Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gone and Back Again

Sorry to be so distant today... our supervisor did not realize we had access to the Internet, and upon finding out... he acted swiftly.

This was/is at the "old" job, by the way. No disciplinary concerns to concern yourself with.

***

Speaking of disciplinary concerns... this dropped today. I'll be listening to it for the remainder of the year, at least.



Because I'll be buying the album the day it comes out... I have no problem saying, as several have already noted, that Thom looks disturbingly like Clay Aiken in this promo pic:

No Sleep Last Night

None at all.

I'll go to work-- but I reserve the right to bitch all day.

As usual.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rest in Peace

The Miz, The Master, dead at 61.


This guy figured into more jokes that no one understood than anyone else. I'll miss him.

Home Alone



What a shitty night.

First the 95 degree temperature (with the wind chill-- or whatever the hell the meteorological term of art is-- making it feel like its 104 degrees or so), and now I've got this nausea, which came out of nowhere, late this afternoon.

I had to leave work like a thunderbolt (let's pretend I move that fast, ok?), and if it weren't for the fact that the Metro train I climbed onto was relatively empty (it must have been the second of two consecutive Vienna-bound trains)... God only knows what would have happened.

Here, I'd ordinarily paint a sick portrait of what would have happened... but I don't think I want to tempt the fates, just now.

So, I'm home. Not out with Andrew and AJ, not out with Teso, just... home.

Like I said-- shitty.

At least Rob called to check in, and made me laugh (what else is new?). That said, I had to stop him a few times. Nothing worse than having to avoid laughter for fear of bursting, is there?

***

So if I'm feeling this bad, why in God's name am I blogging? Probably because:

1) I'm a big fat nerd.

2) I've got the AC absolutely cranked.

3) I've changed clothes.

4) If I go to bed now, I'll wake up at 2am.

5) I'm afraid to eat.

6) There are no more Sopranos episodes left (they're all in the mail-- I botched the Netflix timing).

***

Maybe I'd feel better if I listed some of my favorite things as of late:

* Friday being my last day. My last day at work, that is.

* The World Cup is just around the corner. Hint: have a back-up team to support, or at least tape the Bono commercials (the games, I meant to say the games) so you'll have something to watch over the next three Junes.

* Setlist watching. Radiohead's sets have been nice, but Pearl Jam's have been otherworldly.

* Andy's house. Now with six new cats!

* My Blog Is Poop. This will come as a shock to none of you.

* Gmail Chat. Lord, have mercy.

* The Lost finale. I'm still buzzing.

* 3-armed babies. Deformities aren't funny, but they sure are fascinating.

* The DVR. I have no idea how I lived before getting my new favorite toy.

* Learning how to spell the word "dammit" correctly. One small step for man...

* 38 comments and counting. Are you freakin' kidding me?

***

Now, on to the links... an oldie but goodie to start:

Darth calls the Emperor.

***

Switching to local television...

From DCRTV... is Grady on the way out?

Jim Vance's Contract Talks With 4 "Turn Nasty" - 5/30 - FTVLive is reporting that negotiations between NBC's Channel 4/WRC and longtime news anchor Jim Vance (left) "have turned nasty and it could end up with the two sides parting ways." WRC and Vance are far apart on the negotiations and one source says that Vance has gone so far as to fire his agent. FTV adds that "NBC is quietly looking at resumes and a possible replacement for Vance." Vance's shows were number one in the most recent May ratings. Vance has been at WRC since 1969 and has been the main anchor since 1972. Sources tell FTV that both NBC and WRC have been trying to keep the news of bad negotiations a secret. The search for a possible replacement is being kept equally as quiet.....

***

Mandatory reading: a completely engrossing/horrifying German interview with the President of Iran.

I'm not kidding. Take the time to read this.

***

Please tell me that you saw D. Wade last night.

If not, watch the clips. You'll thank me later.

***

Gnarls Barkley have done it again... check out this alternate version of "Crazy" that they performed on Conan. Awesome.

***

Speaking of TV, have some theme songs.

What, no Mr. Belvedere?

***

Don't know if you saw this, but Bender just got off scott-free. F'real. Rest in peace, friend/nemesis to everyone in my generation.

And more from CNN's "killing my childhood" division: two words. Sting. Lute.

Why, God? Why??? The only way he could get me back is by including the following couplet somewhere on that album:

That is Bach and it rocks
It's a rock block of Bach
That he learned in the school
Called the school of hard knocks!

Give it up for KG, give it up for me,
Give it up for KG, give it up for me,
Give it up for rock,
Give it up for blues,
Give it up for everything that is not to lose.
Now rock your socks off woman,
We'll rock your shit up y'all.
Give it up children now to freak your shit out!
All right!



***

By the way-- click on that picture from Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. Stare at Jables' codpiece. It merits your attention.

Jack Black is fucking ridiculous.

***

Finally, some Zach Galifianakis. Here's his Comedy Central special from a-ways back, which is pretty above-average.

So what, you cry?

