Friday, March 12, 2004 at 10:08:27 (EST)

Morning has broken my will
I've complained before about my poor sleeping habits. Used to be, I couldn't get to sleep until pretty late, and then I'd oversleep through the first part of the workday, which sucks, because everyone knows that first hour on the job nobody expects you to get any work done. So I was sleeping poorly and missing out on valuable zone-out time on the job.

My new sleeping problem: I still can't get to sleep early enough, but I am now waking up at 6:45 AM every day. And unlike previous premature waking experiences, I don't just go back to sleep. I'm at a loss as to why this is happening, beyond the possibility that this is one of those "I'm not getting any younger" things, like how senior citizens wake up at dawn and putter around in the den until the rest of the world wakes up. The cats had no idea what to do with me. I had no idea what to do with me. So I finally put together a CD of all my songs not collected on my concept album to send to Al in Ohio, something I promised him I'd send last year.

Then I was out of ideas. So I started doing my job. This is an ugly trend I do not wish to see repeated.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Thursday, March 11, 2004 at 11:46:55 (EST)

I had too much to dream last night
I am feeling pretty scatterbrained today (not to mention yesterday, when I couldn't even get it together enough to post anything). Here are some unconnected thoughts:

  • I like how Howard Stern's show has become 5 hours of politically-motivated vitriol. Though I can't imagine it will happen, Stern is acting like he's about to go off the air for good, so he's taking every opportunity to bash the rich wimps at Clear Channel and insist that his listeners vote Bush out of office in the fall. He keeps saying, "I may not be here in November, so don't forget: Anybody but Bush." I can't tell if he thinks this is mock-martyrdom or only quasi-martyrdom, but this new tack in his shtick is way more entertaining than his usual palette of boobs & funny noises.
  • I caught some of Josh's show last night at Pianos. Josh regaled the audience with tales of his genital misfortune (he actually has a whole library of such anecdotes), focusing in one tale on his penile piercing. This reminded me of the bass player in the long-defunct band, Granny's Hole. Yes, a tasteful group to the end. I've written about this guy before, but it still astounds me. My old band played a few shows with Granny's Hole, who were from Columbus. The bass player guy had the word "INSANE" tattooed in big letters on the back of his neck. I guess he had given up on his hopes of becoming an elementary school principal. He also sported a "Prince Albert" piercing, basically a big hoop sticking out of his schlong. I know what it looked like because at every show he would get a flunkie to yank down his pants while he was still playing, thus exhausting the band's theatrical energy. Some months after my encounters with the band, the pierced bassist lived up to his tattoo by beating some guy to death at an after-hours party. He went on the lam for a while, but I suspect his highly-visible tattoo helped persuade him to turn himself into the cops. Like Josh's stories, this tale too has its lesson.
  • My friend wants me to see his tax guy to do my taxes. But I did a quick run-through on the TurboTax website and it looks like I'm gonna get a hefty refund for the first time in my life. So should I just submit my tax return as is, or should I go see the tax guy? J wants me to see him because he insists the guy is a "Deduction Magician," producing write-offs where none appear to be. But I'm really bad about keeping the kind of records that buoy such deduction claims, so maybe I should just quit while I'm ahead. Also, how much does it cost when you have somebody do your taxes? TurboTax costs $20, and of course doing them yourselves is free. I should probably talk to the guy anyway about financial planning and other such crap since I'm thinking about buying property in the not-too-distant future, but between online resources and actual humans, in this case I gotta go with the web-based accountant.
  • Leonard Lopate's 1990 interview with Spalding Gray.
  • My band may actually have a show coming up! Details are not yet finalized but try to keep April 2nd open, folks.

    Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink
Hear the Granny's Hole Theme Song!
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Tuesday, March 09, 2004 at 16:28:33 (EST)

One of these things first
Okay, just trying to keep some shows straight in my head:

TV On The Radio and Coco Rosie at Southpaw
Josh Reynolds hosts Down Home NYC at Pianos
Cyndi Lauper at Town Hall
Jessica Pavone at EAT Records
Japanther at Lit
Company at Pete's Candy Store
Morningwood at Sin-e
We Ragazzi and Ted Leo at Maxwell's
The Means at Lit
Dynasty at Pianos

I'll probably be adding to this. What am I missing?

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004 at 12:37:22 (EST)

Pedal-hoppin' like a Dinsosaur J
Craigslist is such a handy resource. Not exactly news, but yesterday I happened to browse the listings and saw some guy was selling a Turbo Rat Pedal for fairly cheap. Turned out the guy not only lives in my neighborhood, he lives on the next block. So convenient. I'm only reading the Brooklyn listings from now on.

And yes, I got another Rat pedal. The Rat was my first distortion pedal, which I found in a black box theater at my old college. I dutifully posted a listing in the school paper's Lost & Found section, and when I didn't hear from anybody, I made it my own. I used it until I bought my lovely Tube Driver, which I think is a necessity for any solid-state amp users out there.

But in preparing for my gig next week, I am using my acoustic guitar. After seeing The Sobs show on Friday (members of Stupid), I got the idea from Matt to run my acoustic guitar through a distortion pedal to add some weight to the sound. The Tube Driver works all right, but I couldn't get much distortion since it's an overdrive pedal primarily. Thus, I return to the Rat, which provides it in spades, if lacking a little character.

