new products not recommended

On Sunday night, I gave in to the temptation presented on the bottom shelf of the teas aisle at the co-op and bought a carton of Oregon Chai Nog concentrate. (Actually, for a treat, go to the Oregon main page and watch the silly 5-second animated intro.)

Two wonderful things, combined into one? How could it go wrong?

Well, for starts, it could taste nasty.

At first I followed the directions and used a 1-to-1 ratio of soy milk and the concentrate, and it sort of tasted like storebought nog mixed with nail polish or something. Then I eased the concentration a bit and diluted it with more milk, and I got it to a manageable, somewhat palatable stage. And of course I'll finish it even though it's kinda gross. But I won't buy it again, and I'd suggest that, unless you like nasty things.

More importantly, scope out the whole Oregon Chai website. Advice for the tea concentrate magnates: Don't tell me to help you get "chai" in the dictionary. "Chai" is in a lot of dictionaries, as it is the word for tea in most of East Asia. Also, don't tell me to nourish my yin OR elevate my yang, much less both at once. You're appropriating and marginalizing someone else's culture (the culture of several billion people actually) to try to sell me a fucking sweet drink that doesn't really even remotely resemble what that culture would expect to recieve if they asked for the product by its name.


it's me who does that.

An unusual and overwhelming conspiracy of disparate forces resulted in my failure last night to sleep at all (so far as i can remember -- I may in fact have put in a cat nap's worth around 6:30 or something), and my agonizingly painful right ankle affliction today, and a terrifying left hand cramp this evening that I thought might be the undoing of me. I am convinced of a bodily revolt being carried out against me by my own physicality.

Also, this morning, I was moved to brief sad-happy-sleep-deprived tears by the following opening line from a song:

if you take this away i have no one to escort my fears to the place i have built as my fear-fort

Then I was moved to a brief sad-happy-sleep-deprived smile by the closing line of the same song:

in bed do you lay under an afghan humming and wait to find if the day ends without a massive array of self-deprecations? oh no wait, no it's me who does that.


lurkin' 9 to 5

This morning's Post-Gazette Forum section featured a few things of interest, front-and-center being a reprint of an article from the Washington Post by David Vise, whose new book on Google is coming out soon. While his angle on the matter is perhaps not in line with mine (I couldn't care less about the "business status quo") he makes some good points about the way in which Google treats its workers and gathers personal information about people (although I certainly didn't have to give anyone a cell phone number to get a gmail account; if I did, they'd be out of luck). So, recommended reading: What lurks in the soul of Google?

(Duly Noted Irony #1: I of course used Google to track down the full text of the article. Duly Noted Irony #2: Once you click the link to the Post site, you have to contend with a number of ads, including one of those ones that pops up in the window but in front of the text you're trying to read. What lurks in YOUR soul, Wash Post?)

Most of my holiday weekend was spent with Julia Kristeva, if only in a figurative sense (sigh). I'm stoked to finally be delving into Revolution in Poetic Language, as I've been familiar with the general jist of it for a while but have been too intimidated to try to actually tackle it. I don't have a background in a lot of the seemingly prerequisite stuff (phenomenology, Saussure, Husserl, even Hegel), and I don't even know where to start with all that (or if I could handle it), but I'm pleased to report that in between slogging through entire chapters of near-gibberish, I occasionally (and with increasing frequency) hit an important paragraph and basically get what she's saying. Congratulations to me.

Otherwise, a lot of family, and friends, and Apples to Apples, and apple pie, and relaxing. I watched the History Channel and the Match Game 1979 and Book TV on CSPAN-2 and wished a little that I had cable at my house. Now back to important things. I guess.


oh, you're a holiday

I had intended to write you many things in the past few days, about the radio, about my impending state of agoraphobia, about sleep and dreams, but it seems that those things (well, replace "the radio" with "a frenzied amount of stuff at work") have taken up my time, and I've not done so. And now it's nearly time for me to head back to the parents' (again). There I will eat food, see children, re-read the rest of Dubliners and hopefully read some or all of this Kristeva book. And I'll definitely take care of the last few pages of Embroderies (thus far it's been enjoyable but not nearly as breathtaking as either of the Persepolises) (Persepoli?).

