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Category Archives: self-aggrandization

POST #500!! Wheeper-diddly-doo!

Yep, folks, looks like we’ve made it to post 500 on ol’ Geek USA.  We’d throw a party, but seriously, no one’s reading this crap anymore.

However, today something happened that, frankly, has never happened, ever.  I made it to work *early*.   You know all those modern conveniences we humans have invented?  All those wonderful machines we own and patronize in order to drag our sorry, sagging asses around this great big blue world?  The cars and trains and buses we drive or ride every day in order to get places on time, and sure, maybe we’re burning up the Earth’s resources and polluting the air to do it, but that’s the price we pay for a civilized society where everything moves at the speed of light?

Yeah – f**k that noise.  I biked to work and got here *early*.

I’d love to drop some snark and say “Boston’s the only place where it takes an hour to drive 5 miles,” but apparently, Atlanta and Dallas have it worse.  I know DC does.  If you ever plan on getting on the 495 in DC during rush hour, I recommend packing your car as if you were planning for a space mission.  The words “recycled urine” may be in your vocabulary sooner than you think.   It won’t be pleasant.

But anyway… of course I love Boston, especially all of the adorable little quirks that make our town so darn special.  Like our adorably hideous city hall, which High Fallutin’ Architecture Monthly actually named “The Ugliest Building In America.”  Awww.

First of all, my Mother was a tour guide there back in the 60s when it first opened, and she has some theory about how it was designed to represent the water and the earth and democracy.  I don’t know.  Every time I go in there, I feel like an extra in MC Escher’s production of 1984: The Musical!  Still, I have a certain fondness for the place, which means that I want someone to buy me this shirt.

That’s brutal, y’all.

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OK… let’s catch up on this 30 Day Song Challenge Thing…

day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event

Song: “I Want An Alien For Xmas”

Band: Fountains of Wayne

Event: Solstice party, my parents’ house, annual event/Christmas Eve, same


I first heard this song in college.  I don’t remember where – it was either something Matt and Jeremy played on U Maine campus radio station WMEB, 91.9 (“Redefining ALTERNATIVE!”) or it was on Napster.  Ah, Napster.  Anyway, it was around Christmas, end of Fall term, I was probably wearing a big long coat and driving to Dysarts.  I know that I definitely *did* come home for Christmas that year with a tape (yes, a tape) of alt-rock and folk Christmas songs that I taped off my computer, which we played while we trimmed the tree. And “I Want An Alien For Xmas” was one of them.

My parents do Christmas really well – they perform music at church and have a big caroling party every year, on Dec. 21 (the winter solstice.)  Everyone hangs out and plays music and drinks hot cider.  If the dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland, the dream of the ’60s is alive, for one night a year, in Westford.  One year – I don’t remember which – I played “I Want An Alien For Xmas.”  The kids loved it.  The grownups loved it.  Somehow, it became The Song I played every single year.   Well, that and “The Christians and the Pagans”, which has become another wonderful tradition.

But I hear “Alien For Xmas” by Fountains of Wayne and I think of my godfather’s kids, Rebecca and Maria and Sandra, jumping up and down and asking me to play it each year with joy and wide-eyed wonder in their eyes and hearts.  It should be noted that Rebecca now works for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Sandra has a MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and Maria is a college sophomore.  I kind of accidentally started a tradition.

I also think of my grandmother – I definitely played it for her for the first time in December of 2001.  She adored it, and every year, on her birthday, which happened to be December 24, she insisted I play it.

day 08 – a song that you know all the words to

song: “We Didn’t Start The Fire”

artist: Billy Joel

really?:  yep.

No real story here – I’m just bragging.

By the way – this song might sound like just a list of stuff, but it’s way better written than you think it is.  You know why Billy ends the first verse with “Satayana, goodbye!”?

 

OK, so,  Billy’s doing the typical baby boomer thing of thinking it’s all about him and his generation, so he’s listing all the historical and cultural events he can think of since the year of his birth, 1948.  By the end of the first verse, it’s 1952, Billy’s four years old, England’s got a new queen, Rocky Marciano’s the champ, Liberace’s a star, and Satayana’s dead.

Who the hell is Satayana?

George Satayana.  Spanish-American writer and philosopher.  Came up with that immortal phrase “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Which is the whole point of “We Didn’t Start The Fire.”   Billy’s intentionally dropping an obscure reference he hopes you’ll look up, and when you do, you’ll figure it out, man.  And he gets there at the end of the first verse! Pretty cool.

day 09 – a song that you can dance to

song: “Borneo”

artist: Firewater

can you dance to it?: Totally. And so can you.


day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep

song: “Neon Sky Rain”

artist: Vector Lovers

sleep in a good way?: Oh yes.  This is wonderfully calm, blippy, ambient electro.  Enjoy.


day 11 – a song from your favorite band

song: “Sing”

artist: The Dresden Dolls

First saw them in 2003,  the year they won the Rock and Roll Rumble.  Thought that, with Amanda’s songwriting and Brian’s drumming and the whole aesthetic, they had the potential to be cult heroes.  Saw them with an audience of about 50 people at the late, lamented SkyBar.  Saw them with an audience of about 30 people playing a radio show.  Saw them in the basement of the Middle East back when you could smoke in bars in Cambridge.  Saw their CD release party at the Paradise.   Saw them play bigger and bigger venues, like Avalon and The Roxy.  Two years later, saw them open for Nine Inch Nails at the Orpheum.  The year after that they were touring the world.  Amanda Palmer released one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2008 on her own, became a social media icon/genius, and married Neil Gaiman.

