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January, 2009

  1. The Physical Challenge

    January 17, 2009 by BLAKEBUCK

    On your mark.  Get set.Few things on this earth please me as much as watching a solid episode of the Nickelodeon classic “Double Dare”.  Sure, remedy I might be a little too old vats of slime and a pudding slide, but there’s something to be said for the sheer visceral excitement of the obstacle course.

    Eight cream-filled obstacles to conquer in sixty-seconds, all the while the Double Dare theme blaring at max volume and Mark Summers along with a full studio audience of kids screaming at the top of their lungs.  The small studio setup also meant that the entire course was filmed with only one camera and no cuts: an intense almost first-person thrill that keeps the adrenaline pumping.

    Most of the time the kids lost, but it didn’t matter.  You were lost deep in a frenzy of colors and sounds, a sort of pre-teen LSD.  Behold 90s game show transcendence!

    You can now die knowing you will never witness anything that exciting ever again.

    -BLAKEBUCK


  2. Judge Not

    January 15, 2009 by BLAKEBUCK

    Make fart noises.  With your phone.  Hilarious.“The Golden Globes suck now – it’s like I’m watching a fund-raising dinner for scoliosis, stuff not a Hollywood awards show” I said to my brother, prescription who had the Tivo cued to the rather underwhelming awards show.  Perhaps it was my overall disdain for television that had clouded my judgement; all brain heard was, look “And the award goes to… Some actor you’ve never seen before in some show that you heard a few people talk about but no one actually watched!”

    “Shut up – everybody knows the Golden Globes are like the precursors to the Academy Awards.  The things that happen tonight can affect who gets the oscar next month”, my brother said. But I wasn’t really listening – I was knee deep into my latest hobby: reading crap reviews of iPhone Apps in the App Store.  iPhone app reviews always go one of two ways: “OMG BEST APP EVER.  I bought it and my life changed forever after that moment” or, of course, the other way, “WTF this app SUCKS.  Crashed constantly, costs too much, and icon looks stupid.  COMPLETE WASTE OF MY PRECIOUS 99 CENTS.  I  demand a refund.  Anybody who likes it must be retarded.”

    I was on page three into a review for iFart Mobile, and app that makes farting noises.  I have no desire to have an app that makes farting noises – why on god’s earth am I looking up reviews?  Maybe it’s this homemade margarita my brother made me  – does he even know how to make an alcoholic beverage?  Gassyman100’s review, entitled “BEST APP IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND”, had the following to say: “You show me a man who doesn’t think this app is hilarious, and I’ll show you a gay man.”

    Now if only there was a female Hans Gruber...Hahaha!  “I’ll show you a gay man”  Well played sir.  While there’s a part of me that hopes that this review was written in a Andy Kauffman subversive style of comedy, I knew more likely, it was simply written by and idiot.  I began to ponder, “Why is it that any idiot can review an iPhone app?  Or for that matter, even have an opinion?  Who gives Gassyman101 the right to judge the creative efforts of another?”

    “And presenting the award for best supporting actress is Rumer Willis, daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis”

    “GOOD GOD.  Bruce Willis has a DAUGHTER.  And she is hot.  She even kinda LOOKS like Bruce Willis” I exclaimed like a schoolboy who just peeked into the girl’s locker room.  This revelation seemed lost on my brother, who was busy looking up more Golden Globe predictions online.  But I knew what I just discovered was something quite profound.

    “That’s it.  I’m done with all my current career and life aspirations.  I’ve got a new calling.  I’m going to have sex with Rumer Wills – because it’s the closest you can ever come to having sex with Bruce Willis.  Without being gay”

    Maybe I’m right, and stupid people should have the right to judge other’s creative works – not in the app store, and not in Hollywood.  But the judges are in on Rumer Willis.  FOUR THUMBS UP.


