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San Diego Serenade

San Diego Serenade



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Some New Youtube Videos

Posted in Video by Conor on the
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September 16th, 2007

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Get great deals on NFL memorabilia

We made some youtube videos this weekend. Having planned out a scripted three minute sketch requiring special effects and tons of editing and precision timing, we instead decided to keep it incredibly short and simple. So here you go.


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Buy my old CDs!

Posted in Uncategorized by Conor on the
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August 25th, 2007

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After the great CD Cleanout of a few months ago, I was left with a bunch of actual CDs. Not CD-r’s. Shocking! I didn’t want to just throw them away when the possibility of raking in several dollars of cold, hard cash remained. So I’m listing them, complete with out of focus photo, on ebay. There’s a lot of good CDs in there, and even though they might not play, they’re kind of neat to look at. Even though iTunes makes it easy to keep track of album artwork, the days of flipping through a case logic case and knowing what Stone Temple Pilots “Purple” or Smashing Pumpkins “Pisces Iscariot” cd look like even though it doesn’t say the name on the CD are long gone. So if that era is one you want to revisit for some sick reason, please bid on my CDs!

Ebay Auction is here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140151639508

CD Spindles


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Karl Strauss redefines “Shitty Beer”

Posted in Uncategorized by Conor on the
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August 9th, 2007

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Karl Strauss Logo

What is it about the new beer from Karl Strauss, the “Hot Karl Double IPA” that offends my sensibilities more? The fact that they’re trying to capitalize on all the national attention being given lately to the San Diego IPA style of beer, or the fact that they decided to name the beer after a sex act that wikipedia defines as: “a sexual act in which one partner defecates directly onto the face of their partner, sometimes with the mouth open.”

You know what? I’ve decided what offends my sensibilities more: Karl Strauss naming their beer after a sex act where people shit on each others faces. Just imagining the mental giants that have snickered about that joke for the past five years and finally got corporate approval to slap it on kegs of beer.

“Get it Gary? People will say ‘I’d like a Hot Karl!”
“I don’t get it.”
“I hate you Gary.”

The best part of the whole story is is that they waited until Karl Strauss died, (back in December), and then trotted out the Shit-on-face beer with his name on it! They didn’t even have the balls to go through with the joke while the man was alive!

I saw Karl Strauss once during my time in San Diego. He took the stage before the Sex Pistols played at Street Scene in 2003. He was a bent over, frail old man, who I’m quite sure wasn’t aware of the reputation of the band he was introducing. It sort of put in perspective the entire organization: get a respected guy, slap his name on your product, serve the beer at the Street Scene, Del Mar and the airport and through sheer force of marketing and will, gain the reputation as a local San Diego “tradition.” If you have to trot the guy out in front of the Sex Pistols, or use his name for a frat boy joke every now and then, whatever. He’s old and dead. Cut his estate another check.

I can fortunately think of dozen of other IPAs, Double IPAs and other San Diego beers from breweries that are smaller, tastier and more deserving of our business than Karl “Think of people shitting into each others mouth when you drink our beer” Strauss.

Source: Liars Club Newsletter, 8/9/7 - “Draft beers coming soon: Racer 5, and unbeknownst to Speed – his brother Racer X, something really cool from Jeff Bagby, Unibroue Maudite Strong Red Ale, Karl Strauss Hot Karl Double IPA, Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, Coronado Hoppy Friar Belgian-style IPA, Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale, Avery Piglet Purgatory, Cucapa Pale Ale, He’brew Origin Pomegranate Ale, TJ Bufadora Bock (soon), and (eventually) Russian River Procrastination.


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Hey CityBeat! Don’t just print any dick’s letter!

Posted in San Diego, CityBeat by Conor on the
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February 12th, 2007

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Find out the latest street scenes in San Diego entertainment !

The CityBeat has been printing letters to the editor lately about this article from about a month ago: The Case Against Chinese Democracy. It’s a fan’s reminiscing about the Guns n’ Roses of his memories, and his conclusion is that Chinese Democracy will more than likely tarnish these memories.