There’s something really gratifying about being right.
day 12 – a song from a band you hate

song: “She Loves Me Not”

artist: Papa Roach

For some reason, I can’t access any of my original comments from Facebook past Day 20, but I think I said something like “the perfect song to listen to you while you lurk in a trailer park with a sock full of pennies because that b***h owes you money and tonight, she’s gonna pay, man.”  Which was icky and violent, but totally sums up how I feel about this band: they always seemed to me like they were about to go beat their wives.

day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure

song: “Part Of Your World”

artist: Skye Sweetnam

Oh, come on: this cover totally rocks.  Sure, it’s from Disney Mania 3 or some such evil thing, but holy crumbs it’s good.

(to be continued)

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2011 in music, self-aggrandization, youtube

 

2010: Our Hideous Future

Having been busy writing, producing, and recording a musical, I haven’t had much time to talk about how I wrote, produced, and recorded a musical (with my friend, Boston Playwright Carl Danielson and a score of talented local actors and theatrical artisans.)

So: Okay.  It’s called 2010: Our Hideous Future – The Musical! It’s a satire of Blade Runner/The Matrix/Max Headroom type stuff, but it’s also a queer-friendly romantic comedy.  Basically, it’s Thelma and Louise meets 2000 A.D.

It premiered at the Boston Playwright’s Theater last August to ravenous applause, and we just performed it at Arisia 2011.  We’re trying to find other places to perform as well, because dammit if we don’t believe in this little project.

The whole point of this is: here’s our official blog site.  It has music.  It (will have) pictures.  It has info and updates.  It has everything you need to navigate your scary spooky no good future.

We think that’s nice.

 

Andy Hicks is probably done with the internet forever.

Andy Hicks wrote something on his blog three years ago, and it was a funny something, but he had to remove the post today because  there was one line in it that could very easily be taken out of context.

The post in question was written during the summer of 2007, and was a satirical series of one-line bios that I had supposedly rejected.  Some of them were fairly witty.  Some of them were just silly.  One of them was specifically written to sound awkward and skeezy, but within the context of the rest of the (now deleted) article, it was pretty darn funny.   Out of context, however, it sounded… well… awkward and skeezy.

Guess what one line shows up when you Google “Andy Hicks”? Guess which single line, out of twenty, happens to be the one that happens to show up at number 3 in your search results when you look for my name?  Guess which line googlers JUST HAPPEN to see first, forming their impression of me before I even have a chance to utter “Hello,”?

oh-well-of-course

Readers: consider this a warning.  Never use your real name online.  Never write anything remotely salacious online.  In fact, just disconnect your computer from the Internet right now and throw it out the window and run off to Vermont and live off the land.  Your computer will only bring you pain.

I deleted the post.  Not that Google cares.  It takes a while to re-cache.  Me, Andy Hicks, Capable And Talented Individual Who Owns Every Tori Amos Album, Including The Winter EP, labeled as a Horrible Sexual Harrasser because of one silly line I wrote three years ago in an attempt to be funny.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Google says “we are not evil,”  but I can’t help but think that Googling might be.

Now you know what I’m talking about when I say I should just post a bunch of pictures of me golfing or doing other boring things, instead of doing anything that shows off who I really am.  Because, see, who I really am is a snarky but ultimately kind hearted beast, and that doesn’t translate well in the age of the search engine.

Look – it’s not fair.   I’m trying to not be afraid to write what I want.  And because the kind of career I’m seeking normally has some sort of creative aspect, I want to use my real name and link to this site, because I think it’s – overall – a good thing.  There’s a reason I rarely talk about anything personal on this blog – it’s none of your damn business.  And, look, I’m proud of the stuff I’ve written here.  If you know me, you know that 90% of the time when I say something controversial like that, I’m kidding.   But if you don’t know me, and you search for my name, that one line – THAT ONE SINGLE LINE – is what comes up.  Out of all the silly lines I’ve written over the last three years, the one that comes up is the one that makes me sound like a pervert.

I can’t for the life of me explain why that is.  All the other lines in that post had “Andy Hicks” attached to them, so it could very easily have been “Andy Hicks has a head full of snot and a heart full of love,” which I’m particularly fond of.   Or “Andy Hicks is the recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize for Awkward,” also in that post.   But no.  The one that pops up in the search results is the boobs one.  Thanks, Google.  Now I’m a meth addict.

See? Kidding.

Now, now, Andy, you shouldn’t have posted that and used your real name and – yes, I know that.   And don’t write anything you wouldn’t want the world to see, I know that too.  See, I have no problem with the whole world seeing that post.   My problem is that the whole world might only see one part of it and not understand that I was joking.

