sh4wn pretends to be creative

Top 10 Tim Burton films

Posted in film,top ten by sh4wn on April 1, 2010
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Upon watching Alice in Wonderland last night, I decided it was time for me to blog again. Not sure why, but all -4 of you reading this can say “Hey, sh4wn’s blogging again.” But don’t get your hopes up. Instead, follow me on twitter.

Here they are, my top 10 Tim Burton films (I’m including directed or produced for purposes of this list):

10. Big Fish
9. Sleepy Hollow
8. Beetle Juice
7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
6. Batman
5. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
4. Alice in Wonderland
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
2. Edward Scissorhands
1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Please note that 5-9 are all pretty even in my book. And I put Alice at the 4 spot, but I’m still not sure if that’s where it lands.


Happy April 1 to you in 2010.

This blog post was not a joke, even though this blog has sort of become one. Sort of. It’s mostly an archive of the past for me. Mostly.


A delicious burger

Posted in Food,personal by sh4wn on July 12, 2009
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Leslie and I love food.  We would consider ourselves “foodies” even.  We plan our trips around great eating experiences, and we try to make amazing meals at home whenever we can.

Tonight was one of those meals.  After watching Food Inc. at the Belcourt last night, we were in the mood for some good, healthy food choices.  Of course, as we drove to Whole Foods, I mentioned that maybe we should have burgers tonight.  After eating veggies all week, a burger seemed right, so we headed to Whole Foods to score some grass-fed ground beef.  When the time came to make a decision, I opted for the ground bison, which was $1 less a pound.  I haven’t tasted the grass-fed beef, but I’m pretty sure I made a great decision.

I won’t go through the cooking process.  My buddy benfRank has a blog (you should visit it) where he does that, and i’m not trying to compete with him, but merely make a nod at the brilliance of what he’s doing and share some of our food experiences as well.

Tonight’s menu:

Bison burgers on whole wheat buns – garden grown lettuce and tomato, Dubliner cheddar aged for several years before gracing my mouth with its presence, and a herb salsa made out of almonds/olive oil/herbs from our garden that i would maybe hurt kittens for.

Sweet potato fries made from purple sweet potatoes with a brown sugar/chili powder/sea salt coating.

Corn on the cob from our CSA.

Leslie opted for grilled green bell pepper, and i went with a sauteed jalapeno.

This is the amazing bison burger we made tonight.

This is the amazing bison burger we made tonight.

On an Actual Visit to the Pacific NW

Posted in personal by sh4wn on July 5, 2009

This is a long post.  That said – you need to read the part between the ********’s if you skip over anything.


On Tuesday, June 23, Leslie and i headed to the great state of Washington via jetplane. The flight was long, because Seattle is far away.

The next day, we moved into our hotel for the next several days – The Pan Pacific Seattle. The hotel was amazing. It even had a Whole Foods underneath it. We took a food tour of Pike Place Market, which was very informative and allowed us to try several foods and experience things we would not have experienced otherwise. We both agreed that the chowder and seafood bisque from Pike Place Chowder were the tastiest things we had on said experience. Leslie also enjoyed the Piroshkys from Piroshky, Piroshky. The cheese from Beecher was stellar.

We then walked down to the sculpture garden (meh) and then stopped and had a beer at Cyclops, which was a pretty descent bar to grab a drink. We found a fun knife set called The Ex at a mod furniture shop, and purchased that for our kitchen.  This was followed by a tasty meal at Flying Fish.

Thursday, we went on the Underground tour, which was ok.  The opening history, delivered by a guy who looked and delivered jokes like Norm McDonald, was the highlight.  The tour itself was a little sleepy.  We followed this by picking up Leslie’s race stuff at Qwest Field.

After a mediocre lunch, we headed out to Ballard, which may have been one of the highlights of the trip. (I must note at this point that it was on this bust trip that we found out that Michael Jackson had died. Almost every place we went for the next 2 or 3 days was playing Michael Jackson) This neighborhood is a dream. Great stores and restaurants and bars and shops and other things. We saw the strangest contraption at one point. 6 people were sitting on this bike-like thing, all facing each other and peddling, each person playing an instrument (upright bass, banjo, jug, washboard, kazoo, etc), while a film crew followed them. I also found an amazing squid tee at a store called Monster Clothing and Gifts. The entire store was dedicated to monsters. Maybe the coolest store I’ve ever been too.  We ate that evening at a restaurant called Root Table. Once again, one of our favorite experiences and meals of the trip.

