Sunday, May 30, 2010

Guitar Riffs From Heaven

I love a good guitar riff -- anything that just gets you're blood pumping (be it for workout or driving around with a sense of purpose) - here are some for you to enjoy this Memorial Day weekend... mind you this is in no way meant to be a definitive compilation... they are ones I could quickly recall... will try to think of more, but please do offer suggestions.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Scott Weiland Has It All

Way back when the grunge movement was going down and bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, and Alice in Chains were tearing it up, another band also came on the scene and got lumped into the mix. It's lead singer was even cited for being a copycat of Pearl Jam lead singer extraordinaire Eddie Vedder. Now, I am not breaking new ground here. What I am about to talk about has been discussed by others in the same framework, but FUCK IT - I'm having a moment of appreciation and don't give an eff if I'm just regurgitated what's already out there. I want to give my two cents.

I am a fan of all the bands I listed above... Pearl Jam's TEN was an amazing record that I listened to constantly... with that I would like to show a moment of love for Stone Temple Pilots. I remember when their debut album CORE came out and was equally blown away by the first single Sex Type Thing. I recall the riff being more powerful than most and Scott Weiland's voice ferocious. I took notice and quickly bought the CD. Virtually every track was worth of listening to - Dead & Bloated, Sex Type Thing, Plush, Crackerman, Creep, so on and so forth. A powerful debut. Now, again, this was during a time when the Seattle thing was happening and STP was assumed to be part of it. Not saying it's a bad thing, but it's easy to get lost in the mix when you're suddenly part of the trend. But for the most part they didn't get lost and were able to follow up the debut with some amazing works; songs like Vaseline, Big Empty, Big Bang Baby, etc., were as good as anything off of CORE.

So yes, I'd stuck with the band through the years for the most part and watched as the charismatic lead singer Scott Weiland did his thing... dressing in drag, like KISS, doing drugs, solo work reminiscent of Bowie, and side projects like Velvet Revolver... the guy has got a voice.  As for his frontman cred his stage presence and moves are somewhere between Morrison, Bowie, and Jagger.

Sadly, as time marched on and I got older STP slowly faded away, the drama of Weiland's issues and the start and stop again touring left little to get excited about... STP was becoming the rock n roll cliche. Sure, every so often I would catch a classic STP song either on the radio or on the iPod shuff... but overall, I moved on.

In the past weeks I had even noticed a billboard on Sunset advertising a new STP record. Did I get excited? NOPE! Was I ready to buy? NOPE! Did I care? NOT REALLY!


Now I'm sure there are those of you who never left and never gave up on STP. And I'm not saying I gave up... I just moved on... so, I don't sit here today thinking I'm breaking some big news. It's just a chance for me to express a rediscovery on my part... this is more for me than you and if it inspires some others to get reacquainted... then great!

So, after returning home from a wine tasting (lame, I know, but shit it was Pahlmeyer... who is going to say no to fucking Pahlmeyer) - I took two hours to lay on the couch and absorb the mass amounts of red wine I had just consumed. As I put my head back into a newly purchased couch pillow from Target (hey, I've got some interior design skills) I turned on the TV and there it was... a 2010 concert STP put on in Chicago that was clearly part of the lead up to the new album which comes out May 25th, 2010... As I watched STP rip through the hits and the new stuff three things happened... I got excited, I was ready to buy, and once again I cared.

Scott Weiland and the rest of STP totally won me back and I look forward to hearing the new album. I also look forward to driving around L.A. and getting reacquainted with the STP albums on my iPod. Whatever Weiland has been through he appears to have come out the other side and his voice is as powerful as ever. The DeLeo brothers kill it on bass and lead guitar and Kretz does his thing on drums... across the board this band is tighter than ever. There is a reason this band has sold over 40 million albums worldwide... The new single Between The Lines is classic STP without sounding dated... it's a song that fits perfectly within their arsenal of jams.

