Friday, November 08, 2002 at 18:57:31 (EST)

In lighter news
McDonald's is closing a few of their stores! I feel bad for the guys who work there, but it's gotta be a good thing for Humankind. My hope is that for each of the stores shut down, a Mom & Pop diner opens in its place and becomes a beacon unto the community. The food quality may not be any better, but at least there's no pernicious agenda behind it like Mickey D. And what's up with that new smaller, mute version of Grimace? I did vote for Mayor McCheese in the last mayoral election, but he did not win.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
McDonald's to Close 175 Restaurants

Friday, November 08, 2002 at 18:18:10 (EST)

In which I dish about our old roommate
So we go to the party last night. I dunno what I was thinking, I knew it wouldn't be my scene. But I suppose I always wanted to see what parties like this were. It wasn't much different than a regular party, except they were playing generally crappy music. But that was different enough. The crowd wasn't nearly as bad as the lot the time M took me to Sway so he could hit on the coat check girl. Yes, that was worse. So we had a couple of drinks and discovered a very drunk, very irate B waiting for us.

She had had a stressful day. She had just given a big presentation in her class just before coming to the party, and upon arriving at said party, she proceeded to drink them out of their Jameson's supply. The reason being that she knew she was gonna confront our old roommate and make known her displeasure with his dumping of us. An oft-told tale, the guy who we lived with since moving here had moved his then-girlfriend in with us. Immediately thereafter, he decided he didn't like her anymore, yet continued to live in the same small room with her for many months. Meanwhile, he became less and less social with us; soon he wouldn't hang out with us at all. Despite his dislike for this woman, he would often cite her presence as a reason he couldn't go out ("She's not feeling well tonight, so we'll just stay in ..."). He would often confide to B how he disliked her, and how he planned to break up with her someday. That someday happened last March when, unbeknownst to us, he packed up his belongings and disappeared one afternoon. He didn't tell us what he was doing, and he left his girlfriend an explanatory letter on her bed. Now, this is fine if you're leaving town, to start a new life under an assumed identity. But he just moved to Queens. So we were stuck with his old girlfriend (whom we had grown to detest), and he happily skipped off into his new life. Still, we believed in the break-up and supported his decision to get the hell away from the she-beast. But in doing so, he managed to screw us over in the process. Since then, he has never contacted us, save my brief interaction with him the other night in Williamsburg. Our only conclusion form all this has been that he secretly hated us too, and wanted to wash his hands of the lot of us in one fell swoop. That's hard to swallow, since we never saw much evidence that he disliked us. But then again, when his girlfriend came home that fateful night in March, she also claimed total ignorance of the situation.

Anyhow, this has all been percolating away for the past 8 months, and B had finally reached her boiling point. Most of this guy's new friends are old college pals of B's, and so the prospect of avoiding him forever was impossible. So she got tanked and told him off. I wish I had the guts to do it, but to her credit, she was really drunk. According to her testimony, she told him how annoyed and hurt this whole thing made her, and what a bad friend he had been to her. His response was that he had assumed that it was we who no longer wanted anything to do with him, as though we had told him to kiss off. I realized later that this view required the least effort on his part, which probably made it his position of choice. He seemed conciliatory, saying "Let's e-mail," but B is skeptical. She is not gonna write first. Already things seem grim as he has yet to write her. Only time will tell, but if he doesn't make at least a little effort, we'll know that our first supposition was correct. Stay tuned to this blog as this exciting personal drama unfolds!