  3. Bar’s Closed, Let’s Go Let’s Go

    January 13, 2009 by BLAKEBUCK

    My average weekend.I finally collapsed on the second landing of the stairwell.  I stared up at the shadows of the rot-iron railing cast against the ceiling of this extravagant mansion.  Perhaps in some ways, this lifestyle had become a prison of it’s own.  But no use looking for the answers now – the only thing my mind could process was how to keep myself from peeing on the persian rug.  No – if I wanted to find the answers, I’d have to look back.

    There is no greater joy in this world than a Monday night in Oxford, Mississippi.  Sure, it’s not the biggest city (we don’t even have a Target), or the most socially equal one (black people were illegal here until 1984), but it has a certain southern charm that makes even the most seasoned of alcoholics feel right at home.  And it is on these special Monday nights that The Rooster has two dollar pitchers and three dollar wing baskets.  A social gathering I’ve lovingly come to refer to as WANG NITE.

    After basket number two and pitcher number three, I’m ready to start spinning my tales to the eager yet easily distracted audience at my table.  “So then the hispanic guy starts getting frustrated, and says, ‘No, me amigo.  My friend say he want to party wit you” – suddenly my phone rings.  It’s Rob, texting the only possible phrase on earth that could pull me away from wang nite.

    “DUDE, ALL THE BOOZE IS FREE.  Parrish’s is closing, tonight is their last night and they’re GIVING EVERYTHING AWAY”

    The tears of a clown.I’m blazing my way out the door when I’m stopped by an old female friend of mine.  “Shut up Johnson!  No time to run game right now!” says Brain.  I’m out the door when the doubt starts to set in.  “Free booze?  Rob is drunk.  Does he even know where he is, let alone how much things cost?”  But as soon as I walk in the Parrish’s, it’s completely obvious he was right.  Every breathing creature in sight is obliterated out of their minds.  I quickly spot Sarah behind the back bar bouncing about to the blaring sound of Three 6 over set of speakers that have popped their last body.

    “BLAKE BUCK!  WOOOOO!” she shouts which is Sarah for, “Hello sir.  I hope you are having as fantastic of an evening as I”  After taking up position behind the bar, I proclaim it to be shot time, but the it looks like the bar ran out of shot glasses a long time ago.  So I tell Sarah to open her mouth as I pour straight Maker’s Mark and Evan Williams into her mouth – a combination I was calling the “Chocolate Thunder” at the time.

    Three hours later, I feel like I’ve just discovered every secret of the universe as my motley crew and I are shoved out of the bar.  “Let’s go geocaching on the square guys” Rob proclaims from several miles away from me.  No one seemed to think that was a good idea, which I wholeheartedly agreed with considering I was unable to see my legs.  After what feels like a 2 hour walk and an 8 hour drive, we arrive at Rob’s house.

    I wear my sunglasses in the shower.  It's just the right thing to do.I’d been to this mansion once before – 8 bedroom, 6 baths, a painting given by Frank Sinatra, and every room a potential cover photo for next month’s Southern Living.  This is a place where great statesmen go to retire; tonight, however, Rob’s parent’s were in Antartica, and it was a place for the kids to play.  More or less the college-age version of Chuck E. Cheese.

    We raced through the house with a beer in each hand, trying to find the hidden passages and where they stored the slaves.  But after cramming five of us in the master shower, watching the pool cleaning robot make his rounds for half an hour, and breaking the floppy disk drive on the $50,000 player piano, we found ourselves dissatisfied.  Was this all there was to be had?  We ended up just sitting in a circle and talking, more or less like were in Parrish’s a few hours earlier.

    After a few hours the talk waned thin and I wandered alone up the stairs and collapsed on the second landing.  That’s when it hit me – Parrish’s is closed forever.  And for what?  The hope that Mr. Parrish could perhaps one day afford a home and things as nice as this?  That didn’t seem like much of a fair trade at all.  I pull my phone out and look at Rob’s text again:

    “THEY’RE GIVING EVERYTHING AWAY”

    You know, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to puke in the yard.


