Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mission Of Burma - Signals, Calls, and Marches

I still listen to Blink 182's Dude Ranch frequently.

I preface by stating I do this completely unironically. Yeah sure its a testament of my generation's prolonged adolescence, and it reeks of nostalgia, but on its own merits its a great pop record. Some kids really got into that Nirvana stage. At age 14 I got into a Dude Ranch phase.  

You know how you end up at a party and someone puts on some old dad bands like Hall and Oates or Kenny Loggins, and everyone collectively loses their minds sings their inebriated hearts out cause everyone knows the chorus to "What a Fool Believes?". Or they play some early 00's R&B that we all remember from being on TRL for like two weeks straight at the number one spot? If someone put on "Waggy" (objectively the best Blink-182 song) or "Apple Shampoo" I wouldn't bat an eye. Dude Ranch isn't reserved for drunken nostalgia sing-along party time.

Mission of Burma's Signals, Calls, and Marches is somebody's Dude Ranch. There is some 40 year old dad out there who thinks this is one of the best records, even  without his rose-colored glasses on. He tells his shitty children "This is real punk kids" and they ignore him until they are in college and realize how cool he was/is.

Mission of Burma is  Early 80's American post-punk, with angular guitar riffs, big drums, and introspective, relevant lyrics. With just the perfect amount of pop hooks, they remind me of if Les Savy Fav was around 30 years ago. Critics view their second release, Vs. as their strongest work, but start here with Signals if you want to dig in.

"Academy Fight Song" and "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" are standout tracks, with "This Is Not a Photograph" being my personal favorite. Burma's sound still stands out even years later, and they actually got back together few years ago and have been putting out some new records. Check out their first release below.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hard Girls - Isn't It Worse

I don't know if its intentional, but why do bands generally put their best songs on 7"s or split records? Is it because they can squeeze all the goodness of themselves into a few songs, rather then the tedious work of creating a full LP? Or do they know people like me will hunt and track down everything they have ever recorded and listen to them, to realize that some split they did with some even more obscure band with one song each has their most amazing, quintessential work? I know there is a whole collective of people who praise the 7'', but seriously, come on.

Hard Girls have two full records and several splits with a bunch of other great bands. Their newest release Isn't It Worse, luckily has a record full of those one track split jams. The track "Swamp With Potential", sounds like it would come straight from a cassette-only demo they released with only a 100 copies. It sounds pretentious, obsessive, and inane, (cause it totally is) yet Hard Girl's approach of indie-punk: melodic-driven guitars, alternating vocals, and the feeling that they were obsessed with Dude Ranch and Slanted & Enchanted, gives me every reason to make it so.

Hard Girls' continuously puts our feel good jams that sound best in the shitty stereo system out of my 92' Corolla, or as the video expresses above, eating junk food and getting wasted while playing out scenes from the VHS version of Major Payne with your buds.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Oshwa - Transmissions From the Mid-West: A Real-America Tribute

My mom is the biggest Sade fan.

Recently I have seen more people listening to her records and came to the conclusion that I have not met a person who does not like Sade. Its impossible."Smooth Operator" is what she is most known for, but come on', we can all agree "No Ordinary Love" is her best song. so smooth.  It's so surprising to see her continued relevance, since 80's R&B production values were so horrendously bad, like really bad. (unless its Computer Love, it's still great).

Every single person I have shown Oshwa, has not like it. They've hated it. Which is too bad, Because vocalist/guitarist Alicia Walter's voice is something akin to Sade. It definitely is distinct, which is what turns people off, as I've heard my coworkers say "sounds like she's in the wrong band." But its so melodic, flowing, and gentle, but also manages to bellow over the twinkly guitars, and loose, sporadic drums. 

Oshwa has the tinge some math rock,  twinkly and melodic but similar to Dirty Projectors, but enough free verse styling of Storm and Stress to make it less like a pop album. The three tracks on Transmissions are all great, with the second song "Grar" being the standout track. check it out if your in the mood for some relaxing, bedroom math pop.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ovlov - am

When I was kid, Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" music video was the most amazing thing to me in the world. My parents have told me that when it would come on TV, I would lose my shit. They don't know why, and neither do I. There was also no sense of diminishing returns of my enjoyment of the song, every time I would equally lose my mind over it, dancing like a mad man. 
Ovlov sounds nothing like Peter Gabriel.

However, they have what I would describe as the Peter Gabriel effect. 

Their newest record, am, is packed and stuffed with so many solid riffs, which are reminiscent of Yo La Tengo, Sneeze, and even MBV. I'm a sucker for an album with catchy yet abrasive riffs, that most of the time vocals are simply an afterthought. Ovlov's vocals fit, the lo-fi tone with an emo approach. For some odd reason, the best way to sum them up is "Emo-Mclusky".

Ovlov's entire back catalog is for free download on their bandcamp, which are all equally fantastic.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pangea - Living Dummy

Double post day! Whoo! Listen to this awesome garage fuzz and then go to the Burger Boogaloo and listen to it some more. Lo-fi scuzz punk to match how you feel inside.

Daniel Striped Tiger - No Difference

Daniel Striped Tiger fucking owns and this album is basically just 30 minutes of awesome riffs and punishing grooves. I know the "new Max" is all into keyboards and tone sounds and shit but hopefully that's all on its way out. Listening to this album right now is the equivalent of taking your first breath of air after being underwater, then immediately punching the paramedic in the face and stealing his dumb fanny pack.

Sorry for the YouTube links. Download here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Jamz

This is not a post about songs that are about summer or songs that remind me of summer in any way. My taste in music is season independent. This is mostly a post of music I will soon associate with summer.

Here are some ideas I associate with summer: not going to school, staying up late, driving, not wearing a shirt, drinking beer, going to work, walking, blinding sunlight, cutoffs, getting ignored by women, riding my bicycle, going to the beach and remembering I don't care about the ocean, sleeping naked, listening to my ipod while going somewhere by myself, sitting on the diving board in my parents' backyard, and that's it.

00:00 NPTO - Whatever Brains
03:10 Kaspar Hauser Lied - Glocca Morra
05:40 Sass - Slam Dunk
10:04 Get Us Here - For Serious This Time
13:15 Sea Babies - Beat Happening
15:52 No Safe - Fat History Month
17:34 S'okay - Love of Everything
20:15 Harness Your Hopes - Pavement
23:40 Way to be Tall - By Surprise
26:53 Pets - Pile
31:09 Paper R.T. - Big Soda
32:45 Red Bullgirls - Sneeze
35:20 Vice City - Summer Vacation
37:05 The Kids are Fucking Brilliant - The Max Levine Ensemble
39:13 Great Plans - Mike Huguenor
40:34 Not a Care in the World - Beat Happening
44:14 Catchin' the Vibe - Quasimoto
46:56 A Turreted Berg - My Disco
51:06 Drive Through Rainbow - Love of Everything

Tereshkova - Intergalactic Letdown

Here's another one from Lillerne Tapes. I ordered this tape with the lovely Strange Mountain album about which I last posted. I've recently shied away from 'reverby-lo-fi-bedroom-pop' (or whatever you want to call it) because it's become a convenient meal for a bunch of hungry music blogs that I'll never read. Bedroom pop projects and blogs have been increasing exponentially to try counterbalance one another, only to result in a surplus of one or the other at any given moment of time (citation forthcoming). Moral of the story = there's too much filler and I can't keep up. I'm glad Lillerne Tapes is doing the dirty work for me because Tereshkova stand out from the rest, and are worth your attention and time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Strange Mountain - Slow Midnight

Here's some awesome music out of Jakarta, Indonesia. This is real sincere and delicate.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Foods that I like

Max requested a list of foods that I like. I'm not sure where he's going with that, since I like almost everything. I think he just wants to me to make a list so that he can ask about food that is not on the list, thus demonstrating that he knows me better than I know myself. He's an asshole, alright, but he's my kind of asshole. I say this because that is exactly the kind of asshole I was when he posted a list of foods that he likes. 

