Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Alaskan Peninsula And My Friend's Physiological Changes Serve As A Metaphor For The Diversity Of My Friends

It's one big peninsula. Last night we finally got around to watching Grizzly Man. It was more confounding than it was compelling for the most part. The two things that'll stick with us will be Amanda's desire for a pet fox, and my determination that Alaskans are weird. The weird moments with Alaskan bureaucrats like the coroner and the guy who had the watch of the guy who got ate by a bear in his filing cabinet... wait that reads weird. a bear didn't eat him in his filing cabinet. he has the dead guys watch in the filing cabinet. Maybe this weirdness comes from being so disconnected with the country proper. Maybe that's what makes their politicians get away with such graft and corruption. Talking Points Memo has more about corrupt Sens. Stevens and Murkowski (both Republicans! imagine that!). These Alaskans in the movie all had a certain bug eyedness about them. Staring directly into the camera, speaking at weird clips, or in a completely detached tone, like the helicopter pilot who airlifted the remains.

So, speaking of weird, after my last post, I met myself halfway on my plan to walk to Whole Foods and get some pluots. Instead I walked up to Third Place to get some coffee, read, and listen to the ipod. Once I got there I ran into my old friend, Casey. I've known Casey since the first day of high school. Intermittent periods of not seeing each other filling in lots of gaps over the past nine years, months to years at a time. What's nice is that whenever we see each other, we pick up the conversation where it was left off. We were fairly close in high school, before I lost my shit, and she probably lost her shit too, I reckon. What was weird about seeing her today though, was she had changed physically. I should mention that Casey is a lesbian. She's always looked manish in her own way, mostly through the clothes she wore, haircuts etc. Butch would be the operative word. It's been a couple of months since I've seen her, and since then, the distinctly female characteristics of her have all but disappeared. There's hair on her legs, her jaw line is sharp, her voice is deeper than ever, and her chest is flat where it wasn't before. It didn't come up in conversation, probably because the porch at Third Place wasn't the right place to talk about it. I think she's probably taking hormones, though. Which, I mean, good for her. It's just weird to see someone you've known for such a long time make such a drastic transition in the period of a few months. It would probably have been less noticeable if I had seen her regularly, but it's a pretty drastic change. The difference is what strikes me more than the action.

As I walked home studying the pings of Joanna Newsom's harp on "Emily", I got to thinking about how drastically my group of friends has changed since that time in high school. My friends were (outside of the scattered punks and stoners) mostly black or homosexual. The latter moreso at the first high school I went to, Wake Forest-Rolesville. Which always struck me as strange, WFR was much less tolerant and much more rednecky than my second school, Wakefield. Now my friends are almost all white, I have no black friends. I miss that diversity in my group of friends. It has a lot to do with where I work. For the most part, my friends come from my surroundings. School at first, then workplaces. Glenwood Grill is the first place I've worked without any black or homosexual coworkers. Not that it's all white, we've got Colombians and Mexicans. It's just different, and I never really thought about it until tonight.

Hello To All The Cities

Oh, hey, I just wanted to say hello and thank you to all of my readers, thanks for sticking it out with this blog, heading into it's eighth month. Which is crazy to me. I specifically wanted to thank whomever is reading my blog in Kirkland, Washington. I hope that doesn't seem creepy, like my reader(s) in Kirkland are like "how the fuck..." I keep track of traffic on this site through Google Analytics. I'd be interested in getting to know the reader(s) from Kirkland. Send an email or leave a comment. And that goes to all of my readers, though. I know of at least 5 or 6 people total who read my blog. Hello, Jenny, Marco, Mike, Steven, Amanda, Dan... Everyone else who does, hello, why don't you drop a line my way?

Where does the title of this post come from... god it's familiar... oh, shit, it's a part of that ridiculous "Lizard King" suite by the Doors. Well, it's a pretty sweet title for what it is.

Pluots, Spoons, Cartoons, and High Crimes

what i'm listening to right now: "Amoeba" by The Adolescents
I'm off work this afternoon and the whole of tomorrow, so there is the possibility of some heavy blogging or absolutely nothing at all

My plans of taking a walk down to Whole Foods for some pluots* seems to be disappearing as I'm sitting around waiting for songs to download off of Soulseek. So far, I've downloaded the first Adolescents album, which I got turned on to by a collection of Brian Walsby's cartoons. He's a Raleigh guy since way back in the late 80s hardcore heyday, when The Brewery wasn't a hessian headquarters. I'm loving his cartoons, parts in love with music and snidely making fun of everything about music.

