Tuesday, November 04, 2008

ATTN: America

If and when we pull this off today (and by that I mean elect Barack Obama to the presidency), I am going to be the most annoyingly patriotic motherfucker you have ever seen. When they call the election at like 7:15 EST, I am going to be standing in the middle of the street waving the biggest motherfucking American flag you have ever seen, singing the national motherfucking anthem until my lungs bleed. I am going to wear nothing but motherfucking red, white and blue; any article of clothing in my wardrobe that does not fit this color scheme will be burned in a huge motherfucking bonfire (very tastefully and patriotically, possibly involving fireworks). I am going to wear so many motherfucking flag pins I will barely be able to stand. I will have plenty of extra pins to give out too, unless of course any of my fellow Houstonians are all of a sudden unwilling to proudly display their love and support for this wonderful motherfucking nation we call home.

Because it has been a rough eight years in which to both love the inherent good of the United States of America and be a progressive/liberal/Democrat/lefty/bleeding heart. But shit goddamn if I am not one motherfucking happy American right now.

Unless McCain somehow wins. In which case I will be rioting.

(seriously, though: unless something completely insane happens, today is a good day)


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Terrible Pieces of Advice for New Dog Owners

I really really love animals. I love them so much that I don’t have any pets. My attitude towards pets is pretty much the same as my attitude towards small children: they are wonderful gifts from God and a joy to be around, so long as I can leave the room whenever I feel like. I’ll happily pet, cuddle and play with any adorable animal you put in front of me, feed it a piece of whatever I happen to be eating, maybe even throw something it might like to fetch. But putting me in charge of an animal’s survival and well-being would be even more unfair to the animal than it would be to me, and that is why I have chosen to remain petless thus far into my adult life. It’s the difference between being irresponsible and choosing not to be responsible.
Having said this, if you own a dog and are looking for advice on how to care for it, and are completely unconcerned about where this advice comes from, here are some tips for you:

For generations, conventional wisdom has told morons that the best way to keep a dog from relieving itself somewhere is to rub its face in its mess after it does the deed. This is not only insanely cruel (seriously: if you see someone do this to their dog, smack the shit out of them), it’s highly ineffective. If there’s one thing a dog understands it’s an eye for an eye. If Sparky takes a dook on your Sealy Posturepedic, you march right over to his little bedbasket or wherever and pay him back with interest. Note: this may not work well if your dog sleeps on your bed.

Allow your dog to reach its true potential by attaching a series of fins to it, just like a fish (if fish were land-based creatures) or a ’57 Chevy (if ’57 Chevys were dogs). It will be able to romp faster and fetch more effectively, and all the junk that dogs love. To make sure the fins stay attached, I recommend a staple gun.

The benefits should be pretty self-explanatory.

Most dog trainers tell you not to reward your dog unfairly or it will turn out spoiled, unreasonable and yappy. This line of thought is shortsighted and does not address a larger problem: having to go out and buy dog treats for the rest of your life (well, for nine to sixteen years). Logic dictates the simplest thing to do is to break your dog of its dependency on treats. Continue doling out the Beggin’ Strips every time Mrs. Barksalot makes a potty in the right place or does her cute little backflip trick, but watch what happens when you reward her for biting Uncle Nestor’s ankle. After Uncle Nestor clocks her with a rolled-up newspaper and you reward her, her preexisting concepts of right and wrong will be shattered into a million pieces and you are one step closer to owning a dog whose moral compass is not governed by pieces of ground cow hooves mixed with lard and sawdust.

If he ever gets lost and you find yourself yelling after him, you will have no trouble getting other people’s attention to help you out. Maybe even police! If your name is Fire or you already have a dog named Fire, you could go with “Cocaine For Sale” or “Rape.”

Monday, October 27, 2008

Orangina + Furries = Heebie Jeebies

You know Orangina, the crummy watered-down orange drink? Ever wondered who their target market is? If you said furries, for some bizarre reason you're correct.

The world of human sexual fetish is vast and unknowable, and to each their own etc. etc. etc, but man: this is pretty weird.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blogger.com Profile "Random Questions"

I was diddling with the innards of my Blogger profile and saw the little "Random Question" box, which always sort of bothered me. I appreciate the prompts as a fun and inventive little addition to an otherwise faceless internet profile form, but my threshold for forced wackiness isn't very high. I forget what my old question was, but my answer was something along the lines of "go fuck yourself."

Several months ago my friend Jeff (drummer for the Mathletes) formed a band called T.R.U.C.K.S. (pronounced "trucks"). There are already enough T.R.U.C.K.S. songs for several full-lengths; the first EP, "Where the Boys Aren't," came out this summer in an extremely limited release (song titles: "Air Fuck One," "Teenage Face Targets," "Sauce Policy," "Theme from T.R.U.C.K.S."). One of my favorite T.R.U.C.K.S. songs is called "Wolf Cum."

