Saturday, June 30, 2012

How The Pointer Sisters Went Cosby

The Pointer Sisters. "I'm So Excited." "Jump (For My Love)." "He's So Shy." Typical mainstream '80s dance pop. I mean, nothing could be weird about the Pointer Sisters, right? Right??

Little did you know.

The tale is old by now: many '80s stars didn't exactly end up where they started. And then ... there are the Pointer Sisters.

In the '70s, the Pointer Sisters recorded a little bit of everything. What do I mean, "everything"? I mean big band music. I mean bebop. I mean country. I mean everything.

Oakland's finest definitely weren't strangers to funk and R&B. In fact, their '70s R&B material is probably a lot grittier than their '80s R&B material. On songs like "Going Down Slow," they sound more like Labelle or the Staple Singers than Lionel Richie or Michael Jackson.

Also, for a while, the Pointer Sisters thought they were the Andrews Sisters.

And then there was the country song. From Wikipedia:
Bonnie Pointer would play down the idea of a C&W hit by the Pointer Sisters being a novelty: "People think because we're always trying something different we're not sincere. Like country music. For us it's no joke...Our folks came from Arkansas and we grew up singing country songs. It's part of us."
Apparently it was. "Fairytale" peaked at #13 on the pop chart, and although it only peaked at #37 on the country chart, well, you have to be impressed that it even charted there at all. In the wake of its crossover success, the Pointer Sisters became the first African-American group to perform at the Grand Old Opry. The song was even covered by Elvis!

But clearly black country music was not what '80s audiences were waiting to hear (right, Lionel?). In 1978, the Pointer Sisters switched record labels, and intentionally or not, switched sounds as well. Or rather, they picked one sound and they stuck with it. One of the sisters even got lost in the shuffle and was never heard from again.

Well, if you're going to pick one sound and stick with it, you might as well pick Cosby Rock. Am I right or am I right?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Air Supply - Supplying Far Too Much Air

If you've ever wondered who the wimpiest band of the '80s were, you can wonder no longer. It was Air Supply. Look at them. Air Supply were the guys who got their lunch money stolen by the school bully. Air Supply had to beg and plead not to be subjected to wedgies in the P.E. locker room. They were, in the words of Jim Steinman, "two boring idiots from Australia." And they were huge.

Air Supply had a supply all right: a bottomless supply of melancholy choruses and heart-tugging chord changes, recycled from every Bee Gees and Elton John song known to man. They couldn't stop. Even if Air Supply had wanted to stop, they couldn't have stopped.

Find pop music too threatening? Never fear. Air Supply is here to save the day. Step into their magical world of scented candles and chamomile tea. Worried that a painful, unpleasant thought might poke its way through your pop music and puncture that seamless, WASPy bubble you prefer to live in? No need to worry about that with Air Supply. With Air Supply, you're in safe hands.


Before we all die from air poisoning, maybe it's time to take a few breaths of Cosby Rock.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Zrbo Reviews: Fez (Fish, 2012)

Earlier this year the film The Artist arrived in theaters and was met with critical praise. Set in black-and-white, The Artist deftly managed to capture the feeling of early movies of the Hollywood silver screen. What made it a success is debatable, but one thing it did so well was to capture the essence of old black-and-white films. The Artist was not meant as a send-up or parody, but rather as an ode to films of yore. In our modern world drenched in irony and knowing winks, The Artist possessed a magical quality in that the participants involved took the subject seriously. It wasn't just a matter of the movie being in black-and-white while the characters walked around gently mocking our perceptions of these classic films. Instead, The Artist took its source material in earnest, treating it not as send-up but as an ode, creating what felt like a long buried treasure from the golden age of film.

Recently I finished playing through the game Fez. As I was playing through I had many of the same thoughts I had had as when I watched The Artist. Here was a game that managed to capture that feeling I had when I was young and playing early Nintendo games for the first time, those whimsical creations that required my own imagination to fill in the gaps.

