weekend review, pt 1:
trying hard to look like gary cooper

So I went to the woods this weekend, just for a day, with both parents and one nephew (the teenaged one), and while it wasn't exactly roughing it, it was relaxing in a major way to get to where there are so damn many trees it looks like dusk in the middle of the afternoon, and also to hang out where we used to spent a lot of time in the summer when I was growing up. The part where we went a spot along the river where there was flat enough access that my dad could get close enough to fish and it turned out to be a canoe launching spot (and apparently a canine park?) notwithstanding, the whole of the time was excellent. The nephew and I climed the famed Cook Forest fire tower (at Seneca Point, where Gary Cooper filmed The Unconquered in 1949 and they're still talking about it to this day) and I honestly felt a fear of heights much greater than that I remember feeling at, say, age 11. It may have had to do with me being the older, more in-charge person. It may have been because the kids going back down the steps were BOUNDING, such as to shake the top of the tower, where we were. It may simply have been because I'm fast becoming a Major League Wusstastic Gentleman.

Being at the fire tower reminded me of a time several years ago, when I was probably 15 or so, when I went hiking with my brother-in-law from the bottom of that hill to the fire tower at about 6:30 am, as the sun was rising and before we were officially allowed to be in the park, and seeing all the early-morning wildlife action, and trying to be really quiet, then climbing the tower and, as we were high above a river valley at 7:00 am, not being able to see a damn thing for the fog. It was still a pretty fantastic time, getting lost on the trails and all, regardless of the dearth of view.

Part two of the weekend review tomorrow, wherein I pontificate about the uncomfortable factor at a show I was at and, if you're lucky, a great deal more.


the only thing i got in the sack this week was my lunch, and i even messed that up

Yesterday, I forgot my lunch.

It was no surprise. This summer I've been working four days a week. Of those four days, I'd say on average I'm not prepared enough to pack a lunch at all on about two. Of the other two, on average I forget to actually take my lunch, which is packed already, to work half the time. So I actually succeed in taking my lunch to work about once a week.

But I didn't realize that I had fogotten my sandwich yesterday until I had actually left my office and walked down across the construction zone no man's land to my occasional lunchtime solitary sitting spot in front of the fountain. I sat, opened my bag, pulled out my lunchtime reading and my Cheez-its®, then rummaged about in my bag a bit, convinced that my sandwich must just be smashed underneath my walkman or something. I was incorrect.

To compound the problem, I was in the midst of one of the more serious low blood sugar attacks I've experienced lately, and it was about 1:00pm on what was probably the hottest day of the year. So, rather than stress about where to get a significant piece of eating, I stayed right the hell where I was, set out to finish up Burn Collector 13 (finally), ate my Cheez-its® and ended up thinking about a few things:

1. Why am I feeling the manifestations of my hypoglycemia so strongly right now? Oh yes, because I had barely anything for breakfast, then at about 11:00 decided to get a honeyed-up iced chai (the bonus being that this drink also contains caffeine, another no-no.) Why do I do stupid things like that? I know exactly what sets off my pancreas. I've studied this a lot. I spent a good several months in 2003 as a hardcore sugar-free dude. Why haven't I been able to go back? Why do I cave to the pressure? (To be fair, there wasn't even any pressure involved this particular morning; I got up of my own volition and walked a few blocks to get this drink. I put forth a good bit of energy getting to this state.)

Sometimes my friends tell me things that they do that they and I both know they shouldn't. I sometimes feel like I'm hitting my head off a brick wall with said friends. But I guess I do the same thing sometimes. But instead of putting myself into dangerous social situations or bad relationships or drug habits, I tear down my body with sweet shit. It's not that different, I guess. I can relate.

