Friday, April 25, 2003 at 11:04:50 (EDT)

A pill and some swill will fill the bill
Let's hear it for the B48! This bus goes up and down Classon and Franklin Aves, which make sit ideal to get to and from Williamsburg. We went up there last night to score free drinks at Planet Thailand where they were having a party for the Brooklyn International Film Festival. Unbeknownst to me they were only giving away Campari, just straight Campari on ice. Bleah. A quick search reveals that Campari is almost always mixed with other alcohols, or at least masked with juice or soda. The whole apéritif thing misses a foothold for cheapskates in Billburg.

We hung out at the Sweetwater for a while ($3 Guinness on Thursdays!), but they already folded in favor of the smoking ban, so it was a little like hanging out in somebody's parents' rumpus room. Maybe it was also because somebody put DRI on the jukebox.

As the hour waned, we headed to Metropolitan and Lorimer to catch the B48. We had about a half hour to wait, so we ducked into Metropolitan, a bar I had always meant to check out. It's a pretty nice place, plus they were letting us smoke. It was, in some ways, my ideal bus stop. The bus arrived and basically chauffeured us back to our respective neighborhoods. I gotta remember to tell the little guy with glasses who works at the Sardine Can about it. He lives down in Prospect Heights and takes three trains in a roundabout course to get to work, and would probably benefit from the straight shot the B48 follows. Such a good Samaritan, I.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Thursday, April 24, 2003 at 14:52:08 (EDT)

I want this thing out of me: I. Want. Out.
Dear god I have absolutely no distractions in this place. I forgot to bring a book or a magazine, the web is starting to get on my nerves, I have no work to do that can't be put off til much later, I have no food, and of course I can't leave the floor without having to go through more temp ID rigmarole. Plus my boss, who told me to come in all day so we could meet about how to best fix Everything That Everybody Complains About, keeps dodging me and wandering talking to anyone but me. I can't really blame him, the stuff we're to discuss is super dry, and we're talking about people who could get excited over a discussion of wireless network cards. It's also unclear if this conversation really needed to happen in the same physical location. I could be home right now, feeding my cat baby food or something, but instead I am sitting in a sterile office, drinking tea, and making sure my hands are really clean.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
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Thursday, April 24, 2003 at 11:36:03 (EDT)

My band is better than your band
Good Mclusky write-up and photos at She talked to the guys in the band and apparently Andy, the guitarist wasn't really thrilled with the show. There were some sound problems here and there, but that certainly shouldn't take away from the good parts of the set. Eh, maybe it's better if the band ends up dissatisfied a little; keeps 'em honest.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
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Thursday, April 24, 2003 at 11:11:25 (EDT)

The Man Who Wasn't There tries to go to his friggin' job
To borrow a phrase from the inimitable Mr. Bernstein, "this is some suck."

I'm in the office today. I haven't been here for months, choosing rather to telecommute from the comfort of my own boudoir. But circumstances beyond my control have forced me to get up at the ungodly hour of 7:45 and put on clothes and wait for the subway. Just like everybody else does. The whole getting up and commuting part of working doesn't bother me; I feel I could jump back into this life if need be. But what I can't stand is everything that happens after I get in the building.

Frequent visitors to this site will recall that my Employee ID badge expired at the turn of the new year. This should make it impossible for me to gain entry to these premises, but on a couple of occasions I somehow managed to get in by the grace of well-meaning but ineffectual security guards. To remedy this, my boss need only fax a memo to the security desk on company letterhead and request that my access be extended through this year. I have asked him repeatedly to do this one, simple task. Again and again. I emailed, I called, I left post-it notes on his desk on my rare visits to the office. It has now been four and one-half months since my access was curtailed.

I stride in this morning, swiped my card, and ... zilch.

My card does not work at all. I angrily call my boss and ask him what to do. "Go to the Visitor's Desk and get a temporary pass."

That's just great.

I go to the desk and get my visitor's pass. Due to increased security concerns, getting a visitor's pass is no longer as simple as slapping on an adhesive label marked "VISITOR". Now you actually get a photo ID card, with a picture they take on the spot. Along with my other (expired of course) ID cards, I have a nice little collection of Really Bad Pictures of Me.

