a special sensitivity

So I ended up at Guitar Center today.

I promised myself I never would, but sometimes your snare strands are BOING!ing all about the place and Music Go Round is out of 14" snares and you're going out of town in four days and need to do something about that. So I went into this Home Depot of music stores, headed for "Drum Town" or whatever they call it, and was immediately overwhelmed by the spectacle before me. I felt a bit like Saul on the road to Damascus, suddenly blinded by the shining light that could have been my maker or could have been dozens upon dozens of well-polished cymbals. I glanced around, looking to see where in this sea of ridiculously expensive kits I might find a homely little 14" snare. My eyes finally fixed upon a rack of them behind the counter.

Behind Taylor.

Taylor was my sales representative. He reminded me of the type who works at Radio Shack. What I mean by this is, he was pushy as fuck. When I told him I needed a 14" snare, he immediately asked if I needed any special sensitivity or anything. No, I needed a snare. One that would make my snare drum rattle. I'm not that picky about these things. I really wished I could have just grabbed one off the rack myself, but there was a counter between me and my goal.

So, after a short bit of discussion, he brought me down the "run of the mill" (his words) Gibraltar snare, priced at $10.50 (a bit pricey, but, as noted, I was desperate, else I wouldn't even be in this place). He asked if, while I was at it, I might want to "update" my snare side head. No, I did not want to do this. Mine is fine. "When did you change it last?" he pried. I thought for a moment, then made something up, because I'm not good at thinking on my feet in pressure situations. "Six months ago," I replied. He was finally silent a moment. Then he recovered.

"It's always good to have an extra one!" he noted.

No. No, Taylor, I do NOT want an extra head. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, and buy it from someone I like.

So he rang up my snare, which rang up at $7.99, a much more reasonable price. It was probably a ploy to make me feel like I was getting a deal, but I assure you it did not work.

We then began the Personal Information Tango, in which I permitted him to step on my feet at first, giving him my name (I was paying with credit anyway, so he'd be getting that) and my address at my parents' (likewise, he had to check my ID against my credit card, since I might be using someone else's card to buy a $7.99 snare). Then he asked for my phone number.

Phone number privacy is a big thing with me. I inherited a certain paranoia about phone numbers from my parents. I'm not too good at talking on the phone in the first place, and I really feel like unwanted calls are a major invasion of my daily life, so I resist giving my number to anyone I'm not friends with. And I'm not really friends with Taylor.

"Dude," he said when I told him I don't give my phone number (Taylor always calls me dude), "No one's gonna call you. I promise."

I didn't even bother with the "Then why the hell do you want my number?" route, because it shouldn't be necessary. "Do I need to give you my number in order to buy this?" I asked, knowing I didn't.

"Naw, but no one's gonna call you, dude."

No, Taylor. I'm not giving you my phone number.

At which point he hopped on the phone, where someone had been holding, waiting to hear him call them dude, as we waited for my receipt. I turned down a kindly offer for a bag, then exited, having my receipt stamped by the bouncer dude at the door.

What a rude bastard that Taylor is. If I felt like I could have gotten a snare elsewhere before the end of the week, I would have just cut that transaction where it was and left. How is being condescending toward one's customer a habit that doesn't get a person fired? (I might point out that it's a trait that's fairly common in music stores, and bike shops as well.) But alas, Taylor had me suckered against my will and took advantage of it and thrashed me against the wall with his superior drum knowledge, nice hair and overbearing personality.

It all makes my love for Music Go Round a bit greater. They may be a little Jesus-freaky (at the Monroeville store, at least), they may not always know more than anyone else about a given query, but they don't offend my special sensitivity to rude bastards, and it does not go unnoticed.


midwest invasion

So, in more detail:

We're playing two nights next weekend in two different cities. Those cities are called "Chicago" (in the state of Illinois) and "St. Paul" (in the State of Minnesota).

Friday night, September 2, we're playing at the Spareroom Gallery in Chicago, with Sharks and Seals, Russian and maybe Scalpels? (I think that's the one. There's also a band called Scalpers I guess. Let's not mix them up.) That's at 8:00. If you are of that city, please come and shake my hand. I will be the one hitting drums and probably bleeding.

Saturday night, September 3, we're playing at Big V's in St. Paul. I guess the show is at 10:00? And we're playing with a band called Build My Gallows High, and I would presume others. If you are of that city, please come and shake my hand. I will be the one hitting drums and probably bleeding.