2. I recognize that girl on the bench across from me. I've seen her right here in this same place at lunchtime, reading her book. This is a revelatory moment in that I don't come here all the time, just now and then, and I hadn't until this moment thought of this spot as somewhere where I see "regulars." The point of lunch at the fountain is to go somewhere, all of 200 feet from my workplace, where I don't really know anyone. There are days when I get lunch with my friends and hang out, but honestly these days when I slip away and read for a bit on lunch break are the ones that are most satisfying to me. There's a rotating cast of unusual people--the group of older folks with binoculars, presumably watching the falcons that nest on the Cathedral of Learning, the people with dogs, the homeless bench sleeper dude, the man in pajama pants (on this fine day) splashing himself in the fountain then crouching over a bench to write in his notebook.

But now there's one girl who comes, presumably from an excruciatingly boring office job like my own, and reads in the early afternoon for a bit, sometimes takes a short nap in the sun. Same as me. There's a distance between us, and though I recognize her I don't--and don't want to--talk to her. Recognizing her itself is a bit unnerving. Talking to her, or even acknowledging her, would be like that day when I become friendly with the coffeeshop worker and, while I appreciate gaining her or his conversation, I also realize that I'm sacrificing my anonymity in this place, and I can't treat it the same way again. Much of the mystery is gone.

By the time these ruminations were in full swing, I realized my break time was getting on and I needed to scrounge up some real food and head back to the office. So I left it at that and returned to the mind-numbing task of wrapping yellow paper bands around books and creating item records in the circulation sytem (skills that could prove useful if you're considering, say, hiring me for a library job sometime soon!) I bagged myself a burrito and returned to work, not much further along in Burn Collector, with a sandwich in a baggie in my refrigerator at home, and feeling particularly fulfilled.


taking stock

When I was a young one, the majority of the young-one injuries I sustained were silly cuts and bruises from playing hockey in the basement(!) with my sister, or getting caught up in the rose bush while sliding into "home plate" in the backyard. And that one time, I twisted my ankle falling from about halfway up to the top bunk. But I never broke any bones as a child, which honestly kind of bummed me out. In a sick sort of way, I was jealous of my friends with their casts to sign, and my sister, with her physical therapy appointments following her shoulder dislocation.

Jealous no more. In the past two years or so, here in my Second Childhood, I've seriously injured myself more times than I did in my First Childhood, which, if I had to quantify it, was a good six or seven times as long as this one has been. And I'm developing the little physical signs that write the narrative of my life, or at least the injurious parts thereof. A quick inventory:

- The little creak in my jaw when I chew sometimes.

A reminder of October 2003, when I fell face-first from my bike, going seriously about 4 miles an hour, and broke my jaw on either side. The tedious six hours in the emergency room was a great deal more painful in nature than the injury itself. They didn't believe me when I said it was broken; I clamped down with my teeth on the little popsicle stick thing and held it in place when they tugged at it, and that, they explained, meant it probably couldn't be broken. They did x-rays anyway, JUST IN CASE, and it turned out it was hairline fractured on either side. I didn't eat anything solid for many weeks, and in exchange I didn't have to get it wired up. It all worked out.

- The recurring pain in my right wrist.

A reminder of the spring of 2004, when, on same bike (no longer in service, thank goodness), I was accelerating up Pearl Street, my chain jumped gears and I went down on my right side. I guess I sprained it but didn't realize it at the time, but a few days later it began to hurt a bit, and it didn't help that this was at the point in history when I was just starting to play drums. Other features of this accident: The big scars on my right shoulder and right elbow.

- The weird shape of my pinky finger.

I know this just happened, and it's not even fully healed yet, but the segment of my right pinky between the knuckle where it meets the hand and the knuckle that's sort of in the middle of the finger is kind of concave anymore. I'm hoping that's not a problem in the future. Time will tell.

Runners-up in this contest include:

- The gaps in my teeth on either side of my mouth.

This actually occured freshman year of college, not within the last two years. There are two tooth-spots where I don't have adult teeth, and my baby teeth were still hangin out there when I was 18, and we all knew it would become a problem eventually. It became a problem in mid-April, actually the same day I bought my green Doc Martens at Bovvers and Q and Not U and El Guapo played in Shawn Brackbill's basement on Parkview, and the day before I was to leave for some protest in D.C. Probably for the better, considering what happened the next fall when I actually DID manage to get to D.C. for some protest . . .