Axl Rose Poster

As someone who had the above poster on his wall for 3/4 of his time spent in college, I too have fond memories of Axl Rose. I can agree with many of his points regarding the potential suckitude of Chinese Democracy, and am therefore envious of Encinitas resident Mike Hulshof who writes in to CityBeat to say that he has heard the new record.

So, the new record: I have heard it. A music friend searching and linking website after website found it from Japan and downloaded it. We listened to it. The only way I can describe it is this: Imagine the amount that Use Your Illusion let you down after the killer Appetite record. Well, double that.

That’s right. The most legendarily incomplete record since Smile, one of the more anticipated, closely guarded recordings in the modern recording era, has evidently been played in Encinitas resident Mike Hulshof’s computer room, and somehow the rest of the world has not heard about this. No big Rolling Stone article about the leak, no news on any music blogs whatsoever, no record setting bit torrent traffic. Just a letter printed in the CityBeat.

Hey CityBeat: Don’t just print any dick’s letter. That guy writing in to say he had heard the new record is no more factually accurate than me writing in to tell you that I know the results of March’s Oscars or the 2008 presidential election. None of the opinions accompanying those two claims would be printed as legit, and neither should this idiot’s opinion about Chinese Democracy. A simple fact check (ie: visit to the hype machine or torrentspy) would reveal that there are no finished copies of Chinese Democracy on the internet. This guy undoubtedly heard some of the bootlegs such as the one pictured below that have been circulating for over a year, that even the bootleg art identifies as gussied up live tracks and demos that are pretty much guaranteed to show up in different form on the album.

Chinese Democracy Bootleg Cover

Mr Hulshof is right in describing the sub par quality of these leaked songs/demos/live recordings. But for god’s sake, if you’re going to be printing made up facts and conjecture in your newspaper, give me a heads up, because I have all sorts of ridiculous things that I would love to see in print being passed off as fact.

PS. In a scenario nobody predicted, Abe Vigoda becomes the first person to win the Best Actor/Best Actress combo in the same night, with last minute fill in nominations for his showstopping Cameos in Dreamgirls and United 93. And it’s Obama all the way.


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CDeez Nuts

Posted in technology by Conor on the
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January 23rd, 2007

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Last weekend, in an effort to find a place to store The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, (estimated size: bigger than your TV), some stuff in the apartment had to go. Old magazines, extraneous furniture were on the chopping block, but quite possibly the easiest objects to part with were the stacks and stacks of old burnt CDs that were sitting unused around the apartment:

CD Pile

Note: A drop in the bucket
Click here for closeup

I was one of the first people I knew to get a CD burner, and had made good use of the medium all the way through college. Having a 200 disc CD changer and a burner always made for interesting times, as it was placed on “Random” (the ancestor of “Shuffle”) , and monitored with remote in hand. CDs would be burnt just to have on hand, you know, in case you ever needed to have a copy of Lou Reed’s 8th best solo album. I was never a big cover art guy, just some hastily scrawled sharpie writing, with occasional words crossed out or arrows drawn when mistakes were made. When all my possessions made their way across the country to San Diego, the 200 disc changer didn’t last more than a few months before breaking down. I bought a new one, 300 discs, without a second thought. A CD changer was how it had always been, but this one was bigger and better. Probably the day after it had arrived, a friend asked how much it cost and smugly remarked “huh…could’ve just gotten an iPod.”

CDs closeup

This was probably first quarter 2004, and it’s one of those decisions that proves that time travel is impossible, because future me would have clearly come back to warn me against it, were it possible. Within two years, the disc changer was sold on Craigslist, multiple hard drives were obtained to store music and the glorious window of freeipods.com’s existence was exploited to its maximum potential. The CD-R’s, formerly a prized possession, gathered dust in a corner, waiting for us to move to I could throw them away then.

CDs Face

As a man of action, I decided not to wait until we move. The CD’s were gathered up, those on spindles de-spindled, those in imitation Case Logic binders left there. Some quick photos were taken, estimates of total cost attempted and abandoned, and then the CDs were uncerimoniously deposited in the alley trashcan. I’d like to think that a random hobo came by, hoping to score a banana peel with a tiny bit of banana residue, and instantly became a hobo, who, though poor in material possessions, now had a vast wealth of indie cred.

