Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Pokemon! I was digging through some old NES manuals and documents today and found something amazing. This is my Pokemon Diploma.

Hmm that isn’t awfully readable. Here’s an enhanced version.

After extensive trading I acquired all 150 Pokemon required to earn a completed PokeDex in Pokemon Yellow. After that I borrowed my cousin Matt’s Gameboy Printer and got my Diploma. All in all this was arguably a more difficult task than getting my college diploma.

[UPDATE: This is actually my diploma from Pokemon Silver. That means I caught 251 to get this! I'll admit there was probably some Gameshark use in order to get the Mew and Celebi.]

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Rayburns


I love making these home movies. I turn off everything I learned in school about making a good video and just dump the parts I like into a timeline and go.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Top 5 Worst Lyrics in Christmas Songs

I'm a big fan of Christmas music and really just Christmas in general. For about a month now it's all I've been listening to. I'm also a fan of well written lyrics. Some people can ignore the words to songs and enjoy them despite their failings. I can't do that. So here I'm airing my grievances about the worse lyics in otherwise well loved Christmas songs.

5. The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick

Christmas comes this time each year
Oooooooo oooooooo

The biggest problem writers of Christmas music run into is having nothing to say. You know you want to write a Christmas song but you haven't thought of it past that. Here Brian Wilson, known for penning some of the most beautiful music of the past century and lying in bed, gives up and tells us that Christmas happens annually. A good Christmas song evokes nostalgia or hope or something. Little Saint Nick reminds us that Christmas will be here next year too.

4. Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas?

Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you!

Bono is at his most Bono when he tells us off here.Oh yes, we're calling out Bono specifically here. Do They Know It's Christmas? is full of overripe lines but it's the conviction that Bono belts this one out that makes it suck most. The sheer amount of superstars singing on the track made it stupidly popular but Bono is what made it bad.

3. Elton John - Step Into Christmas

Welcome to my Christmas song
I'd like to thank you for the year
To be fair, Elton John doesn't write his own lyrics, Bernie Taupen does. Their relationship works thusly: Bernie spends an hour typing up a stack of papers that contain "lyrics" and gives them to Elton. Elton spends less than an hour trying to write music for those lyrics. If he can't think of anything right away he throws that page out. This is the process that results in Elton telling us that this Christmas song is his Christmas song. You can tell that Bernie's only order was, "Write a Christmas song for Elton" and he ran with it.

2. Run DMC - Christmas Time in Hollis

It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese
And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees
Decorate the house with lights at night
Snow's on the ground, snow white so bright
In the fireplace is the yule log
Beneath the mistle toe as we drink egg nog
The rhymes you hear are the rhymes of Darryl's
But each and every year we bust Chrsitmas carrols

I've included a much larger portion of this song because there is so much wrong. Christmas in Hollis is easily the best Christmas rap song ever, and it's cheesy lyrics are a big part of that. The song is trying it's hardest to establish that it is all about Christmas while they are desparate to do RUN DMC's usual thing. This results in out of place ryhmes like the Yule Log/Egg Nog couplet. The biggest problem I have is the completely out of place "And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees." The worst thing you can do in a Christmas song is state what happens at Christmas litterally and RUN DMC delivers that here.

1. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

You know Dasher and Dancer
And Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?

Until now I've focused on pop Christmas songs but now it's time to take on a classic. It's as simple as this: If Rudolph is the most famous Raindeer of all, then why would you be askin if I can recall him? Conversly, since this song is what made him famous, how the heck is he the most famous of all when his wasn't yet? Clearly nobody thought this through.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rayburn Family Thanksgiving

We're less than a week away from our big family Christmas but I'm just now getting around to posting the Thanksgiving pictures. What can I say, I'm a bad blogger?

We played a rough and tumble game of two hand touch. These pics are all from the start of the game when it was moving pretty slow. Eventually Uncle Scott busted his finger and I got hit on the nipple as hard as I ever have been.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dallas Deconstructed pt 3

Whenever I looks for music about places that I love I find songs about how much they suck. I actually like these more than songs about how great they might be. Nothing saccharin to be found in this track about your car breaking down four hours from home in Indianapolis, Indiana.

