Friday, April 29, 2005

Bush to nation: "Welcome to the DC, bitch!"

I'm probably Kutchering the hell out of the "Welcome to the ___, bitch!" joke. It's so 2003-04 TV season. I should stop.

Anyway Dubs preempted The OC and pushed the entire season back a week so he could spin the hell out of social security privatization and rising gasoline prices. The day was not without (somewhat) positive news, as the release of the Season 2 DVD set (thanks Pete) in August was announced. Not that I'm too excited - if I didn't drop 70 big ones for the excellent Season 1, I'm sure as hell not going to do it for the mediocre Season 2, even if it means I can get to see the worst on-screen lesbian kiss, ever, from 9 different angles.

But of course, the silver lining in all this is that every time Bush speaks, a Bushism is born.

  • Oh, you have gawt to be kidding: The Sandlot 2. Why why why?

  • "For me, being southern, this was a big part of growing up: if something sad's happening, and you're sitting in a room with a couple of people watching this sad thing go down, then someone has to make a joke. And the effort that it takes to make that joke, and to detract from the sadness, is how far you have to fall into depression. And when you see that distance, that's sad. It's not sad to take someone down the well, stick their face in a pile of shit and tell them that it's sad." (The Guardian)

    The album came out Tuesday though I'm still waiting for it. Should get it early next week. Most of the reviews rate the album as "good, not great" but we shall see.

  • Black Star performing at Coachella? Damn, double damn. Has there been a better Chappelle's Show musical performance than Mos and Talib doing "What Is Beef" in the final episode of the first season? Nope, nada,

  • Just in time for the Nets to get swept by the Heat: "Jay-Z is premiering a remake of his song 'The Takeover' featuring the Young Gunz at Thursday's Nets vs. Heat NBA playoff game. The rapper, who is part owner of the New Jersey Nets, recorded the remake last week as the Nets' playoffs playoffs anthem, and it will be available as a download on" (

    Is it just me or are the lines "Had a spark when you started but now you're just garbage/Fell from top ten to not mentioned at all" an apt description for a certain Nets swingman?

    Well, not really an update. Here's the official word on the Nets' "playoff anthem". Produced by Trackmasters? That can't be good. Still, I guess it's a nice way to announce to the fans in New Jersey that yes, the Nets really are moving to Brooklyn.

  • Crap. I know most of y'all don't care, but damn. Being a Liverpool supporter takes years off your life and hair off your head.

  • Don't you know they're LOCO? Despite their cooky acronym (which stands for the Ludlow Orchard Community Organization) and cookier ways (human chain?), I like these guys. Their heart's in the right place, and they're right - recent developments in the Lower East have been about outsiders, not the residents. Check out the Villager piece - they seem like good peoples and I can certainly empathize.
  • Thursday, April 28, 2005

    The Office and the impending pink slip

    The American reincarnation of The Office ended its initial 6 episode run Tuesday night with its future in limbo. I hope it gets picked up at least for at least another mini-season. It would be a shame if NBC kills it for the low ratings (when you're going up against House on Fox and The Amazing Race on NBC, what do you expect?). It deserves a chance in a more forgiving timeslot.

    This isn't to say that The Office will be appointment TV for me if it comes back in the fall. I'm past the unavoidable comparison with the original and I like it well enough. But I came away from the season finale feeling a bit unsatisfied. It seemed like the writers couldn't decide whether to emphasize the ennui and resignation that drove the British version, or the Steve Carrell-led wackiness to appeal to the American audience. Instead they settled for somewhere in between.

    Some of the humor, particularly Carrell's Michael and Dwight were just too over the top for a documentary that otherwise tried to be realistic. I may be wrong here though. Maybe there are managers like Michael who are over-the-top overbearing and oblivious. Maybe offices do have equally charmless brown nosers like Dwight. Still, the funniest moments were the quiet, almost throaway ones.

    And while the finale didn't pack as many laughs per minutes as the other episodes, it was the most likable one, as it got deeper into each character's madness, something the British Office did gradually. We see Michael's loneliness and his use of "ball busting" as a defense mechanism, Jim stop playing the class clown and Pam's bff for once, and Pam giving to a relationship that gives little in return.

    The show isn't quite there yet, but how many shows are after 6 episodes? Sitcom historians will surely see a parallel with another NBC series that tested poorly and had a so-so six-episode mini season but still got another season because the execs believed in it. That show is, wait for it, Seinfeld. Let's hope The Office gets another chance too.

  • The Prez speaks at 8:30 ET in another attempt to sell the Social Security scam among other things. Fox is preempting The OC, reportedly. I would usually be more upset about it, but right now, not so much. I know OC recaps are/were a regular feature here but I'm losing my interest, slowly but surely. The biggest reason? They're changing Seth Cohen?

    Look, I realize his thing is wanting what he can't have but you can't have him be a reluctant comic book artist who suddenly decides to put his career ahead of Summer to the point that he misses a Death Cab show. And Summer, I love you baby, but commenting on an implausible doesn't make it any more plausible. Please ask Schwartz for better lines.

    There, that's my recap.

    Still, I will be upset when I don't hear Phantom Planet at 8:05 pm or if Ryan Atwood turns into Dubs at 8:30.

  • I wanted to catch Stars at the Bowery last night but my body was not cooperating. Diarrhea, if you must know. But to be honest, I only like one song on the album and it was more curiosity than anything else. They're playing in BK again and I'm sure theyll be back in town again.

  • I don't know what to think of this: Death of a Dynasty. I can appreciate Dash's willingness to skewer himself but I couldn't justify paying any amount of money to see this.

  • Linking to Gawker posts is silly...

    I rarely visit the site these days anyway. But I was doing a little browsing and I couldn't ignore this link to a (now removed) eBay sale by a guy who has really, really, really nice things to say about his "f*ckin' smokin' hot" sister. But beware, "if you are GERMAN, JAPANESE, CHINESE or AUSTRALIAN, please do not bid!" Two words: fucking classy.

    Click on the jump for the full sales pitch. [click here to continue]BUY THE RIGHT TO DATE MY SISTER, MEET HER AND MAYBE LUV
    A DATE WITH MY 23 year old SISTER!  SHE IS YOUNG, SHE IS HOT, AND SHE IS UNAWARE OF THIS AUCTION! (You are actually bidding on a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a deal with me! A couple of her ex-boyfriends would have paid the BIG price for a deal with me, as I was openly telling her what I was thinking about them! If you are the winning bidder, I will let you date her, tell her you are nice and everything but the main thing is THAT AUCTION MUST STAY SECRET OR AT LEAST SHE MUST NOT BE ADVERTISED! Take your chance!)

    General Description

    She is young! (24 years old, birth on December 31st 1981)

    She is f*ckin' smokin' hot and she DON'T HAVE FAKE BOOBS! Real ones!

    She is beautiful and very intelligent (She is currently studying in University to become a teacher)

    She is not VIRGIN, but almost. She only had s*x with 4 different partners. As she passed HIV tests and STD tests a week ago, she is not sick or infected! I know this is kind of personnal but it is an important detail to know for you buyers!

    I can't provide any picture of her or she will become too easy to trace and will be informed by the medias, what should not be made if we want the deal to be sweeet! Everything will be arranged so you can meet her naturally, in a place I know she will be totally amazed! As her brother, I know what she likes and what she wants the most to happen someday! Here is your chance to become her own PRINCE!

    She is drivin' an ACURA, she has many friends, she is nice to talk to. ALSO IMPORTANT: She speaks french(this is her first language) & english, nothing else! So if you are GERMAN, JAPANESE, CHINESE or AUSTRALIAN, please do not bid!(For the Australian thing, it is because she hates kangaroos :P)


    -The right to meet her and date her then. With the informations I will give you, you can be sure you will be able to do it!(Anyway, I will give your MONEY BACK if you are not able to do it!)

    -A Diner in a very nice 5 Stars RESTAURANT(the kind of place where you can eat alone for about 300$ ! :-p ) for both of you, including any tip, wine and everything! Sure, you will be able to say you paid for everything and get the credit for it!

    -The exclusive chance to meet me, as I will refuse any interview to ANYONE before the auction ends and this is my right!

    -The right to get all and everything you need to know to make her happy and to eventually maybe fall in love with you.(If you are a jerk, a nerd or a computer freak DO NOT BID, she already don't like you!)

    -The right to have my services ANY TIME for hints about what she likes or dislikes for a period of one year!

    Here is the type of MEN that should bid (as she don't like girls!)

    -Between 5'6'' and 6'2

    -Concerning age, at least 21 but maximum 40(and if your fourthy, make sure you are in good shape!)

    -Not fat, not too much muscles neither!

    -Musicians have a good quote!

    -Between 135lbs and 235lbs, depending on your shape! (As an example, a 5'6'' man weigthin' 235 lbs would be not appropriated)

    -It is a bit important to have a nice face AND a nice brain, or you will be rejected, she don't like machos neither.

