Friday, September 17, 2010

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you.

Beatles - Help: The first album I ever bought - at a garage sale, for 25 cents! I still have it and break it out every once in a while. I love the soundtrack stuff on it, and "You've got to hide your love away" will always be amazing.

Kiss - Double Platinum: I convinced my parents to buy it for me at a Target store in Fort Collins when I was seven or eight years old. I hummed the song "Beth" for them to convince them it was "mellow." Little did they know! 100,000 Years is my all time favorite Kiss tune and is probably the reason I started and still play guitar. Ace Frehley is king, of another galaxy. When I see photos of him from the '70s era Kiss, I still think he's not human. He's the heart and soul behind the band, the rest of them are tools.... Think about this: The best songs on Dynasty are Ace songs. He left the band shortly afterwards, because those fools went disco, dropped make-up and made crap music!

Pink Floyd - Meddle: So beautiful... it's one of those albums I listen to that makes me think about how good life really is if you let it be. And it ends with "Echoes," which is like a strong hit of LSD without taking LSD.

Slayer - South of Heaven: I was into Slayer way before this came out, but SOH is the one I will always be attracted to. The intro to "Ghosts of War" is soooo brutal, and then it leads into "Read Between the Lies," another incredible track. "Evangelist you claim God speaks through you, Your restless mouth full of lies gains popularity. You care not for the old that suffer, When empty pockets cry from hunger." Goosebumps...... In my opinion, South of Heaven is the best metal album ever made.

Sonic Youth - Goo: When I was in Saudi during the first Gulf War I had my mom send me this on cassette. I listened to it everyday along with Jane's Addiction's "Ritual de lo Habitual." Every song on it is good and it's the way albums should be made - as a whole piece of work. Goo, Goo, Goo ... Goo.

Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique: More than 400 samples on this one, before artists were getting sued for doing such a thing. I bought this one when it came out, I was stationed at Camp Butler, Okinawa, and we would skate the half pipe on the base while listening to this and the Misfits. Beasties are legendary.

Metallica - Kill 'Em All: David Flores brought this my house when we were in 7th grade. At the time I was listening to bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ozzy. Kill 'Em All was the fastest music I ever heard.

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath: As a young whipper snapper, the first time I heard this I was frightened. The title track literally moves and takes you on a journey through madness. IMO, Sabbath created the "gallup" riff that is emulated in so many metal songs after it.

MDC - Millions of Dead Cops: I have to thank Jeff Abbott for this one. I was into metal when he introduced this to me. It opened up a whole new world and made me think about the state of life in America and humans in general. "What makes America so straight and me so bent?" It's still one of my favorite albums of all time and gets a regular listen.

Firehose - Ragin' Full On: Ed from Ohio meets Mike Watt and love is made. This album has been in my head forever and was my soundtrack throughout my 20s. It reminds me of snowboarding, the mountains, sunny skies, fishing and laughing my ass of with my best friends.

Primus - Frizzle Fry: I think i've seen Primus more than any other band. We'd drive around to see them two nights in a row ... stage diving, crowd surfing, throwing each other over rows of people and landing on girls' heads, much to their disdain. Who doesn't get goose bumps during the song "The Toys Go Winding Down"? It's pudding time...

Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory: One of the best hip hop albums ever. I sing along to this. So chill. Fife and Q-Tip rule. "Do you know the importance of a skypageuhhh?"

Metal Church - Metal Church: Seattle represent! These guys are some of the most talented musicians you'll ever hear. I saw them open up for Megadeth in 1986. I was blown away. Goosebumps still...

Melvins - Houdini: Heavy, sludgy, demented, fast, slow ... impact! I love Buzzo and have a lot of respect for a band that's been touring for 30 years ... completely below the radar. Kurt Cobain wasn't even a fingernail on Buzzo's pinky...

The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come: I've got a soft spot for this band and still give them a listen regularly. It's good music. Period. I listened to this every night while falling asleep when I was first stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

And as an afterthought, there's a few that set the course early on: Cheap Trick - Live at Budokan (Thanks to my sister), AC/DC - Let There Be Rock, Ted Nugent - Scream Dream (Thanks again to David Flores), Van Halen - Van Halen, B-52s - B52s, The Who - Who's Next, UFO - No Place to Run (on 8-track - 1st album with Michael Schenker!), Ozzy - Diary of a Madman, DRI, there's just too many ... And yes, I realize I am dating myself with a lot of this but screw it, old school rules!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nobody To Blame But Ourselves

As we contemplate and blame BP and our own government for the oil spill disaster in the Gulf, we should also be taking a hard look at ourselves. After all, we Americans consume, on average, around 21 million barrels of oil - every day. That's close to a quarter of the entire world's demand. We also own the most vehicles and drive the most miles, more than every other country on the planet, including China and India.

Feeling helpless during this situation is normal, as most of us can't take time off of work, or simply quit, to travel to the East Coast and try to save that endangered sea turtle or pelican, or the beaches and wetlands that are being destroyed as I write this mostly-egocentric blog.

But you know what? We can help. We can all start making decisions that have an impact our planet and every living being on it and in it. Think about it every time you go to the store or drive to work, take a vacation or even wipe your backside on the toilet. Every decision we make has an impact on the environment we all take for granted.

