Monday, May 28, 2012

The Science of Bad Music

We were sitting around bullshitting at the bar the other day and, as usual, the topic of music came up. And frankly, these days, most of it is the equivalent of auditory Ex-Lax. "How can he say that?" you ask, when we live in an era where staggering musical prodigies the likes of Katy Perry and Kanye West rule the airwaves? Well, here's our breakdown of why modern pop music is funkier than a freshly-baked dog turd.

Great Music, Terrible Lyrics

There are a fair amount of musical millionaires who are actually damn good musicians, but their lyrics may well have been written by inbred chimpanzees. The first band that comes to mind is one I actually like: Linkin Park. Their genre-blending synth-rock-rap is well composed and has evolved decently over the years, but for the most part, lyrically, these guys are knuckleheads. They've brought us such brilliant verses as, "Clutching my cure I tightly lock the door, I try to catch my breath again, I hurt much more than anytime before."

Still don't believe me? Make a drinking game out of it. Every time they say the words "I, me, or you" take a shot. You'll be dead in half a song.


Great Lyrics, Terrible Music

Somehow even worse than that is great lyrics with terrible music. He's that Indie rocker who can write masterful prose but plays music that sounds like a bunch of rabid cats raping each other in a back alley.


His album is 75 minutes long and has led to more suicides than bullying.

The Catchy Hook (that doesn't really mean anything)


Now we don't want to sound like the old whippersnappers hating on modern music, but let's face it, there's a ton of songs that rely on nothing more than a catchy hook with a chorus full of empty words. You know what I'm talking about. The same 4 notes playing over and over again, on repeat, turning a song into nothing more than a 3 and a half minute long chorus.

Like this abortion of a song that's been strangling the radio airwaves for an eternity now.



It's terrible, yes, but it's so easy to get stuck in your head... which is something that we're not dismissing for our own musical endeavors.




An upgrade from the HitMaker 2000 which has 5 keys (so unnecessary!).


The Gimmick

Let's face it, whether they're talented or not, a lot of artists these days rely upon corny gimmicks to sell their image. Probably the most notable of these is Lady Gaga, who routinely shops for her wardrobe at modern art galleries and meat-packing plants.


Yes, Gaga's main schtick is tacky wardrobe. And I used to respect her for it. Hell, I'll even admit to owning and enjoying her first album. However, I haven't even moderately enjoyed anything of hers since. It's all crap. But hey, who needs to write a high quality song anymore when you pander exclusively to the gay community? Sure, we wholeheartedly support gay rights, but what we don't support is lazy songwriting just because something you believed in became a success and you used that to turn a positive message into a gimmicky, half-assed album.

Auto-Tune

Auto-tune sucks. It just does. Chances are, if you're a singer and you use auto-tune, you probably shouldn't be singing. Because you're not. Thanks to this wonderful little technological advancement any old schmuck can have his voice transformed into that of an operatically inclined robot. Hey, if it works for Kanye West, who's to say you can't be the next big rap star, Mr. Tracheotomy?




Sex Sells

Sometimes you don't need musical talent. Sometimes you just need a gigantic pair of boobs, a pretty face, and a skimpy bikini, which is totally comparable to strong vocal cords and general musical ability.







Speaking of sex, sexual lyrics sell albums like you wouldn't believe. Look at Rihanna. Every song she's made in the past 2 years is about how much she loves the caulk. And while we've got nothing against a sexually empowered woman, I don't know if any of her lyrics really qualify as "empowering", unless you're an avid Sesame Street watcher and you need dumbed down explanations of how basic sexual functions work.


I'm sure glad Rihanna explains in graphic detail what she means in her songs, otherwise I might have been too dense to understand what she means by a man wanting to shove his face into her sweet cake and licking it profusely while she blows out his thick, dripping candle.


Remedial Vocabulary -
I read last week that the average American reads at a ninth-grade level. I'm assuming that the corresponding vocabulary isn't a whole lot higher than that. But does that mean that music has to be dumbing it down for the masses, too? More and more we're seeing music saturated with terrible grammar, coming from musicians that have a perfectly competent vocabulary. Ask yourself the question: would proper grammar really make a song all that terrible?




Skreezy graduated from the school of hard knocks, but he also graduated Magna Cum Laude from a prestigious New England college as an English Major, which his fans don't need to know.