Well, check out the last five minutes of the special. You might just piss your pants (and I mean that, of course, in a good way).

And if that's not enough Zach... a taste of his musical side.

The man's a genius.

Learn it. Know it. Live it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Memorial Day Edition

Just a quick entry before I head off to shul (!)...

***

Someone forwarded this to me today, and had they not let me know what was going on, and who was in the clip... I'd have been completely and totally lost.

That's one hell of a makeover you've got there, Chris Gaines.

Drove the Claymates nuts, anyway.

***

Speaking of "lost"... that was a hell of a season finale the other night. Not exactly what I thought it would be, but then I suppose that's half the fun... knowing that at any moment, Lost can go from story A to story B. Main characters can die, leave or get kidnapped (for a season at a time), and incidentals can be pushed to the fore.

Or, the entire show can be flipped on it's head, which is what happened as two Portuguese guys in the Arctic placed a phone call to a woman that no one had seen or known about before the evening started.

So... we got quite a few legit "answers," many of which were as satisfying as we could have hoped for... but by the time the credits rolled, we were left with the probverbial "more questions than answers."

Which again, should be a good thing... however much it drives us completely nuts.

Speaking of nuts, what was the deal with that foot (click to enlarge)?



And another question (one of 3,783)... how happy was Charles Dickens' agent by the end of the show? What publicity!

***

Chris, Jeff and I could watch this (profanity laced) clip about a million times, and we'd still be laughing afterwards.

Forgive us.

If Jeff were to watch that, and then click on this... his head might just explode.

***

Just say no, Diamond Dave.

Come to think of it... maybe you'd fare better on Idol.

Nah. Forget I said anything.

***

Have you visited goodhodgkins lately? In less than a few months, it has become the go-to site for... for...

For original content concerning bands you've probably never heard of!

But it's really good. So clicky, please.

***

Northeast, hello!

***

This is more for my benefit than for yours, perhaps... but I would have loved to have been at this show. This might have been the happiest room in the country on that particular evening.

Ilise, you'll be able to appreciate this more than most.

Ah, the good old days.

***

Alright, who let Pearl Jam have a sense of humor?

Was it you?

This clip was taken from a live set/webcast done for the Letterman show:

Fan requests for a song that hasn't been played since 1995 are met with... a negation.

***

Maybe we should all sign this.

***

Au revoir, amigos. Have a great holiday!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Information Superhighway Wackiness

Let's cut to the chase, shall we?

No personal content today (most of you already know that I got the recruiting job... hooray!).

Instead, I've simply got a lot of links I've been meaning to throw your way.

***

Just in case you haven't already floated this to everyone in your office... it's the history of dance.

Try to shut it off. I double-dog dare you.

***

Was that too much fun?

Well then picture George Will, William F. Buckley or even Charles Krauthammer standing (OK, sitting) in front of the brick wall at the local Chuckle Hut as you read this.

***

Speaking of Republicans and comedy... did anyone actually see Outfoxed?

If so, do you have any thoughts on it?

I don't have the time or care to learn about something I already know, so... unless FOX is up to something really super-sinister, I think I'll pass.

***

More comedy, NFL-style.

What's better? The very concept of Peyton Manning having a tattoo, or Peyton-choking comedy in general?

***

I have... no comment on this.

If Oprah wants to go there, then... by all means.

***

Nor do I have anything to say about this bit.

But I do know that a LOT of you have been wondering the same thing: "where's Ugueth been?"

***

Let's lighten the mood again... SPLASH!

***

Pearl Jam doing Storytellers this summer? DVR alert!

***

And even more alarming (in a literary/rock snob, worlds colliding-kinda way), read the second entry down.

If it means nothing to you, and it very well may not, I'll just tell you that to my eyes, it reads like this:

"HOLY SHIT!!!"

***

Antville has Nelly Furtado's new video. I think I may love her.

Or I may be prone to hyperbole. Either way.

***

Love you. Have a good Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Essay

I'm forcing myself to sit down and write, tonight, so that this blog doesn't go completely and permanently down the toilet.

As I'm sure you've noticed, the entries have been a bit more sparse as of late... and when they come, they've been made up of one sentence here, another sentence there... with no continuity to speak of. I've barely touched upon some pretty sizable events of the past few weeks: the Showalter/Mirman show with Jeff, Ilise's graduation, Jeff & Liza's visit, this weekend's Wine in the Woods/Triathlon twinbill... lots of big stuff, barely rating a mention.

For what it's worth, I haven't even been able to motivate myself to do any work for Harmonium.

I can't explain why. I can't explain why, in particular, this blog has become the place where stories come to die. And I know that you couldn't care less, really, but the original intent of this site was, after all, to get me writing.

Well, so much for that.

A possible cause might be found with Comcast. My "new" cable provider is waaaaaay more flighty than Cox Cable had been, and in fact I lose my connection several times a night. It's pretty much the only drawback to the new apartment, but... it's very, very annoying. Enough that I'm thinking of cancelling... or at least calling Verizon.

