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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

2 min read

A Promise Kept - It Only Took 37 Years

The-Adventures-of-Buckaroo-Banzai-Across-the-8th-Dimension-1984-Hollywood-Movie-Watch-Online1.jpg The film "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai - Across the Eighth Dimension" was released in 1984. I'll never forget how confused and delighted I was the first time I saw it. The characters, stories, plot, and music were all so different. I instantly fell in love with the film. If you haven't seen it you definitely need to check it out. I'm sure it's available on Amazon Prime, Netflix, or via your favorite pirate website. I won't bother trying to summarize the film for you - you can read about it yourself. The film famously ends with a promise that our hero would return in his next adventure to fight The World Crime League. Sadly that adventure never happened because the film was simply too interesting for most mainstream audiences (e.g. the film flopped).
Fast forward ahead 37 years and the novel "Buckaroo Banzai Against The World Crime League" was just released. The book is written by Earl Mac Rauch, author of the original Buckaroo Banzai story and script.
I cannot wait to read this thing and will post a review soon.

UPDATE: I am very sad to report that the book is bloody awful. I love this film so much - it hurt to realize that this is such a poorly written book. In addition to being poorly written there are several disgusting and tasteless moments in the book that have a very different tone from the film. I sadly donated the book to my library.       

Other Review: First new album from The Ziggens in 19 years is all killer, no filler


Oregon is the first new record from The Ziggens in 19 years. This album is filled with rocking tunes, hilarious songs, and incredibly fun surf music.

The CD gets off to a flying start with "Rev It Up" - a driving surf instrumental guaranteed to get your blood pumping. This is a song that the Ventures or Dick Dale would have loved to write and perform. Bert is a master at writing catchy riffs that stick in your head and this song is no exception. Tarantino might want to consider this tune on the soundtrack for his final film. It took me a while to listen to the rest of the CD because I kept replaying this song. It's just that good. 

"The Goys Are Back in Town" starts with a wonderfully punk sound that recalls Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, and similar bands. This is a high energy punk-sounding song proudly announcing the Zigs are back after a 19 year absence. This song should be very popular at live shows - I wanted start a mosh pit in my living room while listening to it. The lyrics are quite funny and poke fun at the members of the band. This meshuggeneh song made me kvell. Two killer tunes in a row. Oy vey!  

The Zigs next demonstrate their musical range with "Macon". It's a bit jarring to come into such a mellow tune but it's a nice wind down after the insanity of the previous tune. The song tells a somewhat sad story of a woman who marries for money and prestige instead of love. Money can't buy happiness here. The music and lyrics are quite touching, especially the ending. Another catchy tune with some wonderful riffs with some great drumming from Brad. Yet another winner.

"Dickie Ziggen" is a fun little theme song for the Zig's incredibly talented lead guitarist (aka Dickie Little). Catchy tune with fun lyrics. It's impossible to listen to this song without smiling or laughing. This should also be a blast to see them perform it live. Yet another winner. I think I see a pattern emerging here.

Time for another great surf tune in the wonderfully named "I Blow My Nose On My T-Shirt". An extremely catchy surf instrumental that shows off how tight and talented this band is. I got stuck replaying this one a few times before moving onto the next track. We're 5 songs in already and it's all killer, no filler.

"Ride the Storm (Drain)" starts out with an impressive sounding fuzzy guitar. The lyrics are fun and feel a bit like a heavy metal parody (as do some of the solos and screams that sound off during the song). The chorus will provide a great crowd singalong when performed live. Yet another tune that slapped a big smile on my face as I listened to it. The bridge of this song is also catchy as hell.  Another winner.

Surprise - it's a country song! And a damn good one at that. "Jesus I Trust in You" provides some lovely uplifting and lightly humorous lyrics over a surprisingly beautiful yet simple tune that features some great guitar (traditional and slide). This is a surprisingly beautiful song. The banter at the end is a nice touch.

"It's Rough Being Heavy Set" is another fun Ziggens song that reminded me a bit of "The Cheese in Wisconsin" from the Zigs' Rusty Never Sleeps album.  I laughed out loud several times while listening to this song - you will too.