Now, we're not trying to make you feel bad for liking Justin Bieber or the Skreezies of the world. But if you do, you probably should. Admittedly, music is subjectively appealing, and we've all got our guilty pleasures. In fact, Bryan is a huge fan of traditional Afghani folk warbling set to break-beats. So, take our opinions for what they're worth.

What do you think constitutes bad music?

Cheers and stay classy, friends,
B&B

Beer: Modelo Especial
Music: Weird Al Yankovic

Monday, May 21, 2012

We're Making a Cartoon (That Doesn't Suck!)

          So as you may or may not know, we're developing this crazy bastard child of a web comic into a cartoon, and by cartoon, we mean "Adult Swim" kind of cartoon, not like a "Dora the Explorer" kind of cartoon. It's going to be on Youtube, which is like the digital equivalent of cable access television, except people actually watch it. And no, we aren't going to bombard you with cat videos, or 20 minute vlog rants, or some kind of weird Indie style of comedy where the joke is that you're not supposed to get the joke. It's a real, laugh-out-loud cartoon.
           We've only just gotten off the ground, and it's going to be a long road to come, but we wanted to update you guys on how things were coming along. And we figured what better way to show you how challenging it's been than for a montage of our hard work.

First, we had to unlock the secret formula to comedy perfection.



Brandon's been boning up on his cartooning skills...


While Bryan's been boning up on his welding skills...


...We're still not quite sure how that one's going to help.

Of course, physical training is just as important as artistic fitness...



We're even tapping into our musical talents. You see, music is going to be a huge part of the show...



We even consulted a voodoo shaman named Jabbuweh (for good luck, of course)...



Because really, what's the difference, amirite?
But more than goats, it's meant the sacrifice of time, as in a slew of late night brainstorming sessions.




But it's all been worth it, to lead up to our very first cartoon...










Photobucket

            That was worth 126 hours of work, right?

            Kidding.

            We DO have a cartoon in development, but unfortunately we can't show you anything... yet. Just know that it's unlike anything you've seen from us before. We've got software and audio recording equipment. We've got our first season (12 episodes) written. We even have a theme song.

             So until it airs (which won't be for a few months) we'll keep you updated of our progress. In the meanwhile, we're still doing the blog as always, and we have some more fun news for you on Thursday (and no, it's not that Brandon saved up enough money for the sexual reassignment surgery).

Cheers and stay classy, friends,
B&B

Music: The Epilogues
Beer: Railyard Ale




Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Slim Pickings

Today's post is a bit longer than usual (and there are no comics) so I'll keep the opening ceremonies to a minimum. I'd like to introduce you to a short story of ours which was previously imprisoned inside the pages of a really terrible "literary magazine." It was originally supposed to be a serialized ongoing story, but we stopped submitting after not one, but TWO consecutive issues were printed with glaring spelling errors on the freaking cover. Anyway, to the story. Meet a friend of ours. His name is Slim Dyson. He's a professional writer. And a damn good one.

***

Slim Pickings
(by Brandon Meyers and Bryan Pedas)


