Welcome to Pages of Fun!

This is the personal Web site of Robert Wm. Gomez. I am an artist, musician and nerd living in Chicago, Illinois who has been maintaining this site (in one form or another) since 1996. Enjoy your visit!

Chairs Missing by Wire (10/10)

Format: CD

Of all the Wire releases, this one is my favorite. The music ranges from dreamy ("French Film Blurred") to punky ("Sand in my Joints") to poppy ("Outdoor Miner") to epic ("Mercy"), all while maintaining the same mix of the punk rock energy of their first LP and a more arty, synthesizer-based sound.

The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout (8/10)

Nero Wolfe is a dick. It's a wonder that this mostly unlikable character spawned such a successful series of books. This is the second book in the series that I have read and it was pretty good, especially the opening chapters. Things get a little too convoluted at the climax, with an array of underdeveloped characters vying to be tagged as the murderer. It eventually does make sense, but, by then, who cares. Thankfully it was a short read, so I left satisfied.

The Reincarnation of Isabel (4/10)

This is a confusing mess of a movie. Somewhere a midst the toplessness is a plot involving vampires, witches and ancient castles. There's a creepy bald guy, a spandex clad satanic rite, and some out-of-place comic relief. Sounds awesome, but it's not really.

Pink Flag by Wire (10/10)

Format: CD

Wire's first album is the one that all my punk rock friends consider their best. For me, it's a great record but it lacks the experimentation of later releases. That said, Pink Flag is leaps and bounds better than most of punk records of the same era. They are much more aligned with the artsy side of punk than the rock 'n' roll-y side of the movement (ala the Ramones or The Clash). There are so many great tracks on this: "Three Girl Rhumba," "Ex-Lion Tamer," "Fragile," "1 2 XU," and the list goes on...

Look (8/10)

I am a crowd supporter for Penn Jillette's upcoming Director's Cut movie and the story goes that Penn watched this movie and immediately sought out the director Adam Rifkin for a movie he had brewing in his head. The result, Director's Cut, is poised to be the ultimate meta-movie, filled with found footage and movies-within-movies (I hope it turns out awesome). Look is a found footage movie that's a tour de force of editing as a story telling device. The premise is that the movie is made up entirely of surveillance footage.

Wendy and Lisa by Wendy and Lisa (4/10)

Format: CD

This is another one of those CDs in my collection that I bought because I wanted to buy something while I was out at the Northwoods Mall Musicland. "Waterfall" was a MTV hit and I really liked it (and still do), so the rest of the record had to be just as good, right? Well, not really. There are way too many sappy ballads and nothing else comes close to the driving catchiness of that one single.

Pure Guava by Ween (8/10)

Format: CD

This was my introduction to Ween. At the time I thought of them as They Might Be Giants with profanity. In hindsight I think the appeal was that they were, like us, a couple of nerds playing around with a cassette four-track who weren't afraid to try whatever they could to make a cool song. Listening to them now I realize they haven't aged well. Nowadays, anyone with a computer can make songs a gazillion times more creative than this.

Weekend by Kim Savage (6/10)

A fairly blah read from Vixen Press. This one is pretty short on plot and lacks the hardboiled edge that I usually like in these pulp novels. Read an excerpt

Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim on PC (10/10)

Skyrim: Gettin' Some Sun

In terms of overall game-play, Skyrim stays pretty close to the system Oblivion used. You roam a giant open-world map, revealing new locations to explore as go. Along the way you receive quests that you can complete at your own leisure. Therein lies the danger of this game: it is easy to get distracted and veer off from your goals and before you know it you've wasted twenty hours just trying to level up your blacksmithing or collect ingredients. I have already sunk 126 hours into this game, completing most of the main quests, and there's still the urge to keep playing. I think I "only" managed to log about 95 hours in Oblivion.

The Pod by Ween (7/10)

Format: CD

The record is what happens when a band comprised of talented stoners is tasked with creating an LP's worth of music but is not given any editorial oversight. There are a few good songs and plenty of hilarious, quotable passages ("Pollo Asado" comes to mind). However, there are also quite a few forgetful stinkers. In re-listening to this for the first time in a while there were tracks near the end of record which I had no recollection of ever having heard.

The Best of the Waitresses by Waitresses, The (10/10)

Format: CD

"I Know What Boys Like" was a personal new wave favorite for me as a kid. It was featured on K-tel's The Beat new wave compilation—a comp which served as a launching point for so many bands for me (except for Graham Parker whose track absolutely sucked). The songs here are funny, energetic and fronted with snotty, attitude-filled vocals that are everything that 60s garage rock vocalists shrived for. This is also a rare example of saxophone working in pop music!

Greatest Hits by Ventures, The (3/10)

Format: CD

I bought this from a bargain bin at either Best Buy or some other big box retailer thinking that I would have the definitive collection of The Ventures' classic instrumental guitar rock and roll. The neckerchiefs and wide collars on the cover should have been a dead giveaway for the disco-tinged crap that fills this CD. With the possible exception of "Hawaii Five-O," I think all these songs are remakes of the originals. Remakes with funky bass lines and that steady boom-tiss disco beat that have more in common with Giorgio Morodor than Dick Dale.

VU by Velvet Underground, The (7/10)

Format: CD

Another one of my wife's CDs. I've never been much of a fan of this band but here, upon a second or third listen, I think I might like them despite Lou Reed's singer/songwriter leanings (I care more about music than lyrics). The raw and seemingly untrained playing nicely exists somewhere between 60's garage rock and 70's punk rock. I will probably give there "official" releases a try soon.

Anthology by Vapors, The (10/10)

Format: CD

This is basically a CD repackaging of New Clear Days with about a third of the songs from Magnets. The Vapors are a new wave band that doesn't really get the love they deserve. There's not a bad song on New Clear Days. Their hit, "Turning Japanese" only scratched the surface of what they were capable of creating. These are smart, high-energy power-pop songs that deserve to be played loud and often.

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