I have yet to ever see them live, but am making a mental note as I type this that I will make an effort to do so this time around. The songs are timeless and hard hitting. While STP came about during the grunge trend they do not live there... they live on... Maybe you think I'm making a big deal about this, and you may say that the rise and fall and rise again potential of STP is just another part of the rock n roll cliche... but not all cliches are bad. It's only bad when the cliche ends with a dead lead singer who couldn't survive the pitfalls of the lifestyle. I am rooting for STP and I am rooting for Weiland. He is one of those performers that makes you want get on stage and strut it like he does... he embodies the essence of the quintessential frontman.

To STP I say this... keep at it and don't stop... You've earned me back as a fan.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Leonard Zelig Lives Here

Who am I? Could there be a lamer question for me to pose? I mean, seriously... in the world of blogs, there are probably a billion blog entries that take on such a question. And for the most part it's a rhetorical question giving the author an excuse to blow his mental load all over you (the reader) and impress you with his/her deep insight into what the true meaning of ones "self" is...

...I find that no matter what someone says about who they are there is no way to know. There will never be a unanimous decision about "who" someone is or was (the latter is reserved mostly for those funeral eulogies wherein friends and family share their thoughts and feelings on the dearly departed). I think ultimately the way we perceive ourselves versus how those perceive us can be far apart. The internal and external are in constant conflict. It's like those stories you hear on the news about people who go on some sort of rampage and when the neighbors are asked about the culprit -- what is it they always say? -- whatever it is, it's almost always in contrast to the event that's occurred.

I think it's like the saying that there are three sides to every story - my side, your side, and the truth... too bad that third part is unattainable. The third side is also someone giving their version of what they think. I guess that makes truth unattainable doesn't it... wow, that's a frustrating notion.

I guess there can be truth when it comes to things in the physical world. I eat an apple and someone says they saw me eat an apple... that's truth... but if I eat that apple and then proclaim it's gross, then we're getting into the emotional grey area of things. Was the apple rotten? Or perhaps I just don't like that particular type of apple.

So, if you wanted to find truth in who I am... well, there is the physical truth like height, weight, eye color, etc etc etc.... no argument there... but once we move beyond that and talk about things like personality that's when things veer off course.

OK -- I'm applying the brakes on this... I can't keep doing this.... these blog entries are getting exhausting. What am I doing? I'm sitting here trying to talk philosophically about shit -- trying to be profound... and that's the last thing I want to be... profound... Like I'm trying to impress you with my deep insights into the world. I barely graduated High School with a 2.0 (granted, I got my shit together in college), but it hardly makes me a great thinker. Gee, Greg -- your thoughts and writings are so good... you really make me take a another look at the world I live in. God, I hope I don't do that... sure, I've got thoughts on things... but I hardly think they're earth shattering concepts.

I want to vomit when I read this. You want to learn about "self", I am sure there are people way more qualified than I am to speak on it. Me? I'm just trying to get through another day. Working my ass off, raising my kids, saving some money, go on some dates, kiss some girls, and whatever goes along with that.

I spend waaaaaaay too much time thinking and thinking and thinking... just TURN THAT SHIT OFF and live for cryin' out loud. I need to stop worrying so much about everything and just take it as it comes and act accordingly... right? That's probably the best advice for living life. So from here on out I will do my best to do just that and stop doing stupid stuff.

And no more blogging for the sake of blogging...I gotta remember that I don't HAVE to come up with stuff... don't force it... just do it when it feels right.

What a shitty topic I started writing about above. "Self".... please - how stupid do I sound. Even the title... ooooh, Greg, you referencing one of the more off beat Woody Allen titles -- you must be into movies.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Bruce Wayne Affair

I am always slightly weary when I'm mentally preparing to lay down a blog. I am not one of those people who can just spill his guts and lay it all on the table, so I always feel the need to think and rethink what I say -- I don't view this as self-censorship... it's called being responsible. As much as I would like to think it's OK to thumb my nose up at the world, give it the bullocks and write whatever I want - I don't... I feel it to be irresponsible not only to myself but others who are within the inner circle of my life (namely my kids)... sure, there is part of me that would like get into greater detail about my pursuits when it comes the BIG THREE (love, life, and happiness), but it just doesn't feel like the right thing to do. As I mentioned before, I feel some things should be private especially when kids are involved - of course, just by writing this, I'm making it sound like I have something to hide... I don't (at least I don't think so)

