Tag Archives: Bryan J Polk

Special : Talk to My Wife

I thought it would be awesome to talk to my wife about what ska songs she likes and has memories from, as she is not really a ska fan. After living with me for about 6 years, she’s learned a lot. We used to do a weekly podcast together about reality shows called “I’m Not Here to Make Friends” that ran for over 3 years. I miss doing it, so I convinced Allison to through on her podcasting hat again and talk about ska. Near the end of the interview she ever turns the tables on me and starter to interview me! Oh, that wife!

Songs in this episode include:
the Toasters – Weekend in L.A. (Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down ’97)
Dan Potthast – I’ve Set Sail (Eyeballs ’99)
Reel Big Fish – Beer (Turn the Radio Off ’96)

All background music by the Caroloregians from their albums “Funkify Your Raggay” and “Fat is Back”.

This episode and all episodes can always be found here. You can also subscribe to the podcast by going to your advanced tab on iTunes, then select “subscribe to podcast…” and entering this address: http://23minofska.podomatic.com/rss2.xml into the box that opens. Also if you’d like, find & like us on facebook. Feel the love and download this episode!

Also, hit up for some awesome ska 7″ records. Help the two of us eat!

5 Kick Ass Things from Wizard World Anaheim

The weekend before last Allison and I drove on out to Anaheim, got our press passes and hit the floor at the Anaheim Comic Con AKA Wizard World Anaheim. We got a couple reality show contestant interviews, which is why we went, but we also just had a really good time. Here’s the 5 things that just kicked a major amount of ass (other than being there and having an awesome time w/ my rad girlfriend).

Talking to Doug TenNapel
I’ve liked Doug’s work since I first was introduced to him via the “Scud: Tales from the Vending Machine” issue that he wrote and drew. Then I find out he was behind “Earthworm Jim” and did album covers for Five Iron Frenzy and I knew he had to be cool. He was awesome! Very friendly, talked about Rob Schrab w/ me as well as “Sockbaby” and talked to Allison about “Catscratch” and directing Kevin McDonald. Really laid back and fun.

Running into Nathan Barnant
You may know him better as Keith Apicary or even Trale Lewous, but he was there, just walking around as himself. He was gracious enough to stop and talk to Allison and I when we stopped him. He even took the time to pose for a picture with Allison too. Ran into him later and he said “Hey, I know you!” Total class act, that guy!

Futurama Voice Panel
Billy West and Phil LaMarr hosted a panel of them talking about working on “Futurama.” It was pretty funny, Billy is pretty silly and Phil is pretty quick witted, an awesome pair for sure. One fan even asked for them to quickly do Fry meeting Samurai Jack, and they went for it. They talked a bit about making the new “Futurama” episodes for Comedy Central. I’m finding it hard to explain how cool this all is, but trust me, it was a lot of fun seeing these 2 guys just talk.

Hug from Doug Jones
I had to stop by and say a quick “hello” to Doug Jones after enjoying him in a few things (like “Hellboy”) and hearing how friendly he was. I stepped up and told him that and then I mentioned how much I liked seeing him in “Sockbaby” and he immediately hugged me. Allison snapped a quick picture then gave her a hug as well. The man is awesome!

Handshake from Junction Jack
Late in the convention when things were slowing down and our interviews had been done I took the time to tell Bob Gunton that I was a big fan of “Greg the Bunny” and that I just wanted to shake his hand. I don’t know if it was because it was late, or he’s just super nice but he talked to me for quite a bit knowing I wasn’t there to buy and autograph or anything. He even said “Greg the Bunny” was one of the most fun times he had doing television and to watch out for Warren “Professor Ape” DeMontague’s upcoming MTV show that he’s making an appearance on.

5 Movies I Left Thinking They Were Bad

After seeing Alice in Wonderland the other day I left the cinema pretty underwhelmed. All I could say for it was “well that certainly was a movie.” This is much better than how I left some movies, these are the ones where I felt I had wasted more time than money. These are not just movies that I went to w/ a group thinking “aw this might be bad, but who cares” or “ok that movie wasn’t for me,” no, I’m talking about movies that inspired ire in me.

Santa Clause : the Movie
Imagine a happy little Jose, filled with candy and good cheer, it is the holiday season and he’s going to go see a Christmas movie, then it all goes to hell. Really, I hadn’t even developed any kind of critical faculties and I just KNEW I’d seen something terrible. This movie represents just about everything wrong with the 80s and it’s idiotic excess.