            It finally happened. I got a job. Life as a professional writer these days is a rat race, and only the diligent and the crafty are able to dodge electrocution in the quest for a decent hunk of cheese. For me, dedication had just paid off.
            I looked away from the library computer monitor to pump a celebratory fist at the ceiling. “Yes!”
            The greasy, slump-shouldered guy at the station beside me took a second away from his perusal of barnyard pornography to offer an aggrieved scowl. He lifted a finger to his lips and shooshed. But, my giddiness was undeterred. I turned back to the monitor and skimmed over the acceptance letter again.
            The key phrases leaped out at me from their electronic typeset: Dear Mr. Dyson… proposal sounds good… meet at 3:30 p.m… sincerely, Big J. I checked my watch and found that fortune had smiled upon me yet again. I had thirty minutes to spare, and what’s more, I was already dressed in my best suit. Perfect. I straightened my tie, logged out, and rolled my eyes at the livestock sex-offender as I left. I briefly hoped that he wasn’t a condom man and that his next girlfriend gave him a nice bovine parasite.
            Unlike the public computer stations, the rest of the library was deserted. As a craftsman of the written word, maybe that should have bothered me more. But, today was not a day for gripes. Today was a payday.
            “Hey, Slim. Looking sharp.” Rudy, the paunchy black security guard, looked up from his copy of The Denver Post and leaned across his desk. He tipped his hat at me and smiled. “Got a little extra swing in your step, my friend. You get laid? Man, I met this little Chinese woman who uses a pair of chopsticks to—”
            Usually I’m game to listen to Rudy’s disastrous results with online dating, being as how it’s great character material, but I only had time to wave as I hustled by. “Big day, Rudy. Can’t chat now. Just landed a new client. Tell you about it tomorrow.”
            His well wishes were cut short as the automatic doors chomped shut behind me. I took a deep breath and set off on foot.
            I was a man of the city, and on days like today I was damn proud of that. Buses honked, pedestrians dodged vehicular manslaughter at every intersection, and pigeons shat merrily wherever they pleased. With one hand in a pocket and the other clasping a battered briefcase, I set forth into the concrete jungle, armed with a grin and the brazen confidence of the gainfully employed.
            “Excuse me, mister?” This bourbon-greased slur had come from a park bench just beside the sidewalk. “Could you spare—oh hey, what’s up Slim? You got a cigarette?”
            I waggled a finger at the bearded man, who, despite the summer heat, was sporting half a dozen moth-eaten coats. “I don’t smoke, Louie. You know that.” In my good cheer, I considered ruffling the drunk’s stringy hair, but saw a few of its insectile tenants hopping about and reconsidered.
            “Catch you later, Louie,” I called.
            My new client’s office was only six blocks away. I strolled along the bustling stretch of Broadway, making eye contact with the strangers passing me by. One of them, an attractive woman, didn’t even scowl at me. There’s something about a man in a suit that everyone appreciates. Normally I don’t bother with them. It kind of clashes with my writerly sensibilities, but if it lands me a job, well, a guy’s got to eat, right?
            As I crossed the Colfax intersection, I gave a peace sign to the mustachioed man standing inside his mobile coffee cart. Carlos waved me over.
            I checked my watch, argued with myself, and reluctantly approached his shiny, silver stand. The diminutive man was furiously cleaning up for the day and packing away his various instruments of mass caffeine distribution, but it seemed he still wanted to chat. What can I say? When you have a lot of friends, it’s impossible to go anywhere without running into someone you know.
            “Slim!” he shouted, loudly, even though I was already close enough to smell the enchiladas he’d had for lunch on his breath. “What’s the matter con you, amigo? You don’t want to say hello? Look at you. Man, is that a snazzy suit. You getting married?”
            “Thanks, Carlos. Sorry, man. I got a job, and I’m kind of in a hurry.”
            His wrist flicked like lightning toward a pillar of Styrofoam and a few seconds later he presented me with a cup of steaming java.
            “Oh, hey,” I said, patting my pockets. “Look, I don’t have any cash on me…”
            “No, no,” he insisted, at a volume that was ear shattering. It was like Carlos wanted the whole world to hear what he had to say. “On the house. Times are hard, you know? I understand that. You come by again sometime, okay?”
 “I owe you one, Carlos. Thanks!” I took the cup and hurried on my way. My day simply could not have gotten any better. The outfit was complete. I was a successful, respectable, working professional. And I certainly looked the part, bustling across town in a hurry, sipping my java. It wasn’t great—personally, I’m more of a cappuccino guy—but I wasn’t going to march back to Carlos and demand a remake of my free coffee.
A few blocks later, I tossed the now empty coffee cup into the receptacle outside of my soon-to-be employer.
“Game face,” I instructed myself, and broke out into a smile surrounded by light stubble. My razor’s been getting dull, but I’ve used that to my advantage, as I’ve heard that women love that rustic, unshaven look. “Focus, Slim.”
Strutting inside, I rested my elbows on the countertop like I owned the place.
“Slim Dyson, novelist, screenplay writer, and editor extraordinaire,” I told the man behind the counter. “Is Big J around?”
 My smile was not returned, care of the huge Samoan-looking man that pointed the biggest finger I’ve ever seen at his name tag.
            Big Jay, it read.
            “I never would have guessed,” I told him, as I studied his planetary physique. In all fairness, looking for a name tag on his triple-XL solid-blue uniform was like looking for the head of a pushpin on the side of a two-story house, but I wasn’t going to tell my potential future employer this… nor was I going to tell this to a man the size of a two-story house, either.