To that end, I'd like to start with this. A friend of mine did something recently that I could appreciate (especially given my post marriage pursuits)... right or wrong - healthy or not... he took it upon himself to let it be known how heartbroken he was via his Facebook status. I too was shocked by the sudden break up of he and his girlfriend of one year, but I was in awe at what would come next... not because I necessarily agreed or disagreed with it (I'm still figuring out what I think about it) -- he posted his heartbreak and I watched as FB friend after FB friend began commenting, expressing their thoughts (some witty (like mine), some not (also like mine). I quickly began to grasp what was happening. I then watched as the ex-girl posted a comment (and then must of had second thoughts because it was quickly deleted)... but I then understood -- he had achieved his goal. He got her attention.

You see, he didn't post it because he wanted to let his FB friends know and comment nor did he post it to get "back" at the girl who gutted his heart... it was his way of letting "her" know he was hurt, but still wanted her back - he was trying to get her to respond (and for a moment she did - then deleted it). As Maxwell Smart would say (a la Don Adams) "Missed it by that much" -- I spoke to him later about it and he didn't seem to argue my theory. I expanded it to also conclude that he had turned his FB page into his very own Lloyd Dobler boombox belting out "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. It was, for lack of a better word, kinda cool in my eyes... (ha, look at what I did there - completely unintentional and something I would normally delete... but fuck it! I'll leave in the cheesy "eyes" wordplay.) So he got a reaction... maybe not the one he wanted, but a reaction nonetheless... and the game continues.

So there is that... I liked that my friend went for it a little. I think sometimes when we have nothing to lose it's good to go for it... Sadly, as I may have mentioned in previous postings - life isn't like the movies and boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back doesn't always happen... In fact, more often than not it doesn't happen. I always preferred the "Some Kind of Wonderful" dynamic anyway (boy gets girl, boy realizes girl isn't the "one", dumps girl, and quickly realizes the close friend, who is a girl, is the "one") basically, get rid of Amanda Jones and go for the tomboy, drum playing Watts (hey, she was a cutie in my opinion) - On another note, I always like watching SKOW because they used my High School as the location and cast all the students as extras -- If I want to revisit my High School as it was in the late 80s, it makes for a great time capsule experience... the only bummer was I myself couldn't be an extra -- I can't remember if it was because I had a SAG card or I just had some other Summer stuff going down... bummer though - It would have been great to see myself in there with the others.

Double Side-Bar: Who would win in a fight? Hardy Jenns from Some Kind or Steff from Pretty In Pink? -- That's some Preppy fight I would like to see.

OK, back to it... there really isn't anything more to say about my friend except that I wish him the best. I don't know enough about the relationship that ended to say one way or the other as far as what happened... but, I'm smart enough to recognize when someone cares about someone else -- and as far as that goes... there is no question he does. I only hope that any woman I encounter knows and understands that any moments of stupidity a guy pulls (and I'm talking in the Lloyd Dobler way - be it phone calls, emails, drunk texting, etc.) are done solely for this reason.

Moving right along.

So, what is the Bruce Wayne Affair you ask? Why is it the title of this blog entry. Well, I will answer it for you my punchy fans. But I will preamble by saying what I always say - please don't construe this as anything more than self observation -- do I get sad sometimes? Yes. Depressed? Sure, but nothing ongoing or to be concerned about. I think these are things that are to be expected and is part of the adjustment period. You have to remember, I have spent the last 18 years living a certain way... and now that is all changing -- 18 years of habit forming instinct, behavior, and being has been altered -- I wonder if there is another version of me that exists in a Back To The Future scenario where my life actually continues to play out as it had been - I wonder if a future version of me or future relative of mine has traveled back in time from the future and somehow triggered all of this... that would be kind of cool in some weird Doc Brown Flux Capacitor sort of way... but again... digression.

