Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lortab and Gonzo journalism

It’s very important for me as a blogger not to have any original ideas. And since Tim from popular Web comic Ctrl+Alt+Del had his wisdom teeth removed last month, I thought it’d be a good idea if I did the same.

Okay, that’s bullshit. The truth is I’ve developed a fairly nasty infection due to a rogue wisdom tooth and, since the others are more than likely conspirators in this mutiny, I’ve elected to have ‘em all extracted at once. The procedure is scheduled for early tomorrow morning, and safe money says that this’ll be my last blog post for the week.

On the off chance that I do post something, odds are it’ll be a drug-addled rambling about how I am the living embodiment of Zolthar, pagan god of lawn furniture… or… y’know… Tommy Stinson. So I guess that’s something we can all look forward to.

In the meantime, please continue to share your thoughts on the most recent podcast, pass on info concerning any nerdy happenings I might’ve missed, and feel free to lavish me with extravagant get-well gifts.

Y’all wish me luck.

Ranch Tooth

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 34: Dork as Fuck

We’ve been tossing the term “punk” around for so long that I think any inherent strength it may have once had has long since been exhausted. Many crusty old bastards – me being one of them – like to hold onto the word, like to put it on a pedestal, but it’s really just that: a word.

Its genuine meaning is clouded in mystery and colored by our own very human predilection for romanticizing our collective past. We can point fingers at those who we feel betrayed the proud culture for personal gain. We can bitch about kids today and their total lack of respect for the musical roots of the movement. But at the end of the day, punk is just like nerd culture; it’s more a vague collective mind-set than a shared set of ideals, and therefore, policing it for fakers is an exercise in futility.

Let me elaborate.

At its best, punk is an underground element that flirts with the mainstream. It's a group of outcasts tied oxymoronically together via invisible threads. It’s a series of individual attitudes backed up by one simple fact: whether by personal choice or by damnable fate, we just don’t fit in.

And just like punk culture, nerd culture is wholly subjective. This means, of course, no matter what you do, some assholes are gonna call you a poseur.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 34: Dork as Fuck (hosting provided by Antisocial) Size: 46.6 MB Running Time: 50:54

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – “Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)”
Little know fact: Baddd Spellah and Beefy are both former members of The Buzzcocks.

Track 1: DJ Schmolli The Great Sean Kingston Swindle
Why does Sean Kingston only have an accent during the verses of this song? Maybe I need to contact his diction coach.

Z’1 1st interlude: “We’re focused on punk as an aesthetic.”
Again, I’m sure folks are gonna nitpick simply because I used the term punk, but I feel that each of these tracks has a uniquely dorky punk rock feel.

Track 2: Dead Milkmen – “Punk Rock Girl”
The Milkmen were my introduction to college rock back in the day. They gave so much and asked for so little.

Track 3: No Kill – “No Kill I Theme Song
Sadly, it looks as though I won’t make it to tonight’s screening of “The Menagerie” due to health problems. Instead, I’ll get my Trek on by listening to more No Kill I.

Track 4: Bloodhag – “Robert Silverberg
There are few acts more unabashedly nerdy and more unapologetically intense than Bloodhag.

Track 5: MC Lars – “Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock”
Lars slams Hot Topic and yet they carried his merch. I totally don’t understand that relationship.

Track 6: Fourteen Year Old Girls – “Sockfull of Tokens”
Nintendo Punk at its best.

Track 7: Wesley Willis – “Agent Orange”
Rock over London. Rock on Chicago.

Track 8: The Four Eyes – “Earth 2025”
Buy The Four Eyes' Five Songs EP. It’s simply amazing.

Track 9: The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets – “House of Clocks”
My only complaint against the Thickets is that they don’t tour far enough south.

Track 10: T-byte – “Chocolate Rain (rock mix)”
I’m gonna save my ample praise for T-byte and his abilities for his forthcoming Hipster, please! interview.

Z’s 2nd interlude: “I was raised with rap, but I grew up punk rock.”

I love hip-hop, but I feel like sometimes when I write about it I’m writing like a travel journalist: commenting on the beautiful landscape of a country not necessarily my own. Punk rock, though, is where I’m from.

Track 11: Brent Simon – “Space Camp
Brent’s domain is, so he probably would've been included just by virtue of that. This song, however, is an emotional retelling of his time at space camp, and it is punk as fuck.

Track 12: Totally Radd!! – “Mike Tyson’s Punchout”
Totally Radd!! is another band that is, in my opinion, horribly underrated.