Anyway, I should know better by now, but I thought maybe I'd recognize the guy I bought the pedal from when he came to the door; I did not. Even with all the time I spend wandering around a half-mile radius around my house, I almost never see the same people twice. I've met the three other people who live in my small apartment building, but I see them so rarely I can barely remember what they look like. Every time I go to the Alibi I hope to see familiar faces, and though I do see some, the bar is usually full of people I have never seen before. Yet I can still run into people I haven't seen in ten-odd years with ease.

So how many people am I missing on a daily basis?

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Monday, March 08, 2004 at 16:59:02 (EST)

If my train goes off the track
So Spalding Gray's body was finally found in the East River. I keep thinking about his description in Monster in a Box of finding out about the poster for Swimming to Cambodia. They told him it would be a picture of the ocean with his head sticking out halfway, at a point that it would unclear whether he was emerging from the water or going down for the third time. The final product was somehow less evocatively rendered than described (see right), but in a way this discrepancy really captures what I always loved about his work: Few other authors have been able to illustrate so immediately the often-absurd results in the chasm between what we imagine and what we actually experience.

In some ways, his body of work was of the same therapeutic ilk as the recovering alcoholic who devotes his life to treating other addicts. It's just too bad that this ultimately wasn't enough to keep him around, but I'm glad he stuck around for as long as could.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Monday, March 08, 2004 at 11:58:27 (EST)

I didn't even know I couldn't put up a fight
It has been confirmed, Jimmy Legs is going out in public. I'm gonna play one of my old songs at the next Big Blogger Reading, now a monthly event at PS122! As they say at MRK's job, Going forward, this series will be less huge than the historic Worst.Sex.Ever. reading a couple weeks ago, but it will be more than just readings. Well, eventually. This time around it looks like I'm the only one not reading something, but it's a start. If you have a marginalized talent of some sort (cat juggling, pantomime horse, spoons), consider asking Chris about signing up for a future event.

This month the theme is "Stories of Love, Friendship, and Betrayal," and since I have written about a million songs on this subject since last spring, I jumped at the chance to embarrass myself in front of actual people. My problem is deciding which one to do. Which of my songs best represents the event's theme? Do any of my readers actually listen to the songs I post on my music blog?

The show is on March 17 (yes, St Patrick's Day) at 7:30 PM and costs $7. You can get tickets online.

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Monday, March 08, 2004 at 11:42:29 (EST)

They lend me a problem with the language
Something I always loved as a kid was poorly-translated instructions. Toys from overseas and chopsticks were the best bets for this, my earliest literary interest. I bring this up now, as it crossed my mind while I was at Japunks show last night at CBGB's, watching Peelander-Z as they shouted in moderately coherent English.

Lemme back up first, I gotta mention Rocco's. J was in town and to satisfy some weird celebrity pathology, made reservations at Rocco's, which is the restaurant that was the subject of the reality show "The Restaurant." I never saw the actual show, but apparently it was very cathartic for anybody who ever worked in the industry. My restaurant experience ended some 10 years ago, when I was a dishwasher at Denny's, so I guess I didn't feel drawn to watching people live out service industry archetypes. The restaurant is pretty big by my standards, though J was quick to point out that on TV they made it look like it was twice as big (also on TV the restaurant was always crowded; last night it was mostly empty). I had read dubious reviews of the food, so I stuck to the basics, spaghetti and meatballs, the latter made by Mamma herself, who we spied slugging drinks at the end of the bar.

The food was pretty good and they forgot to charge me for the enormous whiskey they served me, so they receive high marks from me. Honestly, I don't know how else Italian restaurants in this town make themselves known without signing up for a TV show. There are so many Italian joints around they tend to cancel themselves out in my mind. Does anybody know the statistics about the numbers of Italian restaurants in the city? My guess is something in the neighborhood of 40%. If you count pizza places as well, the number jumps even higher.

Back to the show. After our touristy dinner, we went to another tourist spot: CBGB's. We debated which was more touristy (Rocco's is known only because of TV, but CBGB's has been drawing people for decades), but concluded that the fact we shelled out $10 apiece to see one band meant this was no longer tourism, but sheer dedication to Rock. There should be some kind of law that gets you a discount to the cover price when you show up at the tail end of a long show. It's not fair! The Japunks show is semi-annual line-up of punk bands from Japan and NYC. We got there in time to see Peelander-Z, who are described as "action comic punk rock." Their press goes on to say "You would realize what it means only when you finally get to one of their shows." Also, "As they toured the U.S. a couple of times, they were exposed and applauded in almost every major city in the country."

Now, is the poor use of English purposeful, reminding us of the unintentional humor of industrial translations? Or is the author experiencing the same trouble with the language? I don't know, nor do I know how much of this theme was at work during their set. But they knew how to translate "We Rock."

I wish I had been more energetic for their set, cuz it looked like fun. There were many costumes, much jumping around and hanging from the rafters, handy cue cards for the audience, plus the replacement of the entire band during a song. They were playing a song and one by one they got members of the audience to take over their instruments, apparently regardless of musical ability (well, the guy who played drums was good). Then the band members ran around the room, acting out some kind of WWF scenario (they were wearing Mexican wrestling masks, but I finally figured out what was going on when the drummer produced a folding chair and waved it menacingly).

It was around this point when the line between funny and stupid was crossed for J, as the lead singer (now wearing a helmet) slammed into her, knocking her Rolling Rock to the ground. Some may argue they did her a favor, but the bartender gave her another anyway.

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Week of March 7-13, 2004

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