Good thing I don't work from home anymore, huh?

Another possible reason for this half-assedness? I've been tired, as of late. Real tired. I haven't been sleeping well over the past week or two, for some reason, and as a result, my short-lived exercise program has fallen by the wayside (waist-side? way-side? Bayside?).

As you might expect, this has led to my becoming increasingly moody, despite episodes of faking my way through. Hopefully we can get this remedied and soon.

Because, obviously, that (exercise) would mean more energy throughout the day, which in turn would mean more blogging... amongst other things.

***

On a similarly happy note, I was a complete pill at work, today. I think the monotony of the job (and I'm talking contract work in general, here) has reached such a level, that if I don't get out of there soon, I may go postal.

That and the aftertaste of the relationship stuff from this weekend... well, I was simply in no mood for much of anything, today.

That said, I do have some good news...

... which I'll share with you tomorrow.

Nothing's finalized, y'know.

Don't want to jinx it.

***

By the way, you know who one of my current co-workers reminds me of?



Sweet as can be, sugar.

***

I had a very nice steak dinner with Jim this evening.

I think that as different as the two of us happen to be on the, oh, let's call it the "success spectrum," we are very much kindred spirits on the geek/pop culture line.

He told me about this weekend's Depeche Mode show, which he was lucky enough to attend.

I was enthralled.

We debated the merits of the setlist, amongst other things.

See what I mean?

Good times, right???

Hello?

(is this thing on?)

***

The season finale of Lost is on tomorrow night, so (Dad) please do not call. I will almost certainly not be picking up the phone, and you will only run the risk of upsetting me if you do call.

So. I cannot stress this enough. Be considerate, and I will repay you in kind.

As in, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"-style gratitude.



***

Thank you for everything, Paul Grasmanis.

***

The Blues Are Still Blue.

***

Questions that don't fit in anywhere else right now:

1) Could my sister and Mike be doing any better with Ryan? Could she possibly sound any happier? Could Ryan possibly have better parents? (no, no, and no)

2) Is Au Bon Pain's sausage egg & cheese on Asiago bread sandwich-thingy really as good as I think it is? (probably not)

3) Is Clinton/McCain a fait accompli for 2008? (looks like it)

***

(fin)

Monday, May 22, 2006

"It's Just That Everything I Try to Do,"

"... nothing seems to turn out right."

That's the lyric.

And that's how I'm feeling right now. Confused, upset, and yes, just a little bit more confused.

*sigh*

***

Enough of that mularkey. Let's make an awkard transition to some quick links!

***

Hey!



It's the Talk Soup guy!


***

OK, I linked to this some time ago, but you'd better watch it again.

Because if the first 20 seconds don't make you crap your pants... well... I don't want to know you. We simply can't be friends.



Just put the lotion in the fucking basket, k?

***

Speaking of Silence of the Lambs...

No, Jodie, that's a bad Jodie!

***

And finally, everything's better with Samuel L. Jackson.



You know what I'm talking about.

That's right.

Snakes.

***

the pipettes - i think we're alone now
the ocean blue - there is a light that never goes out
catherine wheel - black metallic
radiohead - videotape
lily allen - LDN

Bear With Me...

... and pray for Barbaro.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What Else is Neu!

1) I thought that tonight's episode of Lost only deserved a B+ (surprising, given some HUGE developments)... until the final image and the scenes for next week knocked the hell out of me.

2) Today's job also merited a B+, though in truth it may be too soon to tell. Either way, it promises to be a marked improvement over the last firm... even though there'll be a lot less Internet access at the new place (the horror!).

3) Today's phone calls, in the collective, warranted an A-... though only because Dad called me in the middle of Lost. Come on, now... you gotta know me better than that! ;)

***

Did I ever link to Wes Anderson's American Express ad?

If not, I should have. Love it.

***

Bored at work?

Here are some questions for your co-workers.

Make sure to wrinkle your nose at them and tell them they gave the "wrong" answers. Then leave to get a drink of water, so that they struggle and ask everyone else around them what was so "wrong" about what they said.

Comic gold, I tells ye.

***

Another solid music festival.

For such a large city, Washington is strangely empty-handed when it comes to these things.

And don't even try to tell me that the HFStival counts, Sublime fans. Just cram it.

***

Download this Lily Allen song. Trust me.

Or any other Lily Allen song, for that matter. She may be my new fave.

For tonight, anyway. You know how I roll.

***

I think I've heard this already, but in case it's news...

Award Tour 2006.

***

It's important to learn something new every day.

***

Finally, pardon my language, but Virginians?

Stay the fuck outta Baltimore.

***

radiohead - go slowly
nouvelle vague - the killing moon (echo & the bunnymen cover)
outkast - the mighty-o
professor longhair - big chief
muse - supermassive black hole

All Removeables, All Transitory

Some of you might be waiting for a blast. For a torrent of bile, or rumor, or nastiness in general.

