gotta get a message to mavis

This ain't no mp3 blog, but if you have a moment, you should download and listen to this phone message we got on our machine a few months ago (October 26, to be exact). Q ripped it into mp3 and it's quite possibly the funniest phone message I've ever recieved, far improving upon the calls I used to get to my dorm room for the Montefiore Hospital ICU (someone ACTUALLY LEFT A MESSAGE on my voice mail there once with PATIENT INFORMATION). It also barely beats out the message that we still have on our machine from a few months ago alleging that we sold a faulty UFO to the woman who runs the Monaca Hotel. She sounded rather displeased, and I'm pretty glad we made it out of that one without legal action against us.

(For those of you who aren't from Pittsburgh, the Duquesne Club is a highfalutin' social club for the very rich. That should provide some context that might make the message even more amusing.)


also, quickly:

If you're part of the S27 DC class (cf. this post), you should've gotten an e-mail this past weekend confirming that you're part of the class and that your contact information is right. If you didn't, e-mail the PCJ quick! Thanks.

currently gettin' read

Although I most certainly do not have time for it,I started reading another book that I probably won't finish in its entirety: Guy Debord, by Andy Merrifield. Debord is one of those I take in small doses then get sidetracked and can't say I have an amazing working knowledge of.

Funny story: sophomore year, I took the terrifying "Kafka and the Modern World" class, offered by the Honors College, slumped in the back of the class and tolerated dweebface freshmen who liked to talk out their asses about German philosophers they had only a very superficial knowledge of. The point of the class was essentially to parrot the professor, right down to appropriating his idiolect. One day in class I finally have something to say. Whatever it is I read for that particular class reminded me of a sort of prototypical version of Debord. I raise my hand and say so, and Professor looks at me blankly. Who? Dweebface freshmen do the same. "Debord?" says I. "Society of the Spectacle? Situationists? Paris 1968?" A slight look of reassurance comes over Professor's face. "Oh, Paris 1968. I see." End of discussion. We move on.


skedaddle n hum

Going home for a day or two to visit the dear Mom, whose birthday it is, and for whom the Men of the Family went together on this as a gift. (Should I feel guilty that I'll end up taking several episodes myself, since she'll only want certain of them?) (Nah, it wasn't my idea to get it! I just helped out!)

I'm gonna give her the new CD as well. She liked the last one. Seriously guys! Not just cuz she's my mom! Awwww come on!

Also, to sleep in a room that is not frigid (I'm afraid to leave the big space heater on all night because it makes the wire mold sort of "hum" when it kicks on high, and goodness knows you don't want to have an electrical fire in Bloomfield, so I'm not risking it. While pondering a permanent solution, I'm rocking the little space heater, which isn't all that effective when it's 15 freakin' degrees outside. (But it's getting warmer. I'm ok.)

Also, in a garden update that's not really an update, we'll be placing orders on Monday, and I'll report to you what we ultimately decide on. Then I have to get it together and actually plant the things.


dreams dreamt whilst asleep

I tend to have highs and lows as far as dreams are concerned -- periods of weeks when I don't have any of note, then little spurts of dream that will have a pervading tone. It doesn't always line up with the tone of my actual life at the time, but that's sort of what's great about it.

I've been visited by some beautifully childlike, peaceful dreams this week. One the other night about going down a steep embankment into a secret forest that was the most lush, beautiful place I had ever been, with a stream, and beautiful trees and flowers. It reminded me of the dream I had the first time I took NyQuil when I was a bit younger. Then last night, one in which a sweet friend, whose album I listened to yesterday for the first time in a while, was chasing me through a field, and I did that compulsive thing I do where I get really freaked out about someone/something chasing me even though I know that either nothing is chasing me or nothing will happen if whoever IS chasing me catches up.* But then said friend caught up, and it was kind of one of those frolick-in-the-meadow things.

Also last night, a dream in which I encountered a group of skater kids, most in their early teens but one who was about seven, and the little one asked me: "So, when you get older, like into your teens, you can start doing stuff like worshipping Satan, right? Well, can you still get into Hell if you join the Boy Scouts?"

I was understandably incredulous, and couldn't figure out what dream boy was talking about, so I asked: "So wait . . . you . . . you want to go to Hell, that's what you're saying?"

"Yeah," he replied.

"Oh. Well, I think you can join the Boy Scouts and still manage to get into Hell. There are things you can do."

There are times when your dream life is really satisfying and you want to sleep more than be awake, no?

