Friday, August 19, 2005 at 17:25:13 (EDT)

Don't pass me by

Does anyone else think it's strange that comedy duo/whitebot rapper Grand Buffet have been touring with alt-country legend Jason Molina and his band Magnolia Electric Co.? We caught their show last night at Southpaw, which culminated in both groups getting on stage and singing "Running with the Devil." For rappers, those guys can sing pretty well. Tomorrow night The Forms also play Southpaw, which shoulld be quite a delightful evening down on 5th Ave in Brooklyn. Gil Mantera's Party Dream was supposed to open but they cancelled at the last minute. Motico was asked to fill in, but go figure, Buzz decided to jet off to his Martha Vineyard summer home for the weekend. Damn you Buzz and your need for your precious 'solarium'!

It would look better but I couldn't wait for the paint to dry

In other news, Buzz's expertise came in handy of late as I attempted my first electonics project. Far simpler than anything Buzz builds, my project was what they call a bypass box, which required very little skill but which I still managed ot screw up a lot. All it does is reroute a guitar signal through a secondary source, providing "true bypass." I built it cuz I bought a cheap octave effect pedal and when you turn off the effect it chokes the signal and sounds lame. So the bypass box is a big on/off switch. The circuit itself doesn't even need any separate power source. The only power needed is for the little LED that lights up when it's on. For some reason I really had to work on the edge of my ability to get the damn thing to work. But somehow I eventually figured out some wiring mistakes and now it seems to work. What does this mean to you, the buying consumer? It means, when you come see Motico at The Delancey on September 7th at 8:00 PM (and it's a free show, if I didn't mention it previously), you may witnss the awesome power of my Arion Octave pedal, $14.99 of rock fury!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005 at 10:58:14 (EDT)

Should I get a set of white wall tires

I got new wheels built for my folding bike, both to deal with the fact that the original wheels were beat to hell and also because they were steel. The new ones are aluminum and should therefore make the whole bike lighter. When I picked up the bike at the shop I was amazed at how much lighter it had become. Then I realized I didn't have the Kryptonite chain lock on it, which makes it something like 40 pounds lighter. With the chain on the bike, it feels maybe a little lighter than it did before. But the important thing is I'm taking my life into my hands slightly less with decent wheels on this thing. Next I need to fix all the other life-threatening problems on this thing.

The new front wheel has a huge hub, considering it's just a freewheel. I've seen front hubs that are even bigger but I guess I don't know enough about bike construction to know what the size of the axle area has to do with anything. The rear wheel was the real job here, as the guy had to remove my gear hub from the old wheel and respoke it into the new rim. This was far cheaper than just buying a new wheel but took forever to get done. But they cleaned the hub off to the point it looks nearly new. And I'm not sure if it's the new wheel or what, but the gear hub works better than it used to. I love stuff that was built to last like a Sturmey Archer 3-Speed Hub. The thing is older than me (and that's saying something) and is still truckin'. What else is built to last like that anymore? Besides guns, I mean.

I'm thinking of retiring that Kryptonite NYC lock I have. I bought it out of paranoia but in light of recent events I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. For one thing, CrazyNoisy had his brand new bike cased and swiped from outside his office the other day, and he used the same kind of lock. It's unclear how the thief broke the lock, but he did it in broad daylight in full view of people, so I doubt he had some huge pair of metal cutters. Maybe he had a skeleton key, or maybe he had the Bic Biro Skeleton Key. I fear the latter since I still have the kind of lock that can be undone in this manner. But then, I don't think my bike is particularly attractive to thieves, what with its odd shape, incredible weight, and the fact that you look a little silly riding around on it. Still, on Sunday alone, over the course of a half hour on the streets of my own neighborhood, I personally saw 4 separate folding bikes, so perhaps we're seeing a new age of folding bike enthusiasm. My, these are exciting times we live in!

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Monday, August 15, 2005 at 15:10:32 (EDT)

In the jungle, brother

Ode to Pac Man, the view from BJ's apartment

Now that the temperature is back to normal, I feel like it was totally crazy for me to even leave the house for the bulk of the weekend. The heat index was like 110 degrees, making even the most rudimentary movement stroke-inducing. My sad little air conditioner chugged away in my bedroom, making living barely worthwhile. Our basement was also tolerably cool, but of course the humidity was ubiquitous. The band came one step closer to completing its album, as Zack wowed the members of the household by being far more on point that the rest of us, recording bass lines and doing all of his vocal work while we napped and made frozen fruit smoothies.

Engine, Engine Number 9, on the New York Transit Line

Despite this languor, I kept going out to do stuff, as I had all week. Which reminds me, Thursday night was the worst. We were trying to get the subway home at like 1 AM and they were spraying off the platform with one of those high-pressure hoses. What I didn't know is that the water is super hot; thus, the already-stifling platform became one huge sauna, causing me to debate whether or not to end it all by throwing myself into the path of an oncoming train. But of course, there weren't any trains coming on, so I abided until one did, and then its air conditioning gave me a new lease on life. Until we got to Jay Street.

Which again reminds me, Friday night we headed back from the Lower East Side to hit the Alibi on our way home, so we stayed on the F train in order to switch to the G at Carroll. Unbeknownst to us, both train lines were so screwed up that we were effectively stranded in Carroll Gardens. Luckily, Brooklyn Social provided shelter from the (hot) elements, and when it was suitably cool enough (when they kicked us out of the bar), we hoofed it up to the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station, which was not as far as I thought, where a waiting G shuttle took us home.