Friday morning we headed to Freemont, which was the 2nd best neighborhood we experienced on our whole trip.  This is where Adobe is located.  There were great shops, art galleries, and many restaurant choices.  We ate at Roxy’s where i enjoyed a Pastrami Burger and tots. MMM.  Afterward, we went to Theo’s, which is a chocolate factory, and we sampled chocolates, and they were magical.

The Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum is housed in a building designed by Frank Gerry. Maybe one of the most impressive structures I’ve ever seen.  It’s stunning and curvy and beautiful.  The EMP part of the museum was fun, and would have been even more fun, had we had more time. Just so much to see. They even had a Hatch Show exhibit, straight out of Nashville, which was almost surreal, but not quite.  I’m a geek, but i realized at the Science Fiction Museum that i’m not as much of a geek as i think i am.  They layout and flow of the museum is very well thought through, and flows with ease.  In this part of the massive building was the Jim Henson exhibit, which showed many of his creations and talked about the history of everything he did through his wonderful life. Well, maybe not everything, but a lot.

Leslie needed to carb load for her half marathon the next day, so we ate a place called the Pink Door. There is no sign for this place.  Only a pink door.  Despite this fact, the place was pretty large and jam packed with people.  Leslie got the bolognase, which was a treat for all mouths.  Note: I didn’t like many of the beers i had in Seattle. They are very hoppy.

Leslie had a personal best in her half-marathon, running it in 1 hour and 58 minutes, or something like that. Oh yeah, the weather in Seattle the whole time was freaking unbelievable. It didn’t get over 75 the whole time, usually floating around 68-72 degrees. It was a dream.  I stood at the band stage where The Lonely Forest was playing.  They did a fine job.


We headed on a smaller plane to Victoria after the race.  We stayed at the Fairmont Empress while we were there, and it was meh, especially compared to the amazing room we had at the Pan Pacific.  We singled out a few restaurants to eat at while were in Victoria, due to only having 2 days there, and the first one we went to, which after Leslie’s earlier 13 mile run, we hoped would be closer than it was, was a place called Med Grill@Mosaic.  It was about a 20 minute walk, and we were pretty hungry. It was closed.  And by that, i mean, no longer in business. It looked like it was nice at one point, though.

We ventured onto a place called Canoe. This is a brewpub in Victoria, and easily our favorite meal in Victoria.  It’s odd, this area being so close to Seattle, but the beer i had in Victoria and Vancouver was great (not hoppy at all).  We started with a flat bread and crispy bread dish with:

+ spinach, cumin and goat feta dip
+ preserved lemon, chick pea hummus
+ wild salmon confit and caper spread
+ artichoke, parmesan & roasted garlic dip
+ marinated mediterranean olives

We followed this with a magnificent butter chicken. I also had a fleet of beer (5 samplers).  That was the only night it rained, and we walked back in the misting.

Sunday, we ate breakfast at Willie’s Bakery, where we had a delicious muffin and some sort of blt egg croissant. We proceeded to a street fair after that, and met a very interesting woman who made jewelry out of beans and candy and such. This was followed by lunch at Pescatores, which was suggested by my boss, and it was nice and quiet (and much less expensive) during the lunch hours.

And then on to some whale watching.  Whale watching is pretty magical, except that you don’t get as close as you would hope, but apparently there are laws and such prohibiting it, which make sense. We saw Killer Whales, sea lions, birds, and really amazing houses along the coast. I now understand the term JPod (a book title by Douglas Copland) better.  The tour ended at Butchart Gardens, which were glorious and colorful. Did i mention that it was like 68 degrees or something?

Monday in Victoria was astounding. Leslie wanted to go to these Butterfly Gardens that were located in the center of the island, so i had a brilliant idea to get us to the gardens. We rented birds and rode them there. I mean dragons. We rode dragons to the butterfly garden.  Actually, we rented scooters and drove up the coast on the scenic route.  It was one of the most amazing days in resent memory.  The weather was phenomenal, the views and houses and everything around us was sparkling with magic and faerie dust, and the butterfly gardens were actually pretty great.  At the gardens, a bird started attacking my foot, then actually mounted my foot for a while before wandering off to better things.

After another beautiful drive back down the coast, we turned in our scooters, grabbed some tasty nachos from a pub, then gathered our bags and got on a bus on our way to Vancouver, via the BC Ferry.