- The scars all about my hands and arms.

Mostly from playing drums with great intensity and little formal training, and one from operating the hot glue gun at the arts festival.


a few small reports


Please listen to The Scala Choir covering the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself."

Also, apparently Scribus, an open-source desktop publishing software, will at some point be releasing a version of its current build that's compatible with Windows, which will be an amazing thing for me, as I'm not tough enough to be running Linux. There's already a Mac-compatible version available, you lucky Mac bastard you.

And, last but not least, look at this, regarding the purchase of the parent company of myspace by the parent company of Fox News.

That is all, thank you.


most perfect mixtape, ever.

Every time I pick up this mixtape it gets better. Actually I can't find the tape itself right now, but I picked up the packaging and it got better anyway. It deserves a tribute of some sort. I hope this will get you thinking about the best mixtape anyone has ever given you, or the best mixtape you've given someone else, or the gaping chasm in your psyche created by the fact that you never trade mixtapes with your friends. Write about it in your blog, or make a thread about it on your message board, or write to someone (ME) about it. And email me if you wanna trade with me. I don't guarantee I'll be timely, but I'll get to it, I swear.

This mixtape was given me by my awesome amazing friend Emily in early 2002. Shortly after we met, we traded mixtapes in a punkrock version of that thing dogs do where they sniff each other to figure out who's cool and who's not. At the time, I had some punk cred, but didn't know all that much about kind of indie rock she was much more familiar with. Plus she's five-or-so years older than me, and in music years, that's like EONS, so there was stuff included that she took for granted that I had heard OF but never HEARD. Yknow. Regardless, it turned me on to a lot of stuff that makes up the basic meat of what I listen to anymore.

The tape, for whatever reason, is titled "MTV Presents Jock Rock Vol. 1" and features as art clipped pictures of some sprinters and a toddler running with a football. The track listing is as follows.

Side A
The Clash: Guns of Brixton
Althea and Donna: Uptown Top Ranking
X-ray Spex: I Live Off You
Iggy & the Stooges: Gimme Danger
Julie Ruin: Stay Monkey
Tom Tom Club: Genius of Love
The Ramones: Havana Affair
Stereolab: K-stars
The Velvet Underground: I Can't Stand It
The Sea & Cake: The World is Against You
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Some Candy Talking
The Gossip: Lily White Hands
The Buzzcocks: Noise Annoys
Galaxie 500: Tugboat Captain

Side B
The Fugs: I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Rock
Mekons: Chivalry
Beat Happening: Teenage Caveman
Le Tigre: My My Metrocard
The Vaselines: Son of a Gun
Richard Hell & The Voidoids: Who Says? (It's Good to be Alive)
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Miles Away
T-Rex: Planet Queen
Joy Division: Transmission
13th Floor Elevators: Levitation
John Cale: Hanky Panky No How
Lou Reed: Satellite of Love
Guided by Voices: Blimps Go 90
Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston: What the World Needs Now

(I'll admit that the placement of the Ramones song on Side A is a bit questionable, and also that I'm not that into the 13th Floor Elevators in general, but these things matter little in the greater context of this master work. Soon I must undertake to make this young lady the most perfect tape I can muster in mid-2005 before she leaves for grad school . . .)


two shows at the beginning of august

Fair warning:

August 5, the sea, like lead plays with Kim Phuc, (((microwaves))), and Athletic Automaton at Howler's, Liberty Ave in Bloomfield. Shows there usually start around 10:00 (more like 10:30 or 11:00 really) and are $5 or so.

THE VERY NEXT DAY, August 6, the sea, like lead plays with Nakano (from Morgantown, pretty stuff that sounds like Explosions in the Sky tempered with some more poppy stuff), Southpaw and one more possibly? This show is at Roboto, which means 7 pm start, $5, etc. I think Oneida is playing at Gooski's this same night? If that's true, there will be plenty of time to get to this show THEN that show, if you want.

