Thursday, June 30, 2005

as soon as i get my head 'round you i get an electric charge from you

I haven't bought any new records today, so I won't be revisiting the Bring a New Record To Work Day from last week. I will, though be participating in Bring a Neglected Record to Work Day®. I've pre-selected three neglected records for this week. Only one will ultimately get the go-ahead. Actually, I'm pretty sure that I've already decided which one will be played. However, I'll have to see how I feel when the time comes.

Have any of you been playing along at home or work? I swear to you, it's good times. I know you've all got some cds or eight-track tapes or whatever that you haven't listened to in over a year. That's neglect. Play along. It's fun. If nothing else, you'll be able to justify the cd's presence in your collection.

Speaking of fireworks, this will be the first year out of the past eight that I'll have July 4 off. I'm pumped up about that. We were rapidly approaching opening night at the new restaurant last year. The previous 6, I was at the other restaurant. They first opened their doors on July 4, 1997, and they always threw a big hoe-down on July 4. It usually consisted of me roasting a pig out in the parking lot. To have it ready to eat at noontime, you've gotta get started around 6 am. It's a fun thing to do, but I don't miss it. Actually, I think the geniuses who run the city have moved the 4th of July fireworks to the 3rd of July. Go figure. I don't have plans yet, but I'm sure someone will be throwing a cookout that I can go to. The Greasehoppers are in town, so I might go to the game. Oh. And beer.

I was about to begin a diatribe about those geniuses who run the city, but I don't really have the time right now. Short form -- parking for downtown businesses is a nightmare. People who work in downtown restaurants and shops have a hard enough time parking. Customers have no hope. At night, it isn't a problem, but during the day when all the private lots and decks are full, it's ugly. The city doesn't really have any good plans to remedy the situation.

now playing:
The American Analog Set -- The Fun of Watching Fireworks

The American Analog Set The Fun of Watching Fireworks

this is that new song i told you about 20 years ago

I guess I'm no rock and roll fun. I passed on the Sleater-Kinney show. I'm just having a case of the Wednesdays. However, I did do something. I went across the street to Dr. Awesome's house. He's got the horseshoe pit set up, so we threw a game and had dinner. It's the strangest thing. There's different birds on his side of the street, and way more bugs. There were like forty billion mosquitoes in his back yard, and there aren't any in my yard. We live 50 feet apart. I don't get it.

After the shoes, we ate dinner while watching some episodes of "What's Happening!", which he has from Netflix. I was so happy, because the dvd he has contains one of my favorite episodes of any tv show ever. I'm sure you've all heard me talk about this episode before. I talk about it a lot. The Doobie Brothers were playing a sold-out show at the kids' high school. As per usual, Rerun fucked it up. He was supposed to get tickets, but he went to a hamburger stand instead. Then some other shit happened, and Raj had arranged an interview with the band, but no tickets. Rerun unknowingly got mixed in with some guys who were bootleggers. They gave him front row tickets and a tape recorder, but he was too dumb to realize what was going on. Rerun fucked it up by dropping the recorder during the show, which was spotted by the band. And apparently, everyone in the venue. It got dead quiet. Later, the band decided not to be mad at the boys if they turned the bootleggers in. Here's where it gets good.... Just to prove a point (that the band doesn't make money, the label doesn't make money and the public gets a shitty recording), they played the tape. You couldn't hear the show at all. The only thing you could hear was Rerun eating popcorn. Man, if that isn't good shit, I don't know what is.
Anyone else remember this episode?

I also got around to watching "Coffee and Cigarettes". After having it for so long, and talking about it for so long, it was a monumental disappointment. I wouldn't suggest getting it. I mean, I like Jim Jarmusch, and I just didn't like this very much. I mean it was okay, but not really great. It's really 10 or so short films pieced together. All of them are scenes where the characters are drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and talking about coffee and cigarettes. One of the shorts has Jack and Meg White. One has Bill Murray and GZA and RZA from Wu-Tang. One has Cate Blanchette in a dual role. One has Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. All these people play themselves, just having scripted conversations. Despite the potential cool factor in all of that, it doesn't really impress me.
I should have three new movies by the weekend, and I can't remember what they are right now.

now playing:
The Beach Boys -- Pet Sounds Sessions
The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (Sessions)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

selling acid was a bad idea. selling it to a cop was a worse one.

Once again, my "plans" for last night didn't go quite like I drew them up in the dirt. The plan was to watch "Six Feet Under", then a movie, then go to bed at a reasonable hour.
I was dicking around and didn't make it to the TV in time to watch the beginning of the show. I decided that instead of picking it up in progress, I'd just wait and watch it later. I know myself too well, so I have it set up to TiVo the hell out of SFU every week. So I started making a couple of sandwiches and a snack. I would, after all, be on the couch for a few hours. Just as I sat down to start my night, the phone rings. It's a couple of friends of mine who I don't hang out with very often. They asked me to meet them out for drinks, and I think "sure, why not" I thought could have a beer or two, and still be home in time to watch SFU and then get to bed at a still reasonable hour of, say, 1:00 am. I know, I know. It's a weeknight! But I work nights, so I don't need to be up early. Anyway, we closed down the bar and they drove me home. Well, I didn't plan on staying up till 2, but it's alright, I thought. However, they wanted to hang out for a little bit. Okay, fine. My place is a pig sty, but come on in for a few minutes. Next thing I knew, it was freakin 4 in the morning. They finally left, and I went to bed.

I got up today and got around to watching SFU, but I STILL didn't watch "Coffee and Cigarettes", which I've had for what seems like a month now. I guess tomorrow I'll have to skip the Sleater-Kinney show and watch the movie.

Speaking of SFU, I'm exhausted from watching it. There was so much damn yelling in that episode. I feel awful. Still, though, I'm not enjoying this season as much as years past. I don't know, but something seems right about Rico. Oh, if you haven't yet seen this week's episode, here's a spoiler. You may need to avert your eyes.

I'm glad that he hooked up with Vanessa. As much as I disliked them last season, and as little respect as I had for her, something just seemed wrong about them being separated. Only time will tell if they'll really get back together. For the record, I'm for it. And I'm against the inevitable demise of Nate and Brenda's relationship. I'm against Billy. Everything about him. I always have been. What do you think? Specifically about Rico and Vanessa, but about everything on the show in general.

now playing:
Mull Historical Society -- Us
Mull Historical Society Us

i like you and i'm feeling bohemian like you

For the record, I don't know where Jason Freihage is. I haven't seen him in three years. But ever since his name was dropped in my comments section one day, I've been getting a lot of hits from Google searches for his name. For those of you who talk to him regularly, please tell him he has many fans across the country looking for him on my blog. If you're one of those fans, I can't help you.

Among other recent popular Google searches leading to my blog:

"lazy Frenchmen"
dozens of different combinations of red, black, and various household objects
"four walls they collide"
"four walls they collide + belle and sebastian"
"how to practice kissing"
"patrice bergeron cutie"
"I hate Jeff Buckley"

I've also noticed someone doing an advanced search to see how many times I've mentioned the names of two specific people. That's kinda creepy. Sometimes I wish I couldn't see where the hits are coming from. Don't worry, by the way... I can only see that the advanced search was done from an IP address suggesting a US Post Office in Raleigh.

