Saturday, November 08, 2003 at 11:14:45 (EST)

You bet we've got something personal against you
So the burning question this fine, freezing morning is: How Do You Get Wax Off of Clothing? Last night, at the Motor City Bar, and not quite drunk enough to justify it, I blew out a candle M was molesting me with and managed to spray wax all over myself. At first I was more concerned with the wax embedded in my forearm-hair, but as it peeled off I just told everybody it was eczema. But the wax on my shirt is another story. Lucky for me this extensive page says I can get wax out of anything by placing a sheet of paper in between the afflicted item and a hot iron. In theory the wax will melt and seek out the paper, lifting off the fabric. Magic!

Then my next question is, how best to exact my revenge on my roommate for tricking me into spilling wax all over myself (and not in a fun, sexy-sexy way, either). I could trick him into investing in a land scheme and bankrupt him. Or I could put dead spiders in his corn flakes. Or I could convince him that Mr. Bones is the Antichrist.

Or maybe when he least expects it, I'll ambush him with a bucket of wax. Now the trick is determining when exactly he is least expecting to be hit with a bucket of wax. How does one determine these discrete moments?

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Friday, November 07, 2003 at 18:46:27 (EST)

Mr. Big Stuff, who do you think you are?
M found this on the subway the other day. I wish Normal Bob Smith followers would dress up in their Sunday best and go door to door passing out literature like this. Give them Jehovah's Witnesses something to think about! I bet nobody would notice the difference.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
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Friday, November 07, 2003 at 16:08:14 (EST)

All the neighborhood dogs lickin' at my feet
At last year's Dog Costume Contest, somebody from NPR was on hand and did a piece for one of the local shows, The Next Big Thing, I think. This year it looks like coverage was handled by The Morning News' Todd Levin and Geoff Badner. The photos are excellent, as close as the word 'professional' will ever get to this event. The copy concerns the act of dressing up one's dogs, the conclusion being that it's just one more way we humans assert our superiority over our pets. In short, it's all about making fun of dogs. Yet for the full story, why didn't these intrepid journalists interview the guy who was there solely to mock the dogs? Yes, me! Don't I have valuable insight into the psychology of dog costuming and its implications for western culture? Eh, probably not.
[via abbypants]

Posted By Jimmy Legs
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Friday, November 07, 2003 at 02:14:48 (EST)

My friends have all left, and my head is on fire
Stupid Dana and Plug Ugly Michael took me out to dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi. I recommend the Dragon Roll, it kicks ass. Actually everything was delicious, though I seem to prefer anything with eel or tuna in it. Dessert was green tea crème brûlée, perhaps a little out of place in a sushi joint but wonderful nonetheless. Then it was off to O'Connors for some Powers before the show, meeting up with M, Z, and Abby.

At this point I'd like to ask, why does the sound guy play totally inappropriate music between sets, and at an intolerable volume? I guess the sound guy/DJ thinks this is his only chance to shine, so he milks it for all its worth. Well, it ain't worth much. There was so much stalling before Oneida went on that I momentarily forgot what we were doing there. Graciously, Oneida finally took the stage (what's up with that Muppet Show curtain at Southpaw?), and kicked out the jams like nobody's business. They played a couple songs from their People of the North incarnation, forcing Jane to think of something to do on guitar for several songs. On "Up With People" he found a decidedly New Order sound, which I totally got off on. I don't know why more guitar bands don't look to New Order more often to inspire some good riffs. They're really underrated as a guitar band. Seriously.

After Oneida finished, my friends all deserted me because they could not stand the rock that was to come. The tickets were an outrageous $12, so I couldn't see leaving before the headliners came on. Metal Urbain achieved little success when it began in 1977, and even less people know who they are now. But I got to witness their first ever show in New York City, and I must say, it rocked. The guys in the band were almost old enough to be my dad, but they knew what they were doing: turn up the guitars as loud as possible and belt out the hits. It's been a long time since my ears rang after a show, but my ears are ringing now. The show had its technical difficulties (Oneida was kind enough to lend the band their amps; I guess Metal Urbain's amps are stuck in customs), and the lead singer was blatantly reading from idiot cards, but they reached me somehow. They're kind of like a French Ramones, with a drum machine. You can see how Big Black got the idea.