CDs in the garbage

Now there’s just that matter of what to do with the binders of REAL CDs…Anyone wanna buy a grab bag?


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Cold War Kids: Unfairly written off for Christian beliefs (or possibly just suck)

Posted in Bands, San Diego, Concerts, religion by Conor on the
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January 20th, 2007

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Cold War Kids City Beat Cover

The CityBeat cover story raises an interesting point this week: Have the Cold War Kids been dealt an unfair hand by the music press because of their Christian faith and themes in their music? The author is a fan of their music and believes that reviews from major publications such as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork have unfairly focused on Christianity, rather than the rocking-ness of their music, which he describes as:

“dirt-pan, white-boy blues” [with a singer who] channeled Nick Cave, John Fogerty and Jeff Buckley all at once.”

Author Seth Combs believes that the band has been unfairly written off by a music press and fanbase that sees

“religion as a hindrance to deep, creative thought, as if some a[sic] Christian musician sits in a studio and thinks, Gosh, would Jesus approve of this lyric? I’d better lose it.”

and more over thinks that

“religion goes against the rebellious, hedonistic and godless spirit that makes rock ‘n’ roll so appealing.”

The fictional world of music listeners that the author writes about must be consisted of two groups: either ninth graders who have just bought their first copy of The Doors “Greatest Hits” or leftover Motley Crue fans from the ’80s. These are the only two groups of people left on the planet who adhere to the cliche of “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll” as why they listen to their favorite bands. The rest of us tend to base our decisions on the more obvious and rational method of determining “Is this music awesome or not?”

Evidently the author has not listened past the two minute and twenty three second mark of the highest regarded (borderline worshipped) album by the indie rock, Pitchfork reading crowd, or he would have heard Jeff Mangum nakedly exclaiming “I love you Jesus Christ…Jesus Christ I love you, yes I do.” Rock lyrics rarely come more honest, blatant or emotionally delivered, and this one happens to be about Jesus. But this album has been embraced by the masses because of the transcendent quality and emotion of the music, religious undertones be damned. It’s the kind of record that makes even the most skeptical hipster wish that they believed in something the way that the singer does.

If the Cold War Kids have not been fully embraced by the world at large, it’s not because of the way they choose to live their lives, it’s because of the quality of their product. To have received the amount of attention and endorsement from music blogs, to a point where even Rolling Stone chooses to cover them and review their album, is more attention than 99% of their peers will ever achieve. If they happen to be relegated to the status of the latest band who you Should Be Listening To But Aren’t, it is because all the hype in the world can’t make people like something that isn’t that good. In the CityBeat article, frontman Nathan Willett is quoted as saying:

“It’s just lazy journalism, where if you don’t like a band, you pick up one thing about them and say, ‘I’m gonna write about this.’”

It seems to me to be just as lazy journalism to do that if you like the band. But they’ve sold out the Belly Up, so good for them.


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Let’s let the professionals do what they do best

Posted in Street Scene promoter Joe Callahan by Conor on the
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January 13th, 2007

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While it is certainly noble of FM 94.9 to start paying its fan club members to start DJing for them, I think we can all agree that there are some things that are best left to the professionals. Nobody wants to hear your voice or my voice on the radio; it takes a certain type of butter smooth voice to say, “Does it get any better than the Chili Peppers? We’ll be getting the Led out, and playing the brand new Shins (Phantom Limb) in just a minute, but now here’s Pauly to hit you up with the traffic.”

And if we can just peer into the future, for a minute, and observe the obvious next dominoes to fall if the fans are allowed to take over the airwaves, I think that it’s safe to say that the potential alternative worlds are chilling at best.

Joe Callahan

Are we just gonna let any man off the street peer over their shades for press shots a la Street Scene promoter Joe Callahan? Are we? Let’s draw the line somewhere. Sanity must carry the day at some point in time, people. Let’s just reign it in before things get too crazy.


