Thursday, March 30, 2006

I have upgraded Eisley from "don't really care for" to "like"

It's like if Avril Lavigne grew up listening to good music and reading more fantasy novels. Or just reading, really.

Current Music: Eisley - Plenty of Paper

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

You have reached I, Dickolas Wang

I am on Spring break and will mostly be away from my blog except to put small and unsubstantial updates up until Sunday, April 2, 2006. If you must find me, please visit and, where I will be blog-residing this week.

If it is not urgent, please leave a comment with your name and e-mail address and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks.

Current Music: Blur - Parklife

I made a funny

Dave says:
anyway, I described your blog to your big fan as, "He really wants to be a rock star, but really, he just wants to go home and have something nice for dinner."

Richform says:
I like that

Richform says:
it really sums up the Dickhotomy

Current Music: Eisley - One Day I Slowly Floated Away

Friday, March 24, 2006

Snakes on a Plane tagline, Dickolas Wang style

This summer, Samuel L. Jackson is the Mangoose.

Current Music: Broken Social Scene - Fire Eye'd Boy

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Just smile all the time

Allow me one more fanboy music blog post.

Damn I love this album.

And so should you.

I've always thought that Summerteeth was the "Revolver" to Wilco's "Sgt. Pepper", Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I always sort of assumed that as time went on, the critics would clue in and remember that Wilco made some good stuff before YHF. Well, that doesn't seem to be happening, and as it stands, Summerteeth has been relegated to footnote status, the dreaded "hinting at the greatness that was to come" album. So I'm going to take it upon myself and my PageRank of 3 to tell the world that damn, this is a good album.

Maybe I'm biased. After all, this is the record that built up Jeff Tweedy in my mind as an infallible hero. He could do no wrong: he was turning out great songs left, right, and centre, and here was his masterstroke. There wasn't a single thing that he wrote that wasn't better than what he was writing a year before, and the sky was the limit. I don't know if the same can be said about him anymore, or if I can really say he's my biggest musical hero.

Still, this album makes me forget all that. It takes me back to a time when Jeff Tweedy was the saviour of alternative music, when he was the promising new thing, when he was Ryan Adams before Ryan Adams. Maybe there is an element of hero worship in this album for me, but that doesn't change the fact that I can't not bob my head along with "I'm Always In Love" or "Pieholden Suite". Anyway I can't say anything about it that wouldn't be better conveyed by just listening to it, so listen to it. DO IT.

Anyway, if a guy with a PageRank of 3 says so, it must be true.

Current Music: Wilco - Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This one's for you, Jimothy

I went to In-N-Out and ordered a Flying Dutchman for you, Jimbo.

(click to enlarge all of the pictures)

(I ate it.)

While we were there, Adam asked for something "inside", something from the secret menu. I pulled out all the stops:

Clockwise from top in the tray: a 4x4 Animal Style whole grilled, a Grilled Cheese Animal Style, Fries well Animal Style, regular fries. I also got him a Neapolitan shake, which may or may not be the drink in the picture.

I like this picture because it makes me look taller than Adam.

Thanks to my excellent photographer Frances. Fun fact: Frances took my profile picture.

Current Music: Wilco - Candy Floss

Sunday, March 19, 2006

If you only listen to one of these songs, make it "Please Tell My Brother" by Golden Smog

There was a time in my life when I was very interested in alt-country. It started on the day I bought Rufus Wainwright's debut album and Wilco's "Summerteeth" (which still ranks as the best CD buying day of my life). I knew Rufus Wainwright would be a winner, but I only bought Summerteeth on a whim, fuelled by some positive press and one cool single. I figured I'd probably listen to it a little and then move on. Six years on, Summerteeth is still my favourite album ever.

Here I was, holding this fantastic album but not knowing anything else about Wilco. In this situation, 17-year-old Dickolas naturally takes to the internet and finds that not only does Wilco have another highly acclaimed album in their back-catalogue, but that their fearless leader Jeff Tweedy was actually in this other band that a lot of people seemed to really like. Also, that while in this band, he invented country rock (his words, not mine). When a Canadian hears these words, he immediately thinks of Blue Rodeo, and so I borrowed my father's copy of "Outskirts". I bought some more Wilco, I got some mp3s off Napster before I was booted off for downloading Roy Orbison's "Crying". Thus began in earnest my phase.