But it ain't gonna happen. Not now, not later. That's because this last month or so can be summed up, thusly:

.

That's it.

It's a speck, a fragment.

In the greater scheme of things, it's nothing.

And so it's hardly worth getting worked up about, now.

Instead, we move forward.

***

Why is no one talking about this Al Gore appearance on SNL?

Very well written, I thought.

***

I don't think I've ever been bothered by rock star/addict Pete Doherty before. He's a professional rock star/addict, like Courtney Love used to be, and so his daily follies have grown... I don't know... predictable? Boring?

Not anymore.

This
incident is genuinely troubling.

***

Today, my thoughts are extended northward to Sam. Hang in there, little buddy!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

So Much to Say, So Little Time

It's been a busy couple of days for me, but I only have a little bit of time before a doctor comes by for a quickie exam. It's for an insurance policy I've recently added-- nothing more, nothing less. And it should take less than 15 minutes, which is no big deal... after which I can bugger off to work.

What fascinates me is that the last guy to make house calls surely had to be this man:



***

Not to re-use the phrase "leader in the clubhouse" so quickly, but a nice story about breast cancer awareness became the best baseball clip of the year over the weekend.

Hope you caught it.

***

From the pages of "I Guess I'm Something of a Ne'er Do Well"... several people were cut from the current project yesterday, including yours truly. Which might sound like a bad thing, except that I landed on my feet almost immediately thereafter, getting calls from multiple agencies as if on cue.

Suffice it to say that the next job will almost certainly be a better overall fit for me. Fewer hours, better location, that sort of thing.

And I won't even miss a day of work, as I'm starting on Wednesday, so... shed no tears.

Maybe I'll talk about this more at a later time... though, more likely, I won't. It's just one of those things, you know. Happens all the time, mmmmkay?

***

And anyway, I've got a boatload of fun plans for the weekend to worry about.

A sampling: I'll be going out for a nice (!) dinner on Friday night... and then first thing Saturday morning, Jeff, Liza and Sabrina are going to be in town. So, per usual, we'll get together for breakfast, I'll show them the apartment... it will be fun.

We'll probably go to Whitlow's, as that seems to be the place I take families with young kids.

And then Sunday is Lisa's triathalon. The best part of which will be, of course, that I will be watching, and not participating. I will, however, likely have my jaw agape, like so:



One day, maybe, I'll be able to run in that kind of race.

Maybe.



***

God, Damon, shut up.

"He who thinks by the inch, but speaks by the yard... should be moved by the foot."

***

Just trust me: even if you've never heard of this song, or this group, this is one of the best music videos of all time.

***

There's more to tell-- the disappointment that was the Showalter/Mirman show, and the disappointment that was the Hatton fight I watched with Chris...

... but why dwell on the negative?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

No One Better

At his peak, there was no one on earth (apart from the Muppets, evidently) who could touch Steve Martin.



My favorite routine of his?

The Great Flydini, which Steve developed with the assistance of another hero of mine, Ricky Jay. I hadn't seen this bit in years, and now... now, I can't stop watching it.

Thought I'd share.

Links and Links and Links

Good morning to you. I’m waking up to us.

Where my head’s at this morning? Well, I’m still amazed that I even left the house at all last night, given that the newest Entertainment Weekly (special Lost edition, btw) and Esquire magazines showed up in the mail.

I must have had some exciting plans, huh?

***

Speaking of.

What rocked my world this morning, after dusting off the cobwebs?

First off, the simple point that I was able to sleep in until 9:15 or so. Let's start there. Maybe it's nothing special to you (although as most of you are in your 30s, you may actaully empathize)... but that's about the latest I've been able to stay in bed (in the morning, anyway) for a loooong time.

And I’m feeling good about this.

So don’t hate.

***

But enough about my sleep patterns. It wouldn't be me if I didn't prattle ("ramble," sorry) on and on about music. And after surfing around for a bit today, there were two, count ‘em, TWO big time thing-a-ma-whatsits that caught my eye this morning.

One was this.

Now, let's get one thing straight. I was never a Guns 'n Roses fan. I'm still not a Guns 'n Roses fan. And so I’m not trying to be a poseur here. But this whole Chinese Democracy thing, this whole fat-white-man-with-dreads thing... I'm completely fascinated.

Yes, most likely "fascinated" in the NASCAR sense of the word.

Anyway, to read that Axl may have pulled it off last night (sans Buckethead, which is criminal in my book)... and that the album is still (tentatively) slated to come out in the fall... well, it's almost enough to make me forgive him for looking like Geoff Tate (HEYNOW) crossed with an eggplant.

***

As an aside: more metal. Sounds like this would have been a great night all around, even if this particular paragraph gave me pause:

Guests included Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Motorhead frontman Lemmy, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett, and Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis. They reclined on couches scattered throughout the Music Box @ Fonda and imbibed alcohol-free refreshments, thus avoiding the risk of any public relapses.

***

The other thing that caught my eye was also caught by Scott Stereogum and by Aziz Ansari, who was apparently
as excited by this news as I was.