I had intended to bring you some short reviews of records I've gotten lately, some new and some just new to me, but I left my headphones at home when I went to the coffeeshop so I did other shit instead. Next time maybe.


i'm a cult hero, baby

Today I got in a fight with a LaRouchey.

I've had my fair share of run-ins with cult or semi-cult folks in my day, not the least of which being that time a few summers ago when the Krishna dude on the South Side tried to "give" me a copy of the Gita, which he signed himself but which was, of course, written by the greatest writer of all, God, only to rip it from my paws when I admitted that I couldn't give him much of a donation. But I don't think I've ever actually gotten, y'know, PISSED at someone trying to convert me to her/his belief system. This young man, however, got my goat.

Emma and I were sitting on the wall, munching on our respective lunches, waiting for Laura and Josher to show, when said brainwashed individual approached, after having had an animated conversation with some others down the way a bit (in which he contended loudly that "ANYONE can be a genius, it's not hereditary!") and descended upon us, noting that we looked political, or at least smart. We entertained his questions and contentions for a bit, for lack of anything better to do, and because he didn't give us much of a chance to get out of the situation. Emma argued with him for a bit, I got slightly annoyed when I talked about my media activism and he marginalized it by basically telling me that economics on the international scale is a more important place to focus one's efforts. I took over arguing when Josh showed up and Emma started talking to him. I let on that I was familiar with LaRouche, and he asked me what I thought of him, and I said he was a dude with a couple decent ideas and a personality cult, and that he wasn't ever going to get anything accomplished, which I guess was offensive to him, so he started the smoke-and-mirrors game, telling me about how I didn't know that my philosophy was The Truth, but he investigated his ideas physically and metaphysically and knew them to be The Truth. (RULE OF THUMB: If some dude on the street starts talking about metaphysics to you in order to make a political point, he 1. Probably doesn't know what he's talking about and 2. Is definitely trying to pull something over on you.)

SO, he started spewing about how LaRouche was The Truth because his thinking is in line with Bach and Beethoven, and the great composers' music is mathematically congruent to the arrangement of the planets (I'm not making this up), and Emma finally told him that he wasn't going to get anywhere with us (ten minutes have elapsed since he first rolled up) and he might as well go talk to someone else. AT WHICH POINT, he said "Well, if you're not willing to challenge yourself . . ." and we both basically lost it and told him not to say shit like that to us, and he said that he didn't mean to be rude, and we said well buddy you're being rude, and he then REPEATED his line about us not wanting to challenge ourselves. I was seriously pissed at him in a way that I haven't been pissed directly at another person in a very long time, I guess because he was interrupting my lunch in a public place to insult me. I put on my game face, pointed leeward down the wall and told him he better get moving. His eyes became little slits and he said to me,

"Don't get assy with me."

He then turned heel and retreated to the LaRouche station at the corner, where he conferred with his fellow proselytizers and sulked alone for a bit.

We continued with our lunch and discussed important things like amplifier placement and Laura's harrowing Chicago airport story.

I will get assy with whomever I please, young man. Don't let it slip your mind.

(For a little information about the Cult of Larouche, read this.)


no rules, just rights

Something of interest to most or all:

This weekend, a conversation about turn-on-red (I am a major foe) and subsequent recall of an argument about the same last summer with another out-of-towner brought this to mind: TRAFFIC ANARCHY IN THE NETHERLANDS! (I have no idea what Seven Corners Localization Initiative is, so I can't be held liable if you get involved and it turns out to be some City Planning Scientology Sex Cult or something.)

I came up with this idea on my own a couple years ago, but it turns out a guy named Hans Monderman was as smart as me, and also has follow-through (and the entire town of Drachten at his disposal). The gist of the article is that there are no traffic signs, lights, anything in this town, and the lack of rules actually makes the roads there safer, because people are actually looking out for themselves and one another instead of relying on the rules and assuming everyone else will do the same. There are a lot of reasons why I thought this would work, and in one AWESOME town in the Netherlands, it IS working.

Thank you, Hans Monderman and Drachten, The Netherlands, for providing just a little bit of evidence that anarchy can and will someday work out.