  4. Dissenters By Design

    January 10, 2009 by BLAKEBUCK

    Internet freedom questI’m of the belief there are two kinds of people in this world – those who see problems and those who see opportunities.  Some of the most conflict-ridden places in the world today (I’m looking at you middle-east) are the product of many generations of problem-seeing people.  But don’t worry, drugs I’m not here to wax poetic about race relations in Israel, stomach I’m dealing with something far, far stupider.

    Today I learned that Apple recently announced at Macworld it was making the majority of the music in the iTunes music store DRM free.  For those of you who don’t know what DRM is, congratulations – you’ve probably had sex before.  At least you’ve moved out of your parent’s basement.  DRM stands for “Digital Rights Management”, which is a set of restrictions that come on a piece of digital content (such as only being able to have 5 copies of an iTunes song, only being able to install a Spore on 3 computers, only being able to put a piece of bread in the toaster twice, etc.).

    After Apple removed the restrictions for most music on the iTunes store, my first thought was, “Hot damn!  Sugar Pie Honey Bunch here I come!”  But soon I became curious about how all of the rampant “Anti-DRM” zealots would take it.  Surely this would be a great day in their eyes, as one of the largest digital merchants had loosened it’s restrictions.  They must be cheering Apples name!

    Below is a snippet from the anti-DRM site Defective By Design.org:

    • Today, a minor victory in the campaign to eliminate DRM, Apple, the last major retailer of DRM-encumbered music has announced, live at MacWorld, that music will be going DRM-free. Today, some 8 million music tracks and music videos are already available DRM-free, via iTunes Plus.
    • We must continue to put pressure on Apple. That means continuing to boycott all DRM-content on iTunes, including the iPhone and the App Store. We encourage Apple to continue to remove DRM from iTunes content, including all movies, TV shows, games, audiobooks and applications, as well as support for free formats, such as Vorbis and Theora

    Angry doodz.Months of negotiating with record labels, mountains of legal work, and not even so much as a ‘thank you’ from these earbud-toting, north face jacket-wearing jackasses?  Why don’t you go order a Venti at Starbucks and tell me why you think weed should be legalized.

    “But why do we need DRM at all?  It’s my music, I should be able to do whatever I want with it!”  An interesting statement, philosophy major who doesn’t vote because he says it doesn’t matter.  The reason digital content is restricted so much more than say an analog CD ten years ago is that digital files can be endlessly copied with virtually no effort and transferred anywhere in the world almost instantly.  While copying a CD was possible 10 years ago (can you say, mixtape?), it took a considerable amount of effort, which stopped a vast majority of “casual piraters” (which I believe is the bulk of the current piracy problem)

    As a digital content creator, I think that protecting my content (which I may want to sell someday) from piracy is extremely important.  So stop whining about how these “evil corporations” are locking you in a prison, and instead look at all the amazing things it allows you to do.  I can watch Wall-E.  On my freakin phone.  Am I the only one still blown away by that?

    Sadly, the anti-DRM may never be satisfied, just like the middle-east may never find peace.  On the upside, this week’s episode of The Soup just finished downloading to my phone.  Spaghetti cat, here I come!


  5. Guitarmageddon

    January 6, 2009 by BLAKEBUCK

     Bruce Willis.  Smooch.“Billy Bob Thorton is in Armageddon? Good god, sovaldi sale this truly is a no-holds-barred, store adrenaline-fueled, heart-pounding masterpiece”, I said to my roommate Calvin as I tore open the box to my brand new Rock Band Stage Kit.

    My mind continued to churn on the improbability of a NASA director named “Billy Bob”, and how Steve Busceimi continues to get big parts despite his ghoulish face.  I then realized that trying to setup this fiendish contraption while watching one of Michael Bay’s top six movies was not proving productive.  “That’s it?  You paid a hundred bucks for a fog machine and a little LED light?”, Calvin asked.

    “Shut up.  I can’t hear Liv Tyler’s awful dialogue”, I snapped.  Calvin’s lack of faith in a one hundred and seven dollar Xbox synchronized light show was starting to get on my nerves.  But that old buyers remorse was slowly creeping up on me.  “Why is this cable only four feet long?  This is all the fog juice I get?  Does this damned thing do anything?” I said, fiddling with the cheap plastic focusing ring.