Enjoy your holiday. Perhaps I will issue a communique or two over the weekend. Perhaps I won't. You'll keep hitting "refresh" because there's no other way to know for sure.


my weekend to a tea

This weekend, I made the unfortunate mistake of venturing into Monroeville. I never thought I would be one to complain about this sort of thing, but honestly, I've been pushed too far. It is NOT Christmas yet.

I went in search of nothing in particular, which may have been my first mistake. I was at my parents' house, got a little bugged out about something I couldn't do much about, and, since I couldn't really take a walk to clear my mind (at least not without risking my neck in the midst of the Watkin's Glen-style road racing), I opted to cruise into the capital capital of the eastern suburbs. In the car, I had to pump in a CD or two because there was Christmas music on the only station that I would consider to be half-decent on the radio anymore.

I tried Goodwill, but it was Super Saturday, the alliterative event in which everyone gets half off everything. I couldn't handle the preponderance of patrons, so I skedaddled to Gabriel Brothers, skipping out on Michael's because, while I could use some arty stuff, I'm pretty sure every Saturday is a Super Saturday there.

Gabes' parking lot was full up. This set my spidey sense a-tinglin', not so much because I didn't want to walk the distance I would have to after I parked in the last available space, but because I knew what I would encounter inside. And I did.

Pairs and threesomes walking slowly, blocking entire aisles. Individuals on their cellular phones, describing belts to their significant others. Tons of people in the market for long underwear. Animated Santas. Christmas music piped in to get us in the spending spirit. A man wearing a pair of glasses with the tag still on, obscuring his vision, ASKING ANOTHER MAN TO READ THE SIZE OF A PAIR OF PANTS FOR HIM.

I scurried back to the car, figurative tail between my legs, and made for Giant Eagle, where another sort of holiday rush was on. The organic/veg selection there always makes my toes curl, offsetting the fact that I couldn't find any peppers (of any sort), and I was sketched by the dude giving out samples of Kashi cereal.

One good find was an assorted carton of black teas from Twinings, with which I was previously unacquainted. Perhaps I've been living under an Oolong rock. Regardless, I'm a fan. (Lady Grey tea? What a blend! Where have you been all my life?)

Otherwise, I spent a great deal of time sleeping, which is my new (rediscovered?) passion and pastime. Seriously. A good 10-11 hours a night, supplemented today by a short afternoon nap. I can attribute it to the mono now, but honestly it's not that far off from my normal needs.


if i stay inside i might live til saturday

The following things have been on my mind today:

- My spleen. It's been feeling a little tender/uncomfortable the past few days, and especially today. This comes with the territory of having mono -- it tends to become enlarged. I'm not playing drums for a while for fear that it might burst, and I'm attempting to avoid impacts to my abdominal area.

- The bandmates are playing tomorrow night at Roboto with html, Richard Potter's new band thing, and a band called Commando Kelly. Do go. I don't think I will be making it, as I will be going home again for the weekend and nursing my spleen.

- Also, Aydin are releasing their album Saturday night at Modernformations and Dan Higgs is doing something-or-other at Garfield Artworks at the same time and it'll cost you $10 total for both and if I weren't out of sorts and worried about my spleen, I'd be all over that.

- Be warned, the annual Torley Street Holiday Mixtape Potluck is coming, December 18. If you're interested and don't know our address etc., shoot me an e-mail and we'll work it out. The deal: bring food if you can (vegetarian, preferably but not necessarily vegan), friends if they're willing, and a mixtape if you want to walk away with one that someone else made. We will drink vegan egg nogs of sorts, but I won't be imbibing of the alcohol for fear that it may affect my liver, which is right next to my spleen, which is already enlarged.


now is not the time.

Since when is Peter Parker concerned with bioethics? Or ethics of any sort, for that matter? This guy is made of half spider DNA. He takes advantage of the superhuman traits he was given accidentally. Is that okay? Has he ever considered that? This is the man who swoops down upon "bad guys" on no more evidence than his "Spidey Sense." He kicks ass and usually doesn't even bother taking names. Does he have the RIGHT to do that? Now a dude stole his damn blood and is about to try to patent it, and he's worried about his RIGHTS?




he does it every night

A few things:

First of all, American Apparel is moving into town. I hear there's a store going in in Shadyside, which makes sense. If you don't know what sucks about AA, read about it here. Is it asking too much to not want to have to choose between sweatshops and a culture of sexual harassment?

