Thursday, February 28, 2008

Top 5: Rock Band Nerds

Last November the greatest video game ever created was released... Rock Band. I didn't have an XBOX or Playstation 3 though, so I wasn't really planning on buying it. Sean and I went to Best Buy just to see if they had it, and wouldn't you know there was only one copy left... One copy left. It was like a sign from the gee oh double dizzle.

700+ dollars later I was the proud owner of Rock Band, an Xbox 360, and an extra guitar for bass(Because 3 piece is for losers).

What I didn't immediately realize is the effect this purchase would have on my social life. I was suddenly more popular than the kid in high school who had failed and therefore turned 16(And had a car) Freshman year.

Graph

Everybody wanted to play Rock Band. It was an epidemic. My Rock Band parties were being broken up by other groups of friends showing up to play Rock Band. I was soon the lead guitarist for: Metallic Brain Stem, The 18th St. Bitchezz, AEAA, Donkey Saturday, Love Survivors, and a host of other bands. I'd occasionally also be featured on lead vocals or drums. Life was good, but as the graph above shows, eventually you get tired of the cocaine and groupies, and the Rock Band had to settle down a little.

DSC01167
Kendall's Band: The 18th St. Bitchezz

Now, almost six months later, a veteran of the scene, I know how things go. If it's one thing I've learned out there on the road(Rocking you like a hurricane), it's that no matter what Rock Band party you show up to, there's always going to be a few of the following people there:

The Guitar Zero -
The Guitar Zero is the guy who's played way too much Guitar Hero and tries to apply the same philosophies to Rock Band. He's the guy who immediately tries to play ...And Justice For All on expert mode and promptly gets the entire band booed off stage, ruining the fun.

Okay, we get it buddy. You've played countless hours of Guitar Hero in some hope that in the future that will translate to popularity with members of the opposite sex. It's not happening, and if you pick expert one more time and get kicked off before I get to sing the chorus, I'm throwing you off the balcony.

The "I don't know any of these songs" singer -
There's always someone who claims to be a good singer, but unfortunately doesn't know any of the songs in Rock Band. With the downloadable songs, I'm now up to 92 different tracks ranging from the 60's to today. Surely you've heard of one of them?

I hate to break it to you, but nobody is buying it. First of all, the words scroll across the screen like karaoke. This is normally followed by the protest, "But I don't know the medley". Look, unless you were born post 1990, pre-1960, or have lived in a cave your entire life you've heard "In Bloom" by Nirvana. The words? Hell, Kurt Cobain probably never sang the song the same way twice, but you can at least give it a try. Make up your own words, or if you're that lame, puss out and hum the lines.

The "I Can't Play Bass on Easy" nerd -
If you've tried to play the bass on easy on "Say It Ain't So" by Weezer more than three times and still can't "get it", then it's time to pack it up buddy. Sorry. There are untrained chimpanzee's that can match the green note and green button. Hey, at least you tried, which is better than...

The "Too Cool for School" guy -
There's always one person who's afraid of embarrassing themselves, and therefore opts to not play. Two people holding ukulele sized plastic guitars just jumped off the couch doing a leg split. Then the "lead guitarist" did the thing where he sang in to the mic at the same time as the singer a la Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora circa 1990, and you're worried about embarrassing yourself? Have another wine cooler and sack up a little Nancy or get the hell off my stage.

I found this motivational poster for your wall:

ATT00014


The THAT guy -
By far the worst Rock Band stereotype is THAT guy. You know him. His catch phrase is generally something like, "You know if you spent half the time you do playing this stupid game practicing a real guitar you'd...." blah blah blah. He also sometimes adds such insightful comments as, "No thanks, I know how to play the real guitar".

Well holy crap! Let's roll out the red carpet for a middle aged guy who can play a couple of hits from the 70's and 2 Nirvana songs on the real guitar, but never quite made it because the band that he had was "too experimental" and "the industry wasn't quite ready yet".

You're about as common as the English 101 teacher who's "still working on his novel" and has been for the past 20 years. You know what? I can play a real guitar too along with 90% of the other lonely guys who couldn't talk to girls in college. It's a plastic controller with 5 colored buttons, NOT A REAL GUITAR. That's the point jackass. It's about having fun goofing off with friends, not a showcase for your emo-ness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Valentine's Day: Follow Up

People keep asking me how V-day went. Unfortunately there's just not much to tell. I wish I had a good story for everyone, but instead you get the truth.


Despite my lack of a significant other, Valentine's went over fairly well this year. I started the day off with the perfect V-Day mixed CD, which can purchased: here(Why mix a CD when the perfect one has already been made?). I went to work, and tried my best to be "over" the plague that had been haunting me all week.

The Contest -
I had planned to do more for the contest, but I spent most of the weekend sick in bed and therefore took the "easy" way out and decided to just send flowers to a few people. I chose 3 winners for the contest.

Rose won because she had some fairly valid points. Normally I'd follow those points up with some sarcasm and making fun of her, but I relented this year. You can read about how excited she was on her blog here.

