Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Covers

Ok so I almost forgot to post a Monday cover, ending the illustrious cover streak at one, but worry not! Today's cover is my personal favorite, I hope you can get behind it as well. This acoustic version of Andre 3000's "Hey Ya" is a venture by singer/songwriter Matt Weddle, and is a really smooth alternative. Outkast and acoustic, not a bad combination, hope it finds you well on this dreary Boston Monday. B EZ

PS I just looked at all the visuals of the youtube songs I've been posting and they're pretty random. Remember, it's about the music on this one, not the Kay Jeweler's commercial photo.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"I do not need a book of quotations to know that the eyes are the windows to the soul" - Englishman Max Beerbohm

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tatted up!

No not me, this time (don't worry mom). A couple of weekends ago I did get to go to the Boston Tattoo Convention, which was a pretty tight to say the least. I scalped a wristband off of some guy outside the Sheraton ballroom where the convention was held for $10 and went in not knowing what to expect, but it was well worth the (reduced) price of admission. There were probably 50 booths with tattoo artists from across the country showing off their stuff. I was under the impression they'd have brochures and pictures set up, but these guys were getting after it, tatting up anyone and everyone and really showing that they were top artists.

Tattooing is a pretty amazing art considering that artists not only sketch out designs but then lay them down on a living, breathing, and often twitching canvas with no room for error. I was fortunate enough to bring my camera along and catch some of the action. The ballroom had some awful artificial light so I wasn't able to catch a lot of the people walking around with their tats, just the people getting worked on (flash was obnoxious and I tried to avoid it). I met an old couple with tattoos that they had gotten in their 60s and when I asked them why so late they told me they were practice dummies for their son, who was now a professional tattoo artist. Now that's some unconditional love, don't know if I'd go for that hah. I saw some unbelievable sleeves and scalp tattoos as well as some beautiful extended works that wrapped around people's bodies (including a guy with tattooed-on sideburns). It really is amazing how much some people dedicate to their tattoos, and how these pieces of body art connect people. Relative strangers bound by ink, very cool, glad I got to check it out.

Oh and a on a cheesy pop culture note, got to see some people from the Real World at the convention as well as a tattoo bikini fashion show? Not complaining. I'll try and catch up on my posting this week, I know all 10 of you readers are getting anxious.

Artist's sketch book, crazy talent

Spidey Inkin'

The happy tattoo family, hard to believe these folks are rocking about 10 tats each

It's all about the benjamins

Daughter's Portrait

Fresh work

In action

Striking resemblance, old school vamp

Loved the Sinner/Saint combo

Getting real serious

Never trust a tattoo artist without tattoos

Intense "Lost Soul" on the dome

One of many scalp tattoos, this one was some crazy brain engine

Tattoos and bikinis

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Covers

I noticed that other blogs have these weekly posts and figured I might as well get at least one of those going. So here's the first ever Monday Cover Sesh. Monday's signal the start of the "same ole same ole", the return to the daily grind, and frankly are probably the least favorite of all days. Covers, traditionally, have been a departure from the "same ole same ole", tweaking the norm to achieve a satisfying result. Therefore why not introduce some tweaked music to readjust your boring Monday, and maybe even your week. That's my logic at least, twisted as it may be.

Today's cover is Lily Allen's rendition of the Kooks' "Naive". Not a huge Lily Allen fan, so the fact that I'm posting this should say something.

PS someday I'll figure out how to do this without posting the whole youtube video.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MJ kinda day

It's impossible to make a classic better, but this DJ Z-Trip remix does a pretty good job, a nice switch-up without dishonoring those original Jackson boys. Can't believe it's been over a year since MJ died, still catch myself doing the sock moonwalk on occasion. RIP, B EZ mikey..

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Doc Talk

Never really been a huge fan of movie reviews, and definitely don't feel qualified to give one, but I'd like to give some thoughts on two documentaries I saw recently. The two docs, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" and "Grizzly Man", covered completely different topics but examined characters that pursued their passions to extreme yet admirable lengths despite what the world around them thought. Both pieces examined quirky characters that really had little grasp on "normality" as we would define it, yet in both stories the characters had a fervent passion for something, an aspect that many of us lack in our everyday lives. So whereas I initially felt bad for the characters, by the end I was actually envious of their pursuits, a credit not only to the characters, but to the filmmakers as well.