*I used to do this thing when I was younger -- I've pretty much gotten over it -- wherein when I was in front of my house, say, bringing in groceries with my mom or whatever, and a car was coming down the street, I HAD to run onto the porch before that car passed in front of the house. I didn't know what would happen if I didn't, but it didn't matter; it was a total irrational compulsion, and kind of freaked me out, but I couldn't shake it for a good long time.


eire in city

This just in: the PICT brochure for the 2006 season, which just arrived today, announces that Martin McDonagh's "The Pillowman" will be produced this year, in May. Color me stoked. If you're in Pittsburgh, you should go see this. PICT is a great company, and McDonagh is maybe my favorite contemporary playwright. I've never seen anything of his produced before.

And, speaking of famed Irish dudes, this story struck my fancy a few days ago: a new study concludes that as many as 1 in 12 Irish men can trace their lineage back to one guy, presumably Niall of the Nine Hostages. If I remember correctly, legend has it that my clan goes back to him. Interesting.


the police will not be excused

While I'm on a posting rampage, check this out. Alan is a super nice dude who did a show for us last year and has done tons of shows for tons of good folks at his house in Jersey. What a shitty situation. Hopefully he can get some sort of recourse, although you know how things often tend to go in such instances. Especially sucks since, according to the account posted, the show was in Williamstown proper, which is where the poor fellow lives. Hopefully there won't be continuing trouble.

the definitive record release show post

Here's all the info, at least all that I have thus far, about the record release weekend. I'll update further when I have more information.

Friday, February 3 - Belegost and the sea, like lead at the Philadelphia Ethical Society, apparently the meeting place of a sort of universalist-looking group of some sort. It's on Rittenhouse Square. Time, price, any other bands forthcoming.

Saturday, February 4 - Belegost; the sea, like lead; Allies; MikeyC and TomB at Roboto in Pittsburgh. 7 pm, $5.

I'd be most stoked if you came to one of these shows. If you can't make it, you can purchase the CD or LP online for $8 plus shipping.

I'm going to start NOW getting together a lyrics/thoughts zine for the release shows so that I actually get it done on time.

doin' thangs

First and foremost -- Sparrows, Swarm & Sing!

Super talented, incredibly nice dudes. Hopefully we'll do a New England date or two or three with them in May. Some intense loud guitar-driven stuff, a lot of strings, awesome stuff with a glockenspiel, some leaves, and a pirate chant or two. Worth checking out, although this is basically the end of their tour for now. Look for new stuff from them in a few months. I think watching Perpetual Motion Machine would be the best way to keep up with them, record and tour date-wise.

Second -- Morgantown is strangely appealing to me, I guess mostly because I haven't been in the couch-burning section of town before, at least not when the couch-burning was going on. Regardless, the sound at 123 Pleasant is pretty great, and despite the fact that not too many folks showed up, the show left me feeling pretty good. We got in late, and the co-op there closes pretty early, so we didn't get to go there this time, but we went to the burrito place, where I froze up and got the same build-your-own-burrito as I got last time, even though I knew damn well that it wasn't the best taste combination.

Third -- on Friday at work, I got into an interesting email conversation with a professor about the potential for RFID tagging of library books. I don't know too too much about the subject, and I'm working on learning more. There are always weird privacy issues surrounding RFID in any situation, but at the same time, if you're talking about implementing a closed system that wouldn't involve patron information being transmitted (which I would think would be totally feasible), the prospect of being able to, for example, immediately track down exactly where a book is when it's misshelved is pretty attractive. But then there's also the issue of the use of an automated system like this to cut staff at libraries even further, which would end up being a problem because there are always problems that end up requiring some human attention. It definitely has the potential to be abused.

The jury is out -- libraryfolk, feel free to e-mail comments.


gifts recieved and given

Today, I received three (3) avocados, fresh from the tree in California belonging to the mother of Someone I Work With, via the interoffice courier. These items were in an interoffice envelope, replete with pieces of loose leaf covering the holes in the envelope such that the couriers would not recognize their cargo as produce and eat it accordingly.

Which brings me to Things I Owe People, namely holiday cards and mixtapes. Holiday cards: wait till next year. I already have them purchased, so I'll be ahead of the game. In the meantime, hopefully I'll send you a postcard sometime soon. Mixtapes: if I owe you one, hang tight. BizzyBeckahSmizzy, I'm like 3/4 of the way done with yours. It's thus far a tribute to my slow mental demise, and doesn't make a lot of sense I fear. If it's good, you'll enjoy it, if not, it's a document of a man falling apart at the seams, and has some value as such.

