Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Job is Weird.

Recently we tried to win the Domino's pizza account at my work, which meant we had to come up with a new tagline for them. Currently their tagline is: Get the Door. It's Domino's. which isn't all that bad, really.

Anyway, writing taglines is mostly about writing really bad ones until someone else comes up with the one they go with. That's been my experience, anyway. But I think it's kind of fun to try.

Here are my favorite rejected taglines Mitch and I came up with for Domino's Pizza, most of them rejected for good reason. Here goes:

Let us in your house! We're covered in cheese.

This slice of pizza is your ticket to funtown. Seriously,
hang on to it.

Open up! We know you're in there! Because you ordered a pizza.

If you're boring and lame, please don't call for our awesome pizza.

Legally, we can't bring all these pizzas to your house unless you call first.

Knock Knock. Who's there? It's pizza.

We await your orders.

Pizza is imminent!

If your pizza is cold, we eat it in front of you to punish ourselves.

If you ever open your door and don't see pizza, you should call us.

AND, my favorite:

We're going to take a slice at you.

There you have it. So, I guess my point is I get paid to do this.
Oh, and also we didn't win the account.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I drive bad.

I just got blog-tagged by my friend Angela, which is something I didn't even know could happen. Apparently, it can; and for this particular tag, I have to post about my worst bad habit, then challenge someone else to do the same. Hmm. Thanks, Ang.

Thinking my wife would know my worst bad habit better than anyone else, I decided to go and ask her. She told me, then got really excited about it and listed several more, so I had to remind her that I only needed to hear about the WORST bad habit and after that she could keep it to herself, thank you very much.

So, according to Erin, my worst bad habit is my driving. In particular, the slowness of my driving. Something about my ability to go from 60 to 35 without even noticing it, especially if I'm talking.

She's not the first to criticize my driving techniques (as I prefer to think of them). My friend and coworker Mitch once approached the subject from a different angle: "You don't really drive in the direction of where you're going, you just start driving and turning and eventually work your way there on a random path." Is that bad?, I thought... but I couldn't really defend myself to Mitch because once at work I didn't pull up my parking break and my truck rolled around the parking deck until it stopped somewhere on his car's bumper.

I guess I should have realized it before now, but it's actually taken me a while to accept that I'm not the fastest (or best) driver. I remember going on a cross country trips with some friends, where we would all rotate driving to make it there through the night. Oddly, my turn never came up even after everyone else had 2 or 3 turns. I guess no one likes to meander Whitener-style.

Fine with me. My only defense to complainers is that I just don't like driving. At least, I don't like driving fast. I like to take my time with the windows down, listening to music. Concentrating on where I'm going or how fast I get there sounds like hard work to me.

It's all about the journey, man, not the destination.

So, that's my bad habit. In return, I "tag" my friend Chris Glenn. Sorry man.

My advice: don't ask your wife.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Movie Update.

Since my post the other day was all about this kind of thing, I felt I should point out some developing news: Apparently, Ridley Scott is going to direct a Monopoly movie.


Mm-hmm. Based on the board game.



I can only assume Russell Crowe will be playing the street-tough iron.

Strange news, but it did make me realize that a Hungry, Hungry Hippos movie would actually be really, really awesome. I mean really. Hippos on a rampage. So, maybe this will lead to that.

Why do you hate my eyeballs?

Today I got hit in one eye with a sharp toddler fingernail and the other eye with a surprisingly well-handled drumstick. Robin was the former, Lucy was the latter.

Through searing eyeball pain, I marveled at the fact that you don't see as many dads with eyepatches as you would think, based on the sheer numer of eye pokings that must take place at any given second around the world.

4 Chords & The Truth

This is a great city to live in. I saw Bob Dylan last night at Stubb's BBQ, a smallish outdoor venue. I was about 30-40 ft from him, so I could see all his facial expressions and odd leg movements. I don't know a lot of his stuff, besides the stuff that everybody knows, but it was a pretty neat show all in all. Espeically from a 65 year old dude in a Mariachi outfit of sorts. I didn't know what to expect from the show, but I enjoyed it.

You think I'm over the hill
You think I'm past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin' good time

Said Bob during "Spirit on the Water". Leave it to Bob to sum up the experience for you.

Surprising (to me) is that Bob played the keyboard almost the entire time. And, he does "new arrangements" of all of his songs so that it's hard to know them even when you hear them, which is not the best thing ever, but it's interesting.

On the way in it was so crowded that the people I went with started talking about that Who concert in Ohio where people got trampled trying to rush the stage. Oddly, the guy in line in front of us piped up with "I was at that show". Later, we were looking for a place to stand and settled for a moment until we realized we stopped right next to that guy. We repositioned just in case that guy was the actual trampling initiator.

The show highlights (for me) were It Ain't Me, Babe, Cry A While and the aforementioned Spirit on the Water. Thunder on the Mountain was pretty awesome, too, but it creeped me out a little bit because apparently it's about Bob's fascination with Alicia Keys, and that's disturbing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kingdom of the Whuzzah?

Yes, it's official. The next installment will be called "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."


Did they let George "Attack of the Phantom Menace" Lucas come up with that one? Oh, I guess so.

I have to say it makes me a little less interested. What does the Crystal Skull refer to? How am I supposed to care? Perhaps it's referring to Harrison Ford's crystallized skull, petrified with age? Probably not.

Anyway, that's the new name. I challenge you in the comments to come up with better. Here's my attempts.

Indiana Jones & The Aging Relative Who Won't Leave
Indiana Jones & Wasn't it Gross in the Last One Where He and His Dad Slept With the Same Lady
Indiana Jones & The Walker To Help Me Get Around A Little Better
Indiana Jones & The Shia LeBouf For Some Reason

Ok, I'm done.

There's going to be a JOUST movie.

Seriously. A movie of the old video game Joust. You know, knights riding ostriches in outer space, fighting for giant eggs over pits of lava? That Joust.

They better include that creepy hand that came out of the Lava every now and then to grab you. I'm a stickler about that.

Actually, I think this is awesome news, but the trend of taking beloved obscure things from my childhood, digitizing them, then making me pay to see them in the theater is getting a little creepy. What's next? What's left?

This is a good time to introduce my Conversation Snippets From the Future MachineTM.

That's right, a machine that picks up conversations from the future. Let's set it to Nerd Talk, 5 years from now and tune in and see what we get...


"I wasn't really excited about the Burger Time movie at first, but then I heard Tarantino was directing..."


"I'll go see Elevator Action, but I heard there's only one real elevator scene in it."

"I was skeptical about Michel Gondry's Mad Magazine movie until he cast Robert Downey jr. as Alfred E. Newman. Now it's going to be awesome."

"Hostess Fruit Pies? Jon Voigt will star in ANYTHING."


"They're making the E.T. Atari game into a movie? That doesn't even make sense!"


Wow, pretty fun machine. Seriously, though, Hollywood, when you make Pitfall The Movie, PLEASE don't let it star Brendan Fraser. I feel like I've seen that movie already.

But it should have that crazy tarzan sound effect whenever anyone uses a vine. I'm a stickler about that.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Keeping Austin Weird.

It turns out that the town of Austin is in full support of a guy dancing around town in a Kangaroo costume playing Australia's national anthem on a keytar.

Let me back up.

As most of you may know, Austin's unofficial motto is "Keep Austin Weird", emblazoned in sticker form across cars, minivans and your average station wagon covered in disco balls and flowers with a statue of a mermaid on top.

I've only been living here a year now, but I have to say, like everyone else in town, that you get used to it.

"A guy crossing the road on a scooter wearing a batman cowl, a tiny batman doll's body strapped underneath his chin? Of course. That makes perfect sense."

"An 80 year old man sticking his head out of the back window of his pickup, consoling a giant caged exotic bird with cooing noises as he plummets down the highway? Naturally."

"A guy jogging in a diaper? It must be noon already."

I've seen all those things and it barely stalled my conversation each time. Ok, except maybe the guy in the diaper.

Well, I'm proud to say I've done my part to keep the legend going. Last week we had to film a commercial here in town where it totally made sense to have my friend Mitch dress up in a Kangaroo costume and dance around various Austin landmarks playing the Australian national anthem on his keytar.

Some other cities wouldn't put up with that crap.

Not Austin. People were driving by, honking their horns, giving us enthusiastic thumbs ups all around. "Yeah!!! That's right!" One guy yelled. Cheers poured out of another car full of folks. I'm not sure if they knew what they were in full support of, exactly, but they were definitely behind it, 100%.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Speaking of Lucy...

If God told me my whole purpose in life was to watch that kid eat an apple, I'd be totally fine with that.

Seriously, you should see her lie on the floor eating an apple slice. With her crazy teeth. And loud, satisfied munching. She just stares at you very calmly, totally comfortable with herself, and occasionally lifts her eyebrows in fake surprise for no reason.

My wife pointed out that that probably was my purpose in life, so I guess it works out pretty well for me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Floppy Muscle Power

How is it that kids, let's say around 1 1/2 years old, can totally go floppy at will?

What I mean is, if you try to pick my daughter Lucy up, and she's not game, she can totally relax all her muscles in such a way where it's impossible to lift her at all. Like an overloaded water balloon, she flops to safety. I think it's her super power. Maybe she was bitten by a radioactive overloaded water balloon or something.

Anyway, why do we totally lose this ability when we become adults? I'm pretty sure if anyone wanted to scoop me off of the sidewalk and into their black unmarked van they could do it. But if I could go totally floppy...

Band names, pt. II

So, the point of yesterdays post was to lead up to this: I have a new band and I need a new band name. And, as I proved yesterday, band names are hard. Or, at least I proved I'm bad at coming up with them.

My new band is me on guitar & singing, Brian Jordan on lead guitar/pedal steel, Chris Troutman on bass, Jerry Bodrie on drums, and Michael Anderson on keyboards.

Currently we're planning on using the name:

The Sheeps

I like the way it's plural, but wrong at being plural. Plus sheep are nice. The new band is going to have a nice sound, kind of laid back with some distorted bass, warm reverby keyboard, nice twangy guitar and some pleasant harmonies. I wanted the name to kind of have a pastoral feel about it, but I'm not 100% sold on it yet.

What do you guys think of the name? I'd be interested to know. Here are some alternates that have been considered to various degrees:

Wes Whitener & The Library of Congress
Library Card
The Library
Apple Tree
Rock & Roll Confidant
The pigeons and birds
Mono Lake
the new fiction
The Barn Owls
birds illustrated
the little sunsets
farmers of georgia
the letter writers
the famous characters
the plums
the nonfiction section

Again, band names are hard.

I'm also playing bass in my friend Mitch's band, and that band doesn't have a name yet either. We've got a huge list, though, and we're trying. My favorite two for that band are:

Tested by Tigers
Because I'm the King


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Band names I have subjected others to

So, I've been playing in "bands" since I was in like the 5th grade, some more pretend than others, but all with pretty stupid names, it turns out. At the suggestion of my friend Brian, I complied a list of all the bands I've played in, from Elementary school through College and beyond, into the probably-too-old-to-still-have-a-band days.

My requirement to be on the list was to have made a recording of some kind, even if it was hitting record on my dad's Commodore 64 tape cassette player and "singing" without instruments.

Please enjoy the following awful names, with unnecessary & incredibly long commentary on some of the standout names to follow.

Here goes:

Wesley & Nathan
Him & The Other Guy
Rubber Duckies From Hell
Suction Cup Monkey
The Invisible Pine cones
Bliss Trip
Mr. Antelope
The Funk Alans
The Options
David Dancing
The Bakery Boys
Peachtree Salvage
Baby Jessica
The Chromosomes
Wes Whitener & the Holy Roman Empire
The Adults
Ft. Lauderdale Mi Amour
Rock and Roll Summer

Adventure: This was my first experience recording things. My friend Greg Fast and I, in elementary school, recorded the audio track for a puppet show we wrote (I guess so that we could focus on the puppetry), which featured numerous songs, mostly about Centipede and Pac-Man. My favorite song goes "They were friends, They were friends" over and over. Pretty darn cute.

Wesley & Nathan
: This was my friend Nathan and me, obviously. This went from Elementary to Middle School. We wanted to be Weird Al, like every middle school boy should. I think our shining moments were "Fig Time" (Peter Gabriels's Big Time), "Living with the Mayor" (Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer) and "Material Girl" which was obviously Madonna's Material Girl, but the twist here was that our version was about a woman made completely of cloth. So you know that was awesome.

Him & The Other Guy
: This was the beginning of a long musical friendship between Fred Copley and myself. I played the casio, Fred played a Flying V guitar. Our musical teaming began in middle school and lasted through college, when he realized that playing with me meant he would be in bands with names like "Him and The Other Guy" and he promptly began to write non-middle school level music on his own. These were fun times, though. Our first tune was called "Black Widow" because we thought we had to be really scary and tough. In those days, we just wrote a song to record it once, then never played it again, which I think is kind of nice.

Rubber Duckies From Hell: This was a band I played in during middle school and probably the first band I played in with a drummer, my friend Todd. Our original name was going to be "Jimmy Stewart's Rubber Duckies From Hell" but we were actually worried about getting sued, so we dropped the first part. I guess our 60 min. Magnavox cassette tape could've ended up in the wrong hands. "Inflatable Spanish Sushi on a Stick", our only hit, is still one of the best songs I've ever been a part of.

Suction Cup Monkey: Well, this one is a terrible name, but close to my heart because I loved being in this band all through high school. We changed our name a couple of times, because folks booking us at shows kept saying "Sucksum Butt Chunky". We had a large number of people in the band over time, and eventually played a lot of fun parties and several pointless shows at seedy clubs in downtown Atlanta. Our last day of school party during our senior year of high school was legendary (in my mind.) Ending on "This Monkey's gone to Heaven" was a nice touch. Ah, those were nice times. I was often a dork, but it was fun.

Crushed: Ok, this one almost doesn't count, because we never recorded anything. My friend Todd asked his dad if he could help us get paying gigs, and his dad told us to learn 50 songs and then he would book us shows (turns out he meant weddings and parties, he was a DJ). So we worked hard on songs we thought we should learn for that, but didn't really care for. "I Remember You" By Skid Row and for some reason "California Sun". Eventually we realized that we never would learn 50 songs and that Todd's dad probably knew that.

The Invisible Pinecones: One of the better names, sadly. My friend Nathan's band.

Bliss Trip: This was Suction Cup Monkey trying to find a better name, and failing miserably. Turns out "Bliss Trip" sounds like "Blister Rip" which means exactly the opposite thing. And either way the name is terrible.

Mr. Antelope: This is what we tried after "Bliss Trip". I can't remember the reasoning but I bet it was interesting. Lasted all of a month or so before switching back to Suction Cup Monkey and suggesting to folks that they just call us SCM. Turns out they just didn't call us.

The Funk Alans: My friend Alan and I recorded a couple songs under this name. Alan was a part of Suction Cup Monkey for several years before "finding peace" and giving up the drums, which is the best drummer-quitting excuse I've ever heard.

Mulch: This was basically my friends Sean & Errol and whoever they invited over to play songs with them, mostly people who didn't know how to play their instruments. It was very, very fun.

David Dancing: Hmm. This was a band that Fred and I got drafted into at our church with some older guys. It was my first foray into playing in a faux heavy metal band, except this one was not in on the joke.

The Bakery Boys: This band barely existed, but included Sean from SCM and Mulch and our friend Tim on drums. We did record a few songs, one of which was an ironic cover of "fight for your right to party" in which we realized the line "Dad you're just jealous we're the Beastie Boys” had to change because we weren't the Beastie Boys. Hence the name Bakery Boys.

Peachtree Salvage: This was my band my Freshman year of college, named after a thrift store in the metro Atlanta area. I still kind of like this name.

Baby Jessica: I had nothing to do with this name, another joint effort with my friend Nathan, but I do remember a pretty awesome cover of Jack & Diane at our first and only show in Athens.

Wes Whitener & The Holy Roman Empire: Well, this name started when it was just me on guitar and my friend Amy McCollum on the drums. I thought it was pretty great to have one person, a girl drummer (My Pastor's wife, even) and refer to her as the Holy Roman Empire. Our first show was at the Q-Zar laser tag in Athens, where Servotron had just played a show. I assumed they had mikes and a PA, and was wrong, so I sang in to a headset mike that got broadcast throughout the laser tag playing area. A Capella. So that was pretty awesome. Eventually we added Davis on bass and another guy Brian on keys, and played a couple of shows during the Olympics in downtown Athens, which was a whole lot of fun. Later, another band appeared with the name Holy Roman Empire so we dropped it.

The Adults: WW & The Holy Roman Empire became the Adults, and played one show under that name on Live in the Lobby at 90.5. Then we found out there was already a punk band of sorts with that name, so we dropped it.

Ft. Lauderdale Mi Amour: Formerly the Adults. This name lasted about a week before switching it to:

Rock and Roll Summer: For some reason I was really particular about not being Rock N' Roll Summer. Something about that N' bothered me. Seems like a weird thing to mandate, looking back. This was some of the most fun I've had in a band.

Pants!: This band was formed at my last job, McKinney, by my boss David in order to enter the Battle of the Ad Bands in NY. We won that with our faux heavy metal Rock Opera about pants and then won the next year as well (with the opening song "Did you see us last year, we were awesome"). Then we entered the Fortune 500 Battle of the Ad bands at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won that as well. That was one of my favorite band moments, because we closed with the song "Thank You for Inducting Us to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" which is clearly not what happened, and caused a lot of concern from the Hall of Fame staffers. We even presented ourselves onstage with a giant check for a million trillion dollars. Good times. We ended the band with a recording at one of the best recording studios I've ever been in, and got an excellent sounding recording of our faux metal tunes. To quote my friend Jerry, the drummer: "Why is THIS the best recording I ever made?"

Whew, that was a long and only-fun-for-me list. Hope you found a way to enjoy or read it.