(Side note... are you reading this guy, yet? Is it not enough to know that he's one of the best comedians around, today? Does it take output like this (where he compares R. Kelly to a "one man, black version of Radiohead") to convince you? Or maybe you're just RACIST?)

Anyway. The big news, if you're not interested in clicking, is that Thom (from Radiohead, if you're still wondering) has a solo record coming out. And though it will likely contain little more than Autechre-style beeps and boops... you know I'm going to be all over it.

It's like Christmas. The new songs, the new tour, the new album... that was apparently not enough.

Thom just keeps on giving.

God bless that creepy-talented (creepy/talented?) little man.

***

One last thing on Radiohead, before I return you to the familiar.

Last night's setlist was borderline astonishing (they played "The Tourist," OMFG). But what they've also done is throw at least one fairly massive change-up to the hardcore dweebs like me.

All of us (RH geeks) ate up the orchestral version of "Arpeggi," from last year's Ether Festival, right? Slow, gorgeous, beautiful, yeah?

Well, thanks to Pitchfork, you can see what it's turned into. Somehow, it's gone from the fairly skeletal (aforementioned) beeps and boops to a potential monster. Those drums... are just terrific.

God, how I love this band.

***

Reason 826 why Europe just kills America:

A plan that allows European employers to cover their asses for the forthcoming World Cup summer.

Too funny.

***

Speaking of jobs, a co-worker of mine was reading the newest Bill Simmons column yesterday. It was a pretty good one-- a diary on a typical "Mike and the Mad Dog" show ("WFAN, New York").

But while my friend enjoyed the column... he told me that he'd never actually heard Chris Russo's voice.

Which is not to say that he missed the point of the article... not at all. But reading the Sports Guy's runs on Dog without knowing what he (Dog) sounds like... something's got to be missing, there.

Somebody needs to get this guy some MP3s, stat.

***

Fellow political junkies, rejoice.

The Jaker has updated his his presidential odds for the first time in awhile.

***

Cool.

***

Even more cool, for some of you, anyway, might be this:

And I can do anything.

***

jane's addiction - then she did...
gnarls barkley - gone daddy gone
dead prez - hip hop (live)
we are scientists - hoppipola (live sigur ros cover)
nusrat fateh ali khan w/ eddie vedder - the face of love

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Woke Up This Morning, Got Myself a Gun

Now that I've got your attention.

***

I did, in fact, wake up this morning... but with an absolutely awful feeling in my bel-leh. And on top of that, I didn't sleep all that much last night, for some odd reason.

So, I'm home, taking a sick day.

I'm entitled.

And as I've fallen behind on some of my more administrative responsibilities around the apartment... today will provide me with some time to play catch-up. Pay some bills, drop off some shirts at the dry cleaners downstairs, write a review or two that I've been repeatedly postponing... you know the deal.

But hey, you ask, where do I get off dropping a lyric from The Sopranos theme, possibly petrifying some of you in the process (which is to say, get back to work)?

Eh, given the weather, I suppose I'll watch an episode or two today, while I'm nursing my water and laying down in the fetal position.

I hope this goes away-- I hate feeling like this.

***

Last night's dinner went OK, I suppose. No fireworks to report, though.

Diner #1 is still the clubhouse leader.

***

Afterwards, and after getting off of the Metro, I got a call from the guys... telling me that they were in my neck of the woods.

So what else could I do? I threw on a Hawaiian shirt and headed over to Whitlow's.

The shirt got the desired laughs, though we failed to schedule a date for the ritual burning.

Most important, the night got my mind off of what had turned into a fairly shit-ass day. By night's end... that had all been pretty well forgotten. Thank goodness I didn't have to drive back home. The amble was difficult enough.

***

In sum,

Things are gonna change-- I can feel it.

That said... you know the line that comes next, right?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Catching Up

These posts might be a bit more infrequent over the next few days... I'm going to be out on the town for the next several nights. At least, that's what my schedule looks like as of now.

So... I'll write when I can.

Ah.

Just like old times, huh?

***

I used my new favorite toy-- my DVR-- to tape an episode of Ellen, yesterday.



Allow me to explain. My sister called me the other night, and left a frantic/hysterical message, saying that Samuel L. Jackson was going to be on the show, not only discussing Snakes on a Plane but showing a world premiere extended clip of some sort.

And as you know-- my world revolves around this farkakte movie.

I set the tape (or programmed the DVR... I suppose that's the more accurate phrase), I get home, turn it on... and see the show's open.

I'm in: the DVR worked!

Except that as soon as they come back from commercial, the local NBC affiliate cuts into the show with 20 minutes of live coverage of the recent police shootings in Fairfax County.

This report coincided perfectly with my SOAP time.

Michelle, I hope you watched and enjoyed yesterday's show.

Me? I seethed.

***

If I can reassert my masculinity, now...

Saturday night is boxing night. Everybody's going to be coming by (and you are welcome to join) for the repeat of de la Hoya - Mayorga.

Except that Jeff has suddenly bailed.

Jeff, who'd been talking about this for some time, has a wedding to attend, virtually out of nowhere.

I... am suspicious. I don't like this one li'l bit. As I told him yeseterday, it's just not like Jeff to miss sweaty, shirtless men knocking the crap out of one another.

***

The Beirut disc (Gulag Orkestar) continues to knock me and everyone else who hears it on our collective ass. Top 5 of the year, fo sho.

Yesterday's Harmonium featured a beautiful write-up by Jill, who is lucky enough to be seeing them very soon (or was it last night... huh) in NYC.

Gotta move to New York.

Kidding.

***

The new Radiohead tracks are... in my own, humble opinion, promising at best ("15 Step," "Bodysnatchers") and underwhelming at worst ("4 Minute Warning"... egads).

I can't tell if I simply got a bad recording of the opening night of the tour (Copenhagen 1), or whether the band should have veered even further away from guitars, as they'd been doing circa Kid A.

Can't wait to be proven wrong, either way.

***

Jeff and Liza are coming to visit next weekend...

I'll have to find a time to pencil them in. ;)

***

Welcome back from India, Lib... good to have you back.

Or as close to "back" as I'm gonna get.

***

Must... keep... running...

Monday, May 08, 2006

How I've Been

Very busy. Very busy.

So when I have a bit more time, I'll add some legit content.

For now, though... you get Cookie Monster.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lordy

Radiohead's first full band performance in years. Look at that goddamned setlist-- including their first performance of "Let Down" (my all-time fave RH song) in eight MF'ing years.


From the NME:

Radiohead premiere new album
The band kick off their tour in Copenhagen

Radiohead played eight new songs as they kicked off their first tour since 2004 in Copenhagen tonight (May 6).

The band debuted new material from their eagerly awaited seventh album, as well as playing a host of classics at the KB Hall.

The new tracks primarily showcased a return to guitar-driven songs in the style of Radiohead's classic 1995 album 'The Bends', with many featuring the three-pronged attack of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien.

'4 Minute Warning' was the most instantly memorable new song, a classic pop tune featuring Yorke on piano and O'Brien on acoustic guitar.

On 'Bangers 'N' Mash' Yorke sang and played drums alongside Phil Selway [download the video here]. Another new song, 'Spooks', was completely instrumental.

The least typical of the new songs Radiohead played tonight was '15 Step', which had dance beat reminscent of the 'Kid A' track 'Idioteque' (which was also in the set tonight).

Among the other surprises was a surprise airing for the 'OK Computer' track and fan favourite 'Let Down', which appeared in the four-song encore.

Radiohead played tracks from each of their six albums bar 1993 debut 'Pablo Honey'. Among the classics aired were 'Karma Police', 'The Bends' and 'Paranoid Android', which closed the initial set.

The set was:

'Everything In Its Right Place'
'Planet Telex'
'Bangers 'N' Mash'
'Open Pick'
'Karma Police'
'Black Star'
'Nude'
'15 Step'
'Street Spirit (Fade Out)'
'A Wolf At The Door'
'The Bends'
'4 Minute Warning'
'Pyramid Song'
'House Of Cards'
'Idioteque'
'Spooks'
'There There'

Encore:

'Bodysnatchers'
'You And Whose Army'
'Let Down'
'Paranoid Android'

Second Encore:

'Lucky'

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Review of the First Fourteen Minutes of "Charles Bukowski: Born Into This"

It is 5:59pm on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon and I am in my apartment, drunk.

Don't be scared.

Don't be worried.

I'm happy. I did this-- getting drunk, by myself, in the middle of a sunny afternoon-- as an exercise, of sorts, in free will; in living by myself for the first time; in having an awkward amount of time to kill before the night began. This is not ritual (DON'T WORRY) but rather a tryout for, an experiment in, something I'll likely not do again.

So don't be worried; don't be concerned. I'm a-thrilled right now.

***

See, what happened is this.

I went to work early this morning. When I stumbled out of bed, I felt tight in the bad sense of the word (groin and knees, if memory serves), and so I used that (those) as my excuse not to go to the gym this morning. Instead, I missed the train by 30 seconds, and caught the next one into the city, ten minutes or so later, still making it to my computer, on a Saturday morning, mind, into an otherwise empty room, before 8am.

Eight in the goddamned morning, on a Saturday.

What the FUCK is my problem?

Anyway, I'd been there for less than a minute or two when my supervisor came in, to start his day.

And though he's a good guy-- obviously a good guy-- it was clearly work time, from there on in. Or there on out.

Not that I would have dicked about, mind... but for some time, I felt what I would term an unnecessary and/or undesirable pressure.

***

And of course, I was more productive, as a result, by a signifcant margin.

I should spend more alone time with the guy... it would make the firm happier (if not the agency I work for).

***

So.

I left at 12:30, stressed. The reasons why are irrelevant, and may or may not have to do with work.