For most of this time I was content to stick by my main man Mr. Tweedy and try to get into this whole exciting rock/Americana/"No Depression" thing. I picked up all of Uncle Tupelo's albums -- except, curiously, "No Depression", I obsessed over the excellent "Mermaid Avenue" album Wilco did with Billy Bragg and (sort of) Woody Guthrie, and I picked up a Golden Smog album (a sort of supergroup with lots of "big names"). I expanded my Blue Rodeo collection eight-fold, and heard a few tracks by Whiskeytown and the Jayhawks ("We've been called the American Blue Rodeo," said Gary Louris). During this time, I even considered buying a banjo.

Still, it wasn't really going to work out between me and Sure, Uncle Tupelo's "Anodyne" is a great album, but as I went back through their catalogue, the appeal was diminishing further and further until I just couldn't be bothered to buy their seminal first album, the important one that invented the genre. What Whiskeytown I could track down didn't grasp me either. The Jayhawks were cool, but all of the stuff I liked by them came when they were moving from Country rock to country Rock, if you will. Eventually, I concluded that I didn't really like so much as I liked Wilco and Blue Rodeo, and rootsy guitar rock. But that's okay, because it taught me not to fear banjos, mandolins, and pedal steel guitars.

I tend to really like the stuff that formerly alt-country bands make after they get out of alt-country. Since Wilco got out of the alt-country game, they've made three all-time classic albums. The Jayhawks have a fantastic album in "Rainy Day Music". My Morning Jacket followed up "It Still Moves" with "Z". I think that alt-country is like going to a good school, only with music: instead of getting you a good job, it allows you to make music that appeals to me, Dickolas Wang. It teaches people to really embrace tube distortion and to write melodies. It exposes them to all sorts of great vintage keyboard sounds, like the Farfisa and the Rhodes piano. I think that all this experience keeps bands from going too far off the deep end when they go the way of Radiohead and make their difficult 4th album. This got me thinking that I should make up the 2nd semi-annual I, Dickolas Wang mixtape. I'll put together a list of post-alt-country songs by formerly alt-country bands, I thought, and it would have some jam-rock, some classic pop, even a little lounge jazz. The criterion would be simple and broad-reaching: any song that has even a peripheral connection to alt-country would be fair game. I'd also include a little bit of a country-tinge, too.

As I put together the list, though, damned if the rootsier stuff didn't stick together better. So, the final list contains a lot more pedal steel than I initially planned. And why not? When it comes right down to it, great as the new stuff might be, this is the stuff that I turn to on a cold and rainy night for comfort. These are the songs that will love you, as they say, even when you don't love yourself. The lack of diversity of artists here is a symptom of me not actually knowing a huge amount about alt-country, which I feel bad about, but not that much.

Obtain, by whatever means you wish:

  1. The Jayhawks - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
  2. Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss - I'll Fly Away
  3. Son Volt - Driving the View
  4. Wilco - Someday Soon
  5. Blue Rodeo - Hasn't Hit Me Yet (live)
  6. The Jayhawks - Blue
  7. Uncle Tupelo - Acuff Rose
  8. Billy Bragg & Wilco - Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key
  9. Ryan Adams - Beautiful Sorta
  10. Blue Rodeo - God and Country
  11. Billy Bragg & Wilco - Feed Of Man
  12. Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
  13. Neko Case - Deep Red Bells
  14. Golden Smog - Please Tell My Brother
  15. The Jayhawks - Save It For A Rainy Day
  16. Blue Rodeo - Try
  17. Uncle Tupelo - No Sense In Lovin'
  18. Blue Rodeo - The Ballad of the Dime Store Greaser and the Blonde Mona Lisa
  19. Wilco - Say You Miss Me

It might be long, but I pared it down from 37.

I just found out that Golden Smog, a sort of alt-country supergroup featuring both Jeff Tweedy and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, is putting out a new album in April. I am eager to see if Tweedy still has any of the old spirit in him. This playlist has really made me hope that he does.

Current Music: Official I, Dickolas Wang Mixtape #2

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Random quotes from my past, provided without context #35

I prefer the term 'herbal anus'

-- Mak Yeung

Current Music: Young and Sexy - Your Enemy's Asleep

Friday, March 17, 2006

I use the word "glorious" three times in this post

As several have noticed I have been in a little bit of a funk of late. I've been whining like a bitch (sorry, Rachel), eating like a pig, and being lazy like a hibernating bear. I've also had an urge to tear myself down in a public fashion. Apparently this made me sound like a Fall Out Boy fan page webmaster. I was getting close to writing and recording some crappy acoustic ballads and putting them up on MySpace.