So the next time we bitch about BP and all the corrupt goings-on of our government, let's take a moment and think about how we are all responsible for this mess. We drive the demand for oil, we drive the demand for the trucks and ships that deliver our food to the store. We drive the demand for the latest iPhone (which saw record sales numbers for Apple in its first day of availability), the Prius, the Hummer, the latest episode of Lost...

Yeah, sure, screw BP and the heartless bastards who could care less about a small bird or a beach they never have to visit. But also, screw us, because we created this situation, and it's up to us to do something about it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Few Random Thoughts on Trying to Be Happy

The whole key is to not buy into the bullshit, live your own dreams, and do something that gives you satisfaction at the end of the day. And stay out of debt, because that's where they have you by the balls. Marry (or not) someone who understands those principles and who doesn't buy into the more, more, more mentality. What truly matters is family, friends and doing what makes you happy, thereby making others happy. Try to purchase things that are local, sustainable and think of where everything comes from, and what it took to get there. For me, the bicycle has changed my life (actually it's always been a part of my life from as far back as I can remember), but when I see these fools jockeying around and throwing fists of rage while they're behind the wheel, trying to get to work (and probably driving less of a distance than I ride) I cut over to the next street and laugh, because I have it all to myself...

That last sentence may sound selfish, but when you come across me and find a smile on my face, it will then hopefully create a smile on yours ... and if we're both happy, it's not so selfish anymore.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Driving and Hating

Full of singles that bring out the best Eminem, the album has offered some of the best [t]racks in years and it is a great way to pass time on the way to work in the car."

This was posted on's Seattle site on June 23. This simple statement says so much about our society and culture in America and beyond.

I'm not going to bash Eminem, on the contrary. I find much of his music entertaining and truthful, and often extremely funny. He offers a perspective on things we wouldn't normally think of, or talk about, without consequences or concern for the topics he chooses in his songs.

The problem for me, regarding the Examiner's post, is that not only are they promoting driving to work (and alone, because it's rather difficult to find another person willing to listen to Eminem with you at such an early hour), but driving to work angry. Aren't we already angry enough? Oil spills, global warming, wars, a shitty economy, unemployment, homelessness, etc.

I don't believe we need throngs of people listening to Eminem rapping about killing and maiming wrongdoers and bitchslappin' "homos and faggots" (which is an entirely different subject, as I feel Eminem does promote homophobia to his already impressionable teenage fan base - just read the comments section below any Youtube video and you're bound to see words such as "homo," "gay," "fag," and many others) while behind the steering wheel, already distracted by daily life. The last thing I want is someone even more pissed off at me because I am getting to where I am going more efficiently, probably faster, and definitely having more fun ... oh, and in the way, because "roads are made for cars."

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Love of Bad Weather

That's right, sometimes I enjoy the bad weather more than the good. Especially on the commute. Say what? It's because most of the people who opt to ride their bikes to work when the weather is pleasurable, don't ride when it's shitty out. Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be advocating that more people should ride, but the selfish "surfer" in me wants this wave all to himself. Nothing ruins a nice and peaceful commute than a wheelsucker decked out in his new kit, or that recumbent rider who whizzes past me as I'm waiting for the light to change ... and he always does, further diminishing any respect cyclists may have in the eyes of motorists. I've long since given up on the bikepathlon, and with that I have enjoyed my rides much more. So I say, keep raining, just not on the weekends, please.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Latest Published Article

Since I am obviously too lazy to keep up with this blog, I have posted an article I wrote today and published online at The link to the website follows.

Seattle, Wash. (January 14, 2010) – Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn spoke today at the old Washington Street Public Boat Landing, across from Bicycle Paper offices. He was there for a press conference regarding the deteriorating seawall near downtown’s waterfront, undoubtedly in light of the recent earthquake that has devastated the country of Haiti.

The seawall, built between 1916 and 1936, was created to support road and railway access to ships coming and going in and out of the Puget Sound, a major shipping port. An estimated 2,000 feet of the structure was built around a timber-supported platform, reinforced by concrete. Over the years, the wood has disintegrated and water has seeped into the already soft soil that surrounds it.

Speaking about the issue just two days after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Haiti was no coincidence. If a major earthquake happened in the Seattle area, it would certainly have a significant impact on the seawall and the Highway 99 viaduct that stands just feet away from the water.

The Mayor announced his intention to propose a ballot measure in May of this year regarding the topic. As it is now, the City plans on repairing the seawall within six years.

“Six years is not acceptable. We need to move as quickly as we can. This is not about the viaduct [or the proposed tunnel to replace it] as much as it is a concern for the public’s safety,” stated the Mayor. The current plan for replacing the outdated viaduct does not include the seawall; an endeavor he insured will be a stand-alone project.

The proposed plan will cost at least $241 million to complete, with higher estimates closer to $291 million. So who is going to pay for this? Most likely it will be King County landowners via a property tax. He estimates it will cost owners of a $400,000 house about $48 per year.

McGinn is expected to send his proposal to City Council in February for a special election on May 18.

The Mayor stated that there have already been bids by companies to take on the task, and prices have been lower than expected due to the downturn in construction projects – a direct result of the ailing economy.

When asked how the construction would impact travel along Alaskan Way and, more specifically, the bike path in which hundreds of commuters use daily, including him, McGinn couldn’t answer.

“That is part of the planning process,” he said. The Mayor rode his Trek 700, the bike he uses to get around the city, to and from the press conference.'s_plan_for_seawall_improvements