To help the "four walls they collide" person, it isn't Belle and Sebastian. The song in question sounds a lot like it should be a Belle and Sebastian song, but it's actually Let Me Go Home by Camera Obscura.

now playing:

Pedro the Lion -- Achilles Heel
Pedro the Lion Achilles Heel

Monday, June 27, 2005

my papa was a rodeo too

I read a really horrendous piece of journalism the other day. Some of you already know this, but my local newspaper is a sorry sack of shit. They actually paid somebody one time to write the headline "Police search for clues in shootings, robberies". Thank goodness the newspaper cleared that up for me. I always thought they sat on their asses all day long and did no crime investigation at all. That isn't today's point, though.
The News and Record has many shortcomings. One of them is that they have an archiving system that requires a payment of $3 per article. Or you can get a yearly archive subscription (1000 articles) for the low, low price of $1995.00. I'm not kidding. I wish I was. No free sample, no trial membership. Nothing.

Anyway, this genius named Melissa Turner wrote an article in Friday's paper about lightning. Different kinds of lightning and the perils of being struck by lightning. In her article, she offered "some tips for staying out of its angry reach". Angry reach??? What the fuck is that? I didn't realize lightning was angry. Maybe she's right, though. After all, she's the professional journalist. Among the tips for those who find themselves in an open field in the midst of a lightning storm:

"assume the 'lightning stance'".

She stated it like it's something we're all taught in the same lesson as "when you're on fire, stop, drop and roll." She would later clarify and explain the 'lightning stance' as getting into a crouched position.

(b) (this one was my favorite, and she actually said this. I'm not making this up)

"Cover your ears. Pray. This will minimize your chances of being stuck, but does not guarantee safety"

Okay. That's just plain crazy. I may not be that wise in the ways of science, and I'm a skeptic when it comes to religion. Nonetheless, I'm certain that prayer cannot alter meteorological forces. If it was true, we would never experience droughts or typhoons or devastating hurricanes. Now, I will say that for the praying kind, saying a prayer in a situation like that probably does make you feel better about being in a horrifying situation. But c'mon!

I wish I could share this article with you so you could read it for yourself, but their cruddy archiving system is stupid, and I don't want anyone to have to pay three bucks.

now playing:

Destroyer -- This Night
Destroyer This Night

sewing circles are not solely based in trades of cloth

Yesterday didn't quite turn out the way I thought it might.

Starting with the softball game. I got there exactly as the game was starting, so there was no room for me in the lineup. I was okay with watching, though. And drinking. We lost to my former employer 16-7. I wasn't there to see it, but apparently there was a very touching moment in the team huddle when my new co-workers dedicated the game to me. I guess it didn't do much because they didn't win it for me.
Afterwards back to the restaurant for our chef's going away party. It was supposed to be a surprise, but I think he caught wind of it, because he was really reluctant to go. So it took him a good long while to show up. An hour after he showed up, everyone had disbursed, and I'd had enough to drink. There was no way I was going to make it to Durham, so I took the pass on that. Karen's actual birthday isn't until Tuesday, so I didn't feel that bad about it. But I did call and promise to take her to lunch today. And I did. Lunch was fine, and I had a good time. She was going to dinner with some other friends, so I hit the road.

The drive home sucked. Almost the entire time, the Devil was beating the everliving crap out of his wife. I can't stand that shit. I'd much rather go to a proctologist-dentist double-header than drive in those conditions. Oh well.

Tonight's my Six Feet Under and laundry night. I keep waiting for something cool to happen on the show, but it's been sorta blah so far. I guess I'll finally get around to watching "Coffee and Cigarettes", which means my rotation will be all screwed up again since I'll be sending three movies back at once.

now playing:
Luna -- Rendezvous
Luna Rendezvous

Saturday, June 25, 2005

no strings attached.... unless you count the laces

My normally very boring schedule of social activities has just become very busy. I don't know how I'm gonna jam it all in.

Today, my neighbor and friend Dr. Awesome is having a big birthday cookout and rock and roll party. I've gotta work until 11:00, but I promised I would stop by afterwards for a beer or three. There should still be plenty of people there. In fact, there'll probably be some people there who I used to work with but haven't seen since I was fired. That'll be fun. Actually, I stopped by there last night, and he was completely hammered. So drunk and high that he told me the same story three times in the span of a 45 minute visit. And the thing is, it was a story I already knew. Still, though, I humored him every time.

Tomorrow is when it gets kinda hairy. Karen called me to invite me to her birthday party, which will be going on during the afternoon. Starting around 3, she said. That's the exact time that there's something in town I feel really obligated to do. In the City Barstool Softball League, my current employer is going against my former employer. I wanna go to the game and root against my former employer. They said they may actually need me to play for my new team. That'll be even more fun. So there's that. Immediately following is a send-off party for our chef. He's leaving the industry and we're throwing him a big surprise party. I've known him for years before I started working there, so I really need to go to that as well. I'm hoping I can still make it to Durham for Karen's thing. I'll have all day Monday to recover from however much drinking I do.

Next week, I'm still undecided about this damned Sleater-Kinney show. They're playing in Winston-Salem, which means I'll have to muster the energy to drive out there. Lately I haven't had the energy to drive around the block, and I've used Wednesday as a sort of day off. I work lunch, and I have the whole evening to do absolutely nothing. I've used it as movie night, or as the "go to bed early" night. Three years ago, there would be no question. I would have crawled across broken glass to see Sleater-Kinney. But I haven't listened to them in a while, and I didn't even pay any attention to their last two records. Still, though, I know it would be fun. Any opportunity to see a phenomenal drummer like Janet Weiss should warrant some consideration. Should I go?

now playing:
Badly Drawn Boy -- Have You Fed the Fish?
Badly Drawn Boy Have You Fed the Fish?

Friday, June 24, 2005

i am maybe a loser, maybe a sinner. either way, i'm a perpetual beginner

Tonight I added a twist to Bring a Neglected Record to Work Day©. I also decided to bring along a record I had just bought and not listened to yet.
The BNRWD tonight was Darklands by The Jesus and Mary Chain. It'd been years since I'd listened to that, and I'm glad I dragged it out. It doesn't have as much of the trademark fuzziness that Psychocandy has, but it combines fuzziness and wall-of-sound with crisp, clear guitar parts. I stopped in my tracks when the song "April Skies" came on. I listened again and again, but it lost impact on repeat. Unfortunately, the rest of the album failed to excite me as much as "April Skies", but I'm still glad I put it on. I'll give it 2.5 out of a possible 5 saute pans.

Darklands isn't really what I was excited about, though.