In short, Fez is The Artist of videogames.

Fez is the creation of one Phil Fish. Five years in the making, Phil Fish slaved away at making his idea a reality. During this long time in development Fish would show the game at various game-industry gatherings, with the game garnering intense interest, even picking up a few awards before it was even completed. Phil Fish's story, and the creation of Fez itself, is chronicled in the documentary film Indie Game: The Movie, a movie I've yet to see but one that's also already won several awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance (I honestly have no clue how prestigious this award is or isn't, mind you). This film also chronicles Jonathan Blow, creator of critically acclaimed Braid (that I despised if you remember).

While The Artist presents itself in black-and-white, with no talking and only musical accompaniment to back it up, Fez accomplishes the same thing, only in the context of videogames. It's presented in a quasi-looking 8-bit world, giving it the look of an authentic early Nintendo game from the 1980s. Featuring a delicious soundtrack that hearkens back to games of the same era (we'll get back to the soundtrack later), pick up and play Fez and you'll feel like you stumbled across some old game that you never had the chance to play when you were younger.

Phil Fish has really managed to capture that feeling of what games felt like back in the golden age of Nintendo. There's really something magical going on here, and it's done in a completely non-ironic way. As most of us are aware, irony is in vogue, and recently released games that have attempted to capture the feeling of games of yore have accomplished this by drowning themselves in irony. Take 2009s 3D Dot Game Heroes, a game I rather enjoyed. It too featured a retro 8-bit aesthetic and played like the original Legend of Zelda. The thing is, Game Heroes was insistent on making the player aware of these similarities by constantly making fun of a variety of cliches from games of the time period, such as by mocking the often poorly translated wording of old Nintendo games (such as the infamous "I am Error"). The irony was even imbued in the concept of the game itself, with the world of Game Heroes being composed entirely of pixelated blocks and cubes. While the game was quite fun, it was desperate in its constant winking to the player, wanting the player to "get" its references.

Fez on the other hand, divorces itself from irony almost completely. This is a game that looks and feels like it came out of 1987. As I was playing it, I was amazed at just how much it took me back to my childhood. It captures that feeling of having to use your imagination to fill in the gaps, to construct your own narrative as to what this world is and what's going on. It's a nearly impossible feeling to describe. The feeling is akin to not just the memory of playing tag or hide-and-go seek, but to that actual physical experience of joy I had back when I did. It's a superb accomplishment that can be attributed to its graphical look and sense of place, its music, and, as I mentioned before, something deeper going on in the game itself.

That "something deeper" is in the gameplay itself. In Fez you play as Gomez, a small little marshmallowy looking figure who acquires the titular fez hat, allowing him to shift the perspective of the world at will. Though the game looks like a classic two dimensional platformer, such as Super Mario Bros., the entire perspective of the world can be shifted 90 degrees on an axis at will. This not only means all objects have four sides, but the perspective of the object itself counts. It's not just what the object is, but in how it's perceived upon a two-dimensional plane, an M.C. Escher painting made into game form. Really, the only way to properly describe this is to show some gameplay:

The understanding of how perspective works in this game is key, and can take a bit of getting used to, not unlike understanding how portals work the first time playing Portal. This allows the game to offer interesting puzzles. As the game progresses they get more and more clever.

But there's even more going on here (cue Inception: "We need to go deeper"). Phil Fish has imbued a second layer of puzzles that are not necessary for completing the game, but that provide a whole new perspective on the game itself. It's hard to go into detail without ruining the game, but it would seem Fish has taken several cues from modern day Alternate Reality Games (ARG), where some of the gameplay extends beyond the screen. Go deep enough and Fez can really begin to tax your brain, requiring serious brainpower to decode its clues. These clues not only provide more puzzles, but provide a deeper backstory to what otherwise looks like a shallow game universe (not unlike TV's Lost: did you ever want to know what The Numbers meant? Hopefully you were paying attention to Lost's ARG). Phil Fish even manages to throw in a few Hideo Kojima-like mind benders, such as early on when the game appears to crash. This is the first game in ages where I actually busted out a pen and paper to make notes that looked something not unlike John Nash's scrawls in A Beautiful Mind. Seriously, there's an entire alphabet I've yet to decipher.

