Friday, January 29, 2010

IEM Training Update- Vol. 13; Issue 5

January 28 status:

WEIGHT: 185.8

  • 1lb. baby carrots
  • Fiber One bar- oats and caramel flavor (These don't seem to make me fart any more than usual, but they turn my spouse into a 5' 2" cloud of sulfur.)
  • 3-taco plate (2 carnitas taco/1 asada taco/beans/rice) at the Cal State East Bay Student Union. Surprisingly adequate-tasting and not too expensive at $5.50.
  • 2 5/8 ounce bag of Rold Gold Thins pretzels
  • 20 ounce Pepsi
  • 1 bowl curtido (This stuff gets really boring after 2 days.)
  • 2 Tbsp. Peter Pan peanut butter
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple
  • NOTE: All of our Haagen Dazs brown sugar ice cream was gone as of yesterday. I am having an internal debate as to whether it is prudent to buy all the remaining containers at Grocery Outlet.
DEFECATION (what my turd looked like): A braised lamb's brain

EXERCISE: School, yet again. Since I always leave my homework until the day of classes, I can only muster the one-mile walk from the parking space to the classroom those days. I am enriching my brain, yet allowing my Adonis-like body to atrophy.


The Replacements- All Shook Down- 1990- Before this month, I hadn't listened to this in well over a decade. I have to say I am very pleasantly surprised with this rediscovery.

Except among tired punk-only types, conventional wisdom states that Tim is The Replacements' best album. While it is true that Tim has the best overall collection of songs, the production is confounding. Whenever I listen to that record, I am always thinking, "This would be so much better without the faraway-sounding gated reverb drums and the cheap-sounding guitars." The whole thing just sounds janky. With either a "correct" pro mix or a powerful lo-fi recording, I would view Tim as the unbeatable masterpiece that aging college rockers claim it to be.

However, Tim is what it is, so I have difficulty listening to more than a couple of songs of it at a time. When I want to listen to pop Replacements, I will now put on All Shook Down more likely than not. Firstly, the production is not distracting. Yes, it sounds like a major label record, but not a dated 80's major label record where you think, "Who the hell at Warner thought this production sounded good? In 2010, any kid with a Mac and GarageBand could make a better-sounding album." I refuse to believe producer Tommy Ramone had any real input on the final product. There aren't as many crotch-grabbingly great songs on All Shook Down as there are on Tim, but there are more than enough of them to make me want to listen to it far more regularly. The semi-hits, "Merry Go Round" and "When it Began," should have made Westerberg a household name. They certainly sound better than "I'll Be You" off of Don't Tell a Soul, which got considerable Top 40 airplay. Indeed, there are a couple of turds on this record. "The Last" sounds like a bad SNL spoof of a mid-70's Billy Joel song. And "My Little Problem"? What idiotic A&R man thought a duet with Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano would be a good thing? I hope they got fired.

I'm also a big fan of "Nobody" and especially, "Bent Out of Shape," which sounds EXACTLY like what the rockers on Tim should have sounded like. Despite that track, most of this album sounds more like a singer-songwriter type record than a full rock n' roll band. It has a lot more in common with the later Westerberg solo stuff (except with better recording) than any other Replacements record or even with the songs on the Singles soundtrack.

Yes, I am a fanboy for Westerberg. I lived in the Midwest for 15 years and went to college there. What do you expect? Having said that, I wrote this whole thing without once calling the Replacements "The Mats." Deal with that.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

IEM Training Update- Vol. 13; Issue 4

January 26 status:

WEIGHT: 187.0 (What happened here?!)

  • 1 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese and 2 cups fresh cut pineapple
  • 1.58 ounce package Snyder's Olde Tyme pretzels
  • 2 bowls homemade curtido
  • 1 bowl "veggie goo" (a stewed concoction of onions, zucchini, banana squash, eggplant, carrots, and pineapple)
  • 2/3 pint Haagen Dazs Brown Sugar ice cream (I cannot stop eating this stuff)
DEFECATION (what my turd looked like): 6 Schnauzer tails

School again. Could only manage the walk to and from my parking space to the classroom- roughly 1 mile.


