Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 11:59:50 (EDT)

Things are harder to bear

Nova Clutch offers a cautionary fable

With the coming of the DUMBO Arts Under the Bridge Festival (boy that is one redundant title), we found ourselves at another party in the home of Winkel and Nova Clutch. I panicked a little before getting there, fearing that the ONE place to buy beer in the neighborhood would be closed by the time we got there, but it was still open. Zack says he's going to open a 24-hour bodega in DUMBO. I think that's an excellent idea, as long as it's the right location. Then again nothing in DUMBO is far from anything else in DUMBO. But walking down just one desolate block in the middle of the night can seem like an eternity.

Lots more pictures on Flickr. I am unsure who took a lot of them.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 at 10:14:40 (EDT)

Gotta run through the jungle
Hey, Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature!

And Mr Bones got his face scratched up again and he somehow showed up at our front door, covered in burrs and dirt. He looked like he'd been through the jungle. He swears he'll never go outside again without the proper gear.

note the little burrs deposited all over Buzz's bed

Also I'm making my blog window bigger to allow for easier swapping with Flickr. For instance, I can just call a picture from their site now:

This means lazier blogging, and perhaps (theoretically) more frequent posting.

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Friday, October 07, 2005 at 12:37:37 (EDT)

No siree, Jack, we're just givin' tickets
What does the city/police have against cyclists? I have learned to accept a certain level of totalitarian injustice in Manhattan, but now we're seeing Brooklyn cops sawing through locks and confiscating bikes because they're locked up to (or even near) subway entrances. And before you jump on the side of The Man, understand that there is no law against locking one's bike up on such structures, as long as their presence doesn't interfere with pedestrian traffic. Makes sense, but that qualification is a bit of a gray area. The sidewalk right near the Bedford L station is pretty narrow, a bike locked up along the railing might be an obstacle. Of course, it wouldn't be as much of an obstacle if the sidewalk wasn't also crowded with those little free newspaper boxes that seem to be reproducing at a high rate. Stuff like L Magazine, or Metro, what are the laws regarding these? Can you plunk one down anyplace you can find something to chain it to?

Book 'em, Dano. [via untitledname.com]

At any rate, there seems to be a lot of official animosity towards bicycles in this town, and that seems misplaced. I have to wonder if the city's dislike/disregard for cyclists has anything to do with the fact that bicycles do not directly add to the city's economy as cars do (gas, tolls, paying bums to wipe down windshields). It's getting harder to deny that the people in power will only respond to those who can quantify their existence monetarily. There's an article in the New Yorker recently about how rumors of conspiracy to kill off the poorest population of New Orleans have been running through the southern black community. There is the feeling that the Powers That Be were actively using the hurricane as a screen to complete their agenda of removing the unsavory poor elements from the city once and for all. The sad thing is, the truth is less dramatic but more depressing: the Powers That Be care so little for the poor that their plight didn't even cross the transom of their thoughts until it was way too late. No conspiracy needed.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005 at 12:20:09 (EDT)

99 Problems
Wow, I have had nothing to say to you people for over a week. It's not that I'm lacking material, oh no. It's just that I don't care. Just imagine the brilliant, pithy thoughts that have been accumulating in my noggin for the past 8 days and marvel at my restraint.

Of course, the sad thing is that I am actually super busy with my super stupid day job. I'm doing a bunch of web work whose deadline was September 30th. Yes, my company is really on top of things. They send me the updates ... yesterday. I may have to work through the weekend to get it all done! Hooray for the bottomless pit of office bureaucracy! So of course I can't waste any valuable time here when my talents must focus on This Very Important Work.

But in the meantime, does anyone have a working theory for karaoke? I was discussing it after Josh's latest article in the Press about a karaoke joint. There seemed to be two schools of thought: The Karaoke Bar Philosophy, and The Karaoke Rented-Room philosophy. I maintain that I prefer the karaoke bar, where performers may be strangers, as opposed to the karaoke room that one rents with their friends. I mean, I understand the no-pressure allure of the little windowless room, but it also kind of begs the question: Why do people want to sing karaoke in the first place? Lots of people seem to be unable to do karaoke in front of anybody but their close friends. So is there a fundamental difference between the public karaoke people and the private karaoke people, or is it just a matter of self-consciousness?

Yes, this is just a taste of the fascinating thoughts that run through my head while I wait for corporate web sites to publish.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at 14:56:39 (EDT)

You want it all but you can't have it
If the "No Dogs Allowed" policy wasn't enough, recently the Alibi traded in its old CD-based jukebox for a Rock-Ola "Wall Rock" virtual jukebox. This means no more CD mixes or bar-chosen albums. It claims to have over 200,000 songs, however, which might make one assume there would be plenty of decent songs to select. Well, one would be wrong. Dead wrong.