"Anvil! The Story of Anvil", follows the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, a group that remained in relative obscurity on the heavy metal scene despite inspiring nearly every heavy metal group since the mid-1970s. Through a series of bad management decisions and just plain bad luck Anvil never got the fame their counterparts did, but never gave up on their musical aspirations. We catch up with them 30 years, 12 albums, and 2 beerguts later, and the band is struggling to put food on the table, much less sell out a small venue. You really want to shake them into reality, tell them to give up, but its quickly obvious it's the music that makes them tick, keeps them going. The two original members, frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner have formed this unbelievable friendship and chemistry that somehow has lasted through years of horrible luck musically, and now both dream of fame while leading very un-rockstar lifestyles. Lips has the unmistakable charisma of a frontman and a goofy lovable laugh and smile combination that immediately makes him a fan favorite, yet he doesn't work soldout crowds, he works Meals-on-Wheels delivery vans. He really is the ultimate tragic character, having been in love with music all of his life and having helped so many along the way with a friendly hand just to receive nothing in return. One scene sees him going up to rock legends from all over at a promotional concert and saying hello to his "old buddies" just to get stares of confusion in return, he's been forgotten, faded into rock oblivion. The only person that stands by him through it all is his drummer and best buddy Robb. Robb is much quieter and composed than Lips, which creates a wonderful complimentary relationship,that proves unshakable. They are eternally bound by metal music, and their friendship is a true model for brotherhood. I thoroughly enjoyed their journey through rock obscurity, and even though at times I was angered at the unfairness of their situation, they refused to feel bad for themselves and thus created a really touching documentary about life's sadness and joys.

The next doc I saw was "Grizzly Man", which also examined an unusual character, bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. This guy spends half of his year in the "human world" as he calls it, and half with grizzly bears in an Alaska state park. He has no wilderness background but still gets closer to the bears than any wildlife expert would dare. The whole piece is based off of video he has taken and his shots are all stunning. He literally befriends nature, living and interacting with foxes and bears in complete human isolation. The man clearly has screws loose, but you can't help admiring his love for these wild creatures. He clearly states at one point that he doesn't belong in the "human world" and it is easy at that point to consider the dude a kook. However, I give him a lot of credit for being self-aware enough to realize where he's comfortable and go for it. Many of us in our lifetime can realize we're uncomfortable or unhappy where we're at, but very few actually do something to fix it. Too many of us sit and settle for the safe route, fearing to risk standing out in a bad way, and effectively, as the old adage goes, clipping our wings. Treadwell knew what he was passionate about and went after it unabashedly. He never apologizes for who he is, and more importantly for what he is not. That in it of itself, makes "Grizzly Man" a worthwhile venture. Some unreal amateur camera work in the last American wilderness doesn't hurt either.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hey Massachusetts, what's the deal?

I was driving out to western Massachusetts yesterday to play some soccer with my boys Colin and Pete at our annual NMH alumni game, when I came to a strange realization: Massachusetts can't pronounce anything right. Nevermind the Bahhston accent, and pahhking the cahhh wherever that saying says to, I'm talking about simple spelling and diction. Who made the pronunciation key for the towns in Mass? I mean it took me a while to figure out Worcester was actually "wooster" when I was little, but I didn't realize that was a trend for the whole state (Leominster is "lemon-stir"...really?). Anyways, I drafted up a little letter to the Massachusetts Authority of Language in hopes of shedding light on Massachusetts' pronunciation shortcomings. Here's to me taking life too seriously ha.
.. .. ..
Dear MAL,
We the people of the rest of the United States of America are deeply concerned for the English language's safety in your Commonwealth. While we understand that the language rarely follows consistent rules grammatically and phonetically, it does not mean that your state can make up its own pronunciation and spelling rules entirely. To put it eloquently the English language is a page in a coloring book, and while sometimes it's acceptable to color a little bit outside of the lines, it is not ok to color squigglies in random corners like you are. How did you turn Haverhill into "Hey-vrill"? That's like turning a cow into steak, you butchered it. And Quincy into "Quin-zee"? It really sounds like the town is named after a South Shore rapper rather than an American hero. Gloucester (Glaws-ter), Chatham (Chad-um), Billericka (Bill-rick-a), the list goes on. The language confusion has grown so severe, we feel it's time to take drastic (dra-stick) action (act-shun). From now on your towns will be numbered, starting with Boston as #1 and working its way outward. We figure there's no possible way you can mispronounce numbers, please don't prove us wrong. Massachusetts, we're sorry to abruptly foist this upon you, but it's your own doing, we're merely trying to help.

