Monday, July 7, 2014

I Went To 80/35 For A Hot Minute

My Fourth of July weekend consisted of watching the first series of Sailor Moon on Hulu, in preparation for the premier of the reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal, and briefly showing up at the 80/35 Music Festival.

I didn't plan on going, but having ADHD, binge watching is not something I'm likely to do. But I did manage to watch 9 out of the 18 episodes, plus the first episode of the new series. I also watched 6 episodes of Ranma 1/2. It wasn't until 7:00 pm on Saturday, that I decided that I should probably go down to the music festival.

Declining a free ticket from our Development Director at work, I did not see the main acts. Which was fine since I really wasn't into the headliners this year. That's why I didn't shell out $50 to see the remaining bands, especially when up-and-coming bands were performing at the free stages. Even in the past, when I had the opportunity to see the main acts, I preferred the free stages - not because it's free or the bands are better, but because the crowed is better.

Early in the evening, the Kum & Go stage had a pretty awesome punk band. I forgot their name. And towards the end of the night, while the Saturday main act, Cake, was on stage, the HyVee EDM stage had an awesome DJ spinning. I just wished that they had better light show to accompany the music.

The great thing about the free stages is that, if you're a trend forecaster, you can observe what the kids are into, sort of a "market research". If you're a savvy marketer, you'll learn where to invest your time, money, resources, etc. It's a known fact that what's cool is dictated by the youth. And when the grown-ups or marketers catch on, that means that it's time to move on to that next cool thing.
hands down, the best shirt at 80/35 this year.
90's style is definitely back. Early 90's, that is. Bro tanks and flower garland headpieces were the de rigueur fashion by the young attendees, serving some Coachella realness. One of the thing about 80/35 is that it's an opportunity for mild mannered Iowa folks to dress up in some pretty eclectic fashion. Also, there were a lot of hula-hoops.

Check out some of the photos from the festival here: 80/35 Photos. (A few of them were shot by my friends and sometime collaborators, Anna Frederick & Cody Osen)

I can't tell you if I enjoyed 80/35, or if I think that this year was better than the previous ones. I had a good time, for sure, but mainly because people were generally having a great time. I only observed a small portion of it, so I can't judge the festival as a whole. Whatever I feel about it, it's important to support these type of events. They bring variety to the city, and it's something to do. I applaud the people behind events like this. Good job!

Follow 80/35 Music Festival on Twitter & Instagram

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hanging Out: Barcadium

Barcadium is a really good concept. It's a bar with arcade games, craft beers, couches and a life-size Barbie box. It should feel like hanging out at your cool friend's basement... except it doesn't.

Source: Barcadium's Facebook

Not for lack of trying, but Barcadium just feels contrived and a little on a douche-bag side. Perhaps it's because it's located in the Court Avenue district - notorious hang out of suburbanites with sense of entitlement. But the bar can't help who comes in, they are a business after all. It's not your cool friend's basement where only a select few gets invited to.

Ben and I stopped by at about 9:30pm last Saturday. I like that they're using quarters instead of tokens. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of selection when it comes to games. We played House of the Dead, mainly because it was free (for some reason). That was cool because we were able to finish the game. I appreciate the comic book inspired artwork plastered on the wall. I liked the American Psycho and Marvel superheroes mash-up.

Source: Barcadium's Facebook 

However, when we tried to play the race car game, one of the cars wasn't working. We then switched to the Nintendo consul to play Mortal Kombat, but the Player 2 controller wasn't working either.

Obligatory photo inside the life-sized Barbie box.
Ben as Hipster Barbie (refurb bicycle and PBR sold separately).
Another thing that's working against Barcadium is their music selection. Playing music from the early 2000's does not make it retro. It just says that your music taste hasn't evolved since high school. I was surprised I didn't hear some Nickleback or Creed - although that would be funny in an ironic way. If you're going to play bad music, commit to it. It should be intentional, not because your Pandora station is stuck on "Crap They Played On KISS FM 10 Years Ago".

At the end of the day, what makes a great bar are the people; the customers/partons that have a good time and aren't obnoxious and infringing on other people's good time. To be fair, I didn't really notice anyone behaving douchey, but I was on high alert. Perhaps it's because I just don't like the Court Avenue area anymore, ever since it's been gentrified and parking had been a bitch. And don't get me started with the violence in the area, but I guess that's why Operation Downtown hire extra police in the area. We left at around 11pm to go to Up-Down. I wasn't going to stay in that area when the hooligans leave their bar of choice.