And avocado giver, I'll get something together to interoffice you, pinky promise.


Tomorrow night at Roboto with Kalon, HTML, and sparrows, swarmandsing!. 7pm, $6.

Friday night at 123 Pleasant in Morgantown, WV, with Nakano and sparrows, swarmandsing!.

Not sure if LPs or CDs will be available at either or both of these shows, but hopefully one or both will be.*** We are writing fun new stuff. I'd like to see you at a show.

Also, we're starting to work on our week-plus tour for early May -- if you're in the mid-Atlantic/Northeast and would like to help with a show, do please e-mail me! You'll be rewarded in heaven, if not elsewhere!

*** Postscript: LP's have arrived, but the correct packaging is not in, so advance copies will be for sale with black and white covers tomorrow, and if you get one, you can get the red and white cover sometime later.


please mister postman

Also, I feel a duty to report here my discovery of earlier today, which is that, in "You're So Vain," Carly Simon says:

Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend

NOT, as I had previously believed,

Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a postman

I like my version much better, thankyouverymuch, and if I'm ever drunk/stupid enough to attempt karaoke (not to say that karaoke is itself that stupid, I just can't sing, y'all!), I will certainly sing this song, and I will sing this song MY way.

I mean, it's only fair that while the postman's out "deliverin' the mail," his wife should be shaggin' with the hero of our song. Right?


get'n books on my sassy shelf

Today, hanging out with the mother on MLK day, I end up after a somewhat harried search for somewhere to eat lunch quickly without having to resort to fast food, at, of all places, Denny's. Home of the American Slam meal, 20 percent of the proceeds of which go to the Urban League's educational efforts. A bizarre coincidence (I say this because we had both already forgotten about the chain's spotty past with regard to racism, and because we both had been to Denny's maybe once in our lives) and one that resulted in a pretty miserable dining experience for us.

Highlights included a dining room that was about 80 degrees, despite it being maybe 40 tops outside, a table next to the kitchen door and all the ensuing noise, a lot of colicky children and old ladies, and a woman in a different uniform, presumable the manager, who would occasionally step into the room and look around sluggishly with a look on her face that could only accompany a mental sigh meaning "Oh Christ, this is what my life is all about." Throw in a carpet that may have been dirtier than the one in my bedroom, my mother's observation that the restroom was less than pristine, and I could only thank the chain diner gods that I'm not horribly germphobic.

Also today, on same trip through the suburbs with same mother, I spent some time in Borders, and found that for perhaps the first time ever I was pretty unsatisfied with spending time in a bookstore. I trace this somewhat to the fact that I'm bogged down with things to read right now (and overdue library books), but more so to the fact that I work with so many books anymore, I can't find as much pleasure in being surrounded by them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not turning antiliterate here, I just am feeling worn on the experience of being inundated by text. I also don't ever want to see contemporary popular fiction, because that's the shit that is most often missing from the shelves at work and also is the hardest to get from other libraries. You are the bane of my existence, Dan Brown.

I found refuge, though, in the magazines, which I don't see as many of, and which I could leaf through and see people I know (in MRR, for example, and in Skyscraper, which featured a Modey Lemon interview with Charissa's pics from roundabout a year ago).

Also, a stop at Half Price Books netted me a few dollar records (The Supremes, Carly Simon) that are a little scratchy but hey what do I expect, paying a dollar and all? And also a book about medicinal herbs and one about Gourmet Vegetarian Feasts, the usefulness of which is yet to be determined.

Now I have to knuckle down on this article I'm working on in a molassesian manner and also play lots of rock this week.


oh hey our cd is out!

Here it is. I haven't seen it in person but so far as I know the packaging is gorgeous. $8.00 through Electric Human Project. LP available shortly from Hardtravelin'.

last night i had the following dreams:

1. Jerome Bettis was on TV talking about how the Colts have an 8-foot-tall, 500-pound player whom they only use as a tight end, and about how, if the Steelers had him, he'd be a running back and would be unstoppable. So then the Colts decided to use him as a running back and the Steelers had no chance. Good job, guy.

2. I showed up at a party Alicia was having and immediately absconded away to the bathroom, where I began clipping my nails. At some point during the dream I found that, instead of my nails, I was clipping the serifs off of serif-font letters.


self-promotion, other-promotion

I still have a band, I promise. We're really playing a show next week (1/19, at Roboto, see sidebar), even though we're still recovering to an extent from the flood. We really do have a record coming out with the assistance of one of our favorite bands and two of our favorite labels. The official release shows should theoretically be the first weekend in February. If possible, we may have the LP ready in time for next week's show.

