Friday, June 28, 2013

An Open Letter to Chapstick

Dear Chapstick,

If you are going to charge me close to $4 for a .15oz stick of petroleum, please spend some time and effort on a delivery mechanism which hasn’t changed in nearly 90 years.

Almost inevitably my Chapstick tubes end in a gooey, unusable mess when the wheel on the bottom of the stick turns in my pocket and the product gets all jammed up inside of the cap.

Are you telling me that in an age where we can talk to our friends in China on MOVIE PHONES you can’t make a tube of petroleum wax that doesn’t spooge all over the freaking place?

PUT A FREAKING LOCK ON THE TWISTY PART. The fix is only a click away.



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

“Stratospheric” (the new video from Story of the Running Wolf)

The best thing on the internet just went live today. Hardy Howl Films presents this nostalgic gem for the LA duo Story of the Running Wolf. I’ve embedded the video below, but do yourself a favor and watch it in 720p full-size to enjoy all the glory of the especially well done film-to-video-transfer and 80’s-television-look goodness.

Story of the Running Wolf is Josh D’Elia and Jeffrey Chernick.  While other acts may be attempting a return to all things 80’s, D’Elia and Chernick do it with a precision and flair that leave all others in the dust.  Not only that, but they are not simply imitating the past with covers (like most 80’s-return bands trying to access via corny, clumsy comedy), but are instead writing their own original material that could easily and seamlessly mesh with any video line-up circa 1983 MTV.  Think Naked Eyes, Asia, A-Ha, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, New Order and you are on the path to Story of the Running Wolf.  These guys remind you what the 80’s was all about.  When you see and hear them one might first be tempted to cringe at just HOW MUCH 80’S they have conjured, but NO ONE who was alive in that decade can resist the mysterious day-glo neon and checkerboard-bad-3D-cool that some how sucks you in (because it IS cool whether you like it or not).

The video for “Stratospheric” is a mash-up of originally imagery in the style of The Never Ending Story (they made a freaking LUCK DRAGON!) and Labyrinth.  Let me just say that D’Elia as Bowie is spot on, but literally each and every visual element and piece of the story does it’s part to transport the viewer right back to a time when Aquanet was as ubiquitous as OP.

Even the motion logo at the beginning of the video got my pulse pumping with nostalgia.  The way D’Elia (who did much of the post work on the video) and Hardy Howl captured the “Sit, Ubu, Sit” and “Stephen J. Cannell Productions” feeling (remember the guy pulling the piece of paper from the type writer and flinging it into the air so it turns into the “c” of the logo?), right down to the warbly audio and cheesy-quasi-industrial video music queue, is just perfection.

Perhaps the best thing about this video, however, was how it transformed a room packed full of LA-hipster-douchebags at the Sayers Club in Hollywood last Saturday night into a screaming mob of 8-year-old little girls.  It was magical to see the mass of scarf-wearing (IT’S 90 DEGREES OUTSIDE!!!), pretentious a-holes drop their guards and literally scream with joy when the music started pulsing, the video rolled, and FREAKING FALCOR came flying across the screen.  Not even the scenester elite could deny the awesome.  The performance from Story of The Running Wolf that followed the video’s premier was nothing short of magical (and was mystically enhanced by the AMAZING and legendary sound system at the Sayers Club).

And kudos to the folks at Hardy Howl for bringing CUPCAKES to the event! The staff didn’t know what to do with themselves (the manager commented that no one had brought food to the club… ever) except abandon their reserved cool and climb aboard the life-sized Falcor that Hardy Howl brought to the club for PHOTO OPPS!!! Seriously… slutty club girls sans underpants with faces filled with a joy and innocence that would have brought tears to their daddies’ eyes.

If you EVER get a chance to see Story of the Running Wolf live, do NOT miss the opportunity. And if you can see them at the Sayers Club (this was their second performance at that venue), do anything and everything you can to hear them amplified by electronics that I can only assume involved some sort of pact with the devil.