Sleepy Hollow
The first chink in the cornerstone of my Tim Burton fanship. I just couldn’t get over how much I hated this. I seriously almost left during that scene at the windmill at the end that took… oh, for-damn-ever! Really, after this I really didn’t mind Planet of the Apes so much. It does seem like I’m the only person who liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory though. Still, man, Sleepy Hollow was bad, it had Walken and it was still terrible!

Star Wars Episode I : the Phantom Menace
Really, who didn’t see this one coming?

the Watchmen
I wanted to like this, I wanted to like this as much as I’ve always wanted to like the comic. But it turns out I just am not the person for either. The worst part is, the opening had me fooled! I was all “Oh man, how come I wasn’t seeing everything as being this awesome in the comic?” and then BAM! The movie becomes the magnification of what I didn’t like about the comics.

Deep Impact
A movie I hated so much that I ranted about it for a half hour straight. My girlfriend at the time eventually told me to shut up. Thing is, she didn’t like the movie either, but she didn’t want to listen to me complain about it anymore. That was the beginning of the end for that relationship. Allison and I, now we bitch about movies together… a lot, much like after we saw Alice in Wonderland!

5 Minor Things from Scott Pilgrim Comic That I Hope Make the Movie Verison

With the announcement coming today about the release date of the final Scott Pilgrim book and the release earlier this week of the movie teaser poster I’ve never been more psyched for trips to the comic shop and cinema this summer. So I thought I’d go down a short list of minor things that I hope will make it into the final movie, things so small that if they didn’t make it in it wouldn’t even matter, but damn, it’d be rad to see them!

Ramona’s College
It’s mentioned once, in passing, with a small graphic that Ramona’s alma mater was University of Carolina in the Sky. It’s a rad concept that really fits with the rest of the tone of the book. It’s a college, on a huge rock that floats in the air & is chained to the mountains! It’s great because it is so mundane that this natural wonder just plays host to a university and not some kind of them park or something. Then again, we are talking about a world where there’s 2 holes in the moon, and it seems like not that many people have taken the time to figure out why.

Scott’s “Pee Meter”
Scott’s “Pee Metter” is full. Scott goes to the bathroom. Scott’s “Pee Meter” empties. I found this more hilarious that I should. This has the most chance of anything on this list making the movie as director Edgar Wright seems found this as funny as I did. At least that’s what I’ve heard in interviews.

Michael Comeau’s Ring
It is a ring, that has a skull in it. When Michael shows it off to Scott it says “Ssscotttt…” When Scott asks Michael where he got it the response is “From the future.” And then the conversation goes on as if that’s a totally and perfectly logical place to get something. It is said so a-matter-of-factly, and responded to in the same way as “From a gumball machine” that it makes the whole story around the ring even more interesting. Just how did Comeau get to the furture to snag it? It doesn’t matter, Scott’s friends just want to know if his band is going to show up his ex-girlfriend’s band that night.

Scott’s Girly Poster
Scott shares a studio apartment (and mattress on the floor) with his gay roommate Wallace. Through out the comic we find that Scott own virtually nothing in said apartment except for a toothbrush, some clothes and a poster of 2 skimpily dresses girls kissing. It’s beyond tacky, and what gets me even more is that its the only thing Scott owns that purely decorative. It is his only “thing,” everything else he owns can be used to clothe and clean himself, but the poster is just “stuff.” Totally ridiculous too! The fact that Bryan Lee O’Malley doesn’t even draw it, but pastes in a scan of the actual poster makes me laugh even more, as it even LOOKS like it doesn’t belong.

A Jealous Young Neil Calling Steven Stills “Captain Homo”
I don’t know why I love this exchange where when Young Neil is discussing why Knives isn’t with him anymore it’s because she’s obsessed with “Captain Homo” AKA Stephen Stills AKA his roommate. It is just such a dumb insult, but it just plays perfect in context, which would take even longer to fully set up. There’s something about insulting someone or something as “gay” when what you’re making fun of is some that’s completely heterosexual that will always make me laugh.

5 (Relatively Cheap & Tasty) Places to Eat in LA

My good friend asked (for herself and on behalf of her husband) what are some good, non fast food places to eat the next time they come to LA. Oh yeah, and try not to be too pricey! She asked me this in “Ask Rad Jose” and had I answered there it would’ve been “7-11,” but because she’s awesome I’ll answer this here, in a part serious manner. So take this as a guide for yrself if you ever visit Los Angeles and need a bite!