Anastacia won because she's a completely random girl that I know nothing about, and my Final Fantasy character is named Anastasia(How's that for odd coincidence?). I also figured anyone who puts up with Ben's crap on a regular basis deserves flowers. She probably deserves a lot more, but that's not what the contest was about.

Finally I chose a random email that I got from someone I didn't know. When I followed up with the girl though she said she didn't want the flowers. I assume she was worried I was a creepy stalker guy. I maintain that I'm only slightly creepy. Oh well, no flowers for her.

The Bear -
Around 5:30 Amy and Flip Cup picked Sean and I up from work and we headed off for Four Peaks in Tempe. They were having a four course meal special type thing for Valentine's day, and Sean had planned on going there for a while. There was a bit of issue since FC is only 20 years old.

As a side note, they said it was fine for her to be there if one of us was her legal guardian or husband. Does being married make it okay for you to go in to a bar/brewery that you wouldn't otherwise be allowed to go in to?

Sean worked his Canadian charm and eventually they said it was cool for her to go which was good because I was working on Plan B at the time(Shopping for a ring).

I gave her Steve(The Bear) as we got in to the car, and she seemed to really like it. I didn't make her carry it inside the restaurant since there was already issue with her age and I didn't want to draw anymore attention to us.

Dinner was good, albeit enough to feed a small army. The only time I'd seen Amy and FC together they were both drunk, which I assumed was what lead to the constant silliness. I was wrong. The silliness is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is some how related to proximity. For that reason it wasn't hard to have a good time.

By the time we got to the game I was exhausted. The dinner, lingering cold, and fact that I'd been laughing my ass off all night all added up to one tired nerd. Luckily the Sun's won 109-97 despite the fact that their new center still has yet to play a game.

I ended up getting home after midnight and falling in to bed.

I'm going to give this Valentine's Day a B+

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pop Quiz

Watch the movie clip below and then answer the questions that follow.



1. Rate your excitement level from 1 to 10.

If you answered anything other than 10 and don't have a valid excuse such as, "My doctor has me on Xanax" then you failed the pop quiz. Get the hell off my blog.

See it large here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Valentine's Day Plans

A few months ago, before Sun's general manager Steve Kerr decided to metaphorically punch me in the balls* and trade Shawn Marion for Shaq, I bought tickets to a few of this season's Sun's games. One particular game just happened to be on Valentine's day. It wasn't so much the day as it was the fact that we'd be playing the Mavericks, one of our biggest rivals.

I bought 4 tickets to the game assuming I'd find some other peeps who'd want to go too and Sean quickly jumped on 2 of them. Apparently he won the lottery when marrying Amy because 2 tickets to a Suns game is a good Valentine's day date for her.

Miranda naturally assumed the fourth ticket was hers. "You know you're not going to get a date" she repeatedly told me, but I held out hope.

"You want me to ask FlipCup?" Sean asked me one day. FlipCup is Amy's ridiculously cute and ridiculously too young for me sister Rachel. She got the nickname one St. Patty's day after a particularly heated drinking game. "You know, just in a friendly way." he continued, but I could already see his eyes aglow at the thought of he and I being brothers-in-law.

"Sure" I replied, "It's better than taking my sister on a Valentine's date and she seems like fun."

A few text messages later she was on board, and the evening was mostly planned out. I didn't know much about Rachel except that she seemed like fun, had a penchant for silly hats, and was short(Read: win, win, win).

"I need to do something obnoxious and cheesy since it's Valentine's day" I told Sean, "You know, like buy a huge stuffed teddy bear and make her carry it around all night."

"Yeah, freak her out. That seems like a good way to go." he replied, but Amy thought Rachel would be amused.

Today, like two cowboys who can't quit each other, Sean and I made our way to Wal-mart to look for bears. After searching through what seemed like miles of Dickie's and generic products we found the Valentine's section and picked out the biggest bear. Sean suggested I go find one of the kid's Sun's jerseys and put it on the bear.

IMAGE_00002


"Wow, you really commit to a joke" my co-worker Anne commented after questioning me about the bear that now sits in my office.
"Uh, yeah, that's me in a nutshell"

Don't worry peeps, there's still a week and a half for her to come to her senses and back out of this.

*Seriously, unless this trade includes plans to a working time machine to go get Shaq from 5 years ago, what were they thinking? I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm confused. Somebody call Steve Nash and ask him to hold me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Nerd Games: The Free Flowers

I debated posting this, but after Geremy threw a fit like a 7 year old who's mom wouldn't buy him the green Power Ranger, I decided to give him another chance at winning a prize.

Anyone who's read my blog for a while will recall that two years ago I sent a lesbian flowers for Valentine's day with the following poem:



Some women like diamonds
Some women like pearls
I wish you liked boys
Instead of girls


I thought it was pretty funny at the time. Everyone had told me her girlfriend was mean and wouldn't give her flowers, and I thought, "Every girl deserves flowers on Valentine's day right?". You can read the full story by starting at the bottom here and working your way up.

Last year I told Rachel, "I should send someone else flowers for Valentine's day this year."
"Leyda!" she replied without hesitation. Apparently Rachel thought it was a good idea that I send her friend that I barely knew a dozen roses, and that was reason enough for me.(You may remember Leyda from this post).