- - now to part 2 of my series on how Dallas went wrong - -

All of this led to me feeling the depression again. I did my best to be perky and excited to be there at work, but it was exhausting. When Cara and I were together in the spring I was directing Without Troy the biggest project I had ever worked on. I was at the top of my game and filled with all the confidence in the world. All of the things that made me an interesting and creatively fulfilled person had disappeared in my newfound situation. I was a commanding leader and now I relied on everyone for everything. I was an inconvenience and a burden on those around me. It was demoralizing just to be seen this way.

After going home for Thanksgiving I realized that all of the suffering I’ve been going through has largely been self inflicted. I could just as easily go back home and it wouldn’t be a defeat like I thought it would be. I wouldn’t have a steady job their either but searching there isn’t worse than searching everywhere else I’ve been. I’m happy to know that a lot of people want me to come home. People miss me.

By the time this is posted (yes I typed these out early and broke them up for the purpose of making more posts) I’ll be home. The people I talked to about going home all scoffed at the idea of missing Indiana but after reading my story I hope you understand why I miss it so much.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dallas Deconstructed pt.2

A lot of songs about Indiana are about prison. Something about being a hotbed for gangsters like John Dillinger will do that. Truth be told he spent about as much time in Wisconsin. He only seemed to be in Indiana when he was forced to be.  Lyle Lovett’s Up In Indiana is no exception to this rule.

- - now to part 2 of my series on how Dallas went wrong - -

Jeff helped me secure an internship with AMS. I was told that an assistant editor would be leaving December 9th and that someone would be needed to replace him. I would be that someone. I spent time at AMS doing all sorts of production odds and ends. My favorite was sorting a giant pile of fake money into stacks of fake money. I was on set for a few shoots and cut together a few minor projects to show off my skills.

My plan then was to get the job, get my own place with Jeff, and eventually see if Cara and I could still make a relationship work. Every part of this plan would fall apart in front of me. Despite the work I was doing at AMS the prospect of employment was getting more and more nebulous. I did my best there, but it didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. The timeline for the apartment was slipping as my mid November move-in became a mid-December. This directly led to me spending far longer on Cara's couch than I ever intended. Which, in-turn, strained our friendship.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dallas Deconstructed pt.1

To understand what happened in Dallas you need to know how I got here. You need to know what was happening to me in Los Angeles. Listen to this song while reading. It's much more upbeat than my text.

Thank you Jackson 5 for setting the tone. When I was in California, after Tom left, I battled with a bout of depression. I was getting nowhere in my job search and I was feeling lonelier and more disconnected as time went on. At the same time my friend Jeff had found success at AMS Pictures in Dallas and encouraged me to come out and move in with him. He had been living with family and was looking for an apartment and a roommate. Until the apartment came through I would need a place to stay.

A month prior to this, after an interview that went well, I had the confidence to call Cara. Cara and I had dated in the spring but when I moved to California she stopped talking to me. She in the meantime had also moved to Dallas to go to grad school for singing. She's an amazing singer, that's one of the things I've always liked about her. In time I told her of the situation with Jeff. She offered to let me stay on her couch until the apartment with Jeff came together. We thought that would be about two weeks.

See you tomorrow for part 2.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Indiana Wants Me


Indiana wants me and I am going back there. It doesn’t fit, but still, that's the song that is always stuck in my head when I think of going home. I also had at least a half dozen songs written directly about how much the singer hates California in my head as I drove there. That worked out didn’t it? Tomorrow morning I'm leaving Dallas behind. I'll miss Jeff and Cara for sure and I'll always wonder if I could have made it work if I had only stayed longer, but this is what I need to do now. I figure I’ll miss Dallas in the same way I miss LA. I don’t miss what I had while I was there, I miss what I never got to do. LA and Dallas are great places if you do them right. I suppose that I  haven't posted much about my time in Dallas in this space. As such, I’m going to post a post-mortem on my time here. Beginning tomorrow: a three part series on Dallas and where I went wrong. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 3, 2009