Mark Twain used the N-word in Huckleberry Finn, but no one calls him a racist.  Edgar Allan Poe wrote The Tell-Tale Heart in the first person, but no one thinks he really killed a guy.   Johnny Cash never killed a man in Reno just to watch him die, either.  Now, if you think I’m saying what I do here is on the level of Johnny or Edgar or Mark, you’ve missed the point completely.

But let’s say that you’d never heard of Johnny Cash, and you were vetting Mr. Cash for a job, and the first quote you pulled up was him admitting to a particularly cold-blooded murder.  Would you hire him?

What I’m saying is this: because Google is purely mechanical and unfeeling, there’s nothing that’s really stopping it from pulling up a single, incriminating line and presenting it as being just as true as anything else.  In its “summary” box, Google could just as easily have pulled up my most recent post, where I mention my new portfolio blog with my name attached to it. Or it could have pulled up any other post where I use my full name.  But no: it pulled up that post, and that line, from three years ago.  No rhyme or reason to it.  It just did.

Anyone who would have clicked on that link (you can read a cached version here) would have seen that it was perfectly innocuous and part of an obviously satiric take on the futility of trying to sum yourself up in one sentence or less.  (They would also have seen that it was written during my “I want to be Chuck Klosterman when I grow up” phase.)  But maybe they didn’t click on the link.  Maybe they passed judgement and moved on.  That’s what frightens the hell out of me.

“Andy Hicks is “married to the Lord.”  They have three beautiful children together.”

See?  Could have been that line.  That line’s funny.  But no.  Cold Unfeeling GoogleBot 6000 wanted to be cute.

For the record: Andy Hicks does not stare because he knows it is rude and his Mama raised him right.  He does, however, still have an unnatural fear of clogged drains.

 

GeekUSA has a grown-up twin brother

I’d like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of my portfolio blog, charmingly titled Andy Hicks Has A Portfolio.

ahapAHAP, as we call it at my house, is where I’ll be posting links to my various creative and professional endeavors; songs and audio projects, graphic design work, theatrical work, and resumes.   It will be updated whenever I do anything impressive and cool that I want people to know about so they will give me lots of money and I can buy, like, burritos for lunch every day.

The jerks you hired instead of me.

In the Before Time, you see,  I’d apply for a job, and they’d ask for a personal website, and I’d give them the link for this site.   And, inevitably, they’d click on the link, and the post on the front page would be something like “Interestingly Shaped Poops I Have Taken: A Photographic Guide” or “Here’s A Link To A Drunk and Embarrassing Picture Mikey Took Of Me Last Weekend!” or “Why Star Trek Is AWESUM!!,” at which point the HR person at whatever company was interested in hiring me would quickly close his/her web browser and immediately hire the last person they checked out, whose website was probably boring and full of pictures of them golfing or some whitebread shit like that. 

Therefore, in the interest of “proffesionalizing” my image, I’ve created AHAP.  Please feel free to comment on the things I have up there now, and if you have any advice on how I could do things differently or better, please feel free to share them.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2009 in bios, not here, self-aggrandization

 

Come see “Fools.” See Fools come. Fools come, see?

Once upon a time, in the village of Kulyenchikov, there arrived a young man named Leon.  Leon was a schoolteacher, hired to tutor the daughter of the local Doctor.  Little did he know that, upon this town, there was a curse – a curse that caused every man, woman, and child to be born….. with as much common sense as God gave a sandwich.

I’m directing this play, and it’s hilarious.  It’s my first paid college directing job, and you should all come see it because seriously it’s the funniest damn thing you’ll have ever seen.  The dates are above, on the poster, as you can see, and the show is a mere $5.  Five dollars!  For an evening’s entertaniment!  NOTHING costs that little anymore!  You would be… wait for it… a Fool not to come!  (har har).

Presented by Bentley College’s APO at Koumantzelis Auditorium on the Bentley campus in bucolic Waltham, MA.  If you want to come, you know how to contact me for directions.

I should also mention Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, presented by Theatre @ First at the First Congregational Church of Somerville, featuring several people I know, including my foxy and talented girlfriend Alyssa.  It opens Friday, April 4 and runs two weekends – all info can be found by clicking the link above.

 

GeekUSA Most Wanted, March 31, 2008

All blogs are self-congradulatory in one way or another.  They all hinge on the basic idea that someone out there gives a flying fig what you have to say, which is a pretty egotistical prospect, if you think about it.  Unless you’re Joss Whedon or MC Hammer, no one cares but you and your Mom.  And your Mom’s only reading because she wants to spy on you. 

However, WordPress (god bless ’em) makes it real easy to believe that you are, in fact, hot shit; a “new-media mogul” with a virtual audience of cyber-millions.  They do this in a couple of ways, but the most noticable is the “Most Wanted…” feature at the side of your blog.   This is where they list your top 10 posts in order of popularity.  

So, in the interest of disappearing up my own ass finding out what brings people to this blog in the first place, I’ve decided to revisit my “most popular posts”.   Enjoy if you can.

(ed. note: I forgot to mention that GeekUSA recently cracked the 4,000+ hits in a month mark.  Again, thanks, Mom!)

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