It’s the home of the French Dip. That’s not just idle boasting either, this is where the thing was invented! Boy is it good! Be sure to ask for the double dip, only suckers get the standard dip (or so my girlfriend tells me, after I was apparently a “sucker” but that was the day I saw Mark Hoppus there, so who’s the sucker now?) And double plus awesome, it can be easily accessed by the Union Station stop on the Red Line Metro!

Canter’s Deli
Allison and I first heard reference to Canter’s from the band Something for Rockets, or maybe that’s not true, Allison could’ve heard of it earlier and then SFR reminded her of it in an old blog post on their website. Either way it is tasty as all get out. It is standard deli fare in a rockin’ environment. Be sure to grab some cookies for the drive back, no matter how much you buy they usually don’t survive the trip back. Bonus: see if anything rad is going on at the Silent Movie Theatre a few blocks down and make a night of it.

Henry’s Hat
Fast becoming local favorite of mine. I’ve yet to have a bad thing on the menu. They have fun with it, apple smoked sausage done up corn dog style and served w/ a variety of mustards, a North Carolina style pulled pork sandwich w/ cole slaw on it, cool beer and Flaming Dr. Peppers can all be ordered. They also stock board games as well to play while you wait (also in the back room, a Wii) which we’ve never gotten around to playing any as we’re talking to each other and the friendly staff. A bit out of the way in the Vally (just barely) but hey, free parking!

Big Wang’s
This place is damn near an institution by now. It’s been featured in a few TV shows (MADtv I know to be a fact) and it has pretty good wings. I barely remember the other fried goods they have, but I ate the damn out of them on a few occasions. They also have their own beer, Big Wang’s Light. I had it once. Once. Thankfully they also have Blue Moon by the pitcher too! The one in Hollywood used to be painted bright orange but if I recall it’s been painted over… that’s sad, but hey, there’s still a chicken in a wife beater flexing his arms to entice you to come in!

There’s no doubt about this one, it IS an institution out here. It’s pretty awesome for diner food, but the pie, oh yes, the pie is awesome! And I know from pie, so you have to trust me. There’s a few locations around, so it isn’t to hard to find one, the most famous being the one by the Farmer’s Market. Allison and I once saw Scott Adsit at the one in Studio City and were embarrassed that we couldn’t remember his name and kept wanting to call him “Pete”.

My 5 Favorite Adventures with Jake (so far…)

Adventures with Jake started out as something to do to make my 365 Days photo project more fun for me. I’d take a daily picture and all, got a few good ones, but taking pictures of me and my old skool Fisher Price little person Jake made me laugh. I’ve had Jake since I was a kid, but his first major role in my life was my senior year of HS (’95-’96) where he mostly stayed in my locker. It was during this time he got the name Jake. After that I mostly just let him be for a while on a shelf, but in inspiration struck during 1999 when I had to do a short commercial for my television production course at my college. I made a mock political ad in support of Jake, who’s full name is revealed as Jacob VanCleeve. After that Jake was once again a bit of a after thought, a childhood toy put away once more. When I moved to LA Jake was on a very short list of decorative things that I brought with me (which also included Frog, who’s been with me since birth) to put on a shelf. There are two central mysteries to Jake: A) Why I chose him over Frog to go on adventures with and take pictures and B) Where did his name came from. He’s not named after anyone I know or any characters I know of, heck, is VanCleeve even a real last name?

So in honor of Jake, and our going on adventures again (each Wednesday right here on this blog), I thought I’d take a quick look back at some of our previous awesome adventures!

New Comic Day!
OK this one is mostly awesome, except you can see my hand holding Jake up. I always hate when that happens! This is one of my favorites due to the fact that my girlfriend actually sent this picture to Rob Schrab when she had him sign a Scud poster for me!

Where is Jake?
This one is awesome because Jake is all hidey. It makes me laugh. And because I had to pay to get him in and out of the machine it is the most costly Adventure we’ve ever had!

It's Mexican night
The implication that that is a huge plate of food for Jake always makes me laugh. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, that something that broad and silly makes me smile, but it’s true.

Sneaky Sailors
Jake and I sneak on to a large ocean liner and stow away deep down somewhere in engineering. Because making up lies, even when they look plausible, is totally fun.