Which seems like both a more creative and potentially applicable answer to most "Random Question" questions than "go fuck yourself." Without any further ado, here are ten completely random Random Questions, in the order in which they were presented to me by the Random Questions Robot who works for Blogger.com, and my responses:

Q: All of the phone numbers have fallen out of your address book. Whose number do you look for first and why?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: Come up with some possible band names for your group that features a washboard and a styrofoam tuba.
A: Wolf Cum

Q: Why does the taste of pennies remind you of losing a tooth?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: What was the stage name of your favorite actress before she was born?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: Which do you prefer and why: whittling with soap or whistling with wood?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: Do you believe that forks are evolved from spoons?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: Lionesses have no manes. How do they know when they've grown up?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: That can't really be a fish you're standing on, can it?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: What did you dream when you ate a spider while sleeping?
A: Wolf Cum

Q: If mud is dirt plus water, what is clay?
A: Wolf Cum

I post this not because I have something all that strongly against the Random Question Robot, or to generate some hype for T.R.U.C.K.S. (whose recordings are all-but-impossible to come by, and in truth may or may not actually exist), or even because it's honestly all that funny. No, I post this for one main reason: I don't think the people I'm going to be working for starting next month are going to let me get away with writing something like "Wolf Cum" a dozen times in a single post. I better get this out of my system before then.

Friday, October 17, 2008


It is pretty much sort of official: sometime next month I will begin writing regularly for a Houston-based website whose name I will announce here as soon as we "go live" (that is an industry term meaning "start doing stuff"). It would be gauche to discuss the all of the specifics, but suffice to say I will be doing things like drawing cartoons, writing reviews of things that don't really need to be reviewed, filming bands performing songs in my living room, and generally offering my own take on the day-to-day goings on of this sprawling Texan megopolis I call home. In exchange for all this, my bosses have allowed me to use their scanner, snack machine and restroom during regular business hours. Suckers.

What does this mean for this here blog? Hell if I know. Check back over the next few weeks as I reveal more information.

Also, because why not: I decided to join the 21st century. The Mathletes' newest (and something like 26th overall) album, #@$% YOU AND YOUR COOL, is available on iTunes and eMusic and aMazon and rHapsody and nApster and all those places where people pay money to download music. I sent out three review copies and had a 100% return rate for my efforts. Who wants some music criticism?

Space City Rock: Fucking brilliant. No lie-- one of the best damn pop albums I've heard in the last few years.

The Skyline: Joe Mathlete and company strut their outsider stuff in song after song that appeals to the Comicon pop-life in all of us... Recommended.

The Houston Press: ...a freaking bologna sandwich.


Joe Mathlete

Friday, September 12, 2008


Ehh... I will be fine. I've got five gallons of water in the fridge, a couple of candles, a bottle of red wine if I have to drink myself to sleep with no air conditioner, and my bathtub's filled up so I can still go to the bathroom if the pressure goes out*. This happens once every couple years or so. I am glad I don't live in Galveston 'cuz it's basically underwater right now I think.

Houston won't get hit for another few hours so I am going to go outside now and play in the wind. If the storm ends up being awful and you have a few extra dollars, the Red Cross is good with hurricane relief stuff.

As far as that good news I alluded to last time, here's a hint: it includes me doing stuff that you can see on the internet. Not yet, but soon. I hope.

*: It's so I can fill the tank back up and flush again. I'm not going to shit in my tub.

Friday, August 22, 2008

By the way

1. Sorry I ain't been around much lately.

2. This is neither here nor there, but: awesome, Rachel Maddow is getting her own show on MSNBC! Also I saw Tropic Thunder and it was really really mediocre.

3. Something neat that I am pretty sure I should still not say anything about yet is about to happen soon, I think.

"Be right back!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Animals Part The Last: January 21, 2008 (Live @ the Proletariat)


Jeff Goodyear: Drums
Carlos Sanchez: Drums
Jose Sanchez: Bass
Ryan Goodland: Guitar
Briana Fitzpatrick: Keyboard
Cley Miller: Guitar
Jenny Westbury: Tambourine
Charles Larrabee: Lead Tambourine
Iram Guerrero: Rhythm Tambourine
Tom Adams: Other Tambourine
Mlee Marie Suprean: Saxophone
Charlie Naked: Rhythm Saxophone
Mike Switzer: Trombone
Joe Mathlete: Guitar, Vocals
GGMG: Whiskey
I can't actually remember who else was onstage at that point

So long story short: I took a job that required me to move to Austin for three months at the beginning of the year (you may or may not remember a long period of me not really posting anything on any of the blogs I keep... I mean, longer than usual). We set up one last pre-"hiatus" Mathletes show at the Proletariat, a venue that had been good to us over the last couple of years and that was to be shut down a few weeks later to make way for Houston's new light rail system. Like a good game of telephone, word got out that I was moving away for good and that the Mathletes were breaking up forever purple monkey dishwasher. It's hard to break up a band that (at that point) had no permanent members, but I wasn't 100% sure when I was coming back to Houston, and sensing opportunity I didn't contradict any of the rumors.

I decided to invite a large percentage of people who had played with us over the last year (as well as a few local musicians whose songs I really loved) to be a part of the Mathletes Symphony Dorkestra Fakeup Show. This naturally resulted in a tremendous logistical nightmare of poorly-rehearsed stumbling through songs half the band could barely remember, with lots of instrument swaps and guest vocalists and at any given point at least one or two people just playing tambourine. Also the singer of this particularly number got spectacularly drunk before the first band went on (perhaps you can tell).

So... Yeah. That's probably all the Animals the internet needs (and then some). Thanks for indulging me. Coming soon: something besides YouTube clips of my band playing the same song over and over again!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I hate YouTube / I love YouTube

I hate it because I've been trying to upload the last video of the Mathletes playing "Animals" that's worth showing for like forever now, only every time I try I fail (a lot of this probably has more to do with me stealing a none-too-steady wireless signal from one of my neighbors (which is definitely less expensive than getting Comcast but possibly even less reliable) than it does with YouTube itself, but still). So... "coming soon."

I love it because of pretty much everything else about it. Having a bad day? Here's this!

Thanks, YouTube!

So, yeah. Animals part the next, coming soon.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Animals Part Six: April 2008, live @ the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Jeff Goodyear: Drums
Carlos Sanchez: Li'l Drums
Jose Sanchez: Bass
Charles Larrabee: Guitar
Briana Fitzpatrick: Keyboard
Jenny Westbury: Drawings, Animal Sounds
Cley Miller: Fancy Dances, Animal Sounds
Joe Mathlete: Singing, Guitar

This is the last show we've played to date. We were asked to open for Voxtrot at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts (now with rock bands!); unnerved by the prospect of playing on a proper soundsystem in front of more than fifty people, I tried to assemble a lineup that would be as tight and well-rehearsed as ever. We still only had one rehearsal where we all showed up, but it went off rather well all the same.

Cley was playing keyboards for most of this set and didn't have time to learn this song. He said he would figure something out. I did not think this was what what he was going to figure out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Animals Part Five: Autumn-ish 2007, live @ Rice University

Gie Gie McGee: Vocals, Pianica
Briana Fitzpatrick: Keyboards
Ryan Goodland: Guitar
Iram Guerrero: Drums
Carlos Sanchez: Other Drums
Cley Miller: Other Other Drums
Jose Sanchez: Bass
Joe Mathlete: Vocals, Guitar

Here's us playing a show at some weird gigantic student center thing at a college campus. Pretty much the same lineup as Part Three, plus Gie Gie on vocals. Everyone here had played the song multiple times-- all together, even. And we're still not very tight. But it has been said before: what we lack in professionalism we make up for in unprofessionalism.

Apologies for the sound mix/quality, but on the bright side this clip totally has more than one camera angle (It has two. Two of them). Also I apologize for how much I look like a hobo, or possibly some guy whose job is selling weed to record store clerks.

If I could, I'd like to take this opportunity to plug Young Mammals (the hydra-headed rhythm section of this clip) to the half-dozen people I have not alienated yet with my narcissistic band-rambling on this blog of late. Here is a video they did when they were still called the Dimes, before an achingly mediocre go-nowhere band from Portland with the same name threatened legal action while pretending to be their "record label" (this is akin to calling someone in middle school using a deep voice and saying you are your dad and you're going to kick their ass. If you were an ugly orphan). If you care to feel depressed about how slowly you're achieving your life's goals: they wrote and recorded this song in high school, before some of them could even drive legally.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Animals Part Four: 4/10/2007, live @ Rudyard's

Bubba Hightower: Bass
Charles Larrabee: Guitar
Gie Gie McGee: Vocals, Pianica
Joe Mathlete: Guitar, Vocals
Briana Fitzpatrick: Keyboards
Mike Switzer: Trombone

This was kind of a bummer.

We were offered a show at a bar called Rudyard's, one of the best places in Houston to see live music, as part of a bill with a number of other local musicians I really admired. We had never played at Rudyard's before, and I was really excited.

None of the three drummers who were playing with us at the time ended up able to make the show; Gie Gie and Charles had this bizarre antiquey drum machine from the early 1970s we ended up using for most of the set. We didn't have much time to rehearse (though I guess we probably wouldn't have rehearsed much more if we could've), and between a long series of instrument swaps, mangled songs about animals and robots, and general chaos, we ended up driving most of the crowd downstairs after just a few songs. To top it all off, I forgot to move my car after we loaded in our instruments and it got towed in the middle of our set. All in all, not one of our better shows, but looking back on it now with some distance (and the knowledge that I didn't give up music forever after that night), I kind of like this clip.

For bonus laffs, here's a review of the show by a blogger named Justin Crane entitled "Sloppy". Most of the humor for me stems from the fact that he played guitar with us on one song.

The most important lesson learned: don't play your most "Children's Band"-esque show ever in a bar.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Animals Part Three: 8/15/07, live @ Super Happy Fun Land

Briana Fitzpatrick: Keyboards
Ryan Goodland: Guitar
Iram Guerrero: Drums
Carlos Sanchez: Other Drums
Cley Miller: Drumsticks, Lights
Jose Sanchez: Bass
Joe Mathlete: Vocals, Guitar

Eight months later and this is what "Animals" sounds like. I was lucky enough to draft the members of my favorite Houston band into being Mathletes starting in early 2007 (they had to change their name to Young Mammals earlier this year, due to a threatened lawsuit by a woefully shitty band from Portland who shared their original name, a name I will refrain from mentioning). You can't so much tell from this video, seeing as 3/4 of the band are playing drums (Jose stuck to his bass), but they're really good at doing rock and roll songs.