The sun was setting over the mountains and water surrounding us as we toted along on the ferry.  I listened to I’m on a Boat several times while standing on a boat and watching the glory of our surroundings as we headed toward Vancouver.

When you ride a bus, be it a Greyhound or in this case, a Pacific Coach, they store your luggage in bins under the bus.  Pretty standard stuff.  When we left Victoria, we kept our backpacks containing my camera and laptop with us, but put our bags with our clothes and other belongings under the bus.  The bus wasn’t very full upon leaving, but when we re-entered the bus (they made us get off the bus during the ferry ride), a great number of people had purchased tickets from the ferry and had joined us on the bus.  Our seats that were originally at the front were taken, and we moved toward the back half.

When the bus pulled into the station in Vancouver, we filed off with everyone else, and noticed that our bags weren’t with everyone else’s.  People were gathering their bags and walking off with them, and we asked the driver where our bags were.  We all looked, and they were gone.  He suggested that maybe someone had accidentally taken our bags instead of theirs, but there were no bags that looked anything like ours.  We ran through the bus depot looking for someone carrying our bags away, but i’m afraid we acted a touch late.

Someone stole our bags.  Just walked off with them.

We filed a report with the Greyhound customer service, then with the Vancouver Police, and our 11:30pm arrival turned into a 2 1/2 hour stay at the bus depot.  As i was filing reports, Leslie walked around the bus depot and its surrounding regions with the head of security, hoping to find something.  They pulled up security footage, and we watched the guy ( a taller than 6 foot white guy) walk through the bus depot, juggling our two 30+ lb bags, trying to figure out how to carry them.  He walked by 4 cameras, but we couldn’t see his face.  They put an APB out on the guy, but our luggage was never seen again.

We checked into our hotel around 2am, completely wound up, unable to sleep.  The next day, we basically walked through Vancouver, or at least the few blocks around our hotel, like zombies, purchasing a few new outfits to get us through the next several days.  It was still amazing outside, yet we spent most of our time in a shopping mall.  Oh yeah, that squid tee and the cool jewelry leslie got in Victoria were on the bags that were stolen, along with a necklace from Barcelona that can’t be replaced.  And Leslie’s running shoes.  And our new knife set.  Actually, there were a lot of things on those bags, and really, there wasn’t much that the guy could have sold for anything.  They were just valuable to us.  But luckily, we’re ok, and it’s just stuff.


Wednesday, a day after the zombie shopping day, we spent some time with the Canadians, celebrating Canada Day with them.  We wondered around the city, still purchasing a few items here and there, watching people meander around the city in their white and red, maple leaves everywhere.  We had delicious crepes at a crepe cafe, and i had my first Granville Island Beer.  I liked most of the beers i had in Vancouver.  That evening, we met up with my friend Michelle and enjoyed another local brewpub with her, telling stories and having much needed laughs.

The next day, we ventured into Stanley Park and visited Vancouver’s fine aquarium.  Leslie had a date with a Beluga whale, feeding him fishy snacks and basically hanging out with him.  I saw an awesome octopus.  He may have waved at me, but i’m not entirely sure.  I also saw a water snake eat a fish.  It was real.

We ate dinner at an amazing Malaysian place.  The flavors were swirling masses of love and joy, coupled with some local wine.

The next day we left, gathering our police report in a shady part of town, then walking to the train station, which is the same station where our stuff was stolen.  It felt odd and oppressive and bad.  I bought some ice cream bites to try to chase away the pain.  They were good, but not great, and therefore, the pain didn’t leave.

If you’re ever travelling from Vancouver to Seattle or vice versa, i recommend traveling via this train we took.  It was on the coast line almost the entire time, and the scenery was stellar.

The jetplane rides from nashville to seattle are long.  Much reading was done.  I finished the Regulators (Stephen King) and got more than half way through The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper.

Now we’re home.  And one of our first acts was buying new cell phone chargers.  woo!

On a Visit to the Pacific Northwest – a new mix

On a Visit to the Pacific Northwest - a mix

hello. It’s been quite a while since i posted a mix (or blogged, for that matter). This mix contains a great number of songs that make me immensely happy. These are songs that put a smile on my face and make living through the miserable summer months bearable. Drink some cool sangria, maybe a coca cola, a cold beer, or even some room temperature chowder.

Some of these songs have explicit lyrics, so consider yourself warned.

download the mix here.