I've been listening to the new Spoon album pretty much non stop. The one thing that I love about them is how everything they do sounds so effortless. How it seems so natural for them to be making the best Supremes or Billy Joel songs you never heard. The ideal of what people who appreciate Billy Joel... what it sounds like to them, we're hearing the same thing when we hear "Big Shot", but one of us hates it. And yet, "The Underdog" on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga sounds like a Billy Joel song, just perfect in every way instead of the trickle down rock economics of Billy Joel, the president of soft rock in the 80s.

*Oh, so I wanted to explain the pluot to the uninitiated. It's a crossbreeding of the plum and the apricot. The pluot tastes like the idea of a plum before you eat it. Sweeter and less watery. The one perk of working at Whole Foods two years ago was the free produce I got to graze during my shifts. That and I could listen to my CDs while I was in the back cutting up fruit trays.

I've been following this whole Attorney General farce very closely, and it's getting SO exciting! So many other things are coming up out of this investigation. The best part of this is that the administration is just getting itself in deeper trouble. Really, if Alberto Gonzalez went out and said that he fired these US District Attorneys, because he could, and he had the power, given to himself by himself when he snuck something into the Patriot Act part II, to replace those people he fired and not get them cleared by the Senate. I'm sure this would be less of a problem for them. And yet, (gleefully for me), AG is a dissembling fool, or plays very well at it. He's catching himself in all these lies, and now, the Senate is getting themselves a Special Prosecutor to look into Gonzalez's perjuring himself to Congress. Which is as much as a crime as perjury in a court. The kind of perjury that Republicans swore the impeachment of Clinton was about.
THEN there's Bush telling his aides to ignore the subpoenas of Congress. Not showing up to testify when subpoenaed is a crime. But not as big of a crime as telling someone not to appear. That's a felony. And, who's committing a felony?! Bush!!! Oh!! This is soooo hilarious! Of course there's the seething anger. Of course, Bush is trampling all over the Constitution. But it just makes me so happy that he's doing it so clearly! There's no amount of "is is"ing that can diffuse this. Bush has clearly committed a felony. Gonzalez has clearly perjured himself. There's going to be a court battle over both of these things. Outside of Bush escorting his aides down to Congress to testify under oath with a transcript, this is going to go to court, probably all the way to the Supreme Court. I've been spending a good amount of time at Talking Points Memo and all of it's satellite sites, and it's done the best job of comprehensively reporting this. (In fact it was the site that broke the whole AG firing escapade to begin with).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In Which Kanye Makes The Best Video Ever


Click the link, it'll take you to Kanye West's new video for "Can't Tell Me Nothing" starring Zak Galifinakis, Will (Bonnie Prince Billy) Oldham, and pre-teen Swedish line dancers. Best. Video. Ever.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Republicans, Please, Please Send This Douchebag Against The Democrats!


via Talking Points Memo

Giuliani gets all worked up, cusses, later he incites a police riot. Thousands of off duty police officers damage cars and shout racial epithets. Awesome. I expect more about this whole thing to come out soon, below is a contemporary article from the NY Times shedding a bit more light on the subject.

NY Times Story

Friday, July 20, 2007

Face To Face With Disapointment

So, it took a while to let the whole reality of the Slint show to sink in. It wasn't good. On many levels. To begin with, I've never really been a huge fan of Spiderland. I think it's overrated as an album. Add to that, I think it's boring music. But I'm told that it's an important album. And I can understand it's importance. I went into the concert believing that I would finally figure out what all the hullabaloo about this band was, that in a live setting, maybe I'd figure it out. They played the whole album note for note. Reality set in. I don't like this.

The concert is part of this Don't Look Back series from the people behind the All Tomorow's Parties festivals. Bands go back and play their penultimate albums, Sonic Youth plays Daydream Nation, Slint- Spiderland, and GZA does Liquid Swords. I thought I'd be in love with this idea, it sounds like something right up my alley. I LOVE Daydream Nation and Liquid Swords. I've had plenty of conversations with music nerds about how I'd love to see this or that band back when they were making this or that album. And it would have been amazing to see Sonic Youth closing out a set, in the end of the eighties, with the Trilogy. It would have been amazing to be in a youth hall when Fugazi were working out the songs on 13 Songs, or Black Sabbath in an abandoned Birmingham movie theatre, playing stuff from their first album. These bands revisiting those great things now, I'm not sure how great that is. (Though, I've given this a lot of thought, GZA doing Liquid Swords would just be great, no matter what, even if he played a tape of ODB on "Duel Of The Iron Mic"...) I'd love to hear Sonic Youth kick into "Cross The Breeze" in the middle of a contemporary set... I guess what I'm getting at is that this idea turns these albums into museum pieces. To play the album without any context of the ensuing years since the album... it's the closest indie rock gets to playing the $5 BBQ Fest concert with Glenn Fry at the ampitheatre. It's a nostalgia trip with an ironic title.

Okay, dinner's ready. I'll stop there, but one thing quickly that's related. On the deluxe reissue of Daydream Nation, there's a cover of the Beatles' "Within You Without You". It's amazing. I was expecting b-side wankery, I was gladly proven wrong. Okay, enchilada time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

XKCD etc.

the comic that I really wanted to put on the blog didn't fit in the template of the page, so I encourage you to click here and see the one that I like better than this one

So, as a lot of things that I end up writing about on the blog, I stumbled upon this through Marco's blog. Which is actually at a new site and name, The Midpoint. His blog linked to these pictures of people playing chess on roller coasters. Damn! Which reminds me that I'm not going to be able to take this great trip to Busch Gardens and then a night on the town in Richmond because of the crap with my car, which is explained later in the post. So, I'm in love with these little stick figure comic strips at XKCD. They're amazing, they're smart, and oh so fantastic. I've found myself getting back into comic books for the first time since I was a little dorky kid. I'm not reading the X-Men et al anymore, I'm really enamored with these "indie" comics. Which is a term that I find myself feeling weird saying/writing. Anyway, I got into these indie comics when Amanda bought the whole run of the Optic Nerve series one day last year. Since then I've been really blown away by some graphic novels I've read, most notably, Fun Home (about a girl discovering she was a lesbian growing up in a funeral home with her dad who had a secret gay life) by Alison Bechdel, Black Hole (about a STD that mutates teens in 1970's Seattle) by Charles Burns and Persepolis (about being a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution) by Marjane Satrapi. Has there always been this quality of material in underground comics? I'd always thought that it was like R. Crumb semi-porn ripoffs. I know about Harvey Pekar, but have never actually read any of his comics... (wait, no I read a small thing by him in The Best American Comics 2006).

In other news, my car is a piece of the devil's shit. It needs a new wheel bearing, and a new steering column. These aren't as immediately dire as they sound, the steering column is to fix my broken blinker switch, right now, I'm just sticking my hand inside the steering column if I wanna use my blinker switch. The wheel bearing, well, that's a little more immediate, but we're taking care of that this weekend. Then there was the 300+ spent on the disintegrated back brakes and everything that goes with that. I was thinking that maybe, maybe once all of these things are taken care of, I won't curse my car as much. I won't dread driving it places. I still want to get rid of it, though. I want to drive a car with better mileage, that's for sure.

I'm going to see Slint and Strange at Cat's Cradle tonight, look for pictures posted up tomorrow afternoon. If you're interested, you can see my pictures before I post them on the blog and all the ones I didn't post on the blog on my Picasa Web Album. (It's even more user friendly than Flikr and it's through Google instead of Yahoo, and I guess I just have loyalties.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Parts & Labor Review and Pictures

update: This is my final draft that I'm turning in to be edited by Amanda and published in The Hatchet. text is below the pictures, scroll down. enjoy... hopefully.