So, with V-day quickly approaching I've got a bill from proflowers.com waiting for a destination and I'm drawing a blank. The rules for this contest are simple:

1. Nominate someone to get flowers. Write a reason/explanation, or don't, I don't care. A good reason helps your chances though.

2. I'll pick a winner and pay for and send flowers. I'll also write a very crappy poem which you can help with if you'd like.

3. Contest ends on the 11th.

As before, feel free to email, comment, ask questions, etc. As an added bonus, if it's a female who's single and in to short nerds I'll buy you a free lunch for the tip.

I promise no more lame contests after this.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Hat Collection: Origins

I've had a collection of goofy hats since at least High School. I'd like to think this story is where it all got started, but as a friend pointed out recently, this post has evidence showing that maybe it started much much earlier. I almost never actually wear ther hats; I don't want to be that nerd. This begs the question though, "why own them?". I'm not entirely sure, but maybe by the end of this entry I'll have it figured out.

When I was young I had a Curious George book entitled, "Curious George Rides a Bike". (For my readers south of the border I believe it was circulated under the title "Jorge el curioso monta en bicicleta")

It was a riveting drama about a monkey and his bicycle and the mis-adventures that one can have on a paper route. Okay, I actually remember almost nothing about the story except that there's a part where he gets bored and takes the newspapers, folds them in to boats, and floats them down a river. The exciting part for a kid of around 7 years of age was the included instructions on how to make these boats.

George

About 10 years later I was a junior sitting in calculus class when either boredom or an overwhelming need to impress Robin, the cute girl sitting in front of me, took hold(You might remember Robin from this post). For some inexplicable reason the Curious George book popped in to my head and I started folding a piece of paper in to a boat. When completed, it resembled a small sombrero("Hat" for my readers north of the border).

It was obviously too small for a human head, so with Erik's help I soon had 9 pieces of paper taped together and began folding. The completed product fit perfectly and we were quite pleased with ourselves until moments later, in the school hallway, an authoritative voice boomed, "You know the rules, no hats on campus. Take it off or I'll take it away".

Never ones for authority, Erik, Sean S and I devised a plan and that evening fashioned 2 new hats. One was bright red, and one bright blue to match the existing white one. Friday was school pride day, and they couldn't possibly get upset with us for wearing the silly paper hats constructed out of the school colors.

The hats were kind of a hit, and we even made a few for some of our favorite teachers. Looking back, it's surprising that I didn't get picked on more in High School.

Just for everyone's amusement I went ahead and folded a new hat and took a picture with my laptop's webcam. Now that I look at this picture, it's surprising thatI don't get picked on more now.

IMG00006

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Free Lunch - The results are in!

Right after work today I drove my bucket of change down to the Fry's to get the results of last week's contest. But before we get to the results let's take a look back at everyone's guesses.

Geremy 1.00
Anne 12.00
Jim 15.00
Andrew 23.67
Misti 28.00
Needs 33.00
Mike 34.21
Mom 34.56
Kendall 37.54
Ben 42.37
Josh 43.00
Jason 50.00
Beadle 50.69
Jenn 52.85
Mikele 58.63
Patty 59.25
Adam 66.83
Anna 67.57
Liang 71.13
Chase 75.00
Rose 76.11
Holly 77.77
Troy 85.07
Monique 88.00
J.R. 90.00
Pollack 100.00
Rachel 100.00
Mandi 105.00
Erik 120.00
Nikki 139.69
Scot 150.00
Jesse 157.42
Tom 183.10
Rahul 240.00
Bruce 300.00

I've highlighted in red the people who only saw the coin jar via pictures, and the people in black are the ones who saw it in real life. It's somewhat interesting that people who saw it through photos tended to guess significantly lower.

There were 35 total entries(If I counted correctly). I have to say that I'm overwhelmed by the number of responses that I've gotten. I've asked for ideas with regards to women, help getting a date, and thoughts for presents before. At the most I've gotten 1 or 2 responses, usually making fun of me, but as soon as there is free food on the table(har har) everyone figures out where the reply button is.

I was questioned on rule #3 specifically once or twice. In case you've forgotten rule #3, it was the following:
Results may be modified to ensure the winner is a cute girl who is
single and in to short nerds.
For anyone who knows me, it should have been obvious that this was a joke. I'd pretty much buy any cute girl who was single and in to short nerds a free lunch any day of the week. Heck, she doesn't even have to be all that cute, or all that in to short nerds. I'm pretty firm on the single part though.

Okay, enough Howey Mandeling this, it's time for the results...

According to the coinstar there was a grand total of.... $162.57 in the jar(Before the coinstar deduction). Which looking back over the results(since I can't win) means Scot won the free lunch. Scot's my boss and the former drummer of my non-existent band. He's also notoriously thrifty with concerns to lunches and free stuff, so despite the fact that he's a manager at a software company, this win for him roughly equates to me being invited to have a sleep over with Shigeru Miyamoto for a night of Smash Bros., so I gotta be happy for him.