Here are some foods that I like. This list is not comprehensive.

Mangoes, all varieties. Yellows are my favorite. 
Apples. Right now mostly Fujis. I tried a Braeburn and it was mealy as hell. It was so mealy that I didn't even finish eating it at lunch. I took it home and cooked it up in butter and cinnamon and ate it over ice cream. That's about all the use I have for mealy apples, but I would never buy a mealy apple for that purpose. I got some huuuuuuuge Fujis at sprouts last week, and they were awesome. Crisp as the dickens and so, so sweet. Some foods sacrifice flavor in favor of size, but not these babies. They were huge and tasty. I guess there's really not much more to say about an apple beyond how big it was, whether or not it was a shitty mealy apple, and if it was tasty. 
Korean pears, brown pears, brown sand pears. Generic Asian-type pears. 
Orange-colored citruses. Grapefruits can fuck off. 
Bull testicles.

So that's the list. It is not comprehensive. Looking at it now I see that it is mostly fruit. I don't know why that happened. 

My heart is not in this post. 

Love of Everything - Best In Tensions

I've been listening to lots and lots of Joan of Arc lately and this band is pretty well ingrained in their family tree. Love of Everything is a guy named Bobby Burg and he's an excellent songwriter. The songs are much more stripped down and bare than typical Joan of Arc stuff which is pretty nice. Some of it isn't all that fleshed out and the album sort of sounds more like a demo tape of sorts. It's sweet, likable stuff. Bobby Burg doesn't want to just have sex with you, he wants to marry you and be with you forever. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Foods that everyone should like and if you don't like them I will judge you

I've been listening to a lot of music lately but I haven't really had the urge to post anything because I'm boring and have nothing interesting to say (about music, currently). So here's a list I made of foods that I think everyone should like. If you don't like any of these foods you should keep this a secret and never, ever tell me because you will lose much, if not all, of my respect. If we ever make plans to hang out I may suggest one of these foods as a test and you should have a believable excuse ready so that I don't catch on. This list isn't meant to be all-encompassing but I think it gets across most of my ideas about generalized eating habits:

- Avocados*
- Garlic
- Berries (any kind)
- Tomatoes
- Pho
- Bread (any kind, except bullshit bread with like raisins or cranberries)
- Cheese (any kind)
- Spinach
- Cilantro**
- Crispy IPAs (not a food but whatever)
- Salt
- Mushrooms*** (any kind)
- Plums
- Hummus
- Lemons
- Kale
- Mustard
- Artichokes
- Mangos

Things not on the list
- Things that are flavored like bacon but are not actually made of bacon
- Bacon

*I swear to god a senior engineer at work told me last week that he didn't like avocados and thought "they're all mushy and gross." I almost didn't even put avocados on this list because I thought it was just totally automatic. Like all those girls on OkCupid who say they can't live without "air and water." Why even bother mentioning it? Anyways, I told him "Mike, you're a fucking idiot and that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." We have a pretty good relationship that way.
**Yeah, I said it. Don't give me that bullshit about how some people have a recessive gene that makes cilantro taste like soap. That's just how cilantro tastes, and it's awesome. Everyone I've ever met that doesn't like cilantro is the type of person that eats cheese pizza at every meal.
***A different senior engineer at work told me he didn't eat mushrooms because they grow in shit. Okay, yeah, that's sort of true, but they're also delicious, and the "grows in shit" line doesn't really give proper justice to mycelium. He's actually quite a bit senior to me so, although I still called him an idiot, I sort of said it more jokingly and I didn't include the F-bomb. Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Trudgers - Nothing Perfect Ever

I used to think Brent Mitzner was just a member of a band called Trudgers. Now I know that Brent is Trudgers and I think he's a genius. He's got the Midas touch.

Monday, May 13, 2013


ANTWON aka YUNG BABY TWON aka Tony (But That's the Old He) is a trap rap, cloud slap, art rap, heart feelin, San Jose (Sunnyvale) native who literally dumps his heart and dick into every song. I've never listened to a man who makes me want to fuck and cuddle all at the same time. Which is probably why I love him so much.

ANTWON is the nut of a blunt wrapped with the echoed voice of Biggie Smalls, sprinkled with the keef of Robert Smith, packed with the heart of Hoax/Bauhaus, and burnt with the fire of the interwebs electronic bedroom beat scene (courtesy of his producers, DJ SEX PLAY [RIP], Froskees, & Cities Aviv).

When you're in the mood for giving/receiving fellatio, smokin on somethin your shady ass friend from the bay brought you, or cuddlin up on the couch with the one you love, who by day is your queen and by night is your master, ANTWON ought to be the shit you're listening to.

Listen to LAP OF LUXURY, COLD SWEAT, and DIAMONDS AND PEARLS off of his END OF EARTH mixtape when you're feeling too high to die.

This year he released IN DARK DENIM on Valentine's Day to help you lovers die within.  Listen to KARMA SUTRA and 3RD World GRRL.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Men - Immaculada

It's been awhile since I posted anything really heavy. The Men are a band that makes heavy music. There is some yelling involved, and also some loud guitars and loud bass. I think I'm getting worse at writing these reviews.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Slam Dunk - Welcome to Miami

By way of circumstance I saw this band play three times in four days. They make really fun music. I think my two favorite things so far are 1) punk rock saxophone, and 2) all the group shouting vocals. Also their guitarist looks like a white trash Kenny G. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Of Montreal Hate-A-Thon - Results and Commentary

Since I've stopped getting submissions I have decided to close the Of Montreal giveaway contest. Congratulations to all participants! I got a lot of great entries from both this blog and Reddit. I don't want to say that the choice was that hard, and it wasn't clear to me that any of you were trying all that hard, but you all wrote something and hit some buttons on a computer and that's something to be proud about. I think my favorite thing about this contest was how many entries I got from people that did not want anything to do with Of Montreal. I've always been under the impression that people like free shit but you've all made it pretty clear that you aren't even willing to receive 49 square inches of flat, free vinyl. I feel that this fact alone justifies my opinion of their music. The most surprising thing was the clear, abject bitterness you all demonstrated about something you purport to love. Finally (and most importantly), I totally blew away the previous comment record of this blog by a whopping TWO comments. Let's get to the results! I've made up clever names for all the different categories.