If you squint very carefully, you will notice that I'm the only person in both this clip and the last one.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Animals Part Two: 12/27/06, live @ the Proletariat

Gie Gie McGee: Vocals / Pianica
Joe Mathlete: Guitar / Vocals
Bill Savoie: Drums
Giorgio Angelini: Guitar
Bubba Hightower: Bass

In the winter of 2006, the Mathletes were asked to open for a touring band called 1986, fronted by a high school friend of mine by the name of Giorgio Angelini (oddly enough, the guy who set up the show didn't seem to know Giorgio and I had ever met. Small world, I guess). We hadn't really been a band for some time at this point; the last thing approximating a steady lineup disintegrated about a year prior and I'd mostly just been recording on my own, as I am wont to do. But I figured, y'know, the songs we play live aren't too tricky to pick up, and I know a lot of musicians. I'll just make some phone calls and see what happens.

We rehearsed twice, sort of. I was never actually able to get everyone together at the same time, so it was basically a couple long afternoons of me trying to teach whoever showed up how the songs went, and promising them it would sound neat when the rest of the band was there. I think there were about seven or eight of us that night, with people swapping in and out as we got to songs they did or didn't know. About two-thirds of the band met each other for the first time ever the night of the show. It ended up going over well enough, and though I did what I could do solidify around a real lineup, over the next year the "oh, we've got a gig, let's see who shows up this time" method became pretty much gospel.

"Animals" was basically written so Gie Gie could sing it live. She's a real-live elementary school teacher, I kid you not. Her schedule has always been very wonky, and even back when we had a pretty stable lineup there would be times where she couldn't make shows and we'd have to soldier on without her. It is weird for me when we play this song and I'm singing it.

Wow, I sure did write a lot. Ah, well... Just enjoy ("enjoy") the clip, and stay tuned for more. Or go read something that isn't about my band, I guess.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Animals Part One: Album Version

So let me say this up front: I write lots and lots of songs. Some are good, some are bad, some are mediocre, some are silly, some are straight-faced, some are pointless. If you would like to hear some songs I consider to be more on the "good" end of the spectrum, I'd suggest the ones I stuck up here.

Now for a pointless one:


This goes all the way back to 2003 (it ended up on an album called Jest and Earnest that had way way way too many songs on it but a lot of them I'm still pretty fond of). Basically I started off trying to write a fake Deerhoof song, and after thinking about what it'd be like to play it live I ended up with some of the worst lyrics I'd ever "written."

This is one of the most annoying songs I have ever written, and one of the worst, and I guess eventually probably one of the best. Check back tomorrow and I'll begin explaining why.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I am going to talk about my band here for a little bit

Probably for close to a couple weeks. Hope that's okay.

So yeah, I play music and write songs and record albums. It is a lot of fun. The band is called The Mathletes, and we have an album that just came out on Asaurus Records called #$@% You And Your Cool. It is good. If you would care to hear it, you can listen to some of the songs on the internet, or for six dollars you can get a hard copy at the Asaurus website (but you should do that before the end of the month because they sort of decided to go out of business). There were 100 copies of said album manufactured, and it is shaped like a bologna sandwich.

I apologize for marketing at you, but it seems more or less appropriate to get this out of the way up front. Anyway, Asaurus wanted to make up a press release, so the guy who runs it asked me to email him some information about the album. The press release ended up mostly being the entire contents of that email. If you like PDFs, you can read it here, but otherwise, get ready for some copypaste:

FROM THE DESK OF JOE MATHLETE: Well, I started off making songs all alone, just recording in my bedroom, not really thinking about what I'd do with them. Eventually I showed them to people, and eventually people said I should play my songs live because that's what people who write songs do. Looking back on it a lot of people who were telling me this ended up playing in the band so maybe they just wanted someone to play music with, but regardless I'm glad people said something because playing music in front of people is fun. But I kept recording songs on my own 'cuz it's just what I'm used to.

Mathletes would come and go for one reason or another, and eventually the lineup became more or less completely fluid. Some shows there'd be three of us and some shows there'd be around twenty. But old habits die hard, and I kept recording music all alone in my bedroom or whatever like I was still in high school, writing songs to avoid homework and then keeping them to myself. This album I guess represents both the breakthrough of finally showcasing what we sound like as a live band to the world beyond Houston , Texas , and some of the bedroomiest bedroom pop I've recorded lately.

We're a mess of a band so it's a mess of a record; looking at it now we've got ten tracks (of wildly varying fidelity) recorded at eight different places, lyrical matter veering from jackassery to as sincere as I get, the most confrontational album title we've ever had but I chickened out of actually writing the cuss. The title refers to when I went and saw a very fashionable Indie Rawk band (who shall remain nameless) and felt underdressed wearing a t-shirt and jeans among all the fashion kids, and I looked onto the stage and saw an army of dorks trying to look like they didn't care about anything while playing what basically amounted to super-expensive and ornate Built to Spill or Yo La Tengo songs, and I never saw Yo La Tengo or people who dug them wear leather jackets with tons of buckles and scarfs and eyeliner and gigantic shiny belts and act like they don't care, and at that point in my life I was so sick of people acting like they didn't care I said wait a minute I'm not underdressed, these people are missing the boat and they wouldn't care if they even knew there was a boat, and I walked by some coke guy in a leather jacket with tons of buckles and a scarf and eyeliner and a gigantic shiny belt and said "#$@% you and your cool."