    By the time we’d gotten all the cables hooked up, the guitars plugged in, the fog machine heated up, and turned out the lights, I had already heard that Aerosmith song I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing about eight times.  It was finally time to see if this Stage Kit could dethrone my current favorite feature of the Xbox: Netflixing crap movies ALL THE TIME.

    Best $100 I ever spent.“No, don’t do Back in Black – I’ve had enough of that AC/DC pack.  How about White Wedding?”  I agreed, only slightly saddened that I wouldn’t be breaking this new stage kit in with Freebird.  The song starts out simple enough – a few flashing lights somewhat matching the music.  I was beginning to worry, until the fog kicked in.

    In sixty seconds my living room was transformed into an electrified stage set forROCK GODS.  Smoke so thick I could barely see the screen, blinding strobes flashing viciously in my eyes, shimmering beams sliding around the room like psychedelic spotlights.  By the time I’d stopped screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs and jumping off the couch, I swear I could almost smell the tequila soaked vomit on the drunk guy in the third row.

    “Oh my god.  That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done”  Calvin gasped, trying to catch his breath after all the jumping around in a smoke filled room.  And he was right.  This is the closest I’d ever get to living the Rock and Roll American Dream.

    And when I fall to sleep this night, I know what I’ll be thinking.  I don’t want to close my eyes.  I don’t want to fall asleep.  Because I’d miss you Rock Band Stage Kit, and I don’t want to miss a thing.


  6. Christmas Connections

    January 5, 2009 by BLAKEBUCK

    Alcohol – A Family Tradition

    “And I made a page on the intercom, there asking, ‘Is this anybody’s lettuce?’ And I did it two times, and nobody answered so I threw the lettuce out. Well come two o’clock, Bill comes up and he says, ‘Why did you throw out Tony’s lettuce?’ And I told him ‘I made a page and lettuce costs all of 99 cents, Bill, and you can get some more’”

    Delightful.

    My mother’s self-righteous monologue to my Aunt Bonnie would likely continue for another 30 minutes or so. I felt sorry for Bonnie, so I made sure her sacrifice w

    ould not be in vain. I ducked into the kitchen and grabbed the orange juice out of the fridge. I might not be getting much in the way of presents from at the Buck Family Christmas this year, but I was sure getting my money’s worth in scr

    ewdrivers.

    My extended family continued to “visit” in the living room as I searched the cabinets for my cousin’s “good vodka”. Soon, I bumped into my Uncle Jimbo, pouring himself a hearty glass of straight Ciroc, a glass that still had the remnants of some quite potent eggnog. “Now Blake, you never drank when you lived with me in Nashville”, Jimbo muttered as I snatched the bottle of vodka out of his hand. “Well you know. The economy and whatnot.”

    But Jimbo didn’t seem to hear me, he just smiled and wandered into living room. Perhaps he had another racist joke on tap, one that came to him in a moment of lucidity. And that’s when I had a revalation. One that I could only now spot, thanks to a fews year of experience with alcohol. Jimbo wasn’t just having a quick drink. It wasn’t just a simple sip before dinner. Jimbo had been drinking all day. And not just Jimbo.

    Almost everybody at the Buck Family Christmas was completely smashed. And had been since 10 o’ clock that morning.

    I took some solace in this fact, making my own alcoholic misgivings seem like a minor setback. But of course, it all made since now. The only way any of us could have a good time at this family gathering was heavy “medication”, and things had been this way ever since I was a child. How else could they all deal with the embittered attitudes, the two dogs tearing everything up, and the roaming gang of 4-year-olds demanding we open presents now instead of after dinner?

    I now saw the Buck Family Christmas in a brand new light. Is every family more or less like this? But we hadn’t even opened presents yet – there was still plenty of fun to be had at this year’s party…