Speaking of anarchy and things working out, I got to be interviewed about Indymedia for the first time in ages today, by a high schooler at Point Park University's High School Journalism Workshop (of which I am a proud alum, though it was merely a college back in 1999). She took Potter and myself on, both at once, a daunting task, in the plush Steel City Media Conference Room. Getting this sort of attention, and silly hyperbolic praise from Potter, in addition to accurate analysis of what the IMC is really doing for the world and the city, got me a little more stoked on getting re-involved in the movement. The Movement. The Rev. However you want to personify a bunch of actions that, together, comprise an attempt to make some part of the world a little bit more friendly.


attn: navies

You are amazing. Do not go on hiatus or whatever it is you told me tonight you were going to do. Tour with me, move to my city, say funny things at opportune moments when I'm around.

Ed, D.C. doesn't need another lawyer. D.C. needs YOU and YOUR GUITAR, ROCKING THE FUCK OUT.

Sean, despite your seeming complaints about it, your kit rules. I'd like to be hitting something similar as soon as having a new job and some money to spend allows. The 28" bass is a drumming essential for 2005, and I will not be ashamed to hop on this drumwagon, if you want to call it that.

(If you don't have their EP on Lovitt, go and find it. It's on my best-of-the-year list already. It's more than a sentimental attachment based on their playing our release show in May that was the feelgood show of the year for me. The CD holds its own.)

PS-- Thank you for being the band on the bill tonight WITHOUT dual screaming vokillz. I got pretty worn out on that. Screaming is such a delicate practice--there are bands that scream that have something to say, and scream it in a way that is a dead giveaway of their passion for their message, or whatever it is they're expressing. But there are lots of bands that just use screaming as a type of delivery. It's like going through everyday life yelling every bit of dialogue, or typing up an entire letter in all caps. How does your audience know what's most important? How do we know that anything is important at all? How do we have any idea what you're saying?


palindrome weekend, you are kicking my ass

So, to take care of things in the order in which they came:

The show Friday night was fantastic, the space sounded really good, I thought we played well, the other bands were awesome. Unfortunately, I also BROKE MY FINGER PLAYING DRUMS. As a quick fix we ran to 7-11 and got a popsicle, Jo and I split it and left a chunk in the wrapper to use as an ice pack, then when we finished the popsicles we splinted the finger (right hand, pinky finger) (as an aside, I really hate typing periods and p's and semicolons and stuff right now).

Yesterday I spent a lot of time going to stores and things of that nature, and trying to help with the cleaning of the house and the preparing of the baked goodies for the reading. And unwrapping, icing, and re-wrapping my finger. I went to the ATM at Penn and Winebiddle to get some cash and it was out of order, then when I went to walk home it started pouring. That sums up yesterday.

The reading went spectacularly, a good 40-ish people showed, aforementioned SOMEONE I was worried about showing did not, but we speculated that it was he who was occasionally ringing the doorbell while Al read, then quickly disappearing. The mental image of this is almost more than I can take. All the readers were super. Al singing like a Slovenian dude singing Prince was probably the highlight of the event.

We then took the long way to the South Side, where we hit the Brew House activities, which were all in all quite festive and enjoyable. html played shortly after we arrived, at times it was kind of messy because, presumably, they couldn't really hear what all was going on on that stage. But it tightened up soon enough, and they wrapped up with the coffin pines song, which invariably moves me close to tears. It's as much the history of the song as the content . . . I guess the story goes that Eric wrote the words for Sparrow (before I knew any of those dudes), they brought them back for html (when I first met them), it was my favorite song of theirs, they stopped playing it for a year or two, Joel covered it solo after Q + Emma's wedding, and this spring at the tape comp release show(? i think?) html played it for the first time in ages, and dedicated it to me for my graduation. The song itself is about strong relationships that last lifetimes, and I suppose that, in combination with the history of the song for me, and the fact that I'm getting old and wishy-washy, is positively killer for me.

So, after that, all that was left to do was to sit outside on a lawn chair and share an Iron City with a girl I just met recently, then cruise home singing along to Elton John's greatest hits, then make food and tell ghost stories and watch Jessica blog.

This morning was waffle nation, today I do a little more baking, tonight is the reading Emma is booking at MoFo, tomorrow night is the show at Roboto that we're no longer playing because, as noted, I'm broken. All the p's and punctuation are making me ache. This is the best I can do for now.


palindrome weekend here i come

Today I woke up at 11 am (this means I got about 11 hours of sleep) and I STILL didn't feel rested. That's abnormal even for me. I'll go on thinking it's because of the heat, and not because I am in some way losing my ability to carry on as a normal, semi-healthy human.

Speaking of hot, it's gettin hott in hurr, as I am in the kitchen and baking chocolate chip cookie bars and super spicy oatmeal cookies sweetened with brown rice syrup for the reading tomorrow evening. Do I mind that it's like 90 degrees out and I was breaking a sweat as soon as I woke up, without even having the oven on? Yes. But the baked goods must go on. Nothing will stop this reading from being fantastic, even if a certain someone (whom I would link to a photo of, but apparently he does not allow people to take his picture) tries to fuck it up, which he may or may not be planning to do. My feeling right now is that he's not actually going to bother.

Things currently pleasing me are: the Tom Tom Club s/t LP that I just busted out after a long hiatus, hearing back from Aimee about possibly playing with Des Ark when we hit Carolina in (Post-)Rawktober, Emma's awesome cookbook-writing skills (1 c oil (I know it seems gross but just use it all, ok?)).

Show tonight (Future Tenant), reading tomorrow night (MoFo), other reading the next night (also MoFo), other show Monday night (Roboto). Come see me at any or all of these. I currently have no time to have or express any meaningful, profound thoughts because I have too many things to promote.


welcome the plague year / navies / the sea, like lead

Welcome the Plague Year
Navies (YES! These awesome dudes who played our CD release will remain always dear to my heart) (Note the photos by Charissa on their site!)
the sea, like lead (we're not playing . . . i'm broken)
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Behold the Pale Horse

Monday, 7.18.05, 7:00pm, Roboto, $6.

I am stoked for this show for myriad reasons. Might be one of my favorites of the summer. Please come!

hazy, hot, humid -or- hip, hip, hurray

The heat is oppressive. That's the only word I'll accept. A few weeks ago when this disturbing trend began, Jeff Verszyla, local attractive young weatherman whom my aunt believes is positively dreamy, was kind enough to supply us with a list of possible descriptors for this sort of weather. His favorite, he explained in a troubling editorial interjection, is "sultry." "Sultry" doesn't cut it, Jeff. That makes this miserable nonsense sound . . . sexy. Wait at my house for me after work tomorrow and meet me when I get home from my bike ride of a mere 3 miles or so. See how very sexy I am. There's nothing sexy about this. The term "oppressive," on the other hand, connotes a great deal of unhappiness on the part of us slaving climate proletarians. Nothing we can change about this, no sense of temperature empowerment. It conjures up the image of the Heatmeiser, swapping our weather with that of Southtown in another shady deal with his bastard brother.

One implicit plus in the bedraggled above paragraph is that I am indeed back on my bike, which is exciting to me in that, when I'm feeling up to it, and not so oppressed, I can go places like Squirrel Hill and Wilkinsburg with a minimum of effort. Also, for the most part, I will be getting to work on time again. This won't matter so much in a month or so when I lose my job, but perhaps I will have worked out a new one by then, and I'll be able to get to that one on time as well.

Another plus for today is the positive experience of last night's show. Housequake brought out some bodies, and said bodies stuck around for the whole show, which ruled hard. All three touring bands were excellent. Goodbye Ohio headed back to NYC immediately after the show (why did they schedule a Pittsburgh date between two NYC dates? The world may never know). But that allowed me to get to know The Close and Slingshot Dakota a little better, which was a good thing, because all of the individuals comprising these bands are top-notch. Buy their records. Make them your Myspace friends (the Slingshot kids were selling bead bracelets and were kind enough to give me the one they made to say "I <3 Myspace," because, well, I fucking hate Myspace. Irony is, indeed, the new irony.