Knowing me, it was anything but.

They certainly weren't to do with any one person. I'm thinking it had more to do with getting a phone call this morning from an old alumnus of Jaffe Associates, who all but forced me to talk about the stress and change of the last months and/or year.

Regardless of the cause, I think I simply woke up on the proverbial wrong side of the empty bed this morning. No more, no less.

***

By the time I got home and did a few "honeydos," or what once would have been termed "honeydos," in a previous life, I decided to sit back and relax with episodes three and four of The Sopranos, which is (of course) just as good as everyone has proclaimed it to be for seven years running.

Something in me suggested that having red wine would accelerate the viewing experience.

It might have been Andy, who came over last night with Peyton, and who joined me on my first walkthrough of Wine Cellars, which is a block away, and who bought me a lovely bottle of a grape I'd never even heard of (God bless Andy, who knows more about wines than 99% of the population)...

Or it might have been Teso and The Sopranos, the cumulative Italian, as it were, insisting that I reach for my caberet sauvignon while enjoying the drama.

Either way, the drinking that followed was hardly premeditated.

But it was great. The show was great, the buzz was great, everything was great. And even though it was and is gorgeous outside... it was phenomenal to be doing something different then I ordinarily do, something I wanted to do, something relaxing.

Because other things, whether they were slight or sizable, real or imagined, were stressing me out. The drink helped.

I feel good, right now.

***

Jeff called me with minutes to go in episode four, by which point I was already a few drinks down. And after he gave me the strategy for the evening to come, I realized... that I had even more time on my hands than I'd realized previously.

And this was after taking a half-hour nap, incidentally-- my first one in awhile. The early schedule... it eats at your bones. I needed it, and I was thanked in kind.

All pre-drink, mind.

***

So what did I do, after hanging up the phone and finishing off the last few minutes of the episode? I throw in a documentary about a long-dead alcoholic poet, a cult hero who, in addition to being a prodigiously talented writer, was also rarely seen without (or without talking about) the bottle.

Duly inspired, I poured myself another drink.

And threw it down.

But then I had to stop the movie.

I was realizing that Born Into This was too much, that it was too good, too informative, that the man was outsized, and that he and it was/were too much for me to reconcile even in a "tribute state," as it was (and is).

So I stopped the movie, fourteen minutes in, right after the moment where he compared himself to the Red Baron, right after reading the titular poem "Born Into This" (I'm presuming this to be the title, by the way), right after the montage of loose and not-so-loose women that Hank seemed to surround himself with whenever possible.

I don't know this guy from Adam, but I know I can't watch any more, right now.

It's too much.

***

If you know me at all, then you'll know that this isn't the norm, and it's nothing to worry about; it's only fun. Something different to take the edge off. I'm happy, relaxed, merely waxing (stupid) poetic.

But even if this comes back to bite me in the ass-- most likely via co-workers, unless I'm being paranoid, here-- it doesn't matter.

Because (a) I'm feeling good, and (b) I'm not fixated and/or dependent upon other, lesser drugs. Which I won't get into, for fear of outing people with far, far worse addictions than my own (which may, in truth, be non-existent-- mine, not theirs).

But suffice it to say, at this particular point, and on this particular day, the drinks helped.

It doesn't always do so... rarely for me, in fact. But right now (and with the possibility of a steak dinner in front of me)...

I'm feeling good. Which is more than I was able to say at earlier stages of the day.

So, L'chaim. Salud. Cheers.

I wish you were here with me, because drinking by myself... however effective it might be right now... it will never compare to having company.

***

Looking forward to seeing all of you, soon. I hope and expect that we will have a good laugh about this.

Friday, May 05, 2006

All Tuckered Out

Remember my excitement about the gym? About my new schedule, yadda yadda yadda?

Yep. You guessed it. The damned gym was locked up again when I got there this morning. So I went up to the front desk, to ask whichever member of our crack security staff happened to be "on duty" if he could open the door for me.

And... he was asleep.

That happens, right? Can't get upset at an old man catching some z's, I suppose?

Oy.

So I went on a run instead. And all I can say is... I'm still winded. And it's been an hour, now. And I only ran around the block.

Maybe I should just take up running, and forget about the whole gym thing. At least I have access to the outside.

***

For those of you who are gluttons for punishment, a new review is up at Harmonium. And look to the main page-- we've recently increased our output to two articles a day.

Not bad for an indie outfit, huh? ;)

***

Season 1, Disc 1 of The Sopranos came in the mail last night, after taunting me for weeks at the top of my Netflix queue.

I'll see you guys in 2007, OK? I've got some catching up to do.

***

GREAT MOMENTS IN PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES HISTORY, PART SEVEN

"We finally got to .500," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We plan on staying there."

Let's hope not, Chaloots. Let's hope not.

***

If only for the first entry-- the Better Off Dead parody-- this Snakes on a Plane link is a must-click.

***

Let me send you off with a song.