I don't think we'll have a lot of time for doing stuff other than driving, and maybe eating breakfast, but if you have any suggestions as to things to do in either of those places, do drop a line. I'm looking forward to the expedition.


update the punx

Apologies if I've already used that post title. I don't think I have, but it feels a little worn. I'm sure I'll start doubling up soon. I only have so many cute phrases in this brain.

I've got, as Emma would say, bunnies in my brain right now, as it is past my bedtime AND I'm jumpy with caffeine AND I just got off an hour-and-a-half-plus marathon of answering Roboto emails for Mike while he's away. So this will likely be short, but hey, I owe you one.

Speaking of Emma, SHE IS BACK from her two-week trip and I'm stoked. I was doing pretty well without her at first, but that's because I was massively busy, and after a bit I began to miss her sorely (Emma, for those of you not In the Know, is my roommate and, er, BFF). There have been bonecrushing hugs in the past several hours, I assure you of this.

The show last night was super despite the fact that Growing ended up broken down in New Jersey. Three locals, one basement, zero dollars. These are my favorite shows. We didn't even get in trouble for being too loud.

I'm excited about the upcoming weekend trip we're doing to Chicago and Minneapolis, which I'll detail more quite soon. It's next weekend (Labor Day weekend). I'm pumped that in Chicago we're playing with two or three bands that I ACTUALLY WANT TO SEE (this is quite a rarity when you're playing out of town) and that Hopper has previews running in the weeklies in both towns and that Hopper is in Chicago now after all and I might actually get to see her and regardless I'll be seeing other Chicagoans whom I love. I'm down because my hi-hat cymbals are currently in Philly due to my own stupidity, my kick pedal is currently broken because it's not that great, and also because of my own BRUTALITY, and I lost my duffel bag so I need a new one, AND I need a new snare for my snare drum.

Speaking of ambivalence, tomorrow is my last day at my job, which is nice because I get some time off, and not so nice because it's sort of an indefinite time off. I'm hoping to get something lined up right soon. But as it stands, I'll be, er, CHILLIN' for a few weeks. Expect/demand good writing in September.

There are more ruminations ruminating . . . I shall put them in writing for you soon.


letting fury have the hour

So, while I was carting around between Pittsburgh and the suburbs thereof on Saturday, some people in Oakland protesting military recruitment were being shot with tasers and bitten by dogs.

I knew about this ahead of time but I guess I was busy and this sort of action isn't the type of thing that necessarily turns me on lately (it CAN be, but isn't necessarily). But, while it's good to be taking slow, everyday type steps toward the kind of world you want, it's also important to sometimes have something tangible to do to make you feel better about living in the country/society/world that you live in. It's a matter, I guess, of structuring and targetting that tangible thing so that it's at least somewhat constructive (not to say that the protest on Saturday wasn't constructive, I think it was). I was recalling recently the Student Strike we organized in early 2003 at the beginning of the new Iraq war, and how it was targeted and structured and kind of even constructive. What a feelgood action.

In retrospect I've definitely been feeling down that I didn't really do much to help out this weekend, and haven't "helped out" all that much lately, for lack of feeling like there's a place where I can feel right plugging in. It doesn't do much good to sit and mope about, so I suppose I should just work toward doing more in some capacity -- getting reinvolved in Indymedia, which I'm currently working on doing, should be a start. And since I'm about to get kicked out of my job and won't have a new one for at least a few weeks, I should have some time to do it well. I'll also be working on a zine with some essays and perhaps some retooled blogpostation. Hopefully I'll manage to actually take advantage of this time; even though I haven't been full-on depressed like I have been in the summertime in the past, and I have a lot of things going on and a lot of things going for me, I've been feeling lately like I haven't been able to motivate myself to do some important things.

So, here's to kicking myself in the ass and getting stuff done. Perhaps you'd like to kick yourself as well. Or, you kick me, I'll kick you, we'll call it even. Listmaking this week, checkmarking next. Right?


oh yes, a show this week

Forgot to mention it, but it just came up last week so don't get mad at me.

We're playing a show this Wednesday (8/24) with Growing and Tusk Lord/Droopy Septum (Mike Kasunic and Ryan Emmett, both of whom rule) and Sabres (Keith Bryner, who also rules) at 5700 Wilkins Ave. $5.00, 8pm, "go round back."