Looking for Jake in Dallas
Call me boring, but the out of focus Jake in the background just works for me. I liked the idea of Jake being some kind of master mind criminal or super spy that I was always on the trail of, but I only ever took this picture alluding to that idea. Ultimately I think it is because Jake and I work better at the bestest friend in the whole wide world!

5 2009 Albums That Renewed My Fan-Boy Faith

I have a problem, I buy too much music. It is a bad habit I’m trying to curb. Part of the problem is, is that I like to own a physical piece of what I’m listening to. As much as I could download for free or cheap, I just can’t bring myself to do it if I have even a little bit of respect for the band. Which brings us to these 5 albums released last year. It might be too much to say that all of these bands were one more bad or unimpressive album away from me calling it a day with them but that thought was in the back of my head. Each of these bands are or were at one time top 10 favorites and part of my fan-boy collector nerdness has a tougher time letting go, so I’m giving it up for 5 bands that made it worth my while this year!

The Fiery Furnaces – I’m Going Away
Fiery Furnaces albums always take a while to grow on me, it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve fallen hard for Bitter Tea. Despite that, I just don’t think I’ll ever fall for their more recent Widow City. Of all of these bands Fiery Furnaces had the most strikes against them. I wasn’t a fan of the previously mentioned Widow City, the “live” album Remember just left me cold and Mathew Friedburger’s solo Winter Women / Holy Ghost Language School was a double disc of impenetrableness. This coming from me, who’s favorite Furnaces album is Rehearsing My Choir. Imagine my surprise on how much I not only liked, but absolutely loved I’m Going Away! It reminded me a lot of their first album actually, and that was a welcome sound back when I got it. It was a return to that early style but with all the tricks and experience they’ve picked up along the way. Not only that, but they had the audacity to follow it up 6 months later with Take Me Round Again an album of each of the Friedburger siblings doing solo versions of the songs from I’m Going Away and having it be just as awesome!

Weezer – Raditude
Red was almost the end point for me and Weezer, I’d be happy to listen to my old CDs over and over again and not worry about where they were now if not for 5 songs. The first four were the bonus 4 songs on the Red deluxe version. Those songs are boss! I think the second half of Red was disastrous, dull, most of all, not fun. They shoulda skipped those and put the 4 bonus tracks on the regular version instead. The 5th song that made me want to get Raditude was the lead single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”. It was fun and exciting! It also gave Butch Walker another plus in my “Is Butch Walker Awesome or the Cancer That’s Ruining Music” list I have going. Was Raditude the Weezer of yore? Not so much, but it was fun power pop, and that’s mostly what I expect and want from Weezer, so it made me happy and kept me bouncing around with a smile on my face.

Reel Big Fish – Fame, Fortune & Fornication
I still consider We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy to be one of the worst albums I own and Monkeys for Nothin’ and the Chimps for Free to be one of the more worthless releases put out. Not to mention ska-punk covers of 80’s songs were played out by Less Than Jake a decade ago and Regatta 69 already did the best cover of “Talk Dirty to Me” known to modern man. So who knows why I picked this up, but I’m glad I did! It reminds me of what I liked about this band back in ’96. Besides, they did a cover of “Veronica Sawyer”! I can’t hate on that, more to the point, I propose if RBF ever does another cover album that they just rescue nearly forgotten songs from their former contemporaries.

the Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Pin Points and Gin Joints
Not that I didn’t like Medium Rare but we were promised a B-Side/Unreleased tracks compilation with a few new songs, the b-sides that were included were mostly not all that hard to find, and the previously unreleased tracks were only OK. The 3 new songs were totally awesome, especially “Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker”, which only made me long for a full record of new Bosstones’ originals all the more. So on the whole Medium Rare came up lacking. Pin Points and Gin Joints makes up for it and then some. It picks up where Jackknife to a Swan left the listeners and keeps kicking ass until the end. It’s a more grown up Bosstones record, sure, but are the kids still listening to them anyway? It would be a disservice to their writing ability if they tried to stay in their 20’s forever.

Big D & the Kids Table – Fluent in Stroll
This is my favorite album of 2009, and deep down, I can say that before it came out I was more that a little worried that it was going to be terrible. Strictly Rude had some really great songs, but it also has some pretty mediocre ones, and some that went on too long. Also before it came out we were told that it will be featuring Big D’s new sound: a mix of double-dutch, ska, reggae, and soul. It doesn’t fill one with hope. I was so wrong to worry, oh so wrong! This works, it works so well! It’s not ska, but if Big D & the Kids Table aren’t going to be playing ska then I want them playing this!

