Thursday, April 27, 2006

The sellout post, revisited

A couple of things to add to the Jack White-Coca Cola post from two days ago:

  • There are two kinds of people calling Jack White a sellout: people who don't want musicians singing in any commercial, and people who are okay with musicians doing commercials, but have a problem with Coke.

    My post was directed at the former, the people who believe that commerce is the death of artistry, and I wanted to explore what the commercial meant to Jack White as an artist.

    I didn't get into the politics of Coca Cola - the concern of the latter group - since it would've made the post much longer than it already was, for one thing, and it has more to do with Jack White the person than the artist.

    I'll just say this - I'm not a huge fan of Coca Cola, the product or the company. At the same time, its evil doesn't reach the level of, say, Wal-Mart or Haliburton. Bad, but not that bad.

  • A couple of posters in the The Modern Age comments had an issue with the last part of the post:
    And does anyone really give a fuck that Michaelangelo basically painted ads for the Vatican or that Da Vinci was a whore to the Medici clan? Sometimes, selling out is the path to artistic integrity.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Jack is the second coming of the Renaissance giants or that De Stijl is the modern day equivalent of "David". I am simply pointing to the similarity in the business model and its effect (or absence thereof) on how people perceive their artistry.

    The Vatican-Coca Cola analogy isn't perfect, but the differences are negligible when you consider the parallels, in my opinion. But if the Mikey-Jack White comparison isn't your thing, surely the Da Vinci analogy still stands. Like Coca Cola, the Medici family were a powerful family that stood to increase their influence and wealth by being a patron of the arts. There was a happy intersection between the shit Leo wanted to do and what the Medici wanted to display, just as there's happy intersection between the brand personality Coke's trying to reinforce and the hippie ass value that Jack White wants to spread.

  • While we're on the subject of lending art to corporations, I have mixed opinions about the "My Life, My Card" stuff that's out there, especially the ones directed by Wes Anderson and M. Night.

    I like them both and they reflect the directors' styles. Anderson's is self-deprecating to the point of arrogance, simultaneously devoid of self consciousness and self aware. Shayamalan's is unapologetically stylish. At the same time, there's a huge disconnect between "My Life" and "My Card", and ultimately, these commercials say very little about the American Express brand other than "Here's crap we like."


  • Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    An open letter to the United States Postal Service: Part 2

    Dear USPS,

    Perhaps I didn't make it clear enough the last time you did this to me, though what is clearer than "Please don't do this again. Ever.", I do not know.

    Did you forget? Or perhaps you're mocking me. I cannot think of any other reason why you would send this to me. Again.

    With all due respect, kindly fuck off.


    Postal Service Customer.


    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Selling out: It's the right thing to do

    I was watching the Coca Cola commercial with the jingle penned by Jack White (above) the other day, and I was thinking that's probably better than 80% of the music that ends up in the mainstream. Admittedly, I don't listen to Top 40 so I wouldn't really know and even if I did, that's not really saying much. But it's worth noting because unlike the 2006 releases we expect to be better than the mainstream - say, Ghostface or Jenny Lewis - Jack White's making money on this one. Boatloads (or canoeloads, if you will).

    Of course, if you're singing in a commercial, one would hope you're making bank. Still, this isn't like Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercial where he retrofitted a song about an adulterous relationship into a kid-friendly corporate anthem (shouldn't have written "kid-friendly" and "Michael Jackson" in the same sentence, seriously -ed.). Nor is this what Moby did with Play, licensing songs that simply sounded good as background music (we'll get back to him later). There's no explicit advertising message and this isn't Coke latching onto a White Stripes song - this is Jack White and Coca Cola finding an intersection and creating something that belongs equally to both of them (and this itself isn't novel either - there's that adidas commercial Karen O sang on).

    Selling out? Sure, though I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Yeah, the song is essentially an update of the iconic 70s "Hilltop" commercial, but for better or worse, commercials are part of our culture and you don't get mo' Americana than "Hilltop".

    Disclosure: my job can involve taking your favorite, previously unsullied band and tainting them with the pox of commerce, so take my opinions however you will.

    Plus, it's not like artists who don't do commercials don't make compromises anyway. For a musician like Jack White, he'd probably have to make more artistic sacrifices to record for a major label and get radio airplay than for an advertiser, who just wants shit to sound good.

    Look at Moby - if he wanted to get radio spins and promotional push from retailers, the conventional way of breaking into the charts, he would have had to wedge his music into a format and recorded a "single" that may not have fit in with the rest of the album. Instead, he put every song from Play up for sale, got the exposure he needed for platinum sales and got paid enough to open a vegan tea shop on the Lower East Side.

    Sure beats being Liz Phair. She recorded a more radio-friendly album to feed her daughter after being told by her label that her original album was only "Goldish", only to see her sales tank anyway.

    This isn't to say writing commercial jingles is the new paradigm for artists. You still have to write albums to be taken seriously, and this Coke commercial wouldn't be relevant if the White Stripes didn't have a catalog of albums under their belt.

    (Please excuse me for yet another tangent, but this is where Gnarls Barkley's true test will be - I think St. Elsewhere isn't bad and they're certainly hot hot hot, but there's a huge drop off in catchiness from "Crazy" and "Smiley Faces" to the rest of the album.)

    What I do see is a possible shift from making music that sells to making music that brands. No one expects people to suddenly rush out to the stores and buy 6-packs of Coke upon seeing the Jack White music video/commercial. But in a field where there is no real differentiation between competitors, it's all about how the consumer feels about the brand, not the product. The product has to move still, but that's just the final, relatively minor step. Jack White simply makes music that gives the brand personality, rather than actually tell people how great tasting Coke is.

    Something similar is at work over at Def Jam. Jay-Z has created an odd universe where flavors of the day like Young Jeezy and Ne-Yo coexist with critical faves (but not so profitable) Ghostface Killah and The Roots. Byron Crawford has criticized Jay-Z for the amount the label's spending on loss leader artists like The Roots, but he's missing the point (actually, I don't think Bol's missing the point - on most subjects, he understands more than he lets on, but prefers to take a controversial position). Jeezy and Ne-Yo move units. Ghostface and the Roots brand Def Jam.

    Def Jam could be just another Interscope, a label that puts out the hits. But unlike Interscope, Def Jam has a cultural cache to preserve and exploit. Essentially, the platinum artists finance the less profitable artists who give Def Jam a brand identity. In turn, the "quality" artists lend credibility to those who aren't critics' darlings. It's a symbiotic relationship - you don't have to sell if you can brand. If you can contribute to the bottom line, even indirectly, that's enough.

    And that's what Jack White's doing here - the cultural cache he's built through the White Stripes albums lets him make money with this commercial, which in turn lets him take creative risks with the Stripes and take on projects like the Raconteurs.

    When you get down to it, the simple act of putting tickets or records on sale is selling out. Anything beyond that is a matter of degrees. And does anyone really give a fuck that Michaelangelo basically painted ads for the Vatican or that Da Vinci was a whore to the Medici clan? Sometimes, selling out is the path to artistic integrity.

    Also, commenters on The Modern Age are fucking idiots.


    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Mancrush of the Week: Luis Garcia

    Before I get started, special thanks to DrunkBrunch for the mystery blue pills Saturday night. The good news is, they didn't knock me out or have me waking up in a strange apartment. The bad news is, they did nothing for the hacking cough I've had for the past week and I suspect they may be responsible for this erection I've had for the past 24 hours.

    Now, onto homoeroticism. Seriously, Luis Garcia. I can't think of anything better to come out of Spain since, I don't know, Penelope Cruz or Pedro Almodovar films or fried calamari. Whatever the case, you won't see too many prettier goals than the one he scored in Satuday's FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea:

    First, there's the degree of difficulty. Garcia's on the run, he's taking the shot off a bounce, a defender's converging on him, and it's a difficult angle. The placement and power are perfect. And it's a shot most players wouldn't think to try because they wouldn't have seen the keeper off the line after getting to a loose ball like that.

    And beating Chelsea to deny them the League-Cup double? As the kids say, priceless. So I couldn't really give a shit about anything else that happened in sports this weekend, Lebron James notwithstanding.

    Finally, it would totally be scenester to declare that I'm so over Gnarls Barkley, wouldn't it? Anyway, here's their obligatory Pitchfork interview.


    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Friday slacker posting

    Eh, meant to have a post ready for today. Didn't happen, obviously. Have a good weekend.

    In my world, this is how things work:

    Fifth Avenue < Avenue A
    "Gold Lion" < "Gold Lion" (Diplo remix)
    RJD2 > Diplo
    Asking for permission < Apologizing later
    Neko Case > Cat Power
    Garrincha > Pele
    Orchard Street > Ludlow Street
    Length < Girth
    Taoism > Confucianism
    Nature > Nurture
    "Bajingo" > "Vajayjay"
    Puma < Asics
    "DWYCK" < "Scenario"
    Queue up > Wait in line > Wait on line
    B cups > C cups
    Elvis < Roy Orbison
    "Suspicious Eyes" > "Pretty Woman"
    Questions > Answers
    Rasheed > Big Ben
    Broken Social Scene "Lover's Spit" < Feist "Lover's Spit"
    Small fish in big ocean > big fish in small pond
    New Amsterdam < Constantinople
    North Carolina > South Carolina
    Northern California > Southern California
    Team Meredith < Team Addison
    Team Izzie > Team Addison
    1,000 words < 1 picture
    Me > You
    Kill Bill Volume 1 < Kill Bill Volume 2
    Thor > Zeus
    Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind > Being John Malkovich
    Intellect > Passion
    Parker Lewis Can't Lose > Herman's Head
    Barry Manilow > Lawrence Welk
    Dr Cox > Dr House
    Brokeback jokes < Super Troopers quotes
    Cayenne > Jalapeno
    Igby Goes Down > The Dangerous Life of Altar Boys
    Brown dress shoes < Brown sneakers
    4-4-2 < 4-3-2-1
    Cuban coffee > Cappucino
    Shirts > Skins
    Nathan's Famous > Grey's Papaya
    Laughing < Smirking
    "coitus" > "making whooppee"


    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Denial is a river flowing with cold, tasty imported wheat beer

    Before I begin this post, I feel like I need to make one thing clear - no matter what you read below, I don't have a drinking problem. I drink to excess, yes. I drink when I shouldn't, perhaps. But a drinking problem, I do not have.

    So let's rewind back to Tuesday night. I was sitting in a booth at Slainte on Bowery. I had already downed my two oversized glasses of Hefeweissen and now, I was drinking Red's beer after she stepped out for a smoke. "That's it. I'm cut off," I told myself. After all, I had a presentation at work the next day and I was supposed to call my colleague to discuss it before I went to bed.

    I'm a lightweight. That much I'll concede. Also, I'd skipped lunch, I was exhausted from working through the weekend and had already had two beers before I arrived there. And fuck, it was Tuesday night. Clearly time to go home.

    Now, the great thing about New York, particularly my neighborhood, is the abundance of bars within walking distance. No wasting money on cabs or risking a DUI. As long as I stay upright, I'm all right. Of course, walking home also means walking past temptations, and sure enough, minutes after leaving Slainte, I found myself in front of the door of Lucky Jack's.

    "What's another drink?" asked the little devil on the shoulder with a wry smile. The little angel on my other shoulder was passed out and unresponsive.

    Now, if you haven't been to Lucky Jack's, I should explain the layout - the bar runs the entire width of a block and has entrance on the two ends, Allen Street and Orchard Street. It feels almost like two different bars in one because it's so long.

    As I entered on the Allen Street side, the little angel on the shoulder woke up and chided me. I had enough to drink already, and only alcoholics drink by themselves. I am not an alcoholic, dammit. I resisted the urge to sit down and without losing stride, I kept walking all the way to the Orchard Street exit, and as far as I could tell, I made it out without anyone noticing.

    Some might wonder how a non-alcoholic would end up in another bar under those circumstances in the first place, and that was my exact thought as I woke up this morning at 4:50 am. Do I have a drinking problem?

    I remembered how much willpower it took to not order a second beer over dinner at Kenka Monday night. At Heather's reading, AliZ mentioned the subtitle on the blog banner above, and I wondered whether that was too true to be funny.

    Though at least I'm functional. And whatever is wrong with me or my life, I'm preeeeeeeeetty sure it's not because of my drinking. But as I lay in my bed trying in vain to fall back asleep, I started to take an account of my past binges.
    • I've never been caught drinking and driving. But I have driven drunk in college. Too many times.

    • I don't get violent when I drink. Not to people, anyway. I have rugby tackled newspaper boxes and once ripped a mirror off a car.

    • I've never woken up in a ditch face down. I have woken up on the steps of a subway station at 6 am.

    I should clarify that I've done none of the above since... oh, let's just say 2002. I've grown a little since then, I'm sure. But I do tend to surround myself with people who drink a whole fucking lot. After getting a late start on destroying my body -my first real drinking experience was in the December of my senior year in high school with a 40 oz Crazy Horse, two Heinekens and a wine cooler- I got to college and let peer pressure do its thing. To do further damage, I played rugby, a sport with a bigger drinking culture than lacrosse (sorry). After college, I spent a year in South Beach where, on too many occasions, I'd play this game called "Let's See If The Morning Paper Beat Me Home". Currently, I'm in a profession where binge drinking is almost expected (I might argue it's even a necessity) and I hang around people who take social lubrication seriously.

    It's New York City too. It's a city that lets you act whatever age you want. If I were back in North Carolina, I'd probably be driving a sensible sedan and making payments on a house with a yard and a two-car garage. I might grab a drink after work and have a few drinks with old college buddies over dinner on Saturday night. My friends would be wondering when I'm going to just find someone to marry. Here? I'm living in a dumpy apartment, getting sloshed on weeknights and socializing with an equal number of 35-year-olds and 22-year-olds. Which is to say, there is no age limit on irresponsible behavior.

    Combine that with the city's romanticization of drinking - footsteps of literary giants are marked, not by where they slept, but by where they drank. Where did O. Henry live? Who gives a shit? But I can tell you he frequented Pete's Tavern on Irving Place. And amidst all the changes that have come below 14th Street, White Horse Tavern will always be where Bob Dylan came to be inspired and Dylan Thomas simply expired. You find the best concerts in the city, not in Clear Channel-programmed amphitheaters that serve overpriced macrobrews, but in small, sticky-floored venues that serve draft beers and mixed drinks. Sundays in New York are marked in equal parts by the thickness of the Sunday New York Times and the Bloody Mary that accompanies the Hollandaise-covered poached eggs.

    I don't mean for this post to be an apologia for self-destruction. Moderation is good, I get that. And someday, I'll probably realize that I'm witty and charming enough without the aid of a vodka tonic. O But at least for my own sake, I wanted to put my behavior into perspective. And all things considered, I'd say my level of drinking is fairly normal.

    Plus, if I acknowledged that I had a drinking problem, the next logical step would be to quit, and I'm just not ready to. I enjoy drinking way too much.

    But 10 years from now, if you catch me writing Dry 2: The Electric Boogaloo, well, you'll know that rock bottom has yet to come.


    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Blogger muscles: use 'em or lose 'em

    With all due respect to Leslie, blogging is nothing like riding a bicycle. After I haven't posted in a while, it's more like shooting a jumper when I haven't balled in years, my left hand on the piano, which has become completely useless after 10+ years of not playing (the right hand is only marginally more functional), or sex after a long dry spell. I know what I want to do, I know exactly what to do but the mechanics aren't quite there.

    3 weeks ago, I went on blog vacation and gave up the driver's seat, partly because of circumstances and partly because I needed to refresh. The plan was, I'd spend the 3 weeks recharging and inspiring myself and I'd come back stronger than ever. But that hasn't happened - I'm sitting here trying to write, and... nothing (which I find deliciously ironic since I spent the past couple of nights pumping out the "stop worrying and just write" gospel in response to Heather's writer's block).

    It's my personality too, I think - I'm constantly wracked with self doubt and the fear that, any day now, I will be exposed as a fraud. When the insecurity hit me in sports, it was easy to make it go away. I'd hit the weights a little harder, do a few extra wind sprints. But how do I respond as writer? Yeah, I guess the "just write" is the writing equivalent of a 2-mile run and in a sense, that's what I'm doing now. But beyond the crap writing, I don't see the tangible effects - swollen muscles, sore joints - that I would see with extra physical training.

    It doesn't help that I'm not really sure what I want to be as a writer. I could write a verbose, over-intellectualized piece in the same vain as (if not remotely as good as) Klosterfuck's piece on Barry Bonds for ESPN (it's a fantastic read btw, and probably the only worthwhile column written on the whole Bonds affair) but I don't know if that's what I want to be writing. I'd love to be able to write the stuff The Phat Phree is churning out, but that's not my voice.

    Plus, I'm not reading much of anything right now. Beyond a couple of sites, most of my RSS feeds have gone ignored (fear not, fellow bloggers, it's less a reflection on your writing than my general apathy towards everything). There's nothing out there that I want to respond to or a discussion I want to engage in.

    I actually have a couple of ideas for posts in mind but I just haven't been to make anything out of them yet. Writing is essentially exercising the muscles in the brains, and I have to feed and train them before they're back to full fitness. It'll come back to me, I think, but it's just not there yet, whatever "it" is.

    In a nutshell, here is what's going on with me - you remember that time, you ran into that girl you hung out with in college? You know, that girl who was a little crazy in a good way? And you went up to her room because, I don't know, you were both unattached and you just wanted something familiar sans strings attached. And you're making out with her, knowing what's going to happen next, but you're thinking "What the hell am I doing here? Do I really want to spend the night here?" And you go on to have emotionally unsatisfying sex because dammit, you have needs and maybe this will get you out of your funk, but it leaves you unhappier and more confused than before?

    No? That hasn't happened? Yeah, I wish I didn't think that way.


    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Please allow me to reintroduce myself

    First off, thanks to all the guest bloggers who kept the site going while I was sitting on my ass. I should do this more often. An extra hats off to the virgin bloggers, Glasper, Maureen and Anne, who gets extra points for using a chart. I'm not a big fan of reading - I much prefer pictures and pretty colors.

    So I made a rare foray above 23rd St and found myself in Midtown on Friday, where I took this photo:

    segway chained

    Crazy shit man, those wacky Midtown kids. Anyway, the photo ended up on Gothamist and the comment section is, to say the least, a mess. Can't we just enjoy the fact that the Bluth Corporation is now branching out to the East Coast?

    So what's happened since while I've been gone? Well, I haven't really been gone, I guess, but the big story around these parts is the Duke lacrosse (alleged) rape case. I probably won't add anything that hasn't already been said ad nauseum, but I will add this:
  • If you asked people in Duke which athletic team would be most likely to cause this kind of trouble, I'm pretty sure men's lacrosse would've come out on top.

  • Similarly, if you asked a bunch of lacrosse people where an incident like this would happen, I'm pretty sure Duke and Carolina would be neck and neck with Maryland and Virginia fighting for 3 and 4.

  • Basically, ACC lacrosse players aren't thought of very highly, to say the least.

  • I do think it's unfortunate that the incident is being covered as a "Duke thing" and so much of the focus is on the racial tension, though that's natural given the demographics of the city and the university, I guess. I'm not sure if it's a "thing" at all, but if anything, class and gender are far more important than race here, and seriously, what university doesn't have town-gown issues? I mean, Carolina's a more socioeconomically diverse school in a town that's way more academic-friendly, but that didn't stop the town-gown tensions one bit.

  • Whether the lacrosse players are guilty or not, everyone comes out a loser in this. I'm really hoping all the charges are false, because I'd hate to think we live in a world where shit like that can go down. But I just can't imagine the case going this far if the accuser simply fabricated the story - it's not like the DA's office hasn't used a rape kit before.

  • More substantial posting coming up over the course of the week. I need a little time to get back on track, you know?

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    We live in a global world now, one where that blog you are reading might really have been written by someone in India...

    Yususke asked me to do a guest post. He even saved the very last spot for me. So obviously I agreed, as it is a simple request to fill. But ever vigilant to make things even easier for myself than they already are , I decided to farm my post out. I contacted a blogger in Hawaii, as I hear that they blog for real cheap there. He graciously agreed to write a post up for half of the monies that Yusuke had agreed to pay me. So without further adieu, here is his guest post.

    and p.s. You really should go spend a moment perusing his blog, it's pretty weird good stuff.
    And he hates E-40.

    Everybody give a nice warm welcome to Kool Keith el etro!

    (claping and cheering)

    --Hey. So. Spinach dip. I like spinach dip. Specially with, um, tortilla chips, you know, the toasty ones. Er, wait. I think I like artichoke dip more. Goddammitt I'm all confused now.

    So, new york, eh? I won't even bother condescending some bullshit about "oh yeah" this or "heffer jugs" that, I mean, fuck that, I know you don't wanna hear it & I don't wanna dish it so I won't slap you across your junky ass metaphorically and even start down that road.

    What will I talk about? Shit, suddenly a mofo gotta talk about something? This is supposed to be 2004 or some shit, right? Man, unless someone took away my nitrous balloon, I know it is, er, sorry, yeah, that wasn't funny. It was just effin' stupid.

    This whole guest blog thing is kinda 1982, but I'm still feelin it a bit, and I know you are(nt), and I mean, I think that you, I, and that green shirted dude over on King and Alakea know (everyone together now) what I mean when I say that. Oh yeah, you don't.

    Allow me to clarify. Everything of what was written above? It's analogous to the third paragraph of Jack Palance's Oscar acceptance speech. Kind of like a one-handed pushup, but if you did it in your mind, 'na mean?

    So this blog's about drinkin' too, eh? I like drinkin. I used to drink a lot of bourbon and rum. I kinda cut that shit out when I woke up layin next to the toilet. The 4th time. Er, wait, was it the 5 th time? In that one month. Anyway, yeah, but I think I'mma start up again on Tuesday. Lately it's just been beers. You know how it goes. If you don't, I guess that's cool too.

    So, uh, yeah. Go to my website and buy all my shit. That was a joke. I ain't sellin a goddamm thing. Yup, I'm dumb like that. The only way I get paid off of any of this diatribe slangin drippy style shit is from those dudes that publish marmaduke. They pay me a monthly never to mention that big ol' dog. And there I went and fucked myself outta that cash too. Hope it was worth it. Remember my sacrifice. Write it down at the end of your grocery list under "oatmeal."

    This post brought to you by A Blog Soup and Ultrablognetic.


    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    A Post with No Links (but there's a chart)!

    I had grand plans for this guest blogging adventure when I signed on for it months ago. Sadly, my work responsibilities continue to preempt my best intentions and my precious sleep patterns. So instead of a witty monologue peppered with relevant links and interesting commentary, I made you this. A chart. At least it has pretty colors. I think if you click on the image it should enlarge it.

    Oh and true story. Last week in the shower, I was thinking about this post and the nature of blogging in general. I was squeezing the last bit of conditioner from the bottle when I looked down at my hands. There were tiny black letters scattered across my palms. Letters that were abandoning their responsibility to describe the proper usage of my conditioner. Forming impromptu poetry until water splashed across my palms and the letters swirled into the drain.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Opening day

    I've chosen to use my guest-blogging opportunity to write about, well, me. If that isn't self-indulgent, I don't know what is. But it was either this or something stupid about melons. If this is my only guest-post ever, well, you'll know why.

    Sunday was the start of two six-month journeys for me. It was opening day for the baseball team I grew up on, the Cleveland Indians, and for the street-hockey league I just joined.

    As far as the scoreboard was concerned, I went 0-2. Both the team I grew up rooting for and the team whose uniform consists of a $10 T-shirt lost. Neither was a surprise. In the Indians' case, they were just picking up where they left off last year -- as tomato cans for Chicago White Sox. The final week of the Indians season left me wishing I was raised in Belgium or something.

    But this is one of the problem with spectator sports. As a fan, you're powerless to do much except watch and hope.

    Over the past five years, my own personal sporting life has become all-spectator, all the time. It wasn't always that way. My athletic career peaked in college. And while, as peaks go, it was a modest one, it was nevertheless a peak, and it had nothing to do, really, with my success on the field.

    Which is good, because I'm pretty much an uncoordinated spaz.

    Few of my best memories are of actual wins. Sure, there was the time I got in to play during garbage time for Michigan's club lacrosse team. I stopped all three shots. Wearing an actual, maize-and-blue Michigan jersey no less. In front of my girlfriend. (That was a good day.) And there was the time the staff of The Michigan Daily beat the staff of Michigan State's paper in football, after I'd guaranteed the result that morning when the local sports talk radio station interviewed me.

    But to summon those two memories, I actually had to think, if only for a couple seconds. What springs instantly to mind when I think about my own sports career is all the happy walks home from wherever it was I'd been playing. I probably had at least one fresh bruise or scrape as a souvenir. I realized on Sunday that what I'd been missing were those moments of untroubled, sweaty bliss.

    Playing sports, on a team, is one of the dozens of things I took for granted in college. Along with being in some semblance of good shape. But since then, my sports participation has largely been limited to the purchasing of tickets, hot dogs and beer, with utterly predictable consequences for my physical and mental states.

    I made some halfhearted attempts to keep this going after graduation. I tried to find a broomball league, with no luck. I joined our company's softball team for a while, but the feel was all wrong. Most games were suffused by a sort of antsy dread, lending the whole enterprise a perpetual 1964 Phillies feeling. I didn't go back last year.

    It's early, of course, but I'm optimistic about this. More optimistic, anyway, than I am about the Tribe's season (not enough pitching). Even if the Indians somehow win the World Series, or even get back to the postseason, my life wouldn't really change all that much. I'd celebrate my head off, and it'd be a day I remember forever, but in the end, it wouldn't be particularly life-changing.

    Not that I'm asking for life-changing from a hockey league. All I want is the opportunity to play my ass off, have fun and walk home happy.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    blogging, dc-style

    I may well be the worst blogger ever! See, I almost forgot about blogging today. Bad guest blogger. I have let the legion of spinachdip's loyal fans down. I hope you can forgive me, because this post probably won't make up for it.

    Speaking of loyal fans, George Mason, farewell. It was glorious while it lasted!

    Anyways, I have a decent excuse for forgetting: I just moved from Maryland to DC this weekend. This means: higher taxes, upping my coolness fax, hauling boxes up and down the curvy stairs of my new Dupont Circle rowhouse, and heavy Ikea furniture as well. Yay! Ikea furniture looks neat and simple until you start building it and have like 9585490385034 different screws and boards and you're like WTF because a dresser like this takes 15 steps to make! 15!

    I was so determined to be DC-ified that after nearly passing out from putting together stupid Swedish furniture, I even went and saw the cherry blossoms yesterday, along with the 8945840850349 tourists and their screaming children. Conveniently enough, this was also the day that metro chose to have most of their escalators to be non-functional. If escalators are mostly broken, it's no wonder that tourists don't abide by the "stand on the right, walk on the left" rule! It's chaos! A tourist sees a non-working escalator and thinks, "huh? Escalators...but not moving...can't process this in brain...I must walk down? what??" *brain explodes* Meanwhile, he's standing there like an idiot and holding up everyone else in line!

    I think one of the more ridiculous things I saw were two grown men carrying a baby stroller up the stairs, unfolded. One man (or even myself) could have easily carried it up, had they bothered to fold it, but no, they had to take up the maximum amount of space.

    Another discovery that I made this weekend: I'm allergic to both dust bunnies and cherry blossoms. So in case you had any freaky dust bunny/cherry blossom sculptures in mind that you wanted to construct and send me, please don't. I've suffered enough.

    Happy Monday!