The Didn't Answer My Questions Award YrSonicDeath writes :

I ordered a bunch of stuff from Polyvinyl and ended up with some Of Montreal as well. It's not something I would typically come across or listen to but I actually dig it, especially the more lo-fi older recordings.

I also have far more 7" records than other types of records, they are both annoying and endearing to me.

This doesn't really fit into your prompts as it is random rambling.

Awarded out of sympathy/solidarity.

The Jaded Record Collector Award This award goes to the submission that best represents the bitter resentment that goes along with an outdated, frustrating hobby like collecting vinyl. Reddit user PerceptionShift writes:

7"s. Shit. I thought they'd be like 12"s. Every time I play one, I think they're going to sound great and play long, but they don't. They're little bastards of vinyl. Sometimes you feel like they're not so bad, like little baby records, but then you get a bunch and find out they play like shit! Damn! Should have just bought the LP for $7 more! Then, they have no real place to go on your shelves. They're almost as bad as 10"s, but you can get away with putting the 10"s in with the 12"s. For the 7's, you just have to figure something out. Maybe a little carton or something, but then if you like looking at the spines, tough shit for you, my 7" owning friend.They're hard as hell to collect too. I refer to them as "varsity record collecting" just because collecting 7"s is so much more difficult. You go to the record store, gonna flip through some cool looking 7"s. But you know what? It's a huge pain in the ass because of all the darn paper sleeves, bending at the corners you go to grab them with. Then they don't fit in the trays right either because sometimes the sleeves will be seven inches, and sometimes they'll be seven-and-a-half inches. They flip flop about inside there, basically just pissing you off until, hey! What do you know? A fine copy of Pictures of Matchstick Men. Boo-yaa! You are so excited, any normal person would think you just got laid instead of finding some record.And that excitement builds and builds! It's in great shape, you've been looking for this forever, it's only $15, and you are just so damn pumped. You dig around more, pass up on a pretty good album because you already have this bitchin' 7", and get your butt home. All right! Time to let this mother rip! Take off the dust cover, and switch to 45. Except, wait a second... It won't switch to 45... So you fiddle with your table some. Turns out, the belt is loosening some and doesn't like to shift up to the 45 track so easily. Cue the next half hour spent trying to figure out a way to get the belt to switch up but not fall off.At long last! Every thing is peachy and green, and that platter is spinnin like a MoFo. You take that badboy out of it's little sleeve, clean it off real fast, and stick it down on that table. Oooh yes, you're about to rock.Crackle click click crackle fuzz crackle crackle crackle. All the way through the song. And it's all distorted too. You play through again, same deal, looks good, sounds bad.Damn. Not the first time, won't be the last. Just damn.And that my friends, is why 7"s only offer broken dreams and bitter disappointment. Ashes to ashes, buy the album, not the 7".

Reading this made me hate 7"s even more than I did before. Also, where are you going that 7" records cost $15? This internet award comes with a real life award and a story. I once bought a copy of the Ventures' "Surfing" because of this:

I got home and the actual record was by Philadelphia native and Fresh Prince contemporary, Steady B. I don't know why I think this award is so fitting but I do. It's in pretty bad shape.

The Regis Philbin Award Giraffes are Burning:

While I understand the need for variety and different tastes in modern music, there is a certain band whom many like that I will never be personally able to enjoy. I just find this band to be the epitome of everything which is bland, off-putting, and displeasing. It is rude, uninteresting, and a wonder why this band is even around. This band, is of course, Regis Philbin. Now, some might say that Regis Philbin is not a “band,” per se, but I would consider him to be a “band” of all the elements which make up an unlikable person. From his unspeakable, self-absorbed sense of vanity to his snappy, rude, inconsiderate conversation mannerisms, Regis Francis “Rx Philbicillin” Xavier Philbin (talk about pretentious band names!) is one of the worst influences on today's up-and-coming musicians! I heard a nice young lady once asked him for the time of day. He proceeded to pull out a pocket mirror, lick his thumb, spent a minute combing his eyebrows with it, then told the lady, “I don't have time to tell people like you the time of day.” I know my hatred for Regis Philbin may seem a bit unreasonable at times, but come on! Who does that!? So yes, Regis Philbin is a band I hate for no reason.

The Made Me Mad at My Own Question Award Kelly came up with an impressive list of bad band names and it actually made me a little pissed off. 

too many consonants, not enough vowels, see: Nguzunguzu, strfkr, MSTRKRFT, SBTRKT, XXYYXX, Dntel, etc
See also making sentences one word (pop punk what are you doing): alexisonfire, Playradioplay!, etc.
I spent all of ages 12-14 wondering if it was alexis on fire or alex is on fire. dumb.

I always wonder how bands think they can get away with such obvious copying. Like with the no vowels thing. "Oh hey you know what would be great? If we did the same thing that these other bands are doing. That's still cool right?" I've also noticed this happening with animal names (see: Wolf Eyes, Wolf Parade, Wolf Gang, Sea Wolf, Wolfmother), bands with exclamation points in their name (or any punctuation, really), etc. Kelly is the only one that mentioned that she actually would like the records so she wins She's a Rejecter. Congrats Kelly!

Best Fake Band Name(s) Two: The Last Thing I Said to My Son, and A Thing We Should Have Buried. 

The Way Better Than Anything I was Expecting Award Awesome. Ent-angled wins the other two singles for sheer bad-assery. 

It's 3am, I'm sitting alone contemplating how long it will take for the ash to fall from this cigarette, I can't quite remember when I lit it, or when I last took a drag; I don't quite think that's what is occupying me. I can't keep my head out of the water. I feel like I'm diving deeper and deeper the light slowly fading from the surface of reality. It was her, I know it was her. They always blamed me for the incident. It's 3:14, a lonely siren echoes through the dilapidated brick that separates me from the rest of the world. I think I saw a fly meandering its way about my space, I only hope it has been better off than I have.
I don't know why I moved to this shit hole of a city, the food is tasteless, about the same caliber as this Marlboro No. 27, lasts about as long until I've had enough. Fucking Montreal. The people are coarse, just like she was, and the trash collectors might as well just work on cleaning the streets. Exhale. A familiar taste that's still bitter run my mouth, I can still taste it on her breath, she used to smoke these too. Time seems rather arbitrary right now, but it seems I spend most of my nights like this, it's a miracle I still function at work, but Ted is too much of a flat-footed mouth-breather to fucking notice if I'm ever a few minutes late.
It seems like it was only yesterday I fell in love with her, Aunt Lucy, with her crimson locks, always perfectly curled the night before, she always had Marlboro No. 27's, maybe that's why I found them so alluring. She was always bringing different men around, "Say hello to your Uncle Steve my little Twinkle!" They never lasted long. I heard her fighting with one of them one night. She was playing some 'Pop' music that I couldn't quite make out over the screams, I thought it was a woman singing at first, she just kept screaming, so I wanted to go ask her why the woman in the band kept screaming. Then I saw.
The smoke in here seems to only get thicker. I've gone through a couple packs, but I can't seem to ever remember making it through one of these fucking fire sticks. My eyes seem to wander towards a flaccid looking ham and cheese sandwich I'd made some time ago, it couldn't be more than six hours old right? The smoke though, that's why I remember, it was so thick, and what was that female vocalist saying? Protect something, protect... I should have been her protector. I remember opening the door, the screams were so loud now, the handle was warm, it was one of those old brass door knobs as we lived in an older house.
The light was blinding. I couldn't take my eyes away, I couldn't understand. What was screaming of what I now understand is a mans voice, became a distorted warble, almost satanic as the record player too became enveloped in flames. The entire bedroom was blinding, and there in the heart of the flames like a demon her self was my Aunt Lucy. I couldn't believe it was her, I refused to believe it was her. "I know you're not her" I told myself. Still I want you, Aunt Lucy, and I can't shake the feeling that you're still here with me in Montreal.