I've not seen Growing but heard very good things. I'm into the lokills. No reason not to come if you're around.

so many orchids

The trip to Phipps coincided nicely with my current slow-but-sure digestion of Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, which is treating me quite well. There were loads of orchids in bloom, ones that looked really "pretty" and garden-ish, ones that looked like faces, ones that wouldn't generally be considered all that attractive but they were so delicate you couldn't help but fall in love with them.

And bonsai as well. I've been into bonsai for a while but tried it a couple times and just couldn't keep up, and killed the poor things. I missed out on the Bonsai Society's show this summer (working the Arts Festival . . . and barely getting paid . . .), but maybe I'll get one next year and try to not make it die.

Also Friday night, said Girl and I went to this party in Shadyside(!) where I was prepared to feel uncomfortable, but then all the Punks showed up for whatever reason and IA complained a lot and it was funny so it wasn't so bad.

And yesterday Mikey and I tried to go see that Miranda July movie at the Manor but the projector was broken so we chilled at 61C and watched the amazing storm through the glass. Then I went to the Roboto show and saw Del Cielo, who always put me in an excellent mood.

And now, I'm chilling at my parents' and doing laundry and doing yard work a little and using the internet (did I mention that our stolen wireless is gone and we have to dial up at my house now? Lame.) and relaxing.

More later.


garden report

We've been doing a decent job this year of keeping up with the garden as a household--we each tend to pick up one another's slack at the right time. The tomatoes are slithering out of control nonetheless, and the beans seem to be succumbing to some sort of disease, but in general things are in better shape than they were last year.

Q harvested a good portion of the potatoes (not a bad harvest, considering. Potatoes take some work). We're finally starting to get some tomatoes. I just harvested some MORE basil (Emma has made gallons upon gallons of pesto so far this summer. I think we'll dry this batch for seasoning). Fall crops should go in soon. Some lettuce, some spinach, perhaps some more peas.

One of the things in the garden that pleases me the most is the couple of volunteer nicotianas that grew up where we had a huge patch of them last year. I had fully intended planting some nickis this year but forgot/got lazy. So one or two plants popped up anyway, to give me my fix of that ol' nickertianer scent (this is the part where you wish there was a smell function on your computer).

Expect more botanical nerdery in the near future, as I'm planning on finally going to Phipps, for the first time ever (with a Girl, nonetheless!) (but let's not jinx this!). I have been living the life of a plant poser for all too long. We hit the National Botanical Gardens whilst on tour, and it was pretty great, but I'm pretty sure Phipps is a bit bigger. Take that, DC.


a minor linguistic conundrum

So, know that band A Minor Forest?

Anytime I've heard them referred to orally, and I've probably only discussed them with a few friends, we've said the "A" in the band name like a schwa sound, because obviously it's an article modifying "Minor Forest," right?


When we were mixing on Sunday, we were talking for whatever reason about bands we're compared to -- I think I had told the story of the girl in D.C. who approached me after we played to tell us it was really great and that she was a huge Don Cab fan her freshman year of college (I wasn't sure how to respond to this) -- and Steve mentioned A Minor Forest. But he made the "A" at the beginning of the name like a long "A" sound (as in "neighbor" and "weigh" . . . oh wait . . .). At the time I just chalked it up to a weird pronunciation habit and/or a special effort to not accidentally call them "Off Minor Forest."

I just thought about it again, though, and it occurred to me that, in fact, he was probably conceptualizing the name as "A Minor (as in the key) Forest." A forest in the key of A minor. I never once thought about it that way. Is that how it's "supposed" to be said?

The ambiguity recalls a post on Language Log about the pronunciation of "the" and a tangent about its pronunciation in band names (and the use of "thee," as in "Thee Speaking Canaries."

Register your votes. Or tell me the right way to say it. Or don't bother, just think about how interesting it is that two people can have two totally different concepts of a phrase's meaning and pronunciation based on their personal background.


full of a baby's venom

Today, having lunch in my quiet spot and trying to digest Jazz (as a quick aside, I always feel like I SHOULD like Toni Morrison, and I DO like her use of language, but always find her to be too much. Trying to reach for too many things, to great a statement at once. But what do I know about reading? Not much.), I heard someone passing in close proximity to me say something, so I looked up, thinking that perhaps they were saying hi. (This was reason for alarm in and of itself, cf. this post.) The individual in question was a "SK8R DOOD" who looked like he might have just emerged from my TV set, were I watching Viva La Bam! I determined that he had not been saying hi when, a few steps further along in his trip, he hurled his skateboard at a pigeon that was in his way and yelled something incomprehensible aside from its containing the "fuck" word.