Mary Hopkin- Post Card- 1969- $1.00- Before I picked this up, all I knew by Hopkin was her big hit, "Those Were the Days," a gypsy-Russian type song that stangely made it to #2 in America. I always loved that song when I was a kid and hadn't heard it for maybe 20 years before getting this LP. That track is on this album, but it's not at all indicative of the rest of the material on the record. Post Card is on Apple and is produced by Paul McCartney, but other than a song or two, it's not even vaguely rock n' roll. In fact, most of it isn't even pop music. It's a mix of British-type folk (think Fairport Convention with zero Jefferson Airplane influence and a singer 10x hotter than Sandy Denny) and folk-ified showtunes like "Inchworm" (from Hans Christian Andersen) and "There's No Business Like Show Business." There are also tunes like "Young Love" and Donovan's "Voyage of the Moon" that mine the same kind of territory that McCartney did with pre-rock vaudevillian-type Beatles songs such as "Michelle." Translation: This is serious pussy music. Naturally, I love it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IEM Training Update- Vol. 13; Issue 3

January 24 status:


  • Approximately 20 boneless chicken wings, about 1 cup potato salad, a few fries, celery and carrot strips, blue cheese dressing- all from Wing Stop and consumed at Mitch Cardwell's place while listening to the first half of the NFC Championship game on the radio (cable was out.)
  • One large portion of enchilada casserole- consumed at Chris and Shannon's place while watching the remainder of the NFC Championship game.
  • Copious amounts of homemade kettle corn.
  • 3 glasses of Sunkist orange soda
  • One bottle Lagunitas IPA beer
  • 2 Coke floats- about 20 oz. of Coca- Cola with 3 scoops of Haagen Dazs Brown Sugar ice cream.
DEFECATION REFLECTIONS (what my turd looked like):
  1. 10:30am- A large bowl of Chex Mix covered in brown gravy
  2. 11:00pm- Oscar the Grouch's earthly remains after being drawn and quartered
EXERCISE: 30 minutes running on the treadmill at 6.8 mph


Johnny Rodriguez- My Third Album- 1974- $1.00- This is solid 70's country with J-Ro's usual M.O. where he sings a verse of several songs in Spanish. Rodriguez's baritone voice sounds great here, but some of the songs are generic. The cover of the Allman Brothers' ""Ramblin' Man" is unnecessary, but Rodriguez's take on George Harrison's "Something" is actually a great interpretation. As for the originals, the best track by far is "Jane", a mid-tempo tune that should have been a massive hit. "I've Never Had a Thing that Ain't Been Used" is also memorable. I couldn't find an online photo, but the LP cover is an awesome shot of Johnny wearing a bedazzled Wrangler denim jacket and jean combo. As a Mexican-American country artist, Johnny is the Larry Doby to Freddy Fender's Jackie Robinson.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

IEM Training Update- Vol. 13; Issue 2

January 23 Status:



  • 2/3 Pint Haagen Dazs "Five" Brown Sugar Ice Cream. We bought way too much of this stuff. Once I open a container, it is impossible to stop eating it until it is gone.
  • 1 Hebrew National hot dog smothered with homemade pineapple salsa inside a flour tortilla. (Wasn't as good as I expected it would be.)
  • 3 Philippine mangos (We got these used from Berkeley Bowl, too. A bag of 10 was only 99 cents. These aren't as delicious as a really good "regular" mango, but they're definitely more consistent than the regular variety, which often taste like ammonia.
  • 2 cups of garbanzos roasted in the toaster oven with a bit of olive oil and seasoning.
  • 1 Tbsb. Peter Pan crunchy peanut butter (new packaging) eaten straight out of the jar.
  • A massive bowl of kettle corn popped in my Whirley Pop.
  • 24-ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the Stork Club.
  • 12-ounce bottle of Miller High Life.
  • Several handfuls of microwave popcorn at Kim's Backyard bar.
DEFECATION: Around 11am, I made what can best be described as a "bowl of Shredded Wheat left to ferment in the sun for a month."