The big-time excitement was surrounding one of my new purchases this afternoon. I went out to scoop up one of the Dandy Warhols' records, but I came back with two. Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia and Welcome to the Monkey House . It's the latter that got me all pumped up. Although it's a wonderful song, I'd just as soon throw out the ultra-polished radio single "The Last High". The rest of it is fantastic. And they seem to be doing something totally un-Dandy. Not so much juxtaposing of wah wah fuzzy guitars with jangly guitars. Now there's a lot of electronic sounds and heavy bass. A different path for them, but I really like it. I was already enjoying the album immensely, and when I got to the second to last track "Rock Bottom" came on, I was pretty damn impressed with their spot-on Love and Rockets impersonation. Little did I know, that song would be outdone. I was stopped in my tracks a second time on the night when the album closer "(You've Come In) Burned" came on. I said to myself -- HOLY FUCKING SHITBALLS!!!! That's far and away the best song I've heard this week. Maybe this month. I'm serious. I almost fell down when it hit me.
I guessed correctly that listening to this album, and particularly the last song on headphones would be an entirely different experience. I am doing exactly that right now, and the third time through the song, I'm more amazed than each previous time I listened.
This record, which I will HIGHLY recommend to each and every one of you reminds me a lot of certain Stereolab records. Not that the Dandys sound anything like Stereolab. The similarity is that you have to be really patient and you will be handsomely rewarded. I've had to be ridiculously patient with Stereolab records. Sometimes it'll be one of their impossibly long songs like "Jenny Ondioline", other times it'll be the album as a whole, but there have certainly been moments where I wanted to give up on Stereolab. The investment of time and energy is well worth it for me when dealing with Stereolab. For example, when I bought Cobra and Phases... (and I remember the specifics of this), I had to listen to the record 17 times in a span of four days before I "got it". The whole record. 17 times. In the car, in the bedroom, in the living room, at work, then on the seventeenth time, on headphones. I was in fucking awe and covered in goose flesh. However, I didn't come here to write about Stereolab. Not tonight.

I did like this Dandys record the first time I listened to it, at work on a shitty made by your mama cd player. That isn't the analogy. Okay... To be honest, I don't remember where the analogy was. I suppose the point I wanted to make is that there's a big payoff for sustained attention to the individual songs. That, and that I would suggest to those of you who own this record to listen to it on headphones. It might make you see it in an entirely different light.

Please excuse my rambling and/or a failure to make a point.

now playing:
The Dandy Warhols -- Welcome to The Monkey House
The Dandy Warhols Welcome to the Monkey House

Thursday, June 23, 2005

false idols with gleaming pleather sheen

I couldn't resist the temptation. I went ahead and watched the Dandy Warhols movie last night. I liked it a lot. It's not quite fair to call it a movie about the Dandy Warhols, though. Really, it's about The parallel lives and careers of the Dandys and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. (note: to best view the Dandys' website, you'll have to turn off any sidebars, and view in full-screen). The two bands were an inspiration for each other, and each founding member would always swear that the other was a bleeding genius. Musically, they were always trying to catch up to, and one-up the other. In that respect, their relationship was very much a Brian Wilson - Paul McCartney thing. Although the two bands had a rough relationship (The Dandys' Courtney Taylor would refer to BJM's Anton Newcombe as both his best friend and his worst enemy), neither would be as good without the other.
While the Dandys were signing major label deals and making videos, the BJM were plugging along, making 5 full-length records in the span of two years. They would never get the major-label deal. They would never get the hot-shot video director. They were, though, wildly popular and very well respected. However, people showed up to their concerts with ulterior motive. They wanted to see some drama.

Newcombe repudiates the film, saying it depicts him in an unfair light. There are no other original members of BJM, but they all say now, as they did then, that he was impossible to work with. He fought the band members on-stage. He fought audience members. He sabotaged record deals. He drove band members to quit the band while on the road (even today, the lineup is posted on their website with the warning "lineup subject to change without notice"). He caused a lot of trouble. The whole time (in classic junkie fashion), he denied that he had a problem and would say that Courtney Taylor was more of a menace than he. The evidence is to the contrary.

You should check this movie out, even if you're not into the music. However, I know for a fact that we have at least two Dandy Warhols fans among us. It's probably the case that you, like me, have heard of BJM, even if you haven't heard them. The movie spans seven years, and there's a lot of stuff that happened in that time. Frankly, this film could have been twice as long, or maybe even a Ken Burns-style series, and it would still hold my attention.
As a sidenote, one of BJM's original members went on to start Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. A much better deal for him. As another sidenote, the only change the Dandys made was to get a different drummer.

If you haven't seen this documentary, please do. Sadly, I only own one Dandys record, and this film has filled me with the urge to get more. That's what I'll do today before work.

now playing:
The Dandy Warhols -- The Dandy Warhols Come Down
The Dandy Warhols...The Dandy Warhols Come Down

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

i wanna be there when you find out what comets, stars and moons are all about

As I sit here enjoying another delicious Pink Lady apple, I'm contemplating this story about a possible Constitutional Amendment prohibiting flag-burning . The measure easily passed in the House of Representatives, which it has done several times in the past. The measure has historically come up just a few votes shy of the 67 votes needed to pass in the Senate. However, the Republicans (traditional opponents of the right to burn the flag) have gained four seats in the Senate. The Senate vote, which could come early next week, is expected to be very close. As Dan Rather would put it, "as close as Timmy and Lassie" or "as tight as the rusted lugnuts on a '55 Ford". Although I graduated with a degree in Political Science, I'm still not sure how the next step goes. Apparently, it has to go to the states, where it must pass in 75% of the State Legislatures within 7 years.
All of this is an effort to overturn the landmark 1989 case Texas v. Johnson, which basically established that the specific act of flag burning is a constitutionally protected First Amendment exercise. The Court essentially said that although the act may be offensive, it will not injure the role that our flag serves, and that it is important that we are allowed this expression of disapproval. Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote (with concurrence from Marshall, Blackmun, Scalia and Kennedy):
If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government man not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.... We are fortified in today's conclusion by our conviction that forbidding criminal punishment for conduct such as Johnson's will not endanger the special role played by or flag or the feelings it inspires.... We are tempted to say, in fact, that the flag's deservedly cherished place in our community will be strengthened, not weakened, by our holding today.... Because it is our flag that is involved, one's response to the flag-burner may exploit the uniquely persuasive power of the flag itself. We can imagine no more appropriate response to burning a flag than waving one's own, no better way to counter a flag-burner's message than by saluting the flag that burns, no surer means of preserving the dignity even of the flag that burned than by ... according its remains a respectful burial.

