Los Angeles Kings: The Real Problem

Ok so Im a fan of the LA Kings and although I love hockey, I am not a pro or anything at deciphering game strategies and such. I will say one thing about this 2011-2012 season. In December Dean Lombardi decided to fire Head Coach Terry Murray and I really believe Murray was NOT the problem. I actually liked Murray. Last season we saw the Kings enter the playoffs in the first round and although many of those games were very good, the Kings seemed to just give up. Players just not skating well, no defense, no offense and no real effort to recover the puck. Thus leaving the result of the game to goaltenders J. Quick and J. Bernier.

So after the Kings released Murray they brought in interim Coach John Stevens. Then later hiring Darryl Sutter as the new coach. I do agree that Sutter has a decent record and many praise his coaching style but since his hire up to now, there has not been much improvement on the Kings bench. Many say Dustin Penner needs to go because of his lack of effort. I would agree. Now im hearing criticism about Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. I can see why all the criticism but this is a team effort and there are other players to be concerned about. Willie Mitchell, Alec Martinez, Rob Scuderi…the list goes on.

So I really dont believe that bringing in Darryl Sutter in place of Terry Murray was really the smartest choice. Most fans will say that as long as Dean Lombardi is the GM the Kings will never see a Stanley Cup. I think I agree. The Kings need to get everything together. Offense, defense, passing and PP kills. Last season the Kings were dominating on PP kills we saw them looking very well into the All-Star break then the shit hit the fan. Same as this year. Seems as though the team just has not gotten their rhythm. Jonathan Quick is praised as one of the top goalies in the NHL and he does prove it. Every goalie has their bad runs. This week has been one bad one for Quick. The truth is…..Quick can’t play the entire game by himself. He can black 38 shots in a game but if the team can’t produce the goals well…..just makes for a team committing suicide on itself. At the beginning of the season we saw the Kings negotiating contract with Drew Doughty and many fans I know say that he is not even playing what he is worth on that contract. The trade deadline is Monday and with the Kings playing the Wild Tuesday night on NBC Sports they need to make some serious moves for the good of the team. I happen to think Bernier is a decent goalie but it might also be time for the Kings to call up some players from the Monarchs. Being from Houston I also am a fan of the Houston Aeros in the AHL. The Aeros NHL affiliate is the Minnesota Wild. Over this season the Wild have called upon Aeros players to come in and play and let me tell you…those guys have done well. The Aeros star goalie is Matt Hackett and he moved up to play some NHL time and did very well.

Im not sure who the Kings have in mind or what they plan to do but im sure the Mayor’s Manor site has some good input. Hopefully Dean makes some smart moves for the better of the team. I dont think its too late to resurrect the team but for a playoff run….it might be too late to re-build a winning team. Last year the Ducks finished off the Kings in the first round. Even if the Kings had won that series they would have had an even tougher time against the San Jose Sharks. Again this year the Sharks are kicking ass in the Pacific. So really anything is up for grabs right now. The Kings are two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche especially after tonight’s loss to them. So that 8th place spot is there. It can go any way right now. Hopefully the Kings can make some changes but I really would hate to see them enter the playoffs only to be the joke of the entire post-season run.

Go Kings Go!
See ya next month at Staples on the 24th for the game vs the defending champs, Boston Bruins.

Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth Starting with My Youth

So I got the new Van Halen CD/T-shirt package as a gift. Normally I dont buy CDs anymore I just purchase the music to download on iTunes or Zune. Since it was a gift….who would complain eh? I have been a huge fan of Van Halen since I was a kid. Edward Van Halen is the main reason I picked up a guitar at age five. Back in my youth I was a spoiled kid. Eh im still spoiled lol. I had cable TV in my bedroom including HBO and Skinemax. Of course most of the time my TV was tuned to channel 32 or in other words…..MTV. Thus back in the day when MTV really played music videos. At one point I could name every video and artist that came out. Sadly today MTV is full of rap shit and reality TV like that how Snooki whom I would love to slap the shit out of personally and you also have Teen Mom. Now I have mixed thoughts on that but I do watch it from time to time. The idea of teen mothers today makes me laugh. Yeah they think they are smart but they aren’t. Ok ok so back to music. The first video that really had an impact on me was Jump from Van Halen off the 1984 album. Seeing Eddie do the guitar solo and play keyboards. I was blown away. I would grab this old tennis racket my grandfather gave me and jump on my bed and act like I was Eddie Van Halen on stage and I would “Jump” off my bed onto the floor. You know my chubby ass learned this with precision after a few times LOL. At this time I was well aware of Van Halen, Rush, Black Sabbath and Ozzy as a solo artist with Randy Rhoads on guitar. These bands videos were in pretty heavy rotation and they became the stepping stones to my path of guitar wizardry if you call it that lol.