I didn't leave the house until 11:15pm. Luckily, I danced a little at Kim's, especially when they played "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" by McFadden & Whitehead.

Andy Gibb- Shadow Dancing- 1978- $1.00- The hits off of this album are pretty good: "Shadow Dancing," "(Our Love) Don't Throw it All Away," and "Everlasting Love." However, this record is a huge disappointment compared to Gibb's 1977 debut, Flowing Rivers. While the debut was a great eclectic mix of disco and other pop styles (including some country-rock, even), Shadow Dancing is a generally weak, overproduced, lite-disco affair. It sounds like throwaways from Saturday Night Fever or a non-LP B-side from Spirits Having Flown-period Bee Gees.

Friday, January 22, 2010

IEM Training Update- Vol. 13; Issue 1

As promised, here begins a chronicle of my routine of training and self-sabotage between Inhuman Eating Machine sessions. Expect updates 3-4 times per week. With any luck, the actual IEM #14 eating session account will post within a month.

I did the eating for IEM #14 (Ex-Wife Challenge) this past Wednesday, January 20. I was belching carnitas until about 4pm on Thursday and didn't regain any semblance of hunger until about that time.

  • I weighed in at 183.2 lbs. on 1/20 prior to the session. The next morning, I was just shy of 192. By Friday, I was down to 187.6.
CONSUMED ON 1/21 (in order):
  • 2 ounce Rold Gold "Thins" Pretzels
  • 20 ounce Pepsi
  • 3 ounces Fritos
  • 1 lb. bag of baby carrots
  • Approx. 2 cups of Haagen Dazs Brown Sugar ice cream (This is seriously the best ice cream ever. Alas, it seems to be going "out of print." They may still have some at the Oakland Grocery Outlet.)
  • Big bowl of fresh cut pineapple heated in the microwave. (Used pineapples were .99/ea. at the new Berkeley Bowl last Monday. I bought four.)
  1. Thursday morning, I dropped what resembled a 4-serving pot of cold oatmeal.
  2. 11pm that evening, I jettisoned a half dozen missiles about 6" each in length and roughly the color of chocolate chip cookie dough.
  • I had school from 2-10, so I had no time for the gym. Luckily, I logged a over a mile walking from my car to the classroom- in the rain. As I've stated many times before, I WILL NOT PAY TO PARK!
  • Linda Ronstadt- Silk Purse LP- 1970- $1.00- Not as good as the 1971 self-titled LP she did after this one and not even in the same area code of greatness as Heart Like a Wheel. However, there are a bunch of great songs here, especially "Long, Long, TIme," and "He Dark the Sun." And the cover photo of her in a peasant blouse surrounded by hogs is spank bank-worthy.
  • Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band- Live Bullet 2xLP- 1976- $1.99- Like many fans of the underground music, I dismissed Bob as a hack. Later, I learned that his work with the Bob Seger System and the Last Herd rivaled other Detroit rockers like the MC5 and The Stooges. Yet, I still shunned his entire Silver Bullet Band output. Thanks to local Seger tribute band, Total B.S., I have seen the error of my ways. This is one of the best live records ever. Bob's version of "Nutbush City Limits" is crushing and the segue of "Travelin' Man" into "Beautiful Loser" is unforgettably beautiful. And that's just Side 1 of the first record. This thing is worth $1.99 just for "Katmandu."

Thanks SO much to everybody who donated to IEM. In this economy, every penny counts. These people are my angels. If you'd like to be an angel, please send ANY amount via PayPal at:

I Just Shat My Pants Out of Sheer Gratitude Donation Level:
  • Eric Thorberg- $25
  • Stephanie Clarke- $20
  • Bruce Saltmarsh- $20
Man, You're Awesome Donation Level
  • Guy Prince aka "Mr. Biggles"- $11 (In his honor, I have named a BM after Mr. Biggles. Henceforth, any turd comprised of a single jumbo loaf with a 30% taper will be known as a "Prince."
  • Paul Brown- $10