1. Happy Up Here – Röyksopp
2. 1901 – Phoenix
3. Cop Car (Demo) – Heypenny
4. The Bears Are Coming – Late of the Pier
5. Pop Song – Starf**ker
6. Meteor – The Bird and the Bee
7. Electric Feel – MGMT
8. I Don’t Want You Back – Uncle Skeleton
9. The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room) – Flight of the Conchords
10. Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell – The Flaming Lips
11. Around the Block – Company of Thieves
12. Long Division – Death Cab for Cutie
13. Buttons and Zips – Elbow
14. Fly Around the Room – lowercase collective
15. Song for the Dumped – Ben Folds Five
16. Bounce – Mstrkrft Feat. N.O.R.E.
17. I’m On A Boat (Feat. T-Pain) – The Lonely Island
18. Make Forever Last Forever – Apes & Androids

Mid-life Crisis=Robots?

Posted in personal by sh4wn on April 17, 2009
Tags: ,

Last night, I told Leslie that I may be about ready for a mid-life crisis.  She asked me if that would come in the form of a sports car or an affair or what.  I think it could come in the form of building a giant robot.  I could ride the robot to work, have it destroy people i didn’t like (note to reader: be nice to me), it could do math for me, it could protect me from inclimate weather, it could build other robots for me so i could start a robot army, and countless other things.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep you posted.

I was thinking this morning about my months after graduating from college: I was staying at my parents house, looking for a job, and dating Leslie.  My parents house was undergoing a flea infestation.  I don’t know how those things happen, but i never want to have carpet.  Every night when i got home, i would take off my shoes and walk through the house in my socks.  I would then venture into the bathroom and pick around 25 or so fleas out of my white socks and put them in the toilet.  I would then walk through the house again and repeat.

Then i found a job and moved out.  The End.

I have been married now for 10 years. Got engaged 11 years ago, and had my first date with Leslie 12 years ago.  We went to ToysRUs.

sh4wn pretends to make an update

Posted in bands / music,lowercase collective,personal,random by sh4wn on April 2, 2009

a. lowercase collective made it onto another We Own This Town podcast. Sorry i didn’t catch this when it actually came out, but i just found it:

b. i was looking through my blog the other day and noticed that i used to post a ton of stuff.  some of it was funny.  maybe one day i’ll return to form.

c. in other lowercase collective news, we may be releasing an album someday.  we also may play more shows.

d. i don’t blog as much because of micro-blogging, also called Twitter.

e. good music: Klaxtons – Myths of the Late Future, Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel, Starf**ker, Daft Punk, Uncle Skeleton – Pancho Chumley, Company of Thieves – Ordinary Riches,  The Bird and the Bee – Rayguns are not the Future,  Sarah Bareilles – Little Voice.

f. Left 4 Dead – xbox360 – GREAT game.  Can’t wait to play it multiplayer.

g. Leslie is working a lot these days.  Accounting.

h. Orbit Sweet Mint gum is probably the best gum i’ve ever eaten.  Tastes like mint chocolate chip without the chocolate.

i. am done.

Daft Bodies – Stronger

Posted in bands / music by sh4wn on February 28, 2009

After listening to some Daft Punk, i remembered this great video. And now you can watch it from my blog. Just like that. Magic. The internets. FTW.

Vince Vaughn, typography, and Radiohead (unrelated)

Posted in art/design,bands / music,film,radiohead by sh4wn on February 10, 2009
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Above is a great typography video rendering of Vince Vaughn from Wedding Crashers.  GREAT.

Here is a really nice collection of typography posters I saw today.

This is a copy of Radiohead at the Grammys with the USC Marching Band.

25 things

There’s a thing on facebook where people are posting 25 things about them.  Here’s my list of 25 “interesting” things.  My friend Lee called it the plague of facebook.  I guess it is.

1. I can slam dunk really well on 8 foot basketball goals.

2. More than almost anything, I want a superpower.  My top choices are teleportation, flight, or telekinesis, if any of you are handing out powers.

3. I proposed to my wife on an Easter egg hunt on our 1 year anniversary.  The ring was in a giant egg, and I told her to open it to see what was in it, but she wanted to keep searching because she wanted to find the most eggs.  We were married exactly a year later.  Our 10 year anniversary is this year.

4. I have mad love for robots, Radiohead, Thai and Indian food, red wine, New Castle Brown Ale, trees, the number 4, and locally owned restaurants.

5. My disdain for raw onions is borderline crippling.  Unless they’re mixed with tomatoes.

6. I have a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing.  I very much enjoyed my college experience, and wrote a lot of poems about food.  I still often write about food.