The Mark P. Stambaugh Award for Unnecessary Vulgarity I briefly considered making one of the prompts a challenge to insult me in the most horrific, vulgar way possible but I realized I was consulting the internet and that my name is attached to this blog. I was secretly hoping for some terrible imagery and Christie really came through. She managed to bring up both my penis and her (or someone's?) vagina in the same post, including a not-very-creative play on My Bloody Valentine. I almost wonder why she bothered writing anything at all. The reason I'm kind of disappointed with Christie is that she mentioned a lot of genitalia but totally missed the connection that this is a contest defined by records that get their name because they are 7 inches long. In sports this would be called a "softball" and I would be said to have "tee'd it up" for her to "hit out of the park." I'm not really sure how she could have fucked this up, but she did. 

Anyways, for her lack of good taste, Christie will receive this:

I bought this record from a mild-mannered school teacher for 25 cents. Literally the last thing she said before I handed her my chosen records to count was "some of these covers are really gross. I don't know why anybody would want gross albums like that." It's pretty chock-full of classic songs like The Strip Club, The Dirty Bird, Nasty Dance, One Leg Up, Get it Girl, Get it Boy, Doo Doo Brown, Table Dance, and of course, Fraknasty Da' Dip. The rhyming on this is seriously so bad that it needs to be heard.

Thanks everybody! I hope you enjoy my shitty records!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Unreasonable Hatred of Of Montreal Giveaway Contest

As I mentioned in my last post, Polyvinyl is doing this thing where they send you seven random 7" records for ten bucks. They promised they wouldn't send repeat records or repeat bands, however I got THREE Of Montreal 7" in my batch. This really got me thinking about how much I hate Of Montreal. I don't really know why. I think it has something to do with the feeling I get that they're trying to do some sort of "we're pop! But we're weird too!" thing (this is also kinda why I dislike Animal Collective). Really though, I don't think I have a good reason for hating Of Montreal. I've probably listened to them a handful of times without paying much attention. I also like to think that I'm not one of those music nerds who spends much time thinking about terrible bands, because who cares right? With that said, Of Montreal occupies a special place in my brain where I know that my own ego will prevent me from ever enjoying their music. I don't care if they have good songs, or if I'm being unfair. I just want them gone.

My first instinct was to destroy these but that seems wasteful. I could trade them but that seems like a lot of effort. Then I thought that maybe I could use these as cheap payment to get more content on my blog without having to put much of my own time/thought/effort into coming up with something myself. So that's what I'm going to do! This post is a contest. Write something vaguely related to some or all of the following prompts and I will mail these to whoever submits the best entry.

1) Come up with a story about my youth. Include a traumatic event that explains why I can't enjoy music like this.
2) Write about a band you hate for no reason.
3) Write about how annoying 7" records are.
4) Something about bands with annoying band names (such as beginning your name with the word "of").
5) Any other random prompt you feel like writing about.

I want to stress the arbitrary nature of this contest. No minimum length or rules whatsoever. The only thing I really don't want is anything that talks about why I'm wrong, or why Of Montreal isn't terrible. I don't care. Send all entries to either the comments section of this post or email to dorktwinkle AT gmail dot com. All three 7"s have been played exactly once and still have usable download codes. Contest ends...whenever. This week sometime. Runner up prizes TBD.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Love of Everything - Soon I Wish

So here's the deal. Polyvinyl is doing some sort of sale where you pay $10 for seven 7" records. Pretty good deal right? First of all, most of the 7"s I buy are more like...EPs and stuff. Records with a couple songs on a side. These are all singles. That's okay though because I knew I ran that risk. What is completely unacceptable is that I got THREE Of Montreal singles with my bundle. THREE! Of Montreal is not a band I enjoy.

Anyways...I did my duty and listened to everything and I actually got a couple of cool records! This is one of them. Apparently Love of Everything is a guy named Bobby Burg and Matt Holland and they're ostensibly related to Joan of Arc. I have been listening to an absolute ton of Joan of Arc lately (more to come) an anybody related (besides Of Montreal) automatically gets a listen. There are some cool pop songs on here. They're real nice to listen to after listening to boring trite pop songs all day. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) Mix

I recorded this Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)-themed mix live on April 6, 2013 using two audio cassette players, an iPod, and a mixer (see this for more info). While nothing in the mix actually triggers ASMR for me, I included songs with lots of crunches, pops, and whispers in the spirit of ASMR. I hope you enjoy the mix!

Track List:

1. Reedbeds - Bedside (Sicsic, 2012)
2. Kevin Greenspon - Ache (Obeast Tapes, 2009)
3. Marble Sky - Western Coast (Callow God, 2009)
4. Grant Evans - Untitled (House of Sun, 2013)
5. Kevin Costner Suicide Pact - Holdrakèta (Hooker Vision, 2012)
6. Aloonaluna -  Boat of Swamp Memories (Hooker Vision, 2012)
7. Venn Rain - Form Waves (Sicsic, 2012)
8. Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Something to Find (Tranquility Tapes, 2013)
9. Beru - The Sun is Going to Explode (Self released, 2013)
10. Adam Beckley - The Day You Heal (Armed Within Movement, 2012)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fat History Month - Bad History Month

I saw this band open for Pile this weekend and they were awesome! Great riff-y two-piece with some really good songs and a solid back catalog. I like bands that know how to sound heavy even with two people and mostly clean guitar. This band kinda reminds me of how I used to feel when I was first discovering cool guitar indie bands for the first time. Highly, highly recommended.

edit: I realized right after posting this that this band sounds a helluva lot like early Modest Mouse, which is awesome.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Criminals - Babes

Low-key hissing feedback, squeaks and pops. Noise for the post-apocalypse. This is what I imagine my great-grandchildren will listen to while scrounging for old cans of beans in our future neoliberal paradise. I recommend listening to this in the dark while browsing this guy's art.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mike Huguenor - Bardamu

This is a pretty cool EP. The third and fourth songs have some total Built to Spill guitar moments which is really all I want out of my music. All other elements are superfluous. If you like this check out his other bands, Shinobu and Hard Girls.

edit: Mike drove to my house and personally delivered this 10" to me on Easter. Punk as fuck.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pausal - Forms

"either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you"  - Charles Bukowski

(Sorry for all of the quotes lately. I'm reading again and starting to feel like everything is loosely connected.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rainbow Valley/Wind in Willows - Split

Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground" scares me. Every time I read it I find some new feeling, thought, or belief to which I can relate. I should find comfort in knowing that I'm not alone; that I'm not the only one to ever think the same thoughts as the unnamed narrator. But there's nothing comforting about exploring the dark abyss of the human mind.