I was tempted to say something like, "Hey pal! You look like you need a friend!" but my instincts told me that if he'd go after a bird whose only crime is mooching food from stupid humans like that, perhaps his response to my interference would be even more violent, and I didn't feel like getting blood on my hands during my lunch break. He proceeded to walk on, right through a construction site, where I was sort of hoping some beefy hardhat dude would give his attitude right back, and they might destroy each other or something, but no dice.

Just a short time ago, I was walking back from a brief shopping trip, when I saw the driver of one SUV attempt a three-point turn in the middle of Baum Boulevard while another SUV was coming down the opposing lane at an alarming rate of speed. The driver of the second SUV, rather than slowing to a halt, perhaps honking the horn and sharing some cross words, decided it would be wise to cross over into the other lane and continue on toward her/his destination, barely slowing up. Of course the two nearly collided at a high rate of speed and--this might make me a bad person, so brace yourself--I was pretty disappointed that they didn't destroy each other. Car accidents often disturb me because usually only one person does something stupid but another innocent person is made a victim. The summer after my junior year in high school, a friend's dad was killed in a horrible accident caused by a woman who stole a car and was drunk. I was really upset by it for quite some time, and still am, when I let myself think about it. I guess I just wish for people like that to eliminate themselves without hurting other people. I don't generally cheer on violence or any such thing, but sometimes if it means diminishing the risk for someone innocent being hurt, I'm okay with it.

But not today.

(I should note that, despite my spiteful tone, I've got nothing to complain about and am in wonderful spirits lately. Tonight, work on some creative stuff hopefully, touch base with friends I haven't talked to in too many days, then call it a night early, as I failed to do last night.)



Thank you, Philadelphia, for:

- The awesome Steve Roche, amazing sound engineer and all-around sweet dude who has a great deal of patience and who made my drumming sound good (an accomplishment!)

- Belegost, who will blow you and me away with their side of this split.

- JD Foster (dude will be back in Pittsburgh eventually, we're promised). I can ask for little more when staying in another city than a floor with some carpeting, a dog to cuddle with, Irish Breakfast tea, superb tofu scrambler, and the nicest dude not in Pittsburgh anymore.

- Govinda's Gourmet to Go. Tasty vegan cheesesteaks from reputed Christian proselytizers? Whatever. It's good.

We basically have release details almost worked out with regard to the split, and it's pretty exciting. The recording sounds great and Belegost is surely going to rule hard in two weeks when they go in to do theirs. Now and then I felt a little intimidated by the whole process, not knowing much of anything about it, but the people around me were patient and helpful and now I feel a bit better-equipped for . . . next time?

Looking forward to sleeping many hours tonight.



Tomorrow, as I may not have mentioned, we head to Philadelphia (where, alas, the free wireless program is not yet underway) to record for our side of the split LP with Belegost. I'm admittedly a bit nervous about recording, but it should all go well. We've practiced plenty. I'm also admittedly STOKED to hang out all weekend with the Belegost dudes. And to score a vegan cheesesteak. It better come together this time. On tour, I passed on a cheesesteak in Morgantown because I thought I'd get one in Philly and we ended up not spending enough time there to get one.

Wish us luck. Probably no reports here till we get back, but you never really know.


they came in through the bathroom window

This morning began with a trip into the bathroom.

Thing is, at the point in the morning when I sauntered in there, the siding workers were already present and set up and on their scaffolding. Pretty near to the bathroom window. I decided to skip the shower for the morning, but as I sat on the john I created subtitles for the Spanish-language conversation going on on the other side of the wall.

Guy #1: Yo, dude's got his pants down! Hurry up!
Guy #2: Aight man, I'm comin'. I hafta get my camera phone out! This is gonna be ill!

The good news is, the whole project seems to be pretty much over. They just have to come back for the scaffolding, I guess. Unless they're leaving it there. We could charge the kids down the street (who, I might add, have been QUITE NAUGHTY this evening) to play on it.

Speaking of beefy dudes, I got a warm chuckle from today's Subdivided We Stand post (which, I would point out, I guess isn't an original work but a repost of something someone else wrote). I guess you have to be a Mary Worth follower to truly enjoy, but if you happen to be one, the amusement is overwhelming. And if you're not, you might want to reconsider.

