Thursday, March 02, 2006

Doin' thangs 

I couldn't ignore the thesis giving me a cold look from across the room forever. Other, stranger things are happening that I think deserve a little attention, too. Hence, a breather. Back soon, with focus!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

The weekly 

Goddamn you Megan for showing me this picture. I want to go to the lake right now.

M. executes a perfect dive from the cliffs at H22, Greers Ferry Lake, Heber Springs, Arkansas. Respect, waterproof disposable camera.

I'm sick sick sick of work and school. My advisor just had a baby, complicating my graduation application process. Work is, well, work, and I find that I continue to employ my fantastic and traditional method of putting things off until the absolute last minute for that compressive boost of a looming deadline. The thesis is, well, um, let's just not talk about that today. My internet isn't cooperating, so I'm going to have to go to campus for all of twenty seconds to pick up some documents. I got official word this morning that I'm certifiably, permanently ineligible to enter the Peace Corps (the opposite of which, some of you may recall, was the keystone reason in my decision to come to Washington).

Those are the bad things, but thhe past week of silence has seen its share of good. It snowed with a vengeance during Saturday's beardparty, so I got to have snowball fights and soccer games at every stage of beard sculpture. V made me some nice chops that I've even decided to keep for a while. I also got into my first roof-to-roof snowball fight that left me sore for three days; I also got to nail a girl in the face with a snowball at sixty feet, a horribly violent act that was an undeniable highlight of the day. I bought a health insurance plan that I can't get kicked out of for an existing condition (fuck you, Peace Corps)! It's costing a bundle, but I'm unquestionably insured against my own body and the damage I'm prone to inflict upon it through the end of August.

Also, formal announcement people. I'll be house- and kitten-sitting next week at a posh home in Eastern Market. I was virtually commanded by the owners to use the house for devious purposes (I'd blush to repeat how they worded it) so they don't feel bad about leaving the cold coast for two weeks variously in Hawaii and on a Caribbean cruise. Ain't they sweet? I say we plan a dinner/orgy to take advantage of the free reign I've been given over their liquor cabinet/soundsystem/fireplace.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lunch with Uri 

or Rubber spoon, rubber spoon, rubber spoon.

V and I have a standing agreement that makes our dreary Foggy Bottom school- and workweek bearable: meet at Java Green every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. for delicious lunch and chatter. This usually ends up with us convincing ourselves to go get a bloody mary elsewhere, but today was much more bizarre. There was still quite a crowd by the time we arrived today, and many people seemed to know one another. One of the employees was downright giddy, chuckling as he walked around videotaping a couple of members of the group. We bowed into our private conversation, oblivious to whatever the hell was going on. As we're finishing up, V leans in and whispers, "Hey, they're signing giant spoons." Har har, I think to myself, great attempt to try to get me to look but no dice. Eye roll. "No, um, seriously, what the hell is happening," she continued, eyes widening. So I turn, and, what the fucking hell?, there really is a guy signing a gigantic wooden spoon, the traditional rice-stirrers you see in Asian food markets. Is he a spoon player, some bizarre virtuoso in town to play for a vegan association? Did he win some contest and get free Java Green food for life? Curious, I lean a bit nearer the group in question and try to read the scrawled inscription. I can read the last name pretty clearly: Geller. But what's that first name? Uli? Uwe?

(Pregnant pre-1980 celebrity pause)

Holy shit, it's Uri Geller, spoon bender extraordinaire and occasional jewelry designer for QVC! My junior high library had a book about him, and I remember watching tapes of him and the Amazing Randi going head to head in spoonbending debunkery with him at (brainwashing) Arkansas Governor's School--what a weird encounter.

Long story short, he was doing something official in the city, and we got to watch him do his thing on a spoon brought from the kitchen by the obsessively smiling employee (the videotaper mentioned before--apparently Geller is his childhood hero). I have to admit, as cognitively that I suspect this man isn't charged with alloy-altering prowess, it was kind of cool to watch him perform so well after being ambushed over lunch. He gets additional applause for eating at a vegan, pro-sustainability spot frequented by the scientific skeptic crowds of D.C. Go Uri! Visit his wall-hung spoon, see the big group photo of everyone who was in the place for the event (us included!) and have a nice mushroom boolgogi while you're at it.

Relating back to the last entry, I caved in and bought the full Electric Company album Creative Playthings. It's fantastic electronic eclecticism, a little bit of ambient and dub to highlight the otherwise quirky and furiously sample-chopped material. Dig!

Electric Company, Is there another door to door?

Electric Company, iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Not from this album, but released as an appendix


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

From the air I breathe 

I really like Numbers, so I'm especially happy that I was handed this nifty Tigerbeat6 compilation, Open Up and Say... @%_|^[!], a couple of years late. The Numbers track it contains, "Disease" from In My Mind All The Time, has been today's holy-shit-it's-cold-so-I-guess-I'll-take-the-bus soundtrack.

When I'm on the bus,
People are ill.
From the air they breathe
I could get a disease!

They also do a number with Caro (a new name to me) called "Intercom," culled from the Life remix album Death, that hits me right in the danceybone. Who is this Caro and why can't I find anything else featuring him? There are a number of other great acts I've never even heard of on this compilation. If you have loads of shit by Electric Company, Stars as Eyes or The Bug, well, we need to talk.