The other aspect that makes the game so wonderful is the music. Performed by a group called Disasterpeace, the music and the game come together exceptionally, pairing with the game in a superbly delightful way (listen to it here). At times there's a certain lazy daydream quality to the music. The A.V. Club's new Gameological society described Fez as "M.C. Escher with Vangelis on Keyboards". Each track fits perfectly with the in-game location in which it appears.  Tracks such as Compass and Beacon have that daydream quality I mentioned, fitting as they both play during the sunny seaside locales, while the song Puzzle, with its slightly ominous edge, arrives as you being to unwrap the game's mysteries. The forest song Nature is perhaps the best constructed song, starting off sounding like drops of dew falling from leaves, almost meditative like, the dew drop sound slowly builds into a musical rainstorm. Finally, the track Majesty appears in the game as you finally open the last door (or is it?) and discover a truly magical place. Oh, and remember how I said some of the secrets were hidden outside of the game? Apparently if you run the soundtrack through a spectrogram you can find even more clues. Like I said, Fez has many secrets.

Playing Fez is like taking a trip back through time. A time before games had to be edgy or ironic, before big budgets and realistic looking action were the norm. Back when a game could inspire wonder and excitement with just a few colorful character sprites and a memorable 8-bit tune. Fez manages to capture that feeling of what it was like to play games before the Internet, when you had to talk to the other kids at the schoolyard to know which bush you needed to burn in the Legend of Zelda to find the secret passageway. It's those little things, like having to take pen and paper notes, relying on word of mouth to get secrets around, having to go outside of the game to retrieve clues (akin to the note that came with the game StarTropics that you had to douse in water to reveal the secret code) that bring me back to that feeling of being a kid playing the Nintendo in my bedroom. There's that wonderful music, perfectly fitting for each game locale, and providing spot-on accompaniment for such a compelling world. Finally there's those digital sunsets, watching in awe as the game world transitions from day to night and back again.

It's hard to imagine another indie game coming out this year that would top my feelings for Fez, expect to see it on my game of the year list come December. Currently the game is only available for the Xbox 360, but if and when it comes to PC I'll make sure to give word.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Waiting For A Wimpy #2 Foreigner Ballad Like You

Foreigner rocked. They rocked hard. First they were Hot Blooded, then they were Cold As Ice. When you heard a Foreigner track in the late '70s, it Felt Like The First Time you heard a Bad Company or Aerosmith song, only crappier. But the point is, they rocked. No wimpy little ballad crap for this band, all right?

But what Foreigner didn't know was that we were waiting, desperately waiting, for a wimpy ballad from Foreigner. The Iron Curtain couldn't fall unless we had a wimpy ballad from Foreigner. Stanley Kubrick couldn't release another movie until we had a wimpy ballad from Foreigner. But how? To make a wimpy ballad, Foreigner needed a wimpy synthesizer player. Where were they going to find a wimpy synthesizer player at this time of night?

Enter Thomas Dolby.

Yes, that Thomas Dolby. In fact, with the money Dolby made playing synthesizer on "Waiting For A Girl Like You," he was able to fund the recording of his first album, The Golden Age Of Wireless. Just think - without Foreigner, she never would have blinded us with science! My God.