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Thursday, November 07, 2002 at 17:33:30 (EST)

In which my musical genius keeps me out of the office
I was gonna go in the office today, but when I got up, it just didn't seem so important to make an appearance there. One of my coworkers mentioned that my boss was looking into getting me and D separate cubicles, which would suck because I wouldn't have that as an excuse (although I have yet to prodded for one). Still, my own cubicle might mean less focus on whether I was there or not. And who knows? Maybe I could get one of the good cubes near the window. Not likely. So I stayed here and thought up a list of demands for my boss if he demanded that I come in:

Choose Three of the Following:

  • Hire me on permanently and put an end to this wasteful 'consultant' thing
  • Give me a big fat raise
  • Pay for my health and vacation benefits (and I want a paid month off every year)
  • Buy me the brownstone of my dreams

I am definitely way overdue for a raise or some official status change. I have working there for over 2 years without any difference, except that I now do the job of ten men. Well, more like three. But the company is all limp-wristed about it, "Oh, our building got smashed, we lost a lot of business, waah..." I see the earnings reports, and I can tell ya, they didn't do so bad in the wake of 9/11. In some ways it seems to have helped the company. But I didn't come here to talk about that.

The real reason I stayed home is that, unbeknownst to me, I was full of musical fervor this afternoon. I finally wrote some lyrics to a song we've been working on for a while. Nothing special, I think I was trying to do something like the Feelies on their first album. So I messed around with a recording we made previously, added the vocals and another guitar track that could also be for the bass. Then I continued some rudimentary work on some other songlets I came up with last night. Oh, happy day. I usually can't think of anything original to play, rather waiting for one of the other guys to take the lead. Since we switch around on the instruments, if I'm not feeling it, I just lay claim to the bass and nobody hassles me about new songs. Ah, the bass. So musical, yet so overlooked.

I bought some way too expensive gaffer's tape and have been taping up everything. I once read a story in "News of the Weird" about a teenage boy who has asphyxiated due to wrapping duct tape around his head. When questioned, his sister said, "He just really liked duct tape." Tragic though it may be, I understand what that little boy felt like (except for the whole dying part). A good roll of tape means anything can be fixed or patched. I just hung an electric blanket off a duct in the basement, furthering my half-assed soundproofing regimen. Works like a charm.

After practice tonight, we were invited to a zine party. I'm supposed to meet B there, but I'm gonna take the guys in the band as backup. I think I only know like 2 of the people related to the zine, and one of them is my former roommate who negated my existence. That's a hard one to forgive'n'forget, but maybe I shouldn't care about it. I ran into him a few weeks ago and it wasn't horrible. It also wasn't like talking to somebody who you had lived with for almost 2 years. It was like running into somebody you met once or twice. So that sucks, but everybody else is moving on with their lives, I suppose I should as well. But I do love to hold grudges. I swear few things get me as worked up over the prospect of somebody doin' me wrong, just for the self-righteous feelings I can entertain, real or imagined.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

The Knack's "My Sharona" is the greatest song of all time, oh yes.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002 at 11:12:21 (EST)

In which I explain why the elections turned out so badly
I am now firmly convinced that McDonald's and the other major mass feedlots of America have been putting some new chemical in their food that makes Americans even stupider than usual. Hey, I know we've had a couple of rough years. Don't forget, my building got smooshed when they knocked down the WTC towers. I'm lucky to still have a job, even if it did move to Jersey for most of the year. Unemployment is up, paranoia is prevalent in our political discourse. It still makes most people antsy to travel by plane, or even open their friggin' mail! Yes, I know it all, but people: that's no reason to vote Republican!!

Everybody used to know that when you have a Republican presidential administration, your Congress should be Democrat-heavy. And vice-versa, maybe. Now we've got Republican-controlled Everything. Are you people morons or something? Yes, you are. They'll be no stopping these freaks now, who won't stop until they've either killed all the brown people in the world, or started nuclear war. I feel safer already.

Lots of people will tell you there's no difference between the two major parties, and while I feel there should be room for many more voices in politics, there's no way I would ever confuse the new form of Republican for a Democrat. I suppose the Democrats have already been in a cowering stance for the past two years, so this election brings nothing new for them. In a way, I don't think I'd mind so much if it was actual Republicans, rather than this scary Bush-inspired version. Didn't Republicans used to be about reducing government in people's lives, about maintaining personal freedoms? That's why the NRA has been traditionally Republican, as they were anti-gun control. Maybe that's not the best example of why I would like to see old-school Republicans, but it does give a benchmark of how far I will go at this point to draw the distinction.

