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
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
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 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.
My band is better
than your band
Good Mclusky write-up and photos at Jinners.com.
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.
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?
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
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
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
Here are the songs I think they played (Dethink
was the encore song):
Lighsabre Cocksucking Blues
No New Wave No Fun
What We've Learned
Dethink to Survive
To Hell with Good Intentions
Alan is a Cowboy Killer
Gareth Brown Says
Exciting Whistle Ah!
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.
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?
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
The man who wasn't there until the last
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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."