Van Halen stuck out mostly. Although I loved all the songs from the other bands, EVH would get in front of the camera and perform the famous two-handed tapping which I wanted to learn so much. I would practice this even on the tennis racket. lol. A few years later around 8 years old I took guitar lessons from a guy named Dave Maroul. He was a local badass that could play everything. VH, Satriani…etc. I would watch this guy play my electric and I would be blown away. I always told him I wanted to learn EVH style. He said, “You must learn the basics first and get them down perfect before I will attempt to teach you any songs.” He was right. Its essential! He did teach me one easy song. Smoke on the Water from Deep Purple. I thought I was a fucking badass because I could play this. When I took lessons at this little store called H&N Music, I didnt have an acoustic. My father bought me this Dimebag Darrell style lightning bolt electric guitar. I dont even remember the brand name but it was this metallic blue with a gray stripe trim and a mahogany fretboard with dual humbucker pick-ups. I loved that guitar. Wish I had kept it over all these years but thats what I took my lessons on. I remember Dave would go out to the store sales floor and grab either this little Crate amp or this Gorilla amp and we would spend the next hour in this little room while I watched and learned. Starting with the Ernie Ball How to Play Guitar Books 1&2. Then learning from Dave himself and his style. He then taught me EVH’s two-handed tapping. I told him I was learning it on my own so he asked me to show him. I tapped close but just a bit off. He then showed me how to TAP….Pull-Off….Hammer On! This was easy enough. Skipping strings was different. Totally different lol.

So Van Halen definitely is part of the soundtrack to my life. I was a bit disappointed when David Lee Roth was gone and Sammy Hagar took over but I grew to like those songs as well. Sammy is a great artist himself. Actually if you read his book you learn quite a bit about how touring life was with the Van Halens. Eddie was quite unbearable but that doesn’t stop me from looking at him as one of my main influences. I always dreamed of owning that famous Kramer guitar. Well one like it. Of course now they have the Fender re-issue but ive moved on muscially and equipment wise to different styles. Today I use Gibson Alex Lifeson Axccess Signature Guitars with the added Floyd Rose and piezo pickup. I also use PRS SE Custom 24s with their standard tremolo bridge. These guitars are geared more towards my sound now. But hey I was a little kid that dreamed big and always thought one day I would be EVH, famous and owning a roomful of guitars as he does. Well that sort of came true. Im not a rockstar but fuck I work for them. Thats a dream come true enough for me. I met Edward Van Halen for the first time at the Monsters of Rock Tour. I forget all the bands now but I do believe it was Van Halen, Metallica, Scorpions and not too sure. My uncle knew a guy that worked security and he briefly got us backstage and there I saw my guitar hero. Standing with no shirt holding that very guitar I loved so much. He was wearing white pants and had that puffy ass hairdo. lol. We walked over to where he was with the security guard and he told him, “excuse me sir but this young man wanted to say hi. He is a big fan of yours.” Eddie shook my hand and said hi. I told him i started playing guitar because of him. He said, “thats rad man.” Then wailed out one of his trademark horsie harmonics and did a huge dive bomb with the bar. He was hooked up to this small practice amp. All I could do was say WOW! The coolest part was that he gave me a EVH guitar pick which I still have to this day. It is white with black print. I remember I touched his Kramer guitar with my index finger and I was like FUCK YES!!! I DID IT! I mean to be that young and meet someone like him and the guitar that made him so famous….it was epic for me! Eddie shook my hand again and messed up all my hair. He said, “cool man now you look like a rockstar.” This is when he gave me the guitar pick. I was like WHOOOOOOOA! Then he said enjoy the show and he walked off with that funny smile he does. That was that. We went back out along the fence line and they was throwing huge trash can size piles of water on us because it was summer and hot as all fuck. I’d like to say Eddie said, “this song goes out to my little friend…” but that didn’t happen lol. Either way it was a fucking cool moment. This made me want to go home and learn even more!