As I was saying - my life right now is a series of moments and experiences where each day and moment is impacted by the ever changing landscape that is my life... what's this have to do with Bruce Wayne? I've concluded that I have in essence become a superhero. I currently have two lives playing out -- on one hand -- figuratively speaking, by day I continue to be a hard working publicist with two kids and all is right with the world (I work and when I have the kids I take care of their needs as I have since they were born) - By my account, in those moments nothing has really changed for the most part... however... By night, I am a single man who is starting over - friends, dating, all of it -- starting from scratch - and it can be hard... thank God I've created a blog, because it gives me something to do while I'm waiting for the next thing to start - be it spending time with my kids, waiting for my "single guy" plans, or even just a job related activity.

Remember, I was a guy who up until the end of my marriage always seem to have something to keep him busy, so I'm still figuring out this downtime stuff. Probably the hardest realization I've come to is how little of a social life I have... What's more is I have come to learn how very few guy friends I have compared to the amount of women friends ... almost too many... in fact, I was thinking about putting a brief moratorium on new female friends, because I think this new phase is about needing guy friends (I think it's that wolf pack mentality that helps in the pursuit of the opposite sex) - I used to fancy myself as being in tune with the feminine mystique -- you know where that gets you? The fucking friend zone... and to state it simply... I'm done with the fucking friend zone. This however does not apply to all current female friends -- only new ones need not apply... I think this way must stem from my childhood -- I was raised by women (mom, sisters, etc.) and due to my "late blooming" I had always been more socially accepted by women... In college, I had some good guy friends who to this day are my good friends, but they live in NYC so unfortunately I can't take advantage of that history. So I am off into the world to find more guy friends while I let the "nice guy" friend zone version of me die on the vine. How does this all play into the Bruce Wayne Affair? It indirectly does... it's just another example of how my two lives are playing out.

Hopefully at some stage in this game the two worlds will slowly fold into one another and I will once again have one life... but for now I am doomed to keep two identities afloat. That of mild-mannered working father and that of... of... of... I need a cool superhero name.... I need to give this some thought.

OK -- So now this post feels like an incomplete meditation on stuff... but then again I think that's OK as long as the reader finds it entertaining.

Go with a smile!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Follow my blog with bloglovin

A Playlist...

Something I've been meaning to post....

End Times -- Eels

Foolish Love -- Rufus Wainwright

You Can Do Better Than Me -- Death Cab for Cutie

The First Days of Spring -- Noah and the Whale

Bruised -- Ben Folds

Ghost In You -- The Psychedelic Furs

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out -- The Smiths

Lucky Man -- The Verve

On Your Side -- Pete Yorn

3 GymnopĂ©dies: No. 1 -- Pascal RogĂ©

Nobody's Fault But My Own -- Beck

Dig -- Incubus

The Finish Line -- Snow Patrol

Sunday, May 2, 2010


My Name is Mr. Punchy....

So... I'm blogging now -- Does that officially make me a blogger? I, in essence, have opened my internal diary for those who care to learn about what's going on in my head (however, I will be the first to admit I keep things pretty general... I believe some things are meant to be private) ... so I'll ask the question again... does that make me a blogger?  I guess?  What is a the goal of a blogger?  Is it to be discovered as some great new voice of a generation?  Is it with the hope that some network executive will be so entertained by the talent oozing from the text they'll be inclined to turn the blog into a TV series?  Is it to meet chicks?  Is it to keep from going insane?  Is it to keep from going insane?  Is it to keep from going insane?  Is it -- aw, you get what I'm getting at.... whatever the reason (which I don't even think I know yet) -- I'm here.  I titled my blog "A Punch In The Face" not to be funny... although I get a kick out of it when someone of Facebook becomes a fan of my FB page for APITF and it says "so-and-so" likes A Punch In The Face.  I titled it that because I feel I have experienced my share of ups and downs in life and I truly feel that some days are no different to getting a punch in the face...

So, how did I get here... do you care?