Many of today's flag-burning opponents claim that there is a new responsibility to honor the flag since Sept. 11, but the same language Brennan used in 1989 can be used again. The patriotic, zealous flag waver will still be as patriotic and zealous. Few people would observe a flag burning as anything more than an expression of dissent. Unless there is intent by the flag-burner to inspire panic or start a riot, the same thing applies. Unlike burning a cross in the yard or a black man, which is meant for no other reason that to intimidate and inspire fear and panic (as today's Court would point out in Virginia v. Black), burning a flag does not have the same statement.
Sadly, though, today's Supreme Court (although not involved in the Amendment process) would probably not rule in favor of the flag-burner. Scalia and Kennedy are proven flag-burning supporters. Thomas is a staunch supporter of protecting First Amendment rights. Ginsberg would also protect the right, as she has traditionally.
On the other side, Rehnquist, O'Connor and Stevens all dissented in Texas v. Johnson and would likely do the same today. The remaining two Justices, Breyer and Souter are wildcards. Their position isn't clear on this matter, but they typically flock together with Justice Stevens. Breyer seems especially predisposed to restrict First Amendment exercise. If this would prove to be true, today's Court would be 5-4 for a prohibition on flag-burning. The scary point I'm trying to make is that the Amendment would hold up in the Supreme Court.

All that said, the speculation is that there are already 34 confirmed Senate votes against the Amendment. That's the number that is necessary to defeat the measure.

I myself would never burn a flag, but I'm strongly in favor of our right to do so.

now playing:
The Flaming Lips -- The Soft Bulletin
The Flaming Lips The Soft Bulletin

not piece by piece, but like a whole bucket of stars

A failed attempt at sleeping brings me to provide you with yet another movie review.

On Sunday, after Karen and I had the breakup, we still went out to eat, and we hung out for a little bit. When she left, I decided to have movie night. I had two Netflix offerings, and I opted for Danny Deckchair. It's a silly little Australian film about a guy who serendipitously found out that he was unhappy with his life. A freak helium balloon accident provided him with a chance to live a different life, which he loved. Given the chance to go back to the old life, he opted not to.

Without giving too many plot details, I'll say that it's silly, sappy, romance/comedy material, but it's just quirky enough for me to have liked it. I would recommend it, provided that you know ahead of time that you'll be heading into a comedy/romance.

It has aspects of Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life and The Majestic(which, by the way, I liked). The story isn't all that great, the dialog isn't all that sharp, and the actors aren't all that pretty, but it has a good deal of charm and aforementioned quirkiness.

Don't break your neck rushing to get this one, but get it. Put it in your Netflix queue, but don't put it at the top. Just let it come when it gets there. It'll be a good distraction.

Up next is the Jim Jarmusch vehicle Coffee and Cigarettes, which will be followed by the Dandy Warhols documentary DiG!, which came with a very high recommendation from Amanda.

Wednesday night will be Coffee and Cigarettes and Thursday night will be Bring a Neglected Record to Work Day. I'm already getting pumped up about BNRWD. I don't want to corrupt it by selecting the album now, though. It has to be a game-time decision, or there's a high risk of tainted results. You will, then, refrain from making suggestions until about 1:30 pm EDT on Thursday. Suggestions are welcome, but will not necessarily be taken into consideration. Of course, in order to make a suggestion, you will have to be (a) at least vaguely familiar with my cd catalog, and (2) creative and/or observant enough to know which ones have been collecting the most dust.

now playing:
Rocketship --A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness
Rocketship A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness

Monday, June 20, 2005

do you have a vacancy for a back scrubber?

Yesterday was a day for me to get yelled at.
Okay, the truth of it is that nobody actually yelled at me, but I feel bad for letting people down.

I went to have lunch with my parents, who were in town for a few days. They're looking after my nieces while my sister and brother-in-law are in Mexico.

They got on me about not returning their calls. They called me a couple of times last week, and I never returned the messages or whatever. Maybe they were over-reacting or exaggerating, but they said they were thinking about calling the hospitals and the highway patrol to see if anything drastic had happened to me. Nothing has happened to me. It's just that my mind has been elsewhere. I've neglected them and I've neglected some other people too.

This neglect has cost me my relationship with Karen. She's rightfully feeling unfulfilled with the amount of time and attention that I'd been giving her. I haven't been making the time for her lately. I've been stressed out about my job change and my decreased paycheck. That's certainly not a good excuse for neglecting her, but the stress involved with that has absolutely been a roadblock to my ability to relax and enjoy myself.
That's the paradox. I don't have any work-related weight on my shoulders, so it's a little liberating, but the smaller paychecks are sort of a hindrance to relaxation.

I'm sorry as hell, but until I get my head in a different place (and some of this is purely mental), there's not much I can do to change that.

We've agreed to be friends, and I hope we will be. Maybe some day I'll be able to give her more of me. Unfortunately, I can't right now.

now playing:
Death Cab for Cutie -- You Can Play These Songs with Chords
Death Cab for Cutie You Can Play These Songs with Chords

what do you think about me? i couldn't live without me, but everything about me is driving me mad

After reading the post by the always brilliant Bears Will Attack, I decided to see what Google thinks of me. And I encourage you, as BWA did, to see what Google thinks of you . There were tons of things that the googlism machine spat out about me. Some of them were pornographic in nature, some of them were religious in nature, and some were just funny. Below are some of my favorites (although one of the pornographic ones was kind of funny, I won't share it here):

David is:
  • fake
  • a sick bastard
  • a keen Manchester United football supporter
  • citizen of the year
  • the youngest pumper at Buffalo Children's Hospital
  • delivered by a geological catastrophe
  • an utter bastard
  • a slash biter
  • going to whip Paul
  • into Google
  • a fool
  • simply the best
  • playing with his balls again
  • a rooster
  • currently enjoying the success of the new album "Custom Made", which is burning up the European charts and getting favorable airplay and reviews
  • 55 years old and widowed
  • 39 years old
  • one year old
  • 12, though he was one when he was arrested
  • right
  • wrong
  • currently a hot property in the character actor business
  • working toward sweet dreams
  • a 1990 graduate
  • interested in the central engines of active galactic nuclei
  • the perfect gentleman
  • good, but not yet world class
  • having a case of roid
  • a model of modesty
  • a mofo
  • a Goliath
  • on Humboldt Parkway in Buffalo
  • always good for good advice
  • a funny guy
  • an occult/satanic symbol
  • the best damn hockey player ever
  • still hoping to walk away with a Grammy tonight

Try it yourself. It's fun.

now playing:
The SUNDAYS --Blind

Sunday, June 19, 2005

the best ever death metal band out of denton

My dislike for Mitch Albom is pretty well established. Most of you know him from being a commentator on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters". The one with the ears. Still others of you will also know him as a writer for the Detroit Free Press. If you are not in one of these categories, you may still know him as being the author of such books as Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. They say these books are good, but I'll never know. I'm still holding a grudge against him for making some idiotic remarks about North Carolinians during the Carolina Hurricanes' surprise run to the Stanley Cup Finals against his beloved Detroit Red Wings in 2002. This grudge will prevent me from buying, borrowing or browsing any of his books.
For some reason, though, it doesn't prevent me from listening to his radio program. I have it on a lot at work. He does a little bit of interesting commentary about sports, then some more about something in the news and then has a guest or two. His pride hubris for his Detroit teams is more than a little annoying, but if he can talk about teams that aren't from Detroit (and more importantly aren't involved in a series with a team from Detroit) he's actually kind of decent. His take on current events is sort of humorous. He spent a lot of time joking about the Michael Jackson trial and the resulting acquittal. The other day, though, he segued from making fun of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes engagement to making fun of this guy who does horse racing radio play-by-play. This guy works a track in or near Los Angeles. During a race on Thursday, they experienced an earthquake of 5.0 (or so) magnitude. Albom had a feed of the radio call of the race. They guy was just calling the race, then very non-chalantly said "we are in the midst of an earthquake". The guy continued to call the race as normal, but for some reason slipped in "I just want to say that I love you all, and that horse racing was my first love". That was the thing that Albom wanted to ridicule him about. So he played it again. And again. And again. About 10 times in an hour. I don't know what his reasoning was, other than to ridicule the guy, but it seemed really mean-spirited. Anyway, I do enjoy his show most of the time, but that one stuck in my head and reminded me "oh yeah.... I don't like Mitch Albom."