Now I'm home and not particularly looking forward to the workday that awaits me in 7 hours.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Thursday, November 06, 2003 at 11:05:58 (EST)

Screaming at a wall
Have you guys ever noticed that in many movies, when some guy screams, it sounds similar to screaming guys in other movies? Well, I have too. I first noticed it in the Star Wars movies, if you watch all three of them as many times as I have, you will note there is an identical scream used for all three, two for stormtroopers and one for a rebel on the ice planet Hoth. But the scream, a very distinctive "wauuGGGH!", shows up in many other movies. And maybe everybody else already knows about it, but it's news to me. I finally found out what it was: The Wilhelm Scream.

A series of short painful screams performed by an actor were recorded in 1951 for the Warner Brother's film "Distant Drums." They were used for a scene where a man is bitten and dragged underwater by an alligator. The recording was archived into the studio's sound effects library -- and it was used in many of their films since.

So some nobody in 1951 recorded his scream and now it lives on long after his career, if he had one, burnt out. Is that a Hollywood Success Story or what? Reminds me of the anecdote from Say Anything about Ione Skye screaming and hearing the recording in later movies and ads.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Hear the "Classic" Wilhelm Scream
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Thursday, November 06, 2003 at 10:44:58 (EST)

I'm not like you/I'm just like you
I'm not sure what the people behind are after exactly. Their site is like one enormous group blog in which anonymous posters confess their transgressions. I have spent a lot of time on this site, but I fear any day now they're suddenly gonna drop some kind of religious guilt trip on us, or we'll find out the site is run by the Phelps family. Yuck. Reading it generally makes me feel either

  • incredibly depressed at what horrible things people can do, or
  • relief that I'm not the most screwed up person in the world, not by a long shot
  • Once you start reading, it becomes rather addictive. Some confessions are serious, like "I cheated on my wife and now my wife has syphilis but I can't admit I gave it to her," and others less so: "I ate three sandwiches yesterday and I'm supposed to be on a diet." I'd like to see them add a search feature to the rapidly-expanding site, so I can find sinners just like me.

    Posted By Jimmy Legs

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    Wednesday, November 05, 2003 at 13:59:41 (EST)

    Pay the price
    Don't forget, tomorrow returns, playing at Southpaw before they go on tour. Clevelanders: their next stop is the Grog Shop! They haven't been performing for a while, filling the void with the two-man version of the band, People of the North. But I am quite excited to see them again, especially since they're playing in a part of Brooklyn that's not Williamsburg. Not that I don't like seeing shows there, but I can walk to Southpaw.

    I don't even really mind playing the highly exorbitant door charge of $12. Well, I sort of do, I don't understand why the price is so high. The headliner is French punks Metal Urbain, and I wasn't aware they were even together anymore, much less that anybody still listened to such stuff. But it could be one historically relevant show. I dunno if there's another band or what, but if there is, I hope it's Plastic Bertrand. Show starts, in theory, at 8:30.

    Posted By Jimmy Legs

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    Wednesday, November 05, 2003 at 10:41:22 (EST)

    1 - 2 - 3 Repeater!
    No wonder nobody wants to vote. The whole process is so annoying and time-consuming, you start to feel like a simp. It starts to look like the only people who vote are losers who have nothing else to do but wait for hours to work a voting machine that doesn't work right. Ah, but ain't that America?

    My voting booth was broken. Or it wasn't broken, but there was something screwy with the ballot. Some people had dropped out of the race but still appeared on the ballot. They election guys had locked their switches out so they couldn't be voted for. Thanks to our lame 2000 Presidential election, ever since the dubious results of that election, everybody's highly suspicious of the voting mechanics. And well they should be, but it results in some overreaction, like the woman who looked like a cuter version of Marcie from the "Peanuts" comic strip who was sure somebody had rigged the booth. She had tried voting for one of the guys who dropped out and couldn't turn the little knob. Of course she pulled the lever and submitted her vote before complaining about it. I felt bad for her cuz she left thinking something had been pulled. It hadn't, it's just that the system is lousy, the machines antiquated and probably unreliable, and the people who work those election tables are mostly senile senior citizens with absolutely nothing else to do all day. I always have felt that the thing even scarier than elaborate conspiracy theories is the idea that weird, terrible things happen, but nobody orchestrates them. The only devious force allying against us is our own lack of foresight.

    And the Freemasons.

    So it took me about an hour and a half to get into the booth and vote. It too me less than a minute to do it. Nobody even checked my ID, I just had to sign under a copy of my previous signature, making forgery pretty simple. I guess some of the people I voted for won. Yippee.