"Republican" these days means increasing government presence in people's lives. It means Big Brother is Watching You, the PATRIOT Act not only encourages informing on your neighbors, but characterizes it as your duty as a citizen. Bush keeps getting more power, for reasons never adequately explained to the American public. It reminds me of the case in pre-Revolutionary America, when a defendant insisted on hearing the evidence of her accusation. The judge said something like "The Court has seen the evidence and is satisfied of your guilt."

Of course, in this town, we are subjected to a new convert to Republicanism, who has already lorded it over us at the slightest whim. Bloomberg's smoking ban is bizarre policy for a guy who should be worried about the deficit Guiliani left behind, instead of attending city council meetings to say things like "If smoking is banned, people will drink more!"

Ah, for once I wish I had a car so I could have a bumper sticker that reads "Don't Blame Me—I'm Committing Suicide." Or something similar. Have you seen the photos of various Republicans jumping for joy because they won again? Those pictures always look like somebody at a party who is forcing everybody to play a game and then they win it. Yea! My game, my rules! I win!

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Soon it won't be just a funny website

Tuesday, November 05, 2002 at 15:55:37 (EST)

Jimmy Legs' Tour of New York City
The dearth of bloggness of late has been due to the fact that I have been in recovery for the past 48 hours. A's visit ended up exhausting yet thoroughly satisfying. I realized that this was the first time I have been specifically visited by somebody. In the past, we have entertained and housed many of B's friends (and mine by association), but to date I have not hosted anybody whose sole reason for coming was to see yours truly. Well, there was the time when my old roommate stayed here, but I can't really count that since he is nuts.

A and I used to sing a song that expressed our deepest sentiments regarding the question, "What shall we do tonight?" The song went like this:

We're gonnnnnnaaaaa ... drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink & drink ...

In many ways, this sums up this past weekend quite nicely. Not since I was a grad student and college instructor have I drunk so much, so consistently, for so long. And yet, with the tutelage of A, I did not have a hangover all weekend. Not to say I felt like a million bucks every day I sprang outta bed. Since before he showed up, I had been nursing a sniffly cold-like thing that was getting to me a little. It did not really slow me down, but it was present most of the weekend. Had I been completely healthy, I don't think sleep or normal mealtimes would have been able to stop me from continuing the boozefest.

But this weekend was not all about drinking! No! There was also, um ... there was a guy, and some other guy ... oh yeah! We saw a bunch of bands Friday night at CBGB's. On Saturday we got some culture at the Whitney, which is one kick-ass museum, to say the least. We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, braving the gale-force winds and camera-happy tourists. We strolled around City Hall; A resisted the Ground Zero lure, saying "If I wanted to get depressed, I'd look at my bank account."

We had dinner at Smith's Bar & Restaurant, an old-school joint on 8th Ave off of Times Square. Our waiter was an ancient man who somehow thought he was doing us a favor by waiting until after our food arrived to bring our much-needed beers. When he didn't show with the pints in an appropriate amount of time, A went to the bar and ordered two more. So when the waiter brought the beers we had ordered a half-hour before to the table, he was very confused indeed by the presence of other beverages. It took us 5 minutes to explain the situation to him, and only after assuring him that we'd drink all the beer and then some, he departed, somewhat brusquely.