            “You’re here for the writing job, right?” he asked, in an eternally apathetic baritone.
            “Yes, I am, and to be honest,” I explained to my new friend, who wasn’t smiling back simply because he didn’t know we were friends yet, “I was expecting someone a lot smaller. You know, to give you that hip and ironic edge, like the seven foot tall bodybuilder who calls himself ‘Tiny’ or ‘Lil Mike.’”
            “Your name is Slim,” Big J noted, “and I could probably break you in half like a pencil. That’s not very ironic, either, is it?”
“I suppose it’s not,” I conceded.
He led me back to his office. Well, it wasn’t so much an office as it was a storage room filled to the ceiling with boxes—you know, that kind of room that a shady realtor might call ‘cozy.’ Other than Big J, who took up almost half of his office just by entering it, there was a smattering of cardboard boxes, a few slacking employees gathered around a watercooler, and a comically tiny desk that Big J could have worn like a knee brace. I knew better than to mention this hilarious irony, though.
“Here’s what I need from you.” Big J handed me a piece of paper. His head was scraping the ceiling, and his left elbow was pinned back into a shelf filled with half-empty boxes. “I’m not so good with grammar, and I’m not so good with words, so I need you to make it sound… I don’t know, pretty.”
            Prettying up words was my job, and I told him this with great confidence as I grabbed a pen and paper from my briefcase and played a game of Tetris with the sentence he had given me. I pruned a few words here, added a few more words there, and rearranged the leftovers into the masterpiece I recited for him shortly after.
            “Here at Wal-Mart, we’re trimming down prices on all of our gardening tools so your lawn doesn’t mow you down this summer.”
            This was gold, literary gold. I knew it. Big J knew it. The nosy old woman at the watercooler knew it. And for the first time, Big J’s lips parted—it might not have been a smile, but it was, at the very least, an indication of satisfaction.
            “I like it. Leave it on the desk. Pay is ten dollars, check.”
            “Can we make it fifteen?” I asked my new pal.
            “Ten,” Big J insisted, and I realized then that we probably weren’t going to be going out for beers any time soon.
            He grabbed a blank check from his desk and scribbled out the amount. “Slim Dyson, right?”
            “Yes,” I told him, with confidence, before watching him scrawl ‘Slim’ across the check. I quickly recanted and stopped his pen. “No, no wait,” I clarified. “I almost forgot. ‘Slim Dyson’ is just my pen name. You know, for writing.”
            Big J narrowed his eyes, voided out the check, and threw it in the garbage.
            “I got it off the side of a vacuum,” I boasted. “Figured it sounded a lot better than Norton Grabowski, anyway. Too ethnic, you know?”
            Big J started writing another check. “Fine. Norton… Gra… Grab… how do you spell that?”
            “You know, on second thought,” I told him, clasping the locks on my suitcase, “I don’t really have a bank account, so a check won’t work for me, anyway. Do you have cash?”
            Five minutes later, I left Wal-Mart with two five-dollar bills, a skip in my step, and the idea that Big J wasn’t going to be asking for help with his in-store circulars anymore.
            He had, however, asked me with ironic inflection (the same ironic inflection he seemed keen on leaving out of his nickname) how I was going to spend my new wealth. And I had told him. I was going to celebrate with my friends, or my ‘crew’, as we called each other. They were some hungry guys, and they were definitely going to appreciate some high quality takeout.
            Now, the kid at Burger King always yells at me when I walk through the drive through—and today was no exception, of course—but I don’t care to own a car, and the lines inside were always so long. I’ve found if you stand out there long enough, though, and keep repeating your order, that the kid will eventually take it. Persistence is the key.
On my way out, I almost got hit by a rogue Honda Civic tearing through the parking lot a little too fast, but I made it out with 4 Whopper Jr’s, 4 sodas, and a dollar and 57 cents in change. Today I had certainly outdone myself.
            And it showed. When I walked into the Denver Homeless Shelter, I was greeted with some serious smiles.
            “Eat up, boys,” I told my friends—Stringbean Johnson, who could have rivaled Kate Moss in circumference, Riverwalk Kenny, with his lazy eyes, and Crazy Al, who was possibly, well, crazy. They thanked me, forgot their round of poker like the cards hadn’t even been dealt, and tore into those burgers like a pack of hyenas tearing into a baby gazelle. I’ll tell you, burgers were like crack to these guys. Also, it seemed that crack was like crack to these guys… but that was more of a contributing factor to them being here.
            Me? I was taking my burger and soda to go—hold the crack. This future Hemingway and literary go-getter had to wash some clothes before getting back into the craft.
            The Laundromat was cold, but then again, I wasn’t wearing anything. My suit—my only suit, I should mention—was tumbling in the wash with my socks and my skivvies. I found that if I didn’t wash them all at least once a day, I would start to smell like my crew. And I’d rather see them than smell them.
            I glanced up. The woman at the other end of the Laundromat was staring at me. She was admiring my posture, perhaps, which I’ve always found to be impeccable, but I had no time for indulging in matters of the flesh. I crossed one bare leg over another, cradled my briefcase in my lap, and clicked my pen against that smile that just wasn’t going to leave my stubbly face, because I was already hard at work on another great writing project.
It was just another day in the life of a successful writer.