Armed with my new ID (Visitor #33529!) I approach the security checkpoint. I have to put all my stuff through the metal detector. The guard sees my expired ID and starts asking me stuff about it. I just keep nodding and saying "Oh? Okay, thanks!" because his tone is that of counsel. I get up to my floor, and of course this card doesn't open the door, even when slid between the door and latch. Eventually a coworker shows up and lets me in. The nightmare is over. Not quite.

Someone is at my tiny, tiny desk. I knew that my phone had been disconnected but I still assumed I'd have some place to sit. I ask my boss what to do (foolish boy, when will you learn to stop asking this guy for stuff?), and he puts me across from his cubicle, at the desk of a guy who's on vacation this week.

I feel like a temp on his first day.

I am surrounded by Beanie Babies, a "#1 Dad" mug, photos of some rather goofy-looking children, and several motivational flyers. This is my favorite:

Why Projects Fail? [sic]

Unrealistic Schedules
Inappropriate Staffing
Changing Requirements During Development
Poor Quality Work
Believing in Magic

I like this one because you could replace the title with the name of the department I work most closely with and it would pretty much match up with how they like to work. In fact, I think I've heard them trumpet their brilliant bad ideas in this manner: "On our next project we're gonna turn things around! Yeah! How will we do it? [counts out on fingers while listing] Unrealistic Schedules! Inappropriate Staffing! Poor Quality Work! And the most important of all ... Believing in Magic!" It's really not so different than that conference call I was on last week.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

"Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream?" - H. Simpson
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Wednesday, April 23, 2003 at 15:45:01 (EDT)

Fuck This Band
Since all my pals are lame, I had to go to the Mclusky show by myself. It worked out rather well, though. Good luck on the three (!) trains I took to the Mercury Lounge, and I got there just before they started playing. I was saddened to see the "No Re-Entry" signs on the door, but I figured I could stand it for the hour I'd probably be in there.

Who are the people at the Mercury that hang out in the bar area? It's a tiny space and it's always crowded, at least at night. I guess it's not as noisy as the performance space, but really, what's the point of being there if you're not watching the show?

I caught the end of the Koufax set; they were okay, but kind of too soft-sounding for my tastes. They seemed to have their own fan base, many of whom cleared out when their set ended. I got a pretty good spot on the floor from which to view the band, and after a little waiting, they started in. Mclusky puts on a very good live show. It would have been better if I could smoke, but I guess I gotta get used to it. They played mostly stuff from their new album, which is just as well since that's all I have. I did manage to download a few older songs, all of which they played. It was weird, here's a band I am just getting into and I knew every single song they played, save the stuff they told us was new. They sang the songs a little differently than the recorded versions; I would have preferred if they had really changed up the songs a la Shellac, but they're still a pretty young band. I think you need to play together for many years to be able to pull of what Shellac does onstage.

Also like Shellac, the bass player did most of the inter-song banter. He didn't have the raconteurism of a Bob Weston, but he made some good jokes at the audience's expense. These shmoes in front of the guitarist kept calling out "To Hell with Good Intentions!" over and over. This is just inexcusable. These guys are requesting a song off the new album, which this tour is obviously supporting. They started shouting for it after the first song. Gimme a break, dudes. What were they hoping for? That the whole room would hear them shouting, so that when the band eventually go around to playing it (which they were anyway), these dorks could feel like they really accomplished something? Duh. No wonder Shellac hates requests.

Here are the songs I think they played (Dethink was the encore song):

  • Lighsabre Cocksucking Blues
  • No New Wave No Fun
  • Collegen Rock
  • What We've Learned
  • Dethink to Survive
  • To Hell with Good Intentions
  • Alan is a Cowboy Killer
  • Gareth Brown Says
  • Chases
  • Whoyouknow
  • Whiteliberalonwhiteliberalaction
  • Exciting Whistle Ah!
  • Joy

I'm not positive on all these songs, after all I only got their record a couple weeks ago. But the good thing about Mclusky is you can hear most of their songs once and have it memorized. They repeat themselves a lot, but in a good way. Stupid is another band that also uses reptitive phrases to good measure. Mclusky played a few new songs, one of which was very reminiscent of the old band Stump, but more rock'n'rollesque. I need to get that old Stump stuff again. They were cool.