Years and years later I met Edward again backstage. I knew I was going to that show or working it and I put that same guitar pick in my pocket. Of course I had it in a plastic sleeve to protect it. I saw Eddie and by now he had a haircut and goatee and was smoking as usual. I went over to say hi and he shook my hand. I told him about how I met him when I was a kid backstage at Monsters of Rock and he gave me a white Van Halen pick. I took it out of my pocket and showed it to him and he was like….”Wow man, thats some real history! Don’t lose that!” I told him, “oh hell no I won’t!” We chatted and he vaguely remembered meeting me with the security guard and he played that horsie harmonic. I thought that was cool he remembered that unless he does that all the time lol. So anyway he gave me a handful of Van Halen guitar picks this time. Told me….”dont put these on ebay man lol” Hell no I wouldn’t. The guy is my long time idol. Why would I? I also met Alex Van Halen as well. I got a pair of his drumsticks. Made out like a bandit that night!

So this post brings me to 2012 and the release of the bands newest album titled….well its in the title of this post……A Different Kind of Truth. Of course Edward on guitar/keyboards, Alex on drums but now Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass as Michael Anthony is no longer in the band. Also David Lee Roth is back on vocals. The CD is thirteen tracks. I got as a gift the special set with the CD and a Large Van Halen T-shirt. Score! I wasn’t too sure if I would like listening to newer VH but its worth a listen and since its free I couldn’t complain. So just a while ago I ripped the CD to my PC and it sounds pretty good. Definitely has that VH sound. Eddie’s trademark brown sound is quite apparent. The only thing I didnt like sound wise was Eddie’s clean sound. I would have doctored it up a bit to my own taste. lol. It needed a bit more life for my taste but hey its all good. David Lee Roth still sounds like himself but with age his vocals have deteriorated a bit. Well maybe more. Yet he pulls off the songs. I really like the CD. Its certainly not one of their best by any means but it has potential for some good songs. The solos are pretty damn rad. I think mostly what was odd for my first listening experience was how David’s voice varies from before. Then again these are new songs not classics like Jump, Panama, Top Jimmy…etc. So I really am giving the album a chance and so far I give it a good firm B+! I haven’t heard it all yet so that could change but not for the worse.

In closing, Van Halen is a band that left its mark on my life. My history of music shall I say. I’ve said for ages that music and people evolve. We as well must evolve with the times or else we fall behind and get lost. VH is just one of many artists that have made me the musician I am today. Maybe some of you reading don’t care for the band, rock music or the fact that I play guitar but let me tell you….at 36 years old today I worked my ass off for damn near 31 years learning how to play and perfecting my own style. So as I end this post with a bit more history of myself I want to leave you with some pics. I wish more people took an active interest in some of my life stories. I think they are quite interesting. I guess if I had a bigger following on here I would but hell I wont get in over my head lol. Included below are a few pics. One is of the new CD package and the t-shirt. Well the t-shirt is still in the packaging and ill probably keep it that way. The next picture is of a blue Van Halen cap my father bought me back in 1982! Yes 1982. He bought me the cap when he went to South Texas to begin training to work for the Texas Prison System. A small store was nearby where he stopped to put gas and shit and he saw the cap and bought it for me. He knew Van Halen was my fav band at the time and EVH was my guitar idol. Hence this cap which the adjustable part of it is broken now but the cap is still in great condition after all these years. Proving I take care of shit and Van Halen will stand the test of time and they are legendary no matter what!!!

I hope to once again chill with Edward Van Halen on this tour and his son Wolfgang. We shall see!

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed another deep look into my childhood!