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Power Hour DVDs

Posted in Video, booze by Conor on the
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January 10th, 2007

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This was the first year that I didn’t make a “Power Hour DVD” for my return trip home for Christmas, but for the previous three years, it had been a nice little mini tradition that ensured that friends gathered for a while during the holidays and didn’t remember it when it was all over.

The Power Hour is a drinking game that I was first exposed to freshman year of college, when we gathered in someones dorm room to drink a shot of beer every minute for an hour. This particular event stands out in my memory because I ended up getting sick after the seventh minute, which resulted in much mockery and derision at the time, but when my friends got busted by our Resident Adviser 45 minutes later, I wasn’t drinking and didn’t get written up.

The original method of looking at a clock, or more accurately having a designated clock watcher who ends up getting much drunker than everyone else and whose commands of “DRINK!” get louder and more futile as the game wears on, wore thin pretty quickly. I started making CDs with 60 one-minute long songs on them that would make it more of an enjoyable affair, and discovered that by putting songs that fit your mood, especially towards the end of the CD, you could have a lot of fun with the game. Woe to the neighbors of the people who end a Power Hour CD with 3 consecutive “Livin’ On A Prayers”. Once I used Meatloaf “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” as the fake out finale at minute 59, then stuck Travis’ cover of “The Weight” on as minute sixty, only to reprise Paradise by the Dashboad Light in its entirety to blow everyones mind at the end.

Power Hour DVD Banner

The only logical next step was to make a Power Hour DVD, and as I’ve said, I’ve made three of them. Using the same principle, building intensity in terms of hilarity and emotionalness towards the end of the hour has been an interesting and fun experience, as has tracking down all the obscure clips I’ve wanted to use, which I’ve had more luck doing sometimes than others. I’m thinking about making Volume 4 soon, and figured that before I did that, I would finally utilize the powerhourdvd.com domain I registered so long ago to distribute my works to the masses. I had dreams of selling the DVDs on there, but the internet seems to be trending towards giving shit away for free these days, so that’s what I’ll do as well. You can download Vol 1 and Vol 3 right now and watch them on the computer or burn them to a DVD, Vol 2 should be up shortly. I personally think they are entertaining to watch on their own without the drinking game, but obviously they’re intended to be used with beer a plenty.

So check them out at http://www.powerhourdvd.com and then let me know if you have any suggestions of future one minute clips to use in Volume 4.

EDIT: Some quick searching round the net reveals two Power Hour vids on Google Video, but with limited source material: This one uses TV Intros and this one uses Movie Trailers. The TV Intro one kicks off with Full House, which regrettably has not surfaced on one of mine yet. There is also a brilliant iTunes Power Hour App that automatically generates a playlist of one minute songs from your iTunes playlist.

Power Hour: Just another damn thing that the kids have easier these days.


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Buy This New Fancy Feast or the ASPCA Will Take Your Cat

Posted in Food, Animals by Conor on the
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January 7th, 2007

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Living next door to a Ralphs has an infinite number of advantages. When we first moved in, a friend described it as being as if we only need to reach slightly further into our fridge and any product our hearts desire, Oreo Pie, Gushers, Bacon, would be available. But just as nice is the convenient access to products such as pet food. Many is the night where my meager purchases on register twelve have been made far more pathetic by the addition of one or two cans of cat food to keep the cat happy: buying a bottle of vodka says you’ll be having a wild night carousing with friends, buying a bottle of vodka and a can of cat food means the cashiers start running a pool about when they’re going to see you being led away in just your handcuffs and some underwear. Ralphs has a Pet Club, which means you enter in your phone number before each purchase, and once you’ve bought one hundred dollars of cat food, you get a coupon for 9 dollars off your next pet purchase. They then sell your contact information to pet food manufacturers so that you can find out about the wide variety of pet products that you didn’t know you needed. Such as the following box that arrived in my mail a few weeks ago:

Fancy Feast Invitation

The embossed gold seal that held the package shut is not reflected well in this photo, but it was there. Presumably, the sticker manufacturer thought that they were creating the dainty “FF” stickers for, say, the Ford-Fuller Wedding. But no, it is for the new Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys collection, a delightful collection of outrageous Cat Foods that your cat needs right away.