Articulatory Loop and Seeking Irony have put up their pictures from the Puppy Brunch. The puppies were delicious, almost as delicious as the fouteen pounds of hashed and fried potatoes that spanned the hours of eating and drinking.

Amber brings delight to Arkansans and Arkansans-at-heart with a lump of Crisco and a dozen potatoes.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

For the second time in two weeks, I'm limping 

I don't want to talk about it. Pray to whatever gods you (don't) believe in that I didn't actually break any bones in my foot. Nope, not that one, the other one. Wound week gets an extension.

By the way, there is some (not too hilarious) hilarious irony in the fact that this is at once my four hundred and twentieth post at C-130, and probably the midpoint in my longest dry spell in recent history. Yay! Woe.

The closest I'm going to get today are songs that make me feel stoned in their own right, so I'll lay out a couple of notables.

Liz Durrett (with Vic Chesnutt), Somewhere
Yeah, so it's a cover from West Side Story, but if that's a negative then we can't be friends. When I first started playing classical music, our orchestra instructors (Vick and Hatch) would make us watch this absurdly melodramatic classic to get an idea of how great a transformative effect a powerful soundtrack could have on characters that would come off as otherwise whiny, blackfaced wimps and sissies. Durrett's reinterpretation is better than the original when taken out of context as a track on its own. The doubled vocals with Chesnutt are slowed to a weary dirge.

Parker and Lily, The Low Lows
Speaking of dirges, I don't know much about this little group outside of the fact that they seem to have recorded prolifically over the past few years. This morning's return to the expected drear of grey coastal winters has me howling for a stay-in-bed song like this beautiful example. There's a tired affect to the guy's voice that's a bit, well, tired, but hey, we're going for stoned.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Wound week 

I've bled entirely too frequently over the past five days. Monday night at V's birthday dinner, I slashed my thumb open with a pair of rusted-shut scissors. There was a veritable fountain of blood when I tensed the digit to see if I'd cut anything essential to oppostitional grip (which, all things considered, was kind of neat).

Tuesday, trying to open our back door with the uninjured hand, I ended up snagging the webbing between my first two fingers on a piece of protruding weather stripping, leaving behind a pretty small cut that bled so much that I left maroon fingerprints on the inside of the door that I didn't notice until this afternoon.

Then Wednesday night, helping a friend tear apart his old deck, I stepped down on a plank with three exposed nails. Those bitches went through every layer of shoe and a solid half inch of heel flesh--it hurt so much that it didn't even hurt, the pain was translated into a brilliant white flash and an instant full-body coating of sweat. I never thought I'd say "I'd rather step on nails barefoot than in shoes" until this happened. When your knee-jerk reaction to sling whatever just bit your foot kicks in I'd imagine that, if one were barefoot, the offending object would probably be flung away as intended. With rubber-soled shoes, however, that bitch of a plank holds fast, forcing you to calm down enough to sit down (without wiggling the plank), unlace the shoe, pull up the tongue and then lift your angry foot off of the impaling nails. I now have an intriguingly symmetric pattern of rust particles reminding me exactly how much of an ass I was to not wear boots made of solid steel for a nighttime construction job involving sharp metal.

When I went to give blood today, I told my nurse about all of this, apologizing for any gravel or metal shards that might end up in the IV bag. She laughed, took a pint anyway, and then branded me a faggot with this awesomely pink bandage.

Please, no more bleeding for a little while.

[P.S.--There's a pretty massive shortage of blood in the DC metropolitan area, so please go donate at the 20th and E American Red Cross office if you can over the next couple of weeks. It's a pretty rad set-up, and their nurses are so well practiced that you won't feel a thing. They even hook you up with Famous Amos cookies instead of the standard week-old ginger snaps that most blood drives try to feed you. Aw, hell yeah!]


Thursday, January 26, 2006

It's not your face 

Chan Marshall may have her detractors, but I spent my last dollar on The Greatest after I heard "Living Proof." It reminds me of the very best of the girly radio crooners that my mom used to listen to on our gigantic console stereo. I suppose that's where the interest lies: the theme that Marshall's playing with Cat Power this time only feels like a gimmick to people who didn't grow up under the boozey shroud of comfortable worry rasped out by Sammi Smith with the help of a distant lap steel and a Hammond with an imitation leslie effect. I hear it so clearly when I listen, or at least I think I do. I'm seven years old, lying on the living room couch with my head propped up on my mom's lap. The stereo is up loud so that we can here it over the box fan that's propped against the screen in the window, loud enough that the tricky speaker doesn't cut out anymore. She's humming out of time with the music with her eyes closed and I'm wondering what she's thinking about, what she hears in these songs that don't make any sense.

No one has a right to say that they feel some crumb of pop music more closely than anyone else but, goddamnit, sometimes it seems that that's just the case. To each his own; I'm going to bed with Cat tonight.

I almost can't stand it 

There is so much fun music (and dance) coming up at the Black Cat that my thesis doesn't even register on the radar.

Saturday, January 28: Will Eastman's Bliss (duh), $6
Tuesday, January 31: Benjy Ferree (my new favorite sing-along bartender), $5
Wednesday, February 8: Feist, $13
Thursday, February 23: My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult, $20
Tuesday, March 21: Animal Collective, $10
Thursday, March 23: Gossip, $10
Wednesday, March 29: Magnolia Electric Co., $12

So, where the fuck is Bluestate?


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