Sincerely bewildered,
The rest of America

P.S. While many of you may be inconvenienced by our swift name-changing ordinance, we think the town of Athol will thank us in the long run. (still hard for me to say that name with a straight face)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Adventures

So I'm severely lagging on my timing, but I hit up Burlington (B-town) the other weekend to move my sister Kori into college (still can't believe that) and visit some friends up at UVM. Per usual it was an awesome time up in the north country. Burlington is gorgeous for those who haven't visited with arguably the best sunset on the east coast over Lake Champlain and plenty of awesome restaurants, funky shops and bars to keep you busy for weeks. On top of that you're surrounded by mountains, lakes, rivers and all of nature's bounty, not a bad deal at all. Pretty jealous my sister gets four years to explore up there.
Regardless, I took the four days I had and made the most of them. A couple of buds and I hiked the tallest mountain in Vermont, Mt. Mansfield. It wasn't an easy hike, but the top views were unreal and well worth all of the physical strain. I was a little disheartened when a little girl ran by me on the final ridge with her puppy, but later found out there was a road up to the final ridge that people were parking at and walking the last few hundred feet. Don't really see the accomplishment in that, but hey, to each their own. Found a wild cave on the way up that apparently holds snow up until mid-August, and I could see how, the cave entrance saw a 30 degree temperature drop. Also found this section of the climb called 'the Subway'. I really thought some guy was messing with me when he told me to take the subway at the top of the mountain, but turns out there is this trail that drops into a narrow rock channel and under a bunch of natural rock bridges, ere go the subway title. Very cool, definitely an experience worth repeating. Glad I got to do it with some guys from home, even though one of them might not share the sentiments after we iced him on top of the mountain ("Hey Dave I didn't know that there was ice up here in August").
B-town nights are always pretty eventful, some of the highlights included a huge three mattress street fire on our walk back from the bar, a dude running around in an Elmo costume and some guy who kept trying to convince us his name was Storm.
The trip also took us to Huntington Gorge for some cliff jumping on a great hot day. The sign leading into the gorge listed about 15 people that had died there over the years, which was a little much for me, considering me and heights haven't been that tight over the years. Thankfully peer pressure can be a powerful drug and after all my friends jumped into the river off of a 20 footer I had to follow. Little did I know that the 20 footer was just a stop to get to the 50 footer that loomed high above the river bank. On top of 50 feet you also had to clear at least 15 feet of rock face below it before landing in a small, but thankfully deep, pool. I took a quick look at my landing and just went for it. Such a free-ing feeling to leap off that edge and know it's just you and the water. First cliff of my very short summer, but I got on the board at the last second, so the streak is salvaged. After jumping we got to explore this unbelievable river canyon that had been carved out by the violent spring currents of hundreds of years. All of the walls had been rounded out and stretched up and over us so there was very little light, creating a very surreal but incredibly peaceful atmosphere. It really gave some perspective on how powerful the river really was. Unfortunately all of the video we shot is on my friend's camera hopefully I can upload it soon.
All in all though, a great weekend exploring and taking in B-town. I'm excited to go back later this year, and visiting the sis is a great excuse. Anyways hope my ramblings weren't too painful for you guys, I included some pics so you can see what I was trying to get at. B EZ.

New and old Groovy Uvies. Lydia, Alan, Kori, Leslie (aka Mama Krich)
The sisters. Kor and Kal.
Woke up to this. Just a typical street mattress fire.
Our destination
The hike up
Taking the Subway.
Upper ridge of Mansfield, solid views all around
I got a bird's eye view
Darkened this up so you could see the crazy waves of mountains, water color-esque, pretty poetic stuff. Picture doesn't do it justice
Crew at the top of Mansfield. (Me, Dave, Chris, Ryan, Ben)
The crew down by the docks.
It's a bummer this uploaded washed out, but hey. Typical Champlain sunset.
This sailboat left me little choice. The picture had to be taken.

Sunset silhouettes were pretty prime (Chris "Cee-lo" Loehr)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


And before my last post even has time to settle into your cerebral, Chiddy Bang drops a dope remix. Pretty pumped to see them for free this Saturday on campus, I don't hate it..