"You Were Gone" starts out sounding a bit like a Vegas lounge song with some interesting lyrics about love and loss. The song even features a lonely sounding sax solo. This is quite a change in sound for a band that already plays a wide variety of music. The guitar, piano, and sax provide a bit of a jazzy feel to a song filled with sad lyrics. "Tonight a cigarette is all I will hold" indeed. The song changes tempo towards the end for an upbeat finish. I never thought I'd hear the Ziggens play jazz but I think they just did. And it was great.

"Pulling Muscles From Michelle" immediately caught my attention because I'm an old Squeeze fan (as Burt and the band obviously are based on this song title). This is not a song that sounds even remotely like Squeeze. It's another wonderful surf instrumental with some great riffs and wonderful drums by Brad. This is another song that I listened to several times before moving onto the next track. The sax on this tune is insanely great. There is a short break in this song that sounds a bit like a Dick Dale riff with some great drumming by Brad. I think this song might be one of my favorite songs on the entire album. It's hard to pick just one. We still have nine songs left! Still all killer, no filler.

"48" is a bit of a surprise, starting off like an old school R&B tune before shifting to a mellow tribute to Arizona (48th state of the US). This song features some lovely female guest vocals (unfortunately I couldn't find the woman's name when I wrote this). A wonderfully mellow tune with some creative lyrics. I re-listened to this one a few times before moving on.

"Riot on the Beach" is another high energy punk-like song with some hilarious lyrics. This is another song guaranteed to generate a mosh pit when played live.  The song has a bit of a Dead Kennedys feel to it with its blending of humor, driving music, and some social commentary. Great fun!

"Fun" is the perfect title for this traditional sounding country gospel song. The song features more creative and fun lyrics ("dinner with Solomon and Elvis Presley"). This song slapped a big old smile on my face while my foot tapped along.  

"The People On My Street" starts out with a catchy riff before dropping into a hilarious rap with a shockingly funny chorus. This song has to be heard to be believed - it's catchy yet experimental. Really hard to describe but I loved it. I especially loved how it made me laugh out loud several times. This is another song I listened to a couple of times because I was laughing so hard the first time that I missed most of the song.

"Theme To A Future Surf Movie" is exactly what it sounds like. The song starts slow with an extremely catchy acoustic riff, sounding a bit like a Smiths song before a beautiful melodica is layered in along with some additional guitars. This is a wonderfully mellow and relaxing tune. You can almost smell the surf as you listen to the music. This is another song that I repeated a few times before moving on. We still have four songs left and the songs have all been great fun.

"500 Miles" immediately grabbed my attention with a lovely riff and catchy lyrics over a beautifully played mandolin. This song will be a definite sing-along when performed live. This song is a great example of why The Ziggens are so great: catchy music coupled with funny/surprising lyrics: "It's Ok that you are very bland. You were dropped on your head as a baby, so I understand". 

"Oregon" is the title track of the album and it's rapidly apparent why it was chosen. This is another great surf instrumental with some lovely riffs over a driving beat. This is the finest song on the album with all of the guys absolutely killing it. Several additional riffs are introduced as the song progresses, hooking you even deeper into the song. I must have listed to this one 4 or 5 times before moving on. Absolutely wonderful!!! 

"This Roger Fella" is another humorous song that features a spoken word performance by a vaguely Jimmy Stewart sounding guy. The music underlying the performance is quite beautiful. The song is very abstract but I found it to be very relaxing. Yet another song that put a smile on my face.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any stranger, here comes "Miguel Happolot's Diablo Dentista" to close out the album. There are some great riffs punctuated by what seems to be people being tortured by a dentist. It's a bit of a disturbing listen due to all of the screams but the guitar riffs are great. Just when you think it's getting a bit too dark we're treated to someone gargling and rinsing, reminding you of the dentist's office. I really love the Zigs but this song is a bit of an endurance test, especially when the dentist's drill kicks in at the end. The band obviously had fun recording this one because we can hear Burt laughing and commenting at the end.

Oregon is a wonderful reminder of how talented and fun The Ziggens are. The album is filled with catchy, fun, thought-provoking lyrics and incredibly well-done surf music. You owe it to yourself to pick up a copy - your ears will love you for it.