Turns out Foreigner weren't just waiting for a girl like you; they were waiting to have a #1 hit. And they weren't just waiting a little while. They were waiting for 10 freaking weeks. What could have possibly stood in their way? Well, let's just say it was some teeny little song by Olivia Newton-John. From Wikipedia:
"Waiting for a Girl Like You" achieved an odd chart distinction by spending a record-setting 10 weeks in the #2 position of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, without ever reaching the top. First appearing on the Hot 100 in October 1981, it reached #2 the week of November 28 where it was held off the #1 spot by Olivia Newton-John's single "Physical" for nine consecutive weeks then by Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" for a 10th week on January 30 1982.
Ha! Hall & Oates totally cock-blocked you Foreigner. I mean, here you are, "Physical" finally slips out of the top spot, and you totally have your chance, your moment of glory is at hand, and then BAM! Hall & Oates slide in from out of nowhere and completely steal your thunder. I can just see Lou Gramm now: "But ... but ... we've been waiting here for nine weeks! Isn't there a line or something? You guys just got here!"

The Lord works in mysterious ways, and Foreigner would eventually have their #1 hit. But they were just going to have to wait a little bit longer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Belinda And Lorna Doom Try To Stalk Freddie Mercury, Meet Darby Crash And Pat Smear Instead

What do you do when your favorite band is in town? Go see them in concert, right?

Don't be silly. You go to the hotel where they're staying and you try to stalk them!
I was at work one day in early 1977 when Theresa called me with breaking news. Queen was in town.

That night, we dressed up and went to the hotel. Theresa had found out what Freddie Mercury's room number was, and we headed straight for it after making it through the lobby and into the elevator without getting stopped.

Outside his room, we encountered two other freaks on a similar mission to meet Freddie. They told us their names, Bobby Breahm and Georg Rutherberg. They were our age and from West Los Angeles. They immediately pegged us as a couple of girls from the Valley. It didn't matter.

"Is this Freddie's room?" I asked.

They nodded and added that they had been camped out there for a while and hadn't seen him come or go.

"Or heard anything going on inside," one of them added.

Theresa and I turned toward the door and knocked. We waited and then hit it again. We probably knocked about a dozen times without anyone ever coming to the door. In retrospect, I know from personal experience that this didn't mean he wasn't in there. I've been in plenty of hotel rooms over the course of my career and heard fans in the hallway debating whether or not to knock on my door, and then knock over and over again. I never open the door.
Belinda, you are so ... mysterious! It's like she's talking about the metaphorical door ... to her soul.
Eventually we sat down in the hallway and forgot all about Freddie. Instead we got to know one another. We talked for hours about music and emerged at the end of the night as friends. Bobby and Georg said they were going to start a band and asked if we wanted to be in it. Theresa and I said yes.
And that band ... became the Go-Go's.

See, that's the funny part. That band did not actually become the Go-Go's. In your normal pop star narrative, that band would have totally become the Go-Go's right there. But this is no ordinary pop star narrative, my friends. This is Lips Unsealed.

The band that she's talking about ... became the Germs.

I repeat: the Germs.

Still not making that up.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Prometheus - Sometimes You Just Have to Forcibly Abort Your Own Alien/Human Hybrid Baby in the Name of Science

Q:  So what happens if you progressively add more plot points to movies about crazy aliens that lay eggs in human faces?

A:  The movies get shittier!

Looks like a vagina on a penis to me.

I enjoyed Alien. I enjoyed Aliens, although it's not as good a the first movie and is annoyingly overrated by mouse-and-keyboard wannabes who like fake military crap. A didn't watch the other two movies. Now, after watching Prometheus, I think it's safe to say that I don't have to--but maybe I want to?.

Succinctly, Prometheus has decent special effects, mediocre to poor acting, and one godawful script.

(If you plan on watching the movie you can stop reading now, but I think you'll enjoy it more if you watch after reading me make fun of it.)

From the top:

Some thousands of years ago, "engineer" aliens, who look like pale 9 foot humans, send a guy to Earth who drinks some black stuff which causes him to painfully disintegrate. His DNA creates life on Earth. (No more explanation needed because none is given.

Humans of various civilizations somehow find out about these "engineers" and draw primitive artwork which points to a solar system some distance from Earth.

