Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Nose that Knows and the Sticky Icky Icky

I pride myself on having “the nose that knows.” My outstanding sense of smell - combined with two years living in Holland - allows me to catch the scent of marijuana from a million miles away.

I wasn’t surprised when, about 15 minutes into the Red Hot Chili Peppers show, I started smelling the sticky-icky-icky.

I was extremely surprised, however, when I was sitting in the bleachers of the SLCC gym for our college-wide Welcome Back Day meeting yesterday and suddenly caught the same scent. Could my nose be wrong (not bloody likely), or was some faculty or staff member really making the event more enjoyable? We may never know…

Sunday, August 20, 2006

LoveSac Exits Bankruptcy, Shawn Nelson Still an Idiot

For you Arrested Development fans: this stupid picture of Shawn Nelson reminds me of all of episodes involving GOB's stripper policemen friends.

As a disgruntled former LoveSac intern, my overt smugness about their downfall, has been well documented. [Read rants here, here, here and here]

The latest news is that LoveSac is now out of bankruptcy. Apparently, some private investors paid $600,000 for all of the company's assets. LoveSac also downsized - from 78 stores to 20. Through it all, it seems that CEO and idiot Shawn Nelson continues to be just as jerky as ever. Though 58 stores worth of franchise owners and employees are now out of a job, there were still a lot of good things that came out of it. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

"We opened a lot of stores that weren't profitable, but at the same time we were able to build LoveSac into a national brand," Nelson said. "So that expansion really did have both a good and bad side to it."

I bet that's what the now franchise-less franchise owners are saying as well.

So LoveSac continues on, now sure that the company will be saved by its "sactionals." Yes, Nelson continues to believe that people what to go to a beanbag chair in the mall to buy expensive furniture.

While it's still up, I strongly recommend that you check out the following post on Shawn's LoveSac blog. I love that while he is trying his best sound sincere in his apology to all the many folks he's screwed over the years, he still takes the opportunity to plug new products:

"While I live with much regret and sadness for those injured by the Sac, I refuse to allow it to fade into oblivion. Not only are we about to launch some of the coolest new products we EVER have (the PlayerSac, the PillowSac Rocker, and G2 Sactionals-–oh, and also the very cool bar stool-–coming this fall), but more people are buying Sacs than ever."

Though it looks like he is clearly screening what comments are allowed to appear on the blog, I do give Shawn credit for letting a few angry comments slip through:

"Why not have the balls to post the ones that have people call you out for the way it is. Obviously this is an ego blog and a tool to market yourself and not really something that you use to truly reflect other peoples opinions. Also, your apology in the "‘comment section" without my post to let people see what you are responding to or without making it as a main page blog entry is worthless. Just so you know, no one accepts your half ass apologies!" The comment is by a user called "You Know Who," which is very ominous.

Even a LoveSac employee dared to call Shawn out on something I continuously saw during my time with the company, a complete lack of accountability:

"I’ve been working for this company for a little while now, and I’ve read through each and every one of these entries since I first started with the company. I thought it was nice to be able to hear firsthand what you thought about everything. Your prolific apologies and ‘thank you’s remind me of something. “There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has the right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.” - Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray. I’ve read your apologies and I listened to every conference call that thanked employees for their continued support. But I’ve never actually seen anyone take blame for everything that happened. I helped close stores. I went out and told staffs that their store was closing, saw managers cry as their store was torn apart and packed in boxes. The entire time, all we heard from you “Thanks, but keep selling or you’ll be next.” I’m well aware that you lost quite a bit in everything that happened. And I respect your dedication and determination. I’m not here to pretend that you aren’t grateful or sorry, I’m sure you are. But maybe it’s time that you started taking accountability and showing gratitude by working with the stores to make them better. You always told us that “We are the brand, we’re the ones making it happen.” I now know dozens of people who “were” the brand and “did” make it happen. I still talk to them. I’m still with the company, and I don’t hear anything from you anymore other than, “Corporate is doing everything right now, so if you aren’t making money, its your fault, fix it.” Where’s the real support and gratitude in that?"

Anyhoo, LoveSac sucked me in again. I've been reading blogs and articles about them for an hour now. I now I've forced it all on you. I offer my most since Shawn Nelson-style apologies. Ha!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ the Delta Center

It's obligitory - especially when you're playing an area show - to make some comment to the audience to make them feel like you've got some sort of connection with the home crowd. Sometimes, however, rockstars have kind of a struggle relating to their Utah audiences. For example, in 1997, I witnessed Billy Corgan dedicate rock ballad "Disarm" to the "Utah Jazz's quest for their first NBA title. " Clever, but nothing compared to Anthony Kiedis name checking Utah cities - Ogden, Provo, and Hooper. Hooper! Now that's doing your homework.

(For those of you who are unfamiliar with the metropolis, Hooper is located in scenic Weber County, is home to just under 4,000 people and occupies 11.5 square miles. If you looking for a date, head to Hooper - 25 percent of the population is currently unmarried.)

If you want an exhaustive and uninteresting review of last night's Red Hot Chili Peppers show at the Delta Center, click here. If you want my unimportant observations, please read on.

1. People at concerts love beer. They get so excited, it's like they've never seen a beer before and will never see one again. That's why they are willing to wait in ridiculously long lines and pay ridiculous prices. After they finally get their two beers - one for each hand - they're so excited to get back to their friends (the loser friend always has to get the beer for everyone and is in huge a hurry to get back to their "friends," you know, so everyone will think they're cool) that they invariably spill about half of the beer by the time they reach their destination.

2. Even though Anthony Kiedis is the face of the RHCP, he was not the star of the show. Neither was Flea (Do you remember that Flea was in that Pauly Shore movie "Son in Law?"). All eyes were on guitarist John Frusciante. Even when his parts took a backseat, he was still driving the show.

Also, the real difference between the old Peppers (Bloodsugarsexmagik and earlier) and the new Peppers (Californication to current) is that Frusciante has decided to make RHCP his band. He's running that band, I guarantee it.

3. Flea is the best in the biz. Frusciante is even better.

4. Drummer Chad Smith chooses to wear a royal blue, one-piece jumpsuit on stage. He could wear anything and that's what he wears. What a rockstar! He looks like Will Farrell. As a drummer, he couldn't be more solid.

5. After RHCP basically disappeared after One Hot Minute thanks to everyone's drug habits, the band didn't even have a record deal. When they reunited with Frusciante they were just rehearsing in one of the guy's garage in California. Could you imagine walking your dog around the block and hearing "Scar Tissue" or "Other Side" blasting out of your neighbor's garage? (I bet it sounded even better than last night, which is hard to imagine.)

6. After playing for more than 2 straight hours, Flea and Frusciante looked like they would just get in the bus, pick up their instruments and keep playing.

7. It's pretty impressive when you can play to an audience that is equal part 20-year-fans and 15-year-old kids. To me, musically, that is the true definition of "still relevant."

Oh, and as far as a review of the show goes - it was great.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Beckham Bends It Like...uh, Beckham

Last night, along with 45,000 of my closest friends, I had the chance to watch the world's most famous footballer - David Beckham - as his club, Real Madrid, took on Real Salt Lake in a friendly match.

I went with Traci's little brother, Tim, who has an enormous man-crush on Beckham. We were ecstatic when we were able to catch a glimpse of him in suit and tie as he entered the field. However, we felt more than a little nervous when we didn't see him warming up with the team before the game. (He was injured during his last world cup match) He suited up, but didn't take the field during the first half.

Everyone was there to see Beckham, the huge superstar. The funny thing about it is that I don't think many people know why Beckham is famous. Everyone knows he, to quote Zoolander, is "really, really, really goodlooking." Everyone knows he's married to Posh Spice and that he's a great player. But is he a better player than anyone else? Why is he the international superstar? I checked out his career wikipedia. Sounds impressive, but clearly what makes him the superstar is that he is the face of world soccer. The very goodlooking face of soccer.

And while soccer critics say that these days Beckham is more looks than skills, it was impossible not to get caught up in watching him play. At the beginning of the second-half, Beckham took the field, greeting by deafening cheers.

Midway through the second half, the moment happened. Beckham was fouled just outside of the 18-yard box. He was awarded a free kick. We were about to watch Beckham bend it. In the few seconds between the foul and the kick, Rice Eccles Stadium turned into a lightning storm of flash bulbs. The air was absolutely electric. And then he kicked it.

The shot missed wide, but it didn't matter. Tim leaned over to me and said, "I can die happy now." It really wasn't that dramatic, but it was dramatic.