You can get Oregon from the Official Ziggens Shop or any other place where you traditionally get your music (Amazon, Spotify, etc). Cloudflare seems confident that bandwidth costs can be rounded down to zero and storage is the only cost that matters. It's hard to believe.

Sept 19th Jeep Outing

We took an unknown trail somewhere off Tacoma Pass. It led to some beautiful views. 

The trail was completely grown over in some places and we were literally plowing through tall weeds and shrubs with the Jeep. We would have gotten lost without the Gaia app.


Love Theory

If happiness was a song it would sound like this.

Autograph and sell your GitHub commits as NFTs

@davewiner I'm a goy and A Serious Man is one of my favorite films. The film's ending blew me away (pun unintended). The Coens are absolutely brilliant filmmakers.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

1 min read

Howard the Duck Returns (sort of)

HTD-version1.jpg What If Season 1, Episode 2 features an appearance by Howard the Duck. Howard was one of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe. Howard's creator Steve Gerber was a mad genius and Howard's original comic book series was way ahead of its time, filled with hilarious satire and commentary on the sad state of society.

It's too bad that Howard only appears in the What If episode for a few minutes.  Even worse, it's the "Disney-approved" version of Howard. In the mid-70s Disney threatened to sue Marvel Comics if they didn't make significant changes to Howard to avoid potential confusion with Donald Duck - the recommended changes appear in the model sheet below. 

This model sheet summarizes Disney's recommended changes to the original version of Howard. Unfortunately Howard has since been changed to become even uglier. Ugh.

Real Howard fans know that the version of Howard in the Marvel Universe is actually a clone. The real Howard fled Marvel, was dyed green, and is now in a witness protection program residing in Buffalo, NY under the name "Leonard".

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

3 min read

Rich Dad, Poor Dad Audiobook


I just realized YouTube has a ton of audiobooks available. 

       0:00:00 Introduction Rich Dad, poor Dad

       0:15:55 Chapter 1 The Rich Don't Work for Money

       1:29:01 Chapter 2 Why Teach Financial Literacy

       2:10:14 Chapter 3 Mind Your Own Business

       2:26:08 Chapter 4 The History of Taxes and the Power of Corporations

       2:50:07 Chapter 5 The Rich Invent Money

       3:40:17 Chapter 6 Work to Learn, Don’t Work for Money

       4:11:51 Chapter 7 Overcoming Obstacles

       4:50:32 Chapter 8 Getting Started

       5:41:02 Chapter 9 Still Want More? Here are Some To Do’s

Finally Canceling a Scammer

b2ap3_large_Scam-alert-shutterstock_1012719211.jpgI signed up for phone insurance at a Verizon store many, many years ago.  The insurance was provided through a third party: Diamond Wireless. As many years went by I realized I didn't want or need the phone insurance anymore and wanted to cancel it.  I thought I'd be able to contact Diamond Wireless (who had been billing me for several phones for many years) and cancel the insurance policy. As it turns out it's surprisingly hard/impossible to cancel phone insurance from Diamond Wireless - there are many people across the country who have been unsuccessfully trying to cancel their Diamond Wireless phone insurance policy for years.  I had a similar experice. I found Diamond Wireless was somehow now associated with Victra. I tried contacting people at Diamond Wireless and Victra and no one had any record of my phone insurance despite the fact that I was still getting charged every month.

After much frustration I finally contacted my credit card provider and requested that they block billing requests from Diamond Wireless.  My credit card provider initially told me they were unable to do this. After much discussion they finally relented and agreed to block all future requests from Diamond Wireless.

Today I noticed another charge show up from Diamond Wireless. I soon received a call from Diamond Wireless about a charge that was denied. FINALLY! I asked the woman to cancel my insurance and the matter has finally been resolved,

My call from Diamond Wireless came from (877) 770-1555. If you are trying to cancel your Diamond Wireless phone insurance you can try calling this number or, as a last resort, request billing requests from Diamond Wireless to be blocked.

I hope this post helps someone.

Dad's Site


Finally got my Dad's site cleaned up and re-hosted. He had built it many, many years ago using a combination of tools from Angelfire and WebTV (it's an old site). The HTML generated by those old tools was absolutely horrific.