Furthermore, we returned to the house for vegan sloppy jo and pasta salad that I made that was so-so, and discussion of a range of topics including the music business, Paul McCartney getting blow jobs during the two days during his marriage to Linda in which they were apart, peeing our pants in school, The Highly Sensitive Person (I recommend this book to everyone, no joke), horse racing, gang wars, and walking on your knees. The whole experience tempered the feelings I've been having lately about the weird nature of diy culture and the phenomenon of diy celebrity, which, as noted, I'm starting to write about hopefully for my zine.

Three cheers! The Close should be back in October. Come see them then. You'll hear about it here.


weekend review.

This weekend I:

Saw awesome friends play awesome music.

Bought a bike from Alison (a '77 Peugeot, pretty similar to my old Gitane, which is good).

Threw a new chain on said bike.

Had a good talk with someone close to me.

Hung out with my little nephew!

Started working preliminarily on a piece for my zine. If you know of anything written about communication and relations in a diy subculture as opposed to mainstream celebrity culture, please give a holler my way. If not, I'll break new amazing heretofore unthoughtof ground. But I'm sure SOMEONE has written about this before.

Made food for the bands for tonight (note: Slingshot Dakota are now playing this show as well. They are super swell. I'm stoked on meeting them and seeing them play.

Slept some but not enough. Never enough.

By way of a quick Internet Week That Was for the week ending 7.9.2005, I'd like to point out these two gems that made the last week on the Internet a wonderful thing for me:

Manny's 500-word polemic in response to my reckless Eagles reference

The Mary Worth Archive of the Subdivided We Stand blog



Today, after a beautiful and productive life spanning about two months, give or take a week or so, our lone surviving zucchini plant passed on. It survived its companion plant never having gotten past its seedling stage (thanks, neighborhood kids who play dodgeball in the alley and lose your ball in our yard!), but I suppose the smell last night of its little offspring being baked into a loaf of bread was just too much to handle.

Also, the cucumber beetles are out these days spreading the wilt with their little tainted mandibles.

Don't let the death of this plant be in vain. Protect your melon family plants! Spray the leaves with soapy water. Or, even better, cover them with lime and wood ash. And pick those little black-and-yeller buggers. And if your plants survive, give us your extra zucchinis. Thanks.


wherefore drum machines?

Show tonight. Yes. Good time, Apse undoubtedly ruled the night. I felt like we played a pretty good set, and didn't falter too much in presenting a new song. Sabres were awesome and brought a lot of old people out.

I'd like to point out, however, a disturbing trend, embodied by Sleeping Kings of Iona, who were talented and sweet and had some really pretty points and I think would be really good music to listen to while reading or doing homework or whatever: the drum-machine-cum-drummer setup. Being a drummer, I'm obviously a fan of real-life percussion. But I can see the use of a drum machine sometimes. Both at once, though? Apse had some electronic percussion going on, but it was mostly from an electronic hitpad that one of the two(!) drummers was hitting, physically. It was a nice addition to their amazing array of pedals and crazy-looking guitars. Sleeping Kings, though, depended pretty heavily on the drum machine for beats, and at times didn't have a drummer playing. To their credit, I guess they had a drummer formerly who is no longer playing with them, so perhaps their show was different then, and they're just scrambling to put something new together. Even if this was a stopgap measure for them, though, I've seen other bands do the same thing.

Why? What engenders the need for this sort of thing? If you HAVE someone drumming, why doesn't s/he lay down your beats for you? Is there a primal yearning for something electronic and artificial that can't be satisfied with mere synth noises and pedals? If you have answers, talk to me. If not, allow me this rhetorical indulgence.

(PS--The synth Apse had was called the Rogue Moog. Nice.)


two bodies, two tales

Act I – Saturday, early afternoon, Oakland.