Van Halen

Vintage Van Halen Cap from 1982

American Beauty: A Story from 2000

I remember the first time i saw this movie in a hotel room i think it was in East Liverpool Ohio. We had a show a few nights later at Post Gazette Pavilion and I had taken a day to relax and be closer to some friends that live in West Virginia. They was after all inviting me to go eat at DeeJay’s Ribs!!! MMMMMMM such a great place for them ribs!!! lol

Here is the link to this joint!

Here is the link to the hotel I stayed at….
http://www.hotelplanner.com/Hotels/128123/Reservations-East-Liverpool-Motor-Lodge-East-Liverpool-2340-Dresden-Ave-43920 PICTURES!

Anyways, I remember after eating at this place I went back to my hotel room. I have pics but I would have to scan them as this was waaaaay back in the early Slipknot days where digital cameras were not even a popular thing for consumers. Well I didnt have one! lol. Actually I had this thing called the Aiptek PenCam. It was this cheap cheesy little camera like you see being sold in Wal-Marts and dollar stores today. You pressed one button on top to take a pic and then USB it to computer to transfer pics. lol. Ok ok so back to the story. I had plenty of ribs, fries and something else left over so I brought it back to my room. Late night snack you know!! The room was cheesy but comfy. Ever seen the old movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles with John Candy and Martin Short? Well, it is one of my favorite movies especially since John Candy has passed on. He made such great 80s/90s movies. Well in that movie they stayed at a placed called the Braidwood Inn. Well, East Liverpool Motor Lodge was quite similar except this could have been a place to get it on lol. The carpet and sheets were an unromantic red. Good thing I had no female company eh? LOL. So I remember I got out of my clothes. It was quite cold by this time up there. I think it got down to the 30s or so BUT you know I had to turn on the AC unit. I remember I stripped naked, not that any of you really care to know lol and hopped in the shower. Nice warm/cold shower to relax the muscles and prepare to chill the hell out.

Time had gone by pretty fast that night. Then I turned the TV on to see what was on. Free HBO and Skinemax in the room was A ok with me. By this time about 3 hours had passed and it was around 11pm. Of course I was hungry and thirsty so I headed over to the soda machine to grab a few Cokes and some ice. No microwaves in the room that I can recall. Maybe now there are but back then…..Nope. So i decided what the hell, I tore open the to go box and finished what I had left of those ribs and fries. MMMMMMMMM they were soooo good and the sauce was great too. Anyways, I had been fumbling around on the TV looking for something to watch. Then I switched over to HBO and caught the endng credits to some movie and decided to wait and see what was on next. Remember back in the days when HBO would send you those little square programming guides in your cable bill? lol I do! As a teen I always kept it in my room because I was a movie whore back then.

So I discovered that American Beauty was on next. I had heard about this movie quite a bit but never had seen it. Kevin Spacey who plays Lester Burnham always reminded me in some ways of Neil Peart from Rush. LOL. He kinds looks like him. Maybe its the nose!! haha. So I let the movie play and was hooked on it quite quick. I guess because of the storyline. Man discovers he hates his current life at home, his job and his wife could care less about him. Not to mention his daughter was a typical teenager detached from her parents. Thats now what caught my attention though. What caught my attention was how Lester began to change. He started talking back to his wife Carolyn played by Annette Benning. They got into huge arguements and he always allowed himself to come out victorious. Like when he told his boss he wanted a year severance pay or he would tell rival companies about how an employee was buying pussy with company money or that he would blackmail his new current boss. His boss told him…”you are one twisted fuck!” Love that scene. Then there is the part where he is masterbating in bed because its clear his wife wont give him any pussy. She wakes up and catches him chokin his chicken….sayin hi to his monster as he says….lol. He gets her attention by saying that he notices how she has made it quite apparent how unimportant she makes him to be. She then later has an affair with the Real Estate King LOL. One scene shows her getting fucked by the King and she yells out, “fuck me your majesty.” lol too funny. Then there is the scene where Lester decided to get a mediocre job at Smiley Burger for shits and giggles. He then later sees his wife at the drive-thru while the King is kissing his wife all over in her Mercedes SUV. He says “would you like to try our new beef and cheese pot pie on a stick only $1.99 for a limited time only.” lol She then tries to make up for this and he says, “No….you dont get to tell me what to do…..ever….again.” LOVE THIS part!