Oddly, it turns out that the song I like by them the most was sung by the bass player, not unlike the Trail of Dead show last week. I wonder what this means. They played an encore, which I thought was kinda dumb, but when the music's this good I can't complain. Well, okay, I can. They do this big ending thing where they drop their guitars and let 'em hum and feedback for like 5 minutes while they decided whether or not they have enough time to play one more song. If they had just played one more song there'd be no problem, plus they'd save a couple of minutes for the next band that was supposed to go on a half-hour before.

But that's water under the bridge. The show rocked, despite me getting pegged by a drumstick the drummer kept flinging at the audience. I was elated by the end of the show, not drunk, and smoke-free. Ah, I feel so healthy! I rode home and went to the Alibi to catch up with the folks too lazy to leave Brooklyn.

Today I do not feel so elated, but at least I found out Decatur will be okay. Her tests were all negative for all the horrible cat diseases, so this afternoon I will pick her up. Hubcap will not be pleased since he's been quite happy living in a one-cat household.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Wednesday, April 23, 2003 at 10:16:52 (EDT)

Guns guns guns on the roof
Just like to start off today with this:

'Mortal Kombat' Ad Attacked for Violent Imagery

Why are people still attacking stuff like this? Sure, they say violent games affect impressionable kids (who are these pushovers anyway?), but what message is sent by restricting violence everywhere except in the physical world? Didn't we just have a war? What about that violent imagery?

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003 at 17:56:05 (EDT)

I dig holes because, because I dig holes
Yet again, a cat of mine is at the vet's. And this ain't no quick checkup, neither. Decatur will be spending the night at the Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital, because she has a fever that is one-degree away from life-threatening. The fever has already gone down some, but not enough to release her back into my care. Ugh, they're probably calling Pet Protective Services right now to haul me off to Bad Pet Owner Prison. But I swear she didn't seem that feverish to me. It's so hard to tell with little animals. But late or not, she's there now, and getting fixed up. We await test results in the morning. It's kinda like waiting for the results of an AIDS test, except instead of getting your results, you find out if you were responsible for getting a cute and fuzzy creature deathly ill. My self-esteem is soaring.

How to take one's mind off it? Dig a hole! I just dug up half my backyard, in preparation for the big reseeding that should happen soon. We're gonna have a huge lush, lawn-like yard, further attempting to develop aspects we learned in suburbia here in the urban landscape. Once the lawn is set, out comes the croquet sets and the fine china teapots.

But for now it's me sweating and pulling muscles in my back. The back yard is about 20'x40' but it's all we've got. It's one of the major factors that's keeping us from buying an apartment. Well, one of them. We're looking for a confluence of criteria that incorporates the yard aspect, along with the ground-floor aspect, the band-practice aspect, and the duplex aspect. Oh, and also the no-other-annoying-roommate aspect.

Tonight I again find myself struggling to find accompaniment to a music show. This time all my friends are in town; they're just lame. I'm leaning on M the hardest, since he foolishly declared he liked a song by tonight's main attraction, Mclusky. B also likes them, but she seems too absorbed in reading Oscar Wilde all night. Or until she falls asleep. Anybody else who's interested, it's:

Mclusky, at the Mercury Lounge, at 9:30 PM, with The Standard, Koufax, Miracle of 86.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Monday, April 21, 2003 at 23:44:05 (EDT)

The man who wasn't there until the last page
I still don't really exist, at least in Google's eyes. The bot has my site listed again, but none of the archives. But it disappoints me to report that not only is my site listed absolutely last on a list of 26 pages, but your humble author actually paged through all 26 pages to find it. This is not good.

Speaking of not good, I get to take another trip to the vet tomorrow, as Decatur has not improved much. She actually bothered to come upstairs this evening, but she just sits on the futon like a fuzzy door stop.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Monday, April 21, 2003 at 10:01:49 (EDT)

The waiting is the easier part
There must be something wrong with my company's mail server, I haven't received any work yet today. I tested the account by sending myself some mail through my Yahoo address, and it worked, but something tells me I will soon be crushed under an avalanche of "Priority: HIGH" messages when the server gets going.

