Monday, February 27, 2006

Avengers Assemble!

Let's face it. No matter how cool I think I am, I will never be able to erase the episodes of riding my bike to the Comic Grapevine to play Street Fighter II and flip through the 918 different X-titles during the springs and summers of '91 and '92. And honestly, why would I ever want to? Those were some of the happiest times of my life. Fortunately, I have discovered a way to celebrate that era of my life (apart from riding my bike to Lonestar Comics and flipping through 917 different X-titles) by tuning into Fanboy Radio, on 88.7 KTCU (click here to hear it on the web). If you have buried an adolescent nerd deep within a shell of grownup problems and adult facades, it's a great way to indulge your secret identity.

--The Robo-Pirate

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Vandal SEO Poser

I'm about to officially become a freelance writer (I am making this sound like a much bigger deal than it is), and as such, I wonder about the future of print publishing in the age of the blog. See, I know about the agonizing process of submitting material to various journals, magazines and publishers, and I know how it's an uphill climb, the hill in question usually rising at an 80 degree incline (unless of course, you're a vapid ex-junkie professional celebrity, in which case you don't have to do anything but be related to someone). However, when everyone in the universe has a blog, will that mean that the door to print-publication (and I'm not talking about self-published stuff, or low-rent, quickie-mart porno mags) becomes even tinier and more elitist? Talk amongst yourselves.

Anyway, adding to the growing list of bloggers is my good buddy and bandmate, Kerry. Kerry works at the same place I do, and he works on natural search engine optimization. Or, what the rest of us refer to as MAGIC. Kerry writes about his SEO journeys here. He recently caught MSN cheating at SEO. So go to his site. It's pretty funny.

--The Robo-Pirate

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I liked Geena Davis better when she had a job (and Joe Kelly is an idiot).

A few days ago, I biliously frothed about GLAAD's upbraiding of American Idol, because of Simon Cowell's insensitive treatment of a cross dresser. A couple of minutes ago, I read an article in a similar vein. This time the gripes came from Geena Davis, who, when she isn't empowering women to drive convertibles off cliffs, is busy founding gender-advocacy programs. As you might imagine, she is not advocating on behalf of little boys.

Her program, called See Jane, falls under the greater auspices of Dads & Daughters, and they both seek to increase balanced gender represenation in children's entertainment. This aim, in an of itself, is not a bad thing at all, though if you need a reason why there is a greater proportion of male characters to female characters in kids shows, simply compare the entire run of My Little Pony to any one episode of G.I. JOE; you will find that cartoons geared exclusively for girls are pretty lame.

Anyway, this group did a study on the top-grossing G-rated movies from 1990 to 2004, and it discovered that the male-female ratio in this films is a distressing 3:1. Clearly this a notable statistic, but I question the validity of its claim, largely because I don't think these people consider minor details such as narrative context. Joe Kelly, who co-founded Dads & Daughters, remarked that the findings of the study exposed a flaw in Toy Story, and made him realize that the only female character was Bo Peep. Well, Joe, if you can take a momentary break from your hand-wringing, you might notice that the setting of Toy Story takes place in the bedroom of an eight year BOY. I don't know if you are aware of this, Joe, but most boys don't play with girls' toys. On account of most boys being boys.

--The Robo-Pirate

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Assorted Things That are Rad and Win Big #1

compressed bass
Herb Alpert
mustard greens
taco truck tacos
5:00 PM
Maker's Mark
watching innocent bystanders get kicked in the nuts

--The Robo-Pirate

I Can't Brag Enough

Here's an article about my brother, the All-American Water Polo player. He kicks ass.

--The Robo-Pirate

Monday, February 06, 2006

Soon to be in print!

One thing that I have been intending to do for like the past four years or so is write record reviews for the Fort Worth Weekly, which is Cowtown's oft-maligned alt-rag. It required that I submit a writing sample, and after long last, I finally sent one in. Look for links to my reviews in the next few weeks. Until then, here's what I sent in. It's a review of the Sublime Tribute Album that came out in, um, August. Anyway, since it probably won't get printed, I've posted it down below.

Tribute albums are born of a superfan’s reverence for his favorite band, compromised by some other people who want to cash in on a defunct artist’s legacy. Their success hinges upon the artists selected to cover the songs and whether or not their versions make them any more interesting, which usually dooms them to glaring inconsistency. Thus, a tribute album is almost always a hit-or-miss affair; running all over the map is part of its record DNA. Yet, for a band like Sublime, you’d think that this hodgepodge-selector approach would work in its favor. It doesn’t. On Look at All the Love We’ve Found: A Tribute to Sublime, nurture beats nature, and what should have sounded organic often comes out clunky and contrived.

The songs on Look at All the Love are an even sampling from Sublime’s three studio albums, performed by bands that shared the same L.A./O.C. ska-punk scene, sandwiched between Myspace neighbors like G. Love. In other words, if you don’t get what Fishbone is doing with “Date Rape,” you can always put Jack Johnson’s breezy medley of Badfish/Boss DJ on repeat.

Where the album really shines is in the songs most likely to be skipped by the people looking for “Wrong Way” retreads. Camper Van Beethoven’s version of “Garden Grove” is dub made for a Jim Henson film about barrio life. Mike Watt and Petra Hayden take the stoned lo-fi of “Work that We Do” and boil it into a feverish absinthe hallucination, and Awol One and Abstract Rude turn “Ruca” into a greasy electro trip back to 1981.

Unfortunately, a big chunk of this album doesn’t do Sublime any favors. “Doin’ Time” gets deflated into busy acid jazz by The Greyboy All-stars, blanching what was a smoky summer anthem into jam-band elevator music, and while the countrified dub of Bargain Music is earnest and heartfelt on “Get Out,” it comes across a little too hammy and a lot too Kid Rockish.

As a band, Sublime were frequently uneven. From their sometimes electrifying, sometimes disastrous live shows to Bradley Nowell’s failed attempts to kick heroin, they were off as often as they were on. When they were on, they effortlessly replicated a 24/7 punk rock party on wax, wrapping SoCal’s sunny seediness in bouncy hooks and inescapable grooves; when they were off, they really sucked. In that regard, it’s almost fitting that a Sublime tribute would get cut from the same pattern.

--The Robo-Pirate

Rest in Peace, Grandpa Munster.

--The Robo-Pirate

Friday, February 03, 2006

"...I'm not too in to reggae."

Kerry (and in case you don't know who he is, go here: and look for the fat guy holding a guitar) discovered this afternoon that if you are considering a purchase of Darth Vato's first recording from Wal-Mart, Wal-mart would also like for you to consider a purchase of the Baha Men. Who let the dogs out, indeed.;jsessionid=Dgnvn3LhZVkdhkYaMnyLxvpfNXolNj2MsRw2jY01TrhQJ7JrIB5y!1985808616?id=106684

The moral of this story: reggae music is totally lame.

--The Robo-Pirate