(Play "Startide Whisper" and read the excerpt below.)

“Even now, so many years later, all this is somehow a very evil memory. I have many evil memories now, but ... hadn't I better end my "Notes" here? I believe I made a mistake in beginning to write them, anyway I have felt ashamed all the time I've been writing this story; so it's hardly literature so much as a corrective punishment. Why, to tell long stories, showing how I have spoiled my life through morally rotting in my corner, through lack of fitting environment, through divorce from real life, and rankling spite in my underground world, would certainly not be interesting; a novel needs a hero, and all the traits for an anti-hero are expressly gathered together here, and what matters most, it all produces an unpleasant impression, for we are all divorced from life, we are all cripples, every one of us, more or less. We are so divorced from it that we feel at once a sort of loathing for real life, and so cannot bear to be reminded of it. Why, we have come almost to looking upon real life as an effort, almost as hard work, and we are all privately agreed that it is better in books. And why do we fuss and fume sometimes? Why are we perverse and ask for something else? We don't know what ourselves. It would be the worse for us if our petulant prayers were answered. Come, try, give any one of us, for instance, a little more independence, untie our hands, widen the spheres of our activity, relax the control and we ... yes, I assure you ... we should be begging to be under control again at once. I know that you will very likely be angry with me for that, and will begin shouting and stamping. Speak for yourself, you will say, and for your miseries in your underground holes, and don't dare to say all of us-- excuse me, gentlemen, I am not justifying myself with that "all of us." As for what concerns me in particular I have only in my life carried to an extreme what you have not dared to carry halfway, and what's more, you have taken your cowardice for good sense, and have found comfort in deceiving yourselves. So that perhaps, after all, there is more life in me than in you. Look into it more carefully! Why, we don't even know what living means now, what it is, and what it is called? Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost and in confusion at once. We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise. We are oppressed at being men--men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalised man. We are stillborn, and for generations past have been begotten, not by living fathers, and that suits us better and better. We are developing a taste for it. Soon we shall contrive to be born somehow from an idea. But enough; I don't want to write more from "Underground."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Duster - Transmission, Flux

My friend Jon put these songs on a mixtape he gave me a few months ago; I've been hooked on Duster ever since. I have no idea why I didn't listen to these guys when I was in high school.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NAH - Special Reality Mixtape part 7

1994! - FUCK IT

I saw this band play in a garage with Algernon Cadwallader and Snowing and they absolutely killed it. I think their drummer is one of the best I've ever seen and he hits super hard while keeping everything really clean. This album is really noisy and will be of interest to anybody that's into noise, math rock, gross noise, yelling, lo-fi noise, gnarly riffs, etc. The drummer has a side project called Nah that mixes a lot of the above adjectives with undanceable electronic beats.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Shaggs

This may be more interesting intellectually than musically. The Shaggs are a band made up of three teenage sisters with no musical training or knowledge. Its unclear whether they even listened to music. Their father took them out of school and made them practice their instruments constantly because a palm reader told him his daughters would one day form a famous rock-and-roll band. They weren't really allowed to socialize outside of the house or interact with anyone outside of the family. I won't go too far into it but the story gets weirder. There's a great essay by Susan Orlean that describes their background and eventual popularity in the underground music scene. From what I can tell (and this is probably debatable), there's at least some evidence that suggests they intended the songs to sound this way. Highly recommended.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Gnarwolves - CRU

I'm a sucker for this stuff. Thanks for the suggestion, Elliott.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dock Boggs

Here's a video of a dead white guy.

This song is awesome too:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Micah Gaugh - The Blue Fairy Mermaid Princess

Sure. This drummer played drums in Storm & Stress and Micah Gaugh participated in a way that is completely unknown to me.

Pavement - Brighten the Corners

Pavement is one of the first bands I got into after a early high school "music discovery" phase and I've listened to them pretty consistently for the last ten years now. That's longer than I've been driving and longer than I've had most of my friends. I'm fairly certain I've spent more time listening to Pavement than I've ever spent with any woman, or even the sum total of all women. It's a weird relationship to have with a band. I think I originally liked them because they made noisy music and their lyrics were about absolute nonsense. I also liked them because it really seems like nobody in the band actually gives a shit. There's a great Beavis and Butthead episode where they just keep saying "Try harder! You're not trying!"

That got me through the first 8 years or so. Lately (the last two years I guess) I've mostly been listening to their later stuff because the song writing is so superb. The lyrics are still absurd and it's still weird but overall everything is more polished. For whatever reason though (and I feel like an idiot for this) I've just never really listened to their second-to-last album, Brighten the Corners. It just got lost in the bigger picture or something. Well in the last week I've been playing it nonstop and I'm ready to admit that I've been living the last 10 years in ignorance. Every Pavement album has a couple of really terrible songs and this is no different (I hate "Stereo" and "Date with Ikea"). Most everything else is very solid though and mixes the typical Pavement slyness with stuff that really gets stuck in your head. A smattering of songs below.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

VA - Let This Be Your Warmth

Here's a mix I did for Klankschap (means "soundscape" in Dutch), an experimental radio show based in Belgium. There's no particular theme to the mix; just a handful of some of my favorite tapes. It was recorded live on a cold day in December using two cassette players. Let this be your warmth.

1. Tim Coster - We (No Kings, 2012)
2. Kevin Costner Suicide Pact - And (Hooker Vision, 2012)
3. Hakobune - Whispering in their Presence (Sunshine Ltd., 2012)
4. Miracle Blues - Girls of Fullerton Avenue (Teen River, 2011)
5. Kyle Landstra - Full Spectrum Head Embedded Lifelike NIght Light (Sacred Phrases, 2012)
6. Albino Groupie - Untitled (Rotifer, 2012)
7. Kevin Greenspon - Waypoint (Bridgetown, 2011)
8. Tidal - Phoenix Follower (Chemical Tapes, 2012)
9. Lunar Miasma - Infinite (Moon Glyph, 2012)
10. Chris Rehm - ? (Self Released, 2012)
11. Sparkling Wide Pressure - Open C Formations (Paramita Recordings, 2011)
12. Torn Humorist - ? (Self Released, 2012)
11. González & Steenkiste - The Foot (Feathered Coyote Records, 2012)
12. Eternal Dreamer - IV (Calypso Hum, 2011)
13. Emaciator - Not Knowing, But Knowing (Monorail Trespassing, 2009)
14. No Mind Meditation - Feel What You Felt, See What You Saw (Paramita Recordings, 2011)

Quiet Evenings - Patience Folding Water

Will need this tape to get me through the day.