On Sept 15th, 2009 -- I had a moment... I was knee deep in my marital separation and the changes happening in my life... and I had a moment -- and I wrote blogged about it.  It was filled with anger, and frustration, and all the things I needed to say, I said... needless to say it concerned some folks.  It's like when you're seven-years-old and you're going swimming with your friends.  You walk out to the pool and are looking into the water from the edge trying to determine how cold it is.  You toe it and realize it's freezing - next thing you know your "friend" pushes you in and you just have to take it.  So let's say I was pushed in... life pushed me in the blog pool.

But in the days following I mellowed out and reported back with some more blogs about what I was feeling.  It's like I was returning to the same ice cold pool and was trying to ascertain the best (least cold) way of getting in... there never is one.

In the beginning, I chose the normal shallow end route (the most difficult by far) where I step in inch by inch, shivering as the cold blog pool water slowly moves up to my waist. This is the point of no return... Once we commit past the waist line there is no going back -- meanwhile, my blog friends who are well into the pool are splashing around, coaxing, goading, what have you.... I'm faced with a choice. Turn around, go inside, and play with my Atari 2600 -- or -- dunk myself in and commit to it. I'd say I've chosen the latter. Today, I jump in the pool without worry and am learning to swim, while also learning what fun can be had... Marco Polo, Cannonballs off of the diving board, splash fighting, seeing how long I can swim underwater without coming up for air... and dare I say peeing in the pool without anyone noticing (SIDE NOTE: I remember swimming at summer camp and being told not to pee in the pool and that there was a special chemical in the chlorine that would change color if you did... needless to say that as a child there was lots of urinating in the pool going on and the pool never changed color) -- you get the picture.

So now I'm posting blogs on a somewhat regular basis (I try for weekly at the very least) - and I'm enjoying it... first and foremost it's got me writing again - something I've put off for a long time.. as some of you may or may not know or care for that matter.  Writing was something I used to enjoy and for about a five year period actually got paid to do (PAID!) -- I got chewed up and burnt out by it, and I just didn't have it in me to do it anymore. In the last year, with all the changes in my life, and new found free time, I've opted to return to it in this new form. I'm less concerned with telling a narrative three act story at this point and am just free balling it for the time being. My hope is it can lead to something more concrete. I'm discovering who I am as a writer and what my voice is.  I used to write as a means to avoid having to dig too deep - funny stuff, but nothing groundbreaking.  In the past I tried returning to that style of writing and it's just not who I am anymore (part of me does miss that voice though) - Now, it's sort of like an emotional puberty if you will - Now, is the time to write for me.  I used to write to gain the approval of others (and while there will always be a part of it that's about approval from the masses - hence my FB page A Punch In The Face that links to this... it's no longer the sole purpose). I will write no matter what because I like it. If I find followers who enjoy reading it... great.   It is encouraging when people you don't know you comment on a posting because they simply relate to what you've written. To me, that counts for a lot. The same way I discover a film or album or artist that I feel an instant connection to and I enjoy for me -- not because it's what my friends are listening to -- and with that I will take a brief moment to highlight some of these --

Things I love:

Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" and "Punch Drunk Love"

Eels albums "Electro-Shock Blues" and "End Times"

Bruce Willis as John McClane

(seriously... whoever heard of a hit that had the word "herb" in it)

And thanks to Hipstercrite, I've come to love this Talking Heads song (read the posting, then listen to the song)

Of course, there are a lot of things I love outside of pop culture - first and foremost, my kids...

Seriously, whenever I'm in doubt personally or professionally, I look to those two and can immediately cast self-doubt aside. They are simply... the best.  I am truly blessed to have two amazing kids and it's a result of two very dedicated parents.

Okie Dokie - It's Sunday... so now I would like to bid you all a fond farewell for the day... I have some work I need to finish, was thinking about checking out "Exit Through The Gift Shop" and some drinks later on tonight at Roger Room (see, it's fun playing with all this blog stuff - linking and what not).

Oh, wait -- I forgot to tell you my mission statement.... the mission is... there is no mission -- I'm just going to keep writing.