I had other stuff to write about, but I forgot, and I'm getting tired.

now playing:
This Mortal Coil -- Blood (no sample available)
This Mortal Coil Blood

Saturday, June 18, 2005

when she said 'please raise the roof higher' nobody heard

I have a lot of faults.
I'm lazy. I am given to procrastination. I exaggerate too much. I'm kind of a slob. I'm a bad boyfriend. These are just a few.

Sometimes I feel bad about these faults and that I'm not in a very secure financial state. However, I often feel better about these things when people say nice things about me. I had that happen yesterday.

One of our customers told me that he was really glad that I was working there now. I've seen this guy around one of the other places I worked, and he's sort of a chatty older English gentleman. I don't know him that well, though. He wouldn't shut up, though about how he's glad that I'm where I am. I've also run into some other customers who have known me professionally for years, and have said the same thing. Additionally, I've heard about other people catching wind of my transition and asking the managers or owner of my current restaurant "how in the world did you get him over here? That's terrific!". So it makes me feel good.
Also, last night, one of the managers told me they were glad I'm there, and one of our servers told me again and again that I was "well liked" around there. Okay, so I'm not a millionaire. Heck, I'm not even a thousandaire, but I'm less stressed out than I used to be, and people are pretending to like me. That makes me feel pretty good. I know that doesn't pay the bills, but it puts me in a better state of mind.
Sorry for the self-indulgency. I'll have other stuff to talk about later.

now playing:
Nanang Tatang -- Muki
Nanang Tatang Muki

Friday, June 17, 2005

did he leave your pretty fingers lying in the wedding cake?

Tonight was the second Bring a Neglected Record to Work Day©. This is a continuing series (once weekly, on Thursdays) that will realistically last exactly two more weeks, but I hope to make it last longer. I'm also the only one playing the game. Thursday is the only time I bring cds to work, because it's the only night I work by myself. I can jam out to whatever I want to. Tonight's Neglected Record was Workbook by Bob Mould. Although it didn't go as swimmingly as last week's Neko Case, it went okay. Although this wasn't it, I know that sooner or later, I'll bring along a record that was being neglected for good reason.
The guitar work is simply amazing. The lyrics.... well... The guitar parts are really good, and Bob was showing us that he could be sensitive and introspective. Not just the angry and violent Bob that showed up a lot in the Hüsker Dü days. Please understand that I am not saying that all Hüsker Dü songs were angry or violent. In fact there are some quite beautiful songs, most of which came in the later years, but when you look back at the early stuff, there's a lot of rage there. Take a song like "Bricklayer" for example, from the album Land Speed Record. This song has an incredibly quick pace, incredibly poor structure, incredibly short running time, and lots of aggression to boot. If I remember right, the chorus goes "Brick out the window on the top of your head / Brick on the head / You are a fuckhead". I've digressed. That isn't the point here.

The aggression and rage isn't really there on Workbook, although it would show back up for Black Sheets of Rain. We got to hear songs with structure, some damn fine guitar playing (did I say that already?), and we got to feel bad in a whole different kind of way. Okay, the "feeling bad" isn't a good thing, but it's an interesting thing to have a lushly produced song with textbook jangly guitars make you feel like jumping off a bridge. Unfortunately, after track 5 ("side A") Workbook gets a little less compelling. The listener is rewarded for sticking it out with "Compositions for the Young and Old", which is the one standout from "side B". If you can ignore the lyrics and just listen to the music, you'll like it.

Although I didn't give Blacklisted a rating last week, I'll start the trend this week. I give Workbook 2.5 out of a possible 5 saute pans.

Some things I thought about while I was working:
  1. People are crazy enough to be doing one of the following two things: (1) stay in a Greensboro hotel, party all night, then get up mega-early to drive an hour and a half to the US Open tournamentament in Pinehurst, then back to the hotel EVERY DAY of the tournament; or (b) stay in a Pinehurst hotel and drive to Greensboro to party, then drive back to the hotel EVERY NIGHT of the tournament. By the way, the US Open of Golf is being played at Pinehurst #2 this year.
  2. The people who are doing one or the other of those things were very quick to tell anyone who would listen that they were going to the US Open, and were therefore being very pompous.
  3. While I was cooking for these people, my friend Reid was busy rocking out with his band, who were playing a gig with Bettie Serveert.
  4. No matter how hard you try, you cannot wish water into lemonade. Sure, I could have made a batch of lemonade, but that takes effort. I just wanted the instant gratification of a tall glass of cool, refreshing lemonade.

I encourage all of you to listen to a Neglected Record from your collection. It might be fun, and you might develop a newly-rediscovered love for, say, Matthew Sweet or The Catherine Wheel. Give it a shot.

now playing:
Cocteau Twins -- Blue Bell Knoll (no sample available)
Cocteau Twins Blue Bell Knoll

Thursday, June 16, 2005

i'm not a telephone junkie

I don't have the best eating habits in the world. First off, I don't eat meals as frequently as I should. When I do, they're not the most nutritionally viable meals. Part of this is that I'm accustomed to working in restaurants. Mid- to high-volume restaurants. I'm accustomed to eating on the fly, usually standing up. This means I usually eat a burger or a sandwich of some sort. Something I can eat quickly and doesn't require a lot of effort to make or eat. When I'm at home, I seldomly make a meal for myself. Instead, I'll just snack on stuff. I'm trying to get better about what those snacks consist of. Pretzels and crackers and stuff like that are usually king, but I'm trying to get better.
I like apples.
I'm not like one of these apple freaks who eats two or three a day, but I do like them. Unlike many apple enthusiasts or purists, I have to slice the fruit up before eating. I have a rally hard time trying to eat apples out of hand. When it comes to the different varieties, I'm hardly an expert in the matter, as there are quite a few that I've never had or even heard of. In fact, of the 18 US varieties, I'm only familiar with 7. I typically go with Gala or Fuji because of their sweetness, and year round availability. Unlike Golden Delicious and Red Delicious, I like their appearance too. Actually, I never eat the Delicious varieties. Anyway, I familiarized myself with another variety today. Pink Lady. Pink Lady has the sweetness of a Gala, but it's a little more. A little tartness, which makes the sweet really pronounced. I don't think this one is available year-round, but it'll be my new favorite until it goes away. If you haven't had one before, I highly recommend getting one. Now.