How can they do this to people who live in that neighborhood? There was downtown F service but the uptown trains weren't stopping at 4 consecutive stations. The only options were to go all the way down to 7th Ave and switch to an uptown train, or transfer to an A train or something. Perhaps I'd be more tolerant of such transit interruptions if I had any idea what they were doing when they reroute the trains this way. For instance, on weekend nights now, the G train doesn't go beyond the Hoyt station. That's a reduction of 3 stops. Only three stops. Meanwhile, the G runs in two sections, one from Hoyt to Bedford, and one from Bedford to Court Square. So the 'shuttle' train runs over a course of 5 stops total. That's it. Why, why, why is this done?

The blob on the retaining wall at the top is actually a cat

Life's been good to me ... so far

Anyway, to make a long boring story short, we still managed to run all over town despite the horrible heat, which seems so foolish now that we know how pleasant it can actually be outside. Even the rain feels like a happy little present after that scorcher. Bands seen in the past several days: No Omega, Meneguar, Asshole Parade, Demander, Electric Turn to Me, Puttin' On The Ritz, Mommy & Daddy, Oxford Collapse. The POTR show was actually held at BJ's pad, in honor of his birthday. He lives in a relatively newly constructed building on Bedford in Bed-Stuy, a sprawling place where real estate hasn't totally gone through the roof just yet. Also unanticipated was his incredibly vast vinyl collection, which appears to contain at least one of every record ever made. The elevator opens directly into his apartment (there must be some kind of security involved but I don't understand how it works), which is a nice touch and puts one in the mind of old true lofts whose freight elevators were used to enter each floor. there was a tragic amount of cabinet space in the kitchen. I say tragic because event thought there were easily 10 upper and lower cabinets, they were almost all completely empty. Meanwhile I can't open my cabinet with getting hit in the head by falling Pop Tarts and Ramen Noodles.

POTR; look at all them cabinets!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 at 12:33:53 (EDT)

Charcoal burning everywhere
Since I can't think of anything externally interesting to blog about, here's what has been consuming me of late:

I went to some backyard BBQ's recently, one at Abby's house and one at her friend's house which is directly across the street from me. I've always wanted to see what the interiors of those houses looked like, and now I'm rather jealous. They're not super fancy but although they are multifamily buildings, this one has not been subdivided. So everybody has locks on their doors, but assuming the neighbors all know and trust on another, it makes for a much more pleasant environment. It's reminiscent of the brownstone featured in Crooklyn; there are tenants but the owning family can run all over the house wreaking havoc. I guess maybe that's not necessarily a good thing, but it's more 'housy' to me. Also the cellar has a high ceiling, and the tenants spent a lot of time fixing it up to become a nice rumpus room, lotsa chairs and tables. And I think there's a pool table or something down there as well. At any rate, this has got me thinking that we should have a similar BBQ here at Chez Legs soon, as the summer is waning and we've not used our yard nearly enough. Now that mulberry season is behind us, I've been trying to resurrect the backyard from the heat and neglect of the last month. When's a good time to have a party? Should we wait until Labor Day or what?

Sidebar: oh, I've been meaning to find out about this, the Rheingold Brewery seems to be launching a marketing campaign on the area. Has anyone noticed that in the local bodegas you can get a 12-pack of Rheingold for $9? Actually it was only $8 a couple weeks ago, but we bought all those immediately. Now, I'd never been a fan of this beer, it's always been bottom-shelf crap that tasted like it was brewed in the sewer. But the stuff we've been getting has been quite palatable. I have a theory surrounding this: Last year, Rheingold made a contract with the Greenpoint Beer Works, which is right down the street on Waverly, to brew a small amount of their beer. This way the company can claim it's a New York City brewery even though the bulk of it is still made in Ithaca. I spoke with the brewmaster at GBW and he confided that the Rheingold people weren't happy with the first batch they produced, asking them to 'water it down more.' Any brewer worth his salt is gonna find that offensive, so I believe it's possible they went ahead and made the beer better than what the company had requested. Therefore it is possible that the beer supplying the surrounding area is receiving superior stuff than the country at large. Can anybody confirm to me that Rheingold in other parts of the city/state/USA still tastes like skunky Rolling Rock?

If you've been wondering why Motico has vanished from the local scene, we've been busy working on our album. A recent reorganization of our studio (basement) has fostered a new era of actually getting stuff done, so we are close to completion of our new recordings, which will eventually be pressed to CD to you guys can actually listen to our music without a turntable. We have a lot of new equipment and software, so this recording seems to be coming along a lot more professionally than anything we've done in the past. Whereas previously we could hide behind poor production or a rushed environment, now there's nothing to stand in the way of our sheer talent. Uh oh. Anyway, we're returning to the live scene on Wednesday, September 7th, for the Death Disco 1-Year Anniversary at The Delancey. It's free and we should be well-oiled (both musically and liquorly) for the performance.

I'm still writing those blurbs for the NY Press, check here for the latest. Of course, whether I write stuff or not has little effect on whether or not the paper actually publishes them, and to all appearances so far it looks like they didn't bother printing it again this week. Oh well, I'd be lying if I said I didn't like pontificating about bands anyway. But it's funner to get paid to do that.

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