Wednesday, December 28, 2005 at 16:25:00 (EST)

Girl you know it's true
I am not dead. I am just in Cleveland.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 11:28:57 (EST)

But who defends the workers who cannot organize?

While we try to get our wits about us during this strike, I'd like to point out that Motico's last show of the year, although in Manhattan, is still eminently reachable to our Brooklyn fans. If you check the map below, you will see the 169 Bar is mere blocks from either the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. In fact, the bar is so close to Brooklyn that one will actually have to backtrack a little bit once off the bridge. So if the strike persists through Thursday, you will yet have no excuse for missing the gig.

We'll be transporting as many of our fans as possible in the SPS/Moticomobile, but obviously there will be limits. So strap on your neglected rollerblades and coast over the bridge to Chinatown. I recommend the Manhattan Bridge for wheeled commuters; it's the flattest and smoothest (I can't stand the inclines on the Williamsburg Bridge or the wooden slats and tourists on the Brooklyn). But do what you have to to get there! You may have to do some things you never thought you'd be willing to do before.

Dag, that map really does make things look really close. Sadly, the trick is you've got to get to the bridge first. I know exactly one (1) person who lives right next to the bridge, everybody else has a hefty walk/bicycle ride ahead of them. Let's hope somebody is running subway trains very soon. I don't care if they deputize the homeless and put them in the operator's compartments, let's just get them going! How tough can it be, since they were planning on removing humans from all aspects of train operation anyway? Bring on the Age of Robots!

This reminds me of the Air Traffic Controllers' strike in the 80s, another illegal strike. In a prototypical version of "Compassionate Conservatism" President Reagan fired nearly everybody. Could that happen here? In that incident, public approval fell sharply against the strikers; here things seems divided, but not for long. Nobody likes the MTA, we're all glad to see somebody stick it to them. But the Union's demands seem unrealistic, plus we're all getting the feeling that Roger Toussaint doesn't really speak for all of the union members. It's hard to remember a time when unions were actually purely benevolent forces that did only good for the workers.

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Monday, December 19, 2005 at 23:16:38 (EST)

Where's the beef

The Hamburger Cookie

Cookies, parties, whiskey. I'd be in heaven if it wasn't so damn cold outside.

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Friday, December 16, 2005 at 12:25:25 (EST)

It's like Christmas in December

Buzz and Sylvie enjoy a hearty chuckle over the limited transit strike

James and Martha, formerly of Windsor Terrace, are back in town for the season from London. We hung out last night and for a brief moment there were 5 Mentor High School alumni all in each other's presence. As you might imagine, it was and awe-inspiring sight. I can think of 3 other people off the top of my head who I knew from high school who live here now, but that's it. A surprising number of people still live in Mentor, Ohio, or its environs, a thought that never ceases to give me the willies.

Speaking of willies, here's something else that sends shivers down my spinal fluid: I may be getting a permanent job. Not to jinx it or anything, but it appears that after 5+ years of perma-temping, my host employer has actually posted a job opening that is basically exactly what I do. It's a good thing my boss clued me into it before I saw it on a public listing, or I'd just think they were trying to replace me altogether. But barring any super-achiever, fresh out of Computer College, who happens to be as talented as I with typing numbers on a screen AND has the same intimate knowledge of the staff as I, coming along to apply for it, the job shall be mine. Oh yes. It shall be mine.

This is good, of course, for reasons of job security and getting my mother to stop telling me to go to law school. But it could be bad for these reasons:

  1. Increased expectations, in that I'd no longer be a contractor and should therefore have some kind of integrity in my work
  2. I would be hired to work for one department instead of several as I do now, so I could no longer beg off work by pretending other dept's are breathing down my neck
  3. I may have to work *gulp* in an office and not at home

Obviously, this 3rd possibility is the one that spooks me the most. Having been off the beaten path workwise for pretty much the last few years has left me stunted and poorly socialized. I don't know if I still have any "office clothes," since I have recently been buying most of my clothes at army surplus stores and costume sales. Plus, what if I wanna take a cat nap in the middle of the day? Will this be frowned upon? Can I bring a hot plate in and cook lunch, as I am wont to do at home? Is it permissible to bring the cat(s) with me to the office?

I'm not sure if these are the questions I should be asking right now, but it's been even longer since I applied for a job. I don't even know where to begin with that. I can say at least that yesterday I updated my resume for the first time in over five years. It's amazing how little I've accomplished in that time.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 11:15:37 (EST)

Get your own blog

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Monday, December 12, 2005 at 14:34:15 (EST)

The shantytowns rang with their shouts and their fights

I went on a pub crawl this weekend. I'm not sure if I totally understand the allure but but it was a lot of fun (although not all of us made it, I'm afraid). More here.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005 at 01:01:29 (EST)

Barely legal

We also caught Beat the Devil the other night. Dig the harmonium!