At first I figured it came from being swamped with school stuff and just generally professional anxiety. I then started to suspect that it was somehow tied to a general lack of energy I've had of late, which I traced back to when I stopped eating oatmeal for breakfast and replaced it with various baked goods that I've made, all of which contain lots of sugar and butter... lots of glorious sugar and butter. (My blood sugar levels might argue the "glorious" part.) Well, no more: tomorrow it's back to oatmeal in the mornings, oatmeal in the nights, oatmeal while in transit, oatmeal while in flight. (?)

Now I'm starting to realize that it may have had more to do with being mildly sick for a week or so. It didn't really hit me until this morning, when I woke up and had a sore throat. And why wouldn't I be sick: I haven't been getting my oat protein, which is almost equivalent in quality to soy protein. Anyway, when I realized this I immediately felt a lot better, not to mention it's given me excuses to drink honey lemon and eat chicken noodle soup. On the downside, I have a sore throat.

Anyway, I no longer feel the need to write things which make me look like a lecherous cretin, but at the same time, I really feel the need to finish what I started, with at least more such entry to complete the trifecta. Unfortunately I can't think of anything suitably alarming right at the minute, as I'm blissed out on tomatoes, celery, peas, glorious chicken protein in broth form, and sweet, sweet salt. More to come!

Current Music: Badly Drawn Boy - Cause A Rockslide

P.S. (12:06AM, March 18/05): I just realized that I could have name-dropped New Found Glory in the first paragraph instead and that would have upped the "glory" counter to four.

P.P.S.: Now it's 5.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In which I come off as particularly creepy and half-witted

Today, after I wake up, will be the day of March 16. This is the day that a box of milk I bought a couple of weeks ago expires, and the day that a book I signed out from the library is due to be returned.

It is also the 24th birthday of the first girl I ever asked out. Not coincidentally, it's also the 24th birthday of the first girl who ever shot me down. I remember this despite it being over nine years since I last had any friendly contact with her. I also remember her sign, and I remember it without having to take her birthday and look at a zodiac. I remember her middle name. I remember her home phone number, having used it exactly one time in my life nine years ago and never again. I remember her father's name, her late mother's name, and her brother's name. I remember the places she wanted to travel, the music she liked, and the fact that her father owned a bass guitar.

I remember that she did the polar bear swim, I remember that she wore sweatpants to class because she had PE immediately afterwards, I remember her blue zippered hoodie. I remember her remarkably straight teeth, which I also remember were not a product of good genes but of good dental work. I remember the time I was having a miserable day and she let me cut in front of her in line at the caf. I remember noticing her in traffic in the rearview mirror two years later. I remember being sickeningly, embarrasingly preoccupied with her every time I caught a glimpse of her in public. I remember the six or seven words she said to me that one time I saw her at a party four years ago.

I vaguely remember what she looked like, although not perfectly. I guess she looks a tiny bit like one of the lead singers of Eisley, a Christian band whose music I don't really care for but whom I can't stop listening to because their voices are rather lovely. Also, they're a family band but their family name is not Eisley. Moreover, the "Eisley" they draw their name from is Mos Eisley. In particular, the singer I'm talking about plays guitar and has a stage persona similar to what I'd hope my own stage persona might be, which is hot but weird. Also, I think she plays a cool slide guitar lick at the beginning of one of the songs on their videos page, and when I heard it I immediately decided that a girl like that -- one who has that voice, that stage persona, dresses in modest denim, is in a band named after a fictional city from the canonical Star Wars universe, and plays slide guitar but is two generations younger than Bonnie Raitt -- is probably my dream girl (modulo the Christian part). I'll probably remember that for at least a few years.

Meanwhile, I almost forget my sister's birthday every year. I definitely forget my mother's, and I've forgotten Thomas' at least twice now, even though Thomas has bailed me out of many a situation and I owe him very very much. When I was with Leah, I forgot her birthday, several minor anniversaries, and Valentine's day. If that milk weren't already gone, I'd probably forget to drink it today before it passed its best before date. I'll also probably forget to return that library book tomorrow. And I just ate some pork rinds and seaweed salad I bought a few days ago at 99 Ranch, both of which were awful. I'll probably forget how bad they were, and buy them again next time I'm there.

Draw your own conclusions about me.