Additionally, Roboto is having a rilly big show on Friday, featuring Grand Buffet, the Dirty Faces, and Poison Arrow (Dan Goldberg and Bill's new thing that is not in fact called "Broken Arrow"). Without owning up to anything more than I absolutely have to, I will note that after this show, a couple more of my Pittsburgh secrets will be no more. The show benefits the space, so go. And afterward, The Band That Is Not Arco Flute Foundation Because That Would Imply the Presence of McDowell will be playing at the Brillobox, and I caught some of their set tonight at Mofo (I was horrendously late to the show) and it was wonderful, as expected. (I only saw AFF once in their original incarnation and it blew my college sophomore mind.)


garden planning, pt 1

So, first garden post of the year. If I know that my adoring readership is expecting garden updates all year, perhaps I'll do a decent job of actually taking care of business this year.

We're planning orders from Seeds of Change and Territorial this year.

We've been talking about trying our hand at a small crop of corn for quite some time, and this may be the year. We're currently discussing Hookers. We'll probably go with it, if only for the endless crude joke opportunities afforded all those who choose to grow this variety.

Last year, we grew Nutri-Bud broccoli, which was okay, but it's a big plant that requires quite a bit of spacing, so we might go with Small Miracle this year instead, and keep up with the succession planting, and not wait around for side-shoots, because they're usually not worth it.

Pepperwise, I'm leaning toward Giant Szegedi for a sweet pepper and Hungarian Hot Wax for a hot. That's subject to discussion and change, of course.

Still thinking about flowers. We're definitely planning to bring back the nasturtium, which we just plain failed to plant last year, and I'm thinking about Bells of Ireland (when did I become someone who likes green flowers?) and Delphinium.

Further suggestions welcome.


just so you know:

The Steelers are definitely going to walk away with this game, and Cheez-its are union-made.

Life is a-ok.

bengalis on platforms

Do pay attention, if you will, to Sara J's blog as she is in India for the semester and making astute observations. A quick teaser of an excerpt for you:

A pile of puppies and dogs sleeping on the sidewalk not ten feet from a family, the mother cleaning her infant which seems newborn. The entire process of procreation must happen on the sidewalk, they must screw under those plaid blankets and bleed onto the pavement. There could be placenta in the gutter, amneotic fluid watering the bushes? I don’t know.

Plans for today include not wasting my day like I sort of did yesterday, potting the little white narcissus bulbs my sister gave me for Christmas, and watching the Steelers roll over the Bungles. Plans for this week include getting back on my damn bike hopefully, and trying to remember how to play our songs so that we can play them for people next week.


tv on the television

I watched this show on PBS last week and didn't really have time to post about it: Imagining America: Icons of 20th-Century American Art.

Highly recommended if you get a chance to view it -- and you know how PBS stations are about re-running things, so you'll probably get a chance sometime in the next pledge drive. The way they integrate the visuals with the music is pretty great -- "Pet Sounds" goes with Warhol, then when we stray a bit and go back to Stuart Davis we get some jazz, then back to the Beach Boys when we start looking at Warhol again. I could've done without "I'll be your mirror" as the last song, as it was a bit obvious and kind of overkill in my eyes, but on the whole the musical choices definitely got my approval.

My favorite part is when de Kooning says:

Everything is already in art - like a big bowl of soup
Everything is in there already:
And you just stick your hand in, and find something for you.
But it was already there - like a stew.

Right on, Willem. Just . . . if you have an extra spoon perhaps, or a ladle or something, I'd be into using that.


belated praise for the Emperor

So in that theoretically uplifting but in fact depressing end-of-year post, I sort of nested a quick "best of," disguised so that no one could accuse me of having done a year-end "best of" list. It all would've gone off without a hitch if not for the fact that I left someone off of it, and I have no clever recourse by which to add that person without making it completely obvious what I had done.

By no means was my quick parenthetical meant to be exhaustive, but I can't list anything about 2005 without giving props to Emperor X. Chad is an amazing songwriter and awesome dude, and "Fractal Dunes . . ." is definitely one of my favorite releases of last year, for sure. If you don't have it, demand it, buy it, steal it from me. You'll be proud to have done so.

Resolution No. 1

Eat lots of bananas.

Prognosis: good.