now playing:
Godspeed You! Black Emperor -- Yanqui U.X.O.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.

i was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver when the switch broke 'cause it's old

I actually managed to get something accomplished yesterday. For a while now, I've been getting a lot of warning messages on my computer. To the effect of "You are perilously low on disc space. Do something about it". These were legitimate warnings. I was fluctuating between 200mb and 600mb of remaining space. That's nothing. Given that I like to store a lot of music on my machine, that's no space at all. I pondered some options, and I hope I've done the perfect thing. I got a 200 GB external hard drive. The guy wanted to sell me an internal drive. It would have been a slightly better deal in an out-of-pocket kind of way. However, I don't have a bay available to host another internal drive. This one was easy enough to set up. Certainly easier than it would have been to dismantle my machine and risk putting it back together incorrectly. Actually this was a breeze to set up. As soon as I got it set up, I moved all of my iTunes stuff over to the new drive, did a little tweaking, and I'm all set. I really like that it's external because I'll still be able to use it whenever I get another machine, and it has the super-cool benefit of being portable. Sort of like a ginormous iPod without having the capability to play the music on its own. Okay. It's not quite as compact as an iPod, but it's the size of a 300 page paperback. These sorts of things are designed specifically for backing up hard drives, but lots of people use it exactly the way I'm using it.

After I played around with that a little bit, I watched This So-Called Disaster, on rent from Netflix. It's a documentary about Sam Shepard's semi-autobiographical stage play "The Late Henry Moss". It mostly shows the actors (Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, Cheech Marin, James Gammon, Woody Harrelson) in various stages of rehearsal. We also get some personal insight from Shepard about the play itself and about the events it is loosely based upon. It kept me interested, and it made me wish I could have seen a production of the play. However, I can't give it a high recommendation. I can't even say that it's the best movie about rehearsing a play that I've ever seen. That honor would have to go to Vanya on 42nd Street, closely followed by Looking for Richard. Oddly enough, I noticed that another movie about play rehearsal was on HBO last night. A Midwinter's Tale is about a community theatre trying to put on a production of Hamlet, but it isn't strictly about rehearsal, the way the others are.
After watching my movie, I was pretty tired, and I was passing in and out of sleep as I was watching the TV. I called it a night a little earlier than normal, but I didn't get good sleep. My dumb-ass cat kept waking me up with a bunch of noise she was making. She figured out how to open one of the dresser drawers. I don't know how, but she does it. It takes a lot of effort on her part, and a lot of clamoring, so it woke me up on two different occasions. What she's trying to do, incidentally, is climb inside the drawer so she can lay down. Not that there aren't 2 million other places she could lay down, but that's where she really wanted to be. Fucking cat.

now playing:
The Decemberists -- Picaresque
The Decemberists Picaresque

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

better cut off all identifying labels before they put you on the torture table

Once again, we have a blue moon at red and black is the new black and red. The post title has something to do with the post.

I've made some changes to the layout of the blog. First, I moved the list of linked blogs closer to the top of the page. Second, I removed the first names of the bloggers and replaced them with the names of the blogs. Apparently there were some people out there who didn't like other folks knowing their first name. Although most bloggers make their first names readily available, I realize that some people prefer to be anonymous. And so it shall be.

Sadly, I am forced to drop iChunes from my list of linked blogs. You guys have been lazy and haven't posted anything in over three months. Somebody else hasn't posted anything in an impossibly long time and has seemingly given up the ghost. You (you know who you are, and under my newfound respect for anonymity, I'll just call you "Hans") had better watch your ass!

now playing:
Set Fire to Flames -- Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped in Static (no sample available)
Set Fire to Flames Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped in Static

Sunday, June 12, 2005

all day long i guess i had the same thought. wanted to show you all the records i bought

Tonight was a really strange night at work. I was anticipating a really extraordinarilly busy night. Friday night was absurdly busy and we ended up having to eighty-six a bunch of shit. Not because it wasn't prepped, but because we didn't have anything in the house. I think I got the brunt of the business on my station, but we managed to get through it without pissing too many people off. So I was expecting another busy night. The weather was kinda nice and Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson were in town on their tour of minor league ballparks. Events like that usually make the restaurant busy before the event and crazy busy after. I guess it didn't let out until about 11:00, because that's what time I left and there were a bunch of people walking from the ballpark area of downtown to the bar area of downtown.
So we weren't very busy at all.
During one of the lulls, I made the Spaniards smile a lot with my mad anagramming skillz¹. I showed them a Mexican-themed anagram which I learned from the movie Word Wars. It all started when Alejandro was bragging about how much tequila he could drink, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to show him that

mas tequila

can be anagrammed into

que lastima

For those of you who don't recall your high school Spanish, or never had it, "qué lástima" translates to something close to "what a pity". So it's kinda funny that in Spanish, "more tequila" can be anagrammed into "what a pity". As in it's a pity that you drink so much tequila.
He got a good kick out of that and wasted no time showing the other amigos my trick.

I also spent a good deal of time telling Alejandro that the word "SPRAY" isn't pronounced "spry". Nor is "SPACE" pronounced "spice". He kept saying "es similar", and I had to explain to him that he was pronouncing a word that was quite different from what he thought he was saying. Yes, I knew what he meant, but he got on someone's case for pronouncing "TANGO" (the dance) as if it was "TENGO" (to have) and also for pronouncing "HOMBRE"(man) as if it was "HAMBRE"(hunger). Quite different. In every case, the listener will most likely understand that the speaker mispronounced, and will get what they mean, but if he's going to get picky about it, we should be picky right back.
At the end of the night, just before I left, the amigos described a chainsaw and asked me what the English word for it is. I have no idea why they wanted to know that, but I told them. It took a really long time for them to get anywhere close on the pronunciation, but I think they had it down. I'm really curious about why they wanted to know, but I don't suppose it's all that important.

Now Playing:
Elvis Costello --My Aim is True (thick dick version)
Elvis CostelloMy Aim is True(thick dick version)

¹Anagramming is rearranging all the letters in a word to form a different word. A simple example is that the four letters O-P-S-T can be arranged to spell OPTS, TOPS, STOP, POTS or POST. These are all anagrams of each other. This is a really good way for competitive Scrabble players to practice game strategy. The best players will rapidly anagram 8- or 9-letter words or even multiple word phrases. There are dozens of software programs and websites that can be used to build anagramming skills or to simply get anagrams.

Friday, June 10, 2005

it looks a lot like engine oil

I had a decent night's sleep, so it looks like I'm not headed into another extended spell with insomnia. I'd like it if I got tired earlier and didn't have to sleep till noon every day, but that's sort of the deal when you work late nights. I've always been a bit of a night owl, but when I don't even get off work until 2:15 am, I don't have any chance of getting to bed before 4.