(I suddenly recall a show a few weeks ago that I attended in which I was talking with Kevin and mentioned either Mary Worth or Rex Morgan, M.D., and a young man, about whom I know nothing except that he apparently works at the Bloomfield Pool, turned and said "So YOU'RE the one who reads that comic!" and then discussed the horrid Amazing Spider-Man with us for five minutes and, as quickly as he had appeared, left for another part of the room. I approve of this young man, whoever and wherever he may be.)


let's step into the conference room.

Today, I had a job interview.

It was essentially the first "real" interview I've ever had, as my student position at Hillman basically required me merely to show up and not be drunk or an illegal alien and my interview at Burger King in high school basically went something like:

Manager: Why Burger King?
Andy: It's close to my house and hires just about anyone, and I'm a teenager and have no scruples.

This interview sort of surprised me in its concentration on skills and job-related questions and basic lack of "Where do you picture yourself in five years?"-type bullshit. It was kind of nice. Even though it underscored the fact that I'm probably less qualified than the guy who has been the student worker in said office for four years, who also interviewed. But whatever. If I don't get this one, at least I know it's not because I'm dumb, just because he's really qualified, and I can likely land one at Hillman soon.

In other news, the September midwest trip for the band is looking up! While we're still working stuff out in Minneapolis (there's definitely a show at the Turf Club on September 3, we might still swing an earlier all-ages show with some bands more in our vein. The Chicago show is coming together well: Rick Gribenas's band, Sharks and Seals, are playing with us, as are Russian (Pete from Challenger and a sweet young lady named Lauren and I don't know who all else but I'm sure they're awesome). That show is September 2 at the Spareroom Gallery so if you're in Chicago, come, and if you know folks there, give them a heads-up.

Also, I'd like to quickly point out that at the co-op today, after the interview, I saw a woman chowing down at the cafe who had a Syphilis Lunchbox. I mean, I guess lunchtime is as good a time as any to worry about that stuff . . . I guess . . .


In which I am plied with clothing by a stranger.

Lots of good things this weekend. I would like to dwell briefly on one event, however:

Yesterday morning, Jo and I went to Zenith for brunch. It was tasty. Afterward we hustled over to the Goodwill on the South Side so that Jo could get some picture frames. We leafed through XL shirt after XL shirt, looking for smalls that might fit us. I found a nice plaid short sleeve shirt and decided to roll with it. We went to the checkout.

There was a considerable line, so a second cashier opened up and Jo moved over to that line. I stayed and after the greasy dude in front of me took forever to pay for all his ridiculous stuff, I laid down my shirt and began counting out $3.50 (I had about $3.80 in my possession at the time.) At this point, as the cashier threw the shirt in a bag, the middle-aged woman behind me thrust a $20 bill forward and said: "I'll take care of this one, honey."

As you might imagine, I had no clue what was going on.

"What?" I asked, as politely as one can ask that question.

"I'll pay for it. Don't worry about it."

"Uhhh . . . thanks! Errr . . ."

"Gotta do something nice every once in a while!"

Indeed you do. "Uhhh . . . thanks!" I said again, head cocked to the side like a curious puppy. I scuttled away.

Immediately I felt sort of like my reaction was inappropriate or something. I felt sort of like I had to reciprocate, but I had no way to do so. Jo asked if she had asked me on a date. Was I supposed to hug her or something? Did I just look poor? I mean, sure, I was scraping for change to pay, but I had more in the bank! Perhaps she thought I had just royally fucked up the choice between having money to eat dinner that night and buying a new shirt.

Instead of feeling self-conscious about, I guess I'm just supposed to pass it along. It's kind of like one of those annoying chain e-mails, only a little nicer.


my mother told me:

Last weekend while in the car with the mother, my hand was forced on the "you're not really serious about going back to school next year" issue. I had been meaning to bring it up myself for a while, but she beat me to it, which wasn't that hard to do, and I had to admit, no, I might not be going right back. I've still got my plans -- education, either secondary or college, either English or communication -- but I might put them off another year. I explained that things with the band are going well, and we'll probably want to do some more extensive touring and record some more and keep it up while we can, because you don't get a lot of chances at something like this. To which she responded:

"What's the point?"

"Whaddyou MEAN?" I asked, incredulous.

"You guys KNOW you're not going to be The Beatles!" she informed me. "What's the point?"

Ohhhh, Mom!

