SHARK WEEK! 7/27-8/2!!!!

That's right ladies and gentlemen. Tomorrow starts the 21st annual Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. If you aren't familiar with Shark Week, go ahead and skim the wikipedia article here.

Shark week is a fun time of the year for me, and it should be for you too. The Discovery Channel dedicates a week of its programming every year to sharks. Don't be confused though, they host shows ABOUT sharks... not FOR sharks. Shark week is a milestone for summer. I think it's a great way to break in the last month of summer vacation.

Invite friends over. Turn on the tele. Fire up the grill. Wear those sandals. Drink that beer. Watch that shark.

My girlfriend and I chatted about it a few weeks ago and we started brainstorming plans. I encourage all of you to make up your own plans or to expand on ours. Some ideas we came up with were making construction paper shark hats, a Long Beach Aquarium visit, chumming the swim zones with rotten squid (my idea), fishing with dynamite (again, my idea), etc. We only faced one speed bump when we realized neither of us get the discovery channel. This kink will be worked out shortly. Stay tuned.

The discovery channel set up a pretty nice website for their shark stuff though. Check it out here for info on programming and fun links. Check it out here so you can plan your day:


Luckily, it isn't like Coachella where you have to sacrifice one great act to catch another. These are all awesome shark shows on the same great stage. All you need is sunflower seeds, diet coke, and a sofa. The website features links to news articles about sharks, info about sharks, everything. Finally, they one-upped wikipedia for results when you type "shark" into your search engine.

I was reading on the website about some of the shows that were going to be featured and I was totally stoked about the Mythbusters this week. They are going to build a 16-foot RoboShark. This has to be illegal. It's practically a weapon. I'm just hoping that it has lasers to take out the rogue U-Boats left in the English Channel (they're still there, trust me).
Aside from RoboShark, they claim that they will test whether or not dogs attract sharks. Hm.
How do they plan on testing this? I don't like the sound of this one bit. Dogs are not supposed to be tested as sharkbait.

In order to compensate for its cruelty to dogs, the Discovery Channel also posted links to its new ocean conservation blog which is full of information anybody that wants to help out sharks! I encourage you to check this out too because it is our duty as responsible citizens of Earth. More importantly, sharks will eat you if you don't. FACT.

Alright guys, I challenge you to take August into your own hands and have an amazing Shark Week. Bond with friends, watch Jaws, learn about sharks, go to the beach, get eaten, and have a blast. I'll keep you guys updated with my activities, and feel free to contact me to invite me along too!

-jc del barco ii



Gay Driving: Proibito!

While drunk driving is commonly illegal in most nations, Gay driving still holds no conflicts with the law in Italy. Though worth celebrating, this breakthrough for progressive human rights around the world came at the cost of homophobic humiliation and 100, 000 euros.

26 year old Italian, Danilo Giuffrida, won a lawsuit against the state in Italy when the transport ministry told him that he would have to retake his driving license exam due to his recent "sexual idenity disturbance".

He claimed that that he was gay on his military service medical examination. They then sent word over to the Departmento of Motoroni Veihiconolli that Danilo Giuffrida was indeed homosexual. Giuffrida passed the test a second time after agreeing to take it again for being gay. They then issued him a driver's license that expired in a year. Most Italian drivers licenses expire in 10 years.


Read full article here.

I'm not really an Italian stereotype expert or anything, but I don't understand how being gay can make anybody a bad driver. As Nancy as it gets, jammin' out to Madonna on the piazza streets isn't gonna hurt anybody. If anything, I think they would probably just make driving more fashionable.

Upon further thought, I realized that Americans have driving stereotypes too. I'll say what everyone's thought at least once in the States:

Asians, Women, and Old People are a threat to public safety on the roads.

But why? No reason. I think we should all take this as an opportunity to calm down our road rage and let go of stereotypes. Otherwise, we're just as bad as the Italians. Yes, I just took one step backwards with my previous statement.

Italy realized it was being stupid and homophobic so they gave the guy 100,000 euros to cover up the damage and apologize to the modern homophilic community.

If I were him, I'd spend that money on building the gayest car on earth. Pink, glitter, fuzzy dice, poppers, Cindy Lauper, the works. He should get a car so flamin' that it's threat to it's own gastank.

HA! (I've lost all credibility, wit, and dignity with that that joke.)

Here's a link about the Top 10 Gay Cars of 2008.

Well. Here's one for civil rights and DMV inconveniences around the globe!

-jc del barco ii

decent driver/likes pink/dislikes The Man.


My Brightest Diamond: <3

My buddy Charlie invited me to see Sufjan Stevens at the Wiltern in October of '06. I was never a huge fan, but I was excited nonetheless. Opening for Sufjan was a band called
My Brightest Diamond.

A full string quartet, drums, bass, and the best part of all: a dainty and elegant girl with a guitar and haunting voice behind a microphone stand covered in white x-mas lights.
I instantly became a fan of Shara Worden and shortly got a copy of her 2006 debut Bring me the Workhorse.

The young ex-opera performer picked up the rock and roll lifestyle touring as one of Sufjan's Illinoisemakers while opening with her own MBD.

A few months later when I was living in Paris, I got tickets to see her perform in a rock trio version of MBD at Le Point Éphémère. During the opening act, I caught a glimpse of her standing alone at her merch table. I instantly abandoned my party and walked over. I introduced myself and engaged a nice conversation about the french, travel, music, celestas, music boxes, cigarettes, etc. She was kind and charming. For the first time in a long time, there where butterflies in my tummy to accompany the usual nausea.


On June 9th in New York, Worden sent out an e-mail that she would have an in-store performance at Other Music in Manhattan that same night. I made plans with my girlfriend and our friend to swing by. I was lucky to have been in the city then.

When we arrived, there was already a line wrapping around the tiny record store. At 8:30, the crowd started piling in to a tiny shop. Shara Worden walked up with a nicely decorated polka-dot dress and her string quartet followed. I was a good 4-5 feet away from her. It was crowded, but the intimacy of the performance was deep and exciting. The strings resonated naturally in a small environment, and her powerful voice was heard well, even without the help of a mic. She looked the audience in the eyes and smiled and sang to us.

Watch this short documentary about the evening which is posted on her website:

After the set, we hung around to greet her. My girlfriend and friend were hungry, but I insisted that we say hi. She was also upset that I wouldn't hold her hand around Shara Worden. At the time I didn't see it as a big deal, but in retrospect, I was being a dick. Sorry MK. I got a chance to say hi to her, but I was nervous because she was talking to me and I could tell that my girlfriend was irritated. I didn't mention that I had spoken with her in Paris and instead asked her something stupid about her new album.

I ruined my chance of striking up a fan/celebrity friendship. Perhaps next time... hopefully...


The next week, her new album A Thousand Shark's Teeth hit the public. It's a lovely album. Wonderful string arrangements over some 90's reminiscent grunge guitar all lead by Shara's wonderful vocals. I'd say the new album is a fusion of jazz, 90's rock, and classical music. She is an American Edith Piaf with a song writing style of Jeff Buckley. To be honest, I felt like a 30 year old woman when I first heard the album. It's very feminine. Some of the singing cries out painfully, while other songs like
Apples have an innocent playfulness to them. Pick the album up and see for yourself.

It wasn't her albums that won me over though. It's her presence. See her live. I've seen her live in LA at a huge venue with about a 12 person band, in a small shitty Parisian venue with a guitar, drums and bass, and in a tiny record shop with a quartet. Each time, she managed to have an incredible sound and had the charm to win the hearts of everyone in the room. Though I've been to plenty of shows in my life, I would defend that Shara Worden is one of the best performers I've ever experienced.

Again, see for yourself.

-jc del barco ii

fan/teenage girl/bad boyfriend