Last night I went to see a band that I’m madly in love with. Parts & Labor. I struggle with myself when writing about this band, trying to resist the temptation of comparing them with a small race of Supermen who’ve come to lead us out of the musical woods. Of course, in a live setting, Parts & Labor did little to dissuade me from such hyperbole. It would have been so much easier if they humanized themselves, not being able to replicate the sounds of their album or expound upon those themes. They also could have been terrible jerks, pretentious noise rockers with little time for fan boy record reviewers. But they weren’t. If I could marry a band… okay, maybe that’s taking it too far.
Mapmaker opens with what has been getting plenty of nominations for song of the year, "Fractured Skies". Christopher Weingarten's drums come charging through the gate while little robots made out of VCRs lie in their wake, letting out their death cries. Weingarten freaks out and plays even harder until the horns come in. Oh, those horns! Horns that bring to mind Steve McQueen, jumping over a fence on a motorcycle. It's a shame that Weingarten is leaving the band after their show at the 506. He completely makes this song.
"New Crimes" builds up some kind of Celtic drive reminiscent of last year's "The Great Divide" and it’s bagpipes. Singer Dan Friel told me that he was trying to get the guy that plays bagpipes with them in New York to go on tour with them. While "Ghosts Will Burn" is an impossibly danceable number with death metal bass trampling over the twisted debris of a wrecked 18-wheeler carrying nothing but Casio keyboards. Like a Decepticon dance party. My favorite song on this album, though is their cover of one of my favorite bands of all time, The Minutemen. "King Of The Hill" has been on repeat for me more than any song I've listened to for years. I've kind of gotten away from the whole teenage phenomena of listening to a song over and over again, and yet, this one does it. It's a fairly faithful cover, Parts & Labor's twisted, exploded keyboard sounds replacing the guitar and trumpet of the original, collapsing under it’s own momentum with the sound of disintegrating flutes. The idealism, wit, and instrumental acumen of The Minutemen are the perfect parallel of Parts & Labor, down to the proletariat band name and the egalitarian boutique label they run out of their van. Their cynical take on indie-fame, "Camera Shy" recalls The Minutemen, a mere 68 seconds before on the record. Blasting by in a minute-eight, replacing the customary punk sneer with a laugh at the ridiculous tropes of the world.
When I listen to Mapmaker, I think, how can anyone not be floored by this band? How are Parts & Labor not as big if not bigger than other indie heavyweights, like Arcade Fire or the New Pornographers? I think I stumbled upon the answer looking at the turnout at Local 506 that night, Parts & Labor are of a scene that’s never been the most popular on a wide range. When I mention noise rock, formless sounds, strung together with verbal diarrhetics come to mind. Such has been the devolution of noise since it hit it’s zenith with Daydream Nation. Parts & Labor sound recalls the bands that formed or survived the aftermath of hardcore, the beginning of noise. Husker Du, The Minutemen, and Sonic Youth are all easy touchstones in describing the sound of Parts & Labor. The nuts and bolts of their sound are what set them apart. Using toy synths and keyboards, they add modern noise affectations to the classic formula.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

And In The Eyes Of A Jackal I Say Ka-BOOM!

I'm really perplexed today. I just finished watching this new Smashing Pumpkins video for "Tarantula". The video itself is awful, which is disappointing, considering their previous penchant for beautiful videos in the past. It looks like one of those Eye Toy PlayStation 2 games, where a video camera puts you in a cheap video game. With a bunch of people who aren't in Smashing Pumpkins playing instruments behind Billy Corgan dressed like a referee at a Klan game of touch football. The song, except for the cartoon of a guitar solo at the end, was pretty good. If I were to hear this from another band, I'd probably say it was "awesome". But I should hate this, right? Billy Corgan is a HUGE douche, he fell off his game a long, long time ago, right? There's nothing different about this Smashing Pumpkins and the one that made the Machinas right? Billy didn't let D'arcy or James Iha actually play anything on the records, (you can totally believe that if you ever heard the Iha solo album... whooo). Then there was Zwan and the superbad solo album. A decade or more since this guy had "it". An Ozzy for the alternative generation, Corgan has been riding some inexplicable memory train to the bank.

I read the reviews, read what the new Smashing Pumpkins album was all about, and without hearing a second of it, dismissed it out of hand. How could this sound good? And wasn't I totally done with Corgan's annoying, whiny schtick? If I were to hear a band today, chanting "despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage", I would roll my eyes, right? And yet, I immediately went to the other room and grabbed some old Pumpkins records. And this shit is not bad. Dammit. So, have I been denying myself something great for the past handful of years that I've dismissed this band? What I love(d) about the Pumpkins in their prime was their eclectic nature, shifting effortlessly between some caustic faux-metal and what was my favorite ballad of the nineties, "1979". Though it doesn't really sound like a song about being a twelve year old, Corgan's age in 1979. I also hate Bryan Adams for that shit with "The Summer of '69" (he would have been 10).

I was really into the Smashing Pumpkins in middle school and the beginning of high school. I bought that box set of the Mellon Collie singles, I listened to them all the time until I became aware of Sonic Youth and Fugazi. That was the last time I actively listened to Smashing Pumpkins. I have to say that this is refreshingly not as bad as critical hindsight makes it out to be. The new album sounds like it could be a different story. If the whole album is like "Tarantula", I don't think I'll be able to hang with it. I can only take Corgan's hard rock singing for a short span of time, it needs to be interrupted, there needs to be things happening in the song besides rocking out as hard as you can, to prove you can still do it. There are about ten seconds at the end of "Tarantula" where things get spacey, only to be interrupted by that god awful guitar solo.

Just for a trip down memory lane, here are some of those great Pumpkins videos from (cliche alert) when MTV actually played videos...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Lost In Translation

Back over at Marco's blog, he pointed out a video on YouTube of a Bollywood version of Superman. Superman is flying around with Spiderwoman, who apparently, and for no discernible reason, can also fly. I mean c'mon!! She's a spider, not a... hawk, or a creature from a dead planet, whose powers are caused by the yellow sun! A little bit of realism here, people! I then went to a Turkish Superman video, much more along the lines of an actual Superman, (no dancing.)

From there, I came upon what must be the greatest thing that I've ever seen on YouTube, Turkish Rambo, Korkuzus. Watch, we'll discuss once it's over.

So, this is crazy, right? He's certainly not carrying all those rockets around with him. So, apparently, rockets are like so many dandelions in the Turkish grass. Hopefully, you aren't reading this before the video's over, because I'm about to ruin the surprise of the inexplicable scene where Korkuzus is about to bludgeon the implied bad guy boss with the business end of his rocket launcher, when a homely woman with blow dried hair starts talking to him from heaven/the Psychic Friends Network Studios/Glamour Shots. A moment of hesitation, then BAM! Bad guy dies from a couple of scrapes on his face.

So what is it about these poor translations of American entertainment? Why are we laughing at the fact that a toy with a cape on is held in front of a movie screen to imply flying? Is it because it's honestly funny? Or are we're just being imperial douchebags, laughing at the misguided foreigners who don't even have computer graphics? Or, is this thinking inherently douchebaggy to begin with? I think it's the latter.

I recently read a book by Chuck Klosterman where the entire second half of the book was like this. Hypothetical and aloof, not taking sides in the most passive aggressive "I'm writing this book to secretly judge you" way imaginable. Never before have I been so infuriated with an author that I like so much. Oh wait, Chuck Palahniuk. Dude's lost his game. Completely. Lullabye sucked, Haunted really sucked, I couldn't get through the first two chapters of Rant. The ratio of good Palahniuk books to bad is almost even, if not tipping towards bad. That's really too bad. I've been reading a lot lately. Right now I'm reading three books. (And I know that I'm completely leaving the boundaries of the original premise of this post, but I don't feel like starting another one, and this won't be long, I swear. Then again, aren't I making it long when I put more than one sentence inside of parentheses explaining how something won't be long?) I recently picked back up The Adventures of Kavelier and Klay, which for some inexplicable reason, I put down for a couple of months. Oh, wait, I know why, I started it after I finished Middlesex, and it's documented as impossible to enjoy the next book you pick up after you finish Middlesex. You won't enjoy it because it's not Middlesex. And nothing ever will be ever again. So, yeah, I'm reading Kavelier and Klay, and it's amazing, Chabon's just completely conjuring this visual world of comic books with his words, so fucking descriptive. That, and I'm reading The Land That Never Was, which is a nonfiction book about this guy, Sir Gregor McGregor, who was a Scottish Knight who made up a country in Central America in the early 1800's and sold land and perpetrated this enormous hoax that had all these people leaving behind their lives in Europe and move to what was really an uninhabitable swamp. There are about three other books that I'm taking turns at reading also right now, but I'm not going to go into them. (Thankfully.)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Dick Van Dyke One Man Band Machine: Ofo & The Black Company