Except, y'know, really quietly where he couldn't hear me, 'cuz otherwise I would just have been acting like a dick. But it's the thought that counts.

#$@% YOU AND YOUR COOL is Asaurus Records' (more or less) 64th release and quite possibly our last. We are closing our doors indefinitely starting this June and are thrilled to make one last go at breaking into the recording industry with the latest Mathletes record. #$@% YOU AND YOUR COOL is being released in a limited edition of 100 copies and yes, it is a bologna sandwich.

I put this here mostly to give you an idea of what sort of "band" we are. Tune in tomorrow(-ish) for what I hope to be a somewhat entertaining week and a half of "variations upon a theme" featuring a cast of dozens, and one of the most irritating songs I have ever written.

Eat My Beats,

Joe Mathlete

Monday, June 02, 2008

This is a bit out of character for me, but I thought I should pass it along anyway

If you are one of those fratty college guys posting on Craigslist looking for MILFs: Go to one of the New Kids on the Block reunion shows. There will be plenty of drunk thirtysomething ladies looking to recapture their youth (or someone else's). If you are unable to fulfill your fantasy of making love to an older woman who may or may not have given birth in this particular scenario, you should probably just move on.

I cringe at the possible traffic these keywords (MILFs, New Kids on the Block, fratty college guys) are going to bring in. I have no one to blame but myself.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I just saw a little bit of Grey's Anatomy

I'm over at my folk's house, using up some of their internet in one room while my mom watches her stories in the next. At one point I hear some hushed, feathery college folk music soundtracking a white dude and a white lady using vocabularies to talk about the subtle complexities of their vague emotional uniqueness, and how to feel about how it is to feel something about somebody somewhere, and other bullshit faux problems that people without problems create for themselves. Holy shit, it's Dawson's Creek! Mom, what the hell are you doing watching Dawson's Creek?

Nope, Mom says. It's Grey's Anatomy. But six and one half dozen, y'know?

Now, I never watched more than two minutes of Dawson's Creek, and I've now seen about fifteen seconds of Grey's Anatomy, and I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying, y'know? But here's my point, anyone who is more familiar with these shows and this type of show than I am:

People who were in high school when they were watching Dawson's Creek are probably just now getting out of med school, or some other grad school, or they're some other kind of young professional, and they still want to watch Dawson's Creek but pretend they're grown ups (like they were doing when they were watching Dawson's Creek).

Quite naturally I don't care in the slightest to investigate this line of thinking any further, but does that sound reasonable to anyone else? No? Well fuck you, I'm gonna download 30 Rock.


A white dude without any real problems

P.S.-- Sorry I haven't been writing much lately; don't have a lot to say but mostly I've been really busy. My band just came out with a new album and we're playing a show at a museum this weekend, and also I am in a play opening a week from today, and then there's all this other stuff that the internet doesn't really need to hear about

P.P.S.-- My mom seems to kind of hate Grey's Anatomy; she's snarking at it pretty hard from the other room. It's good to know where I get this stuff.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dear Hillary Clinton: Please Stop Saying You Won Texas

On account of this is inaccurate. Here in the state of Texas we tend to do things different and usually sort of ass backwards, so on March 4 we had both a regular-type primary and also a caucus. You won the popular primary vote by two percentage points and lost the caucuses by twelve percentage points (source: facts). This gave you a total of 94 pledge delegates (65 from the primary, 29 from the caucuses) to Obama's 99 (61 primary / 38 caucuses).

I'm sorry; this has just been bugging me for a couple of months. I promise not to post about politics for as long as possible. I usually make it a point not to discuss politics with anyone unless they're a stranger and I'm drunk and yelling at them anyway.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A small anecdote about the year 2001 and my introduction to the concept of "blogs"

So in the year 2001 I was a freshman in college. One day I asked a friend of mine how her weekend was.

"Didn't you see my last LiveJournal entry?"

I sort of kind of knew what LiveJournal was. As far as I could tell, it was exactly like a diary except anyone in the universe could read it. Which seemed completely at odds to the concept of keeping a diary as far as I understood it (writing down private stuff in a book you then hid so nobody else could read it). My thoughts on LiveJournal basically amounted to "Jeez that's dumb."

I knew that this girl kept one of these (she was actually a very nice, reasonable person aside from things like her Dashboard Confessional fandom and, y'know, LiveJournal), but I never read it because it seemed creepy. Like, well, reading someone's diary. And even if someone wanted me to read their diary, there's almost a 100% chance that I still wouldn't want to, y'know? I'm just as narcissistic as you: if anything I'm just gonna thumb through to see if I'm mentioned and then chuck it back under your mattress where it belongs.