Monday, March 4, 2013

By Surpise - Criteria

Resolution 2013: listen to more emo. I'm doing my best. By Surprise's full length was one of my favorite albums of 2011 and I'm really happy that they're going to be making more music. This is a 3-song EP with some killer tracks that are already getting me stoked for summer. Today at work I came up with an excuse to leave for lunch so I could go drive around a bit and listen to this with the windows down. Great songwriting, sing-along choruses and great guitar parts that sound new and inventive without rehashing the same old indie/emo tropes that seem to affect a lot of these types of bands lately.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I've had this band on my computer for a long time but never really gave them a proper listen. I hate when I do that, it's like I'm so close to finding something cool and I can't blame anyone but myself for not recognizing music that I would love. Brainiac is awesome! In doing research for this post (ie listening to a ton of music in my bedroom) I found that they have a huge cult following of people who leave Youtube comments like "this band changed my life" or "listening to this song affects me emotionally." Their early stuff sounds like Nirvana and their later stuff sounds like The Faint (except better) and everywhere in between they sprinkle histrionic screaming, fucked up modulated vocals, icepick guitars and lots of spooky synths. I would call this "weird" in that they pack a lot of unexpected twist and turns in all their songs. Super fun band to listen to.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Quasimoto - Astronaut

Legit 10 minute EP from the Beat Konducta. Keep music raw.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

González & Steenkiste - Through the Mountain

Music is the soundtrack to my memories. I listen so I don't forget. 

I have shelf of tapes on which I catalogue my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Each tape represents an important part of my life. I pull González & Steenkiste's "Through the Mountain" from the shelf when I want to reflect on a day I spent in Vienna a few months ago. I received the tape in a trade with the Viennese label, Feathered Coyote Records, and was surprised to learn after a few listens that González & Steenkiste are based in Belgium; surprised because of how well the tape compliments my memories of the experience. I hear Vienna in the tape. I feel Vienna in the tape. And I close my eyes and see Vienna. 

The Foot & The Belly. On the train from the airport to downtown. Exhausted from days of being sick and nights without sleep. In a daze--almost dozing off while staring out the window at the Austrian plains--I found comfort in the subtle geography. A light layer of fog collected near the ground, separating the green fields from the blue sky. I hadn't seen the sun for as many days as I was sick, and I welcomed its warmth.

The Chest. The beautiful city: an enigmatic organism, whose mystery grew each minute. I could feel the pulse of the city's rich cultural history, but from which direction I could not tell. Still there was something else there--something everyone was aware of, but not talking about. I can't describe it, but I felt it. I felt secrets, sadness, and repressed emotions. I listen hoping one day I'll understand. 

The Eye. I was sitting in chair looking out the window of my hosts' flat. The window slightly open to welcome some fresh air, but not so much to disturb the warmth of the room. The sun shining on my legs, we all sat listening to a record without talking. Viennese windows will forever remain a symbol of peace.

Purchase a copy of the tape. Other reviews: Microphones in the Trees, Honest Bag

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Get a Haircut Like an Idiot

Something I think about a lot is how communication sometimes breaks down in human relationships for totally unexpected reasons. Through some combination of stupidity and ignorance sometimes you say or do something that is received in a totally different way than intended. Imagine touring a foreign country and giving someone a thumbs-up only to realize later it means "go fuck yourself" or something. These things can pop up for all sorts of reasons be it culture, gender, geographic location, whatever. Sometimes somebody gets offended, or you realize you ordered the wrong thing on a menu. These opportunities should be welcomed as a chance to learn and understand different people and what makes them tick. There's a lesson to be learned from the following story; exactly what it is I'm not sure.

I turned 25 a few weeks ago and it made me a little self conscious. I a lot of ways I'm an adult (job, paying for shit, being mad at the economy) and in a lot of ways I'm not. For example I've just never been able to really care much about clothes and style. Going clothes shopping for me elicits the same emotional response as pulling styrofoam out of a cardboard box, or watching videos of people hitting themselves in the dick with a hammer. Anyways now that I'm a full quarter century it's sorta dawned on me finally that absolutely everyone is judging me at all times for this and that I need to look fresh if I'm going to be taken seriously. Since all the clothes stuff is still a little a little too unsettling for me I thought a nice first baby step would be to get a decent haircut. I've been rocking the shaggy emo kid look for about 13 years now and it looks stupid. I thought this time when I got it cut I'd go a little shorter. This exposition is basically just to set up what happens next but I'd like to make a very clear point: I set out today with a very reasonable goal. At no point for the rest of the story will I revisit this seemingly clear thinking.

San Jose is sort of an interesting place cause it's really pretty diverse and you end up interacting with people on all sorts of strata. I think this is different than what I've seen from other "diverse" places because it seems like there's not one predominant theme that dominates any one place (at least in the neighborhood I live). There's a bit of fluidity between the young yuppie tech guys, Vietnamese immigrants, Indian VISA workers and the Mexican and black families that lived here before Silicon Valley exploded. It seems like everyone mingles pretty well. 

One of the things I've noticed over the last year is the abundance of barber shops. These aren't like Supercuts or hair salons but straight up barber shops where nobody uses scissors and they shave your lines in the end with a hardware store razor blade. And what I learned about this is that "urban" men (ie non-whites) really like to get their hair cut often. Like sometimes once a week. This is an entirely foreign concept to me since I'm a 2-3 month haircut guy. I mostly just trim everything down but this is more of an involved affair. You buzz 'em down, square off the sides and then shape everything straight and super clean. It's kinda cool to watch and I've had a couple good hair cuts from these places. The barbers are usually pretty good with scissors and keeping things longer and the price is always pretty good. I used to go to a Vietnamese place that would give me a haircut, shave and face massage for $14 bucks. The last place I went (in December) catered mostly to Mexicans (I think) and I got to witness this exchange:

Customer: (comes in quickly) Hey man are you still open?
Barber: No I've been working all day, sorry.
C: I'm begging you, I've got some out of town strange coming in and I need to get my cuts in before tonight.
B: Sorry man.
Me: (slowly figuring out the definition of "strange" using critical thinking and context clues)
C: I will pay you twice whatever you want.
B: Ok.
Me: (Oh! This guy is trying to get laid!)
Me: Good luck man!

I thought that was pretty interesting and if it hadn't been for the barbershop I never would have learned that new word. Anyways this is a lot of buildup but basically this is how I decided to try out a black barbershop. I rode my bike over and I was in the chair of a big black guy within about 5 minutes. He had actually been using a leaf blower when I showed up and I asked if it was for blowing all the hair around. He said it was for blowing leaves off the sidewalk. I suggested using it for the hair and we both laughed.

Normally when I get a haircut I go down to a 1" on the top, then whatever on the sides. It's really not a lot of direction. Since I wanted to do the "adult" thing I decided this time to go for 3/4". So I told Joel that I wanted 3/4. And he laughed again and said okay. And then he spun me facing away from the mirror. 

Things are going along nicely until I get a look at what kind of hair buzzer thing he's using. This is when I realize that there's a BIG difference between going to a scissors place and asking for 3/4" and going to primarily hair buzzer-based barbershop where 3/4 is also the size of a (as it turns out incredibly short) buzz length. I'm not sure what the units are on buzz cut numbers but right now my best guess is centimeters. He's about half way done with the top of my head at this point. Once my body internalizes what's going on I get kinda queasy and start to sweat. I wonder if Joel notices. The funny part is, for what it is, he did a pretty good job.