A rich old dying guy funds a mysterious space trip to this alien system BUT pretends he's dead and sneaks onto his own ship.

Once the humans get to this alien system it turns out the alien planet has buried spaceships. The spaceships contain bad black goo that has a bunch of alien larvae in it.

The alien larvae either impregnate you with aliens or drives you insane and turn you into a unstoppable super zombie.

The "engineers" actually want to kill all humans. (Wait, you say, didn't the movie start with an "engineer" sacrificing himself to create humans? Yep. Yep it did.)

Hero scientist GIVES HERSELF AN ABORTION. She then gets up of the surgical table, runs away from the alien baby she just pulled out of her own uterus, and fights it once it grows into a giant 6 mouthed, 6 tentacled, penis/vagina alien. Who says Sigourney Weaver is tough?

Ok, I think you get the point. On last thing worth noting, as in the previous movies the aliens all look like either male or female genitalia. And, like always, these aliens are doing whatever they possibly get int the throat of any sentient lifeform within reach. What terrible things happened to H.R.Geiger's mouth as a child? What part of Ridley Scott identifies so strongly with this aesthetic? Is it just a way to mess with oblivious people who go to see these movies?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paul Davis - "Cool"; Not Actually Cool

Did you know that Axl Rose's father used to be a soft rock musician? All right, so Paul Davis was not Axl Rose's father. But he should have been. Or Gregg Allman's long-lost brother. Either way, he was one scraggly-looking Yacht Rock singer.

Davis had two big hits in 1982. Nothing gives me that "supermarket in Palm Springs" vibe like "Cool Night," a song so breezy it could have given the Sun goose bumps. "Cool Night" might also boast the best example of what is known in YouTube-speak as a "TUKC" - Totally Unnecessary Key Change. In addition, Davis became the first songwriter to ever rhyme "night" with "light" and "right." Why hadn't somebody thought of this before?

"65 Love Affair," on the other hand, was like a nostalgic pastiche of '50s nostalgic pastiches such as "Crocodile Rock." It was a song that was nostalgic for '70s nostalgia songs. It was like nostalgia cubed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Washed Up America Creates One Last Piece Of Pop "Magic"

No, I'm not talking about our great nation; I'm talking about '70s soft rock juggernauts America. Yes, they named themselves America. There's a well-acknowledged rule among rock critics: don't name yourself after a big, impersonal place. See: Boston, Kansas, Chicago, Europe, Asia, etc. Besides, America didn't sound "American" so much as Californian. They should have called themselves "Southern California." But that probably didn't fit on the t-shirt.

At their peak, America were like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with a lobotomy. The sound was there, but the lyrics probably needed some work. "A Horse With No Name," "Ventura Highway," "Sister Golden Hair," "Tin Man," "Lonely People" - if you didn't care for lyrics, then America were the greatest band in the world. But try these on for size: "The heat was hot and the ground was dry"; "Ain't it foggy outside/Guess the planes have all been grounded/Ain't the fire inside/Let's all go stand around it"; "But Oz never gave nothing to the Tin Man/That he didn't already have/And cause never was a reason for the evening/Or the Tropic of Sir Galahad." Say what? I mean, if they had been trying to be a weird, arty band, this would have made sense. But they were trying to be Seals & Crofts.

By 1982, the only thing America were trying to be was relevant. Life on the county fair circuit surely awaited them, when suddenly, out of nowhere they pulled a tasty little rabbit out of the Yacht Rock hat.

America sure did "magic" all right. They "magically" resuscitated their career.  Which would swiftly die soon after. For real this time. But hey, they sure showed everybody they still had that one extra hit in them!

Here they are, performing on what appears to be a "magic" cloud. Gerry Buckley looks like the local high school math teacher, while Dewey Bunnell apparently just came back from a sailing adventure with Popeye. Also, a little known fact: before becoming a stand-up comedian, Jeff Foxworthy used to be the drummer for America.