So I tell her essentially that no, I did not read her last LiveJournal entry, and I don't keep up with her LiveJournal or anyone else's LiveJournal so I didn't already read about how her weekend was, but I'm asking her now, in person, so how was her weekend?

"It was..." She sort of sighed and thought for a second. "You should really just read my LiveJournal. It was a really crazy couple of days; I said it better there than I could right now."

So a couple of years later everyone starts talking about blogs, and bloggers, and "new media" and stuff. The way blogs are described they sounded pretty much like LiveJournal, so I dismiss them as pointless and hateful bullshit.

Postscript: I end up starting one out of boredom (and the fact that I was too lazy to start a zine, which was my original idea but would've taken way longer) and realize they don't have to have anything at all to do with LiveJournal, and I begin to hate them a little bit less.

If you are too young and/or too old to know what LiveJournal is, that's awesome.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

If you are sure you want to cancel your Friendster account, complete the form below:

Why do you want to cancel your Friendster account?:

_O_ Other Reason(s)

Please List Reason(s):

Haven't logged in for 5 years, my profile was embarrassing, the name is stupid, it's not 2003 anymore


Honest to God, this has nothing to do with the Facebook thing I wrote a little bit ago; someone brought up Friendster in conversation today and I thought "oh Jesus, I bet mine is awfully humiliating." Turns out I was pretty correct. I don't think it really would've made much difference if I would've left it be; nobody else appears to have logged in since the first Bush/Cheney administration.

The best part of the cancellation process was, I had to spend a good fifteen minutes figuring out what email address I had five years ago, then once I got there reactivating the sucker so I could get my password. Remember Hotmail? Crazy!

My evening is starting to feel kind of like a hideously plausible VH1 special from the not-too-distant future.

Friday, May 02, 2008

BY THE WAY: I'm drawing some more of those index cards

At Joe Mathlete Will Draw Anything You Want On An Index Card. Not taking any new orders until I fill all the old ones, but after four months of radio silence I guess it's a start?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Context for that last post (ROFLcon bio)

In case you were wondering:

So, yeah. Also, if you don't know what Goatse refers to, consider yourself blessed.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My ROFLcon bio

Everyone appearing at ROFLcon (which, for those just tuning in, was a big convention event thing where Harvard folks gathered together a bunch of "internet famous"-type people at, uh, M.I.T.) was asked to provide a bio about what it is they do. This is what I sent them:

"Joe Mathlete has been accidentally achieving internet notoriety since 2002, when a short WMV depicting him engaged in an imaginary lightsaber battle in his high school’s AV room was uploaded to Kazaa. Several years later, after a brief webcam clip of him lipsynching to a popular Romanian techno song achieved similar viral success, he decided to pursue his dream of writing and performing original music. When a video of him recording the vocals to one of his songs gained international attention for his unique, otherworldly baritone and distinctive method of moving away from the mic to breathe in, he destroyed his computer, renounced technology and moved to Wales. He lives in a small cottage south of Llandudno with his cat, Goatse."

If some or none of that makes much sense, trust me-- it's hysterical(ly geeky).

Just got back from ROFLcon

Where I hung out with a bunch of internet people. It was strange and fun and confusing and interesting and rad. I got my picture taken with Tron Guy, I learned what Twitter is, I didn't get much sleep, I met Damon from Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi (unrelated to ROFLcon but it wouldn't have occurred if I hadn't gone), and a bunch of other stuff happened.

My flight home was delayed like four hours so I'm going to pass out now... I'll probably have more to add later on. Much thanks to Tim Hwang and Diana Kimball and all the rest of the folks who organized everything and gave me a neat, surreal little vacation, Alex Gutierrez for letting me crash at her place for a couple days and showing me what there was to do in Cambridge that didn't involve the internet, and to all of the very friendly people I met over the weekend. Until later, if you would like to read a brief interview with a fairly inarticulate me, click with your mouse on these words.

If you have not ever listened to Galaxie 500, now is the time to purchase On Fire (or at least download "When Will You Come Home" or "Tugboat" or "Strange").

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Confirm Facebook Account Deactivation

Please let us know why you are deactivating. (required)

_O_ I don't find Facebook useful.

Please explain further:

"Facebook is like a creepy and pointless videogame where people collect every person they've ever met, then waste their time spying on all the dumb bullshit they do all day. I don't care if some moron I went to high school with bought a new iPod, I don't want to play the vampire biting game, and I don't want people I don't care about to know what I'm up to if they're not going to bother asking me with words."


You ever hear that Beach Boys song "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times?" Yeah.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Top Five Songs My Mom Used To Play In The Car When I Was A Young Child That Made Me Sad

I lived in Dallas, Texas until I was eight. I don’t remember much about it, other than a few scattered things, but I’ve got very strong memories of sitting in the back seat of my mother’s car and listening to the cassettes she’d play. Mostly 60s rock and Motown and 70s singer-songwriter stuff; I must’ve heard Sgt. Pepper’s a thousand times before I turned six years old. I’m glad my mom wasn’t a Phil Collins fan. Anyway, here are five songs I remember from those days that made me sad:

1. “The Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young and Crazy Horse (from Live Rust): I was a very curious child, and a lot of the time I would ask my mom what a song was about, or what the words meant. I guess explaining what heroin addiction is to your five year old is kind of awkward, but if my mom wasn’t willing to go down that road she shouldn’t have been listening to this album. The upside is, I will never in a million years try heroin thanks to this song.