Normally, I'd steer clear of Times Square, especially on a Saturday, but we were there to see Les Claypool's newest spinoff, The Flying Frog Brigade. They performed at The World, the ridiculously over-the-top space operated by the World Wrestling Federation, or whatever they're called now. Not my kind of place at all; I really don't like large venues, they seem too impersonal. But the sound was flawless, and the band was goofy enough and talented enough to make it worthwhile. What can you say about Claypool and his ilk? I would love to see a documentary that actually shed some light onto the mind of this weirdo. He's probably the only guy to take this sort of Zappaesque comic bizarreness to the mainstream, and the product arrives mostly intact, so I gotta hand it to him. The audience was almost entirely made up of high school kids, near as I can figure. In a way, I'm kind of glad I grew up before this sort of thing made it to the Big Time. Even kids who seek out the unusual in music today rarely get the genuine article, and for their mall-based culture, this was probably as close as they'd get. But there was still a sense of the derivative, that these kids were miming what they thought was appropriate behavior for a rock show. Few people danced, and the near-constant stream of crowd surfers seemed more like kids on a pony ride at a birthday party. They were gently carried forward into the waiting arms of the many bouncers at the front of the stage, who carefully plucked them out and sent them on their way. In my book, you can't crowd surf unless you are stage-diving. The ten foot 'moat' in front of the stage negated this possibility, thus the surfing lacked any spontaneous, crazy energy that it would have had at, say, a Bad Brains concert in the 80's. The kids had a good time, but not too good a time. At least there seemed to be a lot of pot smoking going on. The place reeked.

When we left, we were treated to an odd spectacle: two female cops were wrestling a small, skinny, teenage girl to the ground, angrily putting cuffs on her. One of her friends, another teenager, was screaming her head off, trying to get to her to protect her or something. She was restrained by a male friend of hers, who at one point had to throw her over his shoulder just to get her away from the scene. We asked some rubberneckers what was going on, and they said the lady cops had been trying to disperse the crowd, and the young lady had called one of the cops a "fucking cunt." The now-enraged cops reportedly maced the girl and then began the cuffing & stuffing procedure that we had witnessed. Now, no disrespect to cops who do their job and walk that line between firmness and generosity (there must be some like that, I guess), but these cops were totally out of control. To mace and throw a small girl to the sidewalk for a mere profanity is total overkill. I know it's an 'arrestable offense' to swear at cops, but their response was way overblown. They also arrested some other kid who probably spoke ill of their tactics. When they were all in the police car, another spectator approached the vehicle and started a slow, sarcastic round of applause. The lady cops jumped out of their car and made for the guy. Apparently clapping is also against the law, and may result in a face full of mace. Finally, they relented with no further beatings. The other cops on the scene were trying to get everybody out of there, and they were actually saying "Move along, nothing to see here." That was classic. We were in the dead center of Times Square, the brightest, noisiest place this side of Shanghai, and we had just watched cops attack and arrest a couple of kids. There was most certainly something to see.

After much difficulty and bar-hopping (the Nancy Whiskey Pub was, for the first time in recent memory, too crowded to bear, plus they had a funny band wedged in there as well), we returned to Clinton Hill and hung out at the Alibi until they closed. We eventually got up on Sunday and watched the marathon for a while. It's always soothing to watch others in worse shape than you. Of course, these people were running a marathon, I was just trying not to fall over from lack of coffee. We headed over to Los Pollitos for food, then to Freddy's to begin the beer-gorging procedure that did not stop until 2 AM. They had a video playing that spliced together b-movie footage, commercials, and whatever else that could be found, including the opening credits to like every single TV show, ever. It was mesmerizing. I can't imagine the life of the guy who sits around and makes these things. When you see like 2 minutes of it, it's hilarious, but after four hours it becomes more than a little disturbing.

A left yesterday afternoon, but not before I got him over to Mike's Coffee Shop. I always feel that's a good way to end a visit to my neighborhood. That and the presence of cute art school girls all over the place makes it that much more endearing. After he took off, I realized my cold had returned for one final show, and that's also when the exhaustion set in. I found that my motor skills were supremely limited and I could function less and less as they day wore on. Finally, I put myself to bed and tried to watch a Ken Burns documentary about Thomas Jefferson. B called from her school at 9:30 and asked if I wanted to go out for drinks. Alas, I said, I was down for the count.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

You don't always get a free beer because the bartender likes you

 
 


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