But for now I am ensconced in an oasis of simpler tasks and coffee-drinking. This would be more pleasant if it didn't look like I'd have to take another cat to the vet. Now Decatur is lethargic and I haven't seen her eat anything for a while. Great. I have no idea what could be wrong with her, she's not the type to get into fights with the neighborhood tomcats. The vet is gonna think I'm some kind of negligent owner. At least Decatur should be easier to get to and from the vet's; she weighs like five pounds and she doesn't fight the cat carrier as much. This is what I have to look forward to.

In other news, Mclusky is playing the Mercury Lounge on Tuesday. That's Earth Day! I will celebrate Earth Day by not driving a car all day. Of course I do this every day, but it helps every so often to attach some significance to something you do anyway. Anyhow, Mclusky goes on at 9:30, which seems kinda early. I can't remember if the Mercury is a place where shows happen on time or not. I hope so, because I can only spend so much time indoors now. I want to be out there in the fresh air, enjoying Mother Earth, like She wan meant to be enjoyed: standing on the sidewalk puffing away on a Parliament.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Sunday, April 20, 2003 at 02:31:23 (EDT)

If I could make a list of my mistakes and regrets, Irving Plaza
B is back and I'm scrambling to make up for all the unproductive time that passed while she was away. I cleaned up our sty of a room and rode my bike around with A. We ended up in Cobble Hill, as we always seem to do. A bought another capo and we drank bloody marys at the mostly nonsmoking Sherwood Cafe. Then B and I went to see ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. If I can help it, I won't ever go to Irving Plaza again, but I fear there will always be bands I liked that end up there. It's just kind of a lousy venue. Sure, it seems like a good idea at first: not too huge, a good amount of audience space, and heck, the sound system looks impressive. But it all falls away during actual performances. There has got to be a better way to mix to the sound at these shows. Granted, Trail of Dead sounded pretty good, but I think they could have done better. The real victims were the opening acts. Sort of.

The first band was The Fire Ups, whose guitarist is a recently-estranged friend of B's. I knew way too much about this band before I ever saw them, so I don't know how accurate my reactions are. But first and foremost, I don't think the sound guy knew what he was doing. We were right in front of the guitar amp but all we heard was bass bass bass. And not particularly compelling bass, either. I think B was correct in her assessment that they will someday be a great band, but for now they have some work to do. I think the nonsmoking policy was already starting to kick in for me, even this early. They had their moments, but something's missing.

America is Waiting took the stage next and I thought they were gonna be good. I was wrong. Even if they had been better, I find that I can't enjoy myself if the band looks like they're not enjoying themselves. These guys looked like they had to play a bitchin' set to save their lives. Like Betty Shabazz said to Malcolm X, "Nobody so young should be so serious." These guys were much closer in the emo world to what Trail of Dead do, but they mistake earnestness for interesting songwriting. You can't start every song with a 5-minute intro of harmonics, rumbling bass, and feedback. You just can't. Stop it. The lead singer also got my goat as he kept imploring the audience to give him some "action." I think he wanted people to dance or something, but you can't just tell the audience to get funky. Your job as a musician is to provide impetus to boogie. He pulled a superlame Eddie Vedderish move by climbing up the speakers and diving into the audience. But even he wasn't up to the task, merely cannonballing into the crowd, instead of the belly-flop the occasion deserved. Perhaps I'm too critical, but recall that I couldn't smoke.

Trail of Dead, on the other hand, were quite good. I hate feeling like one of those people who worships the headliners and pooh-poohs the openers, but in this case it was called for. TOD sounded better, had a better stage presence, and kicked out the jams appropriately. They played "Baudelaire" which I think is my favorite song, and I was surprised to see that the bass player sings lead on that. Maybe that's why it sounds so different. He only sang one other song, which is too bad. He reminds me of a young, emo-influenced Neil Diamond. Yes, he's that good.

As much as I liked their set, I could only get into it so much. The atmosphere of Irving Plaza bugs me. If Shellac was playing, sure, I'd be all into it, no matter what. But for a lesser band, this place was too crowded and too impersonal. We have to come back next month for Les Savy Fav, but in the meantime I think I'll stick with the little clubs, like Mercury Lounge for Mclusky. At least I can go outside to smoke and get back in. Irving Plaza had signs up saying "No re-entry ... even to step outside for a cigarette."

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Week of April 20-26, 2003

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