***

cold war kids - hang me up to dry
radiohead - bodysnatchers
the minders - don't you stop
morrissey - gang lord (live)
the new pornographers - the slow descent into alcoholism

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Big Ups to Kurdistan



Following hot on the heels of last week, where I caught up with a number of long lost friends, today I grabbed lunch with one Ary Atrushi. Ary is an old co-worker of mine who hated me SO MUCH that he fled to Kurdistan for a year or two, working with the Kurdish government as an advisor, in a myriad of different capacities.

A couple of things brought him back this way, but the main thing is that he's back here, if only for now. Great guy, and I plan on grabbing a few cold beverages with him-- if only to learn some Kurdish curses.

***

My parents are heading out to California tomorrow for a wedding. They'll be away for a few days, so Michelle... if you want to throw Ryan's first kegger, let's coordinate ASAP.

Does Ryan know how to tap a keg, yet?

***



Did you see Lost last night? It was incredible, wasn't it???

I don't want to spoil anything, in case you missed it... but WOW. Lots of directions they can go from this point. Except that there's only four hours left in the season! Arggggghhhh!!!

***

I got a donut today.

I won't tell you why, but... I gave it back. It had nothing to do with me breaking one of the computers at work.

Not really.

***

Jed and I shared a geek moment today (one of many, rest assured), when I sent him this story about the greatest thing George Lucas has done since 1983.

You had to be there.

***

Hey, look! New Replacements, and new Radiohead! All at the same handy-dandy site!

Thank you, Heather.

***

Rip Bush a new one, give him praise when it's due.

I guess this qualifies... or comes close... or...

Whatever. I'll take it.

***

Does anyone else think that taunting the terrorists is a poor tactic?

***

Site of the Day.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The New Hotness

My new office is so hot that I was seriously considering wearing a wife-beater to work today. Jesus-- I'm the only one in here so far, this morning, and I'm frickin' broiling.

Which probably says something about me.

That I still use the word "frickin'."

As I was saying, we moved in here yesterday morning, and our collective opinion is unanimous-- we all miss the old stomping grounds. Better facilities, better people, better building... and so for the past 24 hours it's just been one big bitch session.

There are a few redeeming qualities. For some reason, there's a pool table and a flat screen HDTV in the main lounge. Our monitors are larger (and because there are no windows, there's no glare to deal with). And I sit beside a wall-sized map of the world, so I finally know where Mike is working in the Dominican Republic (west of Puerto Rico, if you must know).

But still... the hot...

***

Which might explain why I decided to get out of the office for the better part of the day yesterday. I only billed a 5.75, which is borderline heresy in contract attorney-land (and bodes poorly for my weekend availability, incidentally).

The reasons why... first, they asked us to wait until 9:30am to show up, as they were still bringing our equipment over from across the street. Then, I had an appointment with my soon-to-be financial wizard/guru Jeff (no, not that one). And then I left early to catch up with a new friend... which was very nice.

But all you wagging tongues are going to have to wait to hear about that one. Nothing on that, here.

***

At the risk of repeating myself, YES. Yes, he does.

***

Going to the Nationals' game with Jay this evening (thank you, Chris), so that should be fun. Betweeen that and the Wolfsons' bris this weekend, my calendar is filling up, fast!

What is it with me and brises, lately?

Brie?

Bris'? Bros? What's the plural?

***

Anyway. Been busy, schedule's been a bit haywire, but happy and healthy. Resigned to not getting tickets for the Radiohead tour-opening dates in Philadelphia (tix go on sale Saturday morning if you want to try)... but as the show will be online within minutes... I'll live.

On the plus side, I learned how to program my DVR last night, so I won't be missing a very special episode of Lost this evening.

Or Purple Rain, for that matter.

Bitches.

***

Send emails. Work will be tough, today.

***

beirut - mount wroclai (idle days)
spoon - i summon you
clap your hands say yeah - upon this tidal wave of young blood
stars - one more night
elo - mr. blue sky

Monday, May 01, 2006

Kiper

Talking hairstyle/self-proclaimed "draft guru" Mel Kiper Jr. gave none of the teams an A- or above in his rankings of the NFL Draft, so the fact that he tagged the Eagles with a "B"? I'm pretty pleased.



Here's what he had to say, from the four letter network.com:

I really like defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley playing next to Mike Patterson on the defensive line. Tackle Winston Justice and Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles will solidify the left side of the offensive line for years to come. Chris Gocong was a solid pick, whether they play him at defensive end or linebacker, and Jeremy Bloom will be a great pick once he shakes off the rust from being away from the game. Still, Bloom can help the Eagles in the return game this season.

***

And this, from CNNSI, on Jazz Hands:

Michael Irvin
Here's how ESPN can improve its draft coverage next year: Send Irvin to an isolated studio in Nova Scotia where he won't overwhelm the broadcast. It's all style and finger-wagging and going against convention: Irvin is tired of hearing that defense wins championships. He's sick of the grading process. Blah, blah, blah.

***

Colbert: ANALYSIS!!!