I guess the good thing about not being able to go to bed until late is that it gives me time to catch up on all my TiVo programming. For instance, I didn't get to watch the season premiere of "Six Feet Under", but it was waiting for me on TiVo. Amanda had told me that "not a lot happened", but I thought it was plenty. I mean, there wasn't lots of tension and anxiety like in the David being carjacked/doing crack episode, but I liked it. I kinda wish that Lisa would just go away though. I thought we were done with her when she died, and then when Nate found that shit out about her weird ass family, but she keeps popping up. I'm really hoping that it doesn't get lame, seeing as how it's the final season. It really saddens me that this will be the last. I don't know the details of why it's ending, but I don't get how HBO runs shows like "First and Ten" for like 10 seasons, and "Arli$$" for what seems like it's been 15 seasons. I can't stand Arli$$, but I will give it credit for being better than "First and Ten" ever was. Remember that shit?

Crap! I just noticed the time. Work is beckoning me. No time for a serious post.

Now playing:
Jeff Hanson -- Son
Jeff Hanson Son

come on. i'll let you borrow my four leaf clover.

Ahhh. Thursday.

I'm all out of whack now. I slept like a goddamn champ last night, thanks in part to Xanax. I reckon I got damn near 13 hours of sleep, but I really needed it to make up for being deprived the previous two nights. That, and the fact that I didn't leave work until 2:15 am mean that I'm still a little wound up. No sleeptime yet.

Tonight was kinda fun at work. Actually, it was slow, but not painfully so. I got to share a laugh with one of the guys when he sang "Holla back girl" Sinatra-style. It was mildly funny until he got to the "this shit is bananas. b-a-n-a-n-a-s" part. I damn near lost my shit at that point. Obviously, this wasn't one of the Spaniards¹.

After all the other kitchen guys left, and I was flying solo from 10:45 to 2:00, I brought in my cds. Normally there's the radio, tuned to top 40. So I put in Neko Case's Blacklisted, which has been the victim of recent neglect. Since I only have that one record of hers, I can't say that I'm even in the top 10,000 of Neko Case fans, but I like her a lot. As I was listening to it, a couple of thoughts came to my mind. You should be cautioned that some sappy material is to follow.

  1. I owe some gratitude to Mr. James Reid Dossinger for turning me on to her. Unlike some of the other music that Reid's gotten me into, I probably wouldn't have found Neko Case without his introduction. Thanks, buddy.
  2. I was reminded of seeing a Neko Case show on my 31st birthday. Further, I was reminded of how I've spent my last 4 birthdays doing cool stuff with girls who I had enormous crushes on. Sadly, only one of these ladies remains close to me. 30 was with Dawn, who I now talk to about once every three months or so. 31 was with Kari(at the Neko Case show), who I still really relate to, but seldomly talk to despite living just a few miles away. 32 was with Eleanor, who I was dating at the time. For the record, I have nothing against her, but I haven't spoken to her in about a year. She lives in Wisconsin now. Wisconsin is just like Czechoslovakia. 33 was in Canada with Amanda. She's the one out of those four who I'm still close with. She's actually my best buddy.
  3. Neko Case is fucking brilliant. It's been said so many times by so many people, but as I stood there and listened to "Deep Red Bells" like four thousand times in a row, that's all I could think about. If I could do something that was even one fifth as brilliant as that song, I'd be thrilled.

Okay. Now I'm pretty fucking tired, so I'll go to bed. I'll post more later.

Now Playing:

Neko Case -- Blacklisted
Neko Case Blacklisted

¹ I work with a whole slew of men and women who are, in fact, Mexican immigrants. As part of an ongoing in-joke, I refer to them as Spaniards.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

and here's to you mrs. robinson

We're running out of room here at the red and black is the new black and red memorial gardens. You've all heard by now. Anne Bancroft. 73. Uterine cancer. I won't make a big stink about it.

I'm fearful that I'm heading into another one of my insomnic phases. Monday night, I didn't sleep very much. Actually, after struggling with it all night, I was finally getting some decent sleep, but I had a dream that I was at my parents house, and my mother woke me up to tell me I was going to be late to my sister's wedding. Never mind that my only sister has been married for 13 years. It's just a dream. But even in the dream, I wasn't able to sleep. That's a bit of a bad break.
Last night, I actually stayed up all damn night. No sleep. Not one wink. I wasn't sleepy when it was time for me to go to bed, so I played PlayStation hockey. I was able to improve my Hurricanes season to something like 27-0-0-0. I've been experimenting with different strategies and taking deliberate penalties to practice penalty killing. Even after upping the difficulty setting, I'm winning every game by at least 20 goals. So I played a few more games in the season, then since I still wasn't tired, I decided to play some exhibition games as the US National team. France was much tougher than they seemed like they should have been. Same with Japan. Then the strangest thing happened, and made me make the decision to forgo the bed-going portion of the night. I lost to Italy. And it wasn't even close. I was frustrated as hell because there aren't even any NHL'ers on the Italian national team. Should've been a cake walk. Again and again, they would beat me.
After getting pummeled by Italy like three times, I just gave up. 5:45 am. Then I had the choice of going to sleep and risking sleeping through the alarm clock, or just staying up. I chose the latter. I finally got around to watching Into the Arms of Strangers, which I've had from Netflix for probably two weeks. It's a documentary about the 10,000 Jewish children who in 1938-9 were transported from central Europe (mostly Czechoslovakia) to England to escape Nazi persecution and gain refugee status. There were several people who are in their 70's or 80's who told their first-hand stories. Most were warmly taken in by foster families who treated them like their own. I didn't even know that there was such an effort to grant refugee status, so it was nice to learn that historical information. Also to learn that there was such a display of magnanimity in such wretched times. I'm not doing it justice, but it really is worth a watch.

One of the glorious things about having a pig sty for a car is that sometimes you find stuff you forgot about or gave up on. Today, I found my one and only Lucksmiths record (Why that Doesn't Surprise Me) in there. I'd been thinking about it a lot lately, but I couldn't find it anywhere. What a sweet, sweet feeling that was. Like when you find the $20 bill you left in your suit pants last time you wore them. See, I've been listening to Badly Drawn Boy a lot lately, and he has this one song that sounds like it ought to be the Lucksmiths. You prolly wouldn't think so if you heard it, but I do. And that's all that matters.

By the way, feel free to make your donations to send me to Reno for the Scrabble Nationals. I won't win anything, so I can't reimburse you right away. In fact, I'll probably never pay you back. I'll accept cash, check, money order, coins, paypal. No barter system. No "gifts in kind".

I'm getting rather tired. I hope I sleep like a motherfucker tonight.