I'm going to go ahead and take like 90% of the blame for what happened. I paid Joel and even tipped him because he gave me exactly what I asked for. I want to give him maybe 10% of the blame because he probably should have known that a piece-of-shit white kid who rides up on his bike in a dirty white undershirt and long-ass unkempt hair probably doesn't want a sick fade. Is that a reasonable expectation? I really have no idea whether I should expect people to call me out for being an idiot. I mean as far as I know most black men probably internalize the idiocy of white men at an early age. Now that I'm an adult maybe people just assume I know what I'm talking about. 

Wikipedia says that human hair grows at a rate of 0.5 inches/month but they don't specify if head hair grows faster or shorter than other hair. I figure at this rate I only have to stay holed up in my apartment for about 6 weeks before I can start socializing again. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about work. I had a couple ideas. Calling in sick is a little too dramatic. I could wear a hat but most people at work know I never wear hats and it would strike them as weird and the truth would eventually come out anyways. I briefly considered the moral consequences of saying I shaved my head in solidarity with a friend with cancer but then I realized it would lead to this inevitable conversation several months later:

Coworker: Hi Max, how is your friend with cancer?
Me: I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

I thought maybe I could just shave it to the skull but realized that by Monday it would then be at the length it is now (I wrote this on Saturday). It would serve as a good opportunity to race my beard hair against my head hair but that will look even stupider (if that's even possible). At the very least I would be able to add some information to Wikipedia (just kidding, they don't let you cite your own research). 

Anyways I'm going to wrap this up and go curl into a little ball and feel sorry for myself. If you're keeping score at home here's a list of lessons I learned about myself today:

1) I need to communicate in a clear manner. I should be very specific when describing my thoughts and desires. I should use units when appropriate.
2) I am much shallower about my appearance than I thought. 
3) My skull is not as smooth as I expected.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Hey Kids, this week old man Stambaugh's gonna lay down the wisdom on roadkill and what it's all about. There will not be a quiz but it is still recommended that you pay attention because what follows here is LIFE SKILLS and also craaaaaaazy stories which may or may not work to your favor to tell at a party. Depending on how your party circle intersects with the readership of this blog, you may not have much audience at the party who hasn't already heard or told these stories.

Roadkill. What's that all about? I'll tell ya. Roadkill is how you get quality meat for FREE, WITHOUT STEALING. Full disclosure, it is still illegal (in California), but MORALLY PERMISSIBLE. Just don't get caught. Some people think eating roadkill is weird. I don't know why. I mean, I know why they think it is weird, but I don't know why they think what they think. They'll say something about parasites or diseases in the animal, as if this was a condition transmitted through contact with cars at high speed. That is a silly notion. Roadkill is just like any other game animal. If you're worried about parasites or diseases, COOK IT. Boom.

FIRST RULE OF ROADKILL: BE CHOOSY. The meat is free, so you can afford to be particular about which parts you keep and which you toss. Always use your eyes and your nose to assess the quality of the meat. If it is not the color of meat (such as green), do not eat it. If it is bloodshot, do not eat it. If it is a ruptured organ, do not eat it. Actually, don't eat any of the organs, unless you saw the animal die, or if it is fucking cold outside. Those things spoil so quickly. I'm a fan of hearts and livers and kidneys and whatnot, but they ain't worth the risk.

I'm gonna switch to stories now. I don't know why I tried to do this in a structured manner.

FIRST ROADKILL STORY: I saw a dead deer on Foothill once, just past Patricia. The girl I was traveling with at the time was not really into the whole roadkill scene, and encouraged me to leave the corpse. If we hadn't been in a serious relationship, I would've told her to walk home while I snagged that sweet, sweet corpse, but we were in a serious relationship, so I didn't tell her that. Neither did I snag the corpse. I should've broken up with her on the spot, once it was clear that she was trying to control me, but I didn't have the clarity of mind, nor the balls to do so. She broke it off 2 months later, but the deer was already gone. God dammit.

SECOND ROADKILL STORY: I was on my way to Costco on a Saturday morning to get some bread flour. I jokingly suggested to my co-pilot Patrick, who is ultra-squeamish about this sort of thing (I mean REALLY, like, damn, as little as 200 years ago this guy would not be viable as a human being. Sorry Pat, I love ya, but you are impractical in a pre-supermarket world) that he keep an eye out for dead deer on the side of the road. He spots one. We haul ass to Home Depot, where I get a 5 gallon bucket, a tarp, some gloves and other stuff, then go back to the body and hoist it into my trunk (I drive a Corolla). I stopped at home to get my best knife, then I took the body to 50 Del Mar where Max and Taylor were living, among other people. There were a lot of people there, but I am only mentioning Max because this is his blog and Taylor because he is a farm-boy/bio guy and was really useful in showing me how to clean roadkill and stuff. I couldn't do it at my own house because Patrick is squeamish and we lived together. Now Patrick lives with Max. Anyway, I show up at 50 Del Mar, and who is outside but Jim, the landlord! "Aww shit" I says to myself, not sure how Jim feels about me (not his tenant) butchering a deer in his yard. Turns out he was okay with it. We butchered that deer and sent Jim home with a good piece. I boiled the head to try to preserve the skull but it didn't turn out very well. I also tried to tan the hide but ended up just salting it. It smelled quite strongly of deer for a long time. I wore it to a few parties as a cape, but it was not well received. Some people speculate as to the contributions this made to a sexual dry-spell which I experienced around that time. Well, it certainly didn't help. Max asked me later to not bring any more dead deer to his house for butchering. Taylor said to disregard what Max said (they had equal seniority at the house). Oh also the deer was a lady and she was pregnant with twins which I put in a jar of rubbing alcohol for my sister. Turns out that alcohol is not a preservative. Sorry, Sis.

I took the head to Connor's house because I wanted to use the brain to tan the hide, and Connor was the most likely person to have a Dremmel. His dog went absolutely apeshit over my shoes. Somehow she knew that I had been walking around in deer blood all day. He offered me a circular saw as well, which I declined at the time but did actually return for later. I ended up botching the brain-tanning process because I was totally unprepared and rushed the whole thing. Don't do that when you brain-tan your own hides. Thanks, Connor. You're the best.

THIRD ROADKILL STORY: In my 5th year of college I drove around town on Saturday and Sunday mornings looking for deer which had been hit by drunk drivers the night before. Winters in SLO are just barely cold enough to preserve a body for a few hours at night. I had been searching 3 weekends in a row and found nothing. I chatted with Tracie on Friday night (she was in Malawi at the time) and she said she would eat roadkill if I found some and saved it for her (this is significant because she is a vegetarian). Anyway I found a poor widdle Bambi by the army base the next day. Tracie denies praying on my behalf. I believe her. I drove the dead Bambi straight to Max's house against his wishes. It so happens that Noura (a vegetarian) was in town that weekend. Thankfully they were not at the house when I came by. I strung the deer up in a tree and went to work, and a neighbor started givin me shit about deer being out of season. I told him I found it on the road. He didn't seem to care. Screw that guy. I gave Max the backstraps for his birthday, but he didn't really receive them too well. I guess I should have expected that. It's okay. I buried the remains on Bishop's Peak during the Superbowl so that I wouldn't be spotted. Clever, no?