7. I used to be a card carrying member of the Evangelical Church.  I now don’t agree with how they do things or with their purpose. That said, I am a follower of Christ, but more aware of how the Church has driven people away from the idea of God or Christ.  The Church didn’t drive me away from God, just gave me huge reservations on Church.  There is a lot of anger and hate in the modern Church, and it makes me sad.

8. I find the terms “junk,” “bits,” and “parts” to be utterly hilarious.

9. I have post-it notes everywhere.  I feel that I can’t remember things without them.  My life is almost completely and totally organized by small yellow squares.

10. The Harry Potter books made me love reading, which is important for someone who wants to write novels for a living.

11. I wrote a novel, trashed it, rewrote it, set it aside, and I’m working on another one, all under a different name.  I also paint and make films under a different name.  You know, just to protect my privacy.  And yours.

12. I love lists.  I even created a blog about lists.  Just lists.

13. I don’t know if I’ll ever want children.

14. I have a great love of names.  I love to name everything.  My computer at home is called Fiona.  My computer at work is called Hubbardston Nonesuch.  They’re both Macs.  I have lists and lists of band names just in case I need to start another band.  When I was on the road in the late 90’s, we named every bit of equipment we had and would call everything by name when we were moving it from the vehicle to the venue.

15. I have a skin condition that the dermatologist referred to as “pressure hives.” Whenever something presses against my skin, I hive up in that spot.  If I scratch my back, I have red streaks and bumps all over the back.  Currently, this is the main reason I don’t have a tattoo.  I really want a tattoo.

16. Once during my sophomore year of high school, Josh Jones and I pulled several of his childhood toys out (Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, Dungeons and Dragons action figures), laid them out, chose one by one, set up bases, and played with them like we were 9 again.  We almost did it again last week.

17. I like romantic comedies.  I’m also very secure in my manhood that I don’t care what people think about me or the things I like.  That said, I own Moulin Rouge.

18. I really struggle with people who think they are right and everyone else is wrong.  People who are condescending or don’t listen to you, but merely want you to think that they are right.  I can’t have conversations with these people, and I’ve tried to eradicate them from my life in general.  Not kill them, but merely not be part of them.  That.

19. I’ve moved over 30 times in my life.  I’ve also kissed over 30 girls.  I counted both of these up before, but i don’t remember exact numbers.  Basically, I’m a nomadic man-whore.

20. I’ve worked at the same company now for 9 1/2 years, and I still like my job.  A good portion of that is because of some of the people I work with.

21. I don’t like dogs. I’m ok with puppies, but they turn into dogs.

22. My heart is filled with unexplainable joy when I enter the men’s room located in the building where I work and the motion sensor light flickers to life.  This means that no one has filled the room with sad odors.  Sometimes I trigger the paper towel dispenser with my beard.  Also, I only pee in public restrooms.  Ever.  Not because I’m a germaphobe, but because of stage fright.

23. I can’t drink hard liquor socially.  It sneaks up on me, and I become uselessly sleepy.

24. My favorite movies are Fight Club, Amelie, Stranger than Fiction, The Matrix, Juno, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  I also love movies based on comics/superheroes.  This past year, Iron Man and Dark Knight were exceptional.

25. I’m on a personal quest to be positive in everything I do, as much as I can.  That said, if you post something on my page in facebook, and I find it too negative, I will delete it.  Why spread negativity?  It helps no one.

AlleyCat Lounge closing

Posted in personal by sh4wn on January 20, 2009
Tags: , ,

AlleyCat is closing.

The saddest news.  East Nashville eatery and bar, AlleyCat Lounge, is closing, as of tonight.  I just found out today that they were closing and just found out 10 minutes ago that tonight was the last night they were going to be open.  I called to see if they were taking carryout orders, but they told me that they weren’t serving food tonight.

I am very sad.

No more Black and White Bean Dip.  I just went last week with Mark and enjoyed the Nachoes and a Chicken Sandwich that was amazing.  Good beer specials too.

My main complaint, and the complaint of several people that i’ve talked to, is that the place was a smoking establishment.  You go in to have a delicious meal, and you come out smelling like you smoked 4 packs by yourself.  I personally think that was the largest reason that they couldn’t make it.  Often, i would order food and carry it out, just so i wouldn’t be innondated with the thick smoke.  That said, Leslie and i agreed that we would have eaten there much more had they been smoke-free.

Oh well.  A sad day.  I wish they had at least given me a week or 2 warning.

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