2. “The Partisan” by Leonard Cohen (from Songs From a Room): I mean, pretty much any Leonard Cohen song I’ve ever heard is sad, but this one really stood out. My mom said it was about being in the French Resistance during World War Two and fighting the Nazis. Being in the French Resistance sounded like a total bummer: “There were three of us this morning / I’m the only one this evening / But I still go on / The frontier is my prison” is heavy stuff for a little kid. And then there’d be a part with a children’s choir backing him up on a verse, in French… I mean, damn.

3. “Walking After Midnight” by Patsy Cline (from the Sweet Dreams soundtrack): My mom played the hell out of this cassette after Sweet Dreams, the Patsy Cline biopic starring Jessica Lange, came out. This song always got to me; it’s more upbeat musically than the rest of the songs on this list, but even a preschooler can hear a lady singing about wandering around in the middle of the night being as lonely as it’s possible for a human to be lonely and get kind of depressed. Also, my mom told me the plot of the movie, and how Patsy Cline’s plane smashed into a mountain when she was still relatively young, and that didn’t make things much cheerier.

4. “She’s Leaving Home” by the Beatles (from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band): This song is probably my least favorite on the album, listening to it now; it’s actually pretty maudlin and heavy-handed. But when I was in short pants, that harp and those harmonies tugged at my heartstrings until they were ready to pop. Also it’s a song about running away from home forever, which seems scary as hell if you think about it in a practical sense when you’re half a decade old.

5. “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians (from the radio): Not actually from a cassette, but I remember this song coming on the radio one night really really late when my mom was driving my sister and I home from visiting some relatives, and it really freaked my shit out. The organ sounded like it wanted to kill me, or at least sneak up on me while I was sleeping and give me bad dreams. And it was a dude singing about crying! A really unhinged-sounding dude… It wasn’t even that it was sad, it was disturbing. I was like four years old. I asked my mom what the song was called, and when she told me I asked her why he was crying exactly that amount tears. She said she didn’t know, and when my mom didn’t know the answer to a question I asked her it just made me all that much more unsettled. Thanks a lot, Question Mark, you creepy unstable bastard.

My family moved to Houston sometime around my eighth birthday. Sometime after that, my mom sold her car and got one with a CD player and mostly just played Carly Simon albums. And listening to Carly Simon all the time made me sad too, but that’s a different story.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More fun with public access TV clips

This is one of the primary reasons why the internet exists: to showcase the most embarrassing thing a person ever did in their life to the entire world, completely devoid of context.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Some more about Robot McGee

Here's a screen capture from Fox 26 Houston morning news a couple years ago. This is completely 100% not in any way photoshopped or doctored with. I hope it clarifies a few things.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

By the way: I'm helping my friend do his own blog and it might be of some interest to you

I have a friend named Robot McGee who sometimes plays in my band and is a robot. He recently began a blog where he posts his own descriptions/interpretations of famous paintings. If you have ever wondered what robots see when they look at fine art, this is maybe something you should check out.

Robot McGee Explains Fine Art

Note: I have to do the postings myself on account of Robot McGee himself is banned for life from using anything Google-related and thus cannot operate a Blogger account (he assures me it is a long and boring story, and when an android tells you something is boring you had better not second guess it); my name shows up on the posts but I promise that it's actually written by a real live robot.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

(When you’re a kid, I'm guessing there’s not much of a difference between being depressed and being perceptive)

I would like to say some things about clowns now.

A lot of people are afraid of clowns, or they hate clowns. I’m not afraid of clowns, and I don’t hate clowns. I just don’t think they’re necessary, and they kind of make me sad.

When I was a kid, I was at a birthday party and there was a clown, making jokes, and doing things with balloons. And I realized once I got up close to him, hey, that’s not a clown, that’s a guy dressed like a clown, doing clown stuff. And then I realized that all clowns are just guys dressed like clowns, doing clown stuff. It’s a small thing, and may not seem like a lot, but it’s a big distinction when you’re five and you’re told that clowns are supposed to be a big deal.

Here’s this guy who’s getting paid to be silly and do funny things and make kids laugh, and then he’s got to put on this funny outfit and makeup and a wig, but at the end of the day he’s still just a guy, and a guy who just finished taking off a funny outfit and makeup and a wig; all the effort he puts into being a clown probably makes him sadder I bet, not happier. So why not just do the silly funny stuff without all the clown stuff?