Second, why is it that I've been barely busy at work for two weeks, and now that I've gotten to feeling seriously not well, I've gotten swamped? And of course I've got no sick days, so I'm spreading a personal day thin and going home early a few days. But seriously. Thank goodness for student workers. Although one of my students was out today too! Good heavens.

I took a nap after I got home for about an hour . . . my throat isn't as bad as it was over the weekend, fortunately (the nasty white patchy stuff is retreating); I'm just kinda pokey and groggy and stupid and irritable, and afraid I'm going to accidentally hurt someone every time I turn around.



Eep. I have mono. I'm about to go take a codeine nap and have neat dreams. Nighty night!


spreading disease

I'm sick, and leaving for a weekend at the parents' in T-minus-twenty-three minutes. I hope I get better while I'm there, being waited on. If not, I fear I may be sick for a while, which will suck, especially with the new job and still quite a few shows and things coming up.

Enjoy the scene over the weekend. I may make it to selected Enjoyable Events or may just stay under the covers. Regardless, Sunday night, 6pm, Blue Violet Cafe in Rochester (Beaver County) (across the Rochester-Monaca Bridge from Monaca), we're playing with Lucas Sloppy's Flying Organ, Mollusk Mountain, and Black Hills. I kid you about none of this. It'll be good. Come. I'll pummel the drumz until I spew phlegm.



physically revolting

Currently, I have a lump or two on my neck, a swollenness in my throat, and what seems to be a bump on the back of my skull(?) (don't know where that one came from) and I'm working on applying for a job I'm 95% sure I won't get. But I guess it's worth a try? (I know, I know, I just GOT a job, this one is way cool, and like I said, I'm not going to get it anyway.)And if I wasn't working on this, I'd probably be working on nothing.

Today I busted out the Lovers album and my scarf, which means the weather is getting chilly and wonderful. I wish my body would cooperate with me in enjoying all this.


quick, mom! hide the porn

Two particular comics today made me chortle and snort:


Dennis. Tell your mom she can find that stuff on the internet these days.


Alternate caption: "Thanks, Grandma, but we don't eat our own kind!"

(I guess both of these were addressed in different spots on Comics Curmudgeon, but that's what I get for not looking at the comics till the evening. Scooped!)



I stumbled across this today, and perhaps it's old news to you if you're into media literacy, but it's new news to me, and it's exciting as most anything:

The Media Literacy Clearinghouse

This guy has TONS of articles, workshop ideas, etc. etc. if you're interested in media education. Eat it up.

where there's a quill

First things first: Bellafea are the best and if they're coming your way, do go see their show (and their incredible tourmate Bibis, who is like a little songbird until she starts BELLOWING and turns into Mahalia Jackson, then back into a little bird again). They bear offerings of rock, give them your hospitality in return, and all will be well. Not too many people showed for their/our show Sunday night, but it WAS Sunday night, and people were show-ed out. Next time, the kids will see how it goes.

In other news, I dreamt recently that I fought a drunk person on the porch of the house where I grew up, and on another occasion that I lost my bookbag on the bus and freaked, and on yet a separate occasion that I was walking, with some others, down a trail and under a tree, and the tree had 6 or 7 porcupines in it, and as we went under, I squealed, "OH! LOOK AT THE PORCUPINES!" and then one threw his quills at me (I know this doesn't really happen, but it was a dream, cut me a break).

Also, today is election day. Vote out everyone in power.


this is my weekend.

I write to you from the deepest bowels of Andyfest. We are 2/3 of the way through the shebang, and thus far things have gone quite swimmingly.

A good number of kids showed for facedowninshit, which is awesome, as I wasn't sure if they still had a "crowd" of sorts. They do, it's just not all the same "crowd" they had a few years ago. In fact, it included a lot of kids I had never seen before, and a lot of kids I barely know -- and who are (gasp!) YOUNGER THAN ME.

I felt like I had graduated or something; now I'm the dude who works full time and books some good shows and is in a band, and my old position of going to school, going to shows but not booking them, and not being in a band, has been taken over by someone else. Such is the progression of things, I suppose, but it feels, er, "hella weird," if you will.

Elsewise I still feel weird about "the scene" and the direction in which it's heading; there are definitely some awesome folks doing some awesome things, but it still doesn't feel quite so familial and forward-moving as it did a few years ago. But that could just be me engaging in backinmydayism because I can now, and feeling uncomfortable about things just because I've been feeling particularly conspiciuous and awkward and gawky just lately for no apparent reason.