    -For the rest, just make sure you are not on Social Help Funds or anything like this.

    -Business men, sports players, street racers, TV people, college and University students and teachers are welcome too!



    And there is a warranty!

    I offer the guarantee that if she is not beautiful, hot and everything I said, I will give your MONEY BACK! I also guarantee that IF the information I will give you is not accurate, I WILL GIVE YOUR MONEY BACK! This money back is valid 30 days after auction end.

    Biding on this item means that you accept these terms. I will try to answer each and every question you will ask.

    Shipping Terms and policies

    This auction is availiable for anyone who meets the requirements stated before anywhere in the world.

    However, You will have to deal with the fact she lives in a CANADIAN PROVINCE. I can't say wich one to keep her privacy. However, even if I live in Province Of Quebec, it is not sure that she is living in the same one as me(as she is studying in a UNIVERSITY!)

    As the summer is coming, this is your chance to meet one special & sooooo nice girl & hot & everything!



    Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    Everyone's out to get the Rapaport

    So it's not just ToTC trying to besmirch the good name of the great, white Michael Rapaport.

    The father of the really messed up former C-list actress Natasha Lyonne isn't too happy that the great Rapaport penned an article in Jane that paints Natasha as, well, really messed up. The dad, former boxing promoter Aaron Braunstein will fight Rapaport to defend the honor of his daughter. "Rapaport is nothing but a little redheaded bully who is jealous of Natasha," says daddy, "Obviously Rapaport is having trouble with his masculinity, having to pick on my little girl." Heh.

    The best part is where Braunstein calls Natasha "a New York cultural icon". Besides the fact that she isn't, who does he think Rapaport is? Only the white people's representative to the world.

    What did I do to deserve this honor?

    Believe it or not, you are reading the only blog that matters today, at least according to Metro. Pick up a copy (or download a PDF!) and jump over to Page 15. Yep, I'm sharing a page with my #1 mancrush Topher Grace. That's quite an honor.

    Thanks to Nate for the heads up. Not only is Nate the winner of the SAT, he is also a former Blog of the Day honoree himself. And thank you dear readers for making all this possible.

    Happy 228th, Rasheed!

    228th technical foul, that is. Rasheed recorded his latest T in last night's Game 2 of the first round playoff series against the Sixers. And boy, was this entertaining, just like the first 227 of his career. When Rasheed gets pissed, he gets the crazy eyes. His jersey comes untucked. He is pure intensity. There is no theater quite like a Rasheed Wallace technical foul.

    Which has me thinking, and I hope NBA is paying attention because there's a huge goldmine here. Get the footage from all of his career technical fouls are put them all on a DVD. It'll sell like hot cakes, I guarantee it. Hell, put me in the NBA TV archive room and I'll piece the whole thing together.

    Yeah, 228 is a lot, but you figure most of them can't be 20-30 seconds long so they'll all fit on one or two discs. You can have the original TV broadcast with a talking head overreacting. Multiple camera angles would be fantastic. A commentary track with the parties involved (sample: Ron Garrettson: "...and then he LOOKED AT ME!") is a must.

    Commissioner Stern, you know how to reach me. You have to make this happen.

  • Rasheed Wallace

  • This is fun for like 30 minutes

    Fun with Google satellite photos - it's goofy and pointless, but I have to admit, it's a nice time killer. Basically, you use the satellite photo feature at Google Maps and look at overhead shots of landmarks, famous or personal. So yeah, it's good fun for a short while.

    New York isn't the best city for doing this since buildings are densely packed and stuff tends to be tall and narrow, Even the Empire State Building is easy to miss. But you can easily make out places like the West Side Railyard and Shea Stadium and Flushing Meadows.

    Some of my favorites:
    The picture quality is pretty blah - the pics are taken in the morning so the shadows get in the way and the patching is ugly, though to be fair, I bet my pictures would suck if I had to take them from outer space. Who am I to judge? And to whoever told me the Great Wall of China is the only manmade structure visible from space - well, you're so wrong. Ha!

    Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    You know you're getting old when...

    ... albums you enjoyed as a young 'un are getting re-released. First Illmatic, then Whatever and Ever Amen and now, DJ Shadow's Endtroducing..., quite possibly the most important turntablist album, ever.
    Highlights include the Extended Overhaul edit of "Organ Door" which Shadow created for Mo' Wax founder James Lavelle to use in his DJ sets, Cut Chemist's Party Mix of "The Number Song," Peshay's previously unreleased remix of "What Does Your Soul Look Like" and demos or alternate versions of "Building Steam With a Grain of Salt," "Best Foot Forward," "Changeling," "Why Hip-Hop Sucks In '96," "Mutual Slump" and "Napalm Brain."

    Shadow personally oversaw the update and contributed new liner notes and photos. The booklet will boast excerpts from Eliot Wilder's upcoming book about "Endtroducing...," which will be published in September by Continuum Books.
    I feel silly getting a new version of a CD I already own, but dammit, I guess I will have to.

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    You have no.... marbles!

    Wow, what load of utter crap this season's 24 has turned into.

    That is all.

    Okay, that's not all. I've always enjoyed 24 for its unintentional humor and the "You gotta be shitting me" moments but this season has gotten incrementally goofier. Tonight had to be the nadir of dumbfuckery. Logan couldn't decide which strappy sandal to wear to the party but the motherfucker doesn't hesitate to send the Secret Service after Jack? Chloe and Edgar fighting over who gets to ride the tricycle? Audrey getting all naggy old wife? If it weren't for the return of President Cerrano, this would have been, wait for it, Worst. Episode. Ever.

    Yet, I can't stop watching.

    Late Monday links: less malaise, more F.A.T., booty

  • Now we know why Rosie pulled out of the magazine biz. She was going to get, um, pushed out by the Rachael Ray magazine.
    Ms. Ray, whose title will be editor in chief, said she wanted to create a magazine that would motivate people to try new things that relate to their lives. "I want to see legitimately useful information: here are shoes you can cook in and party in," she said.
    Look out Oprah and Martha, I guess.

    Now, my girlfriend and I have discussed Ms. Ray in detail before. Maureen thinks I'm attracted to her but as I explained, she's someone who's perfect on paper but doesn't deliver on the field. You see, she has what guys look for - pretty face, cooking skills, outgoing personality, willingness to get drunk and a big ol' booty. Yet, the whole doesn't quite match up to the sum of the parts.

    I see her on the Food Network quite a bit, that is to say whenever Emeril Lagasse isn't on, and the more I watch her, the less drawn I am. I don't know, maybe it's the crazy eyes when she's getting all excited about her 30 minute soup or when she comes in just under $40 at the end of the day. It's hard to explain, but she scares me a little bit. Fascinated? Yes. Mystified? Sure. Attracted? Afriad not.

  • Say Hello to The Gap's new store for over-35 women, F.A.T. (via Adland). Well, not quite - it's Forth & Towne, and that's an ampersand instead of an "and" in the middle.
    From the Snarkhunting post:
    In the article, Gap President Paul Pressler weighed-in, calling F.A.T. a “sizable opportunity”.
    Nice. If I weren't better at keeping track of dates, I might think this was some elaborate April Fools joke.

    In any case, what kind of name is Forth & Towne? I concede that I am not an over-35 woman so it's not really meant for me to "get". Maybe the target is okay with buying clothing from a chain that kinda sounds like "fat"?

  • Bomani Jones has joined Bill Simmons and Jason Whitlock as my "must read" ESPN columnists. Granted, he doesn't write very often, but his column on the Carolina hoops exodus is spot on. Damn, I was about to order the 2005 season DVD too.

    On the guy who will replace Raymond Felton as the starting point guard:
    The Heels' most glaring weakness will be that Quentin Thomas, who had as many minutes in the Final Four as turnovers – two – will play point guard.

    That would be the same Quentin Thomas who lost the only game he started last year, a double-digit loss to Santa Clara that was forgotten by the world because it happened the same night as the Malice at the Palace. That would also be the same Quentin Thomas who showed up at the team's victory celebration at the Dean Dome wearing a white vest that had his likeness airbrushed on the back, a move that renders him unqualified to decide what to eat for dinner, let alone run Carolina's offense.

  • Brand New links to a Boston Globe article about the emergence of indie labels like Merge, and how listeners are replacing the "industry" as tastemakers.

    I'm not sure if I agree with that completely. Sure, the tastemaking is happening is happening outside the boardrooms and focus groups, but are listeners really running things? Josh Schwartz may be a Death Cab fan but he still needs the medium provided by Fox to get his favorite bands out there. Pitchfork may be independent of the big media, but they're not reviewing. Even mp3 bloggers need a critical mass readership to have any authority. People are still looking at the media, traditional or otherwise, for direction. Not to mention some of the cult favorites out there - Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs to name two - are products of the British hype machine that, for better or worse, can't stop searching for the next Radiohead/Blur/Coldplay/whatever.