FOURTH ROADKILL STORY: I picked up a dead deer in Fremont after I came back from France. Michael and I butchered it in his back yard. Lisa won't let us do that anymore. Here are some pictures:

I've messaged a lot of girls on OKCupid about roadkill. Most of them don't get too turned on by it, but the ones who are into it are REALLY into it. Try out this pickup line fellas: "Hey baby, I've got a bucket, tarp, gloves, hack saw, ropes, pulleys, chains, and a fuckin sharp knife, all in the trunk of my car. Want to drive out into the woods with me (looking for roadkill. I'm not gonna kill ya, I promise)." That one actually worked out okay for me. We decided that it was not really a first-date sort of activity (she proposed it, I agreed). I think we settled on 5th or 6th date? Whatever, we never made it that far because WOMEN ARE WEIRD. I'm glad I'm not one. I did eventually go on a roadkill-searching date on a Saturday morning with a lady with whom I was already involved. We didn't find anything.

Here is an excerpt from a failed conversation (did not result in a date).
FROM HER PROFILE: You should message me if: You want to! I would go on to list potential arbitrary little idiosyncrasies that you might have that might appeal to me but....I won't. ;)

First message (7:53pm):
Hey I'm Mark. I read books and used to drink Mate when I lived with an Argentinian guy, but not so much since then. Also I pick up and butcher, and eat roadkill. I hope that is one of the idiosyncrasies that you are into. If it is, respond to this message and maybe we can have a little chat. If the roadkill thing is a major selling point and you are already thinking about sharing a gourd with me, I can promise that I do not have any orally transmitted diseases. Hope to hear from you!

First response (8:15pm):
That sounds really unappealing actually (the roadkill part)... may I ask why?

Second message (8:22pm):
I'm not a hunter, but I like venison. Also, it's free meat! Also, I think butchering animals is a pretty neat skill to have, but I would feel bad buying animals to practice on. A roadkill deer is already dead anyway, and it will either rot or get eaten by birds or thrown in a landfill if I don't take it. The meat is still good (no parasites yet!) and also it is free.
How did the rest of it sound?

Third message (8:25pm):
Oh I forgot to mention that many of my vegan/vegetarian friends will eat roadkill, since they don't see it as morally wrong to use an already-dead animal. I like to cook, so it is nice to be able to expand my vegan-friendly repertoire. There are so many great dishes that would be great for vegans and vegetarians if the main ingredient wasn't beef. With free scavenged venison, it is not a problem.

Fourth message (9:22pm):
Come on hit me with another question, I'm on fire tonight.

There was no second response. WOMEN. AM I RIGHT, FELLAS?

FROM HER PROFILE:  You should message me if: you're in san diego and want to meet new people. you're down to earth and funny. and preferably not an ax murderer

First message: Hi. I'm the down to earth and funny guy you requested. I'm also in the SD area and looking to meet new people. Oh and also I'm not an ax murderer (despite what the contents of my trunk suggest). I guess all that makes me exactly the guy you're looking for, which might make you the first person to have any success on a dating website. Aren't you lucky! Anyway, take a quick glance at my profile and if you see anything that I like to do which you also like to do, send me a response and we can maybe arrange a time to do those things together. Or we can just talk about them. Whatever you're into.

No response.

FROM HER PROFILE: The first things people usually notice about me: I have to say its my eyes since I'm asian. But, I have huge knockers for an asian girl so that comes soon after.

First message: Hey I heard you've got huge knockers for an asian girl. How huge are we talkin here? Like, cow udder huge, or pregnant woman huge, or what? More information is required. If you don't want to talk about it, that's cool. I see that you're into Harry Potter. What house would you be in if you could choose? I've already made up my mind, and if we're in opposing houses, I won't be sending you any more messages. I can't tell you what my house is though because I don't want to skew your preference. Remember when Harry was like "Not Slytherin!" ? That was total BS of him, so just be straight with me. I'll judge you more harshly if I think you're a liar than I will if you're in an opposing house.

No response.

FROM HER PROFILE: You should message me if: You have something good to say, or maybe something fun to do. I'm usually always down for fun.

First message: So ya like fun, huh? Here's a fun thing to do. Drive out in east county with me looking for roadkill on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Winter is the best time to do it because the cold helps preserve the body. If we find a deer, we'll put it in my trunk, take it to some wilderness area, hang it from a tree, skin it, butcher it, and head back to my place to cook up the tenderloins. Then we'll split the meat and you can take the bonus of a ridiculous story which your friends will laugh at you for. They'll say "Holy shit Natalie, you could have been raped and murdered and chopped into little pieces and fed to wolves." Then you tell em to buzz off cus ya had a good time and you'd do it again, but not for awhile cus there is still a lot of venison in your freezer.
Anyway, just think about it. If that doesn't sound like a good time to you, I'm open to suggestions.

Got a profile view. No response.

I'm a graduate student at UCSD. I moved out here last fall to start the program. I was born and raised in Michigan (yes, the midwest). I'm really looking for someone who can be a friend, a confidant, an adventurer, and give me that feeling of excitement when we make plans to see each other. Kind of corny, I know. But true.
I'd like someone to be interested in what I do, even if its not something they'd want to do. My work and school takes up a lot of my time and if you're not willing to hear about it once in awhile, it probably won't work out.
You should message me if: you have something interesting to say

First message: Hi. You're cute, I'm bold. I'm messaging you because I have something interesting to say. Are you ready? Get stoked.
It is illegal to pick up roadkill in California. This has not stopped me in the past. Three times I have picked up deer off the side of the road, and three times I have eaten them. So there, I'm a criminal, on the loose, still acting like a normal part of society. I'm an electrical engineer working in Carlsbad. I rent a condo and drive a corolla. It's the perfect camouflage. Nobody. Suspects. A. Thing.
Anyway if you want to hang out some time and share secrets, we can totally do that. I guess I'd like to be someone that you are excited to see now and then. We can talk about your research if you need someone to nerd-out with. You just tell your story and I'll interject with the "fuck yeah!"s and the "that's awesome!"s. I'll mean em, too.
So that's what I'm offering. I don't know what more you're looking for in an internet stranger. I guess whatever it is, you can just ask and I might have that too.

Got a profile view. No response.

That's enough for now, Kids. Send your requests for more information to . I'd like to try doing an advice column if some people want to throw their concerns at me. Complete anonymity and discretion etc. etc. All topics are good, all questions will be answered completely, unless a complete answer would require details of my sex life which I do not want to divulge. This is mostly out of courtesy to the women who had sex with me and may now regret it.

Editor's note: Stories #2 and #3 actually involved Mark cleaning the deer in my backyard while women I was romantically interested in were at my house. Additionally, before Story #3 I told Mark explicitly "please do not bring any more road kill to my house" which he ignored. This bit him in the ass later on when he wanted to do a Hawaiin BBQ in this big grave thing he dug in the dirt and the same neighbor got mad at him again. So yeah I feel a little vindicated. Seriously though that guy was a major dick.

Author's note: the BBQ turned out real well.