Well, it would be kind of weird to just pay some dude to do clown stuff in front of your kids if he wasn’t a clown, yeah, I’ll give you that. But: why isn’t it weird just because he puts on all the clown stuff?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ah, why not: A repost from my band's MySpace blog

"A new album coagulates, and also we’re playing a show in Austin next week"
Current mood: don’t be scared

Hi Internet,

It's been awhile since I've said anything meaningful here so I thought I'd give a little update of sorts. Here is some information for you, if you were wondering:

- The Mathletes are playing a show in Austin on March 14th, sometime around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. We were actually accepted into the South by Southwest music conference/festival/party but we had to drop out because of my work schedule, which was massively disappointing and supremely ass-backwards in a lot of ways but that's life for you. But this afternoon day show thing will probably end up being better in many respects, including stress (low) and fun (high). I will give out additional information when I get it myself, or just send me a message if you'd like to know how you can find out more (like where specifically this is going down).

- I am finishing up a new album right now, and hope to have it done within the end of the month (but who knows). I am proud of the way it is turning out. I am not sure if it should come out under the name The Mathletes; to me it seems very different than the last few Mathletes albums in a lot of ways, and certainly different than every album that's come out since we started ever playing live, but I've been making music and calling it "The Mathletes" since I was 16 so and I don't know what else I ought to do at this point. I am probably overthinking this. Anyway it's supposed to come out on Asaurus Records later this year, but I keep forgetting to write them.

- My access to the internet has been fairly unreliable over the last couple of months, and I'm starting to realize what a subtle blessing that is.

- Here is a list of working titles I have for songs and parts of songs that I am working and reworking on right now. There will be way less songs than this on the final album. This will be due to editing.

Congratulations / I Refuse To Dance
God Rains Down His Terrible Magic
I Read Your Book
Ocean Song /Slow Apocalypse (An Interpretation of the Biblical Concept of The Rapture Wherein the End of the World is Not Instantaneous but Rather the Ongoing and Inevitable Cycle of Death in Life)
Bottlecaps and Something Else
This City Doesn't Deserve Us
Making Up Our Own Religion
Churchill's Dog Hotel
Beautiful Wheelbarrow
Context Ruins Everything
Beautiful Wheelbarrow Dreamberry Day
Hooray It's The Future And No One Cares
New Early Life
Noises Little Ones
Doctor Doctor (Young Mammals cover)
Hearts Break (Hearts of Animals cover)
A Bright-Ass Light (Jana Hunter cover)
This City Doesn't Deserve Us
Now That It's Over Now
For I Am Glad That God Is Lord
Elephant Watches The Hummingbird Fly
Everyone You Know, Hello!
A Grandpa for Every Day
Striking Up A Conversation
Hiding is Fun

- In other news: interesting things continue to happen all around us.

Looking back on those songtitles now it seems like I've got some sort of biblical fixation... I'm about as religious as a beagle so I don't know quite to make of that.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"GENEOLOGY" (script for a short film that should probably never be made)

(BILLY, a teenage boy, is sitting at the kitchen table playing Gameboy, but one of the new Gameboys that's not called "Gameboy". TABITHA, BILLY's grandmother, walks into the room)


BILLY: Oh! Hey, Grandma. How are you?

TABITHA: Billy, I've got something to tell you.

BILLY: What's up?

TABITHA: Please, put the game down, dear. I... This is rather important.

BILLY: (pausing Tetris or whatever) What is it? Is something wrong?

TABITHA: No, nothing's wrong, but... Well, I don't know exactly how to put this... Billy, you know you're very special to me, no matter what?

BILLY: Aww, Grandma...

TABITHA: Billy, I've watched you grow up over the years from a little boy into a fine, wonderful young man, and I think you're ready to hear this now.

BILLY: What is it, Grandma?

TABITHA: Well, Billy, the truth is, though I'll always love her more than anything... Your mother isn't actually my daughter.

BILLY: What do you mean?

TABITHA: After I married your Grandfather, God rest his soul, we wanted nothing more than to have children of our own, but the doctors told us we weren't able to conceive, so we talked to an orphanage and adopted your mother.

BILLY: So wait-- so that means you're not my real grandmother?

TABITHA: Well dear, technically speaking, no, I'm not.

BILLY: So we're not related at all...

TABITHA: No... No, we're not...

BILLY: So...


(cut to BILLY and TABITHA making love on a king size canopy bed. Two French doors are open, leading to a balcony filled with flowers and a sky exploding with fireworks. Music: an orchestral version of any Coldplay song)


(note: 99% of credit/blame goes to Zach Howard, from whom I stole the idea more or less completely)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

2008 part two

Hi internet. Sorry I've been away for so long; I've been doing stuff.

My life is a lot different than it was last time we spoke. I live in a different city and have cable for the first time since I was in high school. I find myself mostly watching CNN, sometimes Shin Chan if I'm up late enough. I work a very silly job that is a lot of fun. I'll give you a hint: I wear a silly hat and they say there's a teeny tiny chance I might get to meet Lou Reed.

I am not able to be around you that much for the time being, internet. I am sorry about this; it's not you, it's me. And it's not CNN's fault, either; even though I'm obsessing over the Obama campaign, madly in love with Abbi Tatton's British accent and oddly fascinated by the bizarre flirting between Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty, I have many other reasons from being forced to keep my distance from you. That doesn't mean I love you any less than I ever did, so don't you go getting into hard drugs or prostitution just to fill a void, okay? There are still plenty of other people out there to browse your Wikipedia entries and reload Yahoo! News every five minutes.