Pros: Change machine dispenses quarters instead of tokens. Decent selection of craft beers. Bathrooms that aren't make-shift (unlike Up-Down). Free play (intentional or not).

Cons: Bad music. Broken games. Proximity to Court Avenue.

Verdict: I don't hate Barcadium because they sucked. They sucked because I hate Court Avenue. So, consider the source and take it with a grain of salt.

Barcadium is located on 102 3rd Street.
Hours: Mon-Fri 4pm - 2am. Sat-Sun Noon - 2am.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What To Call The Person You're With

We claim that we don't like to label things.  But we all know that's bullshit.  We assign a value to everything and everyone relative to how we feel about them.

While most of us, when in a new "relationship" (or as I like to call it "situation"), claim that we just want to keep things casual and see where it goes,  it is important to be on the same page with that person you are with. Knowing where you are and assigning a value to it helps eliminate misunderstanding and unnecessary resentments.

photo credit: Elvert Barnes via photopin cc

While the list below is not for everyone, using it as some sort of guide will hopefully help you navigate your "situation" better.

  • Guy I’m Talking To - Casual to mild flirtation via text messages, social media and/or actually talking on the phone or in person.
  • Guy I’m Seeing - Minimum of 3 hang-out session. Could involve some kissing or making out (or fooling around). 
  • Guy I’m Dating - Regular hang-out session, and gone public with the fact that you are hanging out. Sex may be involved and a few sleep overs. Certain expectations are outlined or at least mutually understood.
  • Boyfriend - You practically spend your free time with one another. You’ve stopped “talking” to other guys. You’ve made it Facebook official.

Featured music: Who'd Have Know - Lily Allen

Monday, May 5, 2014

80/35 Music Festival Line-Up

So... the 80/35 Music Festival is in two months.  I'm still somewhat hoping that there would be additions to the line-up.  It just seemed lackluster compared to the previous years.

Out of all the acts listed, I'm really not that excited to see anyone.  I like Conor Oberst, but that's just old habit.  Best Coast is OK, I liked them in 2010.

I would still go and check it out.  I think it's important to support the event.  It's not always going to be great, but if you want to see more events like this happen in your city, you've kinda have to support it.  Perhaps next year I'll join their board or committee.

Visit their website here: 80-35

Line-up Verdict: I don't hate it.  / Actual event verdict: Pending

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hanging Out: Up-Down

One of my favorite places to hang out is the Up-Down an arcade bar located in Des Moines' East Village.  They have more than 40 old-school arcade games, a life-size JENGA and Connect Four, and Nintendo games.  It's basically like going back to your childhood basement, except this time you don't have to sneak in alcohol.

I approve of this place because it's across the street from where I like to start my night of partying- The Blazing Saddles. One sip you'll get a buzz, one drink will get you drunk.

On my way down the stairs to the bar last night, I walked-in on a middle of a conversation between two dudes about the musician St. Lucia.

"You've never heard of St. Lucia?" asked the first dude. 

"No."dude number two replied.

I chimed in as I was descending down the steps, in my NATO regulation jacket and Doc Martens - looking like I just came back from an Occupy Movement rally. 

"He sounds like Steve Woodwind."

"Winwood." One of them corrected me.  

"Same difference," I said as I continued down the stairs to look for my friends Bryan, Firras and Jose. 

I don't think that interaction could have gone any cooler if I had said the right name.  But that's the kind of stuff that regularly goes on at Up-Down.  I like that they play music that seems like out my Spotify playlist (or my missing iPod). 

Sometimes though, there will be people who those "party bus" people.  They're usually bachelorette parties or people from Ankeny.  So expect to see the occasional Ed Hardy types, but they normally don't hang out there for long.  They migrate to the martini bar across the street. 

Visit their website: UpDownDSM

Verdict: Callen Approves.

Speaking of St. Lucia, take a listen to his new song Elevate. Then listen to Steve "Woodwind" Winwood's Higher Love and tell me if hear the influence. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Allergic Rhinitis? Aint Nobody Got Time For That!

Hello readers of the worlds best secret blog!