***

(This one's for all the starving artists out there. Even the semi-delusional ones.)
 
Cheers and stay classy, folks,

-B&B

Beer: Avalanche
Music: Lana Del Rey

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Wife Got Drugged by the Gays

          While Brandon housesat for me and apparently got raped by a giant cactus, I spent the past week in Vegas. I assume you're picturing that I spent my week doing this.


          Wrong. What I was really doing was this...


          I was visiting my in-laws in the 90 degree desert heat and having my wife do all of her doctor checkups, which are only covered in Vegas (God bless shitty healthcare).
          Perhaps the only fun thing we did was go out to the clubs with my wife's brother and her brother's boyfriend. That meant hitting up the gay clubs, which aren't bad if you don't mind getting hit on by drag queens.


          Yes, that's right, I've been asked what degree of straight I am. And the answer to that is if even 5% of you wants to bang another dude, you're no longer in the realm of straight.
          Anyway, I quickly got tired of the gay nightlife, so I opted to stay home. And go figure, on the one night I didn't go... my wife got drugged. By gay guys. Now who wants to drug a straight woman at a gay bar? I have no fucking clue. All I know is that after her 4th shot--she didn't even have a drink to set down and be spiked, mind you--she lost all motor skills and could no longer stand up on her own or form words, something I've never seen happen to her even after 10 shots.
          Since I wasn't there, my brother-in-law was quick to assess the situation... poorly.




          Yeah, she's glossy eyed, can't stand on her own two feet, can't speak, and throwing up uncontrollably... let's just stand her up again and let her walk it off! Then we'll go get food! A greasy sandwich will make her regain the ability to stand up and walk (you listening to me, Stephen Hawking?)!
          ...That brilliant line of thinking led to her falling numerous times and scraping up both knees, spraining her ankle (which was covered in purple bruises), and oh yeah, this.
     

          So while I was expecting my wife to come home, my brother-in-law and his boyfriend brought home the victim of a 10 car pileup instead, whom they dropped off in the bathtub. They then proceeded to ask me what we were all supposed to do, and by 'we,' they meant 'me.' Because I'm a fucking doctor.




          Utterly useless and doing nothing more than panicking, I kicked them out of the bathroom and decided to take care of everything myself. The wife was an absolute mess (literally and figuratively) and was no closer to waking up, so over the next 2 hours I took her clothes off (no easy task on an unconscious body) and gave her a bath (also no easy task). Ever try wrestling a pair of pants off an unconscious person?

(The answer to that question better be "no", you sick bastards)









            Eventually (4 hours later) she regained enough motor skills for me to help her to the bed, and she slept for a good 3 hours until she had to wake up and pee. At that point, she was still heavily drugged because she got out of the bed, completely naked and muttering under her breath like a zombie, and took off trying to open every door in the house in an attempt to find a bathroom. She remembers none of this. I assured her, though, it was very hilarious... and I can assure YOU that there will not be any pictures of that one.
            3 more hours of sleep later, she was awake and feeling (mostly) okay. And I got to piece everything together for her, just like the Hangover... except, you know, instead of waking up on the rooftop of a hotel after a comedic night of partying she was just drugged by gay guys.
            Thankfully, as of now, she's back to 100% and all of the bruises/scrapes are healed. We'll probably never know who did it, or why, but so long as she's okay, that's all that matters. Now we can just return to life as usual.

Stay classy, friends,
Bryan

Music: Canon Blue
Beer: Victoria



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