So by this time im really diggin this movie. Ive finished my ribs and fries and downed one Coke and im now on the next. I got 3. Im glued to the fucking TV watching this. You just have to really watch the movie if you have never seen it to see all the cool parts. I do love the line when he buys the car of his dreams and says…..”I RULE.” Total anarchy from him. He realizes he was living this shit life catering to his wife and never really did anything for himself. Your probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned how he has this infatuation with his daughters best friend. His daughter was played by Thora Birch and her friend by Mena Suvari. Well to be quite honest that part of the movie isnt what interested me at all. It was Lester’s attitude. So fuck the part about the infatuation. Lester also got so sick of shit he started smoking weed. Earlier in the movie there is a scene where he says to the neighbor boy, “your my new hero.” This because the kid quit his job just like that and told his boss “so dont pay me, i quit.” Good lil scene there too. Getting down to the end of the movie was really interesting. I loved the scene where he and his wife are arguing at the dinner table while shitty Lawrence Welk music is playing and he says angrily, “will someone please pass me the fucking asparagus.” Then he eventually throws it against the wall to shut his wife up. Now his frustration has come out full. The crazy part about it is that all he really wanted was a normal life with a loving wife and daughter but he was far from that. In one line in the car he tells his wife that their daughter hates him. He then tells her that she hates her too. Making them both quite for a moment.

So this brings me to the end of the movie. Lester is tempted by the ugly girl. Yes I think Mena is ugly but oh well. Lol. She gets down to topless on the sofa with Lester and then admits that she has never “done it.” Throughout the movie she talks about how she has fucked so many guys and photographers as she was an aspiring model. Lester stops and later it breaks to him making her a sandwich and a drink in the kitchen. She and Lester’s daughter had a huge fallout about Jane’s(daughter) boyfriend. So Angela(the girl Mena plays) says she needs to go to the bathroom where Lester is left alone in the kitchen. He picks up a picture of his family. Happier times with his wife and daughter. He sits down and thinks about those times. Remembering those good days. He says, “man o man o man….” Then the camera pans away from him as he lowers the picture and a gunshot is heard and blood splatters on the kitchen wall which is white…well red now! So let me get to this. Just moments earlier Lester was out in the garage working out and smoking a joint and its raining real hard. The boy next doors(his daughter Jane’s boyfriend) father is seen standing in front of the garage door soaked. Lester lets him in. He tells the father he would go get his son for him. The father was this deranged Colonel in the Marine Corps who hated gays yet I think in the movie he was a closet gay. He later kisses Lester and Lester tells him that he must have mistaken him. There are scenes that lead up to the gay thoughts….you just have to watch the movie or you know what im talking about if you have seen it. So the father walks away slowly in the rain and Lester goes back in the house. This is where he sees Angela. So anyways. Lester has just been shot in the head from behind. The boyfriends father killed him with one of his pistols. Looks like a military issue 9M. What do I know though im no gun nut.

So now comes my favorite part of the movie. After all that Lester went through he monologues the end of the movie. In the beginning he monologued about himself. Here is a quote from the beginning of the movie taken from IMDB….

My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighborhood. This is my street. This is my life. I’m 42 years old. In less than a year, I’ll be dead. Of course, I don’t know that yet, and in a way, I’m dead already. Look at me, jerking off in the shower. This will be the high point of my day. It’s all downhill from here. That’s my wife Carolyn. See the way the handle on those pruning shears matches her gardening clogs? That’s not an accident. That’s our next door neighbor, Jim, and that’s his lover, Jim. Man, I get exhausted just watching her. She wasn’t always like this. She used to be happy. We used to be happy. My daughter, Jane. Only child. Janie’s a pretty typical teenager. Angry, insecure, confused. I wish I could tell her that’s all going to pass, but I don’t want to lie to her. Both my wife and daughter think I’m this gigantic loser. And they’re right. I have lost something. I’m not exactly sure what, but I know I didn’t always feel this sedated. But you know what? It’s never too late to get it back.