Last night's zine release was sweet, and I've been very much pleasantly surprised by what of the zine I've read so far. I got to catch Dr. Zack Furness and an in-rare-form html, who did the coffin pines song and made my heart warm.

The Close really are some of the sweetest people I've ever encountered, and I was glad a decent number of people showed to see them at Gooski's. Highly reccommended. All three bands played well, and the three meshed well together.

As I write, the wind is threatening to topple trees, Bellafea is headed into town, the Steelers are ahead, and The King is goin' all out.



all pist in the supermarket

I return just now from the Shur-Save, née Foodland, where the man in line behind me, I believe, peed his pants.

I was in the one line of the two that were open that did NOT have several seemingly abandoned carts in it, holding down a spot in line for a master who was running to snatch some cottage cheese, behind a disturbingly well-dressed TV-detective-looking man who I took to be a head honcho police officer of some sort based on his conversation with the Foodland Cop. Up from behind me walked an ancient man, small and frail, who said to me: "I asked the woman where the men's room was, and she said in the back, and I went back and I got lost." He was kind of laughing. He then predicted, "Pretty soon I'm gonnna be out there pissin' in the corner!"

I played along, not knowing where there was a bathroom in the joint. "Yeah, all that's in the back that I know of is the meat cooler, and I don't think that's what you're looking for . . ."

As you might imagine, this was rather uncomfortable. I turned back toward the cashier, no words were said for a short period, then he piped up: "IIIIIIIIII might have to go back there again . . ."

I smiled, he started back a few steps and stopped. The smell of urine was present in the air. He stepped back in line, shifting a bit. This was even MORE uncomfortable. I was mostly done with my purchase (pierogies and apple cider that is not good) and I wanted to get the hell out, so that HE could get the hell out, and let loose in the parking lot.

I have no idea if he was drunk or just old, as he was a bit slurred and apparently had little control over his stream, and those could both be symptomatic of either condition. I felt bad for him, I identified with him to some extent (see past tales of peeing one's pants, which I may or may not have related in these archives), I couldn't help but be a little bit amused. He was taking it pretty well in stride there in the supermarket, but at the same time he just HAD to share his situation with someone, and that someone was me. I would have been okay with it had he just kept it under wraps -- in fact, the urine smell would probably not have surprised me one bit, and I would have attributed it to the produce (or the cider in my hand).

I guess sometimes you just gotta tell somebody.


hold the frickin chicken

Today I went to the food truck I often go to (I've chased it all about Oakland, actually) and ordered the dish I often order (small, half pineapple tofu-half tofu basil leaves). And I got a Thai iced tea, and engaged in pleasant small talk with the men working there and went on my merry way to the wall, where I plopped down and popped that styrofoam lid that won't biodegrade until well after the day when the trumpets sound and we all rise from our graves, and there I saw a whole bunch of chicken.

At first maybe I thought it was some fancy new tofu shaped like chunks of chicken, so I bit a tiny bit, and it was really chicken. It wasn't like the guy understood me wrong and gave me half pineappled tofu and half chicken with basil leaves; there was some of each tofu dish. It was like somewhere in the middle of our discussion of yesterday's weather, he just dipped right down into the wrong dish and scooped out a lot of bird flesh. I began to feel like perhaps the small talk was even a ruse to distract me from what his hands were doing, like as if I was having my pockets picked.

Now, I'm not squeamish about meat. It's only relatively recently that I don't really eat it at all -- I had for a long time had a vegetarian diet but an open-door policy to meat that was, say, going to be thrown out if I didn't eat it. But I haven't eaten meat in quite a while now, and even when I was an unabashed carny, chicken from the food trucks was not on the list of Good Things to Eat. I was already several blocks from the truck so I didn't feel like walking all the way back just to feel the pressure involved in complaining about my food. So I ended up picking it out and, lacking any flesh-eating friends at the wall at 12:45, ended up tossing it, which was a bummer. I was hoping for someone meat-hungry to walk by, but to no avail.

I'm pretty sure it was just an honest mistake, and I'm sure I'll go back to that truck, probably soon. What I'm not sure of is how I'll order. Perhaps something along the lines of, "Hi, can I have a small, half pineapple tofu, half tofu basil leaves, um, and can you hold the chicken on that, please?"