    Posted By Jimmy Legs

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2003 at 01:16:59 (EST)

    Love is all around
    I'm still not sure how this came together, but J, a friend from Seattle, is in town playing guitar for Joy Gohring's one-woman show. As I understand it, she lives in LA, but they're doing several shows in town this week. I was gonna put off seeing the show until later this week, but then A called to say that his sister was performing the same night as J at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater. The weird coincidences one discovers in this city never ceases to amaze me. Like how I met Mike from the band Cobretti last week, because he knew Jason from The Means, a band from Columbus. Or how I met the guy I keep seeing at Stupid shows when I went to a Halloween party with an entirely different crowd. Or the bass player whose other band had played with mine years before. I guess this is one of the reasons we live here, but the city's sheer size and population extends the mystique of these surprises.

    Or maybe people I know just know people who do the same kinda stuff I do. So we went to the show tonight, my first visit to the UCB's new theater, which is a nice upgrade from their old digs. I think they've been in this space for a while, but I haven't been to a show there in a really long time. We took in the sketch comedy show, including a hilariously surreal sketch written by A's sister, who pulls off an Irish accent to great effect. Then we retired to Peter McManus, an Irish pub that, get this, does not serve Guinness on tap. What's the point of an Irish bar if you have to get one of those 'pub cans'? I can get those at the bodega.

    Joy's show was all about love, and how she doesn't get any. Or how, whether in or out of love, insanity seems to reign supreme. It was a fun show, but sitting in the front row for such an event we were targets. At some point, A got called onto stage to perform a dialogue with her as though they were on their first date. She also decided I would be her beard, since her ex-boyfriend was in the audience (ah, breaking the fourth wall!). So I got to sit on stage while she sang a song ostensibly about me, although the name "Brian" kept coming up. But she kept making me kiss her on the cheek, so it was all worthwhile.

    Before the show started, she had the audience fill out index cards, completing the phrase "Love is ..." So I wrote my phone number on it, but I somehow doubt I'll get any calls.

    Thanks to Duck-On-Bike for the photos! Now blog, blog like the wind!

    Posted By Jimmy Legs

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    Monday, November 03, 2003 at 01:14:56 (EST)

    It's time to dress up right
    Stupid turned out an especially good show on Friday, possibly due in part to the fact that Dana recently quit smoking. She seemed especially pissed off, which almost always translates into Better Rock. I'm not entirely clear on the band's costumes, either nerds or Orville Redenbacher clones. I guess there's not much difference. Here are some decidedly repetitious pictures.

    I'm getting really bad at taking pictures. The allure of the digital camera is the fact that you simply erase poor shots. Free from the quantity limit of normal film, one supposes this would allow for true photographic talent to come shining through. No haps. Now I take lots and lots of mediocre pictures or completely forget to take pictures at all. It is possible that part of the problem has to do with the alcohol I'm often drinking at photo-op events. There were many cool costumes at Freddy's and at the party I went to on Saturday, but alas, I have no proof. All I have is a million pictures of my cats.

    I ended up deserting Freddy's after the show after getting picked up by a pair of lovely ladies. Yeah, that's right, I'm an easy mark. Women readers, I cannot stress this enough: please pick me up. It does me a world of good. We tried to get to a party in the neighborhood, but ended up at Great Lakes where we were later joined by M, resplendent in his punk attire. By that time he was already exhausted from trying to think up snide things to say in his fake Cockney accent.

    Saturday we finally bought a new bass drum pedal, which has already paid for itself as far as I'm concerned. Then I went to A's party, which was pretty much everything a party should be: lotsa booze, lotsa food, and lotsa interesting people. The only disconcerting thing was that many people seemed to think I hadn't dressed up for the occasion. Was my "MC from a Dog Costume Contest" too esoteric? Perhaps. Or maybe I just look so good in a loud double-knit blazer and big ugly sunglasses that people assume I wear that kind of thing all the time. Yes. I think I'll assume that.

    Today we spent all day setting up to record the band some more. Here's some geek stuff: After much fooling around, we realized we could use both the Quattro and the computer's built-in soundcard simultaneously, thereby providing us with 6 tracks. Thanks to Z's expertise we were able to set up two instances of Vegas, linked by a MIDI-based clock. We're still looking for a single software solution that can utilize multiple sound cards, but this seems to be working for the time being. If you're all extra good, I may post some of the new stuff when it's done.

    Posted By Jimmy Legs

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    Week of November 2-8, 2003

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