A new album (including “Stratospheric”) is slated to drop in the near future, so for now you’ll have to sate your SOTRW hunger by downloading the single from iTunes and watching the video over and over and over again.

Alternatively, you can catch the tasty flava of Story of the Running Wolf in the remixes they’ve been doing at the behest of various bands on the LA Scene including an upcoming remix for Fitz and The Tantrums.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Getting a License Plate for Your Trailer in Colorado

It should be noted that in conversations about politics, I generally take up the “side” of pro-government.  However, anytime I have to actually interact with government agencies, I quickly understand where those in favor of smaller government are coming from.  However, it seems strange that people would argue for more “local government” in favor of making government “smaller” when local government is generally the most frustrating to deal with. Any whoooooo…

I recently bought a small flatbed utility trailer at Harbor Freight to haul drywall (to finish the studio) and maybe haul off yard waste every once in a while.

In typical government fashion, it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find a straight answer on the website about what you need to do to get a license plate for your trailer.  I’m not sure why this is such a closely guarded secret.  It’s actually a fairly simple process (as government processes go).  The trouble I find is that all the information on the website is cyclical.  If you click on a link that you think will give you some information about titling your trailer, you are directed to a different (but similar!) page with a LOT of information.  You have to dig to find the tiny piece of information you’re looking for, then “click,” and BOOM you’re starting all over again.  I spent about 45 minutes on this wild goose chase before giving up and calling someone (at one point I did see a tiny little blurb about home made trailers needing to be inspected by the State Patrol, but nowhere did they give any information about the temporary plate you’ll need in order to drive there). The person I spoke with put me on hold several times (asking others for the answers), and I was transferred around a couple of times.  I spoke with people at several offices and also the Colorado state patrol.


So as I mentioned, I had purchased a trailer kit from Harbor Freight; therefore I had to assemble and wire my own trailer (which evidently classifies it as “home made”) and thus needed an inspection from the Colorado state patrol before being able to title/register my trailer.

Once you have assembled your trailer, you need to get a temporary plate, but these temps only last ONE DAY (as opposed to the ones for a car which last a month or two).  Thus, on the day you have your inspection appointment at the State Patrol office, you must first go to the DMV and get your one day temp tag.  I actually asked the lady on the phone, “Do these temps last 24 hours, or just for the day you get them?”

She said, “Twenty-fours hours.”

“Great!” I said, “So I can come in and get it today around 3pm, and it will be good until my appt. tomorrow morning at 10am?”

“No,” she replied, “It will expire tonight at midnight.”

I SOOOOOOO wanted to ask, “Um, so, do you work for the government?”

REMEMBER: I wrote “DMV” above, but it’s actually the titling office.  In Colorado, you get your driver’s license at a COMPLETELY different place than where you title/register your vehicles.  This is incredibly stupid but nonetheless the case.  Every time I’m at one of these offices, there is inevitably some poor schmoe who has waited in line for nearly an hour only to get up to the desk and have the clerk yell at them because they are in the wrong place.  It doesn’t seem fair (or even reasonable/acceptable) for the clerk to yell at the person for thinking the government would be efficient enough to put all functions of the DMV in ONE PLACE, but this is almost always the case.

It should also be noted that the Colorado State patrol office where I will be having my trailer inspected is nearly THREE TIMES the distance from my house as the Titling Office.  Thus, I will have to drive (technically illegally) all the way to the DMV to get my temporary plate, then drive to the State Patrol, then drive immediately back to the DMV to get my “regular” plate.  Brilliant.  What sense does this make AT ALL?!  I have to drive ILLEGALLY to the Titling Office to get a temporary piece of paper to drive somewhere else and then drive back.  WHY NOT JUST ELIMINATE THE FIRST STEP ENTIRELY (other than the fact that the state gets some paltry amount of money for the temporary title –and I have to sit in line for an hour).Steaming mad