Over the past several weeks, I have been leafing through its library in attempt to find various songs and artists. I am sorry to report that despite containing what should be a pretty hefty bill of music, I have been unable to find much of anything worth playing. So what's on the thing? I dunno. Crap, I guess. I was hoping there'd be some stuff by more underground/local artists, but they don't even have anything by Interpol, and we know how the kids that band. No Steve Miller, no Ted Nugent, no Kraftwerk. Sure, there's some Beatles and Bob Dylan, but anything remotely nonstandard for a faux-Irish Pub in Des Moines is not included. Thus, whatever personality was imparted by the previous jukebox has been completely obliterated. This wouldn't be that big a deal, but as the weather turns colder, I won't be able to sit out in the back yard any more. I will be forced to cope with this lame device (which by the way, proudly advertises its extensive collection of Eagles and Journey greatest hits).

Finally, this thing has an additional feature, cleverly named "Make Mine First." which, for an additional fee, users can force their selections to go to the top of the playlist. So you could conceivably put in some songs and NEVER hear them all night, as others after you can trump your choices for theirs. What a rip.

I suppose in time, the library will increase, possibly adding something worthwhile. But increasing the sheer number of songs will only mean it'll take even longer to figure out what's on the damn thing. How long before every bar has one of these monstrosities? This is all Hi-Fi's fault!

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Monday, September 26, 2005 at 16:37:59 (EDT)

Love for sale
Motico played a fun show at Galapagos on Friday. There was a good turnout for the Greenhome NYC benefit, which is making me think the band should only play benefits from now on.

Meanwhile, some guy in England is selling Motico's record on eBay. Finally, we have international distribution! Currently the price is below our original selling price, so if you act fast you could get a deal (well, not counting the $2.75 for shipping). Eh, the likelihood that anyone would bother buying it this way is pretty slim, but at least the guy said the music is "excellent." Then again, he says that about every single auction he has going. Anyway, if you don't already have your own copy, next time you see us, we'll probably just give you one.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005 at 13:45:18 (EDT)

96 tears for 24 hours

Once again, Motico plays the Galapagos "Art Space" tomorrow night at 10PM. Both times we've played there have been benefits for GreenhomeNYC, a non-profit group that promotes environmentally sustainable building methods. I know it's tough to pull off a benefit show right now, what with all the hurricane benefits going on (one of which a fellow Greenhome band is participating in), but we're doing it anyway. It's still a good cause, and perhaps it'll rub off on Louisiana, so when they rebuild down there, they'll keep that holistic big picture in mind. Actually, now that I think of it, "environmentally sustainable" takes on an entirely different meaning in a place where everything was just ripped apart by a hurricane.

Coincidentally, Galapagos will be the site of another event that same night. The group NYC Midnight will be holding the start of their Midnight Run at midnight tomorrow (the bands should be all done by then). At the stroke of 12, groups of filmmakers will be given a theme (say, "cat juggling" or "cattle mutilation"). Then they have 24 hours to create a short film based on this subject. They have to have the finished film dropped off back at Galapagos the next night by midnight. Then the best entries will be screened on October 1st at the Brooklyn Museum as a part of their First Saturdays series (which Target appears to be sponsoring now, irritatingly inserting its name into the title so it sounds like a bad spy movie. TARGET: FIRST SATURDAY).

Buzz says that playwrights do something like this as well (although I can't remember now if the playwrights just write or are expected to actually put on a show in 24 hours). The whole thing sounds like Iron Chef for movies, so I gotta dig that. Come to the benefit show and stick around for the midnight event, it sounds pretty cool so far. Makes me think I need to branch out my interests more, instead of just seeing bands or preaching about folding bikes all the time. Oh, and the occasional rant about rising real estate prices. And taking pictures of cats.

Speaking of which, the cats are growing more evil and feral with every passing day. Decatur keeps catching birds, Mr Bones keeps dragging them through the house. Decatur brought a live mouse in the house recently, its whereabouts to date unverified. And Mr Bones brought a dead mouse inside the other day (we think Freddie the Stray Cat probably killed it first), which he then proceeded to eat whole. Today he ate a moth. The squirrels no longer trust Decatur as they once did. Hubcap, however, has not even the slightest interest in catching vermin, which currently makes him my favorite cat.

Folding bikes rule.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005 at 14:22:30 (EDT)

Pushin' too hard

So CMJ is over, and I gotta say I've just about had it with the flim-flammery of that whole racket. I mean, what is the point? My grievances:

  • Tons of bands play a million shows over several days under the auspices of this "college" musical journal. Well, this is New York, there are a million shows every single night. It's like how Buzz decries the Fringe Festival in NYC, since this place is already a Fringe Festival. Save that for Seattle or something.
  • Who are these people at the shows? Did you know the full-access CMJ badge costs $445? Given that almost no show is worth more than paying, say, $10 for, you'd have to attend over 45 shows to make that worth your while. 45 shows in 4 days. And several venues weren't accepting the badges if the show was sold out, so what good did it do anyone? Do people think they look good with one of those laminated cards swinging around their fool necks? No. They look like they just got off work and forgot to take their company ID card off.
  • I attended a few CMJ shows, yes. But then, I see at least as many shows every week. There was some good stuff like The Forms (but they play nearly every month anyhow), The Psychic Paramount (super mind-blowing but they too will be playing here again soon), and Circle (who I saw a couple weeks ago also). The 'big' bands of CMJ (Arcade Fire and them other Canuck bands) don't exactly need CMJ's help to get people to their shows. Despite the organization's claim that the only determiner for entry into CMJ is the quality of a band's music, I didn't see very many bands that didn't already have some kind of label affiliation. Considering the 'quality' of some of the bands that were included, I must take issue with their so-called selection process.
  • Is CMJ supposed to help musical novices find out about bands they might like? Who can tell? It seems to me that if people like music, they will seek it out eventually. And in the maelstrom of CMJ, how likely is it that a potential fan will be united with a band they don't already know? I suppose some people saw new bands while waiting around to see a familiar band, but if they had one of those pricey badges, they were more apt to be running from one club to the next trying to get their money's worth.

If you embrace CMJ and love it, so be it. I don't get it, and every year I realize I never will. It looks like a music industry pigfuck in the guise of empowering independent artists (speaking of pigs, Abby noticed ar article featuring the pig I saw on the street of our hood!). Well, at least the bands all get those badges. Anyway, partially due to the popularity of Canadian bands this year, word is that CMJ is dead and Pop Montreal is the real deal for bands. I'm not so sure about that, but at least it's happening somewhere that won't interrupt my usual band-viewing activity.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at 13:42:09 (EDT)

If you wanna get down
Huh. Remember when I was frustrated about the NY Press' butchering of my work? And how I wrote a little mock piece to illustrate my frustration? Well, look at this write-up for Cheeseburger:

September 15, 10

If you don’t have at least three or four drinks before this show, you’re not going to be having the right amount of fun. Cheeseburger is the ultimate bar band and is best enjoyed through a booze-induced haze. By the time they play their first song, you should be too drunk to care what you’re saying or doing, but not quite drunk enough to try and score coke in the bathroom. Save that for the afterparty, where more than likely you'll be hanging out with the band.

Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (betw. Bowery & Chrystie St.), 212-533-2111; 10, $20

Sounds a little like the thing I wrote, perhaps a bit more restrained. Also, if you've ever been around somebody who's resorted to trying to score coke in a bar bathroom, I wouldn't exactly describe them as being in a state that a live rock act would enhance. But apparently you'll want to be holding to get in good with the band at the 'afterparty.' So is this a joke or what?

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005 at 23:49:14 (EDT)

I don't believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman

Bested by them Russkies again!

Ooh, the Paper of Record just discovered the magic of the folding bike. Good for them! Is the folder making a comeback or what? I've been seeing more on the street lately. So many apparently that I can't feel special about it anymore. The last time I was out riding I encountered another guy on a folding bike, and I got ready to give him the Shared Folding Bike Heritage High Sign, but he just ignored me. Maybe he was just borrowing somebody else's folder. Dammit people, when you see another folding bike enthusiast, you have to acknowledge them! The last thing we need is a bunch of people on ridiculous bikes acting all snooty.

The Times article did bring one concern to my mind. I know have in my possession two folding bikes that are both older than I am, both made of steel, and both of which do not fold to particularly small size. Am I missing out on the whole point of owning one of these things? I must admit, the Soviet folder is beginning to edge out my Raleigh in terms of practicality and overall coolness. I finally figured out a way to secure the hinge bolt in the folded position so it won't flop all over the place when collapsed. I could do the same thing with a short chain or bungee cord, but that makes me feel lame. Like so many things I do.

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Monday, September 12, 2005 at 13:29:55 (EDT)

I am so sickened now

Serious Dogs at Rope Bar

I've had some annoying cough/sneeze/cold thing for the past several days, so I feel like I haven't really been on top of things lately. All this stuff was going on this weekend, and I was there for some of it, but I feel like I wasn't exactly a participant in a lot of it. Being ill makes me fade in and out of reality with more lubricance than usual. I do recall coming home and finding Hubcap molesting Mr. Mucus, the doll who raises awareness of mucus.

We went to Mike's birthday at Fort Greene Park, which was a lovely time, despite my medicine head. I had finished working over the new folding bike and actually got J on it to ride to the party. Despite its odd looks, the folding bike is a highly comfortable ride, in many ways superior to the full size bicycle. Except of course in the areas of velocity and machismo. But if you need neither, you could do worse than a folder. The bike was a hit at the party; it seemed at some point nearly everyone took it out for a spin. I weakly protested that my Raleigh Twenty is the superior of the two, but it apparently doesn't capture the imagination like the Soviet Folder Bike. Alas.

Oh and last night we were headed to Rope and ran into a goat who was hanging out in front of the "A-Rod Grocery" bodega on Myrtle Ave. It was a darling lil' fella, no bigger than a medium sized dog. But what fate will befall this guy? I don't know if people are still into goat sacrifices anymore, but they certainly eat goats. I can't imagine why else somebody would have one here. Do they make good pets?

I must now rededicate myself to getting some pictures of the pig who lives in the neighborhood.

More party pix et al on Flickr.

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