5 Things You May Not Know About 1209towanda

1209towanda was a band that I was in from about 1999 until 2006, which I considered over when I moved to Los Angeles. To tell the truth 1209towanda is actually a life sentence that no one has any escape from. Now, in honor of posting the first 1209towanda EP on the Musics Page I wanted to do something related to the band. There’s so much people already know, well the fans or friends or anyone who’s heard the same stories over and over again, so I had to go with something different. No one wants to hear how the band was named, how we got our stage names or came up with songs again, that’s boring and old news! The people want to know Five Things They May Not Know About 1209towanda!

The flag in the lower left hand corner of the original art work for the Import Single was supposed to be a German flag but we put the colors in the wrong order, basically making it a Belgium flag on it’s side and stretched oddly. Porkchop Jimmy noticed this months after it had been out.

Porkchop Jimmy’s “thank you” section in the Sugar Packet Solution was not intended by him to be in the actual liner notes of the CD as he didn’t realize what I was asking him for. I just thought it was funny and used it anyway.

The song “Neo-Maxi-Zoom-Dweebie (21)” is usually referred only to as “21” by the band. The original intent was to introduce this song with a different name every time we played it. The only other name this song ever got called was “I Got Whistled at by a Dutch Whore.” This song also has lyrics that have never been sung publicly.

In the original art work for the 1209towanda shirt there was a monkey jumping out of the way of the big 1209 robot. I just couldn’t draw a decent monkey at the time and scrapped it. I still miss that monkey.

Speaking of the shirt, rumor has it that Direct Factory Outlet Dave has one that was given to him as a gift hanging up in his office. When I heard that it made my day!

Dr. Manette – Dew Unto Others…

Dr. Manette was a ska-punk band from Champagne-Urbana IL who later changed their name doctormanette and put out a record on Chicago’s JUMP UP! label. The first time I saw them is when this 7″ came out. It was at an all day ska show in the Summer of 1996 at a skate park in Rockford IL. It started at noon and went until 10pm. About half way through the show I started to get sleepy and almost took a nap on a skate ramp, but then these guys came on a blew me away! It turns out my friend Mike had had a few classes with one of them, before he went to talk to him after the set he asked me “Hey, you liked them right?” I responded that I did and 15min later Mike turned back up and handed me this record. I asked him how much and he said it was a gift, then later told me that they’d just gave him one because he knew them and that he didn’t have a record player. The 3rd song was on Moon Records’ “Skarmageddon 3: A New Beginning” so it may be familiar.

Side A
Weekend at Bill and Hillarys

Side B
Orange Juice
Nothing at All

Front Cover, Back Cover, Insert & the Record

5 Restaurants I Miss in Peoria (Not so Much for the Food)

Lou’s Drive-In
Jose at Lou's Drive-InThe food is your standard drive in fare. Good tenderloins, good fries, nothing to write about, but then comes the root beer. They make their own astounding, awesome, delicious brew with a recipe stolen by some soda Prometheus from the root beer gods themselves. They only open in the the summer so it’s a long wait each year. The best part is that at the end of the season they start selling it by the half gallon so that you can stock up so it won’t be so long of a wait.

The Burger Barge
It is such a goofy place, what with their constant Jimmy Buffett music.The burgers don’t suck, there are plenty of places to get a burger like that in the area, but you’re going for the ambiance and for the chips. Oh yes, those chips are fantastic!

One World Coffee & Cargo
It’s not the food I miss here, but much like the Burger Barge it’s the decor. I saw it change a lot over the years that I lived there and always dug it. It also was a place where one could go to and run into a lot of rad people and make friends. At least that’s how it always was for me. Lots of fond memories.

Richard’s On Main
Ok, it has the same run into rad people as One World, but it has the added bonus of having the best burgers in Peoria (at least the last time I checked). Also they’ll serve you a drink that’s half Guinness Draught and half Framboise Lambic. That my friends is heaven in a glass.

The Peoria Pizza Works
Davin, Jose and Atomik chillin' at Peoria Pizza WorksFood, great, I’ve never had a bad meal there. The bar, well stocked and cheap, I’ve gotten good and wasted there when I was basically broke more than a few times. Why did I spend so much time there? Someone convinced the owner to let local bands play there, and that lead to many a good time in the back rooms of this place. Last time I was in Peoria I ended up spending a good chunk of my time there. It’s just awesome!