    Still, at least hype/buzz is being generated by people who actually listen to the stuff instead of the people who see them as mereley products that need to be moved. That's a welcome development.

    But I can't help agreeing a bit with Barsuk Record's Jake Rosenfeld, who says, ''A couple of years from now, we'll probably have a really nice crop of really awful bands that look a lot like the bands we're talking about now." It happened to alt rock in the early 90s. It happened to New York hip hop after the 1994-95 golden age. And it's going to happen to the current wave of indie rock after sooner or later.
  • The predictaable Gyllenhaal backlaash begins

    City councilman Tony Avella is first in line to grandstand get his naame in the paaper, demaanding an apology for Maggie Gyllenhaal's 9/11 comments.
    "I think it's awful what she said, that somehow we as Americans are responsible for the attacks," said Councilman Tony Avella, who represents District 19 in Queens...

    Avella, in a telephone interview, said he was "appalled" by Gyllenhaal's comments, which he called "unconscionable," and demanded a public apology.

    "Thousands of lives were lost -- innocent victims," Avella said. "Approaching the four-year anniversary of the attacks we are still dealing with their ramifications. The fact that she could be so callous is horrendous. Shame on her. She really owes every New Yorker an apology."
    Well, at least he's not shamelessly hogging the spotlight claiming to stand up for 9/11 victims.

    Links: Monday malaise

  • Over 50 dead in train derailment in Japan. Damn. And this is fairly close to where my parents live in Kobe. I must've passed this area dozens of times. Looks like speeding driver was the culprit.

    Here's hoping that survivors are found and the injured recover quickly.

  • This news is actually isn't bad. And not even news at all, really. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, possibly my favorite NY band not named Asobi Seksu, explains its name (via i rock i roll). Some easy pun like "The writing was on the wall, literally." would do here, I think.

  • According to the Daily News, our city's relatively flaming liberal rag (well, at least compared to the Post) "responsible in some way" = "our fault". Guess this will add more ammo for wingnuts who like to point to Hollywood for their 'Merica hatin' ways and how out of touch they are with real 'Mericans, and how liberals think everything is America's fault.

    And as much as I love Maggie, she so could have worded it better. Why not say something like "While the final responsibility for 9/11 falls on the terrorists themselves, America has to consider the impact of misguided foreign policy decision as the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Iranian PM Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, the funding and training of Muhajadeen rebels and Osama Bin Laden during the Afghan-Soviet war, and the support of undemocratic regimes in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Though I suppose it doesn't make for quite as nice a sound bite.

  • NY Post reports on the super duper exciting development of the comfort station in the median of Allen St at Delancey.

    Trouble is, I remember them talking about this back in December and nothing has happened since it seems. In the meantime, construction for the hotel/condo complex at Allen/Orchard and Houston has already begun. Heh.

    I don't know, I like it the way it's just sitting there serving no purpose. It's not like moving the tourist information center from Broome to the median of Allen is going to turn Delancey St into 42nd St, ya know. If they're going to do something with it, I wish they'd make it useful, like a Downtown version of Shake Shack or a liquor store or something.

  • Crap. It ain't easy being a Liverpool supporter right now. YNWA and all that.
  • Half assed hitting of Taste of Chinatown

    The impossible happened Saturday - thanks to Taste of Chinatown, even more people than usual packed the smelly, cluttered streets below Canal St for $1 dishes.

    We meant to take full advantage but we had skipped breakfast and were simply too hungry to wait for the 1 pm start time. We grabbed some Vietnamese and only went to one table for cake. Still, it was nice to be able to stroll down the normally unnavigable Mott St since the street was blocked to auto traffic. Not feeling all claustrophobic in the heart of Chinatown: Priceless and whatnot.

    I was a little skpetical of the value of these dollar dishes since a single George Washington gets you a long way in Chinatown restaurant as it is (say, dumplings). But I suppose more than the price, the event was worthwhile for the opportunity to sample a bunch of restaurants in one afternoon. By far the most popular was Peking Duck House at 22 Mott. There, the line went a couple of doors down and the table was the further crowded by onlookers curious to see how much duck you could get for a buck (one pancake - not bad, but not worth the wait in my opinion).

    Most of the action was on Mott, but we saw a few good looking dishes on less travelled streets like Pell. Am I sorry we missed out on the big gorgefest? Eh. Not when the neighborhood is in stumbling distance of my apartment and I hate waiting for food.

    Sunday, April 24, 2005

    Late weekend linkage: postus interruptus

    Since Maureen will be was in town this weekend, I probably won't didn't go near the internet. Stay dry, kids. Due to the astounding inability of Time Warner Cable to provide service, I didn't get to finish this and other posts on Friday. My internet is still down but thanks to the magic of unprotected WiFi, I can finally connect, at least for the time being. Thank you unknown neighbor for letting me share your internet!
    • As reported elsewhere, our favorite NY band, Asobi Seksu is looking for a new drummer.

    • I don't care what Kanye says, 9th Wonder needs to produce the next Tribe album... if they ever get back together. I'm looking forward to this though - Chemistry by Buckshot and 9th Wonder coming sometime in May, I think.

    • So I'm not a huge fan of Wal-Mart for many, many reasons and it was nice to see this: Anti-Wal-Mart group unveils full-page ad in NY Times. Sweet. Also, compare and contrast: Walmart : Google

    • I've been meaning to post about the heightened tensions between Japan and China for a while. Really. Just haven't been able to put my shit together on this. All I will say for now is that I love the motherland and all, but I have nothing but hate for the motherfuckin LDP. Koizumi, in the words

    • New Get Your War On strips are up. I long for the day when David Rees can't find any more material for the strips. The world's just teeing it up for him now.

    • I'm not going to pretend to really understand this, but I like it anyway (you might want to mute your computer if you're at work). (via AdLand)
      So it's apparently a viral for some organic milk joint, which makes sense. Right? Eh. I do appreciate silly virals like this and Iike the Obey Giantish art direction.

    Friday, April 22, 2005

    And like that, they're gone

    The worst kept secret in Chapel Hill is now out: Felton, May and Williams enter the NBA Draft

    And the dismantling of the National Champions is complete leaving only two players who played significant minutes this season return. Can't be surprised by Williams, who would have gone Top 10 last year, or Felton, who was seen rolling in his brand new Jag. Bit surprised by May because he said he would stay, doesn't ned the money and probably will never have the impact that the other three Tar Heel underclassmen would. But his value isn't going to get higher and with the rest of the team gone, he probably didn't see any reason to stay.

    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't unhappy. But right now, NC stands for National Champions and that's because we had four potential lottery picks on the team. Like Bill Simmons, I have a bitching moratorium on the Tar Heels. Not that I need one though - the guys gave us a championship and that was their goal. After that, whatever they decide to do with their career, it's up to them. I'm happy for all the guys, even Rashad McCants, and I'm just glad they stuck around long enough to bring the trophy back to Chapel Hill.

    Handsome Boy Modeling School @ Irving Plaza

    Had a hell of a time at the Handsome Boy show at Irving Thursday night.

    Opened with Rondo Brothers, a 4-piece synth-rock hip hop band out of California. I liked them quite a bit - they could make for some decent party music. They also backed up HBMS later in the show. Opio followed up with a quick set before making way for Toronto's own K-os. For this kid who grew up listening to Souls of Mischief's "93 'Til Infinity" over and over again, seeing Opio up there was a major trip down memory lane.

    I like K-os. I kinda avoided his stuff last year since it was so hyped. Not sure if I like him enough to drop $9.99 at iTunes, but he puts on a good show. Warmed the crowd up nice for HBMS.
    (Vibe's review of K-os' set)

    Then, it was time for the fantastic duo of Dan the Automator and Price Paul, er, Nathaniel Merriweather and Chest Rockwell to hit the stage. It's always a challenge with a deejay show to keep the show live and crowd involved. So it helps that Handsome Boy Modeling School is a show unto itself, and allows itself for skits and goofy stage banter. Dan and Paul alternated and combined on the ones and twos, while emcees and singers, or Handsome Boy graduates, took the stage one by one, while most of the big names appeared as cartoon figures on the projection screen.

    Like Marcel who caught the DC show earlier in the week, I was disappointed that Del wasn't there in person while three of his fellow Hiero crew members Opio, Casual and Domino were there in person. Can't complain though. Also present in cartoon form were De La Soul, Jack Johnson, Barrington Levy and Alex Kapranos of Franz.

    What really got the crowd rocking was Dres of Black Sheep. After doing "First and Then", he went into "The Choice Is Yours" - now, that's nostalgia. The show ended about 40 minutes past midnight and I was dead tired, but it was well worth it. My ears are still ringing though. I should stop standing in front of the speakers.



    De La Soul w/Rondo Brothers:


    Better pictures from Flickr members eatsdirt and rafebaron.

    Michael Rapaport: a great white guy

    They may not acknowledge or even remember it, and certainly don't give a crap, but I up and done battle with ToTC a while back. Well, I must take issue with our neighbor across Delancey, this time for calling Michael Rapaport "the most annoying actor in Hollywood and beyond". Squeeze me? Baking powder?