The Dick Van Dyke One Man Band Machine is a very irregular feature on this blog, where I write about a song that I have on repeat and can't stop listening to. I had this one all planned out, I was going to write about the song that up until an hour ago, I had been listening to on repeat, "King Of The Hill" by Parts & Labor. But then that got completely blown out of the water. Today, I watched The Last King Of Scotland, until somewhere towards the end, the DVD got stuck at one point, and wouldn't go on. Rather than fuck with it, I got up and started downloading some songs from the movie that were blowing me away. The most amazing one of these downloads was "Love Is You" by Ofo & The Black Company. It's amazing. I haven't been able to find any substantial information on them. I don't know what country they come from, I have a general idea of their time line. The only tidbits I could find on them were that they were on a compilation called "World Psychedelic Classics Volume 3- Love's A Real Thing" that Luaka Bop put out, which sounds like the most amazing record I have never heard. West African psychedelic rock... holy shit. And that they had a seven inch on London Records, that's selling on Ebay right now, and I don't have any fucking money. Bastards!
Oh. So what does this song sound like? What am I losing my shit over? Imagine The Stooges, Fela Kuti, Cream, James Brown, Funkadelic, and every dream of some great song that you've never heard before. This song hits you full force from the first second, a thin distorted guitar puts it's foot on your throat, like the first seconds of "I Wanna Be Your Dog". Grunts and shout outs to Africa, and then that initial squall hits that perfect riff, the locomotion of a Fela Kuti album is distilled into three minutes. Then the song gets harder, a thick slab of rhythm guitar and organs... it's rhaspsodous, it's the Stooges, in Africa. It's everything I ever wanted in a song that's new to me. It's invigorating and different, unlike anything I've heard before with these touchstones to the music I love. It's the perfect song.
The Last King of Scotland is a hugely flawed movie. A movie about Idi Amin would have been more interesting if it were about Idi Amin, and not about some fictional white guy who gets thrown into the mix. I wonder if when this movie was proposed, did some executive say, "sounds good, Oscar-worthy for whomever we pick to play Amin, but we need to have a white guy. good looking, and have him come in and fuck some of his wives, and then, we'll have a movie on our hands". All that aside, though, I have to thank this movie for giving me this awesome song. Now, I just gotta go digging for everything else that Ofo & The Black Company ever did.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

That Sir... Is A Nickle.

what i'm listening to right now: Three Little Babies- Joanna Newsom
One of the benefits of when I fall asleep way before Amanda does is when she hits her blog with her drunken late night verbosity. As is evidenced by her account of our trip to Ohio/Indiana. Pretty much rendering anything that I was planning to write about the trip dwarfish in comparison. We had an amazing time, drunkenly connecting on deep levels with her uncles, aunts, and cousins. I was planning on writing an introductory apology, about how this is probably not interesting. Then I thought that maybe I do that too much, and if I continue to do that, then maybe you won't read this blog anymore. So, here, read on, I'm not apologizing. This is my blog, and I'll do as I please.

We set out on the trip at 11:30 pm on Thursday. Arriving at 8:30 am on Friday. I did most of the driving, seeing the sun come up behind the clouds on a country road in West Virginia. It was beautiful, farm fields framed by mountain ranges on either side, a pink-grey sky dissipating the early morning fog. Antonymic to the wide open fields of Indiana, with it's bright blue skies that went on forever.

We ended up getting pretty punchy around 4, just outside of Charleston, after the last stop on the West Virginia Turnpike. We encountered an extremely gregarious Toll Booth Willy. When we handed him the cash, it was off by twenty cents. "Whoa, whoa! That sir... is a nickle." WE gave him the correct change, and went along on our way. A good fifteen minutes of silence went on from there, the new Spoon album bubbling in the background, when I repeated "That sir... is a nickle." Amanda and I laughed for ten minutes straight. We woke up her brother, Chris, who was asleep in the back seat. The laughing would end only to be restarted by a little snort or chuckle at the ridiculousness, either of that huge pause between "sir" and "is" or at the joy of unhinged laughter. How I was able to get another four and half hours of driving accomplished without any Fear And Loathing in Ohio hallucinating was amazing.