And speaking of things my mother informed me of, if you want to be slightly freaked out, I suggest that you read this. I think the link only works for a week. I have no idea how to take this. I looked up the woman's name to try to find information about her story, but couldn't really find any. Is this for real? What happened? And is "de-brained" really a word?

observations and standing ovations

1. Yesterday morning while walking to work, I was waiting at the corner of Craig and Fifth and heard a voice from somewhere out in the street yell "WHY WOULD YOU DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?!"

I looked all about, trying to determine the source of the query and the "something" in question, and my eyes fixed on a passing box truck, which rounded the corner then stopped on the side of Craig Street. The same voice then said something like, "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!!" and then, slowly, an old, Willie Nelson-looking man with a big backpack emerged from the passenger side, and the truck sped away, tires squealing, leaving me to wonder what (fooling with the radio without permission? self-urination? road head gone bad?) could have brought on this violent reaction from the driver.

2. Also yesterday, the contractors began work on re-siding our house. I figured this out when I woke up and there were people pounding on the side of the house. They're doing the back and the left side of the house, and they began with the side, and when I got home the side of the house was bare and everything that used to be there was in the neighbor's yard. Whoops. This is not going all that well.

3. Two shows this weekend. Rock'n'roll is hard work, baby. Friday night at Howler's with Kim Phuc, Athletic Automaton, (((microwaves))) (10 pm). Saturday night at Roboto with Kalon, Southpaw, Nakano (7 pm). Please note that in the case of the Saturday show, our band name is more words than all the other band names combined.


weekend review part 2:
effecting positive social change

So, as promised, a quick commentary regarding a show I attended Saturday night.

I don't mean to demean anything anyone did in preparing the show or anything, I think it was an awesome event and I'm glad I donated my money. Most of my qualms had little to do with the organization of the event itself. That said, a few things made the night a downer:

First of all, it was one of those punk-type events where no one is really in charge, which is cool except that it means no one really can help if you have a question, and no one really can move things along, so the music, slated to start sometime in the 8:00 hour, didn't start till approximately 10:00. The scene was sort of uncomfortable to me because there were a LOT of people who I like a lot from one end of the scene, if you will, and a number of others who I like a lot from another end of the scene, and feeling like I had to somehow negotiate between the two factions felt kind of shitty, first of all because it made me feel somewhat like it was hard to "belong" with either group when identifying somewhat with the other, and second of all because it underscored the fragmented vibe I've been getting off the scene. I guess it feels like, while today I have a much tighter "second family" in the scene and there are a whole lot of bands in town doing awesome things, perhaps the trade-off is that there's so little unity across the scene, and it sometimes makes me pine a little too much for, say, 2002.

Anyhow, the first band, made up of people I have a lot of respect for in different ways, made me (and others, I'm certain) feel really uncomfortable by mixing their laid-back, kinda not-that-together music with a politically charged quiz-show sideshow, in which the audience was coerced into engaging with the band about really complicated stuff--stuff that I definitely think needs to be discussed, but not in that sort of on-the-spot atmosphere. They couldn't have been THAT surprised that the reaction wasn't that great (I guess they always do this, I'd only seen them once before), but they managed to act upset when people didn't want to answer questions about effective community organizing and the role of art and culture therein in the middle of their set, with a bunch of people who they may or may not have known surrounding them.

One of the questions was, "Name five things you can do in your life to help effect positive social change." The first response was, "Forging a student ID to ride the bus for free."

Regardless of how much this person was jesting (I don't think it was all that much) it was pretty much accepted that this was some sort of step in the right direction. Nevermind that this is one of the reasons why fares keep going up and people who are stuck in poverty involuntarily are unable to afford to ride the bus to where they need to go; faking a Pitt ID is seen as a valid step toward a better world.

The next answer was, "Not voting." THAT answer got some argument. I'm all about arguing against that one, but I don't really feel like it was half as offensive as the first answer. But I was in no shape to argue any of it at that point, being in an uncomfortable environment full of people I didn't know or hardly knew.

Plus, the set was REALLY LONG. Considering that it started so late, it was REALLY REALLY LONG. I'm a fan of pretty short-to-medium sets, even by bands I like a lot.

By this point, while Allies are one of my favorite things going these days in this town, it was tough to get me moving, and the fact that the mics kept cutting out and we could only hear about half the vocals and no one did anything about it wasn't that disappointing, just kind of fitting.