Track 13: Brad Sucks – “Bad Attraction
This one is from the album I Don’t Know What I’m Doing. It and “Sick As A Dog” stand out as two of Brad’s best.

Track 14: Remus and the Lupins – “Wizards Who Died”
Quick: name a Jim Carroll Band song that isn’t “People Who Died!” You can’t, can you?

Track 15: IRN MNKY – “Under Mi Air Guitar
This mash-up also has a little Vanilla Ice for good measure.

Track 16: Mary Prankster – “Punk Rock Heaven”
Thanks again to Matt for hooking me up with this one!

Z’s final interlude: “Legs McNeil.”
Here’s that quote from Legs again: “13-year-old kids can start a punk band, and it's as valid as anything I ever did. I don't have to like it, but that doesn't make it invalid.”

Track 17: Elvis Costello and the Attractions – “Radio, Radio”
I always planned to use this track as unofficial RFH theme, but I could never get it edited right. And then Beefy and Spellah favored me with a legitimate theme of my own.

I tend to speak really cynically about punk rock, but that's only because it meant a lot to me in my younger days. Truthfully, it still does. The problem with punk is that it's cyclical, and I don't mean that in a traditional sense.

Punk rock propagates this very exclusive mindset where the old schoolers harsh the newbs based solely on principle: I was here first so that makes me better than you. The old schoolers usually move on after a time and the newbs become the new ruling class. They, in turn, harass the next group of neophytes. and the circle remains unbroken.

Here's hoping that the burgeoning nerd culture can find a way to omit this particular cycle from our community. It really doesn't accomplish anything, save make you and your kind seem like elitist pricks.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

I’m a sucker for an Internet love story. No, not the one where the chick you’ve fallen madly for over IM turns out to be a dude. That one's kinda sad. I mean this one.

A young lady caught this guy’s fancy last Sunday on the 5 Train, but he lost her in the crowd before he could talk her up. So he did what any red-blooded American male would do: he bought a domain and drew a crude picture of her. But did it work out?

Well, apparently he found her, but they’re leaving the rest up to our imaginations. Just the way I likes it!

Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me, but shit like this really takes my mind off of the problems of the world… like the looming threat of a renewed Egyptian zombie attack.

  • Differentiation of Fat Joe’s Liquid Based Promiscuity: The rap game is complicated, and sometimes every head needs a little clarification concerning the directly proportional relationship between money and problems. In these instances, you might find the following charts and graphs helpful.
  • The sleeping beast stirs: DJ Snyder recently announced that a Metamystiks, Inc. mixtape was coming… eventually. While we don’t yet have a release date or a track list what we do have is cover art. You know how they do.
  • RAHM Radio: Need a little more Random in your life? Then may I humbly suggest you check out The Reform and Healing Movement West Coast Radio Show, hosted by Random and DN³. “RAHM Radio West (The RandomBeagle Show) is … formatted to showcase current quality Hip-Hop music by influential artists, classic joints, as well as music by RAHM Nation affiliates. Current events, movies, other entertainment, as well as community uplifting issues will be discussed.” The first episode of this weekly event is currently available for download and features Jay-Z, Little Brother, Common, Kanye West, and a new track from Random himself: an impressive line-up, to say the least.
  • Radio, Radio: Also on the subject of quality programming, Church mentions that his local public radio affiliate runs a weekly five-minute feature called “Digital Cafe.” Afterwards, these segments are posted as podcasts, and, as last week’s featured an interview with Bit Shifter, you’ll probably wanna check it out as well.
  • Book learnin': Matt turned up some really interesting reads concerning nerd culture last week. The first is an entry the CNET blog entitled “Welcome to Geek Culture.” The second is a scholarly paper from 2006 named “Geek Culture, The 3rd Counter Culture.” Read both and find the ample cultural conversation fodder therein.
  • Act now: Matt also points out that, according to, there are now less than 1,000 copies of the holiday-themed Jingle Spells Wrock CD left to order. If you wanna get in on this yuletide dorkery, now is the the time.
  • More charts, not hip-hop related: While rooting around at, my pal BrĂ¼x came across this brilliant Sci-Fi Starship Size Comparison Chart. Feel free to spend your afternoon geeking out over this thing. It is quite wonderful.
  • Remember the one where…: I’ll leave you with another Trek-related item, both because I’m really excited about attending tomorrow’s special screening of “The Menagerie” at my local Cineplex, and because Antisocial was nice enough to dig this one up for me. It’s a very Animaniacs-esque TNG episode guide, in song. Feel free to geek out to this one too.