After a really long and fairly silent breakfast at Denny's in Dayton, we decided to go to our hotel. If they wouldn't let us check in, maybe we'd just sleep in the lobby. It was too much. The thought of waiting around Dayton, Ohio for another four hours until the standard check in time, was repulsive. Luckily for them, they let us in our rooms extra early, which was great. I was asleep within minutes, on what was the most luxurious bed I have ever slept on. This was an incredibly nice hotel room. The nicest I've ever stayed in, and relatively cheap. Considering it was Dayton, and not, say New York City, we could swing this room. It was on the top floor on the corner, with a fantastic view.

Shortly after waking up, drunkenness ensued, and really didn't take too much of a break. Outside of a walk around the Oregon District, which was the kind of place that a town that's in the dumps like Dayton gives over to the creative types, in hopes that it'll become "hot" and they can flatten it all and make it into overexpensive condos. Is that a little backhanded anger at Raleigh for condo-izing the cool parts of town? Maybe. Anyway, that was cool, had a great sandwich at this weird deli there. The cashier lady wouldn't take the money out of my hand or put my change back in it. That was weird. I'm about to eat, lady, you think my hands are dirty? Or maybe she had TB. If that was the case, I'm glad she didn't touch my hands.

So for the period after the sandwich, we can sum it up in a fragmentary sense. Drink, drink, cousins, aunts, uncles, judges, strangers, drink, drink, bad food, drink, drink, drink, drink, sleep, wedding, drink, driiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiink, dance, drink, "modern politics is about fear" (as if it was ever about anything else), drink, drink, sing-along, White Stripes, sing-along, 9 card, drink, pass out. To expound on the couple of subjects that weren't "drink, drink", I had a great talk with Janey, who is Amanda's cousin Little Joe's girlfriend. We talked about politics, and fear, and well, those would be the two subjects from that talk I remember the most. Janey's really great, we've had a lot of fun together the past (and only) two times we've hung out. (Both at weddings, the two of them are coming up to Raleigh sometime soon.) Then there was the sing along. Back at the hotel, after a mad search for a surprise birthday cake for Anna, that took us out of Dayton and into Kettering, Steven and I returned in time for their Cousin Tony to pull out his guitar and lead all of us in song, doing everything from Tom Petty to Flaming Lips to White Stripes. Which was incredibly fun. Tony and I rhapsodized about the glory of Jack White, and I tried to sell him on the Rosebuds. Shortly thereafter, the crowd thinned out and I did the same. Amanda soldiered on with a couple of strangers and Steven 'till 5:30, (Steven went the distance, watching the sun come up, calling to change his 10 o'clock flight at 6 am).
Amanda really summed up the Indiana part of the trip, so I'll stop here. I had a great time. One of the undercurrents of conversation at the wedding was which of the three couples will get married next, Tony and Auleen, Joe and Janey, or Amanda and myself? We came in a distant third in the consensus, but I'm pretty sure that we'll slip in early, the dark horses, like George Mason if they didn't go out once they got in the Final Four.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Thoughts On The Fourth Of July

It's been a while since I've blogged, so hopefully, I can hit this with all the verbosity that I want to. I've been pretty busy for the past two weeks. Which goes a bit of the distance in explaining why I only had seven posts last month, and here it is, four days into a new month, and this is my first post. It's the Fourth of July, of course, the big American holiday. Yet, here I am, in my underwear at two in the afternoon, and what's so special about today? Have the Bushies and their twisting of patriotism soured mine? We're thinking of eagles soaring, and fireworks, and cookouts, which are all great. Yet, shouldn't we be spending today, reflecting on how kickass Thomas Jefferson was? We don't hear much talk about him this time of the year. He's been relegated him to the two dollar bill. Hamilton's on the ten? And he wasn't even a president, let alone from this country! But Jefferson, the main man in the story of the Fourth, is relegated to the side, always. Maybe because his ideas are too dangerous. When you talk about actual freedom, instead of the politics of freedom, it's too much. It's why they beep out "fuck", and yet show dry humping on television.

The Fourth isn't about a military victory, it's not about the end of the Revolution. It's about this paper that T.J. wrote. There was a whole movement behind this paper, but they knew of only one man who could write it. But he's on the two, his memorial, off the mall. It's a damn shame. So, let's hear it for Thomas Jefferson, as he's rolling in his grave.