"You Can Do Magic" was one of many late '70s/early '80s songs about magic: Pilot's "Magic," Olivia Newton-John's "Magic," the Cars' "Magic," just to name a few. Ah, but not only was America's song imaginatively titled "You Can Do Magic," it also had that spectacular little chiming sound that made a special little "ding" every time the word "magic" was sung. Try to out-magic that, fuckers!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

You Mean The Song That Sounds Like An Eagles Song Isn't, And The Song That Doesn't Sound Like An Eagles Song Is?

You're being held captive in a dungeon. A sick, psychopathic terrorist has tied you to a chair resting over a trap door. Beneath the trap door is a pit of flames, or acid - maybe both. Answer the question correctly, and he unties you from the chair. Answer the question incorrectly, however, and you meet your doom. So what's the question? The evil terrorist mastermind plays you two songs from 1980. One is an Eagles song, the other isn't. All you need to do is correctly identify which song is by the Eagles and which song is not. But you lose. You die. You burn to death in the pit of flames and/or acid.

Why? Not because you're tied to a chair being forced to listen to the Eagles. Oh no. That would be too easy. It's because the song that doesn't sound anything like an Eagles song is actually an Eagles song, and the song that sounds exactly like an Eagles song isn't a fucking Eagles song!

In 1979, the Eagles were on their last legs. Although Hotel California had been purchased by, from what I understand, every resident of said state (and became the de facto album of choice to play when chopping up one's lines of coke), the band members could barely stand each other. Also: coke. By the time the band released The Long Run, founding member Randy Meisner had been replaced by former Poco bassist Timothy B. Schmidt, who had also - get this - replaced Meisner in Poco when Meisner originally left Poco! Timothy B. Schmidt just hung around to lick up Randy Meisner's sloppy seconds, OK? At any rate, although technically released in 1979, Schmidt's vocal showcase "I Can't Tell You Why" became a hit in 1980. Its smooth, Quiet Storm vibe remained a fixture of easy listening radio throughout the decade.

Later I learned who the Eagles were. I "can't tell you" how surprised I was when one night, while listening to the radio, a DJ informed me that this smoky little R&B ballad that I'd heard on the radio a million times had been performed by ... the Eagles. But ... but ... that's ... that's impossible! Of course, it hardly sounds like the Eagles because ... the new guy was singing it! Not fair. Cheating.

Then there's this other song, also released in 1979 but achieving hit status in 1980, with a shuffling Latin beat straight from "Tequila Sunrise," which was obviously by the Eagles. Except the DJ said it wasn't by the Eagles. It was by J.D. Souther. Who the hell was J.D. Souther? And why does he sound like he's in the Eagles? I can tell you why J. D Souther sounds like he was in the Eagles. Because he just about was.

J.D. Souther was like the 6th Eagle. He co-wrote Eagles songs such as "Best of My Love," "New Kid in Town," and "Heartache Tonight" (with Bob Seger!). All well and good, but he also sounds like a dead ringer for Glenn Frey. They could have traded places and no one would have noticed, like Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities. So along comes J.D. Souther with his "first" hit, the hypnotic Roy Orbison homage "You're Only Lonely," but it sure didn't feel like his first hit. Probably because, in a sense, it really wasn't.

Taking Notes? There'll be a quiz after. Remember: pit of flames.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dominion....the Card Game, and the Social Risk of Board Games

At the 1st ever Cosmic American Blog meetup we played Dominion, the deck building game with the ambiguous medieval theme (you can surely imagine how the theme works, but without any little flavor text at the bottom of the cards, as in Magic:The Expensening, how can you ever be sure?).

I thoroughly enjoyed this game--so much so that I ordered a copy for myself. I was even able to teach my mom to play, so you know it's approachable. The game starts with all players drawing the same 10 cards. Each turn new cards are purchased using money cards. The money cards buy action cards or point cards. Point cards do nothing until the end of the game at which point they are the only card that matters.  