In case anybody might be interested, I am happy to announce that Asterisk is back and hosting shows again. Apparently they had a halloween show but besides that, they haven't done anything in over 4 months. Since Todd P's space is still up in the air (or not), we've all been deprived of our two favorite semi-legal performance spaces. So it was a lovely surprise to find it was back open and having a fun show this past Saturday. First we stopped off at the Lucky Cat to see Stay Fucked, always a balm for the soul. I'm not sure I understand why they aren't more famous at this point. In five years, every Smartguy in town is gonna be saying, "Oh yeah, I used to see Stay Fucked at all these little hole-in-the-wall venues, and now they're huge ..." Better get out to the shows now so you can build your indie street cred!

Asterisk was also a fun time as ever. But does anybody know how well dogs deal with noise and crowds? They have this pit-bull type of dog who constantly runs around in whatever room has the most people and the loudest music. At first we thought she was confused and unable to find her way out, but she kept doing this, even when the crowd thinned out and she could have easily gotten to the door. Do dogs have an ability to block out loud noises or something? Or maybe she's just deaf to begin with. That would have been some nice serendipity at the shelter if that's the case.

When we left the club, it had already snowed a couple of inches. It was rather lovely, but I can already tell I'll be sick of snow by next week. Bring on the heat waves of August! I know, I know, I'll regret that next summer. For some reason there was a piano lying on the street on its side. It seemed like such a shame, since it appeared to be in working condition and in tune. Meanwhile, Buzz slaves away in the living room, tempering the piano he picked up a few months ago, slowly getting back in tune. The upside is, when he hits the same note over and over for like an hour, it sounds a little like the creepy song from Eyes Wide Shut. Hey at least that song was good.

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Friday, December 02, 2005 at 13:07:28 (EST)

The feudin' might be over but the fussin' ain't

When the MTA decided to offer its little holiday discount thing, it seemed like a nice gesture considering they have millions of dollars to burn up due to their brilliant accounting practices. I like to think some MTA exec was embezzling funds but got cold feet at the last minute and dropped a sack of money in the petty cashbox at the office. But however altruistic their little half-fare offer is, it doesn't really comfort me when I'm standing on a subway platform at 3 in the morning for a half-hour before somebody gets on the PA and through the static and distortion I can barely make out the phrase "Shuttle buses replace the A train from Jay Street to Utica Ave." Oh really? Thanks for letting us know after we've been standing there like idiots, staring down a cold, dark tunnel, looking for headlights that will never arrive.

Here's my idea of what the MTA should have done with all that money they 'found': instead of doing this lame discount fare thing (only on weekends and then every day right around Christmas, so it A) encourages people to come into the city and spend their own money and B) doesn't do shit for workaday folks who don't feel like dealing with the throngs of tourists and insane Century 21 holiday shoppers), I would have liked it better if the MTA had taken that money and done something more practical with it. Of course, it would be nice if they could somehow use the money to more rapidly repair/upgrade all the train lines that seem in a permanent state of disruption. But I have since given up hope that any of the train lines I use most frequently will ever function in the manner to which they were conceived. So barring that, here's my concept: how about printing up a few more signs alerting riders to the many surprising reroutings and, I dunno, put them down on the platforms where somebody might actually see them? There was not one sign at the Jay Street station platform, but as we exited the station to board a luxury shuttle bus in the freezing cold I saw ONE sign, posted on a pole OUTSIDE of the turnstile. So people entering the Jay Street station might see this, but anybody who was just using the station as a transfer point could not possibly see it.

I don't know the stats, but I'm willing to bet there's a helluva lot more people who just transfer through this station as opposed to people who actually enter and exit from this particular hub. And if this is happening at this station, it's most likely happening at most other stations. The MTA has 50 million dollars to blow through; how many signs is that? How much would they have to shell out to hire extra help to tape these signs to a few poles on the platforms? Maybe I'm way off here, but it seems like using the money to help people get where they're going more efficiently should be the MTA's governing principle, not coming up with some half-assed short-term 'bonus' whose not-so-subtle agenda to increase commerce in the city.

If nothing else, I think that the heads of the MTA, as a requirement of the position, should be obligated to use only public transportation to get around. It sure would make me feel better to see Peter Kalikow at 3 in the morning, leaning drunkenly on the subway platform, looking around for some clue as to why his train isn't showing up.

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