The Sidewalk Crusaders Network

Archive 4: 12/31/02 - 9/22/03




3.1.03 12:40 AM

Guess Who's Back, Back Again, Guess Who's Back, Tell A Friend.

Yeah, so how about that new years promise of mine to update the page more. Just another shining moment in Sidewalk Crusaders history. Now that I have time to update we will see how frequent they come. In local Sidewalk Crusaders news Exacta and I are feverishly working on the Mexican food portion of the web site. we have been doing mucho research on "new to us" establishments that seem to be popping up in our area. Soon we will actually write something about them.

*Warning* The following is one of the prized Andrew hates the youth rants.
So there are some kids out there who are in their teens, you know the types. They are smelly and dirty because they are punk rock and refuse to bow down to the man and do stuff like shower. Anyway these kids think is radical to "do what they want" you know the whole "Its a Free country man, Anarchy" deal. Anyway Tiffany and I were in the Jack in the Box the other day enjoying one of the many value menu items. At the other end of the building are these two little punks, with their skateboards in tow. Anyway one kid is eating while the other has his head on the table. To the untrained eye he looks tired, but to my well-trained eyes I could tell this kid was having a problem. Either he was stabbed in the stomach and that's why he was all bent over or he was going to blow some chunks. so his partner in crime finishes his meal and gets up approaching the counter. At the counter he asks for something and the lady gets it for him. It turns out to be a bag. He takes this bag back to his companion who then stands up and proceeds to puke into the bag for about 1-2 minutes in front of everyone, the whole time the staff is yelling at them to leave. Finally the kid finishes, looks around drops the bag on the ground and him and his buddy leave and skate off down the street. I hate these people. I mean really, I was trying to eat.

Want to buy a car, live in the San Diego area? Drop me a E-mail

So anyway my car I am not selling is chugging away at a stupendous 14 miles per gallon with coolant leaking from the engine. The Brown and Tan as it is widely known is rolling light with the middle seat removed creating a luxury area for the people in back. The reduction in weight didn't save it from its unfortunate fall the other day. My dad and I were trying to locate the leak when we lifted the car up on to two platforms, one for each front wheel. On the way back down the ramp from the plat form the front left ramp fell and so did the front of the car causing damage to my front left fog light. So now in addition to the rock dent in the back of my van I have a busted front fog lamp making my car that much classier.

I think a web page that discussed local beaches and local issues in San Diego would be a blockbuster idea. But what would I call it?

So to wrap this up I think some Brief News is in order

I bought a gun, sorta.

According to a license plate holder I saw Divers do it with a twist... who knew.

Missy Eliot has officially lost her mind. Flip it and reverse it. dnim reh tsol yllaciffo sah toilE yssiM

My MCL and ACL were messed up, I have been recovering, I feel a lot better now.

The super bowl came and went, Exacta and I made money selling dollies we bought there.

I have a cell phone, I am not that guy.

The Big and Tasty was a Dolla is now a Dolla sixty-nine. I no longer want to holla.

Foo Fighters are coming here so is Pearl Jam. two guys with a website are stoked.





12.31.02 4:30 AM


Pic O' the Day: In the front is an annual ornament my mom buys for me, we have every one in the series except one. The series started the year I was born (1980), and we're only missing 1981. Fortunately, since she doesn't read this, I can say that my Christmas goal for 2003 is to buy my mom the one she doesn't have. It'll set me back a good $200, but it's one of the few traditions we really have and I'd like to complete the set before it gets any higher. Behind that are the four cards I received, L-R: Mom, Mom & Ron, Aunt Callie, and Jen!! Go Jen Go!! I feel semi-adult now that I'm receiving my own cards from people who aren't my relatives, even if it's just one. It's a start, I'm tellin' ya. Even the hype about Jesus had to start with just one guy going "seriously dude, this guy knows what he's talking about. You free Sunday?"

Year (?) News: This year blew. Seriously, it really really sucked hard. My grandma died, I had to move in here, I'm poor, a friend became a flake, good shows were cancelled, shitty bands got even more popular, about 115 minutes of cinema was actually of quality, my socks got holes in them at record speeds, kiddiefucker David Westerfield took up too much of my Price Is Right time, my computer got a trojan, my monitor went all batty, and worst of all, Bush II is still the head honcho.

There were some upsides to it all, however. I've begun to spend more time with Brian, Mike, and Thanh (in alphabetical order, of course...can't have them getting big heads over who's listed first), three fun guys who I'm glad to call my friends, and of course, it's been another quality year of friendship with my main man Andrew. We are each better off for having good friends, I know that for sure. Despite all the crap that's gone down this year, it's probably helped me become tougher and more focused on what I need to do and what I want to do to achieve my ultimate goal, personal happiness. It's a long path, so I need to remind myself frequently to take it one task at a time so as not to get overwhelmed with the concept of a large plan.

Okay, enough of that Stuart Smalley personal affirmation shit, it'll be there when I want it, that's why I type it out instead of writing it on tortillas.

Now, slipping in under the deadline by about 21 hours, here it is (yelled like Dom Joly on "Trigger Happy TV")...


01. Sparta - Wiretap Scars
02. Red Animal War - Black Phantom Crusades
03. Pearl Jam - Riot Act
04. Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
05. Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet
06. Mars Volta - Tremulant
07. The Roots - Phrenology
08. Pretty Girls Make Graves - Good Health
09. Rocket From The Crypt - Live From Camp X-Ray
10. Your Enemies Friends - The Wiretap EP
11. Foo Fighters - One By One
12. Sleater-Kinney - One Beat

Let it be said first off, that I found 2002 to be seriously lacking in solid albums. I almost pared this down to a top 10, or a top 8, until I was reminded of a couple other discs at the last minute which helped fill out the group. I've noticed a strange anomaly with what I like versus what others like. Take some of the most beloved movies of all time: Titanic, Star Wars, ET...I really don't like any of those. Music? Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Elvis...nah. I'll pass. Some movies and bands just under that top 1% echelon are my favorites, however when it comes to the ultimate in almost any form of art, it doesn't really click for me. Why the hell am I telling you this? Because 2002 was, almost unanimously, a banner year for quality music in the eyes of most people whose tastes I trust and respect. Granted, that's about 6 people on this planet, but they serve as good benchmarks. I, on the other hand, wasn't swept up by the Flaming Lips' effort, nor was I particularly wowed by albums by Interpol, Spoon, or Wilco, all bands who released universally applauded discs. Not saying they weren't good, but they just didn't have what I was looking for in 2002. Perhaps I shouldn't have been 'looking' for anything, instead I should have just let the music come to me, but I definitely gave the records by the above-mentioned bands numerous spins, with trips to the Recycle Bin the result. I mean, back to the record store, to retu- oh, who am I kidding, when my dad's on Morpheus downloading Sting tracks you know it's gotten retardedly mainstream and acceptable. So, yeah, definitely some winners this year (draw the line after #7 on my list for what I thought were 4/5 and 4.5/5 albums (no 5/5s this year) and what I thought were 3/5 albums), but compared to my take on last year's efforts
(here, at the bottom), some things were definitely missing.

01. Sparta's "Wiretap Scars"
In the wake of At The Drive-In, it was only fitting that the first full-length from the non-afro creative side came out with a powerhouse of a disc ready to prove that ATDI was more than just a crazy frontman and his equally psychotic guitar sidekick. Studio demos from Sparta were around in the fall of '01, making the wait for 'Wiretap' all the more excruciating. Add to that a tour in late '01 and another in early '02, and it was clear the band was on the right track to creating an A-bomb of an album. It's difficult for a band to take a pop mindset and turn it on its end to make a heavy, crunching melody, but tracks like "Air" and "Cut Your Ribbon" do just that, and Sparta did it better than any other band in 2002. The attack of three guitars and a keyboard add space to the more melodic numbers, with "Sans Cosm" being an upbeat, driving rocker that still maintains a large, polished feeling held up by the arpeggiating (is that a word? it is now) notes thrown back and forth between right and left channels. "Sans Cosm" also has my favorite lyric of the year :

Someday low notes fade away and go
True and stale, true and stale
Somewhere words don't crater in at all

My album of the year has to have an amazing closing song, and this year's is no exception. "Assemble The Empire" was one of the last songs written for the disc, proving this band was on their game from their first meetings until the last day of recording. The final moments of the disc, with vocalist Jim Ward screaming, pleading, "Slow down," strike heavy and leave a stunning impact. Not bad for a debut album. While it's anyone's guess to say if the afro bros. in The Mars Volta are looking to best their former bandmates, they have a hell of a hill to climb if they want to get close.

02. Red Animal War's "Black Phantom Crusades"
I went from hearing nothing about this album to preordering it in about 5 minutes in September, thanks to the fine folks at I sung the praises of this group last year, as they made my #1 slot then with a brilliant debut of their own with "Breaking In An Angel." If they ever toured West of Texas (3 years as a band, they've played in EUROPE for christ's sake, yet they can't take the 10 West to the 8 or the 40 and hit up California), I'd have gladly gone up and down the Golden State coast for a handful of shows, but perhaps it's a good thing, as I've had more motivation to play the hell out of their first two discs. 'BPC' shows some definite growth from 'BIAA' in the area of percussion, bass, and lyrics. The prerequisite 9/11 theme is approached here better than on any other song in 2002 (screw Bruce Springsteen, "The Rising" stunk), with the track "When I Get The Feelin' (Back In My Hands):

if there is nothing to fear
then fear itself would you yield
they were not supposed to be here
i still love laying in fields
and staring up to get real
it makes the world just seem so clear

and all the words that they say
don't let 'em turn you to clay
yeah i know it's not fair
i'm waking up to the sound
of new york coming down
i never knew we could be so scared

did the timing
seem like lightning
i'm afraid it did
she's got new shoes
he wears an old hat
what's it matter
what's it matter

Toby Keith they're not, but who is! Hah!

Red Animal War have a sound that I've heard described as "angular" by people who know about this stuff more than I do. I'll have to go with that, and say that they do the "angular" sound better than any other band playing. Unfortunately, it seems like nobody knows about these guys after two superb records, and they may be the kind of band that, four years after they've broken up, become the blueprint for a new direction of inventive music by people who finally see the brilliance of these Texans.

03. Pearl Jam's "Riot Act"
Definitely not their best disc. Better than "Binaural," hell yes. They've lost a step or two over the last 3 years, however the evolution of the songwriting process within the band has produced some amazing tracks, equal to anything they've written in the 1990s. The downside to this change is a polarized reaction to the songs on the disc. Tracks like "Thumbing My Way" and "You Are" are, unquestionably, within the bottom 10 Pearl Jam songs ever written. On the flip side, "helphelp" and "All Or None," particularly the latter, immediately found their way into my personal "PJ Best Of" playlist. "helphelp" is reminiscent of "Amnesiac"/"Kid A"-style Radiohead numbers, complete with surging guitars and keyboards, three layers of vocals in some parts, a "Rats"-esque meltdown in the last 60 seconds, and a bouncing bass by the song's author, Jeff Ament, who has written my favorite Pearl Jam song on the last three albums (helphelp/Sleight Of Hand/Push Me, Pull Me). Perhaps it's my taste for the more experimental Pearl Jam sound, but these songs are all outcasts compared to the rest of their catalog, are dismissed by the more short-sighted fans who like their rock music straightforward and linear, and scare the band enough to where they're rarely played live, if at all. "Green Disease" is a rocker the Police or Neil Finn could have collaborated to write, "Get Right" is the best garage rocker in a year of garage rock bands, "Save You" is another in the "Hail, Hail"/"Spin The Black Circle"/"Brain Of J."/"Gods' Dice" frame, and could possibly be the best of that bunch. Time will definitely tell on that one. "Love Boat Captain," the band's ode to those lost in the Roskilde tragedy, is appropriate, respectful, extremely powerful, and should stand as the band's trademark song for the second half of their careers. The trophy track for this disc, however, is "All Or None." Mike McCready's intro riff should be illegal, it's just that beautiful. Lyrics fit, aren't anything amazing, but fit the sober tone of the disc. Boom's feathered piano isn't too obtrusive (that goes for his role on the rest of the songs as well), Matt Cameron's playing as delicate as he humanly can, which is still a pinch rough for a song of this nature, but it's a minor complaint that can be overlooked quite easily. The song winds down with McCready getting silly with a hot riff leading to a fadeout, definitely a theme throughout the album. Their best closer in six years.

Okay, that's 3 for ya, since these are contingent on time I'll try to get the next three batches up quickly. These three were the albums I wanted to talk the most about, the rest won't be nearly as long, and the final 6 albums will most likely be the length of just one of the reviews above, as I just didn't feel too terribly passionate about those.


Quote Of The Day:
(The English language version of Auld Lang Syne, not the crazy Scottish version where the words don't make any sense. And yeah, I almost ALWAYS put in a personal quote here, but I haven't been out much and it's December 31st.)

Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And days of long ago!

For old long ago, my dear
For old long ago,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For old long ago.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
For old long ago.

We two have paddled in the stream
From noon until dinner time,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since old long ago.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we will take a goodwill draught
For old long ago!

And surely you will pay for your pint,
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet
For old long ago!




12.31.02 1:05 AM

2002, The year in review.

As the year started last January there was a lot of things on the horizon, most never came to be. Others began to become bigger than life. in this year in review I hope to let you see the year 2002 from my eyes. Lets begin.

Okay January marked the beginning of my last semester as a student at Penn State. My classes seemed to be going great. Judo class seemed like it was going to be all fun and games, you know like they make it look like in the movies. Soon I began to see how much Judo resembles wrestling. Now nothing against wrestlers or gay people but it seems to be the most Homoerotic sport there is. After a few days I began to not feel weird grabbing a guy to throw him or pin him down. I don't know though, somewhere between my youth and now I lost the mentality that it was Ok to pin another guy to the ground. Still this makes me feel uneasy. But after I was getting my ass kicked twice a week I soon began to fight back. Still got my ass kicked quite a bit... but I won a few matches.

February rolled in cold as usual. The 13th of February marked the 1 year anniversary of my daily update page which as most of you can tell has only been losing steam since then, though there is always the shimmer of hope that it will again revive itself into the glory of its early days.

March, Spring break, I brought Tiffany to San Diego to see what it was all about. Not much else happened except for a lot of tests and papers

April was pretty much my last month at Penn State. I learned that I would be going to Egypt on the 28th. This caused a mad 2 week rush at the end of the month to get everything packed and in order so that I could make this trip. Unfortunately this left a lot less fee time than I wanted too spend with my friends who I would be leaving behind to endure up to 2 more years of college without me. And really folks if I am not there, what's the point. They should have just dropped out. I was the life of that university. And that statement is 100% correct if life of the University meant sitting in a room and bouncing a ball with my friends.

May saw me traveling in Egypt for most of the month with my Professor and her grad student. I soon became the life of Egypt. Actually I was scared for most of the first few days there. I didn't know when but I knew there was some guy named Mustafa and he was waiting in a cab or behind a camel waiting for me to slip and pledge my allegiance to the United States. Then he would spring forth and capture me not for ransom but for show. I was to be a Example of what happens to American capitalist pig dogs. of course this never came about but I know that it was only a matter of me being careful and not stepping on the sidewalk cracks that kept me alive and safe. I did however see a lot of Anti-Israel music videos that really struck me as scary and somewhat sick. I do however have a better appreciation for Arab people and I understand a lot more how they think and why they think that way.

June saw me back in the states. After a visit to Tiffany in New Jersey it was to Pittsburgh to stay with my relatives there until my cousin was done with school and we could drive to California. Our drive went smoothly. We stay in the best motels America had to offer. The Astro Van's AC went on the fritz a long time ago. So we drove with only the vent fan on. Hot as balls people, hot as balls. When we stopped in Arizona for the night we stopped at Denny's and proceeded to quiz the server on what she thought we were going to order as if it was her duty to guess out order. Poor lady, at least we tipped her well. Back in San Diego things went smooth. Nate (My cousin) went to Best Buy with Brad and I and helped us in our search for Mike (the mysteriously busy salesman who apparently put us on a list to be helped after 4 other people above us.) after giving up finding Mike. Nate forced the Best Buy employees into submission with a rendition of "We Didn't Start the Fire" on the Keyboard at full volume.

The rest of June and July saw much Unemployment and laziness. Much of my television watching was hindered by the David Westerfield Trial. I mean really, they kept preempting the Price is Right to show child pornography on my TV. Kids getting Kidnapped (they never found that Mormon girl did they? you know the one who was kidnapped by the guy who looked like Brad's dad)

The Summer had two catchphrases that saw much use. "This Party's Over" and "Buy You a Beer" neither got old or worn out, and believe me we tried. The stuff is still funny

August saw me return to SONY to work on NHL FaceOff 2003 this lasted to about October 10th with little to no free time in between. The Chargers looked like contenders.

In October I went back to PSU for a few days. Most everyone I wanted to see was home for Fall break but Tiffany was there so it was all good. After returning form there and calling Sony I was unemployed for another month until I got picked up to work on some Online titles at Sony. from then on I was working steady In between there were a few great BBQs at My house, Brian's House and Crown Point.

December. I move out of my house and into my new apartment. The hectic holiday season was magnified by the rush to get moved in before Tiffany got here. with help from my friends and family it all came together. The Chargers were no longer contenders.

I am sure I left a few things out of this, but I just moved and things have been hectic. so if you notice something post it in the comments bar or Email it to me.

Happy New Year.

- Andrew