The game doesn't have a huge amount of interaction between the players, but I think that's a plus for the less serious gamers among us. Forced competition makes some people nervous. I once played a game of Risk with my now-girlfriend and two other couples. One of the other couples was...troubled. They argued throughout the game about the choices people made and even, get this, how the two of them rolled their respective dice--all at once or one die at a time. The female half of this couple has a pronounced stutter. The male half decided to comment on this several times. At one point threats to break-up, serious heart-and-gut wrenching threats, were traded across a table drenched in small plastic aggression. The relationship lasted a few long Wile E. Coyote months longer.

For some people competition can be too much to handle. I'm not one of those people. So I went ahead and ordered another more aggressive two player card game as well. I'll save that for another day.

Can't Think of a Single Song by the Go-Gos or Belinda Carlisle

How cool am I?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Belinda Hangs Out On The Sunset Strip And Parties With Rock Stars While Still Underage

It's 1975. You are two young Valley Girls, at the tail end of high school. You're into music, but the punk explosion is still roughly a year or so away. What do you do for a good time?
Theresa and I joined the regulars who hung out at night in the Sunset Strip parking lot between the Rainbow and the Roxy. That spot was the late-night nerve center of L.A.'s rock scene. Between eleven P.M. and two A.M., rock stars and wannabes, groupies and insiders gathered there and waited for something to happen, though looking back I realize the party itself was in the parking lot and that just by being there we were where it was happening.

If you were a poseur, this was where you posed. If you wanted to pass around a joint or score quaaludes, you showed up there. The lot was always filled with shiny Rolls-Royces and Excaliburs, clues that a VIP was having a good time inside.
Some of the bands that Belinda and Lorna Doom saw in concert that summer: Roxy Music, Thin Lizzy, Bad Company, ELO, and the Kinks. Allow me to paint the scene.

Theresa and I got a small, very cheap one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. Other than our beds, we didn't have any furniture. We didn't have food either. I ate instant oatmeal with margarine and Sweet'N Low three times a day.
Theresa and I began our nights at the Rainbow and as soon as we heard about a party, we sped through the Hollywood Hills, looking for the address. As young, attractive girls, doors opened easily for us. Once inside, I needed a couple of drinks to get loose enough to enjoy myself. A quaalude also helped. At the time, my drug use was strictly recreational.
Note: at the time. Key words here: at the time.
But still, a girl had to be careful. The city was full of predators. There were old letches like "What's Happening" Bob, a guy in his sixties known for laying his slimy hands on girls as he drilled his smile uncomfortably close and asked, "What's happening?"
Sounds like a great guy.
... I never felt as much a part of the scene as when I met the Who's drummer Keith Moon. I was inside the Rainbow and noticed that he was with a black hooker whom I knew from the parking lot. As I passed their table, she grabbed my arm and pulled me into their booth. The three of us shared a pizza. I'm sure I didn't eat.

I smoked my Shermans and let Keith buy me a drink. No one was terribly strict about carding kids back then, and certainly the waitresses weren't going to stop Keith from buying drinks for the women at his table, even if one of them was still in high school.

I had a similar encounter with Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC. That also took place late at night inside the Rainbow. But he was whacked out of his mind. Keith had been inebriated, but Bon was wasted. He grabbed my shirt as I walked past him and said something along the lines of "My, aren't you lovely, let's have sex."
What a charmer.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Future is Now

Ladies and gentlemen, the future in gaming entertainment is here!  Last night I played the sequel to one of gaming's most storied, well-loved franchises. That's right, I played Baby Maker Extreme 2!!  Improved graphics!  More things to fly in to!  I actually managed to make my baby fly so far that he ended up outside the hospital into the surrounding neighborhood, where he ultimately became lodged between some kids at a playground.  It was glorious.  It may only be May folks, but I'm calling it now: Game Of The Year.