Moving toward home on a Saturday morning flyering trip to Oakland, I'm making tracks down Craig Street, almost to the Catholic high school. An accordion folder in one arm, packing tape in the other, I feel rather conspicuous, but the older woman walking my way seems distracted by something other than my intentions. She slows down directly ahead of me, peers to her left, into or behind a bush, looks a bit concerned, then keeps moving as planned.

Expecting possibly a strange type of mushroom or a rabid squirrel, I sneak a look at the very spot she was just eyeing. What meets me is, in fact, a full-grown man, middle aged, fairly nicely dressed, lying in the grass on his back, arms folded.

What am I to think? Clearly he hadn't suffered a massive heart attack and fallen, or if he had, coincidence made a pretzel of his arms like that. He looks pretty relaxed, but is he breathing? Not sure. I presume so, since the old woman, clearly more reliable than I, kept walking. So I too keep going, thinking about all the rhetoric we put out about how even if THEY saw someone dying on the street, THEY wouldn't stop to help, and feel a bit like them. I also think about the time we were in Bowling Green for the Underground Publishing Conference and our friend who was with us was “stopped by the police” while sleeping on the front lawn of the house in a sleeping bag. I'm not sure when it's acceptable protocol to try to roust someone who's lying on the ground.

(I never heard anything about anyone found dead there that day, so I'm going to go on thinking he was just sleeping.)

Act II – Tuesday evening, at the co-op.

Amongst the shoppers, in addition to the housemates and myself, are a young couple with their daughter, probably 4 or 5 years old. They get in one checkout line, we get in the other, the girl continues dancing around in the front of the store, blissfully and admirably unaware. She draws near me, and suddenly clasps my hand, still singing. At first I'm not sure what to do. When a little one goes for your hand unannounced you don't immediately draw back the way you would if it was an adult. Presumably she thinks I'm her father. I look down with a smile and say, “I don't think you know who I am!”

She finally looks up and realizes that her dad's in the OTHER line. Without a word, she skitters across the floor to her parents. A few seconds later she looks back at me and says: “You're good!”

“I'M good?!” I reply. “YOU'RE the one who just started holding my hand without even looking to see who I was. I think THAT's pretty good.”

Then I think for a moment.

“Well, or bad, depending on who I am.”

The moral of these stories? Not completely certain, but I would assume it involves watching where you're going, but not being afraid to hold hands now and then.


the sea, like lead / harangue / mikeyc and tom b.

the sea, like lead (that's my band, in case you forgot)

Harangue (dunno if they have a website -- local hot kinda '80sish indie pop rock)

MikeyC and Tom B (improv loud good stuff -- 2/3 of Sun Tornado)

07.15.2005 at Future Tenant Downtown, for Bill Wehmann's exhibit. 7pm-10pm. Free!

jessica hopper + al burian reading tour

Jessica Hopper (Hit It or Quit It, Punk Planet) and Al Burian (Burn Collector, Punk Planet) will be stopping here on their summer reading tour. Also reading will be Eric Meisberger (HeartattaCk, Here Be Dragons, etc).

Saturday, 07.16.2005, at ModernFormations. 7:00pm, $3-5 sliding scale, vegan baked goods included in the price of admission.

the close / goodbye, ohio / housequake

The Close (www.thecloserocks.com)

Goodbye, Ohio (www.myspace.com/goodbyeohio)

Housequake (no website? nice locals.)

One more tba.

Monday, 07.11.2005 at Roboto, 7:00pm, $5.

apse/sleeping kings of iona/the sea, like lead/sabres

(This is the first of a few up and coming events that i'm posting, for the purpose of LINKING THEM, where it says "up and coming.")

Apse (www.apsemusic.com)

Sleeping Kings of Iona (www.sleepingkingsofiona.com)

the sea, like lead (www.thesealikelead.com)

Sabres (no website that i know of, solo stuff from a sweet dude named keith)

Thursday, 07.07.2005 at ModernFormations, 7:00pm, $5.

sneak preview.

This is a post I am posting in order to be able to preview this fine tool.