    How can one talk ill of the great Rapaport, the white people's ambassador to rest of America? Have we forgotten about his performance in Small Time Crooks? Or The Pallbearer starring David Schwimmer? His cameos as "Detective Rapaport" in Jay-Z's "The City is Mine" and in Talib Kweli's "Waiting For The DJ" videos? Or his other countless contributions to humanity.

    Repeat after me - white people have never known a better representative to the world than the great, immortal Michael Rapaport.

    Thursday, April 21, 2005

    Why bother?

    So I caught the full trailer for Lords of Dogtown. It looks cool enough, a movie about how skateboarding as we know it started when a bunch of Santa Monica surfers took their skateboards to empty swimming pools.

    The trouble is, Dogtown and Z-Boys has already told the story and pretty damn well too. I can't see how Hollywood could top the authenticity and storytelling of the documentary. Color me skeptical on this one.

    Tonight at 8:07 pm ET

    Okay, you gotta do maintenance, but why do it when I'm about to post? Answer me that, Blogger.

    Holy calamity scream insanity

    Back from the Handsome Boy Modeling School show at Irving. Tired. Sleep now. Photos and recap forthcoming. Bah.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    The world according to Nora Ephron films

    The most excellent Bill Simmons skewers Fever Pitch, the American adaptation of the Nick Hornby memoir of the same title. Judging by the trailer and Simmons' review, the film appears to be as bad as the source material is brilliant. And this was after the first adaptation starring Colin Firth set the bar fairly low.

    Anyhoo, Simmons lays out the 10 essential chick flicks cliches employed by les Freres Farrely. The higlights:
    2. If you're approaching 30 and you're still single, it's only because you're working too hard, not because there's something wrong with you. Just make sure you find a potential husband as fast as possible, even if it means destroying someone else's life or committing some kind of crime.

    5. You can have only three friends: A smart friend who's pretty in a quirky way, a calculating beauty who's morally corrupt and an overweight girl who doesn't say much. You can only hang out with these people all at once. If there's anyone in your life who doesn't fit one of those three categories, get rid of them.

    6. Your boyfriend's friends only get in the way. The sooner you can destroy them, the better.

    8. If you're breaking up with the guy to prove a point, immediately find the best-looking guy in your office and invite him over to dinner, then hope the other guy shows up. When he shows up, he won't do anything vengeful like get drunk and hook up with the nearest bimbo. He'll simply stop shaving and showering until one of his friends goes over to his house to snap some sense into him.
    If I were writing a bad chick flick, I would also add the following:
    • If you are a woman, happiness in career and love are mutually exclusive. If you want happiness, you have to stop being so fucking ambitious. True love is found at the very bottom of the corporate ladder.
    • You won't realize the true value of your relationship until you are set to leave for another city where a great career opportunity awaits you, and you are already on the plane. Then, you will ensue in some madcap attempt to stop the plane from taking off, FAA regulations be damned.
    • If you grew up in the country, you will not find true love in the city where people only care about money and status. The only way you're going to find happiness is to move back home where no one cares about money or is full of shit. I mean, no one. Get back together with your high school sweetheart at any cost, even if it means giving up money, career and everything else that means anything in your life.

    Seriously though, the popularity of formula chick flicks is something that will always mystify me. Don't get me wrong - I can appreciate the desire for simple escapist fantasies and I watch my share of utterly mindless flicks. Also, it's easy to forget that formulas exist in the first place because they do work if employed correctly.

    But couldn't filmmakers offer escapism without completely insulting the viewer's intelligence and bringing cliche after ridiculously unrealistic cliche? Why waste $20.50 on two tickets to a Debra Messing vehicle when you can rent Roman Holiday, Say Anything and.... um... Hope Floats, and still have money left over for pizza?

    If you hate your job like I do...

    Here's a fool proof 3-step way to get fired from your job:
    1. Turn up your computer speakers. Way up.
    2. Visit the following link:
    3. Embezzle company funds.
    Follow these three simple steps and you will be free from the shackles of regular paychecks in no time. Good luck!

  • While we're on the subject of LiLo, I couldn't help but make the following connection after seeing this pic of the former redhead:

  • Also,

  • Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    Take minks off, take things off: my liberalness, my godlessness, my southerness, my slothness

  • From TWoP's recaplet of last night's 24:
    Hey, you! Yeah, you. Are you opposed to your government using torture to get information on terrorists? Do you think that organizations like Amnesty International actually do important work? Do you believe in the rule of law, due process, civil rights, and the Constitution? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the writers and producers of 24 would like you to know that you're a fucking pussy.
    I enjoy 24's unitentional comedy as much as the next guy (I mean, can CTU staff get any more high school?) but painting ACLU/human rights types and, by extension, liberals as pawns of terrorists bothers me a bit. And that comes off the first few hours that had an Iranian family getting all terroristy at the height of real world tensions between US and Iran.

    ***mini spoiler for next week*****
    President Pedro Cerrano's back next week!

  • Don't you hate it when a Pitchfork reviewer rambles on about nonsense, devoting about 90% of the piece on everything but the album/song being reviewed? Um, no, since I'm not a regular Pitchfork reader, but I'm mildly entertained by this review of the White Stripes' "Blue Orchid". I guess I'll have to download that mp3 sitting in my Gmail inbox. Oh well.

    Also reviewed, MOP's "Instigator", the long awaited followup to "Ante Up" and "Ante Up (remix) featuring Busta Rhymes" from, like, 2001. No, really, I do like MOP. And 9th Wonder's working with these renowned kidnapper of fools sounds encouraging. Definitely worth a listen, it appears.

  • Remember Fiona's unreleased album getting all leaked across the internet? Apparently, Epic is working on getting people to pay for it, but Slate's Martin Edlund warns against it. Despite the Fionaheads protestations, Extraodinary Machine is no Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, or even The Grey Album, it seems. Machine is shared by about 38,000 users at any time, which might seem like a lot until you compare it to major label releases like the Killers' Hot Fuss at over 5 million or The Grey Album at 278,327 in its peak.

    I can't say I disagree. After my initial indifference, I grew to like the album and its offbeat sensibilities quite a bit. But that's precisely the problem - there isn't a surefire single that's going to hook listeners. There's no song that will play on the radio and get people off to the record store. And let's face it, Tidal wouldn't have sold 2.7 mil without the porn-inspired "Criminal" video. I admit, I wouldn't have given Fiona a second thought if not for that song.

    But as far as Extraordinary Machine is concerned, the only thing that could possibly get the audience is the hype generated by the Fionaheads' campaign - though maybe that was the point.

  • My site of the moment: Godchecker. I wish there was a "Which god is right for you?" feature, but as an agnostic, I can't complain. Wait, that doesn't make any sense.

    If I had to pick a pantheon, I would have to go with the Norse gods. Odin and Thor seem like the kind of gods you could meet over some brews and shoot the shit, talk about matters both holy and secular, and possibly rock out on a Saturday night. Monotheists are a bit too "holier than thou" while I don't think the Greek/Roman care enough.

  • I'm 49% Yankee (via lindsayism). This bothers me, as I thought I would be more Southern and I make every effort to not be New York. Of course, it probably doesn't account for my Japanese-accented, slightly Northern Cali influenced, Carolina drawl with a tiny hint of North London.

  • No fewer than 4 people have asked me in the past couple of months about my novel that I haven't touched in, like, a year. That could be a sign of some sort. I wish I were more proactive. If only there was something I could do about that.
  • Monday, April 18, 2005

    Watch Arrested Development sometime in the future. Possibly.

    I realize that many of you are tired of hearing this, Arrested Development is the best show you (probably) didn't watch this season. The show ended its season prematurely (Fox cut the initial order of 22 episodes to 18) and what a season it was, even if shrunk by 4 episodes. Really. It's a damn shame the viewership is so low that it has been in danger of cancellation/non-renewal pretty much from the get go. But such is the life of a sitcom that does not rely on laugh tracks, easy gay jokes (they go for the reacharounds instead) and fat-guy-with-pretty-wife dynamics (the Bluth family patriarch Michael is not fat and his wife is dead).

    But what's more amazing than the show's smart, irrelevant humor is the writing team's ability to use their redheaded stepchild status at Fox as a fountain of jokes. Examples.
    1. A recent episode had the Bluth Company, which builds model homes, face a crisis as its order was cut short, from 22 to 18 lots. The family panics but the company survives by moving down one floor of the building it occupies, or dropping a stor(e)y, if you will.

    2. The show routinely mocks Fox Broadcasting, and cheekily made its Burger King sponsorship part of the episode.

    3. A recurring storyline has Michael's teenage son, George Michael harboring a crush on his cousin Maebe. Last night's episode references a French film about two cousins in love that George Michael watched with Maebe. The film production company Maebe works for (long story) releases an American remake, but points out that the cousins in question are not biologically related to avoid controversy. Towards the end of the episode, after George Michael unwittingly saves Maebe's job, the two make out. The narrator points out that the two may not be biologically related (another long story).