Hearts and Liver

Our cat eats Fancy Feast food, and out of the one hundred and thirteen available flavors of Fancy Feast, he will eat 2. His preferred flavor is pictured above: Sliced Chicken Hearts and Liver Feast in Gravy. They used to make a Salmon and Tuna Filet and Pate flavor, but they stopped making that, so he now occasionally accepts Salmon and Shrimp. Evidently the head honcho of Fancy Feast knows that he has a loyal, if unwillingly so, customer, and decided that if he could feed our cat one of his new Elegant Medley cat foods, he might be able to bump us up into a higher bracket of cat purchasing, one where we’d be forced to serve our cat out of crystal goblets, instead of the plastic goblets we currently use.

Fancy Feast Fold Out

The tri-fold packaging indicated that three categories of cat food were part of the Elegant Medleys collection Florentines, Souffles and Shredded Fare. It also indicates the proper method of serving the dishes, with appropriate garnishes. It is a safe bet that many of you out there have owned a cat, and that many of you have owned a cat that eventually died. This was because you did not serve the appropriate garnishes on the side of the dishes you fed your cat. For shame.

Fancy Feast Can

The can they sent us was White Meat Chicken Florentine in a “Delicate Sauce” with Garden Greens. First of all, I am not sure what Florentine means. I am aware of Souffles, although I do not consume them regularly, and shredded fare speaks for itself. Florentine sounds like a kind of style, and I was surprised that it got its own category. But then again, the people at Fancy Feast probably expected this type of ignorance from a non-elegant cat food purchaser such as myself. I wouldn’t know a delicate sauce if I woke up soaking in one.

Cat Eating

Nervously, I let my cat inspect the packaging, as if it were a menu, and later fed him the can. This must be how most parents feel the first time they take their kids to a McDonalds: “Please be allergic to this or I’m going to be eating it every week for the next dozen years.” He rejected it, and after the Elegant Medley Collection showed up on our shelves a few weeks later, I am very grateful. They cost 93 cents per can, compared to the 73 cent and frequently on sale Chicken Hearts and Liver. Feeding him an Elegant Medley every day would have more than likely meant resorting to Elegant Medleys myself in the future.

Then just yesterday we were at the store and in the tomato sauce aisle, I turned and saw a can of the legendary Potted Meat Food Product:

Potted Meat Food Product

Total cost to the consumer, who is evidently expected to purchase it unironically and actually eat it: 37 cents. Close to half the cost of regular Fancy Feast, and close to one third the cost of the Elegant Medleys collection. Meat Byproducts is the first ingredient listed on Potted Meat, and the Fifth on Fancy Feast. What that means about the world we live in is something that, like the existence of god, everyone is going to come to terms with on their own. It’s already resulted in one sleepless night for myself.


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Feedback from the Reader

Posted in San Diego by Conor on the
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August 23rd, 2006

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The next issue of the Reader has come out, and it published no less than six letters to the editor regarding my Cover Story. It was obviously a divisive article, and thanks to their comments, several San Diego residents have earned themselves a spot on my Richard Nixon style enemies list. Brian “Absolutely horrible…what a moron” Nelson, Shannon “how much of an idiot your writer is” Riccio and Mariah “monotonous and dragging” Burzynski, welcome to the club!

I think it’s really great that the San Diego Reader is willing to print the opinions of its readers, and my three new enemies should be proud that their thoughts were published. To tell you the truth, there’s only one real difference between the Reader printing Brian Nelson’s, Shannon Riccio’s, and Mariah Burzynski’s opinion and them publishing mine:

1000-dollar-billz.jpg

One of us got One Thousand Dollars for their opinion.

One thing that I did find interesting was that no matter whether people thought the article was poorly written by a moron or hitting things dead center, nobody stood up for the radio stations. Nothing from an employee, or even an impassioned fan. Where are all those people?

Next Page »


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