just goes to show that being a total douchebagel will get you fired for the smallest things.

---

If you would like to read more adidas stories, here are the links:
1 Seth and Yanira
2 Area Leads and the NBA Event
3 Sweatshirt Folding and Orwellian Mindgames
4 (I Don't Want to go to) Chelsea
5 Stockroom MADNESS!
6 Santa Monica T-Shirt Boulevard
7 Shitwater Canyon and Fruit Flygueroa
8 Slowpoke Rodriguez and the Adidas Cavalcade of Stars!
9 How to Lose Friends and Influence Nobody
10 From the Basement to the Dream Factory