    At this point, I'm guessing that much of the above doesn't sound that funny. And therein lies the show's weakness - it's so dense with sight gags and recurring jokes, it's incredibly hard for a virgin viewer to jump in midseason. Think watching either of the Matrix sequels without having any idea what the Matrix is; they were brutal enough even if you had seen the first one.

    But that shouldn't scare you away from watching the show in the future (if it does come on). Since the Season 3 will hit no sooner than November, if at all, so you have plenty of time to catch up on the past 2 seasons. If you have a Netflix account, do yaself a favor and put AD's first season DVD on your queue. If you don't, hop on down to your local video store and demand it. You won't regret it. If you do, I don't know, we'll go down to the Banana Stand and I'll buy you a frozen banana. And Season 2 will come out sometime before the fall, so you'll be up to speed if/when Season 3 rolls around.

    And if it doesn't, at least you will have watched the funniest, smartest television program this side of The Office (the BBC original, obvs). Trust me on this.

    If you had time to read this post, you probably have time to also read this piece in maisonneuve about how Arrested thrived because it's always on the verge on the cancellation. It's a good mag, you should check it out.

    Post-Weekend Ketchup: White Boy, Beck, rich people, Little Brother, White People

    First off, I apologize for not being a very good little blogger boy. I'm sorry - part work, part sloth. Seriously though, spring is here - days are longer and skirts are shorter. I can't be indoors posting on no blog when the mercury's hitting 70 on a weekend for the first time this year.

  • I haven't been reading enough. I haven't read a book since I finished reading Middlesex and John Seabrook's Nobrow about a month ago (each fantastic in its own way).

    I was bummed about the tax return I wasn't getting (or to be more accurate, the thousands I owed federal and state), so I did the sensible thing and hit St. Mark's for some printed words.

    I came out with four books:That should last me a couple of weeks. I ended up spending the rest of the weekend at Tompkins Sq Park reading Angry Black White Boy.

  • Nearly as bummer-inducing as the money owed to the man was missing out on the Beck show at Hiro on Friday. Apparently, even if one did not score a ticket via Ticketweb, one only needed to show up and wait in line. The walk up admission was $20, $5 and the service charge amount less than what Ticketweb was charging. The bastards.

    Meanwhile, I was across town meeting my art director over burritos. Oh well. I suppose there are bigger Beck fans than I. And sseriously, the Maritime Hotel is waaaaaay too far on the West Side. Yeah, that's it.

  • I might be the only OC viewer who didn't enjoy the last episode. Look, I appreciate that they finally had a party at Caleb's Xanadu-knock off mansion on the beach. And everything we've been missing from this season's OC was there - drugs, alcohol, implied teenage sex, water polo players harassing Seth.

    So on paper, yeah, it's a return to the good ol' days. Trouble is, the storylines were astrocious. I realize Seth does some stupid shit around attractive women, but why does he try to keep Zach and Reed apart when it's to his benefit? And Kirsten doesn't want Sandy hanging with Carter Buckley because she has feelings for Carter, yet she objects when Sandy tries to pimp Carter off to the not-very-California-looking California chick. And Ryan's suspicions about Trey - hasn't Ryan made enough ass out of himself to maybe stop assuming once in a while. Isn't Trey, a parolee (?), not at all worried about possibly violating parole by drinking, getting into a fight and having sex with a minor? (okay, maybe he's not on parole, but I'm preeeetttty sure that sex with a minor is still a crime, unless California's age of consent's lower than 18)

    I know, I know, hard core absurdity is part of The OC's charms but I can only suspend so much disbelief before my brain starts to hurt.

  • North Carolina's own Little Brother's second between-LPs release, The Chitlin' Circuit (Version 1.5) is coming in June. So I guess this means the second LP isn't coming any time soon, but I'm not complaining. The first Chitlin Circuit mix tape was some quality stuff, as solid as b-side tracks get.

  • This week: Handsome Boy Modeling School at Irving on Wednesday. This is probably the only show I'll catch at the Plaza this year. Looking forward to it.

  • Screw the conclaves, the cardinals and the white smoke. This is my Pope.

  • Anyway, great, completely unproductive weekend for me. Nice to finally get my ass out of the house and onto my bike saddle.

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Friday PM music drive by

  • Like tens of thousands of internetizens, I was jamming the TicketWeb site yesterday at 5 pm trying to get tickets for that super top secret Beck show at Hiro Ballroom tonight. But alas, I couldn't get on the site and when the page finally loaded at 5:05 pm, this is what I got.


    But someone did get ticks..... and gave it away. Double damn.

  • Speaking of shows not attended by me, I missed the Asobi Seksu show at Mercury last night. I like them a lot, and if you haven't seen them, go. But honestly, they only have a limited playlist right now and I feel like once I've seen one show, I've seen them all. But fear not, they will be hitting the studio in June, so they should be rolling out new material soon enough.

    Some "Ouch" from Coolfer.
    One way to sell a lot of records: Die. With sales down about 9% for the year, market leaders like Universal Music Group could really stand to have a tour plane or three crash into the side of a mountain. Insensitive maybe, but in terms of pure sales it's the truth.

    Mitch Hedberg was pretty popular before he died, but he never reached #24 on
    True, but still sad. I think I need to go out and download Mitch All Together.

  • Why don't people tell me about these things? Gift of Gab @ Southpaw? Seriously. I need to be informed of this kinda stuff so I can plan accordingly.

  • Okay, I think it's time to get down and do my real job, like doing up an OC recap. Happy Tax Day!

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Sort-of free Ben Folds show in 2 weeks

    I'm probably the only Ben Folds-listening blogger in NY, but here goes anyway. The folks at Sony have been bombarding me with Ben Folds-related mailings, but this, I'm intrigued by.
    Tuesday, April 26 at 8pm at Tower Records/Lincoln Center in New York City (1961 Broadway @ 66th Street) Starting Friday April 22 at 9am, pre-buy the Ben Folds Songs for Silverman CD at Tower Records Lincoln Center and you will receive a wristband which will grant you access to this Special Performance. Immediately following the performance Ben will be signing copies of the new CD. (Wristbands & space are limited)
    I could totally do this, if I could just get over my fear of going above 23rd Street.

    I most likely will not attend his show at Town Hall on May 10. I don't know, I enjoy his shows enough but I can't justify paying $27.50+Ticketmaster fee for a show that I'm not going to totally rock out at.

    And I'm definitely not doing this:
    Be Part Of The Studio Audience When Ben Folds Performs On Carson Daly!
    Here's an amazing opportunity to be a part of BEN FOLDS' performance on LAST CALL with CARSON DALY show on Monday, April 25th. Our friends at 1iota Productions are looking for diehard fans to be a part of this taping. The show will take place in New York City. If you are one of the lucky fans ultimately and exclusively invited, know that you are an integral part of the show!
    Wigga please. I've gone to a few TV show tapings in the city, and I have to say, Carson Daly ranks at the bottom. He has absolutely zero rapport with the audience and doesn't help matters with his passive aggressive comments about the audience.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    10 Songs for Dubya

    So I'm, like, totally behind on the talk on the internets, but I can't not comment on the PresiPod.

    It isn't so much that his taste in music is so utterly predictable (though they are). No, it's that our boy has only 250 songs on his iPod. Dubya His aide needs to do some serious downloading. In the meantime, here are selections from my own iPod that I think will add some spice to his library.
      My music recommendations for Dubya
    1. Electric Six Gay Bar (iTunes)
      Perfect song to amp you up when you need a push getting up the hill, no? And if any US president is going to start a nuclear war at the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar, it's Bush.

    2. The Jimmy Castor Bunch It's Just Began (iTunes)
      I know Bush missed out on a lot in the 70s and the 80s, and his playlist could use a little more funk, and well, more black people. My instinct is to include some Parliament/Funkadelic or Gil Scott-Heron, but he probably won't appreciate anything from a Clinton, and the idea that The Revolution Will Not Be Televised seems a bit silly these days (though Bush might be down with putting Whitey on the Moon).

      So we'll settle for the funk classic which will surely have Dubya popping and rocking on a cardboard mat.

    3. Britney Spears My Prerogative (iTunes)
      Joe Levy of the Rolling Stone remarked that Bush seems to like artists who don't like him. True, most musicians tend to fall on the left side of the ol' political spectrum, but there are non-Nashville musicians who support the President, really. Mrs. Kevin Federline is one of them.

      The two have a lot in common. Maybe the two can get together - Bush can talk about his twins and Brit Brit can talk about her twins and oh, her now-public pregnancy. And since Britney's such a victim of the false tabloids, she could totally do a Presidential mix of the song, changing the words to "the liberal media's talking all this stuff about him/Why can't they just let me live?"