Current Music: Eisley - Golly Sandra

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dating tips #1

I was walking to the library to pick up some photocopies, minding my own business, listening to tunes. I look up about 30 paces from the door of a library and there's a guy, trying to get away from a dog, kicking at it and then ducking behind his girlfriend. I didn't see any sign of the dog being particularly aggressive towards it, especially because afterwards, the dog walked up next to me and I just sidestepped it and it left me alone. Both guy and girlfriend walked away.

Immediately after I saw this, I looked at the guy and saw the worst of every Honger stereotype I've ever imagined or seen. Self-centred to the point of cruelty towards others, a submissive and frightened-looking girlfriend, an awful malicious snarl on his face. Also, he kicked like a bitch. (Actually, this is all reminding me a lot of the bad guy from The Karate Kid Part II, except for the kicking.) All of this led me to immediately think that this guy must be one of the most shit-eating self-centred assholes in the surrounding kilometre. Had I not seen him kick a dog, I would never have noticed any of these things.

So, while I am no expert, this certainly leads me to

Dating tip #1: Don't kick dogs, as it makes you look like a piece of shit.

Now, after I saw this, I just kept walking. One second after it happened, another guy started screaming at the now-walking-away dog-kicker, and another guy joined in with a resounding "Yeah, you are a prick!" About two seconds after that, I realized, "Hey, why aren't I yelling at him?" But I didn't, because then I'd look like a Johnny come lately. I still don't understand fully why I didn't immediately say something. The best I can piece together is that, in that one second where I made the decision,

  • I wanted to avoid conflict

  • I didn't have my wits about me and would have stuttered

  • I was incredibly confused at what I just saw, because honestly, who kicks dogs

  • the dog seemed okay so I moved on

  • I was too busy making all of those revelations in the second paragraph

In hindsight, the first thing is really stupid because I could totally have taken the guy, the fourth is a little alarming, and the second, third, and fifth just indicate that I'm a clueless idiot. (The racial profiling immediately following is a bit alarming also.) It has made me decide, though, that in the future should I ever be faced with a similar situation, I will go with an indignant and scowling, "What the fuck?" In any case, I don't feel all that good about myself. But not that bad; hell, it's not like I kicked a dog or anything.

Come to think of it, my dating tip doesn't even make sense, because he has a girlfriend and I don't. Now what the fuck is that?

Current Music: My Morning Jacket - Into The Woods

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My nephew

Thomas Xin Liang Ehrlich, my nephew.

He has my nose.

Get Flash Player

Current Music: Super Furry Animals - Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I have come to a certain inner peace

There comes a time when a man must face facts.

He must look himself in the mirror and understand that all of the money spent on hockey sticks, fancy cars, and karate lessons was wasted. That he has not grown to become the macho type that society values. That his parents are just going to have to deal with who he is, because he's not going to change, nor was he ever suited to what they hoped he might strive for. When this time comes, he may as well take all of toys he never learned to play with and the clothes that never looked right on him and auction them off at a below-market value on eBay. He'll need the money.

Because there also comes a time when a man realizes that he needs a bottle of vanilla extract on his shelf and at least two cookie sheets: one grey aluminum, the other heavier black steel. A time when he will curse himself for not having a shortening cutter and a rolling pin. When he must dig out the measuring spoons that he got in a starter kit from Ikea. When he asks his friends if yogurt can be substituted for sour cream in baking.

For me, that time has arrived.

Current Music: Young and Sexy - Trespass On A Thought
Current shopping list:
vanilla extract
sour cream
chocolate chips
cake pan
cookie sheet

Hair: grow it, show it

In the last two days, I've drawn an unparalleled number of compliments on my recent haircut. One person even went so far as to say that it was my best haircut ever. I'd say that two out of every three people I know have said they really like it.

Curiously, this is the same haircut I always get and I don't understand why everyone is only now just noticing. For comparison purposes, this is what I looked like immediately before my haircut:

(click to enlarge)

And here is what I look like now:

The only explanation I can think of is that since I now do not live with my family nor do I have a girlfriend, I don't have anyone hassling me to get a haircut every six weeks, as I used to in my salad days. This last time I went three months without a haircut, so my hair roughly quadrupled in length. Thus, I looked pretty awful (apparently), but because it happened at about the rate of hair growth, no one noticed enough to say anything to me. Until now.

I ask of you, my friends, to please let me know when I need a haircut. Clearly, I can't be trusted to know myself.

Current Music: Super Furry Animals - No K