Dear Xaphoon,
Yes, you crazy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bringin it back

Seems weird, but I should probably preface this with a mature content label. Heard the song a little while ago, but waited for the official video to come around before I posted, and what can I say, well worth the wait. Cee-lo caps a triumphant return to solo-dom with his blatantly titled yet incredibly catchy ditty. Remember those songs you sang along to when you were little because they sounded so good, just to learn later that you were singing about an artist's drug problem or violent episodes of his or her past? Yeah this is one of those songs, minus the lyrical confusion. You know what you're singing the whole time, yet you can't stop, it's just that addictive. Cee-lo turns a bitter love song into an upbeat singalong, further playing with our heads and confusing our senses as only the master himself can. And, oh yeah, have to appreciate the choral background and the clever little back-and-forths he has with them in the chorus, smart, edgy stuff and can't wait to hear more.

PS remember when? Seems like forever ago, Cee-lo hit us with this crazy funkadelic.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


First dubstep show of my short concert career is in the books. Last night MartyParty and the Glitch Mob blew my mind and nearly caved in my chest cavity. Ridiculous sound, ridiculous bass, and a ridiculously well renovated Paradise venue. Honestly I didn't know what to expect, but this show was well worth the price tag ($20 hah). MartyParty brought some serious heavy dubstep, and the Glitch Mob killed it. You can definitely see why they represent a more consumer-friendly dubstep, sounded like a mix of Justice and Deadmau5 with some heavy dub thrown in. I kind of felt like I was in the opening club scene for the movie Blade (Note: this is the last time vampire's will be mentioned in my blog, sorry for those who anxiously awaited my Twilight reviews), with people bobbing up and down in a tranced-out mob. All in all good stuff though, nice to hit up a concert again (though my eardrums may disagree).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Dharma Bums

I just finished reading Jack Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums" and really enjoyed it. The story, told in Kerouac's wandering linear style, follows a faux-sage poet, Ray Smith, through California's urban artist jungles as he pursues ultimate "enlightenment". I throw enlightenment in quotes because throughout the entire piece Smith dedicates his being to Buddhism and the principles associated with it, but really does a half-hearted job. His crowd of reformed "Buddhists" remind me of today's hipsters, putting forth this huge intellectual front to hide inner confusions and societal doubts. I think Kerouac realizes this as well because he has Smith follow this path to enlightenment which really resembles a path to self-discovery and understanding. Once you start treating the heavy Buddhist tangents as organizing vehicles for the final self-discoveries of Ray Smith, the book becomes a much simpler and a lot more meaningful in my mind.
Enough with the thick textual analysis though. What really made this book an awesome experience was Smith finding his enlightenment in a place far above the chaos and bustle of urbanity: the mountains. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed it so much, and maybe I have no clue what constitutes "good literature", but I really connected with Smith (a character based off of Kerouac). I've always had a thing for the mountains and never really been able to describe it to others that don't share my views or have yet to experience it for themselves, but I think Kerouac does the best job summing it up textually as I've ever seen. The euphoria Smith feels climbing the Sierra Nevada's Matterhorn made me feel the exhilaration of the outdoors all over again, like I was really there in the alpine meadows making my way up the final ridge towards a summit. Hiking a mountain is not always an Everest-like ordeal, and "The Dharma Bums" definitely understands that, making it relate-able to an audience. If I had to describe climbing I'd have to say it has a very tangible reward (reaching the summit), but the intangibles associated with that reward are the real reason people do it. The exhilaration and adrenaline that kick in when you realize there's no higher to go, you are the top, the highest point of the mountain that just beat you down for hours, is an immeasurable thing. It's one of the simplest joys in the world, yet it's sensually unreal. Kerouac balances these two extremes with his Buddhist-hipster Smith, as Buddhism in itself is all about simplicity, yet Smith the poet, the romanticist points out every last sensory detail in his experiences. Admittedly, I tend to be a romanticist when it comes to this kind of wild, nature, adventure stuff, but I think the book does a great job grounding a very airy, whimsical, and often fickle character with a simple love for the outdoors.
The best part of Smith's entire realization is that he understands he lives in two worlds. He doesn't try and impose his passion for climbing on the friends he has in the city, but rather enjoys them as they are and always have been. He knows that tucked into his back pocket is that love for escaping to the mountains, something that will always be with him wherever he goes. Smith still functions in his little hipster Buddhist society and doesn't separate himself after his discovery of "enlightenment". I think this is a very worthwhile approach to life. Not everyone is going to share the same passions, but that shouldn't get in the way of you having relationships with these people, on any level. If someone is interested in that same passion by all means share it openly, but don't be discouraged if they don't, they aren't taking it away from you. Smith matures in this way over the course of the book, and truly understands it after coming down from Desolation Peak. He may have his head in the clouds for much of the book, but by the end he definitely attains wisdom from the peaks above them.