    4. Geto Boys "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta"
      George probably knows this song from the film Office Space, but he might not know that, like him, Geto Boys are from Texas. He may also not remember the video for this track, which had a news footage of his dad, the first President Bush over the 3rd verse.

    5. The Firm Phone Tap (iTunes)
      Another 90s hip hop classic. W will try this track because of the title and its apparent endorsement of the PATRIOT Act, but he'll stay for the killer Dre-produced bassline. Plus, he can totally relate to Nas's rhymes about "the dynasty" and how "shit is not minor leagues no more/Cats bleed in this war". This track is almost 10 years old, but I'm sure Bush will agree that Queensbridge keeps on killing it, and the Bridge is anything but over.

    6. Asobi Seksu I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me (mp3)
      You knew I had to get Asobi Seksu in there, right? The chorus of this song is a pretty good description of how he must feel sometimes: ureshii kedo kimi wa watashi ga kirai. I hear you, George.

    7. Ben Folds Five "Champagne Supernova" (Countrified cover)
      As a fan of country music, the President will appreciate the Nashville-style take on the Oasis classic. Dubs could play this for Jeb, going "Where were you when I was getting high? Ha ha!"

    8. Kelly Clarkson Since U Been Gone (iTunes)
      Did you really think I was going to do a mix that didn't include this track? Easily the second best single of the year after the incredible sonic chaos that is 1 Thing. Imagine Bush calling up John Ashcroft, putting the earbuds on the handset and playing the chorus:
      But since you been gone
      I can breathe for the first time
      I'm so moving on, yeah yeah
      Thanks to you now I get what I want
      Since you been gone

    9. Europe The Final Countdown (iTunes)
      No real reason, other than that this is GOB's magic music on Arrested Development. If I were President for a day, I'd replace "Hail To The Chief" with "The Final Countdown".

    10. Finally, for the ultimate patriot, this.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    The OC Season 2 Episode 18: It'll be quick and you won't feel a thing

    Previously: Season 2 Episode 17

    Let's keep this one short and sweet. For full recaps, check out the usuals, TVgasm and TWoP.
  • Good, fun, though probably inconsequential, episode. I appreciated that there was a single central event instead of a bunch of divergent storylines.

  • Should I feel dirty about enjoying the gratuitous nekkid Marissa shot? Good lord she's skinny, but hey, I think I just saw buttcrack.

  • I think they could've done a few more Tom Cruise jokes. Or maybe they were afraid the Scientologists would be on their ass?

  • Alex moved back in with her family? Because Marissa dumped her? I still hate the way the show gets rid of characters. Moving to fictitious cities like "Pittsburgh", "Chicago" and "Portland", DJ going back to that landscaping gig that affords him luxury pickup trucks and Abercrombie flannels, Kaitlin going to "boarding school", which is apparently euphemism for "juvey".

  • I've always complained about the complete, utter absence of chemistry between Ryan and Marissa, but I like the vibes when they're on screen together with Trey. I guess it helps that Marissa hasn't done much drinking or primal screaming recently.
  • 48 Hours in the Nation's Capital (Part 2)

    Continued from Part 1

    Okay, let's get this motherfucker written up while we're still young.

    12:00 pm

    Total touristiness. We hit the Cherry Blossom Festival. There's actually no cherry blossom to be found anywhere near the festival. A lot of product placements, some cultural stuff and a giant inflatable bottle of Sapporo, but no sign of the cherry blossom.

    So Maureen and I go in search of the pink stuff. We pass by the White House, get yelled at by a cop for stepping outside the chains. Not our fault though. It's impossible to walk on the sidewalk with so many people stopping by the fence to look at the building. What for? Not like anyone important lives there.

    We stop by the World War II Memorial. I like this memorial, even if my country did end up on the losing side. No, I'm over that now. I like that it has a lot of open, circular space for people to roam or rest. Much more people-friendly than the other monuments in the area.

    Washington Monument, probably the most underwhelming monument in the 'hood, is even uglier than usual since they're doing some construction and all the grass around it is gone.

    Anyhoo, we get down to the Tidal Basin and, at the risk of losing my Dude Card, them cherry blossoms are pretty. I think they were also supposed to help me get back in touch with my Japanese roots but I don't know, being in the capital of the Yoo-nited States doesn't exactly leave in the mood for tea ceremonies.

    The joint was superpacked, though Maureen and I managed to find a spot to chill under a cherry tree. We didn't make it out to the Jefferson Memorial - way too crowded, which seemed to be the theme of the weekend in DC. Who knew the Cherry Blossom Festival was so huge?

    9:30 pm

    At Black Cat to see Bloc Party. I know I know, I'd already seen them perform two nights earlier but I figured the tickets were only $12 a pop and if I hated them on Thursday, I could just ditch the show. Well, I enjoyed them at the Bowery despite the non-dancers in the audience others noted. And I was a little peeved to read that they killed on Friday, but really, I can't complain. I was in middle, reasonably near the stage and I was happily hopping away.

    Fast forward back to tonight. I was looking forward to seeing Montreal's Chromeo perform but to my disappointment, they weren't on the bill tonight, and in their place were Pony Up, another Montreal band (is there anyone in Montreal who isn't in a band these days? The place like Athens and Chapel Hill and Seattle and Austin combined). I was pleasantly surprised by Pony Up though - they had the crowd mildly rocking by the end of their set.

    Next up, The Ponys, not to be confused with, you know. I liked the 10 minutes I saw of them Thursday - I liked them okay. Good heavy guitars, but not terribly exciting either.

    And finally, Bloc Party. Okay, I'm going to take this opportunity to bitch about the venue. The biggest problems are the size and the layout. It's a big enough room, but because the stage was pretty narrow and there's a lot of obstructed-view area on the sides, combined with the low stage, the audience ended up squeezing towards the middle. The low ceilings weren't helping either. Also, if you're 5'8" or taller, you really shouldn't be standing in the front unless you're Bloc Party's Biggest Fan Ever. And I wasn't too happy about the exit situation either. There's only one non-fire exit in the back, leading to a set of stairs that aren't quite wide enough for the crowd size. I honestly felt a wee bit nervous getting out of there.

    But back to Bloc Party. Much ball was had by us, as expected. I was jumping up and down for pretty much the whole show and sweating out the toxins. Okay, not to keep on bitching, but again, too many people standing around like they're at a Matt Pond, PA. Look, when you come to a Bloc Party show, you either bounce, dance, or Pogo. There simply is no excuse for failing to get down. And when Kele tells you to clap, you clap. Sheesh. And for the love of Lohan, don't push through the crowd to get to a better position while the band is playing and other people are trying to have fun.

    No, really, I did have a good time and I assume Maureen did too, though my ears were ringing and I haven't heard a word she said. As I said before, I haven't had that much fun at a concert since the now legendary (I think) 2002 Hives show at the Bowery. If you love to jump up and down like an idiot, they're your band, and they'll be playing Webster Hall in June. Get tickets. You won't regret it. Better yet, get me tickets and I'll buy you a beer.


    Back to touristiness. Checked out the reflecting pool, Lincoln Memorial. Watched some rugby - you know, it wasn't like I was ever good at rugby and my skinny ass was a total fish out of water playing the sport, but damn, do I miss the violence.

    More things I notice about DC - they don't have Starbucks every other block and they really, really like their Washington Nationals merchandise. I totally forgot they have a baseball team now, but good lord, they must be making a killing, considering they've been around, like 2 months?

    We go up to Dupont Circle for lunch. Nice neighborhood. Reminds me a bit of the Upper West Side, but with more white people. We bump into Maureen's friends drinking in the park, so we chill out until it's time for me to go catch my bus.

    4:35 pm

    My bus is scheduled to leave at 5 pm. Feels way too early but I seriously didn't expect the weather to be so nice this weekend. We get to the pick up location and the bus is already there and loading. I get in, and much to my surprise, this bus doesn't have the restroom smell. Score! But alas, the two open seats I see are taken. I hear the operator-looking dude say something about "another bus", but I don't trust these people.

    At 4:45-ish, the 5:00 bus unceremoniously pulls out, leaving a crowd of dust and about a dozen semi-worried looking travelers. My mistrust of the Chinatown bus turns out to be unfounded, and a fresh bus pulls in. And this one doesn't have the restroom smell either! Maureen and I say our good bye and I board the bus. Shortly after 5, I am headed back to the big city.

    7:30 (?) pm

    I slept for about 30 minutes but I haven't been able to sleep much. I'm getting hungry and thirsty, and as soon as we enter New Jersey, we pull into a rest stop. "10 minutes!" the driver yells. I head straight for the food court. I'm thinking Nathan's Famous, but the gods conspire against me, putting in a bunch of traveling cheerleaders between me and getting my food within 10 minutes. Damn cheerleaders. Always out to get me.

    I settle for a bottle of water and a long ass beef jerky. So about 15 minutes later, the driver does a head count. We're missing 3 people, apparently. Can't we just leave them here? How expensive would it be to catch a cab back into the city? Come on!

    The bus driver is a more compassionate man than I, and he goes into the rest stop and looks for the passengers. 10 minutes later, we're off with everyone on board. Damn.

    9:45 pm

    Oh, sweet Chinatown. I'm back. Guess air or rail are much more comfortable and if I could round trip for less than $100, I would seriously consider other options. But no matter the cost, no other mode of transport is going to drop me off 3 minutes from my apartment. Chinatown Buses, for all your faults, I got no complaints against you. I shall ride you again, long and hard.

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    Do the Pogo motherfucker, do the Pogo: 48 Hours in the Nation's Capital (Part 1)

    Guess who's back, back again. So I took off work Friday and went down to the City Formerly Known As the Nation's Murder Capital.

    12:20 pm

    I get to 88 East Broadway to board one of the famed Chinatown buses. I'm greeted by a small Chinese lady who starts yelling to me, so I show her my email receipt and she tells me to stand in line. Hmmm.

    Soon enough, a bus arrives. This seems to be the one. As we board, the dude behind me remarks "Smells like fish in here." We should be so lucky. It's not fish.

    Fortunately, I get used to the smell after a while. Or not. The restroom smell comes and goes. But it's kinda funny how the front half of the bus is packed and the back is less than half full.

    After about a half hour of complaining about the smell and the woman continuing to yell something about "DC" and "bus", our bus sloooowly pulls out, inches out of Chinatown and into the depth of Holland Tunnel.

    3:30 pm

    "10 minutes", the bus driver yells. I wake up and we're at a rest stop - still on the NJ Turnpike, it seems. Yeah, I've been asleep for maybe an hour? Thanks to my current relationship, I am no longer as dismissive of New Jersey as I used to be, but my opinion of its scenery is unchanged - North Jersey isn't much to look at, and South Jersey doesn't have anything to look at.

    Nature calls, I answer. I stretch and get back on the bus. Without warning, the bus starts to move. I notice that half the passengers aren't back yet, and I see the girl who was sitting next to me running frantically. Turns out, the driver was just pulling up to make space for other vehicles. But here's the thing with Chinatown buses - you never know. It just might leave half the bus in some rest stop in the middle of New Jersey.

    I stay awake for the rest of the trip, more or less. I've done the I-95 South trip a few times to go back to Chapel Hill and it's about the most dreadfully boring road trip, like, ever. At least I don't have to go through Virginia this time, and it only gets worse from Fayetteville, NC until the road hits its absolute nadir in Jacksonville.

    So it's a good thing I infused my iPod with a few new tracks. I bought Guero from iTunes and downloaded a few fresh Common tracks. His new album's going to be excellent, I can tell. Out of the five tracks, four are either solid or excellent (the other one features John Mayer).

    I wasn't a big fan of his last output, Electric Circus. I love ?uestlove but his production just didn't work for me, and the two Neptunes-produced tracks were simply mismatched. This time around, he has Kanye West producing the the whole album and it seems to be a working combination. Kanye's old time R&B sensibilities are perfect for Common and brings the best out of him. Common kills couplets like $500 sublets. He hasn't rhymed like that since 1994's Resurrection

    Of course, Kanye does spot rapping duties but his drawly, half rhymes are a nice complement to Common's crisper, precise rhymes. I hope they end up working together more - they could be like Timbaland and Missy, each artist bringing the A-game for each other.

    A lot of Jennifer Lewis/Rilo Kiley tracks as well - I should be tired of "Portions for Foxes" but it gets me every time. I'm not yet sold on The Go! Team, but the track on the Tsunami relief CD is excellent. I also transferred the White Stripes' White Blood Cells - I hadn't listened to the CD since late 2002 and forgotten how much I liked the album.

    5:30 pm

    More or less on time, the bus rolls into Chocolate City. The area near DC Chinatown isn't the friendliest of neighborhoods, as far as I can see from my seat. Though It is safer and more whiteyfied than it used to be, or so I hear. I can see the Capitol building - motherfucker's huge.

    The subway is a short walk from the Today's Bus pick up/drop off point on I Street. The fare thing took me a couple of seconds to figure out - your fare varies by the distance you travel. But turns out, most short trips are $1.35, including mine to Columbia Heights.

    The next thing I notice is that, unlike the NYC subway, the DC Metro totally has that 20th Century feel. It's clean, things seem to work, aren't designed ass backwards and shit's labeled properly. The train's fast and, again, clean. Oh shit, that board tells you when the next train is coming!

    Where is the littering? The rats? The smelly F-train guy?

    10:00 pm

    Meeting up with Maureen's friend and kinda-bar hopping on 16th St, apparently the hopping street in Adams Morgan. This ain't Clinton St or Meatpacking District. This has more of a college town feel, albeit with older people and without all the VD in the air.

    I also notice that it's legal to smoke in bars here. No, I realize it's illegal to smoke in bars in NYC. Personally, I think it's great that I can come home from drinking and not have all my shit smell like stale tobacco. I don't have a problem being around smokers (though I used to get nauseous at smaller spaces like Down the Hatch) but I hated that I would have to air out my sweater after a night out. I totally take the smokeless bar thing for granted now.

    To be honest, I don't remember too much. Hard liquor has never agreed with me, except when I've wanted to get super shitty drunk. I'm tired as fuck and we make our exit from the bar, like, midnight? 1 am? Who knows. Back to the apartment for some ZZZ.

    Continue to Part 2

    Friday, April 08, 2005

    For all y'all "Lost" fans out there

    So yes, hunky men on the cover. Great, innit? Wait, there's more.

    Freaky. And yes, #815 is the actual episode number.

    This week's episode was great though, wasn't it?

    Okay, I'm gone for the weekend. Behave yourselves, kids.

    Two nights at the Bowery. Or, Bloc Party: believe the hype

    No OC recap until next week, as I was at the Bloc Party show last night. My understanding is that Seth and Ryan turn the Cohen Mansion into a brothel, decide sometimes, you just have to say "What the fuck" and get accepted to Princeton.

    I don't want to exaggerate, but I'm going to anyway. The greatest concert I've ever been to is the Hives at the Bowery Ballroom in 2002. I don't like their music that much and their 2nd album was hella weak, but Howling Pelle Almqvist knows how to rock the party that rocks the body. The Hives set the bar for what a rock concert should be like - the sound, the showmanship, vibing with the audience.

    Kele Okereke isn't quite the showman that Almqvist is, but he's no less entertaining.

    But let's go back to Wednesday night. I found myself at the Bowery to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Lake Trout and Radio 4. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling too well and left midway through Lake Trout's set so I missed Radio 4, but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were fun. They didn't exactly wow me and they're not going to be a huge national band any time soon, but they were worth the price of admission, methought.

    Thursday night, I'm back at the Bowery. I actually considered skipping, as I had work to do, it was raining and I was at dinner until 9:30. But I just missed the downtown M15 bus at 2nd Ave and 9th and I started walking home, and realized the show will be on the way home. I paid for the ticket dammit, and I was going to be there.

    I caught the tail end of the Ponys' set - they sounded good, from the couple of songs I heard - which meant I was just in time for Bloc Party. Now, I'm usually a wallflower at concerts, nodding my head quietly but when it's on, it's on. I was right in the middle, pogoing like an idiot. Kele sounded a little tired (they'd missed Wednesday night's gig in Philly) but was energetic nonetheless. Unfortunately though, there were a few too many people on the sides just looking on - which is what I usually do, but whatever.

    So yeah, I'm glad I didn't miss it, and I'm even more excited for Saturday night, when I'll be catching them again in Chocolate City. And I'll try to take photos too. Pictures > words.

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    I'm still at Carolina in my mind

    Last post in which I mention March Madness, I promise.
  • Kudos to the kids down in Chapel Hill for keeping the post-game celebrations civilized. 45,000 fans out on the street, 32 bonfires, but no major injuries, no arrests, little property damage.

    Not bad. Credit also goes the town of Chapel Hill and the po-pos, I'm sure.

  • From today's ESPN Page 2 Daily Quickie:
    Less than 24 hours after winning the title, let the dismantling begin:

    Rashad McCants going pro: If only the NBA had the same opinion of McCants that he has of himself. The next Stackhouse? (Or the next Joe Forte?)

    Sean May to stay? Indicated that he'd like to come back next year and defend the title. Even with his stock sky-high, he's not as good a pro prospect as he is a collegian.

    What about Marvin Williams? You get the feeling that the fabulous freshman is looking for an excuse to stay, but what can you do when the NBA is willing to make you a Top 3 pick?
    You know, I can't begrudge any of the players whatever they decide to do, especially after the championship. It's the Bill Simmons 5-Year No Bitching Rule. Anyway, it's their livelihood, and if they think it's time to go, it's time to go. I just hope they make the right decisions for themselves.

  • I'm not sure if the national title would have been more or less satisfying as a student than an alum. I'm sure I would be having a ball down there if I were still an undergrad, but I also have a deeper appreciation for the Carolina experience now that I'm like 30 years removed from my keg stand days.

    And this title run has been a great way to reconnect with some of the kids I went to school with. After every big win, I found myself calling up a random former classmate saying, "Holy shit, did you see that? Hey, where do you live now? Shit, you're married?"

    It has also been oddly satisfying to sit back from 600 miles away, watching the students go nuts on Franklin Street. Yeah, my classmates and I never got to do that, but we've also experienced the frustrations of coming so close, and not close at all.

    At this point, I'm just rambling and I have no idea how to wrap up my thoughts. So um, check out this column by Bomani Jones. It's a good read, reminded me (again) of my undergrad days. If you just watch the players on TV, it's easy to forget that they're still teenagers and 20-somethings who, for the most part, have no idea what they're doing after college

    And another one: Eric Neel's Final Four blog

  • Look, I love college basketball and Skip Bayless is being a total party pooper with his March Madness vs NBA column, but you know he's right.
    You're muttering to me that college basketball is so much more pure because these kids are sitting in the same classrooms you sat in and they're having the time of their lives just the way you did at Dear Old U. The pep bands, the cheerleaders, the student sections. The color, the pageantry.

    The hypocrisy.

    I'm sorry, but your college team serves as your pro equivalent. The best players on your team probably wouldn't have chosen – or been chosen by – your school if they weren't basketball players. And some of them would have skipped Dear Old U. altogether if they'd been assured they'd go in the first round of the NBA draft.

    You say you're sick of how much money these NBA players make? I'm just as outraged by how little college players make – room, board and tuition. The NCAA makes untold millions off the NCAA Tournament and its TV contract. And at least part of the appeal of March Madness is all the technically illegal gambling pools that make month-long viewers out of so many office workers who wouldn't know Vermont from Bucknell.

  • Watched Monday night's 24. Holy mother of Jaysus. So the simultaneous nuclear meltdowns were a mere prelude to the main event? Or they came up with the greatest Plan B of all time?

  • If you watch Arrested Development, do not, I repeat, do not put Europe's "Final Countdown" on your iPod. I was walking home from the subway stop last night and I couldn't stop giggling because I kept thinking about GOB and Buster doing their goofy magic dance. People thought I was crazy.

  • Oh, you gotta be shitting me

    From Brooklynvegan, Bloc Party dates possibly postponed.

    So tonight's Philly date is definitely kiboshed, and no word yet on the NY/DC dates over the next 3 nights. I have tickets for not only Thursday night's show at the Bowery, but also Saturday night's in DC, as I will be visiting my girlfriend this weekend.

    Heh. I think I'll be cool as long as Saturday's still on. Developing situation and whatnot.

    I'm watching the Late Show right now and they just announced Bloc Party at the top of the show. Double heh.

    Update Again
    Kele sounded good on Letterman but it was taped on Monday, apparently. I'm assuming the show is still on tonight.

    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    Neckface today, I Love You tomorrow

    Do you love the ubiquitous street art of Neckface but wish it didn't come with all that concrete? If so, this coffee table book is just for you (via Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting).

    Sweet. The book costs 21 Euro, which is, I don't know, more than a can of Krylon paint.

    Not quite back in New York state of mind yet

  • You know how I was saying a couple of days ago that I need to find a way to get fired? Well, I missed the perfect opportunity.

    See, I'd thought about flying down to Chapel Hill for the Final Four weekend, but decided not to, because of stupid reasons like the cost of the flight, having to miss work Monday and Tuesday... but what better way to get fired than to go AWOL while celebrating the Tar Heel's victory?

    I'm so stupid.

  • Nothing says college town like the smell of tear gas and the sight of riot gear. I know Carolina kids went out and partied Uptown, but I hope they were better behaved than MSU kids, who didn't take Saturday's loss to the Heels so well.

  • Happy Birthday, Sean May. Now, please stay. Oh, who am I kidding? Next season's going to be brutal.

  • Some puns are Sofa King bad, they're good.

  • When I was but a wee lad, Shawn Kemp was one of my favorite basketball players - an absolute athlete who could jump over anyone and out of the building. That was, of course, before we found out he fathered like 20 children with 40 different mothers and he became part of a rare breed of cocaine addicts - an overweight one. He's back in the news as he is arrested for possession of coke, weed and firearm. Ah, the trifecta.

  • I thought I should make a passing mention - no more, no less - of the Pope's passing, and I think this Village Voice piece just about covers it.

  • Again, from the Voice, the always dependable James Ridgeway on conservative Republicans against Bush.

  • Verve Remixed 3 drops today. I should be over this jazz-remixed-by-modern-sampler schtick, but these compilation always has mad love for my favorite, Nina Simone, and this time, she's getting the remix treatment from the Postal Service. Gotta check this. Plus, RJD2's remixing Astrud Gilberto's "The Gentle Rain" and another Nina Simone track, "Lilac Wine" is remixed by The Album Leaf. Looks like quality all around.

  • Finally, I'm really digging the current stuff at NIKE iD, especially the Spirit of Brazil collection. I'm seriously thinking about doing up a pair of FC Futebol Corinthians or a tan/brown pair of 180s. God, I'm such a sneaker whore.

  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on Wednesday, Bloc Party on Thursday. Check.
  • 75-70

    Yup yup.

    And down on Franklin Street:

    Congrats to all you fellow Tar Heels out there. It's been fun the past few weeks, y'all.

    Sunday, April 03, 2005

    Next up: Just another manic Monday

    So my dear Tar Heels have pulled through against Michigan State, setting up a final match-up against the evil, evil Illini of Illinois.

    Whatever happens Monday night, I will always be proud of the boys in baby blue, particularly Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott, who dealt with the indignity of the 8-20 season their Freshman year, and now find themselves playing for the national title. This will be Carolina's first appearance in the title game since the 1983 1993 title game, but this feel so much more special than that championship team. Best of luck to the Tar Heels on Monday.

    And thanks to everyone who was at Brother Jimmy's and made for finger licking good times.

    Saturday, April 02, 2005

    In which I get all Whiny McSelfabsorbederson

    • I gotta say, I'm having an okay Saturday sporting-wise. Liverpool defeated Bolton to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place for next season, and we got to see 2 Newcastle players fighting each other on the pitch (above). My college hoops team tips off in less than 8, MLS season kicks off in 90 minutes.

    • Otherwise, life not so good. I know, it could be worse. I could be starving, I could be hooked on drugs, whatever. But my life is supposed to kick ass. Right now, it's only mildly outstanding.

    • I'm hating work right now. True, I could leave and get a job I really want, but right now, rents needs to get paid.

      If I try to quit, they'll probably try to give me a raise because I'm pretty fucking indispensable, which would be great in theory, but in practice, that's a commitment I'm not willing to make. There's always a catch, ya know. Maybe if I get myself fired, that'll give me the motivation to get shit done. Who knows. Seriously though, I don't know what the fuck I have to do to get fired.

    • It's not bad work actually. It's just that clients are stupid, I'm not doing anything creative and I feel like I'm wasting away. Plus, the unpredictability of a small office isn't conductive to blogging and frustrated-novelisting.

    • I don't know what's wrong with me. I come home from work, I eat, and I find myself passing out before 9 pm. Then I wake up in the morning still sleepy.

    • It probably doesn't help that I'm in the worst physical shape since the fall of freshman year in college. I haven't lifted or ran in ages. The sad part is, I think I'm losing weight. I'm practically invisible now - a lady almost ran me over with her baby stroller the other day.

      I don't know about you, I would actually prefer to balloon all the way up to 300 than waste away. At least people wouldn't look at me funny for ordering a salad and I could handle more alcohol.

      At least this is a problem I can take care of pretty easily. Eat more, get off my ass, don't spend so much time blogging.

    • As previously mentioned, my hair is out of control. If the front and the sides were more businesslike, it would be a fully functional mullet. I'd get a haircut but I'm not quite sure what to do with it yet.

    • The "5" key on my laptop is coming loose. I should get a new computer soon.

    • I think I'm done complaining now. I just hope I'm not clinically depressed or anything. That would be a total bummer.

    • Funniest thing that happened to me last weekend: a kid with a couple of friends looks lost out of his mind at 1 in the morning at the corner of Orchad and Grand.

      Kid: "How do I get to Grand St?"
      Me: "You're on Grand St, dude."
      Kid: "Nah, this isn't it."
      Me: "Yes it is.
      Kid: "No, I don't think this is it."
      Me: "Wait, are you trying to get to Grand St in Brooklyn?"
      Kid: "Yeah yeah, Brooklyn. Can I walk there from here>?"
      Me: "Well, there's this river. But you can get to the subway stop if you go..."
      Kid: "Nah, we don't want to take the subway or anything."
      Me: "I guess you could take the bridge. Good luck with that."

      And like that, he was gone. I hope they got to Brooklyn okay.