The home team lost 0-2 and no one cared. They had witnessed maybe not the best, but definitely the most famous athlete in the world play soccer for 45 minutes. After all the others had left the field, Beckham lingered. He stood in the middle of the field and turned, one-by-one, to each side of bleachers and clapped in thanks to the crowd. Absolute class act. Everyone went home happy.

Friday, August 11, 2006

See You Again Next Summer, Wendy Peffercorn

Thanks to Paige, Traci and I finally have a legitimate reason to go to the Murray City kids swimming pool. Two summers ago, I had made a goal to become tan. (It is most my well-kept secretly that I am actually quite a fair-skinned fellow.) So on my days off we tried to go swimming and do outside stuff. The public pool closest to us is basically a kiddie pool. We learned this when we went there and saw that we were the only adults not accompanying children. Not willing to be brought down by social conventions, we bravely waded out to the deep end of the pool - 3 feet deep - kid free. We also went to the kid pool at the Murray Rec Center quite a few times. We have no shame. (I never got tan.)

But now we have our very own kid so we can go to the pool all we want, guilt free. Today was my last day of summer - five-day workweek at SLCC starts again on Monday -so we figured we better swim one last time. Paige loves splashing herself in the pool and today we met up with my sisters and their kids, who are a little bit older, which means I have an excuse to go down the waterslide and do cannonballs off the diving board. Its a win-win situation for everyone.

But now summer's on its way out. No more Fridays off from the College. No more thinking, "I'm sooo glad it's Thursday." No more wearing flip-flops and t-shirts to work (the new SLCC president won't let us wear shorts to work in the summer anymore). It's a sad, sad life.

August Consumption


The Format-Dog Problems
Jack's Mannequin-Everything in Transit
Matt Park PA -Emblems
Greg Graffin-As Cold as Clay
Rise Against-The Sufferer and the Witness
Rogue Wave - Out of the Shadow


But Enough about Me by Jancee Dunn

A few thoughts from our show at Kilby last night...

I obviously have no idea what shows at Kilby are going to be “cool.” I booked the show with Get Him Eat Him for a couple of reasons. The first was that on the genre scale, we at least fall in the same realm as Get Him Eat Him. (We sound nothing like 95 percent of the bands that play Kilby.)

The second was that I thought people would actually come to the show. More people coming to see the headliner means a few more people milling around at the beginning of the show when we play. I like Get Him Eat Him, and even own their CD, so I figured there must be a lot of people out there who would also want to see them. Clearly I was wrong.

There were about 10 people there to see us, and about 10 to see the other local opener. Beyond that, there were probably four people there to see the two touring bands. Since all of the local supporters headed out after they had seen the band they had come for, the crowd for both of the touring bands was more or less the other bands on the bill.

I have always, always wanted to go on tour. It doesn’t need to be a world tour, it doesn’t even need to be a West Coast tour. I would settle for getting in a van and playing Cedar City, St. George and Vegas. Man, I can’t really think of anything cooler than that. However, nights like last night make me think about how bad it must suck to tour. Here were two bands that had driven from Denver to Salt Lake to show up and play to four fans. If my math is correct, Kilby probably only brought in $150 (and that’s the absolute max) in ticket sales. I don’t know how much the club kept for itself, but even if it was nothing, its hard to stretch $150 between two band and eight band members. The next stop on their tour was Boise, so all of the ticket money will probably be spent in gas before they get there.

Everyone knows that bands make their money on the road by selling CDs and t-shirts, but it’s hard to sell merchandise when no one comes to the show. I felt especially bad for the Evangelicals, who mentioned during their set that this was their first tour, and just their second show on the tour. I wonder if they have any doubts about what they’re doing…

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Return of David Hasselhoff & Ty Goes Crazy

Clearly, either Las Vegas or getting engaged, or both, has affected my friend Ty's taste in music. He just sent me a link to this HOTTT new video by David Hasselhoff. Below is the record label's description. I only include it because it includes the word "Hofficial."

"That's right, it's Hofficial... your favourite cult icon wants to take you home! The one and only David Hasselhoff of "Bay Watch" and "Knight Rider" fame returns with a cover of the
1975 classic 'Jump In My Car' and its a doozy. Recorded in Sydney last year with the legendary Harry Vanda (AC/DC, The Angels), the Ted Mulry Gang tune has been re-vamped with full Hoff gusto and this music video promises to rock the socks off all his Hofficial fans."

I especially love when he wears the devil horns. Best. Video. Ever.