In many ways I always felt like a loser yet ive never been married or a father…except to my cats. lol. So from the monologue here you can see why this movie became something I would enjoy. A man that took charge and said something about how he felt. Of course im not dead….yet…..So que the end monologue from the movie. As Lester is dead the camera shows different views of how his daughter and her boyfriend heard the gunshot and got shocked. Then Angela….Then his wife….He saw visions of his childhood and memorable people like his grandmother. He saw visions of his daughter and his wife in happier times. Then the camera shows his daughter in disbelief that her father is dead and his wife enters the bedroom and into his closet where his clothes are hanging and she grabs them and begins to cry. Its over now. Lester is dead. Nothing changes that. Still in his monologue he mentions points about life. Not taking things for granted. Enjoying it…..so to speak….Its one of my favorite quotes to a movie. So without further adieu here is my favorite lines from Lester Burnham…….The ending monologue……

” I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday. “…..Lester Burnham…

For me I say this is true. It does stretch on forever like an ocean of time. I guess as ive gotten older at 36 now I tend to see more of my childhood in my dreams. I remember things again. I remember what I did and it seems like yesterday. Seeing my grandparents and my grandfather when he was alive. My other grandmother when she was alive. Never got to see my fathers father, my grandfather. He died before I was born. Yet I have been seeing these visions. I guess its father time catching up with us as we age. I see the times I spent on the road with the bands. I see myself sitting in the chair the day I got my first tattoo and I see myself the day I fell in love with a girl named Amy. Yet all those are in the past. Life has moved on and im supposed to keep living and making new memories. I remember one day sitting in the back of my friend Andy’s truck at my house in Sugar Land TX. We had been getting drunk as usual right after high school and we was laying there looking into the sky imagining where we would be when we was 30. Would we be married to the women of our dreams and have kids? Would be be friends still? Would be even be alive? Now at 36 I sit back and I remember those times like they were yesterday.

For years after my parents divorced I never really felt like I had a home for awhile. Then home in Sugar Land was home yet I knew that one day it wouldnt be. I remember leaving Sugar Land and then never really feeling that I had a real home. I was always blinded by such good things in my life by letting them all slip away. Now im just working at trying to keep everything going now. Being happy and enjoying life. In the end…thats all Lester wanted in the movie…to be happy. In the end for me…thats all I want….to be happy. Ive pretty much decided that I wont have any biological children of my own. At 36 most girls have kids already and wont even consider having anymore by the time they meet Mr Right….yeah thats me! lol. Im not perfect. I bitch, I have arrogance and I do like to be perfect. I grew up being that way. I always seek perfection. Not in others but in what I do. I dont accept 2nd best but Ive been 2nd best to everyone that I loved in life. I cant let that happen. There is nothing wrong with being with a man or woman that has kids if you truly love that person you will love their kids too and if they dont want to have kids with you because they are done….then so be it. Enjoy life and grow as a family. Adopt the kids or something.

Lester says its hard to be mad when there is so much beauty in the world. There is. Its the shitty greedy people that make this world so bad. Thats why I enjoy travel because I can be pissed at the world but sitting in the Swiss Alps at Furka Pass or Grimsel Pass and looking down and seeing the road I was just on and the mountains……its breathtaking. Life is meant to be lived and loved not stressed over but sadly we really cant get past that. Life will be stressful but sometimes we have to take a step back and realize that there is much more to love and people although have their differences two must become one and face their problems together or that unity wont ever work. This reminds me of a quote I love from Nitzsche.

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Live and enjoy life and remember when life gets tough, stand up for yourself but dont let things slip away from you. Isn’t odd how someone can care so much for a car like it is their lover. They wash it……clean it….do maintenance on it….yet when it comes to loving a woman or man, most people just let it all slip away and take it for granted. If you love something that you feel is slipping away you try to keep it from going but sometimes sacrifice is the scariest and worst thing we can do. We can love people and possessions but sometimes if you really love it you must let it go……

Thanks for reading!


Quote references: