Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Once upon a time I was in a band.

Well, once upon a time I was in several bands. All at once. I never had time for anything else and I basically spent all my free time in the cesspool that is Downtown Music. But that all came later.

While browsing through Spotify at work a few weeks back, I stumbled down a hole of mid-to-late 90's radio songs. These were songs that I loved when I was in my first band in 1995. I'd listen to the radio while doing homework and there was always a blank tape in the tape deck. If I heard a song that I loved, I'd immediately hit record. I didn't have the money to buy CD's all the time, so taping songs from the radio seemed like the best way to go.

The first band I was ever in happened that same year when I was 15. I had gotten an acoustic guitar for Christmas when I was 12 (my brother got an electric guitar the same year which was always weird to me, since he showed no interest in learning, but...) and slowly learned how to play. Eventually, I was good enough to sing and change between basic chords at the same time, so I got some friends together and we got a band going. I continually borrowed my brother's guitar, and my other friends had their parents get some equipment for them at one of those rent-to-own places.

I don't remember who came up with the name Ronaldo* and the Smoothies, but we thought it was hilarious and rolled with it. We were all 15 and a name that was "witty at first, but got less funny each time you heard it," was just the way to go.

*The original spelling was "Renaldo," but I brought it up on the soccer podcast that I do in which we were talking about Christiano Ronaldo. Just to piss off my friend Oz, I retroactively decided that we were named after the Portuguese soccer player who would have been 10 years old at the time.*

We had wildly different tastes in music and no one could really agree on what to do. We weren't good enough to write songs, so we started playing covers. We learned "Day Tripper" by The Beatles, "Polly" by Nirvana and "Wild Thing" by Every Band That Ever Existed and played a show on New Year's Eve 1995. After that, we got a bass player and started getting serious. Well, you know, as serious as 15-year-old kids with nothing else going on can get.

There was a lot of arguing about what songs to learn and I had no idea what to do. My mom suggested that we all come up with three songs that we wanted to play, and we all had to learn them. It sounded like a nice compromise, so I threw it out at practice one afternoon and gave everyone note cards to write down their choices.

It didn't go very well.

Nick, the other guitarist, only wanted to play Beatles songs and NOTHING by Oasis.

Jon, the drummer, only wanted to learn Oasis songs and NOTHING by The Beatles.

(This was the most frustrating to me, because they were essentially the same band just 30 years removed from each other.)

Dave, the bass player, wanted to learn a lot of Primus and Rage Against the Machine.

I wanted to learn stuff that was popular on the radio at the time. I lived on the East Side of Salt Lake City, didn't have cable or older brothers, so X96 and Q99 was what I depended on for music.

I wanted to learn another Nirvana song, "Shine" by Collective Soul and "In the Meantime" by Spacehog. No, really. I tried to find someone with a keyboard so we could do that last one properly. Unfortunately, all of my ideas were shot down. We did eventually learn "Breed" by Nirvana because it was the only other song I could play well enough to sing at the same time.

The four of us plugged away for a little while longer, but didn't really get anywhere. I was (and still am) a terrible singer, Nick had a girlfriend and didn't really like practicing as much as I wanted to (I was a little bit like Jimmy Mattingly only without the talent) and Jon had baseball practice all the time.

Eventually we parted ways with Nick and brought my friend Terrell on as a lead singer. After a few months of playing cover sets at barbecues, graduation parties and Jon's church block party we actually started writing our own songs. But that's a story for another time.

Someday, "The Secret History of Trevor Hale" will continue, but for now I'll leave you with the playlist that inspired this whole, way-too-long, why-the-fuck-did-I-read-that? post.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I'm not afraid of heights, I'm just not comfortable with them.

That's what I've always told myself, anyway. I can safely say that's a lie. I'm terrified of heights.

I saw this video and had a minor panic attack at my desk. These two guys, Vadim Makharov and Ritaliy Raskalov, basically travel around the world, find the highest places they can get to and explore it.

Recently, they were in China and targeted the Shanghai Tower, which, when completed, will be the second tallest building in the world. During the Chinese New Year and armed with Go Pro cameras, they hopped over the fence, climbed 120 stories and slept until the morning. When they woke up, they went all the way to the top, then climbed out onto a crane overlooking the city.

It's the scariest thing I've ever seen. My hands started to sweat and I felt lightheaded just watching the video. I give these guys all the credit in the world, because there is no way in hell I would ever try this. I get uncomfortable when I'm too high at the climbing gym with ropes attached. There's no way I'd climb an unattended crane nearly half a mile above a city.

They each have their own LiveJournal (!) where they write about their adventures and a joint site called On The Roofs, which is basically just the video below.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Remember that episode of THE SIMPSON'S where Lisa feels so bad that Ralph didn't get a Valentine at school? She took one out of her own box, erased the "To" and "From" and gave it to Ralph. He instantly fell in love with her and she ended up breaking his heart on national TV.

It was a quality episode in one of the show's best seasons (4th) and the "I Choo-Choo-Choose You" card is still a popular one to this day.

But anyway, I felt a little bit like Ralph Wiggum when I got to work on Friday and the HR department passed out Valentine's for everyone. He and I are like two peas in a pod.

And if there's ever a Valentine's Day card that so perfectly sums up my social life, this is it.

Friday, February 14, 2014


*Ed. Note -- I post this every Valentine's Day because I had fun writing it and think it's fun for people to read.*

I miss the days when I had to come up with an awesome Valentine's Day box for school. I was pretty good at it and it was fun. Now it's just a day where I read girls complaining about it on the Internet.

But where did it come from? How did it start?

Oh, please, allow me.

In the spirit of the comic books that I've always been fond of, I kind of refer to this as a "Valentine's Day: Year One" story.

In 3rd or 4th century BC, The Parentalia and Feralia Festivals of Purification were celebrated from February 13-18 to coincide with the Fertility Festival. The latter was a ritual not unlike the "Casual Encounters" section of CraigsList. All of the willing females would enter their names into a box and one by one, eligible men would step up for their turn. With a name in hand, the two would go off and what happened next was reffered to as a "rite of passage." You can use your imagination for what that entails.

Before that began however, there was the LUPERCALIA (from the Latin lupus, meaning "wolf"). During this day, priests—known as Luperci—from two colleges (Quintillii and Fabii) would meet at the Cave of Lupercal in the Palatine Hill, where a she-wolf was said to have nursed Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome. There, Vestal Virgins would offer holy salt cakes and the priests would sacrifice a dog and a goat, smearing the animal blood onto the foreheads of youths of noble birth. Clad only in a goatskin thong, those same youths would later lead a band of revelers known as the luperci in the performance of such antics as whipping fields of crops and bystanders with a goatskin strip (known as the februa). Women gently lashed in such a fashion were thought to become fertile—even those known to be barren. The act of such lashings or whippings was known as februatio. Both this word and the word februa come from the Latin meaning "to purify." The naming of the month, February, is believed to have originated from these meanings.

Basically, February means "to purify by beating with a goatskin strip."

No flowers, chocolate or candy hearts yet.

When Christianity was eventually formed, it was attempted to replace the rituals with something a little bit more uplifting. Pope Gelasius outlawed the Lupercian Festival, but kept the name drawing part—just slightly tweaked. Instead of available women, the names of Saints were written on the papers and it was believed that the recipient (boys and girls participated in the drawing) would emulate the life of whichever Saint was chosen. This new system, while much more noble, was a lot less fun. Eventually, it was abandoned and the old "rite of passage" returned.

Those are the ones you don't hear too much about. This one however, is the most widely known part of the origin.

In Rome, 270 AD, Claudius II passed an edict that abolished marriage. He felt that married men made poor soldiers because they were loath to leave their loves ones for battle. The emperor craved a strong army far more than he cared about popularity and banned the act of marriage all together.

Valentine, a bishop of Interamna, disagreed with the Emperor and invited young lovers to come to him in secret to be joined in the sacrament of matrimony. Claudius soon learned of this "friend of lovers" and had the bishop brought to the palace. The Emperor, impressed with the young priest's dignity and conviction, attempted to convert him to the Roman gods to save him from otherwise certain execution. Valentine refused to renounce Christianity and imprudently attempted to convert the Emperor. It didn't work and he was sentenced to death. While Valentine was in prison awaiting execution, he fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer, Asterius. Through his unswerving faith, he miraculously restored her sight—which bothers me because I still have to basically wait out a god damn cold. He signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine."

Soon after he left the note, actually on February 14th (or so history claims), Valentine was clubbed, stoned and then beheaded.

To recap, in case you got bored: Valentine's Day is essentially the celebration of torture, blood, sacrifice, random sex, wolves and martyrs.

I want a card with that on it.

(*Note - I wrote this after reading a few different histories relating to Valentine's Day on the Internet and put it together after reading something Warren Ellis posted way back in the day, so this is all his fault. Also, it's entirely possible that none of this is true or historically accurate at all. But it's far more entertaining. Originally I started throwing it out on LiveJournal, then MySpace and now I re-post it on every year on Feb. 14.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014


A couple of dudes that I really admire share the same birthday and that just happens to be today.

In honor of the great Henry Rollins and the great Dan Christofferson, here are a few of my favorite pieces by each of them.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Last week ended on a bit of down note, so let's have some fun this week, shall we?

I'm getting things in order for the Top 5 of 2013 videos, so hopefully those will be up and running before the end of the month, but first, let's talk about the City Weekly Best of Utah awards.

City Weekly is a local weekly newspaper that I occasionally write for. I started out writing comic book reviews back in 2004 and I've done a little bit of everything over the last 10 years. Every year they open a readers poll for some of the best things in Utah and there are a few categories that I'd like to throw my hat in the ring for. I probably won't actually win, but if you want to help boost my ego a little bit, feel free.

Best Local Blog - Why, of course.
Best Local on Twitter - @trevorhale, even though I'm only really firing on all cylinders a few times a week.
Best Local Podcast - The Fucking Reserves! Show us some love.
Best Utahn - I don't deserve it at all, but go ahead and throw me in there.
Best Mixologist - I want to be thrown in this category just to fuck with all the bartenders that take it incredibly seriously.

Head over to the City Weekly site, create an account (so people can't vote a thousand times from a single computer) and vote for me for some things. Let's have some fun here.

Also, I've got a bunch of posts half-finished and sitting in the draft folder that I hope to get to this week and next. Keep checking back and I'll make sure there's something here for you worth checking out.


Thursday, February 6, 2014


Yesterday, I poked fun at all the funny things going on in Russia ahead of the Olympic games, but I left out the biggest travesty of the entire thing.

The Russian government has partnered with an extermination company and is paying them to round up all the stray dogs and cats throughout the city and kill them. They're shooting them with poison darts and leaving poisoned meat for them to eat. The poison causes the animals to suffocate and it takes up to 90 minutes for them to die.

These dogs aren't strays, not really. Most of them are pets that were abandoned by families whose homes were demolished to make way for the building of Olympic venues. There are some people that have been trying to get dog sanctuaries up and running, but construction crews are in short supply, because most of them are still trying to finish building the hotels that athletes, journalists and other visitors are staying in.

The company hired by the Russian government, Basia Services, refers to the animals as "biological garbage" and feel they're doing the right thing.

Here's Keith Olbermann talking about it on his show recently. I hadn't planned on watching anything related to the Olympics because I don't care about winter sports, but now I'm in full on "Fuck This" mode.

Welcome to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Gay people aren't welcome, you can be arrested for swearing, and now they're killing dogs in the streets by the hundreds.

It's horrible.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The 2014 Winter Olympics start tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. Things aren't going so well over there.

Construction on most of the arenas and stadiums is finished and the Olympic Park looks glorious apparently, but the Russians seem to have forgotten one minor detail: there are A LOT of people coming, too.

From everything I've read, all the facilities that will be featured on TV look fantastic - because they'll be featured prominently on TV. Everything else is a different story. I've been reading up on a bunch of things this morning and it sounds like everything from where the athletes are staying to the press hotels to the visitors hotels are a mess.

These are a few of my favorites.

From Stacy St. Clair of the Chicago Tribune

Then later...

From Dan Wetzel of Yahoo!

From pro snowboarder Sebastien Toutant

From Euro News:

From Ilya Yashin, who finds the dual toilets just as ridiculous as everyone else:

From Stephen Whyno on the men's Canadian Hockey team rooms:

From Jo-Ann Barnas of the Detroit Free Press
I'm sure there will be more to come. After all, the games haven't even started yet.

Monday, February 3, 2014


"Jim Morrison? He's a drunken buffoon posing as a poet."
The world lost a great actor yesterday and it's a true bummer. Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment, most likely of a drug overdose.

I don't have anything profound to say about addiction and my "It's all in the game" attitude towards drugs and their consequences is probably a little on the insensitive side. That's only because I've never had problems with addiction and neither has anyone in my family. The worst thing I've ever had to deal with is male-pattern baldness and poor hearing. Those two things are a walk in the park compared to addiction - and I can get some great jokes out of them, too.

Sad to see Hoffman go out that way and that early in life because he was one of the greats. I remember a few years ago, I was visiting some friends in New York City. My friend Dan took us to his office on the Lower East Side near the Hudson River. As we wandered around the neighborhood, we stopped at a coffee shop. Dan went inside and I leaned back against a railing outside. There was an old, battered road bike locked up right next to me, and I pulled out my phone to check Twitter.

I heard a guy say "Excuse me," and I realized it was his bike and I was blocking the way. I said "sorry" and moved aside, still mostly paying attention to my phone. Gardner nudged me, I looked at him and he nodded towards the guy. It was Philip Seymour Hoffman whose bike I was standing next to. He unlocked it, put on his bag and rode off as Gardner tried to pull out his phone to take a photo. He just blended right in to the rest of the people wandering around NYC, and I suspect that's how he liked it.

My favorite performance (and one of his best, arguably) was as Lester Bangs in Cameron Crowe's best movie (no argument there) ALMOST FAMOUS. Crowe took a few minutes to write about the genius of Hoffman this morning on his blog (The Uncool). It's one of the highlights in a film filled with them, but I'll never forget some of the things that Hoffman as Bangs said, because they rang true then and still do (to an extent) today.

He was a great actor and he'll be missed. As Sean O'Neal from The AV Club said last night:

Here's what Crowe had to say. If you've never seen ALMOST FAMOUS or if it's been a while since you have, I'd say it's time to change that. You can even borrow my copy if you want. Just not today. I'll be watching it myself later on.
My original take on this scene was a loud, late night pronouncement from Lester Bangs. A call to arms. In Phil’s hands it became something different. A scene about quiet truths shared between two guys, both at the crossroads, both hurting, and both up too late. It became the soul of the movie. In between takes, Hoffman spoke to no one. He listened only to his headset, only to the words of Lester himself. (His Walkman was filled with rare Lester interviews.) When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius.