26, 2002 at 21:31:28 (EDT)
In which, I take up space
Killing time while waiting to go to somebody's birthday party at Low.
I've never been there before, and it is proving impossible to find
any information out about it as its name renders it near impossible
to google. B added helpfully that it is the bar below Rice, a DUMBO
restaurant. This is also difficult to search for, as many restaurants
offer rice on their menus. At any rate, I am not optimistic that the
scene will be the sort of thing I like. Last night, M and I cruised
around his neighborhood, which happens to be Williamsburg. But again,
I must beseech you that we are not 'hipsters.' Certainly not! M's
way of describing what people term as hipsters is to say simply "too
cool for school." It's a fine line, it is. We hung out at the
Sweetwater, which is a great bar, except for the enormous tv set that
provided the only light source in the main room. We were there for
a while until some Europeans came in and began to gently but persistantly
elbow us, until we were compelled to leave. We tried to go to Rosemary's
but as expected it was too crowded. Not so the Sardine Can, which
I realized only stays open til 1 AM. In this way we were able to 'close
the bar out.'
I continued my project of enclosing the back porch in acrylic sheets.
I have to walk through the Pratt campus area going to and from the
hardware store, which allows me to pretend that the large plastic
sheets I am carrying are for some uber-concept art installation.
Those Pratt students furrow their brows and try to imagine what
wondrous creation I am going to birth using these items. Ah, I do
not envy them the fact that they will never know I am taking them
home to screw onto the windows of the shoddy, homemade back porch
thing attached to the back of my apartment.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
25, 2002 at 10:43:47 (EDT)
In which, MSN litters for advertising
Motherfuck those damn butterflies!
Someone tell Bill Gates he's not using the right kind of adhesive,
cuz those suckers were all strewn in the gutter when we were walking
down Houston last night.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
24, 2002 at 20:00:43 (EDT)
In which, Seinfeld gets interrupted
So I'm trying to watch Seinfeld and the news comes on with this interminable
coverage of a press conference about the arrest of the sniper suspects.
That's fine, it's important news, but they are waiting on Charles
Moose to come out and speak and so they're just killing time, repeating
themselves ad nasueum. The guy on the scene just said "We're operating
on 'Moose Time.'" Maybe I'm just oversensitive because of that New
York Press thing, but that sounded suspiciously like "Colored People's
Time," the epithet meaning that black people are always late for anything,
save music or dance. Mr. Moose is a black man. Maybe it's splitting
hairs, but that shit annoys me.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
24, 2002 at 14:15:04 (EDT)
In which, I get mad again at a legitimately
New York Press has an article in this week's issue that really
pisses me off. It's sort of pitched at the same level as their
Williamsburg-bashing pieces in the "Best
of Manhattan" issue: inflammatory and offensive, refusing
to see the bigger picture. I love it. In this case, the guy, Tim Hall,
is all upset because he lives in a mostly black neighborhood and doesn't
like it. I have to assume he's white since his delivery follows all
the usual 'white backlash' angles: drug-dealing is rampant, blacks
want special treatment without reciprocation, brokers are in a frenzy
to gentrify, black men spit when he comes into sight. One wonders
how long he has been in New York, since his shock at seeing graffiti
and overpriced apartments seem too innocent for somebody who has spent
any time here.
This irks me more than it usually would because he is talking about
my neighborhood. I live in Clinton
Hill, or more correctly, the small strip of Greene Ave that
lies outside of the Clinton Hill area on the historical maps mounted
on the lamp posts outside my building. I know a little bit about
it, as a white guy in a predominantly black neighborhood, and I
know he's full of shit. Or full of fear. I can't help but wonder
if the "South Park"-styled piece in Bowling for Columbine
was not accurate in its conclusion that White America wallows in
fear, and always has. This guy definitely is. He's disgusted that
realtors are popping up all over the place and trying to sell houses
at inflated prices, apparently assuming the area is about to blow
up and become, as his friend excitedly tells him, "the New
Williamsburg!" While Realtors annoy everybody with their parasitic
relationship with this city, it can hardly be said that this neighborhood
is the only one suffering from too much attention. Maybe he pines
for the days when Realtors didn't even bother with this neighborhood,
back when 1 out of every 5 brownstones was a burned-out shell left
over form the '77 riot. But something tells me Mr. Hall arrived
much more recently than that.
But let's give him the benefit of the doubt: he doesn't want Clinton
Hill/Bed-Stuy to become Williamsburg.
Fair enough, neither do I. But usually in this sort of equation,
one professes such a desire in hopes of maintaining a neighborhood's
cultural integrity. In short, nobody wants the good aspects of their
home messed up by a bunch of suspiciously wealthy hipsters.
But Hall doesn't like his neighborhood as it is, and he certainly
doesn't offer any preferable situation, so having an opinion about
this issue is moot. He despises the people who were born and raised
here, taking personal offense at such bathos as graffiti, drug-dealing,
spitting, and even the use of the word "Sister".
Is he kidding me with this shit?
He's convinced that black folk are out to get him, except for a
couple 'good negros', including his Rasta neighbor and the elderly
black man at the C-Town who sympathized with him when his debit
card didn't work. I think I can see what's going on here: he really
wants to live in the deep south, pre-1960. Instead of black men
spitting when he walks by, he'd like them to step off the sidewalk
and remove their hats. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it
sure doesn't seem too far from the tone of his article. He has a
weird superiority complex going that assumes anybody gives a damn
about his existence. Well, they don't. If guys are spitting because
of you, then you ought to feel good because at least they are acknowledging
your presence. What's more likely is this guy rented a pad here
because, as everyone knows, it's cheaper here than Park Slope. What
he didn't count on was a dearth of accessible, brochure-ready citizenry.
Didn't he see Do
the Right Thing? He acts like he's the first white person
to ever live here, when in reality (as he himself mentions in discussing
the people in his building) the neighborhood is quite diverse. The
stick in his craw is the fact that blacks are in the majority. He's
all for the melting pot , so long as the base always consists of
Yes, there aren't as many cool restaurants and bars here (though
it's hardly the "serviceless wasteland of simmering racial
hostility," as he pleasantly puts it). I mean, that's what's
really lacking here, isn't it? This is a much more residential area
than the hot neighborhoods of Brooklyn. It's a long way from having
the 5th and 7th avenues of Park Slope, or Smith and Court streets
of Boerum and Cobble Hill. It's light years from being Brooklyn
Heights. But if is were to undergo even a little bit of Williamsburgization,
it would start to get like that. Hall doesn't want that? Not even
a little bit? Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy will never become Williamsburg;
as the New York Press points out, Williamsburg never had a face,
so its appropriation by hipsters (or whatever they are) was fairly
simple. It won't happen here like that; if anything, this area will
just become more like Fort Greene. And while not perfect, we could
do a lot worse.
In the end, I'd tell Hall to get the hell out of the neighborhood
if he's so unhappy, but it's clear he'd find a way to make himself
miserable wherever he chooses to live. If I knew what he looked
like, I'd be sure to spit when walked by.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
York Magazine's description of my neighborhood
23, 2002 at 13:04:15 (EDT)
In which I start adding junk to this site
So the reason my CGI comments add-on didn't work was because it expects
the blogging script to produce a unique ID for each entry. Fair enough,
if I can just figure out how to add the famed $BlogItemNumber$ or
whatever, I'll be set to be ignored on a whole new level.
To make up for my disappointment, I added the little thing
on the right side of the screen so all the world can tell what I
listen to on WinAmp
at a given moment. As you can no doubt see, my musical tastes are
I lke the idea of this thing listing songs; it goes back to something
I realized about rock criticism and how it sucks most of the time.
I came to the conclusion that I didn't want critics to try to explain
music, becuase they never get it right. The only service they could
possibly offer is to tell us what bands they like. No explanation
or bad metaphors, no comparisons to other bands, no use of the word
"blistering." If I really wanna know about the band, I'll
go to All Music
Guide or something.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
23, 2002 at 00:15:40 (EDT)
In which, I misdirect my CGI frustration
on some hack
There's an article in this week's New
Yorker about what Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are respectively
doing post-Seinfeld. It blows. The author, Virginia
Heffernan, ostensibly writes about Jerry Seinfeld's return to
his stand-up roots after figureheading one of the most popular TV
shows of all time. But in discussing his upcoming documentary, Comedian,
she reveals his limitations as a writer concerning herself with the
She claims the few jokes we get to see in the movie "are just
not funny." Then she denounces his appearance on David Letterman's
show because his jokes seemed too Seinfeldy. Well, duh. What
did she expect? That Seinfeld, no spring chicken in the comedy game,
would be able to invent an entirely new persona? I don't really care
if his stuff isn't funny, it seems to me the film is supposed to be
about watching a guy try to build a new act, something few people
have ever seen, I'd wager. That the result is not striking dissimilar
from his old act is moot; if it's new material and it works (even
in that old Seinfeld way), isn't the process the more important focus?
She further reveals that she just doesn't get it when she goes
on to discuss the carry of Larry David, who is now coasting well
on his new show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Listen to what
she says about it, and tell me if this person was perhaps not the
best choice to write about this subject:
The program's title is misleading: "Curb Your Enthusiasm,"
which is shot in Los Angeles, pictures upper-class life as offering
nothing so luxurious as ennui. Rather, the world of David's peers
is filled with never-ending contentionday after day of quarrels
with friends, enemies, and employees.
She misses the simple concept of the title; it's works both ways.
It can be said as a sarcastic comment to someone who lacks drive,
but it can also be uttered to quell someone who is in the throes
of passionate debate. It's like how sometimes you say "I could
care less," but actually mean "I couldn't care less,"
while other times you really do mean "I could care less."
Okay, that's not the best example, but I can't believe Heffernan
couldn't see that side of it. After all, the main characters is
supposed to be a grouchy cynic,
no? Anybody who has ever known a cynic knows the fundamental construction
of their world is always having something negative to add. I try
to do this myself every day, and this is why I'm loved by animals
and circus folk alike.
The whole article feels tacked on to an issue that already seems
a bit thin this week. I dunno, maybe I'm just pissed that David
Denby didn't like Bowling for Columbine. Or maybe I should
stop skipping to the back sections of the magazine first. I thought
of writing an inflammatory letter, but I just know I could never
meet the New Yorker's quota for six-dollar words. Ah, if only this
piece had been published by The
New York Press! They print absolutely every letter they receive,
if not in print, then online. It's actually kind of a fascinating
read, especially if you haven't read the article against which the
angry correspondents rage.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
over body-image issues virtually! (Not Mozilla compatible. Jerks.)
22, 2002 at 14:39:33 (EDT)
In which, I ride out the clock at work
A frightening development may be taking place: I am in the office
today, and so is my cubelette-mate, D. I am here because I had to
deliver a cd-rom and attend a meeting. Back from the meeting I am
to find that D has vacated and found a cubicle somewhere else. This
is alarming, since this shared space was cornerstone of my whole "I
work at home all the time" philosophy. Maybe if I start breaking
everything in sight, they'll force me to work at home.
I guess this isn't so bad. I suppose I should venture out and find
the illustrious cafeteria I've heard so much about. But frankly,
I'm tired of walking. I tried a new route to the office, hoping
to avoid Ground Zero altogether, but this route took even longer.
So forget it. When I leave tonight, I'm going down to 1 WFC, walking
through the building and taking the pedestrian overpass to get to
the subway. That is, unless J contacts me about going to the John
Street Bar to take advantage of their Happy
Not having a lot of computer knowledge is really annoying
me. I spent hours last night trying implement a Comments feature
on the blog, only to be hornswaggled by my own blogging code. Don't
lots of people do this? Why would people use ready-made
code when they can do it the Hard Way? And now today I promised
some guys that I could easily put a link on their site that won't
move, even when people scroll the screen vigorously. Usually when
to find it, whatever the function, on one of those
Then I adjust the code to meet my needs
and then I'm done. In this case, however, I ran into problems because
what I wanted to do was far simpler than any programmers wanted
to bother with.
I searched for the script and came up with a couple things that
were close: a "back to top" link that always stays in
the top right corner, a graphic 'watermark' that stays in the bottom
right corner. When I started messing with the first one, I realized
the code was written rather close-mindedly, and I soon gave up trying
to get it to work. The other script did exactly what I wanted, but
it used a graphic when I wanted it to simply be a text link. So
I wasted a bunch of time in Photoshop, making a graphic that, get
this, looks like plain text. This worked, but then it dawned
on me to go into the code and tell it to do what I wanted. This
code was much more flexible and I soon had my highly-irritating
static text link. It's like those TV logos they put on the screen
so you don't for a second forget you're the asshole
watching Fox. You can see why people would want that on their website.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
21, 2002 at 15:59:07 (EDT)
In which, I remind the people what a bar
Oh yeah, the other night after we saw "Bowling for Columbine," we
retired to Freddy's for drinks and those bizarre videos they always
show. I just wanted to point out that in the time it took me to (leisurely,
I assure you) consume 3 drinks, my colleagues had, respectively, 1,
1, and NONE! At first I thought they were taking their time, but by
my third Brooklyn Lager, I realized with mounting terror, they weren't
drinking any more. Alas! What has this world come to? I'll have to
pay better attention in the future. Perhaps I should declare a "2
drink minimum" when socializing with Mr. Legs.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
21, 2002 at 15:10:45 (EDT)
In which, I commit self-butchery
Working from home again. I was gonna go in, for the sole reason that
it would put me closer to a barbershop. I am in desperate need of
a haircut. I am no longer young enough to simply let a haircut run
rampant over my head. This is mainly due to my hair's inability to
come to a consensus on how to grow on my head these days. The hair
on the sides and the back are trucking along fine, the hair coming
in fast and actually has some substance to it. The hair on top, however,
has all but given up trying and now grows much slower and ever-thinner.
Unfortuantely, it is this hair that must be used as guide for the
better-growing segments of its population; thus, I gotta keep the
sides and back short so they make less of a contrast to what's lacking
on top. This makes perfect sense to me, although B always insists
I look better when the whole mess grows longer. I have no idea what
her logicf is based on; it's patently fallacious. Maybe it's her thing
with Woody Allen. I dunno, she apparently likes a guy with a 70's
film director 'do with a nice bald spot in the center.
Anyway, I hate going to the barber, because they never do what
I want. they cut the top too short, not taking into consideration
the obvious need to let it do its thing, rather hedging the more
fecund parts of my skull. I can never make them understand, and
when the haircut is over, both barber and barbee are thoroughly
humiliated. I can't believe I tipped the last one. Sheesh. I used
to cut my own hair all the time, and last year I got a set of electric
hair clippers to get even more 'professional.' With these I nearly
skinheaded myself, not understanding how the guides on the clippers
work exactly. Having exhausted every normal resource, I have been
forced in recent months to pester B to cut my hair. Usually, after
many days of said pestering, she will relent and actually do it.
This is great for me but traumatic for her. She always thinks she
is doing a horrible job with my hair while cutting (and admittedly,
my head of hair is not exactly the best environment ot hide one's
mistakes), and of course, she didn't want me to get a haircut in
the first place. But it always comes out looking good. Well, as
good as it's gonna get, what with my follicle limitations and all.
And now, for the Point: I was left alone today, and I tried to
cut my own hair again. It's like Ernest Hemingway after they released
him from the loony bin: "Me? Oh, I'm fine. I'd never do anything
like that again, no sir. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must
go in this little room now ..." The worst part is that at first
it looked okay. It was gonna need some touching up, presumably by
B when she got home, but overall it was not bad. Then I got to thinking
about those clippers ...
Left Side of My Brain: You're not seriously considering ...
Right Side of My Brain: Maybe I am! I know how to do it this time!
Left Side of My Brain: No you do not. Last time you had a flattop
for 3 months! Put those clippers away!
Right Side of My Brain: No, I've got it this time. I understand
how to use the guides.
Left Side of My Brain: Oh I can't watch.
[buzzing sounds ensue; follwed by gasps of horror]
Right Side of My Brain: Whoops.
In trying to 'fade' my bottom hairline, I succeeded only in chopping
large holes into the back of my head, leaving me with the appearance
of Zippy the Pinhead. Here is an unretouched photo of the massacre.
It's kind of the wrong angle to really get a feel for it, but I
assure you, it is simply awful.
It's really not clear enough to see the carnage. My only solace
is the simple fact that I am the only perosn on earth who cannot
see the back of my head. After tomorrow, I will have forgotten about
it. Of course, first thing tomorrow, I have a meeting with some
people. I wonder if I can keep my head always facing these two guys
, orbiting the room if need be. If we try to have the meeting in
my cubelet, I'm sunk.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
White folk are so lovable!
20, 2002 at 14:40:29 (EDT)
In which, hipsters are discussed but remain
unknown to us
M and I went to Union
Pool, a bar one block from the Metropolitan
station, that neither of us had ever been to before. I am not sure
how that is possible; M lives right down the street from it (he can
all but see it from his house), and I have always been a big fan of
that is near a subway station. It was a nice enough place, good place
to meet up with people, but ... six dollars for a lil' glass of Jim
Beam? I had two and realized it cost me almost as much as it did to
purchase a whole bottle of Beam (as I did on the way home from the
hardware store the other day). That sort of sucks. But Stella Artois
was cheaper. Williamsburg really has everybody by the balls, doesn't
it? Maybe that's why everybody hates it.
Apropos of the scene, we started discussing 'hipsterism' and the
growing concern surrounding it. Williamsburg is apparently crawling
with hipsters, which, M pointed out, doesn't mean what it did to
Allen Ginsberg. The word was brought back in the past few years
with an ironic slant that implies that someone is posturing themselves
to resemble the old-school hipster in form, but not spirit. This
causes a lot of confusion, because there are probably a few 'true'
hipsters out there, somewhere. I'm not sure who they are, but rest
assured, they're lookin' out for the rest of us. Like "Highway
to Heaven" with black turtlenecks. Beyond that, there seem
to be many discrete shades of faux-hipsterism, but nobody can agree
on what is what. The New
York Press has worked itself into such a lather about hating
hipsters (specifically Williamsburg hipsters), they sometimes get
caught in their own web of bile. In the recent 'Best
of Manhattan' issue much ink is spilled in discussing how much
the place sucks,
although quite a few 'best of Manhattan' awards go over the
train to this neighborhood of ill-repute. But the best line in the
whole issue was in discussing the audience at the Billburg club,
Luxx: "... and
gaggles of posers who clearly do not live in Williamsburg."
So what degree of hipsterism does that put you at, when you want
to half-assedly emulate somebody who is himself trying to half-ass
a style (which is already widely denounced) which apes the trappings
of some beatnik who lived in the Village when it was still a cheap
dump. And that guy probably just wished he lived in Paris the whole
The bottom line with hipsters is comparable to what Steve Albini
said when he was explaining
the Shellac song "Dog & Pony Show":
Its like the child pornography of the world or snuff films
or satanic cults. Everyone accepts as fact that these things exist
but no one has ever witnessed one.
It's the same with hipsters: we all know what they are can spot
'em a mile away, but nobody seems to know any. Nobody thinks of
themselves as a hipster, right? But chances are, if you are of a
particular age bracket, enjoy certain types of music, and dress
in a way that differs even alittle bit from the attire of a fraternity
member, someone at some time has thought to themselves as you strode
past, "Harumph. Fuckin' hipster."
Posted By Jimmy Legs
20, 2002 at 03:05:47 (EDT)
Bowling for Columbine kicked ass! Go give this movie your money. Michael
Moore sometimes has problems making his points and then ramming it
down your throat. But in this piece he seemed to keep from running
it into the ground. The underlying question, never resolved to anybody's
satisfaction, is why do people in the US shoot each other so damn
much? He starts off assuming it's because we have so many fucking
guns and we need stronger gun laws. But then in an extended sequence
focusing on Canada, we see a society that inexplicably can buy all
the guns they want and *doesn't* shoot everyone in sight. How can
it be! There is obviously something very wrong with this Utopia, the
guns are symptom, the NRA is a symptom, Bush's approval ratings are
a symptom. Whatever the cause, I get the impression that violent movies
and even Charlton Heston are not to blame (although Heston's got a
lot of explaining to do).
I spent the whole day fixing up the basement and the back porch.
I hung the big ass rug like I said earlier, and after some regluing
it actually seems to be holding. It looks like a cheap-ass rug store
in the basement now. I need to get at least one more rug to enclose
the 'room within ia room' thing I've got going, and then I need
to put up some cardboard to cover some other empty spots. Then it's
time to make it purty! I don't think that's possible.
Posted By Jimmy Legs