My new physician looks like she just graduated from med school.  My old one, Dr. Major, has been my physician since I was a teenager.  He's quite old now and is transitioning a lot of his patients to this doctor.  She looked like a bespectacled Meredith Gray.

It's odd having a younger and somewhat attractive doctor.  I have the same feelings about my new dentist.  I would like people examining me to be unattractive.  It just doesn't seem fair to have someone that good-looking to be so close to your face and not make-out with them.

But I digress.

During my physical exam, I informed my new doctor that I've had trouble breathing.  It's not a lung issue, but a nose issue.  Ever since I went to the South and experience a nosebleed somewhere on the continental divide, I've had trouble breathing through my nose.  My old doctor advised that I should keep my nose moist by using a saline nasal gel.  Four tubes later, it's still no better.

Camping? Nope. I'm allergic to nature!
photo credit: nan palmero via photopin cc
My new doctor examined my nose and saw that my nasal passages are inflamed.  Yup folks, I have developed a seasonal allergy.  I have what is called Allergic Rhinitis, commonly known as Hay Fever!

Dun... dun... dun...

Since I'm not really an outdoorsy kind of guy, I've never really noticed or been bothered by it.  But now that weather is getting warmer, I am running outside more.  Thus exposing myself to pollen and dust that causes my allergy.  

I've never really been allergic to anything before.  I used to joke that I'm allergic to vegetables.  Now that I actually know I am allergic to something, that joke doesn't seem as funny anymore.  At least I have a better reason to NOT go camping aside from the lack out plumbing. 

The good news is that my new doctor prescribed me some antihistamine and nasal spray to help me breath during this allergy season.  The bad news is that I would probably have to rely on them for the rest of my life.  That legitimately sucks, but it inspired to look up some stuff to help with my allergy.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

New Music To Workout To

Add Some Variety To Your Workout Playlist!

photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc
Not all workout should be high impact. As such your workout playlist shouldn't JUST consist of Dub-Step or heavy metal.  Download some of indie (and some almost mainstream) song to your MP3 player and get ready to be cut!

Shark Attack by Grouplove

Dangerous - Big Data

Harlem - New Politics

Doses and Mimosas - Cherub

Habits - Tove Lo

Fever by Black Keys

One Minute More - Capital Cities

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Pretty Epic Live Mash-Up That I Didn't Get To See

OMFG! It finally happened!

Yes, I know, this is a week old. But I wasn't at Coachella, so... there you go.

Last week at Coachella, Arcade Fire brought it by inviting Debbie Harry on stage for a  Heart of Glass/Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) mash-up.

Watch it here before it get's shut down!

Here's the studio version of mash-up, which I prefer over the regular edit of Sprawl II.

Send Me To Iceland... Please!

Iceland is on my TOP 10 Places To Visit.

Everyone in Iceland is a great dancer.
You just know you'll find something interesting to do in a country that's a combination of glacier and volcano.  The Icelandic landscape has often been used as backdrop for movies and television shows such as The Game of Thrones and Prometheus.

Iceland also gave us awesome musical acts like Of Monster and Men, Sigur Rós, and Björk.  In November they have one of the coolest music festival... EVER: Iceland Airwaves Music Festival!  I'd been wanting to go ever since I first heard about it a couple of years ago.

I was JUST talking about how going to the festival would make for a really awesome blog post series, when I saw this video.  It was created for the travel site Inspired By Iceland and showcases some the cool stuff you could do in Iceland.


 I definitely inspired!  Someone please send me to Iceland, preferably in November ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

5 New (ish) Songs To Cuddle To On A Rainy Day

It's been raining on and off since last night.  Sundays, for me, are usually reserved for browsing the used bookstore and catching up on my favorite publications.  But it has been a while since I had a Sunday all to myself, let alone an entire weekend.

I usually have some work-related function that I had to attend to, and having recently come off a three-month judging gig (not really a gig, since I did not get paid for it) for my friend: Miss Tyona Diamond's drag queen torture talent show.  This was followed by a charity condom couture fashion show I produced for a local non-profit.  I was overdue for some time off.

But as I mentioned, it's been raining on and off since last night and I'm not really in the mood to go anywhere.  Also, I really must start posting on this website.  I guess this will be my first real post.

Inspired by the rainy day, I came up with a list of 5 new-ish songs that would be perfect soundtrack to your cuddling session.

Who wouldn't want to cuddle up with these guys?