Friday, July 22, 2005 at 11:34:16 (EDT)

Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?
Ponderous Ponderable: Why are there so many bands around these days with "Bear" in their names?

Are bears the new squirrels? Further reference: "Bears See Things Pretty Much The Way They Are" by Don Cab and "A Bear Explains The Right And Wrong Ways To Put On A Shirt, Shoes, Pants And A Cap" by Dianogah. Hmm, there also appears to be something about extremely long song titles as well. And is it a coincidence that Bear Claw are often compared to Dianogah? What's going on?

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at 13:40:46 (EDT)

Almost paradise
I'm back in Brooklyn and it's really very hot. I hope this does not last through this weekend, when I'll be standing in some parking lot in LIC for several grueling hours in searing daylight to see a bunch of bands. Todd P is putting on his own lil Lollapalooza Saturday starting at 3. There are tons of good bands, including, but not limited to, Lightning Bolt, Japanther and USAISAMONSTER. The latter I have written about for the NY Press; looks like the editing this time around spared most of the original, with only a few completely nonsensical editorial additions. Once again, my article about Fresh Kills did not get published. Then again, I had written about USAISAMONSTER in the past and it didn't get printed, so maybe there's something to be said for persistence.

So I have just spent nearly a week in southern Indiana. I should have been home Monday, but due to weather in Detroit, my flights were canceled and rescheduled for the following day. That flight almost screwed me as well, but at the last minute they shifted me to another airline and I got home ahead of schedule. It seemed very easy for them to put me on a completing airline; perhaps too easy. Maybe all the airlines are really just one big airline, the same way that MasterCard and Visa are in reality the same corporation.

Anyway, Evansville was nice and relaxing, although whatever stress was reduced by the visit was probably more than replenished with the stress of dealing with the airports. Here's a bunch of pictures of my surreal journey to exurbia.

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Friday, July 15, 2005 at 14:34:59 (EDT)

We have to pull together, we can't stay worlds apart
Ooh, does everybody miss me? Sure you do! I'm again in Indiana, chasing the family dog around the neighborhood when he gets out, wordlessly doing the chores my mother requests, trying to think of something interesting to talk about that doesn't involve reality TV shows. It is not intolerable. but then, I won't be here but for a few days.

Mom has central A/C, which I should revel in since I only have A/C in my room, and it doesn't really work so I don't use it most of the time. This is the real deal, cold air in every square foot of this humongous (to me) house. Now the problem is it's cold. It's so friggin' cold in here! Yes it is hot outside, but it's not that bad. My mother apologizes for the temperature but doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it.

In other news, Buzz thinks this is important enough to post here:

Transformers, the long-planned, live-action movie based on the robot-morphing cartoon, comic and toy franchise, will roll into theaters July 4, 2007.

I guess I was into the Transformers when they were big, but now looking back the conceit seems a bit thin. They were robots who could be converted into vehicles or other household item, like a Walther P-38. Then they came up with the whole backstory about why they existed. It's like building a movie around its own product placement, right? How are they gonna pull off a 'live action' movie, by the way? That phrase seems a little misleading, since I'm sure this will require tons of CGI.

Okay, I'll be home Monday night. Don't break anything until I get back!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005 at 15:55:54 (EDT)

Once I was an embryo, then I got the old Heave-Ho
Thanks to CrazyNoisy for reminding me to visit the Bicycle Station (and you should check out his band, Chamisa Mesa, they're awful good). That's the bike shop in Prospect Heights, near what I consider Clinton Hill's south-eastern border (below Atlantic at Vanderbilt). They're such good eggs there, it almost seems suspicious at first. Most of the other bike shops I've been to have either been really apathetic in the service department, or so high-end I felt like the staff was looking down their noses at me because I ride a beaten-up steel-frame bike from the early 70s, and not some needle-thin, toe-clip speed demon. Bicycle Station must get some fancy riders in there, but most of the time it just seems to be plain folks with plain bikes that need some work.


The Raleigh Twenty, nature's most perfect bicycle

So I'm finally getting new wheels. I've probably lamented before about how I've been meaning to replace the wheels on that bike since the day I got it. The current rims are steel (like everything else on the bike), and the spokes are largely bent. So I'm getting aluminum rims to lighten the overall heft. In turn, I hope this makes me happy to carry my bike up the stoop when I come home, instead of looking at the stairs with dread and trying to remember how to lift with my legs.

My bike will be in the shop for at least a week. That won't be much of a problem since I'm leaving town for a few days. I get to go to exotic Indiana for four fun-filled days. It's not that I mind visiting my relatives, it's just that it's hard to shake the feeling that I'm missing out on something by not being in Brooklyn the whole time. But of course, I won't be missing out on everything! Yes, I will once again be taking my work laptop with me, so I can get all of that important day-job stuff done while I'm away. This enables me to avoid taking any days off while I'm away and further proves how much of a stooge for the Man I am.

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Monday, July 11, 2005 at 15:58:26 (EDT)

Take it to the limit one more time
Ah, a relaxing Saturday in which to sleep in to my heart's content! And although part of me feels mildly guilty about "wasting half the day" as my Dad always put it, I figure that I make up for it in other ways. Mostly by staying out til really late at night. Anyhow, my Saturday reverie was broken by a bunch of guys trying to stuff a Hammond B3 organ down my staircase.

My bandmates were planning on recording a friend's jazz combo and due to my late-night shenanigans, I didn't get the memo. No big deal, but their organ is a B3, which is kind of like the Sherman tank of organs. It's big and boxy and has two rows of keys and weighs 300 pounds. Any of you who have been over my place will recall that the scale of the house seems somehow diminutive. The doorways are just a little too short for people over 6 feet, the size of the rooms is a little cramped (okay, my bedroom is a nice size but it originally served as the house Grand Ballroom). And of course, if you've seen the old coal stove that resides in the kitchen, you'd think this place used to belong to the Keebler Elves. We've had many a problem in the past with getting stuff into this house, as documented in our saga with our Big Orange Couch.

Okay, it's very difficult to determine if some objects will fit through the door or down the stairs, but when I saw the organ it sure seemed like an unlikely candidate for getting down to the basement. They tried to bring it in through the doors under the stoop stairs, which was of course way too small. So they brought it up the stoop through the main doors and and along my bedroom to take it down the stairs. This was so not meant to be. They struggled with it, got it mostly down the stairs, only to realize the organ would need to make an impossible 90-degree angle to get out of the stairwell. Not gonna happen. So then they had to admit defeat and get the thing out again. This seemed to be even harder and for a while it didn't look good. The walls and the organ were getting all banged up, but eventually they got it back outside. They discussed using Buzz's synthesizer instead of the organ, but eventually settled on this rather novel solution:

This actually worked out really well. With headphones on, the organist could hear the other instruments, and with the Hammond's speaker cabinets down in the basement, the other guys could hear him as well. There was only one more problem: the rain. We got a huge downpour, lots of wind and super heavy sheets of water. So they covered the organ in plastic sheets and gave the guy our patio umbrella. Buzz should have some good shots of this on his photoblog soon. He made it through the rain (ho ho) and after that it was all relatively smooth sailing. They finished 9 songs in just a few hours. Meanwhile, our own band has been attempting to record for weeks and weeks and have to date not yet finished any one song. I guess that's because we're such, uh, perfectionists.

So I didn't even have much to do with all that, other than look aghast and nurse my hangover. The rest of my weekend is pretty much documented on my Flickr site.

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