Now playing:Lemonheads -- It's a Shame About Ray
LemonheadsIt's a Shame About Ray

Sunday, June 05, 2005

i see you've got the blues in your alligator shoes. but me, i'm all smiles. i've got my crocodiles

One of the sad things about my new place of work is that I can't share jokes with people. First off, I'm the new guy and I don't really get a sense of camaraderie. Secondly, I'm the only white kid from middle class upbringing, so my cultural background is different. There's the Spaniards, and then the rest of the kitchen staff is African-American. We had different childhood experiences. Different musical tastes and different cultural icons.
An example of a joke I used to love to tell people. Okay, not so much a "joke" as something that I think is bizarre and funny. It involves an object found in every restaurant kitchen, and something that you may well have in your home. If you have a box of Argo brand corn starch, I encourage you to go get it. It's very important that you have this brand name. Clabber Girl won't work. Generic corn starch won't work. If you don't have it or you aren't at home, I suggest you click on the above link for a picture of the box. For hilarity's sake, you may have to enlarge the picture or whatever. Anyway, here goes......

Take a look at the cover star of the Argo box. It looks like the love child of a corn cob and the drummer from Def Leppard.

(queue rim shot)
(queue sparse laughter)

You know, .... because of the arm.

(queue crickets chirping)

And then I found five dollars.

See, I can't really tell that joke because the Spaniards don't know who Def Leppard is and the other guys probably don't either.

However, my egg jokes span all cultural bounds:
Eggs.... They're all they're cracked up to be
Oops,.... looks like the yolks on you!

I have more, but I get the feeling that you want me to stop.

That's all I have for you

Saturday, June 04, 2005

when i called last night i wasn't high. i had not been drinking

More fun with StatCounter---

A while back, I had a post with the title "Kissing just for practice", from the Belle and Sebastian song Seeing other People. Like most posts, the content had nothing to do with the title. As I've said before, most of the post titles are completely gratuitous. It's just that I can't come up with titles on my own.

The point is, somebody in England found my blog by doing a search for "how to practice kissing". I'm picturing some young 12-year-old lad who has just secured his first date, or is about to go to a dance with some cuties from his school. He's all excited and nervous, and then it hits him --- he doesn't know how to kiss. He says "HOLY CRAP!!!! I need to start practicing, but I don't know how." I hope for his sake that things worked out with or without practicing.

I also recently got a few hits from folks in Canada who did a search for "Jenn Hanna wedding". Jenn Hanna is the skip of the Ottowa Curling Club. I made brief mention of her in my one post about women's curling, and specifically that improbable shot made by Manitoba's Jennifer Jones to defeat Hanna in the Tournament of Hearts.

I get lots of other hits from searches like "black or red leather sofa", but that doesn't make for a funny post. Actually, neither does this, but at least I'm trying.

Now playing:
Chris Bell -- I Am the Cosmos
Chris Bell I Am the Cosmos

Thursday, June 02, 2005

i say you can do what you want, you say you don't care what i do.

I noticed that the National Spelling Bee has entered the final rounds, which means that today we will see some of America's best spellers right there on ESPN. Live and in color. And it will be replayed lots of times. This brings the question that many of you have expressed before. Okay, lots of questions. But really the one that I want to write about is "These kids aren't athletes? What the F are they doing on ESPN?".
No, they're not performing athletic feats. We can all agree on that. And I'm sure we can all also agree that these kids practice and prepare at least as much as athletes do. It's a very serious competition that means as much to them as the sporting event means to the sports star.

Are they performing under pressure? Hell yes. Are they displaying physical skill, strength and stamina? No. I think even if you grant them the most generous benefits of doubt, you couldn't call them athletes, and you can't call their competition a "sport". However, I don't have a problem with ESPN covering it live. No problem at all. It resembles a sporting event, and it's entertaining. There's a winner, a bunch of "non-winners", there's heartbreak, agony, thrills, spills, anguish and many other emotions commonplace in sports.
It isn't as if this event takes place at 8:00 pm and is shoving something else off the table. At 11:00 in the morning, at 2:00 in the afternoon there isn't really any live sports to speak of that would otherwise be on. We've all seen the "1978 World's Strongest Man" competition hundreds of times by now. Maybe there's a lumberjack competition we haven't seen or a ping-pong doubles tournament, but the point is, it fills a programming slot with a live competition.
You will also wonder the same thing when ESPN airs the National Scrabble Championship. Again (and I have a lot more vested interest here) I'll say that it loosely resembles an athletic competition and it really is exciting to watch. You'll be impressed by skill and speed, even if it isn't physical skill and speed.
Speaking of which, if anyone wants to help me finance the trip, I'd really like to play in the Nationals (August 19-24). Including airfare, lodging for 6 nights, tournament registration, and meals, I estimate the total to be about $1250. I don't have that kind of dough laying around, but I'll graciously accept any and all donations. Or if you know someone who lives in the Reno area, and will let me stay there for a week, that price tag drops dramatically. I wouldn't expect to win any prize, so you'll get no return on your investment, but you'll have the satisfaction of making me happy. Or you can come along and hang out with a bunch of scrabble dorks for a week. Sounds like fun, right?

For a related discussion about "are these people really athletes?" please visit areseven.

Now playing:
Portistatic -- Autumn Was a Lark
Portistatic Autumn Was a Lark

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

pleased to meet you, and thanks for making my bed

I've just become the latest member of the areseven Bad Haircuts for Men club. I don't know what happened. I'm sure that the girl who cut my hair isn't the nonpareil "Jean-from-Scranton", but she managed to mess it up nonetheless. I mean, for fook's sake. My hair isn't complex. I just go in there and say "Yeah, do it like you guys did it last time. No, nothing special." The good thing about being a guy is you can go to GreatClips and get a good haircut, and they'll use the same equipment every time even if it's a different girl. They know which setting was used on the clippers the last time, and it's easy. Guy hair isn't complex. Just make it shorter.
Anyway, she says, "Oooooh. I don't have the #5 on my clippers. Will the 4-and-a-half be okay?" I think (and say), "Yeah, sure". I mean what could be the difference? Turns out, it's a lot. She went right at it with the clippers the way the barbers do when you enlist for the fucking Marines. I mean, no foreplay, no combing, no prevaricating about the proverbial bush with the scissors. Nothing. Just went right at it. I immediately knew it was too much, but there's nothing that could be done once that first swath was cut. I just have to deal with a haircut that's notably shorter than I'd like it to be. It doesn't look all that bad, but it doesn't look all that good either. Next time I know that if the 5 isn't available, I should go for the half-step in the other direction.
I also went over to the Gate City Noise to purchase my Mark Kozelek tickets. Yeah, he's gonna be doing an in-store there. He's going on a very, very limited engagement tour, which only includes four dates in the US. And one of them is right here in my home town. At my favorite record store. The other gigs are at clubs, and apparently Mr. Kozelek really wanted to play this in-store. Kick ass! Andrew went to the trouble of hand-making the tickets, and every one of the 150 tickets has a unique screenprinted design on hand-made paper. Very nice. I'm pressed for time, so I cannot include a photo of the ticket, but you'll have to take my word for it. It's very nice.

Now playing:
Belle et Sebastian -- Push Barman to Open Old Wounds (no samples available)
Belle and Sebastian Push Barman to Open Old Wounds